NCTE 2010--Name Dropping and Pics!

I had a GREAT TIME at NCTE 2010 in Orlando! And not just because it's my home either--I met a famous rodent, some of my favorite authors, and the wonderfully funny people from Walker Books, my publisher.

My time at the conference kicked off Friday, when I presented with Wendy Mass. Our topic: how research plays into fiction. I love talking about my research because I get to share the histories and photos of the places and people who've inspired certain elements in my books. Plus, Wendy autographed my personal copy of A Mango Shaped Space. After that, Emily Easton (Walker publisher) and I headed to the Bloomsbury/Walker booth for signing.

Saturday, I sat at a table during the Author Mosaic with Brandon Mull (Fablehaven) and Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider) and about eight or nine educators. Brandon and Suzanne were very passionate about their books, and Brandon and I discovered we've both worked with Brandon Dorman. Brandon D. illustrates the Fablehaven series, and he also created the cover art for The Summer of Moonlight Secrets. Then it was off to dinner with Kate Messner, Jaclyn Dolamore, Jessica Warman, and the folks from Walker: Beth Eller, Emily Easton, Melanie Cecka, and Katie Fee.

Sunday, the Florida branch had invited me, along with other authors from Florida, to attend a luncheon honoring outstanding Florida writing students. Alan Sitomer, a three-time Teacher of the Year winner, was a compelling speaker, as was Alex Flinn, who was the keynote speaker. Both were funny and offered stories from their own teenage years that were like universal memories.

I had a three hour gap before dinner. Fortunately, I came prepared with my new Sinbad DVD: Afros & Bellbottoms. Oh, my gosh! It was so funny! There I sat in the hallway, my legs pulled up under me, my earbuds in, LAUGHING OUT LOUD as people passed. I tried to suppress it, but I couldn't. Sinbad is quick, clever. This DVD came out in 2006 and I definitely recommend it, along
with Sinbad: Where U Been?

The ALAN Reception was next. We milled around, spotting people we knew and authors we hadn't met yet. The cheese was good.

Lisa Yee taking a picture of Peepy with the crowd.

Kate Messner taking a picture of Lisa taking a picture.

Kate, me, Lisa Yee, and Ann Angel

Me and Gary Paulsen!

Then dinner! My steak was grilled to perfection and my coffee a delicious brew. The walk back to the hotel revealed the yanks from the Floridians: I was freezing! I needed hot chocolate and thermal underwear and campfire to warm up beside. The people from the Great White North deemed the weather pleasant.

All in all, NCTE was fun. I hated to see it end! 'Bye, you guys! We'll always have O-town!

Kate Messner, Jaclyn Dolamore, Katie Fee, Danette Haworth, Beth Eller, Jessica Warman

I'll be at NCTE all weekend!

This year's NCTE will be held right here in O-town--Orlando, the City Beautiful! I'm presenting Friday with Wendy Mass in the company of the wonderful Kate Messner and signing books right after. Saturday, I'm participating in the author mosaic, which is like a speed dating event between authors and conference attendees; and Sunday, I'm honored to sit with accomplished student writers at the FCTE luncheon.

Come by and say hi! I'll be wearing black. (Oh, right--we'll all be wearing black.)

See you there!

Sexiest Man Alive

Well, it looks like we all have to wait till Friday to find out who are the remaining 88 sexiest men alive--according to People Magazine, that is. Ryan Reynolds is holding the crown this year. Hmm . . . I don't know. I just don't know.

But I will know this Friday! Talk to you then!

ME & JACK cover!

The pub date for ME & JACK is June 2011, so when my editor sent me the cover, I thought I'd hold onto it for a while. Then I saw it on AMAZON! So here, making its debut on my blog, is the gorgeous cover illustration by Greg Swearingen:

Twitter blurb:
Me & Jack
: New kid has problems: he’s an outsider; no one likes his dog; and his dad’s a recruiter for Vietnam. Done talking—time to fight.

Longer blurb later!

I know it looks like I escaped a knife attack, but

My arms look like I've run through briars at high speed or like I have defense wounds from fending off a knife attack.

Neighbor: Hi Da--what happened to your arm? (Note: This was before other arm was utilized.)
Me: Oh, we have a new puppy.

Husband: You really need to put something on those, like Neosporin.
Me: I already did.

Kid in neighborhood: You need to scream really loud to make her stop when she does that.
Me: I am already doing that naturally.

I had an epiphany the other day: The dog ate my homework is true. I saw her do it as I applied BandAids to my arms.