Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why I Work in Publishing (in brief)

There are a million reasons I could tell you. Catch me in person some time, in fact, and you'll be hard-pressed to avoid me telling you some of them, probably whether you've even asked or not! ;) In fact, maybe "Why I Work in Publishing" should become a regular feature on this blog.

But for now, as the simplest answer to that question, I'll point to this. Reviews like this--heartfelt responses from readers like this--are why I work in publishing, and specifically, why I work in children's/YA books. Because I get to help make books that carry this much power, for readers of every age. Because stories become a part of us and stay with us forever and shape the person we become in the world and the mark we choose to leave on it. Because the things a writer has to say, and the words s/he crafts, can become black marks on white paper (or the technological equivalent thereof) that just might make someone else want to become a better person. And I get to help make all of that happen.

Does there need to be any other reason?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Because sometimes a photo really is worth a thousand words

...even if the photo is blurry because of pouring rain and bad angles and late night darkness.

(Explanation: this is how the Circus Elephants arrive in NYC and travel from the Midtown Tunnel into Madison Square Garden every year. They march down 34th Street at midnight. More (and better!) photos here.

P.S. I heart NY.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Of zombie cows, rainbows, and a glorious thing called "vacation"

It's taken me longer than expected to put this post up, sorry. (Someone really needs to do something about whatever scientific fluke causes three days out of the office to somehow equal, like, seventeen days' worth of work before you begin to feel caught up again.) In any case, and without further ado, I give you a brief highlights reel from VACATION:

Mountains = not in NYC anymore

Nope, not Brooklyn, either. Not even close.

A million gorgeous miles away, in fact!
(That's Abiquiu Lake)

Travel Companion and I had a fairly singular goal: to escape the dreary February-ness of our respective locales, run away to somewhere entirely different, and be inspired for a few days. Abiquiu, New Mexico--famous for inspiring much of Georgia O'Keefe's artwork--was the exactly what we'd hoped for. (Abiquiu is about 50 miles north of Santa Fe, and about 60 miles west of Taos, which means that both learningtoread and christinetripp had awfully close guesses. I'll be emailing both of you about your promised prizes, and thanks to all who played along and suggested a locale.)

Want to see some more gorgeousness?

They called it a casita, but this "little house" was approx 200 (okay, 5, but still!) times bigger than my apartment!

Mountains in the front yard!! They delighted me all
over again every morning when I woke up & rediscovered them.

Oh this? Just the side view from the casita--starring
the bee-yoo-tiful (if still half-frozen) Chames River.

It's impossible, really, to do a place like this justice in words, so I'll just sum it up in with a Nature count (hey, when you live in a city of concrete like NYC, Nature becomes a delightful novelty) and let you imagine the rest:

Nature Count:
Prairie dogs seen scurrying into holes: 2 (so cute!!)
Stars in the night sky: Approximately a bazillion, all of them gorgeous.
Hours spent staring at stars: Many. (What is it about stars that moves us so deeply?)
Shooting stars seen: 1, and it was oh-so-perfect.
Coyotes heard howling from the mountains at night: Loved 'em, but decided it was better not to know how many there were out there, thanks.
"Cow crossing" warning signs seen: 1 approximately every 1/2 mile, for many, many miles.

Actual cows seen, crossing or otherwise: None. Nada. Zip.
Zombie cow theories resulting from mismatch: 1, fairly half-baked.
Spontaneous side trip that may or may not have been to a local brewery (but that had nothing to do with zombie cow theories, I swear!): 1.
Picture-perfect vacation ending (i.e. rainbow over the mountains as my flight departed): 1. Ain't it gorgeous?

Inner Dixie Chick satisfied: 1, most definitely.
(You know you want to sing along!)

Where should I go the next time I run away from NYC? All suggestions happily accepted in the comments!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sorry for the radio silence

Because I've been asked....yes. Vacation was glorious, but yes, I did come back to NYC.

It's amazing, though, isn't it, how a few days of vacation can set you behind for weeks afterward? I pinky-swear that a post-vacation post, complete with pictures and promised prizes, is coming soon! For now, though, I'm deep in the heart of making some fabulous books (and you'd all far rather get to read them than my blog anyway, I guarantee it!) so it will be just a tad longer before I catch up with the blog.

In the meanwhile, Top o' the Morning and a Very Happy Wearin' o' the Green today!

P.S. Just a reminder: there's only 3 days left to Help Make Something Awesome Happen! Don't forget to go be a part of it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Running away (temporarily)

For the next handful of days I will be here, soaking up color of a very different sort than the blah, city-ish gray days that NYC offers this time of year:

All my standard threats about just possibly never-ever coming back from a beautiful place like this hold true. That said, don't have too much fun without me while I'm away, please!

P.S. Bonus points & a fun Advanced Readers Copy prize to the first person in the comments section who properly guesses where I am, city & state, based on that picture. (No fair playing if I've already told you, though!)