Monthly Archives: February 2012

And The Winner Is….


Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing to win an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of See You At Harry’s by Jo Knowles (Candlewick May 2012).  If you missed this contest or didn’t win, I hold fairly frequent drawings for MG/YA books here, so be sure to come back (or sign up for a subscription) again!

Not counting mine or Jo’s comments, or double comments, or anyone who opted out of the drawing, there were a total of 47 entries. Being that I’m in London right now (on my way home) and Trixie did not join us, I had to rely on a random number generator instead of my dog to pick the winner.

Are you ready? The winner is number 32!!! Or better known as Brenda Kahn! Congratulations! Please contact me at the email address shown on my Contact Me page with your mailing address and I’ll send the ARC to you promptly! I hope you enjoy!

Book Buzz – See You At Harry’s!


See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles (Candlewick Press/May 2012)

Oh Wow!  As you know, I’m already a fan of Jo Knowles! (See my reading rave of her most recent release Pearl (Henry Holt/2011).)  And as some of you might know, I am not only good friend with the author, I’m in a writing group with her. I’ve been lucky to be able to read her drafts a few times over before they become full-blown novels. But, having read her drafts doesn’t deter me one bit from diving right into her story again and getting completely lost in her character’s world.

Twelve-year-old Fern often feels invisible in her family, everyone seems to be busy with their own issues – Dad with running the restaurant, Mom and her meditation, eldest sibling Sarah who is spending a gap year helping out (but not really) at the restaurant, and 14-year-old brother Holden who seems to be struggling with his identity. The only family member who seems to pay her any attention (excessive in Fern’s mind) is 3-year-old Charlie, constantly happy and the center of everyone’s world. When tragedy strikes, and guilty feelings abound, the family must come together, or be lost. Fern and her family feel so incredibly real, full of all the uncomfortable and feel-good moments families share. There is pain and there is love. A must read to be cherished for favorite characters you won’t want to let go of.

Most of you will have to wait till May to get your hands on a copy to read. However, I have my copy of the ARC (Advance Reading Copy) that I’m giving away to one lucky reader! You will be able to read this fabulous and touching story before most of the rest of the world! What do you have to do?

To enter:

1. Comment below with your name and email address (if you’re reading this on a feed, click here).

2. Have a United States or Canada mailing address (sorry, again, I’m using my own funds to mail this out).

3. If you love the book (and I’m sure you will), please spread the love via blog, Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, email, flyers, phone calls – whatever works for you!

4. Make sure to comment by midnight EST Friday, February 24th. Winner will be announced in this blog on Tuesday, February 28th!

Good luck!

Love Stories


Happy Valentine’s Day!

In appreciation of this day, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite couples from YA books I’ve loved. These are not in any particular order.

Anna and St. Clair in Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

May and Pete in The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson

Ginny and Smitty in The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle

Kaye and Roiben in the Tithe trilogy by Holly Black

Puck and Sean in The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Meg and Jack in Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White

Raisa and Han in the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Belly and Conrad in the Summer I Turned Pretty “series” by Jenny Han

Mia and Adam in If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Foreman

Kit and Nat in The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Any of the couples in a Sarah Dessen  novel

OMG! I could go on an on! I’d better stop or I’ll never get to my own WIP today. I know I’ve left out some favorites and I’ll kick myself later.  I’d love to hear some of your favorites from YA books!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Writing (Reading) Challenge – Letters!


Remember letters? The kind you received in the mailbox or folded up in your locker? Remember sitting down to write one to a friend, filling it with your inner most emotions and juicy gossip? Or having a pen-pal you corresponded with regularly, whom you never met?  Thumbs up to Jo Knowles who posted about a fun letter-writing challenge.  It’s called The Month of Letters Challenge, put forth by Mary Robinette Kowal. She challenges participants to write one letter (postcard, note, card) and send it to a friend every mailing day in February (24 days in all). I’m in!

I recall exchanging letters with my friend Lisa, ever since we were in elementary school, all the way into college. We see each other fairly regularly still, and we exchange brief emails or texts, but it’s been decades since we’ve exchanged letters. I still own some of our letters from our teens years! I also loved passing notes in junior high and high school. Folding the notebook paper into fun “origami” shapes and slipping it into a friend’s locker or exchanging notes in the halls during passing period.  When I was in 6th grade in Los Angeles, I had a pen pal in Albany, NY. I wonder whatever happened to her? Funny that I ended up living there (in Clifton Park) decades later.

Today, it’s a rarity that I receive (or send) real mail. I get cards from good friends and an occasional catch up letter over the holidays. I love receiving those! And in fact, sat down to write a real letter in response to one this past Christmas. I love the feeling I get when I take time to write a note to someone I care about, I love putting a stamp on the envelope, and yes, I even love putting it into the mailbox. I’m excited to participate in this! Anyone else think this is a grand idea? If so, join in! Write a letter or a postcard or a note and send it off to someone you know!

Maybe you’ll even receive a letter from me! I hope you write back! If you write to me, I promise to respond!