Grandparents Day

Nikki Tate writes to say she has a new book out: Grandparents’ Day, illustrated by Benoît Laverdière (Annick Press, 2004).

Grandparents’ day falls the second Sunday in September. And no, it was not invented by Hallmark. I would like to wish my grandma Dorothy and grandma Melba a happy Grandparents’ Day.

Anyone wishing to find out more about me and Grandma Dorothy should read my short story, “The Naked Truth,” from In My Grandmother’s House: Award-Winning Authors Tell Stories About Their Grandmothers, edited and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (Harper, 2003). Other contributing authors: Joan Abelove; Alma Flor Ada, Bonnie Christensen; Beverly Cleary; Pat Cummings; Jean Craighead George; Minfong Ho; Ji-li Jang; Gail Carson Levine; Beverly Naidoo; and Diane Stanley.

Along those same lines, three of my books feature strong grandparent characters: Grampa Halfmoon from Indian Shoes (Harper, 2002), Grampa Berghoff from Rain Is Not My Indian Name (Harper, 2001), Grandma Wolfe from Jingle Dancer (Morrow/Harper, 2000).

And Greg‘s next book, Tofu And T.Rex (Little Brown, spring 2004) features a wonderful grandfather character, Opa Kowalski. Keep an eye out for it.

You also can check my Web site for an entire bibliography of grandparent-related titles.

Alia Waking

ALIA WAKING by Laura Williams McCaffrey (Clarion, 2003). In this debut novel, Alia, 12, hopes to be chosen as a keenteen, or warrior woman, when she turns thirteen. But then Alia and her best friend, Kay, capture two of the enemy, a boy and girl about their age, and are assigned to care for them in prison. As she gets to know the prisoners, Alia is forced to question her own assumptions and prejudices. A fast-paced adventure for fantasy fans. Ages 9-up. Recommended by Frances Hill, author of THE BUG CEMETERY, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry (Henry Holt, 2002).

Visit Laura Williams McCaffrey.

The Truth About Sparrows

THE TRUTH ABOUT SPARROWS by Marion Hale (Henry Holt, 2004) This poignant historical novel, revolving around a close-knit family’s efforts to survive the economic hardships of the Great Depression, will warm readers’ hearts. Twelve-year-old Sadie Wynn, an young adolescent with timeless appeal, isn’t happy with anyone or anything. Sadie doesn’t want to leave Missouri and move to a fishing town on the Texas coast, especially when she realizes that her new home will be a tar paper shack on the seawall. She doesn’t want to make new friends. She doesn’t like the startled stares of strangers when they first see her father’s disability. Sadie’s self-consciousness and her refusal to accept change in her life parallels her reluctance to grow up. The story of Sadie’s search for a place she belongs is deftly handled, and in her debut novel, Hale’s lyrical language makes her characters and the gritty life on the Texas coast particularly evocative. Ages 9-up. Highly recommended. Recommendation by Frances Hill, author of THE BUG CEMETERY, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry (Henry Holt, 2002).

Note: Marian Hale lives with her husband on Copano Bay in Rockport, Texas, just twenty miles from the Aransas Pass seawall where this story takes place. This first-time novelist is one to watch.

Delaware State Awards; Francesca Lia Block Site

Lisa is in the process of updating my site, so I don’t want to make her crazy with link change-outs at this point. So, I’m just going to flag incoming for a while on the blog:

Delaware Diamond Primary Award:

The Blue Hen Children’s Book Award

Also I need to add Francesca Lia Block to the main author/illustrator listings.

Dinner tonight at Houston’s; Greg and I are staying in, watching the “Cheaper By The Dozen” remake with Steve Martin and Tom Welling from “Smallville.” Just made out cards for my grandmas for Grandparent’s Day.

Docs & More Sympathies

Both Greg and I went to (separate) doctors today. Me for my skin (which I’m assured is like a 26-year-old’s–ha! doubt that) and Greg for his foot, which is oddly misshapen in my opinion (but apparently no emergency). The dermatologist office in West Lake reminded me a lot of the plastic surgeon office from “Doc Hollywood.”

Received a surprise gorgeous bouquet of garden flowers from Gail and several cards, including one from Barbara Lalicki’s group at Harper, which was quite thoughtful.

Web site redesign is ongoing. Still fretting the weather in Florida.

Hoping for a quiet weekend, for a change. Off to bathe and peruse the Coldwater Creek (I got a discount special card in the mail) and Eziba catalogs.

Red Dirt Book Fesitval

Just got news that the new Web site for the Red Dirt Book Festival in Shawnee, Oklahoma is up and running. The theme this year is “Mysterious Oklahoma.” It might apparently include: “sessions on the mystery genre, [] programs on true crime, myths and legends, politics, sports – anything related to Oklahoma with an element of mystery (including the “mystery’ of finding an agent, or getting published, etc.).”

I attended Red Dirt a couple of years ago and enjoyed it very much, especially because Kelly Bennett and Sharon Darrow also were speaking.

Dinner tonight at Page and Erik’s–shrimp fajitas. Going to miss them when they move to the San Francisco Bay area. Sob!

My (Mostly) Non-Writing Life

America is my country, and Paris is my home town. — Gertrude Stein

My (Mostly) Non-Writing Life

Date of Birth: 12/31/67; only child “who’s spoiled?”

Lived in HI, IL, MO, MI, KS, OK, TX; prefer central time zone

Dog: pom named Sir Gallahad XIII; called “Tramp”

Great Teacher: Mrs. Woodside, First Grade

Won public library reading contest, 3rd grade

First plane trip: to Disneyland; fond of “It’s a Small World” ride

Heroine: “Mighty Isis,” featured with “Shazam” on Saturday AM TV

Favorite Play Place: woods behind house

Family vacations: summers in Estes Park, exclusively

See Famous Person for First Time: Dolly Parton

Begin life-long desire to visit Dollywood (still haven’t)

4th grade career goal: magician

First kiss: David Somebody on cheek; broke up next day. Alas!

Wrote “Dear Gabby” advice column for 6th grade paper

Great Teacher: Mr. Rideout, 6th Grade

6th grade nickname: “Olive Oil”

Spend every Weds & Fri night rollerskating

Great Teacher: Mr. Bigler, 8th Grade Social Studies

YMCA cheerleader, 5th-9th grade

Favorite Singer: Donna Summer

Favorite Band: Meatloaf

“Inappropriate” Donna S, Meatloaf lyrics pointed out to Mom by Uncle Al

First car date: “Two of a Kind” with John Travolta & Olivia Newton John

First post-babysitting job: making popcorn for movie theater

First car: red ’68 Mustang coupe (fave high school boyfriend had white classic Mustang coupe)

Favorite hang out: Minsky’s Pizza

Often called “Cindy Lou”

Great Teacher: Mr. Pennington, AP European History

Took tap, jazz, & ballet until 18

High school varsity cheerleader

Editor, high school newspaper

Waitress, Mexican restaurant

Dated boy called “Panama”

Graduated high school, 1986

Pledged Alpha Delta Pi

Majors: news/editorial & public relations

Concentrations: English, history, human development and family life

Took financial inactive status at sorority

First apartment has Murphy bed

Minority issues reporter, campus newspaper

Great Professors: Houston/Franklin “Children & Television”

President, KU chapter of Public Relations Student Society

Great Professor: Mary Wallace, “Reporting II”

Great Teacher: Tom Eblen “Reporting III”

Graduated college, 1991, walked down “The Hill” with cousin Stacy

Summer starter, law school, first met Ivy Leagers en masse

Study abroad, Paris (okay, went to Paris, didn’t so much “study”)

Senior editor, feminist law journal; which was shortly thereafter sued

Engaged to Greg, 7/3/93 in Dallas, Texas

President, Native American Law Students Association

Graduated law school, 1994 in one piece but serious debt

Moved to Chicago 5/94

Married, 9/4/94 by husband’s uncle, a Presbyterian minister

Federal employee “yikes!”

Moved to Austin, 2/95

Full-time writer, reviewer, teacher, happy person AKA world’s shortest legal career

Tutor for migrant student program, St. Ed’s University

Moved Back to Chicago 2/97

Adopted by Cat: grey tabby, “Mercury Boo”

Moved to back to — guess where? Austin, 2/99

Adopted by Cat: another grey tabby: “Sebastian Doe”

Receive historic castle from very cute husband for Christmas; plan to keep husband

Breakfast at the White House w/ Reading on the West Lawn

New kittens: Leo & Blizzard; Total of four kittens.

Release of Greg‘s debut novel, NINJAS, PIRANHAS, AND GALILEO

Chatted on Delilah — Love Songs; & she played “Dancing In the Dark” for me!

9/4/04 Tenth Wedding Anniversary

Absolutely fave superhero: Oracle (the original Batgirl)

Rainy Labor Day

Not much to report today. Ran out to Containers and More for something to put my sprawling variety of goofy costume jewelry in; finally settled on a plastic drawer set designed for screws and what not.

Greg bought himself a toaster oven at Best Buy. (He has this issue with regular toasters because they can get dust in them. Really. And I’m supposed to be the O-C one.)

Then on the way home we picked up three packages of Solar Hummus at Central Market and of course a piece of dark chocolate for me.

Right now, Greg’s reading The Hobbit again and has started making some noises about possibly doing a high fantasy, sometime down the road. I’m blogging with Mercury sleeping on a box beside my desk. General mood is blah.

One bright spot: listened to an audio interview available for download with Kathi Appelt about her recent memoir, MY FATHER’S SUMMERS.