Summer Reading Splash this weekend!

Hello, friends! Just a quick note to say that I’m excited to be participating in the 5 Book Dive/2018 Summer Reading Splash this weekend at the AISD Performing Arts center here in Austin, Texas! This is a middle-grade book festival, geared toward grades 3-6, featuring keynote speaker Kate DiCamillo and several other incredible authors of books for kids. I’ll be on a panel about mysteries at noon and will be signing books at 2 PM. Hope to see you there!

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Great news for THE GREAT HIBERNATION

Hello, readers! I’m so pleased to report a few tidbits of happy news for me and my books.

Great Hibernation coverAccolades
My newest middle-grade novel, The Great Hibernationhas just been named a best book of the year by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC). What a huge honor, and what excellent company it’s in, too.

The Great Hibernation has also been selected for this year’s Spirit of Texas Middle School Reading List! I can’t wait to get more involved with the libraries and schools in my (not-so-)new home state as young readers dive into the story. Happy reading, my fellow Texans.
Events
memberfuse_logoSpeaking of Texas, I’ll be attending at the 2018 TXLA conference on April 3 and 4 in Dallas. You can catch me on the “What’s New With Texas Middle Grade & Young Adult Authors” panel (Tuesday, 4/3, 2:45pm) and at the Texas Author & Illustrator Speed Dating (4pm), and then I’ll be signing my Penguin Random House books at 11am on Wednesday, 4/4. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of librarians!

New additions
During the same crazy week late last year, my debut picture book deal was announced AND I had a baby. So to say that I’ve been keeping busy is kind of an understatement!

 

I hope that 2018 has been treating you well so far. My postings here are likely to be infrequent for a while, but you can always see what I’ve been cooking up on Instagram. And I strongly encourage you to check out #kidlitwomen on Twitter/Facebook this month, which is calling attention to the gender inequities in the world of children’s literature and working on solutions.

 

TLA conference this week!

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Swag!

Hello, friends. This week I’ll be journeying down to San Antonio to attend the Texas Library Association conference (aka TLA, or TXLA). It’s my first big conference, and I’m excited to meet librarians, attend panels full of fellow authors, and generally bask in literary wonderfulness for a few days.

If you’ll be attending and would like to catch me, here are my scheduled events:

Wednesday, April 19:
4:00-5:00PM / Room 007A – Speed Dating at the Texas Author and Illustrator Meet and Greet (CPE#3507: SBEC 1.0)
6:00-6:45PM / Signing at Overlooked Books Booth #1917
Thursday, April 20:
3:00-4:00PM / Signing at Overlooked Books Booth #1917

My published books (All Four Stars, etc.) will be available for purchase from Overlooked Books at the conference, and I’ll be giving out my beautiful new bookmarks for The Great Hibernation (coming 9/12/17) and showing off an ARC if you’d like a sneak peek. Hope to see you there!

Scholastic Fairs, new FAQ, & more!

Greetings, friends! I have a few updates that I’d love to share with you.

imgresIf you follow me on social media, then you might have noticed me celebrating an authorly milestone last week. All Four Stars has been picked  up by the Scholastic Book Fair! Gladys and her adventures will now be accessible to a whole new slew of elementary-school readers. I was a huuuge book fair fan in my own childhood, and it’s a great honor to have one of my books included now.
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Also recently shared on social media: the cover for The Stars of Summer in Czech. I just love what Albatros and cover artist Eva Chupíková have done to bring Gladys (and her quest for NYC’s best hot dog) to life!

If you’ve been poking around my website, you’ve probably noticed a few changes. For one, The Great Hibernation is now featured on the Books page and the homepage, as well as in my new website header designed by the wonderful Kristin Rae.

Also, as of today I have a brand new FAQ section AND downloadable video on my About Me page, perfect for kids who are doing a book report on one of my books. (Yes, kids now regularly e-mail me asking for info they can include in their book reports. I pinch myself every time.)
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And, speaking of changes, at the end of January my family moved 1,000 miles from Colorado down to Austin, Texas. While we were brokenhearted to leave friends, family, and the mountains behind, the Austin kidlit community has been so welcoming. And actually, it’s kinda pretty  here, too. 🙂

 

Eatin’ and Authorin’ All Over Texas!

Hello, friends! As you may know, I spent last weekend traveling around Texas with my husband and with fellow middle-grade author Rebecca Behrens (whose debut novel, When Audrey Met Aliceis one of my absolute favorite reads this year). We did three author events together and ate a whole lot of very healthy food. Here are some pics!

Texas is known for having amazing barbecue, and we made sure to eat as much of it as possible. The first stop was Micklethwait Craft Meats in Austin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrisket, enormous beef rib, and pork belly sausage. A delicious start to the trip.
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Ice cream break! (Texas is HOT.) Austin’s Lick is known for having interesting, locally-sourced flavors.
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My favorite Lick flavor? Caramelized Carrot with Tarragon. Pretty sure it was my first time eating tarragon in ice cream. It was surprisingly fantastic. Hill Country Honey ran a close second.
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On to Dallas, where a big blue eye greeted us.
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Pecan Lodge is Dallas’s top BBQ joint, and probably our favorite of the trip. Gladys would have given the brisket, burnt ends, and collard greens all four stars. (Peach cobbler was just okay–maybe 2.5 stars.)
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Pecan Lodge also lets you doodle on the bathroom door. 🙂 I left a little mark commemorating our books and bbq tour.
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Our first book event was the Author Roundup at the Fort Worth Library. They set us each up with our own little station!
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Here’s Rebecca, looking adorable in her racecar dress (printed with just the type of car that Alice Roosevelt used to drive).
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Our fellow OneFour Kidlit debut author Christine Kohler drove all the way in from West Texas just to see us. Her debut YA novel, No Surrender Soldier, is fantastic.2014-08-16 13.16.45We also got to meet 2015 debut author Jenny Martin, whose YA novel is called Tracked. Here we are making a Jenny sandwich and showing off our All Four Stars temporary tattoos.
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One of the library’s copies of All Four Stars on the display table. This was my first time seeing the book jacketed in library plastic–a very exciting moment!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Jenny’s suggestion, we headed to Roanoke, TX, for dinner: “The Unique Dining Capital of Texas.” It is an extremely cute small town packed with restaurants.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Butterfly interlude!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And now back to food. After a whole lot of meat from Hard Eight BBQ, we stumbled over to the Oak Street Pie Company.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Raspberry-rhubarb pie. Quite possibly the best slice of pie I’ve had in my life. Rebecca said that her cherry pie was also some of the best pie she’d ever had. Looks like Classy Cakes has some competition in North Texas!PieMooooving on (heh heh) to the historic Fort Worth Stockyards…
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Where we got to see some lovely longhorns.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen on to Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere we ate some lovely longhorns. Tasty brisket, plus sausage from the famous Kreuz Market.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFueled up on meat, it was on to Fort Worth’s Barnes & Noble for our next author event, where we teamed up with the wonderful Texas authors Polly Holyoke and K.A. Holt.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPanel time! We talked about writing convincing settings, our long paths to publication, and lots of other good stuff. 
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The next day found us back in Austin, seeking yet more barbecue. We ended up at John Mueller’s, where we had some delicious brisket (noticing a trend?), pork ribs, and cheesy squash. Thanks to Rebecca for snapping this pic of me and the mister.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a very interesting visit to the LBJ presidential library, we headed up to Round Rock for our final author event. But first, there was time to seek out the famous round rock itself!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere we are at The Book Spot with our fellow MG panelists Nikki Loftin, K.A. Holt, and Jennifer Ziegler. It was a fantastic panel, culminating in a fun trivia session with prizes.
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The trend of wonderful people traveling a long way to see us continued! Here I am signing a book for my friend Linda, who came all the way from Houston for the event.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bookstore was awesome and got cakes for the party. They asked for one cake that said “Happy End of Summer” and one that had a unicorn on it. This is what the bakery delivered. #oopsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2015 debut author (and my fellow Emu!) Donna Bowman Bratton joined us for a post-panel Tex-Mex dinner. While it was hard to eat a meal that contained no BBQ, we did our best to power through.
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Texas was a blast–and I’m not just talking about the blast of furnace-like air that hits you every time you step outside in August. (Seriously, it was 100 degree every single day we were there.) Thank you so much to our fabulous co-panelists, the amazing booksellers and librarians who invited us in for events, the hard-working bbq pitmasters and dessert artisans who swelled our waistlines, and the friends who made us feel so very welcome. Can’t wait for next time!

P.S. If you are looking for a signed copy of All Four Stars, The Book Spot in Round Rock and the Barnes & Noble in Fort Worth each have a stash of them now. Happy reading!