Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nancy judging breakthrough novel finalists

Nancy will be serving as a judge for young adult titles in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. She'll be one of the panel of experts offering up critiques of the three finalists.

That's an honor for her, and an opportunity for you, if you're an aspiring young-or-otherwise YA novelist who's ready and waiting to be discovered. Hit the website, get entered, and cross your fingers...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

National Book Award video is up

Of course, the award wasn't about her, but I just love Nancy's presentation speech. If you haven't heard or seen it, the video of the presentation and of Phillip Hoose's acceptance of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature is available here on Vimeo. Oh, by the way, Hoose and Claudette Colvin are worth watching, too...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conversation with Nancy at Boston College

The Foundation for Children's Books will be sponsoring A Conversation with Nancy Werlin next Tuesday, December 1, as part of their Author/Illustrator Series. The proceedings kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Vanderslice Hall on the Boston College campus, with Karen Kosko moderating. The event includes book signings and sales from the Children's Book Shop. Click on the link above for more info, and get yourself registered!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tune in to National Book Awards on Saturday

The taping of the 60th National Book Awards will be broadcast on C-Span Book TV this Saturday, November 21, at 9 p.m. EST.

Make yourself comfortable before Gore Vidal starts talking -- he'll be a while. Fortunately, Nancy gets across her point and her passion in a scant two minutes. Vidal's and Dave Eggers' awards will come first, then Nancy will be up third to deliver the Young People's Literature Award to 2009 winner Phillip Hoose. So your patience will pay off...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

National Book Awards!

Nancy and I are in New York and getting ready before cabbing over to Cipriani's for the National Book Awards. Nancy, of course, will be delivering the award for Young People's Literature, which she is greatly looking forward to. One writer is going to be very happy, and I imagine the other four finalists will have pretty special evenings as well.

My role is to show up and eat, accompany Nancy to the party afterwards, and generally be arm candy. Which I might pull off, if disguised in formal wear. I'm anticipating a good night...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Massachusetts Book Awards honor for Impossible

On Wednesday we'll wander into Boston, where Nancy will be receiving a Children's/Young Adult Honor for Impossible at the 9th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. Nice for her to be recognized in our own backyard.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October Girls

The High Test Girls had a good-news/bad-news kind of retreat.

The bad: some got sick, a couple had family issues to deal with, and one had what might have been a deal-breaking setback on a project she's working on.

The good: through it all, the HTGs were incredibly productive. Between them they submitted five picture books, made excellent progress on chapter books, and learned a few things. And as always, they had great conversations about books, caught up on each other's lives, and generally shared the love.

Despite the few bumps along the way, the fourteenth retreat was unequivocally a success, just like the previous thirteen.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the importance of usage

A little perspective on the relative importance of proper usage, from

Speaking of Cold...

Guy: I have to say, one nice thing about living here is that the winters are so cold that a lot of the homeless people freeze to death. So, you know, there's a lot less of them.
Girl: Dude, it's "fewer". Not "less".

Friday, October 16, 2009

High Test time again!

It's that time of year, and once again the High Test Girls are descending upon New England for a week of writing, drawing, critiquing, and hob-nobbing. Jane Kurtz is in the vanguard this evening, and we'll scoop up most of the rest of 'em tomorrow. It's always great to see them, and this year I'll get the bonus of meeting Jo Stanbridge for the first time.

I don't yet know what everyone is working on, but I do know that Nancy and Franny Billingsley are coming down the stretch on their latest works. For that reason alone this will be a big week, but then it's always a big week. And after 14 retreats, the biggest part of all is the camaraderie.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Controversy, encapsulated

You can't very well choose five books as finalists for the National Book Award without generating some comment. Even the most conservative choices will leave somebody either shocked or disappointed or envious or outraged, or some similarly negative emotion that will inspire them to object, perhaps strenuously. This list was no different. This time the controversy seemed to focus tightly on one title: Stitches, by David Small. Fortunately, Karen Springen has done a nice job of framing the issue for Publisher's Weekly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This just out -- NBA finalists

Stop me if you've heard this, but the 2009 National Book Award finalists are out! I'm a tad too close to the chair of the Young People's Literature committee to offer commentary, but others in the blogosphere are not so reticent. Take a look at the list if you haven't already, and then start sniffing around your (other) favorite YA blogs to soak in some opinions, or just form your own!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Catching up

It's been a busy late summer and fall. Between the National Book Award judging and her latest work in progress, Nancy has been reading and writing up a storm. She finally has a lull in the action, and recently took advantage of it to enjoy the social side of the book world. We went to the Horn Book awards in Boston on Friday night, and cheered for the winners, especially Tanya Lee Stone, who received an honor for her non-fiction work Almost Astronauts. (Catch the speeches here).

The next day Nancy had a book signing at the Blue Bunny in Dedham. This was ostensibly a working gig, but it felt more like a social occasion. We had lots of nice chats with the gang that was coming up to get their books signed, and even better chats with the folks behind the Blue Bunny, including a verrry good dinner with them at Isabella's in Dedham Square.

This sort of thing is all good for us hangers-on. Nancy does all the work, I get to split the partying...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Impossible among Volunteer State picks

Impossible is on the master list for the 2010-2011 Volunteer State Book Award (Young Adult category), sponsored by the Tennessee Library Association and the Tennessee Association of School Librarians.

It looks like victory for Nancy would entail a visit to the Volunteer State, which I would certainly be up for. Not that this is a voting criterion for the youth of Tennessee. Just sayin'...

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Nancy has just finished a draft of her next novel! I'm always impressed with her single-mindedness about her writing, and how with each book she is ultimately able to pull it together and produce something terrific, however much she might struggle along the way. Gotta figure out a way to bottle that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tightest titles for teens? Tune in to Teens' Top Ten

OK, that was a cheesy subject line. What I mean to convey is that voting is going on for the Teens' Top Ten on the YALSA site of the American Library Association, and Impossible is among the 25 nominees.

The voting is open (to teens only) until September 18. So if you fit that description, head on over and say your say.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My best-sellin' baby

Hey, guess what? Nancy has arrived on a best-seller list!

Impossible shows up at number seven in children's general interest on the IndieBound children's bestseller list, as seen on the Christian Science Monitor site. This list is generated using reports from independent booksellers nationwide.

How cool is that? "Quite" is my answer. I just love seeing her nestled there amongst the Gaimans and the Dessens and the Rowlings of the world...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nancy as guest blogger

Nancy did a turn as guest blogger for the August 15th edition of Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem. In it, she talks a little bit about Impossible, and more about writing for the young adult audience generally.

One hopes that Nancy's toe-dip into blogging doesn't affect one's job security, though frankly, one doubts it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Impossible is out in paperback!

Today's the day that booksellers all over the country can sell the paperback version of Impossible. I've got to check out some stores. Excuse me while I gush (again), but I have a pretty cool wife...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Impossible paperback arrives on Tuesday!

Impossible hits the stores in paperback this coming Tuesday, August 11.
It hits the big bookstore chains and it hits the indies. It pops up in supermarkets (e.g. Krogers), it finds it way to department stores (e.g. Target), and it even lands in airports (Hudson News). I actually want to drive around and see it in each and every one of these places.
But you really only need to find it in the one nearest you...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Looking for love in all the right pages

Caveat emptor -- an article in MSN entitled 8 Ways to Use Books to Flirt is yet another cheesy-fluffy bit of nonsense that probably does human relationships more harm than good.

But you have to kinda like the premise, no? And you're reading anyway, right?

It didn't mention a really good way to use books to flirt -- write one! When Nancy and I were just starting to date, and I expressed an interest in her work, she handed me Double Helix (presumably figuring that it was one of the more guy-ish of her books). Worked like a charm, and the rest is history...

Rules is a great story

The American Library Association runs a Great Stories CLUB, a program that works to support troubled teens through the reading of books that might have relevance to their lives. It gets a good deal of backing (and concomitant validation as a worthwhile undertaking) from Oprah's Angel Network.

The Rules of Survival is one such book, and it has been selected as a featured title for the program in 2010. If you've read it, you're nodding your head right now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Impossible is a Capitol Choice

Impossible has been named a Capitol Choice for 2009. Friends and lovers of children's literature in greater Washington, D.C. publish the annual list of noteworthy titles for children and teens.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moveable text

If you haven't seen it, an interesting editorial in the New York Times recently took on the issue of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast being re-edited. I'll let it speak for itself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Impossible among best beach reads ever!

NPR has been taking nominations from its audience to determine the 100 Best Beach Reads ever. They got around 600 nominations, and from that they pared the list of candidates down to 200. And Impossible has made the cut!

The final list of 100 will be determined by audience vote. You can go to the site and choose as many as 10 books. Go give it a look, and if you think Impossible is worthy, put it on your list...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reading in Reading

Attention, local folks: Nancy will be appearing at the Reading Public Library in Reading, MA this Thursday, July 16 to discuss The Rules of Survival. The event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can have a peek at the website for more info.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Justification for my existence

Yikers. It might not be a bad idea that I do the blogging on Nancy's behalf. Here's a great article on Salon about writers, and specifically Alice Hoffman, reacting badly to critics.

Which isn't to say that Nancy's few critics don't occasionally, um, peeve me. And they might actually provoke some sort of response from me (it has nearly happened, and Nancy actually had to talk me out of it). Still, I'm confident that the extra level of emotional indirection is just enough to keep me from the sort of wretched excesses exhibited by some of the writers described in the article. Which seems like a good thing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hometown heroine

The 9th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards have been announced, and Impossible has been tabbed as an honor book in the Children's/Young Adult Literature category.

It's nice that Nancy is being recognized locally. There are only three books that receive awards or honors in each of four categories, which means that there aren't many to go around, and there are a lot of terrific books from a lot of terrific writers in Massachusetts.

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway was the award winner, and The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry earned the other honor.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More cover coverage

Betsy Bird includes the new Impossible cover in her blog at School Library Journal, after seeing it it at the Penguin fall librarian preview event. Scroll halfway down the page to see it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Werlin, Dickens, and Obama

What do Nancy Werlin, Charles Dickens, and Barack Obama have in common? They all inspire poetry. Some more than others, though -- I've never written a line about Dickens or Obama.

Friday, June 5, 2009

YA defined

Cheryl Klein provides what seems to me to be a very good definition of young adult literature in her blog, Brooklyn Arden. I'm not sure that the enumeration is particularly helpful, but the words are spot on.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Buzz: Impossible in paperback

Impossible is coming out in paperback! It'll be out in bookstores and other retail outlets on August 11, and it's got a new look (see right). The basic composition of the two covers is quite similar, but the feel is entirely different.

Already the blogosphere is abuzz with discussion of the merits of the new cover versus the old one. As you can see if you follow the link, early returns are pretty clearly in favor of the paperback version, but the hard cover has its proponents as well. Got two cents to put on the subject, either here or there?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The power of the writer

There's a good XKCD this week, in which the power of the internet meets the power of the writer, which can be used for good or evil...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Willingness to Change

A while back, Nancy was asked to contribute to Thicker than Water, Don Meyer's collection of essays by adult siblings of people with disabilities. She agreed, and here is the essay she wrote, entitled "Willingness to Change":

I've flown home from Baltimore on Christmas Eve day, even though I was invited to stay with my boyfriend's family through Christmas, with him. As soon as my plane lands, I head for my sister's apartment to pick her up. She'll be staying with me for several days. This has been our tradition (even though we are Jewish, we require a Christmas tradition). It is important to me to make sure my sister has holiday plans. Plans, presents, family. We have other family members, but I am the main one for her. I am "it," and I have been for many years, and I expect always to be.

She seems happy and untroubled when I pick her up. This is a relief, because when I told her I was going away for the weekend before Christmas, she asked, "Can I come?"

"No, not this time," I said. "I'm going to visit Jim's family. But you'll have a chance to meet them later on, I promise. And I'll be home to get you on Christmas Eve, and we'll spend Christmas together as we always do. I've already made our reservation for the brunch at the Seaport Hotel."

I was rattled. It was hard for me to say this "no" to my sister, and indeed, only possible for me to allow myself to visit my boyfriend's family at all because I'd made the plan to come back before Christmas. Only later did I realize that my sister's desire to come with me to Baltimore was unlikely to be about her wanting to meet Jim's family, but about wanting to travel, which she loves to do.

We are on the verge of huge change, my sister and I. I am forty six years old. I never thought I would marry and didn't think I wished to. But now, to my astonishment and very great happiness, this has changed.
But with the change comes anxiety and fear. How do I reassure my sister? How will she adjust to change? How will I? We were the single daughters. Despite our differences, we were a pair. There was reassurance in that, and safety, and routine, for both of us.

In telling her the Christmas plans, I had carefully avoided talking to her about New Year's Eve. This, too, we have often if not always spent together. But soon after I pick her up, she asks me.
"I'm going away over New Year's with Jim," I say. I take a deep breath, and then I add: "Jim and I are courting. When a couple are courting, that means they're thinking seriously about marriage. During courtship, they need to spend time alone together, and that's what we're doing. We are probably going to be married. So, I can't be with you on New Year's Eve."

"Oh," my sister says, and then adds, "Very interesting."

There is no explosion or difficulty. She seems pragmatic. I explain further that, in marrying, I would still live where I do now, and would not move away to another state, as our other sister did.

A few days later, my sister pulls together a little Christmas present for Jim--a (slightly used) bottle of aspirin, which is a very typical present type from my sister. This delights me, and Jim, who is beginning to get to know her, and who says, when I tell him this story, "Well, it is very interesting."

What the future will hold, I don't exactly know. Plans, presents, family. These are now happening for me with someone else. There will always be a place in my life for my sister, but it won't be the same. Things will change, that's all I know and all I can know. That, and the fact that I will always be nearby. In choosing a husband, I am not changing my choice to be "it" for my sister.

But I will be a different "it," all the same. It scares ms, because the "it" that I was worked very well.

My sister is the one with autism, supposedly the one who wants things to be always the same. But I think it may have taken me all of these forty six years to find my own willingness to change, willingness to open my life and my heart fully.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mastery of Impossible

Impossible has been selected as part of the 2009-2010 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Master List, sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University Libraries. (Has a nice ring to it -- I'll bet EKU has a good marketing program.) Kentucky students in grades K-12 are encouraged to read from the list, and they get to vote for their favorite title of the year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Judge Werlin presiding

It's official: the National Book Foundation has announced its judges for the 2009 National Book Awards, and Nancy has been tabbed to serve.

She will chair the committee of judges in the Young People's Literature category. Nancy will be working with fellow judges Kathy Appelt, Coe Booth, Carolyn Coman, and Gene Yang to winnow out the best of the best from hundreds of nominees.

They'll determine the finalists in October, and name the winner at the annual dinner in New York City in November. Looks like a busy summer in store...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Get your punctuation out of my quotation marks!

No inexorable slide to becoming a grumpy old man is complete without a few pet peeves, and one of my faves is the ludicrous rule about putting periods and commas inside of quotation marks, regardless of context. For years I've complained about it to anyone who would listen (a select group if ever there were one).

So I've got to give a big shout out to the Chicago Manual of Style Online, which neatly makes my case for me. The section devoted to this rule amounts to a point-by-point condemnation of it:
  • First they start by absolving themselves of responsibility: "This is a traditional style, in use well before the first edition of this manual (1906)." (Don't blame us; we didn't think of it, and besides, it was always this way.)
  • Next they give it a double-whammy, leaning on Strunk & White for support while quoting them to say that it's nonsensical: "Typographical usage dictates that the comma be inside the [quotation] marks, though logically it often seems not to belong there". Good call on the logic. And what typographical usage? You mean the kind where printers used to lay up type by hand? Dudes, this ain't 1906. And they don't even say what the typographical issue is. Maybe this is just urban legend. is silent on the matter.
  • The next two sentences essentially say that you can skip it in cases where you need integrity, accuracy, or non-ambiguity. Not that any of these things are desirable in writing.

And that's it! In a related section they discuss the alternative system, which is apparently what the rest of the English-speaking world uses, including the British, who I need not remind you invented the language. They make their strongest argument there, asserting without example that this "alternative" system requires "extreme authorial precision". Presumably we Yanks are too stupid to get it right. But in the section on other punctuation marks, they follow the Brits, and go as far as to say "This rule applies the logic absent in 6.8" (the previous rule).

Soooo, let me see if I can sum this up. Because we are stupid, we have to follow an antiquated, illogical rule that costs us integrity and accuracy while leading to ambiguity. And we do want to follow the rule, lest we seem stupid. Yeah.

The worst part of all this is that the Chicago Manual of Style itself seems to think that this is a ridiculous rule, but leaves it in place, even though it gets to make the rules.

Are you reading this, Chicago Manual of Style? You can do this! I know you can! Change the damn rule already, and let people put their punctuation where it belongs. Look, I'm going to be grumpy enough as is -- eliminate this one pet peeve at least, and cut Nancy some slack, OK?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The battle is over!

In case you missed it, a winner has been declared in the School Library Journal's Battle of the (Kids') Books. Regardless of which book you were voting for or whether you care, it's worth following the link just for Lois Lowry's commentary.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Return of the Killer's Cousin...

...and Locked Inside, too!

Lynn Rutan and Cindy Dobrez have some great things to say about Killer's Cousin on their Bookends blog on Booklist, and they also note that both it and Locked Inside have been reissued by Penguin with new covers.

This is especially timely since both titles have just become available as audio books from Brilliance Audio. You can find Locked Inside here and Killer's Cousin here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We have a (Round 2 Match 4) Winner!

We have a (Round 2 Match 4) winner in the Battle of the (Kids') Books! Nancy has declared a victor in the battle of Graceling v. The Lincolns. Take a look and celebrate, or mourn, or pay up, or collect.

N.b. In case it's not clear as you're navigating the site, you can find the judge's verdict under each match up by clicking the "...Read more" link just below it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On your mark, get set...oh, you're reading already.

Impossible is one of 25 nominees for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten list for 2009. If you're of a certain age, you get to vote. You've got 25 weeks to chow down all 25 books -- which, let's face it, is way more time than you need -- or to savor just a few. Regardless of how many you read, you get to have your say on your favorite books from this year.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

For want of an adverb...

...yadda yadda...the book was lost. Round One of the Battle of the (Kids') Books is, er, in the books, and inevitably some have lost that others might win. Congrats to the winners, which you can discover by clicking on the link for each matchup.

Next week it'll be Nancy's turn. Will it be The Lincolns or will it be Graceling? With my inside position alongside Nancy on the couch, I believe that I know, but I further believe that I ain't tellin'...

Getting the girl

Garrison Keillor weighs in on Poetry Month. Tell me something I didn't know, Garrison.

But I have to take issue with this part: "Don't send it by e-mail ... ... so that you're right there when she turns to embrace you." As though the two are mutually exclusive. Amateur.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No coincidence

Nancy's hometown, Peabody, MA, is once again in the news: Forbes has ranked it 14th among America's Most Liveable Cities. It has an outstanding culture index and relatively low crime and unemployment rates, which characteristics are perpetuated in its favorite daughter.

Friday, April 3, 2009

They read it!

I still get a kick out of seeing Nancy's stuff in bookstores and libraries, but I've grown to expect that. It's more fun when her books turn up in unexpected places. A friend who frequently makes home visits has seen Impossible in not one but two houses in recent weeks, where it was being read by a couple of different teenage girls. Seeing it available for reading is one thing, seeing it actually being read is heartwarming.

Irony alert (the real kind, not the lame hipster version) -- possibly the one word in the English language that creates the most confusion upon being read describes the very act that created the confusion. The past tense of read is no sweat when you're speaking and listening, but it's tricky when you're reading and writing, especially if the sentence doesn't give you any clue what is meant: e.g. "I read. I read today." What did I just say, exactly? Even I don't know. We oughtta use a different spelling for the past tense, such as red (which as a verb wouldn't clash with the adjective) or redd. Of course that can't/won't happen; I'm just sayin'...

Battle of the (Kids') Books commences

OK, it seems I misspoke last time when I wrote that the School Library Journal's Battle of the (Kids') Books had begun. Only in the sense that the books had been written and the judges had begun reading. But the website is up, and it won't be long now before we're underway -- the first round is next week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March gets madder with the Battle of the (Kids') Books

Nancy has been asked to lend her jurisprudence (not really the right word, but work with me) to the Battle of the (Kids') Books, sponsored by School Library Journal.

Several prominent authors will each be judging two kids' books to pick a winner, with each winner advancing to the next round to face another winner, until only one is left atop the bookshelf. Sort of like the NCAA basketball tournament, sans squeaky sneakers.

Nancy will be judging in the second round, but the first round has already begun! You can follow all the action via Twitter.

No wagering, please. At least not above the table.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rules rules

(Sorry about that -- a dark side of blogging is that nobody edits the titles of posts.)

The Rules of Survival has made the reading list for the 2010 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award. This means that in the coming months, students in grades nine through twelve throughout Illinois are going to be reading it along with 21 other titles culled from the 150 nominees. Said students will ultimately vote on their favorite in early 2010.

Last year they had over 200 participating schools and libraries, which by my math works out to a whole bunch of kids that will be reading the good stuff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Get Melissa's book

Melissa Wyatt is giving away a free copy of her new book, Funny How Things Change. It's good stuff - you can tell, because it says so right here, and because the rumor is that School Library Journal is going to rave about it as well.

But even if you already have five copies of your own, you still want to go to Melissa's blog, because she's a lot of fun.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

List of lists

I should keep track of all of the lists that Impossible has shown up on. (I won't, but I should.) It's a *lot* (two words).

Three new lists that Impossible shows up on:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Judge for yourself

Nancy has a busy schedule, and gets lots of requests, so she's careful about her time. But she couldn't quite resist when asked to serve as a judge for the 2009 Massachusetts School Library Association Bookmark Contest.

Herewith the winners. Not a bad gig, huh?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New editions from Penguin!

Penguin now has Nancy's entire backlist, and behold the results: they've now made Locked Inside and The Killer's Cousin available in both hardcover and paperback. If you're not familiar with these titles, here's the skinny:

The Killer's Cousin was Nancy's second novel, originally published in 1998. It won the Edgar award as the best YA mystery in 1999, and we have the comical little bust of Edgar Allan Poe in our office to prove it.

Nancy almost did it again with Locked Inside, her third, which was nominated for the Edgar in 2001 after its publication in 2000.

You can now find both of them on the Penguin site, along with the rest of Nancy's seven novels.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Trust me -- I'm a blogger

You have to have a subscription to see the evidence, but Impossible has been named a VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Editor's Choice for 2008. Linda Benson offers up her top reviewed teen titles from the previous year; you can find the list in the February issue of VOYA.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Carlisle Webber writes about getting adults to read YA literature in Publishers Weekly. Seems like an awfully good idea. And I'm not just saying that because she mentions Nancy halfway through the fourth paragraph -- I am a chronological adult, and I love Nancy's stuff.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our table is round, too

It's always fun when various book people show up on our doorstep, which happens rather frequently. Yestereve we had the well known children's/YA librarian Cindy Dobrez, she of the Bookends blog in collaboration with Lynn Rutan on Booklist Online.

Tonight we once again have the pleasure of hosting Jane Kurtz, who is in town to see the debut of a musical adaptation of her picture book Fire on the Mountain.

There's inevitably plenty of good conversation, about books as well as people, and it adds life to our cozy little home. I think of it as a modest version of the old Algonquin Round Table, with the obvious advantages that we're all alive, and have less pressure to be clever.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reminder: Kids Heart Authors today!

"Kids Heart Authors" day is today, Saturday, Valentine's Day, February 14. Check the website to locate participating bookstores, and to see whether a favorite author will be nearby.

By the time you see this, Nancy will be at the Andover Book Store in Andover, MA, so hurry on down if you're in range. She'll be there until noon, at which point you stand a pretty good chance of meeting her dashing blogger as well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

La Théorie du Moustique

The bookclub version of the French edition of The Rules of Survival is out. (Apparently, they have separate editions for book clubs and bookstores, and they don't necessarily come out at the same time.) They call this version "La Théorie du Moustique", which translates to "The Theory of the Mosquito." No word yet on the timing of the bookstore version.

I hope it won't be too long. I'm planning to go to France later this year, and it'd be a serious kick to find one of Nancy's books on the shelves over there...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Best Books for Young Adults 2009

Impossible is an American Library Association BBYA (Best Books for Young Adults) title for 2009. If you look on the site, you'll see that it's got competition - there's a lot of good stuff out there!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nancy hearts kids

A whole bunch of authors and illustrators throughout New England will be at various independent bookstores on Valentine's Day (Saturday, February 14), which also happens to be "Kids Heart Authors" day. This is a pretty big deal: there will be close to 170 authors and illustrators doing this at 40-some-odd sites in seven states. Plus there are shirts.

Nancy is one of those authors that New England kids heart, and she'll be at the Andover Book Store in Andover, MA, from 10 to 12 a.m. You can drop in and visit her there, or check the website and find an event near you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Crafty Nancy

This weekend Nancy was up in Vermont for Kindling Words, which is half retreat, half conference for authors, illustrators, and editors of children's books. She led three discussions, and apparently it went well. The interaction was lively, a couple of writers whom she really respects told her they'd learned from her, and her friends reported that she was generally a hit.

I can't say that I'm surprised. Seems to my untutored eye that Nancy really knows her craft: she spends a lot of time thinking about it and working on it, and she's smart, and honest with herself, and it all adds up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Home-made Trailer

A Texas librarian offers up a great little trailer for Impossible on a blog called Regina Bibliotheca. Seems like somebody was genuinely impressed by the book -- this sort of riffing qualifies as a sincere form of flattery.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book Burden

Heretofore, books were not a problem for me. I loved them, unless I didn't, and could take and leave them amidst the competing threads of my life. I never thought of myself as a reader. Then Nancy came along, and, well, you can guess the rest. It's not just that she talks about books all the time, it's that she has a never-ending supply of them at her fingertips, and is always brimming with suggestions.

As a result I find myself staggering under the burden of a backlog of nine books. Nine. That's got to be at least six or seven more than I ever had to deal with before Nancy, and at any given time I was just as likely not to be reading a book, if you can imagine such a thing. (I understand that some of you can't.)

I'm currently well along in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn -- which I'm loving, by the way -- and on deck is a borrowed copy of The World Without Us. I've put on hold for the moment a book about the Giants that my brother bought for me, and I've got Allende and Patchett and McCracken cooling their heels in the wings. (I've got almost as many metaphors as books.) It's so bad that I can't even remember everything that I'm intending to read.

I'd bear up under it all, and stoically at that, but for the fear that still more is on the way. I expect I'm not going to get much sympathy from you lot, but understand at least that I'm coping with a new and bewildering world. Sort of like Francie in the book I'm reading. Only different.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Children's booksellers are into Impossible

Publisher's Weekly announced their 2008 Cuffies, in which children's booksellers vote on their superlatives from the past year. Impossible scored not once but twice, earning an honorable mention for Favorite Novel of the Year, and a second one for Best Novel for Young Readers That Adults Would Love If They Knew About It.

And these aren't just the sort of honorable mentions that are given to anything that's remotely close -- they mean that Impossible made the top three in both categories. Wow.

So which is cooler? It's a quandary. But though the latter speaks volumes, I think I've gotta go with the former. "Best" is great, but "Favorite" is best.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

They *did* ask nicely

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is seeking nominations for the Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors (DA BWAHA). I know a smart bitch who doubles as a hellagood author. She even has a soft spot for trashy books. I'm not sure that I can ethically nominate her, though. Anybody else want to step up?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Look for a spike in North Shore housing prices

Who needs reviews? Here is the sincerest form of flattery: someone is using Nancy to move real estate (see the second paragraph).

If Jed Clampett had had web access upon striking it rich, he'd be living in Peabody right now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Off to a good start

Nancy was the first-ever interview for the eponymous blogger of Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. Lauren conducted a nice interview for her first time out, and it even includes an interesting little tidbit about Nancy's next novel for the impatient among you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A good book

When I open a fortune cookie, I generally hope to discover within the sort of fortune that tells me that I stand to gain something. I feel a bit cheated when I get a mere observation on life -- I don't see how that constitutes an actual fortune, and besides, I prefer to gain things. But I liked the observation that was stuck in the bag along with my beef and broccoli yesterday:

"A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever."

The assertion is somewhat questionable, but the supporting logic is unassailable.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Impossible is Booklist 2008 Editors' Choice

Hey, look -- Impossible is a 2008 Editors' Choice on Booklist! Kudos keep coming, one upon the next. Not all of them are created equal, however, and this is the sort of kudo that makes Nancy a little happier than usual...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What Doesn't Your Girlfriend Know?

All right, young readers, let's see what you've got. This comes from Sonya Sones:

"This is to let you all know that What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know just came out in paperback. Yay! And to celebrate, my publisher is having an awesome writing contest.

"The winner of the What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know Writing Contest will win a free six-week online writing class from Gotham Writers' Workshop. And the winning entry will be posted on my website. 10 runners-up will receive a year's subscription to Teen Ink and an autographed copy of the book.

"To enter the contest all you have to do is read What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, and when you get to the very last poem, write a continuation of the story. Keep it short but sweet - ten pages or less. And, of course, write it in the same style as What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know - in a series of poems.

"You can read about how to submit your entry right here:"

So there you have it. If you'll be between 13 and 18 on the date of entry, you can write it the way you want it written.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Impossible wins Wilde Award

I'm a tad late with this, but Susie Wilde of the News & Observer in North Carolina has an annual awards list, and selected Impossible among the best children's books of 2008. Not much new in the brief write-up, but it's nice that it made the list.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nancy, me, and 2008

Where to begin? 2008 was just a phenomenal year for us. While lots of bad things were happening around us, our fortune was astonishingly good. Our heroine accepted a proposal from and married your humble blogger in 2008, and of course she got Impossible published. A book tour, speaking engagements, social occasions, and much good thing after another for Nancy and me. Let me put it to you this way: both of us say without any hesitation that this year was the best of our respective lives, and given the number of years we've tallied between the two of us, that's saying something.

It's all going to be tough to top in 2009. But while this year should be a lot calmer on paper, we're thinking that we're going to continue to be very happy. And we know, with the world doing what the world does all around us, that we can't ever take that for granted. So we're just going to feel really, really lucky...