I have started bullet journaling. It hasn’t been long enough for me to really evaluate its effectiveness, but so far, I like it. Making lists is my jam.
Hook’s Daughter, the UK version of Hook’s Revenge, will be out in just over a month! That means I have just over a month to decide on my celebration dinner: Fish and Chips or Bangers and Mash?
Want to win a copy?
Pepper has learned the word “blanket” and comes running whenever anyone says it. If I don’t have a blanket on my lap, she attempts to climb up my pant leg. I thought you should know that.
I think this old McDonald’s toy (Lucy from Narnia) looks like me. It’s a bit unnerving, but in a delightful way. Would it be weird if I bought a bunch of them on eBay and put them all over my house? (Even if you say yes, I’ll probably still do it.)
The above image is from the Instagram account of Tom Angleberger, author of the the Origami Yoda series. It’s delightful.
What exactly is a banger? Some kind of sausage, right?
I’m super excited about a new blog feature I’ll be unveiling later this week. As you may know, last year I had a wonderful time introducing you to debut authors of tween—or middle grade—books in my In the Middle series. I wanted to continue doing so with 2015 debuts, as well as a few more established authors, but with a twist.
My favorite part of last year’s interviews was the question, “If you had a time machine and could visit middle-grade you, what would you tell him/her?” In that spirit, I decided to invite authors to write a letter to themselves as a tween and share it, along with a photo of themselves at that age.
Say hello to Hey Kid!
I drew this with Mac Paintbrush. Can you tell???
This concept is not exactly new. Dear Teen Me has been doing something similar for quite some time, and doing it very well. However, with Hey Kid! authors will be going back a bit further, to those tender tween years. I’ve received a few letters already and they are fantastic. I can’t wait to share them with you. The first one will post this Thursday, with a new letter following nearly every week most of the year. Don’t miss them!
Hook’s Revenge will be out in paperback on September 1. Two weeks later, on September 15, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code will be released. I have seen the cover art and it is wonderful (and not created in Mac Paintbrush)! Looking forward to showing you soon!
See my books page for more information.
Goodness! I have a lot of things to update. Here’s me downloading my thoughts to get them off my mind and on my blog.
I have spent the last two weeks in loungewear, lying around and reading books while my family did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. If I did go somewhere, my husband drove me and carried any bags I might have. (Thank you, Walt. Let’s stay married forever.)
Doesn’t that sound like heaven?
You’d think, but no. I have reached my limit on post-surgical rest.
Someone must have cut the “Fall Risk” bracelet off while I slept the day after surgery. I was very concerned that it had disappeared without my knowledge. Also without my (lucid) knowledge? A couple of hospital selfies I discovered on my phone, just now, as I was looking for this photo. Who knows what other mischief I got up to under the influence of heavy narcotic pain meds?
Thankfully, I am feeling better every day. Today I even got to drive myself to the grocery store (but I left the groceries in the car for Walt to bring in when he got home).
Thank you to those of you who have so kindly checked up on me.
We had a lovely Christmas at home. (Walt did everything while I lounged around opening presents. Seriously, that man.) Here we are in our new Christmas Eve jammies—or at least, Hannah and I. Walt hadn’t changed yet. Probably too busy cooking and cleaning. (I like him.) Hannah’s pjs are under her new Harry Potter snuggie.
We always open new pjs and new books on Christmas Eve, right before making a super fancy dinner of hotdogs or chicken apple sausages, roasted in the wood stove. (The next day Walt made a prime rib dinner. I’m renewing his contract for another year.)
I like the way we do things around here.
We spent days doing this puzzle.
There ended up being
three two pieces missing. A third was found in the dog’s mouth.
Though the journey was enjoyable, that destination was quite unsatisfying. We never got to put in that final piece!
If you received a bookstore gift card as a holiday gift, and need help deciding what to buy, here is a handful of my favorite books from this year. This is off the top of my head, and not at all exhaustive. If you want more recommendations, check out my Goodreads page.
- I Am Otter, picture book
- The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, picture book
- Shooting at the Stars, picture book
- The Book with No Pictures, picture book (or rather, pictureless picture book)
- Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times, middle grade fiction, fantasy
- The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, middle grade fiction, fantasy
- Lockwood and Co. #1, The Screaming Staircase, middle grade fiction, fantasy
- Hope is a Ferris Wheel, middle grade fiction, contemporary
- All Four Stars, middle grade fiction, contemporary
- Trust Me, I’m Lying, young adult fiction, contemporary
- Noggin, young adult fiction, contemporary with a slight sci-fi bent
- The Cure for Dreaming, young adult fiction, historical with a paranormal bent
- We Were Liars, young adult fiction, contemporary
- Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory, adult non-fiction, memoir
- The Golem and the Jinni, adult fiction, fantasy
You could also just go ahead and order Hook’s Revenge, if you haven’t already. I mean. If you want.
Last month I did wonderful events at Rediscovered Books and the Library! in Boise, Idaho and the Miami Book Fair in Miami, Florida. Each one deserves its own blog post, but this is the best I can offer at the moment. I am, however, very grateful to have been invited.
I went to a party in Miami. Judy Blume was there. No big deal. (OH MY GOSH SUCH A HUGE DEAL!) I didn’t talk to her, but I was almost close enough to smell her hair.
No, you’re creepy! No you!
I thought I was done thinking about Serial, but then Jay did an interview and now I’m thinking about it all over again.
What’s on your mind today?
P.S. I was interviewed last month on the Kirkus blog about Jocelyn, fairytales, and whether girls need rescuing.
Betsy Bird named Hook’s Revenge a favorite debut of 2014 on the School Library Journal Blog.
And, Hook’s Revenge was named one of the top 100 books of 2014 by the New York Public Library. (!!!!)
Hello, you! Thanks for stopping in. Did you know that books are quite possibly the very best gift you could give or receive for the holidays?
It’s true! And books, signed by the author, are even better!
If you were hoping to give (or have for yourself) a signed copy of Hook’s Revenge, here’s how to get one:
If you happen to be in the Salem, Oregon area tomorrow, 11/29, come see me at the downtown location of the The Book Bin. I’ll be there, participating in Small Business Saturday, signing my books and recommending other great ones, from 1:00 – 4:00.
2. Call The Book Bin at 503-361-1235 and order a signed copy. They will ship it to your door!
3. If you already have a copy of Hook’s Revenge, I would be happy to mail you a personalized book plate. Please email me with who you would like it signed to and a shipping address (US and Canada only, please). As purchasing and shipping bookplates does come at a cost to me, please ask for one only if you have already purchased the book. Supplies are limited, but I will send as many as I can.
Want to win a signed copy of Hook’s Revenge? I’ll be giving a signed copy to a newsletter subscriber on December 1st. Sign up here.
The weekend after Hook’s Revenge hit shelves, I packed my bags and set off on tour. I started in Tacoma, Washington for a signing at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association tradeshow. I loved meeting, chatting with, and signing books for some of the wonderful booksellers in the area.
From Tacoma, I took a train to Seattle where I spent the next 40 hours alone in my hotel room, completing revisions on Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code. It was just me, room service, and my laptop—with the occasional dance break to keep the blood flowing to my brain. I finished just in time to do my first school visit, meeting with sixty-five 5th graders at Olympic View Elementary.
You guys, these kids. They asked such smart questions and were so into books and reading. America, your future is in good hands.
They send me a bundle of letters and I absolutely treasure them.
That evening I had an event at the first of several amazing independent bookstores I would visit on my tour. Mockingbird Books is just as charming as its staff—a real treasure.
I had a lovely time appearing with Kevin Emerson, author of middle grade novel The Fellowship for Alien Detection, as well as numerous titles for young adults.
Kevin Emerson shows off his wallet, in constant use since he was in fifth grade!
Martha Brockenbrough—grammar goddess, picture book and young adult author (I can’t wait to read her forthcoming The Game of Love and Death), and all around wonderful person—moderated and did such an awesome job I now want her to moderate my entire life. She prepared magic tricks and trivia and even forced audience members to walk the plank! It was such a great evening!
with Kevin Emerson at Mockingbird Books, photo by Kari Bradley
The next day, Martha kindly drove me to KOMO Plaza where I had my first ever tv news interview, live on KOMO News 4 Seattle. I complained to my husband that I looked so stiff and nervous but he assured me I simply looked like I have excellent posture. You can decide for yourself, if you like:
After saying goodbye to Seattle I boarded a plane and set my sights on Salt Lake City. The morning after I arrived I spoke with 400(!) wonderful 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Antelope Elementary School. It was such an amazing feeling to read a section of my book to such a large crowd of kids—kids that sat quietly, fully engaged in what I was saying!
That evening, I had an event at the incredibly charming The King’s English Bookshop, appearing with two fantastic middle grade authors: Matthew J. Kirby, author of excellent novels such as Icefall and The Quantum League, and Jennifer Neilsen, author of the NYT bestselling Ascendence Trilogy (The False Prince, etc.).
with Matthew J. Kirby and Jennifer Nielsen, photo by Hannah Schulz
Between Matt and Jen’s fans and my very large Utah family, there was not even standing room left for our event. Many people stood in the next room over, listening through the doorway!
Photo by Daniel Johansen
Photo by Anthony Lyman
From there, I flew to Denver for an event at Tattered Cover with Lindsay Eland, author of Scones and Sensibility and a Summer of Sundays. We had such a great time playing Truth and Dare with the audience. Anyone asking a question was able to draw a Dare Card from our deck and force Lindsay and I to do ridiculous and hilarious things. (If you would like to know how many books I can balance on my head, the answer is eight.)
Daring deeds with Lindsay Eland. Photo by Erica Oliver
And Tattered Cover so kindly gave me this keepsake bookmark!
My last event was back in Portland, again playing Truth and Dare, at A Children’s Place Bookstore. Shelby Bach, author of the Ever Afters series was my partner in absurdity there, with our shenanigans moderated by whimsicologist Kari Luna, author of the YA novel The Theory of Everything.
I had such an amazing time meeting readers, writers, and booksellers throughout the west. If you attended any of these events and have photos I’d love to see them! Tag me on instagram or twitter or send me an email.
So that was my tour. I loved it! Bye!
But wait, there’s more!
Though this wasn’t technically a part of my tour, I did get to do a live radio interview a couple weeks ago. If you are interested, you can listen to a recording of it here:
If you would like to see me in person and you will be in either Boise or Miami next month, you are in luck!
On Friday, November 14, come see me and kidlit authors Robin Herrera, Sarah Tregay, and Miriam Forster at Rediscovered Books. Details
The next afternoon we will be appearing at the Boise Public Library. Details
I will be appearing at the Miami Book Fair the very next weekend, 11/22-23, though I do not yet know exactly which day or what time. I’ll be sure to update you as soon as I know.
Can’t wait to see you, friends!
I am woefully late in posting this update. I’ve had an Add New Post window open on my laptop for well over a week, but every time I actually went to add said post, I allowed myself to get distracted. I’m finding it hard to explain how great and terrible launching a book is.
The night before Hook’s Revenge was released into the wild, just after turning out the light, my husband asked, “Are you excited? Tomorrow is the big day!” and I promptly burst into tears. There weren’t words to express how not-excited I was. I was, in a word, overwhelmed.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that afraid of how Hook’s Revenge would be received; I was simply exhausted. I was in the midst of a grueling round of edits for Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code. I had been experiencing some health problems and was working to sort them out. And I had been ticking item after item off a never ending Back to School list (my book was set to release on the same day my daughter would start a new year at her homeschool co-op).
I explained to a friend that every part of me was stretched thin, that I felt like I was making a peanut butter sandwich with my life, but the peanut butter was almost out and furiously scraping the sides of the jar still wasn’t giving me enough to spread to the edges of the bread.
So I cried. I cried because I felt like the day I had waited my whole life for would be ruined. I cried because I didn’t know if I had enough metaphorical peanut butter in me to make it through the congrats and the parties. I cried because it just felt so big and I didn’t know how else to express it. I cried myself to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke a published author. You know what? Other than the puffy eyes, I didn’t look or feel all that different from the day before. But throughout that day and the days to come, you, dear reader, brought about a change in me. You congratulated me on Facebook and Twitter, via text and email. You sent me pictures of my book in bookstores and in the hands of eager young readers. You filled up all my empty spaces and gave me the energy, the excitement, and the joy I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find.
Today I’m sharing pictures of my launch parties. Tomorrow I’ll drop back in with pictures from my book tour.
Take a look at my face. That smile is genuine. You put it there. I can’t thank you enough.
International Talk Like a Pirate Day Hook’s Revenge Launch Party at Powell’s Books
Full house! More than 100 people attended my party, many in pirate costume!
Photo by Walt Schulz
Pirate Party and Hook’s Revenge Celebration at the Salem Public Library
Peter Pan and me Photo by Brittany Springer
Walt, Hannah, and I spent a couple Sunday afternoons affixing labels to our “grog.”
Cupcakes, chocolate gold coins, and Pixie Sticks (pilfered pixie dust). Sorry parents!
Thank you to my sister, Julie, for so beautifully setting up the food!
Even my mom dressed up!
Thank you to Powell’s, the Salem Public Library, everyone who attended, and each one of you. You brought the peanut butter!