The droghte of Marche is totally about to perced to the roote

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gracious, it's the last night of February. Happy March Eve, everyone.

Here's how February went, well known among many as my least favorite month:

1. YA MS the Second and YA MS the Third are done. Caveat: both are drafted. YA MS the Third I considered strong enough to send along to ENIV; I second guess that decision on a frequent and regular basis. YA MS the Second I finished drafting only a few days ago, and I know full well it's not close to submission to the Otters, never mind ENIV.

2. I wrote a short story for my Loft group. I haven't written a short story in years, nor anything not specifically for young readers, teen or younger, so this was a nice departure. In working on it, I've come to feel a lot more comfortable with the revision process, on a nice small scale, than I ever have been before.

3. I saw the nearly final cover of THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1! This was, oh, a week ago or so, and I cannot yet show the world. But soon, my pretties. Soon . . .

4. |-1| is also totally on Amazon now! Pre-order!

5. New York pizza is all about home-cooking now, since I learned how to make, stretch, and even hand toss a really good dough. With my homemade tomato sauce and some mozzarella, I can make a pretty passable NY-style pie. Now if I could just get my oven to 800 degrees, we'd be all set.

6. It's March in like five hours and change. Rejoice!

Guest entry by Kristin Walker

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Here it is, everyone: the next Tenner guest entry, and the latest chance to enter the big ARC giveaway.

To recap, comment here for an entry, link this entry elsewhere (like Twitter, your blog, or via skywriting over Venice Beach, for example) for additional entries. (And by all means, click through my blog to find the other posts about this contest, and comment and link to them too for extra entry goodness.) The winner will receive an ARC of THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1 and a signed copy of Dia Reeves's crazysauceawesome BLEEDING VIOLET.*

Now, here's Kristin Walker, author of A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL, to drop her thoughts on the subject of "a fish out of water." Take it away, Kristin!

Fish-out-of-water? Man, that is totally applicable to A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL. It has lots of fishes out of lots of . . . waters. The biggest fish is my main character, Fiona. She’s somewhat of a loner and is definitely not into fashion, popularity, makeup, slobbering over every jock that walks by, and anything else that might occupy the mind of your average teenage girl. So just being in high school feels odd enough to her sometimes. But that’s only the beginning; later on in the book it gets worse. Fiona gets roped into joining the cheerleading squad. And it is so much fun to laugh at her!

Seriously, fish-out-of-water stories are either deeply touching or riotously hysterical. And although I like to be touched deeply just as much as the next gal, when given the choice with the characters in my book, I always went for the joke. So that’s where I steered Fiona, poor thing. But she survived. And I think that’s one of the most salient points of fish-out-of-water stories; they inspire us to survive. They make us explore the limits of our own comfort and wonder if we could endure swimming in that kind of pond, whether it’s filled with snapping turtles or just cheerleaders.

Thanks, Kristin. Everyone drop by her website to learn more about A Match Made in High School, which is out now and ready to buy!

*The Absolute Value of -1 has swear words in it. Lots of swear words. Bleeding Violet ain't exactly church-friendly either. So if you're under thirteen or that sort of thing bugs you -- or both -- please don't enter!

Annivalentarry Day! (with apologies to Lau)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm Steve Brezenoff, and here's the news.

YA MS the Second -- that's right, the second, because I left it behind like a year ago to work on YA MS the Third -- is building up steam. Over the weekend, I dropped about 2500 words on its wallowing butt, and the whole plot is synopsized, nearly to my satisfaction. It's certainly enough of a synopsis for me to finally finish a working first draft. Once that's done, I think I'll have a pretty easy time of finding where it needs heavy repairs.

Harry the dog is seven! His birthday was yesterday. Disclaimer: we have no idea what Harry's birthday really is, but based on the vet's estimate when we first adopted him back in 2004, and based on our own romantic tendencies, we chose February 15 as his birthday, it also being the date that we first shared an apartment together, back in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. Holla back!

Valentine's Day! We kept it low-key, as is our way, this year enjoying a late lunch at the Midtown Global Market (have you been, Twin Cities? If not, goodness, go!), and a delicious treat from the Salty Tart and Izzy's for dessert. But the highpoint for me was this gift:

The short version of the story: that date is our wedding date, and that quilt was initially constructed and not finished by Beth as a first-anniversary gift for me. However, things got complicated in our life (I'm looking at you, Samuel!) and the quilt went unfinished for a little while. Totally in secret, Beth managed to get the thing finished while I was in NYC for SCBWI, and voila! Completed anniversary quilt as a Valentine's Day gift! Woo! It's hell of comfy, too.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Listen, let's just be honest with each other: I'm not going to write a sum-up entry about SCBWI-NY. Frankly, I'm like almost a week late with it, and by blogging standards it's now old news. Besides, the number of excellent recaps by bloggers who were actually paying attention and attended all their seminars is astounding, so adding to the noise would be silly.

Now then, the AE posted a nice entry over at the Carolrhoda blog about little old me, specifically, but generally about verisimilitude* in fiction for and about teens. You might want to read it. There's a picture of me wearing a hat!

Nicely, the AE's entry follows closely after Maggie Stiefvater's recent entry about teen voice, and they come to similar conclusions on similar topics. You might want to read that, too.

I should be WYAODing, and I am starting right now, quite late. Harry and I ran to the vet this morning, however, for an emergency visit. He is fine, it appears, but might have to pass a little stone before too long. Poor thing.

Have a good weekend.

*Also the name of a great tune by Teenage Fanclub

Field Trip Mystery review

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I know, I know. I still owe an SCBWI-NY wrap-up post. Right now, a little quickie to drop this review, appearing in the February SLJ:

BREZENOFF, Steve. The Painting That Wasn’t There. ISBN 978-1-4342-1608-3. LC 2009002572.

––––. The Zoo with the Empty Cage. ISBN 978-1-4342-1610-6. LC 2009002574.

ea vol: illus. by C. B. Canga. 88p. (Field Trip Mysteries Series). glossary. CIP. Stone Arch. 2009. PLB $23.99.

Gr 2-5–In The Painting That Wasn’t There, a class visits a temporary art exhibit. The students have learned about illegal copies of masterpieces, so when a celebrated painting is determined to be a forgery, James Shoo and his friends set out to solve the crime. In The Zoo with the Empty Cage, EGG (Edward G. Garrison) is a down-to-earth boy whose science club has an outing to a zoo. The endangered animal that the kids are most looking forward to seeing suddenly disappears. The book becomes a real page-turner as the students look for suspects that even include their teacher. The occasional colorful, full-page illustrations in these engaging mysteries are inviting. These books are appropriate for reluctant readers as well as those just beginning chapter books. Concluding pages offer springboards for teachers to encourage their students to write mysteries as well as to learn investigation techniques. Good purchases for libraries that need mysteries with contemporary settings.–Elaine Charnow, Deasy/Landing Elementary Schools, Glen Cove, NY