Saturday, March 12, 2011

An Avenue for Relief

Since news of the Japanese earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, I've been fairly paralyzed, listening to death tolls and watching stunning footage.

Author Maureen Johnson had a very different and admirable response.  She put together a drive through Shelterbox to help.  As she describes it, Shelterbox is an organization that goes into areas of the world affected by disaster with large green boxes that contain shelters and the materials needed for people to restart their lives on some level. The boxes always include a top-quality tent, and they usually include stoves, blankets, water purification systems, and tools. This is true, life-saving stuff, hand-delivered by volunteers trained in survival techniques.

If you have been like me -- stuck and stunned -- or if you are looking for an avenue for relief, hop over to her blog and donate.  She is offering some great prizes, including six signed first editions of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and many more.  Prizes are still pouring in and I just donated a hardback, signed copy of Split, too.

Thanks, Maureen, for moving me from horrified to mobilized.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Yesterday, I tweeted that I've never been a big fan of Valentine's day, in spite of the fact that I've had someone to celebrate it with for more than 20 years.  But this year, I'm definitely feeling the Valentine's Day Love.

In other words...

Holy mother!

SPLIT won a CYBILS award!

I suddenly feel completely inadequate to express how thrilled and grateful am I.  Which is, of course, ironic.  Sweetly ironic.  (Everything is sweet today!)

Here's my best and completely unedited shot at it while I explore the contours of the word grateful:

1) I've been on award committees before and I know it is a lot of work.  Really, wonderfully, fabulously fun work, but work all the same.  Work that is usually done by busy people who carve out the time from their lives because of their dedication to the written word. And of course, in the case of the CYBILS, two rounds of judges.  To have gained the attention of these judges is particularly pleasing.  Thank you, Judges!!

Panel Organizer: Jackie Parker, Interactive Reader
Panelists (Round I Judges):
Cherylynne W. Bago, View from Above and Beyond
Justina Ireland, 
The YA 5
Kelly Jensen, 
Ami Jones, 
Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian
Jackie Parker, Interactive Reader
Amanda Snow, 
A Patchwork of Books
Melissa Wiley, 
Here in the Bonny Glen
Round II Judges:
Karen Ballum, Sassy MonkeyBlogHer
Kathy M. Burnette, 
The Brain Lair
Michelle Franz, 
Alice Pope, 
Tasha Saecker, 
Kids Lit

2) All seven of the books nominated for the CYBILS award in the YA category are amazing.  I remain honored to be in the company of such authors.  Contrary to how I would have expected to feel, winning is humbling.  These books are important.  They are needed.  They make a difference.  Having Split included among them -- among the hard work, the emotional insights, and the persistence of these authors -- is a privilege.

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelley

Dirt Road Home by Watt Key

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Scrawl by Mark Shulman

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

4) Bloggers, everywhere.  I've often said that the best part of being published, hands down, is that other people cared about Jace and Christian -- these two characters who occupied a huge amount of my thoughts, my time, my life.  Bloggers entered into or generated or posted conversations about Jace and Christian made me feel like they were worth caring about.

5) As I wrote in my acknowledgements, it took a village to grow Split.  And it was a large, large, large village. Maybe even a town. Did I mention it is large?  I am particularly grateful to my writer's groups, editor, agent, teachers/mentors, and most significantly to my family.  Without a doubt, Split couldn't have been written without my husband.

This is sounding remarkably like an sloppy acceptance speech so, I must get off my podium and go order myself some gold stickers.

I wonder if I'll glow in the dark, tonight.