Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Over at rgz we are getting ready to celebrate Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light!
A few postergirlz and rgz divas had a little chat about the wonderful work. Here's an excerpt for you before you shoot over and read the full talk at Little Willow's slayground.
Roundtable for A Northern Light
In 1906, a young woman named Grace Brown lost her life in the Adirondacks. Nearly a hundred years later, Jennifer Donnelly wrote a novel entitled A Northern Light, the story of a girl named Mattie Gokey who was sixteen years old in 1906. Though Mattie and her family are fictitious, their plight is not. As the oldest daughter in the family, Mattie acquired a lot of responsibilities when her mother passed away and her older brother left. When Mattie becomes employed by a lodge on Big Moose Lake, Grace Brown's murder becomes a subplot, but it is never the main focus of the book. This is Mattie's story from start to finish - and what a story it is!
A Northern Light is the January 2009 selection for readergirlz. Seven readergirlz ladies - postergirlz Little Willow, Miss Erin, Shelf Elf, and HipWriterMama, and readergirlz divas Lorie Ann Grover, Melissa Walker, and Holly Cupala - gathered together virtually to discuss the book at length.
Little Willow: What was your basic impression of the book?
Lorie Ann: I was amazed at the plot arrangement and beautiful literary qualities of the work. I knew this would gain notice and awards, and I'm so pleased it did! When we began rgz, I wanted A Northern Light to be featured.
Holly: I loved how every thread contributed toward Mattie's final decision – so beautifully, intricately drawn – and Jennifer shows us the light alongside the dark. Nothing is as it seems. Secrets abound. People have been telling me for a long time to read it, and I'm glad I finally did!
Miss Erin: Same here, Holly - I'd had several people rave about it to me, so at last I picked it up. I thought it was beautifully done, pretty much perfectly written, and a book I can definitely see myself reading multiple times.
HipWriterMama: I loved this book. Mattie reminded me of a gentler and more uncertain Jo March. I liked how Mattie was able to see and "accept" the flaws of her family and friends and want more for them. And, for herself. Beautifully written book with excellent use of plot and supporting characters to show Mattie's growth.
Melissa: The idea of an epic crime as the dark back story for Mattie's coming of age moments really intrigued me from page one.
Shelf Elf: This is the sort of book that made me sigh happily at the end. It felt old-fashioned to me, in a totally satisfying way. It already reads like a classic story.
It certainly does! I'm looking forward to an awesome month with Jennifer. See you at the forum!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Has this happened to anyone else? I used to be an INTJ and now am testing as the ISTJ. I am the Duty Fulfiller. Ha! Sound right, my rgz team? :~)
"Serious and quiet, interested in security and peaceful living. Extremely thorough, responsible, and dependable. Well-developed powers of concentration. Usually interested in supporting and promoting traditions and establishments. Well-organized and hard working, they work steadily towards identified goals. They can usually accomplish any task once they have set their mind to it."
So be warned by my strengths and weaknesses. (I'm 100% judging. Who is ever 100% anything? Stand back!)
● Honor their commitments
● Take their relationship roles very seriously
● Usually able to communicate what's on their minds with precision
● Good listeners
● Extremely good (albeit conservative) with money
● Able to take constructive criticism well
● Able to tolerate conflict situations without emotional upheaval
● Able to dole out punishment or criticism when called for
● Tendency to believe that they're always right
● Tendency to get involved in "win-lose" conversations
● Not naturally in-tune with what others are feeling
● Their value for structure may seem rigid to others
● Not likely to give enough praise or affirmation to their loved ones
Here are careers for me:
Possible Career Paths for the ISTJ:
- Business Executives, Administrators and Managers
- Accountants and Financial Officers
- Police and Detectives
- Medical Doctors / Dentists
- Computer Programmers, Systems Analysts, and Computer Specialists
- Military Leaders
So, there you go. Turns out one of my bestie friends is my adviser, and I'm hers. My daughter's boyfriend is my enigma. Yep. My older daughter is my neighbor and my younger is my counterpart. Off to get my hubbers to take the test. What are you? Regardless, "Live long and prosper."
Friday, December 26, 2008
Oh! I don't feel so sad this morning. But this is what popped out as I sat down by the window and saw all the snow melting.
Snow melts, drip, drop, drip
Gushing into the gutters
Like holiday hopes.
Lorie Ann Grover, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Read, write, or share a haiku today. Or visit the Haiku Society of America. Thanks for letting me know, Little Willow!
Here's mine for the celebration:
It was AMAZING! We had such a blast hearing the songs live.
The snow is still pouring down.
My garden bowling ball is wearing a hat! So, I think I'll just pop in our new Straight No Chaser cd and pour another cup of coffee.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Delicate white flakes
lift their tutus to sashay
across the gray sky.
Lorie Ann Grover, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
and then I read the readergirlz post about the Twilight dolls. The confluence of the two made me realize that Edward has some serious competition in my mind.
My heart does love The Count. The dude has serious skills. And his skin may not sparkle, but it's purple for crying out loud!
Here's to vampire boys this holiday season. Old and new.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
CO-FOUNDER OF READERGIRLZ AND READERTOTZ CELEBRATES A NEW BOARD BOOK: HUG, HUG!
Author/illustrator Lorie Ann Grover's new board book for babies and toddlers embodies the love of a hug.
December 16, 2008 (Seattle, Wash.) – readergirlz and readertotz co-founder and author/illustrator Lorie Ann Grover's new board book Hug Hug! has just been released from Little Simon. Endearingly illustrated by Rebecca Malone, the work beautifully expresses love from the largest animals to the smallest bug.
Hugs with our noses. (elephants) Hugs in red roses. (ladybugs)
Hugs round the neck. (giraffes) Hugs with a peck. (chickens)
"I loved the thought that we all snuggle and hug each other," says Grover. "It was exemplified as I watched Sumner High School band students greeting each other, and swallows were nesting in the school vents. Pairing a rhyme with each spread was the perfect format to mimic a hug and share this concept with parents and their babies."
Hug Hug! is a sturdy board book which introduces a love of reading to preschoolers and reinforces the comfort of a hug.
About readergirlz, readertotz, Lorie Ann Grover, and Rebecca Malone
readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by six critically acclaimed YA authors. The site is the recipient of a 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Award and the Association for Library Services to Children, ALA, Great Web Sites Award. www.readergirlz.com
readertotz is a blog which showcases infant-toddler books as an important addition to children's literature. http://readertotz.blogspot.com
Lorie Ann Grover is the author of three young adult verse novels (Loose Threads, On Pointe, Hold Me Tight) and three board books (When Daddy Comes Home, Hug Hug!, Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish). http://lorieanngrover.blogspot.com
Rebecca Malone is an illustrator from Massachusetts who enjoys creating beautiful works with acrylic paints. www.rebeccamaloneillustration.com
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Here are the Morris Award shortlisters!
YALSA posted the short list for the first Morris Award, the William C. Morris YA Debut Award. It will celebrate one of these debut 2008 YA books:
My pick didn't make the cut, but I still stand by:
Looks, by Madeleine George
I'm so pleased that this award has been generated. It's fun to think back and wonder which authors would have won for their debuts.
Congrats Morris Award short listers!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
So I just finished revisiting Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands.
And my daughter and I were amazed at the visual parallels between it and Sweeney Todd.
Of course both are Tim Burton's visions, but how delightful to see repeated imagery: the barber/stylist chair, blood on the blades, an upper room with a gaping hole ringed by broken glass. This is beyond the resurfacing color palette, mood, makeup, and wardrobe which can be tracked in most of Tim's films. (And Johnny Depp. :~)
As artists we return to symbols and visuals that ring true to us. We retell our stories, but they continue to carry our voice and worldview. This is strangely comforting for both the artist and the viewer.
As a writer, I return to words such as: hugs, hands, heat, and hope. I need to think about what visuals resurface. Wise, older round ladies tend to make appearances, I know. Hmm. Anyone care to share your words or symbols or objects that reappear?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I just finished Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell. What a strong book she has contributed to YA literature. Pick up this work and enter the mind of Fin who is experiencing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD.
Following the divorce of her parents, Fin's mind twirls in the world of numbers as she reaches for control. From visiting a counselor, to dealing with Paxil and the side effects, Fin negotiates her situation. Thayer, working through his own ADD and drug habit, comes carefully and patiently alongside Fin. The two help each other find their own answers to functioning in a world that can't be controlled.
I was completely absorbed by Fin's thought process. I found the novel's pacing almost reflected the staccato beat of OCD. Set in my own stomping ground of Miami, Florida, the setting becomes a major character reflecting Fin's growth. From bufo frogs to manitees, it felt like hot, humid home to me.
I'm so pleased this literary work has brought to light the experience of someone living with OCD. It has given me an understanding and compassion. Thank you, Crissa!
Friday, December 5, 2008
In a tight
the wooden fence post
Lorie Ann Grover, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I was just reading Mitali Perkin's blog full of excitement for great reviews and the sad news of books going out of print. I join in her joy and then her sadness as I, too, have had works go out of print. I thought I'd share my thoughts on this facet of the publishing life.
First of all, out of print today is so different than yesterday. There's Print on Demand now, which keeps works available in paperback. There are e-books to continue an outreach. Sure, it's not the same as the brand new print run in hardback, but it's a consolation that authors in the past didn't have.
Generally speaking, those of us who are published have had the privilege of sharing our thoughts with thousands. Not everyone gets the chance to speak to such a vast audience. Not everyone has a chance to contribute on such a scale. Even if the book is small and quiet, there was a hearing far beyond one person speaking to another.
Each published book has a lifespan to speak and reach others. Life spans have natural ends. Let's do give a standing ovation to libraries that extend our whispers beyond print run dates.
In closing, let's release our very best into the world. Make the words matter greatly for whatever life they might experience and the lives they may touch. Then finally, lets stand next to each other as the works quiet, reminding each other, "Well done, writer. Well done."
Well done, Mitali, well done.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Special thanks to Ron Hogan for his post at GalleyCat, Little Willow for her constant help, and the rgz team of awesome. And thanks to my brother Dale for the logo!
Joan Holub and I now eagerly look forward to developing the site. Who knows? Maybe one day there will be an award for infant-toddler books. And we'll be grinning. Oh, we will!
For more information contact:
Sara Easterly, Publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-632-8588
READERGIRLZ EXPANDS WITH A NEW FRANCHISE: READERTOTZ
Celebrated author/illustrators Lorie Ann Grover and Joan Holub launch readertotz in an effort to recognize the infant-toddler book as a vital addition to children's literature.
December 2, 2008 (Seattle, Wash.) – readergirlz co-founder and author/illustrator Lorie Ann Grover and author/illustrator Joan Holub have just launched readertotz (http://readertotz.blogspot.
While picture books, books for beginning readers, middle-grade novels and young-adult literature have been recognized with major awards such as the Caldecott, Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal, the Newbery, the Printz and the National Book Award, it is rare to find such esteem given to infant-toddler books—despite their importance in instilling a life-long love of books and reading in the youngest readers.
"Board books are certainly overlooked and misunderstood, and they serve such an important purpose in introducing babies and toddlers to books," said Rotem Moscovich, Associate Editor, Scholastic. "What they are, how they work (and taste). The board makes it possible for them to do it themselves, and also to feel comfortable with books."
Taking the lead from readergirlz, which boasts more than 8,000 members, readertotz will showcase high-quality literature. Lorie Ann Grover and Joan Holub will feature weekly blog posts that highlight the best contributions in the infant-toddler book arena and recommend monthly community service projects appropriate for families with young children to enjoy. Also included each month: an age-appropriate playlist and a recommended book for the older sibling.
"readertotz is our effort to raise the bar in board and novelty book literature," says Lorie Ann Grover. "We're challenging our colleagues to write great books for the youngest readers and encouraging the industry to publish those works. Eventually, we hope to work with the American Library Association to establish an award for infant-toddler books that's equivalent to the Caldecott and Theodor Geisel Award."
Lorie Ann Grover (http://lorieanngrover.
readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by six critically acclaimed YA authors—Dia Calhoun (Avielle of Rhia), Holly Cupala (A Light That Never Goes Out) Lorie Ann Grover (On Pointe), Justina Chen Headley (Girl Overboard), Mitali Perkins (First Daughter: White House Rules), and Melissa Walker (the Violet series). readergirlz is the recipient of a 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Award and the Association for Library Services to Children, ALA, Great Web Sites Award.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Little Willow asked for the team's thoughts on popularity and has posted them collectively at her site. So, with the song from Wicked running through my head,
here are my thoughts:
I'm thinking middle school is when popularity is defined most narrowly. If you can grind through it, you will have the rest of your life to find your peeps. That's really the bottom line: find people that matter to you, those you can relate to.
If you find yourself in the "popular" group, know you have a much bigger responsibility. Your influence is wider and people are watching. Don't lose yourself to maintain your position. If you are tempted to do so, maybe you haven't found your peeps after all.
Once you find a group that has meaning to you, foster your friendships. Who cares if everyone knows or watches? You've found a place to nourish others and be nourished. That's what matters.
It's good to remember that whatever popularity is gained, there's always a bigger group out there that never recognizes it. Actors, statesmen, even countries pass from popularity and are forgotten. So, find your small corner of the world, and be a good friend. Matter to your people.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
In the entry, Updike reviews his writing career candidly. I wanted to share a few of his words and get everyone's feedback. Do you agree with him? Is this your experience?
"Memories, impressions, and emotions from your first 20 years on earth are most writers' main material; little that comes afterward is quite so rich and resonant. By the age of 40, you have probably mined the purest veins of this precious lode; after that, continued creativity is a matter of sifting the leavings. You become playful and theoretical; you invent sequels, and attempt historical novels. The novels and stories thus generated may be more polished, more ingenious, even more humane than their predecessors; but none does quite the essential earth-moving work..."
I have to say this may be my experience. Yet, as Hawthorne praised Anthony Trollope's work, I hope to continue to write works "as real as if some giant had hewn a great lump out of the earth and put it under a glass case." Even in my forties. :~) How about you?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
There is more beauty in my life because I have read Beth Kephart's House of Dance.
It is one summer for Rosie, her mother, and her grandfather. One summer to reclaim memories and connections. One summer to explore the passion of music and ballroom dance. One summer to heal. And how often does healing begin with an understanding, as Rosie experiences at the start of House of Dance?
"...a mystery, and that was my thought of the hour: that maybe all of us are. That Grandad had been young before he'd been old. That Mom had been a daughter once, like me. That there were things on the verge of vanishing that I barely understood."
Kephart's Rosie lunges to catch the vanishing. "I had been put in charge of myself, and my grandfather was dying," she announces. Her choice is to reach out to him, comb through his possessions, and put those things "In Trust" that matter. Rosie enters his world and finds her own richly renewed.
Kephart's language is lyrical and her images sing. Her vivid descriptions of daily life make me pause and reread passages such as:
"At Pastrami's everything--big hanks of pink meat, sweating wedges of cheese, wide tumbles of tomatoes--was piled high, and down low, in front of the big backward-sloping cases, were the barrels of pickles that Mom once said had been floating on their backs forever."
I left the House of Dance with the reminder to connect while I have the opportunity. Kephart shows us that people do change, and that one can reach out and love even when one isn't receiving love. We matter to each other. The House of Dance greatly mattered to me.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Ten years ago, Janet Wong taught a poetry class in Laura Kvasnosky's basement. It was a magical time where I discovered that I was a verse novelist. I owe much to both ladies for my publishing career.
This poem was inspired this week by Janet Wong's poem "Old Friend" from Night Garden. It was first posted at Marilyn Carpenter's awesome blog, Creating Connections.
My Old Friend, Janet Wong
In my mind,
of the black clad
whose words lilt and rise
as echoes in my soul’s ear.
Rhythms of poetry
an arm flung over the shoulder
of my memories.
Lorie Ann Grover, 2008