Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Poetry Friday: On the Spot Haiku, Tea Flower

Tea Flower

Pale tea leaves unfurl
and reach through warm water like
a hand in friendship.

Lorie Ann Grover, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

John Updike, The Writer in Winter

My mother-in-law clipped an article for me from AARP's November/December 08 issue. "The Writer in Winter" is the title of an essay by novelist, poet John Updike.

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

Beth Kephart, House of Dance

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

Miami Photo Montage

As I hoped, here's a round up of my Miami trip in photos!

These little lizards are everywhere. My mom used to make one "talk" to me daily when I was about 2. Interesting that the lizard always said it was time to nap.

French bakery in the elite Coral Gables, which boasts pink sidewalks.

My grandmother's hands and orchid.

My older little brother's rocking business!

Antong, the amazing exchange student from China.

So, it was a buffet. I could have whatever I wanted. :~)

Um. These just crack me up.


Carol and Kevin

Claudia and Dale caught in the act of buying an i phone and a nano as gifts for us!

I miss everyone already!

Poetry Friday: My Old Friend, Janet Wong

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,
a glimpse
of the black clad
whose words lilt and rise
as echoes in my soul’s ear.
Rhythms of poetry
and power,
loud laughter,
bold introductions,
an arm flung over the shoulder
of my memories.

Lorie Ann Grover, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish and Rotem Moscovich!

Before I post my roundup of Miami, I have to post this!

How cute is that? Thank you to illustrator Debra Ziss! I've seen a few interior spreads and just can't wait to hold the entire book. Launch date is June 1. Title and bubbles will have foil.

And who else do I have to thank? First, my fab agent Elizabeth Harding from Curtis Brown, Ltd. (No photo of Elizabeth. *sigh* We have not yet met face-to-face!)

And then Rotem Moscovich, Associate Editor at Scholastic! She's been awesome to work with through this process. Together we brainstormed the title. Look how adorable she is:

I haven't met her either, but Joan Holub found this photo on Publisher's Weekly for me! She's the best Grouchy Ladybug ever. :~) I hope to work with her on many more projects.

So that's the news for today. *do a little dance*

Yay for an awesome team and a new book coming soon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home from Miami!

I'm home from Miami! This is just a quick drive-by blog as I scramble to get my feet down again. So much to do! But I will post Miami highlights soon.

I would like to note, to all those who don't ever believe me, I was mistaken for a man again. "Sir, here's your ticket," the airline personnel said. Yep.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poetry Friday: Strands of Glass

Strands of Glass in Great Grandmother's Kitchen

Her bunioned feet and my tip tapping toes
slip through dusts of flour
sifting down, down, down on cool tiles.
Sunlight pauses
in beaded glass
click, click, clacking the window panes.
Colors spill
over our gingerbread men
laugh, laugh, laughing in our hands.

Lorie Ann Grover, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Miami

Hello from Miami!

It's such a gorgeous day. The breeze is skittering around the house and rippling the pool. Butterflies are flitting about. You'd think jellybeans would drop from the sky any second.

So I'm down here to celebrate my grandmother's 80th b-day!

She is such a doll and loved my grandfather greatly. We all partied it up last night! So many memories and much laughter over the Beef Wellington made by my sister-in-law of awesome.

And now on to the remainder of the week.

Telling my little brothers what to do while my folks are at Disney World. Hmmm. Maybe a bookstore? A little writing on the beach? Ahhh.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kidlit Comment Challenge

Kidlitosphere Comment Challenge has been organized by MotherReader and Lee Wind for November 6 - 26, 2008. Everyone is invited to participate to help build a strong kidlit community.

The guidelines say to post a minimum of 5 blog comments per day for three weeks. Check in with Lee or Pam on Wednesdays. The final report date is November 26th, and a swag prize is being given to the winner of a drawing from those who dropped 100 comments.

You can read all the details about the challenge here.

So what are my thoughts? Hm. I think I'm going to drop my comments everyday and not really count. I'll try to hit five and then not think beyond that. I mean once I start, I end up bopping around all over. Like right now. I'm supposed to be packing for my trip to MIAMI!

So, I will keep the spirit of the challenge and check in on Wednesdays, and I'll watch the tallies. So that's the plan, Stan. As they say on Sesame Street. Now, I'm off to pack.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Poetry Friday: On the Spot Writing, Autumn Offering

Autumn Offering

The yellow curled leaf
cups a handful of cold dew
and palms the warm sun.

Lorie Ann Grover, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Critique Partners and Knuckleheads

One of the highlights of being a writer is getting to critique other authors' works before publication. In the past I have worked with:
Susan Uhlig,
Margaret Chodos Irvine,
Leslie Patricelli.
and Laura Kvasnosky.

Currently my critique partners are:

Dia Calhoun,
Joan Holub,
and Justina Chen Headley.

Each of these ladies has poured into my work, and I've learned much from critiquing their pieces. So what brought everyone to mind is that this amazing book just came in the mail from Joan. She actually wrote this piece years ago. Knuckleheads!

Joan sent me a copy this week to thank me for believing in this work from the start. I did! Even back when she was taking photos of her hands in socks, I knew there was a unique story here. Her dedication sweetly reads:

"A high five to author and friend Lorie Ann Grover"

How sweet is that? It probably discounts my following review, but I have to say what I think! It's been such a long wait to hold this work, and Chronicle has executed a beautiful job. From the texture of the book cover to the endpapers, it is gorgeous! Brava, design team!

Michael Slack is the perfect partner to illustrate Joan's text. I would buy plush figures of his oddball characters in a second! I especially love his color pallette, and whimsical quality of line. Michael's layouts carry Joan's humor so well from one spread to another.

This work contains Joan's humor at its best. Me, the slow draw on the pun, is still finding puns! Here is one of my favorite portions of Knuckleheads:

"Thumbelina was tiny.
She was no bigger than a walnut,
or maybe a thimble, or kind of
like a stick of gum, but a little more
the size of a thread spool, only sort of
caterpillaristically inclined, but not
fuzzy or anything..."

These fractured fairy tales are sure to win the admiration of picture book lovers, and I've always said there's potential for college students to champion this work. Be ready for a laugh, a giggle, and a fun ride with the witch who weaves her way through Handsel and Gretel, Handerella, Thumbelina, and Nose White. This is a classic for all bookshelves.

I'm so privileged to have seen this picture book from Joan's first dummy to this final work. And now, I really must go read it again!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Out on the Town in Disguise

I had so much fun dressing up for a recent Superhero party, I thought to share a few photos.

So my husband and I were Olive Oyl and Popeye. I y'am what I y'am.

Ellen went as Maleficent. You can do so much with two cornucopia baskets. :~)

Emily and Gianni went as Trinity and Morpheus. They were offering red and blue jelly beans.

And my mom rounded out the night as a newsboy announcing the sightings of Batman. She had far too much fun with the tooth blacking.

We stretched the definition of Superhero. Artistic license, I say!

Here's to sweet friends who throw awesome parties!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Friend, Justina

Justina Chen Headley is flying back to China in the morning. I miss her already! Go well, my friend. Go well.

Vote, a poem

V alidate your beliefs and create change.
O ffer your time to your community.
T ally your voice in the count.
E ngage in your country.

Lorie Ann Grover, 2008