Blood Will Tell

I'm flabbergasted

I was on ebay tonight - I buy almost all my clothes there - and out of curiosity typed my name in the search box.  Lots of books and audio tapes and a few ARCs (kind of makes me wince, but whatever).  And then this:

Why? Who would want a photo of me with my first book? Why can't I still look that young?  What happened to that shirt? I loved that shirt.  And it's being sold by Historic Images. Does 2000 really count as history?

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Blood Will Tell

Can you help me out by subscribing to my newsletter?

A year ago, I created a newsletter email list.
And never did anything with it.
Now I'm back in the game, but my email list is so old it has cobwebs.
Can you help me get a more up-to-date email list? I don't plan on being all spammy with it, and I'd never share it.
If you click on this recent example of my newsletter, there's a button on the upper left hand corner that says "Subscribe."  All it means is that's I'll send you fun news and occasionally some exclusive content.
Thanks!
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Blood Will Tell

The show must go on

I recently had school visits in Central Oregon. Two memorable things about that visit: the first was that the librarian got deathly sick the morning of the visit, and despite our best efforts, I picked up what she had and took it with me to Wisconsin a few days later.

But the second, much better thing, was that while I was there I met up again with old 7th grade history teacher, Mr. Perkins. I loved him as a teacher, and meeting him again, some 40+ years later, I remembered why. He still asks thoughtful, intereting questions and he listens attentively to your answers. It was nice to hang out with someone who was more my parents' peer.  Fewer and fewer of my friends have living parents.

I got home, hoped I had escaped getting sick, and then the day before I flew to Wisconsin, I started coughing. I remembered the librarian doing the same thing, but hoped it was allergies.

After taking three flights to Appleton, Wisconsin - and for the longest flight, my seatmate was 6 foot 3, which meant he physically did not fit in the seat - I landed and quickly realized I was in trouble.

I ended up walking to a nearby Target and getting every OTC cold remedy known to man. The next day, my ride bought me chicken soup  By that time, I was trying to refrain from even making small talk, because my voice was going. In between speaking engagements - 9 school visits and/or writing worshops and one book festival visit - I did everything I could to keep myself going. Lozenges, throat spray, Throat Coat tea, honey and water, sitting by the hot tub at the hotel, using saline nasal rinse, and drinking at least one bottle of water an hour (Appleton has sweet tasting water, so it mostly came from the tap).






The Throat Coat tea helped the most, but it was no match for how bad I was feeling. By my second to the last visit, I started thinking I might pass out. For my last talk, the kind librarian sent kids on a scavenger hunt to see if any teachers used stools with backs. They came back with two. Somehow I made it. I just didn't want to disappoint the kids.

I actually think I did a pretty good job.
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Blood Will Tell

Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling covers of girls in red coats leaving

I saw Invisible City on the list of Edgar noms and thought "That looks familiar..."  Am in the middle of "Say You're Sorry" and wonder what the author thought of the cover.  The girl who runs through the snow in the book is barefoot and not wearing a red coat.  Unless there's another scene later, this depiction takes quite a few liberties.
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Blood Will Tell

What it was like to win the Oregon Book Award

I’ve been up for the Oregon Book Award three times. The first was in 2004, for an adult novel called Learning to Fly. I didn’t win, but I was sitting next to Heather Frederick, who won the Leslie Bradshaw Young Adult award for the The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed, and I got to hear the little gasp you make when you win.

In 2011, Girl, Stolen was up for the Leslie Bradshaw, but I had a lot more on my mind that night. I had been asked to speak about another finalist for the same award: my friend Lisa Wolfson, who had written a wonderful book called Flash Burnout under the pseudonym L.K. Madigan. Six weeks earlier, she had died after a brutal and short fight with pancreatic cancer. I sat in the green room and hoped I could do Lisa justice. I spoke about her, and then took my place in the audience. In one pocket, I had an acceptance speech for me, and in other one for her, because her husband had asked that I accept the award on her behalf if she won.

They announce the winners by reading the first paragraph of the winning book. I was so wrought up that when they started reading the first paragraph of Emily Whitman’s Wildwing, I actually thought for a few seconds that it could be either my or Lisa’s book.

This year, the Body in the Woods made the sort list. When I thought about the four finalists for the award, I was sure that any of them had a better chance than I did. My book seemed too commercial. An hour before we left, I typed up a few words, printed them out and taped them on a 3X5 card. To be honest, I worried far more about the dress I was wearing. It had been designed by a friend on a fit model that took me a pair of Spanx and a pair of Spanx pantyhose to approximate. The days where I wear makeup, Spanx, and heels are very few.

We sat in the audience next to a dapper older man. I asked him what he was there for and he said, “I’m getting the lifetime achievement award. In other words, I’m old.” I told him it was better than getting an in memoriam award. I asked his name, and realized I was sitting next to the legendary writer and writing coach Tom Spanbauer, who has fostered so many other writers through his critique group and workshops.

The Leslie Bradshaw Award was one of the first announced. And when I heard the word “Alexis” – my main character – I jumped to my feet right away, instead of waiting decorously for the passage to be read to the end. Afterward, I was offered champagne in the green room and congratulated in whispers next to a sign warning that voices carried.

It was a magical night, made even more so when Tom, from the stage, asked his partner to marry him.
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Blood Will Tell

Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of girls in the grass

Saw this one at a school visit today:


I've posted about these before:


ETA:  Someone on Twitter pointed out that Before I Fall was actually a boy's photo, photoshopped.  I googled and found Lauren Oliver saying this in an interview: "Did you know that that [the cover of Before I Fall]‘s actually a five-year-old boy’s photoshopped image? It’s pretty disturbing. You’ll never look at it the same way again. I don’t even know who that’s supposed to be; it doesn’t look like Sam. It kind of looks like Juliet. But it’s cover art; it’s supposed to be evocative of what the characters are supposed to look like, but it doesn’t have to be identical necessarily."