I don't know why I'm blogging about this, I told everyone I saw about my traumatic morning, and I'm sure I will not forget it as long as I live.
Okay, on to much more important things than my terrible sense of direction!
Angela Frederick, a librarian from Nashville, TN, snapped this picture of me when I was at her table and shared it on twitter. I happened to notice a couple of Morris award stickers on badges and couldn't help but mention my friend, L.K. Madigan, who won the Morris award a couple of years ago. Turns out Angela was on that particular committee, and got to spend some time with Lisa. So, for a minute, we tal
It is no secret that I LOVE librarians and everything they do to promote literature and put books in the hands of readers.
And I have to admit, anytime I get to attend the big librarian conference known as ALA, I am SO HAPPY!
This year, I'll be at ALA in Anaheim on Sunday only. I'm doing the YA coffee klatch in the morning, going from table to table talking to a bunch of librarians in the course of an hour. The first year I did this, I was in the green room before hand with some of my YA heroes like Sarah Dessen, E. Lockhart, Libba Bray, and many others and it was so weird to be there alongside them. I introduced myself to Sarah and said, I'm the one who comments on your blog all the time and loves Friday Night Lights as much as you do. Yeah, when all else fails, talk about a TV show, that's my philosophy.
Even more exciting than the coffee klatch, however, is that I'll be signing Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) of FALLING FOR YOU at 1:00 in the Simon and Schuster booth.
FALLING FOR YOU doesn't come out until January, 2013, so this is a chance for librarians and bloggers to read the book early. Eep! Exciting and kind of anxiety-producing!!
I know at the IRA conference, S&S was doing this thing where you had to buy a previous title for $5.00 and then you'd get the ARC for free. I don't know what they have planned, if they'll do that with THE DAY BEFORE and FALLING FOR YOU, because these things aren't up to me, but I do know that usually there are very few ARCs of my books to be had, so I'm super excited they are offering these up at this conference.
So if you will be at ALA, I hope you'll come and see me! Even if you don't want an ARC, stop by and say hi. I'll have shiny new bookmarks you can have, if you want one or two or ten.
Sunday, June 24th, 1:00, S&S booth - Hope to see you then!
My grandparents lived on a farm out in the country. For a couple of years, starting when I was about 13, while my mom went back to school, we lived on the farm in my great grandparents' old house.
The summers I spent there are some of the strongest memories I have to this day. I don't think I knew how much I loved being on the farm. I loved wandering around. I'd visit the old playhouse that my mother had played in when she was younger. I'd swing on the tire swing. On hot days, the cool barn was the place to go. Upstairs in the barn was a built-in trampoline my grandpa had built for his three daughters. Here's the old barn, built around 1929, as it looks today:
Some afternoons, my grandma and I would go bike riding on back country roads, collecting pop cans and bottles from the ditch as we went along.
While strawberries were in season, I would ride the bus to the fields and pick berries. I soon learned that picking berries all day made for one very long day. At least for a 13-year old. I talked my grandma into picking me up at lunch time some days. Those were the best afternoons, because we'd go back to her house, have lunch, and watch soap operas for a couple of hours. (Thanks to me and my obsession with Luke and Laura, my grandma got hooked on General Hospital and continued to watch it for many, many years to come, usually before her afternoon nap).
I made $75.00 picking berries that summer. My grandpa had promised to match whatever I earned, so I finally had enough money to buy myself the dog I'd always wanted - a purebred cocker spaniel. I named him Lucky.
I miss my grandma and grandpa. I miss wandering around that old farm. I miss my sweet dog, Lucky.
But I still have summertime, along with the lazy days and fun times and sweet fruit it brings. Thank God, I still have summertime.
Last night I was reading this post by my friend, Rachel Hawkins, and her plan to June Sploon. And then I was reading this post by my friend, Kate Messner, about her plans to help librarians and teachers write this summer. And I was like, oh, that would be fun to get in on that June Sploon action. And yeah, I should totally ask Kate what I can do to help her, because that's an awesome idea.
And then I was like - cool your jets, Lisa. Yo, this is supposed to be the summer of some much-needed R&R!
There is a part of me that wants to jump in to every cool thing offered if it could potentially mean a) an opportunity to spend time with people around the blogosphere who I think are cool, b) more exposure for me and my books or c) something that motivates me to get more books written.
But the thing is, I have been at this writing thing a long time now, and I no longer want to do it 24/7. There was a time when I lived and breathed writing and promoting and everything in between, and I don't want to do that anymore. First of all, I don't think it's healthy for me and second of all, this is now my job, and how many times have we heard, you won't be on your death bed, looking back at your life, wishing you worked more? I'm really trying to treat it more like a job.
Because I've been at this a long time now, I know I can write a book in 2-3 months with my tried and true 1,000 words a day. And I also know that summer is my most favorite time of the year. Rachel and I have actually talked about this, and summer is NOT fun where she lives, (down south y'all) so it's logical, I suppose, that summer rolls around and she's ready to stay inside with the glorious A/C and write. Okay, so deadlines help with that decision too, of course.
Summer is when I want to PLAY, as much as possible. Although I will have to work some too. Most likely, I'll have two editorial letters this summer, on two different middle grade novels. I don't really need to write anything new on top of that, when there are hikes to go on and berries to pick and pools to swim in and beaches to comb.
For about nine months of the year, give or take three days, Oregon is dreary and gray. Perfect writing weather, really. And during those eight to nine months, I'm usually working in the early mornings on weekends too, because I don't want to lose any momentum I have in either drafting or revising. So I'm working a LOT during those months. It's taken a long time for me to get to this place where I tell myself it's okay to take a break (as much as possible) during the summer.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about writing and breaks. How do you decide when it's time to take a break? Do you schedule them, or take them as they come? Do you have a favorite time of the year when you want to be playing more than working, like me? Do you think I'm crazy, wanting to try and step away from the writing world this summer?
A month or so ago, a friend from high school e-mailed me to let me know her niece wanted her birthday party to be around the theme of "It's Raining Cupcakes." Apparently the birthday girl (who turned 8) loved the book and thought it would be a fun party to have.
Check out all of these adorable pictures, which I was told I could share on my blog. So impressed with all of the details that went into the decorations and everything!
Each girl took home a paperback copy of the book with a personalized and signed bookplate. Isn't a book the best goody bag gift ever? I love it.
Posted on 5/21/2012
A month or so ago, a woman named Thereasa got in touch with me to ask for the reading/discussion guide for IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. She and her daughter, Emily, are in a mother/daughter book club and her daughter had chosen CUPCAKES for when they would be hosting the club. She told me Emily had been reading the book every night and hadn't been that excited about a book in a while. I offered to send some signed postcards, as I often do (I usually offer to send bookmarks, but I'm out and waiting for the third book cover before printing some more) so Thereasa sent me her address. Turned out she only lived about 20 minutes away from me.
At some point, Thereasa asked me if I might be willing to Skype with the group for a few minutes, and since I was free that evening, I said sure.
The day arrived, and it was a beautiful day. My husband and I took a walk with the dog in Laurelhurst Park, a lovely park in NE Portland, and had a really nice afternoon. When we got home, I was thinking more and more about the scheduled Skype visit and how the club was meeting just twenty minutes away from me. I told my husband, "I think I'm going to go and surprise them." He asked me some questions, to make sure I had really thought it through, and after answering them, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to go!
When I got there, I walked up to the house and rang the bell. A woman answered and I asked, "Are you Thereasa?" She smiled and said, "No." She stared at me and then a hint of recognition passed over her face. "Are you the author?" I whispered, "Yes. I'm here to surprise everyone. I hope Thereasa likes surprises!"
A girl came around the corner as we walked into the house and I asked, "Are you Emily?" She gave me a big smile and said, "Yes!" I said, "Emily, I wanted to meet you! So I decided to come and see you in person instead of through the computer."
I walked into the family room where everyone was gathered, and the look on their faces was priceless. They were happy to see me and I was soon signing books and after that, answering lots and lots of questions. It was a great group of girls and moms and they made me feel so welcome.
Here are a couple of pictures from the evening.
Like I told them - writing can be a lonely job at times. Connecting with readers is one of the best parts of being an author, so as much as I wanted to make it a special evening for them, it was something I did for myself too. I knew they would remember the surprise for a long time to come, and the evening spent chatting with them would be something I would carry with me as well.
Thanks to the Moms and girls who so kindly welcomed me into their club for the evening. I had a great time and I hope you did too!!!
Posted on 5/8/2012
Wow, it kind of feels like the good old days on LJ today - all the wonderful celebratory posts about Jo's latest book, which I can't WAIT to read!
So let me join in on the party and say - YAY JO!!! Sounds like you've written a real gem. Congratulations!
Posted on 5/3/2012
Sunday and Monday I attended the International Reading Association conference in Chicago, IL. The weather was yukky, but when you're so busy with workshops and signings and meeting cool people and eating fabulous food, who needs nice weather anyway?
Sunday was the all-day institute put on by eight incredible authors and me - Carolee Dean, Carolyn Meyer, Caroline Rose Starr, Kersten Hamilton, Kimberly Little Griffiths, Uma Krishnaswani, Esther Hershenhorn and April Wayland. We talked about using the story strategies of professional authors to inspire a love of reading and writing.
Here we are, looking all professional and authorly.
We went out to dinner the night before, where much fun was had, as you can see:
Simon and Schuster took its authors out to dinner Sunday night. I sat near the incredibly talented and kind author/illustrator Peter Reynolds and his brother, Paul. Here is a picture I took, so I'm not in the picture, but you can see Peter and Paul to the right, and that's Carolee on the left. And Carolyn Meyer who turned around just as I was snapping the picture.
Peter drew me this little gem that I plan to frame and place on my desk:
I didn't take many pictures at the convention center on Monday. I signed books for an hour in the S&S booth and met lots of fabulous teachers. I did find Kate Messner, who was there signing a bunch of her books, including her latest release, EYE OF THE STORM:
Of course you can't visit Chicago and not have deep dish pizza, so Carolee, Caroline and I went to Giordano's downtown Monday night and had ourselves a fabulous dinner.
Tuesday I went to Blackhawk Middle School where I did three presentations for each of the
Posted on 4/26/2012
I want to tell you a little bit about this novel I wrote back in the summer and fall of 2010.
Originally it was titled CHERISH.
As is usual when I begin writing a book, I had a few seeds of ideas that I started with.
First, I wanted to do something in and around a flower shop. I'd written two previous novels where a flower shop played a role and neither of them were ever published. I hoped that maybe the third time would be a charm. I loved the idea of the flower shop being my main character's safe place. And so, where Rae's job is sunny and bright, her home life is dark and sad.
In fact, there are strong themes of dark and light throughout the novel.
Check out this flower shop in Vienna. So adorable, yes?
I love it when there are mysterious notes or clues
or something like that in a story, so I decided to add mysterious, anonymous flower deliveries to the story. Who is sending flowers to people throughout town and why do the instructions always have Rae's name on them?
Finally, I wanted to try and challenge myself, and wanted to write this book in a bit of a different format
. Rae's story is primarily told through flashbacks. This is a tricky thing to do, in case you're wondering. The reader learns on the first page, something bad has happened to Rae, but it's not revealed until the end of the book what has happened.
My first draft had Rae doing a project in Language Arts called The Cherish Project (thus the previous title CHERISH). My editor had the brilliant idea that instead of the book reports she was doing, which were kind of boring to read, I could somehow have poetry play a part in the story.
And so, Rae is a poet. Through her poetry, she can express her feelings about her abusive step-father and her distant mother. And then something happens at school, and poetry begins to play an even bigger role in Rae's life. So although it is my first YA novel not written in verse, poetry still plays a part in the story.
There are also two boys in the story. A good looking boy who is new to school and takes an interest in Rae right away. They start going out. There are things she really likes about him and other things... not so much. There is also a boy who works next door to the flower shop, someone who is Rae's friend. And as time goes on, she begins to lean on her friend more and more, as Rae's affection for her boyfriend begins to turn to fear.
If you were to think of my book like a cake, the recipe for making that cake was not a simple one. There were a lot ingredients and the preparation required a great deal of complicated steps. It's a unique kind of cake. Different. I can't even describe the cake very well, and so, I have to just tell you that I hope you'll try it, and see what you think.
It's the publisher's job to decorate the cake and make it something that will hopefully appeal to a wide audience. There were so many choices here, as you can imagine, with a book that has a lot going on. In the end, they decided to focus on the romantic aspect of the story for the cover, and I can now share that cover with you:
Posted on 4/24/2012
Last week, I traveled four hours to beautiful Grants Pass, Oregon, where I did a two-day school visit at South Middle School.
I had a great time talking to the kids, signing books, chatting with the Library Tech, Mrs. Anderson, as well as the Language Arts teachers and the Science teacher who is the Author Visit Coordinator. The visit went so smoothly and I'm grateful to everyone for their hard work.
When I pulled into the parking lot, this is the sign that greeted me:
Inside, this sign was hanging above the library, where I did all six of my presentations:
The kids were invited to enter a writing contest to have lunch with me, and a whole bunch of kids wrote some amazing stories. They were asked to write about meeting one of their favorite characters from one of my books.
Here is a picture of some of the eighth grade students, streaming into the library.
The Language Arts teachers were so great about getting behind me and my books. The sixth grade teacher read SPRINKLES AND SECRETS to his classes. The seventh grade teachers read CHASING BROOKLYN. And the eighth grade teachers read I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME. One of the eighth grade teachers said she was also having the kids write some verse of their own. And the seventh graders acted out some scenes from I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME. So wonderful!
Thanks to everyone at South Middle School for an amazing time!
Next up - Blackhawk Middle School in Bensenville, IL!
Posted on 1/20/2012
My very first full-time job after college was working for this woman who yelled a lot. She would be in her office, sitting at her desk, and instead of coming to get me, she would yell.
"Lisa, what is wrong with this? Please come in here, I don't understand it."
"Lisa, did you do that PAF I asked you to do? I can't find it."
"Lisa, where is that posting listed? Is it in the spot it's supposed to be in?"
And so it would go.
And the way she asked the questions made me feel like I was on the defensive *all* the time.
In case you've never worked for someone like that, let me tell you, it isn't very fun.
Now, some people probably have no problem with this style. They simply accept that's how she is, and it doesn't bother them.
Remember, this was my first "real" job. I was a 22-year-old college graduate, and I hadn't been around long enough to not take it personally.
It felt personal.
The more time that went by, the more it got to me. I didn't like being yelled at all the time. Even when I walked into her office, she'd fire questions at me. "Did you... " Why did you..." "How come..." And her voice was harsh as she asked. I constantly felt like a child who had done something wrong and needed to figure out how to get myself out of trouble.
I finally called the Employee Assistance Program and made an appointment with a counselor to try and get some help with how to deal with it. You can guess what happened. "You have to tell her how you feel."
Are you kidding me?
"You have to tell her how you feel. There's no way anything will change unless you two talk it out."
I'm pretty sure it was one of the scariest moments of my life, walking into that lady's office, asking if I could talk to her for a few minutes, shutting the door, and telling her how her yelling made me feel.
Do you know what she told me? She had no idea she'd been doing that. She had no idea I felt like she didn't like my work all the time. She had no idea she made me feel that way.
I can't say things got better, really. I think maybe she tried, for a little while, but she was the way she was and I was the way I was - more sensitive than most, probably
And so it is with authors. Some authors are more sensitive than others. Some authors are able to let things roll off their backs while others take it all in and it becomes a part of them. And so, here is where problems can happen between reviewers and authors.
I think everyone can agree - reviews are not for authors. But I don't know that it's realistic to simply tell authors, stay away from reviews, because everyone is different. Some really want to read them and to learn from them.
Posted on 1/30/2012
Watching you and your brother on stage yesterday in Portland, as the "grown-up" that I am, was such a wonderful experience. Young adults gathered in a place where it's okay if you read. It's okay if you like quirky songs about protons and anglerfish. And it's okay that you feel different sometimes.
In fact, you and your brother show them, day after day, not only is it okay, it's actually awesome.
A few years back, there came a point where you and your brother realized people were watching you. Lots of people. And you had choices as to which direction you went. Some may think that choice was easy, but I'm guessing it probably wasn't as easy as they might think.
As I looked out at the crowd today, people clutching your book and singing Hank's songs, happy to be among like-minded people, I felt amazingly proud of all have you done. Yes, you write great books, books I love and have loved since way back when I picked up LOOKING FOR ALASKA before it had that shiny sticker on it. But see, that's the thing. A lot of people write great books.
It's what you've done beyond that -- proving to the world that people can do amazing things when they put their hearts and minds in the right place -- that makes my heart feel all squishy when I think of you. And why I teared up at the end of your performance today.
You chose wisely, John. And today, I just wanted to say, thank you for choosing the path that isn't always easy for you, isn't always easy for your family, and puts you out there more than any introverted author would ever be comfortable with. You chose the path that would help make the world a better place. The path that would help kids across the WORLD see themselves, and others, in a different light. I know you don't feel like you can take much credit for everything that's happened, and it's absolutely a community effort, but it began with a choice. Yours and Hank's.
Like you said today, we choose what we think about every second of every day. And we choose where those thoughts take us. Thank you for being such a good human and leading by example.
With love from my squishy heart,
Posted on 2/21/2012
Good news: I am about ready to send my revised YA manuscript off to my editor. It feels like all I've done for the past month is work on this book. I hope I can share more about this project soon - I don't even have a title yet.
Bad news: I still worry it's not good enough. I've never been this worried about a book before, and I'm not sure what that means exactly.
Good news: I had a fabulous time on a writing retreat this past weekend in Midway, Utah. It is so beautiful there, and these ladies are so fun to hang out with. From left to right, top to bottom, Irene Latham, Rachel Hawkins, Emily Wing Smith, Mr. Moose, Lindsey Leavitt and me.
Bad news: It was like the calm before the storm. Last night the dog hurt her leg running down the stairs and I have to take her in for an x-ray today. Freshman son wants to go out for track and I just learned he has to have a physical before he can start practice next Monday. I have to have some dental work done tomorrow. And I swore I'd get started on taxes this week. I hope our bank account survives all the madness. And me too, of course.
Good news: Some exciting news is in the works.
Bad news: I can't say anything about it yet.
I've missed you all! Hope everyone is doing well.
Posted on 3/8/2012
I have been a horrible blogger.
Life has just been crazy busy lately. Appointments right and left for all kinds of different, not very fun, things, along with sickness and work and kids and the dog... I keep dreaming of summer, my favorite time of year, when things slow down a bit.
This morning, I'm sitting here with a nasty cold, and taking a moment to relax for a few minutes. I'm looking out at the blooming camellia bush in the backyard, thankful we get warm sunshine and beautiful blue skies today. If I can muster up the energy later, I'm sure a walk in the sunshine would feel really, really nice.
I am thankful for some good news this week.
I am thankful for my agent, and my editors.
I am thankful for all of my readers, and the teachers and librarians who are so supportive of me and my books. It was a lot of fun to do six Skype visits yesterday with kids all across the country to celebrate World Read Aloud day.
I am thankful for a job that is somewhat flexible, so I can take the time when I need to in order to take care of myself and my family.
I am thankful for the banana bread I made yesterday that goes really well with the gallons of tea I'm drinking.
I am thankful the dog's leg is getting better, slowly but surely. I hope she can recover fully. Think I'll end with a picture of Stormy, because there's nothing like a cute dog picture, right?
Have a great weekend!
Posted on 3/14/2012
Yes, it's true! My wonderful job gets even better!
On Sunday, March 25th, I will be at an event called Cupcake Madness in Narragansett, Rhode Island. It's a fun family event where you can walk around and taste cupcakes made by some of the best bakers in the state of Rhode Island.
Here's a picture of the strawberry lemonade cupcake that took home the title of "Best Cupcake" last year! Doesn't it look delicious??
I will be on a panel of judges who determines which is THE best cupcake after a timed bake-off of the finalists!
Along with eating delicious cupcakes, I'll be signing books (IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES and SPRINKLES AND SECRETS), which you can buy at the event from the local, independent bookstore, Wakefield Books.
I've never been to Rhode Island, so I'm really excited about this trip. Along with Cupcake Madness on Sunday, I'll be doing a school visit on Friday, and Saturday night I go out to dinner with a family who won the opportunity to dine with me in a raffle prize drawing.
To read more about the event, click HERE
. I hope if you're in the area, you will come, eat cupcakes and say hi!
Posted on 3/19/2012
YAY! We have a title! And a very, very short description.
This is supposed to run in Publisher's Marketplace one of these days:
Lisa Schroeder's FALLING FOR YOU, about a teen girl who relives the love of a dangerous boy, and unravels the secrets that haunt her family, as she hovers between life and death, searching for light amid the darkness--and a reason to hold on, to Annette Pollert at Simon Pulse by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger, to be published in Spring, 2013.
I worked really, really hard on this book and I hope my readers like it. It's different for me - it's not in verse, although there is some poetry sprinkled throughout. It's also sort of a mystery -- from the first page, the reader knows something bad has happened to the main character, but it's not revealed what's happened and how it happened until the end of the book.
I finished line edits last month and I'm frantically working on copy edits right now, so we're still working hard to make it the best book it can be. Stay tuned in the coming months, when I'll tell you how you can read a sneak peek of FALLING FOR YOU long before the release date!
Posted on 3/26/2012
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I'm flying home today, after a fun weekend in Narragansett, Rhode Island. I had a great school visit on Friday with all the kids at Narragansett Elementary School. Yesterday, I signed books at the Cupcake Madness event, put on by Friends of Hazard Castle. Toward the end of the day, I got to taste nine cupcakes and assist in naming the best cupcake in Rhode Island, which went to Patticakes, for their green velvet mint cupcake.
Friday was beautiful and I spent the entire afternoon outside. People were actually sun bathing on the beach. It was a perfect day - warm, sunny and no wind. Today is a different story, which is good, because it makes me even happier to be going home.
I ate at Crazy Burger not once, but twice, so got in some good food while I was here as well.
For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures I took at the Cupcake Madness event:
Yep, as some of you said, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it! :)