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Viewing Blog: So many books, so little time, Most Recent at Top
Results 26 - 50 of 4,193
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Author of the young-adult thriller Shock Point, as well as five other mysteries and thrillers.
Statistics for So many books, so little time

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 39
26. 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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27. 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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28. The show must go on

I recently had school visits in Central Oregon. Two memorable things about that visit: 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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29. 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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30. 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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31. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of running silhouettes

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32. Haven't I seen you before? Dueling covers that show what happens after you grow up

This is by a young Portland author:



And this is a new book about choosing to be single:

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33. 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:

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34. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of I want to hold your hand


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35. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers with suitcases won't stop


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leaving unknownthe best of times
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36. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of clasped hands

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37. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Yet another dueling cover with a suitcase


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leaving unknownthe best of times
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38. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Yet another dueling cover of creepy woods



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39. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of picture frames

I think the picutre frame idea is particularly attractive if you are writing about events that shape a family.

I am paricularly interested in Inside the O'Briens because 10 years ago I wrote a book about Huntington's that unfortunately didn't sell. The fact that it wasn't a mystery might have had something to do with that. In writing that book, I came to know a lot of families with Huntington's. It's a terrible disease that strikes you down in your prime. There's no cure, and each of your children has a 50-50 chance of inheriting it.

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40. Risks and rewards

2015 is my year for risks.  I have risked speaking up.  I have risked grappling in a tournament with people who were 20-40 years younger than me.  And last week I took an Urban Escape and Evasion class in Los Angeles.  It was amazing/scary/fun.

The first day, we learned how to get out of duct tape, zip ties, rope, and even handcuffs.




If you're duct-taped, hold your arms close together, then bring your hands high over head and and hit your elbows hard across your own ribs.  I learned the hard way that if your arms are too far apart, this doesn't work. This trick also works for zip ties, although it can hurt your wrists (which is why the instructor made "Wonder Woman" bracelets out of duct tape first).  If that fails, try rubbing your bound hands on a sharp edge like a door..  Above, author Hannah Jayne demonstrates the correct technique for breaking duct tape, as well as how you can use paracord (a lot of preppers replace their shoelaces with paracord, or wear it as a bracelet) to saw through paracord by bicycling madly in the air.  Later, we practiced shimming or picking our handcuffs using bobby pins or broken off barrettes with pillow cases over our heads.



Here's what happens if you get handcuffs/duct tape/zip ties etc. wrong:



We also learned how to pick locks and steal cars, although we didn't practice that last one.



We learned how to figure out if you are being followed and how to weaponize anything.  We learned that most people think they are in a survival situation if they miss lunch.

The last day, we were kidnapped, hooded, stun gunned (I still have marks!), and then your captors go for a “smoke break” and you have to use everything you just learned to make your way to a certain point, collecting information and photos along the way.

We learned that if you are full of adrenaline, you dont feel as much.  At the start of the exercise, we got caught in a parking lot surrounded by 10 or 11 foot high chain link fences.  And we were being chased by a real-life security guard.  Hannah started climbing the fence, which meant I had to, too.  At the top, the chain links had been cut off, forming a pointy barrier.  I have some crazy bruises, one for each point, on one leg.

But we made it. We had been to GoodWill the night before and cached some outfits. (It is very hard to cache anything in Los Angeles and then go back and find it the next day. You always have eyes on you, and cacheing arouses curiosity).  First I was a nurse (I even looked like a nurse even though it was just a plain pink Tshirt layered over a white Tshirt, and Hannah was a goth girl.  Then Hannah was pregnant with some of her previous clothes, and I was her churchy-looking mom.  Finally, we were both tourists.



Even though we were hunted by 10 people who had our picture, and we had to stay with proscribed boundaries, we were not caught!

I'm so glad I took this risk.  I turn 56 in two weeks and I'm pretty pround of myself.

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41. Haven't I seen you before? Yet another dueling cover of a girl with a suitcase


Check out some more suitcase toting girls here.

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42. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of suns

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43. Haven't I seen you before? Dueling covers of ladies with suitcases

Just saw the cover for the first one, but it reminded me of so many other books.  And Jennie Shortridge's book shows a guitar, but I believe it was originally the exact same image as the one on Jennifer Lauck's book - until she pointed out that her character says she has never owned a suitcase. (Edited to add Illegally Blonde - looks like all they changed was the color of the suitcase and oddly the bows on her shoulders. Note that Leaving Unknown shows the exact same road.)
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leaving unknownthe best of times
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44. Do you live in the South? Can you help me find Clem and SLY?

back of $5front of $5
Isn't this amazing! A writer in Cummings, Georgia (Meghan Harker, http://exquisitelyodd.com/) found it in her till at work. She posted it on Twitter and a friend alerted me. I traded her $5 bills - only mine was in a copy of Girl, Stolen.

Can you help me find Clem & her friend SLY? I would guess Clem and SLY are in middle school. I originally thought Clem was short for Clementine, but a librarian in Georgia says Clem is a pretty common boy's name there.
April and Jenny KOIN Clem Sly
After I put it up on Twitter and Facebook, I heard from KOIN-TV. Reporter Jenny Hannson and her photographer Ole interviewed me Monday for a story that will run on Friday (and be online) about the $5 bill found in Georgia with instructions that it be used to buy a copy of Girl, Stolen. There's a chance the story may air in Georgia as well.

April and Ole KOIN Clem and Sly croppedI would love to find Clem and SLY and give them and their school library some books!  And if you could help, I'd give you books, too!

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45. Haven't I see you someplace before? Dueling misty forested mountains

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46. Two months into 2015: my year of risk

My resolution for 2015 is a single word: risk. I'll be turning 56 this year. The opportunities I will have to take physical risks are narrowing.  I also want to take social risks, and emotional risks, and risks with my writing - all kinds of risks.

So far, I've had a frank conversation with someone I respect but who also used an exaggerated campy "gay" voice to make some points.  I think it was eye-opening for both of us.

And in three weeks, I'm signed up to do that Urban Escape and Evasion class, which includes a day spent trying to elude pursuers after you are "kidnapped."

This past weekend, I competed in a Brazilian Jiujitsu (grappling tournament).  In this tournament, we were split up by gender, but in my grappling classes I grapple with men, usually only with men since none of the other women in my school regularly take BJJ class.  One of my regular partners is 228 pounds, which let me tell you is a lot of weight when someone centers it and pins you.

For a long, long time, I said there was no way I would grapple past what I needed to do for whatever color of sash I was working on in kung fu. It felt too ob-gyn-y. Too rape-y. You couldn't tell me that one of the best positions was on your back with your legs wrapped around some guy's waist.  It seemed too vulnerable and weird.

Guys will often grow up wrestling with their friends.  None of the girls I know ever did that.

But then my kung fu school started offering BJJ classes four times a week and I started going to them. I am still don't have a very good offense. And at  my gender and my age and my weight compared to many of my partners, I mostly play defense.  But I have a damn good defense.
BJJ Tournament april looks dominant
BJJ Tournament April refuses tap
BJJ tournament better back of gi
BJJ Tournament Syd
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47. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of paper cutouts

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48. A distinctive voice: The County of Ice Cream Star and The Bullet

I am an excellent plotter. I'm pretty good with characters. But voice? I never really feel like I have one.

Two new books have recently come to my attention that are excellent examples of voice.

AR-AI698_ICECRE_DV_20150203133630One is The County of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman. It's post apocolyptic and begins:
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My Trouble Its Beginning: Tober 2
My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star. My brother be Driver Eighteen Star, and my ghost brother Mo-Jacques Five Star, dead when I myself was only six years old. Still my heart is rain for him, my brother dead of posies little.

My mother and my grands and my great-grands been Sengle pure. Our people be a tarry night sort, and we skinny and long. My brother Driver climb a tree with only hands, because our bones so light, our muscles fortey strong. We flee like a dragonfly over water, we fight like ten guns, and we be bell to see. Other children go deranged and unpredictable for our love.
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Beautiful use of langugage, but also a bit of a struggle to understand. You have to decide if you are willing to read that for 400-plus pages. It helps once you translate a few of her basic words, such as bell = beautiful.

I decided it was worth it and am really liking the book.

UnknownThe other is The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly (a name you may recognize if you are a long-time NPR listener).
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The Bullet
One

My name is Caroline Cashion, and I am the unlikely heroine of this story. Given all the violence to come, you were probably expecting someone different. A Lara Croft type. Young and gorgeous, sporting taut biceps and a thigh holster, right? Admit it.

Yes, all right, fine, I am pretty enough. I have long, dark hair and liquid, chocolate eyes and hourglass hips. I see the way men stare. But there’s no holster strapped to these thighs. For starters, I am thirty-seven years old. Not old, not yet, but old enough to know better.

Then there is the matter of how I spend my days. That would be in the library, studying the work of dead white men. I am an academic, a professor on Georgetown University’s Faculty of Languages and Linguistics. My specialty is nineteenth-century France: Balzac, Flaubert, Sten­dhal, Zola. The university is generous enough to fly me to Paris every year or so, but most of the time you’ll find me in the main campus library, glasses sliding down my nose, buried in old books. Every few hours I’ll stir, cross the quad to deliver a lecture, scold a student requesting extra time for an assignment—and then I return to my books. I read with my legs tucked beneath me, in a soft, blue armchair in a sunny corner of my office nook on the fourth floor. Most nights you will also find me there, sipping tea, typing away, grading papers. Are you getting a sense for the rhythm of my days? I lead as stodgy a life as you can imagine.
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Hm, not sure the voice works as well as this one.  "I have long, dark hair and liquid, chocolate eyes and hourglass hips." It's hard for me to imagine liking anyone who would describe themselves like that. On the other hand, good reviews, including a star from PW, and I love a good thriller.

Have you read a book lately with an interesting voice?

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49. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Not just dueling covers, identical covers

I feel that often the covers that Amazon puts on its book are unoriginal, but seriously, couldn't they have done better than to use the EXACT SAME image as another book?

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50. Haven't I seen you before? Dueling profiles, fonts, color schemes in Jackaby and Burial Rites

Noticed these sitting side-by-side in my ebooks library on my iPad.

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