rgz

readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Rock the Drop, 2015

Friday, September 30, 2011

rgz Newsflash: p*tag for October's Teen Read Week!

P*TAG (PoetryTagTime)
Okay. 31 poets, 31 images and you have p*tag, 31 poems linked by tagging and repetition. It went like this: wait until you are tagged, pick an image, and then write a poem, using 3 of the words from the previous poet's poem. Ready, set, go! And we were off, under the guidance of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. This ekphrastic approach to poetry, where poems are inspired by art, fueled the poets fully. While the resulting poetry collection is eclectic, the repeated words give a notable continuity to the stream. There's an organic pulse running from beginning to end as readers witness this captured Art Happening on their e-readers.

Personally, David L. Harrison tagged me, so I was able to read his wonderful poem "Family Reunion at the Beach." Then I was off to choose a photo from Sylvia's posted images given to inspire us. The photo of a crowd, blurred by the camera's movement, caught my eye. It seemed as if spirits were leaving bodies despite the people's focus locked on the stage. I then chose three of David's words from his poem: clasping, future, and eyes, for my own haiku "Crowd." Finally, I tagged the lovely poet, Julie Larios. I would later learn she used my words: trapped, eyes, away.

All other poems were hidden from the participants until the release of p*tag. So it was a delight to download and read the stream, read how images and poems and repeated words created a complete work of art. I love how one poet responded to another, and immediately offered another point of view. You can see this particularly between Julie Larios and Michele Krueger. One writes of rising above, the other finding "peace in place." Stephanie Hemphill's' "In Praise of Luck" lifted my spirit, although I'd call it providence. :~) And oh, the delight to see one I esteem so highly, Lee Bennett Hopkins, write with few words just like me.

So here is a poem a day for the month of October while we celebrate YALSA's Teen Read Week. How perfect for the theme "Picture it @ your library." Download p*tag onto your device. Visit the website to learn more, see photos, and try your own hand at the ekphrastic approach to poetry. Thanks, Janet and Sylvia! *standing ovation*

p*tag
compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong
available on e-readers

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banned Books Week and the Virtual Read-Out

It's that time of year again... Happy Banned Books Week!

The publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is holding a Virtual Read-Out at www.bannedbooksweek.org People of all ages are encouraged to create a video of themselves reading from their favorite banned or challenged book and upload it to a special YouTube Channel for Banned Books Week. Authors and other celebrities are submitting videos as well. You'll recognize many folks whose works have been recognized and recommended by readergirlz, including Laini Taylor, Sarah Dessen, Lauren Myracle, Jay Asher, and Judy Blume.

We hope you'll submit your video! If you do, please leave a comment with a link to your video.

What are your favorite banned or challenged books? Let us know in the comments below!

Diva Delight: This Girl is Different

This Girl Is Different

Homeschooled yourself and looking for good representation in a current novel? Or are you in public school and curious about homeschoolers? Either way, This Girl is Different by J.J. Johnson will be an engaging read that challenges you to think widely and then act for a good cause.

Evie, entering senior year of her local high school, is no Stargirl, and that is refreshing. Here's a homeschooled protagonist heading into public school to discover what it might offer, what she's missed, and what she might contribute. And Evie does. Empowered by her counter-culture mother, Evie has no hesitation challenging authority, righting wrongs, and speaking for the students. Eventually, her growth occurs as she gains a new perspective of others' situations beyond her unrealized stereotypes. The caution might be well taken: despite your zeal, take a breath before expressing indignation, no matter if it appears to be deserved. Investigate, understand, and then act with the fullest vision, in a responsible way.

J.J. Johnson gives a wide cast of adult characters for Evie to bounce against, make an impact on, and learn from herself. The teens in Evie's circle also have real weaknesses and strengths, giving weight and realism to This Girl is Different. 


I am a mother who homeschooled for fourteen years. It is refreshing to find Evie representing on the shelf. Thanks, Peachtree Publishing for giving voice to many.

This Girl is Different
by JJ Johnson
Peachtree Publishers, 2011

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cover Stories: Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin came out in the spring to great buzz. Read bibliophile brouhaha's review for taste of that. The cover always intrigued me for its use of white space and pastels. I think it's lovely.

Here's Kirsten to talk about how it came to be:

"I've always felt like the most iconic images in Like Mandarin are wild girl Mandarin Ramey's long black hair, and the Wyoming badlands where the book takes place. My publisher did offer me input, and I made note of a few covers I really liked, and described the sort of black hair, badlands scene I'd always imagined on the cover of Like Mandarin.

"There's a part in Like Mandarin where Grace's thoughts blank out, then come back as a series of exclamation points instead of words. That's pretty much what happened when I saw my cover. It was taped to the bookshelf in my editor's office the first time I met her. I didn't expect to see it -- nor what I saw! It contained none of the elements I'd suggested, but it was so strong, and simple, and beautiful.

"Interestingly, my editor pulled out the image of another cover they'd been working on: a dark-haired girl from behind, against a backdrop of badlands. If I remember correctly, it was in black and white, and the font (a different one) was some bright color, like pink. It looked like an album cover, while the cover we went with looks almost like a movie poster -- just stronger overall..."

Read the rest of Kirsten's Cover Story at melissacwalker.com.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Diva Delight: You Are My Only, Beth Kephart

You Are My Only

Can we take a moment to thank Egmont for publishing another Beth Kephart exquisite novel? Thank you, Egmont!

You Are My Only will be released October 25th, and I encourage you then to find Beth's newest book. In this realistic fiction novel, you'll breath despair along with several suppressed characters. You'll turn pages and yearn for them each to find hope. One story tells of a young mother's loss of her baby, while the second winds a tale of a teen sequestered from society. How the works intertwine is brilliant. From beginning to end, images and movements echo and resonate back and forth between the stories. At the reveal, I actually stopped reading, stunned by the moment of truth.



As always, I was mesmerized by Beth's rich writing. Even in the smallest detail:

"There is a bird making a tree branch heavy, her gray belly bottom like the high back of the sun."

"Outside the wind sneaks up under the loose skirt of the roof tiles..."

Nesting in the story are sweet truths of life that you can grapple with and then possibly hold.

"Tragedy and blessing," Miss Cloris says. "Sometimes they're the same one thing."

"What do you suppose any of us, Sophie, wish to be remembered for? For the things that tried to stop us or the ways we carried on?"

I'm still thinking over the latter. I'm challenged to find the truth that I would ultimately hold.

You Are My Only is current, relevant, and gracefully written with gripping realism. There is no shrinking back. Thank you, Beth, for staying truly dedicated to the fine art of writing.

You Are My Only
by Beth Kephart
EgmontUSA



LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Diva Delight: Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

You know we love steampunk at readergirlz. We had a blast with Scott Westerfeld, right? Well, how about a collection of steampunk short stories by some more of our favorite, favorite YA authors? You'll recognize many from our rgz Circle of Stars, past guests and contributors. Grab your goggles, because this collection by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant delivers!


So, what will you find in Steampunk: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories? How about mystery, murders, and machines? Worlds of gears and steam in amazing new locations from the minds of 14 writers: M. T. Anderson, Holly Black, Libba Bray, Shawn Cheng, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Dylan Horrocks, Kathleen Jennings, Elizabeth Knox, Kelly Link, Garth Nix, Christopher Rowe, Delia Sherman, and Ysabeau S. Wilce.


How fun to find new authors I hadn't discovered before among old friends, all writing speculative fiction which often left me with chills. This quote from Cory's short story "Clockwork Fagin" really captures the collective atmosphere of Steampunk!:

"For machines may be balky and they may destroy us with their terrible appetite for oil, blood, and flesh, but they behave according to fixed rules and can be understood by anyone with the cunning to look upon them and winkle out their secrets. Children are ever so much more complicated."

Perfect, right? With three starred reviews already, look for this release October 11th!

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories
edited by Kelly Link and Gary J. Gavin
Candlewick Press, 2011

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Sunday, September 18, 2011

rgz Shout Out: Demi Speaks Up

The readergirlz wanted to give a shout out to actress/singer Demi Lovato, who is speaking out about what happened to her and singing her heart out. Here's a quote from an Associated Press (AP) article:

"A year ago today ... I was not in a good place," the 19-year-old said at her concert Saturday night. "I needed help and I want anybody in this audience to know that if you're struggling with one of the issues that I dealt with or a different issue, that you can get help, that you can recover and it's possible if you just tell someone. [...] There are so many beautiful girls in this audience that don't know that they're beautiful, but they just are."

- and from a video to her fans:

"Life is what you make of it. My life began to change again, and I became happier, healthier, and stronger."

You go, Demi.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

rgz HOST: Stephanie Guerra reviews Incredibly Alice




And now an awesome review from our Seattle HOST, Stephanie Guerra! Her debut young adult novel, TORN, will be published by Marshall Cavendish in spring of 2012. 


 
Hi Girlz,
Sometimes I pick up a book in the middle of a series to see how well it stands on its own. Incredibly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor gets a gold starI jumped into the series on book 5, which takes place when Alice is seventeen.
Alice is a sweet, steady narrator with a gentle approach to life. She’s “any-girl”; not gorgeous or brilliant or wildly unique, but solid, honest and dependable. She’s the kind of person you’d want for a best friend. The book opens on New Year’s, and takes Alice through the bittersweet last semester of high school.
As her classmates prepare to launch their lives, Alice struggles with feelings of inadequacy. Her long-distance boyfriend, Patrick, is off to a semester abroad in Spain. One of her closest friends has just been accepted to theater school in New York. Another friend is getting married.
Alice wonders: what should she do with her life? Is it wrong to stay close to home for college? Should she be aiming higher, or adventure-seeking like everyone else? What, if anything, meaningful has she done with her years in high school?
Incredibly Alice is a slow, thoughtful novel that tackles the big questions about growing up, leaving high school, and taking that definitive step into adult life. There’s no pitching, heaving drama or bizarre plot twists in this book, but it is thoroughly engaging nonetheless. Reynolds brings alive the drama of small moments, like the excitement of being chosen for a part in a play, or the thrill of a limo ride after prom, or the delightful dance of flirtation with a gorgeous guy.
Two things about the book struck me in particular. First, Reynolds is bold and honest in her approach to the issues girls face today. For instance, one of Alice’s friends is considering labial surgery. It’s a real issue for many girls, who feel they have to compete with porn stars for their boyfriends’ attention. Another of Alice’s friends is pregnant. And yet, Alice herself is a virgin. There’s a nice mix of experience levels in the characters of the books, just as there is in real life.
The other thing that I noticed was an old-fashioned vernacular that crept into the book; terms like “taking in a movie” and “that was a scream!” The result is a charming mix of the quaint with the contemporary. Reynolds has stayed well abreast of issues for teens, and she doesn’t hesitate to allude to edgy topics. But her language has a slight flavor of the fifties, a sound that actually adds to the nostalgia at the heart of Incredibly Alice.
I recommend Incredibly Alice as the perfect read for anyone wrestling with her future after high school, and I can say with confidence that you’re safe to jump into the series at any point and still enjoy a delightful book. ~Stephanie

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cover Stories: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Andrea Cremer shared the Cover Story for the hardcover of Nightshade last year, and since then I have eaten pizza with her and can confirm that she's as awesome as the books she writes. Seriously.

And now she has a newly redesigned paperback! Plus, the second novel in the Nightshade trilogy, Wolfsbane, was just released. Here's Andrea to talk covers:

"I didn't have a specific idea for the cover, but it always involved wolves and blood.

"When I first saw the new covers, I was thrilled. To me the new covers depict Calla perfectly. The new Nightshade cover (right) drew on the poem that inspired Calla's character. The poem is one of Margaret Atwood's and its first stanza is 'Not you I fear but that other/she who walks through flesh/queen of the two dimensions.'

"The Wolfsbane cover: First of all it's green! My favorite color! I think it continues the theme of depicting Calla's strength. The concept is that she is crouched under the moon about to shift into wolf form. I love it!

"There were some small tweaks - usually about getting the color of Calla's eyes just right..."

Read the rest of Andrea's Cover Story, and see the original series covers, at melissacwalker.com.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Treasure Hunt with Beth Kephart

Her latest book, You Are My Only, is on our must-read list. And you can participate in a blog treasure hunt that our illustrious first writer-in-residence Beth Kephart is doing all around the internet. Beth is writing five posts that each tell a story about the making of You Are My Only (read the Publishers Weekly review). Many posts include passages that were written but never used in the final book.  

Prizes include a signed copy of You Are My Only and a critique by Beth of the first 2000 words of a work in progress (priceless!). Go to Beth's blog to hear about the full magic of this treasure hunt!




Saturday, September 10, 2011

rgz Newsflash: Skype Authors announced on Cynsations



Shout out to Cynthia Leitich Smith for sharing about Skype Authors on Cynsations. You can read the full article here. I'm happy to be a part of this esteemed group making a difference to CAMFED and literacy in schools. Feel free to spread the news to all who might benefit. Thanks!

Here's a snippet from Cynsations:

Skype Authors connects noted children’s book authors to schools and book clubs while benefiting Camfed in 2011-2012.

Noted authors Suzanne WilliamsMartha BrockenbroughDia CalhounJanet Lee CareyMary CasanovaLorie Ann GroverJoan HolubDeb LundClaire Rudolf MurphyLisa L. Owens, and Trudi Trueit have launched Skype Authors, an author-visit-booking site that will aid schools, book clubs, and educational charities.
Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from each visit will benefit Camfed, an organization that educates girls in Africa.


I just love the children's book community. Don't you?


LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

Friday, September 9, 2011

rgz Newsflash: Happy Release Week, DEAR BULLY!


Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories released this week from HarperCollins, and I’m thrilled to be keeping company with so many brave, talented, and distinguished writers. Diva Melissa and I both have pieces in this bold anthology that addresses the hot-button topic of teen bullying -- but that's not the (main) reason you should check this one out!
You are not alone
Discover how Lauren Kate transformed the feeling of that one mean girl getting under her skin into her first novel, how Lauren Oliver learned to celebrate ambiguity in her classmates and in herself, and how R.L. Stine turned being the “funny guy” into the best defense against the bullies in his class.
Today’s top authors for teens come together to share their stories about bullying—as silent observers on the sidelines of high school, as victims, and as perpetrators—in a collection at turns moving and self-effacing, but always deeply personal.
My own contribution to the collection is a short-and-sweet list, but you’ll want to read all of the stories, heartfelt, heart-wrenching, and heart-breaking as they are. Congrats to all on a worthy and meaningful project, and yay for all of the positive buzz. From the New York Times: 
“This anthology of personal essays provides empathetic and heartfelt stories from each corner of the schoolyard: the bullied, the bystander and the bully himself are all represented. Their words will be a welcome palliative or a wise pre-emptive defense against the trials of adolescent social dynamics.”
Thanks also to editors Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall for spearheading and editing the entire process. You guys rock!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rgz Street Team: Olivia Reviews The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The rgz Street Team is a group of teens who bring YA reviews to our blog, led by Postergirl Miss ErinFind out more.

Today, Olivia reviews The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeby Mark Haddon. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the story of a 15-year-old boy named Christopher. While it is not explicitly stated in the book, Christopher seems to have some form of autism. But though Christopher has difficultly with things like noisy and crowded places, certain colors and normal interactions with other people, he has a gift with mathematics and an amazing memory.

"Christopher is thrust into adventure when he finds the body of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, dead with a garden fork sticking out of it. Speaking from the future, he declares that this murder was fodder for his very own “murder mystery novel,” in which he planned to solve the “puzzle” and find the murderer. However, the tables are turned when the police arrive and make him one of the primary suspects, as he is found with the dead dog in his arms.

"Interweaving his story with his own thoughts about diverse topics such the Milky Way, the different uses of prime numbers (which he concludes are “like life”), and metaphors that connect to Greek words, Christopher pulls the reader through his interrogation at the police station, where he is eventually released, and back to his home. Throughout the rest of the novel, the reader learns more about Christopher’s past and follows Christopher as he solves the mysteries of his present: not only the murder of Wellington but also the story of his mother, who died two years before.

"While the story is primarily set in Christopher’s neighborhood and at the places that he frequents on a typical day, the reader never tires of the setting because much of the book is composed of flashbacks from Christopher’s past, and he takes an eye-opening trip across London during the second half of the novel.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is an extremely unique, enjoyable, and emotionally affecting novel with a refreshingly different narrator that gives the book a vibrant spirit. Though Christopher has his ups and downs, the reader stays hooked—desperate to find out what Christopher will say or do next, what unusual fact or anecdote they will be amused by (such as the origin of the word orangutan) or simply interested in the story’s plot.

"Because Christopher has a very blunt and straightforward tone, the reader considers a new point of view while reflecting on the actions of the novel. And while Christopher is somewhat distant from other people and may seem hard to relate to, Haddon inserts diagrams, maps, pictures, schedules and even mathematical equations into the book to help the reader feel as if they have been drawn into Christopher’s world and are experiencing what he is experiencing as well as thinking how he is thinking. The supporting characters are also surprisingly imperfect and dynamic, making them seem more realistic than the one-dimensional characters that populate many other novels.

"Unlike many of the other young adult and adult novels I have read, this novel seems to have no specific targeted readership: in one book Haddon has managed to combine a murder mystery, a “coming of age” story and an abundance of entertaining facts about an impressive variety of subjects. While I believe almost any reader of any age would enjoy this novel, I would particularly recommend it to those who enjoyed somewhat quirky works such as J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

Writing Outside the Gilded Cage: Dia Calhoun

Our own treasure, co-founder Dia Calhoun, has just written an essay for the awesome blog Smack Dab in the Middle. Here it is with permission from Dia. The piece is full of integrity and honesty. Spread the word and maybe encourage another!

~Lorie Ann


Writing Outside the Gilded Cage

In the deep and distant past of 1998, after spending five years writing Firegold, my first novel, and five more years trying to sell it, I finally received an offer from a publisher. In my joy and innocence, I didn’t know I had just entered a fantasy world. I didn’t know that along with shining splendors, there would also be dark labyrinths, gilded cages, pitfalls, and deserts without a drop of water. Even if someone had told me, I would not have believed them.

After Firegold came out, I did everything to promote it—in those days that meant sending out press kits, arranging book signings, school visits. I had an unusual publisher in Winslow Press; they still believed in flying their authors to librarian’s and teacher’s conferences. I was treated like a princess. One night as I was leaving my hotel with my editor, we bumped into a well published author I knew from SCBWI in Seattle. We chatted a moment. When she learned that my publisher was giving a dinner in my honor, her eyes grew enormous. Now I know why she was surprised. I was a brand new, totally unknown author being treated like a star. When I walked into the restaurant, I was startled to see fifteen round tables, with a copy of Firegold set at every place. At the dinner I spoke briefly. Afterword, a librarian told me, “You are a treasure, and I’m so glad they found you.” Days of splendor indeed.

When Firegold received a starred review—I think it was from Booklist—my publisher sent me roses. Winslow Press took my next book, too, Aria of the Sea. It sold well and won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature that year. Winslow also bought my third novel, White Midnight. They wanted everything. I now think of this time as the First Golden Age.

The castle in the air came crashing down when Winslow Press declared bankruptcy. (Too many dinners lavished on unknown authors?) I was owed thousands of dollars in royalties for Aria of the Sea. I never saw a penny. For many years I begrudged that money, but now I see that the unique experience that Winslow gave me—treating me as I imagine authors were treated in the old days, and only high selling or prestigious award-winning author stars are treated now—had a value of its own. Winslow sold the rights to my books—White Midnight was not yet out only under contract--to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG).

FSG issued Aria of the Sea and Firegold in paperback, and brought out my next two hardcover books—White Midnightand The Phoenix Dance. But after Winslow, FSG was a culture shock. The first shock was the DREADFUL cover they did forWhite Midnight. 



Bookseller after bookseller told me that this cover killed my book in spite of the excellent reviews it received. The bigger shock was that FSG sent me nowhere to promote my books. (Of course, I must say that FSG is still in business, so their thrift must be working for them.) The next shock—my new editor did not like the manuscript of The Phoenix Dance. I changed the book drastically—to its great detriment—something I still regret today. I was still trying to do what people told me. I still thought of my writing as “a career.” My first three books had all been chosen as ALA Best Books for Young Adults. The Phoenix Dance was not. 

My editor declined my next fantasy—an early version of Avielle of Rhia. And I do not blame him. I sent it to him too raw, too soon. My agent sent it to Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish, who had been the editorial head of Winslow toward the end. I loved Margery, still do, and always will. Margery must have loved me, too, because she saw promise in Avielle. (To be honest, I think she also saw a later version). Cavendish did a SPLENDID cover. She also bought my first middle grade novel—The Return of Light.


Then Twilight arrived and vampires sucked all the blood out of the fantasy market.

I hate vampires. To this day I believe the connection between sex and death is SICK. I refused to write a vampire book. So I spent two years writing what I still think is a rich and complex fantasy novel in four voices. Nobody nowhere wanted it no how. Still thinking of writing as a career, I studied commercial middle grade fantasy series, and tried my hand at one. Again, nobody nowhere wanted it no how. “It’s not a Dia Calhoun book”, several editors wrote in their rejections. I did not know where to laugh or cry. Nobody wanted a literary, rich and complex “Dia Calhoun book.”

Next, the dystopian and zombie novels hit. I certainly did not want to write one of those either. Then the fairy novels invaded. Again, not interested. I received too much advice from other well-meaning YA authors. “If you want your books to sell to teen girls, spice up the romance, make them hip.” So I wrote yet another fantasy with older characters, romance, and even sex. But my heart was not in it. I wrote it to sell.

While I was writing that book in what I now think of as a spiritual and literary desert, my friend, the amazing verse novelist Lorie Ann Grover, read some poems I had written years ago about my husband’s family’s orchard—the Farm. She told me I was a poet, that I should try my hand at a verse novel. You can’t get less commercial than that!

So I began a verse novel. And something in my heart rekindled. Joy returned to my writing. I stopped caring about the market. I gave up the whole idea of writing as a “career.” I returned to the kind of book I had loved as a girl, books about twelve or thirteen-year-old girls on the brink. Eva of the Farm is a middle grade verse novel inspired by the Farm. While the book is not a fantasy, it is all about the magic of imagination and place. I loved writing it. Loved it.

The first editor my agent sent the manuscript to wrote a jaw-dropping rejection. She suggested, and I kid you not, that I should consider having zombies storm the Farm in order to make the book more current and action-packed. NYET! Eva of the Farm(still sans zombies!) then garnered interest from two publishers. Atheneum will publish the book in July of 2012. A companion volume comes out the following summer. I loved working with my editor, Kiley Frank, who unfortunately has just left publishing.

I am now working on my eighth book with my sixth editor at my fourth publishing house.

I feel like I have entered a second Golden Age—but one quite different from the first one. I no longer dream of awards, or reviews, of being wined and dined at conferences, of speaking to rapt audiences, of writing something “hip.” I no longer want a writing “career.” I will not throw a lavish launch party for Eva of the Farm, or sell my soul on Facebook to try to whip up a feeding frenzy. Emily Dickinson’s poem sums up my feelings about Facebook:

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog.
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

In this new Golden Age, my only goal is to write a good book, one with a story that has everything—wonderful characters, an engaging plot, gripping ideas, language that sings. I want to create something shining that will endure. I want to revel in a writing life