Friday, November 20, 2015

School visits, new book in the works and other catching up...

Publishers Weekly announcement for my next book,

Hey, peeps!

Been a while since i played catch up.

Been a busy early fall with writing and revisions, school visits, open water swimming, dog walks and beautiful leaves, and, finally, the announcement of THE MEMORY OF THINGS, coming September 2016.

*points up to shiny PW announcement*

To say I am excited about this book is an understatement, and as early blurbs from respected writers come in, and enthusiasm from my awesome editor, Vicki Lame, and awesome publisher, St. Martin's Press, mounts, well, the excitement only builds.

As always, I find myself trying not to wish away the seasons in between, just so I can get to the release...

For sure, I know by this point that all of it is so fast and fleeting, I need to milk and enjoy every moment, and let the new book arrive in its own good time.

Having said that, OMG, I CANNOT WAIT!!! (and, at least wouldn't mind the cold dark, post-holiday winter moving swiftly along...)

In addition to work on the new book and a new manuscript (of course...), I've had some amazing school visits and author events this fall. Three highlights:

  • Paid some Skype visits with Ms. Shaum's various 8th grade classrooms who are Nanowrimo'ing for the month of November. OH MY GOSH, GUYS!! DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO BE NANOWRIMO'ING?!?! That you have a teacher who finds the time -- makes the time -- to let you spread your creative wings?!?!? If only my boys had had English teachers who did that... but, um, I digress...

Yes, he has a signed copy of THE SUMMER
OF LETTING GO in his hand... 
  • #nErDcampLI: Had an incredible day participating in the first ever Long Island nErDcamp (a/k/a: nErDcampLI). OMG, LI educators: DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE THAT YOU HAVE A nErDCAMPLI now?!?!?!?! 

Here's a post about that from the uber-awesome Joellen McCarthy, one of its extraordinary facilitators and person you want to know: Spreading the PD Love. You can also follow the hashtag on twitter for updates.

As for photos, I could share some of me, but honestly, the one immediately above is one of my favorites from the day. The whole scene was so exuberant and contagious, the hard working custodial staff came by to the booksale after a ridiculously long day, to chat with the authors and buy books!

  • And, last, but definitely not least, I finally paid an in-person visit to a school I have Skyped with many times: THE DAVID BREARLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL in Kennilworth, NJ. It was truly one of the highlights of my author life so far.  

Just walking through the school's halls and courtyards will begin to show you what creativity goes on in that school, led by the enthusiasm and dedication of English teacher Nicole Warchol and art teacher Janice Marsili (who was just honored as a Teacher of the Year with good reason!). I couldn't stop taking pictures and leaning close to read each incredibly original and evocative 8-word memoir, quote, and musing:

Ridiculously inspiring... and that is only a handful of the artful spots that beautify the school, all teacher and student created!!!

Of course, that feast for the eyes and senses was just the beginning.

I spent the day with Ms. Warchol's 7th graders talking writing and doing five minute writing exercises inspired by my writer pal Jo Knowles' White Page List Poem she shared last summer during Teachers Write!

Throughout the day, a few of my 8th grade favorites from last year when we Skyped (sorry, here I play favorites...), stopped in to say hi. These kids were so connected after our visits that we've all become good friends staying in touch through twitter and Instagram, and I don't think any of us could hug the other enough. After school, they interviewed me for the school paper and then we headed to the library for a THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO book club, for which more than 50 students, administrators, librarians, teachers and parents showed up and stayed for our more than 2-hour discussion!

At the end, we ate cake (you can see the awesome cake in the photo montage above!) and then I read aloud from the first ten pages of THE MEMORY OF THINGS for the first time ever. To say the reaction was enthusiastic... well, that, too, would be an understatement.

with my sweet, smart pals: Rae, Sarah, Justin & Joe
So that's catch up! Still hoping to eke out a few more open water swims before the holidays and bone-cold winter set in.

Love to you all,


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