musings & newsy things

A starry introduction to AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY!

I am over the moon to share the first reviews for my new YA. First, there was the excellent Booklist review, where the journal’s cover is a full-frame image of my book cover. Isn’t it stunning? And then came three starred reviews! First, from Kirkus, who calls […]

It’s a star!

Many thanks to School Library Journal for this lovely starred review of Three Pennies!   Some of my favorite parts: “The language of this short and intense story is spare and evocative, and the chapters are brief and impressionistic.” and “This tender tale of human frailty […]

A Kirkus star for Three Pennies!

ARCs are out in the world, which means reviews are on their way in…

The first review for THREE PENNIES is a wonderful one—a star from Kirkus! I won’t share the whole text here because, of course, spoilers. But the last line is my favorite. Kirkus says THREE PENNIES is:

“A beautifully written and thoroughly modern family breaking-and-making story.”

And I couldn’t be happier!

 

A Cover for AN UNINTERRUPTED VIEW OF THE SKY!

  We have a cover! I am always so grateful for the many, many hours the design and editorial teams spend to carefully wrap my words in an artistic rendering of what lies within. So very grateful! For a book description and preorder links, click here: AN […]

THREE PENNIES has a cover!

  I love it! Isn’t it fantastic? Here’s the panorama of the whole jacket:   Feeling very fortunate over here to have such a thoughtful editorial and design team at Atheneum making these gorgeous covers for my books! For more about Three Pennies, including release […]

AUDACITY is a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist!

I admit, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. You write a book, you research and research and research and you wring your hands, hoping you are able to bring honor to the person, and to the life that has inspired you, that is your story’s subject. Wringing hands doesn’t actually do anyone any good, so you research more, deeper, and you revise and revise and revise and revise.

 

And then you send the book out there; you wish it well on its journey, and as my literary agency likes to say, you wish it into the hearts of readers. AUDACITY went out into the world on January 8, 2015. A year and a week later, a flood of announcements washed in. AUDACITY has been honored with the following:

 

YALSA Books for Young Adults list (a Top 10 pick!)

Amelia Bloomer List (a compilation of the best feminist titles from this year)njba.banner

Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book list (from the discerning BCCB)

and last, but certainly not least, a shiny sticker from the Jewish Book Council

 

I have a locket that I wore to the Audacity book launch a year ago, with a picture of Clara inside. On days when I need to be brave or bold, or when I need to step outside myself and the minutiae of daily life that so easily overtakes us to remember our real purpose here–to make the world a more just, joyful, loving place–I wear the locket. I’m wearing it now.

 

I am humbled and honored and so very grateful for these awards and accolades. But this book and the recognition it is getting is about so much more than me. It’s about my agent, who insisted this story had to be told when I was beginning to doubt. It’s about my editor, who brings passion and absolute commitment to the stories she chooses. It’s about the Philomel Books family and the larger Penguin Group who designed, copyedited, vetted and championed this book, who gave it a stunning cover and enthusiastically shared it with the world.

And more than any of us, it’s about Clara: her descendants, her story, her struggle, her legacy. May she and those who fought with her on behalf of all of us never be forgotten.

Photo courtesy of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives in the ILR School at Cornell University.

 

 

Introducing A Nearer Moon–with a star!

I’m so pleased to tell you all about my newest book! It’s a middle grade this time, and a fantasy story–my first! Just today, Kirkus posted their *starred* review online and I couldn’t be more excited by what they have to say: This lyrical story has a […]

Off to a starry start!

  Galleys of AUDACITY are out in the world, and the first two trade reviews are in! * Readers hear Clara’s strong, clear voice in action-packed verses that convey with intense emotion her conflicts and conviction, her deepest thoughts and her doubts and triumphs. Crowder breathes life […]

Book Release!

 

The last time you all heard from me, I was busy planning. Planning my blog tour, planning my book release, planning my launch party. I was so busy with promotion and all that, well, planning, that I stopped even trying to write.

More on that later. Let’s rewind to the 11th hour when I’d done everything imaginable to make Parched a success, and it was time for me to enjoy the ride.

First, the reviews came tumbling in. Anyone who says this isn’t terrifying is lying! Don’t believe them! But despite all the nervous-making, the reviews have been great! And if you mash the best bits all together, Parched sounds like the most awesome book ever written in the history of the human race. It’s a fun game, (if you’ll forgive me fudging the strict rules of citation and quotation). Let’s play:

Fans of Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet (1987) will want this[1] thrilling, imaginative soul quencher. Crowder’s stunning debut is sure to become a modern classic.[2] The writing, especially the descriptions of the drought conditions and extreme thirst, is excellent[3] all the more impressive for its restraint.[4] Makes one want to love the whole world with more courage, gentleness and hope.[5]  ZOMG. ZOMG. ZOMG. EVERYTHING I COULD WANT IN A MIDDLE-GRADE. OMG.[6]

[1] Booklist

[2] Rita Williams-Garcia

[3] School Library Journal

[4] Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

[5] Elizabeth Phinney, Amazon

[6] Eden, Goodreads

See—that was fun, right? The thing is, you can’t take reviews too personally—positive or negative—if you want to keep writing. But more on the whole writing bit later.

After the reviews came release day.

Launch Party! (Yes, I was smiling that big the entire time!)

You’d think that seeing your book on a bookshelf in a bookstore would be the most thrilling thing about that day.  And don’t get me wrong—it was great, really great. But by far, the best thing about launching my debut novel was seeing the community that had built up around me rise up and hold my book high for the world to see. It’s the best feeling, ever.

The Emu crew threw me a fantastic blog party, and my agency mates tossed confetti all over facebook and twitter. Fellow Vermont College alums and students posted pics of my book all over the country and penned swoon-worthy reviews. The Lucky 13s celebrated in their own bomb-diggity style. My launch party at Tattered Cover was packed with teachers from my school, buddies from my tennis and soccer teams, family and a few very supportive local writer friends.

It was amazing. Really. I feel so very honored.

It took me a while to come down from all that excitement. Promoting a book and writing a book use very different parts of my brain, and they don’t always play nicely together. But any writer worth her salt will tell you that resting and thinking and reading are as important to the writing process as actually getting the words down on page.

And I still wasn’t quite ready for the writing part…

My book launch ended in some lovely, surprising news. My next two Young Adult novels were picked up by Philomel Books and I signed on for another middle grade with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. That makes three books on the horizon for me. I always wanted a long and varied writing career, and now, there it is, right in front of me.

So last week, I cleaned my office. I put away all my bookmarks and teacher guides, and I celebrated the last leg of my blog tour. It had been about two months since I had worked on one of my stories, since I had written anything other than a blog post or press release.

It was time. I was rested. My mind was quiet and I was eager to get going again.

I’d love to tell you that the words flowed onto the page, that it was a delightful, inspiring week. It was not. I wrote very little, and not very well. By the end of the week, I had 2,000 words, a quantity some writers can crank out in a morning.

But writing is as much about habit and discipline as it is about inspiration. I know how to get myself back into the habit of writing, so that the inspiration is welcome. I know that the words will come, and that they will be good, if not the first time around, then maybe the second, or the third. I’ve got a great community around me who will challenge me and cheer me on as I write my way through this story and the next one, and the one after that.

I am so very proud of Parched. And I will continue to spread the word about this story to schools and libraries and readers, wherever I can find them. But as people much wiser than I have said, the best part of your writing career should always be your work in progress.

So off I go, to get to work.

 

 

Sea Glass

  I visited family on the Oregon coast over the holidays. For those of you who’ve never been there, it’s a rugged, beautiful place. In the winter, storms hammer the beaches, uprooting seaweeds, ripping buoys from their moorings and crushing it all against the rocks. […]