Monday, April 30, 2012

My wild week

I've been out of it for a while -- last week was crazy busy, as you'll see . . .

Saturday before last Steve and I (along with another couple) hosted a Moulin Rouge party for law students as a benefit for the Women's Resource Center. Yes, that's me in a can-can dress. (Steve was trying to simulate Jim Broadbent's costume from the film -- obviously we neglected to affix the elaborate mustache!) Additional photos: a shot of me, Steve and his colleague/co-host E, a tiny pic of the students (note E's husband in the background, dressed as a bear), and check out these amazing Moulin Rouge-themed cupcakes made for us by Gigi's.

On Monday I drove to Dallas and fetched my buddy Michelle from the airport so that we can could enjoy the big city experience before heading back to OKC. Our first stop was the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, which currently features hundreds of amazing sculptures from Dale Chihuly. We also enjoyed afternoon tea in the restaurant. We were too starved to remember to take a photo of the soup and sandwich course, but here's the desert course. Delicious!

After tea we visited a charming temporary exhibit entitled Small Houses of Great Artists. I wished I could turn Seurat's house into my writing office. Van Gogh's house was particularly cozy, and we both loved the bridge and lily pond at Monet's house.

On Wednesday we drove to Tulsa to meet up with friends Brandi and Ange at Dragonmoon Tea Company (now to become a yearly ritual, I hope). For some reason I had my camera set to a fish eye view, but the above photo was decent enough. Here's a close-up of the tea tray.

By Thursday I had a very pesky head cold, and I really must apologize to Michelle for being so grumpy and fuzzy in the head. She bore my misery and hostessing failures with grace, which is exactly how she handles any adversity that comes her way. (I'll show you a better time next year, my friend!) Anyway, after I took Michelle to the airport I spent the rest of the day resting up for my big event on Friday -- a visit to Deer Creek High School!

Jason Stephenson invited me to spend a couple of hours with his Creative Writing students, and I really must thank them all for such a nice time! See more photos -- courtesy of Jason -- at my Facebook Author Page. Great kids, excellent discussion, and some students even took notes. Heaven!

Now back to OWFI work and revisions. *sigh*

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]

Monday, April 16, 2012

Big weekend

Exciting things happened this past Saturday night, and they did NOT involve being swept away by a tornado, thank goodness.

The Revenant won the Oklahoma Book Award for YA!

I was given a medal. (!!!) And I made a little speech. A speech in which I forgot to thank the Oklahoma Center for the Book. THANK YOU OKLAHOMA CENTER FOR THE BOOK!

As exciting as that was, the true highlight of the evening was seeing Anna Myers accept her Lifetime Achievement Award. Anna has written nearly a million* books, most of which have won awards and made important lists. Her stories have thrilled children and adults alike. Anna is one of the wisest and most supportive people I've ever met. She's also HILARIOUS and great fun to be around. Read more about her accomplishments here. After being introduced so poignantly by her son Ben Myers (a 2011 OBA winner in Poetry) Anna spoke of life, art, and inspiration. She made me giggle (as she often does), but mostly she made me think. I'm so grateful to her and the Oklahoma kidlit writing community for all they've taught me.

*slight exaggeration

Please join me in a happy dance for all the finalists and the friends who cheered them on. Hooray for the bookish people of Oklahoma!

[cross-posted from Livejournal]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Saundra Mitchell's THE SPRINGSWEET giveaway!

"Do you know what I've missed since coming here? Books. I do miss reading novels, don't you?"
-Zora, The Springsweet

Pretty much every writer started out as a reader; now that we're writers, we can't help but write about people who love books. Sometimes IN the books. It's meta upon meta, but it makes perfect sense to us.

To celebrate books, Saundra Mitchell's blog tour is all about sharing two great things that go great together: books + free. She's kicking it off here because THE SPRINGSWEET takes place in Oklahoma Territory, a great complement to THE REVENANT's historical Oklahoma setting.

Today, you can enter to win a copy of THE REVENANT, and a signed set of Saundra's THE VESPERTINE and THE SPRINGSWEET. All you have to do is comment in this entry, and leave an e-mail address where we can contact you. (US & Canadian residents only, please.)

And tell us about your favorite book, too. Growing a TBR pile is the best gardening there is!

A Companion to The Vespertine
by Saundra Mitchell
Hardcover & E-book
From Harcourt

“A lovely historical romance takes readers back to the 1890 Oklahoma territory. (T)he author conjures a convincing picture of life on the Oklahoma prairie, painting an absorbing portrait of the landscape and of the people there. A high-quality, absorbing drama.”
Kirkus Reviews, 02/01/12

It’s a long way from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory. But Zora Stewart will go any distance to put the tragic events of her sixteenth summer behind her. So this city girl heads to the tiny frontier town of West Glory to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going.

When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar.
But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young “sooner” whose fertile land is coveted.

As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a “springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.

Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

is available at Indiebound |Amazon| Barnes & Noble

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture-deliverer and a layout waxer. She's dodged trains, endured basic training, and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children, and makes paper for fun. She's the author of Shadowed Summer, The Vespertine, The Springsweet, and the forthcoming The Elementals and Mistwalker. She's also the editor of the forthcoming YA anthology Defy the Dark. She always picks truth; dares are too easy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Started the day in a foul, hopeless mood. Things improved when I alternated writing/revision with tea cabinet rearranging. Huzzah!

Got rid of lots of tea I hadn't touched for years and hopefully made things more accessible, just in time for a visit from dear friend and fellow tea fanatic Michelle Lunsford.

For the most part, I have bagged tea on the left (the silver canister is full of Harney & Sons Holiday tea sachets) and loose leaf on the right. The bottom right shelf is well-stocked with caffeinated black tea -- my mainstay -- and above that is the herbal/decaf tea. My favorites are all within easy reach!


I also was tempted by Natalie Parker to procrastinate participate in a writerly meme. (I know, I know, I should be getting work done. I WILL. Right after I finish this entry.)

If you’re tagged (I wasn't, but who cares?), you have to do the following:

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
Go to line 7
Copy down the next seven lines/sentences as they are – no cheating
Tag 7 other authors
(I hate tagging people. Please join the fun if you are so inspired!)

Two framed cross-stitch samplers hung upon otherwise bare walls. I leaned in to peer at one, but it was dated 1872 – at least 40 years too early to be the work of our mother. A pair of silverfish, curled in a death embrace, formed a whiskery blotch in the corner.

I turned to find Ana poking around in a cabinet. “There are the creepiest old toys in here – wooden soldiers covered in bite marks and dolls with half their hair gone. The carnage of Colleys past, I suppose.” She flipped her own hair back and shivered.

Eeep! I followed the rules and did not tweak. Now . . . back to work!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Favorites: the collateral joys of seeing HUNGER GAMES

I finally saw HUNGER GAMES this past Tuesday.

Yeah, it was great, but one thing that really thrilled me that night was finally getting to see the Prometheus trailer on the big screen. Even if this film gets the worst reviews ever I'll still be running to the theater because, you guys, Ridley Scott! Space Horror! And this cast? Guy Pearce, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and IDRIS ELBA WITH A SOUTHERN ACCENT? Get outa town! It looks so gorgeous and creepy. See for yourself:

Another striking discovery that's more directly related to HUNGER GAMES was The Civil Wars' contribution to the soundtrack. I've been stuck in a music rut for soooooo long that it was nice to finally have a new band to download. I'd heard of them before, but never actually heard them until the movie. I'm sure all you cool cats were in the know already, but remember, I've been living in the music cave of lame, and they are big news to me. Heh.

P.S. Turned in my revisions! Time to work on the shiny new thing. :)