Saturday, October 27, 2007

California fires...

A thousand thanks to everyone who has written to ask if I am all right. I am. It came within about half a mile, we had to evacuate for most of last week, but we are home now.

My son and I were talking about Santa Ana winds yesterday--about how they scrape at the human nervous system. They have always made me uneasy. When he was little, he said, the winds were exciting, like there was some adventure coming, something just over the hill, something you had to be ready for.

The humidity was 5% for about three days--wind gusts peaked around 70 mph, consistently 25-40 mph. There were three days of a ruddy false twilights that came and went as the wind shifted, three nights of a vivid orange moon and fire outlining the shapes of ridges. Over half a million people were evacuated. Many are not yet home. Some will come home to rubble. We are in the second year of a dust and bones drought--which was preceded by a really rainy year. That year grew the thickets of brush and weeds that are now brittle, dry and still burning in sweeping fronts all over southern California.

It is still smoky at times, as the air shifts. It is just before sunrise here and I went outside and walked around to wake up--something I usually do--and saw clouds here and there--so the humidity is coming back up. I can see the glow on Palomar Mountain off to the east, too, and the smell of smoke is on the breeze coming from the northwest. So the Poomacha and Rice/de Luz fires are still alive. The Santa Ana winds, we are told, could rise up again over the next few days. Some places, that would actually help--driving the flames back toward the already-burned land. Other places, it could enlarge existing fire areas.

The firefighters are amazing, working 48 hours shifts, many from northern CA, many using older equipment, and all of them fighting walls of flame without air support in too many places for far too long. People have been helping neighbors, saving pets, donating time, money, expertise, taking in evacuees--doing all the things that make one proud to be human, at least for a while...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NBA finalist?? Thank you, S&S for the gorgeous flowers!!

The bouquet is huge, sweet and beautiful.
((the pix are hi-rez click for the real deal))
I am just overwhelmed and I still can't quite believe it.
I am very very happy.
And there's this, too: As I work madly on the next book--Sacred Scars--I am feeling bolder and reckless and strong--that feeling you get after you jump over a fire, and land safe. But in the same instant, I am afraid (and by afraid, I mean terrified) that it was a fluke.
Newsflash: Writers are endlessly nutty.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

National Book Award finalist?!?!!

The call came yesterday--now that the press release is out, I can talk about it.
I am beyond happy.

Skin Hunger--and the rest of the trilogy, in progress now--contains a lot of my heart and my intellect. It is so close to the bone for me that it has been hard to write at times...

I am so honored, so thrilled.

And if I had had ANY idea this might happen, I would never have written about my septic tank on this blog a few days ago.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Writing like crazy. No. Really. Like crazy. I am late with the second volume of A Resurrection of Magic. Long story why, there are personal and other reasons. Most recent (yesterday) and funniest: my septic tank died. I will spare you the details. No, I won't. It is ten long strides away from my office. Machinery, people digging ditches, yuckiness, olfactory torture and $ leaving my hands--all this is in my future.

The title came to me though. Finally. And it came to me when I was staring down the throat of this fern, enchanted/dizzy.

Sacred Scars.
It fits perfectly. Ferns are very wise. It took me half a day to realize that Sadima's home, the little hill farm village in the book is called...Ferne. It made me shiver, realizing that. When the story is dragging the writer along by her subconscious...that is usually when it is truly working.
back to writing. A thousand kisses to everyone writing to me about Skin Hunger. I am hurrying and I think Sacred Scars will be worth the wait.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

rainy day

These are Surinam Cherries. They taste like--not cherries. Not like anything else. I wasn't sure they would bear here, but they have. Pears are in, and really good this year. Bananas have set, but really late, so I don't know what will happen. Fuyu persimmons and sapotes are up next.

I want to go outside and walk around in the rain. Southern California is starved for rain. But no. I need to write before I lose an extraordinary (I hope) thing that came to me falling asleep last night. **spell check wants to change sapote to Capote. That has to bode well for the day's work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Puppy updates.

The little girlpup is off to Texas to her new home. Her brothers remain, and they bounce off my office walls while I work.

I am sunk deep in the stone passageways where the second book of The Resurrection of Magic trilogy is taking place. There and on the docks in South End, the slums of Limori.

Limori is an old gypsy word.
Its meaning is central to the books.
All the place names and character names have real linguistic roots, some of them obscure, some not. Knowing the meanings matters to me. There is a resonance.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Writing... Sometimes the story just spins out like you have nothing at all to do with making it up. Today was like that, silk and quicksand. Bliss.

Porcelain dish belonged to Molly Hamilton, my
great aunt. Button jar... I can trace most of them
to clothing I wore on landmark days,some are
from thriftstores, some found in old houses,

and other places. It's odd what we love, what we keep.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

working, working

The second book in the Resurrection of Magic trilogy has kidnapped me and dragged me off into the dark woods, then downhill over rocky ground into the passageways that riddle the cliffs.
I apologize for the lapse here, for the lapse in the message board at and for all the unanswered reader-mails. I brought the board up to date this morning. It's the best place to reach me now, and maybe for a while.

Cyn Smith interviewed me. It's up several places. I am honored. If you don't know what a planet's worth of YA lit information is on her webplaces, or you haven't read Tantalize yet, you are in for a wonderful ride.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

They are now two weeks older than in the image here. More pics when I get a minute and I do mean a minute of spare time. They now have needley, quick teeth, insane energy and breath that smells like a summer day in deep, soft grass. They have velvet bellies and a great sense of humor and I love them....
...and they are much like 2 year old children. Outside, they run three different directions, seem not to know I am calling them, no, it's worse than that, they refuse to acknowledge that we have ever met. They just keep galloping, like miniature polar bears, until a fence, a thicket of lavender, a palm trunk, until my outstretched hands bring them, one at a time, to an unwilling, fish-wriggle halt. Carrying all three is nearly impossible now--but I can't leave any of them alone for more than a few seconds.

The next title in A Resurrection of Magic is going well, thanks for asking. An unexpected character walked onstage this afternoon, a man who has lived too long and too long alone.

Back to the stone passageways.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the dream experiment

art copyright David Ho 2006
Dream experiment update

My dreams are now often set in the world where A Resurrection of Magic takes place. I wake up tired, sometimes, then remember why.
In the dreams...
...inside the cliffs, the place looks like David Ho's cover art, like I always saw it, dark, cold, stone-grit underfoot. The city of Limori, I realize now, is much like Fez, Morocco, mixed with the old, white washed adobes of New Mexico, the people dressed like Dickensian characters who have been transported to a bright, coastal town.
The countryside is pure Colorado. I noticed cottonwood trees last night, then, when the dream swooped me back to Sadima's village up in the hills, there were aspens. Not possible at that altitude, but I apparently don't care.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

.....Just back from SCBWI's annual summer conference in LA.
It is, every year, a reunion of like minds and linked hearts. The writer tribe. And the illustrator tribe, too. I laughed so much, had so much fun. I always learn a great deal, listening to other writers talk about their method of dragging stories into the world.
This sketch was done by Joanne Renaud--last year. Seeing her again this year reminded me to put it up. She is doing covers and illustrations now...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

February?? July???

I haven't posted in many months.

Time flies when you are writing and traveling? It must. Anyone interested in the pictures from Dubai and Abu Dhabi can see some of them on just scroll down past the puppies and all that has stacked up above them. Anyone who wants to see the whole messy slide show can email me at kathleen at kathleenduey dot com--and I will send you the easyshare link.

Worklife: I will turn in the draft of the second Resurrection of Magic book early Fall. Reviews are coming in on the first one and I am relieved--and thrilled.
It is the oddest thing to read what other people think of your work... sometimes they see what you meant to paint, other times, they see something you didn't intend, which can be more interesting than the things you did intend...

The second book is taking turns I didn't expect. I feel like I am living in that world now, that I just visit this one a few times a day to eat, shower, maybe rest a little, before I go back. It is a harrowing place, but I love it there.

Monday, February 12, 2007

beginning a book

I am starting the second book of a YA trilogy. Starting any book is a leap off a high branch. I think most writers are like sugar gliders. We can't fly, but we have the illusion, for a while, that we can, and then it is time to look for a place to land. I usually land in the middle of chapter four or so and have to reground, rethink the logic of the emotions and the storyline. This is something like climbing back up to a place from which I can jump again. I am going to try to blog the process of writing a book here. We'll see.