Thursday, December 31, 2009


If enough of us clasp hands and agree that we don't have to believe the hatreds that we were taught, everything will be all right. Each person is responsible for at least that much. But if you have time, help someone else along. It's going to take all of us, focused and active, to clean up the mess we have helped make. I say let's start now....

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the humans and everyone else on the planet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

IT'S ABOUT TIME? (for a new post)

I am falling behind on everything webbish, I know that. But I am getting books written and that has to count for something.

Thanks to everyone nudging me to write faster, to get back to Russet. Thanks to the people saying they can't wait for the third Resurrection of Magic book. And I love each and every adult who is excited to read the Faeries Promise (releasing in Spring 2010) because they loved The Unicorn's Secret--even though both series are written for gradeschool kids.

May all your holidays be warm and full of love.

And now, back to work.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Writing Progress, all current projects.

updated 10/27
I am so preoccupied with the writing of the third book of the Resurrection of Magic trilogy that I am not writing blog posts (or anything else) very often. I will be MUCH more interesting in a few months. Until then, I think I will start putting my FB writing dailies up here, too. All in this one post, I mean. I will keep adding them to the bottom--you can read downward, oldest first, so it makes SOME's just a sketchy little writing diary as I wade through this third, complicated book:

((adding this later. I am now (11/7) splitting days between two projects
and the updates include The Faerie's Promise, book 3 Wishes and Wings))

Just made the *best* connection in the book. One of those things that drops into place like it has been machined into 1/1000th centimeter tolerance and fits! Oh I love my job.

Good morning, Richard is sick and I kiss him a lot, but I am hoping... Still flying on the third book of the trilogy--can't wait to go to work. LOVE the new covers for The Unicorn's Secret and The Faeries Promise, releasing spring 2010. New website coming up~~wrote the bio: I have such a weird life. Adult and YA readers: the experiment is working better than I ever thought possible.

I was awake between 3:00 and 5:30 whispering into my digicorder and walking the dark house back to front...staring at the moon through the trees. The book is getting deeper and wider.

I am writing like mad, like MAD, I tell you. It is an undescribable high when it comes this fast.....

Maybe getting what Richard has, coughing a little ...gave up on sleep at 4:30, have been working since. I'm writing Sadima's story but have to switch soon. Hahp's story interlocks; I must make them fit. The timelines--200 years apart in the first book-- are now within 40 years of concurrent. Sadima is fighting to stay whole: The boys are capable of anything at this point. Anything. So who knows? Not me. I love my job.

Another good day yesterday, two chapters added (they are short chapters, so about 3800 words.) I hope to add two more today. This helps make up for all the stare at the wall days...I had to spend time trying to get started! Today I will leave Sadima at a delicate... and painful.... crossroads to go see if Hahp and Gerrard are starting to see past the craziness...

The TLA panel I will be on: Cory Doctorow, Matt de la Pena, Chris Crutcher, Shannon Hale and me. And Ellen Hopkins tells me she and Sonya Sones will be on a panel with Lisa Shroeder. That is a lot of YA amazingness all at once. TLA should be huge fun this year. (adding this later, also Jenni Holm is coming. YAY!)

Here for two minutes, apologies to the people I am not responding to for real-time chat... I have to seriously WRITE a few months will have a little more time to play...NEW WEBsite coming soon...YAY!!

The nameless book three is flying. Which is good. Because it took a long time to START flying. But, of all things, there appears to be a love story emerging. Maybe. I can't quite tell yet. A really really REALLY weird one.

Just wrote a really good chapter. Let the twists begin!!!

Today (In the unnamed book I am being eaten by) two people will be face to face who have not seen each other in 10 years. I am afraid that one will not be honest about where and why and what and who...and that the other one won't see the lies because of fear and exhaustion. Not just yet, anyway.

I left off writing last night at a really critical part of an emotional (for Sadima and me) scene. I never finish a chapter, so I always have a pick-up point in the writing, not a cold start, first thing in the morning... and this morning, I will be walking back into a maelstrom ...

Just got a bad review in a major journal. First one. Ouch. Major complaints, "nothing much happens" and "nothing is explained" in Sacred Scars. Well the last thing is sort of true. But MUCH is intimated....

I apologize for the whining. I am a little stressed, I think. Giant dreadlines are far to close....So I am off to write. The weird love story is looking more likely. I just...? It really is odd...but kind of wonderful, too.

Spent some time with the boys inside the cliff and then found a yogi who would talk to me about levitation, how it feels, how it clicks inside, clicks into place, how belief that one can do things is pivotal in doing them....and then I started thinking about how the magic in Limori would be shaped in order to make this possible: base jumping

Woke up with a little avalanche of revelations about something in Limori that has puzzled me lately. As you may know, there were no libraries in that mostly illiterate city except the royal one, which should have fallen into the hands of the magistrates when the last king was dethroned. But it didn't, and now I know where all those books are. Of course.

Sadima has not been to South End in years. This morning, she is on the long road from the countryside into the city of Limori. She has two graves to visit, rent money to collect, a cypress tree to find and a man she must deal with. One way or another.

What happens in South End...stays in South End? Not this time. Sadima visited the graves and went to the meeting hall, where Thomas spoke so often. It's locked up; a broken window; a man in a red tunic seemed to have the keys. But about an hour later, in the middle of a cobblestone street, near what was once her cheese shop, something happened to Sadima that has changed everything.

Two stories, 200 years apart. The first story causes the second, and by the middle of this last book of the trilogy, the time gap will have closed. The stories are about 30 years apart now. I often write 5-10 chapters of one strand, then switch. Sadima's story is at a resting point, so I will go back to Hahp and Gerrard now. Somiss seems to be gone. Why? Is it a chance or a trap...I will begin to find out today.

I ended up following Sadima through a very long and very hard night. And now, TODAY, it's back into the maze of passages inside the cliffs...I am hoping the boys are alive, eating, reclaiming their humanity after what happened in Sacred Scars. There are only five of them alive now. Hahp, Gerrard, Will, Levin and Jordan.

Report from inside the cliffs: everyone is still alive and managing, but the simple logic of "pass or starve" is disintegrating. I have no idea why or what will be replacing it, if anything. I can't tell where Somiss is, but Hahp thinks something is do I.

I am stopped cold this morning by a new idea. Will jot the thing down until the ideas dry up, then sprint back to Limori.

Ok, the new idea is written down and digicorded, therefore safe. I think it might be good. NOW off to Limori. As it turns out, most of the market-place fakers were performing metaphors for actual magic, a disguised art to survive the pograms/hangings. So Hahp is learning this: to prepare for the real stuff. I only hope I can describe it...

Today's chapter will have a terribly sad scene and I am procrastinating...but after that chapter comes one I have been waiting to write since I got the idea for these books 15 years ago...

The sad scene got written. Oh I cried. Then I had to do writerly nonwriting things (2 interviews, respond to emails, books flights for Jan FL writers intensive, etc, etc, ETC. and answer an email from an artist friend who is doing stage design for a play in China. Then I cut down more tree limbs. Today! Now! I write the long awaited scene of the beginners' exercises for the magic that underlies all other magic.

Sadima demanded my attention late last night. And when I add a chapter for her, I have to re-pace the Academy side of the story to add one there, too. Got up early and JUST finished the reordering. NOW I can reread the long awaited Franklin's New Class scene written yesterday morning. It came out faster than I could type, always a wonderful feeling. Next up: a midnight meeting. I think.

Ok. I have to split my time for a week in order to finish the third title of the Faeries Promise. So....Mornings= Faeries's Promise for 2-4th graders. The dark of night will be for the Limori Academy...As of last night I can only say that the forgotten half caved-in passages of the ancient smugglers' tunnels beneath the city of Limori are attracting street orphan "squatters" as the weather turns.

The Faeries Promise: faeries are forbidden contact with humans. Old Lord Dunraven made the laws. Without magic, people are dulled, easier to rule, better serfs. Alida was the hostage to ensure her family's exile, but Gavin, a human boy, has helped her escape. It's an apartheid story, in a way, both cultures damaged in isolation.

In Limori: it's all about trust. And shame. And secrecy. And juggling.

Two reactions to the odd love story emerging in the last trilogy book: The editor: "OOooooOOOoooooooooo...That could be INTERESTING!" The writer-friend whispered "Wow. Wow!! But...can you... DO that?" I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...and the characters want it. So this morning, I will write about faeries ...who want to go HOME. And then, in the dark of night, I will slide back to Limori...

The book with no name: It is raining in Limori today. Sadima is painting, crying. The street-rat kids are shivering and hungry. Inside the cliffs, no one can hear or even smell the rain. But they can hear screams.

People have asked about other projects. So there is a longer update below, then back to eensy ones tomorrow:

Thanks for emailing and tweeting and FBing and etc…I will continue his story when I can scratch out the time to talk to him again, probably in a month or two. I am completely fascinated with him. He is trying to escape his ((crazy and/or abusive or non-human, or victimized, or reality-gamer ...or??) parents and the one-winged angels: but first he has to get to Stehekin before they do. It’s a real place. The story is here, free, incomplete but I think it is kind of amazing…

This one is lurking at the edge of my thoughts most of the time. HUGE idea file now, many-many digicorder notes. Can't wait to write it.

The treatment is growing, expanding and the story is getting grittier and wilder. I will send it off to the incredibly patient agent (we talked about this at lunch in NYC in 2007) soon.

I have one included in an upcoming anthology edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. It's dark...about a unicorn who has lived too long. Many incredible writers are included.

(((The amazing editors: Holly's upcoming THE WHITE CAT is intricate, mysterious, creepy, set in a world almost like ours...*almost*. It stars a teen you can only love and worry about… first of a trilogy.

Justine's recent LIAR is getting stunning reviews, awards buzz, and amazing word of mouth recommendations. It is on my desk. I can't wait to read it.)))

I am writing short stories set in Limori, the city of A RESURRECTION OF MAGIC for my website which is slowly being completely rehauled. It’s a mess right now. It will be awesome…And when the stories are up, I will announce it here.

Take Care, everyone, and now I have to get to work! Tomorrow's update will be tiny again...

Still splitting days. Faeries are on their way back to Ash Grove: Elders, adults, rambunctious faerie kids, babies, goats pulling stout wooden carts, a caravan of winged people--all walking. Midday, continued reading. From 5pm to eyes-are-closing-time, back to Limori. Sadima knows she is being manipulated but by whom? And why?

The Faeries are so much fun to spend time with, I had forgotten how much I love Lord Dunraven's lands. The setting is the same as The Unicorn's Secret. Alida is watching her mother try to settle an argument. (faeries are noisy and opinionated). In Limori, Hahp is following Gerrard, ducking back out of the cold-fire light when he stops...

Fairies are funny. Testy, argumentative, difficult, and interesting. Lovely break from the dark and silent world in the cliffs. And Sadima has a man in her house...

Focusing on faeries for a few days to make a deadline:
Faeries are standing still, breathing silently. The magic makes them invisible. But Dunraven's guards are off their horses now, staring into the trees...

In a meadow near Ash Grove, everything grows faster because the soil has absorbed magic for a thousand years. The townspeople suspect the faeries have come home. They are all so afraid of what will happen when Lord Dunraven finds out.
I am getting close to the end of Wishes and Wings. I am reading it through, from page one, then will write the last two chapters.....

11/ 24 Between the last update and this one, I have finished the third Faeries' Promise, book ((LOVE to click send!))....then slept a little, rose at 3:30 am to make an early flight to Philadelphia, appeared at NCTE, saw many writer-friends, met a few new ones whose work I admire (I love meeting authors), signed many books for many terrific teachers and librarians, did a nine-minutes-per-table-of-fifteen-educators speed-dating session, joined Zilpha Keatly Snyder and Michael Buckly at the Secret Garden Bookstores to meet teachers and sign books, then flew home last night. And now, back to work. Today I start the copyedits of "Silence and Stone", the first of the Faeries Promise books, then will begin, tomorrow, writing the fourth one in the mornings, devoting the nighttime hours to the last book of the Resurrection of Magic trilogy. There is a new interesting idea/thing pounding on the door that I will sketch out today. And there is Russet. He is talking again....

11/25 thru 11/27
Am trying to find a middle grade novel idea I can fall in love with to send an editor I REALLY want to work with. Can't find one yet. Keep coming up with great ready for chapters ideas instead. Also fiddling with three other things, sort of a holiday break and idea-fishing trip... Have to get back to REAL work soon. But wheeeee....this is nice.

11/28 Copyedit/final go-through on Silence and Stone today. Should get the copyedits of (book #2) Following Magic back next week. Wishes and Wings (book #3) is off to the editor. I will start writing the fourth one mid next week.

Good day yesterday: finished Silence and Stone copyedits (short book, 60 pages), wrote text and batched pictures for the website re-do, gave the Free Rat proposal a couple of hours, and recorded MANY ideas/insights for the third Resurrection of Magic trilogy book while doing yardwork. Today: First, the dried out, now lettuce-edged Following Magic copyedit. Tonight: Free Rat again, I think. Or back to Limori... ((added 12/1 : thanks to the people on FB and Twitter who voted for Limori. You won. Hahp and Gerrard are learning this a quickness of mind and body that astound me. And them.
I am not sure where yesterday went. But it is gone. This morning I have begun a final read thru of the Faeries Promise #2 copyedits. Noonish, I will begin the revision of #3, which UPS says is *almost* here... THEN, tonight, I intend to go visit Russet. Thanks to everyone who is nudging (and the few who are pummeling me) me to get back to it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Norma Fox Mazer has passed away. There is a hole in my life, and in yours, too, whether you know it or not. A long time ago, I wrote her a fan letter. I was in the very early stages of my late-start writing career with two small books for beginning readers published. I wanted to write for young adults and I was looking for examples. My editor recommended Norma's masterful After The Rain.

I could only blink and wonder as I read the luminous last few pages. Norma had drawn a perfectly real life for her protagonist:

School, older-than-average parents, a PTSD-missing brother, eldercare for a grandfather so complex and so difficult that I loved and hated him, the kindness of strangers, the pitfalls of friendship, grief, deep, true self-discovery without a hint of sappiness, a sense of history and generations--all of that and a worthy boy to kiss. And the canvas wasn’t crowded.

After The Rain stunned and intimidated me into another ten years of skill-gathering before I would actually try to write YA. But I wrote my first “writer swoon” fan letter to Norma Mazer the day I finished her book. Imagine my amazement when she wrote me back.

We kept writing then began calling each other a few times a year. We finally met at an ALA in San Francisco and went to lunch and talked for two hours. We agreed on most things and argued with zest about what we didn't. And we kept crossing paths as writers do.

Norma and I were writer-friends. I met Harry, her wonderful (and a wonderful writer) husband, only once, also at a conference. We never visited each other's homes. But we shared similar sorrows in our lives, and we talked about them. I was always healed a little by her kindness and her generosity. I hope I gave her the same gift. I am sad and ashamed to admit that I had not contacted her for nearly two years. I don't know why. I would give anything to change that.

A few weeks ago, a twitter post written by Norma's daughter caught my eye. She was going home, she said, to spend time with her mother, who was very ill.
So I wrote her through her website and she told me what ‘very ill’ meant. I wrote a message to the family, and revised it ten or fifteen times, which made me laugh then cry.

So I have known this was coming. And a few minutes ago, I read about Norma’s death on a list for independent booksellers---which is a perfect and fitting way to find out.

Good night, dear Norma.
I miss you.
I will do my best to do my best without you.

If you missed meeting Norma or weren’t aware of her brilliant work, her words and books are still here And that, truly, is the magic of literacy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sacred Scars Review

No Spoilers!! Yay! (except my use of the eyedropper...?)

SACRED SCARS: Hornbook review 10/09

After the momentary pause at the (cliffhanger) end of SKIN HUNGER, the action resumes full throttle. In alternating chapters, magically attuned servant-girl Sadima plots a rebellion against her exploitive master Somiss, who is keeping her and Franklin captive in a cave complex while he relearns how to use the old magic; and two hundred years later, in the sadistic school for wizards run from the same cave complex, apprentice wizard Hahp plots a rebellion against Somiss and Franklin in a world where magic is now widespread. The plot-gunning question of what has happened to Sadima in the meantime is only partially answered: Duey doles clues with an eyedropper, keeping readers busily but happily engaged in connecting dots even as the horrors and triumphs of the unfolding story hold them spellbound. When the last page of this exquisitely suspenseful fantasy is turned, readers will be satisfied (Both plotlines come to crisis and thence to resolution, however temporary) but will feel they are still living in Duey’s world, waiting to discover what happens to the characters they have become so invested in—waiting impatiently for Duey to conjure the concluding volume.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Website in progress....YAY!!! and HELP!!!! and Prizes for the Helpfulest!!!

For years I have been so busy writing and being here, FB, MySpace, Twitter, etc, that I have let my antique website become... antiquier. But now I am excited to announce that a new one is in progress.

One difficult thing for the designer, Theo Black, is that I write for K-YA. I worried about finding a visual thematic thread that would not scare little kids but wouldn't distance/insult YA readers---but Theo has found a way!

So. What do you like to see on author's websites? What is annoying? What would you like to see on mine?

I am considering having short stories set in the same venues as my fantasy a sample, I guess, and perhaps fun for people who have already read and liked the books. Or taking stuff that didn't make it into the book and expanding it. Stories built on outtakes, I mean. Yes? No?

And what else would be good (or bad) ?

I would so appreciate and/all your thoughts/ideas/wild suggestions. Feel free to comment here or email me kathleen (at) kathleenduey (dot) com. The best idea gets a signed copy of whatever book you want a signed copy of!!!
Scroll down here to see almost everything I have ever written (and check out other authors, too)

A few of these books would be impossible--but only a few. (Forgive me, but US only on the book prize, eternal gratitude and a one page sneakpeek from book 3 (the book that has no name...yet) everywhere else.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Just a tiny selection of costumes...I could have done nothing BUT take pictures, but had to make it to my panels and eat and whatnot...

Monday, September 07, 2009


Just got back, minutes ago, all bleary and tired. I DO have some pics and will have them up soooon....

Highlights: (short list)

The amazing people who met to talk about Skin Hunger....wowohwow was it interesting to listen to all of your thoughts. Thanks so, so much!!!

Steam Punk...between Scott Westerfeld's amazing upcoming (or is it out? It's SOON) Leviathan, and the incredible costumes at the con, I fell myself leaning....

And then I thought....Bio Punk???
Or Pink Punk?


more soon.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Very much looking forward to being at DragonCon in Atlanta Thursday-Monday. So many interesting artists and writers coming and just general Con-goodness!!

YA track schedule:

Whole event info:

I will bring back ideas, artist's cards, adventures in mass transit, worldcab interviews, a worn-out me, and pix.

And will edit The Faeries Promise (Book 2, Wishes) on the plane.

((I owe this trip to Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier, and Scott Westerfeld who were all kind enough (I have been told) to talk up Skin Hunger when they attended DragonCon--thus tagging me on the YA track folks' map.))

They are all remarkable writers.

If you have not seen the trailer for Scott's too, too, cool Leviathan, go now and do so!

If you have not read the incredible thriller LIAR by Justine check it out. here.

Holly's amazing books are here and The White Cat is next up. It is astonishing. Trust me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Over 600 people are reading Russet now....!!

I am adding this in Feb. 2013. Everything below is all still true, except that the experiment has become a novel in progress. I expect to finish it before 2014.

The blog below was written early in the experiment. By the time I stopped writing in tweets, there were three thousand people reading Russet.  (((I had to set it aside to write work that was already scheduled by my publishers, including my trilogy:  A Resurrection of Magic is in production now (yay) 

The original post:

Thanks so much to everyone who has been in touch. I hoped the novel would work. I never expected what it has become. Instead of writing back to everyone, here are the answers to some of your questions:

1. I don't know how long Russet will be. The train feels like the first segment to me. No, it is not close to being finished. It is just getting started, I think.

2. I don't know it if will ever be published. I am not thinking about that at all now.

3. I think it might make an interesting film, too. What is finished would be the first act.

4. Yes, there is a Coast Starlight train, I have traveled this route many times. I love long train rides.

5. Where did the idea for doing a twitter novel come from? I talked about it here.

6. What was the inspiration for the story itself? I met a woman on a plane once, who was very clearly not who she said she was...I had lived in the city she claimed to be from, and I could tell she had never been there. Then I overheard her talking to someone else in the terminal, using a distinctly different voice and accent. So that was probably the spark.

7. Yes. I have written many normal books. You can find information on them here, just scroll down a bit.

8. Today, there are about 23 typed pages of tweets. Because of the compression, it feels like about 100 pages of novel to me.

9. I have to fit it in around my published work, and my travels. So sometimes there are lags of a week or so. I apologize. Sometimes I add material every day.

10. I announce updates on Twitter @kdueykduey and FB.

Thanks again!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The amazing SCBWI!

SCBWI .... If I didn't have a deadline banshee-big-freight-training its way toward me I would write more. The basics: SCBWI only gets better, smarter, bigger and more important. If you want to write for young readers k-YA, there is nowhere like to get a start.

And as a plus, in that amazing Hollywood hotel, I always meet someone outside the conference group. My last morning, it was a pair of producers, sitting two feet away, agonizing about the cost of getting the crew and cast to Italy to film scenes with restored/replica 14th century ships--but all the people and all the equipment was in Prague. But if they filmed with minimal crew, the effects after-production costs would soar...And they had five days to figure it out. We chatted a little .One of them asked me, as a novelist, if I know the ending before I start, like screen writers almost always do. I told He said I was brave. Uh, no. Just disorganized?

Photo by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, with permission, and thanks!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


SACRED SCARS released:

I just received the first review of SACRED SCARS, from Kirkus, and it’s lovely:
(I am editing out some spoiler-ish things...)

“Thrumming with dense, meaningful tension from first page to last, this middle installment in the Resurrection of Magic trilogy follows the two plotlines established in the first volume, Skin Hunger (2007), through despair, oppression and rare moments of hope. Sadima’s thread begins in the caves, where she’s repeatedly hand-copying sociopathic Somiss’s research on ancient magic and (ostensibly) teaching caged boys to write. The second thread, interwoven, follows Hahp through indeterminate years in the caves, in an epoch far later than Sadima’s early section but possibly matching the end of her later one. The text so successfully portrays Hahp’s experience in this grueling, cold-blooded wizard “academy”—isolation, starvation, abuse and constant, unsolvable puzzles—that readers may absorb his strain, confusion and desolation themselves. A single detail implies that Sadima’s thread will converge with Hahp’s in a heartbreaking way, but it could be a red herring. Absorbing and unwaveringly suspenseful.”

New review of the first book in the trilogy, SKIN HUNGER

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sacred Scars

Just got the the ARCS and am so pleased with the cover. Also the size. It's 200 pages longer than Skin Hunger.

A /SF/F Editor/ tribal elder called me to tell me I am going to need four books, not three. We'll just see, Charles...
It looks good. Weighty. I love the smell of new books. I love this job. Sacred Scars will be released in August.

You can read an excerpt here:
It's free, of course. You have to sign up for an account, (free, and quick!) choose my book, click BUY (for free) goes to your library page, click the cover and five pages of excerpts--some from each story, come up.

Ipulp is growing fast. Keith Shaw wants to make downloadable stories as easy and available as downloadable music.
((He is looking for writers/content, too!))

Monday, May 18, 2009


I am writing so much that I barely have time to eat. Good thing I love writing. And it won't be this tight too much longer. I will soon be back to my normal overload. It will feel like coasting....((at first))

STAYS is getting really interesting...

Friday, May 15, 2009 very own personal account.

Because Russet:One Wing has taken over my twitter account, I have opened a personal one.

You can find me at with, like, no followers, floundering, lonely, save me...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the website re-do begins

In the next week or so, I hope to begin a complete re-do of my antique website....

I think I will be using some of my photos as some of the backgrounds.
Actually, I am pretty sure of that part. Little else.

Design-wise, it'd be so good if I only wrote for one age group. But no. I write for K- YA. So there have to be three sections: One for educators/parents/librarians, one for the youngest readers, and one for teens.

So the design challenge is to make each part feel appropriate for the audience and still, somehow, not end up with a crazy-quilt for the whole site.

Updates and maybe a few sneek peeks (you know you can't wait?) will appear here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Two amazing things:

Cyn Smith let me guest blog about the experimental aspect of the Russet novel today.


Here is the faculty lineup for SCBWI 09 in LA. I can't believe I am on a list with these people.




The German translation of Skin Hunger is out. It's always an astonishing thing, being translated, to know that the story transcends the original language...
The Random House German editor really loved the book--which is so wonderful!! their catalogue

Friday, May 01, 2009

Just back from Wisconsin schools. Thanks, Steven's Point and Tigerton. Dearest teachers and librarians: you were all wonderful, and your schools are full of capable, smart kids who care about their world. I admire teachers so much. And librarians. They keep this place running.

((Maybe we should pay them more?))

I will speak at Wisconsin State reading Association 2010 and hope to see you all then.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

At last, Russet has his own blog:
It's a twitter novel. He talks, I type. (Yes,that is a little weird.)
((Writing is a little weird.))

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Phone-chatting with a YA librarian yesterday, I explained the uneven rhythm of work that rules my life and sometimes consumes me--and I apologized for not being able to talk. She made an odd whooping noise. It startled me into taking the phone off my ear and staring at it for an instant. Then I listened again, catching her midsentence. "...wonderful! I'll tell the kids more books are hatching."
Yes. Exactly. I am setting eggs.

Russett: a Twitter Novel, is updated almost daily:
((It's kind of amazing, I think, how well the little bursts work.))

Thursday, April 02, 2009

An update, of all things

Here's the scoop.
Garden, mostly planted, weeds, mas o menos under control.

The second Faeries Promise book is mostly written--another week or so.

Sacred Scars needs a few more hours in response to the final copy edit and it's off to production.

Russet (see post below) is ongoing and absorbing. I usually write fast and furious, but this is totally without a net and I can't explain how great that feels. How real.

Free Rat is stalled, but it won't stay that way. The science is burgeoning. My premise becomes more and more probable.

STAYS is growing into a great book. Should have the first 60 or so pages together by month's end.
The Unicorn short story (currently titled The Third Virgin) is lined up for all marked up with notes from my amazing editors' astute comments.

What else. Oh, a new thing, at the talking stages with my oldest and dearest friend. We spent a couple hours Monday walking in long circles in my little town, talking into my dinky digicorder, laughing like loons, doing the writers'-speed-flash-concept-brain-party thing. We have a *great* idea.
Back to work.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Russet: It's a book, I am almost sure. A book in 140 character bites.


Here's a catch-up, with the tweets in order. It's turning into a book. I expect it will take a year or so. It's a few tweets per day... when Russet feels safe enough to update me. Anyone wanting to get Russet's story from the beginning, in order, can start   HERE

Thursday, March 12, 2009

reading the future

Elizabeth Delumba and others are writing about the future of books and reading today here

In 2007, Simon & Schuster asked me to write about why I had begun writing, to talk about books I had read, other influences—they wanted text they could use in a trifold hand-out for teachers and librarians. After a few days of turning out drafts lauding favorite teachers and naming novels and picture books that had inspired me, I suddenly remembered the real reason. And so I wrote this…
Colorado, fourth grade, morning recess:
It was a clear-blue winter day with one of those buffeting prairie winds that flattens the wheat fields before it bashes into the Rocky Mountains. We were indoors, desks in a circle, listening to the windows rattle. Then Mrs. Fredericksen began to read a story. It was about small town kids.
Usually, I closed my eyes, but that day I watched faces. One by one my classmates looked dreamy. Then, in unison, we were irritated at a mean city kid in the story. He had just moved in, and we were all angry when he stuffed snowballs down kids’ shirts and made up insulting nicknames.
When he was invited to go sledding—and the kids he had picked on ditched him in the woods—we all smiled. He deserved it. But when they circled back to find him, they couldn’t. It was late afternoon in the story—night would bring bitter cold.
I glanced around the circle. The whole fourth grade looked worried.
In the story, the kids ran for help. The sheriff didn’t scold them. He hit the volunteer fire siren. The kids sprinted for the grange hall to lead the volunteers. Hundreds of people came, wearing parkas and snow boots. They walked through the pine trees in lines, twenty feet between the searchers, all of them calling, going slow, looking into thickets and behind boulders.
We were all leaning forward in our desks. What if the mean kid was hurt? What if they didn’t find him? But finally, in the deep dusk, the boy was found. And he was all right, just scared and cold. I sat back in my chair along with everyone else—relieved, still listening to the story as apologies were traded, and the cold, tired volunteers headed home.
I slowly came back into myself, back into the classroom. We were all still a little breathless from running for help, being scared that a prank we had laughed at was going to turn into something terrible. And we were all proud of those kids and that little town—it was so much like our own.
And it suddenly seemed like magic to me, how a story could turn plain words into feelings. Anger, worry, fear, relief—everyone in the classroom had felt all of that and more. All at once, all of us.
Then Mrs. Fredericksen told us a little about the author—and I was changed forever. I had never once wondered about the people who wrote the stories I loved. That night, listening to the wind, I lay awake thinking. People wrote books? The next day, I started writing. I have never stopped.

There were three happy years in that three-room school house. It had been built almost a hundred years before the day Mrs. Fredericksen read the story about the bully. The building had been planted, red-brick solid, on the edge of what later became a wheat field on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. It was a piece of history. It still had a hitching rail. People had been fighting to close it for a decade or two before I went there, because it lacked modern teaching aids. My class was the last to use it. It is a museum now.
The book that made me want to write was a book: Paper and ink and pasteboard. Remembering Mrs. Fredericksen’s wonderful, changeful, reading voice, her insistence that I write a story a week (no one else, just me), the smell of the classroom, the Colorado snowstorms—it was astonishing how clear all the memories around that small-town story were for me.
I closed my eyes and I could see the book in Mrs. Fredericksen’s hands, the angel-wing double curve of the spine and deckled pages. And I suddenly realized I hadn’t read the story about the bully. I had absorbed it via the oldest story-delivery system of all: Voice.
I sat, staring at the text on the monitor before me, wondering if the delivery system mattered. I wrote my thoughts and kept typing, watching words pile up on a screen using technology I didn’t begin to understand.
Everything is changing. Some of my books are becoming e-books. And while most of my work is with Simon and Schuster and Penguin Group, I will soon write a story for a small company with a commercial space on itunes—where the stories will be downloaded. I work with another small company producing traditional looking baby-animal storybooks that come with a DVD of wildlife footage narrated by a child actor reading a script I have written, extending the character the child has met in the storybook . In the sleeve with the DVD is a secret pass code that opens a website with reading–readiness games based on the animal and its habitat. It’s huge fun to see kids’ reaction to the various elements of the story.
I am old enough to wish things would slow down a little—but I don’t wish that. I am excited by the possibilities and all the ways readers can get their stories. I’m on Face Book, MySpace, I keep a blog, and I am writing a twitter novel—a real story in 140 character bursts. It will take a year or more.
This year is busy. I'm chest-deep in a collaboration that includes a visual voice along with the words—not illustration, voice. My fantasy trilogy has two protagonists, the stories going back and forth every other chapter—two hundred years between the stories. It’s a complex and interesting thing and I am enjoying the reactions of readers raised with the flickering alertness of screen culture. Whoohoo! The media are mixing. Haven't the separations always seemed artificial and limiting?
I agree with others that bundling versions of the story—book, ebook, audiobook, and download and other methods yet to be discovered—is likely in the near future. The story-delivery system doesn’t seem to matter.
Stories can be serious, silly, erudite, stupid, inspiring, spooky, discomfiting, affirming, illustrated, designed, storyboarded, filmed, read on an e-reader, absorbed through earbuds, sung, recited by parrots, broadcast through a system of routers aimed at the skulls of future students who will take them in, whole, and glance at each other, ready to discuss.
Every story-delivery method will enhance something and lose something. Each story will touch some so deeply they never come all the way back, leave some cold, make some think, convince others the author is nuts, or brilliant, cruel... And ten years later, many will find they have different opinions of the same work when they re-listen, re-beam, re-absorb, re-whatever the story. Just as they do now when they reread.
This isn’t new.
Artists are just being handed new tools.
YAY! Let the fun begin.
I don’t have a Kindle. Yet.
I travel a lot and I hate lugging books. I am acclimated to reading on screens. So I am considering it. The biggest drawback will be not buying books from my local stores. And by local, I mean independent.
We need to figure that one out, and maybe the bundling of story versions will work. I hope so.
Having only McBooks’ franchises is a very bad idea. So are underfunded libraries. Narrowing choices will hurt literacy and America and the world and humanity. So as we all wallow happily in new ways to get our story on—we just need to make sure there are LOTS of stories available. Saving a little money short-term, even now, is not worth the risk of waking up to the morning the last independent bookstore closes its doors.
Paris will get too crowded if we all have to move at once.
Many more thoughts about about the future of reading will magically appear if you click here!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Russet and Twitter

Russet has been whispering in my ear for a long time. I have given him my twitter account. He is on his way to the beach now...not to have fun. To hide.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Springmingle Tut-ness

There is nothing like a trip to a museum with a knowledgeable (and brilliant) friend-docent, hundreds of astounding Egyptian artifacts, canopic jars, statues--and the sudden ending of a sudden snow storm--to bring out the silly....

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Twitter is a brilliant little thing.
It was designed to create good in-house communication in corporations. So if there were twenty people on the "gizmo publicity" team, once each hour, they tweeted things like: "revision of proposals finished" and "waiting for printer ink, but the guy says he'll come before lunch" and "meeting yielded better idea. shifting to direct mail efforts, send blurb suggestions" and so on.

People are using it now in various ways--mostly to check in with friends in quick little bursts. If you can imagine my life being interesting enough to follow, please do follow me, I am trying to be interesting.
But I am considering something else. I do not now, nor have I ever "invented" book characters. I have always more or less channeled them. They have to line up, though, because books take a very long time to write. There is one who is way down the list for having a whole book written about him. He is wildly unhappy about this. Since I am always interested in getting myself out of the way of the people I write about, I will see if he would consider surfacing sooner than later--in short little twitter-sized notes.

If it happens, I will announce it here, there, everywhere....and he can tweet instead of me. Trust me, his life is incredibly interesting.

we'll just see....


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


There is no writer-high like the one that comes when something is finished, off your desk--at least until someone throws it back for revisions...
enlarging this one, you can
see that the tree blooms first,
before it puts out leaves.
It has a thorned trunk and
can grow to 60' tall.
It's about 20 tall now...
still a third-grader...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

time? what time?

FaceBook, MySpace, MySpace Blog, Website, Writerwriterwrtier (blog), WRITE (blog), Twitter, Email, phone, and life.
And writing. I have five projects on deck.

If I don't answer your emails quickly, or sadly, maybe ever, it is not because I don't want to. It's because I can't find time. It means everything to me that readers write me. I just can't keep up, unless I give up writing. And that would make no sense at all. So please don't write me angry emails. The books that say I will answer every email were printed almost ten years ago, when it was true. I still do my best to answer them, and every single one makes me smile and write better. I just can't keep up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baby animals....

In the moments between my novels, I have been writing these. Each one is a beautifully illustrated picturebook , based on current research. The story is told from the viewpoint of a baby wild animal.
Inside the cover, there is a DVD of BBC wildlife footage with a child actor voicing the baby animal, guiding kids though a typical day in in his/her life.
The footage is scored with both natural sounds from the animals and their habitat, and original music that kids can sing along with. There's a set of "fun facts", too.
On on the DVD case is a key code for the MAF Kids' Club website. When a child enters each book's code, a new section of the website opens. All are full of games for kids 3-6, each one based on that animal and its habitat. Many of the games are reading readiness games. Each child chooses, dresses and equips an avatar. Points are earned and can be used to buy adventure "gear" that allows kids to cross rivers, use binoculars to see the animals in the distance, play their own choice of music as they explore the habitatand more. Every navigation link is voiced for prereaders. The games span a wide range of abilities.
It's a Stealth Literacy, multi-media three-fer: Book, Video, Website. There are four books available now, Ella, Leo, Korow, and Nanuq. Tahi (Dolphin) and Suluka (Snow Goose) are coming soon. The key-code in each book opens a new section of the website.
You can find or order the books through wonderful, local, independent bookstores, B&N, Borders, Amazon, and on the series website:
The team:
Executive Producers: Ron Berry and John Christianson
Artist: Lara Gurin
Art Director and Book Designer: Eugene Epstein
Writer and Creative Director: Kathleen Duey
Vidiographer: Stephanie Carlson
Composer and Sound Artist: George Fogelman
Website Wizards: Caleb Gray and Wes Gray
Credits for individual voice actors are listed in each book.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


This is a euphorbia:
Astounding thorns, poisonous sap. It is from a land of tenacious razor-toothed grazers and so makes no apologies about any of this.

I wrote some thorns into a scene in STAYS a while ago. They aren't the focus, just a background touch, but doing the initial rewrites, I noticed them again. I wrote a poem yesterday--first poem in a while. It felt nice.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Free Rat, Stays, Unicorn Untitled, The Virgin's Blood, Wishes

These are my current projects.

One is a film-book idea, one a short story, the rest novels. All but Wish, for 2-4th graders, are YA. One include two voices, one art, one text, one a development situation with an agent who will look at early work and contribute, the rest with my beloved literary agent.

I am working long days now, knowing that in about a month I will be starting the last book in my Resurrection of Magic trilogy. They are complex books: two stories go back and forth every other chapter, taking place about two hundred years apart (though that gap is closing). The first story causes the second one. There are two equally weighted protagonists, both in the same place--which has changed over time, of course. So, once I begin consumes me.

Before I am consumed, I want to have a killer-diller partial book/complete synopsis of STAYS (which is shaping up to be *really* interesting) A good summary-start on Free Rat, which is fascinating as it grows, a finished Faeries Promise: Wish, a completed Unicorn Untitled, and a few chapters and synopsis of A Virgin's Blood. So I won't be posting as often for a bit...

That odd little thing is starting to happen to me again. I think about how upset a character will be when they find out another character is hurt, then remember they are in separate books. Or are they?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


My friend Sonya Sones, (Lovely person and fabulous poet/verse novelist) is judging a fun, teen writing contest. Entries will continue the story in her new book, What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know. Go check out all the rules and instructions. Here are the basic rules. To qualify you must state (truthfuly!!):

That you are the author of the entry
That you are 13 to 18 years of age on the date of entry
That the work(s) is/are original and unpublished
That you agree to the rules of the competition (details on the link above)
That you are entering only one work to the competition
All entries must be received by 11:59PM EST on April 3, 2009, the contest deadline. Limit one entry per person. Keep it short but sweet - no more than 1,500 words or ten pages

Have fun and good luck if you enter.....!!!


Coming in for a landing, I think.

After wrestling with the Free Rat story for...years...
I think I have the basic plotline now.
How did I finally manage it? The truest thing is this: I finally got out of the way.


This is Nashville TN from 15,000 ft.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


President Obama has asked us all to do our best.
Martin Luther King said that if your job was washing floors, to make sure that you were the best floorwasher.
My mother said self respect is earned, not given. That has always made sense to me.
Whatever you do, do it well. Whatever you use, use less of it. Don't waste half of it--or any of it. The world can't afford its citizens to be foolish or asleep any longer. There are too many of us, too many problems and too much work at hand. I am inspired and encouraged and ready to work.

Friday, January 16, 2009


If you ever read Sacred Scars, these are the cliffs, and this what Hahp did, with a very different sort of wingsuit. And oh, yes, he will do it again. Who wouldn't?


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Looking forward to Feb!!!

I will be in Milwaukee for the Wisconsin Reading Association event Feb.4-7th. I look forward to speaking to educators, librarians and readers there. And seeing friends. They have a gazillion authors coming...
February 26-28 I will be in Altlanta to keynote the SCBWI spring conference. Session titles: "Art, Craft and Filthy Commerce" and "Bricks, Mist, Voices, and Heart - Tools to try".

I include the titles, because I like them. The last two speaking gigs have had terrible titles, truly lame, I have no idea what happened to my brain. Maybe the '08 travel extravaganza? The Sacred Scars dash-to-deadline? Whatever. Embarrassing.

After these two events, I will be locked in my office until May, for BEA in NYC...then nothing else until August. I have a lot of projects in the works this year and have to stay home and write until the release of Sacred Scars.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

bumbling stupid day...

I rarely have completely useless writing days, but this was the perfect one. I have five projects in motion and none of them went anywhere. I give, I am off to do anything but sit here and try to write. Tomorrow will be better...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I cleaned a corner of my office yesterday and came across the National Book Award finalist medal that was given to me (such an amazing gift) in 2007. I am not sure I can explain what it meant to me. More than anything, the gift was a feeling that I really am a writer--that I really can write pretty well.
I finished Sacred Scars today--the copyedits, I mean, I am now free. It is the second book in a trilogy. Perhaps these characters will hush for a while, now, and I can think about other projects.

This picture was taken at one of the NBA award events--an auditorium in the New School in NYC, full of YA kids from all over the city.

Sarah Zarr and I are talking beneath the radar of the tall people all around us...left to right: Brian Selznick, me, Sherman Alexie, Sara Zarr, Sindy Felin