Thursday, May 26, 2011

Resurrection of Magic

 Two stories, 200 years apart. The first story causes the second one.

I am writing the third book now. Click the red link for more news:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rochester NY Teen Book Festival. WOW.

 Heather Brewer, me, Ellen Hopkins

Terry Trueman

Plus twenty- four more teen and tween authors.....and about 4,000 other wonderful  people...

Teachers and teens fill the room... Ms. Johnston loves literature!! Her students learn about peanut butter poofs, her family in Germany--and how to read deeper and write better.

....Everyone had a fabulous time at The Rochester Teen Book Festival.  We had amazing transportation...a lovely vintage bus, classic cars!!! A marching band and a Drum Corps met us at the gate. There was amazing food, a beautiful campus, a little misty rain, and BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS.  (Note to all the teen boys who did not come to the book festival. Look at the above photos carefully. Lots of girls. Smart, interesting, girls. Next year, get on the bus!!)

Check out the art behind Heather and me...even the faculty dinner restaurant was amazing.

YAY Rochester!!!  A thousand thanks to Stephanie A. Squicciarini  and her amazing staff. Nothing went wrong, EVERY SINGLE THING went right.  If you can get to Rochester next year, do it. I am hoping to be there.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

writing updates, all projects #2

What is better than the mile long post Writing Updates 2011?   MORE writing updates that pick up where it left off. And this one is important. A weight has lifted. I can now go on with the writing....because...

Yesterday was one of those days that starts with prolonged frustration and continues into headdesk confusion that sends me outside with a shovel to re-arrange the earth.

Then late in the evening it suddenly bloomed into 2000 words that are so right, so perfect, that it was worth the wait.  Sadima has made the decision.  Not the one I expected, but the one I hoped for. So. This changes everything for her, for me, for the city of  Limori.



Back from Rochester NY. Traveling is always interesting, and sometimes amazing, even though it interrupts my work. I took manuscript pages with me and read on the planes...and I think the 400 or so pages I have written is good. Maybe really good. So today I am going back to Limori.

The basics: Somiss and Franklin and Sadima and Hahp are all still alive.  So is Gerrard. Winter is ending now and Sadima has made the monstrous decision I thought she *wouldn't* make. The angry young men in South End are crossing the line into the city of Limori. Guards are everywhere. Hatred and blame and anger are everywhere, too.  The children of the wealthiest people have guards of their own, hired by their anxious  parents...and things are getting worse. Sadima is crossing Market Square, walking fast, hoping...


It is 7:30 am. I am rocking back and forth in my chair, wishing I knew what was going to happen today.  The boys inside the cliffs are facing something deep and true and lethal.  The ordeals they have lived through are enough, too much, really, for anyone to endure, but this will be the thing that defeats them. Maybe. They are almost at the point of not caring and that might save them.  Maybe.

The photo was taken from a plane window, flying at 37,000 ft. This is Iceland.  I was coming home from Dubai and Abu Dhabi school visits. Skin Hunger had just been published. A teacher at one of the schools was the first person to read it and tell me he loved it.


Hahp knows what he has to do and he knows what it is going to cost him. So do I.  Oh, man this is going to be a hard one to write. If I am still coherent by the end of the day, I will add to this and let you know how it went. Blood is involved--and fear.

This was taken from a train window, traveling north along the pacific coast.
This is where I want to be today. But I am not. I am in my office and scared to start writing. But I will.  NOW.

Last night was a blind leap and now I need to read the pages again and see if it is as true as it seemed. I think it will be. I hope so. It is hard when you love the people in the book and you know that not all of them can possibly survive the shitstorm you know is coming. They know it, too.


May 23 2011

This Aloe bainesii tree is in the front yard ((that isn't a yard. really.))

Yesterday's  pages were deep and true and painful.  And today I have to get back to the task of tweaking time lines again before I can go on....Hope to be writing new words by about 2:00pm PDS.  The next scene is pretty tense...and sometimes that means it won't be anything like I imagined it would be.


May 26th:

I want to start by thanking everyone who has written to me about my books. You can't imagine what it means to me. I try to answer at least some of the messages. Please know that I am just overwhelmed in projects right now, I appreciate every single word you write. I always have. You would be amazed how much your responses give me courage.
art copyright Omar Rayyan, from The Unicorns Secret:

Today, in the troubled city of Limori,  something terrible will happen. Hahp won't know about it--he is inside the cliffs, trying to find a way out. Neither will Sadima. She is caught between what is right and what might save someone she loves.  But it is going to change both of their lives.


Hahp is facing a terrible choice this morning, if it is morning.  There is no daylight inside the cliffs except inside Jux's forest--if it is a forest. A wizard has pounded on the door, then walked away--so no classes today. Hahp can smell a faint scent of smoke in the stale, still air. That scares him.  It should.

This is a tree in the courtyard of the Alamo.
Where people who could have run away stayed and died.
Yes. All the images echo the book one way or another.

Yesterday's pages were painful to write. Reading them this morning...what happened makes sense, I can see it as I read it....and the emotional depth was there. I cried again.  So....back to work now.  I usually clean up the previous day's work, which also gives me a running start.

This epiphyllum didn't bloom last year.  I think the rain this winter made it happy enough to blossom.  The flowers last a couple days, tops, but they are spectacular, hanging downward at the end of long, flat, leaf-links. This one is about 8 inches across. Within a few days, the flower with shrivel and it will be a scruffy green succulent plant again, plagued by snails, drab and almost invisible to anyone walking past.


June 1 2011
Inside the cliffs...two people have just been reunited, more or less. One of them is probably not going to live much longer. Outside the cliffs, the city of Limori is seething. And now I will go see what happens next.

I was standing on top of a sea cliff in Hawaii when I took this, looking straight down at the ocean--which is never, ever, still.


6  3 2011

Sitting here trying to summarize yesterday's writing without a spoiler and this is the best I can do.  All this training, all the magic, all the brutality it takes to learn it...changes people forever. It has to.  So it is spring in Limori but the flowers are not blooming this year.


I have started to write this update three or four times, then delete it because the story is entering the last third of the book and anything I say will be a spoiler. So, just the basics:  Hahp and Gerrard are alive. Sadima is alive. Everything is changing, partly because of things happening outside the cliffs. As always, it is hard for the boys to tell what is real and what isn't.  And there's this:  I cried for a long time last night because of the chapter I had just written.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Small World!

Another thanks to all the people reading my books here at home and outside the US.

A young man from Russia contacted me last week for information for a class presentation. I hope it went well.  If you know Anton, tell him hello for me!  Anyone can contact me through my website:

May 23 2011:

United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Russia, Slovenia ,Taiwan, Canada, Australia, Germany, Georgia, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Philippines, Arab Emirates, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Poland, South Africa, Romania, Hungary, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, France, China, Switzerland!!!  Ireland...hello!  My great grandparents left there to come here.   

Hello to everyone...I wish you all peace, prosperity, and happiness. 

Friday, May 06, 2011

A Resurrection of Magic: Balance.

 In my trilogy, A Resurrection of Magic, students are required to do the impossible. Random videos sometimes help me imagine the kind of disciplines learning real magic would include. The line between skill and magic is astonishingly thin.