2 months ago
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
In the second book of the Prophecy of Days series, Caity and her totally trusty BFF, Justine, continue their quest to unite the world's young people to fight the Shadow Government. Enrolling in an exclusive private school as a cover, they travel to the Dunhuang Caves under the pretext of a research project to find Uncle Li and the Sanskrit texts now in his possession. Aided by hunky Alex and members of The Council introduced in the first book, Caity and Justine arrive in China only to find that many things are not as they appear and that the Fraternitas and Shadow Government are infinitely more powerful than Caity ever imagined. Conspiracies abound in the second book of the Prophecy of Days series, which, if possible, moves at an even greater pace than the first. Raedeke weaves together an impressive array of mysticism, ancient knowledge, and conspiracy theories while keeping the main plot, if not all the details, easy to follow. Caity's emerging romance with Alex is sweet and believable, but readers will certainly enjoy the brief love triangle with the addition of handsome but obviously sinister Jules D'Aubigne. While more literary readers may scoff at the idea that love and good vibes from the under-twenty set can conquer a worldwide secret government that controls everything from electromagnetic energy waves to the World Bank, they are missing the point. Do not bother worrying about plot holes or stereotypical characters; just sit back and enjoy this summer blockbuster of a book.
VOYA is “the library magazine serving those who serve young adults.” Reviewer: Summer Hayes
at 8:05 AM
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
So I've been here in Manhattan for almost a week working on a secret project, and it's been very busy. Today was the first day I've had to kick around, so my first task was to catch Prophecy of Days in situ at the main branch of the New York Public Library. It still makes me giddy to think that my book is shelved in this iconic library.
My goal was to find the books on the shelves and take some quick snaps (without flash, of course, NYPL staff). I was so bummed that they were all checked out! Well, I suppose that's a good thing, but I was really, really looking forward to that photo. So I snapped a pic of the catalog screen - though all digital, it's technically still a photo of my book in the NYPL. I leave dejected that my life is becoming ever more virtual.
On my way out my spirits are lifted by two enormous replicas of the lions in Legos. I miss my children terribly, and this meshing of where I am with their favorite toy makes me smile.
|I love this place! It's a Beaux-Arts masterpiece.|
|Digital pic of digital representation of PoD in the NYPL.|
|100% Legos, 110% regal.|
at 8:54 AM
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Guess what came early? Book II!
Release date was July 8 so I was expecting to see nothing before the second week in July. But yesterday I found this in the mail! It’s very exciting to see the finished cover with the spot varnish. The snake really pops! I kept it in my bag at work and would glance fondly at it now and then.
And last night, as a lovely coincidence, I had tickets to Ray LaMontagne/Brandi Carlisle/Secret Sisters. It was a beautiful evening of music under the stars with my oldest friend Julie and my second book tucked in my bag.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I was recently invited to be the guest at a book club that had chosen Prophecy of Days as their monthly selection. I was in the living room of a lovely Virginia home, watching the women speak, answering their questions, telling them a bit about book two – yet I was sitting at my desk at home. Skype is a beautiful thing.
At one point in the conversation I was struck by the delicious notion that we were using newest technology—a peer-to-peer video call system via high-speed wireless connections—to discuss the oldest technology: writing.
Roughly 5,000 years have passed since Sumerians pressed their reeds into soft clay tablets and then fired them. This encoded information allowed them to pass on knowledge; to allow future generations to learn virtually. Essentially removing the barrier of space and time, a person unrelated in place or decade could decode the wisdom imprinted on that clay and reconstruct its meaning. It’s an astonishing leap, really. A truly human invention.
Fast forward five millennia and we are using the technology of writing more extensively than ever before. More than a million books are published every year! It’s thrilling to me, this unprecedented body of knowledge growing and growing. What’s more, were applying new technology to this old technology, as in the case of Skype. Just as my book was encoded in writing and decoded by the human brains that read it, I myself was encoded by my computer in Oregon and decoded by Shawn’s computer in Virginia.
There’s some beautiful recursion here that makes me happy late on a Sunday evening ...
There’s some beautiful recursion here that makes me happy late on a Sunday evening ...
at 10:15 PM
Monday, May 30, 2011
I recently took some time off work to go with my daughter’s class on the annual fifth grade Oregon Coast field trip. I had three big revelations over the three-day event: 1) Eleven year old boys are like perpetual-motion machines, 2) Fifth grade is the year you start to smell, and 3) Learning is hard!
I had forgotten how exhausting it was to actively learn. This was stuff I was really interested in and it was still difficult to pay attention and really be engaged with an instructor hour after hour. Now I have a bit more sympathy for my kids who come home wiped out from school. I used to be all, “Suck it up! You should try working! You have two recesses and snack time!” Now I get it. At the end of a day of cramming information into every wee crenulation of your brain, a little Sponge Bob can be a balm.
|Juliet driving the trawler up the estuary.|
|Awaiting the bottom-dwelling creatures!|
|Mmmmm, a frosty glass of English Flounder.|
|Trying not to get blown off the cliff for a photo op.|
|Rife with life!|
|Juliet falls in love with a sea slug.|
|The Yaquina Head Lighthouse.|
|Putting together a deep-diving whale. How do we know it was a deep diver? It has stinky, oily bones.|
|In the shark tube at the aquarium that Keiko built.|
|This is the inside of a Yurt. Is this an Oregon thing? It's like camping, without a tent.|
at 4:02 PM
Monday, April 25, 2011
You never know what you’re going to get at the animal shelter. Based on who she grew up to be, our last cat (RIP Stimpy!), came from a long line of domesticated couch potatoes. This new kitten? Not so much. I think her parents weren’t even one generation out of the jungle—they must have been straight-up feral. For instance, she refuses a water dish, preferring to take her water from what she considers “natural” sources (like the vase of greenery above) and her razor blade claws open up my kids’ skin so often I’m afraid the school will suspect them of being cutters.
A couple of weeks ago, new kitty woke us up “playing” at 4 am. She was running around the room like crazy, scratching around under the bed, meowing, and just being generally annoying. Later that day – out of exhaustion from the kitty night antics –I lay down to take a short nap before we had to go to a party. Once my head hit the pillow I heard a little scritch scritch sound coming from my bedside table. In an act of great bravery, I called my ten year old daughter in to open the drawer. “I think something’s in my bedside table,” I told her, adding, “open it slowly, please!” in a wavering voice. She pulled the drawer out an inch and we saw all we needed to see. Beady eyes. The kitty had dragged a rodent in to our bedroom, where it had sought safe haven in my bedside table, chewing nervously on a paper snowflake Juliet had made for me. Naturally, we screamed and slammed the bedside drawer closed so hard that it forced the little guy out the back of the drawer. By this time I had only a few minutes before we had to be at a dinner party, so we decided to let nature take care of the problem: we threw the cat in the room and closed the door. It was the first time in my life I’d ever left the house hoping to see a dead rodent in my bedroom upon my return.
Five hours later, we tentatively opened the door. On the bed was the kitty, sitting like a proud sphinx. At the threshold of the door was the poor furry creature, laid carefully on its side without any mess. That night I slept in my daughter’s room and the next day was devoted to deep, Clorox-fueled spring cleaning.
I’d hoped this was a one-time deal, but last night we experience rodent redux. This time we were able to corral the two into the bathroom. I had to sandwich my head in between two pillows to drown out the horror of mouse screams (yes, they scream). I felt great guilt at what was my second active hit on a rodent inside the house. But this time the cat got bored and mewed at the door after awhile. Scott went in to find the mouse doing skateboard moves up the half-pipe of the tub, completely unable to get enough purchase on the porcelain to get out. He put the poor thing outside where it ran back to the enormous hedge that surrounds our house. This hedge is like something out of a Beatrix Potter book, large enough to house all kinds of birds and squirrels and mice. A veritable buffet for our feral kitty.
Personally, I prefer my cats to be less “stalker beast” and more “lap warmer with attitude”. You roll the dice with pet adoption, and this time we came up snake eyes.
at 7:56 AM
Friday, April 15, 2011
40th annual SCBWI conference in LA. I missed it last year and really missed it. I went in 2008 and met many, many amazing writers I still keep in touch with, and again in 2009 where we all reconnected. I do hope many of them will be there this year!
So, anyone else going?
So, anyone else going?
at 4:10 PM
Monday, April 4, 2011
See this tiny room? That’s what I was supposed to share with a stranger. The other bed? That would be where the photographer is standing in order to capture the charming shot. So when I showed up to the Asilomar Writer’s Conference and saw this, I bailed. I immediately turned around, walked outside, and looked at Hotwire for a room in town. With that kind of short notice, all I could get was a place in an old 40s drive-up motel, the kind that in less touristy towns might rent by the month. But it was mine, all mine! The funny thing is, I spent no time there. The conference hooked me, from breakfast through the last glass of wine well after midnight.
Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes all you need is an idea; sometimes all you need is energy. And sometimes you get a conflation of both. For me, that happened at Asilomar.
The speakers were great – I think this is the first conference where I attended every session. Like a seed feeling for the warmth of the sun on the damp earth above it, I soaked in everything the various authors, Illustrators, editors, and agents had to say. But it was the evenings that provided the heartiest sources of inspiration for me. After the last evening session, groups would congregate in different areas. Both nights I ended up sipping wine and eating Moose Much in the fireside lobby of the very lodge where I was originally booked to share a 76 square foot room with a stranger. Shame on me for not staying - the commute would have been far easier up two flights of stairs than across town.
It was here that 20 or so of us gathered and talked about what we were working on, what we had in the pipeline, what we dreamed one day to do. I heard some amazing success stories and some cautionary tales, and I got some great advice without even asking for it. Some conferences are magical that way. But perhaps most important, I came home with the first 16 pages of a new manuscript. This was something I had been thinking about for months, but had neither the energy nor the inspiration to start. I love this project. I feel like I was born to write this book. In fact, I did a middle school visit last week and instead of reading from Prophecy of Days, I thought I’d try out the new piece. To my utter delight, they were riveted!
So, if you have a chance to attend the Asliomar Conference, I highly recommend it. You get to listen to speakers in this beautiful and historic conference center:
And you will take a million photos of Pacific sunsets that will all disappoint because nothing can really capture that kind of magic:
And you will meet authors like the humble and brilliant Newberry Honor recipient Cynthia Lord, who will remind you that being a writer is incredibly difficult but ultimately satisfying.
And perhaps, if you are stuck as I was, you might just get some mojo back…
at 10:07 PM
Saturday, February 12, 2011
My kids have been trying to get me to play Mario Kart on the Wii since Christmas. I’d honestly rather clean those vile little bolts around the base of the toilet than play video games, so it’s taken them a while to get that silly white steering wheel in my hands. When we started playing I felt like I was 15 again the first few minutes of having learner’s permit. I was overcompensating so hard that I was bouncing off rocks and guardrails and enormous mushrooms and whatnot. It was infuriating—just when I got up enough speed to clip along there’d be another obstacle or a quick turn. I asked the kids if there was a course that was simply a straight road so you could just gun it. They looked at me as if I’d just revealed a vestigial tail, and said, “Uh, no. What would be the point?”
That’s kind of what I wanted the writing life to be. You know, put out a book and then gun it. But, as my kids would say, “What would be the point?” Perhaps there’s a reason I’ve run in to an enormous mushroom or slammed into a guardrail. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be easy. Because we tend not to value what comes easily.
Raising good children, finding work you enjoy, getting published—none of it is easy. But there are moments, like the first time you touch a book that bears your name on its spine, that make it all worthwhile. I’ve just had one of those moments.