Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 8: Libraries at GreenBeanTeenQueen, and Tween Tuesday reviews

Today's Tween Tuesday over at GreenBeanTeenQueen, where I post about two libraries forty years apart. Includes a 40-year-old photograph of a library in India and a video of the Farmington Public Library in Farmington, New Mexico.

GreenBeanTeenQueen also reviews The Grand Plan to Fix Everything for the Tween Tuesday meme launched by her that has since been picked up by other bloggers. Snippet:
The book really does read like a script for a Bollywood film complete with some zany and charming characters, a romance, random happenstance and coincidence-I even expected the characters to break out into song!
Look for a Tween Tuesday review as well on the O.W.L. blog (Outrageously Wonderful Literature for the Middle Grades).  Snippet:
It was pretty cool to see how Uma Krishnaswami was able to take all those...story threads and bring them together to a very satisfying ending. 

Next up tomorrow, an interview on O.W.L.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Scholastic Asian Book Award

Stepping off The Grand Plan Blog Tour for this quick announcement.

My unpublished manuscript, working title Book Uncle and Me, just won the newly instituted Scholastic Asian Book Award!

I couldn't make it to Singapore for the awards ceremony, so writer and teacher Pooja Makhijani accepted it on my behalf.

Look! That distinguished gentleman presenting the plaque to Pooja is none other than Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. José Ramos-Horta.

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 7: Memorial Day post on Creative Spaces

Jennifer Bertman's blog takes readers into the creative spaces of writers. I had fun browsing through previous posts. See Laura Resau's trailer and Rosanne Parry's treehouse. Spot the VCFA sticker on Janet Fox's laptop?

Since my "creative space" often becomes as messy as my mind, I was a little worried by this request: Photos? of my office? You don't really want photos!

But looking at my work space turned out to be an interesting exercise. It made me think about why I work the way I do, and where I choose to work at different stages of a story's development. On Day 7 of the blog tour, Jen's readers get to visit my office and some of the extended spaces where I write, revise, and think about story. The post includes Part 1 of a video sequence recorded at my local library. 

An additional link: While this is not an official blog tour stop, a nice interview with Jessie Grearson is now up at the Kirkus blog.

Tomorrow, GreenBeanTeenQueen hosts a tour stop with Part 2 of that library video. That post will include homage to libraries past and present including one from 40 years ago.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 6, part 2: Interview at Mother Daughter Book Club

Yesterday, Mother Daughter Book Club reviewed The Grand Plan. Today there's an interview posted with thoughts on childhood memories, perceptions and misperceptions of India, and more.

There's a note on how Priya, Dini's new friend in that Dream Mountain place, grew to be a one-girl audio department. Here's a snippet:
"I began to think of how unlike myself I could make her..."
And a giveaway--a special giveaway open to mother-daughter book clubs!

US readers, have a pleasant Memorial Day weekend.

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 6: A Magical Intersection at Everyday Reading

Austin mom and former librarian Janssen blogs about children, books, and life at Everyday Reading, our final Grand Plan tour stop for this week. Guest post on the lasting impact of one book I read as a child.

On Memorial Day, we're back on the virtual trail with freelance writer, copyeditor, and proofreader  Jennifer Bertman, at From the Mixed-Up Files of Jennifer Bertman.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 5: Review at Mother Daughter Book Club

Cindy Hudson, author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press, October 2009), founded her first mother-daughter book club in 2000 with her daughter Madeleine, and another in 2003 with her daughter Catherine. Her web site and blog provide tons of resources to help moms and daughters read together for life. She reviews books that can appeal to book club members in four age groups (7-8, 9-10, 11-13, and 14+), posts about activities for group members and offers related information that's valuable to all readers.

A nice review of The Grand Plan to Fix Everything is up at Mother Daughter Book Club.

Snippet: "Dini is a delightful character, and by the time the book ends you’ll want to orchestrate your own Bollywood film."

Next up in The Grand Plan blog tour, a guest post courtesy of Janssen at Everyday Reading.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Special Shout-out to AFCC in Singapore with Chris Cheng

Australian writer, picture book/middle grade author, and member of SCBWI Board of Advisors Christopher Cheng is in Singapore right now for the Asian Festival of Children's Content. I met Chris there last year, and we've been in touch by e-mail (and Skype) since then.

So when he asked if he could mention The Grand Plan blog tour during his session on marketing at AFCC, I was thrilled.

Since the rest of the giveaways on this blog tour can only be shipped to US and Canadian addresses, I'm offering anyone who attends Chris's session the chance to take part in an AFCC Special Grand Giveaway. All you need to do is send an e-mail to UmasGrandGiveaway@gmail.com and make sure you include your name, mailing address, and e-mail address (if you’re under 13, you will need to submit a parent’s name and e-mail address). One entry per person, please, and two signed books will be shipped to the winners, anywhere in the world. Entries must be received by midnight (Pacific Daylight Time) on June 30, 2011. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on July 1, 2011, and notified via email.

So if you're at AFCC, go to Chris's session. He's got tons of good information to share.

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 4: VCFA Connections

Oh frabjous day! The Grand Plan goes exploring, approves of writer-friendly bookshelves, and ventures through the tollbooth to four grand destinations, each a part of the oh-so-grand-and-fabulous Vermont College of Fine Arts extended family:

Kathi Appelt is the award-winning author of The Underneath and Keeper, and the creator of possibly my favorite picture book characters in the whole world, Bubba and Beau (not to mention many other wonderful books. She was the MFA (Writing for Children and Young Adults) program chair at Vermont College when I was invited to apply there to teach. That was five years ago, and it's changed my writing life in more ways than I can count.  I'll be forever grateful. Kathi interviews me on her video-blog, Calloo Callay. We managed to snatch this time on a quick break after lunch at the Writers' League of Texas YA A to Z Conference.

Sarah Blake Johnson, who currently lives in Frankfurt and blogs at Explorations, is a VCFA graduate; I'm proud to say she was my student during a picture book semester. She's also the only person I know who can claim to have cooked a meal in a geyser in Iceland! Sarah's recently joined the sparkly line-up of VCFA alums who blog at Through the Tollbooth. A couple of months ago Sarah and I talked about the intersections of teaching and writing. That interview will be posted on Explorations today.

Bethany Hegedus is the author of Truth With a Capital T (Booklist calls it a "strong story about peer competition, race in a small town, and coming to terms with family history") and Between Us Baxters ("...beautifully described and believable...the richness of the characters is apparent." School Library Journal). She also edits the Young Adult and Children's Literature section of Hunger Mountain, the VCFA Journal of the Arts. Read my conversation with Bethany at Writer Friendly, Bookshelf Approved. Livejournal access here.

And finally, Michelle Knudsen is the multi-talented author of over forty books for children including picture books (the well-beloved Library Lion and her latest, a quirky, funny classroom tale, Argus) and novels (The Dragon of Trelian, chock-full of magic, secrets, an orphaned dragon, a hundred-year war and more, with a sequel on the way). Mikki was also my student, I am happy to add! I get to talk to her about conventions and breaking them, communication, character relationships and em dashes. Yes, em dashes. Where else but at Through the Tollbooth?

Tomorrow, childhood writing, writing for children, the real Sunny Villa. Perceptions and misperceptions at Mother Daughter Book Club.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 3: Fictional Places and the Fictional Dream on PaperTigers

PaperTigers, a Pacific Rim Voices project, embraces multicultural books from all over the world, with a special focus on the Pacific Rim and South Asia. In addition, their Spirit of PaperTigers outreach project provides donations of new multicultural children's books for schools and libraries, while engaging with local communities to obtain access to clean water in areas of need throughout the world.

It's my privilege today, on the fourth anniversary of the PaperTigers blog, to stop by for an interview with Marjorie Coughlan. Marjorie is the PaperTigers editor, and a parent, teacher, and doctoral student in art history. We talk about dreams, reality, P.G.Wodehouse, worlds within worlds, and chocolate, all relative to the writing of The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.

And I see that Corinne is representing PaperTigers in Singapore this week at the Asian Festival of Children's Content. A shout-out to AFCC attendees--go to Chris Cheng's session on marketing and enter for a special giveaway on this blog, starting May 26.

Tomorrow, four blogs with VCFA connections spotlight four different aspects of the book.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 2: Abigail Halpin, art, book trailer on Got Story? Countdown

When I wrote The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, I had no idea there was going to be interior art in the book. I didn't have much of a preconception of what Dini looked like. That  didn't matter so much to me. I was more concerned with her thoughts, moods, the tone of her voice, her gestures, the way she moved through scenes and what she longed to make of her life. To my surprise and delight, when I saw the first mockup of the cover art, there she was, my girl Dini, and how on earth did she look so perfectly herself? 

The creation of visual art from the cues embedded in text is a purely magical thing to a word-shuffler like me,  even though I know that it's as much about hard work and persistence as any other art form. Today, illustrator Abigail Halpin and art director Debra Sfetsios join Joy Chu on Got Story? Countdown to discuss the art in The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.

I suppose you could say that book trailers are becoming an art form, derived from books but creative in their own way. Thanks for the trailer of The Grand Plan To Fix Everything are due to my son, Nikhil Krishnaswamy. He did this one as a favor to me but he's now intrigued enough with these short, pointed little movies to consider making more of them. Contact Nikhil by e-mail. (Note: Before you send that message, fix the "at" and the "dot" in the address first, as it's cleverly set up right now to deflect spam).  There's more on the trailer as well today, on Got Story? Countdown

Tomorrow, I navigate the boundaries between reality and fiction with Marjorie Coughlan on PaperTigers.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 1: Cynsations. Reinventing Your Children's Writing Career

The market is a fickle and changeable thing. You don't have to follow it, but if you want to stick around as a writer you can't completely ignore it either. How do you reconcile what you feel driven to write with what someone might want to publish?

Read my interview with the marvelous Cynthia Leitich Smith (who like Dolly is simply everywhere!) on Cynsations: Reinventing Your Children's Writing Career.

And here's a quick preview of some of the Dolly bling we'll be giving away. Watch the posts in the month ahead for details.