Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Upcoming Events

There are so many exciting things going on right now! Besides being super busy with revisions, I have a few events coming up. Let me know if I'll see you there!

March 8, 2014: NOVA Teen Book Festival

I'm so excited about this event! I get to see my amazing editor Danielle Ellison, as well as meet up with other authors and fellow readers.

From 11:00-11:45 AM I'll be participating in a panal with Lamar Giles and Ellen Oh entitled "Who Are You." It deals with identify and destiny. After the event ends, we will be signing books at the Arlington Central Library. Check out the schedule to see the incredible line-up. Don't miss it!

April 5, 2014, 2:00 PM: Signing at Baton Rouge Citiplace Barnes and Noble

June 2-6, 2014: LSU Young Adult Literature Conference and Seminar

Friday, February 14, 2014

Books Are My Valentine

The husband gave me beautiful
roses today. He's my Valentine too,
but he'll have to share me with books.
I love books. I love the smell of their pages and their weight in my hands. Fictional characters make me swoon. Adventure and intrigue and magic make my heart pound. Heaven is a bookstore and an eternity to read its content.

Books are my Valentine.

They comfort me when I am sad and cheer me up after a hard day. They take me on extravagant trips. They've never abandoned me.

Books have given me a lifetime of happiness and never asked for anything in return. I'm grateful.

In honor of Valentine's day, here are just a few books I've fallen in love with recently.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
I read this in one sitting. Be prepared.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
King creates such great characters. I was totally immersed in this story and read it in just a couple of days.

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
This was a re-read. I read this back when it came out, and then re-read over my snow days. This is such a beautiful story. I'll read it many more times I'm sure.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I love any book set in a bookstore.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
I also read this one straight through. I loved it so much and can't believe it took me this long to get to it!

Today a student asked me what my favorite love story was. While I truly can't choose a favorite anything when it comes to books, I do love Elizabeth and Darcy of Pride and Prejudice.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 3, 2014

I Love My Body

Me, seconds before crossing the finish line
of my seventh marathon. See that crazy
look in my eye?
I’ve sat on this post a while, knowing that many people would judge me for it. But many people judge me anyway, so what the hell.

I love my body.
This is not something most people say out loud. We’re supposed to hate our bodies, right? Or at least tolerate them? We’re not supposed to tell others that we like the way we look. This makes us vain, egotistical, prideful.

I didn’t always appreciate my body. I was very skinny when I was younger, all knees and elbows, and my extremely long legs looked like toothpicks. Or chicken legs. At least, that’s what everyone told me. It came as quite a shock. I’d always liked the way I looked. But when I was twelve years old, I went to high school. (Our high school was 7th-12th grades.) Once I got there, I found out I was gross to look at because I was thin and bony. The older boys teased me to tears. I’m not sure I slept through the night during junior high. I would wake up in horrible pain as both my calves seized up with muscle cramps, due to the 200-300 calf raises I did almost every day. Maybe if my calf muscles were bigger, they would leave me alone.

But these legs have endured a lot. I tore my muscle where the hamstring attaches to the glute. At the time I thought it was just a pull, so I didn’t go to the doctor. Now I know it was a significant injury, one that still causes me daily pain. Because of that tear, six months later I tore my ACL. Then I tore it again two years later and had to have reconstruction surgery.

After all that, my body still works hard. It’s propelled me through thousands of miles, seven marathons, and countless half-marathons, 5ks, and 10ks.

It kept me running through the heartache when my husband and I learned we probably wouldn’t have children.

It taught me to keep going even when things hurt, which made me not only a better writer, but a better person.

I overheard a student say the other day that she didn’t love anything about herself. This broke my heart. I couldn’t be sure whether or not she didn’t love things about herself because she truly didn’t see her own worth, or because society had taught her at least to pretend she didn't see her own worth. Either way, it’s unacceptable.

I am a flawed, fallible human being. I make mistakes daily. But despite those things, I am also loyal, and compassionate, and hopefully, kind.

My body creaks. I’m starting to get a few creases around my eyes. My calves are still skinny. I do not have a daughter, so I will never be able to teach her to love herself, to appreciate her body, no matter what shape it may take.

But I will say the words, so that when my students and other young girls in my neighborhood see my legs pounding the asphalt, they won’t note their size, but rather their strength.

I love my body. It is strong.