The Paperback is Out!!!

Look at all these beautiful paperbacks! I'm really a fan of this edition.
I think they're even more adorable in a smaller format.
*hugs a copy*
Happy Release Day 
to the Always Neverland paperback, 
which is released today! 

They'll soon be making appearances in bookstores everywhere, so go check them out. (I know I will. :-P)

Happy Thought: Big Sky Country

I'm visiting Montana right now - you know, the place where I lived when I wrote and revised the bulk of Always Neverland. This is one of my very favorite places to be.

It's shocking how pretty and photogenic it is. Brace yourselves for some gorgeous, non-Photoshopped pics, taken over the years:

Right there at the bottom, you can see me and my mom fishing.

Ignore the shot of my adorable brother (taken roughly 8 years ago).
Look at the landscape!

These next few show what a wintry Moonlight Basin looks like from their ski runs.

I kept annoying that adorable brother, because I stopped to take pics.

But I ask you: wouldn't you take pics if you saw this??

This is what it looks like from the top of the Big Sky/Moonlight Basin summit around New Year's, in case you're curious.

I took this with my phone camera while we were driving!!
Like I said, ridiculously photogenic.
In case you wondered what that shot might look like without snow.

This one, we took yesterday in Pray, MT.

Happy Thought: Brave

It should be obvious by now: I love animated movies. I know you're supposed to grow out of those, but I refuse. Some of them are too awesome to miss.

Like Brave. (Well, like anything from Pixar really, but this post is about Brave.)

I just love Merida. She's Pixar's first female protagonist, so they're making a big deal of her being a girl. (I don't mind that - In Always Neverland, Peter and the Lost Boys make a big deal of Ashley being a girl, but Ashley refuses to miss out on adventures just because no other Wendy girl has done it before.) But Merida is tough, resourceful, playful, rebellious, sometimes super grumpy, quick-thinking, and surprisingly short-sighted when it comes to making deals with slightly loony witches. She's also the funniest animated protagonist I've seen since Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon.

She's the first Disney princess since Mulan whose main focus isn't finding a prince, and I really appreciate that. In fact, the most important princes in the story are Merida's brothers. The most important relationship in the film is between Merida and her mom, and the parent-child storyline is moving and transformative in a way that we haven't seen in a Disney movie since The Lion King

Fun and random fact: the voice actor for Merida, Kelly Macdonald, also played Peter Pan in the stage scenes of Finding Neverland

Plus, it's set in Scotland!! I'm also a sucker for highland accents, bagpipes, and gorgeously rugged landscapes. :-)

If you haven't seen it, get ye to a theater and go watch! 

Happy Thought: Fleet Foxes

This has been an incredibly busy month, you guys, and it looks like June will be a busy one as well.

So, VERY quickly, I want to share with you my new love - what I've been listening to on repeat about fifty times in the past few weeks: Fleet Foxes' self-titled album.

It's not exactly a new album. It came out three years ago. I actually downloaded it to my iPod months and months ago and ignored it completely.

Then, my new roommate recommended them to me, and a few days later, someone posted this Fleet Foxes cover of "I Can't Help Falling In Love" to Tumblr:

ETA (June 2012): This is mildly embarrassing, but I've just found out that Fleet Foxes didn't do this cover. A cover band that sounds like Fleet Foxes named "Fleet Foxes Sing" covered and recorded this track. So, you can see how I got confused. :-P

Basically, it was my gateway Fleet Foxes song. They match this month's mood completely. There's something lovely, bittersweet, folksy, soulful, and hopeful about them. And calming - which is an invaluable trait during such a busy month.

But isn't that funny? The way something can be around FOREVER but it enters your life exactly when you need it? This has happened to me with books too. I think Ella Enchanted and the Blue Sword entered my orbit in sixth grade, the beginning of middle school - right when I started searching for spunky and strong girl role models. But that's a blog post topic for another day.

Here are a few of my favorites:

And to all you students reaching the end of the school year...


Happy Thought: One Object Can Brighten A Room

I moved in a new apartment recently. Both my roommates are pretty awesome, but for a couple weeks, my room looked bleak and sad and extremely lacking in decorations.

But wait - what's that on my wall?

Tulip not included.
(I bought the flower at the grocery store on the way home.)
I found this at a flea market/crafts fair today! A one-vase wall hanging that makes my room feel more home-y.

The vendor/owner/craftswoman - Vintage Trifles - had a whole bunch of similar ones. One said: flower - another: bloom.

(I picked fleur (which means "flower" in French, btw), because it reminds me of my little sister. About this time last year, she was on her way to France.)

It'll be one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning, and that makes me happy. :-)

Always Neverland is A SIBA finalist!!!

To be more exact, it's a finalist for the Southern Independent Book Award - the children's division. You can see more information right here

I'm so thrilled and honored even to be on this list. It was an unexpected delight this morning! 

Happy Thought: Powell's Books

Photo found here.
Okay, so you know the bookstore in Hugo, Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret?

Photo found here.
You know the one I mean - the bookstore that doesn't feel like a store really, or even a library. It feels like a labyrinth of books, novels and biographies and histories and collections stacked up to the ceiling, surrounding you with a expectant sort of calm, as if each volume were patiently waiting for the right reader to come along, open them, and take them home.

That's pretty much how I feel about Powell's Books - in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Photo found here.
There's something wonderful about so many books gathered so close together and so many different kinds - used and new, fiction and non-fiction, children's and adults. It attracts booklovers together like bees to a field of wildflowers, but gathering words instead of pollen.

Photo found here.
It reminds me a little of The Strand in New York's Union Square. It too makes you feel like there are more books here than you can ever shop through in a day. It too requires a map to find the section you want.

Image found here.
But The Strand can get so busy and crowded on weekends; you can never walk down an aisle without squeezing by another six storegoers, some of them grumpier than others. Every time I went there, I was eager to find what I wanted and get out of there.

Photo found here.
Powell's is roomier (a whole city block!), simply by being located in a roomier city. You can shop to your heart's content.

Photo found here.
Obviously, it's my new favorite place. I even found two copies of Always Neverland!

The purple one, if you remember from this post, is a galley - the kind of copy which you're really not supposed to sell, but honestly, I was glad to find it. I gave away my last galley last summer and thought I'd seen the last of them forever. It was sad to think I wouldn't be able to keep the galley of my very first book forever and ever.

But no, happily, I'm now the owner of the copy pictured above. It just reinforces my opinion that Powell's is a place as magical as Neverland.