Posts tagged with "Language of Flowers"

NO. VA. Teen Book Festival

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Lately I’ve been wearing my essay coaching and freelancing hats most days – at least publicly – but I’m happy to be appearing as the Young Adult author of Forget-Her-Nots (Greenwillow/ HarperCollins) at the inaugural NOVA TEEN Book Festival on 3/8 in my home town of Arlington, VA.

Check out all the details here. I’ll be a on a “breakout panel” at 1:00 pm with the wonderful Elizabeth Scott who is, ironically, allergic to flowers.  (I’m almost gave her an allergic reaction at the Baltimore Book Festival!) And I’m signing books at 4 pm.

Hope to see you there!  (And, yes, I’m still writing fiction.)

Autumn Update

Whew!  I had to step away from blogging for a while to keep up with some other commitments, but I’m hoping to share my thoughts and experiences more in the coming days. I’ve just finished the most grueling two months of my life workwise, at least so far.  I seem to be collecting part-time jobs these days. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Arlington Magazine finally became a reality, so I’ve been very busy writing great articles and profiles for them. I learned sooo much researching my upcoming article on raising girls and bullying issues.  Next up:  yoga!!
  • I started teaching College Writing part time to sophomores at an amazing school, Don Bosco Cristo Rey,  in Takoma Park, Md.
  • I finished a major novel revision.
  • I’ve had five floral appearances, including the mid-Atlantic SCBWI conference, the U.S. Botanic Garden, Fall for the Book festival, and several garden clubs.
  • I procured donations for the Arlington Academy of Hope auction.  This is an amazingly successful school in a remote village in Uganda, which we support with all our hearts. The auction was a great success!

So I’ve been out and about in the world, and I’m thrilled about my new students. It’s very fun to be freelancing again, and I love my editor, Jenny. I’m not quite up for NANOWRIMO, but I do plan to start writing my new novel soon.  Very excited!!

And I finally bought a copy of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s novel The Language of Flowers, which I’m looking forward to reading. Hers sold about six months before Forget-Her-Nots came out, but it is an interesting coincidence that two writers should be writing novels about a topic that’s never been the focus of a novel before. Has anyone read it? Let me know what you think.

Sweet basil, Amy

Summer Blooms and Invasive Species

I just potted my geraniums and put some new herbs in (more rosemary, lavender, and sweet basil), so summer is here. The pansies are leggy and fading, while my hydrangeas are just opening.

Gardening definitely teaches the virtue of patience. Five years after I put them in, my peonies were finally magnificent this year and will only get better. One of my favorite spring traditions is when my wonderful neighbor, who has scores of peonies which are over 25 years old, brings me a huge handful of pink and white double blooms. Their gently sweet scent fills my house for the week.

I’ve also been very involved with neighborhood invasive species removal.  The stream behind my house is slated for restoration — the erosion is something fierce, as are the invasives that have taken over — so we’re trying to get native species established. One Sunday afternoon in May, about twenty-five neighbors from ages four to seventy-five worked for a few hours to remove the ivy and multiflora rose that had taken over the yard of an elderly neighbor. Then the following week, people kept dropping off wonderful plants — ferns, blue-eyed grass, cardinal flower — in my back yard, so I could replant the cleared space. I feel like I pulled an all-nighter to get all those planted, but it looks great and will only get better. Sharing is another one of the joys of gardening.

I’ve also been revising away. Who was it that said, “There’s no such thing as good writing, only good revision?” That’s definitely true for me. I feel like I finally got all the layers and icing and decorations right on String Theories, so fingers crossed I can share good news soon.

Also, check out my appearances page for some fun new updates. I’m very excited to be back at the U.S. Botanic Garden this fall for a language of flowers workshop! I’ve also had a great time visiting garden clubs and book groups all over the DC area. If you’re local, invite me to come!!

Gratitude and Blooms for 2010

As this wonderful and crazy debut year draws to a close, I want to say a huge thanks to lots of people:

– Thanks to all the fabulous readers who took the time to send me fan mail about FHN. You rock! This was such an unexpected perk and continues to make my day every time I connect with a reader.

– Thanks to all the wonderful librarians and teachers who bought FHN for their libraries and students. Friends have sent me pictures of the novel in the wild all over the country. So exciting!!

– Thanks to all the awesome YA bloggers who participated in my Spread-the-Flower-Love blog tour, hosted me for interviews, or reviewed FHN.  It was great to get to know you, and I hope our paths cross again soon!

– Thanks to all the amazing book store owners in Virginia, Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, who welcomed me with open arms and sometimes even flowers. Everyone’s been so sweet, and I’m ecstatic to see my book on your shelves. Hope it sells well!!

– Thanks to my family and friends who helped spread the word about FHN and bought lots of copies! I am forever grateful!!

– Thanks to The Tenners, a wonderful group of newbie authors like me.  You’re a fabulous group of writers and have helped me keep my sanity this year and last.

– Thanks to the schools in Virginia, DC, and Pennsylvania who invited me to talk about writing and the language of flowers to their students. I love connecting in person!

– Thanks to everyone at Greenwillow Books and HarperCollins for supporting FHN on its launch into the wild. I had an especially great time at BEA and ALA.

– Thanks to all my crit partners (Pam, Cyn, Denise, Holly, and Blythe, to name a few) and to my agent, Steven Chudney, for your support and encouragement in this sometime crazy business.

To all of you, I give white bellflowers (top), for gratitude, and rosemary (middle), because I’ll always remember  and treasure you, and snowdrops (below) that all our hopes for 2011 will come true!

Fabulous Weekend Ahead

Thanks so much to the awesome students and faculty who welcomed me to Frost Middle School in Fairfax, Va., last Wednesday. We had a blast! I was truly impressed with the quality of questions from the audience, and they were very enthusiastic about the language of flowers. It was all part of the George Mason University’s Fall for the Book celebration. Just before my appearance, the students participated in a flower craft session, and several of the girls made me this awesome wire floral arrangement. (I’m holding it in the library below.) The card says, “Bright cut flowers, leaves of green, bring about what I have seen.” It was very sweet, and I signed lots of books and bookmarks.

The rest of this weekend is very busy, but I can’t wait. Tomorrow I’ll be at the U.S. Botanic Garden’s “Plant Literary Festival,” which is their contribution to the National Book Festival. Stop by to learn to speak the language of flowers, and I’ll help you make a tussie-mussie to express your deepest feelings florally. The Botanic Garden is always a lovely place to visit; they have an amazing orchid collection which I especially love to make a pilgrimage to when it’s cold outside.

Then this Sunday, I’ll head northeast to Baltimore where their book festival is going on even as I type. Zombie v. Unicorns tonight!!  On Sunday at 4:30, I’ll be on a panel with Elizabeth Scott, Andrew Auseon, and fellow Tenner Holly Hoxter. I’ve met everyone before, but it will be great fun to hang out on a panel together. You get to know everyone so much better that way, and you’re not too much on the spot yourself. I highly recommend panels.

Much-needed rain is in the forecast for Sunday, but I hope it waits to start until after we speak. Then I will enjoy all the rain expected for next week, because my poor garden is looking parched. How’s yours doing this time of year? I have some amazing begonias that bloom in the fall and reseed every year. If you live nearby, let me know, and I’ll bring you some seeds. They’re ridiculously easy to grow and quite lovely. Here’s a shot:

I’ll also be buying a flat of pansies this weekend, because it’s time to plant them. I love the fact that in Virginia, you can plant them in the fall and they’ll come back in the spring. They don’t do that in the Midwest where I grew up. Sometimes the pansies will even bloom again in the middle of winter if we have a few warmer, sunny days. Now’s a great time to plant bulbs too. Got to get busy ….