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A wish your heart makes


It was an amazing week and a half but, alas, the honeymoon is now–quite literally–over.  We enjoyed six fun-filled days at Walt Disney World and Universal/Islands of Adventure, followed by four decadent days aboard the Disney Dream for a cruise to the Bahamas. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is every bit amazing as people have said. I actually enjoyed the pumpkin juice more than the butterbeer and the Forbidden Journey ride only gets better with each successive ride (we went three times).

We hit all four Disney parks (some multiple times) and enjoyed every minute. (Tip: If you go to Hollywood Studios, the Toy Story Midway Mania ride is a must. Go first thing in the morning when they open, ride it once, then get a Fast Pass to come back later.)

Apart from being thoroughly entertained for the duration of our sojourn, we also had a chance to be educated and get schooled on bits of Magic Kingdom minutiae and trivia.  Thus I present….

Little known facts about Walt Disney World:

–“Where dreams come true” was actually the second choice for a slogan.  The first choice–“Terrible parenting on parade”–was nixed when someone pointed out that too much truth in advertising could be detrimental.

–If the Disney bus driver pulls into the parking lot and says, “Welcome to the most magical place on earth” and you reply, “We’re at Hogwarts?”, you will be met at the gate by a legion of truncheon-bearing costume characters and bludgeoned in time to “It’s a Small World.”

–Six out of seven Dwarves aren’t happy.

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm  Comments Off on A wish your heart makes  

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So, quite a bit of book news to share this week.  First of all, my debut book has a new title!  The book formerly known as CHASERS is now known as:


I dig it. Well, I should. I suggested it.   And the best part of the name change?  The initials: WOWY!

With the new title comes a slightly new cover (man, I love my cover):

And if all these changes weren’t quite enough, the release date has also changed.  Look for WITH OR WITHOUT YOU nearly two months earlier, on May 24, 2011.  Yes, that’s right: the day before Towel Day! Or maybe Towel Day Eve.  It will be all the more important to be a hoopy frood who knows exactly where your towel–and copy of WITH OR WITHOUT YOU–are. *

And I’m thrilled that Jason Myers, author of the fabulous EXIT HERE (and the forthcoming DEAD END), gave me the following blurb: “A near perfect book for the times as Brian Farrey has provided the entire LGBT community, especially it’s teens, an important novel that’s as unnerving as it is page turning. A tough task to do and Farrey pulls it off with ferociousness and grace.”

Moving up the release date means I’m doing my headless chicken routine to prepare for book promotion on a slightly accelerated schedule.  Stay tuned for news of a blog tour, contests, and other nifty events.  Go-Go-Gadget Book Launch!


*=Just to be clear: WITH OR WITHOUT YOU has nothing to do with THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. Absolutely nothing. I’m just excited that my book is coming out so close to something associated with one of my favorite books of all time.

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 7:39 am  Comments (4)  

Mad City

Full disclosure: while I live in Minnesota, I was born and raised in Wisconsin. I’ve always held an affection for my homestate, though I was severely disappointed when they passed a very hateful law preventing marriage equality a few years ago.  In particular, I’ve always loved Madison, a shining oasis of progressive values in an otherwise frustratingly conservative state.  So when presented with the opportunity to travel there this past weekend and present a DECA scholarship in memory of my mother at an awards ceremony, it required little coaxing.

Everyone  knows that times are turbulent in Madison right now. The city is no stranger to conflict like the one that’s been brewing there for several weeks since Scott Walker created a budget deficit and proposed to eliminate it by destroying unions (a curious solution at best).  With some time to kill before the ceremony, my husband and I created our own protest signs and joined the thousands who were rallying outside the state capitol.  It was exciting to see so many people standing up and giving voice to their grievances.  No violence,  just civil disobedience acting as  a cornerstone of true democracy.


State Street was lined with anti-Walker signs

The start of the rally.

This is what democracy looks like.

I think this was my favorite protest sign. *

On Sunday, we had the extreme pleasure of meeting KT Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at UW-Madison. KT is amazingly intelligent and such an incredible advocate for children’s literature.  After chatting for a while, she gave us a tour of the CCBC, where we luckily got to meet recent Caldecott winners Philip and Erin Stead who were in town. Philip and Erin were incredibly charming and I’m so pleased their beautiful book was recognized by the ALA.  KT then gave the four of us a treat I hadn’t even dreamed of.
Growing up, one of my favorite books was THE WESTING GAME.  It’s one of those rare books that, for me, has stood the test of time and I reread it once every year.  Ellen Raskin, WESTING’s author, was a Wisconsin native and in her desire to help other authors and illustrators understand what goes into making a book, she donated all materials related to THE WESTING GAME to the CCBC. These included character notes, story outlines, edited manuscripts, publisher correspondence… every single thing she’d ever scribbled down regarding the book.  My heart leapt when KT took out her key and opened up the drawer where all the Raskin papers were stored. As a creative process geek, THIS WAS HEAVEN!  KT told us that Raskin was very particular about how the words fell on the page and would rewrite a sentence if it meant getting rid of a word that would be hyphenated at the margin.  Much of the Raskin file detailed how meticulously she worked to get the look of each page just right.  Here are a few items from the file:

These pictures served as inspiration for the Wexler sisters, Angela (top) and Turtle (bottom).

Raskin, who was also a graphic designer, designed the original cover. Here's a very rough sketch...

...of what would come to look more like this.


Playing with words.

I could have stayed for hours, pouring over the documents. If you ever get a chance, stop by the CCBC and say hi to KT.  She’s incredibly cool and a font of knowledge. And maybe, if you’re reeaaally nice, she’ll let you rub shoulders with the amazing Ellen Raskin.
You can find more info about the collection here.
*=Possibly because I made it.
Published in: on March 7, 2011 at 9:23 am  Comments (2)