20141212_203011_LLS(One of the holiday signs I made last year)



I’m finally off on holidays! But I have a list the length of my arm of things I want to accomplish over the next two weeks, starting with finishing the first draft of MANIAC. It’s been a long haul these past few weeks and I haven’t given it the time I should have. All that is about to change. I am going to finish. I am. Expect to see me camped out on the couch with laptop and a mug of tea if you drop by. I might scoot over and let you sit down, as long as you don’t talk to me while I’m writing. I need to concentrate. ;-)



After that, I’m all about the shopping, wrapping, baking, card-writing, fa-la-la-ing, and merrymaking. I brought home all the movies I’ve been waiting to see without subjecting my poor husband to “another YA movie”: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, IF I STAY & THE GIVER. Not Christmas-y movies exactly, but they’ll make the wrapping and baking go faster. Can’t wait.



In the meantime, I’m participating in the YA Buccaneers’ “12 Days of Books” Instagram challenge. Have you been following along? So far, we’ve done a book beard, our mug-of-the-moment, and today….a bookcase. It’s been fun, and my sister is playing along with us!  I’m so happy!



Oh, and I’m making fudge.  I’m not a good fudge maker, but I have a self-imposed challenge to find the perfect white chocolate/vanilla fudge recipe for my husband. So far, I’ve made a pan of goop. I’ll keep you posted.



Happy everything!




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It’s been a whirlwind of work for me over the last few weeks, so I apologize for being so radio-silent here. I have a few fun ideas planned for the new year, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, we’re ending the year at the YA Buccaneers with an incredibly fun 12 Days of Books Instagram challenge leading up to Christmas! It’s going to be a blast.






How will it work? Drop by the blog today to see the entire post, and get following us on Instagram. We’ll post a new pic each day based on the prompt, so expect some creativity and LOTS of laughs. (Trust me, if you knew what I thought the first prompt meant, there would have been one very embarrassed Pirate on Saturday morning.)



You can follow me on Instagram to see my entries each day. Expect creativity, people!



The best part is, YOU can join us!  We’d love to see what you come up with. All you have to do is use the hashtags #yabuccaneers & #12daysofbooks to show us what you’re doing. Instagram is such a fun way to show everyone your crazier/creativer side. (Yes, creativer is a word. Because I said so.)



Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy last few weeks of December! Now get snapping!




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YA websites



Have you missed my walkabouts? Well, I’m back with a fun one this month! So, strap on your boots and come along with me to a blog that is everything mine is not——funny, witty, inspiring, smart……….you get it. My choice for Heidi’s YA Walkabout #3 is author Amy Krouse Rosenthal‘s website! *throw confetti now*






I first came across Amy Krouse Rosenthal when I started my job as a children’s librarian. Okay, I didn’t actually come across Ms. Rosenthal…that makes it sound like she was sitting on the bench in the park behind the library. And to be honest, I’m not a degree-holding children’s librarian…..but it is my job title, and I feel like I do it to the best of my abilities, even if I don’t have a piece of paper on the wall saying I’m allowed to do this. Anyway….onto what we’re here for.


One of the first books I used for storytime was her DUCK RABBIT, a piece of genius, if I must say. It is a wacky, creative picture book which tells the story of a duck…and a rabbit…..all in the same pictures. Yes. Look at the cover. It’s a duck…and a rabbit!!!  I know, it blew my mind, too. I drew the picture for my young group first, and asked them what they thought it was. Believe me, there were plenty of kids who were really mad when I told them it was two different creatures!  You don’t want to mess with a group of four-year-olds who have their ducks and rabbits firmly understood.





Haven’t read it?  Here’s a funny little video of a young girl reading it. Hmmm…maybe I should have her visit my new group to do a reading?






All right. I tend to gush about picture books. But Amy Krouse Rosenthal is about so much more than picture books!  Does she even write YA?  I don’t think so. Does it matter? Nope. This woman is the be-all and end-all of creativity! After finding out about her “Amy K.R. Missions”, I immediately signed up and began to follow each one religiously. Okay, so I never actually did one of her missions, but she knows her way around wonderful things. I bet people are missing these. If you don’t know about her missions, you can see the best-of selection here. Trust me, you’ll want to wander back through the entire list. Great ideas here for librarians, as well!



I want to visit her website every second of the day. There are always new things, from her Beckoning of Lovely strolls, to her ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE (that she has completely scanned and posted online. Check out the “Fiction Supplement” written by John Green. Seriously. Do it now.) Have a secret family recipe? You can send it to her! This is a beautifully designed website, a creative space for anyone looking for new ideas, and a great stop on this YA Walkabout. Thank you, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, for every bit of wonderfulness you throw into this world. We need more people like you.




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thanksHappy Thanksgiving to all of my wonderful American friends and family celebrating today. Eat lots of turkey, spend time with loved ones, and most of all….take a few minutes to reflect on what you’re most thankful for this year.



Over at the YA Buccaneers, some of the crew have taken time to share their thanks with our readers. What have they been most thankful for? Writer friends, spouses, and amazing books. Take a few minutes to see what they’re saying.



Even though Canadian Thanksgiving was last month, I’m thankful for so many things in my life:

  • My wonderful husband, who makes me laugh and always has supper waiting when I’m too tired to lift a finger. You are my rock. Thank you.
  • My incredible sister, who never fails to send an email or a text exactly when I need it, saying everything I need to hear. You are amazing. Amazing. Thank you.
  • My mom and dad, who always have a hot lunch waiting, and a funny story to share. Don’t ever change. Either of you!  Thank you.
  • Every single one of my writer friends, both near and far, who keep me inspired, keep me humble, keep me going. I couldn’t do any of this without you. Thank you.
  • My superb agent, who always has a kind word, a supportive shoulder, and important advice to get me from here to there. I value everything you do, and hope one day (soon) to repay you in more than happy blog posts. Thank you.
  • To my friends….old and new. Thank you. A wise man once told me “friends are good”. How true.
  • Dark chocolate. Thank you.



I hope everyone has a wonderful day!




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I’m almost through the “Five Sundays in November” Young Writers Workshop series at my library. And I’m sad it’s almost over. While many of these enthusiastic writers attended my summer sessions, we had quite a few new faces join us. And what an amazing time it’s been! I can’t wait to share some of their writing once we’re finished.






What They Learned:



We covered character development, read short stories to talk about beginnings and suspense, wrote poems and had many (not-so) serious discussions about rainbow unicorn poop, serial killers, waffles, and what boys wear to school. Yes, it’s all important stuff. I hope along the way, they’ve made some new friends, and learned a thing or two.



What I Learned:



I must admit, I didn’t know how any of this would go at first. Would they enjoy it? Would they get anything out of it? But the writing they’ve brought back each week–as well as their enthusiastic reading–has made it a whopping success. I heard stories that were sad, thrillers that left me on the edge of my seat, and writing so funny it couldn’t possibly be written by 11 year olds! But best of all, these kids devoted themselves to working on stories each week that didn’t have anything to do with school or money. They write because they love it. And for that reason alone, I’d do this a million times over.



Next week, we have our Christmas/Writing-Wrap-Up party, and I’m excited about it already. They’re working on stories about a reindeer with a superpower—and a serious problem. What will they write? I can only imagine. This is one of the best parts of my job, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to encourage fifteen budding writers. Who knows? Maybe one day, one of them will be the next best-selling author!






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