Monthly Archives: September 2011

RTW: Best book of September

Okay, so the topic over at YA Highway today is “What’s the best book you’ve read this month?”
First, well, gee, September isn’t even over and I’m still reading! But of note: I just finished Gretchen McNeil’s fun and creepy POSSESS, M.T. Anderson’s fabulous FEED, and I got through a delicious trifecta of female malevolence with IMAGINARY GIRLS (Nova Ren Suma), SOME GIRLS ARE (Courtney Summers), and SHARP OBJECTS (Gillian Flynn). Ooh, and I just bought Flynn’s second book, DARK PLACES, and I’m definitely excited to get into that. I love, love, love her writing style.

Well, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I really loved Robert Cormier’s THE RAG AND BONE SHOP, which is about an innocent twelve-year-old boy accused of murdering a little girl, and the broody cop who uses his power and knowledge of human frailty to extract a confession from the kid. I’m a huge Cormier fan, and I love thrillers–especially psychological ones–so this was a perfect read for me. Check it out!

RTW: Scary Covers!

The topic this week for YA Highway’s “Road Trip Wednesday” is favorite book covers. This is actually a hard one for me, because I can’t distinguish what I like about a book’s contents from its cover. So maybe what I’m saying is that covers aren’t really my thing.

But…I went digging and found a few great old covers from some eighties horror novels. I don’t know if anyone else remembers the “Dark Forces” series…it was a series of early YA horror, written by different authors and all branded with the same distinctive cover style. I love them so much!

And then there’s PIN. The best thing about PIN’s cover is not the strange front illustration…it’s the delightful surprise waiting on the next page! SO WEIRD. SO WONDERFUL.

Race Report: The Ragnar Relay Napa


So after tons of Ibuprofen, too many baby wipe baths, gallons of Gatorade, and scant amounts of sleep, the Ragnar Relay Napa is finally behind me. It was my first event of this kind (a twelve-person, two-van point to point relay race that covers 186 miles over approximately 36 hours) and I’m sort of struggling how to even write a race report. There was nothing traditional about the race!

I guess the first thing is to mention that I got pulled into this at the last moment. A team of runners from Title Nine lost a member and, as a T9 alum and wife of a current employee, I was asked to be an alternate. This was an event I really wanted to do, but I was intimidated by not having trained for it. I’ve slacked off running this summer and I don’t think I’ve run further than 5 miles in the past three months. The fact that I was expected to run three separate legs ( 5.3 miles, 3.3 miles, 5.3 miles, respectively) over the course of the event felt…doable, but unknown because of the minimal recovery time. Eh, at a certain point, I decided just not to worry about it because once I was out there…well, I’d have to finish somehow, right? Worrying wasn’t going to do anything for me but make me more anxious.

Well, I’m glad I didn’t worry. The whole thing turned out to be SO. MUCH. FUN. Less race, more traveling silliness, the Ragnar is really an act of logistics and attitude, more than physical prowess. And for someone who is used to doing my running all solitary and serious, it felt so good to just play and run with such a great group of teammates. No matter how tired or hungry or sore I got, someone was there to cheer me on, give me a high five, and I did the same for them. We ran through heat and night and traffic jams and blisters and we got lost (running and driving), but it was the joy of sharing a task so immense that made it worthwhile. And meaningful.

186 miles is kind of amazing. But far more amazing is finding 11 other people willing to undertake something so crazy alongside you. The only word that comes to mind is gratitude.

So a few pics from the road….from start to finish….







RTW: Deja Vu

So the YA Highway RTW topic of the day is a fun one:

What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?
Here goes!

personal demons
personal defenses
sibling rivalry
manifest destiny
first love