Log in

No account? Create an account

Musings on the Writing Life

Recent Entries

12/30/10 01:03 pm - The Stolen Things

When my second book, The Stolen One came out, I eagerly did google alerts on it, not knowing the daily surprises I'd get. The word "Stolen" apparently picks up on every article about anything stolen in the world. I probably get ten google alerts a day for "The Stolen One" and every now and then, it is something about my book. I could cancel the alert but actually there is some interesting reading in there.

Recent alerts yielded the usual - "Man in Court Over Stolen Vehicles" and "Police find Stolen Credit Cards" and "Woman arrested for Theft at Hastings." Some were seasonal: "Police find Stolen Utah Snowmobiles," and "More Than 50 Christmas Trees Reported Stolen from Tree Lot," and "Baby Jesus Stolen From Nativity Scenes." The later is reminsicent of one of the final scenes in my book, "The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous."

Many recall to mind the stupidity of thieves: "Stolen TV Left on Curb that Doesn't Fit in Getaway Car."

The absurd: "Stolen Helmut Alert" from an online Scuba Magaine, and "Stolen Rhinocerous Returned (a mascot from a high school).

Of course the famous are not immune: "Recovery of Stolen Trophy Leaves Sampras 'More Optimistic'."

There's lots of material for future writing: "Spanish Police Recover 34 Stolen Artworks" (including a Picasso) and "Stolen Gold Found; Cops Hunt for Pure Leader Being Transported from Delhi to Mumbai." This concerned 23 bars of gold stolen from an employer.

And the most heartwarming: "World War II Veteran Michael Demich Gets Replacement For Stolen Medals."


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Lock Your Doors!

9/9/10 03:24 pm - Children's Books for Charity

Rose and I at Branded

I had the pleasure recently of participating in a charity event called "Branded" which is put on by the Cariety Foundation and benefits Cooks Children's Hospitals in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. It's a western themed event where we all put on our best boots and bling. The money raised goes to palliative care (easing the suffering) of children, many who have cancer. My friend Missy Hutton has been very involved in the event for several years, a would be receiving a humanitarian award at the event this year. She asked me if I would donate some of my signed books. They usually have some fabulous itmes in the silent auction and I really wanted to do more than just donate my two books. I asked my publisher Greenwillow if they could send me some signed books and they came through with two Kevin Henkes books including the Caldecott winning book, Kitten's First Full Moon. But the motherload of books came from my fabulous friend Rose Brock, librarian extraordinaire, and former Newbery award committee member. She put out the word with her author and publisher friends and they all came through with signed books. Among the publishers donating were: Bloomsbury/Walker Books, Simon & Shuster, Disney Hyperion, and Candlewick. Authors Jon Scieszka, Ally Carter, and Sonya Sones personally sent us their books. Myf riend Alex Flinn who I know from Florida when my daughter Caitlin and I attended a SWBWI workshop, signed a copy of Beastly for me (which has been made into a movie starring Vanessa Hudgins), and picture book author Melanie Hope Greenbery responded to my Facebook plea by sending her latest.

Kicking up our boots (and heels)at Branded: Me, Rose, and friends Doree, Missy, Connie (who is in my book club), Jill, Jill's friend, and Ditto

There were so many donated books, in fact, I decided to divide them in themed baskets, and if I had had more time, I would have divided them up even more, because there were so many wonderful, wonderful books.

Kevin Henkes basket Kitten's First Full Moon and Old Bear

I found an adorable plastic see saw and filled it with picture books, which included Jon Scieszka's Knucklehead and Stinky Cheese Man (my son wanted to pull this one of the basket and keep it for himself), Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo, God's Dream written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and signed by the illustrator, Today I Will Fly by Mo Willems, Our Children Can Soar - signed by all 13 illustrators, many of them Caldecott winners (this alone should have had it's own basket, Lightship by Brian Floca, Good Morning Digger by Melanie Hope Greenberg,and Fartiste by Kathleen Krull. I added little tags at the top of all the books with enticing notes like "Caldecott Winner" or "Newbery Award Winner," an idea I saw at a TLA convention.

Picture Book basket with books from Melanie Hope Greenberg, Lisa Moser, Archbishop Desmond TuTu, Kate Dicamillo, Florence Perry Heide, Jon Scieszka, Brian Floca, and Mo Willems

I was thrilled when when author Ally Carter sent us all of her Gallagher Girls books, her most recent Heist Society (all signed), and a T-shirt. I put them with Alex Flinn's Beastly, Libba Bray's popular The Sweet Far Thing, M.T. Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing for which he won the National Book Award, my book The Stolen One, and two books by award winning Sonya Sones.

Young Adult basket with reading pillow

The middle grade basket included The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous by me, A Whole Nuther Story, by Dr. Cuthbert Soup, Frankie Pickle by Eric Wright, Love, Stargirl by Newbery Award winner Jerry Spinelli, The Many Files by Christian Burch, and The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon

Middle Grade Basket

All for a very special cause! Thanks to all who donated!

Me at the event with the picture book basket

Visiting Rose Brock at her newly renovated library at Coppell Middle School West

A good time was had by all

5/4/10 04:30 pm - Hyper-focussed Procrastinator - I admit it

It had been a gazillion years since I posted last. I've been working on another manuscript and I guess I have a one track mind, or I am hyper-focussed. Or both. And a procrastinator. Oh, and a busy mother too - that gets in the way also. I frequently post updates on Facebook, so that also makes me forget that I have a blog.

I don't like to talk to much about works in progress because you never know if they will come to fruition (also you should be writing not talking about writing), but I'll say that it's another young adult, this time with a paranormal theme. Dystopian too. Romance. The works. I finished a rough draft (VERY ROUGH) in two months and the last month have been fiddling with it. I hope to get back to researching for another historical I want to write and I have the very first glimmers of an idea for another Texas story.

Here's some recent news for The Stolen One:

It's was a featured read last month over at Readergirlz:


I participated in the Highland Park Literary Festival where I got to teach two classes (on beginnings) and meet the featured author Tobias Wolff at a dinner for the authors.

I spoke last month at the Colleyville Public Library on my writing career and after was interviewed at Borders by Stacy and Shannan from a wonderful website called Girlsinthestacks. Here's the video interview:


Stacy and Shannan gave me a mini bundt cake from my favorite cake store, Nothing Bundt Cakes. Quickest way to my heart. They are great ladies - so funny and charming and have a wonderful enthusiasm for reading.

The other morning I was on Facebook and saw some of my friends had posted that their books were on the Banks Street Best Books list. I clicked on one of the links and found The Stolen One. A nice surprise:


I'm happy to report that The Stolen One has gone into a third printing!

It's also been selected for the Best Books for Young Adults list put out by the American Library Association:


12/14/09 06:57 am - Why Don't Socks Have Brakes?

Recently my nine year old son, shoeless, went careening across our wooden floor as he dashed to get his shoes, backpack, and coat. We were late for the bus. "Why don't socks have brakes?" he asked. "That would be a big help."

I could ask that myself with all that has been going on. Getting ready for the holidays and all that that entails, winding up book events - I did nine in November,and I've been wishing too that life would slow down.

I spoke recently in front of about 90 girl scouts about my path to publication.

That's me, the little red speck, speaking to a very crowded room of girl scouts!

In other news:

I'm very proud to announce that The Stolen One has made the 2010 Tayshas High School Reading List for the state of Texas! Here's a link to the site if you want to see what other books made the list:


The Stolen One has also gone back to print!

And A Dallas Morning New Mom's Blog has chosen The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous as their book club selection. We will have an online chat in January. Here's a link to the announcement:


Also over at Steph Su reads, Stephanie has put out a list of the Best Books Published in 2009 and The Stolen One is on her list! Check it out:


And Rebecca at Rebecca's Book Blog has her top five books of the year and The Stolen One is number 1!

Here's to a happy holiday to everyone and I hope your socks have brakes and you can slow down and enjoy your blessings.

10/27/09 08:39 am - Cover Love

Reprinted here by permission of Lenore at http://presentinglenore.blogspot.com/2009/09/cover-interview-and-mega-prize-pack.html is an interview she did with me and the photographer for the cover of The Stolen One, Chris Borgman. It was so interesting to hear his take and I learned some things myself:
Cover Interview and Mega Prize Pack Giveaway: The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley

The cover of Suzanne Crowley's THE STOLEN ONE really reached out and drew me in. The rich colors, especially the red hair were what I first noticed, and then I spent a good while just looking and marveling at all the details.

Here's what Suzanne has to say about the cover:

The Stolen One's cover, in my humble opinion, is incredibly beautiful and haunting. It captures the mood of the novel perfectly. The cover girl, the dress, the pose, her expression, even how she is tenderly holding the pear, are a perfect match to the story.

My editor sent me photos of every stage of the production of the cover, from the search for a model to the dress. And I actually found the necklace on the cover on a site called "Sapphire and Sage." I contacted my editor who ordered one from the artist and it arrived the night before the photo shoot. Later, my editor gave me the necklace, and I actually wore it to my first event on Saturday at a local library where I did a presentation.

I got to see takes from the photo shoot which was totally cool! And eventually, when I saw the final cover, I was more than thrilled. I'm still excited when I see it. It's like an old master painting, and a Vogue photo shoot in one - the richness, the color saturation, are so incredible, yet I think it also has a modern, approachable feel. Magnificant!

And then, I was privileged enough to get to ask the photographer, Chris Borgman, a few questions (thanks to Alea for helping me brainstorm):

Did you have the chance to talk with the author or read The Stolen One in preparation for the shoot?
I personally did not get a chance to talk to Suzanne during production of the cover, but I did read a pre-release copy of the book. That helped me to visualize what the model should look like and what her surroundings might look like.

Did you have a certain amount of artistic license or were the instructions from the publisher pretty strict?
When I met with Paul, the Art Director, he had a basic sketch of the cover. It was for the model's pose and angle of view. Our discussion was mostly about what she should be wearing which would represent apoint in time within the story. I got with my stylist, who has a lot of experience in theater, and she sketched out clothing options. I then sent these to Paul. Once a decision was made I sent the sketches to a costume rental house in Long Island. We selected the dress and it was FedExed to us. These dresses are exact replicas and were used on Broadway or in museum exhibitions. We were lucky to find such a wonderful dress, it was the only place in the New England that had this kind of authentic quality.

I did a small casting of models. Since the model had to fit an exact look, it was very difficult to find our girl. Many models look too model like. We wanted a beautiful young girl that looked like a real person, of course she also had to have the red hair. We photographed her in the studio on a green background. The studio background was removed and an ivy covered wall was added. I photographed the wall at The Cloisters. I went there thinking it would provide some interesting textures and was not disappointed.
What are some alternate poses you tried out or would have given the chance?
Originally I was thinking more of royal garden in the background. After discussing it with Paul, we thought the wall was better because it was more closed in and better represented her eventual feelings while working for the queen. The open garden would look too open and free. I did play around with a few different backgrounds but liked the ivy the most cause it was simple enough to allow the type over it but still looked like a castle wall.

Another option would have been that's she inside the castle, maybe in a small room. I imaged castle walls as pretty boring in color, and we all really liked the her red hair against the green ivy. Her hair and the ivy seem to flow in a similar pattern.

Thanks Lenore for letting me reprint!

In other news, I've been VERY busy with book events. Last week I spoke about Elizabethan fashion at my local Southlake Newcomers Club. I got talked into wearing a costume and I think I look as big as a house! It's the farthingale, I swear! It was a simple one layer dress and I was sweating the whole time. I don't know how Queen Elizabeth did it with all her many layers - undergarments, kirtle, petticoat, gown, sleeves, stomacher, etc.

And a couple of weeks ago I spoke at Keller Library. Here I am with Keller librarian Catherine Neel and Central High School librarian Janet Adams. I'll be speaking at Janet's school tomorrow.

And late last week I was invited to speak at Rowlett Public Library by librarian Cassie Wilson. Here I am with my fan Stephanie who had already read my book and loved it.

10/13/09 08:22 am - Parties & Events

A couple of Sundays ago, a good friend of mine, Missy hosted a booksigning party for me at a nearby country club. Only Missy wasn't able to be there as one of her little ones had been diagnosed with the swine flu the day before. The champagne luncheon went on, on a beautiful, sunny day, and my friends and family came out to celebrate.

My mother Corinne, my sister Karen, friend Kim, and daughter Lauren

Friends Cynthia, Jay, and Ditto

My good friend Deni and Me

Tiffany who trains me, Deni, me, and Lauren

Ros, me, and Therese. I'm holding a beautiful cover of my book done in dark chocolate that they presented me with.

Friends Susan, Janet, and Tante

And last Saturday I was signing books at my local Barnes & Noble in Southlake with fellow authors Bettina Restrepo and Karen Ferrell. It was an Educator's Tea and we had a fabulous turnout. We all sold out of our stacks and they had to scramble and get more books off the shelves. Always a good thing.

Bettina Restrepo, Karen Ferrell and Me signing books at Barnes & Noble

There's a wonderful review of The Stolen One over at Alaine: Queen of Happy Endings:

Her review by the way, is based on the audio which she said is brilliant. I've only heard snippets of the audio, can't wait to listen to the whole thing.

And speaking of audios, I was flipping through my November subscription copy of Vanity Fair and on page 149 there is a feature of Lily Rabe who did the audio for my first book, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous. Lily is the daughter of Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe.

9/14/09 03:05 pm

"To say I was enthralled is an understatement. In fact, I wish it could have been even longer than its’ 416 pages because Kat was such an appealing character to hang out with – curious, bright, passionate, and unpredictable. I loved the vividly realized historical details of the court and fashions of the time. Oh and I loved the writing . . ."
From Presenting Lenore

Lenore is also sponsoring a mega giveaway pack (donated by me) of a signed copy of The Stolen One, $75 worth of MAC make up and a $25 gift certificate. She already has 192 comments! Here's the link:

And Kathy Erksine has an interview with my up at her website. Kathy is the author of the upcoming "Mockingbird" a fabulous book. I interviwed her for my article on "Voices in Autism" in School Library Journal.


Last Thursday night I had a booksigning at Borders and signed over 30 books. Borders said they presold 20 also. After, friends and family joined me at Gloria's, a nearby jummy mexican food place.

Signing copies

Me with librarian Rose Brock who brought two teacher friends

Me with my sister Karen

Me with my friend Connie

Good friends from my Newcomers Group

Librarians Janet, Lucy, me, and Jane from Keller ISD

And lately I've had some very glamorous things happening. 360West magazine came to my home and photographed me for an article about me and the book. It's coming out in the October issue and I hope to blog more about it when it comes out.

And last Tuesday I got to go with my friend Missy by invitation of our designer Adrian Wright to meet Earl Spencer where he was making an appearance at a showroom in Dallas. He was signing books about Althorp, his ancestral home and also signing pieces of furniture that are exact replicas of pieces from Althorp. He made a very warm and funny speech about growing up at Althorp and what it takes to keep a 500 year old house running. He told an anecdote of when Winston Churchill came to Althorp to do research in a special room with ancient and irreplacable documents. The earl's grandfather walked in to find Winston smoking a cigar so he quickly threw a glass of water on him.

Missy, Earl Spencer, and me with a double chin

8/25/09 12:44 pm - Adventures in Booksignings

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of having lunch with my good friend and librarian Rose Brock and her friend Ally Carter. Ally was in town to sign stock of her books at local stores and to fit in a visit with Rose. Ally writes the hugely popular Gallagher Girl Series. Her latest is Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover. I'd actually met Ally before at the ALAN conference in San Antonio at an author's party. And she was so sweet to come over and introduce herself.

Rose Brock, Ally Carter, and me

I was very curious to know how it works when an author walks in a bookstore and asks to sign their own books. Ally said what she always does is she finds her books first in the store, then brings them up to the counter. She tells them she is the author of the book and asks politely if they would like her to sign them. They are usually more than grateful, especially if you are Ally Carter I would think!

So lately I've been following her advice with mixed results. I went into the Books-a-Million in Denison near where we have a vacation condo. I found they had one copy of The Stolen One. Hmmm. Did they order only one copy or did this mean they had sold sereral? I brought the one copy up to the counter where three of the employees were standing. I made my little speech. Silence. Pure silence and three sets of big eyes. "That's okay. I don't have to sign it if you don't want to," I mumbled in embarrassment. More silence. Then finally one of them said, "Do you mean you are really the author?" Apparently they really didn't believe I was the author, or maybe they had never had an author come in and do this. I signed the book and then they were very chatty and happy I had come in. About a week ago, we had a very fun family vacation in San Francisco. We used to live in San Jose for five years and San Francisco is one of our favorite cities. I happened upon a Border's at Union Square and mustered my courage to go in and look for my book. They had three copies! I quickly found a worker and did my speech and she was more than gracious if not thrilled I had come in. Success! The next day while shopping at a nearby mall, I found another Borders. Again three copies. I brought them up to the counter and asked the young man if I could sign them. Deer in t he headlights look again. Silence. "Umm, let me ask my manager," He said, looking at me suspiciously. He walked away, and carefully pulled his earpiece/microphone up and whispered something. I imagined that the phrase "crazy lady" was in there somewhere. But he came back a few moments later with a big relieved smile on his face and said I could sign them.

News Flash:

The Stolen One is an Indie Next List Pick for Fall! Hooray! This was formally called Book Sense and The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous was a Book Sense pick so I am two for two!

And there is a wonderful review up at Carrie's YA Bookshelf for The Stolen One:


Carrie says, "This book is beautifully written and captured me from the first page."

And lastly, I spoke about the publishing process and The Stolen One last Saturday at the Flower Mound Public Library. We had a wonderful turnout of thirty five people and I signed lots of books! There was even a long line and I really enjoyed talking to everyone who came, who all seemed to be aspiring writers. Thank you Jamie Pouster for inviting me! Afterward my sister Karen, and daughter Caitlin and I went out for celebratory Mexican food.

8/3/09 12:57 pm - Update Monday

It's blazing hot here in Texas. Humid too. We all hide in our air-conditioned spaces and only dare do out in the early morning or evening. Otherwise it's the mad dash from air-conditioned space to air-conditioned space. My husband and daughter are in London right now, meeting up with cousins and touring Buckingham palace today. I'm very jealous. But later in the month we are all going to San Francisco, where - hooray - it will be cooler! We used to live near SF for five years. We love the city.

Vintage pear pins I've been collecting from Ebay in honor of The Stolen One

A wonderful review of The Stolen One came out yesterday in School Library Journal. They said the Stolen One is "riveting," my writing is "sophisticated," readers "will not be able to put the book down" and I did a "terrific job of integrating historical detail." Can't get much better than that. Here's the link:


Also, in the same August issue, I'm proud to report, is an article I wrote for School Library Journal, called The Voices of Autism. I worked really hard on this article, reading ten books who had characters with autism and then ultimately choosing five to focus on. I interviewed Cynthia Lord, Kathyrn Erksine, Francisco X. Stork, Blaze Ginsberg, Nora Baskin Raleigh. I especially enjoyed talking to Blaze, who is on the autism spectrum about his book, "Episodes" which comes out in September. Here is the link to the article:


In other news:

Harper has a reading guide out for The Stolen One. I love it!


Emily's Reading Room has a review up of TSO:


As does The Hathor Legacy:


Carrie' YA Bookshelf has The Stolen One in her mailbox:


Very rare Vintage pin of Queen Elizabeth. Hope to wear this to some book events

And congrats to The Book Gobbler who won my contest on Myspace for a signed book and a B & N gift certificate. I let my eight year old son pick the winner.

7/2/09 12:08 am - The Stolen One widget

Powered by LiveJournal.com