ALAN in Boston

Here are just a few of the cool things happening at the ALAN (Assembly of Literature for Adolescents at the NCTE) Conference in Boston.

1. Hanging out with teachers of english – my people! There are literally stacks of books on the ballroom tables and people giddy with anticipation to read them.

2. Listening to REALLY well known and well respected authors talk about writing, books and how powerful they can be in the lives of young people.  Here are a few of those who were here. I was sitting toward the back of the room, so I took pictures of them on the big screen – sorry about the quality.


Chris Crutcher – Note the title of his presentation – “Can We be Fucking Real?”

I say YES! Not only can kids take it, but they need to hear it AND they can spot a phony a mile away.



Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl



Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight


3. Seeing THE FIELD on the “New Teen Fantasy and Adventure ” Shelf at the Barnes & Noble in Boston – facing out!!!.


4. Fantastic sign outside the restrooms. ALAN wholeheartedly supports the LGBTQ community!


Tomorrow it will be my turn up on stage. Can’t wait!

Fangirl at the ALAN Workshop of the NCTE

I am excited to be participating in the ALAN Workshop portion of the NCTE (National Conference for Teachers of English) in Boston this November. ALAN stands for Assembly on Literature for Adolescents at the NCTE conference. There will be over 500 teachers at the conference and they will all receive a copy of THE FIELD.(!) I am on the Sports Panel discussion to talk about THE FIELD – which has a sports theme – and also to talk about being a publisher. The three other authors on the panel are pretty heavy hitters.

Andrew Smith author of WINGER (getting Prinz buzz!)

Carl Deuker author of SWAGGER

David Klass author of SECOND IMPACT

So I am honored and thrilled to participate, but also a bit terrified!! Being selected to be on the panel gives me a feeling legitimacy and validation for my work as an author and a publisher, but I still have that fear – you know what I’m talking about – that they will discover that I’m just a poser, not the real thing. These other three authors have written several YA books apiece and they are all frankly, awesome. I’ve read WINGER by Andrew Smith and loved it, and stayed up until 1am last night finishing SWAGGER by Carl Deuker. They are both such powerful books. And also entertaining. And have such clear and distinct teen voices. YIKES!! (Look for reviews of their books in later posts.)

Next on my list is SECOND IMPACT by David Klass. I haven’t gotten to his book yet because I’ve been reading his “FIRESTORM – Caretakers Trilogy” first. In that series he uses many of the themes that are in THE FIELD. Environmental issues, sports and some science fiction/metaphysical bits, too. I’ve been looking for a book that is similar in part to THE FIELD and I think I found it in the “Firestorm” series.

THE FIELD isn’t actually my first book. INDIAN SUMMER is the story of Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, and is more for middle school readers. I have the beginnings of the next companion book to THE FIELD in outline form, too. So it’s not like I’m a total newbee, but still. These guys have written numerous of books. I sent them all THE FIELD and Carl Deuker sent me a note that he’s looking forward to reading it and that it looks great. 🙂  I’ve been going over and over my six minute ALAN presentation in my mind. Now I just have to get it down on paper. The trick will be not to act like too much of a fangirl at the workshop. Chris Crutcher is giving a presentation and John Green is receiving an award, along with dozens of other well-known and accomplished authors. So you see how it could be overwhelming for a YA lit lover like me.

The most exciting thing, though, is what if it turns out that they don’t think I’m a poser? What if they think I’m the real deal?