Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Books I've Loved: Outrun the Moon

Earlier this year I read Stacey Lee's first book, a western in which a Chinese girl and a black slave went on the run together.  I loved that book so much that I was eagerly anticipating this one.

And I wasn't disappointed.

While I'm sure some of the history isn't 100% correct, this story is so well told and immerses you so completely in early 20th Century San Francisco, you don't really question the reality.  Or at least, I didn't.

Mercy Wong is a great protagonist, headstrong, challenging and completely focused on getting what she wants.  And tenacious enough not to let any obstacle stand in her way.  Even the earthquake which devastated San Francisco in 1906 isn't enough to dampen her spirits.

In fact, it forces her to make choices and do extraordinary things that will change her life, and probably the lives of everyone around her.

But don't just listen to me…  Here's the blurb:

San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekly Goals 27-6-16

This week is going to be tough, so I'm not setting myself any really big goals.

My partner has brain surgery today, and is likely to be in the hospital at least until the end of the week.  So I'm going to have to juggle work, kids,visiting him and everything else.

I had aimed to get my book back to my agents by the beginning of July, and I think that's still possible because I have only a very little bit more work to do on it, but I don't know if I'll have the time or mental capacity to do it this week.  But I'll try.  Who knows… I might need the distraction.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things 24-6-16

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

My partner is going to get surgery on Monday.  We've been waiting a while for this, so it's great news although a little stressful.  Any time doctors are going into people's heads, it's scary.  But fingers crossed it all goes well and my partner will be able to live without the crippling pain he's been dealing with for the last two years.

I've almost finished making the revisions to my book my first CP mentioned when she sent back notes. I will probably be done by the middle of next week, if everything goes to plan.

My youngest son turned 9 on Tuesday, so I have a birthday party to deal with today.  My son told me yesterday that half the kids he's invited are Muslim and it's Ramadan so they can't eat while it's light.  Makes things a little tricky…  It's not fair not to feed the other kids, but how can I give them cake and stuff while the other kids can't have any?  It may be something of a challenge!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Books I've Loved: George

I don't often read middle grade books, but this one sounded so far up my alley, I had to read it.  And it's great.  The writer very cleverly captures both George's confusion and her certainty about who she is.

But it isn't easy as an eleven-year-old girl everyone sees as an eleven-year-old boy.  Luckily George has some good people in her life who are willing to try and understand her.  Of course, there are other people who are less understanding, but George does a good job of getting her own back on the bullies too.

Because this is for younger readers, everything is pretty simple and George doesn't face anything truly horrific.  But the things she does deal with are enough, and when she triumphs over them, there is a real sense of victory.

I think this is a must for every school and library because there are confused, frightened kids everywhere who feel out of place and unsure about who they are and why they're feeling this way.  Reading this book might offer them comfort in knowing they are not alone and realizing they can be who they are without hurting those around them.

But don't believe me. Here's the blurb:


When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekly Goals 20-6-16

I'm back into revision-land this week.

One of my CPs has sent back my MS with notes, so I will have to read all of them and dive back into working out how to shift the focus of my book slightly outside its comfort zone.

Other than that, I have a fair bit of work to do at the day job this week too.

Think it's going to be a busy one!

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things 17-6-15

This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

So what am I celebrating this week?

I'm home!

It was a good conference, but I'm glad to be back, even if the work has piled up while I was away. I'm exhausted today because I partied with old friends and colleagues until 2am and then had to get up early to get to the airport.  But nothing a good night's sleep won't cure.

Tomorrow my best friend's band is playing in town to celebrate their 20th anniversary (which is ridiculous because I'm sure they only got together about two weeks ago).  They haven't been playing together for a few years, so this is a very special reunion and I'm  excited to catch up with them all.

I finished revising my novel and sent it off to two CPs, so I'm on a short break until the notes come back.

And that's about it for this week...

What are you celebrating?