Monday, January 19, 2009

hoping, and praying, and wishing

A week from today, we will know the winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, Coretta Scott King Awards, and more. I will be in beautiful Denver at ALA for the announcements, and I have very mixed feelings about it. Last year Grace and I were in China during the announcement, and therefore were literally far away from it all, and I really didn't have too much invested in it, except to think/hope that Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of the Part-Time Indian would win the Printz (it didn't). This year, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young, will get a mention. I'm not really superstitious--I tend to believe in the power of positive thinking, but in this case, when I know that it's completely out of my control at this point, I go back and forth with how to feel.

It's won the gold or honor in a few Mock Caldecotts, although didn't place in others (one said that the illustrations lacked "warmth"--hmph). I've seen bloggers say that it would either win the gold or get nothing, (yes, I'm a bit obsessed), and Fuse #8 declared it the front runner. Eek.

I don't know if it really IS the front runner, but I know it's a contender, and to be honest, it's a bit of an odd feeling to be in this situation. I do realize that this is not a bad position to be in--and I'm honestly happy to be here. It's always been my goal to edit books that are up for discussion for awards. It's just that I'm used to editing quiet books with modest expectations that surprise my publisher (although not to me) when they do extremely well. I prefer to be in the position of the underdog.

Well, all will be revealed next Monday. Think positive thoughts for Wabi Sabi (unless you hated the book, in which case, think neutral thoughts!)!


In other award news, I'm proud to say that Tony Abbott's The Postcard has been nominated for an Edgar Award!! Somehow, it's more satisfying to have a book that both I and the author have worked especially hard on be recognized, which is definitely the case here. Congratulations to Tony and the rest of the nominees!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Small Graces

Grace Lin has started a brand-new auction/fundraiser to benefit the Foundation of Children's Books. The Foundation was established "to help teachers, librarians and parents select and use quality children's literature in order to instill in children the joy of reading as a prerequisite for literacy and lifelong learning."

Find out more information about Small Graces here. Grace will be auctioning off an original piece of art each month. You can bid on the very first piece right now (pictured above)!

Read more about what inspired Grace to start this new fundaiser here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! Mission Accomplished.

I always look forward to this time of year as an opportunity to look back, and make a list of new goals and resolutions for the coming year. Last year, I accomplished just about half of my 20 goals--not great, but I am most proud of one of them: 

Get out of debt/start saving. 

Done, and done!

I'm a little ashamed to say that my debt was purely my own fault. I was lucky that I didn't start out with school loans--I went to UC Berkeley as a CA resident, and my parents paid the relatively low tuition fee. However, I was never good at managing my money and in college started using credit cards too freely. Trying to live on a bookseller salary for about a year and a half after college while moving across the country didn't help, either. And along the way, various other unforeseen emergencies and, uh, vacations (including going to Australia for a wedding) added to the debt, which reached $20,000 less than six years ago. 

I went through a period of two+ years where I hunkered down, went on no vacations, and barely bought anything (I avoided going into stores at all to fend off temptation), slowly paying off the debt on my meager publishing salary while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I cancelled some and put away other credit cards (at one point, at the advice of a friend, I literally froze my credit cards in a bag of water in the freezer!), and slowly chipped away at the balance. 

About three years ago, my mother offered me an interest-free loan to cover the remaining debt, which I accepted. I learned to make purchases with cash or my debit card. My mantra was NO NEW DEBT. A few years ago I opened up an ING account to simultaneously save for certain expenses I didn't want to put off, like my computer and my trip to China. 

And finally, on my trip home last week, I paid off the remaining balance of my debt to my mother. Here I am writing the check that ended it all:
It's hard for me to believe that I'm actually debt-free, and even have an emergency savings fund started. It's a whole new world for me! Who knows, maybe I can even start saving to buy property some day.

So, what's on my agenda for next year? I generally make goals in several categories: personal, professional, and health. I'll share two of my resolutions in each category:

-Post on this blog at least once a month (and not just an animoto video or a cross-post from the Blue Rose Girls)
-Clean my room at least once a week for a half hour (unless it’s already clean!)

-Come up with plan to manage submissions in a more efficient way--do not keep authors/agents waiting for more than 3 months
-Read (including audio books) at least one adult book every three months, one published MG/YA book every month (I know this probably seems pitiful, but I always feel guilty when I'm not reading submissions)

-Get at least eight hours of sleep three times a week
-Exercise at least two times a week

What are some of your resolutions?