Thank you, Adirondack Center for Writing…

…for an unforgettable Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain Lake.

As the waves lapped the shore and the black flies swarmed, Spitfire won the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Children’s Book in the MG/YA category at Sunday’s ceremony.  There’s a very cool wooden plaque with an Adirondack chair over my computer now…

…but really, the best part of the award was spending the day with such an amazing group of writers and readers and taking in the majesty of Blue Mountain Lake.  The awards ceremony was held at the Blue Mountain Center, a turn-of-the-century Adirondack lodge that’s now a private retreat house for writers & other artists.  Check out the great room.  I have serious fireplace envy…

To get here, we turned into a drive that said No Admittance, wound our way around numerous twists and turns of a dirt road, and crossed two charming bridges —

We actually took these photos from the water, during a boat tour before the awards ceremony. 

Bob from the Blue Mountain Boat Livery made sure we saw all the sights and told us many a tale of history and a few tall tales, too.  He knew the best beach for swimming, where to find the loons, and where to meet some baby seagull chicks nesting on a rock.  Can you spot them?

Mama Seagull kept a close eye on us while we snapped this photo!

If you know the Adirondacks at all, I don’t need to tell you what a special place this is.  The people who live here are pretty amazing, too, and the Adirondack Center for Writing is just an incredible group.  Thanks so much to all the judges and ACW volunteers who made Sunday the magical day that it was, and congratulations to all of the writers whose books were up for awards.  Some amazing work comes out of these hills.

I appreciate the plaque and the very cool stickers that will go on my books now, but when I think back on Sunday, it’s the people at the Blue Mountain Center I’ll remember the most — people who love reading and books with the same passion that they love the Adirondack waters and woods.

Friday Five

Here are  five things making me smile this Friday…

1. Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival – We’re spending tonight on the Church St. Marketplace, enjoying the music (okay…and some Ben & Jerry’s, too). 

2. Saturday plans for a girls’ day with two writer pals and their daughters.

3. The Adirondack Literary Awards this Sunday in Blue Mountain Lake, hosted by The Adirondack Center for Writing.  ACW is a great organization that hosted the first children’s writing conference I ever attended.  I’ve been to some great workshops and other conferences since then, but the ACW World of Children’s Literature Conference will always hold a special place in my heart.  I got my first manuscript critique on the novel that would become Spitfire, listened to Joseph Bruchac tell stories, and sat next to Paula Danziger at dinner.  And I thought, “Maybe I can really do this writing thing.”

4. My kitchen cabinets are white.  They used to be dark, dark brown.  The walls, which used to be a strange gray-brown-mystery 1950s wallpaper color, are a buttery yellow now.  The counter is…a work in progress.  And most of what was sitting on it is now on the floor on the porch.   If I could only find the toaster, I’d be all set…

5.  I’m revising CIRCUIT BOY, the companion book for my MG novel, MAPLE GIRL.  I’m through my second pass of revisions and need to back off and look at the bigger picture now.  Next week, I’ll be shrinking the font to size 8, single spacing, and laying out the pages on the porch (as soon as I move the stuff from the kitchen counter) so I can go nuts with my beloved Post-It notes and figure out where threads are disappearing and where characters need to resurface.  This will be fabulously fun for me in a geeky, writer-girl sort of way.