The Boats, the BIG waves, the Books & the Bees

Be warned. This is one of those rambling, little-bit-of-everything posts.

First the boats… which were a theme of the League of Vermont Writers summer picnic at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum last weekend.  The League invited me to be one of two speakers for the event, and we had a great time talking about research for both historical fiction and for more contemporary pieces.  I was so glad I stayed to hear poet Daniel Lusk speak after lunch, too.

He was charming and read from his latest work-in-progress, a collection of poems inspired by what’s under the surface of Lake Champlain, from fish to shipwrecks, to our elusive lake monster, Champ.  And for those of you planning to attend the Burlington Book Festival this fall, take note… Daniel will be reading from his work at Burlington’s Waterfront Theatre on September 27th.  He wasn’t sure what time yet, but if you check the festival website, I’m sure they’ll have a schedule posted before long. 

In other news this week, my husband and I have spent a fair amount of time rescuing our dock pieces from waves as Lake Champlain’s water level continues to rise with all our summer rain. 

I think naked docks look funny, don’t you?

After we finished lugging all the pieces around, I plopped down on the sun porch and devoured my ARC of this book in a single day.

Don’t miss this one when it comes out in October.  L.K. Madigan‘s FLASH BURNOUT has one of the best teen boy voices in any book I’ve ever read.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times the dialogue made me laugh out loud.  So, so perfect and funny.  But not fluffy either – this book has a way of being hysterically funny and deeply profound all at once, and it tackles some tough issues.  I loved it and was sad when I finished.  Up next on my reading list (and saving me from too much pouting) is THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE, which I’ve heard great things about, too.

I haven’t had much reading time today yet because I spent the afternoon at the public library in Alburg, Vermont for a presentation about my second Lake Champlain historical novel, CHAMPLAIN AND THE SILENT ONE.  No matter how many presentations I give, I’m always moved by a welcome like this. 

Those balloons have had me smiling all day.  And I loved the group of people who came out for this event, a mix of all ages, including a high school freshman who just had her own poem about the Holocaust published.  It was fun to talk about writing with her and her sister!

My other big highlight of the week was a research appointment to help me write a new scene in SUGAR ON SNOW, my middle grade ice skating novel that’s coming out with Walker Books in 2010.  The main character’s friend takes care of the bees in her family’s apple orchard, and I’ve decided to set the new scene there.  (If you read the book later on, you will see why – it just fits the mood of the conversation perfectly.)  So yesterday, in 87-degree weather, I met up with a delightful area beekeeper (thank you, Dave!), zipped myself into a borrowed beekeeper’s outfit, and got to work watching and listening to 100,000 honeybees and learning how to care for them.

It’s probably good that you can’t see in the photo how sweaty I was.  Despite the heat, it was a fantastic afternoon, and I learned some amazing things about honeybees, some of which are perfect for the new scene and some of which are fascinating but don’t belong in my book, and so I’ll just quietly enjoy those.  For those of you who write & research, it’s a challenge, isn’t it?  Knowing what has to be left out, even when it’s information you love? 

The Alburg Library was my last author event until Labor Day weekend, when we’re throwing a launch party for THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.  More on that soon, but for now, know that you’re invited to Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT on Saturday, September 5th at 11:00.  Nonna’s famous funeral cookies from the book will make their debut, too!

For now…it’s back to the revision, with some camping, family visits, and general summer frolicking sprinkled in, too.  I hope you’ve had a terrific July!

20 Replies on “The Boats, the BIG waves, the Books & the Bees

  1. Love the beekeeper’s outfit. The things you do for your art – I am impressed!

    And though NO waters in California are in danger of rising (rain? what’s that?), I agree: naked docks do look funny.

  2. Love you in your bee suit (you are brave — despite the 100+ bees we’ve had in our house since the extraction, I wouldn’t want to be surrounded by them).

    I just started FLASH BURNOUT, and I’m already loving it!

  3. I laughed so much while reading Flash Burnout! I so envied how Lisa managed truly funny humor while keeping it non-silly and still poignant.

  4. My visit with the beekeeper was thoroughly enjoyable – and if I didn’t have such a small yard, I’d so be looking into a hive or two. They are beautiful and so, so fascinating.

  5. The bees were actually pretty docile as well as gorgeous. Dave said they were in a good mood. Interestingly enough, we were originally supposed to meet today to work in the hives, but since the barometric pressure was supposed to be dropping today, he rescheduled. Apparently bees who are disturbed with falling barometric pressure are much grouchier about it.

    You will love FLASH BURNOUT – voice in this book is one of my all-time favorites for teens, I think. It’s just wonderful.

  6. I kept snorting laughs while I was reading on the deck the other day, and my 7-year-old, reading next to me, was saying, “What’s so funny! Read that part!” Um…well…no. I’ll have to buy her the hardcover and save it for 6 or 7 years instead.

  7. The bees sound great! I can imagine how warm you were, because I was on a research trip of my own, in tank top and shorts, and was still a limp noodle by the end of the day.

    The dock photo would be a terrific 15-words-or-less prompt.

    Thanks for the shout-out to the League and Daniel. See you at the Book Festival!

  8. EEEEeeeeeee!

    Thank you, Kate!!!

    I have figurative balloons floating over my head right now, I’m so happy.

    P.S. I’ve always wanted to visit an apiary, too.

  9. Knowing what to leave out is surely one of the hardest parts — especially when the research is done in 87 degree heat, and is fascinating to boot!

  10. Adorable

    Oh my – that is just too cute! You look awesome in your beekeepers outfit. Please make sure you include that in your slide show when you do your presentations for Sugar on Snow!
    You make me smile all of the time!
    : )

  11. Ah…but then I wouldn’t have ended up with the right words for the sound they make when you puff the smoker at them. It was actually really fun, and the bees were amazingly docile. Dave said they were in a good mood!

  12. It was fascinating- Just wrote the scene this weekend, so now it is indeed time to go back and prune it a bit. I’m sure a was probably a little over-excited with the details.

  13. Beekeeping research photos will go into my school presentation “All in the Name of Research.”

    And FLASH BURNOUT is amazing and funny. You will love it.

  14. Re: Adorable

    Thanks – it’s already in the file where I keep photos for that book and will be part of my presentation on research, too.

    Hope your head is feeling better!

  15. It’s been a long, wavy summer on Lake Champlain. We actually had to go in and rescue part of the neighbor’s dock yesterday – the whole catwalk came off and floated two houses down.