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Thursday, December 22, 2011

What I Am:

                                                               ... making cake pops.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Listen in...

Here's the mp3 of me and the wonderful Judy Blume on the phone last week. Did I get your question in? Thanks again to booktalknation.com and Bank Street Bookstore!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Busy Day

I think my new Tortoise, Lightning, may be starting to write a book. 

Judge for yourself:

Hiding from the world
                                                       nobody here but us shoes!

                                                Seeming to do nothing but soak up the light

And, occasionally, bathing.
                                                             what was that thought again?

Tell-tale signs for sure. Waiting to see if tomorrow he makes tea and then stares at the blank-screened laptop for a while before he decides the refrigerator needs alphabetizing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

good news/bad news

Today some good news and some bad news:

First the bad:
I have been lying flat on my my back like a lox at a brunch buffet all day, because my back is in a spasm. So I'm missing my older son's chorus concert right now. Which he says is fine but it is not. also I'm in pain and mostly mad at myself because this is what ALWAYS happens to me if I don't do a few easy, specific stretches every day. And I haven't done them in a week. So it's even my own damn fault.

But now the good:

1. The phone interview I did last night with Judy Blume through BookTalkNation.com was so much fun and went off without a hitch. Thank you so much to all of you who emailed comments and questions, and also to those who wrote afterwards reassuring us that even though we made each other cry, in a good way, it all came through okay. Judy Blume is such a wonderful writer and an amazingly generous role model and supporter of so many of us, readers and writers alike -- and is also completely honest, smart, interesting -- and FUNNY. 

2. My new tortoise, Lightning, did some good sunbathing today. Welcome to December in NYC!

3. My new JUSTIN CASE book with Matthew Cordell was selected by the Junior Library Guild!

Hooray for JUSTIN CASE: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip_Flops of Doom -- and for everybody at MacKids.com -- and for the Junior Library Guild!

and 4. I think for dinner tonight we will have Ice Cream Sundaes. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Look what came yesterday!

My new book!

 And our new tortoise! His name is lightning. Which should be ironic for a turtle.

But this guy has so much GO in him, it actually suits him!

Oooo! Breakfast!

I am an awesome mesclun mix chef, clearly.

Thanks for breakfast!

I am getting NO work done today, just watching lightning explore. But tonight -- I am back on the phone with Judy Blume! Do you have anything you need me to ask her?

Uh-oh, Lightning just climbed onto his empty dish. What might he be trying to communicate?

Better dash. More later.

Rachel Vail

Friday, December 9, 2011


We're back!

Judy Blume and I will have a Do-Over of our phone conversation this Tuesday, December 13, at 7PM.

If you already signed up, you are still in, and should have received an update email.

If you weren't in already, you can sign up here.. Why not? The more the merrier.

Also, to celebrate those moments when life allows you a Do-Over -- I will send somebody, chosen at random, who is signed up for the chat, a free signed copy of my book Do-Over.

Rachel Vail

Do-Over; signed books

I will have an announcement to make very soon about the do-over interview with Judy Blume. If you tried to be in on that call and thought you were just technologically-too-challenged to manage, good news! It wasn't your fault!

It also wasn't mine, or Judy Blume's, or Booktalk Nation's.

As I tell my kids, assigning blame is irrelevant. (It was a glitch in the recording software!) What matters is learning from experiences and moving on with as much grace as you can muster. (It wasn't my fault! Yay!) And then doing better the next time. (That glitch has been so fixed it will NEVER have puppies.)

So -- more on that as soon as I have the green light.

But meanwhile, in the spirit of the season:

If you are planning on giving ANY of my books as gifts this holiday season (and I highly recommend giving books, especially if you can get them from your local independent bookseller -- you'll be doing so many good things ALL AT ONCE and who doesn't want to multitask these days?) I would be happy to send you a signed, personally inscribed bookplate to go with it. Just email me at rachelvailbooks@gmail.com and tell me: your name and address; which book this is for; and to whom you'd like it signed.

An alternative: you can order any of my books from my local wonderful bookstore, Bank Street Bookstore. They will yank me in off the street and point me at the books and then send them off, signed, to you right away. (and send me back out onto the street.) Click here to go to Bank Street.

Okay, gotta run -- in the midst of everything else, I am investigating the possibility of buying a pet for my kids. Can you guess what type????

And then, clearly, it is banana muffin time again. These bananas are practically jumping into the mixer bowl by themselves, despite looking all innocent -- it wasn't OUR fault! Somebody threw us in there! We were just hanging out and then WHAM, the sugar and butter were in there with us, and those eggs were totally cracked, we were all dancing this crazy whirling dance with the beaters and...

Rachel Vail

Monday, December 5, 2011

JUDY BLUME -- tonight!

Tonight at 7PM EST I am going to be interviewing Judy Blume on the phone.

And you can listen in.

It's free.

All you have to do is sign up here:  booktalknation.com/author/blume

Also, if you want a signed book, personalized for you or somebody you want to get a really cool, special, one-of-a-kind gift for (the holidays are lurking just ahead, rumor is) -- you can order it through this website too!

If you have a question you've always wanted to ask Judy Blume, or something Judy Blume's books taught you, email it to me RIGHT AWAY. I'm collecting such great questions from readers from all over -- I can't wait to discuss all this with Judy tonight.

But first I have to run out and buy oaktag and markers for my 12-year-old.

Here's the link again:  booktalknation.com/author/blume

Back to you when the oaktag crisis has passed!

Rachel Vail

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Who that blogger reminded me of

I always worry when reading a review of YOU, MAYBE because readers tend to have pretty strong, not always positive reactions to it. So when I saw this review posted by a facebook friend on my page, I braced myself. I was blown back anyway, utterly unprepared. I love this kid and the power of her reaction to this book. What a reader! 

I kept feeling like she reminded me of somebody, and then it hit me -- Tom, from John Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN -- in this, one of my favorite descriptions of character in all of literature (in so few words, you know so much about these two men and how different they are, without either being good or bad -- both readers, even -- but in describing how they read, in an incredibly economy of words, 3 lines, you know SO MUCH):

Samuel rode lightly on top of a book and he balanced happily among the ideas the way a man rides white rapids in a canoe. But Tom got into a book, crawled and groveled between the covers, tunneled like a mole among the thoughts, and came up with the book all over his face and hands.

I have always kind of had a secret crush on both Samuel and Tom, and have wondered which is more like me. I think most passionate readers I know are more like Samuel. But today, I got reviewed by a girl who reads the way Tom reads.

Here's her blog, the first entry she ever wrote, and she comes out guns blazing, with the book all over her face and hands:

Amen to that, honey, indeed.

And, thank you.

Rachel Vail

telling it like it is when it comes to love: You, Maybe.

Just read this blog. I think it's the best-written, most passionate review I've ever gotten! Can't say it's a complete rave, but it is a RANT and she lived this book, read it so hard I think she scorched the pages as she went. Wa-hoo!

telling it like it is when it comes to love: You, Maybe.: Hi! This is my first blog so um... bare with me. haha Today, I went to a Boston Public Library near my school for a meeting…there I picked...