Author Archives: Darcey Rosenblatt

About Darcey Rosenblatt

Darcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, a cat and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater.

Fare Well not Goodbye

As writers we’ve all come upon people who say, “I don’t care about being published, I just love the process.” Whoa Nelly – that is not me! WRITING IS HARD and I wouldn’t be beating my head against this particular wall if I didn’t strongly want my stories out in the world. And now LOST BOYS has been out on it’s own for three weeks. It is still a sparkly, giddy thrill every time a friend sends a picture of my book (my book – the one I wrote) on the shelf of some random bookstore.

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Tonight I will make my first appearance in one of my local indies. I am overflowing with gratitude for this journey and for the traveling companions I’ve met on this road.piglet_gratitude_winnie_the_pooh

And these traveling companions – my writing community, my tribe, have brought such a richness to my life. Because of their company and their kindness and the way we can jump into one another’s imaginary worlds, I’ve come to actually value the process as much as the end product of my book on the shelf. So today I will be leaving the role of debut and moving into the role of author – there is manuscript and other stories that need attention. This milestone also means fledging the Emu Debut nest. But don’t say goodbye too loudly ’cause ya ain’t getting rid of me easily. I will be here to support all the other Emu’s with future hatchings and share the new ideas and coming success of my nest mates. A hearty SHOUT OUT to all my writing buds and especially the whole Erin Murphy Literary Agency tribe. May we all fare well in this journey, my friends. I might have done this without you, but probably not and even if I had it certainly wouldn’t have been anywhere near as delightful.

FullSizeRenderDarcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel was released by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California.

 

 

 

 

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Lost Boys is Born

bookish darceyIt’s not often that you get to say this is the day I’ve been waiting for my whole life – a birth of a child or a wedding maybe or – drumroll please – the birth of your first book. For me today is that day. LOST BOYS can be found in bookstores and should be received by all who preordered! To say this day was a long time coming is sort of like saying Harry is a wizard – merely stating the obvious. My first draft of this book was “finished” over ten years ago.

The idea for this story – historic fiction about the Iran/Iraq war – came to me like lightning — complete with one of those spine-tingling, goose bump-filled moments that writers learn not to ignore. Then for months I did my best to run away. I ran because this was not my story to tell. I‘ve never been a thirteen- year- old boy. I’m not Muslim. But the story would not leave me alone and as my main character grew in my head, I became more convinced he and his story needed to be out in the world. My heartfelt wish upon a star is this book will find its way into enough small hands that it might make a difference – that someday we will see generations of children unaffected by war.20286926_863065190517555_2663126677096329254_o

I couldn’t have completed this part of the journey without a host of people who had first hand experience with this story and I am ever indebted to them as I am to the incredible rich writing community that has made my life so much more interesting.

Within that community there are so many people to thank. Lin Oliver and the fabulous folk at SCBWI who taught me so much of what I know now. My long standing writing group – you ladies kept me going when draft after draft got the “not quite for me” letter. Thanks to all the Better Books Conference faculty and alumni (particularly Emma Dryden who took red pen to an early draft). Of course, all the folks at Henry Holt who believed in this story so many had not known what to do with. And I wish I could say “thank you” in 23 languages – that might begin to express my gratitude to my agent, the kidlit wizard Erin Murphy and the magical community she nourishes.

Thanks pour out to my amazing family and friends – my lovely book nerdy Mom and Dad, plus a jumble of smart, funny, warm and loving siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins and close friends – they’ve made me feel like today is as special for them as it is for me. Finally (after all I have to leave you time to go buy the book today) I don’t have proper words to thank David and Martha – my bandleaders and my safe haven. Enough said.

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Darcey Rosenblatt

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LOST BOYS can be found at your local bookstore, or online at:

Indie-Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781627797580
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lost-boys-darcey-rosenblatt/1125067336
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Boys-Darcey-Rosenblatt/dp/1627797580
Books-a-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Lost-Boys/Darcey-Rosenblatt/9781627797580

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Final Countdown – an Interview with Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette.

The Countdown Conspiracy 3What a fabulous week it has been celebrating the rockety roboty launch of Kate Silvensky’s fabulous debut THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY. I got to interview Kate’s brilliant agent Ammi-Joan Paquette about the journey of bringing this great book to the world.

Q: What was it that first attracted you to THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY?

A: This was one of those manuscripts that hooked me in right from the first page – talk about a heart-pounding opening! As I kept reading and flipping those pages, I stayed just as engrossed, and the premise felt so fresh and exciting. Basically this manuscript was your all-around winner. How could I possibly resist?  ☺

Q: Can you tell us anything about the process of working with Katie before it went out to sub? What did you and Kate have to do to get to a version that could go out to submission?

A: We didn’t really do much in the way of revisions – the story was terrifically strong, and any changes were just to streamline some plot and logic questions, and make sure all the character threads lined up in the strongest possible way. Katie is a terrific writer and reviser, so the process was as seamless as could be!

Q: Was there anything specific about the story that made you think it would be a good fit for Harper Collins?

A: I knew that Erica Sussman was a fan of high-concept, action-packed stories, so I hoped this terrific book would be right up her alley. I was never more thrilled than to hear that she was!!

Q: Is there a certain reader you envision for this book and or a niche you are hoping it will fill?

A: Oh my gosh, this is a book that will appeal to just about every reader! It’s ideal for girl and boy readers, those who love smart and strong characters as well as those who love complex plots and heart-pounding action. Best of all, Katie is a legitimate scientist, so every bit of the scientific backdrop is 100% sound and centered on the most up-to-date research. It’s an amazing way to show kids the thrilling side of science, and keep that STEM energy flowing – in the best way possible.

There you have it – if you don’t already have a copy of this book in your hands don’t waste another minute. Thank you to both Ammi-Joan and Kate for launching this fantastic read.

FullSizeRenderDarcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California.

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The Power of Persuasion

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Another post in the fabulous celebration of the launch of the first two books in Debbi Michiko Florence’s debut chapter book series, Jasmine Toguchi! Hitting the shelves this week – Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen and Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth. In Mochi Queen Jasmine is angry that her older sister, Sophie, is allowed to help in the kitchen with New Year’s celebration preparation, but Jasmine is stuck babysitting younger cousins. She uses all her winning powers to try to get her way. I’ve heard that teachers are using this book to talk about crafting persuasive arguments! Given that interesting use of this book,  I thought I’d pole some EMLA’s about things they wanted when they were Jasmine’s age.

Kate Silvensky wanted a cat! Half her family was allergic, though, and her parents and sister were more “dog people”, so ‘it was futile. Kate had lots of stuffed animals that were cats substitutes. Her favorite was named Dusty, and she had quite the personality. For never actually having a cat, Kate nailed the cat-itude rather perfectly with Dusty. Some of her friends were scared of Dusty the stuffed animal, because she wasn’t nice and if they pet her too long she’d “hiss” at them. Ultimately, within months of leaving school and starting her first full time job, Kate adopted a cat. 🙂 (For the record, he’s much nicer than Dusty!)

Katrina Knudson also really wanted a cat! Her family loved animals, but her dad and brother were both severely allergic too. Once her brother found a kitten that had been thrown out of a car, and he brought her home. Katrina named her Taffy, and made up a whole song about her. The words were, “Her name is Taffy, Taffy, and she’s my cat, my cat!” Katrina’s mom then made it clear that Taffy was only staying one night before heading for a shelter. Katrina changed her song to a minor key, and sang it in between sobs. For a while, Katrina got a lot of cat-themed sweatshirts, sheets, and mugs for Christmases and birthdays, but it didn’t fill the void.

Like Jasmine I longed to be able to partake in traditions before my parents thought I was ready. I was sure I was old enough to light the candles at Sabbath dinners and especially when Chanukah rolled around. It took all my powers of persuasion and many supervised match lighting sessions, but I finally prevailed and as I recall it was still far earlier than any of my friends got to handle “fire.”

You’ll have to run out and buy Mochi Queen to see how Jasmine made her case. Enter to win a copy by midnight EST Sunday July 16th. One entry per one comment per post this launch week for a maximum total of five entries. The winner will be drawn at random. Must have U.S. mailing address. Good luck!

FullSizeRenderDarcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California.

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Countdown to Launch

jugglerIt’s 169 days until LOST BOYS is let loose to find it’s way in the world and into children’s hands. I recently got to meet my team at Henry Holt and confirmed what I’d been feeling over the last approximately 380 days we’ve been working together – I am lucky to be in their hands. Let me tell you people – there is nothing like walking through hall after hall of shiny bookcases filled with pretty children’s books and knowing yours is going to be there soon.

It’s been approximately 660 days since that champagne cloud of a day when the book sold, so you can imagine Launch Day brings equal parts elation and abject dread. I’m a juggler struggling to keep a large bowling pin, an apple and a chain saw in the air. Are we all done with edits? How will the book be viewed in this political climate? When shall I start the ARC tour? Is the website done? Have I thanked my new followers on Twitter? Am I getting new followers on Twitter? Have I booked my launch? And OMG – is the laundry done?

And in among that avalanche of questions is maybe the most crucial one. How is that work in progress – the next book? On this bright Monday morning I’m feeling good. I’ve finally jettisoned all those characters and scenes that weren’t serving my story and the path forward is clear. But Oh Lordy! Finding the headspace to give it the attention it deserves is not easy. That pure writing time is precious and dear and so different from the twirling tornado that is my everyday. So my friends, thank you for listening as I pledge to carve out time in the eye of my storm and hold in my sights an empty space on that shiny bookcase.

Darcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry darceyhighresHolt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and daughter, some fish, and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and dances.

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Encouraging Early Activists

the-youngest-marcherIt is Martin Luther King’s birthday. It seems particularly important to pay attention this year to Dr. King’s life and the dreams he fought and died for. I have traditions for this day – reading the I Have a Dream Speech – listening to Shed a Little Light at least once and this year I will start a new tradition. It will include a yearly reading of Cynthia Levinson’s THE YOUNGEST MARCHER – The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist. It’s so fitting that Cynthia’s story, beautifully illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton would be launched this week as Audrey Faye Hendricks was the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest. This book seems a wonderful follow-up to Cynthia’s book WE’VE GOT A JOB which tells the story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Thinking about Audrey got me thinking about other young activists. Many of us know the story of young Malala Yousafzai who was living under Taliban rule in Pakistan, where young girls were at times forbidden to attend school. She started writing a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC at the age of 11, detailing what life was like and sharing her views on education for girls. Her passion and activism earned her several television and print interviews. Unfortunately, in 2012, a gunman boarded her school bus, asked for Malala by name and shot her in the head. Although in critical condition after the attack, Malala eventually stabilized enough to be sent to a hospital in England to recover in safety. She speaks about the rights of women and girls often and won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. She has been nominated twice for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize – the youngest person and only girl to ever be nominated.

Fewer have heard the story of Ryan Hreljac who in 1998, at six years old, learned that kids in Africa often had to walk several kilometers for clean water. This seemed wrong to Ryan. Using money he earned from household chores and funds he raised from speaking publicly at different events about Africa’s clean water issues, Ryan managed to fund the construction of his first well in a Northern Ugandan village in 1999. From there he established Ryan’s Well Foundation, an organization that has helped build thousands of water projects and latrines, bringing safe water and improved sanitation to close to a million people.

As 2017 dawns many of us are feeling the need to do more. As children’s writers we can make sure all children see themselves in the books they read and show them that they’re never too young to make a difference. Cynthia Levinson has raised this bar with THE YOUNGEST MARCHER. Join me in making this book part of your Marin Luther King Day celebration.

darceyhighres About Darcey Rosenblatt
Darcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater.

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In Praise of Resourceful Girls

nianmonstercoverIf you’ve been hanging out with us this week here at Emu’s Debuts you’ve heard a lot about Andrea Wang’s THE NIAN MONSTER and her spunky resourceful main character, Xingling. To continue the launch week celebration I asked Emu’s to talk about our favorite resourceful girls – real or imagined.

Christina Uss thought of SALLY JEAN THE BICYCLE QUEEN from author Cari Best. Christina says “She has the best can-best can-do attitude of picture book girls I know and love. When faced with the need for a bicycle that fits her properly without any money to get one, she uses her brain and her hands to get the job done!” Christina also loves one of my personal favorites – Hilary Knight’s ELOISE. “That six-year-old girl’s imagination means she’ll never be at a loss for excitement and adventure anywhere she goes.” I agree. When I was a kid ELOISE was serious a role model for me.

Christina was also moved to submit for our consideration Hillary Clinton growing up in Chicago in the first chapter of Cynthia Levinson’s DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN. Christina read this to her son and he said, “I like how Hillary doesn’t wait for a better time to do something, she jumps right in and does things that need doing right away.” Smart kid.

Jason Gallaher says” Great gillyweed, this may be the hardest question we’ve ever been asked on Emu’s Debuts. There are so many resourceful girls out there that I love! But I will say my favorite from recent reads is Alice in Tahereh Mafi’s FURTHERMORE. First of all, she’s hilarious. She has this dry sort of wit that reeeeeeally cracks me up. Second of all, she’s working to find her father in a dimension consisting of a gazillion worlds with different rules that she doesn’t know, yet keeps on going anyway. This girl rocks! Plus, she is a snazzy dresser who includes bangles in her wardrobe. Love her!” And if you know Jason you know he’s a great judge of hilarious and fashion.

Finally Andrea weighed in on this question herself – maybe giving us a hint about her inspiration. “I read I AM MALALA a couple of years ago and was just blown away by Malala Yousafzai. She started speaking out and fighting for girls’ rights to education when she was just a young teen. She found ways to keep learning even when her school was closed, and ways to keep speaking out even though her life was in danger. She has such inner strength!”

We are all so excited to see THE NIAN MONSTER make its way into the hearts and dreams of kids and for Xingling to join the ranks of resourceful girls we all love to talk about!

As an added treat if you  leave a comment on this post (or any EMUs Debuts post this week) you’ll be entered into a giveaway for THE NIAN MONSTER.

darceyhighresDarcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater.

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LIKE MAGIC Launch Week: Our Biggest Summers

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Elaine Vickers LIKE MAGIC is a lovely story about Grace, Jada, and Malia, three girls looking to belong. It’s a story about the biggest summer of their lives, the summer so much changes. Talking about this special summer got Emus thinking about the biggest summer of their childhood. Twelve to thirteen seemed to be the sweet spot for these Emus.

Haley Barrett remembers the exact moment when she realized she wasn’t a little kid anymore. “It was a summer evening. I was at a 4H fair and on a carnival ride. We were flying and spinning and Heart’s BARRACUDA was blasting. I felt daring and pretty and like an almost-teenager.”

For Jason Gallaher his twelve-year-old summer was made special by his Grandma Joan. “She took me and my brother on a trip to the Mediterranean. We saw the south of France, the west coast of Italy, and Malta. It was the first time I had been out of the country. She may not have realized it, but Grandma made me realize how big the world was and how much of it I wanted to see. From that summer on, I knew I wouldn’t stay in my hometown as an adult – I’d go discover where on the planet I felt most myself.”

The summer Kate Slivensky was turning 13, was her second summer volunteering at the local zoo. She got to work with more exotic animals than the summer before. “My first day on the job that year, I helped a zookeeper separate fighting rhinos. I remember thinking, ‘This isn’t something they’d let a kid do. I must be growing up!’ I was really proud of myself. As an adult looking back, I have a different opinion of that moment (mild horror, to say the least). But as I write middle grade, I use it to remember what kids are capable of accomplishing. (Far more than adults give them credit for!)”

The summer Andrea Wang turned 13, her family moved from rural Ohio to a suburb of Boston. “I was a painfully self-conscious kid, and suddenly finding myself in a large, racially-diverse city was heaven. I loved the freedom of anonymity, of blending in, of being one of a crowd. I made friends with other Chinese American kids and felt seen and heard in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. That move made me feel like I could finally belong somewhere.”

Go get yourself a copy of Elaine’s LIKE MAGIC. The sweetness of the friendship summer will get you thinking about your own special summers. Here are some links where you can buy the book: Amazon, IndieBound, and B&N.


darceyhighresDarcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, a cat and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater.

 

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Finding Perfect, Finding Understanding!

finding-perfect-2It is launch week for my friend and agency mate Elly Swartz’s FINDING PERFECT. I was lucky enough to read an advanced reader copy of this book and I LOVED IT. This book is one of those books that is going to be life changing for some kids. Elly’s main character Molly is in middle school and dealing with worsening symptoms of OCD. The book is sweet and funny and truly sensitive to Molly’s situation. I know it’s going to be a lifechanging book that helps some kids understand themselves better and others to be more compassionate. To commemorate the launch of this special book I asked other Emu’s about books that changed their perspectives when they young.

As a kid, Debbi Michiko Florence loved reading – from Charlotte’s Web to the witch books by Ruth Chew and Judy Blume as well. When she was in 5th or 6th grade she came across FAREWELL TO MANZANAR by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, about Jeanne’s experience being interned as a Japanese-American during WWII. It was the first she’d heard about this event. This led to ask questions and she learned from her dad that he and his family had been interned. Debbi said, “It was the first book I’d read that was about and by a Japanese-American. While it was a story that saddened me, it also made me feel connected, gave me a sense of my own history. Until I had a Japanese-American teacher in 4th grade who set me straight, I actually believed my ancestors came over on the Mayflower, because that’s the way we were taught in elementary school back then. I was grateful then as I am now for Jeanne’s honest and heart-breaking portrayal of life in the internment camp, but also for the strength of those who tried to make the best of a horrible situation.” Debbie recently bought the book for her college-age daughter.

Andrea Y. Wang told me that even though Anne Shirley was nothing like her on the surface, reading about her in the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES books made her feel less alone and more hopeful. Anne was an outsider who was often teased by her peers, yet she had an inner strength that Andrea admired and tried to emulate. “Anne showed me that all I needed was one or two kindred spirits and I would be fine.” I felt the same way!

For me Madeline L’Engle’s WRINKLE IN TIME was hugely important. Meg Wallace showed me a character that felt like I felt – awkward and different from all the other kids I knew, but in the end resourceful and strong, partly because of those differences. I think that’s why both these books have lasted through the decades.

Like Debbi’s experience with FAREWELL TO MANZANAR, I’m sure FINDING PERFECT will inspire empathy and understanding and Molly will bring solace and inner strength to the many kids who see themselves in her. We are thrilled and proud to send FINDING PERFECT on its way!

Darcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in August 2017. LOST BOYS, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, a cat and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater.

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It’s All About the Writing – Right?

FullSizeRenderI remember when I was prepublished having a published friend tell me to enjoy the time before I got a deal because it was all about the pure writing and it would never happen again and it was lovely. At the time I felt like I was getting close – I’d had lots of requests for full manuscripts and encouraging critiques at conferences – but I felt like I’d been close for a long time and that illusive sale was still out of reach. So when my friend told me to enjoy this time I was full of mixed feelings. Part of me appreciated her confidence that I wouldn’t be prepublished forever. Part of me wanted to shout at her – ‘You’ve sold three books – just shut the front door!’ I didn’t shout of course. I tried to hear what she was saying, but I will admit that I’m hearing those words in my head loud and clear now in a way I hadn’t before. I am approximately eight months from my book hitting the shelves and while I am still daily ecstatic that I got that deal, my to do list is growing with the tweeting and postcard ordering and library outreach and all the things I need to do to get my story noticed. So I remember back to that time when my writing life was all about the writing. I won’t say I’m nostalgic, but I have this work-in-progress that I AM GOING to finish and get out of my hands this summer. Fitting in good long writing time and holding on to that love of pure writing – I’m putting that at the top of my to do list. Anybody with me?
DarceyHighResAbout Darcey Rosenblatt
Darcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in spring of 2017. KEY TO HEAVEN, an historic fiction, tells the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, a cat and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater.

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by | June 30, 2016 · 11:05 am