Back to fifth grade, minus the big bangs and denim vest collection…

The last few weeks have been a dervish of career activity.

Here’s a sampling of February’s Work To Do List (not to be confused with life To Do List, which includes activities for 6 kids, travel with 6 kids, an April wedding, house hunting, and did I mention the wedding?) (!!!!!!!!!)

–Finish Website (holla!)

–The Pages Between Us is OUT IN STORES NOW!

–3 book signings (with 3 more next week)

–5 school visits (with 4 more on horizon)

–10 Skype visits

–Turned in revisions for next PAGES BETWEEN US novel. We should announce cover/title/release date soonish!

–Turned in first draft for COMMANDER IN CHEESE #4. First 2 books releases in only 3 months

–guest posts, reader mail, loads of #betweenbesties instagram posts and now… I return to you, fair blog.

Next week, I leave again for more school, conference, and book store appearances. Work months like this are at turns exciting and exhausting, but I’ve also loved loved loved the opportunity to connect with readers with my co-writer, Robin Mellom. One visit in particular had us squealing with delight at every turn. We had the opportunity to visit my fifth grade teacher’s school. Miss Dean is now a librarian, and it is very, very obvious why she was/is my favorite teacher. Miss Dean introduced me to so many stories, to scholastic book clubs, to book reports that I did the day she assigned it because I was THAT kid. (an excited kid. Nothing wrong with that) I love Miss Dean.

Behold…

The fifth graders were in awe that I “used to be just like them” (meaning, 10-years-old). It was so cool to share my favorite books from fifth grade (Bridge to Terabithia), and the books I wrote at M.J. Christensen’s publishing center, which existed thanks to my elementary principal, Joan Grey. I really, really wish I could give my fifth grade self a glimpse of the awesomeness ahead.

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Table Miss Dean set up with elements from our story. No detail went unnoticed, from the Gilmore Girls videos to the grape-flavored jolly ranchers. I love Miss Dean (yes, I still call her Miss Dean. The first name part was too hard)

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Miss Dean asked students to keep a best friend notebook (JUST LIKE THE PAGES BETWEEN US) for a month leading up to our visit. So many students participated that she had to read through each submission to choose who would attend the special author lunch. Robin and I got to meet with each pair of besties and read their amazing journals. Our jaws hurt from smiling so much. Nay, Beaming. I love Miss Dean!

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THE PAGES BETWEEN US is my seventh book. My first book was published 6 years ago this March, and I’m still awed that this is my job. There are lots of struggles that come with it–long nights, crazy-making deadlines, Broken Brain Syndrome and that constant worry that I won’t ever sell another book. But visits like this one are also so incredibly rewarding. I’m so lucky to be an author. Also, I love Miss Dean.

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