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Monday, April 25, 2011


(photo credit -- Sarah Ross. I so love this picture and so want it as the cover of one of my books... don't you think that would be great?)

Today I am going to send in my new manuscript, marked "first draft" (hahahahaha) to my editor.

As a celebration, I am going to:

1. take a long walk, even if it is raining

2. either go to yoga class or do the (less fun, more convenient) yoga class on my iTunes

3. go to Meg Cabot's book club, where they are discussing my book Brilliant!

4. what else?

If you have questions -- about Brilliant or other books -- or about anything -- I will try to answer them. If you have answers, that could be interesting, too. Or comments, thoughts, suggestions -- on any topic -- please send them in. Should I get my hair cut? Bangs? What should one do when she has just sent in a manuscript in addition to a yoga class? Should I get some new pet fish? (More on my diva fish and his operatic death scenes soon.) Are you, like the members of the MC book club, wondering who the screwdriver guy is -- or do you KNOW? Do you have writing questions, reading questions, life questions?


Ask away.

Rachel Vail

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I remember reading on a bathroom stall wall one time long ago something like:

Time is just a way of keeping everything from happening at once.

It's not working. Everything is happening at once anyway.

Maybe I need a Stop Watch.

Happy Birthday

Happy 95th Birthday to Beverly Cleary -- a great day to celebrate. Gonna treat myself to an hour of guilt-free pleasure reading, in her honor. How about you?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why I have to steal phrases from my kids:

My 11-yr-old just yelled: Oh! Mommy! I’m falling into despair! Oh, wait. Never mind. Continue.

snack time

My kids just helped me brainstorm a climactic scene. Also they laughed when I read them a scene I hoped was funny.

So I will give them a snack.

You think people get snacks around here for nothing?

To Do List

Last week I stayed at a haunted inn in Empire, Colorado.
After being attacked by a gorilla.

And signing books at the Colorado Teen Lit Conference.

Where I got to meet some awesome teens.
And give a speech.
And hang out with a bunch of really cool people -- teens, writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, ice cream sellers, parents, story-tellers... including the wise and witty Pete Hautman.
And then ski with my husband -- and some great friends -- in Vail.

More fun people from the conference. (Can you tell I am having trouble organizing the photos on my website? The order is just going to have to be random.)

Also: BRILLIANT was chosen for Meg Cabot's April Book Club!

And JUSTIN CASE was chosen by Bank Street as a Best Book of 2011!

But just dealing with today:

So I was just thinking, simultaneously, that I have to blog, and also figure out the climax of the book I am writing, and also find a recipe for macaroons. I therefore went to my Aunt Ronnie's website (http://ronniefein.com) and got one of them.

So my to-do-to-day list is half done. Or, now, I guess, two-thirds!

Which brings up my advice du jour: never write "cross this off" on your to-do list.

How are you doing today?

Rachel Vail

PS Special Bonus Feature: Aunt Ronnie's macaroon recipe

(her cookbooks are THE BEST)

Incredibly Easy Macaroons

2 cups packaged, shredded coconut

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

3 large egg whites

garnish: chopped dried fruit, chocolate chips, crystallized ginger, whole almonds, etc.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a bowl, toss the coconut, sugar and salt together. Add the egg whites and mix the ingredients until a uniform “dough” has formed. Take heaping teaspoons of dough and shape them into about 20 balls. Place the balls on the cookie sheet a piece of put a garnish on top of each ball. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cake rack to cool completely. Makes about 20

If you like firmer macaroons, mix 1/4 cup matzo cake meal into the dough.

To make them chocolate covered: melt some semisweet chocolate with vegetable shortening (about one tablespoon for every 6 ounces of chocolate). Use this as a dip to cover the baked macaroons.