Welcome in the new year!

It sure feels like 2009. There is something about that first Monday after the first of the year. We had truly spectacular times with our family this year. Some of the best eating ever -- our boys had a bunch of their very best friends up to Mendocino (thirty, to be exact), and they spent the days collecting mussels from the Pacific and mushrooms from the woods and the last of the apples off the trees. We ate Candy Caps and Cauliflower mushrooms and even a lingering, hidden Boletus. The kitchen was a madhouse of cooks who made steamed mussels in broth and all kinds of mushrooms and apple pie. Lots of reading, resting, playing music by the fire, writing (last go-over on manuscript before editor pulls it from my hands and gets it to the copy editor) and watching the sun set over the ocean. Can you see the God's rays in this photo? Beautiful!

We finished off the celebrations with my husband's birthday party last night. Our son Will jumped in with both feet and showed us how to make a Vietnamese dinner. More madhouse chopping and sauteing and boiling and wrapping and then, finally, the delicious eating.

Couple of really cool articles to check out: Nina Lindsay is doing her mock Newbery discussion at the Oakland Library. This is a fantastic way to discuss books by the Newbery criteria. Nina has chaired the Newbery, is one really smart, well-read woman, and she writes incredible poetry as well. If you can't make it, at least try to check these books out from your library or pick up a copy at the book store. This is a compelling group of books.

Kerry Madden just got her first starred! review on her bio on Harper Lee and gave me a nice shout-out on her blog, Knoxville Girl.

And Roger, over at Read Roger flags a great article on the financial squeeze in the book biz. It's a fascinating, nail-biting-inducing article, Puttin' Off the Ritz: The New Austerity in Publishing in the New York Times.

That brings us back to 2009. Time to put on your work gloves. It may be an austere business, but it's our austere business.