Thank you to everyone who participated in my paperback giveaway.  You will all be receiving your signed, paperback copies of The Red Umbrella very soon!  The schools each of you mentioned will also be receiving signed, library-binding, hardcover editions of The Red Umbrella (I'll probably send them out in January -- since most schools will be going on break very soon).  For those of you who didn't enter or you're just late to the party... The paperback officially goes on sale this TUESDAY!  Personally, I think it makes a wonderful stocking stuffer... but I may be slightly biased.  :-)

Here are the lucky schools that were chosen by the winners:

Gravelly Hill Middle School - Efland, NC
Brentano Math & Sciece Academy - Chicago, IL
Belen Jesuit Prepatory School - Miami, FL
Sabine Pass ISD - Sabine Pass, TX
Westminster Christian School - Palmetto Bay, FL
Carlisle Public School - Carlisle, MA
McGlannan School - Miami, FL
Taylor County Middle School - Perry, FL
Blessed Pope John XXIII Academy - W. Orange, NJ
Lake Mary Prep - Lake Mary, FL
Ransom Everglades School - Coconut Grove, FL
Washington Irving Middle School - Springfield, VA
Hunt Valley Elementary - Springfield, VA
Bartonville Grade School - Bartonville, IL
Jefferson County Middle School - Still waiting for full address



Yes, just in time for the holidays, the paperback version of THE RED UMBRELLA is being released on December 13th.  That's exactly two weeks away...I'm so excited!

Just how excited am I?  So excited that I am going to give away signed copies to the first 15 people who send me a message through my website AND I will also send a signed, hardcover of THE RED UMBRELLA to a Middle School or High School chosen by each winner! 

Do you want one?  Do you want a school to get one?  Here's what you do...

1) Go to my website (if you're reading this on my website you're already half-way done)
2) Send me a message through my website with your name/address AND the name/address of the school of your choice*.   Make sure to write Paperback Giveaway in the subject heading.

That's it!  Super easy, right?

As soon as I have all the winners,  I'll post the name of the 15 lucky schools that were chosen.  Stay tuned!

*Sorry, schools and winners must have U.S. addresses.


Summer Fun

Yes, I have been a bad blogger and not posted in a long while, but I'm back.  After spending a week in Grand Cayman, I've come back with new resolve to tackle my new book and do a better job of blogging.  So, for those of you who may one day want to travel to Grand Cayman, let me tell you...IT. IS. AWESOME! 

The water is an unbelievable shade of turquoise, the sand doesn't seem to get too hot and there's plenty to do for those who want a bit of adventure (and for those who want to veg out--- look at the view I had from under a Casuarina tree).

Some of my adventures included jet skiing to a sandbar to hang out with wild stingrays...very cool (and can I say how much I love my underwater camera that I bought at WalMart...look how clear you can see the stingray and our feet!).

Then we took the jet skis to a nearby barrier reef and snorkeled.  So peaceful and serene.

We also went horseback riding along the beach with Spirit of the West and part of the ride the horses go into the water and swim.  Yes, they actually swim with you riding them!  IT'S CRAZY!  I fell off while my horse was in about 10 feet of water (you're riding bareback in the water and my horse and I had a disagreement on which direction we should go...I lost the argument), but our guide got me back on Jeronimo (my horse) and we continued our adventure.  Can I just tell you that riding bareback is better than any thighmaster...I'm still sore from holding on.

I also did a liitle bit of work by doing a book presentation and signing at Books & Books Grand Cayman.  I was even interviewed by the local TV station.  Here's the link.

But, I also did a lot of thinking for my new novel (not the one that comes out next year... the one that isn't written and is just "marinating" in my head ).  I worked out some kinks in the story while I worked on my tan and floated around the perfectly calm waters of the Caribbean.  Now I can't wait to start putting some of the ideas on paper.  All in all, a VERY productive vacation!

Hope your summer is going equally well! 


My name has changed!

No, not my real livejournal name.  Before I was cdgred-umbrella because I couldn't get Christina (or a variation of it) when I formed the account, but now I'm christina-dg. 


Now people will know my name when I comment on their posts...which may be bad thing depending on my comment.  :-)  No matter, I'm glad to have made the switch and I think I've done everything correctly so as to not lose any LJ friends or followers. 

So, what else is going on with me and my writing, you ask?  (Ok, so maybe you didn't ask but I'll tell you anyway since I'm notoriously a horrible blogger who rarely posts.) Right now, I'm in the middle...fine, you caught me... the start of revising A Thunderous Whisper.  The book is scheduled to come out in 2012 and I really need to polish this sucka up!

The Red Umbrella is doing very well (thanks to all of you who have loved and supported it) and it should be going into it's SIXTH printing pretty soon.  Sixth!  Crazy, right?  It was also named to several Best of 2010 lists and chosen as a 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association/YALSA.  The paperback will probably be coming out in December of this year (it was delayed because the hardcover is doing so well--- alas, a double-edged sword) and I have no information on the Spanish translation yet. 

Guess that about sums up my book news, so until next time...

Sad Day

Today is a sad day.  My wonderful, smart, loving dog Mickey died. 

(A picture taken last weekend.  We already knew she was not doing well and she looked a little sad).

She was with us for 13 years and we loved her.  She will be missed.

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To celebrate the end of our debut year, The Tenners (2010 debut authors) will be holding a special giveaway just for librarians. One public or school library will be selected to receive a set of 54 books by 2010 MG and YA debut authors.
How do you enter this massive giveaway? So easy. All you have to do is capture one of our books in the wild.* Take a photo of yourself, another librarian, a patron, or even an adorable library pet posing with one of our 2010 debut novels. Send it to us at from your institutional email address. Tell us your name, your library's name and mailing address, and who's in the picture. 
Again, only librarians are eligible for this giveaway. Not a librarian? Encourage your friendly neighborhood librarian to enter! The contest will be open until February 15th and the lucky winning library will be chosen and announced on February 16th. Until then, we'll be periodically posting your pictures. 
The Tenners would like to thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your support this year. It's been an amazing adventure and we're looking forward to sharing more books with you in 2011 and beyond.
Books included in the giveaway are:
The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
The Dark Divine and The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Dirty Little Secrets by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu
Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Everlasting by Angie Frazier
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount-White
The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston
Freefall by Mindi Scott
The Ghost & The Goth by Stacey Kade
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Hush, Hush and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Inconvenient by Margaret Gelbwasser
Iron King and Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Kids vs. Squid by Greg van Eekhout
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz by Laura Toffler-Corrie
The Line by Teri Hall
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Nice & Mean by Jessica Leader
Other by Karen Kincy
Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke
The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
Sea by Heidi Kling
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
Wildfire Run by Dee Garretson
*No purchase necessary, so posing with a photo or artistic interpretation of a book's cover is just fine too.


Books, Soccer, and the Cookie that Almost Burned Down Atlanta

Yes, those words sum up my Labor Day weekend and believe it or not, they all converged into one climactic moment at the Holiday Inn in Decatur, Georgia.  First some background information. 

Many months ago I was invited to speak at the Decatur Book Festival (the largest independent book festival in the Southeast) and I jumped at the chance because I’d been there a few years ago and it was such a lovely festival.  PLUS, my two sons were going with their respective soccer teams to  Atlanta to compete in the Atlanta Cup Soccer tournament and Decatur was only 20 minutes outside of Atlanta --- the timing seemed perfect!    

This is what I forgot… 30 kids travelling out of state can get awfully noisy at a hotel full of authors and other book lovers.  So when I met amazing authors/bloggers at a breakfast organized by the fabulous Vania, I’d ask if they were staying at my hotel and then promptly apologize for all the kids.  Carrie Ryan (author of The Forest of Hands & Feet) just laughed and asked if I meant the soccer team which she found fun & cute (except for the fact that someone had ding-dong ditched her door the day before).  Still it was all going well…so far.


(l-r Nancy Werlin, Jackson Pearce, me, Carrie Ryan,                     (Vania & me)
Jennifer Lovelidge Jabaley, Marianne Mancussi Beach)  

Then I walked around the festival before spending the afternoon on the soccer fields watching some intense soccer games.  In the evening, I switched hats and went from Soccer Mom to Author again, just in time for the Author Reception.  It was fantastic to meet such great writers and publishing experts.  It was all very casual and I was lucky enough to hang out with these amazing people and talk books, upcoming projects and share a few laughs.  I was even asked by Cinda to join her and some other authors for dinner afterwards…tons of fun and I got to meet two new 2011 debut authors - Myra McEntire and Victoria Schwab (can’t wait for their books to come out) and hang out with fellow Tenner Rachel Hawkins and the uber-cool Josh Lewis.

(l-r Vicky Alvear Shecter, Marie Rutkowski, me, Cinda Williams Chima, David Levithan, Jim McCoy)

SO, you might be asking, where is the flaming cookie and how do your worlds collide in a fiery mess?  I’m getting to that. 

The next day, I don my role as Super Soccer Mom in the morning (unfortunately my sons’ teams lose) and rush back to Decatur to give my own book presentation at the Old Courthouse (an amazing venue).  Here I meet the amazingly talented Noni Carter (author of Good Fortune).  This young woman knocked me off my feet with her talent and intellect.  She is a classical pianist, started writing her amazing debut novel at 13 and is now, at 19, a freshman at Harvard! Plus, she has an incredibly supportive family who were beaming with pride.  Anyway, our presentation to a packed room went really well--- so well that Noni and I are thinking of doing more things together in the future! Afterwards, I signed lots of books and met a bunch of great readers and fans. 

 (Not the best picture, but my camera was acting a little wonky).


The Cookie Incident

Then it was time to head back to the hotel to unwind.  I was pretty proud of myself for so efficiently multi-tasking the whole weekend and decided to confirm that night’s soccer dinner at the hotel.  When I got to the front desk, who pops up behind me asking for a cab… Lev Grossman.  Now, I’m a big fan of Lev Grossman for his book The Magicians and for his writing in Time magazine.
     At the Author’s Reception I hadn’t approached him because so many people were coming up to talk to him, but now it was just the two of us.  I turned around and introduced myself and he was actually polite enough to say he recognized ME!  I quickly explained that it was probably just from the reception the night before, but still we had a chance to talk about his book and he was interested in talking about my book.  We were bonding when the fire alarm goes off! Uh-oh.  I mean…UH! OH!

I glance up to the second floor and see about seven pre-teen boys looking down at me and think Oh, no.  Someone pulled the fire alarm. Please don't let it be one of my kids.  But the chorus of heads from up above are all shaking their heads mouthing “not me” and then I see smoke coming from the indoor pool room/ business center.  A real fire, you ask?  No, just lots of smoke (maybe a really, really tiny fire).  From what was later revealed it seems that “someone” (one of our soccer players) had “inadvertently” (whether this incident was a re-creation of something from Mythbusters is still up for debate) put a cookie in the microwave and set it for fifty minutes.  Obviously, the cookie got scorched.

SO, there we are, Lev (I’m on a first name basis now) and me, watching the commotion of the fire department coming in, hearing the deafening hotel alarm and smelling the all-too-familiar odor of burned cookies.  At that point, my role as soccer mom and author collided.  I smiled weakly at Lev, told him that I’d be following him on Twitter (I’ve been a fan for a while) and that it was nice meeting him but soccer duty called (plus the soccer coach had already interrupted us to tell me that an emergency team meeting was being called).   As I made my way upstairs to where fifteen pre-teen boys looked like deer caught in the headlights, I reminded myself that this might one day make it into one of my books, so I smiled and inhaled the lovely smell of charred chocolate chips that had now filtered throughout the hotel. 

And, as a sure sign of either being a nice guy or curious as to whether charges will ever be brought against the team, Lev Grossman now follows me on Twitter.  :-)


Celebrating Twenty on Twenty

Inspired by my friend Molly O’Neill who shares a birthday with me, I wanted to do a list of 20 things that stood out during this past year of my life.  (If you didn’t know, today is my birthday and I sometimes get all reflective and kooky about life on August 20th).  Obviously, this list does not include all the special moments, just 20 that I can look back at and smile. What are your 20?


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Signed Books!

This summer I've been going to lots of cities to do book signings and sign stock at bookstores. I've had a BLAST!  It's been fun and I've loved meeting with booksellers, readers and fans of The Red Umbrella.  I'm still in shock that there is this book --OUT THERE-- with my name on it, with my words in it, with my thoughts between the covers. Eeeek!  

And if, by some chance, you are interested in buying a signed copy of The Red Umbrella  -- here are some fabulous bookstores that may still have some (while supplies last)...

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Leaving LA

So I had a wonderful time out here in LA - nice, cool weather and even nicer, cooler friends/writers at the SCBWI Annual Conference! 

I was so thrilled to meet so many fellow writers (including several awesome Tenners) who have inspired and reinvigorated me to go back home and keep writing! I was lucky enough to be speaking at the conference (with the absolutely amazing Jennifer Cervantes and Guadalupe Garcia McCall-- if you haven't read Tortilla Sun by Jen, stop what you are doing and go out and buy it right now-- as for Guadalupe's Under The Mesquite, we all have to wait a few more months before that great book becomes available) and the three of us had a great time with the people who came to our breakout sessions.  So now I'm packing my bags and heading to the airport (okay, not actually packing at this very moment because I'm typing on my computer, but you know what I mean) and I can't wait to be home.  I'll talk about and post some pics of the signings I had while in LA later (trust me they were so much fun!), but,  for now, LAX awaits!