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Viewing Blog: So many books, so little time, Most Recent at Top
Results 26 - 50 of 4,072
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Author of the young-adult thriller Shock Point, as well as five other mysteries and thrillers.
Statistics for So many books, so little time

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 35
26. Haven't I see you someplace before - dueling covers of floaty hair and/or curled girls

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Reminds me a bit of:

as well as:
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27. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of running girls

A friend pointed this out to me.  The second is coming out next summer - which might be why it's labelled "cover not final."  I think it's too close to the Searles book.

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28. Five Things on a Friday

1. I'm going to the Houston Teen Book Con next April!

2. A movie producer who tried hard to make one of my books into a movie years and years ago is back and still interested.
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3. I'm going to watch the last of the Forsyte saga tonight. I watched the rest with my mom while she was on hospice.  She had seen it before, but she still loved it. We also binge-watched the entire first season of Homeland. I feel like I spent that month with Damian Lewis as well as my mom. I miss her every day and cry most days.

TheBodyintheWoods high res cvr4. The cover of next summer's book, The Body in the Woods, is gorgeous.

5. I'm loving kung fu and hoping to test for my purple sash soon. I've been going to all the classes, even grappling.  Even weapons.  And I'm still the only woman in our school who spars (although that will change soon, I think.) 

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29. So much for Abnegation

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 6.26.56 AM

Just watched the trailer for Divergent.  Here's a screen shot of the main character when she is in Abnegation, the sect faction dedicated to selflessness and forgetting oneself for the sake of others. For example, they never look in mirrors.

Must be hard to glop on all that mascara with no mirror. Not to mention it doesn't seem very selfless....

I have to admit I'm a Hunger Games girl myself.  

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30. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling covers of basement stairs

Who wants to go down in the basement?


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31. What I said at my mom's funeral

It was so hard to stand up and speak these words, but I managed to make it through without breaking down. I think I have cried more in the days since she died than I have in all the rest of my life put together.

My mom was no ordinary mom.  I think sometimes she wanted to be ordinary, she wanted to blend in, but that wasn’t how God made her.  She was tall, she was an extrovert, she followed her heart, she spoke her mind.

She taught me so many things, but three were most important: to laugh, to listen, and to love.

Mom had a crazy sense of humor.  I remember one April Fool’s Day I watched her pour cat food into the cat’s dish.  She said, “You know, this actually looks pretty good,” shook some in her hand, and ate it.  It turned out it was a new cereal that she had noticed looked a lot like cat food.  She had put the bag inside an empty box of Friskies.

Back in July, mom was hospitalized for three days.  A few days after she was discharged, a nurse called to follow up. My mom was in the bathroom and so I answered and started talking for her. Figuring the nurse would want to talk with her directly, I handed her the phone when she came out .

The first thing she said - and mind you, she knew this was a stranger - was "Help! Help! They've got me tied up in a closet and they're not feeding me."

A week or so before she died, we were talking about how everyone has something at their core. Mom said she realized hers was to listen. She made friends everywhere she went, and it didn’t matter if they were young or old or homeless or rich. She loved meeting new people. A few months ago we went for a walk in the Eastwood Cemetery.  She was so weak that she only made it a few feet inside the entrance. But then a young woman she had never talked to walked by. And of course Mom perked up and said hello and learned all about her.  It completely rejuvenated her.

And finally, Mom was all about God and about love.  And for her the two were the same.  When I go back and look in my emails, there are dozens from her that have the word “love” in the subject line. She said love is the only thing, that love is all there is and that’s plenty.

I’m going to try to be more like mom - to laugh more, listen more, and love more.

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32. 11 reasons I love kung fu

If you were ever going to predict that someone was going to love martial arts, you would not pick me. I have always been a klutz.  I was scared of the uneven parallel bar and the balance beam and pretty much any ball ever thrown my way. I hate conflict. I made my high school boyfriend leave a WWF fight he took me to. I am not physically brave. The only Cs I ever got were in PE.

But somehow, a cardio kickboxing class I took at my gym morphed into kakjukenbo - and I liked it! And then when that fell apart I went looking for a real school, and started taking kung fu almost two years ago.

Right now I'm taking classes 5-7 hours of class a week.  Why do I like kung fu so much?

1. It makes me feel strong.
2. I like being the oldest person at my school.
3. I also like being the only woman who spars (although that's going to change soon).
4. I now know how to fight back if I ever get attacked.  Yes, even if I end up on the ground.
5. I'm still not coordinated but practice, practice, practice has helped tremendously.
6. For one or two hours at a time, I don't think about anything else.  I just focus on kung fu.
7. It makes me feel bad ass.
8. It's been very useful for writing thrillers.
9. I like hanging out in a room full of guys. It's like eavesdropping, only I don't have to hide.
10. I have even come to enjoy grappling.  For a long time I thought: No way am I going to roll around on the floor with some guy on top of me and you can't tell me that wrapping my legs around his waist is a good thing.  It seemed like it would feel way too rape-y.  What I've found is that it is the most physical thing I've ever done - but it's not personal at all.
11. It's fun!



Kung Fu sparringKung fu Grappling Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 4.18.28 PM

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33. The last six weeks in Google searches on my phone

This last month has been hard, hard, hard.

I flew home from New York on September 12. I spent 11 hours at home, then drove down to my mom's, four hours away.  She had chosen to go on hospice.  She died around midnight September 30.  She died exactly as she had wanted, and she had been in poor health for a long time. I have heard from dozens of people about how she helped them over the years, giving of herself, of her time and even her money (not that she ever had much).

And I tell myself that no one can live forever.  Still my grief is sometimes as raw as a wound.


  • What happens if lightning strikes a plane (when we were kept on the tarmac for hours in New York)

  • Rich soil crossword clue (helped Mom cheat on crossword, but she didn't know it)

  • Forsyte Saga (Mom and I watched all but the last episode, Someday I will watch it.)

  • Hope is the thing with feathers (when I found a little feather)

  • How long can you go without eating (Mom chose to stop)

  • Save iphone voicemail (because there's one from my mom)

  • AC joint sprain (really should not throw yourself into a kung fu shoulder roll)

  • Shimmy in steering wheel (had to have the car's brakes fixed the morning of the funeral)

  • Papa Murphy's coupon (all us kids had pizza at Mom's house, and she was all about coupons)

  • Milk glass (someone wanted to know if Mom had any)

  • Bible verses mourning

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34. Walking - or crawling - through grief

Hank Nora wedding dayMom red hatmom and frank
My mom died around midnight September 30. But she had been having heart problems for years. I remember coming home from college in 1981 and she was wearing a Holter monitor because of an irregular heart beat.  She had her first heart attack in 1997. When I heard the news, I was peeling apples for an apple pie.  I fell to my knees and sobbed, still clutching the peeler. She described it all as an adventure, and told me that she had always wanted to be pushed down a hospital corridor at full speed on a gurney, watching the lights in the ceiling slide by.

Her health slowly declined. She had a second heart attack in 2011. Her world got smaller, but her attitude never did. She made art of all kinds.
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She visited her "shut ins" even though she herself was older than some of them. She loved meeting new people, and still took walks in the historic cemetery in our neighborhood.  She knew everyone who walked, ran, or smoked pot there.  I remember when I was there in June.  She was so weak - her heart was working at about 25% capacity - that she had to sit on the nearest tombstone and didn't think she could go any farther than 20 yards from the entrance.  But then a woman with a dog came walking by.  Mom had never seen her before, so of course she greeted her and asked all about her life.  Meanwhile the dog had gotten down on its belly and was whining, looking right at mom. Finally the woman said, "This is so strange. My dog never does this, but she really wants to come to you." The dog crawled over to mom and rolled over while mom petted her.

By the time she had found out all about the young woman's life, she had gotten her energy back, so we walked al little further.  When we stated down a hill, we saw some creepy homeless-looking guys riding kid's bikes.  One blew his nose in the dirt.  I was disgusted, and worried yet ready to defend my mom from these guys.


While I was thinking all this, Mom was calling out, "Kenny!!" They hugged and grinned at each other.  And Kenny was introducing her to the other guy as his friend Nora. He looked like a meth addict or an ex-addict, with missing front teeth and a bad sunburn.  It was clear he loved my mom and my mom loved him.

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For years, my mom has been dying on the installment plan.  She was ready to die. We were ready for her to die. There was nothing unsettled, nothing unsaid. She thought it was funny when her fortune said, "You will soon change your present line of work" and kept it. When I took care of her while she was on hospice, she told the nurse, "Last night my heart was chattering like a magpie, and I thought 'Whee!'" She was disappointed that it hadn't happened. And then it did.

My dad died in 2003, but he had Alzheimers, and by the time he wasn't himself.  In 2011 I lost three good friends to cancer. I've never lost a husband or a child.

This has hurt way more than I ever thought it would.  I am so glad I had her in my life.  I tell myself that you can't expect to have your mom forever.  And I didn't!  But it still hurts.

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35. Sunday night nightmare

Driving to dinner. Hand on my husband's knee.  Smiling. Talking about something.  Talking about nothing.

Past his far shoulder suddenly a dog.

The dog is just outside his window.  Appearing so out of nowhere it's like magic.  Black lab. Running flat out toward us. Pink tongue streaming behind. Black leash streaming behind.

It looks totally happy.  Happy and clueless.

No time to scream.  No time to brake.  No time to react.

A second after we first see it, the dog and car meet just past the driver's side front bumper. A horrible heavy thump that rocks the car, the sound and feel of something caught, the sound and feel of something let go.

And then we are screaming.

We pull over in the gravel, still screaming. It has to be dead. It has to be.  Oh my god.  It seems like we are a long ways away, blocks and blocks, but yesterday I saw it was not even half a block.

I get out.  It's worse than I thought.

Not one dog, but two.

Two dogs lying on their backs, paws in the air.

I've never seen dogs lying like that.  Both in the middle of the other lane.  Cars are already stacking up.  I try to think of what to do.  I remember an awful five-fatality car crash we came upon several years ago before the ambulances showed up.  People had gotten out of their cars and were directing traffic.  Should we do that?  i don't know what to do.

I do not want to see what our car has done to these poor animals.  A young man kneels by one, a young woman by the other.  Screaming, crying, begging.  What will these people think of us?  We killed their dogs.

As I get closer, I can see they are street kids.  The girl with red-gold dreads and pants made of patches.  The guy with red-gold hair and a black Tshirt.  They pick up their dogs, cradling them in their arms, and carry them to the side of the road.

I keep thinking I should know what to do, but I don't.  I don't know anything.

A woman has pulled over and is on the phone with 9-1-1.  A yellow carpet cleaning van is parked behind her. Another woman who lives across the street runs over.

The guy is begging. "Aldo! Aldo!" The black lab is moving a little.  He puts his hand near its mouth, and the dog nips at his fingers. And then it stops being alive.

The little dog is still alive and whining.

The two women are both yelling at the guy sitting in his van, watching everything and grinning.  "What are you smiling about! You hit these two poor dogs! Get over here, you coward!"

Then I say "We hit the dogs."  I say it quietly.  I feel so guilty.  How did we hit two dogs?

I try to look up Dove Lewis, the emergency animal shelter, on my phone.  I keep typing the wrong letters, and the harder I try the worse I get.  I tell the lady on the phone with 9-1-1 what I'm doing, because I'm pretty sure no one comes when you hit a dog.

The lady at Dove Lewis says to bring the dogs in. I tell my husband to get the Subaru.

These two kids are still just wailing and wailing.  Stumbling from one dog to the other, shaking, weeping so hard snot runs down their faces.

The guy lifts the lab into the back - even though we all know it must be dead - and then climbs in beside it.  The girl sits in the back with the little dog and I pick up their two huge packs (they were setting down their packs when they lost control of the dogs) and bag of groceries and somehow manage to shove them all in the car.

And then we drive.  Too fast.  I keep telling my husband to be careful, that the guy is just loose back there.

Otherwise, the car is mostly quiet.  The guy is curled over the dog, weeping soundlessly.  The girl is trying to reassure the little black and white dog, named Karate Kid. Neither of these kids are that much older than our daughter.  But somehow they've gone from being someone's precious babies to two kids living on the street with their dogs.

At the vet hospital, a tech in blue scrubs comes out to the parking lot, puts her hand to the lab's neck and shakes her head.  She's a tall girl, broad-shouldered, and she manages to carry his body in by herself.

Three hours later, we are looking at X-rays of the smaller dog.  (It turns out the guy in the yellow van hit him).  The ball on one hip joint has been turned into paste.  Everything has been pushed to one side.

And after they say goodbye to both dogs, both kids stagger back out into the waiting room. Eyes nearly swollen shut with weeping.

And that was our Sunday nightmare.

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36. In which I get to be the grownup

One of the first times I ever rode in a taxi was in New York City. In my home town, there might have been one taxi. Maybe.  My town was so small that even an escalator was something exotic. Anyway, that time in New York, I was in my 20s, I wasn't a kid, but still I got in the front seat with the driver.

This must have been a pretty big novelty, because he ended up proposing to me. He offered to drive us to a nearby state with no waiting period so we could be married immediately.  (I totally stole this scene for my first book, Circles of Confusion.)

It might also have been on this same trip that I was exposed to headphones that connected under your chin.  I was only familiar the kind that went over the top of your head in a band, but I figured the headphones they handed me in the plane were the same.  I ended up looking liking I had an antennae. I still remember how red my face went when I noticed my seatmate giving me weird looks.

It has surprised me that as I have gotten older, things still scare me and I still do things wrong. I'm an adult. I'm verging on old. Shouldn't I just know how to do things? For example, it still makes me nervous to drive a rental car. Even with GPS in the car and on my phone, I can easily get lost.

This week I'm going to North Carolina and then New York.  I still get a little anxious about the subway. About getting lost and panhandlers and rushing people. In the city, I tend to walk everywhere and tell myself it's exercise, but it also feels more like I'm in control.

As soon as I get back, I have to do something that is going to require me to be a grownup. I'm going to be with someone who is dying. Be there until the end.

When my dad was dying, he said, "You learn how to do it just by doing it."  I don't think he was referring to death - he had Alzheimers and was not particularly oriented (to the point he no longer remembered my name).  Still, what he said was true.  You learn how to do anything just by doing it.  And maybe it comes easy and maybe it comes hard, but you still learn.

And I will learn how to do this.

The only way out is through.

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37. A repost from October 2006: Better enjoy your time on the ice

Yesterday at lunch, I walked over to the Lloyd Center Mall, which has an ice rink in the middle of it. As usual, one of the ice skaters, a nicely dressed man of about 30, stood out. Not because he was particularly talented (although he's not half bad, and he's certainly waaaay better than I will ever be). It's because he skates with a huge smile on his face. And whenever he lands a jump or sometimes just for skating backward he'll raise his hands for imaginary applause and nod, grinning. Sometimes he pumps his fists. You can practically hear the waves of clapping.

If you haven't seen him before, it's kind of startling. How often do we see such naked joy and pride? You'll see shoppers stare at him with their heads tilted to one side, trying to figure him out. They might look around the edges of the rink for the audience he is surely playing to. But it's not there.

And then you get it. If he ever did compete, it would be in Special Olympics.

But yesterday when I saw him, I thought, that's what I need to be like. My writing has been going really well lately. And the writing is the only thing I can control (and sometimes I can't even control that, especially if my life is too full). How editors react to it and whether someone will buy it is out of my control. Even how my agent will react isn't a given, although I know she will work with me on a rewrite if she doesn't like it. I can't control reviews, sales, award nominations (or the lack of them), events, etc. etc. Etc.

But I need to give myself permission to take joy and pride in what I do. It starts by writing what I want to spend months and months with, not what I think the market will buy. It continues with telling myself a story that is going to involve all my emotions. One that when I get up from the keyboard will make me grin. And then I'll bow my head and hear the imaginary applause.

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38. If you don't something about a subject, find someone who does

I do not own a gun. I would never own a gun. I also don't know a lot about guns. But sometimes I write about characters for whom the reverse of all these things is true. That's where research comes in.

I have fired weapons on an machine gunFBI gun range. I have done firearms simulation training (FATS) at the FBI, at the Writers Police Academy, and at Tualatin's excellent Threat Dynamics (one of the few places like it open to civilians).

If you don't know about something, do as much reading as you can. Start with the Internet, then maybe progress to textbooks for professionals. (Although there are a few photos in Practical Homicide Investigation I wish I could unsee.) See if you can have a real-life experience.

After that try to have someone who is an expert in the field vet what you write.

For The Night She Disappeared, one of the experts I interviewed was a person who worked on a sheriff's dive team.

For The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, I had an expert in bioweapons read what I had written about hanta virus and bioweapons.  I had done as much research on my own as I could, but we all know that can only take you so far.

I am sure I still make errors. But I try really hard not to.

Everyone who writes books or for movies or TV loves the idea of a safety on a gun. Taking it off ratchets up the suspense.  You know you're one step closer to someone dying. But if you write that a character is switching off the safety, do yourself a favor and make sure the gun you are writing about actually has one.  This is what I've seen in just the last week. Neither of these guns has a safety.

gun errors

Glock mistakes

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39. Five things make a post

1. In just a few weeks, I'll be leaving for The Writer's Police Academy. There is always so much to do there. Should I suit up and learn how to do a building search? Listen to a Secret Service Agent explain how to identify mass shooters - in advance? Solve a sexual assault case? If you are a mystery writer, this is the only conference of its kind, and it is fascinating and intense.

2. From North Carolina, I'll fly into New York City where I will spend a few days seeing the city, as well as hanging out with my agent and talking with my team at Henry Holt.  I have been to the city probably eight or nine times, but I have never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge or taken the Staten Island Ferry. What else should I do there?

3. For the moment, my mom is doing better.  I've heard this time called "bonus time." Of course, for all of us, it could be bonus time.

4. I finished edits on two books. Yay! One book, which was written in a horrific blur, ended up having the fewest edits of anything I have written ever.

5. I'm not sure how this happened, but for the second year in a row, I find myself beginning two books at the same time. Or maybe not beginning two books at the same time. I'm finding it hard to concentrate, but I really need to be producing lots and lots of words.

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40. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Historicals with red beach umbrellas

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41. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of snowy eyes

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42. Haven't I seen you someplace before - dueling covers of uniform skirts

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The cover designer for Ally Carter's series started it all. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery....

And here's another one thanks to deenaml:
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Who needs a head?  

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43. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers in the woods

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I would like to read both. Have you read either?

And thanks to Tammy over on Good Reads and Jennifer Hubbard on LiveJournal, I am adding:
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Those last two are way too close for my comfort.  

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44. Dueling titles

I feel like Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was such a big seller that using such a similar title is confusing.  I'm sure the powers-that-be said one is YA the other Adult, so it doesn't matter. Still it's like calling a book Gone with the Windmills.
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45. Mom's getting feisty again

The nurse who follows up from the hospital just called. My mom was in the bathroom and so I answered and started talking for her. Figuring they would want to follow up with her directly, I handed her the phone when she came out.

The first thing she said was "Help! Help! They've got me tied up in a closet and they're not feeding me."

Vintage mom.

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46. Death and life and in-between

Nora Young Mom red hat

I'm down in the little house where I grew up. So strange to think I have lived in the house I share with my husband for more years than I lived here. But this is what feels like home in a deep, to-the-bone way.

My mom was in the hospital for three days and then discharged on oxygen. What will happen next is kind of an open question. Us three kids are all rallying around her to take care of her. I will spend nearly two weeks here, and after that my sister plans to spend a week. My brother lives around the corner.

A hospice nurse in Australia complied a list of the top five regrets of the dying. I asked my mom about each one.

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
My mom has always been an outlier - a little louder, a little livelier, a little more colorfully dressed. She makes friends with everyone.

I was here about a month ago, and we were walking through the historic cemetery that we both love. I saw some creepy homeless guys riding bikes and mentally braced myself to deal with them. Only it turns out they were not creepy homeless guys to my mom. She was hugging them and introducing me to her "friend" - a sunburned tweaker (or maybe ex-tweaker) with missing teeth. And you could tell he loved her right back.

It's wonderful to hang out with someone who is nearly 80. Two percent milk is sadly deficient and what's wrong with strawberry shortcake - more whipped cream, please! - for dinner?


2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
My mom got a job as a florist when I was about 12, and did work more than she wanted to, but she was able to take it easier in her later years.  The nurse said this was a comment she heard much more from men.


3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
You always know where you stand with my mom.  Usually it's that she loves you.


4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
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Mom and her "flower girls" - ladies who worked together at the flower shop years ago.


5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This was the only one that made mom hesitate, but then she shook her head no.

This is a longer version of the article. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

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47. Haven't I seen you someplace before - dueling YA covers with lines

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48. Forbidden love!

cb0059b2eef77ca4fa001b4c_600x800For some reason, this just cracked me up. It's like we've exhausted every possible forbidden love combo: humans/vampires, secretary/boss, student/teacher, etc.  So now it's Vikings. 

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49. I will never be coordinated and I have the bruises to prove it

bruise collage



























In high school, I was the klutziest girl imaginable. I bruised my knee on the pommel horse. In softball, I managed to swing the bat so that the softball ricocheted back into my own face. When we played round-robin tennis, I was beaten by everyone. Including a girl who had juvenile arthritis and could not even use one of her hands. Including Nancy I., a mainstreamed developmentally disabled girl who had never before beaten anyone in anything. She crowed about it in the halls for weeks afterward. "I beat April Henry! I beat April Henry."

In college, I kept spraining my ankle, one time so bad they casted it. (The cab driver who took me home valiantly offered to carry me up to my second floor apartment, a gesture I think he regretted by the landing.)

Once I started working full time I did exercise most every day, but since I had a job and a kid, it was mostly stuff like 30 minutes on an exercycle. I used to get depressed every fall as the days got shorter, because I knew I wouldn't be able to run before work for months and months.

Now that I work at home, I have the freedom to do whatever I want. I run five miles four times a week. I lift weights. I somehow accidentally got into kung fu and have fallen in love with it. Nothing lasts forever, which is why I take five to seven classes a week, including aspects I thought I would never participate in, like sparring and grappling (really never thought I would do that last one, which, when you're a woman, feels kind of rape-y). It turns out I bruise like a banana. I have fingerprint shaped marks all up and down my arms, and sometimes have to reassure people that yes, "I am safe at home." I pretty much always look bad, but this week, when I tripped on a rock and fell while running and I also had someone roll their knee over my elbow while grappling, I look particularly banged up.

I will never be coordinated. I will probably always flinch when someone tosses me a set of keys. But I'm pretty damn proud of myself for doing things I would never have dreamed of doing. 

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50. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of stairs

The latest edition is from a Portland author named Cari Luna.  Oddly enough, there is another Portland author who writes YA named Kari Luna!
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