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Viewing Blog: So many books, so little time, Most Recent at Top
Results 26 - 50 of 4,107
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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. Getting my life back!

I turned in a book February 19th, then February 20th I started a new book and wrote every day, evening and weekend.  Even when I was on "vacation" or doing school visits.

I turned that book in on June 1.  The editor has already given me edits (she's fast!) and she loves it.  For the first time in literally years, I've got some free time.  I want to take a step back and look at my my one wild and precious life (to paraphrase poet Mary Oliver).  I want to decide it's "okay" to read more for pleasure, or even to watch one of the many TV programs I've only heard about.  I want to get myself back in balance, instead of to always be working.

What things do you wish you were doing?  

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27. Haven't I see you someplace before? Dueling covers of icy trees against the sky

Unknownimages-1 images

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28. Happy Birthday to The Body in the Woods

TheBodyintheWoods high res cvrToday, June 17th, is the publishing birthday of The Body in the Woods. It's the first in my new mystery series for teens, called The Point Last Seen series.  I like mysteries and thrillers that are fiction with a big dose of reality.  For a long time, I’ve been looking for a good idea for a teen mystery series that was realistic.
Then just a little over two years ago, I was sitting with some old friends at a Kathleen Edwards concert. They told us their daughter Sarah was volunteering with Multnomah County’s Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (MCSO SAR).
SAR kids respondingI thought I knew what SAR did: help find people who are lost in the wilderness. And while they do do that, it turns out that our local SAR has two things that set it apart.
The first is that while other SAR groups exist across the country, most are not made up of teens. And those few that are usually either associated with Boy Scouts and/or just have an observational role. By contrast, MCSO SAR is the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office primary search and rescue resource. While there are adult advisors and a Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputy is present at any operation, the team leaders are all teens, as are most of the members.
The second is that about 30% of what they do is crime scene evidence searches. If someone was murdered outside, or if they police suspect the weapon or other evidence was discarded outside, or if the police know a gun was fired and they need the bullet for evidence, or if a body is found outside and they aren’t sure of the cause of death, these kids will be there.

SAR evidence search gaitersThey form a line on their hands and knees, wearing painter’s padded kneelers and leather gloves and they crawl forward shoulder to shoulder.  They never touch what they find, so they don’t enter the chain of evidence.  They are taught to look directly in front of them, as well as above them and behind them, to make sure they don’t miss, say, a knife someone sunk into a tree trunk.  The rule is, if they can’t see through it, they have to go through it, because they know that often a bad guy will discard evidence in a place he thinks no one would ever go, such as a blackberry bush.
And when I heard about this, I knew that I was going to right a series based on our SAR.  Less than six months later, I had made a two-book deal in what we’re calling the Point Last Seen series, and I just accepted an offer for more books.

So this book is about three teens.  Alexis is tall, pretty, quiet, and poor. She joined SAR in the hopes that it will look good on college applications in a few years.  Alexis also has a secret:  her mom is bipolar. Ruby is a bit of an odd duck, who knows she’s different but doesn’t understand how to fit in.  She likes unusual gum flavors, continuity errors in movies, and true crime.  And then there’s Nick.  He’s a hyperactive daydreamer who dreams of joining the Army, just like his dad, who died in Iraq.
And in the book, they are hunting through Forest Park for a missing autistic man when instead they find the body of a murdered girl.  Ruby begins to believe that there’s a serial killer at work.

Teen TrackerThe real SAR
While the state requires only 30 hours of training for certification, all members of MCSO SAR receive about 300 hours of training in first aid, emergency survival skills, radio communications, land navigation, GPS orientation, crime scene evidence searches, search techniques, human tracking, helicopter safety, wilderness medicine, rope rescues, urban search and rescue, snow and avalanche safety, and how to respond to terrorist attacks as well as natural disasters.
Its members are the first response team for missing, lost, or injured persons in the county and are often called in by other counties to assist at large search sites or when resources are drained. MCSO SAR members perform crime scene evidence searches at major or outdoor crime scenes for agencies all over the state of Oregon, and have been credited with finding key evidence in dozens of cases.
To participate, teens must be 14 years of age or older, maintain a 2.0 GPA, pass a criminal background check, have up-to-date vaccinations, be able to hike for long periods of time, be on call 24/7, and have the permission of their parents/guardians as well as their schools.

Blog tour
Monday June 9
YA Book Nerd

Tuesday June 10
The Book Addict’s Guide

Wednesday June 11
A Reader’s Adventure

Thursday June 12
YAdult Review

Friday June 13

Monday June 16
Reading with ABC

Tuesday June 17
Novel Novice

Wednesday June 18
Paperback Princess

Thursday June 19
Tales of a Ravenous Reader

Friday June 20
Adventures of a Book Junkie

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29. Cancer takes another Portland writer

Unknown This is how I'll always think of Jay Lake.  It's how he looked when I first met him, 10 or 12 years ago.  He died of colon cancer yesterday.  He fought so hard, up to and including getting gene sequencing.
me and Lisa Lisa Madigan (Lisa Wolfson) died from pancreatic cancer in February 2011, just 8 weeks after she was diagnosed.  She had had breast cancer 20 years earlier, and accepted more than most of us that life does not last forever.
Bridget and AprilAt 33,  Bridget Zinn was young enough to be my kid.  She died in May 2011, again from colon cancer. (Don't tell let anyone tell if you if there is blood in your stool that you are too young to have colon cancer.)  Her 2013 book, Poison, was just named a Oregon Spirt Honor book, as was The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.  

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30. Thankful Thursday

I will be turning in a book June 2.  The next book is not due until the end of the year, and it's already half written.  Do you know what that means?  It means I'll be able to have a life again! I have worked every single day for months and months.  Possibly years (and I'm not even joking). I have written on airplanes, in hotels, on "vacation," in the passenger seat in cars, in the back of a limousine, and even in the hospital.

I'm going to be able to:
- Read more than 20 minutes a day!  I have stacks and stacks of books.
- Clean! It's petty clear that I have been doing only the main things and ignoring the margins.
- Figure out who all the people in the photos are in the photos I inherited when mom died.  Thanks, older third cousins I met onAncestry.com!  You are helping me names to 100 year old faces.
- Try new recipes.  I have dozens I have torn out over the past months.
- Have weekends.  I'm not sure what one does on a weekend any more, but I'm hoping to find out.
Two shots Samuel Henry

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31. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of running into the greenery

The Susan Wiggs is the new book.  I saw it in an ad.  I wonder which is the real cover, because the one with the table popped up over at B&N.  Obviously someone likes the backs of girls.
Please Ignoreimagesimages


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32. Haven't I see you someplace before? Dueling EVERYTHING - covers, titles, premises

Unknown-2 From Amazon: There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.

That's why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they're young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Unknown-3Unknown-3 From Amazon: They needed the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.

I wonder if the coincidences are why they rebranded the paperback of Boy Nobody and renamed it I Am the Weapon. Some ideas just float around in the ether. 

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33. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of girls floating in white dresses


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34. Saying goodbye

2014-04-28 11.37.06What a long strange, day. I started with a radio interview, and even with a GPS I got lost trying to find the studio.

Next I went to see my mom's house.  From the outside it looked the same, but from the inside - and these people were very gracious to let me come in when they had only moved in the day before - there was nothing that reminded me of her.  Even the beds were in the "wrong" positions.
2014-04-28 11.13.12
Next I went to the neighborhood cemetery she always loved - we all did.  The bench is the one we sat one more times than I can count.  She would always leave seed for the blue jays and we would watch them cautiously wait for us to leave before they would eat it.

The grave stone fo2014-04-28 11.26.00

r Silas Hawk has been pushed over, but I have long thought of giving that name to a character.

Next I went to Graveyard #2 and laid a poppy on the grave of my old friend Penny, who died of a brain tumor when we were in first grade.

2014-04-28 13.04.20-2Then I met the Flower Girls for lunch. They had all worked with Mom at one flower shop or another. They said it was good to have a foursome again. Each one missed different things about her - her phone calls or her emails. They not only told stories about her but they acted out her part. In them, I could see her again. Hopefully in me they could see her, too.

After that, it was a trek to the other side of town to see where my mom's and dad's ashes were interred.  I was running late and by the time I finally found it, all I could do was stand there and cry on this very blank looking stretch of grass. I choked out "You were good parents."

Then I had to run back to my car in time to make drive to another town to do a newspaper interview.  The photographer took a million pictures.  Hopefully he used the filter that makes you look younger and not tear-stained or sleep-deprived.
2014-04-28 14.38.57

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35. Haven't I see you someplace before? Dueling twinkling lights


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36. Haven't I seen you someplace before? More dueling skulls


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37. Haven't I seen you someplace before - more dueling covers of words in heads


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38. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of ladies on their backs, arms to the sky


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39. A new year

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 7.12.52 PMToday I celebrated my birthday at the Missouri Association of School Librarians conference, where I accented the Truman Award for Girl, Stolen.  At the dinner tonight, 800 librarians sang Happy Birthday to me.  It can't get much better than that.  (I'm wearing  my mom's necklace.)

While the last year was good for me, professionally, it was a tough year, personally.  On Memorial Day last year, we were driving to dinner just when two street kids let go of the leashes of their dogs. Their big black lab basically ran into our car and then we ran over it, while their smaller dog was hit by another driver.  We took both dogs to the emergency vet (the black lab was DOA and the other was put down that night) and spent the evening trying to comfort their owners.

In September, my mom chose to go on hospice and i moved back to my home town to take care of her.  Although she didn't need that much taking care of.  I fed her until she decided to stop eating, brought her ice, and watched a lot of documentaries and all of the Forsyte Saga and Season 1 of Homeland with her (it was a Damian Lewis kind of month).   Anyone who reads this blog at all knows how much I miss her.

And then in December I had that weird problem the doctors thought was cellulitis, and then diagnosed as MRSA cellulitis when it didn't respond to antibiotics.  I was in the hospital for three days and then discharged on December 30. I was ready to declare a fresh start January 1, but I kept having problems (including a freakish reaction to the IV antibiotics I was given in the hospital) until the 12th and 13th doctors finally gave me right diagnosis (just an unusual reaction to a shin clash in kung fu that never required antibiotics in the first place).

So I'm ready for a fresh year!  And this was a great way to start it.

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40. Trusting the process

I'm in the middle of writing what must be my 25th book (not all went on to be published).  Actually, I wish I were in the middle.  I'm more like in the first third.  It was due May 11, but after a talk with my editor this week, it got pushed back to June 2. I did not ask for the extension, but she gave it. I actually hope to land closer to May 11, because I know I'll get edits soon on a different book.  Plus I need to think about promoting the book that comes out June 18.

I'm also going to St. Louis for four days in the middle of the month, then to Houston for two for the Teen Book Con, then to Southern Oregon (where I grew up) for three or four days at the end of the month.

The day after I get to my old home town, new buyers will take possession of my mother's house.  I want t1505 Terrace Driveo walk through it one last time to say goodbye to all the memories. Maybe I will leave them the key my father carried on his keyring until he died and that has been on mine for the past 10 years.

My mother's death still pains me. I think of her every day, sometimes every hour. And everything was good between us and she had the best death you could ever have. I don't know how people deal with the dead if things were bad between them.

While I'm down there, I'm going to need to write, of course. I have a decent outline for this book, at least for the first two-thirds. I don't know how the sleuth will connect the dots.  I don't know what the big show down will be, or how things will look lost but won't be.

I have gotten stuck like this once before, with my back against the wall and no time to write.  That time I turned out one of my best books.  Will I be able to do it again?

I sure hope so.

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41. In which April does the math

Every night I lie awake doing the math.  In the next six weeks, I need to:

- Write 70K words. This is what is stressing me out the most.  I can't skip a single day of writing.
- Try to read someone's book to blurb
- Go to Missouri and do several days of school visits
- Go to the Houston Teen Book Con
- Write two articles (one may be emotionally wrenching)
- Celebrate my birthday
- Drive five hours to my home town for two days of school visits and a presentation at B&N
- Walk through the house where I grew up and where my mom died and say goodbye because it just got sold
- Finish paying my taxes and set up an IRA SEP
- Speak at a benefit for low-income housing

And a few other things.

I just tell myself something Laini Taylor did once.  That there is a future me and she has done it.

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42. Homicide on the street I walk nearly every day

Even a justified shooting by a police officer is classified as a homicide. And that's what took place Thursday right outside my kung fu school, on a stretch of sidewalk I walk on six days a week.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 5.15.23 PMThis guy was wanted for several bank robberies. What's more disturbing is that a few months ago he grabbed a teenager working at Palm Beach Tan, pushed her into his minivan and assaulted her. He then took off with her in the van. She escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle. She survived with serious injuries.

Recently, girls who attend the nearby middle and high school had reported a "creepy guy in a van" following them. Three cops, including one who is assigned to the high school, went looking for him. They found his van, but he didn't match the description and said he was going to the library. After he left, they noticed the front and rear plates of the van didn't match.  The high school resource officer found the guy and asked him to put his hands up.  Instead, he reached for a gun. He was shot in the head and the heart and died. The cop was wounded in the hand.

This all happened before the kung fu class I would normally attend.  lass was cancelled last night, but I was actually out with Mutlnomah County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue as they heard from a death investigator. She was a fill in because another medical examiner was doing an autopsy on the dead guy. Circles within circles.

Creey guy in vanVery strange and unsettling all the way around. Today two reporters tried to interrupt our kung fu class, but were turned away. I could have parked in the spot where I think he died but chose to park on the other side of the street. You can see my car on the right behind the reporter, on the other side of the street.

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43. 5 things on a Saturday

1. I am going to Michigan in a week to speak at two schools and a library.  When I was first approached, I was told the weather might be in the 70s.  When I checked a few days ago, the temperature was -4.  Yes, a negative number.  I have never been in weather that was a negative number.

2. Next week, I am going to talk to the creator of Zombies, Run! about the episode(s) I am writing.

3. I have a book due in about two months. I have to write so much in between now and then that I get sort of sick thinking about it.

4. Yesterday I did a Skype visit with a middle school in Omaha.  Earlier I had been given the choice between doing it at 9 or 11 my time. I chose 11, but I guess they thought I chose 11 their time. Carrying a cup of coffee, I wandered into the spare bedroom around 9:10, planning to see if we still had Skype on an old computer. Only when I opened it up, there the kids were, waiting for me.  Luckily, I was at least dressed.  I actually managed to pull it off.  I think.

5. I spent part of today scanning in sections of a 120-year-old family photo. The little girl was my grandmother. The guy with the crazy mustache was my great-grandfather, and he was very protective of his youngest child. Ten years or so after this photo was taken, he would be charged with murder for gunning down grandma's boyfriend. For kissing her.  He only served two years. Presumably because of this traumatic incident, Grandma didn't get married until she was in her 30s.

Effie Satterwhite 1896ish
James Louis

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44. Haven't I see you someplace before? Dueling covers of mysterious girls in the same color palette

Unknown  Thanks to @ShiploadofWilco for the tip!

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45. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Nora Henry earily 1950s
Nora Henry earily 1950sMom red hat

Today would have ben my mom's birthday.  This is what I said at her funeral on October 26th:

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 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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46. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of Italian coasts

I feel like Jess's book cover was seen so many places and is so iconic that even though the author of the second book IS Italian, it's just too similar.

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47. 5 things on a Friday

Samuel Henry1. This is my great-grandfather, Samuel Henry, born in 1840.  The picture on the right I found on Ancestry.com and was taken in 1897.  The picture on the left is from a box of photos my mom left behind when she died.  It says postcard on the back, and when I googled it I found out how to tell it was from 1904-1918.  Samuel died in 1912.  I wondered if it was the same guy, and once someone pointed out to me the eyebrows, I realized one of the photos must be flopped.  What a fun discovery.

2. I just got a a really good haircut from someone who cuts curly hair dry. Now I see what that's recommended.

3. When I got back to my car, I passed a parking meter guy on a bike.  I was 10 minutes overdue and the yellow ticket was on my windshield.  He voluntarily turned his bike around, came back, and said he would not cite me this time - that it was just a warning.

4. I started a new book that's due soon, and I feel anxious and like I don't know what I'm doing.  I should be in the groove - I NEED to be in the grove - but instead I feel like it's not going to be very good and how will it get done.

5. I am loving kung fu. Where else can you learn how to dislocate someone's shoulder, or do knife drills with a real knife?  I'm even learning to be okay with being thrown.  Slowly learning.

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48. Writing no matter what

Tonight I will turn in a book to my editor.  It's the second in the Point Last Seen series, which will start with The Body in the Woods (releasing June 17, 2014).

This book was written under the most extreme circumstances.

It was written in hotel rooms and on airplanes.

Mom red hatIt was written when I moved back home for a month to take care of my mom after she went on hospice. (It was not written   very well at that point, I think.)

It was written in coffee shops. 2013-12-28 11.30.16

It was written in cars (when I was the passenger).

It was written when I was sick of it.

It was written I should have been sleeping.

It was written in the hospital while listening to Half Moon Run's Full Circle (and trying not to listen to other people on the ward with Alzheimer's or detox or psych issues).

It was written.

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49. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Dueling covers of words in women's profiles

Unknown Bride of New France

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50. Haven't I seen you someplace before? Even more dueling whip my hairs


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