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16801.

RT @cybils: REVIEW: Dragonbreath #9 by Ursula Vernon: Today's featured review comes from @LauraPSalas Round 1 judge http://t.co/WZIZnvyenG

from Google+ RSS https://plus.google.com/114947522579399768205/posts/SN3ERUbTQcc

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16802. Merry F'ing Christmas

My theory is I am getting all of the crappy stuff out of the way this last quarter of the year so that I can have a great 2014.  All of it's been personal stuff, not writing stuff.

First there was hitting those dogs when the homeless kids let go of their leashes.

Then my mom dying.

Then there was this past week.  Monday I went for a 5-mile run.  Halfway through, this badly bruised shin I got from a shin clash in kung fu three weeks earlier started aching. Then really throbbing.  By the end I was limping.  In the afternoon, it seemed swollen and red.  I thought it might have been a blood clot.

Tuesday I went to Urgent Care and ended up in the ER where they did an ultrasound (negative) and hung IV antibiotics and diagnosed cellulitis.

Wednesday was Christmas and everyone was closed.

Thursday I was at my doctor's.  My leg did not seem to be getting any better.  She switched up antibiotics.

Friday I felt pretty good.  My leg seemed to be getting better and I had more energy. My husband and I decided to go to Pok-Pok, this famous Portland place that usually has huge lines.  He was already in the neighborhood having a beer at this place he likes.  The plan was I would park near there and he would drive us both to Pok Pok, about 20 blocks away.


I get there, see his car parked on this nice empty stretch of street and decide I'll park in front of him.  Only there was a tow truck about 20 feet ahead of him that seemed to be leaving.
I go around in a big square, come back, and the empty stretch is even emptier - Randy's car is gone!  It turns out that even though the sign says 2-hour parking, there's another sign above it (turned at a slightly different angle) that says "No parking 4-6 pm M-F."

Since I have just parked there, I need to move my car before I'm in the same spot. I get in my car, go around the corner, and there's the tow truck, adjusting something on Randy's car.  There's a tow fee plus a parking ticket  I told Randy his beer better have been really good, since it cost $250.
That night, my leg situation goes downhill.  Saturday was another day of UCC and ER, only it ended up with being hospitalized.

The only other time I've been in the hospital was to have a baby.  Now I'm getting IV antibiotics every 12 hours.  It's hard to sleep. I'm pretty much the only person on this ward without dementia/detox/psych issues and a bed alarm, which means it sounds like a truck backing up all night. With the occasional break to trick you into thinking it's finally stopped. Another patient on this floor is making this terrible noise like a tortured sheep - "maa, maa, maa." There's the one with a sort of sleep apnea snore, the one who kept throwing up and groaning, and then the time the nurse down the hall was saying, "Let go of that! Let go! Let go!" and then calling out "Can someone help me?"  You would think they would have better soundproofing at a hospital.

I am getting better, but I won't be able to go home until tomorrow.

I figure 2014 is going to be a great year!
photo 3leg dec 26red leg

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16803. “For the lover of truth, discussion is always possible…”

I’m standing at the bathroom sink putting in my contacts. Huck wanders in, says seriously: “Can we have a little talk about tweetle beetles?”

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16804. What's he going to do next?

It's that time of year again. Time to regroup and get back on track, because if you are like me, you've fallen off the writing wagon. (enough cliches for you?) I am not very disciplined and can easily be led astray by Christmas shopping, decorating, watching old movies, eating cookies, napping.... And I'm just now trying to get back to the projects that I left behind two weeks ago, namely, revisions for a Thomas Jefferson biography.

My major job, according to my editor, is to rethink the structure and clarify the theme. She said, "You want your reader to ask, "What's he going to do next?"" A great question for anyone who is writing a biography. What she means is that each scene has to be dynamic and build to the next one. Keep the action moving. That can be difficult when TJ basically instructed everyone else into action. And a picture book would be pretty boring showing TJ at his writing desk page, after page, after page. So, I have a lot of thinking to do.

Here's to you and to writing in the New Year!
Cheers!


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16805. WIndmills

BabsMountjoyFeaturedSQ

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16806. From description to story

Question: Okay, firstly, I'm sorry if this is a stupid question (I'm only thirteen and started reading this today), but I started the first chapter explaining

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16807. Get Engaged? Before You Set the Date There’s One Thing You Need to Do

Get Engaged? Before You Set the Date...
Apparently, many guys think Christmas and New Year’s Eve are great times to bend a knee and propose to their sweeties. December is the most popular month for engagements. America hosts over 2 million weddings a year. June and September are the most popular months to get married.

Did you recently get engaged? Congratulations! But before you set the date, there’s one thing you need to do.

Seek pre-marital counseling. Not just any counseling but godly, Christian counseling. This bit of advice may challenge your way of thinking but it’s worth considering, especially if it can help save your marriage down the road.

Many Christian pastors require four to six sessions of counseling with the couple before the wedding day. It is common to see these counseling sessions taking place one or two months before the wedding.

This is where I think a change needs to take place. One or two months before the wedding almost everything is set. Invitations are mailed, venues secured, food and flowers are ordered, and non-refundable deposits made.

How many brides do you think would suggest a longer engagement to work out some issues if all those wedding arrangements are already in motion? Perhaps premarital counseling should begin before a wedding date is set.

Seek Godly, Pre-Marital Counseling
Seek godly counsel, discuss difficult issues, and communicate personal convictions and goals. The pastor will guide you to think about things you may have never considered before. And if the counseling sessions cause you to question your readiness for better or for worse, until death do you part—then be brave and wait.  

Perhaps you think you’ve waited long enough and think there’s nothing love can’t solve. You say, “You can’t be prepared for everything. Sometimes you have to take life as it comes.”

There’s some truth to that. But consider this, the average couple is engaged for thirteen to eighteen months before they say “I do.”  There are a zillion things to do when preparing for a wedding. So much time is invested in coordinating colors, locating the perfect venue, and securing the best wedding cake.

Shouldn’t godly counsel have as much, if not more consideration when preparing for a life-changing event?

Prepare for Satan's Fastballs
 
Months later, when Satan throws the first fastball at your marriage, will what you learned from watching all those Say Yes to the Dress shows be helpful?
Will remembering the beautiful flowers in your bouquet give you the knowledge you need to handle a difficult problem with your spouse?

 
Secular books on wedding planning, such as The Knot-Ultimate Wedding Planner, rarely mention premarital counseling other than to ask if your officiant requires it.

If you do not have a pastor, you can call Focus on the Family (1-800-A-FAMILY) for a complimentary consultation with a counselor. They will also help you locate a Christian counselor in your area.

Some books to consider reading are:

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted – Gary Chapman

Preparing for Marriage-Dennis Rainey

Before You Say I Do-H. Norman Wright

Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage- Dale Mathis & Susan Mathis

The Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married- Gary Chapman

 

Preparing for a wedding is a joyful event--well, most of it. Cherish the moments as you plan with your future spouse, your parents, and your friends. Keep it all in perspective.

Your Wedding is One Special Day
 
Your wedding should be wonderful! After all, it only lasts for one special day.

Take time to gain wisdom. Learn how to grow in a strong, loving,
Christ-centered relationship
because you want to make your marriage
last a lifetime 

Make Your Marriage Last a Lifetime

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16808. 12 dodgy ways to get a publishing deal.

12 – Being famous – worked for Whoopi Goldberg, Julie Andrew, Madonna, etc. 11 – Playing for Chelsea - worked for Frank Lampard. 10 - Posting your manuscript through J.K. Rowling’s front door.  She probably has a bin under the letter box … Continue reading

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16809. Sirocco

DLWilsonFeaturedSQ

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16810. Teaching: Manners and Customs of the Bible – Part Three

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

Let’s get started:


Thanks for watching.

Check out Truth or Tradition teachings on:

Facebook
Twitter
MySpace
YouTube
iTunes
Online Store

More from Write From Karen
[archives]


Filed under: Abundant Life

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16811. New Grandson

New Grandson

Tristan Jace
Born 12/29/2013
1:39 am
9 lbs. 2 oz.
21 in.


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16812. ‘Mummy, don’t do the voices’ – the perils of reading aloud

Peppa Pig’s school roof needs repairing. Again. And poor Daddy Pig ends up having to buy his chair back at a fundraising fete. That was the gist of our daughter’s latest bedtime story. I’ve read “Peppa Pig’s Daddy Is Made … Continue reading

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16813. Travels with a Road Dog

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16814. Archetypes and a Rich, Balanced Story

Question: Does Dramatica recommend that every story have all of the archetypes to be a balanced, rich, fulfilling story? It seems like I've read it somewhere,

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16815. I’m a Runner and I’m Special: And I know it, and I like it

Even when things suck, focus on your goals and go for a run. This can apply to life, it can apply to training, it can even apply to running a businesses. Reaching your goals and getting what you want for yourself is a collection of days, weeks, months, and years. The celebratory moment(s), the races everyone see, you have to earn them with an infinite number of moments not a single person ever knew existed.

The solitary miles at dawn, the second run as the sun sets, the grueling track sessions, the mental tests where you fight to keep pushing when your brain is screaming at you to stop. That’s the reality of training, and the only person who really can hold you accountable is yourself.
running changes lives
There will always be HARD sh*t, setbacks, obstacles to overcome, and in order to get through them requires you put in the fight. Now there are REWARDS along the way, that keeps you going; I mean c’mon, let’s not paint this ugly picture like all that training isn’t fun and awesome. Awesome in a kind of sick, twisted, hurts so good, kind of way, but awesome none the less.

But let’s not dodge reality, running and training isn’t for the pansy-@$$e$ of the world. Perhaps a part of the draw, if us runners are brave enough to admit it, is knowing that we’re ‘special’. We’re different, we can push ourselves to do things most other people couldn’t or even WANT to. Nah-na-na-na-na-nah.

I mean, who in their ‘right’ mind decides to head out for an 18 mile run? Do a workout where you hit halfway and you’re pretty sure even your eyeballs have lactic acid, but you take the recovery jog and move onto the next?
running in circles
Runners play tons of mind games to get themselves through it, it’s funny actually the lies we feed ourselves. Funnier still is that our brains believe it! “Just one more mile. I’m only going for 5 minutes. I SWEAR this will be our last repeat.” Oh the lies, the glorious lies! Hey, but they work.

Race day is worth it. PR’s are worth it. Bragging rights [even if in our own minds because we don't want to seem like we're bragging or full of ourselves] are worth it.

Feeling ‘special’ is worth it.

Goals are awesome, the days where we show up to the race and finish with a PR are awesome, but even all those unseen moments are awesome. Every test no one but yourself knows your taking (Netflix or run? Mentally wuss out or not? Long run or sleep?) are fun, because when you pass, when you sail through with flying colors and you KNOW it…those are the gifts no one but yourself can give you.

Those are the things that send you to bed with a smile on your face.

1) What test did running give you today? Did you pass?
2) When was the last time you failed a test? What did you learn from that and how have you applied that lesson to make you better and stronger now?
3) What is one way runners are crazier than the normals of the world?
Just one????

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16816. Writing for Children – helpful ideas by Alan Dapre

I’ve had over 50 books traditionally published in a range of genres. A few are plays for teenagers and younger children. Some are linked to characters on TV (such as Brum) and are joke, puzzle, activity and story books. Others are … Continue reading

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16817. Garden of Eden

LarryHenryFeaturedSQ

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16818. 15 book box set for 1.99$ (2 weeks only)

Dec 29 - Jan 11th






FOR TWO WEEKS ONLY the Indelibles has put together an incredible set of fifteen complete best-selling novels by Indelibles authors including me, Addison Moore, Susan Kaye Quinn, RaShelle Workman, Chanda Hahn, Magan Vernon, Laura Pauling, Elle Strauss, LM Preston and more! As if the deal couldn't get any better, the Indelibles is offering this limited-edition for an even-more amazing price - $1.99 


That's right. For less than a cup of your favorite coffee you can get fifteen full-length YA novels to feed those readers you got for the Holidays. The deal is only good until 1/11/14, so get your copy TODAY! 



So,Sit back, relax in your favorite reading chair and enjoy 15 Winter Reads from 15 bestselling YA authors. 



There is something to delight every reader in this box set - paranormal romance, futuristic sci-fi, historical, time travel, and contemporary.


15 Winter Reads includes:

The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Hahn: Escaping an experimental prison, Thalia tries to hide her past and her gifts, from her friends. But her past isn't always easy to escape, especially when it hunts you down.

Tremble (Celestra Series) by Addison Moore: Sixteen year-old, Skyla Messenger is a dead girl walking. When her newly remarried mother moves the family to Paragon Island, to a house that is rumored to be haunted, Skyla finds refuge in Logan Oliver, a boy who shares her unique ability to read minds.

Exiled by RaShelle Workman: Venus wakes to find herself no longer on her home planet of Kelari, but on Earth with a week to get back or she'll die.

Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore: Gossip Girl meets VC Andrews in this contemporary family saga. Love, lies, and betrayal become the new normal when Anna enters the world of Jack and Lucy Kyser.

Open Minds and Closed Hearts by Susan Kaye Quinn: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Untraceable by S.R. Johannes: When Grace's forest ranger dad disappears on patrol, she fights town authorities, tribal officials, & nature to prove he's alive. Torn between a new hot boy and cute ex, she heads into the wilderness to find her dad. Soon, she is caught in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder.





How to Date an Alien and How to Break Up With an Alien by Magan Vernon: Alex Bianchi takes an internship at an alien operations center to pad her college applications but doesn't plan on falling in love with one of its residents. But as Alex's senior year progresses, everything changes and she can't figure out if it is interstellar or if it is just time to break up with an alien.

Flutter of Luv by L.M. Preston: Dawn, the neighborhood tomboy, is happy to be her best friend's shadow. Acceptance comes from playing football after school with the guys on the block while hiding safely behind her glasses, braces, and boyish ways. But Tony moves in, becomes the star Running Back on her school's football team, and changes her world and her view of herself forever.

Watched by Cindy M. Hogan: It takes more than a school trip to change Christy's life. It takes murder.

Clockwise and Clockwiser by Elle Strauss: A follow up to Clockwise, Casey and Nate travel back in time and race against the clock to rescue Casey's rebellious brother Tim from frontline battle in America's civil war.

Glimpse (Zellie Wells #1) and Glimmer (Zellie Wells #2) by Stacey Wallace Benefiel: While working together to figure out what their shared vision means, Zellie discovers that Benjamin is a worthy friend and mentor. If only he could keep his hands off of her - if only she wanted him to...

A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling: After dodging bullets on a first date, Savvy must decide how far she'll go to protect the ones she loves.

Grasping At Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper: An eternal soul mate, a supernatural family who has known her for centuries, and lifetimes of erased memories: this is Maryah Woodsen's life. She just doesn't know it yet.

Lacrimosa
 by Christine Fonseca: In the world of angels and demons, one thing is clear - some sacrifices should never be made. Even for love.


The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle: The town of Spruce Knoll hides many secrets--and many dangers, among them are that the untimely death of Eren's parents was no accident and that she is far more than she realizes.

So pick up this beauty between now and January 11 at these retailers:


And enjoy all of the wonderful reading you'll be doing as you ring in 2014!

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->

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16819. Current Scratch: Happy New Year....

You might have noticed the blog has been quiet this month. We are on BLOG VACATION for December.  We will be back next month with the Current Scratch!

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16820. Recent Reading Roundup 35

One last edition of recent reading roundup for 2013, before the obligatory summary of the year's reading (coming on December 31st and not a moment sooner, she said, glaring darkly at certain people and publications who list their favorite reads of the year in November, for pity's sake).  This one comes with a particular slant--a few weeks ago, I received a care package from NYRB Classics, that

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16821. Starting All Over Again - Again

For the fifth year in a row, Christopher and I led the Sunday-after-Christmas worship service this morning, to give our regular pastor and organist time off after the intensity of Advent.

I prepared the order of worship, solicited prayer concerns, preached the sermon, and officiated over the entire proceeding. Christopher played all the music for the service, including the challenge of a congregational hymn sing (my favorite!), where those in the pews are invited to shout out the number of their favorite hymn from the hymnal, whatever it is, for us all to sing together.

Today Christopher faced the hurdle of not one but two hymns that neither of us ever heard before, plus a hymn not from the traditional hymnal, but from a more contemporary songbook, The Faith We Sing, which has more tricky musical accompaniments. I had promised him I wouldn't let anybody call one out from there, but when it turned out to be "Shine, Jesus Shine," I couldn't resist. And he played it beautifully for us all to sing our little hearts out.

It's fun for me to come up with a new sermon focus for each successive new year. Last year my theme was using our gifts in the new year, drawing on the parable of the talents (Luke 19: 21-28). The year before I talked about starting the new year not by eliminating bad things from our lives but by cramming our lives so full of good things that the bad things would find themselves crowded out willy-nilly. This year my message title was "Starting All Over Again - Again." The question I posed was how we can make ourselves believe that we're really going to heed the coming of Christ into our lives this year, when we didn't make good on this promise to ourselves last year, and the year before that, or the year before that.

I found and shared some some sobering statistics about New Year's Resolutions: 45 percent of Americans make them; only 8 percent end up keeping them. I found a list of the ten most popular new year's resolutions to pair with the list of the ten most commonly broken resolutions. As you may have guessed, the two lists were almost identical. Should we, then, give up on resolutions altogether? Jesus does tell us, in the sermon on the Mount, to avoid oaths: just let our yes be yes and our no be no, and be done with it. But he also gives the barren fig tree another chance to bloom and bear fruit. In the end, I took the side of resolutions, citing a study that people who make them are ten times more likely to achieve success in their goals than those who don't, however paltry that success might be. I took the side of believing in the power of new beginnings.

I love this mother-son Sunday-after-Christmas tradition so much. As I prepare to start all over again - AGAIN - for the new year, this is something from past years that I want to keep.

I closed the service with this poem by civil rights leader and theologian Dr. Howard Thurman:


When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

Today the music in my heart was wonderful, glorious, heart-soaring hymns pounded out by Christopher, on this last Sunday of the year about to end.

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16822. B’bye 2013. You were pretty cool. Except for that time you barfed in my car.

Sparky Firepants sick

Rudolph?

Don’t look at me, I’m horrid. Really. Okay, look. Just for a second. I know how your morbid little mind works.

Alright, that’s enough. Back to reading.

It’s just before New Year’s and I’m nursing a bad chest cold (is there a good one?). Maybe that’s a bad turn of phrase. I am not actually the one nursing the cold here, Jenni is nursing me. Big difference. I may publicly throw my swagger around like sweet chocolate treats, but when I get the sniffles, I turn into a sniveling mess.

Still, I’ve been meaning to write a glorious post to sum up our first official year of screen printing. I have scant time left before Ryan Seacrest and Judge Sotomayor officially let us into 2014, so there may be some chest cold-level sniveling mixed in with the gloriousness.

We did it!

First things first. We did it! We turned an idea into ink on t-shirts and happy clients. In January, I was still setting up our first press and trying to figure out how to build our shop out of two-by-fours and a halogen light from Home Depot.

By May we were selling our vegan t-shirts to a Sparky-loving crowd at WorldFest. By September we were serving (multiple) repeat custom screen print clients.

It’s four days to closing out our first official year and while we’re not (yet) the best-known screen printing shop in Los Angeles, we’ve made some really great t-shirts for thousands of great people. That makes me happy. If you’re one of those people, thank you! It was a pleasure serving you.

Oops, I did it again. Or at least once.

There were more hard lessons learned for us this year than even Amanda Bynes would appreciate. The reality checks were bountiful. Here are a few highlights of things we learned:

  • Even though I shake my fist at the gods and swear it cannot be done… I will do it anyway. So new motto for 2014: Shut up and print.
  • Cheap-o t-shirts feel like wearing a Brillo pad. So no more printing on crappy cheap-o t-shirts without a signed and notarized consent form or a ruling by a Federal judge. At least now we know where to get low-cost shirt blanks that feel like cotton instead of steel wool.
  • We can print on paper lunch bags better and more reliably than an inkjet. Panic first, figure it out second, get ‘er done, third.
  • So far we haven’t really needed that heat press and wide format inkjet printer to compete with local shops. In fact, we’ve learned how to do it all differently so we don’t have to worry about competition.
  • We will screw some things up – but we can deal with it. There was that time I ordered the wrong shirts. Actually, now that I look back it was three times. Thankfully we work with two local vendors who were able to send us the right shirts in a day. I generated some unwashable armpit stains over this, but thankfully I own a t-shirt company. Crisis averted, my own stinky shirt replaced, and we soldiered on.

We’ve made our own path.

Sometimes it’s been a slow and painful hike down that path. There have been mosquito clouds to swat and thorny vines to machete our way through to get to this point. All along the way, we kept getting glimpses of the easy, paved road in the distance. It was tempting to step onto it and just do it like everyone else. It was tempting to take the cheapest route with heat presses and direct-to-garment printers, to play the game of competing on price. Just when temptation was strongest, someone would step onto our path and say, “Hey, I like how you’re doing that. Can you help me?” And instantly our focus would go back to printing by hand the best t-shirts we can for the people who appreciate our style of service.

We couldn’t have made that path without help from people all over the world, mostly via the internet. Every time I got stuck on a printing problem, someone from Ryonet, T-shirt Forums, Catspit, or even an ink vendor would rescue me via blog post or YouTube video. Huge thanks to them. I plan to pay it forward to new screen printers in 2014 with some instructional posts and videos of my own.

Go ahead, Judge… lower that ball!

It’s almost 2014 and I haven’t yet mapped our path. It’s all in my head, which is currently stuffed up. I’ll blow it out my nose in a few days and share it on Instagram. Lucky you.

Despite the phlegm hiding in the dark corners of my lungs, I need to print an order right now. Sometimes that’s how it works when you serve people with your craft. Either you take it easy and they get a huge letdown… or you swallow some boiling tea, man up, and get ‘er done.

As selfless and martyr-making as I made that sound, it’s actually the most selfish thing I could do today. I started printing for me and I love doing it. The fact that someone gets to enjoy what I create is very cool, but I think I might get more out of it in the larger picture.

Wow, that tea made me ramble. I better shut up and print now.

All the best to you and yours in the new year!

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16823. Looking Back on 2013

Well, I blinked and now 2013 is almost over. It's been a pretty good year. The screenplay I wrote was shot and is in post-production. There were many times this project almost died, so that was a huge victory. I'm making a major revision in my novel before I send it out to another round of agents. Libraryland was pretty good to me with record numbers for summer reading. And I was able to

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16824. Double Crossing

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16825. Friends

One of the best parts of the holiday season is spending time with friends. (I'm lucky––I consider my family members to be friends.) We exchange gifts. We share delicious food. We do our best to light up the long evenings.

I have other friends who have done a great deal to keep the darkness at bay. They've been such an important part of my life. I love them dearly––but sometimes I ignore them for years. They don't mind. They wait patiently on the shelf. Then my daughter needs something to read, and I run to the bookcase, eager to introduce her to one of my literary friends.

 My publisher has a motto.

I love that sentiment. I'm so proud that they considered Zeno & Alya to be that kind of book.

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the books who have given me wonderful companions.



Wilbur the pig.  I know, Charlotte the spider gets that lovely bit of praise at the end. But  Wilbur is the one with enthusiasms. You have to love a pig who tries to spin a web!



Mary Lennox.  She’s so disagreeable, I had to love her. She works so hard to bring the garden back to life.


Jo March. I suppose I identified most strongly with her – but not because she wanted to be a writer. I was every bit as clumsy as she was. And my older sister was as perfect as Meg.
My list could go on and on. But I think I'll go spend some time with dear old friends.

I hope that you all found time this holiday season to spend time with yours – and make new ones.


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