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Viewing Blog: Judy's Place, Most Recent at Top
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Day 21: Today we traveled through the other half of Kansas. We saw many wind turbines, hay rolls, oil wells, and lots of straight road. Too cold for golf, so we stopped in Hays and visited Historic Fort Hays. We are now seventeen miles short of the Colorado border.

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Day 20: We planned to drive some today and then stop and play golf, but needed to revise those plans this morning when we found all sorts of weather warnings about flooding and tornados, etc. So we went to Branston, MO and spent some time looking around and shopping, then back to Springfield, where we visited the Fantastic Caverns. Enjoyable, dry, and the caves have quite a history, including the housing of a SpeakEasy during prohibition.

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3. Day 19: Passing Through

Day 19: I have been trying to take photos of each state sign as we cross the border into the state. Have missed some...it is sometimes a challenge to figure out exactly when the state line is coming up, get the camera ready, and snap the picture while traveling at 65 mph. Here is one of five states we were passing through today...Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri.

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Day 18: Today we went sight-seeing to the Little River Canyon in Alabama. The weather was less than ideal, but the views were still good. Here is the Little Canyon Falls...in the fog.

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Day 17: We headed out this morning...the temperature dropped from85 to 60 by the time we arrived here, just south of Atlanta, GA. Seems a cold front moved in. I almost posted a picture of the blinding rain on the windshield, but decided these decorations in front of our hotel were much more colorful. Obviously, we were not able to play golf today.

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6. Day 16:Dinner at Dusk

In our neighborhood, there are a lot of rabbits. We see them often in the early morning or at dusk, feeding on the lawns. Last year when we were riding our bikes, we counted over 75 rabbits within a half hour. There don't seem to be as many this year.

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7. Grilling Our Supper

Day 15: We went to son Steve's home for dinner tonight to celebrate the release of my books. He cooks a great hamburger. The sausages were even better! Thanks, Steve and Brandy.

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8. Support Breast Cancer Research

Day 14: Today I went to the Post Office to mail out a book, and was impressed with the way it was decorated to commemorate National Breast Cancer month. When this man saw me trying to take pictures of some of the great decorations, he insisted that I take his picture holding up the breast cancer stamps. Wish I knew who he is, so I could send him the picture.

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9. Day 13: Yummy!

Tonight we went to our friends' house for supper. Everything was delicious, and we ended the meal with this scrumptious Turtle Pie. Thanks, guys.

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10. Day 12: Hanging Together

Day 12: This morning was cooler than it has been recently, so I took my camera and went for a walk. This is one of several photos I took... grapefruit clusterd together on a branch...at a house down the street.

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11. Day 11: Ahhhh!

Day 11: Once a month I treat myself to the luxury of deep massage therapy. It does wonders for the body and mind...

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12. Day !0: One Word at a Time!

After taking my grandchildren home today, I went to my friend's house for our tutoring session. This gentleman is taking advantage of the opportunity he has to finally learn to read and write. He is making good progress, one word at a time.

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13. 365 Challenge: Watch Out!

Day 9: More wildlife crossing the fairway on the golf course. I never knew turtles had such long tails! This snapping turtle was headed away from the pond, but he must have known where he was going...maybe to the muddy stream on the other side. Our p...laying partner said it was an 'alligator snapping turtle,' but I have not confirmed that.

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14. Day 9: Got It!

Today is soccer day and we went to watch the game. Am glad it was the kids playing in the 90-degree heat and not me! They are improving every week. Here, O. steals the ball from his opponent and sneaks it by her.

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15. Day 7: Photo Challenge.

Soon we will be embarking on a three-week road trip from Florida to Colorado to visit my oldest son and his family, so I have been browsing books to find sight-seeing opportunities along the way and while we are there. Am looking forward to it!

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16. Day 6: 365 Picture a Day Challenge

Today is Thursday, another golf day, but there are other things going on, too. This year our grandson O, who is in second grade, is attending a school five minutes from my house. I have volunteered to pick him up every day so his parents do not have to pay for thirty minutes of after-school care. I am enjoying it...I get to talk to him on the way home and hear about his day and his thoughts on various subjects. Here I am in the carpool line...

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17. Day 5: A Day in the Life of...

Today started out rainy, with over an inch of rain within a couple of hours. Before it dried up I went out to tend to my lemon tree and to also take a few photos. For anyone who knows me, I love lemons. At a restaurant, I alway order water with four lemons--often get odd looks, but that is the way I like my water. Because of this, I planted a lemon tree several years back, and September is one of the three months that I need to fertilize it. My picture of the day shows that it is getting close to harvesting time, so I won't have to buy lemons for a couple of months.

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18. 365 day photo challenge..."A Day in the Life of..."

Summer is over and it is time to focus on new projects now. Need to get back to writing, and also to expand into other areas.

I have been invited to participate in a photo challenge, where each person accepting the challenge takes and posts a photo each day, showing a snapshot of his or her life. I have decided to give it a try...not saying I will get EVERY day, but who knows.

I started on Saturday, September 19th, at the Space Coast Writers' Guild, where members displayed and sold their books, crafts, and/or photos for the public to enjoy and/or purchase. It was a fun time talking with people and seeing what others had done. Here is the table I shared with Carol Didier.

On Sunday, one of the things I did was start reading a new book. Here is my 'reading chair.' I also sit in this chair with my pad and a pencil when I am writing.

On Monday, the grandkids came to play for the morning...we had fun. Choosing a picture was difficult...thought I would like to have one of them on their bikes, since 3-year-old B. was so excited that he pedaled around the block for the first time, but the picture did not turn out that great...and I really like this one of C., 19 months.

Tuesdays are always golf days, so I took my camera to the golf course with me. Recently there had been a pair of Spoonbills there, and I wanted a photo of them. Sure enough, they were still there, at the pond between the eleventh and twelfth fairways. This is only one of the good photos I took of nature at the golf course.

Today it is raining at the moment...but I am sure I will be able to get out in my yard later for today's photo. Stay tuned, and join in the challenge if you would like to. Let me know if you do.

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19. Summer Update.

Seems summer is almost over...school starts here in Florida in less than two weeks. That just does not seem right! Glad I am not still teaching!

Have been busy enough in the last two months. My son and family came home from Germany on their way to Colorado, their new home for the next two years, and we enjoyed visiting with them. WE had my younger grandson for three weeks while parents flew back to Germany to finish up what they had to there, and that was good. We had a good time most of the time, but with the autism, we also had a few challenges we worked through. All in all, I was pleased with M's behavior...he has come a long way. Daily swimming and biking were things we all looked forward to. Also took a couple of trips to the zoo, and numerous library visits, one of M's favorite things to do.

Another thing I worked on this summer was writing an article about grandparenting, to be included in an anthology for new and not-so-new grandparents by Nightengale Press . Just had a note from my publisher saying the book was ready for ordering and should be on Amazon, etc. in the next week or two. Can hardly wait to receive my copies!
Received the cover of my new easy-reader, too...which will be out in September through Jason and Nordic Publishers. RYAN'S VICTORY is the story of Ryan, who has autism, but figures out how to communicate his wishes to his parents in spite of his inability to speak.
Other than that, not a lot has happened---golf two or three times a week (some good, some bad); son's wedding on Saturday, planning a trip to Colorado for September.
Only thing I have not done is to be diligent about sending out the two books I have completed and edited. Guess I will have to put that on my fall 'to do' list.

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20. School Visit Fun

backdrop created by third graders at Odyssey Charter School

Librarian Linda Baker and parent/fellow writer June Brown with me

I had a great time visiting Odyssey Charter School in Palm Bay, FL today...did two presentations--one for grades 3 and 4, based on KNOWING JOSEPH, autism, and how to become a good writer, and one for grades K-2 based on IT'S TIME, also talking about writing as well as autism. There was only one little glitch, when the projector closed down because of a power surge, and I was told they probably would not be able to get it back up while I was talking. But then it fixed itself, so all's well that ends well.

The kids were great and had some wonderful questions. I was particularly impressed with the K-2 group, where the kids were sitting on the floor and were packed in to the media center like sardines in a can, but they were still attentive and asked good questions. Most of them thanked me or otherwise complimented me as they filed out...one little girl told me that she liked that I was 'fashionably dressed.' That's really something for me, who is totally unfashionable in just about anything I wear. My thanks to Linda Baker, who coordinated the visit, and especially to June Brown, who set up the visit with the school!

When I got home, I was thinking I was done with the special projects for May, but then remembered that I have a 3000 word 'letter to new grandparents' to write for inclusion in an upcoming book, and a six-hour class to prepare lessons for as an instructor at the
Creative Writing Institute here in Melbourne from May 17-22. So off to work I go.

Happy Mothers' Day to all you mothers out there!

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Ever since I moved to Florida, I have been taking the tops off pineapples I get and planting them. NOW I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor...I actually have a plant that is producing a pineapple for me!

April was a busy month--I honored Autism Awareness month with a talk about What Autism Really LOOKS Like, based on my books, and I went to the Autism Awareness Festival to share my books and other reading material, both fiction and non-fiction. I enjoyed both immensely.

May is going to be just about as busy...I have a school visit scheduled for Friday, and then three sessions of teaching at the Florida Institute of Technology's Creative Writing Institute near the end of May. I am definitely seeing more of my grandkids, now, too, especially since son #2 has moved even closer than the half-hour away place where he was leasing.
So writing...NOW I have to come up with an idea for my next book. I continue to send out the two I have ready to go, and May is supposed to be a good month to make progress with such things, so I remain hopeful.

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22. Friday Few

1. I have been able to spend some extra time with the grandkids in the last couple of weeks, and that is always fun. Last week the six-year-old was here for three days with a fever, but otherwise feeling fine; Sunday I had the one-year-old, and Tuesday the three-year-old. The picture shows the playdough we enjoyed for quite awhile on Tuesday...I was amazed at his attention span for the activities we did...AND that the playdough colors were never mixed, although they were in close proximity.

2. Have been waiting patiently for the results of my MG submissions...had a couple of results this week...one positive. It really made my day! Of course, it was just a partial, but that is the first step, isn't it? It was not a rejection!

3. Have added something new to my schedule--tutoring...a third grade home school student whose mom wants him to learn to write AND enjoy writing, and an adult man with autism who never had the chance to learn to read when he was in school many years ago...both are doing very well and I am enjoying the process.

4. Still have not come up with an idea for my next story...it will come, though, when the time is right. Currently I still have to revise my chapter book mystery, so that will keep me going for awhile.

5. Tomorrow (Saturday) I am participating in the First Annual Brevard Authors' Book Fair. If any of you happen to be anywhere near Cocoa, Florida, tomorrow afternoon, please stop in. There is an impressive list of participating authors.

6. Goal this week has been to get back to more regular attendance at the gym...so I am off to follow through with that. It is my second time this week, so that is one or two days better than I have been doing.

Have a great weekend...hope the weather cooperates where ever you are.

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23. Books, parties and literacy

Not much going on here...have been thinking about a new topic for my next book, but have not come up with anything yet...I am open to suggestions, because I always have an easier time developing and writing a story if someone gives me the problem to solve. Maybe another mystery Aaron and Zeke could solve, or maybe something more mid-grade...with boy issues. Or maybe an adventure...something altogether different than I have written before.

This week has been fun...took two grandkids to the zoo and playground on Monday...the zoo had just opened a whole new area called Paws On, so we got to pet several animals, and then play in the 'lagoon'. Then yesterday we celebrated two kids' birthdays, which is always fun.

Hubby and I also attended New England Day at our park. There I was talking to the mother of a man who has autism...he does very well...works at a grocery store, etc. and is quite verbal, but never learned to read. I am thinking that was more due to the type of special ed programs they had when he was growing up rather than having to do with his abilities...there are so many new methods of teaching now than there were thirty or thirty-five years ago when he was in school. So he, his mother, and I decided to see what we could do to help him learn to read...should prove interesting. I have not taught adults before, so if anyone has any good suggestions of materials to use, let me know.

Weather is up and down here...today it is up...beautiful, picture-perfect day.

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24. Finished!

Today I finally finished my early chapterbook mystery! It has been sitting around for a couple of months at least waiting for me to write the last half chapter, so today I finally did it...NOW starts the process of revision.

In other news, I enjoyed a visit to Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, FL,where I did four presentations about 'Writing What You Know--Autism' and ate lunch in less than five hours. I was very impressed with the school and its students. There is real evidence of very caring students in that school.

One thing I learned is that I need to adjust the length of my presentation...I had much more than I needed and never quite made it to the end. Although I had planned it for the right length, it seems that I added quite of bit 'off the cuff' material along the line. All important to the presentations, but next time I will need to take into account that I will probably do that when planning for length...

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Things are beginning to calm down here, after a busy month of conference preparation, etc. The SCBWI-FL conference in Miami two weeks ago was awesome, as was the SCWG conference we put on in Cocoa Beach, where children's author
Cynthia Lord was so well received.

Now I am focusing on getting my manuscripts out and doing some school visits...which is where I am looking for some help. I have read about all the wonderful books by people on various blogs, but being me, cannot remember the names of most of them right now. What I am looking for are books for grades 3-5 where the reader can identify with the main character because that character may be experiencing situations similar to what the reader is going through, whether it be death, adoption, school or family problems of any kind, etc.

If you are the author of such a book, or know some good ones to recommend, please let me know ASAP so I can add them to my list.

Thanks in advance!

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