No worries, mate – Friday Five Plus One, turtle edition

I didn’t mean to alarm anyone by not posting for a week. Things have been a bit busy. Mostly with good stuff, but at such a fast pace I haven’t had blogging time.

First – A wee movie for your enjoyment. This turtle belongs to my daughter, OfficeMouse. When she got the turtle, it was smaller than a quarter.

The turtle thinks it is a cat. This is very confusing to the real cats.

Second – I have heard nothing from the Kentucky high school where TWISTED and other books still appear to be banned. I have no idea what is going on and hope that everyone down there is figuring out how to have constructive, professional conversations about the place of YA contemporary literature in the classroom.

Third – WINTERGIRLS is preparing to move to the world stage. I think the Australian edition will be the first one to go to press. Authors Melina Marchetta and Alyssa Brugman said very nice things about the book – thank you! As it stands now, WINTERGIRLS will be published in Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Norway, Korea, Poland, Spain & Latin America, Italy, Germany, and Holland. And Great Britain, I think. This is all VERY exciting!!! As soon as I get cover images of these books, I’ll post them. It always fascinates me to see what images the non-US publishers choose to appeal to their markets. 

Fourth – last weekend I got to speak to the lovely booksellers at the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Conference. You can read Part One of Jennifer Brown’s conference coverage in today’s Shelf Awareness.

Fifth – I have been struggling a bit with some health issues. I added up the stress factors of the past year and everything suddenly made sense. In addition to the two deaths in the family this summer, and caring for a niece for a while, I was on the road for business for more than 100 days of the last year. That is officially Too Much Travel and explains many things. So please, if you have been trying to get me to come at speak at your school or conference, please understand why I am going to have to say no. I am already scheduled for 50 days next year and we’re going to try and limit it to that number.

Plus One – I’ve been sneaking into the cottageand writing amidst the power tools, but BH assures me we are days away from being able to clear out the equipment and handing over the keys to me. Some of the interior projects, like the wall of bookcase have been put on hold until I hit the road again. Next week I might make a video that shows the entire project. For now, here are a couple of recent shots.

  The south wall with the magic window in place. It only requires a little bit of siding work (that is cedar siding) to be done. BH is planning on stoning that bit of wall from the bottom of the siding to the ground. I don’t know if he’ll have time to do that before the snow flies.

BH standing next to the woodstove where the fire is crackling away. The stove is covered in soapstone so it should radiate plenty of heat. The floorboards are 125+ years old. 

28 Replies to “No worries, mate – Friday Five Plus One, turtle edition”

  1. The cottage is already so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. What a delight. I hope you can eventually spare the time to do a little video for us. Oh what wonderful books will be written there. We already know this.

  2. Wow.

    That cottage is amazing! I can’t get over that window and I can’t wait to see the book shelves!

    Rooting for you and the others as far as the KY school goes and congrats on the international pubs! I’m eager to see the new cover designs.

  3. VIDEO, please?

    Cannot wait to see a video of the whole cottage. I am hulking-out with envy!

    Emily (

  4. Welcome back to the woods, and congrats on learning to say no. It’s a huge step, to do that without guilt, and you deserve all the time you want in your cottage.

    Alanis Morissette put it this way:

    Everything snowballing as it did was a lot to digest, and I really didn’t have the energy or the clarity or the handbook to do that. Now, my handbook would say, “Cry when you need to cry, talk when you need to talk, and stop when you need to stop.”

  5. YEAH!!!

    Stove Works! Nice Job BH!! Parents in Florida love the magic window and the video of the turtle and cats. :O)

  6. That turtle cracked me up! I wonder why he follows the one cat but not the other.
    Your cottage looks great! Many wishes for cathartic writing there. =)

  7. Just found your blog as I am researching your work for a fellow teacher whose eighth graders are about to start reading Chains.

    I have a turtle and a tortoise, but neither of them has even sought out other animals. (Though the turtle is more gregarious than the tortoise.)

    Cute video. Beautiful cottage.

  8. I’m seriously in love with that turtle! The cottage is so beautiful. I’m jealous.


  9. That turtle can move! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a turtle chase a cat, but that was incredibly entertaining.

    Love the cottage, and I think stone from the ground up to the siding will make it look even cozier. The window looks amazing — did you guys have to put any extra insulation around it? Or do anything to the glass panes to ensure that cold wouldn’t get in? Can’t wait to see the finished product and the video to go with it.

  10. That’s about the fastest turtle I’ve ever seen; it really does think it’s a cat.

    Your cottage is going to be perfect for writing.


  11. Your dilute calico looks so much like ours! I just love that coloration. Cute kitties (and turtle). And I’m so envious of that cottage. 🙂

  12. Turtle / Tortoise

    Hi, Laurie. I can’t see too well on the video, but it looks to me you might have a tortoise rather than a turtle. Turtles have flippers and tortoises have feet with toenails. Tortoises prefer land and turtles like to swim. If your turtle / tortoise thinks it’s a cat, it may be having an identity crisis already.

    BTW, nice meeting you at the L.A. Times Bookfair last April!

    Bonnie Ferron

  13. Hi! I saw a brochure of your novel Wintergirls at a Borders store. Seeing it reminds me of you. I took a peek at the first chapter of the novel and I find myself hooked. I might consider reading it sometime.

    Oh! And cute cat video. :3

  14. Laurie, the cottage looks perfect. You’re going to love the soapstone stove. We have one in our studio. The heat is very even and it gives off warmth long after the fire dies down. We let our fire go out at night, and there are always live coals for a quick morning restart.

    Glad to hear you’ll be staying home more this year. Road trips can take a toll on health.


  15. Enchanting…

    Your cottage looks absolutely inviting and quiet. The window has turned out perfectly, and I bet you can’t wait to spend more time there. I see that you included your beloved Creature with Fangs which completes the photo – 🙂

    Hmmm, wonder if I can get my husband to build a writing cottage for me on our property??


  16. Re: Turtle / Tortoise

    A terrapin! Fabulous — now I know another variation. I’m used to our California desert tortoises, which definitely like only land.

    Thanks for the info.

  17. I covet your cottage! If you come in one day, and see someone curled up under your desk, just ignore me. I’ll be tap tapping (or scrib sribbling) along with you.

  18. I have a turtle much like yours, and cats but mine are all black. And one of my cats, his name is Connor, is the turtle’s BFF. (The turtle has no name, really, just “the turtle.”) When I let the turtle out to run around the house, Connor hangs with him and I can always tell where he is. Connor will even stop the turtle from falling down the stairs! When the turtle is in his tank, Connor sits next to him and they look at each other for hours at a time. And if I leave the lid of the turtle tank open, Connor will climb up and lean down in and paw at the turtle’s head. So this video, while it is charming and adorable and makes me happy, doesn’t surprise me in the least. Now I’m wondering if my turtle thinks he is a cat!

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