Chill time

The good news is I got in a couple of hours of writing this morning.

The bad news is I hardly accomplished anything else I had planned because I spent three hours chiseling the ice of my dad’s driveway.

Some days you just gotta go with the flow. Or the ice floe.

In keeping with today’s zen attitude, here is some film I shot a few weeks ago. This is the southeastern edge of Lake Ontario, as both a storm was moving in and the sun was setting. Shot from inside my car because the wind was blowing so hard I could barely stand up.



Pigs DO Fly!

A lot of people have written to me in the last few months, asking what a typical book tour day is like.

Elizabeth Bluemle of Flying Pig Bookstore did a write-up of the day I spent in the Burlington, VT area. It gives you a pretty good picture of the day: three school visits, a late-afternoon public presentation, then a long car ride to Boston because my plane was canceled. It was a long and intense day, but I loved it, especially hanging out with the students.

There are many readers’ faces that I am going to remember for a long time after this tour. Like Clark Weathers, who showed me the comic book he was drawing  in his spiral notebook. I met him before I talked to the kids in his Austin, TX middle school. After my presentation, I made sure that Clark and his librarian had a chance to chat. She introduced him to a new term “graphic novel” and told him that the library had a lot of them. You should have see the excitement on his face!

Clark made this for me. Be sure you read the second sentence.

In other news, the sun was spotted in the Forest this afternoon for the first time since Saturday. In the extended forecast, they are calling for snow in the next 9 out of 10 days. I have a funny feeling I will soon be seized by an uncontrollable urge to bake gingerbread cookies.

And we’re getting our Christmas trees this weekend. I am taking bets on how long it takes the new dog, Thor, (AKA The Totally Insane Chimera Dog) to eat a few branches and then puke green.

PS – Looking for holiday shopping book suggestions?? Check out the Flying Pig’s newsletter!!

Best Intentions

Remember when I used to blog? A lot? Well. I got out of the blogging habit during the FORGE booktour! ARGH! I’m sorry! I miss you guys!

So I am trying to get back into the habit.

Right now.

I think one of the things that has been holding me back (other than catching up on my sleep) is that I felt as if I had to write a gigunda blog post in which I would mention absolutely EVERYTHING that happened in the tour. And the mere thought of composing such a long post made me need another nap all over again.


I’m going to sneak the highlights of the tour in gradually, if its OK with you. Like this:











This mural graces the hall of one of the KIPP Academy schools I visited in Washington, DC courtesy of the completely amazing people at RIF.

(BTW – you’ve been looking for a reason to bug your Congressfolk, right? Some confused people running the country don’t want to continue to fund RIF, thereby depriving 4.4 million children of books!! YOU CAN HELP RIGHT NOW!)

I’m also going to get back to the regular blogging flow of life in the country, my writing process, my dogs, and whatever else strikes my fancy. So…

1. It has been snowing here since Saturday. This is a Good Thing because

2. I’m working on a new book, but I can’t tell you about it yet because I am superstitious and

3. The dogs say “Hi! Hi! Got a ball! I have a ball! In my mouth. It is big and red and slimy!! I want to put this ball in your hand. NO! I want to rub this ball in your hair so you’ll smell just like me!! Wait! Where you going?”

4. Tonight my heart is with the children of Elizabeth Edwards. They have been through more than their share of sadness.

And here endeth this post. As far as returns go, it’s a little uneven, but as with all writing, it will improve with some daily practice.

See you tomorrow.

A Pause in Banned Books Week Coverage

Sit down. I have a story for you.

So we have a neurotic six-year-old German Shepherd. I generally refer to her as The Creature With Fangs. tho’ truth be told, she rarely uses them.






Isn’t she lovely?





We’ve known for a while now that she’s be a lot happier (and possibly less neurotic) if she had a buddy. (The chickens don’t count. She views them as snack food.)

We decided we needed a short-haired dog, maybe one of the breeds that provokes fewer allergic responses. Most importantly, the new dog would have to get along with The Creature With Fangs. But we are responsible adults here, very serious people. We knew that we should wait until after my book tour before we started looking for  the Companion Dog.

Seriously. We meant it. For real.

Driving back from Ft. Ticonderoga on Sunday, we stopped at a super-great grocery store in Saratoga Springs, Putnam Market. As I was getting back into the car, I noticed a brand new Kong ball laying next to the front tire. I looked around. There were no dogs in sight. The only people I could see looked like cat people.

I tossed the Kong ball in the car, figuring it would be a souvenir of our trip for The Creature With Fangs.

Tuesday morning, as I was getting ready for the arrival of my writer’s group, a dog showed up at our house. A funny-looking dog. Looked like he had been built from the spare parts of several different breeds. Made me think of a chimera or a hippogriff. He was scared and hungry so we fed him and gave him some water. He had a collar, but no ID. Looked to be about six months old.

When I crouched down to pet him, he leaned against my leg.

I fell in love.

“His name is Thor,” I told my husband. Why? Because that was the name that popped in my head.

“Don’t fall in love,” BH warned. (I did not tell him it was too late.)

BH made a lot of phone calls. Turns out that this dog’s owner had ‘sort of’ left him at a neighbor’s house and forgotten to pick him up. For a month. The owner was more than happy to have us take the dog off his hands; he wasn’t in a position to care for the dog properly, but really didn’t want to take the little guy to the pound. Props to him for that.

But before we could agree to take him, he had to pass a test. We introduced the ChimeraDog to our Creature With Fangs.

We held our breath.

Or rather, we inhaled, but didn’t have time to hold our breath because they both started wagging their tails and playing as if they’d been born in the same litter.

So we have a new resident in the Forest. After much speculation, we think he is cross between an Australian cattle dog and possibly a Rottweiler. I imagine the vet will be able to figure it out.





Treats? Did someone say "treats?"



The Creature With Fangs is a very happy Creature indeed.




Our family is a little bigger and life is even more topsy-turvy than usual around here. In the best possible way.

One more thing!

We found out what the dog’s original name was. Can you guess it?

Right. His original name was Thor. And he loves that stray Kong ball that I picked up in Saratoga.

::cues Twilight Show theme::

WFMAD Day 26 – Wild Spirits Soaring

Two quick reviews for you: Reading Rants weighs in on FORGE and WINTERGIRLS reviewed in Colorado.

How did your writing go yesterday? Mine floooowed. Like creekwater after a thunderstorm. Sugar pouring from a blue china bowl. Like round hips swaying under a loose skirt to a hot salsa trumpet.

Seriously. It was that good. It was hard to come back to the real world and do things like eat. Run. Brush teeth.

As the sun started to set, the Muse returned. Much to the dismay of my chickens, she arrived in the shape…

….of a large, hungry-looking








She watched the very well-protected henhouse for a while




then took to the air






and flowed





back into the Forest.



It was breathtaking. Especially for the chickens, who, I am happy to report, escaped disaster. For the moment.

Ready… “O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,” Henry V, William Shakespeare

Set… make sure any rodents or poultry you care about is under roof. Then turn off the damn phone.

Today’s prompt: Make a list of ten animals that could be your Muse. Circle the one that evokes the strongest reaction in you; positive or negative.

Write a scene in which you or a character has an interaction with this animal. At some point in the scene, the animal does something to change your emotional reaction to it. Either you first find it cute, and then disgusting. Or at first frightening, and then enchanting.

After the emotional switch, you get to ask the animal three questions. What will you ask? And what are the answers?

Scribble… Scribble… Scribble!!!