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Cute and furry and infuriating

Something I know about my writing (which you may not have known but will now because I am posting it on the internet) is that events that are going on in my life at any given time will sometimes wind up in the book that I am writing at that moment.

For example, in THIRD GRADE BABY the main character's younger brother is teething. As I was writing that book I had a baby who was teething! Coincidence? I think not.

One thing that's begging to be put into a book, but alas hasn't yet, is how to live in a house with animals. say. Many, many people live in houses with animals. They are called pets, and most people find this a very rewarding experience.

Those are not the kind of animals I am talking about.

I believe I have mentioned before that I live in a forest. In fact my town is a Tree City USA, and no one is allowed to cut down trees on their property without permission from the village. So, naturally my yard is habitat to many creatures. Which is cool.

In my yard I've seen deer,

a fox,


and coyotes.

(That was kind of scary because they were right outside my door, and I was trapped in my house. Although, I have to admit, they guys I saw were a little mangier than that one.)

As long as the critters stay outside, I'm pretty much cool with them. But some little guys aren't content with the whole inside/outside habitat sharing arrangement. No. They are greedy, and come fall, want in on my central heating action.

We've had mice, a bird and some unknown something in the attic. Recently a chimpmunk came to visit not once, but three times. This was not fun for me, but as a result of this misfortune, I can now pass on to you some very important knowledge. A surefire way of ridding your house of a chipmunk should one ever come calling.

First find your self a bag of mini-cheese crackers. (They must be mini, as chipmunk-sized.)
Next, find last known location of chipmunk sighting and create a cracker trail from said location to the back door of house and out the door about a foot or two.
Then, hide in a location not too far from the door where you can see the chipmunk but it can't see you.
Finally, when the chipmunk munches its way out of your house, slam the door on its cute (only when it's outside) little tail and try to pretend your heart isn't pounding because you thought you were going to be mauled by a three pound rodent.

Maybe I should write a book about exterminators?

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A Very Good Day

Today was an excellent day. Here is the reason why:

I went to the library! I loooooove the library, and I love coming home with a stack of books so high it's hard to carry. That's just what I did today. (I also checked out a stack of picture books for a certain toddler who lives in the same house as me, but I did not take a picture of those. You think it's hard taking candy from a baby? Try taking a new book from a two-year-old!)

So...I love to read, and even when working hard on a new novel, I still find time to read. But when I'm between manuscripts I have a special time I like to call a reading frenzy. (Sort of like a feeding frenzy, but with books! Much less fattening.)

You might infer from the above sentence that I am between manuscripts and you are very nearly right. The first (and quite rough draft) of my new YA is days away from completion! Then I will hand it off to my critique group and not think about it at all for two weeks. (Yeah, right. Okay, I'll think, but I won't work or write.)

With all this time on my hands, I plan to dig into a good book or two or three or four or five....



Coffeeland. It's a nice place to visit but...

I'm feeling guilty. See, I am a proud tea drinker. I drink cups and cups of it. Iced in the summer, hot in the spring, fall and winter, and it's an important part of my writing routine. Snuggling into the corner of the couch with my laptop and a steaming mug of Chamomile ready to lose myself in my story. It's the perfect afternoon. (Hence the starring role of the steaming mug on the homepage of my website.)

Today, however I wrote at Panera. Panera, home of yummy soup, yummy salads and free wi-fi, is my second favorite place to write. And settling into a booth near an outlet with a steaming paper cup of Honey Ginseng is also quite cozy. But today, when I walked into Panera I saw this.

It's a pumpkin spice latte. As I am a lover of all things Fall, I couldn't resist the lure of pumpkin.

Jazzed up on mega-caffeine from the shot of espresso, and completely unused to such stimulation, my hyped-up brain and fingers pounded out close to two thousand words of my novel! I'm suddenly understanding why so many writers out there are coffee drinkers.

As fun as today was, and it was perfect for the exciting climax scene I was working on, I'm still not a coffee gal. There's no lingering, no dreaminess when writing with coffee. So while I may occasionally sip some Java, I'll always be a tea girl at heart.

Okay, now you tell me. What's your beverage of choice?

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A technophobe? Me?

My old printer died. It lived a long life and served me well, and I got a new nicer (because it's six years newer) printer, but I don't like it as much as my old printer yet. It doesn't hold as much paper. I don't know where all the button thingamajiggies are.

As much as I hate to admit it, I may have technology issues. Certain husbands-who-live-in-this-house-with-me think new buttons are very exciting, not cause for consternation.

Also, another reason I may have to admit to being technologically delayed is that this week was my very first time using Power Point. Ever. I made half a slide. I am very proud of it. It will someday be the first slide in my "Day in the Life of an Author" school visit presentation which schools are already clamoring for. (As a matter of fact, it's such a good half-slide, I might not have to add anything further!)

However, I do blog. (Exhibit A is on your screen right now.) And technologically speaking, that's pretty hip, right? Well, I guess if I was really cool I'd vlog, but we can't all be Hank and John Green, now can we?

Already my kids do things on the computer I will never be able to do. (Have you tried Line Rider? It's hard!) I just accept that.
I have fun trying though. (As long as my kids aren't in the room laughing at me.)

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Exciting News! Times Three!

1. My website is practically, finally done! You can see it now, but at exactly the moment I'm writing this it still needs a tweak or two. By the time you read this those tweaks may be done already. Who knows?

2. I just saw a sketch for the cover of Third Grade Baby! Sorry I can't show it to you, but let me just tell you, Polly is adorable! FSG chose the perfect artist, and I can't wait to see the final cover.

3. My kids are back in school!(This is possibly more exciting for me than it is for them.)

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