Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grey Whale Watching and Klamath Jet Boat Riding

Have to show my books again :)

Love this puppy

Grey Mom Whale in Klamath River
This week I did not write, except I also did not feel guilty.  Publishing a book will ease the guilt for at least a few weeks!  Also, we usually drive 3,000 miles every summer, visiting family.  This time they came to visit us and we did the tourist thing right here on our own coast.  That turned out to be perfect as a mom and calf Grey Whale also came to visit and stayed in the klamath River since June 24.
Lots of youTube videos about Klamath whales

We went on the Klamath Jet boat tour which allowed us to see the whales, but also fawns, seals, river otter, pelicans, and eagles and osprey galore.

People lining bridge to see whale

Bald Eagle


Spinning the Klamath Jet Boat

Whale spouting

Sea Stack on Cape Sebastion

We also did some beach walking with my sister-in-law while others went fishing, and we do have lovely beaches, usually cold and windy, but the weather was gifting us with one of the rare calm, warm days of the summer.

Tide pool

Harbor seal at Ocean World
We  went to the small, local aquarium, "Ocean World"   It used to be "Undersea World" but the giant "Sea World" sued and made them change their name.  They are small but let you pet their leopard sharks and tide pool creatures and they have some fascinating creatures.  They survived our March Tsunami even though the harbor they draw water from was demolished.
Sea lion

The Husband and I

Just so you know, the writer part of me was only recharging.  I have to remind you that there are two Duffy Barkley novels available, in paperback or for your kindle.

Amazon's Dixie Dawn Miller Goode Page is ready! You can view it at:

Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dare to say Yes to a Dream

I have been blessed with the time to be able to write, while also having a job that allows me to be around school  kids and spend a lot of time talking with them about what they are interested in and reading the books that they like as part of my work.

Since I also love to write books at the middle school level and higher, and my novels are fantasy novels that interest several kids in any class I am teaching, this has given me a lot of feedback and stimulated new story lines to develop.

Once school ended on June 16th, I was able to pull my nearly completed, second novel out of the ignored folder it slept in, and bring it to a conclusion.  Today, I got the proof copy to hold in my hands and evaluate for possible publication.

I set it next to the book I published last year, and smiled.  I only hope they both bring other people some of the joy that they have already given to me.

Both my Tales of uhrlin

Back covers

Look at the double books please, not the double chins
I became a special Ed teacher, after being raised with a younger brother, who has down's syndrome.  I also had been bullied a lot as a student myself and the experiences I have had as a teacher and family member of a special needs kid, and as a victim of bullies, are both a large part of the framework of these novels.  But my Duffy, a boy who has Cerebral Palsy, and is bullied, is not handicapped or willing to be a victim.  He won't accept the word, "No."
My Brother and I in Panajachel, Guatemala

Boating in Lake Atitlan, bullrushes
 One of the most pleasurable parts of writing, Duffy Barkley: Seek Well has been the chance to review my journal and photographs and memories from a trip that my boys, my brother, my Mom and I took to Guatemala.

When you read this story, you will see a lot of the things that I loved about this poor, war-torn but lovely area around Lake Atitlan.
My son, teaching Duck, Duck Goose to Mayan children
You will also get to meet a character, who was first suggested to me as a challenge, while trying to write the first 50,000 words of this novel as part of National Novel Writing Month.  I love Fred, he loves baths, and he thinks he's a small, pop-eyed micro monkey.  Duffy thinks he's a Dragon, but neither one is right.
Mayan girls and my youngest son

Mayan Grandmother and my oldest son

By Lake Atitlan

Posada de Santiago Atitlan
 So, my dream was to be a Writer.  Like Duffy, I refused to accept the many times I was told "No."  I'm glad that I did.  The bullies lose if we refuse to be victims, and instead insist on our right to be who we dream.
Lake Atitlan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Duffy Barkley: Seek Well

first sketch of "Fred"

working on book 2 cover
Being a fiction writer has been how I defined myself, to myself, since the grade school days when I  jotted down story after story in a spiral notebook dedicated to the task and passed out to my friends for feedback.

When asked to label myself for other people however, I never used the term, "Writer."  It seemed pompous and presumptuous even though writing ranked right up there with breathing as one of the things I had to do everyday.  But who, when asked, "What do you do?" would say, "I'm a breather?"
book 1 cover

     Then I published my first novel and had a lot of fun with it, but still answered the label question with "Teacher, Mom, Wife, etc."  Until my husband and I were filling out a form and he listed my occupation. He put Writer.  I questioned it.  After all, I've spent more than I have made, writing.  "He said, It is what makes you happy, right?"   Right.  And hopefully it also, sometimes, makes other people happy too.
The land of my dreams.
So now I am writing for July, trying to write 50,000 words in a month, as part of the on-line writer's group, Camp NaNoWriMo.  But I have broken the rules already.  Instead of writing a new, dirty first draft, I am editing and adding to, and finishing up two books I had worked on before in previous NaNoWriMo months.  I am typing until my body aches from sitting at the computer, and I am Happy!

I have already finished the sequel to Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, and sent Duffy Barkley: Seek Well to the printer and a proof copy is winging its way to me.

Now I am 20,000 words into a story called "Double Time on The Oregon Trail" about two 15 year old girls, traveling across the United States and communicating over 150 years between them.  I am hoping to write several other Double Time stories, but this first one was begun when my high school senior was in fourth grade.  If not for NaNoWriMo, none of the books I had in my head would ever make it to paper.

Seek Well - Blurb

Have you ever thought, “I’d love a do - over on my life?”
Nine year old Duffy Barkley had been offered that chance, and in Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, he took it – but like every choice, once made, there were consequences to be lived with.  For Duffy, going back to an earlier time un-did the damage of serious choices and left him with a stronger instinct for compassion and courage.  But it left him without the memories of the life that he had lived and the lessons he had learned.  It came with no guarantees that he wouldn’t make exactly the same mistakes or new ones again.  It left him without the new friends whom he had made but it allowed him a chance to make a friend out of an old enemy – and that was the one chance, which ultimately saved them all, the first time he went to Uhrlin.
The thing about do-overs is that there is no chance to sit back and rest on a mountain of your blue ribbons – instead you have to get up before you have ever caught your breath and save yourself all over again.  Just because Duffy had managed to erase one tragedy didn’t make him immune the next time trouble came looking for him and his friends.
Now he’s eleven and everyone thinks that one of the most trusted people he knew is a traitor.  But he doesn’t even remember that he knew her.  To find her he must Seek Well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer writing at CampNaNoWriMo

I have been a participant in the National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, several times in the past.  Falling, as it does, in November, it is difficult.  I have found that I always travel to visit family, or have family here for Thanksgiving.  I also teach and that is a busy time with many holiday projects underway.  I have written 3 novels and published one, but their definition of a novel is 50,000 words. That is about romance novel length, but far from YA Novel length.  My DuffyBarkley is Not a Dog, at nearly 90,000 words was on the shorter side of YA Fiction.

So I met my NaNo goals, but didn't meet my personal goal when I hit that 50 K limit.  This summer I have signed up for CampNaNoWriMo

This gives me a month which has 31 days, when I am not teaching - in a year when I actually don't have any required classes or family visits looming over my head.
 I pulled out the draft which is the sequel to Duffy Barkley.  It is called Seek Well, and although I have worked on it in the past, I froze up at the end of November, and just could not think of one more thing to add to the story.  Summer Camp seems to be just what I needed.  The mind is flowing, like the breeze and the river in summer, and I am once more having fun.
loved this entry in Crescent City parade
This is not to say that I am only writing.  But I am writing every day.  In Twitter universe, I #amwriting entries keep getting posted.  That makes me smile.  I played, and I did write between the parade in the morning on Independednce Day, and Fireworks on the Beach that evening.  In fact the fireworks inspired a scene which I could never have concieved of back in November.

Seek Well  has a dragon and it thinks it is a micro-monkey.  It has a beloved friend who has been accused of being a traitor.  It has much that I loved about my visit to Guatemala.  Like every fiction piece I have ever written.  It has a lot of me, and I keep discovering more as I read and reread.  

Waiting for fireworks on the beach

I hope, when I finally finish this beast, that I will have created someting which other people will have fun with too.  Right now, I'm having enough fun for all of us.
possible element in Seek Well book cover