I am Dixie Dawn Miller Goode. My favorite protagonist is a young boy with Cerebral Palsy. "Duffy Barkley walks on four legs," the kids tease, because he uses crutches. There are many things Duffy has to work extra hard to accomplish, but no-one can tell him "No!"
This Blog has things that somehow tie into my Duffy Barkley books, or into my writing, including the time twisted, Double Time: On The Oregon Trail and my various kids picture books.
My third book is a departure from the fantasy world of Uhrlin and the young boy named Duffy Barkley. This is the start of what I hope to see evolve as a series of historical fiction for middle grade student. Double Time on the Oregon Trail is being featured in a Goodreads Paperback giveaway from August 27th to September 4th. Those are my brother's and my Dad's birthdays, but they could be significant to you in that you could enter to win one of five free copies of this book in which two 15 year old girls, traveling across North America, 152 year apart, sometimes read each other's journals thanks to the lap desk they both own.
to sign up to win one of the 5 copies in paperback you should be able to find the link at this address
and of course, if you have kindle prime you can always get the ebook for free, otherwise it is normally $3.99
Why would an author who has been working on one project for 13 years, be willing to give away that work? Partly because after keeping anything to yourself for 13 years, it is time to share; partly in the hope that if anyone reads it for free, they will talk about it, tweet about it, buy a copy for a young friend or family member, or post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I know that the $3.99 kindle price is what people pay willingly for a cup of coffee but it is not easy to choose which of the many kindle books to put your money on,
and those reviews help tip the balance in one books favor over the many others it is competing against.
Does it work? I'm still not sure. I've sold a few hundred paperback copies and a handful of the kindle versions of the Duffy Barkley books, and in their free days, people uploaded several hundred copies in Germany, Great Britain and the USA, I got about 9 positive reviews, mostly on Amazon and Goodreads, and I got a few nice write ups on book review blogs, but the very best reaction I have gotten was the day I went to substitute teach at Pine Grove Elementary School and the 5th grade girls ran up to me. They quickly demanded, not that I tell them who I was subbing for, or what we were doing, but when I was publishing my next book.
Some of my friends who are authors feel that the giveaways are cheapening the market so much that no one will want to pay for the work of an author, and some feel that people who get a lot of free kindle books probably get more the next day and rarely ever read them. They could be right.
I love writing, I love having someone tell me that they enjoyed the story I had to tell. I rarely make enough in any given month from my books to buy more than a cup of coffee and another book for me, but i will never stop writing until I can't do anything, because who I am at heart, is a storyteller, a recorder and sharer of the beauty and wonder there is in being human on this beautiful blue planet.
The past and present meet on the Oregon Trail when two girls travel the same trail with the same lap desk 152 years apart. Kenyon is traveling in 2002 from Pittsburgh to Salem, OR. Her mother is pregnant and staying behind to close escrow on the house and then flying west to join the family. Kenyon; her 5 year old sister, Melissa and her father are in a Dodge Caravan, with a trailer hitch. Her Grandfather has given her a plain, black polished ebony wooden lap desk lined with a scented wood that still smells faintly of cedar. The box is filled with thick, creamy paper, envelopes, a calling card, a hand mirror, pens and pencils and a small Swiss army knife, postage and an electronic address book. Her Grandfather is not moving with them but plans have been made for him to fly out in December for a visit. Kenyon strongly resents being expected to entertain Melissa at the motels in the evenings. Her father has decided to take the long way and show his girls some of the wonders of this country and Melissa is excited but Kenyon is determined to not have any fun. Traveling in 1850, Della, age 15, has already traveled from Northern Illinois to St. Louis, then a week by steamboat on the Missouri river. She stopped in Independence, MO to prepare for the journey and meet with the wagon train. She left behind her 60 year old grandmother who feels too old to attempt the trip, but who gave her a gift of a wooden lap desk. The desk is filled with paper, a small mirror, wooden handled pens with steel nibs, a metal letter opener, hair pins and a small sewing kit. Her younger brother, Orville, her father, and her pregnant mother are traveling with her. She has been asked to teach the younger children around the campfire in the evenings. What happens when they open the desk to see the other girls journal?
My book is being featured in a Goodreads Paperback giveaway from August 27th to September 4th. Those are my brother's and my Dad's birthdays, but they could be significant to you in that you could enter to win one of five free copies of "Double Time On The Oregon Trail"
to sign up as soon as it hits August 27th you should be able to find the link at this address
I have not been subtle about the fact that I have just published my first book in a new series about conversations across time via a magic lap desk which allows people in similar situations to see each others journals and small treasures even though centuries may exist between them. The Double Time, series begins with two 15 year old girls traveling the Oregon Trail 152 years apart.
This one takes place in many of the areas I have traveled with my own children, so revisiting those memories was fun for me. I hope it will be fun for the middle school readers who I have in mind as the "target audience." The girls in the book are 15, but I know our students study the Oregon Trail in 4th and 5th grades so I kept the writing simple and the print large.
Now I am working on my third Duffy Barkley book, It is CampNanoWriMo August after all, and I did promise a few fans I'd do at least 50,000 words this month. TeeHee, I actually have a few fans now, asking. So I do that but also I am thinking about where to send the Double Time Desk next - Jazz era New Orleans, Ancient Egypt, Revolutionary America or ???
Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. You are appreciated.
I have mentioned many times how much I love the nanowrimo challenge of writing at least 50,000 words in a novel in the month of November. It is a busy month and the challenge of reaching the word count means I don't get to edit, but rather to be as wild and uncontrolled and say anything and everything that flows through my mind. Later comes the drudgery of editing, but each of my three novels began as a wild and uncontrolled first draft. I write in a state near sleep, the brain freed to dream and create by the exhaustion and this allows me to see why Stephen King was on to something when he said that his pre-writing routine needs to be nearly the same as his pre-bed routine. In fact, at times I sit at the typewriter and can not think of one word but then crawl into bed and my brain begins scrolling through scenes so quickly I never retain all of them long enough to get it written down, before, dreamlike, they evaporate. So June and August have sessions of Nanowrimo, known as CampNaNoWriMo, when you do the same challenge, but with less forum interaction and less holiday and school activities to demand my time, you would think I'd be more successful. Not really. Last summer I only wrote 8,000 words, but this summer I am determined to get there again.
On June 30, I published my Double Time On the Oregon Trail and that is the finished book of one I started a long, long time ago. 1999. In the End of this August it will be in a Goodreads book giveaway so that five people can win a paperback version between August 27 and Sept. 4, and free for five days on kindle from August 31 to Sept. 4 as well.
So I have been neglecting my friend Duffy Barkley, the young boy who is my favorite protagonist whose adventures in Uhrlin took me through bullying, school shootings, and Guatemala. This CampNaNoWriMo, I am locking myself to the computer, even though the Olympics may be going in the background, and re-entering Duffy's adventures. Wish me luck in keeping him alive so I can share the next journey to Uhrlin with you.