Monday, October 31, 2011

Today's Bad NaNoWriMo Advice: Wing it!

Don't spend today mapping out your plot, like you would if you had any sense. Instead, do what I do. Spend it sleeping (because you won't be doing much of that the next thirty days). Eating (like a chipmunk preparing to hibernate. Do chipmunks hibernate?) Buying an extra can or six of coffee, and possibly an extra coffee pot, to hold up to the demands of November. Walking your dogs, who are soon to be neglected. Make sure your laptop's plugged in to charge. If you're one of those crazy people who can write by hand, buy pens.

But don't spend too much time today stressing over your plot and whether it's going to make sense. Leave that for, oh, say, November 25-ish.

So have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet? Who's with me?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Today's Bad NaNoWriMo Advice: Sign Up!

It's almost that time again!

If you need bad advice during NaNoWriMo 2011 -- you know, advice like "it's okay to skip class to write" and "Pad your word count by giving every character two middle names and making them insist on being called by all of them" -- I'm your gal. See you in two days!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wildlife, law enforcement, and other reasons this day stands out

BODY OF WATER is out today! See?

My release day so far:

I got off the bus to walk to work in the mist just before dawn, and four deer hopped a fence and stood on the sidewalk, not six feet in front of me, making eye contact for a minute before wandering away.

A minute later, I got stopped by the police. Seriously. A police officer stopped me and asked what I was "up to." I told him I'm an autism teacher on my way to the church to meet a student. He looked appropriately chagrined.

I am not making this up.

My plans for the rest of release day include hanging with a cool kid for a few hours, then curling up with Tara Kelly's AMPLIFIED, also out today. Which just proves that this day was worth waiting for!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Week: Journey

I remember pulling out of the campground, the brown Nissan bumping off the one-lane road onto the two-lane highway, the Battle Run Campground sign getting smaller behind us as we swept through the leaves beginning to scatter on the road.

Up ahead was an apartment that used to be a post office, a mail slot between mine and my sister’s rooms, a rope swing in the back yard, a general store across the street, a horse a mile up the road to visit, a new friend, a new world, a new me.

Behind was summer, sweet honeysuckle and warm sand, lapping water so familiar and soothing, smoke rising, people laughing, dead spots of grass in rings where the tents were. Bike tracks cut into dried mud, extra firewood left in plain sight in case any other scavengers needed to find it, blood spots on the bathroom floor from my sister’s run-in with a bike spoke. Behind were brief friendships, lasting lessons, a separate world, a different me.

Every move was bittersweet, the first half of the trip spent looking back, distant, quiet, melancholy, breathing the air as the scents there changed, grew unfamiliar, drew me away from the most recent version of everything I knew. The second half, looking forward, giggling, nervous, excited, planning new stories, new adventures. Ready for change.

This time next week, Body of Water will be here and that changes things. Today I’m looking back at Livvie Owen Lived Here, thinking of pet mice and pet cats and weathered porch boards and trailer vents and heavy quilts and fish lamps. But long about Friday, it’s going to sink in that Ember’s coming, with her bouncy dog and her Tarot cards and her yellow sweatpants and her spells and her ashes and her hopes and her adventures and her story.

See you when we get there.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Smack Dab in the Middle

I am THRILLED to be blogging at Smack Dab in the Middle, a group blog written by several wonderful middle grade authors. You can catch me there on the 17th of each month. This month's theme is Inspiration.

P.S. Before you go to Smack Dab, let me direct your attention to the right side of Dooley Noted. Check out the little counter at the top of the sidebar. It's been dutifully counting down to BODY OF WATER since we were 86 days out. Check out how the number is now in the single digits. This is so cool.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TWO WEEKS: Equipped

Dear Coleman Outdoor Gear Company:

Thanks for the midnight zipper of the tent next to mine. It was only spooky alone in the tent if you forgot there was a sister on each side of you and parents across the clearing. Somebody always had to sneak out for a granola bar or to use the bathroom or to walk around the quiet campground with the embers burning low or to have a last cup of coffee or to check for ghosts. (That last one might have been me.)

Thanks for the wake-up sizzle of bacon over the little camping stove. By fall I would be a vegetarian, but thank goodness I wasn't yet. Something about Dad standing at the picnic table, making a perfectly respectable breakfast that you could have in a kitchen, made me feel whole. When the food came, it seemed to appear overnight and it tasted better because of how happy everyone was that it was there.

Thanks for the afternoon rattle of ice beginning to melt in the cooler. I froze to the wrist pulling out wet soda cans and handing them to my sisters, happy to claim the job that meant I got to play with the ice cubes. Dozens of gnats drowned in that cooler, but the soda tasted so good on a sweltering day that it felt like a lifesaver, so I figured it was a toss-up.

Thanks for the bedtime hiss of the lantern, turned a little lower. Underneath, I could hear the rumble of voices, storytelling from the day, occasional laughter lulling me into a warm, fuzzy, comfortable sleep, glasses still on, flashlight still burning, book still open on my chest, until somebody's tent zipper woke me in an hour or two.

Thanks for the house, minus the walls.


Dear Family,

Thanks for being the walls.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

THREE WEEKS: The View From Home

Here's what I saw when I opened my bedroom door in the summer of 1993: