The robins are back!

I returned home today from a quick trip to Boston (my wonderful nephew graduated from Hampshire College this past weekend — yay, Will!) to find this in my backyard:

Yes, folks, that is a robin’s nest.  Guess we won’t be sweeping off the back patio anytime soon…


Another weekend, another walk

Over Mother’s Day weekend, we ventured out to another nearby nature area we’ve been meaning to explore for a while: the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.  Once again, it was an eye-opener — all this amazing natural beauty within just a few miles of our home!

The vistas were completely different from last weekend’s hike. For one thing, it was mostly flat.  For another, there was water – lots of water.  Marshlands and wetlands and a river, which meant of course BIRDS!

We spotted a family of Canada geese on the path ahead, but the scooted into the water as we approached.  Here’s a better picture:

Aren’t they beautiful?  I’ve had a special place in my heart for Canada geese ever since I lived in Concord, Massachusetts. When I was growing up there, our house backed up to a conservation area called the “Old Calf Pasture.” My sisters and I could run out our back door, through the woods, and straight into 500 acres of meadows and forest nestled by a river.  Talk about the best backyard in the world!

One day, my dad went down to the river to go fishing, and came home with a goose instead.  It had gotten tangled in some nylon line of some sort and was scared to bits. Somehow, he managed to throw his jacket over it and carry it back to our house, where my sisters and I watched as he gently clipped it free.  We wanted to keep it as a pet, of course, but my father explained that it was a wild animal, and needed to go back to its family.

And if you’re wondering, yes, there’s quite a bit of Jess Delaney in me!

Our hike last weekend, which started out in the hot sun through meadows that reminded me of that pasture, ended up on a cooler, shadier trail through the forest.

Wish I was there again right about now…



Win a copy of ONCE UPON A TOAD!

Today only, hop on over to Writer Mama Every-Day-in-May Book Giveaway for a chance to win a copy of ONCE UPON A TOAD!

Christina Katz is featuring my new book in her fun month-long giveaway, and today is my turn in the spotlight.  There’s a brief interview and then Christina poses a question (I totally ♥♥♥ the one she picked for you, and I can’t wait to read all your responses!).  Answer it ON HER BLOG (not here) to enter the giveaway.  Click here to head on over to Writer Mama.

Off you go — have fun!


The view from my window


This is the view from my office window.  (Click on it for a full-screen view.)  I love looking out at the trees and flowers, and at my neighbor’s red barn.  What do you look out at from the corner of the world where you write?



Fan mail (and art) Friday

My mailbox is overflowing with wonderful things that I need to share with you all!  First, a fabulous poem from fabulous Zoe (yes, the same one who attended my writing workshop last weekend):

I love your amazing books
They always make me grin
I spend hours reading them
The books take me within

The Mother Daughter Book Club
May be the best series on Earth
The price on the back cover
Is much less then they are worth

They are worth more than money
They fill me with joy every time
And so I’ll tell you in this poem
Written all in rhyme

I can’t wait for Wish You Were Eyre
I want to see what happens next
I think I might explode while waiting
Until September, I won’t rest

I am a writer, just like Emma
And of course a reader too
I love your books more than words can tell
And so I’ll say thank you!

Thank YOU, Zoe!  🙂

Next up, an amazing collage poster made by Eileen:

I absolutely LOVE all the details — so fun!  Thank you, Eileen!

And now an adorable picture of Janna:

How cute is THAT?  Thank you, Janna!

Here’s a very cool poster designed by Leah — it was the winning entry in Emma’s movie-poster contest:

Thanks to both Leah and Emma for this!  SO FUN!

And finally, a full set of mother-daughter book club bookmarks, designed by Rachel:

WOWZA!  Thank you so much, Rachel!  (By the way, if you click on the above image, it should expand to full screen so you can print it out and make your own bookmarks.)

See why I have the best job in the whole world?   I ♥♥♥ you all!

Getting ready to write

I don’t keep a journal or a diary, but once in a while I jot something down to capture a thought or feeling.  I came across this snippet I wrote a few years ago about my writing process (well, part of my writing process) that still holds true:

I wonder if other writers spend as much time “getting ready to write” as I do.  Am I turning into the Adrian Monk of the literary world?  So many little rituals – a cup of tea (Yorkshire Decaf and Stash’s Lemon Ginger are my current faves), a moment or two spent arranging my pens beside the armchair where I write, lap desk just so, phones turned off, small pillow tucked behind my lower back.  Hmmm.  Way too Monk-like for comfort.  On the other hand, perhaps I’m being too hard on myself—is what I do all that different from a pilot running through his pre-flight checklist?  I muse for a minute on the aptness of this metaphor.  Writing is definitely a lift-off of sorts, if only for a flight of fancy, and that scramble down the runway toward the work each day, that leap of faith into the subconscious, is not unlike an airplane surging from the ground into the sky.  And that sudden, upward-soaring feeling when inspiration kicks in and you’re thrust deep into the slipstream of the creative process is definitely akin to the wind beneath a jetliner’s wings.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?  Am I the only Golden Retriever out there, circling the rug before I settle down and get comfortable?  What are your little rituals for “getting ready to write”?

Hockey rock star!

Oh my goodness, I’m way behind with my congratulations, but Lucinda and her team, whom I blogged about last year (click here to read it), did it again!

They won the USA Hockey National Tier 1 U14 championships TWO YEARS IN A ROW!  This is the highest medal in girls’ hockey in the country.

WOW!  Talk about a golden girl!  Here she is making a goal:

Nice shot, Lucinda–your family must be incredibly proud of you, and so am I!

Blog fan visits my writing workshop

Just thought you’d all like to see this picture of me with lovely Zoe at yesterday’s writing workshop.  Zoe posts comments often on this blog, and she and her family drove down from CANADA to attend!  (Well, OK, I’m stretching the truth a bit — her grandmother lives in Oregon and they actually drove down to visit her, so Zoe happened to be in town at the same time as my workshop…)


But still, how fun!  An international student!

Join me at two upcoming writing workshops

Calling all aspiring writers near Portland, Oregon!  I’ll be leading two writing workshops next week, and would love to see some of you there.  This Sunday afternoon, May 6th, I’ll be at the Wilsonville Library from 3:30 – 5:30 as part of the Northwest Author Series.  The workshop is geared for adults and teens, and costs $5.  Click here for full details.

Then next Friday, May 11th, I’ll be at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing at 4:30 for Book Fan Friday, a free writing workshop for young writers between the ages of 10 and 18. We’ll be having fun with fractured fairy tales.  Click here for more information.

Come join me if you can!