Falling in Love with a Character

I ordered this book through the library some time ago. I was pretty far back on the waiting list and by the time my name came up I had forgotten why I wanted to read it. I’m pretty sure I decided to read it based on a review, but I have been disappointed in the past when a book has had a good write-up. Consequently, I was a bit skeptical when I started it. Don Tillman is not your typical rom-com main character. He has issues. In particular he is obviously someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, though he doesn’t realize it, and is cringe-worthy in social situations. I read the first few pages with an Oh, my God! expression on my face. What a horror, I thought. How could someone with his issues find someone to love him? He began to win me over on page 10. He was in the middle of giving a lecture on Asperger’s syndrome (I think his friend set him up with the lecture in hopes he would recognize himself) and became horrified when someone explained to the kids in the audience that Asperger’s was something you were born with. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Don exclaims, “Fault! Asperger’s isn’t a fault. It’s a variant.”  He goes on to explain that it’s potentially a major advantage. He gives an example in which emotional behavior would lead to a disastrous outcome—Imagine you are hiding in the basement with your friends. The enemy is searching for you and you have to keep totally silent, but your baby is crying. You have a gun. The parents in the audience...
The Danger of Words

The Danger of Words

I grew up in California. For most of my childhood I went barefoot or wore thongs. Yes, we called them thongs. It wasn’t until I moved to Ohio when I was twelve that I ever heard the term flip flops. And it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that thongs was mis-appropriated by the lingerie companies to mean something entirely different, although there is a vague design similarity between the items. That’s my back story prior to taking a walk today with a guy (for professional reasons, and no, I’m not a streetwalker). Since it was in the 90s I dressed appropriately, including a pair of black thongs. After we walked a ways, I tripped. This is fairly normal behavior for me. I inherited the klutz gene from my dad. I can still remember my mother coming to me panic-stricken telling me to quickly distract my dad as he was in the garage with the hood up on the car. She was afraid he’d jiggle something and break it and she needed the car that afternoon. He was also known to cut himself changing lightbulbs. Nuff said. Back to my walk. Luckily my trip wasn’t of the face-planting variety. It was just a small stumble, but it’s always embarrassing when that happens around a stranger. My mouth took over and here’s what I said: “Those darn thongs. They sometimes make me trip. It’s my dog’s fault. He likes to eat my thongs and by the end of summer I have to buy what’s still available. These are men’s thongs and they are a bit wider which is why...

The Next Big Thing

Snake Talker Today I’m hosting the Next Big Thing blog campaign. The Next Big Thing is an international campaign that began in Australia. Authors and illustrators of books for kids and young adults talk about their recently published books and/or those that are due to be released. Each author who has been nominated turns around and nominates a couple of other authors. We all answer the same questions about our work. It’s really just a great big game of “Tag, you’re it.” Today is my turn to answer The Next Big Thing’s standard questions about my book, Snake Talker, and I’m tagging two of my favorite fellow kids’ book authors, Ann Koffsky and Sean McCollum, to go next. What is the working title of your next book? The one I’m currently working on is still in my head and not yet on paper so I’m going to talk about a book that is already out. Snake Talker came out over a year ago. Where did the idea come from for the book? I actually got two ideas for books at the same time. I decided to write this one first because I knew more about the story. I don’t remember exactly where the idea came from. Like so many story ideas they seem to be made up of bits and pieces of things that interest me. They merge in my subconscious and suddenly the idea is there. What genre does your book fall under? YA science fiction. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? You’ve got me on that one....

Bo’s Latest Trick

This is Bo’s latest trick for trying to get me to pay more attention to him than my laptop. Of course I was just reading Huffington Post at the time so I wasn’t exactly working on a deadline. He can usually entice me into a quick game of fetch. And when I’m too busy, he lets out a big sigh then curls up between my knees with his head draped over my right shin. It’s surprising how heavy a dog’s head can get. Still, it’s nice to have him curled up next to me while I’m working—like he is right now as I write this post. Plus there’s nothing like the comfort of  a warm dog on a cold...

Jumping Bo

I took these photos last week when we had the first heavy snowfall of the year (can anyone say “drought?”). I’m constantly amazed at Bo’s athletic ability. Looking at the jump marks I estimated he leaped a distance of 4 feet. I was off by 2. He jumped 6 feet without even trying. Bo likes to leap. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon character Pepé Le Pew, that’s what he looks like when he bounds over the ground. He seems to spring straight up, hover for a couple of seconds, and then come down. I wish I could take a video of him doing it sometime. He’s so much fun to watch. Usually he jumps like that when he sees a squirrel. I think he leaps so high so he can get a better view of his prey. Last week he was jumping for the shear joy of it—no squirrel in sight. I bet he could leaped even farther if he’d been after something...

Jumping Bo

I took these photos last week when we had the first heavy snowfall of the year (can anyone say “drought?”). I’m constantly amazed at Bo’s athletic ability. Looking at the jump marks I estimated he leaped a distance of 4 feet. I was off by 2. He jumped 6 feet without even trying. Bo likes to leap. If you’ve ever seen the cartoon character Pepé Le Pew, that’s what he looks like when he bounds over the ground. He seems to spring straight up, hover for a couple of seconds, and then come down. I wish I could take a video of him doing it sometime. He’s so much fun to watch. Usually he jumps like that when he sees a squirrel. I think he leaps so high so he can get a better view of his prey. Last week he was jumping for the shear joy of it—no squirrel in sight. I bet he could leaped even farther if he’d been after something...