Hot shots and book hints

There are many things that happen in my new book The Other Way Around that have never happened to me.

For example:

  • I am not, nor have I ever been, a 16 year old boy.
  • I have never attended an all-girls school.
  • I never had a teacher meeting for bad behavior (though I did behave poorly on occasion -I guess it just never got that far.)
  • I never ran away with a group of street performers.

There are several part’s of Andrew West’s story that are based on feelings I’ve felt and a few instances of things I experienced.  My favorite example of this is the scene where Andrew’s new friends cover him with body paint and the lot of them run around a suburban neighborhood pool-hopping and generally wreaking havoc. If you don’t believe I ever did this, please see photo below.


This is Harkness Cooperative at Oberlin College circa 1995. The guy sitting next to me who was also covered in paint was my Resident Adviser.  Me and my roommate Carrie were the preppiest people living there by a long shot. If you don’t believe me, look closely at my hair -that’s a scrunchy.  Carrie was the Cleanliness Coordinator (it was a real job). It was a very interesting year.

There’s a part of me that wanted to use this as my author photo. Because really, have I changed that much? But in the end I was persuaded to go with something slightly less controversial which my brother-in-law, the talented Travis Gray, was able to provide.

Author 4

Ah maturity.

Nature, Random musings

Birthday Bonanza!

Those of you who know me, even just a little, know that I generally like to make a big ole stink out of my birthday. Rose petal parade, costume dance party, scavenger hunt, nothing is really off limits. This year, my hiking  (but please no camping) buddy declared June 30th-July 7th the week of the birthday! And it’s been a rather marvelous week. In fact, tonight when I went to blow out my candles, I realized that I didn’t have anything to wish for. Not for lack of imagination (still hoping for a silver pony) but because I think birthday wishes should be reserved for something truly special and my life is pretty full of wonderful right now.

So I thought I would share, in list form, a few of the things that made this week birthday-rific.

  • Swedish fish and junky magazines
  • Hiking Dorr Mountain and the crazy summit winds
  • Not passing up a swim in the “heated” pool
  • Beach time with my family
  • Writing and reading time
  • Seadogs biscuits (ice cream cookie sandwich at the ballpark -for you non-Portlanders) and friends at the ballpark
  • Tacos
  • My Little Free Library IOU (more on that later)
  • An email with the almost finalized version of the cover for my book!!

(Warning, cheesiness coming) So, because I couldn’t think of anything to wish for, I made my standard birthday wish -for peace in the world and peace within myself.  I know, I know, I should take this act to the Miss America pageant. Though I think technically once you’re married you have to enter Mrs. America which always makes me think of mom jeans and baking contests. And I do make a mean Pillsbury Crescent Roll!

Seriously though, inner peace is not something I take  for granted. Last summer was a challenging one for me and the months that followed, even more so. I am grateful to be where I am and feel how I feel on this day.

Here is a windy, grinning selfie  from the top of Dorr Mountain. (Sorry T.I. I know this wasn’t your best hair moment of the trip.)  Happy Birthday to me!

Windy selfie