Thursday, August 26, 2010

On my Book Shelf, or stacked somewhere in my house.

Now that I took the terrifying step of Self-publishing, I have to admit that my love of books has shaped my entire life. Sometimes I wouldn't be able to remember a book except for the things that were happening in my real life as I read it, other times, I would have forgotten that I ever went somewhere except that I remember being there while reading a certain book.

Of course the book I wrote draws from my real life, near Yellowstone and my Trip to Guatemala, and raising my sons; it also draws heavily from my imagination, which was formed in large amount, by the books I read and the stories I was told. You can find, Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog, here

Here I want to share with you the books I could never share with you in real life. the ones I will recommend but never lend because I read them again and smile just seeing them on the shelf. My shelves are like a facebook re-union with old friends and classmates, and there is where I go when I miss the adventures we shared and the times I fell in love, or died, or was brave, or solved the unsolvable mystery.

To share my friends and many lives, visit these titles.

Johnny Tremain, a 1943 children's novel by Esther Forbes

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children written by C. S. Lewis

Trixie Belden is a series of 'girl detective' mysteries written between 1948 and 1986

My Side of the Mountain is a 1959 book of fiction by Jean Craighead George

The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden

The Ghost of Dibble Hollow by May Nickerson Wallace.

Pippi Longstocking by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren

My sons introduced me to Ghost Boy by Iain Lawrence and his other books are great too.

Sensible Kate by Doris Gates.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

and for younger kids, I adored Look out for pirates! by Iris Vinton

and still take it to read to classes of children who also love it.

and they also love Abiyoyo and Abiyoyo Return's

and so will you no matter what age you are as long as you try to sing his name.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting up the Nerve & self-publishing

I have been working on this novel, and the following one, which I call, "Duffy Barkley: Seek Well" since my own children were 7 and 8. Now they are close to graduating from High school, and until today I have not been brave enough to offer my story to more than a few friends and family members, and that was as 280 loose pages of copier paper in a gallon zip-lock bag.

Today, flylady, one of my heroes, challenged us to an anti-procrastination week. I looked back at the novel I finally finished during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the free proof copy that CreateSpace offered to all of those who actually wrote a November Novel. Then, with shaking hands and barely able to breathe, I pressed the mouse over the Publish button.

So now, here it is, the book that justifies all those time I called myself a writer.

I hope that some of you will read my story and enjoy it even a fraction as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope that a few will recommend it to a friend or teacher or librarian, or mention it on Facebook or MySpace. But if that never happens, I have already had the best part of writing it.

The best part for me, was taking a long road trip with my family, and reading it out loud to my husband and my boys, and realizing that it read like a real book, and that they loved it. After that, everything else is gravy, or in my world, Hot fudge Sauce.

Thank you, at least, for reading this post.

Echo AKA Dixie Dawn Miller Goode

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hiking in Fern Canyon

Imagine a crevice in stone deep below the sea. It is dark and cold and scary. Then time passes, the sea level drops, the crevice drains and gains the sun. Yet it doesn't dry out. A stream meanders through the flat bottom, ferns fur the walls. Tall trees tower overhead and when they tumble down they lay there like scattered and forgotten giant's tinker toys. Beyond the mouth of the narrow canyon, sea grass and marsh run to a sandy beach and Roosevelt elk make their home here. I believe that the movie Jurrasic Park 2 was filmed partly here. There is something about the cool, green timelessness that makes seeing dinosaurs an easy feat for my imagination.

The drive in through Gold Bluffs Beach has a washboarded gravel road, the traffic had dusted the ferns and redwoods with a thick blanket of ghostly grey. For excitement there were also three places where my mini-van could easily ford the stream across the road. That was fun though and one of the teens with me said, "I have wanted to ford a river ever since I used to play Oregon Trail."

It was an $8 Day Use Fee, but it was the most fun I have had on $8 in a long time. The campground is on the sandy beach along the Pacific, but this time we were here for the hike. There are a few choices on the trails, up to the elk prairie and the park headquarters, but we walked the gravel streambed and planks placed strategically to help keep your feet dry.

In the future, when the stress of daily life seems overwhelming, I will be able to close my eyes and visualize the soothing peace of green walls and running water. I hope these pictures help share that with you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wyoming and Black Hills, Summer 2010

Our annual trip back to the area where my husband and I grew up, had a lot more adventure than we had bargained for. This year we drove just over 4,000 miles and along the way we were nearly struck by lightning, had a brother-in-law suffer 3rd degree burns, My Mother in Law broke her hip - twice, the brakes went out on my car and my son was almost swept off in a flood of hailstones and rainwater, there were tornados but also a 105* day when my Mom burned her feet on the side of the swimming pool. There was a white water raft trip, with only a little white water but enough to get me bruised when my son's oar whacked my arm. There was also the news that my Mom needs a deep squamous cell carcinoma removed from her hand in a surgery that is predicted to take 2 1/2 hours.

The beginning of this trip was a plan to celebrate my in-laws 60th anniversary with a family re-union at a 4-H camp (Rentable for private groups) in Custer State Park in the Black Hills where my husband and I had worked during our honeymoon in 1984 at the Black Hills playhouse. Just before we arrived Mimi broke her hip and had surgery to pin it, but the day we arrived she broke it a second time and was ordered to no weight bearing for 6 weeks. So she would not be coming to her own anniversary celebration even though everyone made it in to see her at the hospital - just wasn't the same. Growing old is not for wimps.

We camped in the Columbia River Gorge on the way there, and in Bozeman, Montana after getting stuck in the I-90, no motel or campground madness we finally set up tents at 1 AM, to the joy of the people trying to sleep near-by.

The Black Hills portion of the visit was lovely of course, and the campground and cabins and kitchen were a delight. Seeing my 10 year old niece for the first time since she was 7 was a shock. Hiking in the hills was perfect. But as we gathered around a bonfire, the lightning got closer and after it exploded overhead the dog ran away and my BIL fell into the bonfire with his hand between two flaming logs. The next morning we heard that 16 people had been struck by lightning in the Tetons, and we were all closer than we ever want to be again.

Then back at my in-laws in Newcastle, WY My son (17) borrowed Grandpa's truck and left to use his 3 day fishing license when the tornado sirens started blasting, and before he was home the truck was lifted on a stream of hail until it wedged in a cattle guard.

Going around the Bighorn Mountains to show my family one of my favorite spots in the Pryor Mountains we found my brakes dead and the Dam at yellowtail closed anyway "Permanently for National Security Purposes"

In Cody to visit my Family, and over to the Hot Springs in Thermopolis on a 105* day, then up through Yellowstone to the amazing Hells-A-Roarin outfitters to be their guests at a lovely cabin and treated to a BBQ and Campfire and trailrides. Oh, Amazing place, Gorgeous Views, gracious and friendly family running it. Never can say Thanks enough.

Homeward bound we had two vehicles given to our two teens and so we drove the final 1,400 miles in a 3 car caravan and now my 16 year old thinks he can drive anywhere now that he has driven through Portland.

Family is worth every adventure they bring your way, but we arrived home, limp and exhausted - just in time for the fair and band camp.