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13 Jul Back to the Hermitage

Two wonderful things happened today.

First, son, daughter-in-law, their two babies (who aren’t babies any more, oh my!) and their two chihuahuas arrived for a nice long visit.

Second, copyedits for The Second Duchess landed in my mailbox. So amazing and awe-inspiring to see it all laid out so officially!

Anyway, lots of work and zero online time for me, for the next couple of weeks at least. You-all play nice, now.

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11 Jul The Rest of the Story

Poor tree. It’s going to take a while to get used to a front yard with only two trees. On the other hand we ended up with an enormous pile of firewood (of which you can see only a small part in this picture) which we happily shared with our neighbors and friends.

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07 Jul The Unbreakable Child

Mark October 1, 2010, on your calendar. That’s the day Behler Publications is bringing out the expanded second edition of The Unbreakable Child, Kim Michele Richardson’s powerful and ultimately uplifting memoir. Kim is a friend of mine and we talked about her book:

Elizabeth: Kim, your book juxtaposes two narrative threads—your terrible experiences as a child and your experience as an adult with joining the lawsuit and opening up your memories to the world. What happened in between? How did you manage as a teenager? What were your ambitions, your vision of your adult life, in those years? Did you follow that vision, or end up in an entirely different place?

Kim: As expected, when I left the orphanage life did not get better. Frying pan to fire. I went from eating gruel to living off toothpaste. My mother was simply incapable/not suited to caring for children. This coupled with the culture shock of moving out of the orphan asylum and into the ‘real world’ was overwhelming. I had not been prepared. However, as a very young child, I’d always felt I possessed a strongly adult sense of survival and I knew I would be okay—if not someday ‘great’ in the sense of emotional healing and moving forward and reaching positive goals. No easy feat, with many setbacks—stumbles along the way, but I was determined to carve a decent life out of the rubble, mud and muck I’d been given. With The Unbreakable Child’s 2nd Edition I explain and dig deeper on the subjects.

Elizabeth: Tell us a little about your life today, post-lawsuit and post-publication of your book. Have you felt the catharsis you hoped for? How might the world have been the poorer if you had not been an unbreakable child?

Kim: I feel anytime you can express your emotions with pen and pad, it is a catharsis. The healing also deepens and multiplies when you can help others. I’ve been honored and rewarded by the countless readers who’ve read my work and reached out to me. The Unbreakable Child has also become a valuable resource tool for teens, medical professionals, advocate groups and students entering the field of social work and or law. The Unbreakable Child is still, yet, the first book of its kind to be released in the US traditional publishing world, and one many feel is needed so that history never repeats itself. And with the 2nd and better detailed edition of The Unbreakable Child due out this fall, it will gain a wider audience and continue to help others emotionally and because a percentage of all proceeds go to a child advocate group; financially as well.

Elizabeth: I know you love animals. Do you think your connection with animals and compassion for animals in trouble is related to your own experiences as a child? How?

Kim: I do love animals. But just as equally, I’m passionate about senior citizens, children and those who are in need of an advocate—a voice.

And Kim is a voice—an unforgettable voice. The expanded second edition of The Unbreakable Child is available for pre-order now. Make sure you choose the second edition, from Behler Publications!

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05 Jul Lava Caves

A writer does learn the oddest things sometimes, in the course of research. For example, I’ve been reading up on lava caves and lava tubes, as background for an ancient secret chamber I’m creating in the solid basalt volcanic “plug” of Castle Rock in Edinburgh. Any tale can benefit from the presence of an ancient secret chamber, no?

In the course of my digging around (a little geological humor, heh) I found a virtual lava tube. Really. The Internet is a remarkable thing, it is.

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29 Jun Opossum Adventures

The other night the beagles treed a possum (well, “fenced” it would be more accurate, as it was teetering along the top of the back fence as all the possums and squirrels seem to love to do) and it hissed at them just like a cat. I wish I could have taken a picture but it was dark and I was already juggling a flashlight and the doggie-treat bucket. (Shaking the treat bucket is what we call “the nuclear option” in coaxing the dogs to come inside.)

The scary and sad thing is that so many of the wild critters we have around here (possums, raccoons, polecats, squirrels and even sometimes armadillos) carry rabies. I was terrified that the possum was going to fall off the fence into the dogs’ slavering jaws and get in a few good bites before it went to possum heaven. Much to the my relief (and the dogs’ disappointment) it escaped safely. The treat bucket provided consolation prizes.

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18 Jun A Writer’s Code

Ran across this great blog post from Karen E. Olson, the author of the lighthearted, Las-Vegas-based Tattoo Shop mysteries. It made me think about how I would articulate a Writer’s Code of my own. Here it is:

1. Write every day. (Momentum is everything.)
2. Work alone. (Editor and agent are exceptions.)
3. Read widely.
4. Never lose your sense of gratitude and wonder.
5. In fact, just get over yourself in general.
6. Be discreet.
7. Be generous.
8. Mind your manners.
9. Have fun.

What is your writer’s code? If you’re not a writer, what is your personal code?

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17 Jun More Lily Adventures

Last year we were amazed when a red Hurricane Lily popped up out of nowhere in our front garden. “Come back next year and bring some friends,” we cried. Well, ask and you shall receive. Yesterday afternoon we discovered an incredibly gorgeous orange double lily (still researching to find an actual name for it) right next to the spot where the Hurricane Lily appeared last year. We’re delighted but a little spooked—where are all these beautiful and exotic lilies coming from? And what do they mean? See the Photo Page for pictures.