Your very own Cinderella moment!

Does this shoe fit?  Come find out February 10, 2011 at I Love Your Shoes, 900 Water Street, Meadville, PA.  Everyone whose foot fits will be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of The Elf Queen, an urban fantasy novel  and a Clan Elves of the Bitterroot coffee mug filled with beverage delights!

From 12 to 1, meet Meadville attorney and author Barbara Mountjoy , who will be signing copies of her 2010 book THE ELF QUEEN, an urban fantasy that uses the Cinderella motif—get it before the sequel, THE ELF CHILD, debuts this spring!

ILYS will feature specials that day from 10 to 6 for you and your Valentine, with samples and prizes  from Magenta’s Tanning, 3 Gals Gourmet Shoppe, and more! Don’t miss your chance to win!  (Handsome Prince not included—sorry!)


I Love Your Shoes specializes in fabulous, affordable name-brand women’s shoes and purses, like Keds, Clarks, Easy Street, Rocket Dog, and Bella Vita. Stylish and practical purses, wallets and belts are also available. Don’t go out of town—come see what we have! For more information, contact Pam Micosky at 814-807-1407.


See ILYS and the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot book series on Facebook!

Oh no! NaNo!

So the madness is spreading across the country and around the world. People (140,000 of them!!) have embarked on the adventure of a lifetime (sometimes for the second, fifth or even tenth time!) as they endeavour to create a novel of 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. National Novel Writing Month, in the first two days, has the participants collectively reporting the writing of 109,450,891 words.


Only 3,500 of those are mine. But I’m on the way to a new novel too.

The NaNoWriMo people consider that you “win” their competition by completing the objective, i.e. 50,000 words in 30 days, whether your novel is complete at that stage or not. There’s no magic publishing contract, or a sum of money, or anything else except a beautiful certificate that you can display and the knowledge that you gave your personal best to succeed.

(Although Chris Baty managed to get the folks at CreateSpace to agree to give the 2007 winners a free proof copy of their book in paperback form…which is pretty fabulous in itself.)

For those of us who write over at the Red Room, we’ve now been offered a new incentive: one lucky NaNo winner will receive a three-hour manuscript review and one-hour book coaching call with Red Room Founder and CEO Ivory Madison. Red Room says, “The prize is “priceless” because Ivory no longer does book coaching. When she did, she would’ve charged at least $2,000″ for this work.

To join the Red Room and become eligible for this prize, go check out the contest.

Meanwhile, the office is moved, kids are all well, and I’ve got my other writing tasks complete. No more excuses–other than Election Day– so I’m back to writing. The world of Trek may never be the same! Come by and see my progress! Be patient over the next few days while the site catches up to the author load. You might be surprised to see who else is there!

It’s all in who you know…and there they are!

Small-town living has its interesting quirks.

Wednesday we had several important events planned. First, Captain Oblivious had the first opportunity to tour the junior high, schedule clutched in hand, finding his way around for seven classes and lunch. We all went, as we had a number of errands on the schedule, so his brother and sister also learned all about the school.

The part I found amusing, of course, was who I found in the crowd: a client with her son; a woman I hadn’t seen in years with whom I’d taken women’s spiritual studies, with her twins, also new seventh graders; the children’s old babysitter, who raved over how tall Little Miss had become and how much she could speak, as she guided her own daughter around, also a new student; and a number of other familiar faces.

What was also amazing, was the demonstration of the growth of Little Miss’s intuitive abilities (what? in an autistic child?) as she picked out a man in a shirt and tie and announced he was the principal. She went over and introduced herself, and I was somewhat bemused, as I had no idea she could gather clues like his tie and bearing, and leap to the right conclusion. One point for her, and another for Ditto Boy, who kept her entertained while the Captain finished his final schedule run-through.

Then we went on to the county fair, which is a full 4-H blowout, the largest agricultural fair in the state, where we ran into (as always) countless people we know well or see only occasionally, with their families. With the elections upon us, the political booths were geared up, and we knew people at each. We stopped by the sausage sandwich booth where Nick and his sister Gloria still serve some of the best bit of heaven ever–but without one of our girls working at the booth, as was the case from 1993-2006. (Seriously–five girls went through the years, and each summer, they’d take a sister or friend with them. Nice people. We were happy. They made $250 in a week, just in time to buy school clothes. They were happy. Good all round.)

We’d agreed to split the fair over two days, knowing the capacity for sensory overload, so that day was the exhibits, food and games day. Being horrid, horrid parents, we started the morning with pie–flaky, fabulous, incredible pie handmade by a bunch of Methodist ladies that have been at this, some of them, for over 50 years. Blackberry, elderberry, blueberry crumb and peanut butter cream (OMG! To die for!), we tasted them all and closed our eyes in Bill Cosby-like gourmet delight.

Skipping the opportunity to try the new ultimate fair food, deep-fried peanut butter cookie dough (!!!) we grabbed instead a couple of hoagies, and a big basket of fried vegetables (what?! the children don’t like them?!! darn! we’ll have to eat them all ourselves! happy dance for the Cabana Boy and me!). Then we headed for the Exhibit halls where we admired quilts and honey, Lego constructs and photographs, bunnies and turkeys, wreaths and frilly dresses, and ultimately checked Little Miss’s entry in the youth category of the floral division.

She had planted sunflowers in the spring, an odd color of burgundy, as they turned out, and she dutifully carried her three-stem entry up on Saturday to be included. (Where, oddly enough, she found her classroom teacher checking in homemakers’ exhibits, and we all had a nice talk about the upcoming school year. Still a small world.)

So here’s what she entered:

Pretty sunflowers

Pretty sunflowers

And here she is with her sixth place ribbon:

We got a ribbon!

We got a ribbon!

So here in a small town, everyone can be Someone, and wherever you go, there they will be, too.

Accepting what comes–with humility

Now that the family love crisis is over, I wanted to acknowledge a very special award I received last week from Jeff Deutsch over at Building Common Ground . It’s called the Arte y Pico Award, and I received it because “Together with her husband, she’s raising two kids with autism and a third with ADD. She writes about her children’s progress with love, patience and strength.”

The award looks like this:(Isn’t it lovely?!)

and it comes with a set of rules, as most of these do, so here goes:

1. You have to pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award in terms of creativity, design, interesting material, and general contributions to the blogger community, no matter what language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each winner has to show the award and give the name and link to the blog that has given him or her the award itself.

4. Each winner and each giver of the prize has to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. To show these rules.

I visit so many blogs in the course of a week, I find it difficult to select only five who deserve such special recognition. (On the other hand, I suppose if each person picks five, who picks five more, who picks five more, soon we’ll all be selected anyway, and my quandary will be solved!

First, I’ll salute Dee who doubles her blogging fun at CEOmum-Parenting Is a Full-Time Job and Power of Attorney, a blog on attorneys who’ve found the practice of law less than thrilling. This week she’s a little Olympic-crazy (Go, Jamaica!) but it will get back to parenting soon!

I always learn something new from Melanie at Bean Sprouts. She is honored multiply in her native England as being one of the best “green” blogs, but her words on natural living and ways to help save the Earth always make me feel like jumping in with both feet.

Next, I’d like to tap the author at Understanding My Son who is walking the path so many of us have after a diagnosis of autism in the family, and confronting all her feelings, and sharing them in a thought-provoking way.

V over at Odd One Out has been so supportive of our struggles on a personal level ever since we “met,” at the same time she struggles with her own issues. Instead of brooding about herself (if that was necessary), she has turned her blog into a wealth of information for those of us seeking guidance on the Aspie life, and I’m very grateful.

And finally, I want to salute the “gentil folke” who rescued Geoffrey Chaucer’s blog, where it languished to near-neglect, and is now undoubtedly the most unusual “Extreme” blog around, claiming to be
“YWRITTEN BY A GLOBAL TEAME OF CREATIFS AND TRENDSETTIRS ASSEMBLID IN FELAWESHEP WYTH MUCH COFFEE.” I agree with the new authors: IT YS RAD! Check it out for your share of Olde English, and a good bit of round laughing. For example, their rendering of one popular television show, as it might have played in Chaucer’s time:

SO YE THINKE YE KAN DAUNCEN?: Thys episode openeth wyth all of the contestants in front of special guest judge Henry Bolingbroke. Oon by oon, he asketh each if he or she kan daunce. Yf he or she kan nat, ther ys a hanging. Ye who heare the recap of thys epsiode, think on whether ye kan dauncen, and what ye wolde saye yn front of nat only an earthli judge, but eek the high Judge himself upon hys throne at the final daunce. KAN YE DAUNCE? KAN YE? ANSWIR WEL OR THOU SHALT DAUNCE IN FLAYMES. Thus endeth the episode.

So thank you, Jeff, for your kind words and warm thoughts. I write this blog for myself, somewhat, but also to see if there’s anything I’m going through that either can help someone else, or I can learn from others. It’s the greatest gift of the Internet, in my opinion*; this ability to reach out across the great distances that separate us to share moments of contact. We should certainly take advantage of it.

*You didn’t think I’d say porn, did you?

Sweet Jesus! I’m starting to asterisk, like!

Tourney for the Journey

My daughter is the Director of Residential Programs for Sierra Nevada Journeys, an environmental camp just off Lake Tahoe in Reno, Nevada. They’re running a fund- raising contest, and I wanted to share it with you, because I know many of our special kids are so deep into nature, we’d all like to go. It’s a fun way to contribute to a special cause and win prizes, even more so if you know squat about basketball! (which I don’t!)

Here’s Beth’s letter:

Sierra Nevada Journeys’ 2nd annual “Tourney for the Journey” is on! This is an exciting time for both NCAA Basketball and for helping to make a difference in the lives of youth. “Feeding two birds from one seed” as our kids like to say. We couldn’t be more excited about the progress SNJ has made in its short 15 month history. In 2007 we served 620 students with nearly 18,000 student-education hours. We gave out nearly $5,000 in scholarships in a range of residential and in-school programs and our growth has been supported by more than 50 volunteers providing over 5,000 hours of contributed effort. We’re now at a permanent staff of four and just two weeks ago we served our 1000th child. All of this has been made possible because of people like you who realize that they have the power to transform kid’s lives.

Like last year, this year’s “Tourney for the Journey” allows you to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket then watch how your selections do … all with the opportunity to win prizes! With the proceeds collected we’ll be able to offer scholarships to underserved students and keep our program fees affordable. One of the organization’s top priorities is ensuring that students from a wide variety of backgrounds have the opportunity to experience the outdoors, science enrichment, and leadership programming.

It’s easy to participate in the event, just follow the two steps below:

Step 1: Make Your Picks & Donate

Go to the Tourney Site and click on the basketball icon to register for the Tourney, make your selections, and donate. Make all selections before 9am (Pacific Time) on Thursday March 20th.
Suggested donations:

$25 for one entry … $45 for two entries … $10 for each additional entry per house-hold (it costs approximately $75 for a student to attend our 5-week after-school science, leadership, and rock-climbing program). (Note: if you’d rather not participate in the tournament, no worries! You can still Donate via the above link through Paypal or with a credit/debit card)

Step 2: Follow Along With the Action!

Once the tournament starts, go back to the Tourney Site to check on how your teams are doing. Prizes include:
*Outdoor Adventure Pass good for one of more than 80 experiential adventures around the country!
* $100 REI Gift-Card
* National Parks Annual Pass
All participants will automatically be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a print from locally renown Reno artist Nanette Oleson, who paints idyllic scenes of the Sierra and western Nevada. The last-place entrant will receive a “Reno, Envy” t-shirt. (Get it? Reno…N.V.?? They’re so clever…)

Choose quickly and good luck everyone!!


By the way, I’m the guest blogger today on the Special Needs Parent blog–come by and check it out!