Monday, March 26, 2007

Owen, our dog, reacts to the words "dog park" the same way canines of the world do when they hear "walk" or see their owners putting on shoes that signal "I'm going outside and maybe, just maybe I'll take you with me." But his view of Doggie Disneyland may be changed forever after a dog attacked him at Magnuson Dog Park last weekend. We'd just walked into the park -- seriously, this happened in the first 90 seconds -- when a mid-sized dog rushed over. I assumed it was going to be the traditional exchange of sniffing greetings, but this dog pounced on top. Unfortunately, we didn't know how much damage the dog had done until later. Now, look at Owen, pictured here in his favorite chair enjoying a classic book: Can you imagine this guy in a scuffle? He is completely loveable and optimistic, assuming that all dogs and people are good. Anyway, a day at the vet and some antibiotics and Owen is on the mend. Worse than his eye and neck injuries was the change in his behavior. We knew he'd reached the depths of depression when the UPS truck (his absolute favorite vehicle) drove by and he didn't even bother with a single bark.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I've had lots of jobs I've liked, but only three that I loved. Those three are: being a librarian (my current job), working for a public TV station, and selling books at the Secret Garden Bookshop in Seattle. How great is it that now I get to sell books through this incredible bookstore? Last Thursday I did a reading and a signing at the Ballard Library, an event sponsored by the Secret Garden. I met such nice kids, and my friend Lee brought her lovely dog Piper (who is a character in my book). I always get super nervous that no one will show up for a book event, and I figured that if I was boring, those who did come could play with Piper. If I was boring and no one showed up, then I could play with Piper. (Yippy! Lots of people showed up!)
Anyway, to advertise the event, the Secret Garden devoted an entire window to the Hannah West books, creating a version of Fremont, the setting for
Hannah West in the Center of the Universe. But the piece de resistance was the life-sized cardboard rendition of Elvis, the basset hound star of the book, complete with leash and ready to roll. (Sort of like a Dogzilla Hound, since he towers over the trees and buildings in the window.) My husband made the Cardboard Elvis, and let me tell you, it was ADORABLE. I wanted to keep it. But we gave it away at the book event. Elvis went home with a totally cool girl named Halley. I know he is in good hands and they'll make a great duo.

Elvis, the fictional basset, has the personality of Owen, my nonfiction basset hound. He's a free-thinking love muffin of a dog, with a long wiggly body, jiggly epidermis, and the velvetiest ears you could ever pet. Owen was a little apprehensive when he met Cardboard Elvis, but he is always a friendly guy, so he went over to give the sniffing greeting. Alas, Cardboard Elvis lacked the distinct hound aroma. I'm hoping to make more Cardboard Elvises to have as giveaways at book events this spring and summer.

I'm still riding high on this month's release of the third book in the Hannah West mystery series: Hannah West in the Center of the Universe. It came out in March and it's been a great month for activities, starting with an event at Kirkland Parkplace Books in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America Day. I couldn't believe my good fortune to be sharing an author table with Kirby Larson , Newbery honor author of Hattie Big Sky; Kevan Atteberry, illustrator extraordinaire, whose most recent book is Lunchbox and the Aliens, Carole Lexa Schaefer , author of nearly 20 picture books, including Down in the Woods at Sleepytime (published in 16 languages!).

The next week Nancy Pearl was the keynote speaker at the King County Library System Foundation’s “Literary Lions” event. The authors included in this event were a nice mix of people who write fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and children’s novels.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I've had this blog for awhile, but my postings were spotty, so I deleted them and decided to start over today, March 19. This is the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. On my bus this morning, a recorded message from Metro officials played over the PA system. It said, in effect: Please be advised that due to protests in the downtown area there will be significant delays in traffic and Metro bus routes. Metro advises riders to avoid the downtown area between 3 and 6 p.m. …"

This is what I think the announcement should have said:

"Please be advised that there are planned protests against the War in Iraq this afternoon. Metro advises you to leave work early – take vacation time, if necessary – and join in the peaceful marches through the downtown streets. Metro advises riders to come downtown between 3 and 6 p.m."