Monday, March 31, 2008

Visiting Arizona

I just got back from a whirlwind visit to Arizona for my sister's wedding and I still can't believe how much fun I had. I had two booksignings on Saturday, first at Seagull Book in Mesa and then another one at the Deseret Book in Chandler. Seagull Book was having their Celebrating Sisterhood day, complete with ongoing raffles and giveaways. The manager is one of the nicest people. She and her staff made me feel so welcome even though they were incredibly busy during the first hour or so.

I also had the added bonus of meeting Kerry Blair whose book signing overlapped mine. For those of you who have met Kerry, I'm sure you know what an absolute sweetheart she is. I had gotten to know her a little bit through e-mails, but it was simply wonderful to meet her in person. In fact, Mary Walker (above center) who is in one of our e-mail groups (Forever Friends) was kind enough to come visit both of us at the store and bring her camera. Now I have proof that I was in the same room as Kerry!
At my second signing, I walked in just as a customer was looking at a copy of Freefall. Talk about making me feel good! Of course, she had me sign it for her which made me feel even better! I then found the area where my display was set up, complete with a six foot tall poster hanging from the ceiling behind me. The staff members were wonderful and by the time I finished, I was already making plans to try to visit both stores again in the future. It's always nice to leave a signing (or in this case two signings) and have a touch of writer's cramp!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Camping at the White House

Last Friday I experienced something I had never done before. I went with a few friends to camp in line to get tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll. Now, when I say "camp" I mean it in the literal sense. We had tents, sleeping bags, blankets and chairs. So did the hundreds (literally) of other people who were in the line that circled the elipse in front of the White House and spilled out onto the side lawn.

There was a great sense of comraderie, people visiting with those nearby, children running around in the grassy area at ten o'clock at night, card and board games being played everywhere. Even the bicycle cops and park rangers were friendly as they patroled the area, greeting the campers as they made their rounds.

As the seven o'clock hour approached (that's AM), everyone had to break camp and many were in the process of eating breakfast and beginning to form the line to receive our tickets. On the first of my multiple trips to the van to load up, I noticed an older man sleeping on the sidewalk. I remember wondering if perhaps I should wake him up so he wouldn't miss out on getting his tickets. When I passed him a second time, I noticed that his blanket was a bit tattered, and he was using a backpack of some sort as a pillow. The thought occurred to me that he wasn't one of the many who were camping out by choice, but rather he was sleeping on the street because he had nowhere else to go.

I was considering what I might be able to do for the man when I returned for the third time. I couldn't help but smile when I noticed a woman placing a brand new package of donuts, some water bottles and other food at the man's side. While he slept, she quietly returned from where she came leaving the offering for the man she had never met. With a nod of approval, I passed by grateful that the spirit of Easter is still alive and well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I love the spring. The birds start singing outside of my window again, the plants that have been dormant throughout the winter begin to pop up through the fertile soil. The swim season that I dedicated my winter months to becomes a cumulation of fond memories and my time once more becomes my own.

I start thinking about all of the plot lines that have been developing in my mind just waiting for this time of the year so that I can sit down at my computer and really let them take shape. Then I remember about taxes.

Generally filing my income taxes aren't that complicated. I plug all of the numbers in, I e-file and wait a week or two for my refunds to appear in my bank account. Unfortunately, it isn't always quite that simple. You see, over the past few years I have been collecting people, friends and family, that I help with their taxes. I don't do this as a business or anything. It's just one of those friendly offers of, "Hey, maybe I can help you out with that." Am I insane or what???

Last month I finished my taxes along with my sister-in-law's and my neice's. A few days later my nephew arrived to work on his, which were thankfully very simple. My mother-in-law made her appearance on Monday. Anticipating her visit, I had to finish up the taxes for my father-in-law's trust. Then of course there are the tax relief papers that need to be filed, estimated taxes, etc., etc. I could go on, but you get the picture.

My list of tax filings I have yet to complete is down to only three. If only those birds would stop chirping outside of my window, maybe I could concentrate and get them all finished. Oh yeah, I love the spring.