May 7 

   I live in a remote area near Mt. Rainier, in Washington State. My ten acre property is a certified wildlife sanctuary and I often see deer, elk and rabbits. Once I saw a porcupine. I have used my woods and the area around my home as the setting for several books, including Spy Cat, The Ghost’s Grave, The Hideout, and Trapped.

    Today I had a new visitor – a black bear!  I didn’t see him or her, but I saw the wet paw prints on my front porch early this morning. I feed Mr. Stray, a feral cat, on the porch and the bear must have smelled the cat food bowl.  The bear had also removed one of my bird feeders from its post; the feeder was broken open and lying on the ground.

    I compared the paw prints to pictures in a book of animal tracks and there is no doubt that this was a black bear. I researched black bears on the Internet today and learned that they are not aggressive and they eat mostly seeds, nuts and berries.  So I hope Mr. Stray is safe!

I love sharing my property with the wild animals.

New book finished

May 4:  Yesterday I met with a police detective who had read my new book, STOLEN CHILDREN, for me. I asked him to make sure I had depicted the police investigation accurately.  He suggested only two minor changes, which I made, and today I put the book in the mail. 

I always have mixed feelings when I finish a new book. I’m glad to have it on its way but also sad not to have it here to work on. Revision is my favorite part of the writing process. My least favorite part is starting a new story, which is what I will need to do now.

In my early years as a writer, mailing a manuscript launched me into weeks of anxiety as I waited to hear whether my work would be accepted or returned. I am fortunate that I don’t have to wonder if this book will be accepted. It was sold several months ago to Dutton Children’s Books, on the basis of a proposal. Even so, I will be a little nervous until I hear from my agent (to whom I sent it) and then from my editor, telling me that they like it.