Nov 18, 2012

A Letter to the Author(s)

I've been a big reader my entire life.
And my entire life, I've been writing letters to my head.
(The letters were in my head--not the authors.)

I think of comments, criticism, and/or praise and write sheafs of imaginary letters.  But I've never bothered to put pen to paper.  Mostly because I've never really believed an author would respond, and--furthermore--may or may not even receive/read said letter.

(However, once I wrote an open letter to Brandon Sanderson and posted it here.)

Anyway, then a few weeks ago, DOUG went and wrote a letter to Brandon Sanderson and E-MAILED it.

Here is the post script he added to his "request to be added to mailing list"
(Have I mentioned we're big fans of B.S.?  The answer is yes.  Yes I have.)

When will you be finishing Alcatraz? My son doesn't like to hear your name mentioned for two reasons, 1-Because I am always recommending your books to people and 2-He is mad at you for the cliff hanger after book 4 of Alcatraz. LOL

Love all your books!

Doug W.

Yes, he wrote LOL, but we'll forgive him for that.  Moving on...
Well guess what?
Brandon Sanderson did not reply to Doug.

However Alcatraz, the title character of the Alcatraz series, responded to Max:

To your son,

I am so sorry that it's taking me such a ridiculously long time to continue my story! The Evil Librarians are relentless and it's all I can do to keep one step ahead of their nefarious plots.  (They even went so far as to convince Scholastic to only publish 4 Alcatraz books and not contract the 5th book!) I have convinced Brandon to buy the rights himself and take my books to another publisher, Tor. They will be re-releasing the first four books, with new less stoopid covers, and then at long last my 5th and final book will be released in the Hushlands!  It may take a couple of years to get it passed the Librarian defenses, but it WILL come out!

Anyway, the important thing is that you keep eating macaroni and cheese, avoid crapaflapnasti items (that shall remain nameless) and stay vigilant!  RUTABAGA, I've got to get going, a horn-rimmed librarian is looking my way!  Time to break something.



Best letter ever, right?  It inspired me to fire off my first author letter also via e-mail, and also involving cliff hanger dismay:

Hello Ms. Updale!
My husband, 10-year-old son and I recently discovered and read your Montmorency series.  We really enjoyed them and after the cliff-hanger at the end of book four, went straight to the Internet to find out when book five will be published.  Please tell me there will be a book five?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  You can't leave ___spoiler alert___ with a __none-of-your-beeswax__!  
How about a short story?  A novella?  A single chapter?  A blog post?  We'll take anything we can get!!!

Emily and Maxwell 

And amazingly, lightening struck twice and Ms. Updale wrote me back!!!

Dear Emily, thank you so much for your kind words. Like you, I wish there were more Montmorency books. You will have guessed that I always intended to take the story on. Unfortunately, there was a series of upheavals at the publisher, which resulted in the departure of everyone who loved Montmorency. It has taken ages to sort everything out, but It seems that I may be able to get the fifth episode onto the Internet quite soon. 
I won't spoil things by telling you what's going to happens next, but it won't hurt to tell you that __get the book__ survives his ordeal in __you'll have to read it__.
In the meantime, do look out for my newest books: 'Johnny Swanson', and 'The Last Minute' which comes out in January. 
Very best wishes, and thanks so much for writing,
Eleanor Updale

Sent from my phone. Please forgive fatfinger typos and strange words generated by predictive text.

Awesome right?  Two author e-mails in a matter of weeks!

I'm gonna write letters more often!!!

Nov 6, 2012


What a stressful day!  I can't take it any more.  I'm going to bed early and I'll find out the final results in the morning!

Nov 5, 2012


I had a whole thing planned for today but...
after a two-hour-long homework battle with a child who will not be named (second son), I don't have the energy or brain power.  (Or will to live.)

So I'll just leave you with this:


See you tomorrow!

Nov 4, 2012

Sunday Self Portrait

This was actually last week:

I'm not sure what made me want to take a picture of myself while waiting for Relief Society to start, but the funny part was, when I looked up a lady across the room was watching me with her eyebrows raised.

I have ADD, alright?  Give me a break!

See you tomorrow!

Nov 3, 2012

Still Throwing (Pots)

Three pots that actually made it from greenware, to bisqueware, to glazeware without collapsing, cracking, shattering, exploding or--ya know--being dropped or flung from a speeding wheel!!


(They didn't get trimmed because I missed a class and they were too dry after two weeks--but that's one less chance to wreck 'em--so good for me!)


Raku fired with 'Tutti-Fruitti glaze

Nov 2, 2012

Memories of Jim/Dad

Doug and I were newlyweds.  We were up at his parents house in Riverton.  I seem to remember being outside on the gray patio of their old house.  We were looking at (pre-marriage) pictures and I exclaimed:

"Oh!  I loved that dress!  I can't wear it anymore though; it's too short now!"*
Doug, always quick on the draw said:
"It was always too short!"**
And Dad let out an audible guffaw and chuckled.

He didn't laugh out loud very often so it was usually memorable when he did.  (Obviously!)
It was always considered a great accomplishment if you could be the one to trigger the laugh and I take partial credit for that one!

Doug's first trip to meet my parents.
And the first time we said "I Love You".
And me in short shorts a solid 25 lbs ago.
We go to this same beach on a regular basis now.
*Marriage in the L.D.S. temple necessitates some ward-robe changes that include clothes that cover your stomach, shoulders, and your legs to the knee.  Getting married meant I stopped wearing tank-tops, sleeveless sundresses, short-shorts, and--though not a requirement--bikinis.
I still manage to lead a pretty happy life despite these sacrifices though...! ;)  (And the world is happy I no longer wear bikinis...!)

**Not that he minded at the time!!

Nov 1, 2012

When I Met The Parents--And a Sister

It's NaBloPoMo.  Should I try to post daily?  YOU definitely should!

About two weeks ago Doug's dad died.
Hearing the news early in the morning felt sorta like a sucker punch in the gut.
It wasn't a total surprise.
He'd been sick.
He had Lymphoma and was receiving hospice care at home.
But still...
It was still unbelievable and terribly sad.
I really love(d) the man.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the family I married into?  Probably not.
But I do...I love my in-laws!   My SIL Laura says "We won the in-law lottery!"  And we did!  They're all great!
This fact was reinforced when we travelled to Utah for Dad's funeral.
Don't get me wrong, it was pretty darn sad.  Still seems unreal.
But being with all of Doug's family made it a bearable--and even sweet--experience.  And yes, there was even (a lot of) laughter during the visit.  Can't put that many W's into the same room without someone cracking a joke.

Now if you don't mind, (and even if you do) I'm going to reminisce a little.

May 2000

The day I met Doug's parents, was NOT supposed to be the day I met Doug's parents.  He was taking me to meet his sister Lisa and her family.  I was supposed to meet his parents the following day at Sunday dinner.

It was later in the evening--dark outside.  We pulled up in the "Maroon Marauder*" and Doug laughs.

As we walk up to the front door I ask why he's laughing.  He says, "You'll see."

What he saw was his parents car parked in the drive way.
He knew I was about to walk in to "Meet the Parents."

Here's how I remember it.

We reach the door and ring the bell.  As it's opening and we're about to walk in he says "My parents are here!" with a laugh in his voice.
I start to panic just a little.
The door opens.
We start walking in.
A little girl with blonde curls runs up to me and into my arms--Doug's niece Whitney.  I let out an "Ahhhh!" and give her a big hug.  At the time I thought she was just drawn to me by my awesomeness.  Looking back though, I'm pretty sure she thought I was Doug's ex, Ali.

We walk into the family room to meet everyone.  Doug starts to introduce me.  His mom is sweet and his dad stands up from the couch and gives me a hug.  Somehow, I find it extremely flattering that he would hug me.  I wonder what Doug had told them about me by that point...?!

I'm immediately conscious of my toe ring showing through my sandals but exceedingly glad I took out four extra earrings days previous in anticipation of this meeting.**

Without knowing Doug's dad, I know he's a man who wont respect a lot of superfluous earrings--and I'm right.  I'm right to be conscious of the toe ring too.  Before the night is out he asks in a joking voice: "Whatdaya need a ring on your toe for?!"
Mental "D'oh" and forehead slap.

It's bed time and we've arrived just in time to have scripture study and prayer with Lisa, Rich, and their  four girls.  I am in awe of this family.  Each daughter has her own Book of Mormon.  Each reads (or repeats) a verse.  It's apparent that this is a nightly ritual second nature to these kids.  I can't help but feel a little amazed and envious.  After a kneeling prayer to end the day, Doug's parents leave.  Lisa reminds her (adorable) daughters to always remember to give Grandpa lots of hugs when they see him.

That was my introduction to Doug's family.

And I've loved them ever since.

*The car Doug shared with his brother Dave.  It was large.  And maroon.  And not the least bit cool.  But it did have bench seats and we may or may not have *ahem* kissed chastely in that car a time or two.

**This was a few months before Mormon women were asked to only wear one earring in each ear.  Thanks to my respect/fear of Doug's dad, the extra earrings I'd worn every day since my teens were taken out and left out permanently.