Dem bones … dey break!

Skeleton_Dem bonesI’ve been M.I.A. online for awhile. Those of you who follow these posts may be wondering why. Blame “dem bones”—the ones in our family that keep breaking. First my mother fell and broke her hip necessitating an extended trip/stay in Ontario for me. I returned to B.C. to break my little toe on a table leg. Oh, that little piggy went wee, wee, wee! Still, it all pales in comparison to my stepson’s motorcycle misery. He landed with a broken hip, femur, kneecap, fibula and tibia!

ToeIt’s almost like dem bones are trying to tell us something. Slow down? Pay attention? Take it easy? Maybe all of the above. Summer seems ideal for that—especially the sunny one we’re enjoying here in B.C.—so I’m propping my pained piggies up on pillows and chilling out. I hope you’re chilling out too (minus the ice pack)!

While I’m resting dem bones, I’m brainstorming stories for another book set in fictional Big Beaver County. I’ve got one about a tattoo artist who can’t spell and I’m working on another about a fly fisherman who’s trying to snag his best catch yet. I’d love to hear YOUR ideas for what you’d like to see happen next in this crazy corner of the Pacific Northwest. Or which comic characters from Beaver Bluff you’d like to see make cameo appearances in new stories (Margery Millhausen, the love-starved  librarian? Garmond Grayley, the flatulent downsizer? Or?).

WordChickz_with logo_Greg's 2013Cindy Shantz and I are also brainstorming new performance material for this Fall. I think I’ll sprinkle a serious story or two into our September 27  WordChickz performance at McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville. It’s all about balance … something dem bones protest I haven’t had enough of lately. So here’s to balance … in your life, and mine!

~ Judy

P.S. I’d love to hear (maybe even develop) your new story ideas or reprise your favourite characters from Beaver Bluff. Let’s chat—in the comments below, or privately (via the contact form).

Love libraries? Let’s fill the shelves.

Empty shelvesI love libraries—and librarians. My first job was in a library, and my comical characters are still hanging out in the stacks of fictional Big Beaver County libraries trying to make my readers laugh. But there’s nothing funny about the empty shelves in many underfunded school libraries these days. I was saddened to read about the situation—and interested to read David Gaughran’s blog post about an initiative called “Fill The Shelves” that’s making a difference.

Under the “Fill The Shelves” program, school librarians use Amazon’s Wish List system strategically to detail the particular books they believe their shelves lack. Those of us who want to help remedy things can choose which of those books we would like to purchase on behalf of our chosen school. Amazon handles the transactions, and the books get delivered straight to that school librarian.

Apparently, authors can help out in another way—simply by adding the following tag to their own Amazon book link(s):

?tag=filltheshelves-20

For example, if you were considering purchasing my book, Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories (not for a school, for yourself)—and you did so by clicking through to its Amazon.com page via a link with this tag at the end—Amazon would donate roughly 5% of your purchase price to the “Fill The Shelves” program. Neat concept. That’s why I’ve tacked the tag onto the end of these Amazon.com links for the paperback and the Kindle copies of Beaver Bluff.

I’ve also tacked the “Fill The Shelves” code onto these Amazon.com links for my single Kindle eStories:
Fly Guy” (a fly-obsessed librarian schemes to sweeten up his fussy new boss); “Breathless in Beaver Bluff” (a love-starved librarian longs for an erotic literary encounter); “Vital Signs” (a library services PR manager searches for love—and someone who can overlook the size of his nose); “Last Tango in Tangier” (a bungling librarian tries to set up an unsuspecting colleague to be downsized); “G.K. Loves C.K.” (a flirtation in the library stacks is threatened by a planetary demotion); “I’ll Tell You Mine, if You’ll Tell Me Yours” (an unlikely pair of librarians divulge details about their literary tattoos).

Spreading the word about the “Fill The Shelves” program is just as important as buying books, so feel free to reblog or share this post on Twitter or Facebook using the buttons below. School librarians who’d like their schools considered for “Fill the Shelves” assistance can email contactfilltheshelves [AT] gmail.com for more information.

The “Fill The Shelves” program is active in the U.S. and coming to the UK—but isn’t available in Canada, to my knowledge. Canadians who want to help strengthen libraries can volunteer in a “Friends of the Library” group (ask your local librarian or contact Friends of Canadian Libraries) or donate to the Canadian Library Association via Canada Helps.

Whatever we do, booklovers want to be sure that the shelves are always full of new words—and new worlds—to explore.

Just curious: Did you get hooked on libraries as a child? Do you think today’s kids have the same connection? Would they rather stare at a gadget screen than read a physical book?