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Time Out for Learning

Meet Molly. Molly is a German Shepherd. German Shepherds are known as "working dogs."
For those of you that keep emailing me asking about new Aggie Books, unfortunately, Charlesbridge has decided that the series is complete.

The Aggie books are still available, however, and who knows what new characters will be born as I experience something new.

I've gone back to school through a wonderful program called Pathway. Pathway is linked to Brigham Young University-Idaho campus. I began this journey fall of this year and I am preparing now to matriculate into becoming a full time BYU-I student. My goal is to continue to grow my writing, while also learning the editing side of the industry. As I write more and more for school, I suspect stories will also come in tapping into that creative side of my brain. I had to laugh though, last term was math, and I couldn't write at all with all my writing energy spent in mathematics.

There have been many changes in this season of life as I enter the "Empty Nesters Club." I retired as a trustee on the Highlights Foundation Board last spring. I miss working with Highlight's immensely, but I am concentrating on my education right now. Nikita, my pup of 12 years also passed.

I can see why many writers include death in stories about dogs. That is part of the journey. It is heartbreaking and peace giving all at once. Kita was an old pup. I decided not to do such a book, but to keep Aggie well and alive for readers. I smiled the other day seeing a boy post a picture of his lost dog with his mom. It was sad, but sweet knowing how many kids can find support in Aggie: in getting a dog, in training a dog, in having a dog with medical conditions, and in losing (and hopefully finding) that beloved pet. To my mind Aggie loves children well, and I hope her life will continue to delight readers for a very long time.

For those who have lost a dog, I can relate to that pain. I wept, and still sometimes get teary passing the place where she died. But when I pull out pictures or remember funny things like how Nikita stole a whole chicken, and ran around quickly gulping until it was gone, bones and all. (This was dinner that was cooling on the counter. We went for Pizza.) I remember how she somehow got head to toe so muddy that I thought there was a wild dog in my yard not recognizing her, how when we moved to this house, she found a snake friend and gently held it in her mouth while trying to show it to me. She walked with me on long walks for story brain storming sessions as we pondered how we might get Aggie into trouble next, and how we might talk to kids about tough things like Cancer. I miss her company, but when I remember Nikita, I come to realize she still lives in my heart. I hope young friends who have lost a beloved pet remember to remember, that that sweetness of love in the memory lives on.

I have another pup now. Her name is Molly. My 9 mo old German Shepherd thinks I'm a punching bag, not knowing her own strength. This is a whole different breed of dog, and that is a completely different story!

To my writer friends may your stories continue to breathe in the inspiration all around you. To my reader friends, may you continue to delve into books and expand your imagination in that wonderful world created just for you! I write books that children can be well entertained while learning to read. I will continue that work, but will work to grow to become the very best writer that I can become. Writing is my passion, and I promise you I won't ignore character friends as they come playfully to my mind to be written.

I wish my reader and writer friends the best in what ever your individual endeavors and journeys might be. Happiness is working dreams into reality.
Dream and work on.


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