Gorgeous weather for late September and a nearly flawless trip, thanks to what might be called the "Librarian Underground." Through a series of serendipitous librarian connections in Milan (yes, Italy!) a week before I left for Lithuania, my colleague, Linda Lambert, met Jurgita Rudzioniene while riding a hotel shuttle. Jurgita's from the University of Vilnius, Lithuania,and happened to be a colleague of Elena Maceviciute, the Lithuanian librarian who translated the first two Miss Zukas mysteries into Lithuanian for Tarp Knygu! Jurgita and I connected via email and she was more than generous in sharing her beautiful country with my sister and me: Vilnius and Vilnius University, the beautiful libraries, Trakai castle and the surrounding area. She in turn connected us with Danute Karliene, the director of the Zerasai Public Library in northern Lithuania who shared her stunning city and library and arranged for us to see the 1500 year old oak tree in Stelmuze, a village 2 km from the Latvian border, and not accessible by public transportation. It was a perfect trip, far more complex than I can relate here. Not the least was our driving experience on Lithuanian roads, where two-lanes are merely a suggestion and are often treated as three-lane and four-lane freeways! Please take a peek at the photos on the PHOTOS page of my website. Most importantly, we came away feeling we’d made new and wonderful friends who we hope to meet again – and again. Thank you, Jurgita, Antanas, and Danute.
An article about the librarian-Lithuanian-Miss Zukas connection will appear in Lithuanian Heritage magazine in the January/February issue. If you have lithuanian interests and aren't familiar with this magazine, click on the link above.
I’m now an honorary ”New Walker” in the American Volkssport Association, a result of having led the “Miss Zukas Bellehaven Walk” during the Discover Bellingham Walking Festival sponsored by NW Tulip Trekkers. It was a grand experience! If you’re a walker, check into volksmarching It’s a worldwide (even in Lithuania!) collection of designated walks. Non-competitive, at your own pace. Their theme is “Fun, Fitness, Friendship.” Photos from the “Bellehaven” walk are on my Photos page.
Autumn is upon us. I’ve lived in the Northwest for over 30 years and this has been the most gorgeous summer and autumn (so far!) I can recall. I’ve heard people predict, “We’ll pay for it this winter.” I hope not! But if so, the memory of these past few months ought to keep us warm. I hope your autumn is also shaping up to be beautiful - jo
Free Maps of “Bellehaven”
I have Bellehaven maps left from the Miss Zukas Bellehaven Walk. If you’d like one, simply send a stamped, self addressed business-size envelope to my snail mail address. They aren’t professional, mind you, but I think they’re fun.
If you’re a writer, how many times have you wondered, “Is this legit?” Whether it’s an agent, a publishing scheme, or a too-good-to-be-true offer. Mystery Writers of America is joining Science Fiction Writers of America to expose scams aimed at defrauding authors. It doesn’t matter whether you write fiction or nonfiction, for adults or children, check out these two sites: Writers Beware, and the Writers Beware Blog.
A Tad of Reality
I know, I often harangue you to patronize your local bookstores. Our current economy is not helping any business. But please also remember your local library. City, county, and state budgets have been slashed during these economic times, and consequently so has your library’s budget. Just when more and more people are turning to their libraries for reading and entertainment. Staff, book budgets, hours: they’re all on the block. Volunteer where you can. Donate to Friends of the Library organizations. Pay your fines. Buy books at library used book sales. Speak up for your libraries, and vote yes where you can.
Helma, who’s never in her life played a note on any musical instrument but thinks someday she just might try it, is reading MUSIC, THE BRAIN, AND ECSTASY, by Robert Jourdain. She’s preparing herself, trying to understand the human draw and connection to music. Ruth, who is always sucked in by naughty titles, is reading Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years trilogy: WICKED, SON OF A WITCH, and A LION AMONG MEN.