~~~~~The Newsletter~~~~~

Jo Dereske's Spring 2010 Newsletter

March 19, 2010

The First emailable newsletter

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At this time, my website host doesn't allow all those nice fonts, images, and doodads I love to include. They promise those will come soon. In the meantime, let's see how this works. The newsletter is also on my website, jodereske.com if you prefer to read the "shinier" version.

SPRING CLEANING!
I've updated my website: cleaner and leaner, and with the addition of a new "Writing" page. Drop me a note if you have ideas. For me, the newsletter is the most fun job of website maintenance, and I wish I had time to write more often. Itís a bit like sharing a cup of coffee (or tea if you will)with you. As I write this on the last day of winter, weíve had an early spring and the flowering plum trees along the driveway are in full bloom. Iíve taken a photo this morning and added it to my Home page. In a few days, the blossoms will drop and drift across the driveway and disappear. It's the start flag to full spring. Time to begin sowing seeds in my greenhouse for planting in May. I always plant too many zinnias, but CAN we plant too many flowers?

TEACHERS IN GENERAL, MRS. BONNER IN PARTICULAR
I recently received a reminder of my upcoming high school reunion, which set me to thinking about those tumultuous years. Iím reminded again of the impact that teachers have on students, how they can change a studentís life. For me, it was Mrs. Bonner, who taught college-prep English literature. In our grubby hometown, she might have dropped from another planet: young, beautiful, cultured, from Somewhere Else. Her aura was of the Wider World, and for many of us, thatís exactly the portal she opened. She loved the language, the literature, and she didnít doubt that every one of us could, too, no matter where weíd begun. We learned to savor Shakespeare by memorizing his words; we learned poetry by writing our own; we read plays in parts; we appreciated Pepys by keeping diaries. She challenged our thinking, made us defend our opinions. When a student taunted a farm boy for being in a college-prep class she calmly but firmly replied, ďHe belongs here.Ē He went on to become highly successful and never forgot her encouragement. --And she told me I could write.
You probably have a teacher in your background who opened the world for you. Thank him or her. If itís too late, thank another teacher you know who is trying to do their best. I assure you, they will be grateful.

GONE OVER TO THE DARK SIDE?
All eleven Miss Zukas mysteries and two (soon to be three) of the Ruby Crane mysteries are available as ebooks from Amazon. I always swore Iíd only read books on paper. But, well, I did it... I bought an Amazon Kindle ebook reader. Let me duck my head before I tell you I love it. Because I do. Iíve been a Type 1 diabetic nearly all my life and the eyes have suffered. To be able to change the font size on a book is a dream-come-true. I canít become as emotionally involved with an ebook reader as I can a paper-and-glue book, but ah, to be able to SEE the words with ease. . .

THE NEW COVERS
For the books that are evolving into ebooks, Iím thrilled that Margaret Ziegler has designed the covers, using her beautiful photos of the Northwest. It's a curious concept: virtual covers for virtual books. Take a wee tour of this gorgeous area by going to Amazon.com, click on Kindle Store, then type in Dereske. Feast your eyes! (Several are also scattered through my website.)

GOOD READS
In the interest of good librarianship, Helma decided to catch up on a few bestsellers. THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett, touched her and made her laugh and remember all those startling newsreels. For some reason, she yawned over OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout, but SHUTTER ISLAND, by Dennis Lehane, left her feeling deliciously creepy for days.
Ruth is reading TOO GOOD TO LEAVE,TOO BAD TO STAY, by Mira Kirshenbaum. She's armed herself with a list of all the past men in her life and is checking it twice, justifying the end of every romance. The only one that doesn't pencil out is Paul from Minnesota.

DEAR MISS ZUKAS
Q. Will you ever lie about your age?

A. Of course not, but the fact that in the past fifteen years I've only aged six years is entirely not MY doing.

Ruth says, "Seriously? It depends on how old the man is."

**Have a beautiful Spring. See you on the first day of summer! jo

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