Labor Day Weekend. You know what that means...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aloha fireflies---

Wow! Does that sound great or what? We are an official community now, with a name and everything. I don't suppose anyone out there is a designer of some kind and what's to come up with a little winged logo? :)

Well, it's Labor Day weekend, and you all know what that means. The kids are headed back to school. I know my son is twenty years old, and I should be far removed from all the emotions that come along with back to school, but I have to admit that it's still the same. My husband and I just took our not-so-little-boy to the airport and said goodbye until Thanksgiving. I have to say, it was still difficult. We had such a wonderful time when he was here. And I can breathe deeply again and worry less. As the bumper stick says: I can wag more and bark less. You all know what I mean. :) As soon as I finish making sure that he actually cleaned his room...See? Some things never change.

After the airport, we went straight to REI, which is a local sports clothing and equipment store in Seattle. This is a store for real sports enthusiasts; I could tell by the three story climbing wall and the rocky path built in the center of the shoe department to "test" your hiking boots. I used it, too. Not the climbing wall; the foot path. :) I put on the boots and pretended I knew what I was looking for. Fortunately, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who is a walking goddess, gave me some tips. Mostly it came down to buy lots of cushions.

Once I had my new boots, it was off to the clothing department. As my regular readers know, I'm planning for a trip to Africa. Now, this trip is a GIGANTIC undertaking for me. I mean, really. I haven't been a world traveler for a long time. I've wanted to, been waiting for it, but you know how it is with kids. The big trips become so difficult to pull of. But no more; now we're empty nesters, and Africa here we come. So I ran off to REI to buy...khaki colored clothing that dries fast and repels bugs. I didn't even know you could buy clothing that repels insects. Or frankly, that you would want to. Oh, and you can buy insect repellent that is supposedly "great." But don't put it on your clothing, or it will eat through the fabric. Does this seem wrong to anyone else???

And just for the record--now I know why people come home from Africa with thousands of photos of animals. It's because we all look terrible--no hair dryers, one small carry on bag, khaki nylon clothes that smell vaguely of bug spray, and oh yeah, we'll be sweating. So expect me to come home with lots of animal pictures! Assuming I can take the camera out of the bag, turn it on, get it to my eye, focus, and snap--all before the lion moves on. :) Not a chance...

All of this makes me think of the "dream trip" that all we mothers have. We nurture it for years, secretly plan for it when the kids are gone. Some of you are lucky enough to go before the nest empties out, but I know a lot of you I did. Anyway, tell me, where you all dream of going.

The upcoming trip has forced me to do what I rarely do: organize my time. Thus, here goes: I'm thinking that in September we'll do a kind of writing how-to series on the blog. I'd like to be really interactive on this, so please, tell me what it is you want to know. I'll try to address all of your questions and give you as much information as I can. So fire away! When you ask your questions, why don't you tell me about where you are in the writing journey also. that way all the fireflies will be able to chime in. I bet you'd all be surprised by how much you can help each other.

In October, I'll be gone and inaccessible (no hair dryers, so no lap tops), so our lovely Kim will be stepping in, so perhaps she'd like to talk to you all about what it's like to begin writing and how hard she worked to sell her first book. (What do you think, Kim?)

And in November...we'll be judging the essays and giving out advance copies of TRUE COLORS. Really, I can't wait for all of you to start reading. It's so different from Firefly. I think you'll love the contrast. And it's set in one of the most beautiful, most secret corners of the Pacific Northwest.

Aloha everyone---

And thanks for being fireflies....



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so jazzed about us being fireflies !! Your question for a design is timely. I was already thinking of working on one. I'll email my idea to you. I see t-shirts in our future! I'll wear it proudly and eagerly tell our story to anyone who asks. Imagine all of the new readers we'll recruit for you! =)

I'm so happy for your upcoming African adventure. It will truly be the trip of a lifetime. I hope you relax and enjoy every bit of it. My lifelong dream trip finds me under the Tuscan sun. Just like the movie. In the same villa Diane Lane refurbished. Bliss!

I have already been blessed with reading True Colors. I can't wait for my fellow 'flies' to get that chance. It is amazing. I still find myself thinking of the characters out of the blue, in the middle of my day.

Sandra Brown's new book, Smoke Screen, is great. Must read!

I am very anxious for the writing how-to series. I'll think of what I would like to see, and benefit most from, and I'll post it. This is a generous gift for you to share your knowledge and experience with us!

One last thing - my blog link on the homepage has changed. Link doesn't work, words jumbled. Is this something with my computer, or do you guys see it to?

Gotta run for now. Please pray for Hurricane victims. My entire family came to TX from south La. last night. We are waiting to see if they will lose everything, once again. My mother and I are hosting up to 20 people in our homes. It's truly devestating, and we are blessed to have the means to help. There are so many that have no one and no place to go.

Until later, farewell firefly friends!


August 31, 2008 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin!

Your trip sounds so exciting!! I would love to see animal pictures!!You can tell I'm your vet student fan ;)

One of my classmates is from South Africa and her father is a vet there. She worked primarily with wildlife -- elephants, zebras, rhinos, the whole works!

There is one place in Kenya, where you stay in a manor that is also home to a resident herd of giraffe. They poke their heads through the windows sometimes! If you go there, I will climb in your suitcase right now...

One trip I've always wanted to take is to Egypt. I love the history, all the ancient cities, how the culture goes back farther than I could ever imagine.

I'd also want to go to Ireland - to find myself a dark hair, blue eyed, Irish veterinarian with a small farm in the hills ;) We can always dream, right?

Anyhoo, I'd love to hear more about the publishing process for first time writers! A mystery to me....

August 31, 2008 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

Lisa, no, it's not just you. Kristin's web goddesses are working on the problem (but with the holiday weekend, might take a little longer than normal to get fixed). And thank you for the reminder to keep the Hurricane victims in our prayers. Your large family is so lucky to have you and your mom!!!

And you and Sheila think exactly like me: Italy or Ireland. Oh how I would LOVE to visit either of those places.

Kristin, I'd be happy to share what I learned during my long pursuit to publication. Don't worry, us Fireflies will have tons of fun while you are gone!! My first piece of advice to all the Fireflies who are writers--soak up everything Kristin says. I did and that is the main reason I sold!

August 31, 2008 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Oh, Lisa, I'll keep your family and the rest of the folks in the path of hurricanes in my prayers. My client evacuated last week, and I think of them often especially because they are still rebuilding.

My husband hates to travel so it's quite annoying, but we also don't have the budget or vacation time yet so maybe someday. For now, we do manage the beach annually and do a few day trips. Being so close to the city, we can do a lot of tourist type things for only a few dollars on the Metro. I'd love to go to the Far East one day though any country where there's a language barrier kind of intimidates me. When my sister and I left the nest, my parents went to Hawaii (hey, that's a big trip for us East-coasters) and Alaska. They've always wanted to go. They also like to say their kids and money have gone to Europe, but they never have. Someday, they will.

As for writing, I need to know how to get someone to kick me into high gear. I can plan and think about it. I even have the time. I just find that I procrastinate or always find something else to do.

Wow, it seems like Fall is going to go by so quickly to see it outlined like that. It'll be a baby-centric Fall for us. Baby turns 1 days before Halloween so we'll have her first costume and first birthday within a week. :)

August 31, 2008 at 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You must be in my region. We do touristy Metro activities when we have company.

Kim, did I miss your book title? Can you tell us what it is?

Here's praying the hurricane weakens. I see it's a Cat 2 now. Still bad, but hopefully not as bad.

September 1, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger princessapr said...

Lynn, I'm in Arlington just over the river from D.C. I can see the airport from my apartment (used to see the Capitol and Washington Monument, but the development in our area kind of stopped that view.

September 1, 2008 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger Cindy W said...

Did everyone come through okay from Gustov? I'm in Florida, and we escaped Fay and Gustov, but Hanna and Ike are still churning.

I can't wait to see the logo, thanks Lisa. Another option- You can email to us all the logo and we can iron on a white tee shirt (I have a bunch left over from my homemade Breaking Dawn Shirts -see pictures and review on my blog)

My Writing questions are- How to get organized, w/ different ideas and projects?

Do you suggest to writer a character bio for each person? and Dialogue, when to use and how much? What about writing in different point of views.

And, I know I am being greedy with my questions, so I am sorry, but...
How to sell it!

I saw Penelope and I LOVED it. Great message was given and it was cute. I highly suggest for the fireflies.

I am reading The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt, that's gonna be a great book!

My dream place would be Scotland. I hope you have a wonderful trip, please take a bunch of pictures to share.

Have a great week,
Firefly Cindy W

September 2, 2008 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger J+W said...

Fireflies, that is awesome we have a name!!!

My babies -who are really my niece & nephews- started kindergarden yesterday!!! My babies are ALL grown up! I remember seeing their red pruny faces in the hospital and now they are being thrown out into the world. I wish I can protect them forever. =(

I am super excited for your trip to Africa, do you have an itinerary of places you want to see yet? You are gone for the whole month? That is so exciting! And please be safe...

It's been a dream of mine to go backpacking through Europe. And because of exactly what you said I want to do it before the BF & I get married. The dream came oh so close last year. We were checking out cities and villages to hit. Munich, Dublin, some little village in Cork County Ireland, Florence, Rome, a little itty bitty village in Belgium that is overrun with beer gardens. It was going to be great! We even asked for gift cards to Gander Mountain (a hardcore outdoor store like REI) so we can pick up our backpacks. But then the trip got put on hold for a trip to China with my family. Which fell through because my brother had to cancel last minute because of work. =( Maybe next year!!!

I'm not a writer but I can see how for aspiring writers your Writer-how-to-series will be a god send for them.

September 3, 2008 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger chloesnana said...

Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I have commented but this lastest blog has peeked by curiosity. Africa is on my list of places to visit. I want to make it my 2009 vacation. The place that I want to visit also is Italy and I have the pleasure of going there in November. I am really looking forward to it.

My prayers are continually with the hurrican victims. Sometimes it's easy to forget because it is not happening in your neck of the woods, but when you see all the devastation it causes other families, you just have to take the time out to ask for protection for them.

Kristin, I see you mentioned something about judging the essays in November. I must have missed something, what is the essay to be about?

Have a safe and blessed trip.

September 3, 2008 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

Hi Lynn;
You are so sweet to ask about my book. No, it's not out yet. I don't have an official release date--maybe late next year.

And Cindy--keep your writing questions coming. Like I said, there is no one better to learn from than Kristin.


September 3, 2008 at 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family is safe back in La., with minimal damage to their homes and businesses. They arrived last night to a much better scene than post-Katrina. Thanks to all my fellow fireflies who kept them tucked safely in your thoughts!

Best! Lisa

September 4, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

Lisa--I'm so thankfully your family is safe. What an answer to prayer!! Let us hope everyone came out as well.

September 4, 2008 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger Leen said...

Been a busy week again, so I procrastinated on writing here because I wanted to take my time for it. Now that I'm here, though, expect one of my usual ramblings, since Kristin once again gave us way too much to comment on.

First of all, though... it's not because I'm on the other side of the ocean that I don't care, so I hope everyone is safe from all those tornadoes and other kinds of storms. I'm the one who hides under the table when there's a big thunderstorm coming along already (used to be VERY afraid as a kid, now I'm getting better at it), so I can see where you're coming from.

As for the blog text... I definitely can relate to the "back to school" thing too. As a teacher, I'm actually looking forward to the new school year, though. Although there's lots of things I could do if someone decided to extend our vacation too!

Which brings me to another part of Kristin's blog. Africa and other dream trips. I don't think Africa would be my dream trip, in each case. Meeting scary animals on an up close and personal level doesn't really attract me. You probably need a dozen shots to even be allowed to go there too. And then there's the bugs. I'll trust "repellent" until I get the first bite.

Being single, I guess I can do all the travelling I want, which probably explains why I don't really have a "dream trip" either. I just love going to visit my friend in Canada, but that's just like a family visit, really. Nobody in my environment really gets what the fun in that is. And sometime before I die I want to go to someplace in the US just to see a Garth Brooks concert. Ok, make that a whole series of his concerts, since I've been a fan of his since the early 90s and to this day I've never seen him perform live in person.

Other than that, there's still a lot of countries in Europe that I want to visit someday. Ireland, Scotland, Malta, Portugal, ... to name a few. My friend wants to go to The Dominican and/or Jamaica with me and I just want her to come and visit me here in Belgium. Could be lots of fun showing someone around in your own country too, I think.

But I guess the one thing that qualifies the most as a "dream trip" would be a vacation on which I go and visit my sponsor child in India. I'd like to do that one day, but the heat and the fact that the population in that area is very poor, scare me off. I've heard lots of horrible stories about people getting sick there, so I don't know. Maybe someday... or maybe I'll just have my sponsor daughter visiting me here?

I'm gonna skip a few other subjects I could go on and on about and talk about writing next. Big compliment there in the latest response to one of my earlier blog posts: the famous best seller author Kristin Hannah calls me a writer! :) I think of myself as just a hobbyist. Been writing for a club magazine for a while and I love to write letters, e-mails and such, I've even entered a couple of "short story" and poetry contests, but that's it. My main thing is: I write like I am. Which means I put things bluntly the way I observe them. Which makes for an honest kind of writing, but also a rather personal style. And at times that scares me. I have lots of fantasy too, but I think I'd wave too much of myself in an actual book. While I want to keep my privacy too. So I guess that's a question of some kind too: where do you draw the line? I don't know... I'll have to think of better things to ask, but for now that'll do. :)

Hey... queen firefly (Kristin, of course - I'm thinking of bees and imagining there must be some kind of hierarchy in fireflies too, hence I crowned you to be our queen) October will be there soon, so you'd better start practicing with that camera of yours to bring us some good pictures back! Tell the hubby to pretend being a lion or something (I'm sure he can growl! ;)), so you get to see how fast you can get that camera out.

And of course... thank YOU for having us as your very own tribe of fireflies. We'll make sure we behave while Kim is reigning. But I think we'll miss you just the same. Think about it: we don't even have a new book yet and now we have to do without the writer too! Life is just not fair! :)


September 6, 2008 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Fisk said...

I've gone to only a handful of concerts my whole life--but two of them were to see Garth Brooks. The first one, he was a back up singer to the back up group. Hardly anyone knew who he was. But my girlfriend and I did. We waited for close to two hours after the show, watching for him to leave. And when he came out, he was the nicest guy. He signed autographs and even posed for individual pictures with each of us. We were such groupies!! The second concert was all his and boy did he put on a show. But, alas, not personal autographs or photos after that show. With as big of a star as he was by them, when didn't even bother sticking around!! Plus, I took my daughter. She was a huge GB fan.

And yes, I hear you about all the shots needed for Africa. I hope Kristin doesn't mind me saying this: but she looks like a human pin cushion. Ouch. Ouch.


September 8, 2008 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Leen said...


You're making me drool here... darn it, why did that GB-man have to retire anyways? And yeah, I do understand about taking care of his family and such.

I think I remember reading one of my first Kristin Hannah books (kill me if it was some other writer) in which there was a scene with someone listening to a GB song. That's when she really won me over as a fan. A writer who knows her classics can't do anything wrong in my world! ;)

Finally, about the human pin cushion... (giggle giggle) aww, Kristin, does it hurt a lot? (giggle giggle) Poor you! I pity you so much (giggle giggle)


September 8, 2008 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


As usual you come up with a great idea. T shirts! I'm totally jazzed about that. I'm just thinking out loud here, but I wonder if we could come up with a great design and give them out to the fireflies and then perhaps sell them on the site with all moneys going to breast cancer research. My mom--and I'm sure many of all of our friends/families/sisters would appreciate it.

Also, I appreciate your mentioning of the hurricane. All of our prayers were with the people of Louisiana.

thanks again, Lisa, for being such a great positive force on the blog.


September 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


No wonder you're a firefly--we're secret sisters. :) Your dream vacation list is exactly like mine. In fact, this Africa trip began as a trip to Ireland with my Dad and his wife, Debbie. Somehow it became more...and farther know how it goes, but I know that Ireland is on the wish list. Also, while we're going with my dad, he and Deb are heading to Egypt after the safari, while Ben and I will be scuba diving in the Indian ocean, so you can see: the whole trip!

I can't wait to tell you all about it.


September 9, 2008 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


I'm smiling about your travel comments. I still remember how hard it was to travel when Tucker was a baby--so much STUFF. Dragging everything around, worrying about his behavior on the plane, and just the financial and mental gymnastics required to afford it all and still be an at home mom who spent every naptime writing her novel. It was crazy, but don't worry. Someday you'll get the chance to go somewhere you've dreamed about. It's the up side to the empty nest and getting old. :) Oops, I mean older.


September 9, 2008 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Cindy --

Scotland. Sigh. What a beautiful country that is. When I was a wee lass--19, to be exact--i was lucky enough to study abroad. I went to school in downtown London (one of my favorite cities in the world), and often spent weekends in Scotland. Those were back in the days of Laurie McBain and some of the great Scottish historical romances, and it was easy for all of that to come alive in a country so steeped in isolation and grandeur. You could easily imagine Bonnie Prince Charlie riding over the hill...

And thanks for the writing suggestions. I'm taking them all down. Please, don't worry about being greedy. I want to know what you think!

September 9, 2008 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


It sounds like it's only a matter of time before you dream of backpacking through Europe is a reality. I can tell a concrete dream when I hear one. You'll be there soon I'll bet. And until then, it's good to have dreams and aspirations. I've been waiting twenty years to take a trip like this to Africa and all that waiting has only made it sweeter.


September 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Italy in November! That sounds fabulous. As you can see from the blog, that is a dream that many of us fireflies share, so tell us more! Where are you going??

Also, the essay I mentioned will be the contest in November. We'll use the month I'm gone to write stories about sisterhood, but it hasn't started yet. I'll have more on that soon. It's the contest for early copies of True colors.


September 9, 2008 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


And once again, you make me laugh. Queen of the fireflies. I love it--certainly a woman like that should wear a flowy gauze dress and have dried flowers in her hair. Do you think it will honor the crown when I go to Safeway in sweats and flip flops? Will I have to start wearing sunglasses if I leave home without my tiara? I love it!!! See? You are a writer, and I adore your honest, funny, straightforward style. The children whom you teach are lucky, lucky kids. What do you teach, btw?

And yes, Africa is scary. I won't deny it. We've had DOZENS of shots and have to take enough pills with us to drag down anyone. And water purification pills and bug repellent that goes on your skin but eats through fabric. HELLLOOOO. That's scary, But I guess I believe in being scared, that's the bottom line. Sometimes we all have to venture out of our comfort zone to see what's really going on around us.

Hey, that's a good blog idea. I'll write more about that later.

And as you can see, I AM practicing with the camera. No husbands growling :) but I took shots of some women rowing last week and I got it! I have hope...


September 9, 2008 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


Now, Kim, you KNOW you went to the American Idol concerts with me. Are you embarrassed to admit to being an idol girl or hanging out with me??? :)

September 9, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

K - I'm working on a firefly suggestion for T-Shirts and will email it as soon as I can find breathing room to get it wrapped up. I think your idea about selling them on the site is TERRIFIC !! It also gives me other ideas, like on the sleeve of the shirt, in small letters, FFC - Fireflies FIGHT Cancer !!!

More to come. BTW: London, and the market in Camden Town /World's End Pub ....... my favorite place on the planet. Love that city!


September 10, 2008 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...


LOVE the FFC---excellent!! We're really going to get the ball rolling here, so we can all do our small part. Cool!

also--how do you know London so well? Did you know I went to school there??


September 14, 2008 at 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know you went to school there. I'm jealous! I had the opportunity to spend two weeks there with a girlfriend who was literally searching for a guy she met in passing on a previous trip there. It was like a romantic novel. We went knowing nothing, and found him! We had a blast and came to know and love his friends. They dated for several years after that, but the distance got the best of their love.

I loved London and would give anything to go back. Can't explain it, other than to say that it's one of only two places (other is Steamboat, two months ago) where my soul feels completely free and open.

Write a book based on London! I think we should have a field trip there for research. Yeah, that's it ......... =)


September 15, 2008 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...


A firefly field trip to London!!!! That is the best idea ever!! A little tough to pull off, but maybe we could pretend...

And I love the romance story angle to your story. Maybe you should write it!


September 25, 2008 at 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're reading my mind. Actually, my entry for the next contest. That London trip, and the 'sister' I never had, are one of my biggest inspirations to write. When I'm too tired, too busy, too discouraged. Doesn't matter! My relationship with her, and the family of hers I grew to love, are what made me realize my gift and dream of writing in the first place. I am no Kristin Hannah (smile), but boy-oh-boy, can I get lost in the dream of my first novel; and, be infinitely proud of the chapters I've attempted to write. Although incomplete, and a grammatical mess I'm sure - - it frees my soul. Just like this blog has. I've never blogged. Ever, before this. And, I love it. Oh, and let's not forget FIREFLIES. WOW! I am so blessed in sharing with everyone on this blog.

I'm going to email the final firefly suggestions to you, for Kim to intercept. You don't need to worry with a reply or input, until you return. For now, you focus on enjoying your upcoming trip, and don't think about anything except your husband, and the wonderful break you both deserve. Seize the adventure!

Only question I would love answered, if you have time - or when you return. In another blog post, you told a reader that Alice (Magic Hour) was one of your favorite three characters. Who are the other two?

I loved Alice. My, how I loved Magic Hour. I know I've told you that, but I can't say it enough. I would love to know the other two favorites you have. If I was making a wild guess, and this is gut feeling - nothing logical (HA) - I would say the other two are Kate and Vivi. Am I close?

Cheers to all .......


September 26, 2008 at 12:45 AM  

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