I am Dixie Dawn Miller Goode. My favorite protagonist is a young boy with Cerebral Palsy. "Duffy Barkley walks on four legs," the kids tease, because he uses crutches. There are many things Duffy has to work extra hard to accomplish, but no-one can tell him "No!"
This Blog has things that somehow tie into my Duffy Barkley books. Volume 1, Duffy Barkley is not a Dog; Volume 2, Duffy Barkley: Seek Well, or into my writing, including the new time twisted, Double Time: On The Oregon Trail
I should have been writing this summer, but the last book I wrote was still my Redwoods book. Instead of writing, I have been traveling From the OR/CA Border Pacific Coast, to visit family in DC and then we had company visit us here and spent a lot of days playing in the Redwoods, exploring the lighthouse and the sea animals.
Then I had to rip old, ugly carpeting out of my room, and while doing that, thin out the books crowding my bedroom library. The granddaughter thought I should keep all the books and just not put a bed back in. She assured me her dolly said the floor was comfortable to sleep on.
but her grandpa assured me a bed was necessary so she was out-voted.
I did keep the first books I ever wrote
and I took the granddaughter to arts and crafts at our local library to convince both of us that we don't have to OWN every book to be able to enjoy them.
the books I got rid of
The Virdi Goode reading picnic
But of course I got new books. Three books by R. R. Virdi, with lots of super supernatural encounters, mystery, mayhem and adventure joined my own novels and picture books for a pleasant afternoon under the maple tree.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed and depressed, and trying to find a way to connect with other people seems impossible. Lately it has been like that again. The whole world seems to be off its axis, tilting more and more away from being centered. The people in my life who often steady me, suddenly seem to need steadied themselves and I stop feeling like I can draw on their strength, I don't want to add to the burden of their lives.
That is when I look for ways to replenish my strength from something bigger than me. I am lucky, because I only have to step outside to find reminders that there are things much bigger and more eternal and more beautiful than the mind of man can comprehend.
I go to the world looking for beauty, and it is all around me, in the ocean, and redwood tree, yes. But also in the tiny banana slug, and the feather in the wind, and the child sifting through the sand for a sun kissed agate.
Then when I have to return to my home, and my family and the news of the day, I can do so with a well of quiet strength inside me. I can share that beauty and warmth with my family and friends and then quietly sit at the computer, dreaming in words that hopefully bring strength and warmth to a wider world. Yes, I'm an introvert, and sometimes I can't think quickly enough to get the words right in a conversation, and when I can, that interaction exhausts me, even though I also love it. I love teaching and being in a crowd, especially a crowd of children, but I get drained there, and for me, the quiet thoughtful times when it is just me and a blank page, are when my battery is being recharged.
When I look at the books I like to read, there are often underlying themes of violence and danger, but when I choose what I want to give back to the world, I find the beauty and love and celebrate the differences that make us able to be stronger together than any one of us will ever be alone. The first book I published turns five years old this year, and It still makes me happy that I put the energy into writing it. People who have also learned to love Duffy Barkley tell me that his story has shown them a lot about accepting differences and finding joy together. That is why I write.
I am happy to announce the release of my third picture book for young children. This one is non fiction but reads like a story as you share photographs of the beautiful and long lived giants of the Pacific Coast.
Once upon a time I began to live among Giants, ancient, long lived beings of another race entirely.
And then I began to photograph them and bring my friends and family to visit them and to rest in their shadow.
Many times I climbed upon their fallen and mourned a loss or stood astonished to discover a new life bursting forth from a fallen corpse.
My children and grandchildren became so accustomed to their size that only giants appeared nirmL in their eyes. I still seek out their companionship when I grow weary and need peace. For awhile now I have not been writing much, but I'm back at it and sensing the completion of a picture book about redwoods happening in time for Christmas gifts.
Thank you to the 660 people who signed up for an opportunity to win an autographed copy of my most recent novel in The Tales of Uhrlin, Duffy Barkley: the Third Charm. The Goodreads Giveaway ended on 4/16/16 with three winners.
Mary from Maryland
Chelene from Ohio
Benoit from Quebec
It is gratifying to see so many people express an interest in one of my books, and while I wish I could give that many away, of course I can't. Still, I hope that some of you who did not win are intrigued enough to buy a copy, and if, like me, cash is too tight, I hope sometime in the future you remember my hero and his ability to have adventures and make friends in spite of what others would consider his handicapping condition. After having a chance to live without it for awhile, of course, Duffy now knows he isn't strong in spite of having cp, but he is strong and who he is, because of having cp. like Duffy, I have learned to embrace all the things that make me who I am, even those I fought against for years.
On February 5th, the third Duffy Barkley adventure in Uhrlin, Duffy Barkley: the Third Charm, was published. Now through April 16th it is being offered on Goodreads with a chance to win one of three autographed paperbacks.
Remember being with a group of friends where you felt safer and more included than you had ever felt at home, friends you had always wanted, who made you look around with a lump in your throat, wishing you could stop time? They were a lot like the groups in all the popular stories. They were the reason people love MASH, Harry Potter, Narnia, Friends, The Lord of the Rings etc. They were a group of imperfect, overwhelmed and harassed people who became winners because they didn't have to face the overwhelming odds, alone. Even in the face of dark wizards, popular girls, bad hair days or War, they had each other's back. When one of them had a weakness, another had a strength to balance it out. When one was a jerk, someone else saved the day, and forgave them eventually. Now times are turning more difficult again. The world needs that kind of support. We need a source of encouragement so that we can find a way to be that kind of support when we are needed. As times are dark, people look for a reason to laugh, love and hope again. Duffy Barkley is not a dog, a middle grade fantasy, gives you those friends, that escape, that voice of hope in the darkness. Duffy is alone, handicapped, desperate. He is picked-on, lost, & yet, never defeated. In the most alien of places he finds friends. In the most dire of emergencies he finds courage. In the most evil of villains he finds compassion and a solution. In giving away what he most needs, he gains everything. Duffy, a 9 year old boy with cerebral palsy, survives tragedy in the form of a school shooting in which his younger sister is seriously injured. Falling into a new world, he regains his health but finds himself the focus of historic prophecy. While trying to deny his place in their prophecies he discovers his own abilities & changes his life & that of others in both worlds. He enjoys being physically strong but must give it up to save the villain, and find his way back to save his sister, Izzy.
and in Book 2, Duffy Barkley: Seek Well
Duffy Barkley, The protagonist of Duffy Barkley Is Not a Dog, has returned in the sequel, Duffy Barkley: Seek Well. Now 11 years old, he cannot remember the events that happened the first time that he was in Uhrlin, or a time when his Cerebral palsy was cured, or when he flew. But those memories are breaking through and Uhrlin remembers him and is calling him back. He can't remember why he is fascinated by Guatemala, or anything about a giant, bald, orca colored mer-woman with the voice of an angel. But he has to seek her.
and now, Book 3, Duffy Barkley: the Third Charm
In this third tale of Duffy Barkley's connection with the portal world of Uhrlin we see that he has twice had to face overwhelming odds, but his friends were there to help even those odds. It wasn't easy but he struggled and prevailed, both at age 9 and 11. He saved his little sister and the two worlds while making new friends and learning to love himself, handicaps and all. Why then, this time, does he seem to have been left behind? Where are his sister and his great-aunt now?
On February 5th, the third Duffy Barkley adventure in Uhrlin, Duffy Barkley: the Third Charm, was published. Now it is being offered on Goodreads with a chance to win one of three autographed paperbacks.