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From: Ann
Ups and Downs With Ann!

June 2001

Hello, readers! Working on the Baby-sitters Club books was a very big part of my daily life for over fifteen years, so I was understandably nervous, excited, and curious about how things would change once I was no longer writing about my Stoneybrook friends. Now that I've had a few months to get used to my new schedule, I'm happy to say that my post-BSC writing adventure is off to a great start!

Do you know that feeling when you first open your eyes in the morning and you're excited because you know something good is going to happen that day? That's what life is like for me right now. I can't wait to get started working on all the ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for so long. I dedicated most of this winter to putting the finishing touches on my new book, Belle Teal. (I'll talk more about that in an upcoming Ann Online.) Having the time and the opportunity to create new characters, new voices, and new stories is an absolute joy for a writer.

But, as I was to discover in January, life is not always a bowl of cherries! On one particular Monday evening, I bundled up in my big coat and winter boots before dinner to take my dog, Sadie, for her evening walk. We hadn't gone very far when BOOM!! I slipped on an icy patch in the driveway, my feet flew out from under me, and I landed flat on my back. Actually, I must have landed flat on my shoulder, because I shattered the bones in my right upper arm! After surgery (where I learned more about bone fragments and pins and rods than I ever wanted to know), I started the long recovery process. I couldn't drive for two months, and my wardrobe changed from turtlenecks and pullover sweaters to anything I could button up the front with my left hand. With the help of physical therapy sessions, I'm now well on the way to a full recovery. Luckily, I could still use my right hand to type on the computer, so I didn't miss many writing days. (I suppose if I were writing the BSC books now, I would have to name the next one Mary Anne Breaks Her Arm and Is Very, Very Sad!)

A wonderful benefit of my new schedule is my ability to devote more time to one of my favorite organizations, Animal Welfare and Adoption Network (AWAN). AWAN relies on volunteers to provide temporary housing for abandoned animals until a permanent home can be found. As I write this, four little kittens are happily traipsing about my office. They certainly keep things lively around here! This winter I've hosted Eddie, Brenda, Maxine, Marla, and Mathilda, all of whom have moved on to new homes.

Now that June is here, I'm looking forward to a warm, relaxing summer. I plan to do a lot of writing, and I'll be sure to make time to work in my garden and visit friends and family. My walks with Sadie are a highlight of my day, but I'm ready for next winter. Sitting in my closet is a new pair of special cleats that attach to my snowboots. I don't ever plan to fall again!

Happy reading!

Love, Ann