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Checking in With Ann

April 2016

Hi, readers! It is officially springtime, but you would never know it by looking out my window. Yesterday, I woke up to a beautiful overnight snowfall, and as I write this today, another six inches have fallen. The snow is a bit of a surprise as we've had one of our mildest winters in many years. I think the bears in the area were also surprised, because they emerged from their winter hibernation a couple of weeks ago. I know this because one feisty bear ripped my squirrel feeder off of a tree before I had a chance to take it down.

After enjoying the holidays, I settled into a nice winter routine. I'm particularly happy about my current work schedule. The busy pace of writing multiple books a year for the Baby-sitters Club and Little Sister series has long passed, and I feel lucky that I'm now able to work primarily on one book a year. This allows time for smaller projects, such as writing reviews, book introductions, and blurbs. (A blurb is a brief promotional piece recommending a book that's about to be published.)

This less hectic writing schedule means I also have time to pursue activities that I enjoy and that are important to me. Once a week, I attend Pilates, which is an exercise program that helps me to become stronger and more flexible. It was challenging at first, but this is definitely the most physically fit I've been in years. It's fun (and somewhat surprising) to have muscles! (Longtime readers may remember that I was never a fan of gym class when I was in school.) In addition to this weekly workout, I take a daily two-mile walk, which I've done for years. While my goal is take this walk every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow, let's just say that I'll be going on more walks now that spring is on the way. Immediately after Pilates class ends, I head over to the Lisa Libraries, an organization I founded in 1990 dedicated to building small libraries for under-served areas. I spend the afternoon sorting, shelving, packing, and mailing books that have been donated. It's a busy, fun, rewarding day, and I love it!

I'm joined in my household by two cats, Pippin and Simon, who keep things lively. I think Pippin's first choice would be for things to be a little less lively. Simon, the younger of the two by many years, seems to delight in pestering Pippin. One of his favorite activities is to simply stare at Pippin, which Pippin finds unnerving. Additionally, I've been fostering cats and kittens for many years now, and most months of the year we'll have temporary lodgers. Currently, I have two of the sweetest, most affectionate kitten siblings, who will eventually go to a loving, permanent home together.

Some weekends find me traveling to New York City to visit my sister and her family, or to Pennsylvania to visit my father. Our big family news is that my nephew will graduate from high school in May and start college in the fall. My father, who recently turned 90, is a cartoonist, and this January the gallery at his residence community hosted a show featuring a collection of his cartoons that appeared in The Philadelphia Enquirer in the 1980s. The entire Martin family was there to celebrate this wonderful event with him.

Right now I'm getting ready for a trip to London and Dublin, where I'll have a chance to meet and chat with readers from the United Kingdom. I'm also planning on traveling to Scotland for book events later in the summer. At almost every event I attend, I can count on seeing now-grownup readers of the Baby-sitters Club. I'm touched that they are still fans of the series. In fact, many of them have children of their own who have started reading the BSC books.

For now, I'm happily at home enjoying winter's last hurrah in the Hudson Valley. Soon enough, the snow will melt, the temperatures will climb, and the trees and flowers will be in full bloom. Hmm ... maybe one last fire in the fireplace, and a nice cup of hot cocoa?

Wishing you a lovely spring,


P.S. Since 1990, The Lisa Libraries has contributed over 400,000 books to nonprofit organizations across the country. If you'd like to learn more about the Lisa Libraries, check out the website at