Blog badge by Linda Silvestri

I can’t believe we’re at the halfway point for the 12 x 12 in ’12 Challenge. When the topic of a party bubbled up on the Facebook group, I offered a treat. 

A Peppermit Patty Brownie Cup
If you visit the link, you’ll notice my brownie cup looks very much like the professional’s brownie cup. They were yummy. The second time I made the recipe wasn’t so photo worthy. 
Some of my 12 x 12 in ’12 picture book drafts have had a similar fate. One month my draft turned out great (at least in my head). The next month, I’m not feeling it. 
Either way, I’m writing and on track with the challenge. I’ve written one or more drafts each month — eight in May as I participated in the National Picture Book Writing Week.  Thank you Julie Hedlund for organizing the 12 x 12 in ’12 challenge.
My goal for the next half of the year is to not only write a monthly draft, but also revise one manuscript.  It’s not a lofty goal, but it’s a big one for me. I feel out of the submission loop, but I’ve also been busy with other things. 
My 2012 goals did not include being elected to my neighborhood’s metro district board or enrolling in web and graphic design classes at the community college. Both have taken away some of my writing time, but also offer a bit of rejuvenation and challenge. As I learn new software programs and figure out how to survive a watercolor landscape drawing, I want to stay on track with class assignments, writing challenges and life in general. 
Many of you know I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Last Saturday, a fire began in Waldo Canyon. My family is safe. My neighborhood is on the east side of town more than 15 miles away. Here’s a view as I mistakenly walked the dog on Monday. The air quality is horrible.
The fire’s smoke cloud. 
Tuesday afternoon we were engulfed in a smoke cloud as thousands were evacuated as the wildfire — well, got wild. No injuries have been reported, which is a miracle, but more than 100 homes (some say up to 300) have been destroyed. Some area writers lost their homes or have been evacuated. 
Author Beth Vogt mentions her evacuation and so does Debbie Maxwell Allen. These two ladies (and many others) have occupied many of my thoughts in recent days. Agent Rachelle Gardner wrote about the fire. Her husband is one of the hundreds of firefighters working in difficult conditions to contain the blaze.
As writers, we are supposed to have words, but this fire has left me speechless. 
Words are slowly coming back to the city and its residents. 
We’ll rebuild.
Let us help.
We’ll return.
We’re safe.
Thank you.