Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wicked Good - What the critics are saying...Carol P. from California

      "Just finished the whole thing. It's awesome - or should I say wicked good. I have to digest it all. Good pace and surprise ending I didn't see coming."

                                                           Carol P., California

      Note from Amy and Jo: Carol had asked to read the entire version of Wicked Good at once and not chapter-by-chapter on the blog. So, we e-mailed the manuscript to her.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wicked Good - Why so many references to willow trees?

      If you’ve been following Wicked Good, you may have noticed several references to willow trees.

     Archer and Rory live on Willow Street (chapter 3).  
     There is a willow tree outside Archer and Rory’s home (chapter 6).
      In chapter 13, Rory says: You need to have faith in me.  Remember, you thought the willow tree was going to die?” He looked out the bedroom window, into the dark night, toward the willow tree, the back of the house and the City Forest. “I mean, you’re always telling me to make better choices but if you don’t trust me, what’s the point?”
     When Kitty first runs from Archer in The Crow’s Nest, she chants a spell that includes mention of a willow tree (chapter 27).
     In chapter 29, Rory is sitting on a bench with Trish, holding a small potted willow on his lap. Rory says: “It’s a baby willow tree, like the one in my front yard,” Rory said. “It has special powers. It can heal wounds and burns. The Greeks used it to relieve pain, like aspirin. Some people even think the willow has the power to heal a broken heart.”
      And there are more references to come.
      Why so many references to willows in Wicked Good?
      Willow trees have been found in texts dating back to the Ancient Greeks. Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal properties. Native Americans have used it for its powers to heal. Willow contains salicylic acid which was used to relieve aches and pains before aspirin was discovered so the use of willow trees has a realistic foundation as well as a mystical one. Have you ever watched a willow sway in the wind? They bend but do not break. We liked the reference throughout Wicked Good due to the willow symbolizing healing and strength. And just maybe, the willow can mend a broken heart….

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wicked Good - what the critics are saying...Victoria A., Canada

     "It's crazy to think such stories as The Perfect Storm really happened to real people. It is interesting how you are wrapping this story around a real event. I'm hooked."

                                                               Victoria A., Canada

Wicked Good - What the critics are saying...John, Bangor, Maine

     "I learned two things from chapter 25. First, there are two possible spellings for Thacher's. I grew up thinking it was Thatcher's Island. Second, what a ghille suit is."

                                                                                   John, Bangor Maine

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wicked Good - Rory says:

           “The Andrea Gail was a seventy two foot fishing boat. It had a crew of six men,” Archer said.
            “What were they fishing for?” Rory’s head was propped up on his hand.
She lay on her back. “Swordfish.”

          Rory says: “People think swordfish have a spear that comes out of their nose but it’s really their jaw. It’s wicked long and they use it to pierce prey.”
            Wicked Good, chapter 14

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wicked Good - Amy and Jo Interview - Part Two

Amy and Jo Interview – Part Two
Live from Bass Park, Bangor, Maine

     In Paul Bunyan’s last interview of us, he asked how we decided to write Wicked Good together (see Amy and Jo Interview – Part One). He was going to interview us for Part Two on how we actually wrote the book together but that was well covered on Jodi Webb’s blog -

- so instead, Paul Bunyan has decided to tackle a very serious subject:

PB: Several people have asked you to write about what Aspergers Syndrome is.

Amy: Blogging Wicked Good has been an interactive experience.

Jo: We love posting the chapters and the extras like our interviews, what the critics are saying and Rory says, but the best part is when readers comment on the blog or send us e-mails.

Amy: A couple of readers have asked us to explain about Aspergers. We’re really pleased to bring some attention to AS. For starters, it’s part of the Autism Spectrum.

Jo: It’s named after Dr. Hans Asperger who founded it in 1944. He recognized a pattern with some children who were socially awkward, repeated behaviors, lacked certain communication skills and showed a lack of empathy toward others.

Amy: AS affects people with high and low IQs. Some people believe Einstein and Mozart had AS.

Jo: I’ve read that some doctors want to eliminate AS from the Autism Spectrum and instead distinguish it as high-functioning Autism.

PB: Can you speak more about the characteristics of a person with AS.

Amy: They can be social but in an awkward way. For example, they may have long, one-sided conversations or they may fail to interpret nonverbal signs correctly.

Jo: Right. If a person with AS is speaking about his favorite topic…

PB: …like how Rory loves lawn mowers….

Jo:…exactly. And if Trish were to suddenly yawn, Rory might not recognize the sign that Trish is ready for a new topic of conversation.

Amy: A person with AS might say things not suited to a conversation. For example, if Trish was talking to Rory about how her mother mistreats her and Rory changes the subject to discuss a way to fuel lawn mowers with left over popcorn butter, he’s not being rude.

PB: What are other characteristics of AS that Rory has?

Amy: Commenting out of context, poor decision-making, his obsession with lawn mowers, over reacting.

PB: Can you give an example of Rory commenting out of context?

Jo: Sure. We just posted chapter twenty-four. Rory is in a police interrogation room which for most people would provoke anxiety.

Amy: Which it does for Rory.

Jo: But when Archer walks in, he doesn’t run to her and say I’m glad you’re here, mom; or I didn’t do anything wrong. He says:

“Did you see the fisherman patch on their uniforms? That’s the same fisherman on the box of fish sticks,” he laughed. “I don’t like fish but maybe I’d like fish sticks. Think you can buy some for me?”

Amy: Totally inappropriate. But Archer is accustomed to this, and, at times, finds it endearing.  Not in chapter twenty-four though.

PB: Wow, that was very informative. Thank you. You sure have taught this statue a lot. Until our next interview, this lumberjack is signing out.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wicked Good - Rory says:

     Rory says:
     “It’s a good thing we don’t remember being born. That would be freaky—coming out of someone’s body, that’s totally weird, isn’t it? Remember when we saw that calf being born on The Discovery Channel? How come calves can walk right after they're born but it takes humans like a year to learn how to walk? How come animals don’t crawl before they walk like we do? When did I learn to walk?”
     See Chapter 22, Wicked Good


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wicked Good - A Real Interview (no offense to Paul Bunyan!)

     Jodi Webb, an author who posts about writing, has posted an interview with us. Please check it out at:

    We have hit the big time!

    Go Wicked Good!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wicked Good - What the critics are saying...Marilyn, retired NYC Hofstra University Professor, now residing in New Mexico

Hi Amy;

Your novel hit me right in the pit of my stomach. I have a friends who may have aspergers. Another friend has been with an aspergers man for 10 years and she diagnosed my friend. She first informed me of this only about a month ago. Before she shared this information I was not aware of this disease. I do know now that it takes many forms.

You have a story to tell. I read the 20 chapters in one sitting- just now. Your first chapter is perfect. It sets the stage and you are left wanting to know more.

I think it is well written and I want to see more. My only suggestion is that aspergers be more clearly defined. People should be made aware of this problem and I am glad that it is finally coming out.

I am proud of you.

Let me know when I can see more.

Hugs, Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,
Thank you for your very kind words!  Would it be okay if we post your letter on the blog for our feature: "What the critics are saying….”

Amy - I’d be honored. Marilyn

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wicked Good - What the critics are saying...Minda A. from NY

Hi Jo,

Just catching up with Rory and Archer. What an emotional rollercoaster! You've certainly captured the intense personalities and emotions of the characters!! And I love the "inserts". They give the reader a "break" from having to deal with Rory. I, of course, empathize with Archer.

Is the book finished or are you writing/editing as you go along?

Has it been published?

Most importantly, are you enjoying the process?
All the best,

Dear Minda,

I'm really glad you're enjoying Wicked Good.

To answer your questions:

The book is finished. It took us over 2 years to write, revise and revise some more. Our mother's book group read it and gave us comments from which we made more revisions. It could still use a professional editing but without that, it's finished.

I am glad you like the inserts.

Wicked Good has not been published. 

And yes, we are loving the process. Amy and I started writing Wicked Good to do something together. The blog is a continuation of that. We really enjoy it. And we love that people are enjoying reading about Archer and Rory.

Happy holidays, Jo

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wicked Good - Rory says:

Rory says:
“...I think there should be a uniform color for gas cans. I never knew there could be so many shades of red. Why can’t they pick one color red and stick to it?...?”  Wicked Good, chapter 11.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wicked Good - Welcome To Holland (but I wanted to go to Italy!!!)

Words of Inspiration & Hope
 Article - Welcome to Holland
Journey of Hearts 
A Healing Place in CyberSpaceTM
This inspirational article was suggested by several sources. When I read the article, I was struck by how inspiring it was for any one who had experienced a loss. More important it reminds us to not spend a lifetime mourning what might have been, but to look at a loss as an opportunity for discovering something very different, but perhaps also equally wonderful.
Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved. Article printed with permission of the author.
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I'm supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan.  They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place.  It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
*     *     *
About the Author
Emily Perl Kingsley is the mother of a child with Down Syndrome, Jason.
Over the years she has done much to improve the ways in which people with disabilities are portrayed in the media. She worked as a writer for SESAME STREET, receiving many Emmy Awards and was instrumental in integrating mentally and physically disabled children and adults into the format of SESAME STREET. Her works with the National Down Syndrome Congress, National Media Council on Disability, as well as numerous publications have earned a multitude of humanitarian awards and special recognition for herself and her family.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND is her inspirational essay which has been reprinted in many languages and in many forms all over the world. Dear Abby runs this piece every October to commemorate National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and it has been reprinted in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE MOTHER’S SOUL.  It has been used as the theme for several disability conferences, was worked into a patchwork quilt and is the subject of a series of oil paintings. It was recently set to music as a choral piece by composer Terrence Minogue and was performed at a concert in Sacramento, California.
For the full biography of Ms. Kingsley click here.
Last updated June 30, 1998
 Welcome to Holland is use with permission of the Author.
All material, unless otherwise specified, is copyrighted 1997-8 by Journey of Hearts A Healing Place in CyberSpace. We invite you to share the information on this site with others who may benefit, but ask that you share from the heart only and not for profit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wicked Good - Amy and Jo Interview - Part One

Amy and Jo Interview – Part One

Since Paul Bunyan has a brief mention in chapter fourteen of Wicked Good, he contacted us for an interview. The guy has been standing in Bass Park in Bangor for over fifty years so we figured he’s wicked bored. Anyway, when a thirty-one foot tall statue weighing almost four thousand pounds requests an interview, we were more than willing to comply.

PB: So, Amy and Jo, what made you decide to write a book together?

Amy: We thought it’d be fun.

Jo: Wicked fun.

Amy: We wanted to do something together and we knew it had to be long distance since we only get to see each other about twice a year. Jo’s been writing books for a long time so we thought it’d be neat to write one together.

Jo: Wicked neat.

PB (sneering at Jo): If the wicked jokes continue, I will have to use my ax.

Jo (swallowing hard): Yes, sir.

PB (cheery again): How did you come up with the idea for Wicked Good?

Amy: Originally, we were writing an action-adventure novel about a mad scientist who discovers a cure for cancer…

Jo: …but that cure can only be found in a very rare genetic code which only Rory possesses…

PB: So I imagine that Archer and Rory would be eager for him to donate his genes to science to cure cancer.

Amy: Yes for the cure part but no because once the gene was extracted, Rory would die.

Jo: So it was a real dichotomy for Archer.

Amy: It ended up being this long chase with Archer having conflicting feelings and Rory not knowing why people were after him and…

Jo: It was wicked, um, I mean, really boring.

Amy: Yeah, we hated writing it.

Jo: So we came up with a new idea. We loved the characters of Archer and Rory and we knew we wanted to tackle the intricacies of Autism and so…

Amy: …Wicked Good was born.

PB: Thank you very much, Amy and Jo. In our next interview live from Bass Park in Bangor, Maine, we will discuss how you actually wrote the book between Maine and Florida. Until then, this lumberjack is signing out.