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Pink Eye on North Carolina’s Outer Banks


Sorry to take so long in updating this blog, but Internet access has been spotty at best. I’m sitting in an Internet café called Ugly Mugs in Avon, NC on Hatteras Island, and even here over the past half hour the connection has been intermittent.

So, here’s the lowdown:


The first stop on the trip from home (just outside of Boston, MA) was Rhode Island College where I was finishing a 5-day stint as a faculty member of the first annual A.S.T.A.L Writers Institute . It was the final day. Here’s a photo of the whole group in front of the van.

Then southward.

DISASTER #1:  NO RADIO
As I wrote in my last posting, DISASTER #1 occurred around New Haven: the antenna fell off the car. Yikes! Oh well, onward… 

After a quick visit with a friend in Philadelphia, it was down to National Public Radio’s headquarters in DC for a quick-and-dirty lesson in recording sound. They told me that the broadcast of my 2nd piece for NPR, where we’re packing for the trip, was delayed because apparently they want to hold off until they get the 3rd piece in hand. It’s even possible that they’ll start our trip without the packing piece – so it’d begin with whatever story I record next. (Boy, I sure hope I come up with something good!) Here I am with NPR announcer Robert Siegel, and also with “All Things Considered” Senior Producer Art Silverman.

Mark Peter Hughes and Robert Siegel of NPR


From there it was a loooong drive down to North Carolina. Rush hour traffic from hell in the Virginia Beach area. Arrived in Avon, NC around 9PM.

Here’s the thing about our Outer Banks visit. We built this into our route schedule as a nice, easy beginning for our trip — my family comes out here every year together with our Polish friends from Connecticut and Philadelphia. It’s always fun, because our friends are fun – and some of them have kids the same age as ours so everyone is happy. Sure, it’s hot outside — and I’m definitely not a beach person. Still, I think of this as my central-air-conditioning holiday. We do beach fires at night, or hang out in the hot tub. All good.

Mark Peter Hughes and Robert Siegel of NPR

Yesterday (Thursday) we visited the terrific Manteo Booksellers. Here I am with the store’s owner, Steve Brumfield.

It was also Lucy’s 8th birthday, which was all very nice…UNTIL…at the end of the day came DISASTER #2:

Lucy has developed ‘pink-eye’—conjunctivitis, which she caught from Natalia, one of our friend’s kids. Yikes! This has been a bit of a crisis because 1) it’s not comfortable for her, 2) it’s very contagious, and 3) we’ve been scrambling to find a doctor and get her a prescription for Erythromycin. Lucy should be using it every four hours, but so far we’ve been unable to make contact with any here in the middle of nowhere. We don’t know any local doctors, and today is Friday so we’re finding that many physician offices are closed today, and others will be heading out for the weekend shortly. Plus, we’ll be leaving on Sunday for Atlanta so we’re in a tizzy trying to figure this out today! Tension is high. Not sure what we’ll do, but like everything else, we’ll figure it out somehow…

DISASTER #2:  LUCY HAS PINK-EYE
 

On the brighter side: Looks like we have our antenna situation figured out. A special part needed to be ordered and it was kind of a biggish deal, but we’ve arranged to get the whole thing replaced at a Honda Dealer in College Station, TX on July 6. Until then, we’ll just have to hum a lot… 🙂


Sunday we’re off to Atlanta. Stay tuned!

Mark

www.markpeterhughes.com

P.S. Update 6/30 1:15pm:  We finally managed to get the eye goo for Lucy.  It required a little devilish cleverness (which I will not detail here for fear of a criminal investigation…just kidding) but now all is well.  Onward!  🙂

On the road now…exhausted in Philadelphia

This will be only a very short post.  For the past three nights I’ve been going to bed at 2 or 3 AM and getting up at 6 AM so as I type this I’m a zombie.

The road trip has officially begun!  And to prove it, I can now announce that first disaster of the trip has reared it’s head:  I left from Massachusetts this morning (with a stop at Rhode Island College as part of their amazing A.S.T.A.L Writer’s Institute — more on that later) but then continued southward only as far as New Haven, CT before the antenna of the car blew off.  Yes, you read that right — it just…blew away.  One minute it was attached to the car, the next it wasn’t.  I didn’t even notice it happen.  It just did.  So…this means that we may very well be facing a 9,000 mile road trip with three small children and no radio.  I have faith, though, that there is a solution.  I’m not sure what it is, but I’ll figure it out.  It’ll have to wait until tomorrow or the next day, my bed is calling….

 I’m typing this from a friend’s house in Philadelphia.  My bed is calling, though.  Tomorrow I’ll be stopping in Washington DC, Virginia Beach, and then heading down to North Carolina.

Bed.  Bed.  I want you bed.

Best,
— Mark
www.markpeterhughes.com

Check it out! We Got Our MiniVan ‘Wrapped!’

Karen arranged to get the minivan ‘wrapped,’ which means it’s covered with the Lemonade Mouth cover. We’re thrilled with it!

Check out these shots:

   

So here we are with our lovely ‘new’ van! We can’t wait to get going on this tour! Two days to go…! 🙂

— Mark 

LEMONADE MOUTH (Delacorte Press, 2007)
I AM THE WALLPAPER (Delacorte Press, 2005)
<
http://www.markpeterhughes.com>
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http://www.lemonademouth.com>

We set off for adventure in mere days…

Still another update from our very own intern, Naomi Fishmeier, Scene Queen:

Dearest Readers,

Mark’s LEMONADE MOUTH ACROSS AMERICA! adventure begins in mere days, and Mark plans to post regular updates on his brand new road-trip blog. In the meantime, I will refrain from making further updates until the fall. I plan to spend the summer basking in the air conditioning and recovering from being the only one who does any actual work around here.

Be sure to check out the winners of the Wallpaper Writing Contests.

Yours In Silent Subjugation,
— Naomi Fishmeier, Scene Queen

So, here’s the deal…

I’m a writer. I write novels for teens. Three months ago I quit my day job as a healthcare data cruncher to become a full-time writer, and now I’m doing my best to get the word out about my recent novel, LEMONADE MOUTH. And this is what my family and I came up with… 

LEMONADE MOUTH ACROSS AMERICA! is my family’s audacious attempt to make a writer’s dream come true with a road-trip adventure and a shoestring budget. It’s a summer-long, 26-city, 9,000 mile book tour across the USA and back–two adults, three small children and a pile of books all crammed into a minivan! For the story behind the story, click here. My website is www.markpeterhughes.com.

The Route: For a list of cities and dates, click here. If you’re nearby, come see us–we’d love to meet you!

National Public Radio: NPR recently ran a commentary about me, my books, and how I quit my job to write full time.  To hear it click here.
 

Googley-Eyes

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

It all started as just a little idea…
After recently (March 30, 2007) quitting my day-job to become a full-time writer–a big financial risk that my wife and I decided to take (carpe diem!) – Karen and I talked about ways to make the most of our summer. It started as a just little idea: Let’s take the family on a fun road-trip in our rusty minivan and stop at some bookstores along the way…but it quickly grew into something much larger. Now it’s a summer-long, 26-city, 9,000 mile adventure across the USA and back!

Our friends think we’re crazy, but we’re doing it anyway. Thing is, we probably have only a narrow window of time in our lives when this is even possible: Karen’s starting back as a Spanish teacher in September, the kids are young (Evan 9, Lucy 8, and Zoe 5) and still want to be with us (that surely won’t last forever!), and I have a new YA novel out. So the timing seems perfect, right? Except…t we have no money, and our mechanic wonders whether our 1996 Honda Odyssey, which has close to 200,000 miles on it already, will make it–not to mention that this is the summer of the final Harry Potter, so Lemonade Mouth is going to have a tough time attracting any notice at all in Harry’s shadow.

But…we decided to do it anyway! (carpe diem again!)

Brace yourselves! We’re setting off on June 27!
We’ll be stopping in cities all over the country, dealing with heat, kid issues, and close quarters while doing our best to make a writer’s dream happen on a shoestring budget–all while discovering America! 

— Mark 

LEMONADE MOUTH (Delacorte Press, 2007)
I AM THE WALLPAPER (Delacorte Press, 2005)
<http://www.markpeterhughes.com>
<http://www.lemonademouth.com>

LM nod from ALA, plus Sid Fleishman…

Yet another update from our very own intern, Naomi Fishmeier, Scene Queen:

Dearest Readers of Great Esteem,

Things just keep getting better! I’m stunned–stunned I tell you!–to report that Lemonade Mouth was nominated by the American Library Association as a 2008 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers! Mark isn’t talking about it–he continues somnabulating in and out of this walk-in-closet he calls an office as if nothing was happening (yesterday I actually caught him asleep at his desk, his mouth open and his cheeck firmly planted on the comics section of the Boston Globe) but this is a very big deal! If I wasn’t still mad at him for finishing the Tin Roof Sundae (okay he asked first, but he could have left a little for me!) I might even tell him how proud I am of him.

But I won’t. Best to keep him humble.

Mark Peter Hughes and Sid Fleishman

Here’s a photo of Mark at the recent SCBWI conference in Nashua, NH. And that gentleman pretending not to know Mark, the one obviously wishing Mark would just leave him alone for godsakes–well, that’s literary legend Sid Fleishman! You can read more about the conference, including a nice write-up about Mark’s workshops by clicking here.

Yours In Barely-Appreciated Servitude,
— Naomi Fishmeier, Scene Queen