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Judy Alter


Judy Alter has been writing fiction and nonfiction for young readers for twenty years. She has a Ph.D. in English with a special interest in the history and literature of the American West. Alter is the director of a small academic press, and writes in her spare time. She is the mother of four, and now lives with her dog, her cat, her garden, and her books.

Judy's Books

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Discovering Australia's Land, People, and Wildlife

Discovering Australia's Land, People, and Wildlife

A MyReportLinks.com Book

Judy Alter
In this new edition of the Continents of the World series, author Judy Alter uncovers the land and climate, plant and animal life, scientific discoveries, and history and exploration of Australia. This book offers fun and interesting facts about the planet’s smallest continent...Read More

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ISBN: 978-0-7660-5207-9
Binding: Library Ed.
List Price: $26.60
Discount Price: $19.95

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Judy's Latest Blog Entries

Me, the film star

Today was a non-work day, taken up by the filming of a promotional video for the physicians group that includes my hip surgeon. Last night and this morning we straightened the cottage—Jordan brought out flowers and did a clean sweep of my desk. I had make neat stacks, but she deemed that unacceptable. So there I was, all spiffed up and ready—and the videographer misunderstood and unloaded all his equipment on the front porch of the main house. He thought I just worked in the cottage and was not a happy camper when I held firm to filming in the cottage. But it all worked just fine.

Video filming is not for the impatient. There’s a bit of shooting and then a lot of changing angles; a few more shots, and then more changing angles. In about two hours, he and his assistant set up equipment, interviewed me (pre-arranged questions, which the assistant read), and filmed exercising, washing one dish over and over and over, typing (how many times can you type “The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog”?), and walking on the backyard walkway. Kraig and Susie were delightful people, and we chatted lightly during those interminable periods of getting the camera angle just right. They were also considerate, and Kraig kept saying he didn’t want to stretch my limits, etc.

They left about eleven-thirty, and two-thirty found me in Dr. McGowan’s office for a faux office visit—I made it real by asking some questions that had been on my mind. Upshot is that I can practice getting me and the walker in and out of the car, though I know I shouldn’t drive until after my eyes are fixed. But my car is in Tomball and while there for Thanksgiving I can practice on the big parking lot that is the front of Colin’s property.
Dr. Jeffrey McGowan, who gave me a new hip
and a new lease on life
            Dr. McGowan also told Kraig that I would probably use the walker the rest of my life. Sort of a disappointment but not an unexpected one. He said I might well get around the house without it, but I gather that would mean I would lurch from furniture to furniture. I couldn’t hear all this, but Jordan eavesdropped.
Videographer Kraig Kitchem at work in doctor's office

All in all, an interesting day, but one that wore me out. I came home and napped. Tonight, is a lazy reading night.

Nothing new

No blog tonight or not much of one. It has been an uneventful day although productive. Home all day, working on neighborhood newsletter and novel and moving ahead nicely with both. I’ve had a brief visit from Jordan, who is not feeling well and stayed home all day, and a slightly longer visit from Jacob who came out this morning to retrieve his leftover pizza from last night and again this evening to take out garbage and do a few “straightening” chores I needed done before tomorrow morning when a video crew arrives to film me for a promotional video for my hip surgeon and his hospital. More about that after the fact.

The video should be fun, but I had other lessons today in how medical problems take up my time. I had an appointment already to see my general physician about a spot on my back that I fear needs to come out—sent a photo to the doctor, and he said to come in and they’d remove it So today I called to ask if they could also do my clearance for eye surgery at that appointment, and I ran into what I think of as the reception-area block. Oh, no, the doctor couldn’t possibly do that. He’d look at the spot and if it needed to come out, I’d have to make another appointment, and he couldn’t possibly combine it with the surgical clearance appointment. I’d have to come in one day for blood work and then come back for the exam. Let’s see—that’s five appointments, right? I explained that I cannot drive and must rely on others and that was a lot of doctor appointments and a terrible imposition on those who carry me around. The receptionist reluctantly said she’d explain to the doctor and ask if it was all right. I told her he was more than familiar with my situation—I’ve spent half the fall in his office, for pity’s sake—he’d need no explanation. She called back with word it would be okay.

All this came about because my eye surgery is now scheduled for December 21. Awful close to Christmas, but I guess it will be fine. I have mixed emotions—want it done in December to get it off my mind and to roll it into other medical expenses for this year since I think I’ll qualify for the medical deduction, which may well go away next year. But having a definite date gives me the willies. Yes, I want it done and over with. Last night I couldn’t read the menu or the bill in a dim restaurant, and then, because my depth perception is off, I poured wine onto the counter instead of into the glass.

But other than these non-adventures, to me it’s been a day to make my heart heavy. The congressional vote for the tax bill was not unexpected but it still hurts—it will hurt me, but it will hurt a lot of others much more, and I worry about the poor and sick. Congress has struck a double blow—taxes and health care, and Paul Ryan is jubilant. Betsy DeVos has taken away protections for disabled students, and 45 has struck down the ban on importing ivory, thus opening the way for poachers and his own big-game hunting sons—another of his distractions from the Russia scandal which tonight threatens to engulf Jared Kushner. Al Franken has been accused of harassment; he apologized and called for an investigation of himself—but the Republicans are out for blood. I’m sure outspoken Franken has been a thorn in their sides all along, and they see a chance to get rid of him.

And they may be concerned about Roy Moore—he would be an inconvenience, after all—but are totally unconcerned about all the women who have come forward again today to accuse 45 or about 45’s own braggart confessions of groping and other gross details. The hypocrisy on Capitol Hill is appalling.

I echo the blogger who said tonight he is deeply ashamed of his country. Where have these people come from? How have we sunk so low?

I hope to have my optimism back tomorrow, but now I’ll just say goodnight. Try to love each other and pray for our enemies within.

Busy day…and a good one

Every evening when I type the date on my blog post, I wonder where the month of November has gone. How can we be halfway through already, with Thanksgiving a week away? I do NOT want to hear how many shopping days are left until Christmas. Have you done your shopping? I’ve got a good start on mine—all online ordering, since it’s hard for me to get out and shop, and I never was a good shopper anyway. Bless Amazon.

Worked long and hard today on the neighborhood newsletter but it’s the kind of work I enjoy—tracking down details, checking on facts, rearranging words and punctuation. For me, that’s fun. In one article there was a reference to a Miss Maberry. From context I could tell she grew up in our neighborhood in the 1920s, but she just seemed to hang there in space. It was an article reprinted from years ago, so the original author was not available to question. I asked a friend who’s an author/historian/archivist/researcher, and she soon came up with fascinating information on Miss Maberry, who apparently lived in her parents’ house all her life, a single lady. That kind of little stuff really excites me.

Tomorrow, back to editing the next novel. I’ve been dillydallying because my editor can’t look at it until January. But a conversation with dinner pal Betty tonight plus a reminder from my webmaster made me realize I have a lot to do between now and January 1 and I better get to it.

Betty and I took Jacob with us and went to a reception that Jordan’s new company gave to welcome her tonight. We only planned to stay fifteen minutes. She introduced us as only staying five minutes—is there a message there? Just kidding. We had both dressed carefully to make her proud, and we were so impressed with both the office space and the people. Lots of sincere greetings, a beautiful space with a lot of wood decorating it, a kitchen that was to-die-for and chefs from a cruise company at work in the kitchen. Bonus: good wine.

The office is U-shaped and wraps around a patio that is all wooden deck, with lights in the trees. The party drifted through the offices but was centered on the deck. Really classy event, and I’m so proud of my baby child and so happy for her.

We went to a local restaurant having a lobster festival, and I had a lobster roll—good, the meat tender (sometimes it’s not when you’re far from the ocean and it’s been frozen and cooked too long). Betty, who cannot resist shrimp just because I can’t have them, had lobster/shrimp Newburg. Jacob had cheese pizza, and we brought a whole lot of it home.

Nice, now, well-fed and socialized, to be home in jammies and at my desk. Jacob is supposed to be doing his homework. I can see that he just turned off the TV, so maybe that’s a step in the right direction.

The world seems to be in its place. Okay, we won’t talk about tax plans and health care bills though I can’t help giggling: 45 cut the advertising budget and enrollment time for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, as a way of killing it. A record number of people have already signed up. Anyone believe in karma?

Feeling a bit ditzy

Today was the monthly meeting of the Book Ladies, a group I’ve belonged to for over thirty years, gulp! One other woman shares my longevity, but the rest are newcomers of various duration. We never meant to be a ladies group—all those years ago, we just gathered friends whose lives revolved around books and they happened to be all ladies. No men applied. We have no dues, no minutes, no agenda. We just gather at The Neighborhood Grill, order breakfast, and sit and talk, sometimes about books, sometimes not. By serendipity or good fortune, I don’t know which, we are all liberals or progressives or whatever you want to call us. Years ago, there was one woman among us, someone I really liked, who stopped coming to breakfast because she was uncomfortable about the politics. I think this was in the days when George W. Bush was working up to invading Iraq.

I enjoy these breakfasts, am fond of several of the women, but I confess these days when the table is crowded and the restaurant noisy, it’s hard for me to keep up with the conversation. Darn, some days I hate this aging business. Today a woman who I used to work with sat across from me, and we had a good conversation.

Home to work for a bit and then to lunch with Mary Dulle. Mary always asks if I have errands to run and today I did, so we went to Albertson’s where I bought wine and shampoo (essentials), but the main focus of my grocery list was items on the Food Bank list. Mary admired my skill with the automated cart, but when I got out in the parking lot, it was apparent that cart was losing its battery. I practically had to push it the last little bit with my feet. What should have been easy turned complicated. Then we went to CVS to pick up prescriptions, and I somehow managed to sign the cashier’s slip and return my debit card to them with that slip. Came home, frantically searched purse, bags, etc. Mary searched her car—nothing. I finally called CVS and yes, they have it. Mary will drive me up there tomorrow.

Meantime, I came home and minded my own business. Feeling domestic, I baked oatmeal raisin cookies (frozen, a band fund-raiser for Jacob) and oh my, they were good. Then I baked the frozen spanakopita Mary brought me from the Greek Festival—baked the whole pan and will refreeze it. One piece was plenty—so good but so rich.

Mary said there used to be a column in the newspaper where people could air their gripes. In our neighborhood newsletter, a neighbor has started a “Cheers” column which I think is much more positive, but I can see the need to gripe. So my gripe today: is the proposed tax bill really going to include an exemption for owners of golf resorts? How much more toady can Congress become? And 45, as our president is licensing an escort service in China under his name? Surely, I’m mistaken, but I fear not. What ever happened to the dignity of the office? I agree with whoever said they would now vote for any functioning adult.

Some days don’t go as you planned

Another day at home all day in the cottage, but my mood was much improved over yesterday. Maybe it was because the sun was shining. I spent too much of the morning dealing with the busy-ness of life—a prescription bill from the mail-in pharmacy, a call to inquire about scheduling the eye surgery (no, in spite of a promise to call back before the end of the day, I have not heard from them), a call to my doctor’s office to renew prescriptions which they said were called in to the pharmacy (they weren’t, and it makes me nervous to go without cardiac drugs), a call to check on auto insurance (thanks to Colin, that one seems straightened out). All in all, a morning of frustration.

I did spend some time on my Christmas gift list—more frustration. I give several magazine subscriptions, and untangling which ones automatically renew and which don’t is a mammoth project. I made a little headway.

But I also edited two chapters on my WIP and did some thinking. It may sound pretentious or silly or something, but thinking is part of an author’s job. And I have figured out how to make two characters really fit in while eliminating one who just didn’t fit in. I threw him in one day in a spirit of making my thousand words a day, but he didn’t belong. Just didn’t have the oomph to deal with it in a fresh way tonight, and may not tomorrow because, gasp!, my social calendar is sort of full.

I confess I spent way too much time on Facebook these days. I enjoy the social camaraderie, like an exchange today with the daughter of a late and very treasured friend—can’t believe she’d just have turned 92. To me she is always in her seventies and forever young. But there is more to my focus and, as you can guess, it’s the ever-increasing tangle of the presidency, the investigations, and now the idiocy of Roy Moore’s candidacy for the Senate. Something new unfolds every few minutes, and I can’t bear to miss it.

Tonight, I thought I’d have the whole family for soup, but it turned out to be Jacob’s Bible study night and he had to rush. Then his parents both disappeared, and I fixed myself soup and salad, put dishes, soup and everything away. They appeared about nine for dinner, and we had a good visit. Life is, if nothing else, unpredictable.

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