Biology lesson

We live in an old house, in the woods, in the south. It’s like a trifecta for creepy crawlies to be a presence in my life.  And I’m not just talking about the dirt dauber that just landed on my arm when I went to get a plate. Oh no. We have armadillos that like to dig up our yard. There is our friend the awesome possum who likes to get into our trash. Every once in a while you’ll come across a crawfish that came out of it’s hole, or a lizard who has decided to sun himself on the side of our porch.  Oh and snakes…but I’ll get to them in a minute.

I have a love/hate relationship with all these, plus the ones I haven’t mentioned. I love the ability to teach my girls a lesson in biology, to teach them about respect for living beings (except spiders, those buggers get squished). And as long as they don’t invade my house (I’m looking at you giant snake in the ceiling) I tend to leave them be. (This is true unless it is a danger to my girls. We tend to dispatch the venomous snakes to keep our girls from getting bitten.)

To this end, I have not fixed the torn screen on the window in my daughters bedroom because for a few years now, birds have been nesting there. What better way to teach my girls about the cycle of life than to watch a clutch of eggs hatch and then thrive before leaving as fluffy little mini Wrens off on adventure.  A few times now we’ve seen it from beginning to end. A happy slice of birdie life happening before our very eyes. There hadn’t been an issue until the other night. The girls check on their birds (yes of course they named them) every couple of hours, and the other night when they went to check on them there was a snake in the nest.

It was horrifying on multiple levels. A snake, only one pane of glass away from my girls bedroom (yikes.) The type of snake (hello rattlesnake…again, yikes) And the fact that my girls were completely distraught that it was eating their birds.  Now I had to drag crying girls away from the bedroom so super hero daddy could rid the nest of the snake (it was a rattlesnake, that thing is not going to live, sorry not sorry) and I could explain about predators and prey and the natural cycle of life. I did everything I could not to quote Lion King. It wasn’t a terribly long episode, over in just a few minutes and only one baby bird was lost. But it was a lesson. Not only in the cycle of life, but in how important it is to tell us if they come across a snake, as well as what kinds of snakes we are willing to let live in really close proximity to us. It won’t be but a few days and the baby Wrens will be flying away, and I’m again left with the decision to fix that window screen.

I want to, but then again, that nest that has been used for a few years has been a great teaching tool for my girls, and a pretty quirky addition to our house. So for now, at least, it stays unfixed. And we continue to watch the growth of four babies. And we continue to learn. And how cool is that?

 

** The image is a picture I took of the nest. It’s not a great picture, but if you look really hard you can see a bit of yellow of one of the babies beaks.

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Summer is early

It’s that time of year again. Summer vacation. I mean, not mine, as I don’t really get a vacation. I’m mom 24/7/365. My oldest daughter however, she gets a summer break. And she gets it early. Today is her last day of school and it’s not even a full day. In a few hours I’ll head to the school to watch her end of year program, snap a pic or two as she crosses the stage for whatever award she is getting and then I’ll check her out early and we’re off to home. And then….then it’s two months of my girls squabbling (it’s what they do), of swimming, of trips down to the creek, of trips to the library, and basic mischief.

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The signs are already here (in truth, the signs have been here for weeks now). Signs of happy kids that is. The pool is up and full. The skin is tan (and a little pink where I wasn’t as great at the sunblock), the wet clothes are dropped over the old bouncy horse, and the towels hang on the line. This year there will be no big trip, just a sequence of days lunging around the house and driving each other insane. It’s a good life, and one I wouldn’t change at all. Even if summer comes early and doesn’t last long enough.

Well then…..

On this past Friday I had all these plans. I was going to send a newsletter (my first one) out about the release of Alien Like Me. It was due to release on April 30th, though in the end it actually came out a week early. But, I didn’t send out a newsletter. I didn’t shout from the roof with joy over my new releases. Why? You may ask… Because Friday, I received an email saying that my publisher would be shutting doors. Yup, one day before my book was due to release (officially) my publisher shuts down. It’s a bit hard to be super excited about a new book when you know it will only be on the shelf for 30 days before being unceremoniously yanked.

It’s also quite ironic really, that on the day after the publisher lets us know they are closing, the day my book was supposed to be being given to the world, my paperbacks showed up in the mail. So, I mean, at least there is that, yes?

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I think though, and this may just me being Zen and trying to not freak out, I think I’m gonna be okay. Yes my books may be un-shelved for a while, but I will get them back out there. Self pub seems to be the way to go, and I shall be going that way with gusto. So, be on the lookout. Keep up with me, don’t give up on me, this is not the end. Only the beginning of something new. Something better.

So cheers folks, and if you want to snag a copy of either Alien Like Me or The Dragon Child, you should do it now, you only have until may 31. I’m not sure how long it will take me to get them ready to go back live, but it hopefully won’t be that long.

To the creek!

 

 

It’s our spring and summer battle cry, and even when it’s not something we planned to do on a particular day, when the creek is involved, fun is ahead.

We were doing yard work. We were only going to check out the path to see how much we would have to clear this year. We were not going to jump in the freezing cold water. Yeah… two guesses how well that played out.

In the end the girls got soaked. I got soaked. And the dog..oh the sand she brought home with her. But it was worth it. Totally worth it. We had visits by a butterfly and had the first dragon fly sighting of the year. We found our biggest piece of petrified wood to date. And we found the most gorgeous rock.

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It looks like there is a constellation on it. Or the beginnings of a fossil. I had to bring it home to add to our collection. And I’m planning on placing the giant piece of petrified wood into a succulent garden. The creek is our place. A happy Saturday afternoon, a fun and wet Sunday evening, even a wienie roast on a Friday night. And even when the water is still too cold (like yesterday) and the kids are still in their pjs (again like yesterday) the creek leaves us all with a smile on our face, and sand in our toes.

 

*Author’s note. Both pictures were taken by my dear hubs who is an amazing amateur photographer.

 

The joy of Spring

It’s Spring here in the south and that means, oh well, it means time to work. Time to clear all the fallen limbs from the end of winter wind storms. It means clearing all the leaves from the flower beds to be sure the rain hasn’t washed away the bulbs. It means planting flowers, fruit, and veggies (and maybe a new tree or two).  It also means playing outside as much as we can before it gets too hot to do so.  Yesterday the family went to the park to let my daughters ride their scooter but instead we ended playing in the sandbar near the creek that had gotten washed down by the rain. It was a fun half hour in the middle of a day that had us doing all the yard work. It also netted me my first sunburn of the year. In April.

April brings my youngest daughters birthday, which is hard for me, cause I really want her to stay a baby forever. And this April brings the release of a new book. Which brings me to, ah books!! Writing gets harder to do in the spring and summer. So much to do. So much fun to be had. Time at the creek. Time at the park. Time playing with the hose in the front yard. Writing and marketing get pushed to the back burner. And I’m mostly okay with that. While writing is my chosen career, the way I hope to someday earn enough at to afford to maybe take my kids to the movies on (yes, yes, I dream big..lol), my kids are my world. My girls are the reason I get up every day. (well, coffee too) The are also the reason I keep writing, I want them to see me work hard at my dream.  But now that it is Spring, I’ll write really early before the day starts, or late at night after my girls have gone to bed. Tired from playing hard, maybe still a little sandy from the creek. It means a little more laundry for me, but it’s worth it.

So that is my Spring. What does your Spring look like? Smell like? Sound like?

When I have nothing to blog about…

I’ve mentioned it before, and it will probably come up again, but I sometimes have nothing to blog about. I’m in a waiting pattern with Alien Like Me coming out at the end of April, when I can finally shout it from the rooftops, Buy My Book, Buy My Book!

Until then, let me tell you about taking my kids to see Zootopia. My youngest is just about to turn 4 and while this was not her first movie, Kung Fu Panda 3 took that honor, it is still a relatively new experience for her. My oldest has been going to the movies since she was that age, but she has always been a calmer child, whereas my youngest is best described as, um, willful and energetic. So as we sit down to watch the movie, before which I made them both use the restroom, I settled in to what I knew would be two hours of trying to shush my girl, and keep her sitting still. It didn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t.

For some reason, at home my kid can hold off a bathroom trip for like six hours, but get her sitting in a dark theater and she has to go every half hour. Then there is also the seat that doesn’t sit even, oh no, it bounces! And then if there is a scary spot she has to sit on my lap, or even better, go down the line of seats to sit on her daddy’s lap. Oh, and let’s not forget the popcorn, of which she ate all of hers and then most of mine.

Somewhere through all this there was a movie on, a movie with cute animals and a bunch of songs, that held her attention for most of the time. Well, some of the time.  It was a cute movie, I enjoyed what I got to see of it.  I bet if you take your young kids to a theater, the experience I just described is familiar to you. I think that if you are willing to go through it, Zootopia is a good movie to see most of.

It’s Cover Reveal Day!!!!

It is finally here, the day I get to show off the cover for Alien Like Me, my newest middle grade novel. It was a long, hard road, and at points I thought we might never get a cover done, but we did (thank the good gods for Gwen Gades) and here it is!!!

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I should give you the blurb, but really I just want you to gaze on the beauty that is this cover (and the other folks sharing it today have the blurb if you are so inclined).

So here it is, FINALLY!!! The release date is going to be April 30th, so i hope you check it out when it’s available 🙂

Dealing with discouragement

I am, by nature, a happy person. A person who feels that helping others is just what you do.  I don’t do it because I have to. I don’t do it to get something out of it. I do it because it makes me feel good.  It makes me happy, and I like to be happy.

Lately though, I have been discouraged. I’ve had some writing blocks which I’m sure has fed it. My goal for the year is fluid at best and keeps changing which throws me in a spin, which has also contributed to the discouragement. And then, there is the little matter of not getting help I think I need. Now in the long run I may not need the help, but at this moment, it feels pretty huge. And I’m getting crickets. Crickets I tell you. And it hurts. And it makes me a tad rage-y. There could be reasons. Heck, I’m sure there are reasons, but right now all I see is that people I help all the time, whenever I can, are not helping me back, and that just seems wrong.

So today I am trying to remind myself that I don’t help others to get help in return. That all I can manage is myself.  I cannot make people help me, just because I have helped them. That is not why I do it in the first place. It will be my mantra today, I can’t manage what others do, only what I do. And no matter how upset I am, I won’t change my way of doing things. I might listen to happy songs today though (I’m looking at you Maroon 5).

So I hope you have a great day, and maybe just maybe, help someone today. it’ll make you feel good, promise.

 

 

When your heart is too big for your house.

Kittens and puppies oh my.

I am a rescuer of all things fuzzy. And sometimes it bites me in the rear. We’ve had a few constants, our doxie Ash has been with us four years and Felix the cat has lasted two. But the majority of animals that come through our house last less than a year. I’m a terrible person. Every time my heart overrides my brain and despite knowing that an animal isn’t a good fit for us, I still do my best to rescue it. I’s happened more times than I’d like to admit. And it’s happening now.

A few weeks ago we found a dog in our yard. We tried to find it’s owner but it had clearly been a stray for a while. So of course I took him in. He was sweet. He was really timid. Two weeks later, he wants to eat the cat. And Felix is the only cat that I’ve ever really liked. Felix is my cat. And I’m his person. So there is no way I’m letting the puppy eat him. So again I’m looking for a home for a puppy that we thought we could handle, and we can’t. It’s one of those times were I really examine my faults. Because it is a fault. My big heart for all things fuzzy and cute has turned me into a person who doesn’t do at all what she wants to. I wanted to save the puppy, but now I’m trying to find him a new home, because despite the want to save him, to love him, to add him to our family, it’s just not a good fit. And even that makes me sound callous and like a giant butthead. But it’s true. Family is a lot about fit. In a small house with four people, one dog, and one cat, fit is hugely important. I tend to forget that when big brown eyes stare up at me.

So it’s with a heavy heart I admit that I need to stop trying to rescue. Maybe our allotment is just Ash and Felix. Maybe I need to accept that. It’s hard though. It makes me want to whine and stamp my foot, but I’ll be strong. I’ll accept my faults and hopefully learn from them.  Sometimes being an adult sucks.

 

*featured image is my Ash and Felix

Rambly, rambling, rambles

Some weeks I have nothing to blog about. Those weeks are not my favorite. I’m supposed to bog, to keep you precious few interested in what I am doing in hopes that you will come to love me and then buy my book. (oppsss am I not supposed to say that?) I think I’m out of love with the idea of blogging, at least this week, so today I’m sort of rambly.

Things I think you should know. Alien Like Me is int he last step before publication!! Woo Hooo!! The tentative release date is Aprils 30 so we’ll have a cover reveal coming soon.

Because of the release of Alien Like Me, I will be putting The Dragon Child on sale, so be on the look out for that. Also, the sequel is all written and will be starting the publication process of that soon, so keep tuned for more news about that.

My goal for this month is to set up a newsletter. So if you’re interested in what will probably be a quarterly newsletter from yours truly, then be sure to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you about it 🙂

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It feels like spring in my neck of the woods, so it’s going to get harder and harder for me to stay indoors and keep the writing regular, but I do have two more series I want to work on, so hopefully I can start on them.

Also, I love gummy bears. How about you?

 

*both images taken from morguefile.com