Mama Diaries

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Case if the Missing Lunch Box

My boy has a habit of losing things.

This time, it was his lunch box. I figured it was stuffed somewhere in his locker. Even though he hasn't been in school for more than three months, I had a feeling it was an utter disaster.

"Dude, can you clean out your locker? We've gone through two lunch boxes already, and I'm tired of stuffing your food into these paper bags," I said.

I don't know if he bothered to clean his locker. Probably not. But he did come home with this announcement:

"I know where my lunch box is."

"Where?" I asked.

"In my homeroom class. The teacher is using it as a door stop!"


Before I go, I will let you know that my tour is continuing. I'm on Julie Flander's blog. Please stop by to read an excerpt (different from the others you may have seen) and enter to win a copy of my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Canine Catastrophe

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen that Schultz, my giant German Shepherd, was not feeling well.



Let me tell you about his vet visit.

We took him to the vet where he was examined. It was discovered that he had two ear infections, a skin infection, and a bunch of soars on his tummy and neck. He was a canine catastrophe. Schultz did not like being poked and examined. There was lots of yiping and whining and snapping at the vet.  I'm sure it didn't feel good. But when they got out the razor to shave his neck, he decided enough was enough.

I'm not sure how he did it, but he escaped from the back room and made a beeline for the front door. All you could hear were dogs in the waiting room barking, the scrambling of feet across the floor, and the vet yelling, "SCHULTZ!!!!!"

It was chaos and mayhem!

All I have to say, is it's a good thing Schultz wasn't able to open the front door, or he would've ended up in Timbuktu.

Schultz is better now, but it's not fun shoving pills down his throat with our hands. Those are some mighty big teeth! (He's an expert in getting the pills out of the pill pockets and dropping them on the floor.) The good news is, he didn't have to get his neck shaved. The vet knew better than to mess with Schultz!

Have you ever had anything crazy like that happen with your pet during a vet visit?


I am a guest on The Story of a Writer today. You can read an excerpt from my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China and enter to win a copy of the book.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

IWSG




I know I'm a couple of days early, but I won't have time to be here on Wednesday, so I'm doing this now. What am I doing? Answering the IWSG question of the month: Have world events influenced your writing in any way, and has writing helped you?

I can't say I'm influenced by events in the news. I don't have much time to watch the news, and most of it is depressing anyway. I write whatever I feel like writing regardless of what's going on around me.

Writing has helped. Mostly by getting my mind off of problems I'm dealing with in my personal life. I don't share much about those, but they've been significant and long-lasting. Writing is an escape from all of that. It forces me to focus on a story, rather than the troubles. I imagine it's like that for a lot of people. 

What about you? Are you influenced by world events? Has writing helped you?



This month, I will be doing a blog tour to promote my new book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. The first stop will be at Writer's Gambit on Friday, October 5th.  If you have a chance, please stop by.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The What the Fluff? Challenge

First of all, I'd like to thank you all for the warm welcome you gave guest author, Elaine Kaye, last week. I'm sure she appreciated it!

At my house, we're always up for a challenge. The latest involved our giant German Shepherd, Schultz. It's called the "What the Fluff?" challenge. What you're supposed to do, is stand in a doorway, holding up a sheet so that it covers you. You lower the sheet and say, "one." Then you raise it. You lower it again and say, "two." And raise it. Then you say, "three" and drop the sheet as you run away. The dog who is watching gets confused, thinking you disappeared. The reaction you get is supposed to be funny.

Here's an example:


Well, Schultz must be too smart for this challenge. My daughter did it. But instead of being confused, the large quadruped used his big sniffer to track her down. He found her, no problem. Guess you can't fool a German Shepherd!


Before I go, I'd like to let you know that I'm a guest on Linda's blog. Please stop by and visit!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Guest Author, Elaine Kaye

Today I have guest author, Elaine Kaye at my pad. She's Chrys Fey's mom. She's celebrating the release of her new book, Halloween Ride. This is the third book in her Gregory Green series. Gregory Green is a cool little kid who has a teddy bear named Sammy. This is the story of the original Sammy which was the inspiration for the series:


We were living in Okinawa, Japan at Kadena Air Base. One day, we went to a gigantic community yard sale, and I spotted a boy Cabbage Patch Doll. At the time, my second son was only a year old, so I got the doll for him, and he just loved it! My son didn’t go anywhere without his doll…Sammy.

Many years later, the doll was having some problems. His body was getting torn, and his head even came off! I found a doll pattern and gave Sammy a new body. Suddenly, Sammy was an all-new doll. No longer was he a short, plump doll. Now he had long arms and legs, like a real little boy. I had to buy infant clothes for him and make some by hand. With the longer arms and legs, Sammy could really come to life when my son and I played with him. He could hug and even cross his legs!



I had so much fun playing with Sammy that I started to invent stories about a little boy (like my son) who had a stuffed teddy bear named Sammy, and that bear would come to life to have adventures with his boy, just as my son would have adventures with his doll.

At my dining table, I wrote the first story, now titled Pea Soup Disaster. After that, I wrote several more. I illustrated, lamented, and bound them into little books for my kids to enjoy. Eventually, I brought them to my kids’ schools to read them to classes. And I would bring Sammy on those visits to help illustrate the story. The children just loved him.

We still have the original Sammy, although his head is not currently on his body. He’s had a long life, and he shows it. His nose is cracked but still attached, and my son had given him a little gold stud earing, after he had his own ear pierced. And that earring is still in his little plastic head.



After I published Pea Soup Disaster, I ordered a brown teddy bear from Build-a-Bear workshop. Now I have Sammy the teddy bear!


NEW RELEASE:


BLURB: One Halloween night, Gregory and his teddy bear Sammy go trick-or-treating, hoping for lots and lots of candy. But Sammy is scared of everything and is constantly asking, “What’s that?” Gregory gets annoyed until one of those things turns out to be a flying broomstick. And this broom wants them to go for a ride. Where will it take them?

*Story picture book ages 4-8.

Ebook 99 CENTS:
Amazon / Nook / Kobo

Print:



ALSO ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS!

Pea Soup Disaster: Amazon / Nook / Kobo


Doctor Mom: Amazon / Nook / Kobo




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Kaye is the author of A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.

She is a grandmother of three boys.




GIVEAWAY:

Enter here to win a signed paperback copy of Pea Soup Disaster, a hand-stitched bookmark, and a pea pod key chain! Open to all from September 16, 2018 – October 1, 2018!




Monday, September 10, 2018

A Big Thank You and Breakfast Concoction

First of all, I'd like to give all of you a huge thank you for making the launch of Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China successful!  I truly appreciate all the shares, the participation in the blog fest, the great comments, and the sales! You guys rock!

Here's a book trailer if you'd like to have a look:


Now for the story.

My boy, Bubba, has a creative streak, as I'm sure you know. His creativity often manifests itself in the kitchen.

The other day I found a dirty skillet sitting on the stove. I couldn't figure out what the heck the remains were.

"Dude," I said. "What was this?"

He walked over, peered at the crusted-over slop and grinned. "Eggs with chocolate syrup and bananas!"

I grimaced. "Seriously?"

He nodded.

"So, how was it?"

"Delicious. The best stuff ever. Ten out of ten stars!" 


What do you think? Would you try that concoction? What was the weirdest concoction you've ever eaten or made?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Where in the World Blog Fest and IWSG

Today is the big day! The release of my new book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China! It has taken ten long years to finally see it in print. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we're having a party. A Where in the World Blog Fest.    





Participants will answer the following question: If you could go through the Earth and end up in another country, where would you go?

I would go to New Zealand. I've heard it's amazingly beautiful. Since I enjoy hiking and nature, I'm sure I would have a great time there. If I could, I'd get on a boat and take a little side trip to Australia. I would like to see a concert at the Sydney Opera House, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and hold a koala bear. All those things are on my bucket list. My plan is to visit both of those places for my fiftieth birthday. What about you? Where would you like to go?




Page Count: 93 
Digital Price: 3.99 
Print Price: 7.95

BUY LINKS:

BLURB: Squirt doesn’t believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi’an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.

It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can’t go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don’t know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.

Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?



About the Author: Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Ellis, her husband, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Author Links:

Here's the other participants if you'd like to read their answers:
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I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for all of their support through the years. All of the wonderful comments, all the visits to other blogs where I've been a guest, and sharing news about my book releases on social media. You are all amazing! I feel so fortunate to be part of such a caring and supportive community! 


Speaking of supportive groups, it's time for the IWSG monthly post.

This month's question is, Which path to publishing have you used and why? I have used both traditional and self-publishing options. Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China is traditionally published. This is my preferred choice. I held out for so long because I really wanted to see it published that way. Self-publishing is fine, but you really have to rely on your own marketing efforts and the help of friends to share the news. It's also rather expensive. Yes, you control everything and keep all profits, but I think when you have a traditional publishing house behind you, you can reach more people and potentially sell more books.

What about you? Do you have a preferred publishing path?

And lastly, I am a guest on  the Hands-On-Book Blog. If you have a moment, please stop by and visit.

Thanks so much for visiting during the Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China book birthday celebration!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Botanist's Assistant Part 3


So, a couple of weeks ago I told you about our German Shepherd, Schultz, and his attempts at gardening. For those who didn't read the story, my son had been trying to grow ferns. They were in pots on our back deck. After Schultz's assistance, only 4 of the 15 ferns survived.

Well, our cat, Bootsy decided to help, too. The other day, he jumped up onto the rail and then dive-bombed the pots. He killed two more. Now there are 2. One is the blue fern. (Bootsy is now in the cat house.)

"We need to find a new place for these. Surrounding them with objects didn't stop the cat," I said.  "Why don't you bring them inside?"

Bubba didn't want to do that. He insisted that they needed more light. The remaining two ferns are now positioned along the back boundary of our yard. I predict the bugs will finish them off.

Stay tuned to find out. 


Before I go, I want you to know that I am a guest on the DMS blog. Visit here to learn more about my upcoming book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China and win one of three autographed copies. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

English Please?

The other day, I took my son, Bubba to a clothing store so he could get a sweatshirt he wanted. The items in this store were all related to pop culture and computer gaming.

The sales associate came over to greet us, and noticed my son's baseball cap. It's this bright blue thing with the number 11 on it. I had no idea what this represented, and still don't, but apparently the sales associate kid knew exactly what computer game it was from.

This initiated a lengthy conversation.  I will tell you, the only words I understood were, "a," "and" and "the." The gaming jargon and computer lingo were way beyond me. It didn't even sound like English.

When they were finished, I looked at my boy. "You understood everything he was talking about?"

He looked at me sideways. "Yeah, mom. Everybody understands it."

"Well, I don't," I retorted.

"Then you need to be educated in pop culture."

Okay.

What about you? Do you ever not understand gaming jargon and tech lingo that kids these days are talking about?



Before I go, I'd like to thank everyone who has signed up to be part of my book tour in the month of October. If you're interested in having me as a guest on your blog for the tour, you can find the information and sign up here.

And if you'd like to read a nice review of my upcoming book which is featured on the DMS blog, you can go here.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Botanist's Assistant

First, I'd like to thank everyone who has signed up for my "Where in the World?" blog fest. I really appreciate it! If you haven't seen the information about it, you can go here.

Second, I'm also doing a blog tour through Mason Canyon's book tour company. She's another blogger here in the blogosphere. The tour will be for the month of October. If you are interested in signing up to have me as a guest on your blog to promote my new book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China, you can sign up here.  It can be anything from guest posts, interviews, reviews, or a feature of the book. Your choice. Thanks in advance to anyone who signs up to do this!

Thought I'd share this fun picture that my publisher sent. It was taken at Supercon.



Now for the story:

A couple of weeks ago, I shared that my son had taken an interest in growing ferns. They were growing nicely...until the botanist's assistant showed up.

Bet you can't guess who that was.


Yep. None other than our giant German Shepherd, Schultz.

He decided he was going to to a little cultivating. I don't know what it is about that potting soil, but Schultz can't seem to resist digging in it and eating it. We found dirt spilled and pots tipped over all across the deck.  The fern project was wrecked.

When Bubba found out, he was furious. Schultz got sent to the dog house. Fortunately, Schultz didn't assist with all of the pots. There are four ferns still  growing. We believe one of them is the fancy blue fern.



Needless to say, Schultz has been banned from assisting with the garden.     

Monday, August 6, 2018

Insecure Writers Support Group


I have been blogging for eight years, and only now have finally signed up for the IWSG blog hop. Can you believe it? And of course, my first post is late. For some odd reason, I didn't get the question emailed to me. But that's okay. Better late than never!

The question this month is:   What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Well, pitfall number one is not having a well-edited manuscript. I've reviewed a lot of books. It's always frustrating to see one riddled with grammar and typo errors. Take the time and spend the money to have it professionally edited.

Pitfall number two is going into the publishing industry blindly. Take the time to learn about the different publishing choices and ways to market your book. It'll be a whole lot easier if you do.

Pitfall number three: Giving up. When you are faced with a lot of rejections, it's easy to quit. But don't. If you love writing, keep doing it. You'll improve, and maybe someday you'll even see your work in print. 

Speaking of work in print, my newest book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China, will be released on September 4, 2018! To help get the word out, I'm having a "Where in the World?" blog hop.


When:  September 4 -7, 2018 (Post any day during that time period.)

Where:  Your blog

Prompt:  If you could go through the Earth and end up in another country, where would you go?

Info:  All posts will have cover art, blurb, and buy information for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China which I will email to participants during the last week of August.

This is my very first blog hop. I hope you'll participate! The sign up is below. Thanks in advance to everyone who signs up!


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Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Botanist

My son, Bubba, has taken a special interest in ferns. Not just any old generic ferns, but in fancy, tropical ferns. He has decided to grow them from seeds.

He ordered some packets. A few days ago, they arrived.

"Mom, I need 18 pots," he said.

"Eighteen? What are you going to do with eighteen ferns?"

"I'm going to turn my room into a jungle."

Great, I thought. His room is already a jungle. He doesn't really need to add anything to it.

Nevertheless, I found 18 pots. (I like to garden, so it wasn't a problem finding them.)

So, now there are eighteen pots with fern seeds in them sitting on my back deck. He's been very vigilant about making sure they get enough sun and water.  Three have already sprouted. You wouldn't believe how thrilled he was about that!

Here's a picture of what one will look like:



I still don't know what he's going to do with all these ferns, but as long as he doesn't start looking for dinosaur eggs to incubate and hatch, we should be okay. No Jurassic World in my house!
 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Fingerprints on the Ceiling

The other day, I happened to glance up at the ceiling. I noticed some smudge marks. I got a stool and stood on it for a closer look. Do you know what they were? Fingerprints.

There was only one individual who could be the culprit.

"Bubba!" I called.

He came.

"Dude. How did your fingerprints get on the ceiling?"

"Well," he said rubbing his chin. "I jumped because I wanted to see if I could touch the ceiling."

"Uh, huh," I said. "Obviously you could. Now, how do you think those prints are going to come off?" 

He shrugged.

I explained it to him. "You see this stool, right here? The one short people like me have to use to touch the ceiling?"

"Yeah."

"You stand on it and you scrub them off."

"Oh."

The boy got a rag and water and scrubbed his grimy fingerprints off. Hopefully that will be the last time he'll have to do that. Now that he's grown much taller than me, I'm going to have to do regular ceiling inspections just to make sure!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Little Engine That Could

Do you all remember that cute childhood story about the blue train that tried to climb a mountain? "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

Well, that's exactly what was going on with my little blue car as we climbed the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee.

This past weekend, I took a trip with my kids to Ohio to visit my dad. We drove. Going there was no problem. (It's a 14 hour drive.) Coming home? Well, that was another story. As we got into the mountains of northern Kentucky, my engine light went on. Something was wrong. I didn't get too bent out of shape over it because I thought it might've had something to do with needing an oil change. But then the car started knocking and bucking and stuttering...right when we were going up a steep mountain. I thought for sure it was going to stall right there in the middle of the mountain.

"What's going on?" my daughter asked, her voice rising a few pitches.

"I don't know," I said, navigating to the far right lane. "The engine light is on." 

"Is the car going to blow up?"

"I hope not."

"I don't want to die!"

"I'll do my best to not have that happen."

When the trouble started, we were 5 1/2 hours from our home in Atlanta. I struggled trying to decide if I should find a mechanic in Kentucky or try to get closer to home. I opted for the latter.

We crawled through the mountains, barely faster than 40 miles per hour. First through Kentucky, then Tennessee, and then over some smaller ones in Georgia.  Even the giant semi-trucks flew past us. And of course it rained on top of it. It was the most harrowing ride ever!

I don't know how we made it, but nine hours later, we did. All the way through it, I kept thinking, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." Just like the Little Engine Who Could.

Apparently, positive thinking helps!

Endnote:  The car is getting repaired now. Something short-circuited in the engine and caused it to not allow enough oil into it. It was in complete "limp mode." It should be better shortly.


Monday, July 9, 2018

The Best Time to Set Up a Zipline

Teenagers do the strangest things.

So, the other night, my boy was out with his buddies in the woods. You might wonder what he was doing, because most teenage boys who are out in the woods at 10:00 PM are usually up to no good.

My boy was setting up a zipline–across Johns Creek. We're not talking a tiny rivulet of water. We're talking a significant body of water. When it's rainy season, the water comes up over eight feet high. People have drowned in Johns Creek. (For those who like geography, Johns Creek is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River.)

So, my boy and his friends decided it would be a good idea to string this zipline they had bought at a garage sale for $5.00 (manufacture date: 1972) across the creek in the dark. There are three ways to cross the creek:  Over the bridge (recommended way), through the water (not comfortable, and not recommended during rainy season) or over a very large tree which conveniently fell and formed a bridge to the other side. The boys opted for the latter. I have crossed this log a few times, and let me tell you, you need a really good sense of balance to do it. I can't even imagine crossing this thing in the dark. But somehow the boys did it, zipline in tow.

They secured the zipline so that it went from a tree on one side of the bank to a tree on the other side. After they were done, they tested it. It worked. They had a grand time flying over Johns Creek in the dark.

The next day, I inspected their work. It seemed secure, but there was no way I was ever going to test it. My boy had no trouble, though. I watched as he zipped over the creek.

"Dude," I said. "Why couldn't you do this during daylight hours? Why did you do it in the dark?"

"Because we're adrenaline junkies. It's more of a rush to do it when you can't see what you're doing."

Uh. Okay. I guess they're right about teenagers' brains not being fully developed!

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Impossible Door

I'm back from my vacation in Florida. It was a girl trip–me, my daughter, and her friend. We had a great time, except for one thing:  The sliding bathroom door in our hotel room.

I don't know what was wrong with it, but it wouldn't slide. At least not easily. I was able to open and close it, but not without bracing myself, or using every muscle in my body to do it. And I'm strong. My daughter couldn't get it. Not once.

"I'm stuck!" she'd call from inside. And either me or her friend would have to rescue her. It was ridiculous. But I will give it one thing:  It was the most memorable door ever!

Have you ever had to struggle with a door when you were on vacation? 

Here are some pictures of the beach at Fort Walton, Florida:



Hope you've all been enjoying your summer!

 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Power Washing the Boys

First of all, congratulations to Virginia, Cammie, and Liz who are the winners of the giveaway of my upcoming book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. Thanks to all who entered!

Now for the story:

The other day, my husband decided it would be a good idea to power wash the driveway, the sidewalk, the porch, and anything he could reach. I don't know why he thought this was a good idea, because it was 95 degrees outside. The last thing I'd want to do is heavy work in the heat!

Somehow he convinced my son, Bubba, to join him. By the time they were done, they were both disgusting, sweaty messes.

When they were finished, they came into the house.

I took one look at them. "I think you missed a couple of things."

"We didn't miss anything," they said.

"Yeah, you did. Yourselves. You both are in dire need of a power wash!"

So they each marched into a shower and power washed themselves.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Giveaway and Saga of a Snail



Before I begin, I'd like to let you all know that I'm doing a giveaway of my upcoming book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China. The publisher has three extra review copies, and we thought it would be fun to give you a chance to win one. This is open to US residents only. If you are interested, please say so in the comments below. The winners will be selected on Monday, June 18th. If you are selected, I will contact you for your email address, which I will give to the publisher. The book will come directly from the publisher. Good luck!

Now for the story:  Some of you who are friends with me on Facebook may have seen the photo of a snail crawling up my back door. We had affectionately named this snail, Gary. Here he is:


Gary was a very messy house guest. He left trails of snail poop all over the door. When he disappeared for a day, we thought he was gone. But he wasn't. He reappeared leaving more trails of snail poop. Quite frankly, I was getting tired of cleaning up after Gary. My husband decided he'd had enough, too. He peeled the snail off the top of the door and relocated him under a bush. 

But poor Gary didn't fare so well. If you are a sensitive soul, you may not want to read the rest of this story. Our ferocious cat, Bootsy, decided to take matters into his own paws. Bootsy is a critter killer. He kills anything he can find:  frogs, chipmunks, birds, cock roaches (which we don't mind). . . and snails. We found poor Gary's shell in pieces, deposited outside the back door. We are quite certain that Bootsy is the guilty party. Guess Bootsy didn't like the poop on the window, either! 


One more thing I heard about which I thought was interesting:  Do you remember how I told you that my son had to get a permit to sell lemonade at his stand? Lots of kids get fined if they don't. Well, Country Time Lemonade is taking a stand to raise money to pay lemonade stand fines. It's called Legal-Ade. Kids can get help here. 


    

Monday, June 4, 2018

Special Guests: Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight, Co-Authors of the DMS Series





Today I have two very special guests:  Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight, the co-authors of the DMS Series. Their newest book, Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library was recently released. They are here to tell you a little about it.

The Talking Library is so imaginative with many Alice In Wonderland-like qualities. What inspired you to write the book?

When we decided to start The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow we had a plan to write a series. We began Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library right after we’d finished the first book. The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow has a general theme around The Wizard of Oz, so we thought it would be fun to have each book in the series loosely based on a classic children’s story. Alice and Wonderland fit well with our ideas for the storyline in Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library.

That's clever. I'll have to re-read the Secret Files of Fairday Morrow and look for the Wizard of Oz similarities.


Talk about the writing process. How did the two of you work together to write this story?

We collaborate using the Google Drive and Google Docs. It’s a fantastic way to write together and keep projects organized. Our writing is done on the cloud, so we have flexibility to work on our projects any time and from any place that has the internet. We’ll chat on the phone, discuss a chapter, and then pick away at three chapters we keep up in the “queue”. One is almost finished, one is in the middle, and one we’re just beginning- this makes for smooth chapter transitions, and it’s easy to see where you are in the story.

Google Drive is great for sharing files. You two have done a terrific job of making the collaboration work.


What did you enjoy most about writing it?

The Talking Library was super fun to write. There’s lots of literary magic, and many of the scenes were inspired by situations that occurred while we were promoting The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, so that makes it special. We are very good at drawing story ideas from our personal experiences. Plus, it’s super fun to create stories with a friend.

Creating stories with a friend does sound like a lot of fun!

How did you come up with all the riddles that needed to be solved?

Jessica thinks in rhymes and both she and Stephanie love words and stories. Writing riddle clues with literary references was fun and challenging. Luckily, Jess gets a lot of practice writing riddles for Fairday’s book blog each week.

I love the riddles on your blog. They're cute!

Will there be more adventures for Fairday Morrow and her friends?

The next case in the DMS files is Fairday Morrow and the Master’s Emporium. 

Awesome! Sounds like fun, and I can't wait to read it!

Describe your earliest memories of writing.

Jess: There is story I wrote in 6th grade that I won a “Young Authors” award for. I remember the cardboard cover had a pegasus and a rainbow, but can’t recall the story. I wish I could! That is my earliest memory of completing a writing project. 

Stephanie: My first memory of writing has to do with getting in trouble in first grade for writing my paper the wrong way.  I wrote starting at the bottom right hand corner and make my way left and then up- so the opposite of how we write in America. I didn’t understand that there was a right way to write and and wrong way, and I remember my teacher reprimanding me and having to go back and redo the assignment the correct way. Although this memory has stayed with me because I was embarrassed and ashamed, it didn’t deter me from wanting to put stories on paper. I loved storytelling and writing in general. In 4th grade I created a picture book about my cat, Kitty Calico, and her adventures at an amusement park. I even did the illustrations (and drawing isn’t my strong suit). My mom had the story for a long time, though I am not sure where it is now.

I wrote a story that involved unicorns and rainbows when I was eight. Must be something about those two things that makes young girls want to write about them. Congrats on the Young Authors Award! And the story about writing the wrong way is funny - you were just flexing your creative muscles! 

What were your favorite books when you were kids?

Jess: My favorite children’s book is Frederick by Leo Lionni. I also adored fairy tales and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. My first chapter book ( I still have the original) was Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary.

Stephanie: After taking a while to learn to read, I became a big fan. I tended to get hooked on an author and read all of their books. Some of my favorites were: Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Shel Silverstein, and all of the Nancy Drew books.

I don't believe I've ever read Ellen Tebbits. I'll have to check it out. The others listed are all great books!


What do you do when you're not writing or promoting your books?

Jess: I enjoy nature photography, meditative drawing, spending quality time with my cats, and working in my garden.

Stephanie: I love to travel and hope to one day see all 50 states. Only 4 states left- Hawaii, Alaska, Louisiana, and Alabama. I also spend a lot of time getting lost in books!

Those all sound like good, restful activities! Stephanie, you're making great progress on visiting all the states. That's on my bucket list, too! 

What advice would you give to new writers?

Jess: First and foremost, finish your story to your satisfaction. Hire professional editors to polish your words. Believe in yourself, and love the process of your work. Protecting creative space is the key.

Stephanie: Don’t be afraid of rejection. As a writer, you will need to build tough skin. Because reading is subjective there will be people who love and dislike what you write. That is okay- be open to criticism, but believe in yourself and know that there are a lot of different types of readers out there. Everyone gets rejected. Make sure to dust yourself off when it happens and put yourself back out there.

Great advice from both of you!

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Jess: I would want to fly.


Stephanie: Invisibility. This would come in very handy when I want to run a few quick errands.

I think I'd want to fly AND be invisible! :)



Thanks so much for being guests on my blog!


Blurb for the Talking Library: Fairday Morrow had no clue that moving from Manhattan to the small town of Ashpot, Connecticut, would lead to an unsolved mystery. Her parents’ dream of renovating a crumbling Victorian, called the Begonia House, into a bed and breakfast had seemed like treachery at the time. But Fairday found out that her new house kept secrets, and once inside its twisted front gates, anything was possible. When mysterious notes start showing up warning that a librarian is in trouble and a bookworm is eating words, Fairday thinks the Begonia House has more skeletons in its closets. What happens to stories when their words get eaten?

Back quote:
“Remember to consider all angles. Just as shadows are revealed by light, truth lies betwixt the lines.”

My Review: In this second book of the Fairday Morrow Series, eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow and her friends (the DMS squad) have to figure out why words are suddenly missing from their favorite stories. The search takes them deep into the walls of the mysterious Begonia House where they discover the Talking Library. Using their riddle-solving skills, they must discover the identity of the bookworm who has been eating the words and stop more books from being altered.

The Talking Library is a very imaginative book. Many of the fantasy aspects are reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. With poisonous punctuation characters and a shadowy rook, the world building is this story is unique and fascinating. Readers will also enjoy the sprinkling of illustrations throughout the book. It's a good, quick read for middle grade kids who enjoy mysteries.


LINKS


PURCHASE THE BOOKS
THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW


FAIRDAY MORROW AND THE TALKING LIBRARY




SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
INSTAGRAM









Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson are co-authors of the Fairday Morrow series. They met freshman year of high school in English class, where they discovered they liked the same books. Their friendship grew, and over the years they went on to work as servers together, go to the same college for a short time, and they even became roommates for a while. Many books were discussed, but none were ever written. Now, after the release of their first middle grade novel, The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow, Stephanie and Jess are continuing to build suspense in book 2: Fairday Morrow and the Talking Library. 


Monday, May 28, 2018

Stuck in a Tree

First, I'd like to thank my awesome friend, Tara Tyler, for the shout out on her blog. You rock, Tara!

Now for the story:

My fourteen-year-old son thought it was a good idea to climb the maple tree in the front yard. He wasn't happy getting to the middle of the tree. Oh, no. He had to go as high as possible.

"You know, cats get stuck doing things like that," I shouted up.

He laughed it off. "Yeah. But I'm not a cat."

Uh huh.

After he had spent about five minutes swaying in the breeze up there, he decided it was time to come down. Except he had a little trouble.

"I'm stuck," he admitted after several attempts to find a descent route.

I analyzed the situation. "If you shimmy down like a fireman's pole, you can probably get your foot into the next fork."

Apparently, that suggestion was too terrifying. "You need to get the ladder, Mom,"

I sighed then fetched the step ladder and brought it out. It wasn't nearly tall enough.

"Get the painter's ladder."

Let me tell you how heavy the painter's ladder is. I can barely lift the thing. And I'm pretty strong for a middle-aged woman. Anyway, I dragged the darn thing out, and then spent the next five minutes trying to figure out how to open it up and brace it against the tree. I got it opened, but bracing it safely against the tree for him to get down was not possible.

"Dude, I don't know what to say. You're either going to have to figure this out, or we're going to call the fire department." 

He tried the shimmy thing. But his foot got caught on a smaller branch. He put his weight on it and promptly snapped it off.  It was a terrifying slide down to the before-mentioned fork. 

Somehow, he managed to get out of that tree. But not without some scratches, bumps, and pain to his man-parts.

I think he learned his lesson.     

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Organic Dirt



Before I begin, I want to take a moment to help spread the word about my author friend, C. Lee McKenzie's new book, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. She lost her husband two days after the book was released, and hasn't been able to market it. So, I'm giving her a hand. I would have included a review, but I'm still in the middle of reading it. I can tell you that I'm enjoying it and that it's well-written! I'm sure she'd appreciate a few sales!

Here's the scoop on the book:



SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC


By C. Lee McKenzie

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand. http://cleemckenziebooks.com

Links:
Barnes & Noble
KoKobo
iTunes
Amazon
Kindle
Foyles
Goodreads




Now for the story:


The other day, I was doing some gardening. I bought a bag of "organic" soil. As I poured it in the container, some spilled out. My nosy German Shepherd, Schultz, had to see what was going on. He sniffed the dirt and decided it smelled so good, he had to eat it.


"Schultz!" I hollered. "Cut it out!" I wasn't sure if eating dirt would make him sick, but I didn't want to risk it.


He trotted off and I cleaned up the dirt before he could eat more.


A little while later, the dog was standing next to the container where I had planted the flowers in the organic soil. Do you know what he was doing? Eating the dirt!


I had never seen him eat dirt, so there must've been something extra special about organic soil. Makes me wonder what's in it!