Mama Diaries

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Grand Arrival

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for all of your support on the birthday of my latest picture book, Don't Feed the Elephant! Your well-wishes, purchases, shares, and reviews mean so much to me! (And also thanks to those who have followed my Amazon author page! You guys rock!)

Second, I'm very excited to announce that my first middle-grade book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China, will be released on September 4, 2018! Here's the cover:
 


Now for the story:

Sometimes I feel like a taxi driver. I drive my kids everywhere. When I have to pick them up, the deal is that I text them. It's just not cool for a mom to come to the door, ring the doorbell, and stand there waiting for a kid to get his/her stuff together. I've been banned from doing such a thing.

The other day, I drove my teenage son to one of his friend's house. When it was time to pick him up, I pulled in the driveway and turned my phone on to give him the text that I was there. As I was fiddling around with my phone, some neighborhood kids who were playing basketball on the street, did something to activate a car alarm.

BEEP...BEEP....BEEP!

I glanced in my rear view mirror. The kids kept playing while the horn kept honking.

I shrugged and continued to wait for my phone to get a connection. It took forever! Finally, when I was about to text my boy, I saw him come out the door.

He had a big grin on his face. "My friend thought it was you beeping, telling me to come out," he said when he got in the car. "We were watching football when we heard it . My friend said I needed to go because he figured you were pretty mad."

We both laughed.

But maybe instead of texting my arrival, I should just beep like a car alarm. That apparently gets kids' attention!
     

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Birthday and Off-roading Part 2

We have a birthday to celebrate at my pad! It's the birth of my new picture book, Don't Feed the Elephant!


Blurb:  People say you're not supposed to play with your food. But the adventurous little elephant in Don't Feed the Elephant never got the message! This charming children's story won't just entertain kids with its hilarious descriptions and zany main character. It will also educate them about the alphabet and help them learn the order of letters. As the elephant works his way through food stuffs, each new dish features a new letter of the alphabet. From animal crackers to zebra cakes, the elephant is enthusiastic to gobble everything up, even when it lands him in hot water.

Here are some sample illustrations:





It's available on Amazon as a Paperback book.

Also, my publisher for Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China (release date September 2018) asked that I promote my Amazon Author page. If you would please visit and "Follow," it would be much appreciated. Thanks!


Now for the story:

Some of you had asked that I share more about the return trip from my last hiking adventure. If you recall, my son, Bubba, and I hiked to see the Papermill Ruins.


It was a precarious journey, because a tree had fallen and blocked our path. We had to off-road it, wandering through the woods along the steep bank of a river. We weren't exactly sure how we'd make it back to the parking lot. Do you know why? Because I didn't know where the parking lot was. It was a wild guess. By the time we left the ruins, the sun was getting low in the sky. It would set in about an hour.

I looked around and listened. I heard cars. Civilization! We followed the river toward the sounds and arrived at a bridge.

"That's the bridge we drove over to get to the parking lot," I said. "We could probably follow this road. It's about a mile or two, I think. But'd we'd get there."

Bubba shrugged. "Sure, Mom. Whatever you think."

Then I thought some more. The road had no sidewalks. It was hilly. And there were lots of twists and turns. Probably not a great road to walk along, especially since it was getting dark.

I scanned the area. "There has to be a path along here somewhere."

Sure enough, there was. And it followed the direction of the road. "Let's take this. It'll be safer."

For a while, all was well. We were going in the direction we needed to go and made good progress. But then we saw the sign: "Closed for Re-vegetation."

Our trail was closed. I frowned. It was the middle of winter. What kind of re-vegetation could possibly be going on?  "This is brilliant," I said. "Now what?"

We spotted another trail to our left. It went further into the woods, away from the road. "I don't think we have many options here," I said. "Let's see where this goes."

It twisted and turned and finally came to a fork. I'm really bad at forks. Inevitably, I take the wrong one. There were no trail markers to point the direction, so I had to make a wild guess.  "I think we should go that way." I pointed to the right, because that made sense. We wandered that way for a while, but then it curved. It was heading in the wrong direction.

"Ugh!" I said. "This is ridiculous!"

Meanwhile, it was getting darker. I was worried. Would we ever make it back to the car? We could retrace our steps can find the road. But then it would be black outside.

To make a long story short we kept going on the path. Then  we came across some other hikers.

"Excuse me," I said. "Could you tell me how to get to the parking lot?" (Being a woman, I wasn't afraid to ask for directions!)

"Yes," they said. "We're going that way, too. Follow us."

They seemed harmless enough–two kids, a mom, and dad, and two dogs–so I figured it would be okay.

It was. We had to go on yet another trail, and another, but we finally made it back. And we did it before the sun completely set! 


 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Off-Roading

I like to hike. So does my son, Bubba. We often find ourselves in some rather interesting situations when we take a wrong turn, or the path abruptly ends. The last adventure involved a hike to see the Papermill ruins of Marietta, Georgia. I saw the hike listed in the local newspaper under fun outdoor things to do. It sounded interesting. So, I told Bubba, and he agreed to come. This was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Usually we don't go out that late, but I thought we'd be able to complete it in plenty of time before the sun went down.

When we got to the trail head, I looked at the map. The thing had numbers of points of interest. It also had some paths marked with solid lines and others marked with dotted lines. There was no legend to say what all these things represented.

I looked at the map and shook my head. "Dude, I have no idea which path to take. My guess is that we have to go to number 26 or 27. But I'm not sure."

Bubba shrugged. "Let's just follow everybody else. They're probably going to the ruins."

We did. But they weren't going to the ruins. About a mile in, I looked at another map. "Okay," I said. "We were here," I pointed to a number. "Now we're here." I pointed to another number. "We want to go here." Where we wanted to go was definitely not the direction we we headed.

"What does that mean?" Bubba asked.

"It means that if we keep going on this path, we're going to end up in Timbuktu. We'll be at least five miles away from the ruins."

We turned around.

When we came to another map, I looked at it. We had been on a solid-line path. This path was for bikers and hikers. (That's a whole story to itself.) The dotted lines, I ascertained, were for hikers only. I discovered that there was a footpath that led up to where we wanted to go. A shortcut.

"We're taking this path," I announced. I looked at the sky. The sun was getting lower. I only hoped we'd make it to our destination.

We climbed up steep hills and trekked along deep ravines. Coming across other maps, I knew we were going in the right direction.

Then we had a problem.  This was the problem:


A giant tree had fallen across our path. It had even crashed into the map sign, destroying it.

"Now what?" Bubba asked.

"I'm not going back," I said. "We've come too far." I pointed past the tree. "We have to go in that direction."

That's when the off-roading started. We found the river and climbed along its banks. It was precarious, but I figured the mill should be situated next to the river. We'd find it eventually. Sure enough, we did.

At first we saw this:


And the we saw this:


We had reached our destination!

(Going back was another story. It included paths closed for "revegetation." Somehow we managed to get back to our car before it was completely dark!) 

And one more thing:  Here is the cover reveal for my picture book, Don't Feed the Elephant!

Release date:  January 16, 2018. 

   

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Flaming Crimes Blogfest


My blog friend, Chrys Fey, has a new book in her Disaster Crimes series. It's called, Flaming Crimes. In honor of the book's release, she has put together a blogfest. Participants will answer one question:  What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

After making sure my family was safe, I would save my viola. You might think that's ridiculous, because it's just a piece of wood with strings on it. But it has been my instrument for over 30 years. I've traveled the world with it. I've made my living teaching and performing with it. I love the sound of it, and it's the perfect size for me:  15 1/2 inches. Most violas are too big, and the small ones don't have the sound that mine has. For me, it's irreplaceable. I would be very sad if something happened to my viola, so I would do everything I could to save it.

What about you? What would you save from a fire that other people might think is ridiculous?





Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304 
Digital Price: 4.99 
Print Price: 16.99
Rating: Spicy (PG13) 

BUY LINKS:

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could've been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they're trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…



About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links: