Mama Diaries

Monday, March 18, 2019

Legos for Big People

Many of you who have been visiting this blog for a while may remember that my son Bubba and I often put together complicated Lego sets when he was little. Or more correctly, I put together complicated Lego sets, while he supervised.

Since then, Bubba has graduated on to bigger, better things. Namely, building computers. This was the project over the last two weeks. Both Bubba and my husband each decided to build a computer. A total of two.  This involved several trips to MicroCenter, the computer part store, and a lot of online browsing for parts. My head was spinning from all the computer jargon I heard.

When all the pieces and parts were gathered, assembly began. I was shocked that my boy actually knew how to install a motherboard. (He needed some help with the wiring. Since that was beyond my capability, I had my husband take care of it.)

The shocker for me was when I saw him on the computer playing a video game.

"It actually works?" I said.

"Yep. It's just like putting together a Lego set. Except it's for big people."


Have you ever built a computer? Do you understand how all those parts do what they do?  I don't have a clue! 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Discombobulated

The other day, my son, Bubba, took a nap. When he woke up, the clock said it was 7:04. Since it was dark, he assumed he had slept all night and that it was 7:04 AM. He got up and proceeded to get ready to begin his day. My husband was also taking a nap, so it appeared that it was indeed morning, and everyone in the house was still sleeping.

Then I came home from work.

Bubba was eating a bowl of cereal, freshly showered. When he saw me, he looked completely confused. "What were you doing?"

"Working, like I always do."

"All night?"

"No. I'm home for the evening."

"Wait a minute," he said. "It's not morning?"

"No, dude. It's 7:35 PM."


Has that ever happened to you?   

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Guest Author, Tonja Drecker



Today, special guest, Tonja Drecker is here to tell us about her soon-to-be-released book, Music Boxes. 

How did you get the idea to use ballerinas in your book? Were you ever a dancer?


The idea came to me while I was weeding my garden—nasty blackberries with vicious thorns. An image of a ballet teacher staring over her shelves of music boxes with an evil grin settled in and wouldn’t leave. I have no idea what it had to do with the weeds, but I loved the image and built on it from there.

I never had the chance to learn how to dance, which is too bad since I’ve always enjoyed watching ballet. However, music was always a large part of my life as a pianist, organist and choir director. My daughter is the dancer. She started ballet when she was four, and then switched to hip-hop when she was about twelve. From there, she was discovered by a private trainer and competed all the way up to the German nationals. She kept us on our toes for many years.

It's funny how ideas happen. You must've had ballet on your mind from your daughter's years of dancing. Sounds like she's a talented dancer! 


Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I adore several of the characters, which probably isn’t surprising. If I had to pick a favorite, it might be Ms. Mulberry. She makes her grumpy appearance on the first page but proves that first impressions aren’t always correct. She’s such a spunky, quirky lady who packs a ton of secrets and surprises. I’d love to have a neighbor just like her.

She sounds fun!


Who or what inspired you to be a writer?

I’m not sure anyone or anything really inspired me to write. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and assume the love for stories came from there. The moment I learned how to spell, I wrote my first ‘book’, which was an entire three pages long and colorfully illustrated in crayon. Of course, my parents read picture books to me every now and then, but it wasn’t something they did regularly. I wrote stories on and off all the way through college and had a couple things published in the school’s poetry/story collections, but I never considered becoming a writer. The idea of allowing others to read my stories came after my first two children were born. We stayed in Ireland for several months while my husband headed a project in Dublin. The house we rented had shelves of romance novels. While the kids took their afternoon naps, I didn’t have anything to do. So, I flipped through those books. And then, it hit me—people wrote books. It might seem like a silly realization, but it was the first time I thought about it. And that’s where my writing began.

A vivid imagination and a love of books are definite musts for a writer! 


When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?

When reading this question, I have the urge to flip it around because writing is probably the thing, which I spend the least amount of time doing (am I allowed to say that?). I run a small farm with cattle and chickens, and still have my youngest two children at home. Keeping everything up, going and repaired—it’s amazing how often things break on a farm—along with the usual household chores and running after the kids (and husband), fills most of my day. I also have a children’s book review site, which takes time too. The writing floats in between. I do love to hike, travel, bake, garden, and canoe too.

Sounds like you are super-busy. With that much going on it's a wonder you have any time to write! 


Are you working on anything else?

Currently, I’m working on two manuscripts. One is a joint project with another writer, a fantasy packed with magic, intrigue, adventure and action, which runs a bit on the darker side of things. It’s aimed at the young adult audience and will hopefully be ready to send off this coming Fall.

The second manuscript is aimed toward the middle grade audience again. This one is a mystery and adds a good dose of humor. The cases are inspired by real life crimes but more quirky ones. The entire thing is very STEM centered and keeps curiosity, experimentation, and fun as the primary agenda.

Teachers will like the STEM aspect of the middle grade book. It'll help get you in to do author visits!


Where can readers find your book?


Thanks for stopping by! 
Here's more information about Tonja's book:


Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Ages 9 to 12

·         ISBN-10: 1939844568
·         ISBN-13: 978-1939844569


Book Blurb:
“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame DestinĂ©e, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame DestinĂ©e’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


Sale Links:


Author Biography:
Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.

Links:




Early Order/Pre-order Special
Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc).

Giveaway
The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box ( the one found in the book video: https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w ) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.



And it's that time of month for the IWSG post. Since I won't be back on Wednesday, I'm doing this today. The question is, "Whose point of view do you write from–the hero or villain, and why?"

 I'd have to say I've always written from the hero's point of view, for no good reason other than that's what I do. This question has made me think, though. It might be fun to look at some of the things I've written from the villain's point of view. It's certainly a great way to get to know your bad guy! 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Schultz and the Midnight Visitor

Every night our giant German Shepherd, Schultz, has a barking fit. It wakes us up. He goes on and on and on and won't shut up.

We had always thought he was barking at the deer outside. They're always roaming around day and night.

It turns out we were mistaken. Mr. Schultz has been barking at a cute little rabbit who parks himself outside the door of our walk-out basement, usually around 3:30 AM, and sits there for hours, tormenting Schultz.

My husband discovered the troublesome rodent one night when he looked out the window and saw him sitting there. He promptly let Schultz out who chased the rabbit through the woods to the creek where he must have lost him. Schultz trotted back with his tongue hanging out, looking quite pleased with himself.

This little game went on for about a week. The last couple of nights have been quiet. So, I don't know if the rabbit got tired of it, or if he's planning some new way of torturing Schultz. We'll see.


(You, know, I just thought of something. My daughter had made that carrot flute. Maybe it actually lured the rabbit in. Wouldn't that be funny?)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Magic Carrot

Have you heard of Mozart's Magic Flute? Well, let me tell you about the Magic Carrot.

My daughter had a physics project in which she had to create a musical instrument using household items and a little math.

My girl and her lab partner decided on a paper flute. (Or more correctly, the lab partner decided this.) Unfortunately, the paper didn't work so well. Not surprising. So, a new item had to be found. That new item was a carrot.

My daughter did the math. Then she got out a drill and knife. When she was finished, she had something that looked like a recorder. Then the true test:  Would it make music?

She blew through it. First time it sounded like nothing but air blowing through a carrot. With a little tweaking of the mouthpiece, it produced a pitch. And when fingers covered the holes, new pitches were produced.

It doesn't sound anything like the flute in Mozart's Magic Flute, but rabbits who happen to be in the area may find the sound (and smell) pleasing, which might lure them in. Which means my dog, Schultz will have something to chase. Pure magic.


If you care to see how a carrot flute is made, go here.   

Monday, February 4, 2019

Miss Independent

Today I watched my daughter drive off to school by herself...in her own car.

It's kind of a weird thing to see the kid who used to dress up in princess costumes and have tea parties with stuffed animals suddenly turn into a young adult.

This past weekend, she bought her first car. I'm not one of those parents who just gives my kid a car. She had to work hard to earn the money. She saved it until she finally had enough to buy the car herself. The sense of accomplishment on her face when she brought it home was priceless.

It's a bittersweet thing. On one hand, I'm glad she's becoming independent and growing up. And it's kind of  nice not having to be the taxi service. On the other hand, now I have to worry about her safety on the road. And I know she'll never be a little kid again.

Next year, she'll be going off to college. That'll be another big adjustment!

How was it for you when your kids grew up? Was it hard on you? Or were you happy to see it?

And since it's about time for the IWSG post, I'll add that.

This month's question is, "What other creative outlets do you have?"

That's an easy one. I am a professional musician. I play and teach violin, viola, and piano. But I also play cello, ukulele, guitar, mandolin, harpsichord, and xylophone. I also write music. Mostly songs. But I am thinking about writing a concerto for viola and orchestra. All the contemporary viola concertos are very modern-sounding. In my opinion, they're not concertos that the average person would like to listen to. The ones that are nice, are not considered difficult enough for professional orchestra auditions. So, I would like to create a viola concerto that's pretty and technically challenging. Now I need more time... 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Snow Day

Folks in the north are experiencing above average amounts of snowfall. For this reason, many schools are closed.

Here, in Georgia where I live, the schools are also closed. But we have no snow.

"Mom," my son said when he came home yesterday. "Tomorrow is a snow day!"

I looked outside where the sun was shining brightly. I looked at the thermometer. 47 degrees Fahrenheit. "Are you sure about that?"

"Yeah! We're going to get snow!"

Fast forward to today. When we woke up, the thermometer read 43 degrees. Not cold enough to snow. Sure, it was raining, but this stuff wasn't going to freeze.

It's a little colder right now, but the sun is shining. For the life of me, I can't understand why they closed the schools. And the government offices. Ridiculous!

Let's hope it doesn't snow on Superbowl Sunday. Atlanta is hosting it. We're going to be in trouble if a few flakes fall. It'll be the first time ever that the Superbowl is cancelled!