Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Backyard Treasurers

We had baby bluebirds this year.  I was lucky enough to see the first little guy take his solo flight.  I was surprised that the babies aren't blue but brown with spotted chests.  A few weeks later they revisited the fence 'in their neighborhood' and I saw some blue feathers coming in but they were still predominantly brown. 
My cardinal babies also start out brown. Mrs. Cardinal and I were both having panic attacks when both babies decided to spend the night in the animal zone where both the dog and Monster Kitty like to hang. Since Faux Paw and Captain Stubby, who hang on the porch, are both fifteen, they are no longer a threat to the bird populace.  Monster Kitty was curtailed to indoors and the dog went out on a leash until they moved on.

Do you see him? He blends doesn't he? Maybe that's the point. Actually both birds (cardinal and finch) blend.

I just threw this in because I thought it was pretty. The hibiscus bush has gone crazy this year. We need an outdoor light worked on that's right over it.  The electrician said he'd return when the flowers died back:)

What's going on in your backyard?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Best Night Ever

Our bud and prolific writer extraordinaire, Stephanie Faris, along with several other talented authors have a wonderfully fun anthology out.
Want to know more?  It's all below.

Best. Night. Ever
By Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito


Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Gail Nall, Dee Romito, Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, and Jen Malone have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.

Buy Links:


One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between.  She lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she writes middle grade and young adult novels. Visit her at RacheleAlpine.com.

Ronni Arno Blaisdell is the author of Ruby Reinvented. She has written for several magazines, blogs, and websites. In a previous life she worked as a publicist in Hollywood, and eventually built a home in Maine. She is a keen SCBWI member and contributor to the KidLiterati.com blog. Visit her online at

Alison Cherry is the author of the YA novels RedFor Real and Look Both Ways, and the middle grade novels Willows vs. Wolverines and The Classy Crooks Club. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. This whole “writing books” thing is just a cover for the international crime ring she runs out of her Brooklyn apartment. (Shhh, don’t tell.) Visit her online at

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on the small business blogs for Intuit and Go Payment and she is a featured columnist for SmallBizTechnology.com. She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit her online at

Jen Malone is a former Hollywood publicist who once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. Jen is also the author of the middle grade novels At Your Service and The Art of the Swap, coauthor of the You’re Invited series, and wrote the YA novels Map to the Stars and Wanderlost. You can visit her online at

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking the Ice, the coauthor of You’re Invited and You’re Invited Too, and the author of the young adult novel Exit Stage Left. You can find her online at GailNall.com and on Twitter as @GaileCN. Visit her online at

Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a cafĂ©, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit

The Rafflecopter giveaway is for a free hardback copy of Best. Night. Ever. (signed by Stephanie Faris). The HTML code below can be entered into the HTML code on your blog. Scroll down if you’d just like to link to it.

Congrats, Steph.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Eastern Swallowtail and Friend

And friend....

Happiness is a butterfly, when if pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nathanielh393626.html
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nathanielh393626.html
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. Nathaniel Hawthorne
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nathanielh393626.html

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG Wednesday

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Members post about their doubts and fears, discuss struggles and triumphs, and offer words of encouragement to others who are struggling.


As writers, I believe most of us are always on the lookout for writing guides that help map and improve our creative journey. I've ran across a three part E series by Mary Buckham  on writing active setting that I found enlightening.  Have you read it?  If not you may find it helpful too. 
I must admit, that for the most part when I wrote settings, my motive was to bring the reader into the story by visualization and pull them into the story's location. But settings can offer so much more as shown in these three books.
Writing Active Setting Book 1 deals with characterization and sensory detail
Writing Active Setting Book 2--conflict and backstory
Writing Active Setting Book 3--anchoring, action, as a character and more.
Whew. That's a lot to work into a setting. 
Buckham gives many examples and shows many different authors' styles. Some write a wonderful setting in a couple of sentences, others in a couple of paragraphs. 
Setting is a wonderful tool than can be used to anchor the reader, give time and season, show foreshadowing, emotion, POV and more.
This set has gone into my toolbox.  
What about you? What writing guide have you found to be helpful?