New Books and Blog Tours

Since starting this blog, I’ve had so many stories about our adventures on Copperhead Farm to tell that I’ve neglected to talk about my books. Gasp! I was invited to participate in a blog interview and figured that this would be a perfect opportunity to share that side of my life with you.

What are you working on right now?

A young-adult paranormal novel. It’s a total departure from everything I’ve written so far, but it has been fun. Especially since it’s a collaboration with my husband. We will release it under a pen name, and we’re currently arguing about keeping it a secret or not.

As far as a new children’s book, I’m working with my publisher to get Breakfast is for the Birds released this fall/winter. It’s in the illustration phase.

Mother bird is so frustrated with her little birdies. They don't want barfed-up worms again!

Mother bird is so frustrated with her little birdies. They don’t want barfed-up worms again!

How does Breakfast is for the Birds differ from other works in its genre?

It’s for an older group of children than my first book. The reading level and interest level fit with young elementary-school students. It’s an early chapter book.

Here are a few lines from the story:

Mama dung beetle yelled from the family burrow, “Dinner time, my little scarabs!  Come and get it while it’s still warm!”

“Mom, can’t we have something other than poop?” asked the oldest dung beetle.

………..

Mama dung beetle had had enough. “You know, it could be worse. If we were humans, we would eat meatballs.”

“What’s a meatball?” the youngest dung beetle whispered to his sister.

“I don’t know, but it sounds gross,” she replied.

The beetles decided that their dinner wasn’t so bad after all, and dug in.

If you eat your June beetle, you can have honeybee for desert!

Mama spider says, “If you eat your June beetle, you can have honeybee for desert!”

My first book, Sleep My Child, is intended to be read aloud just as early as the parent wishes to begin. Some start while still pregnant. I started reading to my son as soon as I could sit him on my lap. He is nine and his brother is six, and we still read at bedtime. We all miss it when we don’t get our reading time together.

*Getting on my soap box* Even if your children can read for themselves, it’s still important (and fun!) to read to them. How else are you going to justify reading fun children’s books? I even wrote a poem about it.

Why do you write what you do?

Frustration! My children’s books are born out of total exasperation with my children. Somehow, my frustration comes out as positive and silly stories. I have no idea how that happens.

Sleep My Child: my baby was fighting sleep

Breakfast is for the Birds: picky eaters

Horrible Hal of Halitosis: sibling rivalry and constant fighting

(Horrible Hal is finished, I just need to submit it to publishers! I really procrastinate this step. Rejection is no bueno.)

Other stories that my husband and I are working on come from dinner conversations. He really is full of ideas!  Most of them are crazy. Just crazy enough.

How does your writing process work?

Writing times are few and far between. So, the process starts with reading back into the story to see what’s in print and what’s still in my head. That’s really my biggest obstacle. Writing main points on a calendar to establish a time line and check off significant events really helps.

When the kids leave for school and the house is quiet, Katie (my Rottweiler) curls up beside my desk, and I write. Until the kids come home and the peace and quiet is shattered. Chaos ensues until they go to sleep.

(I really do love my boys! But they’re…you know…BOYS! <3)

Look for these authors next week:

Monday, September 23rd, the following (very talented) children’s authors will continue the blog tour and answer the same questions. Enjoy!

Kelsey Wagner

Laura Wintczak Eckroat

Joan Edwards

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Making Memories and Sexing Chickens

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My oldest son wrote about us in class today. So stinkin’ cute!

It’s little things like this make me glad we moved out here. He loves those chickens. He loves to chase them and catch them and hug them and squeeze them and call them George…er Lacey, DeeDee, Buffy, and the rest. (We can’t tell the Rhode Island Reds apart!)

He loves those girls!

He loves those girls!

They definitely have their own personalities. One is always the last to leave the coop in the morning. She lingers in the doorway, checking things out. Another hen won’t let me push her around. When I try to herd her in a certain direction, she does that chest-bumping move against my hand or foot.  She even pecked at me once.

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They were so little then!

Several of them think I’m a pirate and they are my parrots. If I stand still, one or two will fly up to my shoulder. They stay there while I walk around and take the occasional selfie.

I acted like I was going to eat her, so she turned around and pooped on me. Well played, Lacey.

I pretended I was going to eat her, so she turned around and pooped on me. Well played, Lacey.

They are fun to watch in the morning. I open the door and they dash into the yard. They fluff up their feathers and fight. If one finds a cicada, she picks it up and runs. Several chase her until she chokes it down. It’s hilarious. So I throw them in the chicken run whenever I find them.

Lacey loves corn.

Lacey loves corn.

Besides cicadas, tomatoes are their favorite breakfast. They also love the corn we left on the stalk too long, tolerate bell peppers, but don’t touch hot peppers. I snuck some in for entertainment value. No takers.

Recently, I noticed one chicken has a more-pronounced comb and wattle than the others. It hasn’t crowed but might be a rooster!

Rooster or butch hen?

Rooster or butch hen?

Are there any chicken farmers out there that can tell? Should I perform a crazy, chicken-sexing, voodoo experiment to find out? Supposedly, if I attach a needle to the end of a string and hold it over the bird, the direction of the circle should tell the sex. If it goes clockwise it’s male; counterclockwise for female. Or is that only with chicks?

I can just imagine trying this. I’ll have to catch it first!

They routinely make me look foolish. Last week, I tried to herd them into their house before it got dark, and they didn’t want to go. They dodged me, ran around me, mocked me with their little chicken laughs. So I lost my temper and chased them. Cussing. I realized how ridiculous it must have looked, but no one was around. Half of them got chased in, the other half had to be caught individually and tossed in the door. By the last one, I was feeling pretty smug. I probably looked like Rocky when he caught his chicken.

I hope you seriously didn’t watch that whole video. It’s the most obnoxious one I could find!

Check out my post on September 16th about my upcoming children’s book.