Monday, April 30, 2012

From hatchling to bird

Thanks to a friend of my husband's, our backyard has a new bluebird house. It's the second one; our first we erected when we first moved in. Years ago, it hosted bluebird family after family, but then a baby bird died in the box; it's foot became stuck in between wood pieces, and the bird's blood soaked into the wood. Despite cleaning out the box, since then, no bluebirds have nested in that house.

So this year, we put in a new house built by a friend. And we have our first bluebird family! It's been such a pleasure to watch the parents first building the nest, then attacking squirrels who venture too close, and now constantly feeding the babies. A couple weeks ago, the eggs hatched. As busy as I think I am, it's nothing compared to those bluebird parents constantly darting to and from the bluebird house with worms dangling from their beaks. Now I see little bird heads poking out of the hole and looking around, perhaps wondering if they are ready yet to fly like their parents.

I'm hoping to see those first flutters, hoping to catch the young birds learning to fly. I've always thought, if I could be any animal, I'd want to be a bird - maybe not a bluebird - and I fondly remember the time I splurged and went skydiving. The cool air on my face, the ground steadily approaching - I didn't feel like I was falling, at least not until the parachute deployed and we neared the ground.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Camping with my Kindle

I've been out of touch lately... really out of touch... as in unconnected out of touch. I came back from a few days of vacation with more than 160 new emails! Yikes!

My family went camping at a state park and met some really friendly deer. The highlight of the vacation for me was a walk along a wooded trail. The sun shined through the spring leaves, transforming their green colors.

I think my boys enjoyed the campfire and marshmallows the most. And, while my husband didn't partake of the marshmallows, he also took pride in the campfire. When we camp, and often at home, he's in charge of the meals. He grilled chicken and burgers, as well as vegetables. What is it about a charcoal grilled meal after a long day of hiking? Yum!

While not having access to Wi-Fi (enjoyably) disconnected me from everything else, I still brought along my wubbie - I mean, my Kindle - and finished up a couple books beside the campfire.

On the way to the campsite, my family visited the zoo. The lemurs particularly amazed me - how quickly and gracefully they bounded from branch to rock to branch.

And now I'm back and reconnected. Emails are checked and life is returning to normal. Normal except for discovering an engorged tick poking out of my skin this morning. Ick.

Every once in a while, a vacation from cyberspace is a marvelous thing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two mysteries, two NC writers, two days, free!

My local NC writing friend and Twitter/writer guru Andy Holloman and I both are offering mysteries today and tomorrow (April 11 and 12) free on Kindle at Amazon. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download free software onto your computer to read the books on your screen.


Here's more about Andy's book, Shades of Gray:

In the Fall of 2001, John Manning's life is in turmoil.  His six-year-old daughter Lucy needs a kidney transplant, and his travel agency is in financial distress because of the 9/11 tragedy.  A lapse in his health insurance means he also has to quickly secure funds for his daughter's operation.

Wanda, a client of John's travel agency, is facing similar financial difficulties.  Her livelihood as a drug dealer has also been hit hard by increased airport security.  As a single parent, she wants to leave her dangerous profession and break free from her drug-lord boss Jamel, but a lack of funds has curtailed attempts to start a new life with her daughter.

Desperate times lead to desperate measures and John and Wanda form a partnership to smuggle cocaine via cruise ships. How far should a father go to save his child?  Can a man and woman from completely different worlds help each other?  Could they fall in love?  And who will live to see the summer of 2002?

With 34 5-star reviews on Amazon alone, Shades of Gray is worth the download, even if you have to pay for it! Click here to go to Amazon to download it!


Here's some info about my short story, Jade O'Reilly and the Ice Queen (A Sweetwater Short):

When a priceless vase disappears during the fanciest party of the year in the fictional town of Sweetwater, NC, it's up to private investigator Jade O'Reilly to recover the family heirloom. As Jade tracks down the vase, she juggles pressures from her ex-fiancé, Dale Pickles, and hard-core co-worker Mack Blackmon.

This Sweetwater Short story is about 40 pages in length and originally was published in the WG2E All-For-Indies Winter Wonderland Anthology.

Click here to go to Amazon to download it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring fever!

I turned around and realized we're in April! The world suddenly is full of green green green! Last week, I got to speak to students at an early college high school about writing and to members of a couple book clubs near the coast. Driving down the highway, multiple times I marveled at the trees that displayed so many different fresh green colors. So instead of writing blog posts, please forgive me, I've been enjoying the beautiful fresh spring sights and the gorgeous sunshine. I also took some photographs of backyard spring sights to share...

The first bluebird to occupy this house! 
Bluebird closeup!

Dogwood tree in bloom!

This frog  has been hanging out here for 2 weeks!

"I promise not to stomp on him."