Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Second Chance...

So you think you missed the Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans Amazon giveaway ? No, BUT TODAY IS THE LAST DAY! (Click on the link. I've made it easy for you to enter!)

And if you win, please consider putting a review up- (it's ok, you don't have to love it, but please be specific why so people will know that you actually read it. Yes, people do this.)

But the great news is....(dramatic pause....) You can enter to win on Goodreads ! (See, I'm making it sooo easy to get a copy, that's how much I want you to have this book.) And while you're on Goodreads, would you please mark the book as Want to Read? Help an author out! :)

Doesn't this beautiful cover draw you in....?

It tells the second part of Jack's story. You do know that owls eat squirrels, right? You must be curious why Jack and Owl are working together, and how a wagon fits in...

Enter to win, and good luck! If you don't win, consider asking your local bookstore to order it. Or, your local library. (That's almost like winning a free copy, but the library keeps it safe for you, you don't have to dust it, and the author makes a sale.)

Stay tuned for the final book in Jack's story, Evolution Revolution: Book 3 Simple Lessons (although I'm sure I could write many more because Jack is smart, curious, and trouble-bound).


Monday, February 13, 2017

What Are Sisters For?

Now that Evolution Revolution: Book 2, Simple Plans is out (available on Amazon or Goodreads, soon Barnes & Noble), I'm going to give you a sneak peek at another interior illustration by Cathy Thole-Daniels (in case you weren't convinced previously that this is a fun-for-all-ages book...)

This is Jack and Sister. That's a piece of nut she's snorting out her nose because she's laughing at Jack. She takes all the best food for herself, is kind of lazy, yet she has Jack's back during the great war with the machines. Isn't that the way with most siblings? They annoy us, don't do their fair share of the work, and want first dibs on anything good- but we can depend on them in a bind. But like siblings, Sister has her own story.

Stop by and get to know Sister, Jack, Owl, Bird, Rat- and two humans who are intent upon disrupting their lives in the name of science.

Happy reading!

And enter to win a copy of Evolution Revolution: Simple Plans by going here. And if you would be so kind to mark it as "Want to Read" on Goodreads or leave a review? Thanks! Whuck, whuck! (says Jack).


Monday, February 6, 2017

Enjoying the Win...

Most of you know I'm a huge New England Patriots fan. (Or, now you do.) So I'm going to enjoy a day with my fellow Pats Nation, to enjoy this special win.

Why it's special-
  1. Ok, it's the Super Bowl. Some teams have never made it there. Some have made it there, but have never won. 
  2. The Patriots have been in seven Super Bowls (a record).
  3. Coach Bill Belichick has more Super Bowl wins than any other coach. (He has wins with 2 other teams as an assistant coach).
  4. There are Patriots fans in every state and many countries around the world.
  5. No other team has come back from such a deficit (25 points) and won.
  6. There has never been an NFL duo (coach/quarterback) with as many shattered records and wins as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Here's our quarterback, Tom Brady.

Why he's special-

  1. He's the only quarterback to win 5 Super Bowls.
  2. He's the only quarterback to win 4 MVP Super Bowl awards.
  3. He's the second oldest qb to win a Super Bowl.
  4. He's smashed so many records, I can't recount them all.
  5. He's not done yet.
Love/hate them/him, it was history and I saw it happen. I'm going to be happen and reapply myself to my writing with the same dedication and focus he exhibits. 

Except it'll have to wait until after I clean up from my Super Bowl party...

Losers focus on winners, winners focus on winning.

Go Patriots!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Small Thing, A Memory So Big

See this?

These are those cheap rings you get out of a gumball dispenser, or in a goody bag from a kid's birthday party. I don't know where my son got them, but he scooped up three and gave them to me as a present (wasn't a holiday or my birthday). He knew I liked sparkly jewelry. He thought he was giving me something precious.

And he was. It was a gift of love from his heart, as valuable as the dandelion bouquets he used to collect for me so many times during the summer and spring. All he saw was the beauty. When I look at them, I see his youthful innocence, hear his giggles, feel his tight hugs, and even smell the fresh scent of baby powder.

Memories like that are fodder not only for a story, but for a character. I have a novel, The Recalling, that is based on the memories a girl has for someone she lost. Suddenly finding a necklace stirs up those memories--good and bad. The story develops around those memories and the necklace.

Not just things, but our senses can revitalize memories. The smell of salt water makes my heart ache for the eastern end of Long Island where I grew up from seventh grade until my twenties. It brings back memories of going to beach parties, getting severely stung by a jelly fish (in the face), having my cousin spend summers with me, doing work around the old farmhouse my parents were restoring, and getting my first car. It also brings the sadness of the loss of five friends in car accidents, one the boyfriend about whom The Recalling is based on, my parents' divorce, and everyone in the family going separate ways.

The taste of homemade bread and apple pie returns me to our farmhouse kitchen when my mother baked. We had a fireplace in the kitchen, where the cat and dog would sleep in front toasty by the fire during blustery winter days, and where my mom would put bread on the mantle in a bowl to rise.

Songs and music evoke remembrances; the theme from Jaws gave me the chills (I lived on Long Island where the movie was supposedly set and sometimes there were shark sightings). Certain church songs bring me to tears because the music and verse are deep in meaning. And I will always rock out to classic songs like Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA because I have to sing and dance with it, like it's in my DNA.

Use your memory or make up one for your characters. In my middle grade novel, even Jack the gray squirrel has memories of his brother being eaten by Fox, and his mother searching for food, but never coming home. These memories make him cautious and wary for danger. We are, in some ways, defined by our past; we want to hide it, or forget it, or relive it, or use it. Memories are snatches of our past. If characters are to be believable, they have to be more than a person doing something in the present. Characters have to have regrets and longings, fears and desires, motivations and inhibitions. Memories are Nature's way of keeping our past ever present and fluid, able to be summoned.

No matter the age, culture, situation, everyone (and it's believed that animals do too) has memories. It should be true for characters as well.