Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our First Signing in California!

Here's a Sneak Peek of what we'll be doing at the Orange County Children's Book Festival tomorrow. 

If you're coming, we're excited to see you there!
Click the pic for more info.

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Overall Rating of Southern California

The Examiner reviewed Bible Girl & the Bad Boy! You can read that review HERE.

With our big signing in only a couple of days, Cade and I are getting pretty excited.  We'll perform and sign at the Orange County Children's Book Festival near the main entrance, on the way to the Storyteller Stage.  For more info about this upcoming Sunday's event, please visit this LINK.

   So, while we're getting ready, I thought I'd show you some fun pictures from our trip.

At first the Zombie Elf didn't know what to think of Knott's Berry Farm. 
Hippie, Dr. Jones, Zombie, Scribe

The Hippie (in the back) looked peaceful while Dr. Jones held her hands up--
again . . .

and again--I think her arms got tired!

The Zombie finally started enjoying himself, then he didn't want to leave.

Yesterday we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
 The kids got to pet stingrays,


 and even jellyfish!
Then last night we ate at Medieval Times.
This is the knight we rooted for:

So, my rating of Southern California is 5 out of 5 stars!  What a blast.  We're going whale watching again today--I can hardly wait.

I hope all of you are having a great day!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Post: Five of the Most Embarrassing Toddler Situations

First off, I'd like to say Happy Birthday, Fishducky!  You can go visit her HERE.

Now onto the post of the day.  Nancy Parker is joining us.  I can't wait for you to read her amazing writing!  Take it away, Nancy!

Five of the Most Embarrassing Toddler Situations

If you're a new parent, you're probably already bracing yourself for the funny and embarrassing things your child will do. Before your child learns how to behave well, she will probably get into some amusing situations. This list takes a look at some of the scenarios you can expect and what to do when they happen.

1. Not Sharing – Most toddlers don't initially understand the concept of sharing. If your toddler is similar to most children, she will consider a toy hers as soon as she touches it. If another child dares to even look at your child's toy, a small tantrum may erupt from either child. This situation is usually unavoidable until your child gets older. You can, however, attempt to distract the unhappy child with another toy.

2. Making a Scene – Even the most prepared parents must sometimes deal with an unhappy child in a public place. For example, your child might spot an item he wants at the grocery store. If you don't grant his request, he may start to cry and scream. If your child can't calm down, take him outside for a few minutes of fresh air. You can resume your shopping later.

3. Household Damage – Toddlers are very good at doing exactly what you wish they wouldn't. For example, a wandering child may use her crayons to draw on your living room wall. You can prevent these mishaps by monitoring the items in your child's reach. However, since it's not always possible to watch your child, invest in a number of quality cleaners to clean up these accidents.

4. A Sad Parting – Some toddlers do not react well when a parent leaves them at daycare or with a babysitter. Your child may begin to wail and throw a tantrum if you try to leave her. This situation may make you feel embarrassed, especially if there are other parents around. However, tantrums of this nature happen all the time. The best thing you can do is to comfort your child and reassure her that you will return later.

5. Repeating Words – Even the youngest toddlers can pick up on your words and repeat them later at the worst possible time. For example, your toddler may have heard you swear when you dropped a heavy item on your foot. Days later, your child may repeat that word when you're at the library together. To avoid this embarrassing situation, you must always remember that your child is similar to a parrot. Take care with what words you say in front of your child.

Raising children is an exciting journey with few dull moments. When embarrassing situations happen with your children, just remember that these experiences happen to every parent. The best you can do is to laugh about it later.

Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting,
Child Care, Babysitting, nanny, etc. You can reach her @

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Passed the Test!

We drove up to a lush yard with steps stretching toward a darling home.  Fishducky sat on the top step and I recognized her immediately.
    "Cade!  That's her," I squealed.  And before he even completely stopped the truck, I jumped out, ran up the steps and hugged her.  
    The rest of the day was amazing.  We visited like we'd known each other forever.  Fishducky even gave the Hippie and Scribe a drawing lesson! 
    We ate at a genuine Jewish deli--with valet parking!  After eating a matzo ball the size of Milwaukee, we went outside and I saw someone getting their shoes shined!  The man sat in a display window and everything--how epic is that?


    So today I feel fancy.  I visited the famous Fishducky, met a valet, saw an actual shoe shining and even played music for Fishducky and Bud.  We had such a blast.  
    Thanks for your kindness, Fishducky, and for being so sweet to my family.   

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whale Watching!

    We went whale watching yesterday.  I've always wanted to go, but we've never had enough money until now.  It was absolutely amazing, and I smiled the whole time.  
    I even made Dr. Jones a dress to wear on the boat.  This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip:

 It might be hard to see, but I appliqued an anchor on one pant-leg and a boat on the other.

   Also, we received some great news last night.  Remember how I'm signing at the Orange County Children's Book Festival?  Well, they're letting Cade and me play music there!
Here's some of our music:

    We'll be performing and signing near the main entrance to the Festival, on the way to the Storyteller Stage!!! Such a great location.

    Well, I hope all of you are having a great day.  We're just getting ready to meet Fishducky.  I'll tell you all about that tomorrow ;)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Prospective Friend Questionnaire

Remember my last post?  How we were going to California for a book signing and to meet Fishducky in person?  Well, we're here!  AND although we won't meet Fishducky until Tuesday, she sent me a questionnaire.  My answers are below.  
How would you have answered these epic questions?

    Why do you want this position?

There's only one Fishducky and although she's famous, she's not on Wikipedia yet. I actually searched for her there and I couldn't believe what Wikipedia "suggested" I search for instead. It's terrible, really:

This problem needs to be remedied--and as a friend I would fix this and write a Wikipedia article about what a "Fishducky" really is. . I'd also like the position--because Fishducky is awesome--obviously.

    Have you had friends previously?

2a)  If so, why did you leave them?

(I accidentally read this as: If so, why did you have them?)

Yes, because they let me make cakes, brownies and other desserts for them. They also generously allowed me to buy them massages and other gifts any time I wanted to.

2b)  How long did you have your last friend?

People who like my cakes and gift certificates have stayed around for months--even years!

    Would you be willing to work overtime if necessary?

                 That depends on the size of the cake. I'll make a four-layer beauty to keep friends, but I'm not willing to invest more time than that.  Also, I only purchase one massage a year--since I'm not as rich as J.K. Rowling.

    What was your previous salary?

4a)  There is no salary involved.  Would that be a problem?

This has never been a problem. I'm actually used to paying my friends to stick around.  Wait . . . am I missing something? Should this be a problem?


5)  Are you able to give me total loyalty?

5a)  Would you be willing to lay down your life for me?

I would lay down my life for you, but it depends on how. I'm not much on gunfire--or regular fire--I don't like suffocating (although I've yet to try it). I don't agree with drowning.  I'm also against humans, hurting each other or themselves. If it involves anything else, possibly jumping out of a plane for you (if I have a parachute) I'd probably do that.

          5b)  If not, why not?

See above explanation.

    If we had an argument, would you admit that I’m right?

             Yes . . . I mean, if that's how you'd answer this question. However you'd answer this is right.  Right?

Bonus question

What is the meaning of life?

Conrey & Ghosh have conjectured . . .

In other words . . . 42

But I beg to differ. I looked it up on Webster's and this is the meaning of life: "the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual."

            Why are people always asking about the meaning of life when it's right in the dictionary?

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm going to California!

    I'm getting sooo excited because tomorrow we're driving to California.  On Tuesday I'm meeting the famous Fishducky!  And on Sunday September 30th, I'm signing at the Orange County Children's Book Festival; some bloggers might even come see me.

    I can't wait to meet Fishducky.  But the obvious question is 'will she like me?'
    "We're looking forward to it," she said.  
    "But, Fishducky, you haven't met me in person--you don't even know if you like me yet."
    "Oh that's right," she said.
    I nearly bit my nails as we talked.  She's epic, AMAZING, how can I possibly make myself duck-worthy?  Then I thought about it and sighed with relief because I'm great at job interviews.  Hell, I got a job as a mechanic even when I had no experience!  Sometimes acting confident is enough.
    "It'll be like a job interview," I blurted.  "Will you have me fill out a friendship questionnaire or something?  How will I know if you liked me?"  And my four wild children.
    "That's not a bad idea!  And you'll know if I like you . . . at the very end."
    So, Fishducky sent me a questionnaire.  I did my best, but the official friend interview will take place on Tuesday.
    Cross your fingers for me!
    But I do have a few tricks up my sleeves.  Cade and I are bringing our instruments.  I might have candy and tell the kids they can have it only if they're darling during the interview.  Oh and I made Dr. Jones a new dress so at least that'll help make a good impression.
    Also, I'll make sure we all smell nice.  


Any other suggestions? 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Want to get published?

    Ever wished to be like Sleeping Beauty so you could take a nap--for once?  Isn't it annoying how the fairytale princes always get the girl, or how the three little pigs always beat the wolf?

    Well, that's about to change. . . .
    Wayman Publishing is releasing Open Doors 2--an anthology where authors write their own hilarious, unique, or even tragic versions of fairy tales and nursery rhymes.  
    Submissions are FREE. This could be a great publication credit if your work is accepted. 

    If you have what it takes, send your 2,000 word or less story to before October 31st, 2012 and you could be published. 
    If your story is accepted, an editor will email you by November 5th, 2012.

    For questions and more info about that, please go HERE

Now onto the post of the day.  
Top Ten WORST Reasons to try getting published:

#1 My wife is pregnant and I'd like to work from home.
Contrary to popular belief, unless you're J.K. Rowling, writing does not pay much.  If you stay on this path of destruction, you may end up with an unhappy wife, a baby, a bunch of Top Ramen and food stamps.  Best of wishes.

#2 Family Pressure: My Dad is a writer so I should be, too.
False! While this may sound great, you need to do what you love.  Why waste your life living it for someone else, honestly?

#3 It'll help me make friends with celebrities.
Writing isn't the key to friendship or romance--unless it's Harlequin.  And what's the famous part here for?  After authoring books, most people become eccentric (myself included).  Every author I know has on occasion cried or laughed hysterically at their own writing.  They talk as if their characters are real.  I doubt I could have made many friends after becoming a writer.  Get life-long regular friends first--then write.

#4 I want revenge--and I like nonfiction.
While this might sound exciting, it's not.  
    I write nonfiction.  I never thought people would read my work, but they have.  There's nothing worse than a real, live villain leaving you a terrible review on Amazon because they don't like what you've written about them.  Pen name or not, this leads to disaster!

#5 I want to be a billionaire/recluse!
Then writing is not a great idea.  Just to break even I have to talk at assemblies and signings.  I LOVE this, but never realized how much it's a part of writing today.  In fact, *smiling,* I'm going to Southern California for my writing next week--yahoo!  More details HERE

#6 Everything I write comes out perfect the first time, a gift from God that's meant to be.
Edit, edit, edit.  All writing can be polished, trust me.  I'll do nearly anything to make my work the best it can be.  It just makes sense.

#7 For the Children
Once again, this needs to be for you.  Writing can be a tough, thankless business.  If you don't love it, what will keep you going through negative feedback and endless revisions?  If you want to do something for the children, adopt.

#8 Because I like eating out at McDonald's.
I seriously read this somewhere.  The person said they liked writing because it was a good excuse to eat out and write on their laptop.  Is McD's really that good?

#9 I like to lie, so I'll be great at fiction.
Seek help!

#10 I want to be a writer because my butt is sagging?
Now who in the world wrote this?  And who would be vain enough to worry about their butt anyway?  I wonder.  My advice to this . . .  ahem person.  Get over it!  *giggling*

Five Best Reasons to Write?

#1 You LOVE writing.

#2 It helps you become a better person.

#3 You want to help others.

#4 You're willing to do what it takes (editing, promoting, etc.)

#5 ?????

What do you think, what's number five?  Do you have anything to add to this or the completely silly list above?

P.S. I can't wait for the next Wayman Anthology.  I think it'll be amazing!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Potty Train a Girl

Mistake of the day: Telling The Zombie Elf (my four-year-old boy) he'll get candy every time the baby uses the potty.
    This has evolved into slave labor! I turn around and he's herding her to the toilet.Yes, she'll potty train fast, but she might need counseling afterward.

Note to self: Never do THAT again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pixies vs. Fairies?

The Hippie cornered me. "I know who the tooth fairy is. I saw--"
    "Shhh," I said. "Don't talk so loud." I had to think fast. She was about to blow my cover.  Then it came to me--the perfect lie.  "Hippie," I whispered. "I've been doing research about the area we live in. Fairies don't live here, only pixies have been sighted. But we can't talk about this too long or too loudly. Pixies are very mischievous. They can change their shape, even look like you, or me.  And they could be anywhere, listening. Now, what were you going to tell me?"
    She gasped. "Well, I thought I saw you taking my tooth, but now I'm not sure. Mom, are you the Tooth Fairy or was it a pixie?"
    "Pixies must live in this area." I shook my head in disbelief. "They're so crafty."
    She nodded before smiling. "I'm so glad you told me all of this."
    "Me too," I said, feeling like a superhero. I might not own a cape, or know how to fly, but I know how to save innocence and keep kids' imaginations alive.  BAM!--take that Batman! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

You are what you eat--What does that mean?

Seriously, what does "You Are What You Eat" really mean?
    I remember this saying from back in high school. I sat eating apples with a really great guy. Then some bully strutted over and said to my friend, "You are what you eat!"
    "What does that mean?" I asked.
    "He's eating a fruit isn't he! That makes him a fruit."
    The bully walked away, eating a fat boy and I should have yelled at him, "You're an idiot--look what you're eating."

   But instead I stayed silent, trying to convey--with my eyes--how sad I felt for my friend the apple-lover.
    So what is it with food? Does it have power over who we are? Should I study everything I've eaten instead of my astrological sign? Is there a reason I was silent about the Fat Boy, is it because I love chicken?

Signing off,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Tooth Fairy is really . . . a NINJA!

When my kids lose teeth, I turn into a tooth-stealing ninja.  With black clothes and a will of steel, I rob teeth from the poor AND make those kids rich.  The Hippie recently lost three teeth all in a short time.  I've been thrilled about freelancing as the Tooth Fairy, until overhearing my kids' conversation this morning.

Please note, this isn't me:


    I'd given The Hippie a glass angel and four dollars--being an overachiever! As The Hippie found her treasures this morning, I hid just outside her door and listened.
    "I've seen the Tooth Fairy," The Hippie whispered to her older sister The Scribe. 
    "No you haven't. The Tooth Fairy is so fast and small."
    "Yes, I have.  Last night, I stayed up almost all night.  Just when I thought I'd go to sleep, the door creaked."
     "And?" The Scribe asked eagerly.
     "A huge black shape came into the room.  It walked very strange, like it had problems."
     Dear Reader, STOP right there.  The black shape didn't walk "like it had problems!"  It crept like a freakin' NINJA!  Now, back to the story.
    "I watched and watched," The Hippie said, "but it was so slow. It didn't fly or move like a fairy!"
    "A huge black shape? Of course it didn't move like a fairy!" The Scribe said.
    "Anyway, it slowly bent over the tooth, knocked some things off my shelf, almost broke my porcelain doll, and that's when the light hit her face."
    "Oh. My. Gosh!  Really.  YOU saw the Tooth Fairy's face.  What did she look like?  Was she pretty?  Why was she so big?"
    The Hippie chuckled, obviously proud to have discovered something before her older sister.  "Because, Scribe.  The Tooth Fairy . . . is our mother!"
    The Scribe gasped.  "This is unreal."
    "I know," The Hippie said, "Do you think all of the other children know it's her?"
    I almost died of laughter.  What am I . . . Santa?  I alone visit all the children--that sounds like a nightmare.  A tooth here and there is fantastic--tons of teeth every night, now that's just work.
    "I should have known," The Scribe continued.  "Once she thought she was being extra sneaky.  As she kissed my cheek goodnight, Mom slid her hand under my pillow and left the room. When I checked for my tooth, it was gone--and five bucks were there.  Now if that isn't silly, I don't know what is."
    "Wow," The Hippie said. "No wonder Mom's so tired, getting teeth from all those children."
    "It also explains why we have no money.  She keeps giving everything away to tooth-less children!" The Scribe said.  "We have to do something.  Hippie, it's time to have a talk with the Tooth Fairy."
    I left quickly and after bringing them to school, decided to write this.  All I wanted was to give them a good childhood, but I don't want to be part of an intervention!
    I used to love being the Tooth Fairy, my how things change.
The Scribe helped write a story last year about losing teeth, please click the picture to find out more.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to Raise a Butterfly

First off, Happy Birthday, Melynda! You're such a sweetheart and I hope you'll have an AMAZING day! You can go visit her HERE.

    Now onto the story of the day. . . .   

Two weeks ago The Scribe got a special delivery of four caterpillars. We knew if taken care of, those caterpillars would turn into monarch butterflies. So we did everything we could, keeping them in a perfect temperature out of direct sunlight and under a slight breeze. One of the cats died quickly despite our best efforts since he hadn't handled the postal journey well. Two of them made cocoons within the next several nights--that was amazing!
    They have gorgeous golden bumps on the bottom side.

But the only remaining cat refused to make its cocoon. This made me nervous since we were supposed to switch them to a larger netted butterfly home as soon as they cocooned. If butterflies don't have enough room once they come out, they will die.
    I watched the slow-crawling caterpillar and soon discovered he had cannibalistic tendencies! He poked the other cocoons, and even climbed on them. He ate much of the tissue paper they hung from. It made me sick--because I'm a pansy and one cocoon almost fell.
    Anyway, the final cat eventually cocooned, but only half-way after days. I realized I had to switch them to a larger container as soon as possible.  That's when something tragic happened; the final cat hadn't made his cocoon right. It swayed and then slapped hard against the ground as I tried moving them!   
    I couldn't pick up the cocoon with my hands because the cat convulsed and like I said before . . . I'm a pansy.
    Something was wrong with the caterpillar for sure now, and maybe even before since he never fully cocooned. But I wanted it to live so badly. I wanted it to get a shot at flying.

    That's when I remembered Zeke. . . .

    Have you ever fought for something? Given everything you could, suddenly realizing there are things worth living and dying for. I would have died just to give my boy a chance. But after we gave him everything we could, in the end, everything wasn't enough.

    I watched the half-cocooned caterpillar flailing and pulled out my iPad. Some directions said, "Glue the end upside down." "Use non-toxic Elmer's glue."  I stood straighter--we could do this. The Scribe tenderly held the half-cocooned caterpillar--she's so brave. I got the glue and we glued him to some paper. He almost instantly stopped moving once we had him upside down, but that night I couldn't sleep. I thought about life. Why are some people and creatures made with imperfections? Why do bad things happen like the cocoon falling or Zeke being born the way he was?
    I know peace can come after loss and it has for me, really. But there are still days when the old hurts ache badly.

    So two days ago, the three cocoons hung, and I worried for the final cat again. Even though he moved slower than the others, had tried climbing on them and only half-cocooned, I still prayed he'd live. I googled it again and found out, "If Elmer's glue has direct contact with caterpillars or monarchs, they will die."  Then to further sicken me, I read that some people raise butterflies just to kill them for art!
    Anyway, the point is that . . . I killed a caterpillar. I couldn't sleep well for nights and in my efforts to save him, I poisoned the poor little guy. The Scribe said maybe he would have died regardless, lacking a complete cocoon. She might be right. I don't know, and it still makes me sad. 
    As I prayed for him yesterday, the front cocoon started rocking.  A split appeared in the cocoon! It was amazing, and so surreal.
    Although, I wish the final cat could have flown, and been beautiful like the two perfectly healthy butterflies that emerged, I need to realize that everything happens for a reason.
 Here is one hanging on the tissue paper.

As I watched them this morning, it reminded me to always enjoy and appreciate what I have.  Yes, the final caterpillar got poisoned in my attempts to save him.  But two healthy butterflies came out and my kids are thrilled.   
    On the same note, yes, Zeke died.  But now I have four wonderful kids to love and take care of. None of them will ever take Zeke's place, because they all have a special place in my heart. 

    We might not understand the reason bad things happen, but we can vow to be happy with what we have.  And for that reality, I'm thankful.

For more about Zeke and his story, please go HERE.

Signing off,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Miss Cade

    Not many people online know, but Cade is only home a few days out of each month.  He's coming back today and I cannot wait to see him!
    After the book fair these past few days, I'm pretty exhausted.  That took a lot of planning and long hours preparing all of the links and sale info.  But it was so worth it.  Now, though, I'm ready to collapse.
    In honor of the fact that Cade will soon be home--and he'll let me take a nap--I've decided to post a video from last year . . . Cade is the Monkey/Gorilla-guy.  I sure love that man.

    And yes, we are total goofballs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Over a Dozen FREE eBooks for One More Day!

Visit the official book fair HERE.

5% of Wayman's select physical book profits will be donated to the American Diabetes Association from Labor Day until November 1st, 2012.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Golden Sky Hit #1 on Amazon! Oh my gosh!

    The Book Fair is going so great.  And look at what made it to #1 for Women's Memoir!

    I could cry; I'm so happy, just thinking about how much I've done trying to keep Zeke's memory alive. And now more people will know his story. Wow, this day is amazing.
    If you'd like to read something this holiday, check out all of the wonderful books at the Book Fair. Or browse the FREE eBooks (The Golden Sky included) at Wayman Publishing HERE.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

FRE!E! eBooks for Three Whole Days


Grab this code (above) if you'd like to share this entire post.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Four Featured Books--I'm so excited!

An introduction to some of the many books that will be FREE tomorrow!

Let me tell you about . . .

More Nonsense . . . If you like laughing, you NEED to read this book. The stories are absolutely hysterical, and this is one novel I've loved reading over and over again. 

Middle Damned
An action-packed book that I couldn't put down. Not only did this draw me in with the steampunk afterlife ideas, I felt so part of the characters' journeys and relationships as if living in the strange world Stilson so skillfully created. The sections with the two brothers were perfectly written, interweaving conflict and bonds transcending even death. This is a book I'll never forget. 

The Swashbuckle Chuckle 
With a storyline so perfect the Zombie Elf (my four-year-old) has started wearing a pirate hat and a fake hook.  Now he calls himself "Captain Buckle Chuckle."
    Did this author have any idea how much his writing would change children's lives?  It's two of my kids' favorite book!

If you read Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats and Their Humans, I know you'll love it.  It's a special book that will impact the reader and help nudge them along the right path, the path of love and happiness.
    I've also found it a great devotional, to help me through the hard times.

These books AND many others will be free through Wayman Publishing 
tomorrow - September 4th.  
*** Please come back then. ***
    And for more info about that book fair, and a chance to win $200, go HERE