Managing wiggly munchkins in public

Today my hubby and I walked down to our apartment complex’s front office to do some paperwork. Since its a long way from home, we brought along all five munchkins–our four and the boy we’re babysitting.

I’d been trying to do some school (we homeschool), but the delicious cool fall air had given everyone the wiggles. I mean, they’re naturally wiggly, but this is bounce-off-the-walls wiggly. So a walk seemed like just the ticket.

We reached the office and asked for our paperwork. The clerk hadn’t drawn it up yet. I was suddenly faced with a 15 minute wait with five small children who couldn’t sit still.

So we

Went outside
Visited the restroom
Visited the inoperative fountain
Threw rocks in the fountain

And finally returned inside and did the paperwork. Another lady had shown up, so the kids merrily introduced themselves while my hubby and I worked.

Socialization? We have plenty of that.

Then we walked home. Their wiggles were sufficiently alleviated so we could finish school.

Now Mama needs to rest.

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Fall into reading blog hop

I’m participating in the Fall into Reading blog hop this week. There’s a ton of great writers on the hop, so take a look around! Lots of clean romance writers Christians can enjoy.

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Hop question: We all have that special place we love to read at or a special book that we go back to time and time again. What’s your favorite place to read, and what is that special book you want to fall into again and again?

My favorite place to read is in bed, after the kids are asleep and the house is quiet. But I’ll read in snatches anywhere–when the weather is cool, I love sitting on the porch and listening to the breeze in the pines.

Books I go back to again and again? Well, Lord of the Rings is a yearly read. Right now I’m getting to read aloud lots of books to the kids that I enjoyed, and it’s bliss. Harry Potter, Narnia, Trumpet of the Swan, Wheel on the School, Derwood, Inc–I have a massive To Read list. I’ve been eyeing the Frank Peretti Dr. Cooper series, but I think they’re a bit too scary right now. Maybe in a few years …

I should be doing a contest or something, but it just so happens that my new book, Chronocrime, book 2 of the Spacetime Legacy, is free this weekend! Stop by and grab a copy!

Young Adult urban fantasy: Indal, chronomancer and werewolf, has been in exile for six months, and survived everything the desert could throw at him.

Now he has to survive multi-world gangsters.

His friends, Carda and Michelle, drag him home and present him with Michelle’s corpse–sent back in time from the near future. But Indal’s efforts to check out the timeline reveals that the corpse is a killer construct, out to murder them all.
While trying to discover who sent it, Indal stumbles into a crime ring of smugglers, blind alchemists, magic-stealing elves, and breakdancing gravity mages. They want him and his friends dead.

Because plans are in motion to that will shake the entire multiverse. And only Indal and his friends can stop them.

Take a spin around the rest of the hop, and see what you find!

Why do we love Harry Potter?

I’m about to finish reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban aloud to the kids tonight.

Because the new cover is so much better than the old one.
Because the new cover is so much better than the old one.

The kids and I have just loved going through these books. Today they were “playing Harry Potter”, running around shouting “Expelliarmis!” There’s something deeply engrossing about these stories and these characters. Being something of a reverse-engineer when it comes to reading (heh heh), I’ve been trying to figure out what that is.

First: Ordinary kids. Harry is an orphan with a mean family. Ron is poor. Hermione is a know-it-all. Normal people with hugely relatable problems.

Second: Fun. Tons of fun, and funny situations. When Lupin shot the wad of gum up Peeves’s nose, they all giggled. Same with when the Maurader’s Map “expressed surprise that an idiot like [Snape] ever became a professor.”

Third: Quidditch. My son told me that the Quidditch chapters were his very favorites in all the books. And I have to say, I love them, too. And I’m not really into sports.

Fourth: The mystery. This series is mystery disguised as fantasy. Because of the way she plants the clues and builds the suspense, it’s that trickle of dopamine in your brain that keeps you reading, thirsty for that next hit. Every time you get another clue or a reveal, bam! Dopamine.

Fifth: Magical creatures. Every book features some new, strange creature that is benign (except for the blast-ended skrewts).

The world is fantastic, and the characters–the adults, the kids–never fall into stereotypes. Just when you think you have McGonagall pegged, she buys Harry a broomstick.

The whole series is this perfect storm of wonderful. I only hope that one day, I can write something so lovely.

New Spacetime book released!

I can finally announce this book release on my blog, now that it’s working again! So here it is!

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Indal, chronomancer and werewolf, has been in exile for six months, and survived everything the desert could throw at him.

Now he has to survive multi-world gangsters.

His friends, Carda and Michelle, drag him home and present him with Michelle’s corpse–sent back in time from the near future. But Indal’s efforts to check out the timeline reveals that the corpse is a killer construct, out to murder them all.
While trying to discover who sent it, Indal stumbles into a crime ring of smugglers, blind alchemists, magic-stealing elves, and breakdancing gravity mages. They want him and his friends dead.

Because plans are in motion to that will shake the entire multiverse. And only Indal and his friends can stop them.


Available on Amazon!

September 26th-30th, it’ll be available for free on Kindle. I’m planning a bunch of spamvertisements for those days. Because that’s NEVER annoying, right?

Why women read more than men

Today on Elizabeth Craig’s blog, a guest blogger mused about why women are statistically bigger readers/writers than men.

Is it because the romance readers skew the statistics?

Is it because men are too busy?

Would men rather watch their entertainment than read it? (A commenter pointed out that watching The Matrix is more fun than reading it would be.)

When it comes to writing, the muse doesn’t distinguish between genders. Men and women are both terrific storytellers. So, the question doesn’t apply to writers–only readers.

As I mused on this, myself, and skimmed the comments, I found the one that, to me, finally, definitively, answered the question.

Novels are about people. Women are more interested in people than men are. Therefore, women read more.

The lights turned on. “That’s it!” I yelled, and my husband did the Charlie Brown midair spin.

It also explains why men typically read more non-fiction. It’s about how to do stuff, not visiting with people. Men are always figuring out how to do stuff.

Anyway, do you think this is why women read more? Or do you think there’s a better reason?

TGIF

Ah, I’m so glad it’s Friday. Weekends have become a precious commodity, between my hubby’s job and my babysitting.

A chance to run errands, read books, and otherwise do all the things I’m too busy or stressed to do over the week.

On Monday, Arizona got about 4 inches of rain. Our quad became a lake, and the kids swam in it for two days.

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That pond out there was two feet deep in some places.

The parking lot at my husband’s work was waist-deep. He saw people try to drive through it, and flooded their engines. They had to wade out and push their cars clear. He started joking that instead of CVS, their store was Sea VS.

And this is the desert. It hasn’t rained like this in 75 years, so nobody knows how to handle flooding. Now it’s Friday, of course all the water is completely gone. But the desert trees around here have started blooming like crazy. They go nuts whenever it rains. Between the flowers and the cool mornings, its like this weird extra spring.

I’m enjoying the break from the heat, too. The rest of the nation had a nice cool summer, but down here it was 115, as usual. (That kind of heat is strange. I was outside after sundown, and it only felt as hot as is usual for summer–until I realized that I’d sweated completely through my shirt in about five minutes.)

So it’s been a fun kind of week. Never boring!

Current projects blog hop

I was tagged by my Mom, Kim of Field of my Dreams. She’s participating in this blog hop, and she tagged me. So here goes!

What am I working on?

Currently I’m applying a polish draft to Chronocrime, the second Spacetime Legacy book. Hoping to release it next week!

I’m also working on painting a spiffy cover, after a bunch of pointers from covercritics.com.

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

I love taking common ideas and turning them around back to front. Like, I’ve never read a book where people manipulate time and space–with time, you can stop, rewind and fast forward, but you can do that to an object, or yourself, or a large area. Or you can scry the timeline, and peek ahead at possible futures.

Space magic is about moving stuff. Teleportation, portals, tesseracts, spatial compression, spatial waves. Great for combat, because you can jump around really quickly.

There’s also gravity magic, which does what it says on the tin–makes things heavier or lighter. This can be unexpectedly powerful, which is why one of the three known gravity mages works as a Starbreaker.

Hey, stars don’t go nova by themselves.

Why do I write what I do?

I started out by writing fanfiction. I got really good at writing within the boundaries of someone else’s universe. So when I married my husband, he had this whole Spacetime storyline. I started writing it down for him–so I’m still writing fanfiction. It’s just based on an original concept, so we own it. Yay!

Also, I happen to love books about magic and monsters in the real world. I don’t relate to high fantasy so well, but show me a werewolf running down a highway at night, and I’m hooked.

How does my creative process work?

Before I had kids, I could develop an idea purely in my head, and only write down a few key points.

But now I’m a busy mom and homeschooler! I now have huge swaths of brainpower devoted to kids–care taking, talking, teaching, and dealing out justice.

That leaves only a sliver for writing stories. So I brainstorm in odd moments and write down everything. I have pages of stream of consciousness notes. Then I write at odd moments–mostly during the kids’ computer time in the afternoon. Also at night, after they’re in bed.

I write on my iPod, and dump everything to my computer later. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you write at least a paragraph a day, or edit that much. After a while, it really adds up.

It also makes my hubby so happy. 🙂

I’m supposed to tag people to do this meme next, but everybody I know has done it at least once already.

Chewing on second Spacetime book

Well, I finished the fifth draft of the second Spacetime book Sunday, and shipped it off to my beta readers. I’m expecting all kinds of remarks like, “This is good, but you know that one part where …” Or, for heaven’s sake, “So, time for draft six?”

I’ve been fooling around with the cover, and so far it looks like this:

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It’s still kind of clip-arty, but it’s headed in the right direction. I’m going to chew on it some more.

Last week I pushed very hard to finish that draft, and this week, my brain is going to rest. I didn’t realize how tired I was, until I ran across this passage in Hebrews 12:

So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.

In other words, REST, FOO.

So this week, I’m resting from my work by doing other work. Today we had a very nice school day. Tomorrow I’m declaring Teacher In Service, and the kids are going to help me make mass quantities of strawberry jam. Home Ec, right?