Just a nice week

We’ve been having our usual February warm-up, but that’s set to break this weekend with a Canadian cold front. So we’ve enjoyed the sun as much as possible this week. It’s been a fairly low-key week, and that’s been fine with me.

The girls preparing for a jump photo, in their costumes.

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Annnnd … JUMP!

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I read somewhere that if you spend time with the youngest kids first thing in the morning, reading books and such, they’re much happier while you do school with the older ones. I’ve done that all week, and it’s made the household so much more peaceful.

Also we moved the youngest into the big kids’ room at night. Which has been much more restful for mom and dad, let me tell you! She took to it like a duck to water, just a little fussing in the middle of the night, quickly remedied by a sippy cup of milk.

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A nice thunderstorm hitting the mountains north of us.

I’m looking forward to some stormy days, and stew in the crock pot. I’ve also been reading recipes of southern red beans and rice, which includes an interesting spicy sausage. Seeing as how the kids won’t touch spicy things, I might do those tiny cocktail sausages instead.

Also been plugging away at Malevolent, my paranormal romance novel–just revising the ending now. So excited to inflict it upon the world!

How’s your week been?

Kids and a short story

It’s been a busy week around here. Fortunately I snapped pictures to share our doings.

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Here’s the table during recess, with all of our books in mid-school. They get very wiggly after a while, and rather than deal with tears and whining, I dispatch them to run around a lot. Always helps their moods.

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They didn’t know I was taking this pic–candid camera! Those are the best. Look at their thoughtful expressions.

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Here’s the baby in my big chair (where I was attempting to dry the denim). She climbed up there all by herself, and she was so proud.

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A tobacco moth had decided to spend the day on our porch, so I snapped a pic of him. They’re so huge! It must totally be spring, if these dudes are out and about. They make those great big tomato hornworms that are so stripy and spiffy.

I also released a new short story this week! Well, actually, it’s an old story, but it’s been spiffed up for internet consumption.

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Portal to Freedom: A magical girl who can turn into a fox, and a dragon who must eat spicy food in order to breathe fire, attempt to escape the Zoo that holds them prisoner.

A dollar on Amazon, and free on Smashwords!

Feeding ravenous kids

It’s a warm, breezy afternoon here in Arizona. I tried to get a picture, but it’s hard to get pictures of the wind.

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President’s Day took me by surprise. I was expecting to get up and do school today … then it turned out that every other child in our apartment complex was out and wanting to play. So I kicked all five kids outside.

We also built Legos and did other fun stuff. Basically, it was a vacation day. I feel like I should make some kind of special dinner, but I can’t think of cooking when my fridge is full of leftovers. Does that ever happen to you? It’s like writer’s block, only … chef’s block. I think it will just be leftover night.

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Yesterday I made hamburgers using a meatloaf recipe. I was afraid my little package of hamburger meat wouldn’t feed us all, so here’s what I did:

1 lb hamburger
1 cup leftover stuffing
a vigorous shake of garlic powder and diced onions
Several good shakes of Worcestershire
A hearty drizzle of steak sauce
1 egg

I mixed that all up, made the patties, and fried them in my trusty iron skillet. The stuffing disappeared into the meat, and the burgers tasted wonderful. Because of the stuffing, they were also a bit lighter than burgers usually are. It was a perfect dinner. I also made potato wedges and a fruit and veggie smoothie on the side.

As the weather warms up, and the kids are out in the sun more, they’re starting their summer growth spurts. And they eat like CRAZY. It’s like feeding black holes, seriously. Cookies? Gone. Grapes? Gone. Box of eight yogurts? Gone. Oranges? Gone. Apples and bananas? Gone. I try to ration one kind of snack for each day, so we don’t go through them so fast. But man, by Friday, I’m frantically cooking extra cookies and handing out peanut butter pops. (This is a scoop of peanut butter on a spoon, covered with raisins.)

If you have kids, how do you keep them fed?

A little too much excitement

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A strange wasp I found on our porch. Anybody know what it is? I mean, I assume it’s a wasp.

It’s been an interesting week or two. As you can see from these photos my son took, we actually had fog following a big storm. Fog in Phoenix! It might as well have been snow–it freaked out everybody trying to drive in it.

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Here is my son’s “Oh no look at the fog!” face.

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Here’s our little porch with all the chairs.

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Clover with lots of dew from the fog.

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Looking out from our porch, across the green.

Anyway, when my son got his bed, for reasons unknown, he didn’t get a box spring. So his mattress has been precariously perched on this IKEA wooden rack thing that rested on the bedframe and held up the mattress. Except when you get five kids dogpiling on a bed, flimsy wooden slats tend to break. So his mattress has been a saggy mess lately.

I kept saying that I’d watch the dumpsters around here, and as soon as somebody tossed a box spring, I’d grab it. (Provided it was in decent shape.)

So today, I took the kids out for a walk to release their wiggles. We got allll the way down by the front of the apartments, when I spotted a box spring and mattress beside the dumpsters. SCORE. We’d just carry it back home, and …

Wait, box springs are heavy. And I have the upper body strength of a wet spaghetti noodle. The boys and I lugged and dragged and rolled that box spring the five hundred feet or so back to our apartment building. Just as we reached our sidewalk, my strength gave out, and we stopped to rest. As we were sitting there gasping, a man in gym-like clothes drove up and said, “Would you like some help?”

I gratefully accepted. Screw feminism–I couldn’t lift my arms anymore. The guy picked up the box spring in one hand and carried it to our apartment like it was a slightly inconvenient mattress-sized rectangle. I was able to drag it inside and get it on the bed.

So now my son’s bed no longer sags, and the kids bounced on it all afternoon with no ill effects.

But I still can’t lift my arms. :-p

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My daughter’s Minecraft house, which for some reason wound up in my camera.

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Frowny baby.

Book cover release: Sci fi novel Psygen Chronicles: A New Threat

A few years ago, there was a little critique group called the Sandbox, and a bunch of us traded our novels around, critiqued each other, and eventually published. All but one author has made that step–Aaron DeMott has been working on his science fiction novel for a long time. And now, he’s finally getting ready to launch the book!

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“The Psygen Chronicles: Book 1, A New Threat”

Book blurb: “A simple diplomatic mission becomes a life and death struggle that could plunge the entire galaxy into a war… When an alien ship lands unexpectedly in the middle of her clan’s territory, Bast is sent to investigate as part of her scout trial. After an accident, she meets these new visitors. She and her senior scout Rrrark are invited to return with the aliens to their home planet to open diplomatic relations. What started out as a simple mission becomes complicated when they discover a pirate scheme that might be more than it seems. Are Bast, Rrrark, and two of the aliens called Psygens capable of stopping the pirates?”

The book is coming out from AltWit Press on April 21st

So, space opera. Also, the summary doesn’t mention this, but Bast is a giant sentient panther. Get it? Like the Egyptian cat god? Hee hee.

I haven’t read the current draft, but the old draft I critiqued (ages ago) was a fun, Star Wars-esque romp through space and across planets. I can’t wait to read the final version!

Art showcase: Three Griffin Moon

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Three Gryfon Moon, lineart by Rachel Meenan, color by me!

The griffins are from the Song of the Summer King books, which feature a griffin cast in a lovely high-fantasy story, kind of like Lion King, only better.

Book 3, A Shard of Sun, is about to come out, and Rachel and I got to read an ARC. It was so good, we enthusiastically collaborated on this pic.

(If you can’t tell, it’s based on the Three Wolf Moon shirt.)

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