Bedtime stories

ssI hope everyone’s staying dry tonight! As far as I can tell, the rain has finally stopped for a while, thank goodness. It was nice not to have to talk over the rain as I read Cricket and Thumper their bedtime story tonight.

I grew up watching Reading Rainbow. Anyone familiar with the show may remember that they read the title of the book, followed by the name of the author and the illustrator. I watched A LOT of Reading Rainbow as a kid and, as a result, when I read books aloud, I read them the same way: I start with the title, then the name of the author, and finally, the illustrator.

Seymour teases me about this particular quirk; clearly, he did not grow up watching Reading Rainbow.  But I don’t really mind.  I’m not going to change the way I read any time soon.  But that’s not really the point of this little story (I can take a little good-natured teasing, after all – my grandpa was known among our family as “the big teaser,” after all).  The point is that tonight, all my bedtime story efforts paid off in a surprising way: Cricket asked for a bedtime story by name.

One of the stories we’ve been reading at bedtime is A Sleepy Story by Elisabeth Burrowes.  I’ve always loved Richard Brown’s illustrations for this story and when I ran across it one day as we were preparing to move our bookshelf, I pulled it off so that I could read it to the boys.  It was one of my favorite stories when I was little and now they love it, too.  Or at least Cricket does – Thumper doesn’t really seem to care what story we read, just as long as we read something.  They do both love Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, though.  Not that I blame them – who doesn’t love that book?

Anyway, I thought it was adorable that my two-year-old asked for a book by name and I had to share.  At first I was just going to post this on Facebook, but then I kept typing and typing and then I decided that maybe I should just make a blog post out of it after all. 😀

So there you go.  Cute kids, books, cute story.  Happy Thursday, everybody!

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.



A solid battle plan

Having a good idea is only half the battle.  Executing that idea into a book takes time, patience, and plenty of caffeine.  -Brian Klems

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

Water, water, everywhere…


Photo courtesy of the Marshalltown Times-Republican

If you follow me anywhere else online, you’ll have seen by now the various flood pictures I’ve been sharing (seriously, much like the water, they’re all over – both my personal and public Facebook accounts, Flickr, Instagram, and soon Pinterest as well).  Despite that, I’m going to post some more here anyway.  The extent of the damage won’t likely be truly realized for a long time yet, and the recovery will probably take years if this turns out to be anything like previous floods have been.

I know I’ve mentioned the Flood of ’93 several times already, but we had another major flood just five years ago that I had forgotten about until a friend mentioned it on Facebook.  I mean, I didn’t really forget, but I had forgotten that some of the severe flooding had been so close to us.  All you seemed to hear about was what happened in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, but there was plenty of severe flooding in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area, too, and I had forgotten that.  I think the reason that ’93 is stuck in my head has to do with my mom; seeing all the photos she took of the local damage really imprinted the severity of the disaster on my tender little psyche.  The flooding in 2008, while devastating, just didn’t have the same personal connection for me that the floods of ’93 and ’13 have.

Anyway, we drove through quite a bity of flooding again on Monday as we tried to get home.

Mix tape memories: The Memorial Day edition

Yes, it’s another mix tape post.  Have you ever heard the song “Sullivan” by Caroline’s Spine?  It’s a great song.  I was driving home from work one day a couple of months ago, one of my high school mix tapes blaring over the two screaming toddlers in my back seat, and this song came on.  I did a little happy dance in my seat as the opening chords sounded through the speakers, remembering the first time I’d heard the song.

I was with my friend, Christy, and we were driving…somewhere.  To the Rollerdrome, maybe?  Or cruising Uni?  Or maybe we were just bored and cruising the loop one day after school – I dunno.  Regardless, we were together because we did everything together back then.  Christy had recorded the song off the radio.  One minute we were rockin’ out to “Save Yourself” by Stabbing Westward and the next, Caroline’s Spine was singing about the five Sullivan brothers.   To this day, I find the placement of those two songs rather ironic.

Where’s an ark when you need one?

I shot this picture of a submerged field through the window of our truck as we were heading down to visit Seymour’s parents for the weekend. The rain bands on the window blurred the image and gave it the neat effect; the only processing I did to this was adding Instagram’s Lo-Fi filter to make the blue of the water pop out a little more. Even without it, the grass still glowed that green.

I love this image, but…


Yep, that’s right, I’ve been working on my pitch for The Lokana Chronicles again.  Though (as far as I’m aware, having not checked Twitter in the last couple of hours) the Query Kombat picks haven’t yet been announced, I’m not holding my breath that I’ll get in They’ve announced the picks for Query Kombat and I didn’t get in, but I’m not surprised because what I submitted for a query was, well, not very good.  Even I knew it, but I crossed my fingers and hit submit anyway.  Huge congrats to everyone who made it in, though – out of something like 210 kontestants, only 64 made it through to the next round and I think 32 are being eliminated in the first cut.  Pretty brutal, but pretty awesome, too.  Good luck to everybody who made it in!

Anyway, as I was trolling Twitter the other day (and by trolling, I mean more like scrolling through my feeds, not being a troll), I happened across this from the lovely Stacey Trombley:

So I took her up on it! Read all about it behind the cut. Come on, you know you want to. Clicky clicky! 🙂


Yes, that’s right, I’m making progress!  My synopsis-writing project is almost at an end (meaning I hope to be finished with it by tomorrow or the next day) and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I started a new short story.  I plan to post it here when I’m finished.  I’m really excited about it – it’ll be my first foray into sci-fi, but it’s not hardcore.  At least, I don’t think it will be.

I was inspired by the news I heard over the weekend that a Dutch company plans to launch an expedition to colonize Mars within the next decade.  I started writing late last night and kept at it today.   As I was driving home tonight…

Garage sale thirty

Score one for the savvy garage saler!

Score one for the savvy garage saler!

So today was the City-Wide Garage Sale in Reinbeck.  No, we didn’t have one, as we’ve done in years past, but I had planned to actually go this year.  It started off as such a glorious morning: I slept in, then woke up to find that Seymour bought the kids an old (and by old, I mean antique) school desk to keep their coloring books and things in for a decent price.  When I realized that it was garage sale day and that he was out looking at things instead of working, I decided to get the boys up and do the same.  I haven’t gone garage saling in years and it was a beautiful morning for a walk.

And that’s where things went downhill.  Seymour found a train table that he wanted me to look at, so I tried to get the boys ready in a hurry so I could go look at it.  Bubbles packed some milk and cereal to go for the boys and we were off…till Thumper dropped his all over the bottom of the stroller.  The back seat of the stroller has a crossbar instead of a tray, so when he tried to set his cereal container down on it, it tipped over (and he refused to hold onto it).  Then he screamed all the way to the sale and half the time we were there.

I finally managed to calm him down, and then Miss Tadpole tried to give him back his cereal, which started the whole thing over again.  By then I wanted to scream, so we ended up going home.  Seymour had some errands to run out of town and promised to stay with the kids when he got back so that I could still hit some garage sales early this afternoon, but by the time he got home, the garage sales were only scheduled to go for another half hour and at that point, either people have closed up or they’re starting to. *sigh*   So much for my glorious garage sale adventure.

Outlining, synopsis-style

He crossed the room slowly as the unseen hand of his tutor banged on the door again. The knocking had a tone and texture all its own, not unlike a voice. It was at once demanding, frustrated, and annoyed, as if the person knocking would much rather be somewhere, anywhere, else. Michael had never noticed such a thing in a knock before; he wondered what else he’d missed as he had sailed through life trying to engage fully with a half dozen different things all at once.

-The Lokana Chronicles: Fog of War

I’ve been working on my story again. It’s been a while, though, and I’ve lost touch with what I’d written before, so I’m rereading it and creating a synopsis so that I have something to look back at any time I need a bit of a refresher. The quote above is from Chapter 7.

Of course, the problem is…