Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Writing Contest!

Attention Fantasy/Science Fiction Writers!

Here's a cool writing contest to enter. Follow the link below for all the rules and information. Sounds fun! Good luck, everybody.

"Dear Lucky Agent" Contest Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Writing News

Remember that young adult fantasy novel I mentioned earlier? I entered it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and it made it all the way to the semifinals! You could have knocked me over with a feather (heh heh). I never expected it to make it through the first round, let alone this far and I'm thrilled.

I've got a new nonfiction book coming out next year from Barbour Books. The title (unless it changes between now and then) is Simple Tips and Inspiration for Knitters. Talk about fun to write - I love to knit so this was really an exciting project. Can't wait to see it in print.

Bird News

The baby wrens living on the front porch grew up and decided to leave the nest recently. They were so precious; little bundles of scruffy feathers perching precariously on the edge of the nest, wobbling back and forth, desperately flapping their wings when a sibling tried to shove them out. The parents kept calling to them and tempting them with juicy worms. Finally, the urge to fly (and eat) took over and each one launched into the air.

Three headed for the big cypress at the end of the porch where the parents waited, but one tiny Wrong-Way Joe headed in the opposite direction. It took me a few minutes to catch the little guy, but finally I scooped him up and carried him to the edge of the woods where the rest of the family had gathered. There was a little excitement as the young ones wobbled and flapped, still not quite able to control their wings. At last, they all made it up into a pine tree and from there followed the parents off into the woods. Awesome.

Enough rambling for now. Take care, everybody, and happy writing!

Monday, October 05, 2009


I finished the first draft of my book!

And I'm so happy! Now I'm up to my eyeballs in edits but that's okay. I actually did it, I wrote a full length work of fiction. I'm stunned.

:) :) :)

Bird note: Hummingbirds are still buzzing around. I have to refill the front-porch feeder to keep our little visitors energetic and happy. They are so amazing!

Friday, September 11, 2009



Remember the book I mentioned a couple of posts back? Well, I cobbled up a short story based on the main character and submitted it to Beyond Centauri, a print magazine featuring science fiction and fantasy stories for kids. They accepted it! I'm so pleased. :)

After writing nonfiction for soooo long, it's kind of scary to think of myself as a fiction writer. But I'm giving it a shot. Wish me luck!

For information on Beyond Centauri (and the writer's guidelines), visit
Sam's Dot Publishing.

And on a serious note:

Please take a moment today to remember September 11 and all the folks affected by the events of that horrific day. God bless.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hummingbird Frenzy

Hummingbird Dance
I don't know what's gotten into them, but lately the hummingbirds have been going crazy! They buzz the feeder all day long and continue right through dusk. While this is normal behavior, what's out of the norm is the heavier amount of activity and the larger number of hummingbirds hanging around. Maybe it's the cooler than normal weather we've been having or all the recent storms that have them going. Whatever it is, I love it!

And one of them has even learned a new trick - she discovered my office window. A few days ago as I sat here typing, I kept catching a glimpse of motion from the corner of my eye. Thinking it must be a moth fluttering against the screen, I just kept working. When I realized that whatever it was wasn't going away, I took a look. Imagine my surprise to see a female ruby-throated hummingbird hovering outside the window, just a couple of feet away, watching me! And she's been back numerous times. That is so cool.

Bluebird Antics
On my way to the mailbox this morning, I spotted some birds hopping around in the grass on the far side of the yard. I grabbed my trusty binoculars (which just happened to be hanging around my neck) and took a peek. It was a pair of bluebirds with three or four young ones!

The grass was nice and damp and the birds appeared to be playing in the moisture. That's not surprising, considering how often I see them flinging water around in the bird bath. After a few moments, the parents fluttered up to supervise the activity from a nearby pine tree while the youngsters frolicked around in the grass. It was a lovely slice of bluebird life that I am awed to have witnessed.

I love birds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Little Writing Update

Hello, all! I thought perhaps I should post something about writing, because, well, the title of the blog is Writes with Feathers. Heh. So, here we go:

Something old
Not really old, just the same kind of stuff I've been doing, and loving, for years - writing articles on assignment for magazines I enjoy working for.

For instance, I've got an assignment due August 6 and need to wrap up the *research and interviews. It's a fun story - all about products that help cycle your new aquarium. After all the tanks Allen and I worked so hard to cycle the old fashioned way, it's really cool to learn about things designed to safely cycle a tank without using fish. I guess we must have been doing something right, though. All of our cycle fish survived for years and some of them even reproduced. I love aquariums. No feathers, but still loads of fun.

*Darn stupid computer games. They really interfere with one's work.

Something new
I've taken a huge leap into the unknown. I've started a novel! Let's wait until the thunderous applause stops before I continue.

That didn't take long.

I've always loved fiction, especially fantasy and science fiction, horror, and historical novels. Over the years, I've penned a handful of short stories and actually had some of them published. For pay, even. Don't get excited. It wasn't much money, but it was still nice. Anyway, a few years ago, I got this idea. That's all it was, just an idea. I jotted down a few notes, a brief outline and some character sketches. Then I put it aside and sort of forgot about it.

After the surgeries I had last year (carpal tunnel surgery on both hands - thankfully, not both at the same time), the book poked its head into my medication-induced haze and insisted I take a look at it. I did and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be.

As soon as I could hold a pen, I began making notes and thinking, thinking, thinking about the story. I even dreamed about it. Once I could type a little, I started working on it. It was slow going, what with the constant pain and the strong meds and having to stay away from the computer for days at a time. But the story wouldn't leave me alone. Isn't that cool?

Now I've got the whole thing plotted, each chapter roughed out, and the characters detailed. I even know how the story ends. The only thing is, every time I think I've got something figured out, the characters tell me new stuff that changes what I thought I knew! And guess what? These folks really know what they're doing.

For example, one guy I knew a little about finally told me exactly who he is and how he's connected to the main story line. I nearly fell over! And it makes perfect sense; really adds to the story and ties up a bunch of loose ends I had no idea how to connect. Neat, huh?

Anyway. I guess that's enough of that for now. I'll probably ramble on about it again soon. Consider yourself warned.

Thanks for reading! Have a safe, happy, healthy day. And watch some birds, why doncha? :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A feather picture and more

Picture time for those of you who are familiar with my subjects! Here are a couple of shots of the grandkids and one of Darby the Beagle. Rio's mug shot is blurry but that's what happens when you try to take one so close to a cheap camera. Heh. But don't worry; I have a buncha more far better quality pictures (and some nature/bird shots) that I'll get uploaded soon.

Picture 1: Rio snuggling in my hand. Makes it hard to type, but I don't mind.

Picture 2: Darby doing what he does best - holding down the furniture while he snoozes.

Picture 3: My granddaughter Chelsea and her cat Mesha. That cat loves her!

Picture 4: I caught my grandsons Bailey and Tyler playing in the dog crate and had to snap this one!

Stay tuned. More to come. :)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Pssst. Anybody out there?

I've got lots of catching up to do. :)

The birdhouse at the end of our front porch has seen a ton of activity this year. A pair of bluebirds used it for their first brood of the season and it was awesome to watch them working to build a nest. And of course, I always enjoy watching them carry food into the box (and fecal sacks out). As the babies grew, they got loud when the parents landed on top of the house with food! Right before they fledged, I got to see little bluebird faces peeking out the opening of the box. That was cool. Then the parents headed out to the garden birdhouse to start their second clutch.

Taking advantage of the vacancy, a titmouse family moved into the box on the porch. Boy, did that start a war! Even though the bluebirds had already moved into the other box, they didn't want anybirdy else using this one! Fortunately, after a few incidents of screaming and feather pulling, things settled down and the egg laying and hatching continued. I enjoyed observing the titmouse pair tending to their family.

An interesting note about the titmice: for years, they've nested underneath the porch, right below where the birdhouse hangs. They industriously carried nesting material in between the lattice slats and later, food for the babies. It was neat watching them go in and out of the openings. I don't know why they decided to move into the birdhouse this year.

I can't close without a parrot update! Rio and Pancho are doing great, and are as noisy and active as ever. I've had Rio for 23 years now and Panchie for 18. Hard to believe.

Thanks to a minor improvement in my Internet service, I'm able to actually post to my blog! I sure hope the little boost in speed continues. Until I post again, y'all take care and spend a few minutes watching birds. :)