Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace Cover Reveal!

I am thrilled to present to you the Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace front and back covers! This is the third and final book in The Hazy Souls series.

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace front cover, young adult paranormal fantasy

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace back cover, young adult paranormal fantasy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island E-book FREE

Hey everyone! The e-book version of Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island is now available for free in anticipation of the release of the third and final book in the series, Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace!

I've only just made the change, so expect it to start appearing on major distributors' websites like Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, Apple, Sony, and Kobo within the next week.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Faline's 19 Month Milestones

At 19 months old, Faline is doing great! Her personality is shaping up to be a bit different from Mirabelle's, but they are starting to look more similar. Faline loves to climb and has always taken great pleasure in mastering physical challenges. This summer, she enjoyed climbing ladders--which is absolutely terrifying to watch--but she does surprisingly well! She's pretty short for her age, which makes it look even more dramatic. (Don't worry, I stood behind her with both hands ready!) So I suppose you could say that was more of a 15 month milestone, but it's been a while since I've written about her interests and developments. Now that it's getting colder, she has to take her love of physical challenges indoors, so we play ball a lot in the living room and she enjoys climbing the furniture.

Faline loves books and shoves them into my hands, saying, "Go!" Her current favorites are "Pete the Cat Plays Ball," "Clifford's Big Dictionary," and "Goodnight Moon." She gets really into a particular book for a couple of weeks and then switches it up if a book goes "missing," i.e., mommy tucks it away so that I can read another book to her because I'm getting sick of the same five books. She's always delighted when a prized book returns back into circulation. Faline's a bit more adaptable though than Mira was and you can switch up a routine on her without any issues. She has a knack for going with the flow. That being said, she does have her moments of separation anxiety, but her adjustment periods are pretty short and she falls back into a good social rhythm pretty easily.

Faline also loves to sing songs. Her favorite songs are "Old McDonald Had A Farm," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Baby Beluga," and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." She especially likes singing these songs in her crib at night.

I would estimate Faline's word count to be about 100 words, probably more as she's getting to the point where she just repeats words back and then puts them in her arsenal for later use. She's shy about using many words in front of people other than me and Jace, but I suppose that's how it goes. She's only just starting to put two words together and she uses some phrases regularly, like "happy baby," "pick up," "eat food," and "nap time," though I think that's just one concept. I'll list some words she uses often:


mama
dada
cup
cheese
cracker
cookie
apple
cat
dog
hop
up / pick up
yes
book
Blue's (for Blue's Clues)
Pirates (for Jake and the Neverland Pirates)
ball
car
nana (banana)
row, row, row your boat lyrics
twinkle twinkle little star lyrics
pineapple
duck
heart
bink
bear
owl
poop
socks
got it
go
star
heart
crayon
soup
pig
mouse
home
house
comb
Bob (for Spongebob)
juice
girl
bus
boat
truck
nap time
thank you
happy
baby
lego
blocks
crab
hug
pop pop
food
- - -
animal noises include:
baa         (what does a sheep say?)
hiss        (what does a snake say?)
meow    (what does a cat say?)
haa-haa-haa / panting sound        (what does a dog say?)
moo       (what does a cow say?)
bzzzz      (what does a bee say?)
roar        (what does a lion say / bear say?)
neigh      (what does a horse say?)
oo-oo-aa-aa      (what does a monkey say?)
hoo hoo      (what does an old say?)
aahooooo!      (what does a wolf say?)
cocka doodle doo     (what does a rooster say?)
hee haw      (what does a donkey say?)
mmmm!     (kiss sound for a kiss)


Faline and her big sister get along very well and love to chase each other around. They love to play The Three Little Pigs with me, where they hide in a tent in the living room and I come and try to blow the tent down like the wolf. They escape the tent and run amuck until I chase them back into the tent. Eventually, Mira will inform me that the tent is made of bricks, so I can't blow it down. Fun times. :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Collingswood Book Festival 2013

This past weekend I had a booth at the Collingswood Book Festival. It was a great experience! Thank you to everyone who stopped by and purchased Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls and Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island. The book festival also took place on my birthday, so you can only imagine how thrilled I was to meet new readers. :) Quite the birthday present. Below are some pictures of the booth.

Viral Cat Press Book Booth, Collingswood Book Festival

Lyrna the Fizdruft and Ghost

Set Up

I featured Jeremy Chikalto and the Hazy Souls and Jeremy Chikalto and Leviathan Island. Also represented at the Viral Cat Booth were the Fall 2013 Issue of Viral Cat, Steep Stony Road by Daniel Picker, Lawrence and the Machine by Jesse Blair, and Mirabelle the Duck and Faline the Swan by Judith DeBrosse.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Faline's 14 Month Milestones

Quick update on my second little girl's milestones...! This is where she's at at the end of her 14th month.

Her word count is between 12-15 words, and that includes animal noises. She's almost to the point of repeating things back to me so that it sounds like she's saying a lot more words, so I'm having a hard time knowing which words are words that she's using with purpose. Anyway, I've recorded the words that she says a lot. Fae is also pretty reluctant to share her skillz within earshot of others. Here's her list!

mama

dada

car

cat

dog

da             (for some reason, this is how she now refers to banana... she used to say nana, but yeah, it's sort of devolved to da, haha. anyway, I'm counting it because she's consistent.)

ooh-ooh-aah-ahh     (in response to: what does a monkey say?)

quack quack         (in response to: what does a duck say?)

haa-haa             (panting noise in response to: what does a dog say?)

got it              (whenever she gets her blue ball)

baba         (for her bottle)

cheese

caca        (cookie or cracker)


 - - - -
Sign language: Faline can sign for milk and finished. She used to sign a lot more for milk, but now she's especially fond of signing for finished.


- - - -
Comprehension: Faline's comprehension is pretty good and she get an object for you of a specified color.

- - - -
Hobbies and Interests: Faline loves to stack legos and snuggle with her owl blanket. She also loves physical play and enjoys chasing and throwing her blue ball. Faline is a great little dancer and also is freakishly good at jumping on a trampoline. I need to get video footage of this. Her coordination is spot on. Faline is also a shorty, as in, she's in the 3rd percentile for height, so her being coordinated is pretty adorable and a lot of people are freaked out because she looks like a seven month old doing all these advanced physical maneuvers. Faline and Mirabelle like to play hide and seek at Grandpa and Meme's house and like to dance and play sharks in my living room.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jeremy Chikalto and the Demon Trace, Book III of The Hazy Souls (in progress)

So my young adult novels tend to run about 55,000 words each. It's what works for me. I'm writing the last book in the series now. I am so excited, it's ridiculous. Three weeks from now, I'll be in the Florida Keys with my laptop. Writing will happen. There will be wine, too.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Anyway, just wanted to update my readers on how things were going. I write between 400-1000 words a day, five days a week, depending on how quiet the kids are. I write quickly. It's fun. I'm about 10,000 words in now, but the entire novel is outlined and I sort of just write by the seat of my pants.

I love writing my books because I feel like I'm watching my favorite show and I'm really, really engaged. Does that sound terrible? Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Game of Thrones at the moment. If you're familiar with that show, and you're a fan like me, you know how you sort of lean in towards the screen? Writing is like that for me. I can't wait for the next chapter. :)

Thank you for being so patient.

So I'm thinking I'll be done the first draft by September. The second draft should be ready by December. Third draft, fourth draft--well, it's just minor tweaking at that point. I might miss the 2013 deadline, and now I'm looking at a Spring 2013 release.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mommy of 2: Difficult Time Finding Time

I really mean to update my blog more, but watching two children is proving to be more difficult than I had ever imagined. My youngest, 10 months, is napping now. My oldest, almost 3 years, is trying to ride my back as though I were a pony. Still, this is about the closest to a break I get in the day, so I'm trying to type what I can.

There are so many arguments out there as to which is the more stressful gig--staying home full-time as a stay-at-home-mom or working full-time and then coming home and watching the kids as a second job. I'm convinced it has everything to do with your own unique introversion-extroversion tendencies. Of course, other things go into it, like patience and stress tolerance, but I'm just going to focus on how the ability to have private thoughts and experience an "inner-world" is what makes it more difficult for some stay-at-home-moms but not others.

When you are a stay-at-home-mom of two young children, you never, ever get to just sit and enjoy your own thoughts. It's exhausting for me to go from one external prompt to another. This was never the case with a job outside the home. My husband, who is a lawyer, is like me in this respect--we're both introverts who are energized by internal thoughts. He values what I do because he prefers doing intensive research and drafting briefs and going to court over sitting around with children who make it impossible to enjoy quiet time and private thoughts.

On the other hand, there are individuals who are easily exhausted by internal thoughts and are instead energized by external stimuli--the extroverts. I imagine that staying home with the kids and doing "stuff" all day--answering questions, repeating spoken requests over and over again because the child needs to be reassured, playing, watching, teaching, and all activities being back-to-back-to-back without a moment's pause to live inside your own head--is energizing to these individuals.  Being a lawyer and doing research and writing papers, on the other hand, might be exhausting.

Everyone falls somewhere on the introversion-extroversion scale and of course it is not to be confused with intelligence or with shyness. Just because you're extroverted doesn't mean you'd want to stay home and watch your kids--you might enjoy the fast-paced environment as a sociable CEO or something. You might be painfully shy, but not an introvert--you're still energized by the external world and exhausted by too much time spent in the internal world. Everyone knows someone who is shy but who keeps showing up at party scenes, or who is really easy to talk with but who prefers to stay in on a Friday night.

It comes down to what energizes us.

I enjoy spending time with my kids, but I find it incredibly exhausting. I feel like I can't get anything done, despite the long list of things that do "get done," simply because I have no time to think through my own private ventures, thoughts, and dreams.

For me, I'm 100% certain that working outside the home would be easier than being a stay-at-home-mom. But of course, like many things, it's a bit more complicated than that. Being a parent has had the effect of making me love my children so much that I'm afraid that no one else can watch them and love them as well as I could. I've been pushed to the brink of the irrational, I know. I might be convinced to place my precious sweets in the charge of a highly-paid, highly-qualified nanny who would watch them in the safety of my own house, but alas, such services are incredibly expensive. And I don't even have my own house yet. I don't have a reliable, familial matron to help watch the kids, either (that would probably be my first choice.) So here I am, watching my chillins.

I'm grateful to be able to stay at home and watch my chillins because I know that there are people out there who really want to but who aren't able to for whatever reason. I'm grateful to be able to build their self-esteems and imaginations and to watch them grow. It gives me peace of mind and I carry no guilt about my children's upbringing.

I'm disappointed that what I do is still under the radar as being challenging work. I'm disappointed when I feel judged for not contributing to my family's finances. I'm disappointed that my career has been put on halt and that I may never recover from the substantial gap in my resume. I'm disappointed that women and men continue to quibble over something that is highly personable and that is experienced quite differently for people with different personality profiles.

And of course, even children have different personality profiles and experience the presence and involvement of family members and various caregivers differently.

Anyway, I'd like to thank my toddler for holding off on her "cheesy eggs" just long enough for me to write this.

Background noise while creating this post included:

"Mommy? Mommy? Where's Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer? Is he under the blankets? Mommy, I'm hungry. Mommy? I want cheesy eggs. I want orange cheese. Are you done? Where's Rudolph? He had a very shiny nose. Turn the tv on. Turn the tv off. Okay! Okay! Okay-kay-kay! Turn the computer off!" etc., etc.

Background sensations while creating this post included:

Kick to the back. An "accidental" hair yanking. Acting as a pony ride. Getting my lap crawled into. Various jabs. Shirt sleeve pulls.

All-in-all, some pretty good "self" time (considering the other, needier child is still napping.)

It's a good thing I love my babies so much!