Monday, January 30, 2017

Amazing Animals and Where to Find Out About Them

The Earth has many amazing animals. I usually mention this during my "Human, Alien or Monster" sessions at young writer conferences when the 'Where do you come up with that?" question surfaces. Among the many books I bring to show as a resource is Prehistoric Life so I can display examples (via doc cam) of what lived on Earth billions of years ago.

When you know what once existed (or still exists), you have a point to start from when designing your own fantasy creature or alien lifeform.

In the days before computers I used to rely heavily on books to learn about various birds and animals. Magazines and journals like National Geographic, Science and Discover were also useful for information and photographs. I used to be able to count on nature programs on PBS and the Science Channel for additional inspiration, but now there's only the few shows like Nature and Earth (BBC).

The internet has provided quite a few new resources, ranging from formerly book-based guides like online encyclopedias and identification guides like The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds to general science websites like IFL Science. But usually all those are good if you already know what you are looking for. Sometimes you are instead looking for that flash of inspiration, that moment of serendipity when you see something new and can say, "Oh! I can use that! Well, maybe not that, but something like that...."

I have several friends on Facebook who share marvelous videos such as Marching Dinosaurs (which, at five minutes long might be too long to share at a young writers session, but I really want to!) and the latest scientific discovery or dinosaur dig. (I love #13 of the "Top Thirteen Fossil Stories of 2016".)

There are Facebook pages as well, such as Earth Archives, The Raptor Center, and News From Science.

I'm not on Twitter, so I just discovered two Twitter sources that I wanted to share. I'll definitely be looking more at them for inspiration. Bird per Hour and Strange Animals.

What are some resources you use, either for inspiration or to learn more?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I'm posting this from my other blog, because I'm so excited I want to tell everyone my good news.

It's here. The audio book for UNDER A PURPLE MOON. Thank you, L. Diane Wolfe, my publisher, for the audio edition of the novel. This is my first audio book, and I want to share my happiness with you, dear friends, so I'm giving away two audio copies.

Silver Award Winner in the 2016 Children's Literary Classics, teen category
Under a Purple Moon is a book about friendship, and in particular, about one young girl who comes to accept her own self-worth. Author Beverly Stowe McClure has done a splendid job depicting the wide and varied range of emotions experienced by Eden and her friends. Under a Purple Moon is a book which young readers will find to be very relatable.
CLC Reviews
Here's how the giveaway will work

 1.  Leave a comment on this blog saying whether you like audio books or not.

2.  Follow me on twitter.

3.  Follow me on my Amazon Page.

You earn one point for each thing you do. You can do one or two or three or none. Tell me in your comment how many points you've earned, and that's it. I'm giving away two audio copies. The giveaway will run through Jan. 31. Winners will be announced a few days later.

I'll write everyone's name that enters on strips of paper, one strip for each entry, put them in a basket, and my cat Patches will draw the winners. Don't laugh she's done it before.  If she's too tired, I'll use a random drawing.
Good luck.

It's winter where I live! Cold wind! Snow! Ice! Wait a second!
Right now, as I'm typing this, the temperature is 70 degrees.
A few rays of sunlight are breaking through the clouds.
Also a few drops of rain are falling from time to time.
This is winter? I'm not complaining, I love it.
The birds do too. Here are some recent visitors to my yard.
One afternoon, I looked outside and saw four cardinals in the yard. Knowing me, you can guess what I did. Yep, I got my camera and slipped quietly out the door. Three of the birds flew away. This little guy stayed so I could take his picture. Some people say that seeing a cardinal at a particular time in their life is a comforting signal from a deceased loved one. Whether this is factual or not, there is no doubt of the blessing received with a glimpse of a creature's beauty. Seven states have named the Cardinal their official bird.
Cardinals do not migrate. If you provide them cover and food, they will remain permanent residents. Their favorite food is black oil sunflower seeds.
I'm not sure what kind of woodpecker this is, but he was outside my writing room window one day. A second bird was in the tree too, but they were moving so fast, eating insects in the tree, that I couldn't keep up with them. Was lucky to get this shot. It's dark because the day was cloudy, and if the flash comes on through the window, there's just a blur.

Have any birds visited  you lately?

Don't forget to leave a comment for the giveaway.
Have a great week. Hope your weather is nice.
Happy Reading!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Food and Towels!

Morning, all!

Two of the most fun things about Disney Cruises are the food and towels!

Food is a given. Not only does it taste good, but they make pretty too. And every night when you return to your stateroom, a neat towel figure has been placed on your bed to amuse.

Mmmm yummy creme brulee!


A crab?

A bunny! So adorable!

Couldn't you just frame this one? :)

A frog!

I think it's a monkey or orangutan. What do you think?

A lovely elephant!

One night at dinner, they did the napkins like little suits. Adorable!

A ghostly pirate, perhaps? Or creature from the deep?

Funky, isn't it?

Pluto relaxing while his master's away?

Aren't they all just adorable? Which is your favorite? I can't choose!

Have a great Friday!