Mama Diaries

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book Release, Question of the Month, Winners of Give Away

Lots of stuff going on at my pad, today. First, I'd like to let you all know about a  new Middle Grade book that will be released on December 1, 2015. It's called The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow. It's by my blog buddies, Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson. It looks so cute! I can't wait to get my copy!

Release date: DECEMBER 1, 2015

MIDDLE GRADE/ ages 10 and up

ISBN: 978-0-385-74471-3

Authors: Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson

Illustrator: Roman Muradov

Publicity contact: Samuel Terris




Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom.


As if leaving Manhatten and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad, weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past. 


Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where she finds an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a curious portrait of a red-haired lady. These seemingly unrelated items prove to be the first in a series of clues that takes Fairday, the visiting Lizzy, and their new squad member, Marcus, on an amazing adventure.


Can the members of the Detective Mystery Squad piece together the puzzle before it’s too late? Or will whatever’s causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first? 



Catch the Book Buzz...


"I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. I give this book five out of five bookworms!"
~ Erik Weibel/ This Kid Reviews Books  


"Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS)."
~ Publishers Weekly


"Fifth-grader Fairday Morrow's new home lives up to its spooky reputation, but she and her companions in the Detective Mystery Squad find out why. At Begonia House, strains of bagpipe music issue from behind a padlocked door, grains of sand in an hourglass have stopped falling, and a malevolent weeping willow looms in the backyard. A magic mirror shows an invisible door; a wardrobe hides secrets and a portal. Ruby Begonia vanished more than 50 years ago. Is there also a ghost? Fairday has a new, helpful friend in classmate Marcus, and her best friend Lizzy can visit on weekends to help solve the mystery. What more could readers want?"
~ Kirkus Reviews

Jessica Haight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts.



Stephanie Robinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist. 





Second, it's time for the question of the month, hosted by Michael d'Agostino. This month's question is, "What social custom bothers you that you would you like to get rid of?"

Well, I have two. Both are social greetings. The first is that thing European people do, where they kiss each cheek when they greet. What's that called? Fortunately, it's not done in the United States, but my relatives are from Europe, and I have to deal with that every time I see them. I'm so worried I'm going to break my nose when I do it. My second is the deal where guys kiss my hand when they greet me. I really, really, really, dislike that! I have a thing against womanizers, and when a guy does that, I put him right in the womanizer category. So, if you meet me, please do not do that European greeting thing, and please do not kiss my hand!

Last, but not least, the winners of my give away have been selected. Congratulations to Chrys Fey and Nick Wilford, who have won copies of Ten Zany Birds. Congratulations to Dawna who has won a copy of That Mama is a Grouch, and congratulations to Tracy Terry, who will be receiving a copy of That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN! 

So, what social customs do you dislike?



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brave Mama and a Give Away

Yesterday, I took my daughter, along with four of her teenaged friends, to the store. It was an adventure. We had to stop every three seconds so the girls could take photos of all the things they found interesting, so they could share them with their friends on Instagram. And of course there were all the selfies. My goodness!

When we finally made it to the check out, the cashier looked at me and smiled. "You are a very brave woman to go out with all these teenagers!"

Yes, I am. I should get a medal!

(When we got home, the chaos continued. The girls raided my kitchen and made cupcakes, all while singing and dancing to Christmas music!)

I don't know if I will be posting again before Thanksgiving. So I'd like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank you so much for being my blog buddies! 

As my little way of saying thanks, I'm going to give away two copies of my newest book, Ten Zany Birds, and one copy of my book, That Mama is a Grouch. (If anyone is interested in That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN, I'll include a copy of that, too.) Just leave a comment below and let me know which, if any, you'd be interested in. I'll announce the winners next Monday.

Today, as part of my book tour, my book has been reviewed by Chat With Vera. She thought it might be nice if I wrote some music to go with the text. What do you think? You can visit her site to read the rest of her comments.

Monday, November 23, 2015

How Long is a Day?

"Mama," my eleven-year-old son asked. "How long is a day?"

"Twenty four hours," I said, without thinking twice.

"No, it's not," my son said.

"What do you mean?"

Bubba explained. "Scientists discovered that a huge earthquake caused the earth to alter its rotation. There is one less millisecond per day, than there used to be."

"That's nice," I said. "So, how long is it going to take to notice the difference?"

Bubba shrugged. "I don't know."

That wasn't a good enough answer. Since I was curious about the situation, I did a little math. One day equals 86,400,000 milliseconds. It will take 2, 367,123.29 years for all those little milliseconds to equal a full day. Guess I'm not going to worry about it too much, and neither should you.

Today I'm a guest over at Indie Authors. If you'd like to read the story behind my latest book, Ten Zany Birds, please stop by!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sassy Siri

In case you don't know, Siri is a computer generated voice that answers any question you might have. You just talk into your smart device, and Siri recognizes what you say. It's pretty remarkable technology. Some of the answers can be a little questionable. And snarky. Like the answer my son got when he asked Siri what zero divided by zero was.

Here's what Siri said:  "Imagine that you have zero cookies, and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense.

“And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends.”

Well, isn't that just terrible.

"Mama," my son said after he heard it. "You need to go make some cookies, and I need to get my friends. Then nobody will be sad."

Makes sense to me!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Scaredy Cat

Even though our hundred pound German Shepherd looks ferocious, he's nothing but a scaredy cat. Let me tell you about his latest scaredy cat episode.

There have been Diwali celebrations in our neighborhood. (It's a big Indian holiday for those who aren't familiar with it.) People have been shooting off fireworks every night. Schultz doesn't like it. When I came home from work, he immediately ran over to me and tried to hide between my legs. He just about knocked me over.

"Schultz. Chill. What's the matter?"

That's when I heard the fireworks go off. He looked at me with his brown soulful eyes and whimpered.

"It's okay, Schultz," I said, petting his head. "It's just fireworks."

More went off. I sat down and Schultz put his head on my lap. That dog would not leave my side until the fireworks stopped.

(Meanwhile, Bootsy, our cat, sat nearby watching the whole thing with utter disdain. After a while, he parked himself on the back porch and enjoyed the rest of the fireworks show. He's not a scaredy cat!)

Before I go, I'd like to thank Tracy Terry for her wonderful review of my book, Ten Zany Birds! You can read her comments here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cat Conversations

Bootsy, our cat, has been very vocal lately. I'm not sure what his issue is, but he's been needing a lot of attention.

The other day I found my daughter sitting with Bootsy having a conversation. It went like this:

Bootsy: "Meow!"

My daughter:  "Meow!"

Bootsy:  "Meowwww!"

My daughter:  "Meowwww!"

Bootsy:  "Meeeeeow!"

My daughter:  "Meeeeeow!"

I walked over and looked at the two of them. "What's going on here?"

My daughter grinned. "Bootsy needed someone to talk to. I'm his therapist."

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Aging Machine

"Mama," my eleven-year-old son said. "I need to invent something."

"What do you need to invent?" I asked.

"An aging machine."

At looked at the kid sideways. "Dude, why in the world would you want to invent that?"

"I want to hurry up and be eighteen. Then I can be a grown-up and nobody can tell me what to do."

Uh, right.

"Okay, Bubba," I said. "But after you're done, can you invent an anti-aging machine? I'm kind of sick of this getting old thing!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Doggy Spa

Our hundred-pound German Shepherd was in serious need of a bath. When he smells like dirty socks, you know it's time. In the fall and winter, Schultz gets the royal treatment:  bath in the Jacuzzi.  My husband took care of it. When he was done, the Jacuzzi was trashed, but the dog was clean and shiny.

I was practicing when the dog proudly marched in to show off his clean coat. He looked good. But then I took a sniff. It smelled strangely familiar.

"What did you use to wash the dog?" I asked my husband.

He grinned. "Your shampoo!"


(Well, at least he smells good!)  

Today, as part of my book tour for Ten Zany Birds, I'm at Traci McDonald's blog, where she gives a very nice review of the book. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Cookie Caper

Yesterday, I made a batch of white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. They were supposed to be for a meeting I was having today.

After they finished baking, I put the trays on the counter to cool. Then I walked away to do other things.

When I came back, fifteen minutes later, all the cookies on the trays were gone. My daughter stood nearby with a huge grin on her face. "Mom, I got hungry and ate all the cookies."

"You did not!" I said.

"I did!"

I looked around. There was not one cookie to be found.

I was ready to go ballistic. I did not have time to make another batch of cookies.

My daughter must've seen the rage in my eyes. She busted out laughing. She opened the cupboard under the sink and pulled out a container. "Don't worry. Your cookies are safe and sound. Right here!"

Ugh! That little trickster!

Today, on my book tour, Ten Zany Birds was reviewed by Mommy Has to Work. If you'd like to read the review, please stop by.

I'm also at Writers and Authors where a nice video review of Ten Zany Birds was posted. If you'd like to see it, please hop over!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Morning Visitor

Our hundred pound German Shepherd, Schultz, is a very smart dog. He has figured out how to open doors with his nose.

This morning, he decided he wanted to pay my daughter and her friend, who was having a sleepover, a little visit. He opened her door, walked in, and jumped on my daughter's  bed. He thought he was going to have a little nap.

"Schultz!" the girls yelled. "Get out of here!"

He slinked off and headed for the door. Before he left, he turned and gave my daughter one of his soulful puppy-eye looks.

Apparently, she couldn't resist.  "Aw, Schultzy," she said. "You can come back."

He wagged his tail and jumped back up on her bed for a snuggle.

What a little manipulator!

(For your information, Schultz is not allowed to jump on the furniture or anyone else's bed!)

Before I go, I'd like to let you know that I am a guest on author, Virginia Wright's blog.  I'm giving a little background information on my book, Ten Zany Birds. Please stop by and visit! Thank you to those of you who visited yesterday's book tour stop. I appreciate it! 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mama's Hair Accessory

I had stepped outside to water a plant that was on the porch. When I came back in, my daughter looked at me kind of funny. She came up to me and started messing with my hair. Then she jumped back and screamed.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"There's a bug in your hair!"

I ran my fingers through my hair to get whatever it was out.

Sure enough, there was a bug. A cute little lightning bug. I flicked it onto the floor.

"You screamed for that?" I asked.

She nodded.

"Don't be scared. It's just my new hair accessory," I said. "It'll make me look real pretty at night when it lights up!"

Before I  go, I want to let you all know that I'm on my month-long book tour for Ten Zany Birds. My first stop is a review at Mrs. Mommy Booknerd.  If you'd like to read it, please stop by!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Dissection

This story might be a little disturbing for some readers. You've been warned.

Yesterday, my son's science class participated in some dissections. The creatures viewed were an octopus, a squid, and a shark. The octopus and squid were pretty much what you'd expect - blobs of goop. But the shark had a surprise inside:  six babies.

"It had what inside?" I asked, completely appalled that they would kill a pregnant shark for this observation.

"Six babies," he repeated. "They were in little sacs."

This made me sick. "What did you do with them?"

"Nothing. My friend wanted to take them home, but the teacher wouldn't let him."

At least they didn't dissect them.

Is it just me, or do any of you find it appalling that a pregnant creature would be used in a dissection class?

Now on a completely different note, Rita commented on my last post that she would have liked to have seen a picture of me dressed as Cleopatra. So here you go, Rita - just for you! (The young lady is one of my piano students. We had a Halloween recital, and we all dressed up.)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Question of the Month, and The Real Scary House

It's time for question of the month, hosted by Michael D'Agostino. The question is:  Are you an extravert or introvert?  I am an introvert. I think a lot of writers are. Although I enjoy being with people, and have no problem with public speaking or performing, I need time alone to recharge.  I am quite comfortable with my own thoughts, and I can go long periods of time without saying a word (sometimes much to the frustration of my family!). What are you? Introvert or extravert?

Now for the story:

A few days ago, I mentioned that my house was the scariest in the neighborhood. It turns out, I was wrong. There's another house with inhabitants way scarier than mine!

Last night, I went Trick or Treating with my kids and their friends. On the way back to our house, the kids decided they wanted to check out a residence on the main road that was set far back in the woods.

"I don't know about that," I said. "It looks a little off the beaten trail."

They didn't care. We trekked through the dark woods on the gravel path up to the front door and knocked. The door opened. I swear, the woman who answered looked just like a witch. And she wasn't even wearing a costume.

"Why, hello, dearies," she said. "We don't get many visitors here on Halloween."

I could see why. And "we"? There was another witch?

I looked over the tops of the kids' heads. There was another creature. It wasn't a witch. It was a man. And he looked just like a troll.

The woman continued. "We don't have candy. But we have cookies. Would you dearies like some cookies?"

I cringed.

The woman put some cookies in Ziploc bags and gave them to our clan.  She smiled sweetly, or at least as sweetly as a witch can smile, and said, "I hope you dearies are protected by an adult."

"They are," I said, stepping forward in my Cleopatra costume.

"Oh, good," she said. "You have to be careful!"

I smiled sweetly, or at least as sweetly as Cleopatra can smile, and said, "Of course!"

As soon as we were out of the woods, we breathed a sigh of relief.  "You will not eat those cookies!" I instructed.

They didn't!