Monday, June 24, 2013

A Snake or Really Big Banana Peels?

Last night I was delightedly riding my bike while listening to books on CD. (Sometimes I read an actual paper book while riding, but this time it was a CD on a portable player with headphones.) Then my delight was destroyed when I needed to switch CD's and looked for the CD case in my bike basket. It wasn't there. 
Oh, no! Did it fall out on the road?
When I got home, I switched my bike for my car and drove along my bike route, searching for the missing CD case. No luck. Would I have to pay for a replacement?
Then it was time to pick up my son from the movie theater. That's when I got the idea that maybe I'd accidentally put the case in the library drop box, and you know what? I did! There it was!
I was so excited to find it wasn't lost that when we drove home, I didn't notice the snake curled up on the road. When my tires thumped over it, I yelled, "Was that a snake?" while trying to suppress shivers of horror.
Then my son said with a teasing grin, "I think it was really big banana peels."
So I had to flip a U-turn and go back to look. You would have done the same thing, right? Which of us was correct? Was it a snake, or monster banana peels?
Take a look for yourself. (I stopped in the middle of the road to take a picture):  
Yeah, it wasn't either.
it was a fabric tie-down strap.
At least we had a little excitement before settling down for the night with visions of snakes crawling out of banana skins dancing in our heads.
If you aren't sure of what you see, do you turn around to check? Or do you just let your imagination run away with you? 

Monday, June 17, 2013

"You Look Like A Giraffe"

How honest can a sister get?
I jumped at the chance to go on a spontaneous road trip with two of my sisters. With only time to sling my hair into a ponytail, I ignored the limp curls left over from the day before. Why do I bother curling it when it doesn't like to hold onto curls for more than a couple of hours? I suppose it's because human nature makes us want what we don't have.)
On the road, I discovered that my sister Rebecca planned to treat Carolyn and me to a birthday lunch. (I had my birthday last month, and Carolyn is looking forward to hers next month. She'll be 48, but her Down Syndrome makes her perpetually childlike.)
Carolyn delightedly chose the restaurant and we walked in with empty tummies and great anticipation. As we seated ourselves, Carolyn turned to me and said, "You look like a giraffe."
"What?" I'll admit I was surprised. "Is it because I'm so tall?"
She shook her head. "It's your hair. You look like a giraffe." Then she pointed to Rebecca's ponytail and said, "I like hers better. It's smooth."
In case you can't tell giraffe from pony, I'm in the red shirt, Rebecca's in the blue. Mom's taking the picture while Carolyn is in the car, laughing. 
What do you think? Who's the giraffe?
Now ask yourself... what animal do you resemble?

Friday, June 14, 2013

THE DREAM KEEPER

Introducing Mikey Brooks and his new "DREAM KEEPER" book!
“Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME. When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?”


Shirley: Hey, Mikey. I’m glad I found you. Where are we? Look at all those tall metal doors lined up like prison cells down the hallway. Is that the warden’s office? And what’s that smell? Is someone boiling cow intestines?
Mikey: What, you don’t recognize the sweating hands and the feeling of people judging your every movement? We’re in middle school, Shirley.
Shirley: Ahhh! Why are we back here? I’m not thirteen again, am I? Stop poking me, Mikey, or I’ll stomp on your foot! You'd better watch out because I got a black eye in middle school from trying to chase an annoying boy who was whipping me with a long plastic tube. I would have swung him up against the lockers if I could have gotten my hands on him, but instead I fell and smacked my face on the floor. I think I achieved Loser status as soon as I hit the ground.
Mikey: You’re a loser? Now that’s hard to believe. I, on the other hand, was the poor, fat kid with bad acne—or was that high school? No wait, high school I was the geeky drama student that hummed show tunes.
Shirley: Okay, I can’t just stand here. Someone might sneak up behind me and stick a dead bird in my hair. (Yes, that really happened.) Come on, let’s go down this hall. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. So what was your inspiration for writing this book?
Mikey: It came from a dream…well, sort of. I was trying to fall asleep and wished there was someone who could just escort me to Dreams and all of a sudden the idea just popped into my head. I wanted it to take place in middle school because this book is about nightmares and middle school was a nightmare for me. What, you too? I had no idea. Ugh! Do you smell that?
Shirley: I think something died down here, just like the road-killed toad I found in my middle school locker. (Also true). No wonder! We’re standing next to the gym. I said, stop poking me! Let’s head for the science room. You go first. No, I insist. You can’t poke me if you’re in front of me. Tell me about your characters. Fyren and Gladamyr… they’re not names I hear every day.
Mikey: Well Fyren and Gladamyr aren’t from our world, they are from the realm of Dreams. Yeah, that place you went to every time you entered history class. Yeah, I had a habit of falling asleep in math class, too. Anyway, Fyren is an evil nightmare and Gladamyr is the dream keeper trying to stop him from taking over our world and enslaving all mankind.
Shirley: Speaking of nightmares, here comes the science teacher, Mr. Anderson. He looks like he thinks we’re a couple of losers. Let’s just smile and… (Ahem) No, sir, we’re not lost. Yes, sir, we know that there are no students in the hallway between classes, but we’re not…(Mikey! I said stop poking me! I warned you!) * stomp * Oh… Mr. Anderson… I’m sorry! I was aiming for Mikey’s foot! Are you okay? Uh, oh, Mikey, Mr. Anderson’s morphing into something not human! RUN!
Mikey: (pant, pant) Did I forget to mention that Fyren is a shifter and can turn into anything?
Shirley: I think we’re safe. Mr. Anderson...or whatever that thing is... won’t be able to catch up to us with his sore foot. Wow, talk about déjà vu. This same thing happened to me while I was in middle school.
Mikey: You just stomped your foot on the bad guy Shirley! He IS NOT a nice guy! He gets pleasure out of hearing the horrified screams of children! Great. Now he is going to morph into some kind of monster and try to kill us. Or he’ll send one of his cronies. Please don’t let him send the clown with the rubber chickens. Yes, clowns freak me out! What? I keep poking you because you have a gianormous sign on your back that says “POKE ME!”
Shirley: That makes total sense, now take it off, will ya? Whoa, Mikey, this place is weird. I think it’s your fault. You’re the one who wrote the book. What genre is it?
Mikey: It’s a fantasy-adventure…duh. Why else would we be running from nightmares trying to rip off our faces? You mean people tried to rip your face off in middle school too? Where did you go to school, Alcatraz? Oh no! Nightmares are flooding the hallway. We need to get the heck out of here!
Shirley: Hey, those doors leads outside! I hope they’re not locked. (Sproing!) Wow, we made it. Doesn't it feel good to breathe fresh air? Mikey? What are you staring at? Who are those big people holding huge, hard rubber balls? What?! Opposing dodge ball teams? (Whoosh, thump plop.) (Groan) Where am I? What am I doing down here?
Mikey: We were talking about my book, and out of nowhere a pelican crashed into your head. The bird is okay, but you went down like a rock. No, leave the feathers, they go great with the flowers in your hair. No one is going to think you look like a loser. What, do you think we’re in middle school?

THE DREAM KEEPER is a middle-grade adventure novel with a toe in both the real world and the fantastic, and is available in Print and eBook. For more information visit http://insidemikeysworld.com/


 Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including BEAN’S DRAGONS, the ABC ADVENTURES series, and the middle-grade fantasy-adventure novel, THE DREAM KEEPER. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.


AUTHOR LINKS:
Twitter as: @writtenbymikey

BOOK LINKS:
Paperback Create Space: https://www.createspace.com/4260677

EXCERPT FROM BOOK:
Parker was about to assassinate the general of the goblin army. It wasn’t murder, it was an assignment. He tried to justify what he was about to do as he jumped from the rooftop and landed just above the battlement wall. It was the perfect spot to scout the camp. The goblins filling the keep were everywhere, sharpening blades and axes or gathering weapons for the impending battle. Parker noticed a large troll in the right hand corner of the space below, hammering solidly on a sword large enough to split three men into six. He spotted his target.
The general of the goblin army was a large brute with golden braids hanging down his chest. He was the one who had ordered the burning of Parker’s home village. The one who had ordered the death of Parker’s family and friends. This monster, this villain, was the reason Parker had set out on his journey to seek vengeance upon the unjust. This was the creature responsible for Parker swearing allegiance to the Mightercore army, who quickly gave him the role of assassin-scout.
Parker maneuvered his way down the wall, careful not to move too fast or his invisibility cloak would lose its power. He placed his foot in one crevice, then his hand in another. After a few moments of skilled climbing, Parker found himself precariously positioned just behind the golden haired brute, leaving only a small distance between him and his foe. In a quick session tactic, Parker could ignite his blade with the magic of the Mightercore and his target would be no more. He positioned himself to strike, raising his sword and whispering the incantation that would release the blade’s power—.
“Parker.”
He ignored whoever was calling his name; they did not matter. All he saw was the villain before him. The completed spell ignited Parker’s sword with a blazing haze of blue fire, and he had to act fast.
“Parker!”
The loud call startled him and he swung too late. The goblin general had already turned and he struck, forcing Parker back against the rocky battlements. Parker parried the attack and thrust forward with a low slash. The general sidestepped and lunged forward again. Parker parried and rolled away from the wall. A lightning spell was the only magic he had left. If he could find enough time to call out the incantation, he could have the general radiating electrons from every appendage.
He rolled until he was a good ten feet from his opponent, then quickly stood. Lifting his hand into the air, he called down the lightning. The sky filled with a brilliant white light, and the crack of thunder reverberated off the walls. Parker briefly closed his eyes then opened them, praying he had hit his target. As the white dust began to clear, he made out an image before him. He peered at it, his heart thumping.
The screen went black.
“Parker, I’ve called you three times. Now get off that machine and go do your homework.”
(Mikey ends this message with the chilling two words: "Sweet dreams!")


Monday, June 10, 2013

Where all the Flowers come from

Some people ask me, "Where do you get all your flowers?" as they stare at the flowers I like to wear in my hair.
Well, you see, when we moved into this house, I didn't know that the bathroom walls were actually vertical flower gardens. I conveniently find colorful flowers growing in rows, so I simply reach out and pick the ones that match my clothes.
This angle shows one wall of flowers growing in my bathroom (along with necklace bushes and earring fruit... and do you see the small, heavenly rays slanting from the upper left corner? Hear the angels singing? "Ahhhhh." They like flowers, too.)
I have another wall of blue, bronze, white, purple, and red flowers growing on rows of ribbon. There's a color for anything the morning might throw at me, and if there's not, then I just go out and get more flowers and make them into hair clips! (Can you keep a secret? Sometimes I clip them onto my clothes, too.)
Some people have told me that they recognize me by my hair flowers. Is it because there are so many 6 foot tall blonde grandmas that each one needs their own trademark? Okay, I'll go with that, as long as I get to look like a blooming garden!
What's your trademark?  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Anniversary Smile

It's my happy anniversary! Yes, I got married the day after my 20th birthday because I was so mature. Now, 35 years later, I'm still making Bob smile!

Nature Won't Wait!

One minute messed up my photo!  As I stopped my car at my yard gate on my way to work, I saw a jet trail criss crossing through the moon....