Monday, April 14, 2014

Just had an arborist out to diagnose three Chinese Tallow trees looking ill from the long-term drought which began in 2004 for our area. We get occasional rains that help, but not huge amounts and not frequent enough to end the drought.

My Red Oak, Pecan, and Cedar Elms haven't even noticed we're in a drought. Bless them. So when I saw the skimpy growth on these three, I worried that they might be dying and saw visions of $$$$$ flying out the door as these towering shade trees might have to be removed.

He eased my mind immediately. "If these were my trees," he said. "I would not worry. I wouldn't even prune them and just let the small dead stuff fall out of the trees on their own. What I would do is..."

He gave me some advice on what I could do help them but I should not expect to see a change for at least six months. Then he gave me signs that he looked for which indicated problems inside the tree. Then he pointed to the tops of the thin canopy. "The new leaves at the top prove sap is running and that's a good sign."

So, for right now, I do feel loads better. Hope I get good reasons for that feeling to last. Come on, rain!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Announcing the Winner of a copy of Death Spiral!

Drum Roll, please!

Congratulations to Medeia Sharif for winning a copy of Janie Chodosh's  Death Spiral! 

And thank you from Janie and Me to everyone who stopped by to visit as well as those that left a comment. We really appreciated it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Death Spiral Release Day! Janie Chodosh: YA Mystery Author Interview and Book Giveaway

I'm very excited to welcome Janie Chodosh to my blog for an author interview and book giveaway!

Janie has written an exciting YA Faith Flores mystery called DEATH SPIRAL which is the April 1, 2014, very first release from the brand new YA imprint, The Poisoned Pencil, of Poisoned Pen Press.

For one lucky person who comments, that person's name will be drawn randomly from all comments to win a copy of Death Spiral: A Faith Flores Mystery.

DEATH SPIRAL is an edgy tale introducing sixteen year old Faith Flores. She wants to go to college and study science, but she's not exactly college material. When her junkie mom drops dead the cops say it was an overdose and close the case, but Faith sets out to prove the truth no matter what the cost.

Here's a little bit about the author:

Janie Chodosh majored in “all things interesting,” a list which included courses in biology, ecology, natural resources management, creative writing, and poetry. As a scientist wannabe she realized she only liked to muck around in the field in cool places and would never actually be a scientist, so she married one.
When not writing, she likes to hang out with her family, rock climb, try to grow a garden in the arid southwest, bird watch, travel, and attempt to play Klezmer music on her violin.
Facebook  Website Goodreads

Now onto the interview:

1. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I have always wanted to write, and I have always written, starting with the song I wrote my first grade teacher, Mrs. Sunderland (and sang to her despite the fact I can't really carry a tune)!  I wrote stories and plays all through elementary, middle, and high school. In college I had a million interests, though I kept writing, mostly poetry. When I got interested in ecology, I turned my attention to writing about the natural world. I published some natural history pieces in a few small local papers when I was a graduate student in Montana, but I always felt compelled to write fiction. I got serious about writing stories and getting my work into the world when I moved to Santa Fe in my late twenties and joined a writing group of wonderfully dedicated and talented writers.

2. What were your favorite books growing up? Did any of these books or authors influence your genre?

 I loved the Oz books growing up, but I would say what really has influenced my writing is the young adult novels I have picked up as an adult. The novel "Fat Kid Rules the World" by K.L. Going was the first young adult book I fell in love with and from that book on, I knew I wanted to write for young adults.

 3. DEATH SPIRAL is, and I quote the very positive review from Publisher's Weekly, "a dark and gritty tale set amid the seedy underbelly of urban Philly." Where did you get the idea and how long did it take to write? 

I got the idea for Death Spiral after watching a documentary about the human genome project with my husband and learning that (at the time) companies could patent genes. My husband is a geneticist and at the time I taught middle school science, so scientific issues are a common topic of discussion between us.  I wanted to delve into the contemporary medical and ethical issues stemming from the decoding of our DNA, issues such as personal genomic medicine, gene therapy, DNA analysis... all the crazy stuff we read about in the papers today. And I knew I wanted to write something exciting, (a thriller? A mystery?) that would make people think and turn the page! So I guess I started off with a big idea, a plot point, which I then wove into a mystery of a 16 year old girl searching for the truth about how her heroin addicted mother really died.

4. Was there a favorite part you enjoyed writing? Or a part you found difficult to write?

I love all aspects of writing, I really do, even the hard parts, but I think the parts of Death Spiral that felt "easiest" for me were the parts that had to do with the interactions between Jesse and Faith. From the beginning, their relationship felt vivid and complex, and I loved seeing where they led me and continue to lead me.  I care deeply for each of my characters, but I feel a special fondness for Faith, a smart, bold teenage girl who has experienced major setbacks in her life and has major trust issues. How does she handle friendship? Romantic love? Family? The harder part for me was building the mystery. Since I knew exactly where the mystery was heading from day one, I struggled with plotting a path that would not be obvious to the reader.

5. A lot of fans like to know if authors have a special writing area or schedule, will you tell us where and how you work?

My writing schedule is very clearly outlined for me based on my other job as a teacher and my other job (the best one of all) as a mom. I work four days a week until 11:30. When I come home I hit the ground running. Since my time is limited, I do try to stick to an every day noon to 3:00 writing schedule. Often annoying tasks  (like having to buy food or answering the phone) get in the way, but I try to keep this time clear. Most days I begin writing by going back to a scene and doing some revision until I feel relaxed and focused enough to pick up the plot where I left off. 

6. Finally, do you have anything you can share about the next Faith Flores mystery?

Ah. Book two. Faith and Jesse of course continue to develop their relationship, though in some ways that I hope are unexpected. As far as the mystery is concerned, I'll just say that Faith finds herself in more trouble after traveling to New Mexico for an internship and getting involved in the heated world of genetically modified foods.

Thank you, Janie for a great interview! It has been a real treat getting to know more about you! 


Barnes and Noble

 Please enter the drawing for a copy of Death Spiral by making a comment below! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Another Arctic Blast

What in the world is triggering these arctic blasts? According to a British news story, this is the start of a new climate trend. I sure hope they are wrong.

 Good thing I have a pile of new books, from the library and the book store, to read because I'm not stepping one toe out the door.

Hope wherever you are that the weather is being kind...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Death Spiral Coming Soon by Janie Chodosh and The Poisoned Pencil

I'm super thrilled to announce that the first release, April 1, 2014, from Poisoned Pen Press' new YA Imprint, The Poisoned Pencil, will be Death Spiral by Janie Chodosh.

 I've been sitting on pins and needles waiting for this novel ever since I heard about it and I only have to wait until April 1.

Aaacckkk! Okay, that's a long time when I'm this impatient!

Death Spiral is the first of an exciting science series starring Faith Flores.To read the super review from Publisher's Weekly go here.

For more about the author:

Available for pre-order at Amazon here.