Tag Archives: children’s books

You Won!

It’s “big announcement” day, but first of all I have to thank Kris Yankee for gracing my blog with her presence last week.

As promised (ta da…big announcement!), Kris is giving away a copy of her book, Saving Redwind. And the winner is…Janet Johnson.

Janet, Kris will email you to work out the details. You’re going to love her book.  Congratulations on your winning comment!

On a somber note, wildfires are destroying my part of Texas. The nearest fires are about an hour away, but with wildfire that can be much too close. Several lives have been lost.  In the past 48 hours nearly 700 homes have been destroyed. Some of the fires that erupted over the weekend are in populated suburbs of Austin. Despite the best efforts of firefighters from all over the state, many of the fires are still uncontained. Schools in the affected areas have been closed so that they can serve as shelters for people recently made homeless. It is a horrible situation.

If you hear someone from Texas saying that we need a good hurricane, we aren’t joking. If we could just get a hurricane’s torrential rains dumped onto Central Texas, it would be such a relief. If the hurricane winds could just skip over the Gulf Coast, it would be even better.  We have friends with “lakefront” property whose boat docks are now hundreds of feet from the water. Yes, the lakes are that low. There are reservoir lakes west of us that are completely empty. You can walk across the lakebed and never get your feet wet. It is a dire situation, and one that will be continuing for some time to come. There is no rain in the forecast (again) for the next 10 days.

I could go on about the dreadful drought conditions and the devastating fires, but I think you get the picture. If you believe in appealing to a Higher Power, Texas could use some prayer right now.


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Filed under Marginally Personal, The Business of Writing

No Title

Yes, seriously, that’s the title of my blog today, because I don’t have time to be original or witty.

There are circumstances of which I must take advantage. I have the house to myself for three days! Hooray!! That means, in no particular order: no cooking, write when I like, watch all the preseason football I can possibly want, eat when I’m hungry, stay up until all hours, and read until I can’t see straight. (Oh, can’t forget to feed the cats…)

Right now I’m working on my blog interview with Kris Yankee, which will appear here on Wednesday, Aug. 31st.   All comments will be read, then Kris and I will decide on the best comment. That contributor will win a free copy of her book,  Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure.

If you want to find out more about me, I’m interviewed on her blog tomorrow, Monday, August 29th. http://adventuresthatscore.blogspot.com

Gleaned a lot of useful book information from our Property Owners’ Association meeting yesterday. Seems a fairly esoteric source for a children’s book; however, Moochie Mockingbird’s next adventure involves rescuing animals from a Texas wildfire. Our POA is in the process of making the entire ranch a Firewise Community and we were receiving valuable information from the local firefighters and emergency district gurus. I love it when unexpected qualified sources show up like that!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Moochie Mockingbird series of children’s books, Moochie is a talented bird who speaks all the animal languages…except human. He travels Texas and always seems to come across someone who needs assistance. Although the stories are “tall tales,” the locations, animals, and circumstances are based in fact and I won’t change a reality for the sake of the story. Hence, having good wildfire information for the next book was a critical need. Now I’ve got it, albeit unexpectedly.

All that having been said, y’all have a great day. Pray for those in the path of Hurricane Irene. Send assistance to the Red Cross, if you have the means.

And read this blog on Wednesday to find out all about Kris Yankee!

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Exercise’s Unexpected Benefits

Today’s blog is going to be short.  I can’t waste a moment.  I’m on a roll, and I don’t want to interrupt it for too long.  That being said, here’s what’s happened,  and it’s still early!

It’s just possible that I should get up at 6-ish a.m. and exercise every day.  (Thank you, husband…)  Seems to stimulate the brain and the imagination.

After a brisk (by my definition) walk, I returned to fix coffee and an English muffin (with healthy sugar-free peanut butter).  I sat down to read my email, which is normally a tedious task comprised of culling the horrid from the merely bad.  Imagine my surprise when the first item I opened was a gem!

After five weeks of not-so-patient waiting, I received an answer from someone who had promised to help me with technical details I needed for the WIP. Now, I fully understand that one can find any answer on the all-knowing WWW; however, mine is a particularly esoteric question.  I needed to know, specifically, how Texas Hill Country animals react to and escape a wildfire.  So, this person’s knowledge was particularly valuable to my story.  (Just because my middle grade books are Texas animal tall tales does not mean they can’t be fact-based!)  Honestly, I was beginning to think I might have to find another expert.  Not an easy task when the nearest town’s population is just over 4,000!  Her email arrived just in time.  So glad it finally did. I wasn’t looking forward to hours of googling and binging.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered more answers to questions I had asked of another person…and there they were, just waiting for me in my virtual inbox. Wonders never cease!

While riding this informational ‘high,’ I started working on a chapter of the book that’s been troublesome. Not today! Breezed right through it! The plot came together. The words flowed. The characters knew exactly what to say. Astounding!

So, it just made sense that I take advantage and get the blog done, too.

News Flash!  I am so looking forward to my “blog swapping/tour” (well, that’s what we’re calling it!) with Kris Yankee, author of Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure. I’ll be interviewed on her blog on Monday, August 29th and Kris will be here on my blog Wednesday, August 31st. Kris is an interesting, talented, multi-dimensional person, and her book is awesome! (If you’d like a quick sneak peek: http://www.facebook.com/BooksbyKrisYankee)

One more recent good thing! Seems they just don’t stop today! Although I’ve known for months that I was going to be a grandma again, we just found out on Thursday that the expected baby is a boy! Hooray! Another grandson! Can’t wait!

Good things come to those who…exercise??

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A New Chapter

Today’s blog is simple. I’m posting the new, improved Chapter One of Palo Duro Panic: A Moochie Mockingbird Tale. (For those of you who are first time readers, the series is for 3rd to 5th grade readers, but also makes a good “read-to-me” book for younger kids. Available on Kindle for 99 cents!!)Thanks to the constructive comments of several readers, I’ve seen the errors of my ways…well, at least as far as the book is concerned…and made a few changes.  So, without further ado, the revised (but unfortunately unformatted) first chapter of Palo Duro Panic:

by Laynie King

Chapter One: Coyote Gets Caught
On this particular late afternoon in March, it was gloomily dark, bitingly cold, and very windy. In the heavy snow, Cody Coyote hunted along the rim of the canyon. His sharp eyes saw movement just off the path. Rabbit! A big old jackrabbit for his supper. Cody crouched for a jump. Just as he started to leap forward, his front paw slipped out from under him. He went sprawling forward on his chest. He thought he’d stop sliding right there, but Cody was wrong. As he slid, he dislodged a very large, very slippery piece of sandstone. The rock was covered with ice and once it started rolling, nothing was going to stop it. That rock, hundreds of small stones, and Cody went skidding along to the very edge of the mesa.
Then Cody stopped rolling, and he lay panting for breath. He could see over the edge. It was long way down to the canyon floor! The old coyote wondered why he’d stopped rolling and skidding where he did. Then he saw! That sandstone rock had also stopped rolling and skidding, slipping and sliding, too… stopped right on top of Cody’s left hind leg.
Cody could not move. He was trapped. Trapped under a sandstone rock. Trapped right on the edge of a canyon 820 feet deep. Trapped with no one around to hear his yelps for help. Trapped alone. He lay still and listened. He couldn’t hear the snow blowing, or the creak of the mesquite tree that jutted out from the canyon wall. He couldn’t hear himself panting. Cody couldn’t hear the hard beating of his heart. Couldn’t hear the wind. He listened again. He couldn’t hear anything! He touched his head with a paw and found a very sore spot under his ear. When he looked at the paw, he saw a faint smudge of his blood. He’d been hit by a tumbling rock.
Cody knew other animals that had lost their hearing after being hit in the head. But they heard just fine now. Cody hoped his hearing loss would be temporary. If he couldn’t hear, how would he ever be able to hunt? How could he find a squirrel hiding behind the cactus? Or hear a predator coming?
Cody Coyote lay his injured head down in the snow and thought. He was the oldest, wisest coyote in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Years of experience had made him a well-qualified teacher in the ways of the coyote, of nature, of other animals. It was Cody’s goal to make sure every pup born into his den could use its own good sense before it went out to face the canyon alone.
But all that knowledge wasn’t doing him any good right now. He couldn’t think of a way to get out from under that rock.
The old coyote remembered back a few hours that afternoon, just before the snowstorm hit. In a secluded cave under the canyon wall, old Cody had gathered the newest pack of young coyotes around him. He’d had to speak loudly to be heard over the howling of the wind outside the cave.
“It smells like snow! Stick your noses out into the wind and feel the cold and the damp. Feel the direction of the wind. That’s what snow smells like. It’ll be heavy on the ground before the afternoon is over. Now, I know how you like to jump and play while you’re hunting. And I know how some of you like to run away from the rest of the pack. But, for tonight, don’t ever go off on your own. When the weather is bad, y’all have to be more careful. Snow can make the rocks very dangerous. And where there’s snow, there’s usually ice. And where there’s ice, it’s slippery! I don’t want any of you hurt. So, be careful and be aware of your surroundings.”
Several of the pups had already started playing and weren’t listening at all. Casey Coyote stood up. “Y’all settle down now and listen to your elder.” Casey was a little older than the pups and sometimes he acted more important than he was. “Now, listen up!”
Casey was Cody’s grandson and he made the older coyote grin a bit. Cody remembered how he used to act important, too. He’d get a bit bossy with the little ones. Then those little ones would grow up, and Cody would have to deal with them being as big as he was! Casey would learn that lesson, too.
Then Cody had repeated his warning to the pups. “Stay together, two or three of you, and be careful. Good hunting. I’ll see y’all later.” The pups ran off into the canyon, each of them thinking of rabbit, squirrel, or mouse for dinner.
Now, lying on the edge of the mesa in the darkening dusk, Cody was a sad old coyote. He hadn’t listened to his own advice. Cody had started hunting alone and now he was trapped…and wondering what would happen next. He felt the snow fall into his thick fur coat. He felt the ice forming under his jaw, and the wind was making him so very cold. All through the long night, Cody waited in the silence. He couldn’t sleep, but he was very still. He had no choice but to wait for morning.

Copyright June 2011 All rights reserved

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think.

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Filed under Samples, The Business of Writing

Back to Writing

The last two days have been spent doing the “business” of writing. The release of “Palo Duro Panic” on Kindle was really exciting for me – until I found a serious error and had to re-upload it. Which put me back in the review/publishing loop…on which I’m still waiting!

Not to worry! The original release (including error) is online to purchase; the new-improved version will be available within about 36 hours. Same price, better read!

I’ve been on Facebook forever, I think, but now I’m on Twitter and I have this wonderful blog site on WordPress. By the way, kudos to WordPress for making this so easy.

So, the business of business aside, there are about fifteen new ideas rattling around my brain, and I need to get them into the computer’s memory quickly. Its memory is SO much more reliable than mine.

One of the new books is a “pre-quel”, in a way, to “Palo Duro Panic.” It’s the story of Moochie Mockingbird as a very young bird, and how he got his name.

So, it’s back to “work” for me! If there happen to be any children’s book authors out there who have word of wisdom for a new writer, please leave me a comment. I read them all and I’m willing to learn!

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Filed under The Business of Writing