Tag Archives: Blog

Star Party: Astronomy Night at Playcard Environmental Education Center, Playcard, South Carolina

26 Feb

#Kepler sits atop the Starfinder Meade 16

Thursday night, I drove over to Playcard, South Carolina for a star party hosted by Horry County and the Playcard Environmental Education Center.  This free event took place in the open field next to the center, perfect for stargazing.

It was a beautiful night for the event–cloudless, lightly breezy, cool but not cold. The stars quickly came into view as the sun set.


Setting up

The host astronomers provided a variety of telescopes and binoculars for everyone to try out, and they assisted guests in setting up their own equipment correctly. A decent pair of binoculars is now on my shopping list.

One of the most helpful tips they gave for using binoculars is to look at the area you’d like to view, like the moon, first with your eyes. Keep your sight trained there as you bring the binoculars to your face. This prevents having to crane your head around to try to locate specific bodies through the binoculars. If you look at the area before you bring them to your eyes, the binoculars will already be pointed in the right direction. (Sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many a birder doing the “Where’s Waldo?” through their binoculars.)

Beyond my personal enthrallment with space, the event was an ideal setting to get #Kepler pics and to spread the news about Humans In My House and the Stars Above It. I made coloring books with the illustrations from the novel, packaged them up with a box of crayons and some Red Ink Enthusiast swag, and passed them out to the children in attendance. I made twenty packets and gave away all but two.

ch. 2

Coloring page from chapter 2 of Humans In My House and the Stars Above It

The event turnout was great, but it’s likely that you weren’t there. If you or your little one would like to get in on the coloring, download the Humans In My House and the Stars Above It Coloring Book or use the new Downloads tab on the menu to print the coloring pages.

My plans for this new tab include adding coloring pages from Humans book 1 and Nova June: Inventor (after it publishes), and kid’s book club discussions/reading comprehension topics for each of my novels, all free to download and print for personal and educational use.

In the meantime, happy coloring!


Exhausted is the new Sexy? No.

21 Feb


It would be easy to leave this page blank.

But that’s not what writers do.

I could make it sound like I always want to write, that it’s always easy, and that I’m ecstatic to be doing this right now. And sometimes all those things are true. But, at this moment, it’s ten in the morning, sunny, and 72 degrees out–in FEBRUARY!–and I’m inside talking to you. No offense.

It’s one thing to write advice for writers about useful topics like grammar, composition, and publication. These are important parts of the craft. They need attention. But, it paints this pristine picture of writers, including me, doing everything they’re supposed to do and doing it the right way (often the first time). It doesn’t show the scraps of paper, the huge chunks of deleted text, or the blank stare of writer’s block. It doesn’t show the restless shifting in my seat or convey the heavy, sluggish sensation of having zero motivation for getting anything accomplished today.

So this is me trying to write something additionally useful even when I don’t feel like it. This is me saying I’d like to take a break, that the weather’s great and I’m missing it. 

What’s useful about that?

The acknowledgement that rest and enjoyment are equally important parts of the creative process when pit against research, brainstorming/daydreaming, and writing. Without it, we burn out. A small, voluntary break now might prevent a longer, necessary break later on.

The quicker we begin to reject the glamorization and glorification of overwork, the sooner we stop applauding ourselves and others for how exhausted we are, the more guilt-free enjoyment we can have and still get things done.

I’ve seen so many memes circulating among the creative communities online about, “you should be writing” and, “it’s not research, it’s procrastination.” This is ridiculous. Yes, at some point, you will have to write. Yes, you should finish what you start. But the ideas that we have to complete it in the smallest amount of time, that we need to pull all-nighters or we’re not dedicated to finishing, that sleep is a weakness and procrastination isn’t a productive way of letting the mind wander, is harmful. And heaven forbid we stop our feverish writing long enough to remember to eat. Don’t glamorize forgetting to eat. (It happens sometimes if you’re really in a flow, and a flow is great, but celebrate the productivity of the writing, not the forgetting to eat part. Come on.) Since when is “overwork” the same as “hard work,” y’all?

Rejecting these flawed equivalencies is why this post, written when I didn’t want to, is useful. Its existence proves my point. I saw advice somewhere that said authors should post new content to their websites two to three times a week. It’s Wednesday and I hadn’t created anything new yet. By some construct of society, I obligated myself to do this.  And I would have felt guilty if I didn’t stick to my plan.

But there has to be a balance between doing what you said you were going to do and cutting yourself some slack.

And so that I’m taking my own advice and not just preaching, this will be my only post this week. 1. Little. Article. One opinion no one asked for. You’re welcome.

(that’s me telling myself thank you.)

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