Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I Love About You Wednesday

Suzi McGowen

Suzi's a great gal who always has fun things to say on her blog. She's written some great books, including one called A Troll's Wife's Tale. How cool is that. 

Suzi has a great blog that mixes fun writing stuff, with personal tidbits that make her feel like a friend.

Thanks for checking out Suzi's blog.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zoosday Tuesday

Arctic Fox

Powder puff anyone?
The arctic fox is another animal that is beautifully adapted to life in the cold, cold north. The bushy tail, shorter nose, and small ears. Their fur is thick with a dense double coat, and they even have fur on the bottom of their feet. All these adaptations help them survive in the harsh cold of the Arctic Circle.

The blue represents the area where the Artic Fox lives
These little puff balls are opportunistic feeders. They eat small mammals such as lemmings, arctic hares, ringed seal pups, and eggs. They also eat any scraps left behind by polar bears.

My summer coat
During the summer, they grow a brown or grey coat, which they trade for a solid white coat when thick snow covers their territory.

Changing my coat

Arctic foxes form monogomous pairs that share the duties of raising and feeding the young. Litter size is typically from five -eight, but can be up to twenty-five (what! that's just crazy.) The kits stay with the parents for up to two years and may stay with the parents to help raise their younger siblings. When it's time to move on, the females head out while the males stay with the family. The kits are born brown, grey, or blue/grey, and turn white as winter approaches.

Babies at the Den
Arctic Foxes are doing well so far in the wild. They use all of their resources to survive. They are successful hunters, good parents, and ideally adapted to make their way in the harshest environment on earth. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I Love About You Wednesday

Meet Caz Williams

I was so glad to see Caz Williams back on the blogosphere when I returned from hiatus. She's from, check it out, Perth, Austrailia. Meeting bloggers from places like Perth just makes me want to pee my pants with excitement. (Not that you folks from the US don't make me want to tinkle, but seriously, I never thought I'd know someone from Perth, Austrailia.

And Caz is a writer who's in a similar place to me, so I can really relate to her. Last summer she visited the US and spent part of her time at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.) She shared so much of what she learned from that experience with her followers.

Check out Caz's blog to see everything she has to say about that wonderful and educational experience.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Zoosday Tuesday

Ringed Seal

I'm coming back to Zoosday Tuesday by picking up where we left off in February, in the Artic.

Isn't I cute?

These chubby little guys are the smallest of the seal species.  They get their name from the lighter colored rings on the dark grey or black background.

They are the main food source of polar bears, but before you feel too sorry for them,  keep in mind that they are super fast and sleek under the water. They stay close to the water at all times, by either floating along on ice floes, or digging holes in the ice that they can slip into when a big white bear comes prowling around.

During the winter, when the ice freezes solid the ringed seals are able to dig out holes deep under ice that other seals can't reach. They use their sharp front claws to dig 5-8 holes that they pop out of every 15-30 minutes when they need air.  They blow bubbles out of the hole before surfacing in the hopes that a waiting polar bear will give away his position.

Hope there aren't any polar bears around

They pack on the pounds by eating up to 62 different types of fish and shrimp.

whoops I'm not a ringed seal, but I do have blubber
Anyway they need the extra weight they pack on to get through the molting season. Every May and June ringed seals shed all of their fur and skin so they can grow a new coat.  During this time, they don't eat because they can't go in the water without thier protective coats.  Pupping females add two months to their fast because they don't eat or swim while their nursing their pups.  But pups are weaned after only two months and after four months they are able to fend for themselves.

Ringed seal pups are born with a white coat
They molt this first coat during their first months of life to be replaced by the grey rings.

I is molting, yuck!

These speedy little seals spend most of their life in the water; swimming, fishing, and breeding. They manage to evade their arch enemy the polar bears more times than not.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What I Learned on Hiatus aka I'm Better With You

Better With You

I decided to take a blog hiatus from the end of February - March. I needed to make some major progress on my new WIP, and felt that if I took some time off from blogging, I'd be able to focus on writing. So how did that work out? Not so hot!

I did manage to get around 5000 words written during the month, but considering I wrote 45,000 words during November while blogging, I was less than pleased.

What I found out was that even though blogging takes up time, I'm better with you.

When I'm blogging:
1) Writing is front and center every day. I'm hearing about your writing projects, and it motivates and inspires me to work on my own.
2) I'm part of a great group of people, who all share my goals and keep me motivated.
3) I'm able to chase away the "I'm never going to be a writer" self-doubt that plagues me. I hear about your successes and failures and realize that I'm not alone.
4) I'm getting new ideas and tips on ways to improve my own writing.
5) I'm avoiding other distractions, like the "Game of Thrones" obsession I picked up while on hiatus. (I really did not need to get hooked on new book series. But hey, I only have about 4000 more pages to read!)

So I'm going back to blogging three days a week. I'm going to pick up where I left off on Zoosday Tuesday, Why I Love You Wednesday, and Foenteic Friday. I'm going to focus on moderation and balance between writing, reading, and blogging.

I look forward to seeing all of you soon.