You Gotta Have A Hook

Is this nerdy? Yes. Do I love it from the depths of my nerdy soul? Heck yes! To all my friends attending the SCBWI Summer Conference this week – have an educational, inspiring time! I’ll be over here, trying not to spontaneously combust from jealousy.

Follow That Food! Wolf Migration in the Arctic

Zebra Migration

I’m cleaning out my files of unpublished manuscripts and realized that many of them would make excellent blog posts. Especially in the summer, when I would much rather be outside than in my office making words. 😀 I have a special place in my heart for this piece. Not only does it draw from my PhD experience, but it helped me land my very first book contract. Red Line Editorial requested a writing sample in the style and tone of the series I was being considered for. I wrote this and another piece over the weekend, and was promptly hired to write four kids’ books about...

I Watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I Still Don’t Get It


I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Actually, I watched it twice, because I wanted to make sure I knew it well enough to actually comment on it. It was really good! This was a pleasant surprise, because most of the time, I hate things everyone raves that hard about. Things I like about the movie: The writers managed to find that perfect line between assuming everyone watching knew the world and the characters, and explaining EVERYTHING in case people who haven’t watched all the previous instalments were confused. As I writer, I recognize how hard that is to do, so there’s...

Raven Mad Daze

Quork - so named for the noise he made while preening himself in the window... before trying to poke a hole in the glass with his beak.

Raven Mad Daze was a summer festival that used to take place in Yellowknife. If the memory of my junior-high-aged self can be trusted, it happened on the summer solstice, when it’s just as light at midnight as it is at noon. It’s also a phrase that perfectly describes how I feel today, after being woken up at 5:30 AM by the sound of ravens jumping on my roof. Directly over my bed. There’s a bachelor mob of half a dozen that seems to delight in meeting at my house. They bounce and scurry and squawk on my shingles, and...

Forensic Science: Not As Seen On TV


Why do TV shows have science consultants when they clearly don’t listen to what their consultants tell them? I have often wondered this. Generally while watching forensics procedurals. I still haven’t recovered from that episode of Bones where Dr. Jack Hodgins, in shocking defiance of sterile protocol, sorts through a fecal sample and then grabs a lamp with his dirty glove. GAH! The one that really gets me, though, is “zoom and enhance,” a ubiquitous trope so blatantly impossible that every seventh grader in every class I’ve ever visited knows it could never happen. As does anyone who’s tapped on a...

Curse You, Netflix


Confession time: I do not understand why Star Wars is such a big deal. This is probably partly due to the fact that in general, I like fantasy a lot more than I like sci fi. But I love Edge of Tomorrow and Inception and The Martian, so inherent bias can’t be entirely to blame. Nope, I simply do not get the Star Wars phenomenon. So when Netflix emailed me yesterday to say that they’d just added The Force Awakens, I figured, OK. Why not. Let’s try to figure out what all the fuss is about. Except apparently, Netflix lied....