My Christmas tradition

When I was a kid, I had a little fake tree for Christmas, and a whole box of cheap wooden earrings shaped like parrots. I’d gotten them on sale at the shop of a bird-breeder friend of the family, and I used them as ornaments.

Gradually the tree and the earrings fell apart, to the point they weren’t worth keeping anymore. But the tradition lives on.

My tree now is made of copper wire, which I twisted into branches and planted in a round ceramic pot.

Each year, I buy a pair of earrings from some independent artist on Etsy: earrings with gemstones and birds. All sorts of gemstones, all sorts of birds, many different artists, supporting a new small-time jeweler every year. Once I bought a big round ring for a tree topper.

I fill the extra space with ball ornaments, but as time goes on, I’ll need fewer of those. I bought and cut the copper wire with serious consideration for the number of end twigs it would give me, and there are hundreds. Copper lasts forever. In another eighty years, the tree may be totally covered with shiny birds.

Siri’s healthy new feathers and feet

Sirius Marley the starling is no longer bald-faced from fighting with other starlings. In the time he’s been living with me, he’s grown a face full of pretty feathers!

That picture is also the latest in a series of photos showing the improvement of Siri’s feet! When we first adopted him, he had pretty severe hyperkeratosis (overgrowth of keratin, such as leg scales, claws and beak), which can be a result of nutrient deficiency or other things that can impede a healthy molt. His leg scales in particular were huge! With good food, sunlight and an aloe gel regimen, he’s made a lot of progress:

(Update: Another picture added in December)

(Update: Another picture added in January)

Lunchbox lifehack

I’ve started using little glass canning jars as lunch containers. You can get them quite cheap in the kitchen supplies section of a big Target store. They get cleaner than plastic containers when you wash them (no food odors hanging around!) and if you take the tops off, they’re microwave safe. Freezer safe too, according to the package, and dishwasher safe. (The tops might rust after too many times in the dishwasher, but can easily be replaced with any jar lid of the same size.)

Eight of them in a little lunchbox, filled with things like squash, lentil soup, watermelon chunks, mixed nuts, crackers, cottage cheese, yogurt and applesauce, is enough to get me through a full day at work.

Also, if you can find this pumpkin-spice cider at Aldi, it’s delicious, and the bottles make great, well-sealed water containers to take to lunch.

Fall Extravaganza, more info

Here’s the latest info on the Fall Extravaganza. To enter to win copies of my books, sign in with Facebook at the bottom (or your email address), and follow the Facebook page for Kea’s Flight, my @earthtoerika Twitter account, or my Abby and Norma blog.

(I’m not yet quite sure if which page you follow affects which book you’ll be entered to win. I’ll look into that.)

Welcome to the 

Fall Book Extravaganza Giveaway!


We are excited to announce that this is our first year hosting the Fall Book Extravaganza Giveaway and we had 25 awesome authors and book bloggers sponsor over 55 prizes, including a Kindle Fire! Below you will find a Rafflecopter where you can enter to win one of these FABULOUS PRIZES! 

Plus, 55+ other great prizes!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can find more information about the great 
authors & bloggers who made this giveaway possible at: 

Fall Extravaganza!

Here’s a little post to tell you about my participation in the Beyond Words Fall Extravaganza Giveaway! Between October 21st and November 9th, you can enter to win any of several free copies of my books, as well as other cool prizes.

Prizes I’m contributing:

2 signed print copies of the science fiction novel Kea’s Flight (the special exclusive edition that you can only get directly from me, containing a lexicon of the made-up language described in the book)

2 signed print copies of the story collection If the World Ended, Would I Notice?

2 digital copies of Kea’s Flight in mobi, epub or pdf form

2 digital copies of If the World Ended, Would I Notice? in mobi, epub or pdf form

Recently added:

2 signed print copies of the Abby and Norma comic collection, “Everything Happens for a Reason (but nothing happens for a GOOD reason)”

Go on over and check it out!

Machine of Death sequel finally out!

The story anthology “This is How You Die” is out today!!! My story “Furnace” is in it, and so are lots of other great stories and illustrations.
My story is illustrated by Trudy Cooper of the webcomic Oglaf!

It’s already at like #143 on the Amazon bestsellers… let’s get it even higher!

And if you like my story, remember I also have a collection of my own short stories: If the World Ended, Would I Notice?