Saturday, July 30, 2016

Selfie Saturday: For the Birds

For a few weeks now, I've been seeing the strangest bird, usually perched way up high in one of our trees or on the roof of the house next door. It looks kind of like a eagle or maybe a falcon, but it's too small to be either, plus it's lightly colored, with a lot of white.

Then the other day, I ambled into the kitchen to make myself some lunch, glanced out the window, and gasped. The bird was sitting just outside, on a fence post, surveying the back yard.

Luckily, my camera was nearby, so I managed to grab it and snap a few pictures before the creature flew away.  It all happened so fast, the pics mostly came out blurry, but I managed to sharpen them up a bit with a little help from Photoshop.

Figuring It Out 

Anyway, my husband sent the pictures to a friend who knows birds, and he told us it is a Broad-Winged Hawk. A hawk! Of course!  I should've guessed that myself.

Once we had the species, I did some reading and it turns out that Broad-Winged Hawks have a lot of white with short vertical stripes when they're young, but as they age they turn browner and the vertical stripes become horizontal. My conclusion: This little critter is a teenager, too big to be a baby but still marked by its feathers as a youth.

Left Behind

The thought is sad, actually, that somehow it must've gotten separated from its family and has had to set up housekeeping all alone, here in the Philadelphia suburbs. Now that I know what it is and have listened to its unique call online, I'm going to keep watching and listening and see if I can figure out where it has its nest. In the meantime, hopefully some more of its kind will come flying by soon and it can join in with them for the rest of their migratory journey!

Ironically, we have a place up in the Poconos, which is also home to the Hawk Mountain raptor sanctuary. Too bad we can't give the little guy a lift the next time we go up.

Enjoy your weekend–and these fuzzy-but-fun photos of my close encounter with the adolescent raptor. Now I just need to think up a good name for him/her.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Reading Roundup

What's in your TBR (to be read) pile? I usually have several different books going simultaneously, and right now I'm working through these...

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I have fallen in LOVE with the musical Hamilton and can't get enough of the show--or the book that inspired it.

Along those same lines, I'm really enjoying The Secret Life of the American Musical by Jack Viertel. It's so well written that I think anyone who likes theatre would enjoy it, but as a writer I'm finding it especially helpful. I don't write plays or musicals any more, but many top playwriting techniques are applicable to novels as well.

My current research book is Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead. It's the fascinating true story of a French village that helped save thousands of Jews during World War II. Some of the events described in the book will show up in my fictional Cousins of the Dove series with Leslie Gould, so right now I'm trying to get a handle on the whole amazing series of events.

Finally, my guilty pleasure of the moment is the young adult novel Map of Fates by Maggie Hall. It's like a DaVinci Code for kids (but a whole lot better) with engaging characters, great pacing, and a just-this-side-of-believeable plot that's been keeping me in suspense since I started the first one in the series, The Conspiracy of Us, a few weeks ago. When I finished that one I jumped right into Map of Fates, and as I near the ending, I'm afraid this one is going to leave me hanging yet again--except that the third one in the series isn't out yet. Ack! Don't know how I'll be able to wait.

Speaking of reading, if you're like me and prefer to read with your ears rather than your eyes, be sure to check out Audible. I'm a long-time subscriber and a huge fan and cannot recommend it enough.

What will you be reading this summer? Let us know in a comment below. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kindle Sale Today Only

Are you a member of Amazon Prime? If so, you might like to know that there's a special one-day promotion on Amazon for the new KindleKindle Paperwhite, and Kindle Voyage:

Click on any of the above images to learn more–but act fast because these prices are only good for today, July 12th.  (To get these deals, you must be a member of Amazon Prime.) Enjoy!