Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Shredding the Gnar

If you read my Friday Five last week, you know that my oldest son is currently driving cross country with a friend. Every day he texts me about his adventures, along with pictures from the day. Most are fabulous, wondrous, and of places I've never been to myself. It is truly the trip of a lifetime, and I'm totally jealous.

His text from St. Louis over the weekend had the expected picture of the famous arch. It also had a video of him skateboarding, with the caption "Shredding the gnar in St. Louis." While someone of my generation might think his auto correct went cuckoo, I knew better.

According to the Urban Dictionary (THE source in these types of matters), shredding the gnar originated in the early days of skateboarding and is now popular when referencing other extreme sports. They give the the following example:

"dude, let's go shred the gnar!
bro, i can't
last gnar session i tweaked my dome.

Tweak my dome? No. This is a family friendly blog!  Plus, I still wasn't clear on the shredding the gnar thing. But, then further down the page, another definition:

"To go big, never stop or give up; accept the reality that anything is possible, and everything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it."

A-ha! That I understood, and suddenly it all made sense, because that is MY motto in life. DREAM BIG! So yes ....


I wonder if I should change this sign hanging in my office to read "No shred is too gnar ... " (or it is "No gnar is too shred?")



Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Trailer Reveal! Joshua and the Arrow Realm

I’m thrilled to unveil the trailer for book two in Donna Galanti’s fantasy adventure Lightning Road series,  JOSHUA AND THE ARROW REALM, arriving August 30th. My nine-year-old LOVED book one and we can't wait for book two! The Midwest Book Review calls book one, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD, “a heart-pounding thrill ride full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish.”  Grab book one for just $.99cents now through September 20th.

Be sure to enter the fun giveaway package at the bottom of this post that includes a paperback of book one, poster of the Lost Realm, bookmarks, and a $25 B&N gift card (U.S. only). Sign up for Donna’s Thunderclap book release campaign and help her zap the world through social media with her lightning message!


On August 30th take the lightning road back to a world of beasts, bandits, and heroes in book two of the Lightning Road series. Join Joshua in a new fight for power in the Arrow Realm. Can Joshua and his friends conquer an unstoppable evil?
Joshua never thought he’d return to the world of Nostos but is soon called to the Arrow Realm to free his imprisoned friend, King Apollo, kidnapped as a power pawn in Queen Artemis’s quest to conquer every realm. With his loyalties divided between our world and theirs, Joshua wonders whether he alone can restore magic to the twelve powerless Olympian heirs and save all those enslaved. But when he finds himself abandoned in his quest, he fears he cannot only save those imprisoned—but himself as well.

“Fast-paced and endlessly inventive, Joshua and the Arrow Realm is a high-stakes romp through a wild world where descendants of the Greek gods walk beside you, beasts abound, and not everything—or everyone—is as it seems.” ~ Michael Northrop, New York Times bestselling author of the TombQuest series



A faint rumble groaned through the whistling wind.


Thunder ripped the sky overhead.

Charlie reached the frozen pond, spinning across it. “Woohoo! I win! You Americans can’t beat us at speed!”

Lightning flashed. It zinged across the pine trees like brilliant sunlight. A seed of terror flickered inside me.

Boom! Boom!

Another flash scorched the sky.

Charlie’s smile fell to a frown as he raced across the ice, peering up into the swirling clouds.

We both knew what lightning could do.

Suddenly, sneaking outside for a moonlit sled ride before Bo Chez got home from his monthly poker game didn’t seem so smart.

The sleet turned to snow. Icicles flew off trees like glass splinters, shattering on the hard snow. As I shot toward the pond, a tree on the edge moved. Its branches swayed in the swirling snow.

It wasn’t a tree, but a girl! She stumbled through the mad flurry, arms outstretched.

“Charlie, look!”

Gusts snatched the words away as my sled hit the ice and careened out of control on the bumpy surface. The girl staggered and fell onto the pond. I twisted my sled away to avoid hitting her and smashed right into Charlie. With a yelp, he pulled me up, and we clumped toward the girl. We lifted her up, half dragging her back up the hill to the house in the pelting snow and sleet.

“Who is she?” Charlie yelled.

“No idea,” I yelled back.

He said more, but his words were lost in the wind.

My lungs burned with the cold and effort. There was only one reason someone would appear with lightning—to steal us. This girl might appear like a waif unprepared for a storm but I couldn’t trust that’s all she was.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Arrow-Realm-Lightning-Road/dp/0996890491?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/joshua-and-the-arrow-realm-donna-galanti/1123486660?ean=9780996890496


Donna Galanti is the author of The Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. She’s lived in other exotic locations, including Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse, and dreams of returning one day to a castle. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. You can find her at www.donnagalanti.com.


E-book ARCs are available for this next thrilling book in The Lightning Road series! Email donna(at)donnagalanti.com for copies and specify the format you’d like.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This Crazy Game Called Life

Last night, I took my three kids out to dinner. Let's forget for a moment that in a completely empty restaurant they gave us the table closest to the bar. I'm chalking that one up to me looking worn out and them assuming I might need a drink or ten. (FYI I only drank water).

We were in one of those restaurants that had a game console on the table. Normally, I say no to that sort of thing, but despite my haggard look, I was in a particularly good mood. I was with all three of my children … a rare occasion these days … and I was in air-conditioning. Did I mention my AC broke? Did I mention we were in the middle of a heat wave and it was a holiday weekend? Again, I would like to say that I did in fact only drink water.

The kids decided to play The Game of Life. It seemed like a fun and harmless game. More importantly, they all agreed on it without any arguments. It started out innocent enough. Two of my children chose college paths, one became a professional athlete. They each got married and bought houses. But then talk of babies started. Everyone wanted one.

"How do you get a baby?" I asked, followed quickly by, "Don't answer that." Okay, so my nine year old and I have already had talks, but I wasn't in the mood to re-hash it all around the dinner table in a restaurant. Although, we were in air-conditioning.

My fifteen year old, not missing a beat, responded with, "You have to land on a space … just like in real life." She smirked. Oy.

My youngest, nodded and added, "I'm going to name my first child Peter Parker. Then I'm going make him get bit by a radioactive spider."  Seemed like a reasonable response.

Also heard around the table was:

"'Can I buy your children off of you?" ... from my fifteen year old and

"I keep having kids! I'm getting a vasectomy." ... from my eighteen year old.

Seriously, where was that waitress with our food?

Finally, the topic moved away from baby making and baby preventing. You see because in this version of Life, you can sue people. Oh yes, my kids thought that was awesome!

The new conversation went like this:

"If I can sue someone I will!"

"Sue! Sue! Sue!"

"I will not hesitate to take all your money!"

When finally I made a comment about how complicated this game was compared to the version I had when I was a kid, my youngest replied with:

"You need Life to be easier, you're old."

And that my friends pretty much sums it up, don't you think?


Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Conversation With My Nine Year Old: The Evil Dudes

It's been a while since I've posted a conversation with my youngest - we have some great ones. They usually take place while walking to and from the school bus stop. What I love about our conversations is that no matter what I ask, he has a response. It's often hard to keep a straight face, and I usually lose it somewhere by the end. That's the point where I rush to scribble it all down...

C: [Friend] and I started a club called the Evil Dudes. We're going to build a house then build the most powerful machine in the world.

Me: That sounds expensive.

photo credit: piles-o-cash money via photopin (license)
C: Yes, but we're going to raise a trillion dollars to make it happen.

Me: How? I could use some good fundraising tips.

C: Through recruits. That's why we need the house. So they can live there.

Me: Listen, do you think once you raise all this money, you can maybe loan your mom some? Maybe just a little, like $10,000 or so?

C: Nope.We're going to need it all.

Me: How about if you raise your fundraising effort? I mean a trillion dollars is kind of a lot. A trillion ten thousand is just a tiny bit more at that point.

C: No can do. This thing is going global and will be going on for generations to come.

Me: That's a lot of Evil Dudes. Why so evil?

C: We're not really evil. Our machine will save the planet. We just needed a cool sounding name.

Me: Why not Cool Dudes?

C: That's already taken ... Some guys in Antarctica.

photo credit: El verdadero Kowalsky via photopin (license)

Well  … okay. At that point we were home. I quickly jotted down the conversation,  knowing I just had to blog about it. We started homework and got into our usual after school routine. The next morning, I added "blog post about Evil Dudes" to my to-do list. However, I wasn't expecting this added gem when it was time to leave for school.

Me: What's that? (Pointing to a rolled up piece of paper in my son's hand)

C: Evil Dude plans for an underground bunker. Sorry, I can't disclose the location. It's a secret. We'll need $500 mil to start. We have to eat you know.

Kid's got a point.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ramblings of a Sentimental Mom

Can I get sentimental for a moment?

It's been that kind of week so far. It all started with the emails. There was the one reminding parents that cap and gown orders were due for my high school senior (done), the one that said there were mandatory religious school confirmation rehearsals for my fifteen year old (noted), and the one that said fourth grade graduation would be starting at 9:15 (got it).

Within the course of one week, all three of my children will be hitting milestones. It is a week that will involve a LOT of tissues.

photo credit: Graduation Cake Guy via photopin (license)
The thing is, that emotional week is still several weeks away, and the waterworks have already started. Like yesterday. I went to Walgreens to buy cards. As soon as I saw the first graduation card, I knew I was going to lose it. I quickly put it down and decided it was a task for another day.

Maybe my sentimental craziness is because I've been reading a lot of my old blog posts lately. Last week, I listened to a podcast about social media. One of the things discussed was recycling older entries that readers might still enjoy/find relevant. Since I have over 400 posts, I thought why not? So I started at the beginning and started reading. There were so many about my three children. Memories came flooding back as if the events I wrote about happened yesterday. Except they didn't. Years have passed, and the tweens I wrote about are now teens. One is eighteen, works, has his own car, and is getting ready to graduate high school. The other will be sixteen this summer and is already thinking about colleges. And that toddler who I wrote about? The one who was worried that the Tooth Fairy didn't get help the way Santa did and wondered if maybe she could borrow an elf or two? Well, he's almost ten and getting ready to enter the tween years himself. Like most parents, I had a "wait, what? when?" moment trying to figure out how they aged when I didn't (snicker). Of course, there were tears thinking about it all, but there were also laughs … because so many of the memories made me smile.

So if you see me on social media being more social with old posts, it's just me being a sentimental (older) mom.



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Blame It On The Carpet

I was listening to a podcast the other day about social media, and a thought occurred to me. Lately I haven't been very social. There was a time when I was blogging two or three times a week. Looking back, I realized it's been about two years since that all stopped, which was just around the time of my divorce. Did you know that happened? Yeah.

It was a crazy, hectic, stressful, depressing time. To add to the stress, our marital home, which was too large and expensive to keep, sold in two days, and the buyers wanted a quick settlement. I had five weeks to pack up and find a new home for myself and my three children.

In the housing market, it was a time of low inventory and high demand … at least in my price range. I was getting outbid on everything and had visions of us living out of my minivan. But then in a very "Sex in the City" sort of way, I got a phone call from my best friend: "A guy on my street died. They're hammering in the For Sale sign as I speak. Call your realtor NOW."

So I did. And I got the house before anyone else had a chance to see it. I had already been through two other houses in the neighborhood. They were all built in the 1950's and all basically the same. In fact, the one across the street was one I'd bid on and lost. So I knew what it could look like which was a good thing. Because … WOW.

"It's just carpet, it's just carpet," I told myself as I walked through. My realtor tried to convince me I could live with it for a while. I told her to stop … that she already had the sale. I knew from looking at the other houses on the street that these homes had hardwood on the first floor and just prayed I would find something in decent, usable condition underneath this craziness.

I settled on the house a few days before the movers arrived in order to have some time to work on the house. My best friend and our teenage sons couldn't rip the carpet out fast enough. I wish I could say pulling out the remaining 10,000 staples was therapeutic, but it wasn't. Underneath, the floors weren't in the best shape, and in the dining room (Oh yes, this carpet was EVERYWHERE), the prior owner had removed the hardwood and put down linoleum. Surprise! But at least it was neutral. More importantly, it wasn't this carpet. With scratched up hardwood floors and unexpected linoleum, my furniture and other belongings began to arrive. Suddenly, this strange place started looking and feeling like home. Ready or not, I was entering a new chapter of my life.

Now two years later, I've since had the hardwood refinished and the linoleum removed. The dust has settled on our unexpected life, and all is good…We are happy and loved. I'm extremely grateful for everything that we have. And I still don't miss that carpet.



Friday, April 29, 2016

The Mother of All Tooth Fairies

A few minutes ago, a lovely woman with glitter in her hair and fluttering wings, dressed in purple and pink ruffles, called my son's name. He obediently stood from his chair and followed her through the door.

Okay, so she maybe she wore blue scrubs, didn't have glitter in her hair or have fluttering wings, but she did call out my eighteen year old son's name. And he did follow her behind a closed door.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm writing this post from the oral surgeon's waiting room. Today is the dreaded day ... Wisdom teeth removal. 

The other moms in here all look so calm, but I'm a twisted mess. For weeks I was fine. I was fine when I made the appointment, I was fine when we came in for the consult, I was even fine when my son had to sign all the paperwork because he's eighteen now.

But then this week started..

First, I had to convince my son this wouldn't happen: "Mom, did you know 1 in 5 people die from this procedure? I mean from the anesthesia."

The next day, I had to really convince him this wouldn't happen: "Mom, what if Dr. M drops the sharp thing down my throat? It could cut all my organs open and  I could bleed to death."

Then, I had to make sure he followed through on this instruction: "No food or drink after midnight - not even a sip of water." Since I go to bed around 10:30, I was worried. Really worried. What if he woke up in the middle of the night and forgot? I barely slept worrying about it, and the sleep it did get was filled with dreams of him eating Thanksgiving sized feasts.. One of these meals even took place in the doctor's waiting room while waiting to be called back.. Yeah.

And it doesn't end there. I'm worried about what happens after. Will the pain be horrible? Will I be able to help enough? Did I buy enough soft foods? Do I have enough ice packs? Will he be comfortable? Will I pass out in the office while they explain all the gory stuff about clots, bleeding, signs of infection, and preventing dry sockets?

Anxiety much?

So that's where I am right now. Looking around the room,  I'm wondering how these other moms are keeping it all together so well. Are you telling me they had full nights of sleep? Were their dreams filled with things other than eating a mega meal in the dentist office? Are they confident they'll get through post op instructions without the room spinning? Do they know what they're doing after they get home?

Maybe I'm the only first timer here.. Not just for wisdom teeth but for any type of child-related surgery at all. Not that I'm complaining ... Eighteen years and three kids is a nice long stretch without any surgeries. But maybe that's why.

So for now, I'm waiting ... And writing. Because that's what us neurotic tooth fairies do.


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