Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC


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Haiku Moment: ice soldiers

armed guards in a row

glittering, fierce, and prepared

beware! ice soldiers

ice soldiers by Angie Quantrell

photos by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley


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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,594

What it looks like when I dig out my craft supplies.

We are just getting ready to tuck into bed at the close of our approximate 1,594th day of RV living. $1,594 dollars does not seem like much. 1,594 days seems like much much more.

This was not the plan. But. 2020. Plus housing market. Plus bidding wars. Plus zoning laws. Plus all sorts of things.

We are happy to have a tiny home on wheels, though an RV is not exactly the same thing. We have tiny and we have wheels. We feel blessed to have shelter near our loved ones.

We are still talking to each other, the cat keeps us free from pasture mice and voles, and the electronics and utilities work.

Just in case you are considering long-term RV life, think about this.

Storage is minimal. Even utilizing the boot (under bed/outside access storage at the front of the RV), we stack items on empty window casings, counters, and floors. And still I go the store more often and buy less.

The shower is tiny. I have no idea how my 6′ 1″ husband does it. I bang elbows and knees when I shower and I’m only 5′ 1″.

The fridge is tiny. The freezer even more so. Without an extra fridge/freezer out in the shop you can kiss Costco good-bye.

The stove is tiny. No more large turkeys. As long as I purchase a small turkey breast, cooking in the RV oven is doable. If I want a full turkey, I have to use my turkey roaster.

The bed is small. Queen? Methinks not a true queen. It gets a bit crowded with both of us and the cat, who loves sleeping crosswise between our pillows.

There. Is. No. Closet. Wrinkles are our wardrobe accessories.

Humidity is an issue in the winter. Perhaps we should purchase stock in the companies that produce dehumidifiers.

This meal could have been mixed together, but I was practicing. Works great!

On the other hand . . .

We enjoy our cozy space. COZY.

It doesn’t take much to heat such a small space. Or cool it. Though you will catch me whining when the temps are in the 90-100s.

Low utility costs, at least during spring and fall.

I have become quite tricksy at RV cooking. We regularly utilize the RV oven, stove top, and outdoor BBQ grill, depending on the season, temperature, and meal plan.

We are used to short showers.

I’ve figured out the way to work around only one stove rack. I make a foil dam and cook multiple foods at the same time! Casseroles are another way to work around the one rack.

I don’t have to clean much. We live in a pasture, so there is always dust.

We have and use what we truly need. There is no space for extras. We are working on this for my creative and work space.

We spend plenty of time outside, since that’s where the fresh air and clean living space is found in abundance. Nature is pretty wonderful. Not mice and vole heads, thank you Monet, but alive sorts of nature like hawks and bunnies and finches.

My honey is fabulous at upkeep for our tenement on wheels. At this rate, it should be good for another decade. Please.

Here’s to day 1,595 . . .

Monet, the office assistant.


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Sunday Inspiration

Thankful for neighbors who share.

Photo by Angie Quantrell


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Author Interview: Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion by James Pray (Sterling Children’s Books)

Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion

by James Pray

Sterling Children’s Books, 2020

I first heard about Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion on Kathy Temean’s blog Writing and Illustrating. Thanks to that post, I won a copy of this romping good story by James Pray. You can read Kathy’s author post at: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/book-giveaway-jonesy-flux-and-the-gray-legion-by-james-pray/

Once I received my copy in the mail, I couldn’t put it down. Until I was finished. I loved Jonesy and the many adventures and disasters she encountered in this fast-paced sci-fi tale. I thought it would be fun to reach out to James and invite him to stop by for a visit. Thank you, James!

Welcome, James! Tell us a little about yourself. Hi! I’m a writer and engineer from Michigan. I like long walks on the beach and filling my pockets with fossils along the way, but mostly I write a lot. Outside of that and my day job, most of my time concerns the corgi and pair of high-octane children that have been systematically destroying our house for the last few years.

Oh dear, the dreaded disasters of helpful children and cute dogs! Well done for being able to squeeze in time for writing!

What was your inspiration for Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion? It’s hard to narrow this down too much. There’s a real sense, for me, that I “had” Jonesy’s story long before I knew about it. Her character came from a one- or two-page sketch about her and some other kids marooned on a space station that I shelved sometime in grad school. Her world came somewhat from that of my very earliest shots at writing a novel in middle school. The concept of Fluxing was what ended up gelling it all together. That’s one item whose inspiration I can point to; although I think I made it mine in the end, I’d be a big fat liarface to deny Fluxing’s roots in a trio of anime series I followed at one point and another. I figure they won’t mean much to most people and the remainder won’t have too tough a time figuring it out, so I’ll leave guessing which as an exercise for the reader (with the hint that one is French). Either way, it all snapped together out of nowhere-or-everywhere at a time when I was really longing to write something fun, colorful, and preferably well-stocked with spaceships. It’s probably no coincidence that this happened when my wife was pregnant with our first child — I think there was a huge element of me just needing to process Kids and Parenting and Identity and Growing Up as I put it all together.

Hahaha. Liarface. In picture book writing, we call those influential books “mentor texts.” ;0 I can hear your writing voice even in these answers, which is a huge part of why I loved reading Jonesy Flux.

What was the writing journey you took as you wrote this book? Writing it was a whirlwind. I’ve never taken anything from idea to completed draft as quickly as I did with Jonesy’s story — something like ten weeks! Even if Fluxing was what kicked off the story, Jonesy’s character stole the show for me immediately. Maybe it was because I was a little tired of all the Middle-Grade protagonists who get praised for their virtue and heroism but can’t give an adult a straight answer until the closing scene, but I had a ton of fun exploring the story from the perspective of a “pure-hearted” character who gets in trouble mostly from sticking to her convictions and having high expectations for the hapless adults who cross her path with Grown-Up notions of Compromise and Shades Of Gray. The rest of it was the usual-ish process of editing, waiting a couple of years while my agent moved countries, getting ambushed with a sale to a super-awesome editor, frantically editing some more with the blinds drawn against the lockdownpocalypse, and so on.

That’s amazing! This story was meant to be.

Everything is different right now with COVID-19, but how did you celebrate the book birthday (release) of Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion? I had plans to celebrate my debut publication day with my last two cans of Vault Soda, but those expired in 2012, so . . . I left them in the fridge. (I made those plans a long time ago. I’m still on the fence about trying one anyway.) We had dinner and cake at my mom’s house instead. It was nice!

Maybe go back to your mom’s for dinner instead (avoid Vault Soda . . . ). But, if you like to live on the edge, please do let us know how it goes and if you get food poisoning.

What’s your next writing project? Will we see Jonesy again? In no particular order, “Yes!” and “Another Jonesy story!” Assuming all goes to plan, her full journey will take a more-than-trilogy sort of series to complete, partly because I am nothing if not overambitious, but mainly because I want to see her shake things up at the grandest possible scale before she boosts off into the stars for the last time.

Yay! Keep me (I mean us) in the loop. I love long drawn out epic tales that are not over too soon and explore all of what can and usually does happen for both good and evil.

Surprise us! What else would you like to share? Oh noes, an open-ended question? Well, I’m (on absolutely no schedule at all) posting bonus content for Jonesy at my website (jamespray.com), including something like 40 pages’ worth of glossary to fill out the backdrop. And I’ll mention that Twitter (@jamespray) is a great place to chat with me for those who might care to, even if it’s really not a great place in pretty much any other respect. Otherwise, I hope everybody has a good day, and maybe takes the chance to help somebody else have a good day. Like, maybe share a video of cute cats instead of that one article that makes you feel like the world is sliding facefirst into an incinerator? Or something. Oh, and a big, big thanks to Angie for helping get the word out about Jonesy!

You are most welcome! Friends, there is indeed a HUGE glossary at https://www.jamespray.com/bonus plus plenty of other fun information. Perhaps if I had realized this, I could have referred to it as I read Jonesy Flux. My engineering/spaceship/technology lingo is a bit behind the times. But NOW I know. Heh-heh.

Thank you, James, for stopping by today! Best wishes as you write future editions about the adventures of Jonesy Flux!


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Haiku Moment: twinning

double take – sisters!

who is who? swoosh here, stripe there

one box, twice the fun

twinning by Angie Quantrell

Mabel and Monet, 2017

(before a dog pack got Mabel)


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#inktober52 February Drawings

Prompt: monster (my monster is actually the drained fly; I prefer spiders to flies)

#Inktober52 is a weekly ink drawing challenge, one ink drawing a week for the entire year, 52 weeks a year.

I know I could never do #inktober for October, it just gets too crazy when I try to do something EVERY single day. But I am excited and challenged by the #inktober52. I think I can manage 52 weekly drawings inspired by prompts from https://inktober.com/. The part about having a week to complete a drawing helps me out.

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.”

Here are my February drawings.

Prompt: dragonfly

Prompt: camping

Prompt: egg

Are you enticed to join me? It’s fun to play and use my imagination. And maybe I’ll learn a new trick along the way.