March Hedge a Gram

Happy March Everyone!

I am looking out into our backyard and seeing the snow come down - another 6" is expected. All the wild birds are eager to eat before the storm and since the feeder is in front of the window, we have a bird feeder theater. We've had so much snow it has covered the bird bath and the rhododendron and is close to the window sill. The birds plumage against the white snow is ever inspiring, and maybe this showcasing of white is why my books with snow in them are my favorites. I can't decide which is more striking, the brilliant red of the cardinals and blue of the blue jays or the subtle browns of the song sparrows and wrens. The woodpeckers are in a class by themselves, reminding me how nature's patterns and colors are unexpected and perfect. Our Red Bellied woodpeckers are large and have black and white stripes in a ladder pattern up their back. On their head is a splash of vibrant orange-red. The Flickers, another woodpecker, in flight flash a brilliant yellow gold on the underside of their wings. The backs are brown with white tiger stripes and the bellies are cream with black polka dots. As if these colors aren't remarkable enough they have a deep dark V on their chest and red on their heads. I have put wild birds in my books, the Snowy Owl in THE ANIMALS' SANTA, the Toucan in THE UMBRELLA, and robins in THE EASTER EGG. And since chickens are birds, CINDERS, A CHICKEN CINDERELLA qualifies, too.
Another theme that I keep exploring in my books is baking, and this is the perfect time of year to bake, it being very cold outside here in New England. It is race season and since I like long distances, I start with a breakfast of an egg and a slice of my bread. The bread is made with flour I send away for from King Arthur Bread company. There is an ancient grain mix and a nine grain flour that I mix with flax seed meal, their special seed mix and hazelnut flour. There are also dried cranberries, lingonberries, chopped walnuts and my chicken's eggs in the bread. I love kneading the dough and thinking about the book I'm just starting, so far called THE GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS. Just as the Gingerbread Baby pops out of the oven a live character, in this book, gingerbread instruments fly out playing music. In the book, Matti intentionally peeks in the oven.
Every week I go to my husband Joes concerts at Symphony Hall. I love music but am a listener rather than a player. My seat is in the first balcony where I can see him and his double bass - over six feet tall. The double bass is one of the instruments Matti shapes and cooks in the oven, along with a violin, cello, trumpet, clarinet, french horn and bass drum. I have spent most of February making the instruments into characters. The Gingerbread Baby will be a singer and will always be in the spotlight!
I am working on the book dummy for GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS. I've done a manuscript but its a little sketchy. I'm hoping the visuals will help the story telling along. In the meantime, I'm hoping to spend March painting the dummy while enjoying the birds in snow, the Boston Symphony and baking Gingerbread along with some long runs where maybe those good ideas I hope will always come will surprise me.
Happy reading and creating,

Jan