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Books and Squirrel

Two new books out today from friends of mine.


Feed [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Mira Grant, also known as Seanan McGuire (of Rosemary & Rue fame)1.  From the Publishers Weekly Starred Review:

Twin bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason and their colleague Buffy are thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies…

Bewitched & Betrayed [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], by Lisa Shearin.  This is Shearin’s fourth book about seeker/sorceress Raine Benares.  Lisa has posted sample chapters from all four books on her web site.  Check ‘em out!


Thanks for everyone’s input last week about discussing/sharing family stories and such online.  I talked to my wife and both kids about it, and I have a better sense how I’m going to try to go about this.  The current plan is to use the cut tag for these, since not everyone is interested.  I also let the kids choose pseudonyms for themselves.  (Clara and Jackson, if you’re wondering).  I’ll probably reevaluate as I go.

So anyway, this weekend I brought the kids to Michigan State to feed the ducks…

…partly so my wife could work on a paper for class.  Turns out there was a football scrimmage this weekend, so the campus was packed.  The ducks were either watching the game, or else they had already done some tailgating and were stuffed.  We fed a few, but it wasn’t the crazy flock I was hoping for.

However, there was a squirrel who kept getting closer and closer to my daughter and her bounty of stale bread.  She was very patient and very gentle with him/her, which eventually resulted in this.

Clara really loves animals, so this was one of the highlights of the day.  Her only complaint was that she didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl squirrel, so she wasn’t sure whether to name it Neil or Nellie.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

  1. She’s been talking about the book on her LiveJournal, so I’m assuming the pseudonym is an open secret


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
My kids would be so jealous if they saw that pic, Jim!
Apr. 27th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Bring 'em to MSU! There's an entire subspecies of semi-tame college squirrels living on campus.
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, we've got our collection in the backyard. Not that tame, however; they have to go visit my wife's family for that.

Now the jays, on the other hand...
Apr. 27th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
My "college squirrel" was Tasslehoff. I loved having him around-until he caught sight of the bag of bread behind me. The heck with the little chunks- he wanted the mother lode! He tried to leap into the room, and I had to wrap my hand in a curtain and shove him out. The little fuzzball was GROWLING!
Apr. 27th, 2010 01:59 pm (UTC)
Back in the Middle Ages, the fox squirrels in Ann Arbor would mug you for a peanut. Clara is lucky she got her hand back.
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC)
They can get scary in East Lansing, too. Back when I was a student, I swear I saw a group of young black-furred squirrels practicing their ninja training by the library. But when I looked again, they had vanished into the shadows...
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Oh no--naming wild animals! That's dangerous! ;-) Recently, we had a wild gray mouse on our driveway. It wasn't afraid of us at all. Since it was charcoal colored, I took to calling it "Kingsford." I, too, was wondering if it would be a boy or girl, so maybe it should be "Queensford"?
Laura (mtlawson's wife)
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know. But I *think* the kids both understand we're not getting any more animals. 3 cats, 2 dogs, a hamster, and a bunch of fish are more than enough.

Those are great names for the mouse! :-)
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
It's a totally open pseudonym. They even list the Toby books in the front of Feed, under "Mira Grant writing as Seanan McGuire." I feel very quantum.

You should bring Clara to visit Northern California. We can head to Santa Cruz, land of small frogs, butterfly migrations, and electric yellow slugs the length of your forearm.
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
I figured if you were posting on LJ and Twitter about the book, then it was safe to reveal your not-so-secret identity :-)

Not sure what Clara would think of the slugs, but she'd love the frogs and the butterflies!
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
There's a grove in Santa Cruz where the trees are covered in these weird brown leaves at certain times of the year.

And then the leaves open their wings, and you're standing in a cathedral made of butterflies.
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
That picture is the cutest picture.
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Both kids were highly photogenic that day :-)
Apr. 27th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
I *especially* love her solemnity. No teeth showing. 8^D
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
How about NelNeil? That way, you cover all the bases.
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
There's a sign at Flood Park (that one on northbound Okemos Road that always closed after a heavy rain) that explains why you shouldn't feed bread to the ducks.
Apr. 27th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, campus squirrels. They seem to be much more daring than most. When I was at Rutgers, there'd often be the daring ones in the courtyards between the classroom buildings where squirrels would come up and beg quite brazenly. I had one climb up on my leg as I sat there, and hold his paws out for a peanut. Compare that to the ones in my yard, that see me every day and dash off the instant I get out of my car. I find it interesting that less than 10 miles away, the same animals can have very different instincts/behaviors.
Apr. 27th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
At Northwestern the gray squirrels were famous for (a) exploding trash cans and (b) mugging people. The former was the near death experience one had when walking along, passing a trash can and having it violently expel a cloud of papers and debris, plus one fast moving squirrel, upset at having been nearly caught by one of those bipedal interlopers. The latter was pretty serious. I saw people thinking they could sit on a bench and eat their lunch, only to have parts of their sandwich taken from their hands -- or experience the perilous exploding paper lunch bag. (grin)

We swore the squirrels carried switchblades -- but I bet they use lightsabers now.

Dr. Phil
Apr. 27th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
The squirrels on the campus where I work are also cheeky li'l buggers. They will scale the buildings to enter third-floor offices, steal your lunch, and stand on your desk and yell at you if you interrupt them before they can make off with it. I suspect they are being fed "special" brownies from time to time, making them more determined to steal people-food.

There are also the ones in the neighborhood growing up that my father had trained to come to the backyard if he stepped out and yelled "Chocolate!" He had trained them to come for peanut butter cups. He also hand-fed a family of skunks marshmallows off the front steps. Kind of a pity he was such a nasty human being to other people.
Apr. 27th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
That pic is precious.

When I was a kid our area was full of grey squirrels -- my cousins and I would get into trouble for feeding them, because a family of them had moved into the vent above our stove, We could hear them scrabbling about on Sundays. They had NO FEAR. The would go right up to my cousin's shoes for bread (and tussle crows for it, it seemed. Or at least practice guerilla tactics).

Sadly (well, from the POV of my childhood-non-homeowning-self), the area is much more developed now, and the squirrels seem to have moved on. Still have fancy birds, but no squirrels. ;-(

(There was also the apocryphal story back then, in the 80s of the squirrels in Central Park who thought discarded crack pipes were nuts, and consequently ran around the place high as a kite...)
Apr. 27th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)

There's a pond at a local JC notorious for its vicious geese. They'll chase you back to your car once they figure out you've got food, and you always have to save something to throw over your shoulder as you're running away to keep them occupied so you can get in your car and make your getaway. Of course, this is all the MOST fun when you're seven, which is why we kept going back.
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:35 pm (UTC)
Geese scare me. If I ever become a supervillain, my elite guards are going to be genetically manipulated supersoldiers: 50% ninja and 50% goose.

(Or maybe I'm just overtired this morning...)
Apr. 27th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
That is an awesome shot!
Apr. 27th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
I love, love, love Lisa Shearin's books! The new one is on its way as we speak. Her worldbuilding and characterization is amazing. I'm so excited that she has a new book out, I could squeee!

Ahem. Except, of course, I'm way too dignified for that.
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
Dignity is overrated.
Apr. 29th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank goodness. In that case, SQUUUUEEEEE
Apr. 27th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
Awww, cute! Reminds me of my days trying (and sometimes even succeeding) to feed the chipmunks in our vacation spot as a kid. I'd crouch down, hand on the ground, with a peanut resting on my palm.
Apr. 28th, 2010 07:56 am (UTC)
Cute picture!
I've got to say, I'm kind of amazed at how normal your kids' pseudonyms are. If you'd asked me to come up with one when I was 5 or so it probably would have been something like Rainbow Brite.
Apr. 28th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Cute picture!
I wasn't too surprised by my daughter's choice, but I did kind of expect the five-year-old to come up with something Superheroish :-)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines

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