End of March Roundup

Hello Beautiful People!

This was supposed to post on March 31st... Oops! 

March has been one hell of a month. It started off fun and full of adventure as my family went on our yearly big camping trip. This year we went to Big Bend National Park. We went last fall, but it was with my husbands grandparents and we didn't have much say over what we did or where we went. 

Camping in Big Bend, Texas

Camping in Big Bend, Texas

But we loved the area. Especially me - I fell in love with a little town called Marfa, a little hipster town in the middle of the dessert. The town is filled with both modern culture and history, but what attracted me the most was their mystery lights. Especially since - while I'm finishing Shift, I've been working on my next book which is set in a desert town in southwest Texas. The mystery lights fit with the lore of my next world and I just adored being able to immerse myself in Marfa. 

Other than a little book research, my family and I hiked a lot and enjoyed the ABSOLUTELY amazing view of the night sky at Big Bend. The park is one of the few places in America that can boast having low light pollution, making the night sky brilliant. My future Space Engineer son (his idea, not mine) enjoyed looking through his new telescope at his favorite constellations.

My future Space Engineer listening to a lecture on Solar Flares.

My future Space Engineer listening to a lecture on Solar Flares.

One of the Big Telescopes at McDonalds Observatory

One of the Big Telescopes at McDonalds Observatory

While in the area, we visited McDonalds observatory where my son and I got to listen to a few presentations on mapping the night sky and solar observations - Yes, my 5-year-old son was interested - he hates to read, but will listen to an astronomer drone on and on about zodiac constellations. My entire family went to the star party where we had the chance to look through their telescopes at differently heavenly bodies. Our favorite was Jupiter and three of his moons.

I'm so glad my family had the chance to get away and have such an amazing time together, but as we drove home I received some news that shook me to my core...

If you have read any part of my acknowledgements in The Caelian Cycle or just know me in person, I am a member of a group of women/moms who all had children the same month and year. We call ourselves the JanMoms. We're a tight group who have multiple get together's throughout the year. We share joys and heartaches. We are a support group. 

I was close to one amazing woman in particular, Jo. She and I bonded over our love of geek culture, anime, and fan fiction. It was Jo who encouraged me to write and publish my book. It was Jo, along with Kathryn (another awesome JanMom), who read Lost before anyone else. 

Needless to say, we were pretty thick. 

Jo & I a few years back

Jo & I a few years back

On my way home from vacation, I get the news that Jo passed away. She had been struggling with some issues due to a surgical complication for months and her body finally gave out, but it was a shock to me. Before I had left, she had gone home and was doing better. During the vacation, we had no electricity and a signal was hard pressed to come by so I didn't see that she went back in to the hospital.

I was blindsided. 

Her passing tore my heart in two, but not just because the world lost an amazing woman. My heart broke for her husband and daughter - who is the same age as my son. With help from my fellow JanMom's I was able to go to her funeral the weekend after we got back from vacation. It was hard to witness, but I'm incredibly glad I had the chance to say goodbye.

The rest of March flew by in a blur, there was Holy Week, my grandfather's cancer came back, and another funeral to attend. Next thing I know I'm looking at April. I hope that I find peace in April. 

With lots of love!!! Stay awesome.