Monday, November 9, 2015

The cassia trees are blooming now in central Florida. This one is in our backyard. What you can't see in the photo are the cloudless sulphur butterflies flying all around it. They are the exact same color of yellow and they are busy laying eggs on the leaves for the next generation of sulphurs. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Song of the Bear Cub

Song of the Bear Cub
(The first bear hunt in Florida in two decades resulted in illegally killed lactating females and cubs. We will never know the actual numbers of the dead)

The woods were quiet this morning
she went out to eat and roam,
new sounds rocked the silence
and mother's not coming home.

Laughter rang through trees
smiling photos on their phones
to them it's proof they're men
and mother's not coming home.

We thought we lived in paradise
the sunlight kept us warm,
she kept us safe and fed
and mother's not coming home.

We aren't sure where to go
because she made us whole
hunger makes dangerous choices
and mother's not coming home.

Now paradise is shaken
soaked with bloody death's moan
there is nothing left to do
our mother's not coming home.
--Christopher Tozier 26-Oct-2015

Florida Children's Author Visits School in Gaeta Italy

More photos from my new friends in Gaeta Italy. Yes, my head is gigantic and red. Not sure what is going on there.

I took the opportunity to learn a bit about Gaeta. It is the location of the earliest known written reference to pizza. That alone should endear the town to all of us. They have a mountain named Orlando, the same name as the city I live in. They also have a special olive there. I need to find some of these olives to try.

It turns out, Gaeta is also a beautiful town and, if this class is any indication, it is full of smart, kind people.

‪#‎books‬ ‪#‎reading‬ ‪#‎Italy‬ ‪#‎Skype‬ ‪#‎author‬ ‪#‎authorvisits‬ ‪#‎writing


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More fan art!

Here is a nice minimalist picture from an Olivia Brophie super-fan. It's so simple and it illustrates one of my favorite scenes in the Pearl of Tagelus. I love writing about Florida for children all over the world and hearing about their favorite scenes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Florida Children's Author - Fan Mail!

I received another great fan letter today. This time from Lynn.

"I think you just changed the way I see the world!!!! You're the type of book writer I've been looking for. I just LOVE your books."

Thank you Lynn!

She also included this little picture.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Carprofen, or Rimadyl, for canine pain management - WARNING

Our dachshund Spanky was prescribed Rimadyl / carprofen to help control the pain of an ear infection. Of course, we were concerned that our dog was suffering, so we simply trusted the vets and we didn't investigate the potential side-effects. Within a couple days of using Rimadyl, Spanky was unable to walk due to partial paralysis in his hind legs. He had a terrible seizure that lasted a half-hour. He never recovered.

Unfortunately, it didn't occur to us that Rimadyl could have this effect until our 2nd dachshund Pepper received a single dose and lost the ability to walk within 12 hours. That is when we started researching and discovered countless stories from others with similar experiences.  We are devastated. Please be warned. I know some dogs are helped by Rimadyl /carprofen, but the risks are very real and very serious. These are not "upset stomach" or "lethargy" type of side effects. These are paralysis, liver or renal failure, and death side-effects.  Please use a pain management drug with less risky side-effects. If you decide to use Rimadyl, watch your dog very carefully and start with very small doses. It is absolutely horrible to watch your beloved family member suffer because you kept giving them something you thought was going to help them.  Go to to find out more.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Giant moths of Florida!

Here is a polyphemus moth from the Florida scrub. These moths live in a wide variety of habitats throughout North America. Unlike many butterflies and moths who have a specific host plant, the polyphemus moth can live on many trees including oak, willow, maple, and lots of fruit trees.

Polyphemus moth

A common large moth in Florida

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Coral snakes in the Florida scrub

One of the reasons there are coral snakes in the Olivia Brophie books is because there are so many that live in my yard! I've been trying for years to get a photo of one, but they always seem to arrive when I don't have my camera. Plus, they are shy. Our new neighbor was visiting our house yesterday and took this snapshot. What a beauty!  To see more of Brent's photographs and his amazing woodwork, visit his site at

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Central Florida Author School Visits

I love visiting schools and inspiring young readers. In turn, my fans inspire me to keep writing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Glasswing Butterflies

Beautiful glasswing butterfly at the Cloudbridge Reserve in the Chirripo Mountains of Costa Rica. It's so magical to be surrounded by hundreds of these delicate creatures flying around you.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kids love reading Olivia Brophie books

I have received so many photos over the years of kids reading Olivia Brophie books when they should have been doing something else. 






Sunday, March 29, 2015

Two Florida Scrub Wildflowers

Blooming now. Both pennyroyal and lupin prefer sandy, disturbed soils; perfect for the Florida scrub.

Lupin with typical scrub habitat in the background

Close-up of lupin - (Lupinus)

Wild Pennyroyal - Piloblephis rigida

Friday, March 27, 2015

Trans-continental selfies

Here are two trans-continental selfies with Olivia Brophie super-fans.

Author Skype - I love meeting readers!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Phainopepla in Olivia Brophie & the Sky Island

If you are curious what the Faino Pepla cyborg birds in the Sky Island look like, look no further than a real phainopepla. Just like their evil twins, phainopepla birds love to sit on high branches above the shrubs and keep watch across the desert foothills surrounding sky islands. My father took this photo south of Tucson. He was a great bird photographer!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Central Florida Author Visits School for Literacy Week

Email me if you would like to schedule an exciting author visit for your school! Learn what it's like to be an author and discover secret tricks for improving your own writing.

Sunday, January 18, 2015