Photo Friday: Mule Deer Doe & Baby

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We work at night, driving around Tucson, delivering newspapers and this affords us the chance to see various types of wildlife that we never get the chance to see during the day. Growing up, we would see street signs on our nearby streets that warned of deer as seen below.

We always laughed, “There aren’t any deer around here!!!” We soon discovered after starting our delivery job, they do exist around here. We see both bucks and does, but we usually se them alone, never in pairs or groups. They also move very fast so we have never been able to take a photo of them. That is until last night! We spotted a Mule Deer doe and her baby. They stood still long enough for us to take this awesome photo. The baby didn’t want to turn around for us but it was super cute!


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Happy International Cat Day!

posted in: Nonfiction, Our Work, Woof Trekking, Writing | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Happy International Cat Day! We have two cats that we absolutely adore and celebrate every day, not just on International Cat Day. Mac is the furry mom to Billy, a 9 year old male tabby. You can read more about him here. Billy is the definition of a mellow cat. He loves to sleep and once a day harass Izzy, our crazy Wheaten Terrier.
cat, feline, domestic shorthair
Al is the furry mom to Tyra, a 13 year old female white cat. You can read more about her here. Tyra is not a fan of other animals but loves to cuddle with Al.

We have taken both of them on road trips with us at different times in the past. Check out our book, Woof Trekking: How To Road Trip with Your Pets, where we give advice on how to travel with your favorite cat.

We recently read about a pretty cool cat. The newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand is Jacinda Ardern and she has an awesome cat named Paddles. Paddles is unique because she has a set of crazy thumbs! She also has her own twitter account which is pretty hilarious.


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Wordless Wednesday #26 | Gulf fritillary on lantana flowers

Wordless Wednesday #26 | Gulf fritillary on lantana flowers

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

gulf fritillary on lantana flowers arizona
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #25 | Vermilion Flycatcher

Wordless Wednesday #25 | Vermilion Flycatcher

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Vermilion Flycatcher are members of the tyrant flycatcher family which is the largest family of birds with over 400 species. Vermilion Flycatchers are unique to the family because most are a drab brown color and these guys are bring red/pink. However this coloring only occurs in males while females are brown; this phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism.
vermilion flycatcher
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

posted in: Nonfiction, On the Road, Our Work, Travel, Woof Trekking, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

With the holidays coming up, many of you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. Pet lovers may be taking their precious pups and furry felines on the road with them, perhaps for the first time. If you are new to the ways of Woof Trekking (road tripping with your pets), this may cause some anxiety for both the humans and the pets. But have no fear, we are here to help.
holiday-travel-with-pets-2
We have been traveling with our two dogs, Izzy and Nana, and one cat, Billy, for four years. We have gained a lot of knowledge to share with you. If you are new to our blog, you can take a look at our previous woof trekking posts here. We have also written a book about our experience with traveling with our cat and two dogs. You can get your copy on Amazon and Kobo.
woof trekking, pets, road trip, vacation, holiday, travel, travel with pets
You may be surprised that we travel with our cat, however Billy is a pretty chill cat who does fairly well on the road. If you want to take your cat with you (or a skittish dog for that matter), taking them on short, little trips to see how they handle going in the car is a good idea. We actually have two cats, but Tyra doesn’t travel well and prefers to stay home and be kenneled.

We have previously talked about what to pack for both your dogs and your cats. Some important items include: food, bowls, and kitty litter box.

Safety is very important while traveling with your pets and we have some tips to keep everyone safe. First of all safety in the car is very important, both of our dogs wear car harnesses so they can be buckled in. Billy also wears a harness so he too can be buckled up while riding in a human’s lap. You can read more about car harnesses here.


Some dogs and cats travel really well on the road and have no problems. Nana is one of these dogs. She loves car rides and watching the world pass by. Izzy is the opposite, she loves getting into the car but as soon as it starts moving, she becomes anxious and starts to whine. When we travel, we give her Dramamine, per the recommendation of our vet, and it takes the edge off. (Always talk to your vet before giving your pet medication.) Billy on the other hand gets motion sick in the car. He also gets Dramamine to help him deal with this. You can read more about Anxiety and Motion Sickness here.
pacific coast highway 9
The last point we would like to make is about hotel safety. Some hotels are better than others but all should be inspected before letting your pets loose. We have found some interesting objects hidden under the bed. Our biggest tip is to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight to clear the floor of any dropped pills and other foreign objects.

Go forth and don’t be afraid to take your pets on the road with you. If you want to read more about our travels, get a copy of our book. Bringing your pets on your travels will make your adventures even more memorable!

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Wordless Wednesday #24 | Giant Swallowtail on a Desert Bird of Paradise

Wordless Wednesday #24 | Giant Swallowtail on a Desert Bird of Paradise

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We love butterflies. Lucky for us, there are 250 species of butterfly in the Sonoran Desert. Giant Swallowtails are an interesting species because of their unique flight pattern; they appear to be hopping through the air. We caught this one while on a mid-afternoon stroll, having a snack on a Desert Bird of Paradise.

giant swallowtail on a desert bird of paradise
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Friday Reads: Inferno

Friday Reads: Inferno

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s Friday Reads post is about Inferno by Dan Brown. We are big fans of Dan Brown, we have read all his books including his first two, which are lesser known, Digital Fortress and Deception Point. Inferno is the fourth book that follows Dr. Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconology and symbology, and was preceded by Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol.

Inferno was first published in 2013 and we bought it immediately. The paperback edition came out in May 2014 at which time Dan Brown gave an enlightening interview with CBS This Morning, which you can watch below. From it we learned that Brown’s father was a math teacher, textbook author, and was known to write codes to lead his children on a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning. Brown’s mother was a very religious woman who was also the church’s choir director. This explains so much about Dan Brown’s writing.

 
In Inferno, we are once again taken to a world that is dark and mysterious. It starts with a Prologue told from first person; we are to assume that this is the villain speaking, as is the pattern with Robert Langdon novels. Next, we meet a confused Robert Langdon, sifting through fuzzy memories and scenes that do not make sense to him. He finally realizes that he is the hospital, but has no memory of how he got there.

In usual Dan Brown style, Inferno starts with action and keeps it coming through the whole novel. We are taken on a wild journey through Florence and we also get a history lesson, another Robert Langdon novel standard. In Inferno, Robert Langdon and Dr. Sienna Brooks, his female sidekick in this book, must decipher a modified painting of Botticelli’s Map of Hell. The painting was based on the first part of Dante’s epic poem Divine Comedy, Inferno.

The pair collect clues along the way as to why Robert Langdon is in Florence and why he has no short-term memory. We also continue the adventure of what the modified painting and Inferno have to do with each other. In the end, Robert Langdon must solve the clues and save the world. As with the other Robert Langdon books, Inferno is very long (480 pages for the hardback edition), but with all the action and suspense it really doesn’t feel like it.


One of the reasons we chose Inferno for our Friday Reads post was that today is the American premiere of the movie version of the book. In the movie, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon. He is definitely the perfect actor to play him in our opinion. Tom Hanks is probably one of our Top 5 favorite actors. In fact, we just talked about another of his movies in Tuesday’s postA League of Their Own. We have seen all of the Robert Langdon movie adaptations and we hope to see this movie soon. Here is the trailer, if you haven’t seen it yet.


Happy Friday and have an awesome weekend!

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Wordless Wednesday #23 | Female House Sparrow in a Saguaro

Wordless Wednesday #23 | Female House Sparrow in a Saguaro

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This week’s Wordless Wednesday photograph is of a Female House Sparrow nesting in a Saguaro. House Sparrows are usually very flighty and don’t stay still long enough for us to take great pictures of so this was a pleasant surprise.

Sparrow in a Saguaro

If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Planner Stickers & FREE PRINTABLE!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Planner Stickers & FREE PRINTABLE!

posted in: Armadillo Amore, Indie Publishing, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

November is almost upon us, which means that it is nearly National Novel Writing Month. If you have never heard of this event, the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. This equates to 1667 words a day from 12:00AM November 1st until 11:59PM November 30th.

This event was started in 1999 amongst a group of friends in San Francisco. It originally took place in July, however it was moved to November “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.” We have never participated in this event however, we might try this year.


We have created a FREE printable sheet to help you keep track of your daily and running word counts during National Novel Writing Month in a colorful way! Click the image below for the free PDF printable: NaNoWriMo Tracker!

Free NaNoWriMo Tracker Printable

As some of you may know, as well as being indie authors of three books, we are also sticker makers. We have an Etsy sticker boutique called Armadillo Amore, where we specialize in original, handcrafted fancy planner stickers. We have designed a collection of stickers to help you keep track of and reach your NaNoWriMo goals.

NaNoWriMo Full Boxes & Motivational Stickers
Book Stack Icon Reminder Stickers
NaNoWriMo Half Boxes & Motivational Stickers
Book Icon Reminder Stickers
Book Icon Reminder Stickers
Typewriter Half Boxes
Typewriter Half Boxes
Open Book Icon Reminder Stickers
Open Book Icon Reminder Stickers

This weekend we are having a 25% off sale using the code: GRATEFUL! We also have cute Thanksgiving and Christmas Stickers up for sale!

Armadillo Amore Planner Sticker Shop 25 Percent Off Sale

Happy Saturday everyone!

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Wordless Wednesday #22 | Juvenile Roadrunner

Wordless Wednesday #22 | Juvenile Roadrunner

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photograph is a juvenile Greater Roadrunner. We normally only see large, adult roadrunners in our area, so this was a first for us.

Roadrunners are members of the cuckoo family and can be seen as far west as California and as far east as Louisiana. You can read more about them and hear their castanet-like rattle and other unique calls at Allaboutbirds.org.
Wordless Wednesday Juvenile Roadrunner

If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the Juvenile Roadrunner are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Friday Reads: The Good Good Pig

Friday Reads: The Good Good Pig

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

It’s FRIDAY! Woohoo! We made it through the week and that means it’s time for Friday Reads. Today’s Friday Reads choice is The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery.

As you can tell from my previous Friday Read posts, I really like books about dogs. I initially picked up this book because the pig on the cover looks very dog-like, just oozing personality.

The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery is part memoir of the author and part memoir of Christopher Hogwood, the pig she adopts as a piglet. We join Christopher’s adventure starting as the sickly runt of the litter, and follow him all through his life until the ripe old age of 14.


Ms. Montgomery lives with her husband in rural Maine in a house that is over one hundred years old and has an accompanying mini farm. After they nursed Christopher back to health, he became mischievous and would escape from his enclosure. However, he wouldn’t just escape and stay home; instead, he would take a jaunt to town and thus, everyone eventually came to know him and where he lived.

I read this book while still doing my bachelor’s degree. My school work at the time mainly focused on cattle. I took this book as a preliminary education in chicken and pig behavior. Ms. Montgomery paints life with chickens and pigs as a classic pastoral romance. Once I got to graduate school, and I met chickens and pigs for myself, I discovered that Ms. Montgomery’s chickens and Christopher Hogwood were very unique.

My experience with chickens was, in a word, AWFUL. Montgomery’s chickens just chilled in her yard and in their coop. The chickens I met chased me, scratched me, tried to jump on my back and wouldn’t let me take their eggs. Furthermore, all the pigs I have met are noisy, flighty and not very willing to go in the direction you want them to go. Christopher seems like a saint in comparison!

I definitely recommend The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery! After reading it, my respect for pigs grew tremendously and despite my unfortunate real-life experiences with pigs since then, I still harbor a secret dream to have a mini farm of my own with a saint-like pig like Mr. Hogwood.

If you are also a fan of dog books, check out our two books: Scout and Malcolm, a middle grade adventure/mystery, and Woof Trekking: How to Road Trip with Your Pets. Have a good weekend everyone!

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Wordless Wednesday #21 | Billy the Shelf Bum

Wordless Wednesday #21 | Billy the Shelf Bum

posted in: Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 6 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This week’s Wordless Wednesday features Billy, the Most AMAZING Cat, lounging on a shelf, cleared especially for him so that he could bask in the afternoon sunshine. ?

This photo reminds me of the Just So Story by Rudyard Kipling called The Cat That Walked by Himself. It is a must read for all cat lovers; a reminder that you are just one in a long line of humans to be outwitted by the feline species.

If you haven’t read it, you can read it and/or listen to it at the University of South Florida’s Lit 2 Go website. I originally encountered the Kipling classic while perusing Cat Stories (Everyman’s Pocket Classics) at Barnes and Noble.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Billy the Shelf Bum


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Friday Reads: “The Silkworm” is a Sophomore Success for Robert Galbraith

Friday Reads: “The Silkworm” is a Sophomore Success for Robert Galbraith

posted in: Book Reviews, Books, British, Entertainment, Our Work, Writing | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

After reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I moved onto Robert Galbraith’s sophomore mystery, The Silkworm. It is set in the land of UK book publishing, with agents, editors, authors, and publishers as suspects. The book is a bit gruesome at times. It does feel as though Galbraith is keen to shock readers, for the mere sake of shock value at times. This may rub some readers the wrong way.

Read my review of The Cuckoo’s Calling here.

However, the ending was quite good, just like with The Cuckoo’s Calling. One maddening thing that Galbraith does is have Cormoran tell Robin, his assistant, who the villain is without telling us. That really kept the suspense going! WHO DID IT!!!??? This little move made the ending a real page turner.

The book is over 400 pages, but I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Robert Glenister, so it didn’t seem very long. The characters are interesting and everyone looks suspicious. But more importantly, we learn more about the backstory of both Cormoran and Robin, which I believe is the real reason why readers enjoy any series of books – to get to know the characters in depth and become “friends” with them.

The Silkworm Review

As I was reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I was comparing the text to Harry Potter. Last month, I wrote a post titled, Good, Evil, and J.K. Rowling, Post-Harry Potter, in which I tried to understand how/why Rowling’s mystery series has so much more evil in it than Harry Potter.

As I was reading The Silkworm, I started wondering more about Rowling as the author of Harry Potter compared to Rowling as the author of the Cormoran Strike series. It was strange to ponder how much of J.K. Rowling’s true sentiments about the publishing world are in this book. She is one of the biggest success stories in publishing history, and even she views the publishing world as dark and sinister?

Also, a big theme of The Silkworm is gender and gender-identity. It’s very current to our times, and I suppose it’s not really a topic that she could examine in such depth in the setting of a Harry Potter book. She also discusses things like Google Maps and indie-publishing. I was like, wait, J.K. Rowling uses Google Maps?

She’s the Queen of Harry Potter; she could be doing anything – living in a castle (wait does she live in a castle?), or entering a partnership with Jeff Bezos to try and make magic real, or perhaps the most obvious choice, writing a dozen more Harry Potter books. Instead she’s writing about gruesome murders! Say what?


I needed some answers, so I turned to YouTube. In a 2014 interview with Val McDermid, Rowling talked about her lifelong passion for who-dun-its, and shared that she actually viewed Harry Potter as a sort of mystery. Indeed, p-p-p-poor st-st-st-stuttering P-P-Professor Quirrell was an unexpected suspect/villain in The Sorcerer’s Stone. The interview was interesting to listen to and in it, she mentions how she picked her pen name.

Overall, the answer that I arrived at of “Who is the real J.K. Rowling” was thus: J.K. Rowling is just herself. She is not some fairy godmother living in the clouds. She’s a real human and an interesting one, at that. I’m happy that she made the brave decision to write mysteries, because if she had not, I would have not dared to read such grisly stories. There is something about facing one’s fears that really boosts the confidence. While I had previously enjoyed mysteries on television, I was not a fan of mystery novels. Now I am and it’s all because of Galbraith.

I did notice some Harry Potter connections in this book. First, there is a reference to Emma Watson, who is depicted on the cover of Vogue magazine. Also, Cormoran’s name is revealed to mean “Cornish Giant” and that seems to be a nod to Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper. Hagrid is part giant and has a Cornish accent. Cormoran is quite big and hairy like Hagrid, but the private detective is not a softy like the wizard with the pink umbrella wand. Others have drawn a comparison to Mad-Eye Moody, in terms of Cormoran’s temperament, and I quite agree.

Have you read the Cormoran Strike series? What do you make of it?

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