Depressions, Storms, and Hurricanes

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? Tis the absence of the stormy Fay.

Hooray! Tropical Storm Fay has left the building! Though I will not be quick to celebrate--what was Tropical Depression Seven last night has this morning become Hurricane Gustav.

For those who aren't familiar with the cycle, storms that we call hurricanes start in the Atlantic Ocean, far away from Florida. A concentration of thunderstorms is called a Tropical Depression; should it become more organized with sustained winds of 39-73 mph, it is promoted to a Tropical Storm and given a name. The same storm, with just one mile faster wind speed, is a hurricane.

We are in the hurricane season.

One has only to watch NASA's satellite videos to see how massive and powerful hurricanes and tropical storms are (even TS Fay encompassed Florida as she lollygagged over it). Though weather forecasters predict many more named storms (meaning organized cyclones with sustained winds of 39-73 mph), I pray the season will be gentle to all of us and the small islands south of here.

Violet Raines is in Bookstores!

Even Tropical Storm Fay could not stop me from driving to Barnes & Noble to see Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning on official bookstore shelves!

Here's the "Where's Waldo?" version:

and a close-up (face-out service provided by moi).

I was so proud of Violet, sitting there quietly with her peers--I had to take her home. My first sale! Hooray!

Bad News, Good News

Tori Spelling has dropped out of the Beverly Hills 90210 spinoff. When, oh, when will they stop toying with us like this?

In other news, Violet Raines will be released tomorrow! YAY!

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

And the Winner Is . . . Wait, Three Winners?

First off, thank you to everyone who entered the contest and to Rena, the brave soul who posted first and Travis, who expressed interest in the gator jerky. The poems were marvelous!

I wrote the names down, cut them up, and put them in a bowl, whereupon my beloved and handsome son pulled out the name of the winner. Except he pulled out two. So then we had to have a tie-breaker, which involved putting the names through all sorts of obstacle courses.

The winner of the Violet Raines goodie bag is BRENDA!

Brenda, come on down! Behind door number one is a bobble alligator, a strip of gator jerky, and a hardcover copy of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning. You are the winner! Email your address to me so you can start enjoying your prizes as soon as possible. (My email is listed at the bottom of this post.) Let us know how you enjoy that gator tail!

We didn't think it was fair that two names got pulled out at the same time, so we have a second winner: JUDY, come on down! A hardcover copy of Violet Raines awaits you behind door number two. Send me your address and the book will be on its way.

And my small assistant wanted a boy to win. TRAVIS, come on down! My assistant liked your poem and your picture and the fact that you are male. Behind door number three, a copy of Violet Raines has been hand-selected just for you. Just email me your address. (My assistant says he hopes you are happy that you've won a book.)

Congratulations to the winners! And thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Your encouragement and interest means a lot to me. Here's my email address: danette at danettehaworth dot com. If you have trouble with that, contact me through my website or PM me through Verla Kay's.


Free Copy of Violet Raines and Some Other Stuff!

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning comes out next week! YAY!

To celebrate, I'm giving away a Violet Raines goodie bag: a copy of Violet Raines, a bobble alligator, and one packaged strip of gator tail (this ain't chicken, folks).

Please enter my giveaway! Just leave me a comment with Violet's name in it. This contest ends Friday, August 15th at midnight or whenever I wake up on Saturday and say so. Check in Saturday to see if you need to email me your address!


I'm enjoying a nice day at the springs, trying to look nonchalant while all the time scanning the river for alligators when S yells, "Look!" I don't see anything at first, but then I notice a slight wake and its lizardy source.

"Get the camera!" I shout. "Run!"

He runs one direction and I run across the bridge to the floating dock. That stubborn gator is paddling out of a corner where I'd just been sitting looking for him. Lucky for me, a guy on the floating deck is fishing. Mr. Gator appears to have some interest in the lure.

S walks over (not following orders) and shoves the camera into my hands. I'm poised, ready. I've been waiting a long time for this shot.

"NOW!" S yells. "Take it NOW!"

"I'm trying," I say.


I put the motor drive on and try to follow Mr. Gator. Word's gotten out, and a bunch of kids and adults pound down the dock, causing it to bob in the water. Since I'm standing on the edge with my eye against the camera, the dock feels like a ship in high seas and I'm almost woman overboard.

Mr. Gator slips under some weeds. Ha! As if we'd forget. Some people canoe right over him. "There's an alligator under you!" we yell.

"Where? Where?" They lose their rhythm for a moment, paddle in circles. When they don't see anything, they seem to decide we're joking and they dip their oars lazily, slowly floating away.

After a few minutes, the gator emerges in all of his crocodilian glory, spiky back and all.

"Now! NOW!"

I fire off a bunch of shots; I got him good now. Like a submarine, he slips underwater and disappears. We leave the dock. I am happy, because the first picture I took when I got here was this:

The Countdown Begins!

Violet Raines will be on bookshelves two weeks from today!