Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Author Archives: Wendy Knuth

Author of Moore Zombies: The Search for Gargoy

After playing video games with her children, Wendy Knuth was inspired to write a book about zombies for kids. She hopes that humans of every age will enjoy reading this book as much as she loved writing it. Wendy is happily married to an old, bald guy, and they live in Arizona, where they continue to raise their two zoners.

Human Fly Swatters

How are you when you are speaking on the telephone?  Are you hyper focused?  Can you listen to a side conversation? The reason I mention this is for as long as I have been with my husband, the old bald guy, his phone habit continues to intrigue me.  He has made it quite clear not to speak to him while he is talking on the phone.  He is intently engaged.  He mutes the television before answering or dialing a number.  If he hears any human voices he will turn around and glare at you with two evil eyes.  He even makes a swatting motion at you as if his arm were a fly swatter.

In this day of multitasking, I really don’t understand this.  My husband and I have been together long before the hectic world of computers and gadgets overtook us.  You might find it hard to believe that we did not even own a computer when we were married.  “Online” was not a word that we knew, and while we may have seen car phones in the movies, it was still a few years before we had our fist cell phone.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  My feelings about this phone situation were that perhaps this was an older person thing, or maybe even a man thing.  So I was very surprised one day at work when I was orienting a new employee.  I did not like his scheduling system.  I showed him mine and told him about others.  We walked over to another employee so that I could show him the system she used, which was probably better than mine.  She was on the phone.  I saw her scheduling paper and started to explain her system to my trainee.  She turned and glared at me and gave me that same swatting motion.

Okay, so it’s not a man thing.  I honestly do understand the flip side.  Sometimes conversations are very important and you need to tune everything else out.  However, I also know that important information can come in while one is on the telephone.  Perhaps someone reminds you to not forget to ask about this or that, especially with some large bureaucracy where you have been on hold for thirty minutes.

My question is this:  Why is the fly swatter maneuver reserved only for people on the telephone?  Let’s say you are at a party or some other get together, and a group of people are speaking.  Often, conversation breaks off into subgroups.  Do you swat at people for holding separate conversations right next to you while you are engaged in conversation with others?  Fellow movie goers often glare at others for talking during the film, but have you ever seen the fly swatter come into action?  If you or others are rudely interrupted, do you move your arm at them in a quick, downward motion?

I hope many of you get a good chuckle out of this.  Maybe this reminds you of a friend or family member, or even yourself.  Can you accept verbal input while you are on the phone, or are you a human fly swatter?

Moore Zombies: Gimme Noodle! and Moore Zombies: Blood Moon

Hello, All!

I have been working really hard on a picture book and a couple of new chapter books for Moore Zombies.  With the time it takes to have a picture book illustrated, Moore Zombies: Gimme Noodle! has just been published, and my first chapter book, Moore Zombies: Blood Moon was published immediately after.  Another chapter book is soon to be done.  I am thrilled to introduce this series of Moore Zombies chapter books.  Being able to develop the characters, including back stories, and furthering their personalities is very exciting.

As for Gimme Noodle!, I hope all will enjoy a slightly twisted tale, but I don’t want to spoil it.  I hope it provides plenty of bonding moments between kids and their parents as they read together in bed.  I truly miss those times, as my children are now teens.  Older kids will be able to read it on their own.

Moore Zombies: Blood Moon is the first chapter book in a series of many more to come.  The book is fun fiction, but includes the facts.  I was inspired to write this book after having the wonderful experience of watching my first blood moon with my son last year.  I wish I had taken video.  The last total lunar eclipse we watched this year was not a blood moon.  I did take video, but the moon was so dark you couldn’t even see it.  It did look beautiful once it came out of eclipse, but then it quickly disappeared behind the hill we live next to.

I challenge all of you to take pictures of the next total lunar eclipse and post it on the Moore Zombies facebook page.  I hope it will be a blood moon.

What Did You Do With Your Christmas Tree and Did It Involve The Fire Department?

So there we were.  Post Christmas and what to do with the Christmas Tree.  I have to tell you that when we first get the tree I am really good with watering it.  I am always amazed at how much water a Christmas tree can drink in the first few days, but as time goes by, it drinks less and less, until there is no loss in water in base at all.  The needles go from soft and pliable to bone dry and brittle.

My husband has numerous stories of burning a Christmas tree and convinces me that it goes quickly and that is an amazing sight.  For some reason, after numerous year of marriage, he decides we will burn the Christmas tree in the yard this year.  Yes, we have a big yard.  No, I have never seen a Christmas tree burn before.

So we happen to have this weird, old, wood burning stove thing with a vent in the top that has been outside since we bought our house.  My husband places the Christmas tree into the vent hole, so now the base of the tree is about four feet off the ground.  Please add 6 feet for the Christmas tree just to adjust your visual picture of this situation.

The old, bald guy takes a match to tree.  Oh my, wow, holy moly.  I watch as the fire catches quickly and burns up one side of the tree, crackling and popping as it goes.  Once the flame reached the top of tree, a HUGE fireball rolled off and went up, up, up, I swear maybe twenty to thirty feet.  Small cinders and ashes are raining down on our immediate neighbor’s home to the north, where the wind took it.  My husband had the forethought of having a hose ready and starts spraying the tree with water.  I’m thinking this is not good, this is dangerous, I’m sure that neighbor would not appreciate this.  Did I mention that we were new to the neighborhood?

So my hubby is putting out the fire, and doing a good job, except I’m still concerned about all the little cinders possibly igniting a fire in the aforesaid neighbor’s yard.  Hubby assures me he is looking around at the neighbor’s yard and making sure that nothing will happen, with hose in hand.  A little time passes, and he is sure all is well, so now it is time to continue with burning the other side of the tree.  Yes, one side of the tree actually did not burn and it is time to finish the job.

Next thing we know, we hear a siren.  I am sure it is for us.  I tell my husband I hope you know that siren is for us.  He blows me off like I am an idiot, a complete idiot.   It is a coincidence.  The neighbors to the west pop up in their upstairs window and yell to us – you scared the heck out of us, we saw the huge fireball and thought your house was on fire.  So then, of course, another siren is heard.  My husband starts to put two and two together while the neighbors do the same and yell with amusement at our expense “here comes the Fire Department!”  And even then, we hear a third siren.

My husband goes into defense mode and says “let’s go inside.  Turn off the lights!!!”  We see a fire engine going down the next street, slowly as if looking for something.  I explain to him that they are most definitely looking for us and we should come clean because every single neighbor will point to our house and then we look really bad.

So at this point there is a fire engine coming slowly down our street and hubby realizes he needs to fess up and goes out to greet them.  He tells them he lit the Christmas tree on fire.  Their first question is did we have a permit?  This question is actually a rouse, because where we live there is no such thing as an after dark fire permit.  (We learned this afterwards.)  My husband apologizes and asks if he is going to be the idiot in tomorrow’s newspaper.  They assure him that he will not, as long as he does not continue with the stupidity.  Now, we live in a small town, or at least it was at the time, so I am kind of surprised that a 3 engine response did not gain the press that it should have.

I have fond memories of the half burned Christmas tree that sat in our yard for months.  Our town now has a wonderful recycling program for Christmas trees which we take advantage of every year, perhaps brought on by pyromaniacs like us.  It was an interesting way to meet some of our new neighbors.  And I hate to say, I would like to see, some day,  what it would have looked like if the whole tree had gone up!!!

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments Are The Best!

I love my Christmas Tree!!  Many years ago when my husband and I were celebrating our first Christmases, we didn’t have much for the Christmas tree.  We bought some ornaments from a neighbor kid for a school sales drive.  We bought bright and shiny hanging balls and tinsel.  We bought a unique ornament here and there, which of course would be horribly expensive if you bought enough in one season to fill up the tree.  I’d have to say for the first several years of our marriage, our Christmas trees just had a manufactured feel.  Memories of purchasing ornaments from K-mart just don’t warm the heart.

After my Grandmother passed away, I inherited all of her numerous ornaments which I LOVE!!!  Most of them are handmade.  The woman could sew.  There are angels and stockings and snowflakes and Santas; all the typical ornaments you would think of for Christmas.  I also have mice, geese, trains, drums, teddy bears and little wreaths.  I recognized and remembered the felt angel I had made as a Camp Fire Girl with sequins and nylon material for the styrofoam head.  And there are really unique ones, such as Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow, Raggedy Ann & Andy, items you wouldn’t associate with Christmas but they are adorable.  I even have a Batman ornament and Robin ornament.  There are so many – enough to fill up the whole tree.

As a youngster, my mom would always cook popcorn on the stovetop.  Does anyone remember the labor that went into quickly moving the pot back and forth over the burner as the popcorn popped so it wouldn’t burn in the layer of oil?  My mother gave my brother and me a needle and thread so we could make long strings of popcorn for the Christmas tree.  I’m sure we ate more than we put on the string but it was great fun.  We also made chains with links made out of cut up strips of colored construction paper.  Cook that popcorn with your children, and link those links!

Since we have had our two boys, they have added to the collection.  They made ornaments in school and at home.  I still have a Kirby ornament made out of pipe cleaners, er um, chenelle sticks (they loved the Kirby Airride video game at the time).  Yes they made paper chains.  There are styrofoam balls they glued sequins and shiny glitter to, with unfolded paper clips as hangers.  There is an ice cream cone with a glued on ball.  There are simple ornaments that are paper cutouts that they drew on with crayons.  They may not be the most artistic but since they are from my boys, they are the best and I hang them with pride!

So when the Christmas tree goes up, and I start hanging the ornaments, I am flooded with memories.  My Grandmother made this with me as a little girl, here are the ones my sons made when they were young, and yes, my best friend bought this as a present for my first son and my first Christmas as a mother.  Now the tree is not just a Christmas Tree, it is a Memory Tree, truly a Family Tree, full of history, each ornament with its own story.  Make those ornaments, keep them, remember them, hang them, relive the memories and retell the stories.

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Enjoy Old Holiday Traditions and Start New Ones

My side of the family has a wonderful story we have passed on through the generations.  It began when my grandmother cooked a fine meal for Turkey day way back when.  She cooked an amazing meal, everyone sat down to eat, then everyone excused themselves from the table and left her to do the cleaning.  She was very upset and (as the story goes) exclaimed “I worked hard all day for this wonderful meal and no one even said boo”.  So of course, everyone showed their appreciation by saying “boo”.  From then on after every meal, everyone in the family would say “boo”.

Recently, just within the last 5 or so years, on my husband’s side of the family, we started a new tradition.  It was not planned. It just sort of happened.  I’m not even sure whose idea it was.  We were all about to sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner and it was decided we should all hold hands and each person would say what they are thankful for.  It can be serious or silly.  The idea may have even been from one of the young children.  It’s fun to see what everyone has to say, kind of like a penny for your thoughts.  To this day, we still practice this tradition.

I either read or heard somewhere that a person can only recall one of their great grandparents.  This rings true for me.  I think Holiday traditions are a great way of sharing family folklore.  It’s wonderful to watch children grow up and pass it on to their children.  And, you can always retell old stories.  What a beautiful gift for the family from the family.

So, what’s your holiday tradition?  If you don’t have one, start one!

Children’s Field Trip to Prescott Courthouse With Photo Op of Chain Gang

I’d like to share a funny, but true story, with everyone.  I went on a field trip with my son’s 3rd grade class (this was many years ago) to the Prescott Courthouse.  The Prescott Courthouse resides on historical Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott, and has a rich history.  Maybe some of you know that Prescott used to be the capital of Arizona.

We entered the courthouse, made our way through security and entered an official courtroom.  We sat and waited quite some time for a judge to come address us, however, he was too busy and eventually one of the clerks started rattling off information.  The room was very loud and it was explained that this courtroom at one point had been soundproofed, but had been painted over, not realizing that the soundproofing would be ruined.  The weird looking metal racks on each chair – did anybody have a guess as to what those were for?  No we didn’t.  We were told they were hat racks used by cowboys.  Odd. . .

The children were incredibly giddy and the clerk allowed them full range of the room, including the use of the gavel and the microphone.  They really had a lot of fun.  A lot of us moms noticed all the pictures of the previous judges going back decades were all men, except for one woman, and that her picture frame was noticeably smaller than all the others.  We were sure this was some form of chauvinism and inquired about it.  The clerk informed us that the judges pick their own picture frames and therefore picture sizes, including this more recent woman judge.  So much for our theory. . .

Next we moved outside to the large courtyard, which completely surrounds the courthouse.  There are many statues with plaques full of interesting historical information.  The children were all given a sheet of questions which they were supposed to answer by moving around the grounds and reading said plaques.  I was placed in charge of approximately ten children and we were just making our way to the back of the building when 2 large white vans pulled up.  The next thing I know there are numerous people wearing bright orange jump suits leaving the van and making their way to a back door.  There are men and women, shackled to each other by means of ankle chains, and each had handcuffs in front.  I can’t recall what their jumpsuits said in bold letters, but I believe it was “Detainees” or “Awaiting Arraignment” or something to that effect.  Guards were about, with their guns at the ready, and of course they were wearing the requisite sunglasses.

This all happened so quickly that before I could barely assess the situation, I heard some of the kids yell “Oh, look” and they ran straight toward the “detainees” and started taking pictures.   Now some of these people looked very hardened, while others looked horribly downtrodden.  Perhaps they hadn’t showered in weeks.  I saw sullen looks, embarrassed looks, and eyes-with-daggers looks.  I yelled, “Hey kids, No!!  Come back!”  It was a sight they obviously had never seen before (nor had I, but I would have preferred to watch from afar).  I explained to the children that this was probably horribly embarrassing for these people to be paraded in public, even if only for 20 yards, and that I’m sure they didn’t appreciate the additional humiliation of being photographed by excited little children as if they were in a zoo pen. I didn’t discuss the questionable judgment of running towards hardened criminals, or running towards armed guards.  Hopefully they’ll learn that on another field trip.

Sites I’m Loving So Far

I’m jumping right into the middle of things.  If I had blogged a year ago I would have spoken about my choice for createspace, title page, Library of Congress catalogue in publishing, ISBN’s etc.  I still hope to blog about these things.  However, I am in the middle of a different phase.

I would like to tell you about some great websites I am currently in love with.  These websites understand you are trying to market a book, and they let you do so.  In no particular order, I like goodreads.com.   You can enter your book, do a book give-away and answer author interview questions.  People are able to review your book.  You can link in your blog and other websites.

I also like thebookmarketingnetwork.com.  Same story – you can do an author profile, link your blog, and I find the host, John Kremer to be chock full of information.

I also like bookgoodies.com – This site also gives you a thorough interview and lets you link numerous sites.

Big thank you to Jason Matthews ebooksuccess4free.wordpress.com and his Udemy course for Amazon including affiliates program, author central (for each country), linking in blog, etc.  – incredibly, incredibly informative!!!!

Another website is iauthor.uk.com – where you can add all sorts of information and create an “advert” which apparently is the UK version of an “ad”.

I recently also discovered awesomegang.com where you can also fill out an extensive interview and link your websites.  Also, their sister site, bookreadermagazine.com does the same.   Many thanks!!

I’d like to give a shout out for a potential up and comer – spillbooks.com – not sure there is a huge audience there (yet) but Josh Okello is being proactive and actually contacted me for information so he could post my book and information.  Check it out!

Also a big thank you to Becky at Franticmommy.com – as women – we have all been there.  I contacted her and sent her a book and she reviewed it on her website, so wow, thanks!!!

It is almost too easy to get caught up in searching for great websites.  Sometimes you find a gem, and other times you discover you have spent hours online with no benefit.  Try to limit yourself to a certain amount of time searching in the dark and keep focused on what you are trying to accomplish for the day.  Happy searching everyone!

Bugs, Videos and Exploitation

I’m learning the hard way just how competitive the children’s book market is.  I thought that since my book is so incredibly amazing it will sell itself.  True, Moore Zombies is incredibly amazing, not true that it will sell itself.

So I have this great idea – fun and funny Youtube videos.  I could pay thousands of dollars to have a professional book trailer done, right?  In my case, wrong!  I can make the video myself for free.  Kids don’t really appreciate professionalism, anyhow.  It’s not fun.  Humans might enjoy some creepy nursery rhymes, bugs, and even famous presidential speeches about zombies.  And then just maybe, they’ll buy a book or download an ebook.

So, in making videos, doing narrations and voiceovers (which it turns out is not easy), I need help.  I have two teenagers.  Why not exploit them for financial gain?  Well, they turned the tables on me.  Please see their corresponding valedictorian speeches.  I’m not being nickel and dimed, I’m being five and tenned, even twenty and thirtied.  Now you might roll your eyes and think that is not grammatically correct.  Even my spellchecker doesn’t like it.  Well since it’s happening to me, I’m sticking with it and hereby officially declare these new phrases.  One has to keep up with inflation.  And so evolves the English language.

Hope everyone enjoys the videos we’re making.  At the very least it makes for fun family time together.  So grab some popcorn, head to http://moorezombies.com, have a seat and enjoy.  Plenty Moore to come!

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

So, this is my first blog, ever!!  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Wendy Knuth and I live in Arizona with my husband, (the old, bald guy) and two teenage sons.  I have always enjoyed writing.  I recall being so excited to receive my first diary as a child for Christmas.  We’re talking lock and key (as if someone couldn’t cut the strap, right?)  I have journalled on and off throughout life, including a captain’s log for our boat.  Yes, I love boating and camping.  My favorite place is Lake Powell.  It is gorgeous, but already too crowded, so please don’t go!

I have recently written and published a book called Moore Zombies: The Search for Gargoy, illustrated by Brian Allen.  It is available thru the estore at http://moorezombies.com and at Amazon (yes folks, a shameless plug!!)  I would like to blog about the experience.  And, I ‘m sure I’ll throw in some funny stories about parenting, camping trips, boating trips, and noteworthy tales of our 4-legged family members.  I welcome any questions or comments.  Enjoy the read!wendyheadshotsquare

Branden gives valedictorian speech