Friday, October 9, 2015

Ballooning time!

Hi, everybody! I've just received the edits for A Star to Steer by and I'm excited to release it at the end of the month!
Our plucky heroine spends most of her time in a big foam cupcake costume. It's one of those stories where someone has an awesome secret identity, except hers isn't so awesome. Coming Oct 31st!
                      And as for us, it's that time of the year. Not grape time, but balloon time.
                      We get up at 4AM (some of us are more perky at that hour than others),
                                            and drive out to the vineyards or the fields. The major festival is this weekend and there will be launches every morning and then a night festival, but today they were filming a move for an IMAX-type Disney ride. It was an interesting experience because as they filmed, we had to duck and run, or hide behind trees as the camera flew by (on a drone). So, instead of just the usual ground crew tasks, we also had to play hide and seek from the camera. Of course, the little people loved it.
Usually three balloons this size would take a crew of thirty, but they needed it to be small (because of the camera and not being able to hide that many people) so fifteen people doing the work of thirty was quite a work out.
Here, after unrolling, attaching ropes and the top vent, they're opening the envelope, getting the fan running.
 When it all checks out, they attach the basket and light it up. Cue Fall Out Boys, except we try not to light anything on fire, especially ourselves.
 The first one standing up is always a special moment.
 We got good exercise running up and down the hill. The second balloon went up and was tethered.
 The third balloon needed a lot of heat to stay upright and out of the nearby trees, which means it needed more weight before they could safely rise any higher. My older boys had to be "dead weight", haha, but they also had to duck out of the way when the camera flew by. Pretty funny to watch them. They looked like groundhogs, up and down, up and down.
My favorite moment: I was holding  the lead rope (which guides the balloon upright as it's filling). You have to be very strong and run whichever direction at any moment and it might be the only time you ever wished you weighed more than you actually do. 
Anyway, I really wanted a picture of the sunrise and so I asked my ten year old to grab the rope... and he worked like a champ! Right before he slipped and got dragged down the field. Fifty thousand cubic feet of hot air will show you who's the boss. We're still laughing about it. (This is also why you wear leather gloves and all your gear.) 
Feel free to stop by my facebook page Pride, Prejudice, Cheese Grits !


  1. I'm so excited for you new book! I've reread The Pepper in my Gumbo now! I'm SUCH a fan of You've Got Mail, book stores, and old books...I just ADORE that book! :) I gushed to my husband about it and he looked at me blankly. Then I went back to Pride and Prejudice and Cheese Grits too!!! LOVE IT! Thank you!

    1. Me, too!! (Fan of books stores, old books, and You've Got Mail.) And you're so welcome! Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Oops. I wasn't signed in correctly. I'm sorry to be stalking you. ;) I just love that you have a big family and are writing! :) Amy

    1. HAHAHA! No stalking. That's called your secret identity. We all love a secret identity, right?
      And there's nothing like the love of a big family. I'm never lonely and never bored, although I could use some boredom once in a while. Lol.
      Someone asked me how I can write at night. "Aren't you tired?" Well, yes, I'm tired but writing makes me feel sane, and I'd rather be tired than CRAZY.
      Raising my tea cup to writing mommas everywhere!

  3. I read A Star to Steer By! It was so sweet! :) ;) Thank you! My favorite part was definitely her secret identity as Cupcake. :) I love all the bookish references and quotes, too. :)

    1. Haha! I had a great time writing that character. I've never had to wear a stinky suit but I've had some pretty random jobs and not all of them were enjoyable. :P
      Who knows what they next characters will be reading? Hmmm....