Did the Chicken Cross the Road? The Mystery of the Missing Phyllis

Some of you may have heard that our beloved Phyllis Diller disappeared last week.


It looked as though she had run away when our yard service came and had the gate open. If she was alive and well, we were certain she would have returned to the coop. Our girls don’t really like to wander. And she’s so little, even a cat could have gotten her. After three nights away from the coop, we had given up hope.

We accepted that she would not be coming home.


On Thursday, I was working at my desk, when I heard a tap at the back door, accompanied by the loudest squawk ever uttered by any hen. I looked through the window, and low and behold, the prodigal Phyllis had returned! Not only had she returned, but in true diva fashion, she was demanding treats. We gave her some.

Where had she gone? What had she been doing? It was a mystery. The day was rainy, but Phyllis was dry. Her normally grayish white feet had taken on a pink hue. Had she gotten sore feet from walking on pavement? A long adventure on suburban sidewalks? If so, how had she remained dry?

We couldn’t figure out what had happened, but were happy to have her home.


On Friday, she disappeared again. She was gone all afternoon and did not turn up in the evening. All our birds put themselves to bed in their warm and dry coop before the sun goes down, but once again, Phyllis was absent.

We had searched the yard when she first went missing and had not found her. Our yard is not very big and has few hiding places anyway. However, when she didn’t appear Saturday morning, Walt conducted his own search. I imagine his police training came in handy, for he discovered what Hannah and I could not: Phyllis’s hideout.

Way in the back of the narrow gap between the shed and the fence, under a bit of plywood left over from when we built the chicken coup, Phyllis had built a secret nest.

(Let it be noted, I had looked under that plywood myself, but she stayed hidden, quiet and deep in the shadows. $&*@ bird.)

Phyllis's secret nest

That is about three weeks’ worth of eggs. Walt found her trying to sit on all of them at once. Broody hens can sit on their clutch of eggs for days, not even getting up for food and water.

I haven’t conducted any chicken health classes so I suppose Phyllis can’t be blamed for not knowing that it takes a rooster and a hen to get chicks*.

But what of the reddish, pavement sore feet? Google assures me that pink feet can be a result of becoming a bit chilled. Becoming a bit chilled can be a result of staying out all night.

Mystery solved.


*A rooster and a hen…or a feed store.

Apparently Phyllis and I are of the same mind when it comes to wanting spring chicks.

Meet Liza Minnelli and Apple. What have we gotten ourselves into now?

Where is Heidi?

There hasn’t been a whole lot of original content around here lately but that’s only because I have been working oh so hard on writing other things*.

writer heidi

*Including, but not limited to:

These interviews

All the Write Notes 10 Questions with Author Heidi Schulz

Alice in Readerland Interview: Heidi Schulz (Debut Author of Hook’s Revenge)

(If you are interested in reading more, all of my interviews and guest posts are archived on my press page.)

And something else I hope to tell you more about soon.

In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be at my desk.

Send caffeine. And maybe a hairbrush or lint-roller or something.



On My Mind: February 26, 2014

Book news! Hook’s Revenge has a cover and you can see it!


Head over to The Midnight Garden—YA for Adults to see the full jacket (I love the back cover almost as much as the front), hear my thoughts about it (Spoiler: lots of these !!!!!), and enter to win an advance reader copy and some pirate treasure!

Speaking of advance reader copies, I just got home from New York and these where waiting to welcome me home.
Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 11.44.15 AM
This. Is. Happening.

Speaking of New York, I had an absolutely lovely time. I went to the Bi-Annual International SCBWI Conference. I spent time with friends. I ate pie.


Here I am looking awful with people I quite like: my agent, Brooks Sherman, and 2015 debut author Adam Silvera.

Mary Kate-Heidi-Rotem

If this wasn’t so blurry, you’d see me looking less awful with more people I like very much: both my editors, Mary Kate Castellani (Bloomsbury Kids) and Rotem Moscovich (Disney*Hyperion).

I was only gone a few days but when I came home, bulbs were popping up through the ground. I think spring is on the way. Hallelujah! Our chickens should start laying again soon.

I am sort of obsessed with the Coraline soundtrack at the moment. Especially this song:



I spent the last week writing a blog post about my never ending quest for balance but it sounded whiney and overly philosophical and (worst of all) boring, so I’m not going so post it.

Instead, I’ll share this video. Extrapolate from it whatever you like:

Now I’m going to answer some emails. When I’m done, I’ll close my laptop, read a bit, then run some errands. Tonight, I’ll cook a homemade meal and enjoy it with my family. I don’t do that every night anymore, but tonight I will. Sometime before dinner I might even get some laundry done.

But if I don’t, there’s always tomorrow.

Balance. I got this. (At least for today.)


On My Mind: January 17, 2014


Did you know pirate giraffes are a thing? I did not. But two dear friends did and have bestowed pirate giraffe goodies upon my head car and um… torso.


Thank you, Michelle!


Thank you, Summer!


Last week my niece texted me that Hook’s Revenge was up for preorder on Amazon. I had no idea. It felt a lot like this:

tumblr_mxoe5gmdF31r3gb3zo1_400Only happy.


There is no cover image up on that amazon page yet, but I have seen the artwork and it is GORGEOUS. I want to marry it. And make a real jacket from my book jacket so I can wear it always. That’s not weird right?

Anyway, I’m not sure when I can share it, but watch this space.


Winter break has ended and with it, our commute-free days. A couple days a week Hannah attends a homeschool co-op nearly an hour’s drive away. We don’t want to waste time so we are sure to do educational things in the car. For example, listening to this song:

What? It’s history.


I made dinner last night. Real food. We sat around the table together. That was the norm for quite some time, but over the last year or so, it has occurred less and less. I have a lot more to say about this, but I think I’ll save it for it’s own post. However, this is what is on my mind today: It felt good.


THE FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC REMAKE IS ON LIFETIME TOMORROW NIGHT. Who else is going to watch it and relive being twelve? Who else is going to watch it and think “Holy crow, I watched/read this when I was twelve?”


The eighties, right? What are you gonna do?

I think it may be just about time for a reread.

Heidi in Review

2013 Collage

Top Five Posts of 2013
In which we prove, once again, you guys really, really like your granola:

A Few Favorite Posts of 2013


Remember when I used to blog nearly every day? Heh. I only blogged 27 times in 2013, which was far less than needed to convey the sheer amount of awesome this year held.
In addition to the things I linked to above, some favorites from 2013:

  • Nearly all year I worked on the festival planning committee for Portland’s Wordstock Literary Festival. As the children’s coordinator I was in charge of bringing in children’s authors from all over the U.S. (and even some from Europe). I met so many amazing people, from authors I have admired for years to ones just starting their careers. Included on the Thrilled To Meet List were my dear friend and agent sister, Emma Trevayne, and many cast members from my favorite tv show, NBC’s Grimm. (See the center photo above.)
  • Speaking of meeting wonderful people, in June, Walt and I traveled to New York for Book Expo America. While there, I was able to meet my agent and both my editors. I am privileged to be working with such talented people (and they are pretty fun to be around too).
  • A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary with my best friend. I don’t even care that we are getting old since we are getting old together.
  • I got to spend nearly every day with the funniest, most talented, most incredibly creative teenager I know. (I’m talking about Hannah, in case that wasn’t clear.)
  • I went Mac and I’m not going back.

Books I Read

I read 68 books this year, some published and some in manuscript form. That was less than last year, but I’ll take quality over quantity any day. Besides, two were in the Game of Thrones series which are long enough to count as ten books each or so, right?
The first published book I read this year was The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin. The last was Vicious by Victoria Schwab. (Both great reads.)
My favorite read this year doesn’t actually come out until May, but I got to get a sneak peek. Be sure to snatch up Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times as soon as you can.

Looking Ahead to 2014

Certainly the biggest thing on my horizon is the publication of my first book, Hook’s Revenge, on September 16. I am both excited and terrified at the prospect. Exciterrified!

I don’t do resolutions, but I will offer myself some advice fit for 2014 and always:

  • Try not to worry so much.
  • Don’t overdo it. It’s okay to go slow.
  • Self-care is really important. Don’t neglect that.
  • Remember to put the most important things first.
  • There is no such thing as too much pie.

And to you, dear readers, thank you for another year together. Happy 2014!


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