Posts By: Christy Hoss

What’s a Tardis?

Christy's Tardis Little Free Library

Christy's Tardis Little Free Library

If you happen to love science fiction, I’m sure you have heard of the British series, Dr. Who. It’s been around for more than fifty years.

A few years ago, my children introduced me to the Doc, and I LOVED IT! We binge watched before binge watching was a trend. I absolutely fell in love with the character, especially #10, David Tennant.

In my opinion, he had the character down to a science – pun intended.

Christy's Tardis Little Free LibraryDr. Who inspired my husband to build something I have always wanted in my front yard. A little lending library.

Well, our library isn’t so little. It’s a life-size TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). The Tardis is how Dr. Who travels through time, and it resembles an old police call box.

When we first built our Tardis, someone reported it to our police department and they had to come check it out. There’s nothing illegal about it. It’s filled from top to bottom with books to take.

Christy's Tardis Little Free Library

The lower shelves hold baby books to first readers and middle-grade novels.

The upper shelves are filled with books for more avid readers.

My theory in choosing the Tardis is, “Books are bigger on the inside.” (If you haven’t seen the show, you won’t know what that means, but it is highly relevant to the series plotline that has spanned more than five decades.)

The word is getting around and somedays we get “Whoovians” taking pictures with the famous box.

No matter WHO it inspires, its one and only purpose is to inspire people of all ages to read.

Christy's Tardis Little Free Library

I’m Ketchup

Heinz Ketchup commercial

By the time you read this post, I will have done what some people say is “another year around the sun.”

Yes, I celebrated another year. I’m older but feel like I’m still sixteen years old, trapped in a fifty-something body. At least that is what my mind says. My body tells another story.

Don’t you hate the question, “How old are you?”

As kids, we don’t mind that question, but as a seasoned woman, I prefer to keep my answers light. Thus, the reason for this post. If you want to know how old this author is… here’s an old commercial from my younger years to give you a clue:

Ketchup is my favorite condiment.

I use it for anything fried and meat that may be a little too tough or dry to swallow.

I have embraced the fact that I was not raised with many etiquette mannerisms and learned mostly by observing. Observation has helped me become who I am today. I pride myself in not being stuffy. That is why this is now my favorite commercial for American sauce.

To celebrate my getting older, I’m giving away a present! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Share this blog post with a friend. Send me proof to this address and I’ll enter you in contest to win a $25 Amazon gift card. (Enter by September 30, 2021).

Bullied by a Little Black Box Called an Insulin Pump (For my Diabetic Friends)

Insulin pump

Insulin pump

Airplanes have had them for years. Cars have had them since 2013. I’ve had one since 1996. I’m talking about my personal little black box, an insulin pump.

It’s smaller than most cell phones, often mistaken for a pager. (What’s a pager and why would someone need one? They only use them in restaurants, buzzing for you to pick up your food.)

My little black box or the “insulin pump” has become more sophisticated since I first started using one to keep my diabetes in control.

Through the years, with every upgrade and change comes another great feature. Today, most pumps come with a continuous glucose monitor that communicates to the pump if your blood sugar is high or low.

I happen to have a dog whose nose is faster than modern technology. But with a combination of both, my blood sugars are monitored quite well.

Sometimes too well.

You see, the pump is programmed so well, it beeps or vibrates for notices other than high and low blood sugars.

It beeps to tell me to check my BG or blood glucose (sugar).

It beeps if I miss a meal bolus (insulin to cover food intake).

It beeps when the insulin reservoir is low.

It beeps when I need to change the set (tubing, reservoir attached to me subcutaneously).

It SCREAMS if I ignore the calibration prompt and it can be extremely loud and hard to ignore. Actually, it screams if I ignore any of the above prompts.

Although this little black box saves my life by giving me what my physical body can’t, it bullies me. Yes, I can change the tone of the above prompts, but it will continue to bully me until I respond. Oftentimes it bullies me all night long, keeping us from sleeping or dreaming, for that matter.

Yes, it is annoying. Yes, I feel bullied. But I can’t live without it. I can’t complain because it keeps me healthy.

I can live with a bullying black box. It helps me live by my own decree:

Die-abetes + Living = Live-abetes

The Birth of a Book

When I was a second grader, my teacher, Mrs. Olson, told me I was destined to be a writer.

I wrote five pages about my dog and won first place in the writing contest Mrs. Olson created for her second-grade writers. That was in 1972 and I never forgot her words, always dreaming of becoming an author.There is no feeling more exhilarating than opening a box to find a dozen books with your name on the front. I compare the process to giving birth. There’s the conception, the long haul of putting words into story… and that is only the beginning.

For the most part, the process can take a lot longer than nine months of carrying a baby. Only writers can understand how much work it takes to finally hold your baby, the fruition of hard work in your hands: A book with your name on the over.

It begins with an idea.

Thanks to my friend Susan K. Stewart, who listened to my idea and said the three words authors love to hear, “Send it in,” I have a middle-grade book series.

The Rubber Band series by Christy Hoss

Susan and I became friends, and she shared with me her idea for a book that was burning on her heart. I loved her idea. I wish I could have said those three words to her, but because she is an editor, she had an “in” with the publisher.

Susan had a dream, one that involved her love of donkeys.

Recently, her dream was fulfilled. A box of books arrived at her doorstep and when she opened them up, her dream for Donkey Devos was born. I love it when dreams come true.

From idea to the page, from the page to pitching to a publisher, from the publisher to the editing process and from the editing process finally to print, writing is hard work.

But because I have dreamed of writing my entire life and recently birthed my second book, to me, the entire process truly is my labor of love.

My First Book Launch Party

Christy Hoss signing books

It finally happened! The party I had planned for my first book last year, The Rubber Band, took place for my second book, The Rubber Band Stretches: Rocky’s Story.

As COVID restrictions began to lift, thirty-plus people were able to enjoy fun, games, and prizes and tons of pizza at Joey’s Pizza (the very one mentioned in the books!). I ordered too much food, so many people went home with a large pizza, but that’s okay because Joey’s is the best pizza in my opinion.

Christy Hoss signing books

If you weren’t there, you missed out on the rubber band shooting game, searching for seven Lego Elvis hidden in plain sight, an ice-breaking Bingo game, photo opportunities to be Eddie on the first book’s cover, and posing with Rocky as Elvis, all earning tickets to put in the bag of your favorite raffle prize.

After all the activity and thanking everyone for their support, I sat down to sign books.

My “vision” photo

Years ago, when I dreamed of being an author, a friend of mine set up vision photos and I took mine, pretending to sign books. That photo came to life, my dream came true, and for the first time, I felt like a real author.

The day’s activities blurred together; I can hardly remember it. But one thing I sticks out that I’ll never forget: the people I love who helped me fulfill my second-grade dream of being a writer honored me by celebrating my victory. For that reason, I am truly grateful.

Fun Facts about Rocky ‘Roadkill’ Espinosa (Main Character in ‘The Rubber Band Stretches’)

Rocky’s real name is Rockefeller Espinosa. His middle name has not yet been revealed. He has an older brother and baby sister but does not remember them.

His ex-con father, Eduardo, gave him a picture of the three siblings, telling Rocky the children were the reason he made it through his long days in prison.

Rocky is in the foster care system, currently living with the Perkins and their baby girl, Rosie. Rocky loves Rosie and dreams of being adopted by the Perkins. His foster mom, Mary, makes the best, ooey, gooey, chocolate chip cookies. (Check out her recipe here)

Rocky always carries his drumsticks wherever he goes. Everyone thought Rocky was a bully as he keeps to himself, walking the perimeter of the school during recess.

Eddie Taylor invited Rocky to join the band as their drummer and has become Rocky’s best friend. When Eddie became a diabetic, Eddie thought diabetes meant ending the dream of the band winning the Sun Valley talent contest.

Rocky persuades Eddie to not give up with these words:

“The only way to survive the bad notes life sings to you is to keep playing until the music is in key again.”

Rocky became a fan of Elvis while doing research for his 4th grade living biography report. Drumming isn’t Rocky’s only talent; he can also impersonate Elvis and wooed the mayor at her 50th birthday party.

Rocky’s Elvis Spotify Playlist

If you want to hear music the Rubber Band plays and Rocky’s favorite Elvis tunes, check them out on Spotify.

Fun Fact from the Author

Rocky’s character is based on an actual student.

Mary Perkins’ Cookie Recipe

Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Rubber Band Stretches

The Rubber Band series by Christy Hoss

Why am I so Patriotic?

Why am I so Patriotic?

Why am I so Patriotic?What is it about flying the flag outside my front door that makes pride surge within me?

My dad always flew the flag on Memorial Day, Flag Day, The Fourth of July, and Veteran’s Day. His brothers served our country. Daddy, unfortunately, was unable to serve our country but he desperately wanted to. I watched Daddy fly the flag proudly declaring he was an American and loved his country.

Thinking back to when I was a kid, growing up in a small town, Thief River Falls, Minnesota, there was always the Fourth of July parade to get excited about. I’d scramble through adults to perch myself on the curb of the downtown street. It was the best chance of getting candy the parade entries tossed out.

At home, we hardly ever got candy, so I always tried my hardest to catch as much as I could on parade day. Unfortunately, there were always bigger and faster kids and I maybe left with one or two pieces, devouring them before we got home.

But why did my heart surge as the Honor Guard for the military passed by?

In high school I played the French horn with the marching band. We’d memorize the music so we could fancy dance. I loved hearing the cheers from the crowd as we passed by. My heart pounding with pride to be a part of the celebration.

I didn’t understand my feelings of pride until I got older.

I’m proud to be an American. I enjoy freedom because there are thousands of people who work and fight for that freedom every day. People who have devoted their lives, some whom have given the ultimate price, just so I can get a cup of coffee each morning and enjoy it on my back porch while listening to the birds singing in the trees.

As I hang the flag out, I know why I feel pride. I’m patriotic, like my Daddy. I want my neighbors to know I’m thankful and proud to be an American.

Why the Rubber Band?

The Rubber Band Stretches by Christy Hoss

As I sat in the front row keeping an eye on my students, the stage curtain opened to our elementary school assembly. A sign over the group declared, “The Rubber Band.”

With one stroke, the lead guitar caused my inner groupie to emerge. I screamed in delight and crooned out, “Born to Be Wild,” along with the kid band delivering professional sounds. Our usually reserved staff soon joined me in my whoops of delight and the band had the entire assembly on its feet, dancing and clapping.

The Rubber Band by Christy HossI was so impressed by this rock-and-roll group of fourth and fifth grade students that I asked them to play at my fiftieth birthday party.

Returning to our classroom, I put on my writer’s hat, thinking about what a cool kid’s book The Rubber Band would make. But I had to come up with a plotline. It was then I noticed a rubber band on the floor and knew instantly what needed to be done.

My book had to be about a good guitar-playing kid getting trouble for a mis-shot rubber band. He’s sent to the principal’s office, where he sees the sign advertising the talent contest and he begins his quest to recruit a diverse group of misfit kids to form a garage band.

Characters inspired by real people

My imagination took off as I thought about the many children I have taught through the years. Most of my characters are inspired by those actual students and events.

Rocky is a fictional name given to a real foster kid who came to our school temporarily. He used to walk alone around the perimeter of the school boundaries – just like Rocky.

Edison and Oliver are actual names of maternal twins I taught my first year at Kenwood Elementary, the school I derived Wildwood elementary from. Even Principal Haymaker is based on my friend, Principal Bales.

The Rubber Band Stretches by Christy HossThe band is not without troubles and Eddie soon finds himself challenged by an incurable illness. But the bond of the band is strong, and they will not snap but hang tight to see the dream through, no matter how it turns out.

Rocky longs to be a part of a permanent family, but has his heartstrings pulled when his freshly paroled birth father shows up.

Becca is the lonely, spoiled-rotten rich girl with no friends but a voice of gold.

Manny plays bass and Oliver, the keyboards, but not without adding their own unique personalities to the mix.

You’ll be hearing more from The Rubber Band, as I plan to write about their adventures into adulthood and beyond…and there will be many adventures.

I no longer look at a rubber band and think of it as just an elastic ring to hold things together. It’s a simple, useful object that inspired a novel series.

Here’s a video that introduces you to The Rubber Band Stretches: