How about a Halloween story? Wanda and Iggy

Wonda and Iggy

A short story from Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories

The illustration isn’t in the book, I added it just for fun!

 Janelle Meraz Hooper

It was just a few days before Halloween and, at the last minute, Wanda’s cat had to go on maternity leave. With the economy the way it was, Wonda counted herself lucky to hire a last minute replacement at the bargain salary of a few hibiscus flowers and all the bugs he could catch. You see, he wasn’t a cat—he was an iguana. Although the price was right, using a lizard in place of a cat did create some problems. For instance, not only was he big and green, but his balance was lousy. He kept falling off whenever she made a sharp turn. At least he looked cool, and she figured that all the other witches would envy her.  Off they went. Iggy, the iguana, was delighted at the way the bugs that Wonda flew through stuck to his tongue. Wonda was tickled at the shadow their silhouette cast against the big, orange moon. They were having such a good time they flew a couple of circles around Mt. Rainier holding hands. Well, actually, Wonda was just trying to keep Iggy from falling out on the sharp turns…

Somehow, their photo made the front page of the paper the next day. The headline above it read, “Iguana Hold Your Hand.”  Unfortunately, Iggy got broom sick, and they had to go home early. Proving, once again, that it’s not easy being green—even if you’re an iguana.

Happy Halloween! Janelle

Tortilla recipe

Hi! I’m off to my grandson’s soccer tournament but I want to leave you with a tortilla recipe that some of you remember from when As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries first came out in paperback. I put it on my website so you can print it out full size if you feel like cooking:

Have a great weekend! Janelle


The symbolism of turtles

This photo was sent to me by my son-in-law, Chris

When I began my first novel, A Three-Turtle Summer, I had no conscious idea of the symbolism I was creating by using a turtle. I was unaware of the Native American belief that the turtle was the symbol of wisdom, perseverance, and the power of female energies. Unconsciously, the first novel was the beginning of a turtle theme which has run through all three of the books that I call my Turtle Trilogy*. My affection for these creatures has added joy to my life. * A Three-Turtle Summer, As Brown As I Want: The Indianhead Diaries, and Custer and His Naked Ladies.

In my latest novel, a romance titled Boogie, Boots & Cherry Pie, I’ve also got a turtle. This one skateboards!

My readers have sent me turtles of all sizes and colors. I cannot have a live turtle for health reasons but I wouldn’t have one anyway because I believe wild animals should be free.

There’s a Mouse in the House! goes to Uganda!

Amazon- Purchase on Kindle or read on Kindleunlimited

How exciting! My little children’s book is going to Uganda! It’ll most likely be there before it gets on Kindle (It’s in a publisher’s queue at the moment). Look for it on Kindle and iPad…or take a fast trip to Uganda! .99-cents USD. (text by Janelle M. Hooper and Jacob N. Studebaker–illustrations by Sherri Bails)

Snake crisis!

Snake crisis!

 Although I based my Boogie “character” on a real-life event, I have been surprised at the number of recent snake problems in this country. Too many people have released pet snakes into the wild for many reasons. Sometimes, they couldn’t keep them where they lived. Or they grew too big. Or they became dangerous. Or maybe they got bored with them. Releasing them was easier than killing them.

 I have heard people talk as though it’sFlorida’s problem. Large snakes have thrived there–and multiplied. But I’m not so sure we’re immune from the problem. It’s been said that some of the rattlesnakes that travel to the west side of our mountains in bales of hay are thriving–and inbreeding with our harmless snakes. I’ve heard of other creatures that are adapting to climates that were previously thought unsuitable. For instance, sharks are moving further north each year in search of food. 

 Why are we so sure that these tropical snakes, released into a colder climate, will perish? Why are we not at least checking our ponds to look for signs of these creatures on our west coast? A few years back, our state did a survey of a local pond inWashingtonState and found many species of turtles that had been released by their previous owners. Some of the turtles had inbred, creating whole new species. Although the state was looking for turtles, they also found varities of alligators! What if people are also releasing their unwanted pet snakes into our many ponds? What if they’re adapting to our colder climate? A lot of these snakes can become quite large. And dangerous.

I would like to see it become illegal to sell or have dangerous snakes in this country. Let’s not wait until we have a problem like Florida’s.