The death of her mother in 1953, just two years after losing her only brother, leaves twelve year old Brenda Kay determined to hang onto her daddy. That turns out to be a bigger job than she thought. Now, she may lose him to a woman, who has her sights set on Brenda's daddy and wants him for her own. After moving nine times in the past six years, all Brenda wants is a home with the only family she has left, her daddy. But, Life is always changing, Daddy says, and Brenda begins to think he goes out of his way to make that happen when he leaves her with relatives, right after her mama's funeral, and rushes back to Houston. Angry, thinking the whole plan for her being there was setup behind her back, Brenda decides to make sure these people kw how unhappy she is to be stuck there. To her aunt's dismay, cousin Melanie has an amazing talent for firing up Brenda's already smoldering temper. For comfort, Brenda clings to the only part of her mama she has left the scent in the night gown she secretly carries with her. The one bright spot in her stay is her uncle, her daddy's best friend since they were five years old. Each time her daddy visits, Brenda hopes he will take her back to Houston with him. Each time her hopes are dashed, causing her to become more distant. On a swy December day, only two and a half months after she arrived, Daddy comes to move her again - t to Houston with him, but to the nearly dead East Texas town of Turney, with his parents. Determined to avoid any close relationships, figuring the people will just die when she isn't looking, Brenda Kay focuses her attention on other things like catching the sneaky bootlegger, who keeps Pappy's whisky jug full. She doesn't expect her tiny, silent grandma and her snuff spittin' Pappy to touch her heart. She doesn't plan on Billy Neal being able to read her thoughts and almost always have something wise to say just when she needs to hear it. She doesn't plan on meeting others with even bigger problems than her own. When Daddy surprises her with a female friend and her two boys, Brenda makes it clear that, as far as she is concerned, they are t welcome. Brenda's need to defend and protect her mama's rightful place from this woman causes grief for herself and others, especially her daddy. Brenda reaches out to the colorful and sometimes eccentric people in her small world trying to figure out what life and family are really all about. Will discovering the identity of the sneaky bootlegger produce the satisfaction she anticipates? Will she be able to find the answers she seeks, save her daddy, and unite her family? Hiding From Lizards casts a clear light on the emotions and inner struggles a young person experiences during, and after, the loss of parents or siblings, taking the reader on a journey through joy and discovery, but also the sadness and fear that is often hidden from sight while dealing with a life that is always changing.
Author, blogger, Wanda Baham Sturrock, hasn't changed much from when she was four years old, at least not in the way she sees life. She still has a huge love for animals and other creatures. What else could you expect of someone who once raised three baby pigs in her parents' den? And, her uncle (now 92 years young) is still her hero. I've never heard him use a swear word, she said, or say anything unkind about another person. He always treats others with respect, even when they may not deserve it. Wanda describes herself as, Southern countryright side up, upside-down, and inside-out. Sometimes translated Texan. Y'all, over yonder, bless its little heart, and fixin' to, are all part of everyday conversation. From her earliest memories, she dreamed of doing something that involved pressing buttons. After high school she worked as a hospital/ER clerk, then, at a pharmacy. Later, a friend then talked her into working as a carhop, because the pay was better (there were no tips at the pharmacy). Shaking in her boots, she gave it a try. Who knew it would turn out to be the most fun job she ever had? Except for that one time she accidently dumped an ice cold drink into a guy's lap, things went pretty well. Butno buttons. While busy as a stay-at-home mom of three children, Wanda designed quilt block patterns for publication in Quilt World, Stitch n Sew Quilts, and other quilt magazines. She also designed quilt patterns, which she sold by mail from a home-based business. One such pattern was Pride of Texas Sampler, a queen size quilt, whose original design she based on traditional block patterns whose names related to Texas history. Fed by my love of history, I guess. Through the combined interest of the State Representative's office, the State Preservation Board, and the Texas Historical Commission, the red, white, and blue beauty was exhibited in the Texas State Capitol Rotunda in Austin during March of 1990, in honor of Texas Independence and as part of an exhibit celebrating National Women's History Month in Texas. Still, something was missingno buttons. An unexpected move, with many things in storage, ended the quilt pattern business. But, a second move brought her in contact with the Institute of Children's Literature and Long Ridge Writers Group, where she took courses in creative writing. She had come full circle. Now, she could do something she really loved writing and, press those once illusive buttons, the keys on her computer keyboard! Wanda's debut novel, Hiding From Lizards (BookBaby, 2015), is a middle-grade historical novel based in East Texas, which casts a clear light on the emotions and inner struggles a young person experiences during, and after, the loss of parents or siblings. She is currently working on a second novel, this time near future', and is a member of The Professional Writers' Alliance. She is a full time Jane-of- all-trades on 25, mostly wooded acres in South Texas. When not working on her next novel, she's busy helping neighboring wildlife, and caring for her seven cats and one grandpa dog, each rescued from a former state of homelessness and/or abuse. The dog's name is Mercy and, according to Wanda, he is perfectwell, almost. He does have one fault. He can move more dirt than a backhoe. If I could only teach him to dig on command! she said. Visit Wanda at her website: www.wandasturrock.com