Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Groove, The Path and a Hint of Disappointment

Okay, so yesterday I was really in the groove.  Sure, I woke up at 3am and ended up taking 3 short naps throughout the day, but I also wrote 2K words, did some writerly work on the query process, and read a bit more in Le Morte d'Arthur - taking notes for my super sekrit project.  It felt good.

Hubs and I have been talking about stuff - trying to figure out how to get ahead in our chosen endeavors.  We hashed some things out, which is what led to my renewed commitment to resolution #2 - take my work more seriously.  As well as leading to yesterday's groovy-ness.  It's time to walk the path and not just talk about it.  So that's what I'm going to do - hit both the writing and the business aspect of publication with renewed vigor.

Which led me to a hint of disappointment last night.  I had the opportunity to beta read a new book for an author I love (who's also a really awesome person), but I had to be honest with her about these commitments I've made to myself.  I mean, part of me wants to drop everything and just read her book.  Cuz like damn and whoa how awesome would that be??  But tanking on my goals the day after I make them and actually did what I said I was going to do would unravel everything.  On the upside, she said to get back to her when my schedule frees up - and I agreed because she really does deserve my full attention.  And as I was apologizing and admitting my regret, it occurred to me that if I had gotten off my ever-widening ass and worked last month, I would've had this rewrite knocked out by now and I would have the time I need to beta read.

Let that be a lesson to me - do your work when you have the time so you can grasp opportunity when it shows its handsome face. 

Yeah, pretty much what my mom told me years ago about my procrastinatory behavior.  Mom always was right.  Why I couldn't see it back then is beyond me.  ;o)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's Too Early for Such Ridiculousness

Okay, so here's a bit of ridiculous that I stumbled across at about a quarter to five this morning.  It all started when I read a blog post about what sounds like a really awesome book I wanted to buy, but, you see, the author went out of the way to say it wasn't available on Amazon.  So I exercised my Google-fu to see where I could buy it.  (Cuz, hey, it was the middle of the night and I like to buy stuff when I'm too sleepy to care about depleting my book budget.  Regrets are for later in the day.)

The first three hits for her name and/or title are Amazon links and after following one, I learned the paperback is in stock (3 left - order now) and the Kindle version is available for instant download.  No other stores had buy links for her book in the first page of hits.  At the bottom of the page, there's a pirate site where you can steal her book and a link to a place in Australia. 

B&N was on the next page - but I don't have a Nook*.  A link to her publisher's site was on the bottom of page 3 - and it was to one of her other books.  I finally found a link to the right book at her publisher's Australia site (this is a US author) on the 6th page of hits.  I quit looking for a link to the US site at pg 10.

It's like waking up one day and saying 'I know!  I'll make it as difficult as possible for a whole section of the populace to buy my book!"  Nose meet scalpel.  Take THAT face!** 

The thing about sales is that you need to 1) make your product as attractive as possible so people will want to buy it (which she did... kudos to her) and then 2) you need to make it as easy as possible for people to purchase your product (which she purposely did not do).  As a #3, let me add that you need to not alienate your customers by basically telling them if they want your product in the form that's most convenient to them, they can go pound sand.

Because isn't selling books and pleasing readers so we can sell more books what we're in this for***?  Cuz hey, I think we'd all eventually like to make enough money to feed the cats.  Or who knows, buy a car that doesn't need service every couple months.  Or eke a bit to save toward our kids' college funds.

I know I would.  These cats are eating me out of house and home.

*and I'm not going to buy one.  I'm not freakin' made of money.  Hell, my Kindle was a gift.  It was hard enough making the decision on whether to spend $3 on an author I've never tried when my book budget is so slim.  Also, I know I probably could've found a way to buy the damn book in another format, found another way to email the book to myself at my Kindle account and then uploaded it to my ereader, but like I said in #2 - make it easier not harder for your customers to buy your book.  

**yes, yes, as a writer, this post is akin to introducing my nose to the scalpel myself, but it's better than the hackjob I've done on my principles by staying silent about too many things over too many years.

***unless you're Stephen King.  He's in this for the joy of writing.  :snort:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 30

Yay!  I remembered on a Sunday morning!  (Now I just need to get back to remembering on Saturday night so this is here when I get up on Sunday.)

I only rewrote 7927 words last week - not counting Sunday night because I counted that when I did the late update last Monday.  The shortfall is because I took a couple days off.  I don't remember why for one day and yesterday I was just lazy.  I am in the middle of chapter 9, though, so I guess I'm making progress.  Whether I have this done and ready to send out to other human beings by my self-imposed deadline of mid-September... most likely I'll be racing around next month like a crazy woman trying to get this sucker polished, which will allow me to hit my deadline.  Stay tuned.

Checking through my FB for the past week - because I really can't remember - it seems like I did a whole lot of screwing off.  I took some fun quizzes that let me know if I were a female Harry Potter character, I'd be Molly Weasley.  And if I was a 'Sci-fi Bad Boy', I'd be Han Solo.  And if I were a goddess, I'd be Isis.  Fun, but not very productive. 

I read some stuff.  Eyes of the Hammer by Bob Mayer was five stars worth of action and good guys defeating bad guys.  Heinous by Debra Webb was five stars worth of suspense and defeating evil.  I'm working on a light romance called License to Date right now.  And I'm still reading Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable - but like reading any dictionary, it's taking some time.  Hell, I'm still in the As with this thing. 

I woke up on Thursday to a mouse on one of my spider-catching glue traps.  Sorry little bugger, but you shouldn't be in the damn house.  Hubs dispatched him quickly so he didn't suffer much.  I seriously try to be humane with these suckers.  I don't poison them, and in the past, I tried not leaving glue traps to catch them.  But I have stopped up every freaking hole in this house and they're still getting in, pooping all over my kitchen drawers and gnawing on my utensils and peeing on things I had hoped to eat off of.  Now they're getting out into the rest of the house?  This means war.

And I sprayed weeds.  Yes, the vinegar and dish soap solution does work.  Some people add Epsom salts to the mix, but after some internet research, I discovered the only reason the salts are in there is to replace magnesium in the ground and since I'm just spraying places where I don't want stuff to grow, I left that part out.  So, one gallon of vinegar mixed with about a quarter cup of Dawn dish washing liquid kills plants dead.  You might have to reapply after about a week for tougher weeds and grasses (the grassy weeds just don't seem to want to die), but it'll work.  Just make sure you don't spray it around where you want other stuff to grow cuz this shit kills EVERYTHING.

Well, that's my week.  How was yours?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This n That - The Insomniac Cut

Recently, I've gotten into the bad habit of waking up at 3-something and being unable to drift back off to sleep.  So here I am, at 4:30-ish - after having already run through my FB feed and my blog roll - bringing you the Insomniac Cut of my life's soundtrack.  (Sans backbeat.)

So yesterday it was ungodly hot and sticky in SW MO.  I stayed in the house until late afternoon - after the 'storm' blew through and dropped the temperature about 10 degrees.  I put quotes around the word because while everyone else it went past got rain, all we got was wind and the rumble of thunder in the distance.  Talk about anti-climactic.  Anyway, here's how that conversation went:

Me:  We didn't get any rain.
Hubs:  It all went south again.
Me: Dirty rain-stealing bastards in Arkansas*.

Being in the sweet spot for not getting storms unfortunately also means we're not getting rain - which isn't so sweet.  I guess I'll be back outside with the hose again today watering my gardens so my hard work doesn't shrivel and die.

Of course, once the storm that wasn't a storm dropped the temperature, I took Max for a walk around the yard.  Pretty uneventful until we got around to the blocks by the iris bed and even then it was only eventful for me.  There's one block on the corner of the bottom tier that didn't get filled in with rocks.  Out of the corner of my eye, I caught site of something big and green in that hole.  And I wondered why in the hell a katydid was hiding in there.  When I stooped to get a better look, I saw something black and shiny skitter behind the katydid.  Then I noticed the gossamer webbing in front of the hole and holding the katydid in place.  :shudder:  Damn big black widow.  She'll be dying as soon as I get Hubs out there with the permethrin.

Speaking of permethrin, I'm still catching brown recluses in the sticky traps, so while the stuff is pretty awesome, unless you have a way to get every nook and cranny in the house, you're going to continue to find spiders.  We had one guy tell us those buggers smell the insecticide and run.  Personally, I think they're just so good at hiding (hence the 'recluse' in its name) that it'll take several treatments to get them all.  Meanwhile, I have the sticky traps and every one on a sticky trap is one that won't be noshing on me while I sleep. 

Speaking of sticky traps, I was checking them yesterday and one was missing.  So I asked Hubs if he moved it.  He said he didn't even know I had a trap there.  My first thought was 'oh god, a mouse is dragging one through the house somewhere'.  Then I found it - stuck to the top of the bottom shelf of the table it was hiding behind.  Somehow it had gotten from upright on the floor to upside down on the shelf.  So there I was trying to peel it up, without getting it stuck to myself and without knocking over all the stuff I have on that table, when I noticed what I think is white fur.  How Kira got behind that table and why she could go there is beyond me.  Of course, this is merely a guess on my part because the trap is still sitting there, stuck to the table because neither Hubs nor I could pull the damn thing off without removing everything from the table and neither of us was in the mood for that freakin' project.

We both have enough freakin' projects right now.

Speaking of projects... What on your plate today?

*When we lived in CO, our non-stormy sweet spot led my saying to 'dirty, rain-stealing bastards in KS'. And no, I don't actually think people are stealing our rain. I may be a little nuts, but I'm not whackadoodle.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 29

What do you mean it's not Sunday?  Oh.  Well, yeah, I guess I am a day late.  Sorry.  My days are all screwed up lately. Anyway, we took the weekend off, so it's not like pushing this off one day is gonna effect a lot in the scheme of things. 

Last week... Let's see... it's pretty much a blur.  If you were here on Friday, you already read about a lot of what I was doing last week.  (If you weren't, go ahead and go.  There are pictures and everything.) 

Looking back at last week's update, I see that then I was halfway through typing chapter 3 into the computer.  As of last night, I am halfway through chapter 7.  So that's 10274 words rewritten for the week.  (Ah, how I love my practice of putting word counts in the subject of my backup emails to myself.  Cuz otherwise, I'd be all like 'what did I do last week... duh'.)

I helped my mom with a computer thing.  True, the computer thing was caused by me, but only because she mentioned running through color cartridges when she rarely needs to print in color.  So like a good daughter, I walked her through setting her printer to 'black ink only' a couple weeks ago.  The problem arose when she needed to print something in color.  And walking her back through - when her software versions are somewhat different than mine and I can't SEE what's on her monitor - took a bit of time.  I enjoy helping Mom, though, so it was no big thing.  And usually, while I help her, we have a laugh or two - cuz that's how my mom is.  Anyway, that's done.  Not sure if we'll be setting that back to the other ink-saving setting or not.

Last week, I read an entire book!  Yeah, I know, it shouldn't be that big a deal, but it was.  So, yay for me.  The book I read was Jennifer Apodaca's Her Temporary Hero.  Wicked awesome book, folks.  Go forth and buy a copy.

That's all I can think of at the moment.  If you're bored, go read my post at Killer Chicks about how I killed a man last night.  Big fun.  ;o)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Goodbye Orange Paint, Hello Pine

So anyway, this is what we're up to this week and I'm just so tickled with Hubs' progress, I wanted to share it.

Here's the house before:

Here's the front of the house after day 3:
And here's the front after today (day 4):
Here's what Hubs did on the first day:

And on the second day:
Look at all that gorgeous wood.

Of course, everyone's feeling the need to voice their opinions.  It's too much work.  Why don't we just paint over it?  Why not use paint stripper?  Yada yada yada.  One look at the finished product tells us that 1) it's not too much work for that result and 2) the last guy painted over it and it looked like shit, so why exactly would we paint over it again?  As for 3) We explored every available option and this one suits us the best.  Do you have any idea how many gallons of stripper we'd need to buy to cover this size house??  And don't even go there with how much it would cost to have a crew of people come out to sand it or strip it with corncobs or whatever.

Anyway, I'm damn proud and we'll have the house we dreamed of.  Complete with pine knots and real wood and NO MORE ORANGE.  (We swear, it did not look orange in the pictures before we bought the place.  Not that it would've changed our minds, but at least we would have known.)

And while Hubs was doing that today, this is what I did.  I took the chunky rock border out from our wildflower bed and replaced it with pea gravel.

And why I did it:
I found Mr. Copperhead hiding in the chunky rocks when I went out to weed.  Now they have nowhere to hide.

Not bad work for two old farts, eh?

Today... Hubs will be sanding and I will be inside trying to avoid the buzz of the sander by throwing on my headphones and writing.

What's up with you?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Resolution Check

It's a little over halfway through the year and I thought I'd do a resolution check.  (Cuz the post I planned out in my head last night while I was trying unsuccessfully to sleep makes yesterday's post look milquetoast.) 

So anyway those resolutions were...

1) Take my writing more seriously.

2) Reduce the irritation from my life. 

3) Accept myself for who I am.

Number one?  Umm... yeah... about that.  I have been serious about my writing.  I wrote a freakin' book in May for petesakes.  And I'm really trying to commit to getting this book edited.  I rewrote a chapter and a half yesterday for cryin' out loud.  But the business side of the writing... Let's just say that while I am paying for a membership to Query Tracker, I haven't really been using it.  I need to get back to that.  But I've also been going over some things in my head that might make querytracker moot. 

As for #2, let's just say that I have tried.  I cut loose a couple people who were doing more to add negativity to my life than add positivity.  I unfollowed a couple irritating pages on FB.  That's been a major reduction.  I know I can never eliminate the irritation - I only joke about being a hermit and that would take a full court press of hermitization.  Unfortunately, as I reduce irritation, new irritations arise.  Still, I think I'm ahead for the year.

That last one is the only one I feel pretty good about.  Okay, so the tragic haircut knocked me sideways for a while.  (Still waiting for it to grow out enough to be fixable, but I have accepted it.)  All in all, though, I think I'm doing well at being okay with ME.  I'm a slightly overweight, 44 year old woman with graying hair and gimpy parts.  And that's okay.  The downside of being okay with myself relates to #2 - and finding myself getting increasingly irritated with our culture's push to make people be NOT okay with themselves.  Seriously, if I get one more email from this major magazine I subscribe to telling me how I can lose weight, fix my flaws, make myself sexier... I'm going to scream - in the ear of a customer service representative at said major magazine.

:deep breath... in through the nose, out through the mouth:

Ah, much better.

How are you doing at your resolutions for 2014?