Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Something Neat to Share

Last week, I sent out a batch of postcards to family and friends.  In it, I sent a postcard to my former physiatrist (rehabilitation physician) - because he really helped me a lot through all my brain issues and my leg issues, etc. and I thought he'd get a kick out of it.  Because I don't have his home address, I mailed it to his office with a note that said something like "I had to do it myself, but I finally did it."

Anyway, I got a short email today from one of the gals in his office, thanking me for sending the postcard and telling me she bought a copy of my book.  Which was cool in itself.  So I emailed her back thanking her. 

Her reply was really special to me.  She remembered me after all these years because I was one of the doc's success stories, and the first success story she had a part in.  She also said the doc still uses my story to encourage patients who feel like they'll never get better. 


That totally made my day. 

Plus, she said the doc was taking the postcard home to show his wife.  :grin:  I hope he's getting a kick out of this.  I bet when he first stepped into my hospital room all those years ago, he didn't think I'd be writing books someday.

(For the record, this is, of course, not the doctor I did a memoriam for in Dying Embers.  That was for my favorite college English professor, who unfortunately passed on before I could thank him for being so damn tough on me and making me a better writer.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 13

Hi Guys.  Another week has flown by and here we are again.  Tada!

I believe I finalized the cover for what is now Accidental Death (formerly Wrongful Termination):

The tagline is 'Murder doesn't happen here'.  I like it and I'm sticking with it.  It fits and it flows.  (And in case you missed it, Deb Salisbury and DL Hammons both get bookmarks.  I still need your address, DL.)

I should be receiving the edit notes tonight or tomorrow, then depending on how much Ms. Editor has to say about the writing, I should take a couple weeks to get that hammered out.  Then it's back to her for proofreading, fix those comments, off to a couple other people for extra-eyes proofing, print out for Hubs, re-through for me again, fix all that...  Ugh, I'm tired just typing that.  Long story finally shortened - I should be able to launch this puppy in approx. 6 weeks. 

Also in the news this week, I got some more work done on Fertile Ground - but not nearly as much as I should've.  I think part of my foot-dragging has to do with the fact that this isn't even supposed to launch until like August, so I have scads of time.  And whenever I'm faced with scads of time to get something done, I dawdle.  It's a bad habit I have.  I want to be one of those people who works ahead and gets things done in advance, but I'm not and I don't think I ever will be. 

In non-writerly news, Hubs and I closed off the underside of the sun porch this week.  It was basically open to the elements.  Last year, Hubs insulated under there, but the squirrels and the birds were having a gay old time with the insulation, so we took OSB board and closed it all in.  Looks quite lovely.  But man, was it a pain in the buns.  Talk about sore muscles and bruises.  Ugh.

That's about it for this week. I think.  My caffeine to blood ratio is still too low to think properly.  Have a great day everyone.  I'm off to refill my mug.

How were things for you last week?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

McDreamy? I Think Not

Okay, so you may or may not know, I watch Grey's Anatomy.  But only in reruns in the afternoon.  And over the years, I've seen all the episodes up to a certain point and then it resets, and I watch them all again. 

Recently I came to a conclusion.

Derek is an ass.  And he always has been.  But he smiles that boyish smile and occasionally does something nice or heroic or whatever, and they gloss over the total ass-ness. 

And whatever he does to make Meredith feel like shit, she just takes it and takes him back.  He makes her feel like she's the problem - a fact she totally accepts because she's all 'dark and twisty' - when really he's the problem.  He knows she has issues, which he uses whenever they suit him, and then damns her for them when they don't. 

And the world applauds him.  He's McDreamy.

There's something wrong with that picture, imo.

Don't even get me started on the show's treatment of Christina.  Every time that woman showed any kind of strength, they made her have some kind of breakdown.  Or they offered her up to Burke.  And then they gave her to Owen.  Blech.

Sorry to all the Grey's Anatomy fans out there.  I was one of you.  I still am.  I can't help myself.  It's like an addiction - you know it's wrong, but you just can't stop.  Not cold turkey anyway.  So, I'm weaning myself off Grey's.  I'm done with their mindgames and their dysfunctional relationships. 

So I'm done with Derek.  Meredith should've picked Finn years ago and lived happily ever after with the veterinarian.  

I keep seeing commercials where there's some question as to whether Derek cheated on Meredith.  I hope he did, and that she finally sees him for what he is and kicks him to the curb.  But I won't know because by the time those episodes hit the reruns circuit, I will be over my addiction.  Maybe.

Ever been addicted to a show?  Thoughts and opinions on Grey's? 

PSA:  No one who says they love you should ever treat you like shit.  If you're feeling like shit and the source is a supposed loved one, seek help. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

She's Just a Planting Machine...

Okay, so I went a little crazy this year filling up the garden beds.  I mean, last year I was no slouch, but this year... Well, I blame Hubs.  He said to buy whatever I wanted from the landscaping place.  No more catalog plants, per his directive.  "They take too long to grow," he said.  So I went with it.

Here's the new bed in front of the porch:
Sedum, ice plant, sedum, ice plant, sedum
And new in the bed in front of the house:
And jonquils
Plus we have a whole new shade bed:
Pink astilbes in the back, heucheras, red astilbes, white astilbe and bugle weed
And the new snapdragons in the driveway blocks:
Finally, the piece of resistance... Ferdinand the Forsythia:
Here's how the old beds are looking this year:

I didn't get a full shot of the front bed, but the peonies are growing like champions and the mums are starting to show green.  Of last year's daffodils only three bloomed and I have one tulip with a bud.  The rest of the daffodils, the tulips, and the hyacinths have leaves but no buds.  And I lost one bunch of purple tulips entirely.  =o(

Oh well, that's what you get buying cheap plants.  Keep your fingers crossed that these new - nursery born and bred - plants live long and healthy lives.

I love Spring.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 12

Hi.  This is going to be short because I did a lot of planting over the past two days and my arms hurt from the shoulders down.

Thing 1 - most of last week was a bust writing-wise.  I did get like 5K words rewritten on Fertile Ground.  Last night, though, I had an epiphany so I may end up deleting all that and starting over.

Thing 2 -
That's not quite finished, but it's close.  I'm not sure the tagline 'Murder is never incidental' is blowing my skirt up.  I want something as catchy as 'Revenge is better hot', but the brain's just not coming up with anything.  I did come up with 'Random acts of homicide' yesterday.  What d'ya think?  Hotsy-totsy or Hotsy-notsy?

Thing 3 - You may have noticed a title there you hadn't seen before.  Yeah, well, the title 'Wrongful Termination' - while I lurve it - was bothering me for this book.  It kinda gives the wrong impression of what actually happens.  But I was caught in "you can't change the title now, you already told people the other title and it's at the editor and..."  :shrug:  I gotta do what I gotta do.

Thing 4 - I had a different epiphany while I was trying to take a nap on Friday.  The premise for the sequel to the above newly-titled book hit me like a salmon to the face.  I hadn't even planned a sequel for that.  But there it is.  And Wrongful Termination would be perfect for that new premise.  Huzzah! 

Thing 5 - Planting.  Thursday I went to the landscaping place and bought a bunch of stuff.  I planted some of it on Friday - including the forsythia bush I've named Ferdinand.  He went here:
Right in the middle.  Which is an excellent place for him.  Except the bed is riddled with the roots of those two cedar trees.  Which meant digging a hole approximately 1 foot deep by 18 inches wide was a bear and made for a painful day afterwards.  Eh, I got over it, and Hubs & I bought more plants yesterday.  We got them all in the ground yesterday afternoon.  I'm paying for it today.  Pics will follow once I crawl outside to take them.

Yeah, this wasn't as short as I meant it to be, but those are all the things.

What things happened in your world last week? 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Don't Laugh

Humor.  There seems to be so much these days that we aren't allowed to laugh about.  Someone somewhere might be offended.  Unfortunately, the very things people find offensive are only offensive if you don't let them be laughed at.

I know the most awful jokes. Pick a race and I probably know a joke about it.  Religion?  Gender?  Hair color? Nationality?  Socio-economic status?  I've heard them all and laughed at most of them.  (Some are real stinkers.)  And you know what's funny?  I could tell them because I never believed any of them were true. 

My father told me a lot of them.  He never believed they were true either, but he could tell a joke so well you'd be wheezing trying to breathe while you laughed.  (Until you'd heard him tell it a score of times because while you'd heard it, every other person he encountered hadn't.  I still can't tell his stuttering bible-salesman joke without cringing a little.)

I know bawdy jokes and naughty jokes and ones that would turn your ears red.  Ones no woman ought to tell - except no one told me I shouldn't tell them.  Because they're just jokes.  Words strung together to make a funny story.  They aren't true and rarely have any basis in reality.

Three-legged dog walks into a bar and says "I'm lookin' for the man who shot my paw." Which is one of the cleanest jokes I know, but probably offended someone somewhere.

Some of the most horribly wrong things are things we need to laugh at because they ARE horribly wrong.  I think when the world stops laughing... When mankind starts looking at these things as offensive, that's when the jokes begin to gain credence.  And that's the least laughable thing of all.

Oh, and if you're wondering what brought any of this to mind.  March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and I totally forgot until 2/3rds through the month.  Now, if that isn't funny, I don't know what is.  Except it's not allowed to be funny. 

Except from where I sit, it's totally cracking me up.  And these days, if you can't laugh at the absurd juxtaposition of forgetting a month devoted to something that inherently makes you forget things, then perhaps there really isn't anything worth laughing at anymore.

(This is the part where I should put a disclaimer letting everyone know that I can make jokes like that because I am a brain injury survivor.  But putting in a disclaimer against offending someone and making explanations for why I can make that joke, but no one else can, sort of underscores the point, don't it?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

South of the Border Chicken for Busy People

I don't know about all y'all, but I really do love to cook and yet rarely have the time or energy to make an interesting meal.  When the Kid was home, I would try to do some more elaborate things - stuff chicken breasts, homemade wet burritos, from-scratch spaghetti sauce.  I baked cookies from recipes and made cakes that weren't from a box.  I even made lasagna that wasn't Stouffers. 

Now that it's just Hubs and I, not so much.  I want something I can throw in the oven or the crockpot and just go.  (Stouffers is big here now - with their bagged meals I can just whip together in one pan.) 

Still, I crave something home-freaking-made every now and again.  So, to that end, here's a quick and easy recipe that tastes like it took a lot of time, but didn't.

South of the Border Chicken

2 boneless chicken thighs
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 cup Mexican-blend finely shredded cheese
1 package Uncle Ben's Original 90-second rice

Preheat oven to 375F.  Place thighs flat on the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan.  (I cover it with aluminum foil first to laze-out on clean-up.)  Spread a half cup of salsa over each thigh.  Sprinkle liberally with shredded cheese.  Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until thighs are cooked through at the thickest point.  Serve over rice.

If you're not familiar with that Uncle Ben's rice, it comes precooked in a packet.  All you do is nuke it for 90 seconds and it comes out perfect every time.  I use the original, but you can use any of the flavored ones you like. 

You can also use colby-jack cheese or 'fiesta' blend.  Whatever sounds Mexican to you.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 11

Hello All.  I'm a little cranky-pants this morning.  My back hurts and the butt cheek I fell on last year hurts and it's foggy out and I have to bathe Max today and...

Well, you probably didn't come here to listen to me bitch so let's just get to last week's accomplishments, eh?

I finally got Wrongful Termination read and tweaked all the way through.  And I only missed my self-imposed deadline by one night, so it's all good.  It's in the editor's hands now - we'll see what she has to say sometime around the 29th.  I do know that the last scene choked me up.  :sniffle:

And I think I'm pretty close to having a cover image I can be proud of sending out into the world.  Now I need to figure out how to turn the ecover into a print cover.  It's all a learning curve.  And if I can't do it, I'll pay someone to. 

The other day Hubs and I had an impromptu business meeting / interesting conversation wherein we discussed the future of B.E. Sanderson Publishing (not a real company and not even what I would call it if I was going to make this a LLC, but you get the gist.)  The goal here is to have the published books funding the publication of future books by the end of the year.  If I can do that, it's a win.  If I can't do that, I'll still be publishing books but probably with a limited budget.  And just so ya know, that's me saying that - not Hubs.  He's been super good about all this and would rather I not scrimp on anything.  But I'm a scrimper.  Anyway, I'll talk more about the future on tomorrow's post at B.E.'s Writerly Space.  K?

Since it looks like winter is finally giving up and going away, it's time for gardening news to show back up again in the Sunday Update.  Last week, I took the protective leaf barrier off the rosebed garden so the crocuses could stop growing up warped and retarded.  Now they're happy and they're blooming.  Today we're supposed to clean of the other beds, but like I said at the top of this post, my back's hurtiful so I might push that to tomorrow.

That's about it - at least that I can remember this morning.  How are things in your world? 

Thursday, March 12, 2015


So I woke up at around quarter after five and my first thought was 'it's Friday'.  My second thought was 'good thing I woke up early because I have the rest of that book to edit before I send it to my editor'.  I was out here sitting at the computer through a cup of coffee and a cigarette before I realized that it is, in fact, Thursday.  So now I have two days to get my work done.  Yay.

Yes, a writer has to edit their books before they send them to an editor.  Look at it as tidying up the house before the cleaning crew arrives.  Sure, they're coming to clean, but there are things you'd rather have tucked away before they get there.  (Not that I've ever paid anyone to clean my house, but I certainly wouldn't want my scanties laying on the bedroom floor, dirty dishes in the sink, or my piles of papers scattered around where they might be mistaken for garbage.)  So I'm cleaning before I send the manuscript off to the person who will look into the cracks and crevices - rooting out writerly dust bunnies and wiping down smudgy prose. 

Speaking of house cleaning, it still looks like a disaster area in here.  I'm cleaning a little at a time.  Which probably means that once I get to the end of the cleaning, I'll have to start over.  But that's all I have time for right now.  And Hubs has been furiously sanding every non-precipitating day he can.

To that end, here are pics of his work:

By the end of today, he'll have all the orange gone from that last picture, too.  Then all that's left is the back of the house and cleanup work.

I spent some time this morning researching book review sites here at The Indie Book Reviewer.  Most of the ones I looked at don't do suspense, but I'll keep going.  If I ever get a book review, I'll let ya know.

And now, I really need to get my scattered brain on track.  This book won't edit itself. 

What things have you scattered lately?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Writer Strangelove

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 2-Stars.

It was bound to happen.  Sooner or later, I would get 2 stars.  I was prepared.  I fully admit Dying Embers isn't going to be everything to everyone.  Still, when it happened, it was a little depressing.  Like when I found a dead hummingbird in my iris garden last Spring.  I don't know what killed her - I certainly didn't do it - and there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it, but it made me a little sad. 

First off, the two stars was not a review.  It was a rating - this thing Goodreads lets readers do where they can give their flash opinion without getting into the reasoning behind it.  It's not a bad thing.  I use it from time to time when I can't seem to put into words why I felt how I felt about a book I read. 

So there it was Sunday night.  Sitting amidst my 4 and 5 star reviews.  Naturally, I did what any self-respecting writer does - I went to bed.

Yesterday, I sorta forgot about it.  I mean, I knew it was there.  Any time I went to Goodreads, it showed a dip in my average.  But I had better things to do.  Until last night when I scrolled down the Dying Embers page to check where I'm at in this 'Beach Reads' list (154th out of 428, tyvm) and I saw the person with the 2 stars.  So I clicked the name. 

I couldn't help myself.  I mean, I'm not stalking or even all that invested.  I was just curious.  I figured I'd have a looksee and go on about my evening.

Well, Goodreads has this thing where you can compare the books you and another person have in common.  So I clicked it.  And I found something interesting.  Pretty much everything I've read and loved, they've read and hated.  In fact, one author I absolutely adore consistently got 1-star ratings from this person.

Suddenly I found myself wishing I'd gotten a 1-star rating, too, because then I'd be on the same level as this bestselling author.  Silly, I know, because when it comes to that other author, I'm totally Wayne and Garth on my knees going 'I'm not worthy!'  All at once, though, I felt proud of myself.

So, yeah, that's how I came to stop worrying and love my little 2-star rating.  If it was a physical thing, I'd put it on a shelf and pet it nicely. 

When you see a low rating on a book, does it have any effect on whether you purchase the book?  Do you ever 'consider the source' (as my mother always put it)? 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 10

Gah.  It's Sunday again.  And the freakin' time change again.  Let's all spring forward for no rational, objective reason.  K?

Last week was an interesting week and once again, a blur - which means I'm sitting here this morning trying to rebuild it in my head.  Here are the highlights:

I slipped and fell on my ass. Nothing was bruised but my pride.
Max at a big breakfast and then proceeded to throw it all up on the office carpet.
I had some shithead try to steal several hundred dollars from me through Paypal.  The joke's on him - I don't have several hundred dollars, so even if Paypal had let that go through, it would've bounced like a Super-Ball.  I'm a debut, self-published writer here.  There are no funds in my account.  I won't even see a disbursement for the books I've sold until sometime in April, and as it stands, that won't even cover a week's grocery bill.
And that ^ was just Friday.

I spent yesterday cleaning and then reading.

In other news, last Monday was my first day of my allotted 5 free ebook days.  It went well, and netted me two new reviews, but not an upsurge in sales yet.  Monday I also guest blogged at my friend, Laura Bickle's place.  Tuesday I did a paid promo with Kboards.  Didn't see any sales from that either.

I got all the books I needed to mail mailed on Monday, so if you were expecting one, it's on its way.  And my local postal gal said the next time I stop in, bring a paperback with me and she'll buy it. 

In writerly news, I'm working on cleaning up Wrongful Termination because my editor said she has a spot open after the 13th of this month.  I have until Friday to make this as non-nauseating as possible.  I fixed the ellipses addiction I have yesterday.  Now I need to read-through again to make sure I don't have any glaring errors.  She'll find tons anyway, I'm sure, but I want to do what I can before I send it.

I'm also working on the rewrite of Fertile Ground (SCIU #2) and I think I have the path so that Frank slides in seamlessly.  Of course, I have to trash quite a bit of what I've already written, but them's the breaks.

I was working on the edit notes for Bloodflow - and I still am, kinda - but the plot holes are deep with this one.  I knew that.  This book has been like walking through a field of jacks barefoot.

In house news, Hubs only has two walls left to sand.  I've been remiss and haven't taken progress pics, though. The last two walls are the hardest and the highest, but he's way ahead of his self-imposed schedule, so it's all good.  LOL, you should've seen him out there in 20 degree weather sanding away.  Or the day he set the ladder in the snow and worked.  The man's committed.

Anyway, that's about it for me.  What's new in your world?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Free-king Out

Yesterday was my first ever free day at Amazon.  And here's a summation of how it went:

Me: :crawls out of bed, powers up 'puter, gets coffee:  "La la la, let's see how the freebie thing is going.  Wow, eleven books. Cool.  Hey, honey, eleven new people are going to read my book."

Him: "Wow.  Cool."


Me: :blink blink:  "I'm up to 54 books now."

Him: "Fifty-four books?  Imagine if those people actually bought the book..."

Then the roads finally got good enough for me to venture out where I mailed books to some people, talked about Dying Embers to the postal gal and the ladies at the bank and the gal at the convenience store.  Snagged some foodage.  Came home around 1:30pm.

Me: "Holy shit.  124 books."

Him: :visibly cringes:  "So, this is supposed to help with sales?"

Me: "From everything I've read, yeah."

This goes on several more times until bed - except by then we were both cringing as books walked out the door.  Flash ahead to this morning...

Me:  Final tally 356.  And one new sale.  :drinks coffee, smokes cigarettes, waits for Hubs to get up:

Him:  :snags coffee, pets Max, lights a cigarette:  "So what was the count?  Hundreds?"

Me: :cringe: "Do you really want to know?"

Him: "Yeah."

Me: "You sure?"

Him: "Yeah."

Me: "356"

Him: :silence:

This had better work in the long run.  Or I'm going to have serious egg on my face.  Fried.  With scalding hot butter dripping down my cheeks.

Looking on the bright side, there are 356 new people who could potentially read Dying Embers and then recommend it to their friends who might buy a copy.  Or they could like it so much they buy a paperback to keep on their shelves (cuz it's pretty).  Or they could like Dying Embers so much they purchase the next book and the next and the next. 

This morning, though, I'm kinda freaking out a little. 

Oh, and because who doesn't like free things, my Goodreads giveaway contest started yesterday.  There's a widget on B.E.'s Writerly Space if you're interested in the chance to get a hardcopy of Dying Embers and some swag.  (It's on the right side, underneath the 'Dying Embers is for sale' doohickey.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 9

Eight weeks into 2015.  Where'd the time go? (ETA: yeah, this was actually nine weeks in.) I could blame it on being busy, but the time flies just as fast when I'm not busy, so I'll just claim some sort of temporal disturbance and leave it at that.

Last week saw the arrival of my hardcopy books and my bookmarks.  The books are awesome, but the bookmarks were tragic.  Never create and order bookmarks when you're tired.  I uploaded files that should've been 160% larger and when I looked at the preview my brain said 'hey, those look spiffy!' instead of saying 'hey, aren't those supposed to go all the way to the edge?'  :shrug:  Anyway, I enlarged the images and ordered a new batch. Those arrived Friday and they really are spiffy this time.  The front says 'Revenge is better hot' in a red to orange gradiation on a black background.  The back says 'Dying Embers by B.E. Sanderson' and a ways to contact me, along with a bit about the book being available at Amazon, B&N, Createspace and 'other fine retailers'.

Now that I have all my swag in place along with my books, I'll be packing them in their padded envelopes and sending them off.  I'm shooting for shipping tomorrow, but I have to see how the roads are.

In actual writerly stuff - as opposed to marketing stuff - I finished this round of edits on Wrongful Termination, and began making edit notes for Bloodflow.  WT is shaping up nicely, and BF is a hot mess.  Today, I'll be starting the rewrite of the second SCIU book - Fertile Ground - which I'll be changing into Frank Carruso's book.  (For those of you who haven't read Dying Embers yet, Frank is a secondary character in there.)  Now I have to remember what Frank looks like.

On a personal note, my freakin' hand is killing me.  The accident that screwed up larger portions of my body left me with a deep scar pattern on the back of my left hand.  And every once in a while, those scars hurt like the dickens.  Or maybe is the mostly severed, but totally healed, tendon for my left flipping-off finger. Either way, soft tissue damage should not hurt after 20+ years, but there it is.  Makes typing fun.

In other news, because of the cold here, Max is back in the office at least through today.  He's living the high life.  He's also a major distraction.  Lucky for me, most of my work up to today has been in the living room with a notebook and red pen.

Coming up this week, I'll be a guest blogger on Laura Bickle's blog.  Stop on by, learn about how I ended up self-publishing, and get a surprise announcement.  (Which will also be announced on FB and Twitter - but Laura's blog will be more fun.)

What's going on in your life?