Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday This n That

As it gets closer to being cold, remember that snakes are on the move and looking for their winter quarters.  On our walk yesterday, we saw a pygmy rattler.  It was squashed on the road, but it was a healthy reminder to pay attention. 

Also, deer are getting ready for the rut and are moving around a lot, too.  Slow it down in rural areas, folks.  And be alert on the highways.  You do not want to hit a deer. 

And those are the PSAs for today.

The new FBI crime statistics report is out.  It's for 2015.  Not sure why it took them 9 months to compile it.  :shrug:  Anyway, there were 15,696 murders in the US in 2015, up a bit from 2014.  Property crime went down a smidgen, but it was still totaling in the billions of dollars.  Bleh.

I saw a Halloween themed t-shirt at Wallyworld the other day.  "51% good witch, 49% bad witch. Don't push it, dearie."  I almost bought it.  Hubs says I'm 100% good witch.  Bwa ha ha.

Someone on FB posted a link to this really neat topographical map thing at National Geographic.  I've been using them to explore my fishing spots to see where the deepest points are.  I guess other people could use them for hiking and stuff, LOL.  Warning: If you print them off, they take A LOT of ink. 

Anything on the this n that meter for you today?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Walking the Tightrope

I want to talk about something today that I'm sure hits home for a lot of writers.  (Hell, it probably hits home for a lot of normal people, too.  I wouldn't know.  I haven't been normal since I learned to talk.)  I'm talking about the fine line between doing what we do and falling fifty feet off the highwire to land on the hard, cold concrete floor beneath us. 

Melodrama much?

Okay, so it's not nearly that bad.  It just feels that way sometimes.  You know, those times when the blues catch you and it feels like a gale force wind is trying to push you off the wire.  And so you fall.  Which is scary.  And sometimes you hit bottom.  Which hurts, but is rarely as fatal as a drop from a height to a hard, unforgiving surface. 

It's easier to hang on if you know it's coming.  Sometimes, you're hanging on by the grace of your fingertips, but you're hanging on.

When it catches you unawares, it's worse.  It blows up out of nowhere and you're falling.  And screaming (inside, usually).  And crying.  You're flailing your arms hoping you'll learn to fly in mere seconds. And then SPLAT.

So, there you lay, looking up at the wire, wondering why you ever tried to walk it in the first place.  Cursing the day you learned to string letters into words and words into sentences and sentences into stories.  When all you want to do is curl up in a ball... or wad your pages into a ball... and just stop. 

But you can't just stop.

Soon, you begin to wonder how you'll ever get from flat on the ground to all the way up that little ladder to the tightrope again.  The fifty feet now seems like two hundred.  And you wish you really could fly because then you'd be fine in no time and if you ever fell again, you could avoid the pain of impact.

Eventually, you push your mangled self off the ground, limp over to the ladder, and make the climb.  You get on the rope again and do the balancing act.  You have to.  The alternative is not worth considering. 

The first time is the hardest.  You hit bottom and it feels like every bone is shattered into a million tiny shards.  Every time gets easier.  Oh, except for those unexpected strong gales, but even those you'll weather better than you did the last. 

It helps if you have something you can do to create a fresh breeze to help push you up.  A little balloon you can tie to your ass that makes the climb and the tightrope walking easier.  I fish now.  Before I started fishing, I went for walks or took pictures (sometimes both). 

Sunday, an unexpected gust blew me to the ground.  I went fishing.  Caught nothing.  It wasn't enough.  Yesterday, I went fishing again.  Stood on a rocky beach, watching my bobber, and catching a few bluegills.  Then I changed locations.  Sat on the rocky ledges, watching my bobber, and catching a few fish.  I was out there for 5 hours, all told.  That seemed to work.  We'll see.  I was already teetering when the gust came, and I'm not quite sure my equilibrium is quite up to balancing on the highwire yet, but I'll scoot myself out there and see what happens.  Might fall again.  Might fly.  Time will tell.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 38

I think last week was Week 38.  It's hard to tell.  This whole ISO-8601 standard week thing is messing with my head.  Week's start on SUNDAY.  They've started on Sunday for a long freaking time.  All the calendars I own start on Sunday.  Why someone felt the need to change that fact to 'let's start the week on Monday now' thing escapes me.

Okay, now that I've got that out of the way...

I was up to 6800 words on Djinn 4.  Then I realized I had totally farqued up, set all but about 500 of that aside, and took another run at it.  I'm around 3K in now.  The good news is I can still probably use a lot of those other 6300 words.  I just had them in the wrong place.  I think this was mainly because I wanted to answer all the questions from Up Wish Creek right up front to save my readers from wondering.  I need to cut that out.  Things will happen.  Questions I created in Up Wish Creek will be answered... eventually. 

And I came up with a title.  When the Wish Hits the Fan.  I know I said something before about changing to a djinn-based title system (along the lines of Djinn and Tonic), but it wouldn't work for this since this is still a continuation of what happens in the wish-based title system.  If that makes any sense.

I went fishing once last week.  Caught two bluegills and threw them back.  They weren't that big.  Better luck next time.  This coming week is supposed to be cooler, so maybe the fishies will be hungrier. 

I was looking out the windows on the sun porch a couple days ago and saw this:
 From up here I couldn't tell if that black ropey thing was a cottonmouth, so I sent Hubs out with a shovel to see.  It wasn't a cottonmouth.  It's a Western Rat Snake.  About 5ft long when it finally stretched itself out.
He went on his merry way into the forest, which is always good.  We don't mind the rat snakes, but we do not want them wintering under the house.

To that end, Hubs shored up the door to the space under the house yesterday.  While he was doing that, I stuffed steel wool in all the crevices behind the kitchen cabinet drawers - not against snakes, against mice.  We should be vermin free for winter now.  :fingers crossed:  I'll wait a week to make sure and then I'll put stuff back into those drawers again.  Nothing grosser than finding mouse droppings in the same drawer you keep eating utensils.  Lemme tell ya.

The drawers, btw, have been thoroughly doused with Lysol.

On the reading front, I'm still working on that fantasy novel.  It's really good, but sometimes when my writing is giving me fits, I'm not that keen on reading. 

I'm sure there are probably other things, but my caffeine and nicotine levels are still too low to think efficiently.  What's up in your worlds?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday This n That

I'm not sure what happened to Tuesday.  Seriously.  No clue.  I assume it occurred, but I don't remember it.

I bought an APC Back-UPS battery backup unit.  It arrived yesterday.  And its arrival prompted me to rearrange my portion of the office.  I moved the printer to the top of the 2-drawer filing cabinet, then I moved my 'puter to the top of the printer stand and put the backup unit next to it.  Then I used a 2-volume set of old dictionaries as a riser for my monitor.  I have so much more space on my desk!  It's awesome.  Of course, now I need some kind of cord extender for my headset so I can still listen to Pandora while I write, but no biggie.  And now when the power here hiccups, I'm safe.  Yay.

Yesterday, I went fishing.  It was beautifully foggy first thing.  And the fish still weren't biting.  Well, not for me.  At one point, a portion of the lake looked like it was boiling and then I saw loads of bass jumping.  It was a freshwater feeding frenzy as the bass went after a school of smaller fish.  Awesome.  And then I saw a couple white suckers cleaning the bottom just off where I was fishing.  They weren't interested in my worm either.  Then I saw a big largemouth swimming right next to my worm.  I guess no one was hungry for nightcrawler yesterday.  :shrug: Gorgeous day, though. 

One thing I do when I'm out fishing is clean-up work.  I pick up whatever garbage I see around me (Unless it's monumental.  I can only do so much.) - because, bleh, who wants to see garbage?   Doing this also has the side benefit of being a treasure hunt.  I find all sorts of fishing stuff - lures, hooks, swivels, sinkers, floats.  Pull on a bit of line so I can throw that shit out and quite often I find a lure or other stuff attached.  Yay.  So, no fish yesterday, but I came home with a lure, two sinkers, and a swivel.  And I cleaned a lot of fishing line out of bushes that are underwater when the lake level is normal.  Fishing line is hard on wildlife, so pick it up when you can.

Important point: Do not pull fishing line out of trees or the ground by hand.  Fishing line is razor sharp when you use flesh to pull on it.  I learned that one the hard way.  Instead, I use the needle nose pliers I keep in my tackle box to pull the line.  And rubberized gloves for picking up nasty garbage. 

Anything on your this n that today?  Talk to me, people.  =o)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Update - Week What?

I have no clue what week that was.  I'm not even sure there was a week, but since it's Sunday again, there must've been one there somewhere. 

It was the first week of Up Wish Creek's public existence.  It's already got a few reviews - all 5-star - and one rating (4-star). 

I spent most of the week in post-publication malaise.  I went fishing on Monday and didn't catch anything.  I went fishing again on Thursday, caught a stringer-full of fat bluegills.  (That's 8 keepers.)  I filleted them all and divided them into two baggies for freezing.  8 fillets is a meal for the two of us.  Yay.

I'm still working on rewriting Fear Itself.  I'm up to 11K words on that.

I began writing the first draft of Djinn 4 - clueless about the title.  Sorry about leaving you all hanging on Up Wish Creek.  I didn't really think of it as a cliffhanger, but I guess it was.  Derp.  Last night, the story blindsided me with a new idea, so we'll see how that plays out.  I worked on that Friday night and last night, and I'm up to 4600 words.

The plan here is to work on writing Djinn 4 concurrently with re-writing Fear Itself.  Fingers crossed this works.  If it gets too weird, the writing will take precedence over the re-writing.

Today, I formatted Up Wish Creek for print and shot an email off to my cover artist.  When she gets back to me with a print cover, I'll go through the rigamarole for making print copies available for purchase.  No ETA on that, since I don't know what her schedule looks like.

What was your week like?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday This n That

So, I tried to brain way too early this morning.  Don't worry, no one got hurt.  And I caught myself before I made any major errors.  Of course, sending a card to someone and writing Lydia on the envelope when her name obviously is NOT Lydia, called for me desperately looking for my packages of white label thingies.  Because I don't have another envelope that size and no one wants a happy card with the name crossed off and re-written.  Ugh.  After that, I sat down to pay bills... a week early so not all the bills are actually even here yet.  More coffee!  STAT!

I am going fishing this morning.  It's a moral imperative at this point.  I just need to either leave before the sun comes up or after it's reached a certain point in the sky.  Last time, I timed it wrong and the sun was hitting just above my steering wheel - right in the old eyes.  So, I was blinded part of the way.  Not a safe way to drive.  (Yeah, sunglasses were on and they still didn't help.)

The lake I live near is down about 5ft from 'normal pool' and about 7ft from when I first starting fishing there.  This makes everything interesting.  A few of the places where I fish - places with ledges on the water - are now way above the water. 

The other places where I fish have huge beach fronts now. 
This next pic? All of those rocks behind me were underwater when I first found this fishing spot.  You could only see the top of that little bush about the water.
Here's the same place back in June...
Gnarly, huh?

Okay, that's about enough out of me.  The sky's beginning to lighten, so I'd better get my buns in gear.  Comment away and I'll post the comments when I get home.  =o)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Looking Back...

I saw a funny meme on FB recently that said something to the effect of 'I saw an old gal the other day and then realized we graduated together'.  Which got me to thinking about the people I went to school with.  Which lead me to search FB for my alma mater.  I found a group devoted to alumni of the school.  It has like 1100+ members, so it covers way more years than mine.  (We graduated like 140 people in 1988.)

So, I started to scroll through the list of members.  Some names I knew.  Some names merely sounded familiar.  (All of my siblings graduated from the same school, so some of those familiar names were their classmates and not mine.)

I found one of my circle of friends in there.  The five of us were tight - Margaret, Maria, Janine, Ann, and I.  Back then.  Then we all graduated and went our separate ways, and didn't keep in touch.  I saw her at our 10th class reunion, and while it was fun to hang out and catch up and reminisce, we had nothing in common anymore.  We probably have less in common now.  I mean, #10 was 18 years ago.

She looks the same.  I mean, older obviously, but pretty much the same Maria I knew in high school.

I found another of my once-upon-a-time friends on there.  I'd known this gal from the age of like 3 because her mother and my mother were friends.  We were super tight from like 3 until around 8.  Then things happened and we drifted.  Her photo is two women close together.  I don't recognize either of them.  We probably have about as much in common as with the other lost friend.


I'm still looking for my best friend, Mags.  I haven't seen her since the summer before I went away to college.  The letters just stopped.  The phone calls just stopped.  I found out later that she'd stopped by home and spoken with my mother.  She was very concerned about the man I was seeing at the time.  Which, I guess, is why she stopped talking to me because she didn't want her dislike of him* to come between us... but it did anyway.

I don't know what I'd do if I found her.  Would I reach out?  Do we have anything left between us but the memories of how much we loved each other?  Right now, I don't know what would happen.  I'd still like to find her, though, if only to see if she has had a good life.  I want her to have had a good life.  She was my sister from another mister.  We're both totally different people than we were then.  Well, I am.  I assume she's changed, too. 

You really can never go back.  Sure, it's interesting to look back, but trying to go back?  Ain't gonna be the way you hope it'll be.  Slim chance it might be better.  Larger chance it will be so much worse.

What about you?  Are you still friends with people from high school?  College?  If there was one person you could find, who would that be?  

*She was right, btw.  He was an ass. I dumped him at the beginning of my Sophomore year at college. I would've traded him for her in a heartbeat.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Update - Week ??

Last week was a blur for the most part.  Editing, proofreading, polishing, formatting and, ultimately, publishing Up Wish Creek.  From the time I was mentally alert in the morning until I could stand it no more before bed.  But it's done.  And it's out there in the world.  Yay.  Go here for all the buy links. All three of the Once Upon a Djinn books are 99 cents each thru today and maybe tomorrow - depending on whether I remember to change the price tonight.  Don't count on my forgetfulness, though.  Buy now.

All my fawns have lost their spots!  They all look like mini-me versions of the does.  This time of year always makes me a little sad.  My fawns are growing up.  :sniffle: 

I went fishing yesterday.  I told myself early in the week that I would not go fishing until UWC was published, and you better believe the first chance I had after it went live, I was out there.  And it was nice and cool.  Of course, just after I walked down to my fishing spot, it started to rain.  You know, that little, pelting cold rain that, with the wind, stings a little.  And, boy howdy, was there wind.  Gusting wind blowing down at me from the north.  I could barely cast out.  But I did it.  So, there I was, standing on the bank, getting pelted with rain and buffeted by the wind, and loving every minute of it.  I caught three fat hog bluegills to bring home.  I also caught a couple small spotted bass.  And then, something strikes my hook.  The reel whines as I'm reeling this thing home.  It gets to within about 3 feet of me, where I can see it through the water.  It's a largemouth.  Looks keeper size.  Maybe a scosh bigger.  I see it.  It sees me.  It opens it's mouth wide, tosses its head, and throws the hook.  I swear the bastard laughed at me as it swam away.

Also, while I was watching my bobber, a huge pike decided to swim to the surface about 6 feet from me.  Gorgeous.  And a little scary.  My pretty pink rig is definitely not up to 'big pike' standards.  Plus, landing one by myself with no net... with all those teeth...  Lucky for me, he was on his way somewhere else.

So, that was my week.  How was yours?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday This n That

I was surprised yesterday when someone on FB said they won't pay more than $3.99 for a self-published book because... wait for it... those aren't edited.  I know, I shouldn't be surprised.  Rather than vent my spleen on someone else's status update, I put this on my own page:

Apparently there's still the idea out there that self-published books are unedited books. If you're still harboring this idea, kill it now. Sure, there remains a group of the unedited. The group has fewer and fewer members all the time. Every self-published author I know edits until their pages bleed before they put a book up for sale. Don't slap us all with the same label.

(PS. I don't apply the same editing standards to my FB posts, so if there are mistakes here, it's because I'm not paying as much attention in social media. And not paying someone to point the mistakes out to me.)

This idea is particularly irritating to me because I spend a lot of time editing, I pay an editor to rip my manuscript into bloody pink bits, and then I edit more.  I really should keep a log of the number of hours I spend editing, but what a waste of time.  To what? Prove something to people who like to paint whole groups with a single brush?  Nah. 

And enough about that.

Kira's walking around the house this morning doing her 'lost kitty' meow.  Not sure what that's all about. 

I have two new front tires on my car.  At the bank yesterday, I was telling a friend about my new tires and I joked "Most girls get excited when their men give them diamonds.  I get excited when mine gives me new tires."  An older gentleman overheard and joined in the merriment.  Life is never dull at the bank.  LOL

Then we got into a friendly discussion about politics.  Generally, I don't discuss politics in polite company, so I was quiet.  But it was friendly.  Which is rare these days.

Anything on your this n that meter for today?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Editing Stuff and Junk

It's the Tuesday after Labor Day here in the states.  Do not get me started on the whole Labor Day thing.  Suffice it to say, I spent a large portion of the day working - mainly because I took all of Sunday off.  It was awesome.  But awesome days do not get books ready for publication. 

So, anyway, I got the AWE edits done with the exceptions of my 'crutch words'.  I'll do a wholesale eradication of those today.  I also had a list of typos an early reader sent over.  I took care of all those boo-boos, too. 

(BTW, a macaron is similar but different from a macaroon.  It's a fancy-pants, French cookie I saw on The Food Network.)

What are crutch words?  They're the words a writer sprinkles throughout their manuscript because they're too lazy to find a better way to say something.  Supposedly.  I think it's less a matter of lazy than of habit, but that's me.  Tomorrow, over on Outside the Box, I'll give you a list of my crutch words and exactly how many of each were still in my manuscript after umpteen edits.  My worst crutch words are 'like' and 'then'.  (AWE would say my worst is 'just', but the numbers don't lie. LOL)

Personally, I don't notice them unless someone points them out.  In an earlier edit, I did notice I was using the word 'ass' a lot.  I've changed that.  I think.  I'll have to do a count on those to make sure. 

Anyway... yeah, I know, I said that already... today will be devoted to getting rid of that crap and then formatting.  If all goes well, I should have this ready to go in the next couple days.  Which will be a relief.  Spread your wings and fly, little bird.  I have other birds to fledge. 

If you're a writer, what are some of your crutch words?  If you're a reader, what words stick out in a book for you that you think writers use too often?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 35

Good morning!  How the hell are ya today?!*

As of last night, I am 70 pages from being done with this round of edits.  Then I have to do a final pass through it all.  I started the formatting last night when I was sick of editing but still working. I now have a title page and a copyright/acknowledgement page.  Yay.

I went fishing twice last week and brought home a total of six bluegills.  I have tentative plans to go fishing today while it's still cool.  The rest of this week is supposed to go back into the low 90s.

In reading news, I bought the first book in a series I've been meaning to read for like freakin' ever.  I inhaled the book.  Illusion's Child by DJ Salisbury.  (Yes, that is our own Deb Salisbury - commenter extraordinaire.)  It rocked.  Now I need to snag the other two books in that series.  Plus read the other book of hers I bought which isn't in that series.  I also picked up and read a copy of Silver James' latest - Barefoot Bay: Double Trouble.  I love her books.  And this one is set in the framework of Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot Bay, which I also love.  The gals are rocking things out.

That's it for me.  I'll let you all know when Up Wish Creek is available for purchase.  Meanwhile, stop by Goodreads and give it a 'Want to Read', if you will.  Thanks!

*Yeah, the enthusiasm is faked.  It's morning and I haven't had enough coffee to be that excited about anything... except coffee.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thursday This n That

I can hear Hubs in the kitchen opening drawers.  He's checking the mousetraps.  So far, we've only caught two this go 'round.  I really need to get back in there and put steel wool in the cracks again.  Not today.  And tomorrow ain't lookin' good neither.

I had a successful and safe fishing excursion on Monday.  Caught three fat bluegills.  Made it all the way up to a new spot, managed to not kill myself traversing the steep embankments, made it all the way home - all with no problems.  Got home and started to clean the fish.  On the first fish, the knife slipped off the scales and I stabbed myself in the thumb*.  With the knife I'd just finished honing to a sharp point.  It bled a lot, but not worthy of a trip for stitches.  Sort of like years back when I was cutting up the leftover Easter ham and sliced my middle finger. Anyway, I guess I'm living proof accidents are more likely to occur in the home.  LOL

Another new scar for me.  Good thing I never dreamed of being a hand model.  That dream would've been dashed back in high school when I was digging a post out of a hole so it could be replaced.  I dragged my knuckles down the old post at one point.  Not my first scars, but probably the first ones on my hands.  Then the accident gave me a huge scar on the back of my left hand.  It's gnarly.  Anyway, scars are visible reminders of a life well-lived.  Right?

The fawns are getting so big and we can tell they're starting to lose their spots.  Oh, they've still got them, but the patterns are getting weaker and some of the smaller spots are disappearing.  It's making it harder for us to tell who's who.  Fingers crossed they all make it to adulthood.

Started a new book last night.  So far, so good.  It's quite enthralling. I don't usually read reviews, but I did this time.  I don't agree with the one review.  There are bits that leave me wondering if the reviewer read the same book I'm reading.  If so, not with any attention to detail.  I wonder about these things.  

And now, it's time for me to decide if I'm going fishing again today.  It's supposed to be cool this morning.  I'm hoping it will be overcast, but I can't tell yet.  Oh, I probably will go.  The amount of sunshine will determine which spot I go to.  If it's a sunshiney morning, I'll hit one of my west-facing spots.  If not, I'll have more of a range of choices.  We'll see.

What's on your this n that radar today?

*Hubs finished cleaning the fish for me, so I wouldn't get fish gunk in my boo-boo.  He's so awesome.