Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 43

So, here we are again.  Week 43.  Time's really flying by toward the end of this year.  Whoa.

I wrote about 7K new words this past week.  Not really burning up the keyboard, but making progress.  Still not quite ready to talk about it. 

In other book news, I'll be having a Kindle Countdown Deal for Wish in One Hand Thursday - Saturday, with some advertising going out on Bargain Booksy on Friday.  It'll be 99 cents all three days.

Started the raking project for Fall 2016.  I swear that oak tree grew twice as many leaves this year as last year. 

Speaking of raking, while I was out yesterday morning, I raked some leaves toward the big pile and a little gray furry critter scurried out between my feet.  It ran around in terrified little circles.  At first I thought it was a mole, and I was inclined to send it to its maker, but I couldn't bring myself to smash its little head, so I herded it toward an area I wouldn't be raking in yet and it hid under that side of the big pile of leaves.  Later, I did some research and found it was a shrew.  That's the first time I've seen one of those alive.  The other ones I've seen were dead and covered in Max slobber.

Speaking of Max, he'll be gone one year this coming Friday.  =o(

Did a lot of fishing this past week.  Didn't catch a ding-dang thing.  Which reminds me, I started doing a fishing report on Saturdays.  The maiden post is here.  I didn't catch anything, but the weather was beautiful and Hubs came with me sometimes, so it was all good.  I saw bunches of migrating unidentifiable waterfowl.  And I happened upon some mink tracks in the sand - which was pretty cool.

I didn't do much reading.  The only thing of note is that I started Jennifer Lyon's Savaged Surrender.  It has characters from her Plus One Chronicles, so I can't wait to really get into that.  The problem is, I'm really into my WIP right now, so that story is kind of making it hard to read other stories. 

Yesterday, on a whim, I made a chocolate cake (Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge box mix, so don't be too impressed.)  Then, after dinner yesterday, I made homemade peanut butter frosting without a recipe.  Haven't had any yet, so don't be impressed there either.  I'm just happy it set.

That's it for me.  What's up with you?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday Fishing Report

Okay, so I'm trying something new here.  And, no, it's not about writing.  It's about where I go and what I do to clear my head so I can write.

First off, I am not in any way, shape, or form, an experienced fisherman.  I fished some with my father when I was a kid.  I fished a little bit more when I was a teen.  And then I didn't go fishing for 25 years.  Now that we live in Missouri and there are bodies of water everywhere around me, I caught the fishing bug.  I get out as often as I can in pretty much any kind of weather.  Right now, I only fish from the shores.  So, if any of this sounds interesting or pertinent to you, come along.  If not, I'll be back to regular writing stuff Sunday thru Friday on this blog, on Outside the Box, and at Killer Chicks.

Oh, and in case you're new here, I'm a chick fisherman.  (The terms 'fisherwoman' and 'fisherperson' irritate me.)  I know there aren't a lot of us out there.  Or at least, there aren't a lot of us being public about fishing, so here I am.

Okay, so for my maiden fishing post, here's the dealie-bob...

I went out several times this past week, both alone and with Hubs.  We didn't catch much of anything.  Hubs was using all kinds of lures, and I was using nightcrawlers like I always do.  (I am a total novice when it comes to lures, etc.)  He didn't catch anything of note anywhere we went.  I caught a few undersized bass - largemouths and spotteds.

I watched a fishing report this morning -  He said pretty much what I had expected (and Hubs had already told me), the water is too warm for too much activity in the bass realm.  I expect this is the same for panfish, since catching those has dropped off precipitously.  The fish are also being finicky about what they bite and they're being obnoxious about sending one of their number out to get caught while the others swim away.  Thus, I catch one small bass and nothing else bites until I go somewhere else.  In a boat, this wouldn't be a big deal.  Bank fishing, it's a real pain in the butt. 

This week, I caught three largemouth bass - two 9" and one 11".  As I've mentioned before, the bass here have to be at least 15" before you can keep them, so nothing to bring home.  I also caught several 5-7" bluegills.  There's no length requirements on panfish, but we don't bring them home if they're less than 7" because they're a pain in the butt to clean for the amount you get to eat.  Mostly what's biting right now, on the quiet end of Table Rock and its tributaries, is little panfish too small to hook.  Worm thieves.

I think, with this type of fishing, patience is the key.  And you need to have a lot of worms.  On the bright side, the weather has been gorgeous.  The birds are migrating, so there are new species to watch as you babysit your bobber.  And it's been quiet, so if you're not set on catching a stringerfull, you'll still have a lovely time.

In things I've heard talking to other fishermen, one guy caught a limit of crappie using a blue and white 1/16 oz. fishing up in a creek that drains into the lake.  Which pretty much confirms what the dude in the video said - they're in there up the creeks.  Kinda makes me wonder if I go to a couple spots I haven't fished yet if I could catch a few this morning...  Hmmmm.

Oh, and if you're into watching fishing, the FLW is having a tournament this coming week here on Table Rock.  It's over in the Branson area.  The weather this week is supposed to be warm and sunny, so my heart goes out to those guys as they try to get some fish in their boats.  It ain't gonna be easy this week, guys.  Sorry.

That's all for now.  Might be more of the same next week, if the weather keeps up the way it has.  Tune back in and see.  Thanks!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thursday This n That

I'm a big fan of tweaking pre-made food to make it kinda homemade.  Last night, we had Dinty Moore Beef Stew for dinner.  I added some leftovers from the pot roast I made a few days ago.  And I made homemade drop biscuits* to go along with it.  I never use jarred spaghetti sauce without adding stuff - meat, mushrooms, olives, etc. depending on mood and always extra seasonings.  (Plus a pinch of sugar to cut the acid.)  I put stuff on frozen pizzas, tweak canned soups, etc. 

The fishing has really sucked lately.  I mean, the game fish are biting more even if they aren't keepers, but the big, fat panfish have moved and I can't find them.  As a result, I have no fish in the freezer right now.  The air/water temperature really needs to do something one way or the other and stick with it, so the fish find a happy spot I can cast into.

We had a raccoon in the yard yesterday afternoon.  Hubs and I were both like 'oh, crap, sick raccoon' because they're like nocturnal and junk.  Before it got too hairy, I used my Google-fu and educated myself.  According to several independent sites, raccoon are for the MOST PART nocturnal, but they do venture out in the daytime occasionally.  The important cues to watch for are the raccoon's behavior.  If it's not acting sick - staggering, drooling, not eating, etc. - then chances are it's just out in the sun for some other reason.  This one wasn't acting sick and it sat here eating corn for about an hour before it wandering back into the woods.  We think it was a young coon - probably from this past Spring's litter. 

The secret to Google-fu is not trusting one site to give you correct information.  Verify it with reputable other sites.  And if it still doesn't sound right, look some more.  I think I went to like four different sites to make sure the raccoon info was correct.  I did the same thing when we saw a bobcat out during the day, and a fox out for a stroll in the afternoon.  It also helps with reading the news.  Jus' sayin'.

Okay, that's all I got today.  Well, except for the recipe below.  What kinds of this n that do you have today?

*Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease baking sheets.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add shortening and cut together with fork until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in milk until well incorporated.  (It'll look like a big sticky ball.)  Drop by generous tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms of biscuits are golden brown.  These are pretty bland by themselves, but they are awesome with butter or jam or dunked into soup or stew. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

When Blog Writing Style Turns Off Readers

I've been wondering about something off and on.  You see, there's this blog I visit that has sort of an ensemble cast.  A group of writers post writerly stuff - each on a specific day.  Some stuff I agree with, some I don't.  Some of it's insightful and some is helpful, and some is not.  But there's one contributor I can't read.  Not because of their ideas.  They seem like a rational sort with the possibility of being both helpful and insightful.  The problem is that every time I start reading one of their posts, I get bored, frustrated, irritated... something.  Something about their writing makes me want to poke my eyes out.  Or their eyes out. 

Because of this, I have never tried to read one of their books.   I mean, OMG, if they can't get a blog post out without turning it into some kind of weird syntactical nightmare*, what must their books read like?

I know, I probably shouldn't think like that.  This person is a popular (in their genre) author.  There must be some merit to their writing.  But I can't make myself slap down money or use valuable reading time to take the chance that their fiction reads better than their blog posts.

Anyway, it got me to wondering.  I certainly hope I don't do anything like that here.  Not much I can do about it - any more than my telling this other person my opinions would change how they write those blog posts.  What I say here is what it is. 

Hell, I don't even edit these posts for the most part.  Which I like to think I've made clear at some point, but a new visitor might not have been around when I said that. 

Still, I like to think the general flavor and voice of my blogs are about the same as the flavor and voice of my novels. 

So, I guess what I'm saying is that if you like what you've read here, give my novels a whirl.  And if you don't, I totally understand - because it happens to me, too.

Have you ever avoided reading an author because of what they've written online**? 

*"The hope and aim of a word-handler is that he may communicate a thought or an impression to his reader without the reader’s realizing that he has been dragged through a series of hazardous or grotesque syntactical situations." - E.B. White

**Not talking about their opinions or their philosophies, just their writing styles.  Lord knows, I have a whole list of authors I won't read because of their opinions and their philosophies, but that's a whole other topic.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 42

First off... GO BLUE!!  After years of heartache, the Wolverines are finally looking like they're going to go all the way.  Yay!  And let me give a quick nod, also, to Western Michigan University who are also kicking ass and taking names this year.  Keep it up, boys on both teams. 

Okay, now that that's out of the way...

After finishing up a read-through of the stuff I already had written on this book that I'm totally not talking about publicly, I got some new words out and some awesome ideas for later in the book.  If I can nurture this and keep it going so that it looks like it will definitely become a finished book, then I'll talk about it.  Right now, I have to protect it and my sanity, though.  Sorry if that's teasing, but if you want more books, it has to be that way. 

In other news, this newfound rejuvenation also seems to be sparking ideas for other unfinished books.  They will have to wait, though, until I finish this one.  I will not allow myself to be distracted by shiny ideas.  I think that's how I got myself into this mess in the first place.  Well, that and letting outside pressures influence my writing brain. 

In reading news, I finished Silver James' latest Blood & Fire.  Awesome with awesome sprinkles and a liberal helping of awesomesauce. 

In fishing news, I caught my first crappie this week.  It was a keeper at 11.5 inches.  I also caught my first smallmouth bass this week.  It was too small at around 9 inches.  I did a fish-fry.  Tastiest fish of that batch?  Redear sunfish. 

Yesterday, I saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker.  First one of the season.  I was wondering when they'd get back here.  Yay.

Since my back was screwed up pretty much Sunday - Thursday morning, I didn't get much else done.  But it's all better now.  I think I pinpointed the problem.  Carrying a heavy bag on my right shoulder.  Yep, that's all it took.  So, I won't be doing that again.  And for good measure, I cleaned out my purse so that won't exacerbate the problem.

What's up in your world?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday This n That

First, 'Thanks!' to the new people who keep stopping by.  And 'Thanks!' to the regulars who continue to stop by.  You guys rock.

For them what're interested, my back is up to like 98% normal.  I slept pretty good last night.  The last remaining vestige seems to occur while sitting in this chair, typing.  Which kind of sucks because like 90% of my job entails sitting here.  (The other ten percent is mostly sitting over there and writing by hand - which is also not comfortable yet.)  I feel best when I'm up and active, which means I might be able to go fishing today. 

Hubs and I were joking about getting a grant to fund what we do.  So, on a lark, I went looking to see what kinds of grants there are for writing.  (I seriously doubt there are grants for what Hubs does.)  In the course of scrolling down the Google-fu, I noticed an article giving suggestions about how to get a grant when you're a writer.   I scanned through it enough to give me the willies and make me a little nauseous. I stop kissing other people's butts when I struck out on my own. I'll just keep muddling along without their help, thanks.

Ever wonder if you've offended someone unintentionally?  Yeah, I'm like that all the time.  If I have offended you, and you know I count you as one of my friends, please remember that I have 'foot in mouth' disease.

 When I was out at the river Sunday, I saw a flock of cormorants headed south for the winter.  Too cool.

What's on your this n that radar today?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Change Weirds Me Out

I rearranged my desk yesterday.  I had a crick in my neck and looking to the right to see my monitor wasn't helping, so I switched everything from one side to the other.  Now my monitor is on the left side of my desk, which is right in front of where I sit.  No neck craning.  Yay. 

But I have this thing that happens when I move things around.  You see, I like things the way they are.  Always.  I'm not a big fan of change.  (Who is?)  So when I do move things around, it's all weird and strange for a while afterwards. 

When it was a big move - like from house to house when I was in CO - this strangeness would derail my writing for days afterwards.  I just couldn't seem to get in the groove.  And we moved three times while I was there.  Bleh.

Then we moved here to MO.  Now, that was a big derailment.  Talk about a change of scenery.  But I eventually got over it and got back to work.

This?  This is nothing really.  I was a little weirded out yesterday morning after I did it.  I got over it and did get some work done last night.  (Not much.  Turns out it wasn't the monitor position harshing my neck.)  It only served as a reminder of what happened before and provided a jumping point for this blog post. 

I don't like change.  Not at the time.  However, change is a good thing.  The change from living in CO to living here in MO was AWESOME.  Some things took a little getting used to - driving in hilly country as opposed to flat, way more rain here than in CO, trees everywhere - but it's better here.  And I think having my monitor over here instead of there is a better change, too.  It just weirds me out a little.

How do you handle change?  Do you embrace it as it happens, or do you embrace it after you get used to it? 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 41

If you're here for the writing updates, I have none this week.  Sorry.

If you're here because you also like the other updates, then here ya go...

So, I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  Mostly old spy and crime novels.  Three of those in the past week.  The Matt Helm I mentioned last week.  A Remo Williams (if you haven't read a Remo Williams, you're missing out).  And one I don't think is in a series, but I'm not sure - The Black Shrike by Alistair MacLean.  That one kind of blew me away and I'm still recovering.

I did some fishing last week, too.  In fact, I spent around 7 hours fishing on Thursday.  I went out by myself for 4 hours in the morning.  Hubs decided he wanted to go fishing, too, so we went for a few hours that afternoon.  I caught two big panfish for the freezer and a lot of too-small fish.  The 13.5 inch largemouth I had to throw back was a lot of fun to catch, so it's all good, baby.

Somehow the mice have found a new way into the house.  I suspect they're squeezing themselves through a crack I found along the wall that separates the office (an addition to the house) and the house proper.  I spent yesterday morning removing all the books from my 'classics' shelves, moving the bookcase, and then stuffing steel wool into that crack.

I also made chicken noodle soup yesterday from what was left of the chicken I crockpotted a couple days ago.  Lunch!  With four containers' worth leftover for future lunches.

I had planned to do some garden work, but meh. This summer a possum had gotten into my sedums and ripped them apart.  I thought I'd see if they would take root in water.  They did.  Now I have all these pieces that need to be shoved into dirt at some point before winter arrives.  Maybe tomorrow.  If I don't go fishing.

What happened in your week last week?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday This n That

I'm working through some shit right now, as you may have noticed from my Wanda Whiner posts or lack of posts altogether.  (Although I did better posting stuff at Outside the Box this week, so I've got that going for me.)  It's not personal stuff.  Personal stuff is awesome.  Work stuff blows.  And I'm back around to wondering why the hell I'm subjecting myself to this.  Don't worry.  This, too, shall pass. 

News stuff, too, is depressing the hell out of me.  Which is why I go fishing.

One easy way to tell a spotted bass from a largemouth bass is to feel their tongues.  Spotted bass have rough tongues.  Largemouth bass have smooth tongues.  (Or so I read somewhere.  I have no personal experience with largemouth tongues yet.  Next one I catch, I'll feel its tongue, though, so I know for sure if that's right.  It's correct with the spotted.)

Yesterday, I saw an osprey.

Someone ran over a pygmy rattlesnake about 100 feet from the house.  Yay!  Well, yay for the squishing - those things are nasty - but boo for the proximity to my home. 

Today is release day for my good friend, Silver James' novella Blood & Fire in the Kindle World of Paige Tyler's Dallas Fire & Rescue.  It's with her wolf shifters, so yay!  And it's only $1.99 right now.  I one-clicked a copy this morning.  Can't wait to read it.

Sometimes my fingers insert one homophone for another without consulting my brain.  I do know the difference between 'no' and 'know', and the 'they're there their' trio, and 'your, you're, yore', but my fingers aren't always certain.  If I slip up and use one where it doesn't belong, feel free to laugh at my fingers.  Maybe the shame will teach them to pay better attention.  ;o)

Okay, that's quite enough out of me this morning.  Anything in your 'this n that' basket today?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 40

Only twelve weeks left in 2016.  If you have anything you want to do this year, you've got 12 weeks to do it. 

On that note, I have very little to report for week 40.  I haven't touched Wish Hits the Fan.  It'll happen.  Just not right now. 

I did do some work on Fear Itself.  I've redone up to page 46 now.  I also downloaded some art for the cover, but I haven't done anything with it.  I don't have a clear idea of the cover concept yet.  Comet, observatory... something. 

I went fishing Thursday morning and Friday afternoon.  On Thursday I caught a few fish, but no keepers.  One largemouth was like 14.99 inches.  (I swear, the tail was this close to the 15" line I could've wept.)  Friday afternoon, I talked Hubs into going out with me.  We caught some more 'under the limit' bass.  Soon, the bigger bass will be coming closer to shore and then BAM! they are mine.

I read three books - Convenient Cowgirl Bride by Silver James, Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home by Harry Kemelman, and The Widow Watchers by Frank Archer.  Silver's book rocked.  Naturally.  The Kemelman book was interesting, but I won't go looking for the rest of that series.  The Archer book was pretty awesome.  I did, however, have to add it to Goodreads because apparently, I'm the first Goodreads user to read it.  Gnarly.  Right now, I'm reading a Matt Helm - The Removers.  It's book 3 in the series and I've never read this series before, but so far, that's not a problem.  Well, unless you consider that I now want to read the first two a problem.  Good book so far.  No wonder the series was a hit.

Yesterday, I cleaned out all the food cabinets.  Removed everything, wiped the shelves down with furniture polish, reorganized, etc.  Threw out some stuff that had been in there a while.  There was some allspice up there from, I think, before we got married.  (Had to have been Hubs' because I don't think I've ever bought allspice.)  And if I haven't made pancakes in over a year, why keep the last batch worth of mix?  That sort of thing.  I also lined a few more of the cupboards.  Cuz... well, it looks neater, and I already had the liner stuff. 

Yes, I lead an exciting life.

What's up in your universe?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Personal Pep-Talk

Yeah, I've been in a funk lately.  But I don't want to talk about that anymore.  Nobody likes to be around such a Debbie Downer.  Hell, I'm sick of myself.  I'd rather be Polly Positive.  Would you believe Hannah Happy?  How about Connie Contentment?

Time to turn this shit around.  Wallowing in misery doesn't do a damn thing to get one out of misery, if ya know what I mean.  Yeah, shit sucks sometimes.  Acknowledge it and move on.  Sitting around whining about the suckage never makes it stop sucking.  Never.  Ever. 

It sure as hell doesn't get books written.  And it ain't putting kibbles in the kitty, if ya catch my drift.

"If you want to be somebody else, and you're tired of fighting battles with yourself, if you want to be somebody else, change your mind."  - Sister Hazel

It's all mental, ya know.  (Unless you're like medically certified as chemically depressed or something - which I ain't.)  I can choose to let all this shit get me down, or I can choose to rise above it and work toward making something positive happen. 

And this, for me, only pertains to my writing life, just so ya know.  I'm pretty happy otherwise.  Work, though?  Work is totally harshing my groove.  That's why I went fishing 6 out of 8 days recently.  Out there, I'm at peace.  Here at the computer?  Not so much.  Well, that shit needs to change.  Fishing might put food on the table (or it might not as last week proved), but it ain't getting the books from Chapter One to THE END. 

And that's the point, isn't it? 

Want to be happy?  Want to be successful?  Get off your damn ass, put down the fishing pole, and type those freakin' words.  Sheesh.

Okay, that concludes my pep-talk to me.  If it helped you, too, awesome.  If you didn't need the pep-talk, I hope you at least enjoyed the show. 

Peace out.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Update - Week 39

The week that was. 

Let's see...  I went fishing 5 days out of 7, anywhere from 2-5 hrs worth.  Didn't catch anything large enough to keep.  The biggest fish was an 11" spotted bass.  (Those have to be 15" to keep.)  But I did give myself a firm talking to, and while it did help me see the path, I'm still floundering on the gumption to write.

I restarted Wish Hits the Fan.  Tucked everything I'd written the first time and the second time into safe spots in case those words come in handy later.  I just can't seem to make myself sit down and write. 

Wish in One Hand has been free since Friday.  Through tonight. 

FYI, there's very little chance I'll stick to the production schedule I outlined in my newsletter and past blog posts.  I'm thinking 'snowball's chance in Haiti' for having another book release this year.  Unless I can pull my head out of my armpit and get working.  Even then, it takes my editor roughly 7 weeks (4 weeks first pass, 3 weeks second pass) to do her magic, and 2-4 weeks for me to input her magic.  There are barely that many weeks left in the year.  I had played with the idea of taking one of my old books, editing it myself, and releasing it that way.  Not sure how that would be received, though.  :shrug:

There's also this little wrinkle of not having a lot of fundage to do things like editing and cover art.  I have to make money on my already-published books before I can afford to do other stuff.  Sorry about that, but it's one of the pitfalls of self-publishing, I guess.

Sorry to be such a downer.  That's also one of the pitfalls. 

What's going on your world lately?