Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 - The Year in Review

2014?  Well, we've just about put that sucker to bed. 

January:  I started the year out in a funk, wondering whether I was going to keep writing.  Shortly thereafter, I got over myself and got back to work.  I began the total rewrite Wrongful Termination.  (The book I'm actually supposed to be editing while I wait for Edits: Round Two on Dying Embers.)  I got the rejection letter I'd been waiting on for 16 months, which kinda put me in another funk but then I got mad and lit a fire under my own ass.

February:  I actually listed my resolutions for 2014 - Take my writing more seriously. Reduce the irritation in my life. Accept myself for who I am.  (I think I did pretty well on all three.  Yay.)  I spent a lot of time watching the Olympics.  And baking.  Meanwhile, I finished the rewrite and sent loads of queries out.  Also, I began writing Djinn 3.

March:  First off, I got our taxes done.  Yay me.  Baked some stuff.  Sat down and figured out what I do on an average day.  OMG, and this was the month I not only rearranged the office, but got the world's most tragic haircut.  (If you go back, you'll see where I'm trying to be positive about it, but it was so bad.)  March was also the month when Hubs and I finally took a vacation and I met the family members I hadn't met in the 10 years we'd been married.  Also, and most importantly, I met my friend, JB Lynn, for the first time in real life.  Too cool.  Hubs began the re-plumbing project.

April:  Wow, April was a busy month on the homefront.  We got the electric up to code.  We contracted some dude to come spray for bugs, but he never showed.  We each got eyeglasses!  (Scary world now that we can both see. LOL)  The squirrels found a new way to live in our eaves, and the silly git had a litter of pups up there.  Tragic Hairdo Part 2 occurred and made March's gaff look like a supermodel's hair.  Also, Hubs started re-insulating the house. 

May: Hubs finished the insulation project.  The planting I did the previous fall finally started showing its glory.  Then Hubs did the plumbing project.  (That was a bear, but it's done and it's done right.)  I found my antique typewriter.  And we celebrated our 10th Anniversary.  I got really rolling on Djinn 3 and met my goal of 44K words in 30 days (cuz it was my 44th birthday that month).  We also started the vapor barrier project under the house. 

June:  We had to put off the vapor barrier project because it was raining like a bad devil, but Hubs got it done.  I finally finished the first draft of Djinn3, and started working on editing a suspense manuscript Bloodflow.  June was a pretty lazy month, though.

July:  This month saw a brown recluse invasion which had me scrambling to de-clutter.  We also dug out the remainder of the foundation so we could seal it and then fill it back in again.  Hubs also starting sanding the orange off the house.  Yay!  I killed a copperhead snake I found while I was weeding the wildflower bed, which led to me removing the rock border of said bed and pearocking the damn thing.  Hide in there, you slippery bastards. Additionally, I discovered - with the help of a friend - the joys of using vinegar and dish washing liquid as a weed killer.

August:  I spent a lot of time on work in August - editing things and researching things and tweezing things so I could submit things.  This was the month I really took the business of writing by the short hairs.  This was the month we lost ShortStop the fawn.  I completed the peagravel project and the driveway drainage project.  August was also the month where I broke my butt

September: Another month where I started out totally angsting over something stupid.  (Hey, it's a writer thing.)  But I fixed it up quick.  Yay!  I got the tweezing done that needed doing and submitted WIOH to a publisher. (Still waiting...)  I motored right along on the Bloodflow rewrite and got it done. And my mums started to bloom.  I finally got sick of tragic haircuts I had to pay for and cut my own hair.  I'm not winning any awards, but at least I kinda look like me again.

October:  Max's teeth really began giving him fits - not in the usual way, more like full blown.  I talked about a new book I wanted to write for NaNo, and then decided to work on finishing a book I never finished instead.  This was also the month where I realized I needed to stop beating my head against the rock of traditional publishing.  I finished the edit notes to myself for Wrongful Termination (the notes I'm now procrastinating about inputting) and I did edit notes on a dystopian I never finished.  And Hubs and I whacked walnuts into the woods with some old used golf clubs I bought. 

November: I did it.  I finally contacted an editor and a cover artist, and took the first steps to controlling my own writerly destiny.  To that end, I cleaned up my other blog and began posting over there again.  I also participated in NaNo and managed to rewrite that old novel all the way to the place I stopped last time - where I am still stuck.  But I won NaNo, and that counts for something, right?

December: It being December, we started out the month by chowing down on leftover turkey and decorating the house for Christmas.  I got my edits back from the editor, and took the majority of this month to get the manuscript whipped into shape.  I cleared the trails in the woods because it finally got cold enough to make the snakes and ticks go dormant.  This month, we also had Max's remaining teeth pulled and we're still dealing with the eating issues of toothless cat.  And we got Hubs a car for Christmas. 

For those of you who're still with me on this post, thanks.  For those of you who've stayed with me all year, THANKS!  I really appreciate you all.  And for the ones who'll come to visit me in 2015, I look forward to meeting you all.

2014 was pretty awesome, but here's to an even better 2015 - for us all.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 52

Last week was the 52nd week of 2014, and therefore, the last whole week - even though the year doesn't officially end until Wednesday night.  (So, would that make next Sunday's Update week 52.5 for 2014 and week .5 for 2015?  I'm confused.)

The 52nd week was a busy one here at Casa Sanderson. 

We bought a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited for Hubs.  That took up the entire day on Monday, but that's cool.  We needed another car and he deserves his own set of wheels.  I tell you one thing - based on this car buying experience vs buying the Cavalier back in '03, I'm totally over buying cars from dealers.  Sure, the guy we bought this from was a talker, but that was all conversational.  No hard sell, no badgering, no hassle. 

I got the first round of edits done for Dying Embers.  It's now sitting at just over 80K words - which means even though I cleaned and tightened, I also added almost 3K by better describing certain things and chucking out a boatload of was (such an easy little throw-off word and the bane of my existence).  My editor has it now* and I should see the next round of edits by 1/15.

I touched base with my cover artist and he's hoping to get me sample covers by the new year.  Yay.  I can't wait.

On the cat front, Max is still not eating like we expect he should.  I suspect he's been in pain so long that now he's food shy.  Which for us means that basically the food has to be really awesome or he doesn't want to bother.  That left me sitting out there the other night hand feeding him bits from slices of lunchmeat turkey.  And now Kira has decided she doesn't like her kibbles anymore. Oh, she'll still eat canned food (Fancy Feast - pate varieties only, and no tuna unless it's people tuna).  I mean it's not like she can't stand to go without a few meals, but it's a pain in the butt.  Personally, I think the two of them had a late night conversation through the garage door and decided to stage a revolt for tastier food options.

Friday I finished the trail system in the woods behind the house.  I wish I could draw a diagram to show you, but how the land looks while I'm out there doesn't seem to translate well into how it looks from a satellite.  :shrug:  Suffice it to say, I have three trails going from top to bottom and three going from one side to the other as you go down the hill.  Max appreciates it - because it means he can be all jungle cat without having to put his precious paws in fallen leaves.  (He hates stepping on leaves unless he's picking out a spot to do his business.) 

I also continued the task of sawing through the fallen tree.  It's delimbed now to the point where we'll be able to roll it off the trail.  That last big limb was a killer, and I paid for sawing through it.  Man, that stuff will give your shoulders a workout.  Lemme tell ya.  Aleve was my friend yesterday.

How are things in your world?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And...

I hope your day is filled with joy and laughter and all the good things life can bring your way. 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Car For Christmas

You know those commercials where someone buys someone else a car for Christmas?  Well, the other day I told my husband that I had never seen or known or even heard of anyone who  gave a car as a gift.

Yesterday, I made a liar out of myself.  Kinda.

You see, since Hubs retired, we've been a one car family.  It's the same car I've had since before we got married.  It's seen me through a move from Utah to Colorado.  It saw both of through the move from Colorado to Missouri.  But, let's face it, the old girl is getting old.  And while she's still reliable, the chance of her breaking down somewhere out here in the middle of nowhere is always on the back on my mind.

One car.  It breaks down or even gets a flat tire, and what the hell would I do.  (I know how to change a tire, but I'm not physically capable of it anymore, and out here, the shoulders of the roads are more like drop offs.)  Call him and then he'd have to call a neighbor and ask a favor and... Well, we're not favor asking people. 

Anyway, we've been talking since we moved about getting a truck of some kind.  Someday, Hubs would like to have a small boat and he'd need something to tow it with.  So, he's been casually looking--doing research on various models, scoping out the used car sites, etc.  And I've been letting him know when I see a car for sale that looks worth investigating.

Last week, I saw an SUV with a nice price in the window along my route to Walmart, and I mentioned it to him.  Saturday, he drove over to look at it, but the owners weren't home, and there was only a price with no phone number on the vehicle.  I told him to check the paper, just in case.  There was an SUV for sale at a lower price, but it had an Arkansas number.  I nudged him to call anyway.  I mean, what the heck?  Can't hurt, right?

So he did.  And it was the car beside the road.  Together, we went to look at it.  We test drove it.  Kicked the tires.  Talked to the owner, who assured us of his diligence in maintaining the car (with the paperwork to back it up - this ain't our first rodeo), and while we were talking, he dropped the price again.  Cha-ching. 

It's a sweet vehicle--top of the line when it rolled out of Michigan way back when--and the price was something we just couldn't pass up.  So as of yesterday morning, we are a two car family again.  We spent yesterday buying the car, getting it inspected, driving up to the nearest licensing office, going from one office to the other to get all the paperwork in line, and then getting our license and registration and tags.  And we took the new car.  It rides like a dream. Don't know how it drives yet, but it's Hubs car and even though he insists that I can drive it, too, I want this to be special for him - at least for a little while. ;o)

Now, we joke that I got him a car for Christmas.  Ho Ho Ho.

(And now if I see a really awesome piece of furniture at the thrift store, we don't have to tie it into the trunk of my Cavalier and hope it doesn't fall out on the way home.  So it's a win-win.)

((Best part of the experience for me?  The old guy's dog.  What a cool dog.  So cool I almost asked the man if he'd throw the dog in with the car.  LOL))

(((Okay, really the best part was getting Hubs what he wanted and getting one hell of a deal, too.  I'm all about the deals, baby.)))

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 51

Well, folks, we're almost done with 2014.  Release the 2015! 


Anyway, last week saw some gains in the editing sphere.  I am now done through Chapter 24.  Which means I have 6 chapters left to go.  I had hoped to get them done this weekend, but that ain't happenin'.  I ended up taking yesterday off...

Because we spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon looking at used car.  Well, actually went spent most of that time talking to the private sellers of said car.  He was a hoot. She was really nice. And their dog was amazing.  So there we are looking at this vehicle and another car pulls up to look at the car, which made the whole process take longer.  Still, it was good to get out of the house and chat with new people.  (Hermits like us don't get to do that often.)  I think we made new friends.  LOL  Whether or not we get the car will be the subject of another post.

Last week, I made cookies.  And crabmeat crescent puffs

I also read a bit.  Three books and a screenplay.  All good reads.  So yay.

The big news of last week, though, was Max.  After fighting his recurring infections - stomatitis, actually - we had his last four teeth pulled.  Only it wasn't just four teeth.  It was four visible teeth and about 6-8 broken teeth that we didn't know were there.  Poor boy still couldn't eat well Thursday when we brought him home, but he's slowly getting back to normal as the pain and swelling abate.  Once he's all healed, I'll get a pic of him.  It's strange looking at him without his one tooth sticking out past his lips - he lost the snaggle-tooth look - but I'm glad if it means no more steroid shots and no more pain.  And no more infections.  And no more drooling.  And no more wondering if he's going to eat today.  He's still playing like a champ.  In fact, I'd venture that he's more playful now than he has been in the 4.5 years we've had him. 

So it's all good.

How are things in your world?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crabmeat Crescent Puffs

I mentioned earlier on Facebook that I was making Crabmeat Crescent Puffs for dinner, and that I'd post the recipe if they turned out good.  They were awesome, but the recipe seemed too long for a FB status, so I thought I'd throw it out here (the blog updates to FB anyway) and now all of you can try it, too.  It's really pretty yummy.

Crabmeat Crescent Puffs
1 6oz can crabmeat
1 8os pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded colby/jack cheese
1 tsp chives
dash pepper
dash onion powder
1 rolls refrigerator crescent rolls
Additional shredded cheese for topping

Drain all the liquid from the crabmeat.  Put brick of cream cheese and crabmeat into microwave safe bowl and nuke for 60 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in shredded cheese until well combined.  Stir in seasonings (use my measurements or add to your taste).  Unroll crescent rolls.  Using a rounded spoonful, place crab-cheese mixture on wide end of each roll, roll the roll - crimping at the seams, until the mixture is enveloped by the crescent dough.  Place all 8 rolls on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Sprinkle each with additional shredded cheese to your taste.  (Might have to pat it on to keep it from falling off.)  You will have more filling that will fit in the rolls.  (Frankly, I filled mine too full, but hey, I'm a glutton.)  The extra filling tastes great on crackers... or probably on a roll. Hey, there's lunch tomorrow!  Should feed four for dinner*.  There are two of us and we had two each.  Leftovers!

Next time I'm going to use lump crab instead of shredded.  I guess you could also use imitation crab if you have that handy instead. 

Personally, we're not spicy people, so this recipe might be a bit bland - which is why I said 'to taste'.  You can probably also use different seasonings depending on your tastes.  Might be good with garlic powder, chili powder, etc.  Spice it up a bit if you like.  Just make sure you have crackers nearby for frequent tastings until you get the filling just right.  (No one has to know how much filling you ate beforehand.) 

*This was supposed to be an appetizer recipe, but like I said, I'm a glutton - especially when cheese and crab is involved.  If you make them smaller, and use 2 cans of rolls, you should have 16 appetizers for guests and stuff.  (We never have guests, so these are all mine!  Bwa ha ha.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Life at the Sanderson Toothless Cat Rehabilitation Clinic

Well, Max is toothless now.  Unfortunately, he's so sore and swollen that he still doesn't want to eat.  And I tried everything we have in the house.

So, today I went down to the Wallyworld and picked up a vast array of food items for him to try.

Salmon in a pouch
Tuna in a pouch
Canned Chicken
Grilled Chicken
Canned Crab
Frozen Flounder
Frozen Swai (wth is that? some kind of fish)
five different types of cat foods in a variety of flavors
cat appetizers (yes, they make cat appetizers)
kitten pate (until this morning, the only food he would eat)

And a mini food processor to turn anything we try into a paste for Monsieur Gummer.

First up, the appetizers - shredded chicken in chicken broth.  I took the container out there and he went wild trying to eat it. But he failed and gave up quickly.  I then took the stuff into the kitchen, threw it into the food processor and made paste.  He ate almost all of that.  Score!

On the upside, we humans can eat the variety of human foods if he doesn't. (Thank goodness Hubs likes sardines.  Blech.)   And Kira can eat the cat foods he won't.  So nothing will go to waste. 

Yes, it seems insane.  It may in fact be insane.  But he's such a sweet boo-baby, he deserves whatever we have to do to make him feel better. 

What's the weirdest, sorta-insane thing you've done for one of your furbabies?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


If all y'all haven't already gotten my cake mix cookie recipe, here it is...

One box cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350F.  Empty the cake mix into a large bowl.  Stir out the big lumps.  Add eggs and oil.  Stir until combined.  Drop rounded spoonfuls about an inch apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Now that you have that, you can play with what kind of cookies you want to make.  Today I made mint patty chocolate cookies and snickerdoodles.

For the mint patty cookies, you'll need - natch - a bag of mint patties in addition to the above ingredients.  Follow the recipe above using your favorite type of chocolate cake mix, but after you take the cookies out of the oven, wait a couple minutes and then press one mint patty into the center of each cookie.  Transfer to a paper towel (or a baking rack for you fancy folks) and allow to cool.

For the snickerdoodles, mix 3 tablespoons of sugar with one teaspoon of cinnamon.  Take about a tablespoon full of the mixture and add it to the above cookie recipe.  Then, instead of dropping the cookies, make 1" balls with it.  Then take the balls and roll them in the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Set those on the baking sheet about 1 1/2" apart, then press them done with the bottom of a glass.  Bake about 10 minutes or until edges start to brown and centers are set. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 50

Two and a half weeks left.  Argghh!!  Is it just me, or did this year slip by way too fast?  And these last six weeks??  Where the hell did November go?  How is it halfway through December already??

:panics a little:

Okay, now that THAT is over, here's what I did last week:

As of last night, I had edited and polished through Chapter 13.  It doesn't seem like much, but that was a lot of work. (Update: After I wrote this, I couldn't sleep.  I got the edits done through Chapter 15 and have polished through mid-14.)

Meanwhile, the weather was nice enough that I got out in the woods and started cleaning the trails I made last year.  My guess is if you looked at it from above, my trails would look like a funky upside down capital Q.  I mean, it ain't round by any stretch of the imagination, but it does make a loop with one central trail out, so I guess it could be a Q.

I also got caught up on my reading yesterday.  I'm now at 95 books for the year, with 5 more to go to reach my goal of 100.  Some of them were novellas, but then again, some of them were big, fat tomes, so it all evens out.

We made the decision to have the remainder of Max's teeth pulled.  He's got something called stomatitis - which pretty much is like an autoimmune reaction (i.e. his body is actually fighting to kill his teeth - or rather the plaque on his teeth) and ever present as long as there are teeth, so out they come.  It's his best hope for being pain free.  There's a slight chance it won't work and he'll still need steroids for the rest of his life.  There's also a slight chance the anesthesia will kill him, so if I'm a weeping loon on Thursday, you'll know why.  He'll be my little gummer.  Everything I've read says he should lead a normal rest of his life without teeth - including being able to still kill shrews.

Other than that, got my Christmas shopping done.  Hubs and I have already received our gifts.  The Kid got her Christmas box and was thrilled.  The Moms' gifts have shipped and should arrive shortly.  Yay.

How are things in your little part of the universe? 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Things That Confuse Me

Not that confusing me is all that hard - depending on the day and the amount of caffeine in my system - but here are some things I find confusing:

A news headline that states they found water on a comet, but it's not like water here on Earth.  So, what?  It's not H2O?  Would that be NOT water then?  So I clicked on the article link to get some clarity, and read where they're pretty sure now that it was an asteroid and not a comet that brought water to Earth.  What? Because hydrogen and oxygen and the necessary factors to combine them into water weren't already here?  I'm confused.

How people who want to get paid for their work scream when someone else even suggests that they might want to be paid for their work, too.

Hairless cats.

People who would never give out their personal information to some dude that walks up to them on the street but happily give it to someone who calls them out of the blue. 

Rude people.  Is it really that hard to hold the door when you see me walking up behind you? 

Dietary information on the menus at fast food restaurants.  The big M should automatically tell you that it's full of fat and calories, and if it doesn't, the information on the menu ain't gonna help.  Sometimes a gal just wants a quarter-pounder with cheese, fries and a large chocolate shake.  I know it's not 'good for me', so why rub it in?  

The fact that MS Word would like me to change quarter-pounder to something like quarter-ponder or quarter-sounder or quarter-plunder.  Now at McD's... The Quarter-Plunder! 

People who complain about a certain business to the point of insanity, but then continue to use that business.  (It's okay to kvetch every once in a while, but there's a limit there somewhere.) 

Humorless people.  (Note: I call my daughter 'the humorless troll' on occasion, but she laughs at that, so she's not actually humorless.)  Life's a funny place, people.  Laugh at it.  It'll all go so much smoother.  Trust me.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 49

Hey All.

We're creeping up on the end of the year and I don't know if I should continue these updates in 2015, or just let it go.  Time will tell.

And I'm kind of in a funk this morning, which makes it harder to see anything I accomplished in the past week.  But here goes:

I started the edits for Dying Embers this week.  I may have said this here or somewhere else, but as I was beginning to attend to the notes my editor had given me, I noticed a bunch of other stuff that was bothering the heck out of me.  So, to that end, I'm taking her notes and fixing them chapter by chapter.  After I finish each chapter of her notes, I go back to the beginning and polish the hell out of the manuscript to fix all the little things that are bugging me.  So far, I have 5 chapters done and I think they're way better.  We'll see what she thinks when she gets the manuscript for the next round of edits.

And it sort of makes me want to send a huge apology letter for sending her the dreck I sent her to edit in the first place.  That she made any sense out of that steamy pile is amazing. 

It's also giving me edit brain.  How many ways can I reword a simple sentence??  I don't know, but apparently, I'm attempting to find out. 

I ended up freezing a bunch of turkey leftovers because by Wednesday, we just couldn't stand eating turkey anymore. 

I made pumpkin muffins this past week.  They turned out really good, and I posted the recipe yesterday, if anyone's interested.

Also, I decorated the house for Christmas. 

Now we're playing the fun game of 'what do you want for Christmas?'  Laying in bed last night, we talked about the subject and ended up laughing because I don't want anything and neither does he.  We've already given each other everything we need, and anything else on the list are things we don't have the fundage for right now.  (Like a second car, or a fishing boat, or junk like that.)   So, most likely, the space under the tree will end up like it did last year - with Christmas cards all around and no presents.  Works for me.

How were things in your world last week?  Anything looking good for the week ahead?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Super Pumpkiny Muffins

I made these a couple days ago, and if you're looking for something with super pumpkiny flavor, these are it. 

Super Pumpkiny Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 12 muffin tin with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl, beat pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, water and eggs until smooth.  Gradually stir dry mixture into wet mixture until combined.  Fill muffin cups to about 1/2 inch below the tops.  (Muffins will not puff up much, so don't worry.) Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the centers of several different muffins comes out clean.  Cool and serve, or store in an airtight container. (Mine are in a big Ziploc baggie.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

All Gone

The mashed potatoes went first, and it was all downhill from there.  The pumpkin cheesecake is gone.  The cranberry sauce is kaput.  The stuffing went bye-bye.  The turkey has been reduced to two piddlin', mostly-empty bags of white and dark. 

A lot of the turkey ended up as something new - turkey and dumplings, turkey potpie, turkey in gravy.  In that respect, we still have a bunch of that left.  Leftovers of leftovers. 

It's all very sad.

Today, for the first time in a week, we will have beef.  Hamburgers.  Maybe spaghetti. 

And with that, it's time to get back to some semblance of normalcy.  Until the next holiday - in three weeks. 

Do you have any Thanksgiving leftovers left?  Are you sick of turkey yet?  What's for dinner tonight?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo is Over. What now?

I've been seeing a lot of posts around the interwebs yesterday and this morning talking about the end of Nano and what to do now.  Most of them talk about this time as though the people who participated in NaNo actually have a novel from 'Once upon a time...' to 'THE END'.  They talk about the editing that's ahead, and taking time away to gain perspective, and stuff like that. 

For me, that's not a NOW thing.  That might be a January thing - depending on whether I have a cohesive 50K words to actually finish in December (sometimes yes, sometimes no).

I've been doing the NaNo thing formally and informally since 2006, and I don't think that even once, I've had a complete novel in 50K words.  Even at a bare-bones minimum, my first drafts end up around 65-70K.  (Well, except for that first novel that topped the scales at 147K, but that took me 9 months to write.  Never again.)*

Nope.  My problem right now isn't editing or waiting or synopsizing or anything of the after-book things.  It's how to finish the book I spent the last 30 days typing away at.  And you know what?  I have no freakin' clue.  Not a one.  Oh, sure, it'll end like all good suspense novels - with the bad guy getting what's coming to him and the good guys winning.  But the details of that are lost to me right now.

So, what's a gal to do?

Part of me wants to set this aside because I have edits I need to be doing.  Another part of me knows that's how this project got derailed in the past - because I set it aside.  The second part and the first part spent yesterday waging war against each other while I sat and read a book I never should've ordered until after I was done with my chores.  (Yes, I ate my dessert before I finished dinner.)

I don't know what the decision is on this manuscript.  I do know that I can't spend another day sitting around waiting for a clear winner in the battle.  I have too much work to do.  So, the plan is to edit today, and then tonight, see how the writing is feeling. 

*Wouldn't you know it.  I talked about the damn first novel and one way to fix it into something people might actually want to read popped into my head.  I do not have time to play with that right now.  Arrgghh.  (Make the hero the MC instead of the heroine, and tighten the perspective all the way around.  :cue shining light from above and inspiring music:)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 48

Let's dispense with the big news first: I won NaNo:

I verified on the site with over 52K yesterday (because I figured I'd forget today.)

I rolled over 50K on Tuesday night, and then promptly took three days off.  Which was silly because my actual personal 'for me' goal was 60K in November, and I'm gonna fall short if I don't write like 7500 words today.  Yeah, ain't happening.  I've never done that many words in one day, and I'm pretty sure I'd be crippled for days after doing that many in one day.  I still have the goal of finishing this draft of this book by 12/15, and I think I can do that, but we'll see.  Especially since...

I got my edit notes for Dying Embers this past week.  I have NOT looked at them.  I really wanted to be focused on getting Fertile Ground done.  And then I dropped the ball and didn't do either.  Pardon me with I flagellate myself with some wet spaghetti.

In other news, I had a lovely holiday and I probably did need to take some time off because I wrote for 24 days straight without a day off.  Yes, I would like some cheese with that wine. 

In other other news, the weather has been cool enough for enough days in a row that I went into the woods on Saturday and began the job of cleaning my trails off.  With all the fallen leaves, I can't hardly tell where they are, but I'm making my way.  Unfortunately, I rather large dead tree broke in half and fell across one of my trails.  The limb saw ain't gonna cut it this time - literally.  I managed to remove quite a few limbs, but the main trunk is gonna need a chain saw.  Hello, Santa! 

Other than that, it's been quiet.  Not writing can do that.  Not going out amongst other humans can do that, too, but I loathe crowded stores, so letting loose my inner hermit was totally necessary.  I might go out tomorrow.  Cyber Monday can't affect store crowds, right?

How are things in your lives?  How was your holiday?  If you didn't have one, how're things in general?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

This year I'd like to take a moment to thank some people...

My Husband and best friend - who 'gets me' even when he doesn't always want to.  Who understands even when I don't.  Who loves me for everything I am.

My Mom - who's always there for me, even though we're hundreds of miles apart.

My Kid - who's always supportive and who lets me vent.

My Friends - who listen and advise and cajole and empathize and poke me in the ass when I need it.

My Acquaintances - who help keep me sane.

My Readers - I know you're out there and I'll find you all someday.

And myself.  Because while I might not have been able to do any of this without any of them, I definitely wouldn't have done any of this without me.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving everyone! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NaNo Brain vs Pregnancy Brain

This time of year certain writers are stricken with a malady known as NaNo Brain.  It comes from trying to write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days.

It's kinda like Pregnancy Brain.  If you've ever been pregnant or been around someone who's pregnant, then you're familiar with the signs: shoddy memory, craptastic attention span, fluctuating tempers. 

If it any wonder writers liken their books to babies?  You spend a set amount of time producing something you hope will turn out wonderful, and an unknown amount of time trying to make sure said product actually does turn out wonderful.  (Yeah, yeah, babies are products... work with me here.)  And sooner or later, you send it out into the world hoping it will be good and awesome and make a difference one way or another.

Of course, there are differences. 

At the end of nine months, Pregnancy Brain goes away and the afflicted have a bouncy bundle of joy to show for their efforts.

With NaNo Brain, you compress all that into 30 days and at the end you have... part of a book. 

During Pregnancy Brain, you're supposed to eat right, get lots of rest, exercise, and cut out your nasty habits.

During NaNo Brain, eating right is hit or miss, rest is laughable, exercise amounts to getting up to use the bathroom, caffeine flows, and - probably more my habit than yours - many ashtrays are filled to overflowing. 

And of course, shoving 50K words out your fingertips is way less physically painful than... Well, you know.  

With both, the end of your affliction isn't really the end.   (Even when you send the former off to college and the latter off to be published.)

But what do I know?  I have NaNo Brain.  And I will well into December*.

*My fault for committing to finishing this by 12/15.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 47

47 weeks into 2014.  Wow.

Three weeks into NaNo.  Ugh.

And here's the lowdown on the past week:

I rewrote 14574 words last week.  Mainly due to the fact that I wrote almost 5K last Sunday.  The rest of the week was kinda hit or miss.  But as of yesterday, I wrote for 22 days straight.  (I'm counting the day I wrote 364 words - because hey, I did write.)  This puts me at 43455 for the month and 6545 words from 'winning' NaNo.  Or 16545 away from reaching my own goal of 2K a day on average for 30 days.  I can do this.  It won't be pretty, but it'll be accomplished.  I can have this book done by mid-December.  I might be a puddle of stupid afterwards, but I can recover from that. 

In all honesty, I think I might already be a puddle of stupid.  I can't remember what I did this past week - other than writing - without looking back at previous posts here and on FB. 

We went shopping for some much needed clothing items.  Hubs and I moved a mountain of leaves down the hill.  I read a book.  (Reborn in Fire by Kasey Mackenzie - wicked awesome.)  I medicated Max and got some new battle scars from him. 

I don't think I mentioned that the Kid got a job this past week - which is an accomplishment in Michigan these days. 

Yesterday, I made no-bake cookies.  (The brownies lasted exactly 4 days - one pan cut into 8 pieces divided by two people, doncha know.)  I used evaporated milk instead of regular milk because I had an open can I needed to use before it went bad.  They taste pretty good, but man was I afraid they wouldn't set and I'd end up with a pan worth of ice cream topping.  But they set.  Whew.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of a puddle of stupid.  LOL

How'd your week go?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hodge Podge

I'm trying out a new system where I post here on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and over at B.E.'s Writerly Space on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  With Saturdays off.  Sure enough, I almost forgot today here.  (Which isn't surprising since I totally have no idea what day it is most days anyway.)

For some reason, despite the freakin' cold, I have a bunch of itty-bitty baby crickets in my house.  On the upside, they're keeping Kira amused.  She's under my legs as I type this trying to figure out where her latest toy went.  (If they don't move, she loses them in the carpet pattern.)

Hubs and I were talking yesterday about what either of us might want for Christmas, and he started listing all the clothing items he needs.  I was all like 'that's stuff we can get any time we want - we don't need to wait for Christmas'.  So yesterday we hopped in the car and did an impromptu shopping trip.  We still don't know what to get each other for the holiday, but hey, we have new socks and junk.

BTW, every day is special.  Don't wait for the BIG days to do nice stuff for the people you love.  K?

Another thing we did yesterday was buy all the stuff for Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, the fixin's for pumpkin cheesecake.  (Crap, I forgot the whipped cream.)  It's just the two of us, so we don't really need all that much, but hey, leftovers are awesome, so we go for it.  As always, Hubs is the TGD cook.  I stay the hell out of the kitchen and he presents me with awesome eats.

I don't know if y'all know this, but I'm a big fan of Jeopardy!  Have been for years.  This week is the Tournament of Champions - and they're down to the last three.  I'm rooting for the tall guy.  I used to root for Arthur Chu - when he was on the first time - but then I followed him on Facebook and found out he's a twerp in real life.  I hate when I find out someone I like on TV is a twerp or a jerk or an ass.  Totally ruins them for me.  (Don't get me started on Brett Favre.)

Any hodge podge things going on with you right now? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Legend of Suicide Squirrel

Once upon a time, when I was in outside sales in Michigan, I had an appointment in a little town out in the middle of nowhere.  I'd never been there before so I looked at a map and took what I thought would be the most direct route.  And it really did take me through some pretty country.  Pretty, but lonely - which I am totally cool with.

Anyway, there I am, driving down this straight highway with no one else around when I see ahead in the distance at the top of a small rise, a squirrel sitting on his hind legs staring across the road.  I remember thinking that at some point as I got closer, he would run across the highway or run back into the ditch.  He didn't.  He just kept sitting there, looking east in the perfect squirrel pose. 

When I approached the point where he couldn't run across the highway without getting flat, I still figured he'd save himself. 

As my front tires passed him, and I could no longer see him, I assumed he'd skittered off.  I mean, squirrels have a healthy sense of self-preservation... Or so I thought.

Until then my back passenger tire made a soft thud.

In the rearview, I saw him laying on the side of the road - not moving.  Mr. Squirrel had indeed committed suicide by car.

I can only assume he decided enough was enough.  He'd had it with a life of gathering nuts and hiding them only to discover he could never find them again.  He'd reached a point where he couldn't stand one more day of endless running around, eating acorns, and chasing other squirrels.  As he stood there beside the road, I wonder if he was thinking 'the very next car that comes by, I'm ending it', and I just happened to be the next car. 

I felt really really bad about hitting that squirrel that day.  Since then, I've come to terms with it.  In the end, there really wasn't anything I could do.  I couldn't swerve because he wasn't in the road until the middle of my car.  There was no way to anticipate he would do that.  One cannot discern the mindset of a normal squirrel on any given day, let alone a suicidal squirrel on a gray Monday morning. 

Fear not, Suicide Squirrel.  You will live on in my memory.  Enjoy your eternity in the big oak tree in the sky.

I just wish you hadn't been such a little asshole and picked my car to run under.  Seriously, I felt really bad about it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 46

It was a busy week here at Sandersonville.  And I still don't feel like I got anything done.

Only rewrote 11303 words this week.  Call it the mid-NaNo slump.  Call it the blahs.  I'm still ahead of the curve for reaching 50K this month, but I'm a little behind the curve of my personal goal of 60K this month - or a 2K a day average.  But I have written at least some words every day for 15 days straight, so I'm not complaining.  (Not too much.)

I finished reading 4 more books this past week and as of last night, I'm caught up with the goal of 100 this year. 

In other writerly news, the kick off of my revamped business blog - B.E.'s Writerly Space - went kinda okay.  I'd still like to see some new followers enjoy the fun, though, so the contest is still open and ready for you to follow along (and get entries).  Tell ya what, bring a friend and I'll give you an extra entry - just have them email me after they follow and tell me that you sent them, and I'll give you both an extra entry.  Just cuz.

In life news, we raked leaves.  Oh, they're still out there in a big long pile stretching thru the middle third of my yard, but they're on their way into the woods.  If it hadn't been sleeting, we probably could've gotten more done yesterday.  But it was, and sleet stings, so we stopped for the day.  We'll resume Monday or something after the snow they're predicting for today melts.

Also this week, we had a minor veterinary thing.  Max started developing an abscess under his chin, so off he went to the vet for a day, where they fixed his booboo, gave him steroids, and gave me a bottle of oral antibiotics to administer to Mr. Max for 7 days.  Max is cool with it - except when he tries to push me away with his claws.  Only one small scratch so far, so I'm chalking this in the win column so far.

Other than that, it's freakin' cold in SW MO, but probably less so than a lot of you have to deal with, so I'll save my whining for my southern friends.  (You know who you are.)  ;o)

How are things in your world lately?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

About Me

I've been playing around with the layout of B.E.'s Writerly Space this morning, and trying something new - PAGES!  They're all static, but they'll have information some day that will point you in the direction you want to go.  Right now, the only one that's not 'under construction' is the About Me page. 

Go take a look and let me know what you think.

And don't forget to follow the blog over there for a chance to win a scrumptious kringle. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 45

The last week was a total blur, but I managed to piece it back together a little.

I've been writing my brains out.  I typed 14538 words over each of the days. 

I hired an editor and a cover artist.

Somewhere in there, I did some more research work on the world of self-publishing.

I read three books.  (Because hey, if I can't work and still find time to read, what the heck am I doing? Ya know?)

I went grocery shopping.

Took Max for a walk nearly every day - except when it was raining.  He hates that.  He also hates walking on leaves, so the walks have been short. 

I spent some time talking to my financial backer (aka Hubs) about cover artists and editing. 

Hubs and I took a drive up a couple roads we'd never been down before.  One of them was supposed to - according to Google - connect with the other which would bring us to the water.  That first road ended up being a one lane that sort of ended at what might have been a trail through the woods.  When we backtracked and went down the second road from the other direction, we found where the two roads shoulda oughta joined up if Google had been right.  :shrug:  It was fun and the car didn't die, so it's all good.

Oh, and if you didn't read Friday's post, I'm resurrecting the old 'Pound of BS' blog into something more professional where I can share publishing news, stories about murder and mayhem, and anything related to the book I'll be putting out in 2015.  If you don't follow it already, you get extra brownie points in the contest I designed to go live on Monday if you're a follower before the contest actually goes live.  (Same for here.) 

I'm really excited and I hope you are, too.

Anyway, what's up in your world?

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Winds of Change Are Blowing

Hey all,

I just posted to my long-ignored other blog... which I have renamed in order to make it more professional.  (Okay, so B.E. Sanderson ain't sexy, but it works for now.)

Go over there for a sec and check out the post.  You'll be glad you did.

The Winds of Change are Blowing

Tell me what ya think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I was in a mood yesterday.  Not a bad mood.  More of a piss and vinegar mood.  Joking around on FB, making up funny songs, whistling as I walked through the house.  Something was going on and I wasn't quite sure what, but I wasn't going to question it.  I mean, I was feeling pretty happy but I'm generally a happy person these days, so I didn't think it was just that.

Then last night it occurred to me.  I felt like a rock I didn't know I had on my back had slipped off somewhere along the way.  Ker-thunk.  And I felt light.  Like I could fly.  All because I finally said 'enough'.

Enough of finely honing queries until my heart and my brain bleed.

Enough of sending submission materials out into a world of people I don't understand.

Enough of waiting for someone else to decide my fate.

Ten years.  I was carrying that weight for ten years.  It's like on Biggest Loser when it's far enough along in the season that the contestants have lost a lot of weight, and then they make them carry the equivalent amount up a big hill.  You don't know how much that shit weighs you down until it's gone.

I told this revelation to Hubs, and he came over to hug me.  He actually apologized because he never knew how much this was weighing on me.  I hugged him back and told him it was okay because I didn't know the weight was there either.  Only now that it's gone do I recognize exactly how heavy it was.

Oh, I realize there's a whole other set of obstacles out there.  But now they're in my control.  "Is this ready to publish, Ms. Sanderson?" "Well, yes, it is, Ms. Sanderson."  "Do you like this cover art?" "Yes.  Yes, I do."  "And the editing?" "It's coming along nicely, thank you very much."

:twirls a little:

Even reader reviews are somewhat in my hands - because the reviews are reflective of my skills.  If I get bad reviews, I can work harder to write better and affect a change.  Sure, there will always be those people who give a bad review based on nothing, but I can ignore them (and hopefully my readers will ignore those, too.)

I can understand readers. I've been a reader since as early as I can remember. Real readers who are in it for the story and aren't worried whether they can cover a print run or how many books they'll have to pulp if this doesn't sell or if they'll make enough commission to feed their kids.  Readers are my tribe, man.  And since I know I don't like everything I've ever read, I can roll with that.  Takes all kinds to make a tribe.  I just want my books to be available so the people who might like what I write have a real chance to read it.

OMG, it feels so good to think I never have to crawl to some industry person again and beg them to please please please read my 10 pages.

Hubs keeps saying - when I least expect it, like when we were dropping off to sleep last night - "You're going to publish a book."  And every time, I smile.

It's really a very freeing experience.  And for now, anyway, I feel weightless.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Talking about NaNo

Since it's NaNo, I thought about resurrecting my pitfall posts, but I'm kinda past that.  If you're interested, go over to my frozen-in-place blog The Unpublished Writers' Guide to Survival - they're all there in links on the left hand side. 

This will be my unofficial 6th or so year doing NaNo.  It's unofficial because I spent time over here doing it on my own before I actually joined the site, and I've also done the 50K in 30 days thing during other months when my November has been busy.

What I've learned is that NaNo isn't for everyone.  I get that.  Sustained sprint writing takes a certain kind of masochistic mindset.  I put down just over 3K on the first night, and my hands were cramping so bad at the end there I wanted an Aspercreme bath afterwards.  But the book is worth it. 

Additionally, if you haven't been following The Writing Spectacle in the past years, I've got a severe case of NaNo brain.  (It's like pregnant brain without the cravings.)  All my creative juices are being diverted to this book, so I'm kinda lame elsewhere.  This too shall pass.

I've also learned that you can participate even if you don't have new words to put down.  This year, I'm rewriting the beginning of a novel so I can finish writing it.  Which means right now, I'm throwing down the words like I'm feeding chickens.  (You know, if words were chicken feed.)  When I reach the end of the words I already have, I expect I'll slow down a bit. Especially if I haven't figured out the last half of this book before I get there.  That'll totally suck.

Anyway, if you're in this, you have my empathy.  If not, I need your understanding for the next month or so.  I might not be here.  I might be here but not HERE, if you catch my drift.  And some of the things that come out of my fingers might be totally off the wall.  (Okay, maybe that last part isn't so unusual.)

Thanks for your support.  Have an awesome day.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 44

Hi All!

Here's what I did last week:

I finished reading through my NaNo project and making notes of things that need to be addressed on the re-write...

Wait, back the train up a bit...  I decided not to write the shiny new book during NaNo, and instead work on re-writing a suspense novel I never finished.  So, to that end, I sent what I already had to my Kindle, read through it, made notes of what needs to be addressed, and got ready to write by opening a new file.

The reasoning for this change... and I've been hesitating to mention any this, but for the life of me can't figure out why... is that I'm planning on leaping into self-publishing early next year.  And the book I'm working on for NaNo would dovetail nicely as the second or third book to launch (depending on time and finances).

To that end, another thing I did last week was read Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran.  It all about how to self publish and why you should.  And it made me want to kick myself for being such a sissy-pants and not doing this sooner.

Also to that end, I'm in the process of contacting editors and pricing stuff out and junk.

I've also been playing with covers to see if I can do it myself or if I need to pay someone else.  But I won't share any of that until I know what I'm going to launch first and how it'll all play out.

Lord knows I have enough books written to launch one every month of 2015 and still have a couple left over for 2016 without ever putting down new words.  (Not counting the one I'll be working on this month.)  They just all need to be edited and polished and made pretty so people will actually want to read them, and then after they read them, they'll want to buy the next, etc.  That's what happens when you write for 10 years without being published - especially if you adhere to the philosophy of 'write the next book' while submitting.  You end up with a LOT of material.  But I've heard one of the keys to being successful at self-publishing is to give your readers plenty to buy, so I guess I'm golden with that.

In non-writerly news, I cleaned out the iris bed to make it ready for winter, and then forgot to cover the bed with fresh leaves for the coming freeze.  It got down to 22 last night, so keep your fingers crossed my plants survived.

I broke my bird feeder a couple days ago.  Not bad enough that it won't hold seed anymore, but it's life is just about over, so I ordered a new one.  It's not exactly what I wanted, but it'll do.  At least the bird will be happy with it.  And that's all that really matters.

In readerly news, I'm only 3 books behind on my goals now.  That's because I read three books last week.  I'll probably slip further behind as November progresses, but I can't worry about that now.  I have work to do.

So, how are things in your world?

Friday, October 31, 2014


There's a little song my sisters used to sing to me that probably typifies my feelings toward Halloween this year...

"Every party needs a pooper, that's why we invited you.  Party Pooper."

I'm not really in the Halloween spirit this year.  Candy?  Eh.  Great Pumpkin?  Meh.  Scary movies?  Bleh.

Okay, so that last one is a typical me thing.  I don't do scary movies unless I can make fun of them or there's some kind of nostalgia involved. Or both... "Oh look!  The Exorcist is on!  Let's wait for her head to spin around!"

Maybe I'm getting old.  Maybe it's that I don't have a kid around to make the holiday special for anymore.  Maybe it's that there are no kids around here and so buying candy means eating it all myself and I sure as hell don't need that.  (The brownies I made yesterday notwithstanding, I don't need the sugar.)

Kids always do make the holidays more special...

What do you think?  What are you doing for Halloween this year? 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cake Mix Brownies

If you loved the recipe for cake mix cookies, you'll appreciate this...

Cake Mix Brownies

1 box chocolate cake mix*
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (like with nut ice cream topping)
1/2 bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Mix first four ingredients together until just blended.  Spread batter evenly in 9x13" pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set. 

They did come out a little crumbly, but they taste perfect.  I can't wait to try them with ice cream later.

*I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix, but I assume any chocolate cake mix would work.  Use what you like best.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Update: Week 43

Hullo, All!

Welcome to Week 43! 

I know, I'm way to exclamation pointy for first thing in the morning, but hey, I wrote this last night, so forgive me.

What happened this past week?  Well, I finally finished the edit notes for Unequal.  I'll be inputting those during November while I... umm... I'm not exactly sure if I'll be doing NaNo after all.  I do have an awful lot of work to do on other manuscripts for me to take a whole month off to write a totally new story.  Hell, I never finished last year's NaNo novel (even if I did get past 50K, so I technically won).  I also have that mystery series I could be finishing, and several other books in varying states of disrepair.

Speaking of novels in disrepair, I edited the first chapter of Wrongful Termination yesterday.  It's tighter, it's cleaner, and I've given more personality to a secondary character who was coming off too much like a current famous personality.  Now Pat's a transplanted Yooper with a nice new last name to fit right in with the Yoopers I knew and loved.

Let's see, what else did I do... I went to the thrift store and found some more art.  One is a lovely print of a mama bluebird and her nest of babies inside an old mailbox.  Very quaint and happy.  Another is a painting of what looks like a stream below the Grand Tetons.  I need to frame it, but I have the frame.  All I need is the hardware.

I also got a couple golf clubs from the thrift store.  6-irons for 75 cents each.  Then Hubs and I went out on the lawn and whacked walnuts into the woods for about an hour.  Man, was I sore afterwards, but we had so much fun.  Even the neighbor across the street shouted that we were having too much fun, so you know it had to sound that way.  Laughing and shouting FORE!  Hubs used to golf, so he was actually hitting the nuts into the woods.  I was missing the nut half the time and when I connected, most of them only went a few feet.  I felt like the old couple on Caddyshack.  "That's a doozy, hon."

Other than that, not much going on here.  What's up in your world?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Scatterbrained Slacker

Ugh, I'm such a slacker.  Or maybe it's just that time seems to be flying by these days.  One day it's Sunday and the next thing I know, it's Friday and I'm wondering where the days in between went.

And I'm scatterbrained.  It's like short-attention-span theater has taken over.

For instance...

I can't type right since I cut my nails.  I had long nails (I can't help it if they grow at twice the rate here as they did in CO) but I wanted to have them at a manageable length for NaNo.  So I cut them short, and now I can't type.  Seems I'd been typing for so long with the claws that it's taking time to get used to typing without them.

I'm debating whether to hit the thrift store today.  I don't need anything.  I just feel the urge to find something old and make it mine. 

Which reminds me... I was watching Rehab Addict last night and she always stages the rooms she renovates with old stuff.  Last night, she used an old typewriter as an accent piece in the refurbished library of a stately old home.  My first thought - my old typewriter is better.  My second thought - she really should've done something to make it look nicer (because several of the keys were stuck down and it looked shoddy compared to the rest of her nice design work.)  I'm not usually that critical of her, but hey, it was a typewriter.

Living in the country has its advantages.  This week, a book I'd ordered never arrived but Amazon was telling me it had been delivered.  So I called the local USPS where our mail comes out of (not my town's post office because they don't actually deliver mail from there) and they hunted down the substitute mailman who was on our route, then talked to the regular guy who was back from vacay.  Logn story short, the sub guy found my book, got it from where he misdelivered it and then hand carried it to my doorstep.  Try to get that kind of service in the big city. 

I really need to tidy up my piles of paper and get that stack filed.  (Of course, I said that a while back and it still hasn't been done.)

What's on your short-attention-span theater line up today?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 42

10 weeks left in 2014.  OMG, I have so much to do.  In addition, just 2 weeks left until NaNo. 

:panics a little:

This past week, I didn't do much of anything - which is mostly the reason for the mini-panic. 

My edit notes for WT are still sitting right beside me (under the ashtray right now) untouched.  I need to jump on those today if I want to have them done by Halloween night.

I only made a little progress in researching stuff for my NaNo novel.  OMG, I don't remember leMorte d'Arthur being this damn dull.

I did make progress on my next set of edit notes for a dystopian I wrote years ago.  But I could be farther along.

The only place I really made progress was my reading goals.  I read 4 books in the past week.  And they were all awesome.  Always a good thing. 

In other news, I took a walk around the yard yesterday snapping pictures of things I thought were pretty.  Like this:

And this:
And this:

I can't wait for the fall colors to really pop here so I can take more shots.  Nothing like a walk with the camera for relaxation.  Even if sometimes, the shot doesn't turn out the way I want and you can hear me swearing under my breath.  ;o)

So, did you do anything this week?  How's your panic meter for the last 10 weeks of 2014?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

To Memories Past

Yesterday, I was screwing around on FB and saw a link to some page or other having to do with my old alma mater, which led me to a page that was designed to pay tributes to schoolmates that had passed on.  So, I skipped over there and scrolled down through the posts, wondering if I'd see anyone I knew.

And I saw too many names I knew.

I already knew about the twin who committed suicide in his brother's garage, and the girl who got hit crossing a busy highway when she stopped on the yellow line.

Seeing old teachers' and staff names seemed natural enough.  After all, it's been 26 years and most of them weren't spring chickens even then.

The art teacher who called me by my sister's name and got irritated when I didn't answer her.  We finally managed a truce my fourth year in her class. 

The chem teacher I had for advanced biology.  The English teacher.  The lunch lady.  The bus driver.  The middle school principle.

Others were a shock.

There was our class president who became a surgeon.  I kissed him a couple times, but it was for the class play where we played a married couple, so it doesn't count.  He died at 39, leaving behind his model-pretty wife and their three kids.

There was the guy who was one of the trio me and my friends chased around the playground in 3rd grade playing 'catch 'em and kiss 'em.'  I always remember him as being extremely nice.

There was the gal I saw at our 10 year class reunion - the one who had a baby our junior year.  She was a nurse.

And the gal I knew from working on the Arabian horse farm.  Her family raised and trained pintos.

The smartass.

The one guy whose parents owned the local pig farm is gone.  Nice guy.  Very shy.  And because he never seemed to be able to get the smell of the farm out of his clothes, very lonely.

The guy I went to kindergarten with who missed a grade, so he graduated the following year.  I remember more about him from elementary than the other years.  He'll always be young and skinny and kind of a pain.

None of them were close friends, but still...  I dread the day when I hear one of my close friends has gone - even though we lost touch a really long time ago. 

I guess it's not as many as I thought last night.  It was just a blow, because I don't think of any of us as being old enough to die.  And yet, they almost could've added my name to that list.  Accidents happen. 

To those fallen classmates from another life, I'd just like to say: "Bye, guys.  Thanks for the memories - the good ones, the happy ones, the not-so-nice ones.  Those memories all contributed at some point to who I ended up being."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Cat's Garage

Lest you find yourself horrified at the thought that precious Max lives in the garage, and that I am a terrible human being for thrusting his special needs-ness into the filthy wasteland, let me tell you about Max's home.

First off, it's a two car, attached garage.  And we don't put the car in it, except for cases of extreme weather. So no worries about mud, oil, gunk, or what have you touching his furry paws.

The garage floor has that special sealant paint which makes it extremely easy to clean.

In the garage, Max has a special chair with a pillow and a blanket.  He also has a pillow on the work bench.  And he still has the house I made for him when he was an outdoor cat in Colorado.  It's just inside now, in the farthest corner from the windows and the doors, so if it gets cold, he has his own igloo.  On top of the house, he has a comforter he likes to sleep on sometimes, too.

We've equipped the garage with an air conditioner and a space heater - so he'll never get too hot or too cold.  Hubs also went to the trouble of adding insulation to the ceiling and the walls - which helps Max AND saves us a ton on electric bills.  (You do not want to know what it costs to use a space heater to keep an uninsulated garage warm in the icy cold winter.) 

He has his own litter box that Hubs diligently cleans every day.  He has rugs laying all over for him to lay on, scratch, etc.  Also, there's an area rug under his food and water dishes, so he doesn't have to stand on the cold floor while he eats. 

We go out there several times a day to feed him, play with him, pet him, and brush him.  So, even though he's not in the house proper, he gets plenty of attention.  Plus, he gets walked once a day when the weather isn't totally crappy. 

Additionally, he has a kitty condo he likes to scratch and sit on, plenty of toys, and every once in a while, live prey.  (He killed a mouse this morning.)

So, Max - who spent however many years on the street, starving and being abused - is living the high life.  And now that he's not drooling as much, he gets to spend more time in the house itself.  (Much to Queen Kira's dismay.)

What outrageous things do you do for your pets?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 41

Man, this week flew by and looking back, I don't feel like I have a whole lot to show for it.  Then I looked to my right and saw the notebook with my edit notes for Wrongful Termination sitting there all shiny and bleeding red. 

So, yeah, I finished the edit notes for WT and they're ready to input. 

I also finished the proofing stage of WIOH, and have begun working on the submission materials for that.  (Yes, I went through and got rid of a lot of the ellipsis... ellipses? Okay, so I'm a closet ellipsis junkie. So shoot me.)

I took Friday off as a reading day to begin catching up.  According to Goodreads, I was 9 books behind.  Now after reading 3 books, I'm only 7 behind.  (Go figger.)  Then I got sick of reading other people's books and started re-reading a dystopian I never finished editing - and making edit notes on that sucker.  Later in the day yesterday, I saw something on FB about Mickey Spillane's military career, which led to talking about Spillane with hubs, which led to me grabbing a Mickey Spillane I hadn't read yet off my bookshelves.  I'm halfway through that as of last night.

Yesterday I had planned to finish getting those submission materials ready so I can submit tomorrow, but I procrastinated.  What is it about submission materials that makes me want to drag my feet and find something else to do??  Ugh.  I mean, they're already done.  I just have to tweak them to make them fit a particular set of guidelines.  But it's like eating Brussels sprouts.  I know they're good for but damned if I can make myself sit down to eat them.  Well, if I want my manuscripts to grow up to be pushed novels, I damn well better sit my ass down and eat my veggies on this.  So, that's what I'll be doing today.  Damn it. 

In the garden, all my mums are finally blooming.  Huge bushes of hundreds of purple, maroon, and white blooms.  And one light purple that used to be white.  (Sometimes mums do that, I guess.)  I'll get pictures once it stops raining.

In pet news, Max is nearly back to his old self again - minus the angry red gums.  Unfortunately, he's also minus eating a whole lot in one sitting so I'm feeding him like every couple hours, and of course, he doesn't want to eat food that was opened a couple hours before (even if I refrigerate and reheat it), so we're going through a lot of cans and throwing out a lot of leftovers.  I told him cats in China are starving, but he doesn't care anymore than I cared about starving kids in Asia when I didn't want to eat liver.  His reaction resembles a cat pantomime of 'they're starving, send them this crap'.

Also, whatever stomach bug Hubs got is over, too.  We're back to almost totally normal here again.  (Well, as normal as we ever were.) 

So, how are things in your world? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Clawing My Way Outside the Box

Once upon a time, there was a wicked witch who liked to use the phrase 'think outside the box' like a barbed whip on anyone who didn't think the way she thought.  The way she used it was an attempt to make you feel ashamed of being so gauche in her eyes that you would capitulate. It usually worked for her, too, until she turned it on my husband and he blew her off.  I wish I'd been there to see it.  I fully imagine her disintegrating, screaming "What a world, what a world..."

As such, the phrase has become more a joke in our house than a useful reminder.  After all, I think we're both old hands at thinking outside the boxes society has tried to pack us into. 

Not that there haven't been times when I snuggled down within the comforting confines of a box.  Most of the time, I was unaware I even had a cube of corrugated paper around me.

Take my road to publication.  I walked into it with the idea that I would... I don't know... take the world by storm?  :shrug:  I read everything I could to make sure I did it right - and everything I read told me I'd better make sure I did it right, or else.  OR ELSE.  So, I sat myself right down and began constructing the box around me.

They made it seem like I would never succeed without the box.  Well, I don't know if my box is flawed or I didn't build it right or they wanted it pink instead of cardboard brown... But the box hasn't worked for me.  This box that I never really wanted but that now I'm afraid to claw my way out of.

But fear or not, I'm trying to shred the box.  The way Hubs tore up every box we had after we moved here because we are never moving again. Rip 'em up, throw 'em out. 

An unfortunate side effect of this effort to shred the box is it makes me a little irritated with the box keepers and the box builders.  Some days I just want to poke them in the eyes.  Them with their little rules about this and their cautions about that, and their 'the box-building rules don't apply to me because my box is different from your box'.  Bleh.

Don't get me wrong.  I know there are certain rules in place for a reason.  Grammar rules, for instance.  (Although, those are made to be broken sometimes as well.)  Social rules - like where it's generally frowned upon to piss in someone else's metaphorical swimming pool.  Laws.  Those things are in place to keep us from infringing on other people.  I get that.  I'm a happy law-follower there.  (Okay, I occasionally go five over the speed limit, but that's the extent of my lawlessness.)

The point is, I can follow those without being trapped in a box. Also, submission guidelines are rules you have to follow if you want to have a part in the game.  Well, I've followed those for years and it's gotten me nowhere, but I'll still follow them. 

And fuck, there I am, rebuilding my box...

Years of living inside a box makes it so much easier to rebuild than to tear apart.  Pretty pretty cardboard and shiny shiny tape. 

Sorry for the rambling... Still, all of this brings to mind a story my Hubs likes to tell.  Something about a rat in a rice paper maze.  Running and running looking for a way out, never realizing that all he has to do to be free is to break down the flimsy walls around him. 

All this is - all this ever was - is a rice paper box.  Time to break free.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 40

Good Morning!  It's Week 40 of 2014, which means there are only 12 weeks left before a whole new year. Since I didn't do much last week, let me start out by saying what I hope to do in the next 12.

First off, I'm planning on doing NaNoWriMo.  (50K words in 31 days.)  I have a new story idea that's been percolating in my head for a couple months now, and I'm anxious to get started.  It's an urban fantasy with an Arthurian angle.  To that end, I've been trying to give myself a refresher course on all the major players in the old story, so I can stay true to certain aspects.  But hey, it's urban fantasy, so obviously, I'm not even going to be close to most of the aspects.  We'll see how it works out.

Second, I've been busting my bootie to get manuscripts whipped into shape for publication.  Dying Embers is back out into the world.  Djinnocide is this close to being ready to go.  And I'm in the early stages of getting Wrongful Termination into shape.  To that end, I also plan on picking one of my dystopian stories to get ready by the end of the year.

On the home front, the weather is getting cooler - which means the ticks and the snakes are going dormant for the year, which means I can go back into the woods again.  I already know I have clean-up work to do on the trails.  And a huge branch feel onto a smaller tree right off the yard, so that has to be taken care of so it doesn't stunt the new growth of the little tree.  (It's not broken - just bent.)  I also have to separate my irises and find a new bed for the ones I need to move.  Then, of course, the leaves are starting to fall, so there'll be loads of raking to do.

Now, onto the stuff I accomplished this week.

Like I said, Dying Embers has been sent out.  I got the auto-reply that it's been received, so that's all I can do about that for another 12 weeks or so (unless I hear back sooner).

I'm about 50% of the way through Wrongful Termination's note-taking.  Pages and pages of notes, but hey, this was kinda first drafty, so that's to be expected.  I still love this book and I'll love it even more once I make it pretty.

This past week also saw a lot of time being devoted to Maxie kitty.  He was feeling poorly due to an infection in his mouth.  And then he came home from the vet's and while he felt better, he also felt like being picky about his vittles.  It's been a trial trying to figure out what he'll eat and then fixing meals for him rather than just opening a can.  Last night, he had chicken, tilapia, rice and kitty formula mixed in a bowl.  Not his favorite meal, but he ate some and got those important nutrients.  This morning, he ate almost like a normal Max.  We'll see how that goes.

So, I've been kinda wrapped up in taking care of kitty, which leaves me too tired or too dragged out (between the worrying and the constant 'I want food' from Max) to really accomplish too much.  Except for last night when I was so frustrated, I sat down here and wrote a few pages in a totally different new story.  The beginning is edgy and gritty, so it fit my mood.  I'll revisit that much much later - like spring or summer of 2015.  It just felt good to write new words.  I can't wait for NaNo.

How have things been in your world this past week?  What plans have you got for the next 12? 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Exponential Horror

Ever read Stephen King's The Stand?  (Or watched the mini-series?  The book is way better.) 

It's about the world being wiped out by a superflu that escaped from a government research facility and the subsequent consequences therein (including a god versus satan thing for control of who's left - but that's the last third, and not pertinent for this post). 

Anyway, the beginning of the book (the uncut version, not the original first edition) details how one security guard at a military base transmits this escaped virus to the entire world.  When I first read this book back in the early nineties, I thought the idea was brilliant.

One security guard and his family squeak through the rapidly closing guard fence in their little car.  They make a break for it, headed east from... New Mexico, I think...  and wind up dying in a little town in east Texas where they infect a small group of friends who then infect the entire town.  But it goes further than that. As the original three escape what the guard knows will be a quarantine, they have to stop for gas.  And meals.  And rest. 

You see a little of this in the movie Outbreak.  One infected monkey bites the dock worker who smuggles him out of quarantine and the dock worker gives it to his girlfriend.  They both die horribly, and the virus stops there, but it doesn't because then the monkey gives a different strain of the virus to the pet store owner the dock worker tries to sell her to.  The pet store owner gets sick and goes to the hospital where a lab tech gets it from the guy's blood.  The lab tech goes to the movies and coughs all over everyone there - because by now it's airborne.  Those movie goers pass it along to their friends and families, and soon a whole town has it.

In The Stand, the guard, his wife and child give it to a few people everywhere they stop and those few people give it to more people who give it to more people.  One of them gets on an international flight out of the country and... Well, if I remember correctly this thing had like a 98% mortality rate, so you do the math.

Remember that commercial for shampoo back in the 80s?  One gal loves her shampoo so much, she tells a friend (and the screen splits showing two gals) and they both tell someone (screen splits to 4) and so on and so on until the screen is covered with small splits of people.  It's like that, only on an exponential scale. 

I saw a news report last night where a gentleman said every night a 747 full of people lands in JFK airport from Liberia.  A 747 carries just under 500 people.  Simple scenario (allowing for simple math calculations), 100 people carrying a virus infect 10 people each during their contagious stage.  Those 1000 people infect 10 people each. And so on and so on.  In those two more so ons, 1 million people are infected.  In a relatively short time.

In another news report, a gentleman from the CDC said closing the borders would not stop the danger to US citizens from the spread of Ebola.  Really?  Well, it might not, but it sure would go a long way toward retarding the progress.  One lone sick man walking across the border in the middle of nowhere versus 500 people dropping into NYC every night.  I'll take my chances with the one versus the 500. 

Except it's not me taking my chances.  It's a group of people more concerned with looking politically correct than with the health and welfare of the people they're supposed to protect.  They're taking their chances with my life.  And yours.  And our kids'.

I really hope Purell can kill Ebola virus on the shopping cart at Walmart.  But what about that can of corn you put in your basket that the gal whose boyfriend just got back from Liberia grabbed and then put back because she didn't want corn that day?  Or the bag of candy bars the kid sneezed on whose classmate's uncle slept with a woman who'd just gotten home from an infected nation? 

Kinda makes me glad I don't live in a populated area, but then again, who knows where anyone has been before they stopped at my favorite thrift store out on the highway?

As an aside, I'm guessing I'm not the only person out there who's concerned.  When I went to Google for research on this post, I typed in 'seating cap' and the first suggested autofill was 'seating capacity for a 747'.  Guess I wasn't the only one who saw that report last night.

Anyway, stay safe out there, my friends, and keep the Purell handy - just in case.

Addendum: I am not a germaphobe, I'm not hiding in my bunker with a thousand cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and I'm really not going around covering everything in Purell. I'm still at the point where I'll take my chances on the shopping carts and other things in public.  But to say I'm not concerned with the recent events and the seeming clusterfuck that is our government's attempt to protect our health and welfare would be lying.  Personally, I don't want to die because someone else fucked up. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I am not, by nature, a patient person.  I hate waiting - for anything.

This is the reason I don't like making hair appointments or doctor appointments or any other appointments really, ahead of time.  I call the doctor's office the day I need to go in.  If they don't have anything available for that day, I get 'first available'.  I generally do walk-in hair cuts and if I walk-in and they wait is more than 10 minutes, I go elsewhere.  Hate waiting.

Over the years, though, I have managed to secure a small measure of patience - or at least the ability to hide my impatience.  LOL

Yesterday was a test of my ability.  You see, Max has been sick.  Not that he's an altogether 100% healthy cat anyway - what with his recurring mouth infections - but over the weekend, he was bad.  He didn't want to eat or drink.  All he wanted was to be left alone.  (Another thing I hate doing.)  By Monday, I had to admit that I'd done all I could and I called a veterinarian.  They said bring him in but because they were already booked solid, he'd have to stay all day and they'd get to him when they could.

So, we dropped him off first thing and we came home to wait... and wait... and wait...  I finally decided to lay down for a nap because we hadn't slept the night before and I was freakin' tired.  Just as I was about to doze off, the phone rang.

Luckily, it was just a flare-up of his mouth infections and not his liver or kidneys going bad.  He'll be able to come home today, most likely.  I have to call over there in a while to see if we're still a go for that.  So I woke up this morning to more waiting.  And I really hate waiting.

Now, lest you think I'm all impatience personified, I have learned.  I send out queries and I wait, because that's what one does.  I don't bother people.  Hey, I didn't call the vet every hour for an update, even though I was worried and even though we had to discuss the possibility of letting Max go to the big litterbox in the sky.  I waited.  I just hated it while I was doing it.  Just like I hated the 6 month lead time period for that submission to that publisher.  And the Oct 2012 to Jan 2014 wait for an answer from that other place (even after they said they'd get us all an answer earlier... and then again... and then...).  But I did it. 

Of course, waiting is easier to manage if you have something to keep your mind off it.  Like this post.  When I started typing, I had 20 minutes left to wait, and now I can go make the call and see if Max can be picked up.


How do you feel about waiting?  Are you good at it?

Update:  I have to wait until after 11am now.  Arrghh!!