Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Update - Week Whatever

I refuse to post a positive update this week.  It's Saturday night and I'm in a crabby mood.

Let's see...

I slipped off the top step of the porch on Wednesday, and in an attempt to not faceplant in the driveway gravel, I pirouetted with the style and grace of a prima ballerina elephant, and landed on my left ass cheek creating sufficient force to turn my butt into an abstract art piece from some hack's blue period. I also wrenched my left arm, which makes sleeping and driving a whole lot of fun.  Lucky for me, it hasn't hampered my ability to write.  No, that's got it's own hampers, thank you very much.

The AC got fixed.  But the lawn mower lost a wheel.  On Wednesday.  While I was falling off the porch.  Hubs got it jerry-rigged back together because who wants to pay $50 a wheel for a freakin' mower?  Not my penny-pinching self, that's for sure.

So here I am, sitting off to one side because my ass hurts, and trying to hammer some words out when I can...  And I've been like really proud of all the work I've been putting in on Bloodflow, and I'm really liking where it's going... when I see an article about microchip implants for humans...  Which is the premise behind Bloodflow and having it out there for real kind of shits out the basis for my damn book that I've spent the past 2 months rewriting.  Which means now I have to either shitcan the book or rewrite it AGAIN. 

I can't do this again.

Right at this moment, I'm not sure I can keep doing any of this.

And yet, I forge on.  I dipped under 100K on that book I'm tweezing with 33 pages left to go, so it'll definitely be done by my self-prescribed date of 9/1.  Now I need to muster the will to send it off into the world again.  :headdesk:

I'm going back to playing in the family tree.  At least all those people are dead and can't piss me off.  (Really I'm mostly pissed at myself these days, but the dead relatives distract me.)

ETA: And just so ya know and don't get all concerned, I still wrote last night.  Cuz I kinda hafta finish this thing.  It's a moral imperative.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 34

Well, folks, it's that time again.  Let's look back at the week, shall we?

The writing slacked a bit this week.  No excuses.  Okay, maybe one or two, but still...  I only got 8335** words rewritten on Bloodflow this week.  In my defense, it's really coming together well.  And I had a couple spots where I rewrote... errr, retyped... the same damn thing without changing it and then had to go back and delete words because the scene just wasn't working.  Which is why I'm rewriting this instead of merely editing it - because I get lulled by my own words and don't do the work that needs doing to make it a better book.

**After this posted, I noticed an error in my word count data and I actually wrote 10250 last week.  Can't quite figure out how that happened.  Still, it's less than the week before and way less than I'm capable of, so instead of rewriting the above paragraph, I'm leaving it.

As for the polishing, I'm down to just over 102K, so only a couple thousand left to tweeze out before I can submit this thing where I want to.  And it's a better book for the tweezing.

I haven't really read anything this week.  And now the progress I made earlier in the year to get ahead of the goal on Goodreads has really come in handy, but is totally erased.  Next month, I'll pick up the slack.  And since a book I beta read has been published, I can add that to the goal - as soon as I can wrap my head around it enough to review it properly.

In other news, you might have heard me kvetching on FB about my AC problems.  The damn motherboard that controls the doohickey went kaput.  Good news, the HVAC guy bypassed the board for this weekend and he has a dude who will delivery a new board on Monday, which he will then install.  So we're cool again, baby.

Which reminds me, we're in a heat wave down here.  Send cool thoughts.  It was 99F on Saturday and promises to match that today.  

Nothing much else doin' here.  How are things in your world?  Anything good to report?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

All You're Ever Gonna Be Is Mean

Ever know someone who, in the guise of being helpful, is just downright mean?  Bet you do.  Well, there's this person who shall remain nameless (you can think the name, just don't say it here) who makes part of their job being mean to writers who are sincerely looking for help.  Although why they would come to this person is beyond me - they must not be reading the backlist of posts.

A few years ago, I was one of the followers.  I so wanted to have this person as an agent.  I figured as high-powered as they were, they'd be good for my career.  And I took their meanness as frankness - which I appreciate.  After numerous rejections, I still tried.  Then one day, I decided to friend them on Twitter - cuz, hey, that's what writer folk do. They didn't accept my friend request.  Not only that, they blocked me.  Which confused the hell out of me, because I am really not block-worthy.  Unless you're a certain kind of person who likes to spout rules but makes sure they apply to everyone except themselves.  Then I could be block-worthy*  :shrug:

So, I didn't bother bothering this person anymore.  I mean, it was clear that any query I sent them would be rejected anyway.  "Oh, it's that B.E. Sanderson person again.  Auto-reject."  Oh well.  We had a sufficiently large chasm between our general philosophies of life, we wouldn't have worked well together anyway.  And still, I followed their blog because every rare once in a while - amidst the frankness meanness - they would drop a kernel of something important. 

At some point there's a watershed moment.  That moment when you can run one way or you can run the other.  When the scales are overbalanced to such a degree that you have to notice the benefits are outmatched by the bullshit.  No matter how many tiny kernels of data they may hide amongst the crap, they will never be worth putting up with the digging.

And you realize that all they're ever gonna be is mean.  So screw them.  And pretty much screw the people who follow them, too, because the comment chain is more and more like a gathering of the International Association of Mean Teenaged Girls all the time.  What are we, folks, thirteen?  Let's all point and laugh in sync, shall we?

Oh, and in case you don't know where the post title comes from, watch this

*block-worthy should totally be a word.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cheap Decor Finds

Hey all.  I know I've already showed you my nifty typewriter and my awesome chairs - heck, they're right up there in the header for this blog.  This week, I got a really awesome painting for cheap and while I was taking a picture of it to send to a friend, I went around and took pics of my other art finds.  I thought today would be a good day to share those.

(And before you look, please understand that these are hung straight - it's the photographer who's a little tilted.)

This one is hanging in the office near Hubs' desk.  He loves labs.

This is over by the bookshelves.  I just loved the old world feel of this and the fact that it's a special print on a thin piece of metal.
Hubs and I found this at the antiques mall.  It's my first real painting (that I didn't do myself in art class.)  It's hanging where the kitchen transitions into the dining area.
Here's my latest score - another real painting.  We put this over the dining room table.
I found this next one as just a print in plastic in the thrift store bin.  Then I located a frame I liked in their frame bin, but that didn't have glass, so I bought a crappy frame with a good piece of glass.
I got this next one the other day.  It just makes me happy.
This next one I bought because the dog reminded me of my childhood pet.
Lastly in the photo array, but not the last stuff I have on the walls is one of the first pics I bought after we moved. 
All of the above for under $100 total.  Score!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the art tour of our house.  There are still a few boring spots on the walls, but I'll fill those as I find things that make me happy.  (And I have my eye on this gorgeous old print and frame of a train stop and people in Victorian garb. I just won't buy it until I can envision where it'll go.)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Fat Boy

Here's the pics of Fat Boy I promised on Sunday:

If his head was bigger, he'd be mistaken for a calf.

Now here he is with his mom, who we've named Scarlet:
Please note how Fat Boy isn't really that much smaller than his mom. 

And here he is taking a snooze in the yard:
Of course, we really have no idea if this is a male of female fawn, but Hubs read somewhere that the boy fawns are generally larger than the females, and he's been the largest since we first started seeing him. 

In other deer news, we learned he isn't the only fawn left on Walton's Mountain. Turns out we've started a trend and several other homes are now feeding deer, so they're hanging out at those houses instead of ours.  The twins we thought we lost are actually over there.  Yay!  I still miss the big herd around the yard, but at least they're okay.

Oh, and in case you missed it on my FB feed, the bucks came back the other morning:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 33

Hi ho.  It's Saturday night for me and Sunday morning for you, but I don't plan on doing any more work this week, so this is as up to date as I can get.

With regard to writing, I typed out 13567 words this past week.  I'm looking ahead a month and don't know whether I can get the rest of this done by mid-September.  Well, I might have the words all typed, but I'll still need to go back and polish it before I let anyone see it, so I won't totally be breaking my promise.  This just took way longer than I thought it would.  But it is so much better than it was before already, so that's a win.  =o)

In polishing news, I'm down to just under 104K and halfway through the book in the line-by-line tightening.  I wish I was farther along, but I slacked off on that part.

I'm also not making any progress in the research category.  No offense to them what love Mallory, but he's long-winded and I haven't the patience for him in my more advanced years.  The last time I read Le Morte d'Arthur I was in my teens.  Young with my scads of time.  (Probably skipped doing homework to read the book - cuz that was how I rolled, baby.)

I did work on the driveway drainage thing a bit this week.  We got like 2.3 inches of rain one afternoon, and it showed me exactly where the flaws were so I could correct them.  (It was like a freakin' river out there.)  I think I've got it mostly corrected, but I won't know for sure until the next big rain.  And who knows when that'll be.  :shrug:  Even if it is fixed, I still have cosmetic work to do - because right now, it's functional, but ugly as hell.  LOL

As I said Friday, I've also written several blog posts that will never see the light of day.  Long and ranty.  That's not the positivity I've been going for - either here or in my real life - so screw it.  Still, writing those posts helps get the poison out of my head so I can face the day without wanting to hide under my bed from all the crap going on in the world.

And just as an update, Fat Boy the fawn is doing well.  He kinda freaked me out the other day because he was sleeping in the side yard - and the last time a fawn slept in our yard, she died.  But he was just napping.  His mom showed up after a little while, and he got up to go eat with her, then they left together.  Since then, he curled up in almost the same spot after he finished eating while he waited for her to finish, then they left together again.  It's all very cute and Disney-like (minus the hunter part where Bambi's mom dies.)  I'll post pictures of him another day.  =o)

How were things in your world last week?

Friday, August 15, 2014


Since the only posts I seem capable of writing this week are long and ranty (and unpublishable - hence the radio silence since Tuesday), here's a light and fun photo for you:

It's a female ruby-throated hummingbird visiting the feeder on my front porch. 

Have an awesome day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eating on the Cheap - Cowboy Dinner

Okay, in keeping with my post yesterday, I thought I'd post a recipe or two this week to help the budgetarily deficit.  So here's a recipe I came up with that we had for dinner the other night (and many other nights).  I call it Cowboy Dinner.

Cowboy Dinner

1 large can baked beans
1 small can baked beans
4 bun-sized smoked sausage
1/2 large onion
2 strips bacon
ketchup (optional)
BBQ sauce (optional)

Slice bacon strips into approx. 1" pieces.  Begin browning bacon.  Slice smoked sausage into about 1/2" thick slices.  Add sausage to pan with bacon.  Chop onion into about 3/4" pieces.  Once sausage and bacon are browned (but not crisp), dump them into a crock pot.  Put onion pieces into pan to brown.  Open cans of baked beans and dump those into the crock pot.  Stir together.  Take onion (not too browned or only just beginning to get clear is fine) and add that to the pot.  Stir until well combined.  Add in about one good squirt of ketchup (about 1Tbsp) and two dollops of BBQ sauce (about 2 Tbsp).  Stir.  Turn crock pot on high and let sit for 3-4 hours - stirring occasionally.  Add salt or pepper to taste if you choose.  Spoon into bowls and serve. 

With this recipe, you can obviously add more of anything or less of anything depending on your budget and the number of people you have to feed.  If you can't afford bacon, leave it out or use whatever REAL bacon bits you can find (Walmart's version of them is inexpensive and good.)  If you can't afford BBQ sauce, add in some chili powder and some brown sugar.  Don't have brown sugar, try maple syrup - but go easy on those or it'll be too sweet. 

As for the smoked sausage, I used BAR-S because I bought a bulk pack of 12 of those puppies and they weren't awesome on a bun, so I came up with this recipe to make them not suck.  And you could probably use pork-n-beans if you can afford those more easily than baked beans.  Work with it and work with your budget until you hit on a combination you enjoy and that you can afford. 

If you don't have a crock pot, use the biggest pot you have and cook it on low until it bubbles.  Everything in it is already cooked, so use your best judgment.  The extra cooking just helps meld the flavors better.

This fed both of us with enough leftovers for two lunches or another dinner (so 2-4 more bowls).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grocery Shopping on the Cheap

I may have already talked about this.  I may have only written a post about it and then deleted it.  Frankly right now I'm too tired to look and too meh to care much about repeating myself.  Maybe it bears repeating.

So recently there have been numerous tweets and posts and articles about how hard it is to live on the cheap.  Apparently, people who aren't poor and most likely never have been, are trying this experiment where they live on $77 a week for food (per person if they have a family) and there's another article making the rounds about how a suburbanite woman took a homeless mother shopping, and :gasp: $50 didn't go very far.

One thing strikes me about all of this.  None of these people in these experiments know what the hell they're doing.  One guy bought bottled water, for petesakes.  Another was spending her money on snackfood.  Another guy wasted funds on a trip to BK because he didn't have time to pack a lunch and couldn't afford a better place to eat lunch.  And the moaning about an inability to buy healthy food on $77 a week or $50 for one trip really blew my mind.

Soooo, here's my take on how to shop cheap without facing malnutrition or scurvy or rickets or whatever:

1) You never buy water.  It's free in most places.  Sometimes, if you own a home, you have to pay a water bill - but it's still cheaper than buying bottles of water from a store.

2) You don't buy namebrand anything.  If there's a cheaper cheese or an off-brand TP, you buy it.  Sure, it's not as good.  Well, duh.  If money weren't an issue, I'd be eating Havarti and wiping with those wet cloth things.

3) You don't buy pre-made, pre-packaged stuff.  No Chef-Boyardee.  No Lean Cuisine.  No Stouffers.  A bag of rice, a pound of hamburger, a bag of carrots, potatoes, noodles, some cheap condensed soup... all can be turned into delicious and nutritious meals.  And yes, RAMEN.  The hated food of the dining elite.  It's actually awesome and super versatile and no, your kids won't turn into little skeletons with vitamin deficiencies because of it.  (Unless all they ever eat is Ramen, and then you need to rethink your meal planning.)

4) Snack food is a luxury.  You want snacks?  You learn how to make them yourself.  Cookies, crackers, etc. can be made cheaply if you find the right recipes. And if you can't do that, you go without. Heck, eat celery sticks with peanut butter, raisins, etc.  Those are cheap and better for you anyway.

5) Fast food is not cheap.  It is easy.  But poor people can't afford to be lazy, so if you want a burger, you buy a big ass package of 80% lean burger at the beginning of the month, you make up as many thin burgers as you can, and you freeze them.  Then you eat them on bread because it's cheaper than buns.  With or without cheese - depending on whether you can afford it.  But with lettuce, cuz that shit's like $1.29 a head.

6) Fresh produce doesn't have to be expensive.  Apples - despite the strangeness of $11 a bag one person paid - are cheap.  They aren't sexy, but they're cheap.  Oranges.  Bananas.  Lettuce.  Tomatoes - if you watch the kind you're buying.  Roma, in my experience are less expensive and just as good as beefsteak.  And for godsakes don't buy 'organic'.  It's like someone got the idea that putting the label of organic on produce meant they could charge more for it.  Bleh.  When you're rich you can be fancy-schmancy enough to buy organic.  Poor people buy regular.  It's NOT less healthy*.  It's just more practical.

7) Budget so you can buy in bulk.  Almost everything gets cheaper the larger the package.  Twelve rolls of toilet paper is cheaper than 3 4-pks.  The big packages of meat are cheaper than their equivalent in smaller packages.  Freeze what you can, in meal sized packages.  Pat the burger into patties ahead of time.  Then if you want to say make spaghetti, you take out 1 burger, thaw it and brown it to go into the offbrand jar of sauce you picked up on sale the week before.

8) Troll the bargain bins.  A dented box of cereal isn't ruined - they just can't sell it with the undented boxes.  Meat that's marked for 'don't sell after' and the day is the same day you're buying isn't tainted. (As long as you remember, good raw meat is never brown or gray.  And anything you buy either needs to be cooked or frozen the day you buy it.)  And brown bananas make good banana bread - which takes care of #4 for you, too.  They can also be turned into smoothies or stirred into oatmeal or sliced into pancakes. 

Now, I said something back in #5 that bears touching on again.  "If you can afford it."  That is the watchword of every person who's ever tried to live on a shoestring budget.  Let's say there was a sale on burger that week and you saved a dollar there, and they had lettuce a dollar a head, and rice was 50 cents off, and you still have enough potatoes to tide you over to the next week.  THEN you can check over your budget and see if that adds up to enough to buy sliced cheese.  Or a half-gallon of ice cream.  Or a chocolate bar.  My god, I didn't eat ice cream but once every couple months back in '98/'99 - and then it was the generic vanilla (which is better than no ice cream, if ya know what I'm sayin'.)

And my daughter turns 21 this week, so I obviously didn't starve the poor little dearling during her formative growth years.  Of course, she ate and then I ate - because if there might only be enough for one, the kid eats first and you have a bowl of oatmeal after she goes to bed.

The point here is, shop smarter. Sure, I don't HAVE TO watch my grocery budget so closely anymore.  But I still do it - because it's just smart.  Never pay full price when you don't have to and never buy name brand when offbrand will do just as well.  (Except with cheese.  If you can get away with buying Kraft instead of no-name, do it.  It just tastes better.)

*In my opinion, of course.  Personally, I think the whole 'organic' craze is a hoax, but I try not to go into my conspiracy theories too much here.  Be glad you aren't living with me, though. ;o)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 32

Ugh.  I'm almost not inclined to do an update this week, but that's only because something happened Friday that overshadows the good stuffs.  But I'm here.  So let's try putting the updates out there in a lump.  And if you don't want your day harshed, don't read the last big paragraph. 

First off, I rewrote 11428 words on Bloodflow last week.  That puts the manuscript at 44441 and about 40% written (based on the previous manuscript's page count - which includes stuff I know I have to chop, so isn't the most accurate indicator.) 

Also, I've been tweezing another manuscript to get it from 109K to under 100K to meet a specific set of guidelines.  Right now, I've shaved it down to 15402 by simply snipping out little unnecessary words and phrases without changing the overall makeup and voice of the book. Sure this is the slow way to cut words, but I really would rather not arbitrarily cut a whole scene without a damn good reason.  So slow and steady wins the race.  And I'll have a tighter book when I'm done.

I haven't made much progress in my research for the super sekrit idea.  (I don't remember Le Morte d'Arthur being this freakin' dry and boring when I read it years ago.)  On the upside, I don't need to do a whole lot of research to actually write the book.  It'll just be a richer and thicker broth the more I know about the foundation.  Know what I mean? 

Since I haven't been doing the research, I've had time for reading.  Yay!  Unfortunately, I started and discarded two books this week.  One because it started out as a light romance - where animals play a critical role (I love me some light romance with critters as secondary characters) - and then the hero who lives with his mom starts thinking about the heroine and runs up to his bedroom to... ummm... and the action is described in detail.  Umm, NO.  Yeah, yeah, normal part of life and all that, but I don't want to read about it in detail.  Ew.  It all felt very 8th grade.  The next book was so full of grammatical errors, but I tried to keep going, because I liked the premise. Then the story just sort of fell apart about a third of the way through.  Bummer.  It's all good, though, because I redeemed my faith in writing by diving into a novella by Monica McCarty called The Knight.  She's so awesome and her characters are so true, she makes me love historical romance (even when I don't really with most other HR authors.)

Harshing Ahead:
So anyway, I haven't said anything about the deer lately.  Well, we have this one who somehow hurt her back right foot back in late June/early July.  She's getting around okay, I guess.  Not great, but well enough to survive.  And she had a fawn.  Little Short Stop seemed to be doing okay, too, until recently when we noticed she was alone most of the time.  Then about a week ago, we noticed she was a little thin.  Everything went rapidly downhill from there.  She started sleeping up next to the house and she wasn't eating much when she went to the food pans.  Friday morning, she curled up in the corner of the house, but she still looked alert when I peeked out at her around 10am.  By 3pm, she wasn't even bothering to twitch away the gathering flies.  And then she was gone.  We laid her to rest in the woods.  We assume her mom stopped nursing her either because of her own injuries or because she recognized the fawn had something really wrong with her.  Anyway, it was really disappointing and has tainted my mood this weekend.  Then last night just before dusk, the mom was over there looking for ShortStop.  So sad.  And it made me a little irrationally angry at her for waiting over 24 hours to come looking for her fawn - but that's me trying to put human emotions and values on a deer where they don't belong. 

So how was your week?  Anything good to talk about?  Tell me something good.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Stuff n Junk

Okay, so I'm trying to be good. I'm juggling two books and research for the third, while trying to make myself more noticeable on the internet.  But some things are falling by the wayside.  You know, things like chores, showers, getting the shopping done. I actually did the dishes this morning!  (Hey, that counts as a win in my book - I hate doing dishes.)  Still doesn't make up for running out of milk and being a milk-free household for several days, though*.

In my travels this morning, I read a couple thought-provoking blogs.  I don't know if any of you read Sarah A. Hoyt - pretty smart lady, who's not afraid to say what she means (and her novels are good, too) - but she posted this today: And then I Popped Him One.  Also, Silver had some wise words from the Universe about doing things your own way - which I definitely need to do more often.

Speaking of blogs that make you think, Lauren deStefano had a poignant post the other day.  If you didn't see this on my FB feed, then go read it.

And now, I must toddle off.  Have a great rest of the day folks!

*Evaporated milk works in a pinch, but we didn't have that either.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lazy Blogging Monkey

A thought occurred to me over the weekend - I won't bore you with the long, protracted thought process that lead to it - that I have been a lazy little monkey when it comes to the blogosphere.  Oh, I've been posting here and there, but I haven't been visiting blogs like I used to.  I scroll down the blog roll, stopping here or there, but really not very many places.  Then I go over to FB and fritter away my time looking at funny pictures or getting my information about the world in ten second burps. 

Thank goodness I never quite got addicted to Twitter.  (I sometimes wonder if that's due to the derth of technology around here.  Maybe Twitter is loads easier to use with a smart phone or a portable device of some kind than it is with my hulk of a desktop.  :shrug:)

Anyway, I'm going to make a concerted effort to be more active around the blogosphere - as well as trying to post more often here.  I may repeat myself here and there (cuz, hey, brain damage), but I'll try to make it entertaining. 

Now, for a little fun otherwise... Who can tell me what this is a picture of?

I'll come back later or tomorrow and let you know who was right.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 31

I'm writing this Saturday night!  Ah, it's nice to be back on track.  For how long?  :shrug:  I'm not questioning it.  I'm just riding the wave.

Anyway, here's how last week shaped up:

I managed to rewrite 11966 words this week and I just finished chapter 12.  Of course, putting it that way makes me realize my urge to break chapter 12 into more than one chapter is probably the urge to follow.  3.5 chapter and almost 12K words... Not my style.  Tomorrow, I'll break it up and then I'll be starting chapter 14 instead of 13.  Go me.

In other writerly news, I've been chugging along on my research for the secret book.  It's slow going and my brain wants to jump ahead and start writing, but I promised myself I'd wait.  Besides, if I wrote it all now, I'd have to really edit the hell out of it because the facts in my memory are not to be trusted.  Nope, do a little research now and get it seated in those brain cells again before I rush headlong into disaster.  (Not my style, I know, but I'm trying to evolve here.)

In other other writerly news, I finished the business research I was doing.  And what I learned is I need to tweeze about 8K words out of this other manuscript before I can send it to someplace I'm pretty sure will love it.  (I won't go into Hubs' thoughts on this.  Suffice it to say, I'd like this whole process better if it worked like he thinks it ought to work - and basically like any other business I've ever been in.)

Other than that, my wildflower garden - the one where I found the copperhead - having now been weeded, is thriving.  I have all sorts of things blooming and I have no idea what they are.  Little purple things and pink things and blue things with the marigolds I scattered around providing nice bursts of orange and yellow.  I'd take a pic, but I'm afraid the blossoms are too small to really convey their beauty on a pic.  Take it from me, it's a bright and happy spot.

Okay, now go be productive somewhere - even if all you're producing is your own happiness.  ;o)

And please take a moment to tell me how things are in your life.