Thursday, December 31, 2015

This n That Thursday

It's the last This n That of 2015. 

I'm having a tough time looking back at the past year.  Not because it was a bad year but because it all seems to blur together in hindsight.  What did I do in 2015?  I published 4 books.  Everything else gets fuzzy around the edges when I try to look beyond that.  I'll try to do an actual wrap-up on Sunday or something.

The flood waters here are starting to recede. Which is good because I really have to go to the store and I've been holding off so I don't accidentally wind up driving through a low-lying floody spot.  (There are loads of low spots.  And loads of high spots.  Hey, it's the Ozarks.  It definitely ain't flat around here.)  Now that the water is leaving here, they're getting floody east and south of us - because that's pretty much where the 'here' waters are going.  Heading for the mighty Mississippi.  Cumulative waters from here, there, and everywhere are making it particularly nasty for anyone along Ol' Man River. 

I did not get pictures of the wet weather creek here.  Sorry.  It was too wet to go out, and then it was too cold, and now the stream is going away again. 

Speaking of pictures, we had a hawk hanging out around the house yesterday.  Unfortunately, everywhere he landed was behind branches so pics were problematic. He finally landed on the wires, but then he wouldn't look toward the house. 

That bitch squirrel who had babies in our house last year is desperately trying to get back inside the eaves.  She chewed a hole in the north side.  We kicked her out and put flashing over that.  She chewed a hole in the south side.  We kicked her out and put flashing over that.  Now she's chewing on the soffits in frustration.  Sorry, lady, but you need to find another place to call home for the winter.  Go build yourself a leaf nest for petesakes. That's what the other squirrels are doing.  Find a tree already.  I'm considering a Nerf gun.  I don't want to hurt her, but I want to discourage her from chewing on my house. 

What on your This n That plate for today?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 52

Last full week of the year, folks.  And I really didn't do much of anything.  Shame on me.

I didn't get any work done editing Fertile Ground.  Didn't even look at it.

My cover artist is up to her armpits in alligators and will get the new cover art to me when she can.  Which I am perfectly fine with since I won't be launching this until March.  Hell, my editor doesn't have to have the first pass to me until January 10th anyway.

I did start a story based on an idea that popped into my head after reading a news article.  I have 5 paragraphs down. I have no idea where it's going, but the idea is recorded.  I also jotted a note about a potential Christmas suspense short for next year.

I cooked stuff for Christmas.  I made a cake.  Walnut Graham Cake with Candied Walnut Glaze.  It's okay, but not as good as I remembered.  I think I may have over mixed the batter.  I know I over-boiled the glaze. My twice-baked potatoes turned out pretty good.  So did my ham.  And I ate too much. Natch. So I spent the remainder of Friday and portions of Saturday laying around like a pig in the sun.

All of my books are on sale as of yesterday - in both the US and the UK*.  99 cents each through New Years Eve.  Get them while they're hot.  And if you like the stories, leave a review.  Please.  And pass this news along.  Word of mouth is the only advertising I have right now.

I did hit 1000 books sold in 2015.  Yay.  And I'm having a contest over at Outside the Box to celebrate.

What's new in your world?

*For some reason, my author page at Amazon UK is showing weird - where sometimes it only shows the paperback versions.  There are ebook versions of all my books available everywhere Amazon sells ebooks. (UK links available here for my suspense and mystery titles, or here for paranormal).  AND even though it doesn't reflect the sale on my author pages, they are on sale. Click the book you're interested in and the Kindle Countdown Deal shows up on each individual product page. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

This n That - Christmas Eve Edition

I don't remember a lot of Christmases (or much else from my past). I do remember one Christmas Eve.  My older sister and I were playing in our room when there was some kind of kerfluffle out in the living room.  I think we might've heard a booming Ho-ho-ho.  When Mom called us, we ran out to discover soooo many presents under the tree that you could hardly get past.  I think that was the year I got my giant frog stuffed animal.  Looking back now, it probably wasn't that big, but to me, it was the biggest most wonderful frog ever.

I remember Mom and the older girls baking Christmas cookies.  I'm 5 and 10 years behind them, so J was probably 9 and L was probably 14.  There was a wonder about it.  So special and secret as I gazed at them from my spot by the kitchen entryway. 

I remember the years our grandmother came to stay with us for Christmas.  My nephew was a toddler at the time and he liked to sit under her walker.  On Christmas Day, she took the bows from her presents and stuck them all over her head to make him laugh.  It worked.  We all laughed.  Good times.

I have a vague impression of the years - ones with all five of us kids at home, ones with us and then mates and then grandkids where the house was so full of people you could hardly find a place to sit and open presents.  All tumbled together.  And it's good.  The specifics are gone, but the meat of the memories lingers.

Sure, there were questionable Christmases. Sometimes the bad memories are stronger than the good ones.  Which is why we have to work to keep the better memories firmly seated in our heads.  They're the only ones that matter.

What's one good memory for you from Christmases Past?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Week - Quiet Enjoyment

As I said over on Outside the Box, this will be a week without the typical posts.  I'm not in the mood and I suspect neither are you.  Instead, I want a week of quiet enjoyment of life's little wonders. 

For instance, it's unseasonably lovely here.  We went for a wonderful walk yesterday.  We figured it was upwards of two miles round trip.  But it was a pretty day and this is such a pretty area, it was worth the hike.  We didn't really see anything exciting or unexpected.  The cows were hanging out as usual.  The little birds were doing their thing.  It was just nice. And quiet.  And we got to enjoy each other's company.

Really, that's all I need for Christmas.

What's one moment of quiet enjoyment you experienced this holiday season?  If you haven't found one yet, what is a moment you're hoping for when the hurry-scurry is over?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 51

There is not enough coffee on the planet this morning.  I say we take over the Colombian drug plantations and make them grow coffee beans instead.  Coffee addicts of the world, unite!  There are more of us than there are of them!  We can kick their butts.  After we have some more java.  Cuz really, who's got the energy for a hostile takeover without caffeine? 

Another blurry week has gone by.  Next to last full week of 2015.  According to my to-do list from last week, here's what happened...

My editor is now working on In Deep Wish.  Meanwhile, I'm making edit notes for Fertile Ground so I'll be ready to jump into that during my downtimes getting IDW ready for March pub. 

Speaking of getting IDW ready, my cover artist should have the cover done soon.  I've seen the stage before the font insertion and it is awesome.  But she's jammed with the holidays and stuff, so it's not quite ready yet.  And that's totally cool because I don't really need it immediately. 

I spent some time this past week working on spreadsheets for next year.  So pretty.  (Yes, I think spreadsheets are pretty.)

Speaking of spreadsheets, I am 2 books away from reaching 1K sold in 2015.  It's not a mile-marker I ever thought of reaching when the year started, but I'll be thrilled to see it happen.  Which it will.  Two books in 11 days?  I think that's doable.

Yesterday, I started out with the idea of doing the dishes.  (Yeah yeah, I leave my dishes 'til the morning. Unless I'm writing, then I do the dishes at night as a break.)  Anyway, I did the dishes and then I knew I had to clean the coffee maker because it was taking forever to brew me a pot of life-giving nectar.  Which morphed into me scrubbing all the stove burner pans.  Which lead to me deep-cleaning the kitchen.  And while I was cleaning the coffee pot, I had to do the drains.  Naturally.  Can't waste all that hot vinegar when it's so useful for flushing out all the drains.  Except my bathroom sink drain still isn't draining right.  So, this morning, I'll be taking the pipes apart and scrubbing the gunk out.  Yay.

I lead an exciting life.

What's going on in your life?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

This n That Thursday

So, a couple days ago, I thought I'd be all 'on the ball' and junk by starting the template forms of my sales spreadsheets.  I'm down to two now.  My data spreadsheet which has sales by month for each book.  And my sales totals spreadsheet which takes the data from the other spreadsheet and puts the overall numbers into easily understood forms.  I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, so I made copies of the two 2015 spreadsheets and renamed those copies to 2016.  Easy peasy. Right?  Well, no.  For some asinine reason, my 2015 overall spreadsheet thought it would be awesome to change the source names to point to the new 2016 files.  So when I wiped out the old data in prep to put new data in, my 2015 spreadsheet had nothing but zeroes in it.  :headdesk:  Took me about an hour and a half to redirect all the formulas to where they were directed before.  Not sure in what universe change those formulas would've been a good idea.  Thanks, Excel Software Engineers.  Now I have to remember what I did, so I don't repeat the mistake next December.

I was handing out postcards for BloodFlow and someone said 'so I guess you must like shows like this'.  Well, not strictly.  I like true crime shows.  I like political thriller movies to a certain extent.  I haven't found a political television show I enjoyed.  Unless you count NCIS and Bones.  I don't watch NCIS anymore, though, and I only watch Bones in reruns on TNT.

Right now, I can't think of a single fictional TV series I actually follow.  I used to watch reruns of Grey's Anatomy, too, until I realized Meredith was Derek's doormat - and people liked it that way. I'm kinda glad he died.  I wish she would've stuck with the veterinarian.  Then again, Christina was in a totally farked up relationship with Owen, and Burke before that.  I don't think the writers of that show know what a healthy relationship is supposed to look like.  Just people treating other people like crap and the crapped upon falling all over themselves to appease their semi-abusive mates.  Bleh.  Just once I wanted to see Meredith to tell Derek to go pound sand. 

Anyhoo...  Enough about that. 

I have a new calendar for 2016 now.  Pretty pretty, but plain.  I mean, it's got like filigree around the edges, but no pictures.  I don't need those for above my desk.  I have my pretty chickadee print for that.  And my new birdie-a-day calendar that sits on my desk (which I could write on, but I don't want to mar the pics.)

The candy I sent my mom for Christmas was totally grody. (I know because I ordered some for myself, too, and it wasn't edible.)  They credited me and they've been awesome in the past, so I'm not going to tarnish their company name.  Now, I need to pick something else out, but I'm running out of time for shipping.  And Mom does not do online giftcards.  She may end up with a Merry New Year's gift instead.  She's cool about it, though, so it's all good.

We've seen the fox several times now.  I have decided to call him 'Pup-pup'.

Got any this-n-that in mind this morning? 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Staying Organized

I'm not an organized person by nature.  I mean, I know where everything is for the most part and I can usually keep track of appointments in my head.  (Sketchy business, I know, but it used to work for me.)  But the more things I have to do, the less I'm able to juggle it using just my brain cells. 

When I started this self-publishing thing, I knew I would need help.  I picked up a date book.  And a wall calendar with just dates and no pictures.  Stuff gets jotted one place or the other or both, so I don't drop the ball on the things that need doing.  (In theory.  I still drop the ball from time to time anyway.)

That was last year at this time.  And one would've assumed I would be smart enough to know in advance that I would need all that stuff again.  But no.  It's December 15th and I only just now got a 2016 date book.  I still need a calendar I can write stuff on.  I guess I should've written 'buy new organizational materials' in my 2015 book so I wouldn't forget.


Being a self-published author means keeping track.  It has to.  I don't have a boss, giving me deadlines.  I don't have a secretary to remind me I have something due to the editor.  There's no team putting together my marketing plan and no assistant following up on things for me.  It's just me.  And my planner.

Me... and my planner... strolling down the avenue...


It's green.  I like green.  This year's is smaller because the dollar store didn't have bigger ones and I didn't want to drive to Walmart.  (Which is why I didn't get a calendar.  The dollar store didn't have anything but the pretty picture calendars.)  As long as it keeps me on track, I don't care how big it is.  When I was outside sales, I had a huge date book.  But I had a lot of appointments and notes and junk.  "10:30am - Ann Arbor - Mary Jones at Widgets, Inc. to discuss engineering of new Platt case."  Stuff like that.

Now?  No time stamp. No location.  "Edits to JC" "Contact AB about ad" "Make shot appt" Check it off when it's done. 

I just have to remember to write it in the book.  And sometimes that's the trick.  Remembering to write stuff down so I'll remember it. 

How do you stay organized?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 50

Two weeks left until the end of the year?  Umm, yeah, that doesn't sound right.  But there it is.  (It's not three weeks because the last week ends in 2016, so I guess they've given those days to the first week of the new year.)

I got In Deep Wish off to the AWE.  She gets it for a month and then it's back to me.  This time we're doing something a little different and she's scouring it hard for consistency issues, plot holes, backstory needs and removals, etc.  I've never done a sequel before, so I think this is necessary.  We'll hit all the other stuff on the next pass.

My Incredible Cover Artist (ICA) is working hard on the cover for In Deep Wish.  I have the initial concept.  It looks awesome.  Now she's making it pretty. 

I wish I had tons more money so I could have AWE and ICA working on other covers and other edits while I'm working on my end.  Then I could put out books so much faster for all y'all.  But I don't and I'm only one person anyway, so I can only do so much.  Cloning ability would also be nice.

Speaking of money, and by association sales, I'm 5 books away from selling a thousand books in 2015.  Mind you, over half of those were at the 99 cent price point, so not a huge royalty on those, but still. Every little bit helps fund more books.  So yay.  And I have something special planned for the 25th-31st for all my books. 

I was supposed to start early edits for Fertile Ground yesterday, but I lazed out.  I really need to get my buns back to work.  Today.  I will do it today.  Hey, I had three things on my to-do list yesterday - business accounting work, cleaning, and editing.  I got the dreaded accounts balanced.  I cleaned.  (Okay, I tidied.)  Two out of three ain't bad. 

Would you believe it's been so warm here that I now have bulbs beginning to sprout up through the soil??  Since I moved everything around, I'm not quite sure which bulbs are which, but at least three of the buggers are poking up.  They're going to be sad when winter actually does arrive here.  =o\

I got my first prezzie.  A good friend and go-to gal for me sent a lovely page a day calendar full of beautiful bird pics.  Every day a new bird.  I'm totally down with that.  =o)

What updates do you have to share today?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

This n That Thursday

Here's a little story - one you may have heard before (although the telling is slightly different from one story to the next.)  Once upon a time, there was a pretty princess - okay, it was a scullery maid - who was doing her very best to put out quality work for her people.  Then she met a charlatan who tricked her into thinking he could make magic.  He took all her coins and made a pile of dog doo where something awesome should've been.  She lived and she learned.  And went on her merry way. Eventually, she found a real magician who made the dog doo disappear, and then she was happy. Until she found a place where people were making fun of the pile she'd been left with.  (Nothing ever totally disappears in the magical kingdom of WWW.)  Which was all fine because she'd already acknowledged it was a pile.  She'd already fixed it.  What hurt were the personal attacks.  And so, she was sad.  For a little while.  Then she took herself in hand and reminded herself that total strangers have no ability to hurt her because when you don't have a reason to care about someone, you shouldn't care what they think.  She's still a little pissed, though - not at the merry-makers who laughed, but at the charlatan who put her in that position to begin with.  May the fleas of a thousand bugbears nest in his boxers.  The end.

Speaking of magicians, I got a glimpse of the cover for In Deep Wish last night.  Ooo, pretty!  I'd tell you more, but it would spoil the fun.  Suffice it to say, it's got Jo on it.  (Same cover model as WIOH. I don't know who this gal is, but her poses are so 'Jo'.)  It has another genie on it, too, but all I can say about that is it's not Zeke.  Maybe he'll make an appearance on the cover of Up Wish Creek.

I finished my Christmas shopping and shipping yesterday.  Ordered some nice gifts for the Moms.  Mailed all the cards out and the Kid's package.  Plus, I sent books to the Moms and the A.W.E.*  Busy busy.

We had a red fox in the yard last night.  He was eating at the corn pans.  Yes, we didn't know foxes ate corn either - which made Hubs wonder if something was wrong with the little dude.  But no, the fox was fine.  They're omnivores, so they eat pretty much whatever's available. Including corn, berries, acorns, wheat, etc. in addition to the mice, moles, and bugs.  He ate his fill, turned his fluffy tail, and trotted off.  =o)

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is just weird.  I'm only about halfway through reading it, but yeah, weird.  Not bad weird.  Not exactly good weird either.  I'll reserve judgment until the end.

Anything in your this n that today?

*Awesome Wonderful Editor

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reading Important Books

I've been on a quest of sorts with regards to reading.  No, not the one where I read x-number of books in a year.  I read as many as I can as a matter of maintaining my sanity.  This is the one where I'm trying to go back and read old books that I haven't read before.  Some of them are 'important' books for one reason or another.  Some are just on my shelves and I'd like to read them to see if they belong there or can be sold to the local used bookstore. 

I've done this for a few years now.  I pick books I feel like I probably should've read somewhere along the way, but didn't.  Some of them are classics in the broad sense of the word like Les Miserables or The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Others are classics in their genre, like Stranger in a Strange Land or Casino Royale, or the first of the cat mysteries by Lillian Jackson Braun.  (Right now, I'm reading The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.) Still others are books that were made into films and I want to see if the book is as good as the movie - First Wives Club comes to mind and The Poseidon Adventure.  

I'm also reading lesser known works by major authors.  (And 'major author' is subjective, of course.)  The Labours of Hercules by Christie.  The Day of the Guns by Spillane.  Kill as Directed by Ellery Queen.

All of them are important, if you look at it from the right perspective.  I mean, reading widely expands the mind, enriches the life, etc.  Yada yada. I'd probably read everything if I had the time. I think it also helps my writing.  Knowing what was written before, how certain writers did certain things.  What to do.  What not to do. 

Or maybe that's just me.

What do you think?  Do you read widely?  Are you interested in reading older books - even if it's just to see what you might've missed? 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 49

How did it get to be Sunday again?  Didn't we just have a Sunday? 

Not quite sure what all I did last week.  Let's see if I can cobble it together.

I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Big book.  And I only have the hardcover, so it took longer (what with having to hold the heavy thing).  I also read most of No Good Deed by Allison Brennan.  I'm almost done, but I had to stop last night because it was way past my bedtime and I was tired.  As of last night I'm 18 books behind in my reading challenge.  Yah, that ain't happening.

I'm way behind in my editing, too.  No excuses there.  I should have it to my editor by the new date, though.  And everything is still greenlight for a March release.

I did some marketing.  My ad at ReadCheaply saw a nice little boost in sales for Wish in One Hand.  Then I happened to mention on FB that I was close to selling 1000 books this year and some awesome people bought a few copies.  I've already sold more this month than all of last month, so it's a win.  Gads, November sucked. 

I'm planning on putting together a marketing post for Outside the Box with links to the various places I've tried and my own opinions.  Should be good for readers, too - because readers might find new places to locate books.  Win win.

We had two bald eagles flying lazy circles over the house a couple days ago.  Pretty cool.  Not good enough shots to run into the house for a camera, though.  It's hard to get good in-flight pics, especially through the trees.

I got the Christmas tree up and finished the decor.  I also made pretzel turtles.  These may be my only Christmas activities this year.  I mean, other than sending the Kid her box and Christmas dinner.

And that's about it.  How were things for you last week?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

This n That Thursday

Olive oil - great on salads, nasty straight.

I'm totally not in a Christmasy mood, but I did get the tree up yesterday.  I'm going more minimalist this year.  Just a few things here and there rather than everything everywhere.

I left to run errands yesterday and not far down the road, just around the first corner, but before the next corner, three does standing in the middle of the road.  I waited patiently for them to finish chatting.  Then they walked away.  Lucky for them I wasn't the UPS dude.  He flies like a bat outta hell through here.

At the Walmart, I turned from one aisle to the next to find a woman trying to get something big off a high shelf, so I asked her if she needed help.  "Oh, that's okay. I think I can get in enough trouble by myself." To which I replied "But imagine how much trouble we could get in together." Which started a twenty minute conversation.  Turns out she's from Wisconsin and has ties in the Upper Peninsula. It's bizarre here in SW MO to find someone who even knows where Ishpeming is, let alone someone who's father was born there.  Small world.

I do that. Strike up conversations with total strangers.  Sometimes they strike up conversations with me.  For the most part, it's pretty neat.  Occasionally, it gets weird.  Overall, it's worth it. 

Of course, I also talk to the birds and squirrels.  They never answer. Whew.

What's the this n that in your world right now?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Leaving Reviews

Recently, I had to reply to an email and explain to a writer why I would be unable to leave a review for their book.  Ugh.  I hated to do it.  You know me, though.  I don't review books I don't finish, and I just couldn't finish that book.

But it got me to thinking about reviews in general.

The popular idea is that any review is a good review.  (Like the old wisdom that any press is good press.)  I disagree.  Sometimes a bad review can totally tank a writer's sales, crush someone's spirits, etc.  I'm not willing to do that.  At the risk of ruining my rep*, I am a nice person.  Plus, my mother taught me that if I don't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all.  So, silence is my bag.  It's golden, after all.

However, no reviews can also tank sales.

And a carelessly worded 5-star reviews can somehow tank sales.  Go figger.

Anyway, I started out writing this post to provide a tongue-in-cheek way to leave reviews if you're not good at writing them, but it morphed into something else.  :shrug:

So, if you're inclined to leave a review but don't know what to say, here's a template to help you out.

I (enjoyed, despised, was meh about) this book because (the plot was exciting, the characters were lame, I couldn't get into it).  The main character was (easy, hard) to relate to.  The villain was (cardboard, deliciously evil, too nice).  This author's writing style (put me to sleep, kept me on the edge of my seat, left me wanting more, confused the heck out of me) and I (can't wait for the next book, hope they get help, encourage them to find a fitting psychotherapist). 

Pick the phrasing that best suits your needs and delete the rest, choose a number of stars to reflect your attitude, and VOILA!, you have a review.

The point here is to leave a review - at Amazon, at Goodreads, at B&N... wherever you choose, but for the love of writers and reading, please leave them.

But only if you can be positive, or helpful, or if you have to say something negative, at least can be constructive in your criticism.  K?

*Hubs and I have a running joke that he's the nice one and I'm the mean one.  Oh, he is nicer than I am, but I'm not really mean.  Not in public anyway. LOL

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 48

Wow, sorry about totally forgetting Week 47.  And now I've forgotten what happened in that week, so let's just move on.

Last week, BloodFlow officially launched.  Oh yeah! That's what I did in Week 47! I finished BloodFlow and set it up for pre-order.  Whew, that was a week, so I'm not surprised I forgot about it.

I also put Wish in One Hand down to the low-low price of 99 cents across the board and made it available to Nook, Kobo, and Apple users as well as Amazon people.  It is, unfortunately, no longer available in the Kindle Unlimited program.  It wasn't doing too well there anyway, so I thought I'd give the other distributors a shot.  Time will tell if this was a wise move.  But it will be there and at 99 cents through the end of the year at least.  Get it while the getting is good.

I did some stuff in the woods.

I haven't read much of anything lately.  Think of it as a slump.  My new Kindle Fire arrived and I'm not used to it yet, so that might be part of the slump.  Who knows.

I've sent all the suggestions off to the cover artist for In Deep Wish.  She's working on it.  I, however, have hit a slump editing the damn book. I'm at about 20K and need to have it ready to send to the editor by the end of this coming week.  We'll see how THAT works out.  I've found it's hard to get the sequel ready for publication when the Book One isn't selling all that well.  Still, I have promised a few die hard readers that the book will be out sometime in March, so I'd better get my buns in gear.  I don't want to disappoint my supporters.

To that end, I've had a couple people threatening me with bodily harm if I don't get the next SCIU book out soon.  May.  Or June.  Depends on fundage and gumption.  The more books I sell, the better for all concerned.

Michigan lost to the Yuckeyes.  I haz a sad.

Other than that, life is a blur.  How are things in your world?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bits and Bobs - a Hoarder's Story

A little while ago, a writer friend of mine who also does art was wondering what one should keep and what one should throw away.  My answer: I keep everything.

Back in... oh god, 1984? I was writing a book with a friend of mine.  Okay, she was writing the book and showed it to me and then we worked on it together for a couple months whenever we could get together and then she got bored and I took it over.  (Or I took it over because I have a more willful personality and I nudged her out. Not sure now. Hey, I was 14 and I'm a Taurus. Or something.  I don't collaborate well even now.)

Ahem, where was I?  Oh yes, the story.  I still have it.  After 31 years and umpteen moves.  It's in a box in my storage closet - still in the original blue folder.  Typed pages from me, written pages in her handwriting.  I seem to remember it was a solid idea - YA SF/F - but there it'll stay.  After I die, someone will pull it out, maybe read it, but most likely toss it.  They could give it back to her, but I have no idea where she is and her name is so common (provided she didn't get married or change it), they'd never find her.

Anyway, I'm obviously a hoarder.  Oh, not ready for any of the shows.  All the moves have trained me what to toss and what to keep.  Except as the years roll by, important stuff keeps accumulating. Well, important enough that I've dragged it from Michigan to Florida to Utah to Colorado to Missouri. 

I still have the majority of my artworks from high school and college.  Yes, none of them are good enough to frame and hang, but I worked hard on those things.  They're in the original brown portfolio I bought in college and there they'll stay. 

With technological advancements, not all of my hoard is in physical form.  I dragged around diskettes for the longest time.  I finally ditched the big floppies before I left Michigan in 2001, transferring all of their data to 3 1/2" disks.  I said goodbye to the 3 1/2" babies before we moved here in 2013, transferring all of their data to my hard drive.  I even said goodbye to the majority of my old CD/RW media and transferred that either to the HD or to USB drives.  BUT, I still have all the data.

I can't even open some of it, but I can't part with it either.  If I can ever find a way to convert LotusWrite to Word, I can access that romance novel I wrote to the halfway point back in 1997.  (Yeah, I wasn't the numbskull who thought Lotus was the wave of the future.)

I cleaned out my jewelry box the other day (because I found a lovely carved Rosewood box to replace my mass produced one - I have a thing for Rosewood boxes.)  Inside was a pendant.  It's a little turtle with pink and blue enamel bits for the shell.  I got that necklace in elementary school, I think.  The chain is long gone, but I still have the turtle.  I petted it nicely and laid it on the blue velvet of its new home - right next to my class key and my band pin.

I'm a hoarder.  I admit it.  But I don't want help.  I like having my bits and bobs around me.  Even if it's only to know they're there, somewhere close by, if I ever want to take them out and pet them.

What about you?  Got any old stuff hiding in boxes you'd like to talk about? 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! and a Recipe!

Here's Hans Gobbler stopping by to say Happy Turkey Day!

And here's what we're having for dessert...

Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 butter or margarine (melted)
1/4 c sugar
dash cinnamon (to taste)
dash ground cloves (to taste)
dash walnut extract (to taste)


1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 tsp brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter standard 9" diameter pie pan.  Mix together cracker crumbs, spices, extract and sugar.  Add in melted butter and stir until well combined.  Press crumb mixture into pan as evenly as you're able - along bottom and up the sides to the edge.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  (Some shrinkage will occur.)  Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

Re-preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat cream cheese with brown sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs, cream, brandy and pumpkin - beat until smooth.  Add in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is set.  Chill overnight, slice and serve with whipped cream topping.

(No wild turkeys were harmed in the making of today's feast.  We bought one at the store.  Hans is more like a pet than Thanksgiving Dinner.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Release Day!

Well, it finally happened.  BloodFlow is out in the world now.  And you can get a copy of your very own.  My copy hit my Kindle this morning.  (Yes, I buy a copy of my own books.)  So pretty. 

If you've been following along all these years, you may remember this one as Nanotechnology.  I started it in 2007. Spent the next two years off and on writing a first draft.  Spent the next few years shoving it into a corner because I was afraid to edit it.  It was such a behemoth with so many plot twists and turns and I wanted it to be perfect but I wasn't sure how to make it so. 

I finally knuckled down, deleted a bunch of stuff, made it tighter - better, stronger, faster - and sent it through the editing process.  My editor calls it a political thriller.  She's probably right.  After all, she knows it as well as I do, but from the outside, so she's more objective.  I like to think of it as Vince Flynn meets Michael Crichton meets Tess Gerritsen inside my head and we all have a party.  Woohoo.

So, without further ado, I give you BloodFlow:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU

If you're elsewhere in the world, it's available through whichever Amazon site you use.  Check there for price and availability.  If I read/wrote other languages, I'd be able to help you, but I'm English-only - as are my books.

Oh, and it's available for the Kindle Unlimited program.  If you're a subscriber, you get to read it without any additional cost to you.  Yay.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This n That Thursday

Wish in One Hand is now available at Kobo. Oh, and it's only 99 cents from here until I decide to change it back.  Figure at least a month. Or until the end of the year.  We'll see how it goes.  I also sent it through to Nook and Apple, but I haven't got the notifications that it's there yet.

I finally saw a bald eagle!  We were on the way home from picking up Max's ashes and it few over the road between the house and the river.  I've since seen two more.  Yay.

The world has become such a ludicrous place I can't help but laugh at it.  It's a sad, sick, strange sort of laugh bordering on the hysterical, but still. Case in point - a woman sued for the right to wear a colander on her head in her drivers' license photo. Apparently, she's something called a Pastafarian.  She won because, hey, if you let one person bend the rules, you have to let them all bend the rules.

I read a big-long rant yesterday from an author, talking about how midlist authors were getting screwed by the big 5.  I was with her until she said something to the effect that only dinosaur erotica could be successful in self-publishing.  I think she might've had something in her tea.  Maybe she was on a roll and taking potshots at anything that moved.  I don't think Bella Andre would agree with her theory.  Bella's making big money self-publishing.  I certainly don't agree and I'm not making big money.  Yet.  This is year one.  Talk to me again in year three.

Jack's Pizza is the bomb. Especially the bacon-cheeseburger kind.  Even more so if you add extra toppings like pepperoni and olives.  Yum.  (BTW, it's also really inexpensive, which makes it even better to me.)

Crows apparently bury food.  We may remember the recent Vienna sausage incident.  And I might've mentioned the little stacks of corn underneath last year's leaves.  This year one made a hole in the driveway pea gravel and filled it with kernels.  Silly birds.  They also like to dunk the bread my neighbor puts out in the water pan we have for the deer.  One slice of bread, when wet, fits inside their beak quite nicely.

Speaking of deer, we think this is Elias from last year:
We also saw Jones last night, but the light was too low for any pics.

Any this n that to share today?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 46

Last week was pretty busy for me, so let's jump right in...

I finished the edits for BloodFlow.  Tweaked the hell out of it and it's as good as I can make it.  (Thanks, as always, to my editor, Janet, for all her hard work.)  Then I formatted it for epub and uploaded that sucker for pre-order.  It's live, if you're interested.  (Thanks for the 2 pre-orders I already have on this one.)

Then I worked on the print formatting and the print cover for BloodFlow.  I ran into a stumbler on the cover.  I did it exactly the way they said to do it, and they rejected it.  This morning, I did some magic and I'm trying it again.  Once they approve it, I'll order a proof.  If that's hunky-dory, then it'll be live for purchase.

Speaking of covers and proofs, I got the new print cover for Wish in One Hand.  It's been uploaded, accepted, and a proof has been ordered.  That'll be here Wednesday.  If it's cool, I'll make it live for purchase, too.  So sparkly...

As a break from all this, I went into the woods.  Nothing like clearing trails and hacking at dead trees to defog the mind.  While I was doing this, I happened upon the second property pin at the back of the property.  Yay.  We've been looking for that sucker for 2 years.  It was under a fallen cedar, next to an animal den.  I had stooped over to see if I could find tracks near the den, so I can determine what the hell lives there, and TADA!  (Still don't know what critter lives there.)  Turns out, I was off about a dozen feet from where I thought our property stopped, but only because I had straight north slightly off.  Oops.  Now there's a new bottom trail that follows our actual property. 

Heard from the Kid yesterday.  She's doing well, which is always bonus.

I had a contest for $10 on my blog last week.  One person qualified - Silver James.  She had indicated I should donate the money to an animal rescue organization.  That will be done when I go to the vet to pick up Max's ashes. Fitting, I think. 

Oh, and I attempted to make postcards for BloodFlow marketing, but every time I tried to upload a file to Vistaprint, my modem freaked out.  Not sure what the issue is, since I can't recreate the problem on any site but Vistaprint.  I'll be looking for a new postcard supplier today. 

And I'll be beginning the process of creating cover art for In Deep Wish today, too.  I have a couple ideas - one of which involves me looking for a model for Zeke.  I found one dude.  He's pretty close to what I imagine Zeke looks like, but none of his poses convey the attitude I'm shooting for.  I may scrap that and either pick another character to share the cover with Jo or just use Jo and the background I like. 

Like I said, busy busy.  I don't even want to talk about the state my home is in.  I need to dust and vacuum and do the bathrooms and the windows and... Yeah, I'd rather be in the woods.

What's the skinny where you're at?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

This n That Thursday

I wrote this big, long craptastic This n That, but I decided to delete it.  Who needs that kind of negativity in their feed?  Sure, the world has pretty much gone crazypants, but you already know that.  Let's talk about random stuff instead.

As I write this on Wednesday night, we're having a wind storm.  Here's hoping it clears the leaves off the roof so Hubs doesn't have to.

Male box turtles have a concave bottom shell to make breeding easier.  Basically, so they don't slide off.

I still haven't seen a bald eagle, but the bird I'm thinking is a peregrine falcon flew over the house today so Hubs got a look at it, too.  I'm not seeing things!  Darkish gray back, white underside, falcon shape. We're still referring to the bird as SHOW YOURSELF!, though, until we both get a good enough look to say with near certainty what it is.

We call the bird SHOW YOURSELF! because it likes to call all over the forest, but it never stops anywhere where we can get a good look at it. So when we hear it calling, we yell 'show yourself'.  We also refer to the red-bellied woodpeckers as 'Buddy' and the pileated woodpeckers as 'Wild Thing'. Oh, and the fox squirrels are all members of the BOOM family - after the first HUGE one we saw when we moved here that I named Boom-boom.

I have a single rose getting ready to bloom.  Silly bush.  Didn't bloom at all earlier this year. Now, when it's getting cold?  Bloop!  I'll try to remember to take a pic.

Speaking of pics, Elias stopped by the yard today and I got a couple nice shots of him.  The deer have been scarce for about 8 weeks now.  And silly buck shows up 4 days before deer season begins.  I told him he needs to stick around and eat a lot, then disappear for a couple weeks.  I hope he listens.

The time change is still kicking my ass.  I can't keep my eyes open past 9pm, and I can't keep them closed after 5am.  I'm still getting 8 hrs, but not when I want to. 

Anything on the this-n-that meter for you today?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 45

Well, last week was a week. 

I know last update I was struggling with Max and I almost thought we had reached the point where he would start getting better, but no.  By Wednesday, he was miserable, and there was nothing left that we could do to improve his quality of life, so we chose to let him go.  It's been hard on both of us, but we're doing better.  Our vet and his staff were wonderful.  And they provide cremation services.  We've already got a spot picked out in the house for him to stay and I'll be doing a memorial grouping of pictures to hang on the wall above it. He'll be on the top of the bookcase he was never allowed to jump on (but frequently did when we weren't looking).  All of his canned food has already been donated to a pet rescue organization.

But life must go on, and Max was always a cruiser-cat who never let anything bother him, so the best way to honor him is to cruise thru this and get back to life.

To that end, I finished the proof-edits for BloodFlow last night.  Then I emailed the book to my Kindle for a final read-through.  I'll be doing that today so I can format this for upload this week.  It should be available for pre-order on the 13th, as planned.

I also got the new cover for Wish in One Hand this past week.  It's awesome.  And thanks so much to Maria Zannini for finding the flaw - we all missed a period. :gigglesnort:  The E in B.E. didn't have one after it.  Jessica fixed it up right quick and it's uploaded again.  She's working on the print cover now.  I'll be getting with her on the 14th to start work on the cover for In Deep Wish - due out in Feb/Mar. 

In sales news, I don't know what's going on, but no one's read any pages in any of the three books in a week.  Is Amazon having another glitch or are people just not reading much lately? :shrug:  I know I'm not reading much lately.

I read one book last week - The Hitwoman Hires a Manny by JB Lynn.  It was freakin' awesome and just what I needed to take my mind off everything.

I also made a cake.  Because Max would want me to eat cake.  Chocolate with extra thick chocolate frosting. 

And I went into the woods.  Wednesday morning, after we made the decision but before we could actually go to the vet's, I took my anger and frustration out on some dead trees.  I did more in the woods yesterday - because it was cold enough to not worry about being bit by a snake.  Trail 1 is now cleared halfway to the bottom of the property.  I knocked over another dead tree - which was so rotten it snapped off at the top while I was pushing it.  Yep, bonked me right in the head.  Lucky for me, my head is hard the wood was soft so no damage occurred.

Okay, that's about it.  Any updates to share with me this week?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Goodbye, Max

Max fought the good fight, but yesterday, we decided he'd had enough and did the kind thing.  Time to rest, old buddy. 

Goodbye, Max.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Too Much Too Much Too Much

What is it with the overload of everything these days?

Bacon, pumpkin spice, red velvet... if a little is good, a lot must be better right.  Spread that shit over everything.  Seriously.  I mean, I like bacon as much as the next guy, but I don't want it in my ice cream or my donuts or my Poptarts.  I like pumpkin.  (Not pumpkin spice - cinnamon and cloves are fine, but nutmeg makes me gag.)  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins... NOT pumpkin coffee.  And sorry, but I don't get the allure of red velvet.  Meh.  But it's everywhere like someone decided it was manna from the heavens.  It's vanilla. Dyed red. Might be a little creamier, but it's still just red vanilla flavor.

Everything is overdone.  And if it's not it's X-Treme.  Bigger, bolder, spicier, more in your face.  Your tastebuds will be blown away by this latest craze.  BLOWN. AWAY.  You can't just have spicy anymore either.  You have to have ghost chili spicy.  If your tongue doesn't want to rip itself off, jump out of your mouth, and run away, you're not doing it right.

I believe it was Aristotle who said something to the effect of 'everything in moderation.'  But who cares about Aristotle.  He's some dead dude anyway. America wants what it wants in large proportions, liberally distributed through every aspect of life.  They don't want a cheeseburger. They want a 1 pound steakburger with a half-pound of cheese covered in bacon and sriracha. 

We want a super-grande, double-whipped, half-caff, pumpkin-spiced latte with extra foam and sprinkles.

And that's certainly your right. 

I just don't get it.  How do you taste the coffee in there?  Or the burger under all that stuff?  How can you enjoy a single strip of bacon in all its bacony wonder when everything tastes like bacon?

You know, I think back in the old days, spices were used to cover up the taste of less-than-quality meats. Would the eaters of extra-spicy, in your face seasonings and extreme flavors even know when they were eating rancid meat before they were hit with the aftereffects of it? 

Me, I like to taste my food.  I like to stick with the moderation.  A little of this and a little of that goes a long way.  But that's me.  Just for petesakes, stop trying to make me eat red velvet.  Can't buy a cheesecake or muffin or petit four or donut assortment without someone sneaking red velvet in there.  Bleh.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Update - Week Whatever

Weary.  That's the word for it. 

Sorry I'm late with the Update, but it's been a day and it's only 8am.  I even slept in - according to the time change.  I got up at 7:15... then I changed the clocks, so it was only 6:15 - which kind of crapped out my morning win. 

I'm having a tough time focusing on the positives today, can ya tell?  So, here's the Negative Nelly version of Sunday Update...

I didn't finish my read-through of Fertile Ground.  I'm 50% thru and it's a hot mess.  This sucker is going to take sooo much work to make it publishable that I'll probably wimp out and leave this until the May launch.  Good thing In Deep Wish doesn't need as much work, so I'll have something to put out in March. Whether anyone will want to buy it?  :shrug:

I did a sale for Wish in One Hand.  :crickets:  October blew chunks for sales.

I got my edits yesterday afternoon.  I read the edit letter, gnashed my teeth, and set it all aside.  Definitely not in the brain space to deal. 

Max has taken a nosedive.  Oh, he's been in good spirits.  Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Playing with his toys.  Purring.  But he won't eat.  Each day since last Monday has been worse then the one before. And every day he doesn't eat well means he gets less perky and playful. I assume that the antibiotics are making everything taste gross.  (That happened with my Mom earlier this year.)  Nothing I offer him goads him to eat.  Until this morning when I pulled the last trick out of my bag and offered him canned roast beef.  He gobbled that up.  Let's see if it's still appetizing this afternoon.  And yes, I know that stuff is full of things that aren't necessarily good for cats to eat but when you're staring down the barrel of the choice between euthanasia and giving him food that might be bad for him, you choose the food.  I'd fix him canned sardines and ice cream if I thought he'd eat it.

And that's why I'm not in the brain space to deal with edits.  Or re-reads.  Or housework.  Or reading other people's books.  Or being Positive Polly.  My brain space is full.  And I am weary.

No worries.  This too shall pass.  And I will get my second wind.  Today, though, ain't looking good.  I think I need to go into the forest and chop wood.

What's the update from your space?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

This n That Thursday

I rock at Jeopardy when I'm at home, but I know if I ever tried to go on the show, I'd totally blank out. 

It's harder to find positive things to talk about when the cat won't eat. 

Ever wonder how you'd feel if you threw a party and no one came?

Walking in cooler weather seems easier, but my ass still hurts when I get home.

Early in the morning, I'm more likely to dream about emails or computer stuff.  I'll dream about checking my book stats and finding a huge spike in sales - which is just mean.  I'll dream I hit the bestseller lists.  This morning I dreamed I got an email from my cover artist telling me that after all the stuff we went through, my font is totally not going to work and she's going back to the old font.  Of course, when I wake up, none of these things are true.  I'm definitely not psychic.

I heard something on FB about walnut shells driving away spiders. It seemed doubtful, so I went online to check.  The opinions are mixed.  I also heard something about osage oranges driving away rodents which seems totally whacky since squirrels tend to munch on the weird looking things.

I had never seen an osage orange until last month. Hubs and I went to the lakeside park and when we were driving around I saw what I thought was a tree covered in huge, green apples.  We parked and walked over to it. Nope, not apples.  Hubs knew what they were, though.  Seriously weird looking fruits.

The vet prescribed L-Lysine for both cats. Max for his mouth and Kira for her eyes. It's a mineral supplement for humans, but is okay for cats, too.  Apparently it helps with tissue health and growth. :shrug:  We'll see.  At this point, I'm willing to try just about anything.  Lucky for me, Walmart carries a pill crusher.  Now I have to convince both cats to eat the food mixed with the crushed pill.  :eyeroll:

What on your this-n-that today?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Munday in the Life of This Writer

Munday* jumped me from behind, knocked me down, slapped me around, and kicked sand in my face. 

First I woke up to an internet slowness that would make you weep.  When I finally got my Gmail to load, I found an email from my cover artist with the first glimpse of WIOH's new cover, but I couldn't get it to load or download or anything.  I could see it in tiny thumbnail, but I wanted to see the whole thing and I couldn't.

By that time, it's late enough to call the tech support for the HIGH SPEED INTERNET that's currently making dial-up seem like a dream. I get someone who's talking so fast in an untraceable accent that I miss her name.  Ruby? Tootie?**  Other than talking too fast, she's not too bad.  However, on her end, she can't see anything wrong with my internet.  Must be the modem.  She's sending out a tech who'll be here before 7pm.  Okay, fine.  There goes my day online.  (It's worse for Hubs.  All of his work has to be done online.  I can at least go read or work offline on something.)

Time for the next chore: Making vet appointments for Max and Kira.  I tried three times and got a fast-busy signal - which made me wonder if the phone company was having a wider problem than just my slow internet.

So I called Mom.  But she was on another line dealing with a Monday of her own, so no time to talk.

Back to the vet.  I finally get through.  They don't have back to back appointments until Wednesday, and Max needs to get in sooner.  Sooo, I make an appointment for Max later in the day and one for Kira this afternoon.

Then I sit around staring and my computer, wishing for it to miraculously speed the hell up because I want to see my cover art!  And I need to check my sales data. No luck. 

I call Mom again.  She's finally free from her obnoxious chore.  We chitchat for a while - like we always do.  Until it's time for both of us to admit we probably should be doing other things.

I never realized how much I use the internet when I'm on the phone with her - looking things up that we talk about NOT doing stuff while she talks.  That would be rude.  I call my mom to talk to her.  But it was kind of annoying when I was relaying a story about a frog and couldn't go look up what kind of frog it was.

So anyway, I get off the phone.  Still crappy 'net.  I unload the dishwasher and wash the few things leftover from the night before.  Time to take a shower...

Except right then, the internet repair dude arrives.  They said 'before 7pm', so figured late afternoon at the earliest.  Don't get me wrong.  I was ecstatic to see him, but I was totally skagged out.  He comes in, plops himself down on the floor next to the router and gets to work.  He plugs his stuff into the router and it's all coming up daisies.  Well, fark.  So, he says it's the modem and begins swapping our 2 year old modem for a new one.  Yippy.  But when he tries to configure the new modem, he can't get the software to load because it's TOO SLOW.  He makes some calls, has another tech check some other stuff, does some magic, and announces something wrong with their big equipment.  Good news is I have internet again.  Bad news for him, he's got to check every piece of tech between the big box 5 miles away and our box in the neighborhood.  Might get some intermittent outages throughout the day, but it'll be fixed by the night.  Yay.

Shower time! Except it's also lunch time.  Eat first, shower after.  I have my priorities and growling stomach trumps clean hair.

So now I've eaten and I'm clean and I have an hour left before I have to jet down to the vet.  Chill out by watching a Bones rerun.  Get the cat into his harness, into the carrier and out to the car.  Off we go.  About 15 minutes down the road, I realize that I left the Max Daily Wellness Charts on the dining room table.  Find a safe place to pull over and park.  Call the Hubs and have him email the charts.  (He wasn't even mad at me.  Which he should've been.  He went through all that trouble, even putting them right next to my keys and pointing them out so I wouldn't forget.)  Off we go once more. 

The vet was jammed.  I was so tired I almost fell asleep in the exam room - because I missed my nap, dammit.  Max's recurring mouth infection is back and just a hair's breadth from going full blown.  New antibiotics, more steroids, and an over the counter supplement I need at Walmart.  Lucky for me, they held onto Max while I scooted over to the store.  Get that stuff, pick Max up along with his new meds, and skitter home. 

The rest of the day was a blur.  The internet is back to normal.  The cat is medicated and eating beef babyfood like it's Filet Mignon.  I got to see my lovely new cover and sent a couple minor tweaks off to the artist to see what she can do.  Font stuff mostly. 

By bedtime, I was bushed.  And for some reason my eyes felt like someone had thrown a handful of sand in them.  So, yes, Munday did thrown sand in my face after all.  ;o)

How was your Munday?

*MUNDAY - when it's so bad, it's not a normal MON type of day.

** for the record, her name was JOVI. I made her spell it for me.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 42

It's Sunday and I'm sitting here wondering where last week went.  Hell, I'm wondering where January through September and the first half October went, too. Zoom.  Right by me. 

Anyway, piecing together the last week, here's what I came up with...

I finalized the cover for BloodFlow and posted it on Outside the Box on Friday.  In case you missed it or don't feel like clicking over there, here it is:


I also finalized the blurb.  I'll post that on Outside the Box tomorrow.

I didn't want to wait for the newsletter to come out and I'm really not sure why I have a newsletter.  The people who subscribe are all people who follow me on FB or on the blogs or on Twitter, and holding newsletter contests really doesn't seem to be netting me any new subscribers. (The last contest, I drew the name of someone who already had the book.  Yay, Janet!) So, I'll continue to reward the people who follow me everywhere else and maybe let the newsletter lie dormant until I figure out a way to get people interested.  
We're still on track for launch on November 24th.  I hope to have it available for pre-order on the 13th. 

A friend just now sent me a link to this Q&A with Bella Andre.  She's my self-publishing idol.  Which reminds me that I really need to get cranking on these sequels. Right now, I'm still trying to decide between Djinn2 and SCIU2.  I read through Djinn2 (In Deep Wish) and love it. I'm reading through SCIU2 (Fertile Ground) right now and I'm loving it, too.  Ack, decisions.  If I could afford it and wouldn't think I'd break my editor and my sanity, I'd push them out back to back. 

I read three books in the past few days, but only one of them is available - Until Proven Innocent by my good friend, JB Lynn.  It rocked.  I also read a beta copy of a book that's due out 10/31.  And I read In Deep Wish.  Those last two don't count toward my Goodreads goal (yet), and I'm like 12 books behind.  I knew going into this year that 100 books was too high a goal.  :shrug:

 Other than that?  :shrug:  What's up in your world?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why Do You Drink?

And no, that's not a lead-in for that song. 

I think about it from time to time - the days, months, years when I drank alcohol.  The nights I came stumbling home, crawled across the house and into the bathroom for a top-level meeting with The Porcelain God.  (Once I crawled right past my father who promptly woke my mother to have her go find out if I was going to live. I was over 21, or I would've gotten way worse then him laughing at me the next day.)  The time I got alcohol poisoning from a night trading shots of Scotch in my dorm room after a particularly bad break up. 

I was never an alcoholic.  I didn't drink because I needed to.  I drank because it was there and my friends were drinking, or I wanted to blot out the world, or I wanted to hush my thoughts.  Oh, I won't say I didn't come close to being an alcoholic a time or three.  If you have a drink every night and several on the weekends, you come to expect to have a drink every night.  And when you don't, you can get a little testy. 

I started drinking probably when I was in middle school.  Little nips from Dad's stash.  I'd get home from school and make myself a drink.  Never very much - because if Dad noticed his bottles were lower than he remembered, he would've tanned my hide.  The first time I got drunk, I was 16 and a friend threw a party. I told the folks she was having a sleepover.  I never thought I could be that sick.  And one would think I'd be smart enough after that night to never drink again.  Nope.  I was stupid and that was the first of many many nights spent hurling after all my 'fun'. 

Man, could I drink.  Like I had a hollow leg.  Throw back a 40 of beer? No prob.  Pound a bottle of Boones Farm? I was so there.  Of course, that was when I was young.  I tapered off the older I was and the more responsible I had to be.

The beginning of the end of my drinking happened right around the time I got married 11+ years ago.  Hubs doesn't drink.  He didn't have a problem with my having a drink, but he didn't join in. He'd tell me to go ahead and order a drink when we were out, but drinking lost its appeal.

Of course, I didn't quit cold-turkey.  Over the years, I just couldn't see the need for it anymore.  And the longer I spent not drinking, the less I could remember why it had any appeal in the first place. Fuzzy head, unfocused eyes, loss of control, hangovers? Yeah, some fun.

I had my last drink a few years ago.  Fixed myself a Kahlua and creme while I made dinner.  I had writing to do that night and I guess I thought it would loosen me up.  Nope.  A few sips in and I was like bleh.  When the alcohol started working, I felt nauseous.  I dumped the rest of it down the drain.

Oh, I still miss the taste of a quality gin and tonic.  Yum.  If they made non-alcoholic G&Ts, I'd be all over that shit.  Luckily, when I have a taste for a beer, I can run down to the store and buy O'Douls.  I'd love a glass of wine - if they made a good Riesling sans alcohol.  :shrug:

Anyway, I've spent some time thinking about why I drank.  Mostly it was to escape.  To blank out.  To not have to think about my problems for a little while.  Sometimes, I drank because, like I said, my friends were drinking and it seemed like the thing to do.  We were having fun.  Except, in retrospect, we probably could've had just as much fun without the booze and we wouldn't have had all the nasty side effects afterwards.  Sometimes I drank to 'loosen up'.  But I know now, I can be relaxed without the liquid encouragement.

Why does anyone drink?  Why do you drink?  I don't really want an answer because it's none of my business.  I just hope you to think about it a little.  If you're satisfied with the answer, more power to you. Lord knows, I'm the last person to judge anyone for drinking.  If you're not satisfied with the answer, though, maybe next time you order a drink make it straight OJ.  That way, you won't get harassed by your friends because you can always pretend it was a screwdriver or a fuzzy navel.  =o)

Mmmmm... fuzzy navel.   I do miss the taste of those.  And I used to make these things I called a stealth bomber - back during the Gulf War.  OMG, yum. Peach/Orange Juice, peach schnapps, lemon vodka. Tasted so good you never saw it coming and then BOOM.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This n That Thursday

According to the newspaper, a bald eagle has been sighted in the area.  I haven't seen one yet.

Yesterday, on the way home from Wallyworld, I saw three red-tailed hawks and a red-shouldered hawk.  Then a wild turkey flew up out of the ditch in front of the car in front of me.  The turkey made it up and across without getting hit.  Yay.  Then I was almost home when I rounded a corner where I'd noticed a dead squirrel earlier.  Sure enough, a black vulture was making a meal.  I rolled up slowly and the vulture took off safely.  Then he circled back around and I almost hit him. He flew over the hood of my car and went back to his brunch.  Silly bird.  No gray squirrel is worth dying for.

We've begun raking leaves.  Should be finished by mid-December - depending on how fast Oberon drops his leaves. 

Oberon is a huge white oak tree that was probably around for the Civil War, maybe for the Revolution.  At some point his center trunk snapped off and so he spread out in other directions.  I'm told this is called a fairy oak - hence the name Oberon.

The hummingbirds are gone for the winter.  I still have to take the feeder down.

I'm tired of marketing.  (As of last night.)  I know I don't have time to be tired of it because when I stop, so do the sales.  I'll be better after some sleep.  I am truly thankful for all the friends who've been such a help - tweeting and retweeting and sharing posts and liking posts.  :hugs:

What's on your this-n-that line up today?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nature: What a Bitch.

I went out into the woods just now.  Just taking a peek to see what I have to do to clean off the trails I made last year.

Oh holy crap on a cracker.

Half a dead tree fell across the start of trail 2, bending a poor little buckthorn to the ground.  Moved that and propped the buckthorn up. A little tree (15-20ft long) uprooted and fell across the intersection of trail 2, trail 3, and auxiliary trail 1.  A large limb had also fallen near there. Moved the limb.  Needed more tools to move the fallen tree.  A large tree has fallen partway across trail 2 just past the crossroads. It's hanging about 7 feet above the trail. Only a smaller tree is holding it up. Trail 2 is unsafe to traverse until the tree is removed. Went down trail 3.  More fallen limbs and fallen trees.  Only made it halfway to the bottom before I gave up.  I can't even tell where my old trail was past that point.  It's like I was never in there to begin with - except for a couple places where I can tell I cut limbs. I don't even want to think about what trail 1 looks like.

You know, nature doesn't give a damn what we do. When our backs are turned, she waltzes through doing her own thing and generally messing with what we had intended.  Bitch.

Wait'll I get the pretty pink chainsaw I've always wanted.  I'll show her that I won't be denied.  I will have trails.  I will walk from the top of my property to the bottom without worrying whether I'll step on a rattler.  I will remove the dead shit so the living stuff can thrive! 

And then, of course, she'll play around again next summer and by autumn it'll all be messed up again.

Oh well, at least it gives me something to do when I need a break from writing.  =o)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 41

It's that time again, folks!  Sunday Update!

We shall not speak of college football.  I'm still nauseous.

In case you weren't around last week, Dying Embers was on sale 10/14-10/17.  It wasn't as good as if I'd gotten an ENT ad, but sales were certainly better than they have been.  It even hit the top 100 in Serial Killer Suspense, so I got that going for me.

My new artist and I are on the same page, and she's going to play with a few things for me to look at for the new cover of Wish in One Hand.  Please, gods who govern the djinn, let this work this time.

I finished the edit round for BloodFlow and sent it off to my editor.  She'll look it over again and send me another set of notes by the end of the month.  Woohoo.

I'm re-reading Djinn2 - In Deep Wish - and making notes.  Then I'll read SCIU2 - Fertile Ground - and make notes.  THEN I'll make a decision about which one gets published next.  Good news is I'm totally loving In Deep Wish, and I'm about halfway through the re-read.  Other good news is that I wrote this long enough ago that it's surprising me.  (Whoa, totally forgot THAT was gonna happen.)

I spent part of yesterday raking paths through the leaves so Max could go for a walk around the yard.  Silly cat hates walking on fallen leaves.  The afternoon walk after I raked went so much easier.  Of course, satellite photos of the yard right now would look like a leaf maze.

In case you missed it, I did a blog hop on Friday.  It was fun.  I posted a snippet of BloodFlow and a recipe for Hubs' favorite cake.

Oh, while raking leaves I found a tiny snake curled up under a pile on the stone walkway.  It didn't appear to be venomous, and it was very lethargic from the cold, so I used a stick to scoop it onto a shovel and then set it free in the vacant lot next door.

What's on the Update for you today?

Edited to add: The tiny snake was a baby Texas brown snake. Totally harmless. (I could tell it was harmless by the shape of its widdle head. The whole snake was maybe 6" long and no bigger around that a fat nightcrawler.)

Egads, I totally forgot to mention that I'm doing a Kindle Countdown Deal for Accidental Death this week.  99c Thursday thru Saturday again.  Pass it along.