Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 22

There is not enough coffee in the world this morning. 

Okay, so here's what happened last week in my world:

Has it only been a week?  Sheesh. 

Okay, so last Monday, my ad went up at Ereader News Today.  Thanks to that ad, Dying Embers reached #9 on the Kindle/Mystery, Thriller, Suspense/Crime Fiction/Serial Killers list and #19 for all books on the same list. Plus, it was the #1692 in all books of any kind. 

And since then, I've been hovering nicely in the 30s.  Needless to say, I am now slightly obsessed with checking my sales, rankings, and reviews.  We'll see if Dying Embers has any staying power after I raise the price tonight.  (It's .99 now and will be going up to 2.99.)

Side-stepping my obsession for a moment, I also began work on a new book.  I'm just under 3K words in and I'm loving it.  What's the new book?  Well, it's the next book in the Dennis Haggarty mysteries.  The idea hit me and I ran with it. 

Don't worry, I'm still working on editing Bloodflow for an Autumn Release. 

In other news, our yard has been the local meeting ground for the area bucks this week.  We've counted like 5 or 6 different individuals - judging by their different rack configurations.  Their antlers are all soft and fuzzy looking, but some of these dudes are going to be racked up this fall.  Little Elias has tiny antlers and he's still followed his mama around.  Awww.  Plus, we're seeing a new visitor - Teeny-Tiny Tina.  She has to be a yearling doe, but she's so small, it's hard to tell she's not a fawn. 

Back to book news... I received my box of paperback copies of Accidental Death.  I still have to contact the winner of the newsletter contest to let her know she won a copy.  Other copies will be going in the mail tomorrow. 

I also heard from the cover artist for Wish in One Hand and I should be seeing a draft copy of that soon. 

Oh, and the editor for WIOH is slaving away.  Mid-August is still the tentative release date - barring Armageddon. 

What's up in your world?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Reading List

The other day I mentioned key pieces of fiction that I want to read or re-read.  Today I thought I'd give you all an idea of what I meant by that.

Now, I'm not talking about books in my TBR (to be read) pile.  Although some of the books in my pile are included in the reading list, and the ones I acquire will definitely be added to the pile, this list and that list are not the same.  I'm talking about books and authors I feel like I missed somewhere along the way, OR books and authors I loved once upon a time but somehow lost, sold, or never owned (i.e. library borrowed books I want to own now).

Like the Dragonlance trilogy I bought the other day.  Loved it when I borrowed it, but never owned it, and totally wanted to.

So, now that I have a dealer... err, used bookstore... I can readily access, I'm working on finding those books.

The first on the list is a paperback copy of Elfstones of Shannara - in the original cover with Wil, Amberle, and Crispin in front of the big wooden door, waiting for the demon to strike.  The bookstore owner has that on a list so if she gets it, it's reserved for me.

Other books on the list include:

Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep? by Heinlein
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
The Book of Lost Swords series by Fred Saberhagen*
I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane**
The Jon Tom series by Alan Dean Foster*
Books 4-6 of the Xanth series by Piers Anthony*
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
The middle novels from the StarDoc series by S.L. Viehl***

I recently acquired several books that were on the list before, so I'm getting there. Now I just need to find the time to read.  LOL

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
a book by Elmore Leonard (an author I haven't read yet, but the bookstore gal assured me I needed to)
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Several other Mickey Spillane novels I haven't read yet. (Love Mickey.  Must read all of his books.)

There are others, of course, but like always happens when I'm actually at the store, I can't remember titles right now.  I need to make a list to take with me when I'm out there so I know enough to look for them.

What older books do you want to read or re-read?  Do you keep a list?  Do you ever feel like there are books you ought to read?

* books I read a long time ago, and want to own now
** My copy is shot and I want to read it again without the book falling apart in my hands
*** Damn hard to find without paying an arm and a leg

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 21

Yeah, yeah, it's Memorial Day Weekend.  :yawn:  I got stuff to do.  I don't have time to take a three day weekend.  Hell, weekends around here are pretty-much meaningless anyway.  I work all week and take time off when I want to.  In fact, if I'm lucky and the weather ever stops dumping water on us, I'm going fishing midweek this week.  I have some new artificial crawdads I want to try and I bought a package of something called GULP.  This kind looks like minnows and is supposed to 'smell' yummy to fish.

Anyway, that's for the week ahead.  Stepping into the wayback machine courtesy of Mr. Peabody and Sherman (the real ones - not the CGI of today), here's what happened last week:

Accidental Death launched!  It didn't have the minor explosion out of the gate that Dying Embers did, but it had a bigger explosion Friday, so I'm happy.  I so want this book to do well.  (I want them all to do well, but this one is closer to home for me.)  I've already sold more this month than the first month Dying Embers was out there in the world.  Yay.  And I discovered last night that the paperback is now available through Amazon, so I got that going for me.

Wish in One Hand is with the editor for a first pass.  I don't expect this one to be that in need of editing - since several people helped me edit it before I sent it to Baen - but we'll see what she has to say.  And the cover artist - Howard David Johnson - is working on that for me.  His other work is amazing and beautiful, and I have great hopes for this cover.  I expect to launch this in August - good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.  For anyone who has been following along, this book was previously known as Djinnocide, and for those that haven't, it's a paranormal suspense with genies.

I'm also working on editing Bloodflow for a fall launch.  I started playing with cover ideas yesterday.  Man, iStock is expensive.  $33 for 3 images.  Now I have to decide which three are exactly what I need so I don't waste money playing around.  Bloodflow is a political / techno suspense set in Washington, D.C. and has some delicious intrigue, vicious plots, and dead bodies (natch).

Tomorrow, keep an eye out at Ereader News Today.  My ad for Dying Embers is due to go up.

In other news, I found a three-legged, three-toed box turtle in the yard.  Little girl was marching diligently down the hill, totally unafraid of me or anything else.  She didn't even close up when I lifted her off the ground.  She hissed a little and then stared at me.  Her missing leg is an old injury and she's so over it.  I set her down and off she went.

The wildflower seeds I scattered in the cedar garden last year, that brought me lots of lovely blooms, has come back this year - despite my planting a forsythia smack in the middle and loads of marigolds around.  I have no idea what these plants are, but they're lovely.  Plus, last year's marigolds reseeded themselves, so I'll have those blooming all summer. 

Oh, and finally, last night I got the writing bug.  Whew.  After however long not writing new words, it was like a damn broke.  I got a glimmer of an idea, sat down at the keyboard, and churned out 1700 words lickety-split.  I so want to tell y'all about the story, but I don't want to jinx it.  And man, let me tell ya, yesterday I was so restless I couldn't hardly stand myself.  Then I wrote and all was well.  Sometimes you just gotta let the words out or they start to drive ya nuts.  Just sayin'.

What's happening in your world lately?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This n That Thursday - Lovecraft and Love of Craft

I was at the used bookstore the other day, chatting about my books and looking for some key pieces of fiction I want to read or I want to re-read.  During the course of my conversation with the owner, I asked about the guy who wrote the Cthulu stories - because I couldn't remember his name for the life of me.  She said Lovecraft and told me she only had one book in by him. When she pulled it off the shelf, she discovered she hadn't priced it yet, so while I was looking for other stuff, she went online. 

I could tell by the shake of her head, it wasn't going to be good.  I mean $25 isn't gross, but it sure wasn't in the budget.  I told her 'I'm buying myself a birthday present.  I love myself, but not THAT much' and we both laughed.  She tucked the book back on the shelf.  I paid her for the old Bradbury's I picked out.  I figured that was that. 

After I arrived home, I noticed a Facebook message from her saying the book I was looking for was in.  And I thought it was the one book I have her watching for - The Elfstones of Shannara in the original paperback cover.  I kind of laughed because it would figure that the book would come in right after I stopped by.  It's not like I can just jog over there.  The next time I was in town, I stopped by the store.  And she hands me the Lovecraft.

"Happy Birthday", she says.

"How?  What?  Oh, you must've seen my birthday on Facebook."

"No.  You said it was your birthday when you were in here."


I looked at it and then I looked at her.  She hurriedly tells me she checked the pricing again and it wasn't what she thought.  I said, "Good, because we're friends, but not that good of friends" and we both laughed again.  Of course, I gave her a hug.  I'm not that big a hugger in real life, but the situation called for it.  And she's not that big a hugger either, but she agreed. 

Now, that's what I call loving what you do for a living.  She loves books.  She loves being able to share her love of books with other people.  (Hence, the love of craft thing from the subject up there.)  I love writing and reading.  I love being able to share that with you and with her and with damn near everyone who will listen.  We're kind of kindred spirits that way - me and the bookstore gal. 

BTW, Neither of us is even sure I'll enjoy the Lovecraft.  He was just on the list of writers I haven't read yet, but feel I ought to read. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sunday... err, Tuesday Update... err Updates: Week ??

Hey Everybody!

Well, I dropped the ball on the Sunday Update the last couple weeks.  Do I get a pass because one week was Mother's Day and the other was my anniversary??  :shrug:

A lot has happened in the past couple weeks.  Not sure if I remember it all.  Everything's a blur lately.  Let's see what I can rebuild...

I published my second book yesterday which is part of the reason why I can't think.  Publishing a book is all encompassing.  Eat, Drink, Sleep (when I can) and Breathe the book.  Nothing but the book.  Book.

After I set Accidental Death for publication, I worked on getting Dying Embers out to additional sales outlets.  Pretty much everything there went live yesterday.  Now, you can get it on B&N and Apple and Kobo and Scribd...  Go over to the Suspense page on B.E. Sanderson - Outside the Box for links and junk.

My cover reveal went live on Omnimystery News on the 8th, but my book excerpt had to be pushed back.  It'll go up tomorrow.

I cut my hair.  Looks pretty good.  I'm getting the hang of this.  I think.

Mice have overrun the garage for some reason.  They're stealing Max's food.  He killed one the other day for that infraction.  Last night, they got into the tissues I assumed were safe because they're up high, but no.  The mice were making a home in Max's linens on that same shelf and they must've needed a Kleenex to complete the decor or something.  Needless to say, the linens are being washed today and various mice eradication devices have been set where Max cannot access them.

I turned 45 yesterday.  Woohoo.

We saw a baby bunny on our walk the other day.  So cute.

The titmice have returned to next in the cinder blocks that are holding up our sun porch.  All day every day they fly back and forth with various insects.  It looks tiring.

The deer are fat-pregnant and should be dropping fawns soon.

Okay, that's all I can think of for now.  Have to get jetting along to Wallyworld so I can pick up cat food.  Have an awesome day everyone, and I'll try to get back on track with these updates.  Sorry for the slacking off.  :hugs:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This n That Thursday

I'm a total toad today.  I spent yesterday entering the final tweaks to Accidental Death and then loading it for pre-order at Amazon.  And now I'm spent.  But I still have a ton of things to do, so I better get off my ass and get to work.

I don't want to talk about Accidental Death today, but my brain is filled up with it.  Let's see if some trivial stuff helps...

Did you know earthworms are hermaphroditic?  Two worms mate and they both crawl away pregnant.  (At least that's what I remember learning.  I'm too scattered to go look it up this morning.)

Speaking of mating, male three-toed box turtles have a concave shell underneath so they don't fall off during mating.  That's how I knew this one was a girl - flat under shell.  (Plus, her head isn't brightly striped with red and orange.)

Sorry it's blurry, but I took this one out the window from the sun porch.  When I went outside to get a better picture, she closed up until after I left.
Shy little gal.

The other day when I was coming home from the store, I rounded a corner near the house and there was a roadrunner standing in the middle of the road.  I slowed down and waited.  He turned and started running away from the car - right down the middle of the road.  So there I was slowly rolling behind this bird until he decided to turn left and hop across the ditch.  Rural world problems.  LOL

I'm still trying to get pics of the roadrunners around here, but they're elusive buggers.

Speaking of rural, do you get commercials for where you're at?  It's a dating website for farmers and the people who want to love them.  Their theme song gets stuck in my head.  "You don't have to be lonely... at" 

And on that note, I'll turn it over to you.  What this n that do you have in your world?  Tell me something that'll take my mind off this book launch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

Since I grew up with this, I assumed everyone knew about hot milk sponge cake, but after a friend said she'd never heard of it, I thought I should probably pass along the recipe.  Then I rethought.  I'm not sure if Mom would kill me, or if one of my sisters would kill me, or if some other distant relative would kill me.  I mean, it's not a state secret, but it's a family recipe I don't have permission to post online, so here's a comparable recipe, if you're interested.

Anyway, I have many fond memories of eating this, and watching Mom make it, and of making it myself.  Or rather, I have fond memories of Mom having made it and myself having made it.  The memories of actually making it are gone.  Weird.  :shrug:

So, I've made this tons of times.  I know I have.  By myself.  In my own home.  In Michigan.  After I moved out of the state, I couldn't make this damn thing work for love nor money.  It came out weird in Florida.  It came out like a thick, flat, weirdly-textured cookie in Colorado and Utah.  The only thing I could think of as a culprit was the altitude.  The last time I tried - because I wanted to impress my new husband with the awesomeness of hot milk sponge cake depressed me so bad, I didn't try again until yesterday.  (Yeah, he was new at the time, so about 11 years.)

I was VERY careful.  I measured everything out precisely.  I followed the directions exactly.  And after I discovered that I couldn't actually remember the steps to KNOW that I was doing it right, I hoped like hell I was doing it right.  I almost called Mom, but she was in the middle of her own Mother's Day thing, so I bit the bullet and forged ahead. 

Thirty minutes went by.  I peeked.  It looked right but too light and the toothpick was wet.  Three minutes later, checked again.  Not yet.  Three minutes, three minutes, three minutes...  I don't know how many three minute increments later, the top was a lovely golden brown and the damn toothpick was clean!  Hallelujah! 

But would it taste right?  I waited as long as I could - which means it was still pretty warm - but I sliced into it.  I don't remember it being that dense... but I don't remember a lot of shit, so that wasn't a big deal.  I do remember the crunchy edges and the spongy goodness of the soft center.  HUZZAH!  I did it!  Took me 14 freakin' years, but I did it!

I made strawberries with sugar to create shortcake later.  And it was awesome. 

I know I shouldn't be so weirdly excited about this, but I am.  I won!  Yay!

And since the strawberry thing isn't a family recipe here goes:

2-3 lbs strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup sugar

Slice berries to about 1/4 to 1/2" thick into a big bowl.  Sprinkle cup of sugar all over the berry slices.  Stir with big spoon.  Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.  (The longer you have them in the fridge, the more the sugar has a chance to make juice with the strawberries.)  Stir every once in a while.  Taste test, and if they don't taste sweet enough, add more sugar.  If you like less sweet, start with a half cup of sugar and add from there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday Update will return on Tuesday this week.  Until then, have a Happy Mother's Day!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

This n That Thursday

The deer around here are fat pregnant.  Holy cow.  I feel bad for them, waddling through the woods with their big ol' bellies.  I hope they drop fawns soon.  Because they're all huge and in need of extra calories, Hubs is keeping the feed pans full and making sure they have fresh water. 

The other day I was at Wally World and I got this young lady cashier who reminds me of my daughter.  (Mostly because of her looks and a little because of her attitude.)  Well, she was grumpy that day and she was determined to continue to be grumpy, no matter what kind of funny story I told.  (In my attempts to cheer her up, I think I might've actually made her grumpiness worse. :shrug:)  I was really bummed for her.  I mean, she's 19 and has a whole life ahead of her. She's got a job, she's got her health, she lives in a gorgeous area.  And then I remembered me at that age.  OMG, I was a total downer.  Negativity reigned supreme.  Sarcastic and cynical and determined Murphy's Law was out to get me.  Bleh.  I'd like to go back in time and shake myself.  I mean, I eventually got over it.  It took a lot of growing up and some wise insights by some friends, but I did get over it.  I hope that gal gets over it, too.

The flat opossum is still in the road. 

Hubs and I both have a case of the crud.  His is worse than mine. 

I got my final edits from the editor.  I'm about halfway through those and then I need to send it to someone else to proof and then do another proof-through myself.  I'd like all of this to happen by early next week, so I can set the book up for pre-order with at least a few days for some of you to order ahead of time.  In order for all of that to happen, though, I need to bust my ass today.

What's up in your world?  What are you doing to keep a little positivity in your life? 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 18

Good morning, Everyone!

Yesterday, I was feeling pretty good - despite having a scratchy throat the day before (ugh, allergies) - so I went out into the world.  The first place I typically stop is the gas station for a beverage.  So, I snag a Dew and head for the cash register, contemplating whether to buy lottery tickets.  The gal at the register, who sees me about once a week, took one look at me and said something about how angry I looked.  "What's wrong?  You usually look happy when you come in here."  I laughed.  Then I told her I have what is known as 'resting bitch face'.  We laughed together and I bought two lottery tickets to go with my Dew.  (Didn't win, btw.)

A little while later after my needs were met at Wally-world, I took the leap and stopped by the local indie bookstore.  I've been wanting to stop and meaning to stop and absolutely terrified to stop for a while now.  Cuz walking into a bookstore to chat about my book scares the crap out of me.  And I told the bookstore gal that after we'd gotten to talking.  She's a really cool person.  We chatted books and authors and my work and her work.  I gave her a copy of Dying Embers and some swag to go with it.  She gave me the names of some local writerly people who might help with getting my work out there.  Then I bought some books I've been wanting - chiefly, the first three books in the Dragonlance series :happy sigh:, as well as a couple books by Sarah A. Hoyt, and the next book in the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd.  Sadly, she was out of Silence of the Lambs. 

In other news, this past week saw the maiden voyage of both Hubs' fishing boat and my newsletter.  We had fun on the boat and subscribers had fun with the newsletter.  It's all good.

Except Hubs and I now have the fishing bug.  Last night after dinner, we were chatting and then decided to throw the rods in the car and drive to a local spot.  We didn't catch anything, but it was lovely out, and it gave me a chance to practice casting.  I suck at that.  My reel is now a gnarly mass of knots.  It was a blast.  And we got to see the moonrise over the river.  Then we came home. 

Things are ramping up for the release of Accidental Death, and to that end, I decided to lower the price of Dying Embers to .99 for the month of May.  I love May.  It's my favorite month.  So, my love of May and my excitement over the publication of my second book means readers win.  Spread the word.  (I mean, once Amazon actually updates the book's listing with the 99 cent price.)

And since Accidental Death is releasing soon, I'm moving ahead with some marketing.  I'll be on Omnimystery News this coming Friday with my cover reveal and a week later with a book excerpt.  Plus, I designed up some postcards and bookmarks for the release.  Yay! 

The gal at the local bookstore thinks I need to go to a regional book event coming up in a few weeks.  I think she's probably right, but... :shudder:  It's hard to even think about putting myself out there with other writers - IN PERSON - especially after all those years of not telling most people in real life that I write books.  I'm thinking about it, though.  I mean, Tess Gerritsen's going to be there.  That alone terrifies the hell out of me... err... makes me interested in going.

Anyway, that's all I can think of write now.  I hope you all had awesome weeks last week and that this coming week is amazing for all of you.