Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Nothing Shocking to See Here

This morning I'm having a tough time thinking of anything to write for the blog that won't get someone's undies in a twist somewhere.  I mean, some blogs revel in the volley of arrows.  Like 'shock-jocks' for the blogging world, they throw things out (sometimes in the most vulgar terms possible) and hope people will scream about them, so they can get more followers or something.  I dunno. I've stopped following those bloggers.

Others bring up timely topics because they genuinely feel they need to be discussed, and they weather whatever shitstorm ensues.  I think these people believe they can change things by having an open discussion.  :shrug:  Maybe they can.  It seems like the majority of their commenters are either agreeing with them or rabidly disagreeing, so not much is likely to change.  I still follow some of these because their posts are thoughtful and thought provoking.  I try not to read the comments.  (Sometimes it's like driving past an accident scene, though, and I can't help but look.)

A few bring up hot-button issues because they've reached a point, I believe, where they have to get their thoughts off their chests and out into the world.  I follow them like I've always followed them - unless their hot-button post shows me a side of them I really don't like.  That's really rare, though.

Right now, the nation and the interwebs seems to be filled with things that will piss people off.  I know they're certainly pissing me off.  I've written countless posts that have either been deleted or are languishing in 'drafts'.  Sometimes just the writing of them helps.  Like lancing a boil.  Other people don't really need to see that process. 

It's possible that putting those ideas out there would garner me a few new readers, and from them, maybe a few more sales.  I wonder about it sometimes.  And then I remember that I don't want to be that kind of person.  I don't want this to be that kind of blog. 

Oh, I'm sure that on occasion, I say things that will likely piss a few people off.  It's not my intention.  Most likely, I will say something from time to time that might offend someone somewhere.  Also not my intention.  I am what I am.  Love me or leave me or be bland about me - your choice. 

I realize sometimes I push the boundaries of milquetoast - in real life, not in my writing - and don't give readers a reason to stay.  Not much I can do about that if I'm not willing to get all up in your faces.

So, if you were looking for something to get your blood pressure going this morning, sorry.  Nothing shocking to see here.  I still hope you'll stay.  I really hope you'll buy a book or two.  Especially since part of the reason I'm not really exciting here is that I put all the excitement into my novels.  ;o)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 26

Woooo!  Last week marked the halfway point in the year! 

Okay, I'm not really that excited, but exclamation points are easy to type to convey an excitement I can't quite manage this morning. 


So, last week...  Yeah, it was a week.  But yesterday was so over the top for me that it'll take me a minute to remember what else happened. 

Yesterday.  First thing, I went outside, coated myself with Deep Woods Cutter, and attacked some more grapevines. I think I got them all this time.  Then I showered and chilled out.  Not too long before noon, the Kid called to chat - which was cool.  (Everything's good with her, btw.)  About 15 minutes in on what would probably be our usual hour phone call, another call beeps in.  I thought it might be a telemarketer, but rather than ignore it, I checked the caller ID.  It was my neighbor. Rather than go into a bunch of stuff I have no right posting on the webs, suffice it to say, after all was handled, Hubs and I were tired.  And my day where I had promised to work all day was shot to hell.  Worth it, but still. I did get one chapter edited first thing, so I got that going for me.  Which is nice.

Then last night, someone somewhere in the neighborhood decided to celebrate our nation's birth a week early.  It sounded like a reenactment of the battle in the War of 1812 about which Francis Scott Key wrote what would become our national anthem.  They held showings at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, and midnight. 

For some reason, I woke up at 4am this morning, so today ain't looking too awfully productive either.

I am up to about 30% of WIOH proofed, so I must've done some of that last week. I probably won't make the July 1st deadline of having this back to the editor.  I have until mid-August to get this done, though.  I know I wrote a little in Natural Causes.  And I read some of my dystopian to see if I still think it's as viable as I used to.  The answer is 'yes' but it needs a boatload of work to get it up to publishable.

I read some stuff.  Helped a friend by doing some beta reading.  Watched some senior golf - which was a nice change.  I'm rooting for Tom Watson.  Nothing else comes to mind.  I know I did other stuff, but everything blurs together after a while.

What's up in your world?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

This n That Thursday

How is it Thursday again already??

I bought a $1 scratch off ticket the other day and it said I won another ticket.  I redeemed it today and won another ticket.  I wonder how long I can keep this up.

Our yearling deer has a damaged antler.  They were both growing fine, and then one day he showed up and one of them looked funky.  Now, the left one is growing and the right one isn't.  We're calling him D.A. but I suspect it's little Elias from last year.

We've had so much rain recently that the river by the house is swollen and brown.  I still saw a guy out there fishing the other day.  And some little girl caught a freakin' 20" walleye on a perch rig - basically, a worm and a hook. 

I made a picture of what the world would look like without anything to offend anyone:

I call it 'Inoffensive'.  Shortly after I posted it on FB, a friend stopped by to let me know she was offended by pictures of static.  :smirk:  Another stopped to let me know she was offended by people who were offended by offensive things.  (Or something like that.  The logic was dizzying.)  In short, I have awesome friends.

I also made a cover for a book I'm not even sure when I'll publish.  But it looks awesome.

I made the above pic and my awesome cover with my old program, but I did download something that is supposed to be comparable with Photoshop.  If that's what Photoshop is like, I still prefer my old program.  I just wish it would stop giving me Out of Memory errors when I try to work with large files.  And I'd love the ability to work with text at less than 100%.

Did you know that certain birds hide food?  That's why a nuthatch is called a nuthatch - it hides nuts in the bark of trees.  Titmice do it, too. 

What kinds of this n that do you have for me this week?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Update - Week...

...oh god don't make me go look up the week #. It's the next week and almost midway through the year.  But I'm too tired to even guess at it. 

I don't think there's enough coffee on the planet to get me going this morning.  Ugh.

So anyhoo, here's what's been happening...

I have Wish in One Hand pretty much edited and now I'm just waiting for the proofer to get back from a trip. Which means I have about ten days to work on Natural Causes.

I'm up to about 15K words on NC. 

I have the final cover art for WIOH.  It rocks.  Everything should be a go to launch this book in August as planned. 

Tomorrow on Outside the Box, I'll talk about the results from my latest two advertising adventures.  I've submitted Accidental Death for advertising at Ereader News Today, but I haven't heard back from them yet, so I don't know if they'll accept it or turn me down flat. 

I saw an otter yesterday.

Tropical Depression Bill dumped about 4 inches of rain here.  Everything is floody.  The river is the color of cocoa.  (Real cocoa made with melted chocolate - not dry mix.)  I did, however, successfully make it to Walmart yesterday as the flooding is all north of here and Walmart is to the south.  Yay. 

I made a batch of Apple-Cranberry Bread.  Click the link to see the recipe I use.

In reading news, I finally got around to reading The Nothing by Kerry Schafer.  It totally rocked and I wish I'd made the time to read it when it hit my Kindle.  I also beta read an awesome romantic suspense, but I can't talk about that yet.  Now I'm reading the first Sookie Stackhouse novel by Charlaine Harris.  It's okay, but it's not blowing my skirt up yet.

What's up in your world?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

This n That Thursday

I don't want to talk about my books, so I'm not gonna.  So there.  =op

We're in the midst of Tropical Dude Bill, and it's really not as wet as they predicted so far.  3/4 of an inch of rain last night.  Definitely way less than the 4-7 they predicted - unless the skies open up today and sploosh us bad.  Of course, we'd already had 2 inches from before Bill got here, so we're in a flood watch.  Lucky for us, we live near the top of a hill - about 75' higher than the river.  In order for us to get flooded, the world would have to submerge most of our neighbors and give us waterfront property.  I really don't see that ever happening, so I'm good.

Yesterday I was a broad-winged hawk on the wire just down from the house.  He was so soaking wet, I thought he was a crow at first.  Poor little dude.

Here's hoping my plants like all that water.

I've been feeling the urge to bake something, but it's been so unseasonably hot I can't bear the thought of cooking.  Maybe today because it's cooler.  I'm thinking apple-cranberry bread.  Which reminds me.  I need to defrost those cranberries. 

We're still seeing plenty of deer at the corn piles.  But no fawns yet. 

What this n that is going on in your world today?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Angry, Annoyed, Miffed, P-O'd - But Not Outraged

The other day on Facebook, a friend of mine pointed out that these days 'outrage' seems to be the default setting for mad in the news.  No one is just angry, irritated, annoyed, miffed, or pissed off anymore.  They're outraged.


Personally, I've been feeling a little miffed lately.  And yeah, it's come through in my blogs.  I'd apologize for it, but hey, it's a real emotion and since I'm not really miffed at any of you, I figure you know it's not directed your way and aren't waiting for an apology.  It's probably hormonal.  I'm a 45 year old woman on birth control.  I'm basically a hormone stew only slightly less volatile than a pregnant woman or a teenage girl.  It's like having low-grade PMS rumbling in the background for a couple weeks around the time my shot is due.  (The Kid would laugh her buns off at the 'low-grade' designation, but since she isn't here to call me on it, I'm going with it.)

Of course, watching the news doesn't help.  Hell, sometimes reading FB or Twitter doesn't help either.  Or as I like to say from time to time "The stupid... it burns."  Ya know, there are times when I just want to reach through the monitor and slap people in the back of the head.  (No doubt there are times when people would love to slap me in the back of the head, too.)

Still as ticked as I've felt, I haven't reached 'outrage' levels. 

Google tells me OUTRAGE is defined as: "an extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation."  

Makes sense.  In this world we've created where everything from chicken wings to skateboarding to quilting has become X-treme, why not supersize our anger, too?  You no longer have to be just disgusted.  You, too, can be OUTRAGED!  

Seems like a lot of work.  Maybe I'm too lazy to be outraged.  Maybe I just realize how little 'outrage' actually accomplishes.  It can destroy a lot of things, but what does it actually build?

The other day I was mad.  I took that emotion, went outside, and pulled weeds.  The anger went away and I ended up with my shade garden looking all lovely again.  (Especially since my astilbes are blooming - light pink, fuschia and white.  So pretty.)  Sometimes I take my pissed-off-ness and pour it into my writing.  Sometimes I use it to clean.  

I could never accomplish anything with outrage.  I'd end up pulling all the weeds AND all the flowers, and then kicking over the garden wall and freaking out all the squirrels.  What's the point of that?  

I don't know.  Maybe that's what they want.  If we're all whipped into a furor, we're not thinking clearly, and the less people think the easier they are to control.  But that's my inner conspiracy theorist at work.  

What do you think?  Do you ever find yourself feeling actual outrage or could it better be described as ticked?  What's something you've seen them make 'Extreme' that you thought was particularly silly?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Update - Week 24

Week 24.  The squirrel invasion is upon us.

Sorry.  I just felt the need to say something weird. 

Anyway, this past week was a blur.  I did some stuff, I wrote some stuff, I edited some stuff.  I woke up this morning in a total meh mood.  Still, you came here expecting something and I'd be a shit if I didn't provide.

I'm up to almost 13K on the WIP (work in progress).  It's the sequel to Accidental Death, so the second in what I'm calling the Dennis Haggarty Mysteries.  And the title I'm working with right now is Natural Causes.  I'm really enjoying writing this.  I hope people will enjoy reading it.

Unfortunately... I got the first round of edits for Wish in One Hand.  Since that sucker is due to come out in August, it takes precedence.  I started that last night.  Made it 46 pages in, wanted to tear out my own eyes and flagellate myself with them, so I stopped.  I will resume this morning.  After coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.

It's summer so we're trying not to smoke in the house again.  Which means right now, typing this, I want a cigarette so bad I'm twisting inside like a man with the DTs.  I write better when I can chain smoke.  Yeah, yeah, whatever you're thinking, keep it to yourself.  I'm a smoker.  Deal with it.  =op  As I told my doctor the last time we met, during which she was suggesting various ways for me to quit, "All of this makes the assumption that I want to quit.  Which I don't." 

I have a week long ad thing starting tomorrow at Indie Author News. I just went with a simple sidebar ad.  We'll see how it goes.  Oh, and this one is for Dying Embers.

I'm supposed to have an ad going up at another place, and it was supposed to be up within 24 hours of them receiving payment.  I paid them Friday.  Still no ad.  That one is for Accidental Death.  If I ever see it, I'll let ya know.  If not, I'll let you know that, too, so you don't run into the same problems.  None of us can afford to pay for something we don't receive.  Know what I mean?

Sales have fallen off since my last paid at Ereader News Today.  I expected that.  ENT did an awesome job of reaching new readers and gaining me some sales, so I'm pleased.  I just wish I could advertise AD there - but I can't discount that right now, and it doesn't have enough reviews to get accepted for an ad yet anyway.  :shrug:

Sorry if this came off a bit bitchy.  We can't all be sunshine and light every day.  Today's not my day.  We'll see about tomorrow. 

How are things in your world?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

This n That Thursday

It's 11:15pm. And I'm up to my ass in alligators, which is why I'm writing this post instead of sleeping.  Tried sleeping an hour ago.  Didn't work.  So I'm up again.  Weeee.

Yesterday (err, Tuesday) I got the first edit suggestions from my editor for Wish in One Hand.  As much as I've gone over and over this manuscript, you wouldn't think there'd be so much color, but it bleeds.  Which is good.  It's what I asked her to do.  But any thoughts of this being an easy edit have flown out the window.  I have scheduled myself to start working on this Saturday.

Actual yesterday - which was Wednesday - I got a note from a reader who is also a writer.  She loved Dying Embers, but she found a few flaws and would I like her to send them to me. Hells yes.  There are seven of them - all perfectly legitimate and totally derp on my part.  Those I'm scheduled to fix tomorrow and then I will upload the fixed version to all the outlets.

Last night, right before I shut the computer down for bed, I got the initial cover art for Wish in One Hand.  There are a few little things I hope he can fix without too much trouble and a couple other things I can adjust in the manuscript to fit the cover art.  Otherwise, it's quite lovely.  Still, this is the reason I couldn't sleep.  I had to play with it.

I have interesting things getting ready to bloom in my garden under the cedars.  Last year I planted wildlfowers in there.  I don't remember these, but they must've re-seeded themselves because there they are.  I wonder what the blooms will look like.  I also have scads of marigolds from last year that re-seeded themselves.  I do love marigolds.

The other day, our resident rabbit - BunBun* - was eating at the corn piles with a couple does.  Until one of the does noticed him. She walked over to sniff him and he scooted away.  A while later, he was in the front yard munching grass.  The doe followed him, intent on sniffing the bunny.  He scooted back down the hill to the corn.  She followed.  Today, I looked out and no deer or rabbits, but we had one squirrel at each pile of corn and on the middle pile, one little chipmunk.  I wish I could've gotten a pic of that.  I shall call him Chester and he shall be my Chester.

I removed two turtles from different points in the road.  I also saw a lot of them on the highway.  Luckily, on my way back, no smushed turtles.  The local papers here have 'watch out for turtle' warnings.  Must be turtle migration time in the Ozarks.

And now, I believe I've worn my brain out.  One hopes anyway.  Sometimes I wish there was a switch to turn the brain off (you know, everything but the autonomic functions - I want to sleep, not die).  How I would turn it back on again... that's the problem.

What this n that do you have for me this week?

*for some reason, I feel the need to pronounce BunBun with a French accent, so it sounds more like BonBon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Remind You

The other day, I splurged and picked up the new CD by Andy Grammer.  I wasn't even paying attention to the title - which is apropos to say the least.  Magazines and Novels.  Heh.  Anyway, there's a couple of songs that really struck a cord with me.  The first is called "Remind You".

It doesn’t mean you’re weak
Or that you’ve got low self esteem
We all got hearts that forget why they beat
We are brilliant
We are unique
We forget so effortlessly
And when your questioning your worth
In the way that we all do
And your version of amnesia
Starts to seep on through
And you know that you are great
But you can’t remember why
I will be there by your side

I will remind you
I will remind you
I will be... I’ll be your memory
I will remind you, I will remind you
All you need, is someone else to see
And they’ll remind you

We get a little bit lost
Like ships at sea
We don’t remember
Right where we’re supposed to be
And when you’re questioning your worth
From the way that we all do
And your version of amnesia
Starts to seep on through
And you know that you are great
But you can’t remember why
I will be there by your side

I will remind you
I will remind you
I will be... I’ll be your memory
I will remind you, I will remind you
All you need, is someone else to see
And they’ll remind you

A little bit of love from someone you trust
Can bring you back to life
A little bit of love
A little bit of love from someone you trust
Can bring you back to life
A little bit of love
A little bit of love from someone you trust
Can bring you back to life
A little bit of love

I will remind you
I will remind you
I will be, I’ll be your memory
I will remind you, I will remind you
All you need, is someone else to see
And they’ll remind you

The other song is 'Masterpiece'.  It's the next song on the album, so I think if you click the link up there to listen to one and then hang around, it plays next.  I won't list the lyrics here other than to quote a brief piece:

"This is your masterpiece.  Go ahead and feel it all.  Don't stop 'til it is beautiful."

Thursday, June 4, 2015

This n That Thursday - Randomosity

I got three numbers in the Missouri Show Me Cash drawing last night.  $10.  Woohoo!  Par-tay!

We have a rabbit here whose left ear doesn't stand up.  I call it 'Radar'.  Mostly because when I was growing up, a neighbor had a German Shepherd with one ear that didn't stand up and they called him Radar.  Yes, I have an unoriginal critter naming system.

I didn't like a certain celebrity before their big announcement and I'm not inclined to like them now because they announced this thing. (How's that for vague?)  I think I'd be a huge hypocrite if I pretended to.  Can't stand hypocrites.

A Carolina wren is making a home in the window casing in my bathroom.  There are twigs and moss all over the place in there.  He's a very loud little bird.  (And yeah, it's a he, because if I read right, males are the only ones who sing in this species.)  He was my alarm clock yesterday morning at 5:30am.

I read somewhere that Shel Silverstein wrote the Johnny Cash song 'A Boy Named Sue'.  Makes sense.

One scoop of cheap-ass vanilla ice cream in the bowl with one scoop of some special, more-expensive ice cream makes the joy last longer and saves money. 

Sunday I mentioned Teeny-Tiny Tina, the miniscule deer.  Well, here she is:

Of course, you have no reference point nearby to judge her size.  Trust me, she's about 2/3rds the size of an average yearling. 

What random things do you have for me this morning?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cons and Book Signings? Ain't Gonna Happen.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who recommended--nay, strongly urged--me to attend a local writers' event.  We were talking about my book, and she was of the opinion that I really needed to get myself over there to help boost sales.  I told her I'd think about it.

And I did.  I even found myself leaning toward following her advice.  I'd meet some other writers, fangirl over one I adore, and get some PR for my books.  I even joked with Hubs that my gift to him would be that he didn't have to go with me.  (He'd be totally bored at something like that.)

Then I remembered an important point.

I panic in crowds.

Oh, I'm not agoraphobic level.  And it doesn't happen all the time - which is kinda worse when you think about it.  I never know what's going to set me off.  So I could go down and wander through a writing event with no problems, or I could find myself down there and totally freak out. 

When the Kid was younger, she'd go everywhere with me.  And she knew how to help make it stop.  Usually, I'd tell her to stand between me and the crowd (like in line at a grocery store), and she wouldn't look at me weird when I'd announce to her we had to leave a particular place for no apparent reason.  She just knew.  Now, she's on her own - as she should be - and I'm left without a buffer.

I have my own set of tools to keep myself on an even keel.  I don't go places where I expect there to be a crowd, for one.  I hit Walmart first thing in the morning.  I don't venture out in public on holiday weekends.  We don't go out anywhere.  None of which is a hardship at all, since Hubs isn't inclined, and I like getting my errands done in the mornings.  If I do find myself needing to go to town on a weekend, I suck it up, get my shopping done, and get home. 

I think the first time it happened was back in 1999.  A friend and I took the Kid down to Detroit to see The Rockettes Christmas show at the historic Fox Theater.  We got there early, which was awesome.  But then everyone else started to arrive, and the theater people wouldn't let anyone into the seats.  So there we were at the front of the crowd, pressed up against the velvet ropes, with hundreds of strangers pressing up against the back of us.  Oh holy shit.  I feel panicky just remembering it.  I kept it together and didn't run screaming from the building, but oh how I wanted to.

Last time I did that, let me tell ya. 

I also don't go to the movies.  That's got a whole additional set of issues - the surround sound freaks me out, too - so you couldn't drag me to a theater if your life depended on it.  Concerts. No.  Parties. No. Again, not an issue, since Hubs isn't a social animal and is just as happy staying home as I am.  More so these days, since he stays home while I do the shopping and junk.

I can't imagine what life would be like if he wasn't the man he is.  Wait, I can.  Before Hubs, I dated men who didn't understand.  That was hell, and a story for a whole other time.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is if you were hoping to someday meet me at RWA or RT or BEA or a book-signing or whatever, that ain't gonna happen.  I really am the stereotype of the hermit writer.  But, if you happen to catch me on the street somewhere, I'll be happy to talk to you.  I'm good one on one.  Just don't come at me in a crowd, or we might both get hurt.  ;o)

How do you feel about crowds?