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?