Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Anti-Bucket List

With people running around talking about their 'bucket lists' - things they someday want to do - I got the urge to make an Anti-Bucket List.  It's a list of things I never want to do that other people might have on their bucket lists.  Or in a few cases, things I never want to do AGAIN.

- Swim with sharks

- Run with the bulls in Pamplona
- Drive a race car
- Eat octopus
- Climb Mt. Everest (or any other mountain)
- Encounter a bear in the wild
- See the Taj Mahal
- Visit any of the Disney theme parks
- Ride a roller coaster
- Ski
- Sail around the world
- Take a trip to Europe.  Or Africa.  Or Asia.  Or South America.
- Learn to knit
- Fly over the Grand Canyon in a small airplane
- Go to NYC
- Wrangle an alligator

 What don't you want to do?  And remember, there are a lot of things that no one wants to do, so let's leave those off.   As a bonus round, who can guess which of the above are things I've already done and would rather never do again?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 4

Howdy.  It's Sunday morning again.  How did that happen?  Anyway, here's a look at the week that was...

I'm editing Early Grave.  Got all the initial edit notes input on Friday and sent it back to my Kindle.  Then Saturday I sat down to work on the final read-through before this goes off to AWE.  And I kept finding things I was SURE I'd already changed.  But it was morning and I hadn't had enough coffee, so instead of thinking of a rational reason why this happened, I got frustrated and went off to do other things.  Yesterday afternoon, I thought I'd give it another try.  Sure enough, there were two copies of Early Grave on my Kindle - the old one and tada! the new one.  I'd been looking at the old one.  Derp.  I'm back on track now.  EG will go to the editor Monday night/Tuesday morning.  By then, Blink should be back and I can start the final editing process on that puppy.

I've been so focused on getting EG edited, I haven't been reading.

And the weather hasn't been right for fishing, so I haven't done that either. 

But it has been right for working in the woods, so I've been doing that.  We're tidy to about halfway down the hill now.  About at the point where it gets steeper.  That ought to be fun.  Not steep-steep, mind you, but steep enough to make my butt muscles squeal walking up the darn incline.  Which is a good thing, I guess.  I will have buns of steel by the time we're done.  LOL

I got three awesome new reviews last week.  Which was cool.  Usually, I'm just sitting here working away not knowing if anyone will like what I've written.  When reviews come in, I get to know they do.  Yay!

Okay, that's it for me.  How's about you?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday This n That

It's really hard to maintain a positive attitude when so many things suck.  But I'm still trying.

I have four pages of edit notes left to input in the Early Grave manuscript.  Once that's done, I want to do another read-through to make sure I'm saying what I want to say and describing what needs to be described.  (I'm really bad at remembering to describe stuff.  I can see it all in my head, so there's a part of me that thinks everyone else can, too.  Derp.)  I should have this done by the end of the weekend, so even if Blink of an I comes back, I'll finish this before starting that.

Got my 1099 for Amazon yesterday.  It was about what I thought it would be.

The weather has been cooperating lately, so I've been in the woods.  Hubs and I are really making progress on this project.  The view out our back windows is so much tidier, but still with that woodsy look.  I didn't take 'before' pictures, but I'll try to remember to take 'after' pictures.  You won't know the difference except by the size of the brush piles, but I'll know.

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

There's a part of me that totally forgets I'm almost 48.  That's the part encouraging me to clamber over rocks at the lake and to drag logs through the forest.  It's also the part that runs and hides afterwards when I'm tired and sore.

Speaking of being almost 48, it's my year in the Chinese year thing.  The Year of the Dog!  Ruff, ruff, ruff.  (Which makes me think of the lead-in for the song 'Been Caught Stealing' by Jane's Addiction.)  Being born in the year of the dog means that, yes, I am a bitch.  :gigglesnort:  As you can see, I'm okay with that.  Being a dog means I'm friendly and loyal, and I will bite you if you give me reason to.  ;o)

Okay, that's about enough out or me.  What about you?

One last added thought...  People shouldn't have to wait for someone in authority to tell them whether to do something or not do something, not if they've got a head on their shoulders.  You know, things like 'wear a seatbelt', 'don't burn stuff when it's dry and windy', 'don't drink and drive', 'don't steal stuff', etc.  Seems like common sense to me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Numbers are In

In case you missed it, the Author Earnings Report is out.  Loads of pretty pretty graphs and charts.  Basically, what it boils down to is: ebooks are alive and well, self-publishing is alive and well, and the naysayers can bite us.

I love how big publishing keeps wanting us to believe that print sales are king and all that crap.  If you look at the total sales of all books everywhere, sure, the print slice of the pie chart looks overwhelming.  Until you remove textbooks.  And then you remove non-fiction.  Then the sales numbers and dollars of ebooks are way above print sales.  Natch.

"90% of all Romance purchases are ebooks."  Let that sink in.  Now, I don't write romance, but that number is pretty sweet. 

And it looks like self-publishers (those who have their own imprint and those who don't (like me)) are taking 35.9% of the ebook market in units sold.

Sure, the Big 5 are still taking the largest piece of the pie monetarily.  That's because they overcharge for everything and the market is still letting them.  :shrug:  All my books are $2.99ea and they will continue to be until I see a reason to raise my prices.  (Which mainly decided by my own purchasing ability.  I can't make myself buy higher priced books, so I'm not going to make other people shell out for them.  I'd feel like a hypocrite.  And I hate that.)  If I ever did decide to raise my prices, though, it would probably only be a buck hike.  Time will tell.

Anyway, this report gives me hope.  It always does.  My sales may still be down, but as long as there's hope, I'll keep plodding along.  Someday, I'll get a bigger piece of that pie.  =o)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 3

Another week that went by way so fast I'm not even sure it was a week.

I didn't write anything this past week, but I did get some editing done.  I'm finished with the first read-through of the first draft of Early Grave.  I ended up with 16 pages of edit notes, which actually isn't too bad.  Of those, I've gotten four entered into the manuscript.  Six days to do the other 12.  Umm...  I can do it?  Of course I can.  Will I?  Time will tell.

I got a really awesome review for Fertile Ground this week.  And she advises that perhaps I should let readers know this book should not be started before bed because she did so, hoping to read a chapter or two.  She stayed up all night and finished it in one sitting.  YAY!... I mean, Sorry.  But yay.

I'm still chugging along on Shogun.  I'm up to around pg 280 (out of like 1200 pgs with tiny tiny font).  I'm enjoying the story so far.

It's been freakin' cold here and snowy.  I didn't even make it off the property for a week - waiting for the roads to be clear enough for safe passage.  I finally got out on Thursday.  It was cause for celebration.

Hubs and I are in the planning stages for a reforestation project in our woods.  Which means we're looking online at various tree-selling sites and trying to decide what we want to do.  We are pretty much decided on buying some red cedar saplings to try and fix what the previous owner did.  Some dogwoods would be nice.  And redbuds.  They have to be at least partial shade loving because it's the woods.

We're also in the middle of cleaning up the woods, but that had to be put on hold because snow.

And now I'm at the point where I can't remember what happened this past week and what may have happened the week before, so I'll just call it a day. 

Have an awesome week everybody!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday Fishing Report - 1/20/18

Good morning and welcome to the Saturday Fishing Report, such as it is.

It was too cold and snowy to even leave the house this past week.  The local anglers are spending more time debating odd things than talking about fishing.  The water temp appears to be around 42F, which may or may not result in a shad kill which may or may not be a good thing.  :shrug:

Today there's supposed to be a fishing tournament near one of my tertiary fishing spots.  Good luck to those people.  It sounds like the majority of the bass are deep and sluggish.  A few might be coming up to the surface to enjoy the sunshine. 

Last time I looked, the river was ice-covered.  First time in 5 winters that's happened.  But today's supposed to be 61F, so it should clear up soon.  Hell, it's already 50F.  Might just have to see what happens when I drown a worm.  As long as I can get to my fishing spots without falling on my ass - no ice still doesn't mean I won't slip in the mud or something. 

I'll let you know next week.  Until then, see if you can't find some time to get outside this week. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday This n That

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love love LOVE my Foreman Grill.  I can whip together grilled sandwiches of all varieties in no time.  No need to flip them either, so I can cram all sorts of stuff in the sandwich - steak bits, sliced leftover brats, chicken strips, fried eggs.  Yummers.  I can also put a hamburger out in like 3 minutes.  Chicken tenderloin or thighs, too (boneless - bone in takes forever).  You just can't put hotdogs on it because they want to roll off.  My only gripe is mine's a pain to clean.  Less work than cooking things in a pan, though, so it's all good.

I also love my battery backup.  We had a major voltage drag yesterday and the backup software told me so.  It's also kept my computer from freaking out during brownouts and surges.  Plus, I don't lose precious words if I'm writing and the power goes out.  It gives me time to save and shut everything down safely.  If you don't have one, squeeze the money out of your budget and get one.  It's worth it.

Last year, the local grocery store changed hands and the guy who was in charge of fishing gear there (yes, we have fishing gear at the grocery store) was let go.  From what I heard, he marched right over to the actual bait and tackle store and demanded a job.  The owner there told him he was welcome to fill out an application, but they don't hire people just because they demand a job.  He was rude to them and left.  Months later, he opened his own tackle shop four doors down in the same plaza.  It had a horribly long and unwieldy name.  And it didn't do much business - because why go to him when you can go to the actual bait and tackle shop with the super-nice owner and employees?  Anyhoo, today's paper has an article about the NEW owner of the newest tackle shop.  I'm kinda happy the other guy is gone.  I don't expect this store to do any better, though.  The name has changed to something shorter, of course, but it's worse.  And this other dude doesn't even have experience selling bait and tackle.  Ah, drama in the back of beyond.

PSA:  Despite what you may have heard and seen on TV, adopting an adult guard dog or guard dog mix should not be entered into lightly.  You have no idea what kinds of things it may have been trained to do, the types of experiences it's had, etc.  It may be perfectly lovely until a certain set of circumstances come into play.  If the dog's been trained to guard a yard, for instance, and someone walks unknowingly into that yard, they will get attacked.  If they've been trained to guard while chained to the house, and someone approaches them while they're on their chain, they will get bit.  (Been there, done that.  Got the scar to prove it.)   As with all pets, do your research before you bring it home - both on the breed and on the individual dog*.  For the record, one of the nicest dogs I ever met was a pitbull. Her name was Petey.  She'd been bought from a reputable breeder and raised up from pup to adult by a very conscientious owner.

Okay, that's about enough out of me this morning.  What've you got on your this n that?

*Don't take the adopting agency's word for it on breeds.  They said my Rott-n-Lab was a Bouvier mix. 
Do you see anything remotely 'Bouvier' in that dog?  Sheesh.

And they said this was a Chow mix:
I figured Malamute and Lab, btw.  110lbs of him at a year old.  Maybe they thought he was Chow because his brother was extremely fluffy.  :shrug:

The point is, people make mistakes.  Don't let their mistake be your heartache.  Do your homework.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


It's colder than a witch's nose and everything is covered in snow.  Part of me wants to make a snowman, but the smarter part doesn't want to freeze, so in I'll stay.  Just when I was starting to think about things I want to plant and how I want my gardens to grow, the whiteness put a stop to that.

Every time I hear a mouse in the wall next to my desk, the next day there's a mouse in one of the garage traps.  My desk is not on the wall by the garage.  I know there's a huge maze of mouse runs throughout the walls.  I just think it's an interesting coincidence that I hear one here and then there's one dead over there.

I know he didn't say what they say he said, but part of me wishes he had said it.  It wasn't incorrect.  Uncouth perhaps, but not incorrect.  I could name a dozen places that fit the term off the top of my head.
Since I couldn't buy a new day-to-day bird calendar (they didn't make them this year), I'm using last year's again.  It's kind of correct - today is January 16th.  Unfortunately, 1/16/17 was a Monday.  This, of course, will not help with my inability to tell what day of the week it is.  Blerg.

Back to the snow again... I'm out of eggs and milk, but I'm not willing to risk life and limb to go get them.  This has the unfortunate effect of me wanting to make things requiring eggs and milk.  I could really go for an omelet right now.  Except for the actual act of 'going for' the ingredients.  ;o)

Some people have developed what I'll call The Black Knight Syndrome - after the Monty Python bit in Holy Grail.  "Your arm's off."  "It's just a flesh wound."  No matter how much you point out that something is awry, they'll deny it.  Of course, denying reality doesn't make it go away.  Too bad, so sad.  Denial is not just a river in Egypt.  ;o)

Did you know there are male and female trees?  Female cedar trees, for instance, are the ones with berries, and male trees have no berries.  I'll have to go check our cedars so I can tell which ones are which.  The two in front are both girls, for sure.  Covered in little blue berries every year.  Maybe the two in back are boys. Hmm.

Okay, that's about as random as I can get this morning.  Anything random from you today?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 2

It's so much easier to get the week number right when it's only the second week of the year.  ;o)

Anyway, here we go...

I didn't get that round of edits done by Friday like I wanted.  I was too tired after doing other stuff to stay focused on the Kindle for too long.  But it's all good because I still have about two weeks to have it all done and ready for JC.  And if I go a little longer, it's not really a big deal.  (But I don't want to push my luck either.)

Also, I didn't get much reading done.  Shogun is a beast of a book.  Oh, it's entertaining for the most part, but it's a big and unwieldy paperback (like 1200+ pgs in tiny font).  I'll get it done.  When?  Hellifiknow.  Between editing and tiredness, I'm only managing a few pages a day.

Fishing?  Nope.

My big thing this past week was going out into our woods and tidying things up a bit.  Every day, at some point, Hubs and I would take the rake and the limb saw and the garden shears, and head off into the woods.  The wooded part of our land is about 2/3 of our 1.25 acres, and the top third of that is pretty much done.  We've started on the middle third.  It's good exercise and we're having fun doing it.  Plus, it gets both of us out of our desk chairs and into the fresh air for a change.

I heard from the Kid this past week, which was awesome.  When they grow up and go off into the world, the contact gets more sporadic.  :shrug:  I raised her to fly on her own.  Fly and be free, little bird.

I found a new recipe for rolled biscuits this week that are big hit with Hubs.  It still needs some tweaking, though.  Once I get it to where I want it, I'll share it.

And that's about it for me.  What's up in your world?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday Fishing Report - 1/13/18

If you stopped by for a Saturday Fishing Report, please understand that it's mid-winter in the Ozarks and I have no boat I can use by myself. 

I did go out once this past week.  The water level is most excellent for bank fishing.  I can walk pretty much to everywhere I've caught fish in the past.  Unfortunately, nothing was biting.  Well, actually I did have something hit my worm on a reel-back, but it didn't seal the deal and it never hit again.  Then the wind started to pick up and I was freezing my buns off with nothing to show for it, so I went home and had a cup of cocoa.

I can't wait for spring to begin.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday This n That

Today is the 24th anniversary of my car accident.  I hardly think about it at all anymore, but I can't see January 11th and not think about it.  :shrug:

Every day the world seems to be a little more ludicrous.

I read a news story yesterday about a man in Arkansas who stabbed his wife to death because she changed the channel on the TV.  He'd been outside smoking when she did it, but it was football and somehow she was responsible for him missing the score or some such nonsense.  Derp.

Working in the woods yesterday resulted in my eyes feeling like I spent the whole day reading without my glasses.  Must be something in the air that's got me all gritty and gummy.  Today, the weather is supposed to be gross, so I probably will spend most of today reading.  Reading my own book that is.  Early Grave ain't editing itself.

Speaking of working in the woods, we really busted a hump yesterday.  Now, it might look a little TOO neat.  :shrug:  Oh well, it'll fill in come spring when all the weeds start to grow.

Coffee is freakin' awesome.  Jus' sayin'.

Your turn...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Woods Work

In the woods out back of the house, we have loads of deadfall.  It's pretty much everywhere.  Some of it is there because trees die and fall over.  Some of it is there because the previous owners of this place made carved signs out of the cedars, so he cut the trees down, took the fat part for his sign business, and left the rest of the tree just laying there. 

If you've been around the blog for a while, you know I like to go out in the woods and make trails.  I skirt around the piles and the deadfall, snaking my way from the top to the bottom.  This year, though, we're changing things up a bit.  We're moving the deadfall to a few centralized locations.  We started yesterday.

Lemme back up a bit.  First, I need exercise, but exercising in the house or going for walks becomes tragically boring after a while and then I don't do it.  Hubs also needs exercise and he doesn't go in for actual exercising.  (And he, too, is bored with walking.)  I got a wild hair to go make trails yesterday and Hubs decided he'd help.  But then while we were out there, we changed our minds and started dragging deadfall to the woodpile.  Then we walked the property, taking note of all the crap laying all over everywhere.  Tada - new plan.

Now, there's a dude here in the neighborhood who routinely cleans out his property and then burns it.  It's very clean in there.  We don't want that.  Too stark.  Plus, where would the critters hide if they needed to?  Nope, we just want to pick of the big stuff and centralize it in a few key piles.  That'll help the small critters find hiding places and homes, and it'll leave a lot of low lying bushes for the big critters to hide in come summer.  We also figure if we clean out some of the dead crap, it'll let the small trees grow better. 

And we'll get our exercise.  Win win.

So, yeah, we were out there yesterday afternoon, picking up sticks and limbs and logs and stuff - carrying or dragging it to where we wanted it.  I'm a little stiff this morning, but Hubs says he feels fine.  Either way, it's a good thing. 

As long as the weather holds and it doesn't get too warm, we'll be in the woods as much as we can.  (Warm = snakes and ticks in the woods, so we stay out when it's warm.)  I really do love it out there.  =o)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 1

Well, here we are again at the beginning of another year.  2018.  May it be our best year yet, eh?

I started the week editing like a regular writer and ended the week editing like a madwoman.  Big fun.  I'd start somewhere between 5am and 6am, edit off on on all day, then call it quits between 7pm and 8pm. Because of this, I got 'er done.  Blink of an I is now in the hands of my AWE (Awesome Wonderful Editor).  It'll be back by the end of the month. 

Meanwhile...  I went through the usual black hole void of post-editing, wherein I sit around feeling like I OUGHT to be doing something and wondering what the hell to do with myself.  That took about 28 hours.  Then I figured 'screw it' and got back to editing on Early Grave last night.  I hope to have EG edited to a point where I can turn it over to AWE after Blink goes live.

I spent some of my downtown between finishing Blink and getting back to EG working on book covers for Blink.  Check out Outside the Box tomorrow for a fun post about that.  

Reading?  Well, I'm kind of sucking already on my Goodreads goal, but I'm reading a behemoth of a book - Shogun by James Clavell.  It's like 1200 pages and I'm on page 150-something. 

Let's not talk about fishing right now, shall we?

Actually, I don't have much else to talk about.  It was too cold to do anything outside.  And I was too busy to think about doing anything inside except sitting here editing.  There was sleeping, too, but not a lot of it and what there was wasn't very good.  I slept better Saturday night because the book was out of my hands. 

What was up in your worlds for the auspicious beginning of 2018?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday Fishing Report - 1/6/17

Welcome to the first Saturday Fishing Report of the year. 

And I got nuthin'.  It was colder than a witch's nose outside.  I walked out of the house and it felt like my eyeballs were starting to freeze.  Needless to say, not the best time to stand on the shore for any length of time.

The lake is at 909.73 as of 4am this morning.  Which means that my good standin' rock is probably above the water.  Another foot or two lower and it'll become my good sittin' rock.

In fishing news, a two-man boat competing in an FLW tournament went down on Lake Okeechobee Thursday.  One of the competitors was found.  Last report is that he's in criticial condition and suffering from hypothermia.  The other man has yet to be located.  =o(  Be careful out on the water, folks.  Right now, even FL waters are too frickin' cold to sustain human life. 

The report is that it's too cold to even go ice fishing in Michigan right now.  If you are ice fishing, please make sure the ice is thick enough to hold your weight.  If you're not sure, stay the hell off of it - and keep your kids and pets off it, too. 

I drove over the river (on the highway, not on the ice) on one of my few journeys outside the house last week.  It was frozen over.  The river.  Flowing water.  Frozen over.  :shiver:  Yup.  Hubs went over a couple days after I did, when the temperature was up about 15 degrees and he said it was starting to break up with big sheets of ice floating down it. 

Tomorrow, though.  Tomorrow is supposed to get up into the 50s.  The fish will probably still be too deep to bite near the shore, but I'm jones'n for some fishing time.  Which means I might actually have something to say about fishing next week. 

Until then, enjoy nature as much as you can in this winter chill. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 Wrap Up

I'm taking the day off of this n thats to finish wrapping up 2017.  It'll be back next week.  Meanwhile, let's see if I can piece together how last year went for me.

Writing...  I put three first drafts in the can.  Wish Hits the Fan, Sleeping Ugly, and Early Grave.  I made a start on the third book in the Dennis Haggarty series.

Editing... I got Natural Causes and Wish Hits the Fan edited for publication.  I made a start on editing Early Grave.  And I finished the year diving into edits for Blink of an I.

Publishing... Natural Causes (Dennis Haggarty #2) went live, as did Wish Hits the Fan (Once Upon a Djinn #4).  WHTF closed out that series arc.  

Reading... I finished 90 books in 2017.  For the breakdown there, go here.  I also DNF'd (did not finish) about twenty others.

Personal... Not a lot happened on a personal front.  Hubs and I celebrated our 13th anniversary.  The Kid turned 24.  Kira turned 14.  So did the car.  I pretty much decided that the ankle I thought I sprained back in August was actually broken.  Had some health issues with family members that turned out okay, but one of them lost his battle with diabetes.  Early-Autumn, I started doing more work for the family business.

Fishing... For a breakdown of that, go here.

That's about it.  I think. 

Not a bad year, all in all.  Still, I'm looking forward to a better, more productive 2018.  So far, so good, I guess. 

How'd your 2017 go? 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 New-to-Me Authors, Underappreciated Books

Okay, so I said I'd do a wrap-up of all the new-to-me authors and their underappreciated books I read in 2017.  (The reviews are taken from the ones I posted on Goodreads.)

1) Death by High Heels by Violet Ingram (1/5/17) Mystery. 4 stars - no review.

2) When Ash Rains Down by Cecelia Earl (1/12/17) YA Paranormal. 4 stars - "I inhaled it in less than a day. Very quick read with good writing and an intriguing premise. I had a little trouble at first connecting with Julia (probably because I am long gone from being a teenager), but I forged ahead and after a while, the story drew me in"

3) Sleepyhollow: Rise Headless and Ride by Richard Greaves (1/20/17) YA Paranormal Suspense. 5 stars - "
This was one of those books that I loved but I can't put my finger on exactly why I loved it. The characters were certainly memorable and sympathetic. I could really connect with both Jason Crane and his grandmother, the heroine, the sidekick. I even saw where the villains were coming from The writing was certainly good, as was the editing. The premise was intriguing - naturally, or I wouldn't have picked up this unknown-to-me author. I don't know. I couldn't put this book down! (Except when I had to for life stuff, which is why it took me 5 days to read. A gal's gotta eat and sleep and work, ya know.)

Anyway, this is a YA story that I think would be enjoyed by anyone from 13 on up. Good stuff.

The only small niggle - the story wasn't finished in this book, so I have to buy the next book to see what happens. Too much was left hanging to stop now."  NOTE:  I did buy the next two books and inhaled them one after the other.  Awesome series.  I can't wait for book 4 to come out.

4)  Granny Hooks a Crook by Julie Seedorf (2/14/17) Mystery.  5 stars - " Super fun read! I loved Granny and all the critters. All the characters were great. The mystery was engaging. The writing was solid. Good stuff. Now I need to catch up with the rest of the series"  NOTE: Not exactly an underappreciated book, but I'm leaving it on the list.

5)  Scaling the Rim by Dorothy Grant (2/25/17) SF.  4 stars - " Interesting premise. Fun read. Cute romantic angle. Enjoyable all the way around"

6)  In for a Penny by Nancy Nagle & Kelsey Browning (4/8/17) Mystery. 5 stars - " Super cute story. Loads of fun! Really quick read - I inhaled it in under a day. Definitely what I needed."

7)  Call of Duty (Joe Boxer #0) by Louis Scott (4/15/17) Military Thriller. 4 stars - " Interesting prequel, that I hadn't been aware was a prequel when I started this. Loads of military jargon at the beginning, which took a bit of getting used to, but once I fell into the rhythm, the story was gripping. And thrilling. And sad. And probably a very real glimpse into what soldiers face over there."

8)  The Thirteenth Man by JL Doty (4/21/15) SF. 5 stars - "Wow. That was awesome. I can't remember who recommended this book to me, but thank you! I loved Charlie - the bastard warrior that he was. I loved Del - the perfect princess that she was. All the characters were alive to me. Real. Add in the action and the battles and the heroism, and bang, awesome book. It's kind of like Dune, without all the dry parts - medieval in outer space, if you will. Dukes and kings and pretty princesses. Evil royalty and backstabbing henchmen. Plus epic space battles. So good."

9) Let Me Love You by Iris Blobel (8/20/17) Romance. 4 stars - "Nice little romance story. I enjoyed the characters and the plot. And the setting. This is probably the first Australian romance I've ever read - not because it was set in Australia, I've read plenty of those, but because it was written in Australia by an Australian using the flow of the language down there. Awesome step away from the usual US romances."

10)   Bewitch Me by Amelia Blake (9/10/17) YA Paranormal. 5 stars - "Fun read, even if the little sister, Chloe, was so annoying I wanted someone to turn her into a frog. Or a dung beetle. Or whatever. But I liked the other characters and it was nice to escape into this book for a while. I can't wait to see what happens to the gang next."

11)  Even Witches Get the Blues by JD Winters & Dakota Kahn (9/11/17) Paranormal Mystery. 4 stars - no review.  NOTE: Also doesn't quite meet the underappreciated thing, but still...

12) Caught In Between by Allison L. Perry (9/14/17) YA Paranormal. 5 stars - "This was totally awesome. I could really step into Sadie's shoes - even though she's a vampire - and remember what it was like to be different from the other teens. Sure, Sadie's got some problems unique to being a different kind of vampire - like being allergic to blood - but it was easy to feel a sort of camaraderie with her. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of this series and more from this author."

13)  The Defender of Rebel Falls by Erik Christensen (10/7/17) Fantasy w/ SF tinge. 5 stars - " Fun story! Interesting premise. Good writing. Definitely an enjoyable read that kept me guessing and waiting to see what happened next. I loved the end where he tied the beginning in and resolved the initial quandary. And they all lived happily ever after - well, the ones that deserved a HEA - which is what I need from the stories I read. Most excellent stuff."

14)  Doc (Vampire Hunting Dog #1) by JA Campbell (12/14/17) Paranormal Suspense. 5 stars - "I loved the idea of story about a vampire hunting dog, told from the dog's point of view, and this book didn't disappoint. It was loads of fun without being silly. It had plenty of heart and a couple sniffly moments, too. And an awesome ending. I'll definitely be looking for additional installments of this series and more books from this author."

I think that was a pretty good number of new-to-me, underappreciated authors and books for one year.  I'll try to keep doing this in 2018 - time and finances allowing, of course.   I hope that if anything above strikes your fancy, you'll go out and buy a copy.  Then review it.  Help out some of the other authors in the world.  Pay it sideways.  

Here's to an awesome reading year in 2018!