Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap Up

Okay, for something a little different, I'm going to start putting in my DNF books - except in cases where the author could potentially come here and get after me for not liking their book.  (Yeah, I'm chicken.  So do me somethin'.)  I'd like to also note that for my other reading wrap-ups, I had no DNF (did not finish) books to mention.

 36) No Shirt, No Shoes, No Spells by Rose Pressey (6/29/18) - Paranormal Romance* - 4 stars. New to me, but has plenty of reviews.
Review: "Cute. Fun. A quick, light read to take your mind off things."

35) State of the Union by Brad Thor (6/28/18) - Political Thriller - 5 stars.  New to me, but definitely not underappreciated
No review.  Definitely thrilling, but I wasn't moved to write a review.  Not like this book needs one from me.  It has loads of reviews already and nothing I would say could move a buyer one way or another.

34) Trials of Rumpole by John Mortimer (6/25/18) - Mystery short stories - 4 stars.  No review.  It was relatively enjoyable, but it didn't spur me to write a review.

DNF - The Destruction of Dresden - historical description of the Battle of Dresden during WWII.  I was leery of this because it was written in the '60s, but I forged ahead.  Read the first foreword, written by a US General and the leery got deeper based on a few things he said about the author's treatment of the subject.  Started the foreword by the British General and put the book down.  When I read about history, I want it sans opinion.  Just the facts, k?  Unless it's fiction with some history in it and even then it's iffy whether I want the author's opinion of historical events.

DNF - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I had to quit about halfway through when I was reminded of my old maxim "Be careful what you put in your head because you can't get it back out again."  Because I spent the middle of the night reliving those scenes where Salander gets raped by her social worker and then exacts her revenge.  Personally, I was really enjoying the actual mystery story of what happened to Harriett and was annoyed by the jumps to Salander's story.  Maybe at some point the two stories intersected, but I'm done with this book, so I'll never know.  And after the images now trapped in my head, I no longer care.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thursday This n That

It's too freakin' hot.  Yesterday the heat index here was 103F.  More of the same today.  Yuck.  It's freakin' JUNE for petesakes.  I am not looking forward to July and August.

Speaking of July, Independence Day is next Wednesday.  They started shooting off fireworks here last weekend.  Meh.  I hate fireworks.  It gets dark after 9pm.  I go to bed at 9pm most nights.  See why I hate fireworks?

I do love Independence Day, though.  Birth of the greatest nation and all that.  Just not thrilled with the banging and the booming people use to celebrate.  Yeah, yeah, 'rockets red glare', 'bombs bursting in air'.  It's our national anthem, but it refers to a battle in the War of 1812, not the Revolutionary War wherein we became a great nation.  Know what I'm sayin'?

I was having a devil of a time finding those whirling flower thingies that are supposed to drive away moles.  I mean, I found some online, but they wanted a small fortune for them.  My Mom found them near her, bought some, and shipped them to me.  They're red, white, and blue.  That's the kind of celebration of our country I can get behind.  And I haven't seen much mole activity since I put them in the ground.  Win win.

Despite the heat, I have an overwhelming urge to bake something.  I found a recipe for something with pumpkin and cake mix (both of which I already have in the house).  Yeah, yeah, pumpkin is for fall, but I want pumpkin now.  If I can remember to make it before the house heats up too much.  Having the oven on when it's already hot doesn't thrill me.

My bird of the day is the American White Pelican.  I don't know if any of you have ever had the opportunity to watch pelicans fly, but it's an awesome thing.  They fly in formation - not like geese and their V, but more like the Blue Angels.  Four or five pelicans flying together, turning together, and landing together as if it's choreographed.  Pretty cool stuff.  We don't get pelicans here as far as I've seen, but I used to watch them when we were at the beach in FL.  I kind of miss it.

Okay, time to start the day before the day heats up to much to want to do anything but sit in the AC and read.  What's up with you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Overpriced Ebooks

Yesterday on FB, I saw someone I respect posting about how much they're enjoying a series of books I've been interested in reading.  Since I don't have anything new on my Kindle, I thought it would be a good time to pick up the first in that series.  Hopped on over to Amazon.  Looked up the first in the series...

$9.99 for the ebook.  $10.37 for the paperback.


And I am once again reminded of why I don't buy traditionally published books.  (Except for the occasional Harlequin by a certain author I know).   The total screwing of the American reader really pisses me off.  Especially since it's me they're screwing.  Without even a kiss on the cheek or a twenty on the nightstand. 

Right now, I am in the position to buy a $10 book here and there.  (Not too often, though.  I have an editor to pay.)  If I really want to.  It's the principle of the thing, though. 

Putting out an ebook costs way less than putting out a paperback.  And if you're putting out both, some of the costs are spread over both - cover art, editing, etc. - so the cost of the ebook is actually less than if you were only putting out an ebook. 

Traditional publishers are using their ebook sales to prop up their dwindling paperback sales.  But not everyone who wants to buy books can afford $10 a pop, so fewer people buy the books at all.  And then the publishers bitch that ebook sales are down.  They're cutting off their noses to spite their faces.  One person buys a $10 book, they get $10.  Three people buy a $5 book, they get $15.  Why can't they see this?

Paperback sales are down, regardless of how they spin the numbers.  Fewer and fewer people want to buy and hang onto all that mass.  Shelves are overflowing as it is.  Luggage is no longer filled with books for vacations because one ereader can carry hundreds of books for a fraction of the weight.  Headed for an appointment?  Slide the ereader into your purse instead of a hardcopy so you don't have to lug around a heavy purse. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love paperbacks.  Old paperbacks.  They're cheap and they're made better to boot.  New paperbacks?  Not so much.  And don't get me started on hardcovers.  I love them, too, but I can no longer handle holding something that big for as long as it takes me to read one.  (Craptastic wrists, doncha know.)  Hell, sometimes a big paperback is too much and I need Aspercreme to finish the book.

Most of my books are available in paperback.  I almost never sell one.  Mostly, I have paperbacks available so I can hand them out as promotional things or occasionally hand sell one.  I haven't created paperbacks for my last two books because I'm beginning to wonder what the point of them is.  And all of my paperbacks are priced as low as I can make them and still make a tiny profit.

My ebooks are all still priced at $2.99.  I've been playing with the idea of raising the prices.  Not a lot.  Certainly nowhere near $9.99.  Maybe a dollar hike for most of them, with a $2 hike for a couple.  I haven't done it yet.  I might not do it at all.  And every time I see a $9.99 ebook, it makes me not want to raise my prices at all.  Just to stand my ground against overpriced ebooks. 

Like the stand I make refusing to buy overpriced ebooks.  Not that anyone notices.  I don't spend enough to hit anyone in the pocketbook by refusing to purchase their stuff.  Maybe if we all put our foot down and said 'No way am I paying $10 for an ebook', the powers that be would notice.

Eh, probably not.  They'd just use it as further evidence that ebook sales are down so ebooks are just a fad.  Meh.

And so, my money will be spent on reasonably priced independent authors for the foreseeable future.  There are loads of them to choose from.  Or I'll buy used paperbacks for super cheap.  Either way, I'm reading and I'm winning.

What about you?

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 24

Well, it's that time again.

I didn't do any writing last week.

I didn't do any editing last week.

I read three and a half books.  (DNF'd the half.)

I did not go fishing.

We had company for the first time in... well... ever.

My house is cleaner than we're used to it being.  This should last until the dust bunnies regenerate, so about a week or so.

I did something active every day but yesterday when I vegged out.  And pigged out.  Today is a new day to get back on track.

I did not lose any weight, but I didn't gain any either.

The advertising did not go as well as I had hoped.  More about that tomorrow on Outside the Box.  Maybe.

At the time of writing this, I'm feeling kind of pointless... errr shiftless... errr boring...  Frankly, I'm a little sick of myself at the moment.  This shall pass.

How's things with you?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-Up 6/23/18

Here we are again.  I've been procrasta-reading this week.  Which isn't helping get my work done, but it is giving me things to talk about on Saturdays.  ;o)

This is how the week went...

33) The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope by CW Grafton (6/22/18) - Hard-Boiled Mystery# - 5 stars - New to me and WAY underappreciated.
Review: "Wow. That was an unexpectedly awesome read. Every once in a while, you pick up a book at a thrift store that just exceeds your expectations and blows you away. This was just such a book. More like a hard-boiled crime novel in the sphere of Gardner (DA Doug Selby more than Perry Mason). Definitely NOT a cozy. Gritty and twisty. Just the right amount of whodunnit to keep me guessing, and while the solution to the mystery wasn't ultimately surprising, the path to get there was not where I thought it would go. Like I said, awesome."

32) The Blunt End of Oblivion by LJ Simpson (6/21/18) - SF* - 5 stars - I read the first book in this series about a month ago, so not really 'new to me' anymore, but still underappreciated.
Review: "This book was made of awesome. Even better than the first, and that's sayin' something because I really enjoyed the first one. I'm hoping there'll be a third book at some point. Please."
This was released in November of last year.  I stalked the author online, but I didn't see any news about him working on a third book. I guess I'll just have to wait and hope he writes more.  Note: It didn't end on a cliffhanger or anything.  I just want MORE.

31) Cleaver Square (DCI Morton #2) by Daniel Campbell & Sean Campbell (6/16/18) - Suspense* - 5 stars - I also read the first book in this series a little while ago, so not new to me anymore, and it has loads of reviews, so not underappreciated.
Review: "Ooo, good one! This is even better than the first book. Twisty and turny and deliciously suspenseful. Plus, the end was so perfect. Well, except for that one thing, but I expect somewhere down the road in a sequel, they'll address that. (No spoilers from me. You'll have to read the book.)"

Last night, I started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Because I do try to get around to reading the best sellers every now and then - albeit late.  I picked this one up at a thrift store* last month.  OMG, the beginning is so boring I was beginning to wonder why this got all the press it did, but it got a little better.  I'll hang in there and read the whole thing unless something makes me want to throw it at the wall.  

Goodreads is telling me I'm now 'on track' with my reading goal.  Woohoo.   

That's it for me.  Have you read anything interesting lately?

*If you see me reading a paperback**, there's a 99% probability I picked it up at a thrift store.  I'm too cheap to buy hardcopies new anymore.  Except for select books put out by people I know.  
** If it doesn't have an asterisk after the genre, it's a paperback.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday This n That

It rained yesterday for the first time since May 25th.  We got 4/10ths of an inch.  Not a deluge, but it's a start.  I had Hubs open the front door so we could listen to it.  Not for long... cuz, you know... bugs... but it was nice for a minute there.

Is it just me or has the world gone batshit freakin' insane lately?  Oh, holy crap.  Can't read my FB feed without purging someone from my view.  And forget Twitter.  I wasn't even on there for a minute before I ran screaming from the virtual room.  And saying 'I don't usually post about political things but I can no longer hold my tongue' and then spewing a load of verbal diarrhea?  Yah, ain't helpin'.  If it's wrong now, then it was wrong two, five, ten years ago, so what held your tongue then?

We had a lovely visit with our company.  Super nice people.  Interesting to talk to.  Fun to be around.  He was Hubs' best friend in high school and his wife was a former librarian.  What more could you ask for?  Sure, I still had to take a five minute alone break, but that's me.  Socialization, even with the best of people, is tiring.  Of course, I overbought on the cold cuts.  We have a ton of leftover deli ham and turkey.  Sammiches for everyone! 

Today is the day I'm supposed to have an ad going out.  Problem: it's a new source for me and I hadn't signed up for their newsletter until this morning, so I probably won't actually SEE what the ad looks like today.  Problem #2: After I signed up for their newsletter, they had links to their FB and Twitter.  They haven't posted to FB in years.  The Twitter feed is current, but I'm not sure if what I paid for includes tweets.  Caveat Emptor.  But more about that another day.

We saw our first fawn of the season yesterday!  So tiny and so cute! 

The rabbits have now accepted Hubs as one of their own.  They still move out of the way of the giant human, but not very far and as soon as he moves, they go back to where they were.

Okay, that's about it from me today.  What's it for you?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

When Hermits and Company Collide

I've told y'all before that I am a hermit.  Hubs is a hermit, too.  And the cat is basically agoraphobic.  We don't socialize.  With anyone.  Ever. 

Now, we aren't quite at the level of the cat.  We don't run and hide when people happen to come over.  But those who have come into our house are either service personnel or neighborly drop-ins.  The service people come in, do what they need to do and then leave.  The drop-ins are rarely here for long and they don't usually make it past the dining room/entryway. 

Today, however, is a red letter day at our little hermitage.  We have actual people coming over.  People we invited to come over*.  And they'll be staying for at least a few hours. 

We've cleaned the house furiously.  Because, ya know, hermits.  And while we don't live in a pigsty, it's usually not 'company coming' clean around here.  We don't really care if there's a bit of dust or a little clutter.  Anything we use regularly is left out somewhere instead of put away.  That sort of thing. 

Plus, we smoke.  And while we don't notice the mustiness of leftover cigarettes, we're betting other people will notice.

Anyway, the house has been dusted and vacuumed and Febrezed to within an inch of its life.  And we're ready for them to come today.  It's actually kinda nice having the house all spiffy.  And it'll be kinda nice to sit around and socialize with other human beings for a while.  I'm going to try to put on my extrovert costume - I hope it still fits - and not be a wallflower.  Today we'll be a normal couple hanging out with another normal couple, doing couply things.

Fingers crossed it all goes well.

What about you?  Do you do 'company' or are you a hermit, like me?

* If you drop in on me, you get what you get - ratty clothes, messy hair, untidy house.  You took your chances when you didn't bother calling first.  (And they never seem to call first.  Not sure why that is.)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 23

Well, it's Sunday again.  Before I forget...  Happy Father's Day to them what are fathers. 

Now, here's a look at the week that was.

I'm up to about 6800 words on Ugly and the Beast.  I have an idea for the next scene but the gumption to write is pretty weak lately. 

As for reading, I finished 4 books last week.  The three that are on my Saturday Reading Wrap Up and the one I mentioned as having started.  I finished that one last night.  So good that I spent the majority of yesterday in my recliner, reading it.

It's too hot to garden and it's too hot to fish, for the most part. I did go fishing once and caught a couple small fish, then the sun came out and the heat went up and the people came out, so I went home.  As for the gardens, they're growing right along.  I have to water at least every other day right now, because it hasn't rained in like 10 days and the futurecast ain't looking too good either.

I only managed 5 out of 7 days on the 'do something active every day' thing.  But Tuesday was a 3 actives day - exercised for 26 minutes, walked a mile, and went fishing.  Wednesday I was too pooped to do anything but water the gardens (which counts as active since I have to drag the hose all over our large yard.)  The scale showed 189.6 on Friday, so I must've done something right.  Eight tenths of a pound in a week is okay by me. 

Yesterday was the beginning of a mad cleaning spree.  (I cleaned all morning and read after that.)  Today will be more of the same.  We're supposed to have company coming sometime this week.  We never have company, so this'll be an event.  On the bright side, however this company thing goes, the house will be really clean.  But right now, I'm walking around going 'GAH!  Where did all this dust come from???'.

Haven't seen the itty-bitty bunny again.  But we now have a turtle stopping by the feeding area every day.  Still seeing the adult bunnies, so there's that.  And the deer, but they haven't started bringing babies yet.  The wait continues.

And that's about it for my week.  How was yours?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap Up

Hello again.  Here's what I read this past week...

The Secret Poison Garden by Maureen Klovers (6/15/18) - Mystery*# - 5 stars - New to me and underappreciated author.  Since this book is a new release, mine was the first review on Goodreads and Amazon.  It may not be underappreciated for long.
Review: "Starting out, I wasn't sure I liked the main character enough to keep going. She reminded me too much of someone I once knew and disliked terribly. But I forged ahead and , I did enjoy the mystery and I loved the wrap-up. And while I probably wouldn't want Rita as a long term friend, she pretty much redeemed herself along the way. It turned it to be a lot of fun!"

Alchemy's Child by DJ Salisbury (6/14/18) - Fantasy* - 5 stars  - Not new to me, but definitely underappreciated.  If you like fantasy and want something different, give this series a try.  This is the fifth book.  I've loved them all.  I have #6 and #7 on my Kindle, but I don't like to read series straight through.
Review: "Another fun installment of The Mindbender's Rise series. I can't wait to see what happens to Viper and his crew next. Or will it just be Viper next time? Argh."

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (6/10/18) - Historical Mystery - 5 stars - New to me but not underappreciated.
Review: "Interesting. Not quite like any mystery I've read in a while. As a standalone, it worked quite well - even if it did take a while to get to the mystery portion of the story. Loved the end. I'm not sure if I can picture this as a series, though. I guess if I stumble across the second book at some thrift store, like I did with this one, I'll see."

I'm only one book behind on my reading goal now - 30 books so far this year.  I started another one last night and I should have that finished in a couple days.  Which will either put me on track or, with the new week's expectation added, only a book behind again.  And I'm okay with that.  

Did you read anything interesting last week?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thursday This n That

I glanced out the window a little while ago to see about a half dozen deer milling around near the feed pans.  I found Hubs and said, "Honey, your entourage is here."  LOL

He made feeding them his first priority this morning.  There's one yearling buck we call Bumper who waits just inside the woods for Hubs to put the food in the pans.  As soon as Hubs heads back up the hill, there comes Bumper.  (Yes, Hubs is extremely careful out there.  He knows they are wild things with the potential to jab the hell out of him with antlers - even fuzzy ones - and kick the crap out of him.) 

On another note, but a similar one, the local rabbit (BunBun) has become so relaxed around here, it now has to be shooed out of the way so Hubs can feed.  BunBun likes to get right in the middle of the pan and munch the corn at his leisure.  He also regularly takes his siesta in the front lawn.  Flops right down and snoozes.  It's a good life here.

I've been flying along with wild abandon on what I've titled 'Ugly and the Beast' (Sleeping Ugly 2).  I have no idea where I'm going.  I'm just careening down the byways hoping I don't crash into anything gnarly.  I'm up to 6800 words as of last night.  Woohoo.

I actually went fishing a couple days ago.  It was lovely at the lake until these two young dudes came by with their big ass boat, water skiing.  And playing gangsta rap at obscene volumes.  Seriously annoying.  Then yesterday I was at the nearby convenience store getting a beverage and gossiping when I saw them.  One of them couldn't have been more than 5' tall - shaggy bronze hair with tattoos crawling up his arms.  The other was maybe my height (5'7"-8") with long straight black hair tied back in a semi-ponytail.  Also covered in tattoos.  Their tattoos were so black they looked like they'd been painted on with India Ink instead of tatted on.  They acted like whipped puppies while they were in the store and then scurried out to get into a new SUV with an older gentleman behind the wheel.  Daddy's car.  Daddy's boat.  Rich kids on the lake acting like Barney Badass gangsta wannabes.  Thank goodness they didn't act like that in the store.  They would've gotten their asses handed to them by the locals.  (The convenience store is a hangout for the local farmers and salt of the earth types.)

And yes, gossiping.  I am wont to do that on occasion.  But I see so few people I care to talk to that it's rare.  On this particular day, my neighbor who works at the convenience store was feeling chatty.  So, we chatted while she helped customers.  It was an enlightening conversation about the little Peyton Place that is my neighborhood.  There's some kind of weird ass feud going on between this person and those people, to the point that this person feels the need to lie to those people. I told the gal I was speaking to that what this person was telling those people wasn't true and laid out the facts.  It may come back around to me.  I don't care.  I hate liars. 

Ever watch that show Fear Thy Neighbor?  It's on Investigation Discovery and it's all about neighborhood disputes that go horribly awry and end in murder.  Yeah, I worry about that stuff sometimes, which is why I try not to get involved in neighborhood disputes.  I just couldn't help myself yesterday.  Lying makes me so mad.

It occurs to me that I have never talked to the neighbor who works at the convenience store inside the neighborhood.  I met her at the store and we talk at the store.  We wave when we pass in our cars.  But that's it.  And we both like it that way.  She and her husband keep to themselves and we keep to ourselves. 

Anyway, that's about it for me today.  What about you? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Combating Distractions

I was just about ready to start writing a post for this morning when Hubs walked into the room and started talking to me.  Needless to say, everything that was in my head regarding a post disappeared.  I can't even remember what topic it was going to be. 

So, the topic for this morning will be... distractions and combating them. 

Now, I'm pretty lucky.  I don't have that many distractions around.  There's Hubs, but he's pretty good about leaving me alone when I'm actually working.  There's Kira, but she's a cat and cat's cannot be controlled.  But they can be scheduled, so as long as it's not near 7am, 2pm, or 7pm, I'm pretty assured she won't bother me.  (I fed her before I started writing this post, so that was taken care of.  Otherwise, she'd be next to me meowing.)

Not having that many distractions around is a necessity for me.  I'm easily distracted.  And I forget stuff.  A lot.  I used to have a mind like a steel trap.  Now, it's a sieve. 

Some people combat distractions by having an office with a door that closes.  Go inside, shut the world away, and focus.  That would make me totally claustrophobic.  Our office is one big room (formerly the master bedroom of this house, but we needed a big office more than we needed a big bedroom, so we converted it to our purposes).  And we leave the door to it open. 

Some people combat distractions by putting on headphones and listening to music.  I do this sometimes, but lately I haven't wanted even music around me when I'm writing. 

Years ago, I started writing at night.  After dinner and dishes, when the house was quiet and I was done teaching the Kid for the day.  (Homeschooling and writing is not for the faint of heart.)  And the schedule stuck.  I still write at night, when there's less chance of a distraction.  (Unless I'm under a fast approaching deadline, then I suck it up and write during the day, too.  But it feels weird.)

The worst distraction, though, cannot be combated by simply shutting yourself away.  It's the distractions in your own mind.  You're supposed to be thinking about your work, but your brain keeps going off on tangents.  There are bills to be paid and that appointment you forgot to make and that home repair you need to do and the to-do list and...  Argh.  I'm still not sure how to make this stop except by trying to get as many things off your plate as possible before you sit down to write, or by simply accepting that there's nothing you can do about any of it right then and maybe your brain will allow you to focus on writing instead.  It's a work in progress.

What about you?  What are your distractions?  How do you combat them? 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 22

Hello again, everyone.  It's early and I'm only about a quarter cup into my coffee, so bear with me.

In the world of writing, I typed furiously on the sequel to Sleeping Ugly and then I hit a crisis of confidence wall.  I'll get back at it again once I figure out if I'm headed in the right direction.

Sleeping Ugly itself is with the editor, so I haven't been editing.

I've been reading like mad this past week.  If you stopped by yesterday you'll see something knew I'm trying where I list all the books I've read in the previous week, along with reviews and junk.  So, there are those books and I'm in the middle of Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters, which is kind of a historical mystery of sorts.  I'm not finding much mystery yet, but it's interesting.

All my plants have arrived and are in the ground, including some grape hyacinth bulbs my mom sent me.  (They just showed up in her garden this spring and they'd already had a major bulb multiplication by the time she found them, so she sent me about eight bulbs.)  Oh, and the anemone bulbs that looked like they were dead?  Two of them are coming up already.  I hope they're not the only two out of the 50 bulbs I planted, but if they are, I'm okay with that.  The second hydrangea I received looked on the hard downslope to dead, but the roots seemed like they were still alive, so I planted that sucker.  Now I'm crossing my fingers.  The first hydrangea is doing well.  One of my hollyhocks is blooming.  It's white.  Not the color I was hoping for, but hey, it's blooming!  Fingers crossed the others come up with some splashier color.

An itty-bitty baby bunny has taken up residence in my iris bed.  Twice now when I went to water in the evening, I've scared the poor little dear out of there.  And once mid-week, Hubs saw it hanging out by the car and when it got scared it ducked into the iris bed.  I guess I'll suspend watering of that bed for a bit, until the bunny gets bigger and more able to defend itself.

Speaking of bunnies and defending, I saw a big ass rat snake in the yard on Thursday.  It came into the yard, did some weird gyrations and beat scales back out of the yard.  I'm hoping the permethrin Hubs just sprayed for bugs gave it the willies.  I like the rat snake, but I like the baby bunny better.

None of the lady deer look pregnant anymore.  Now the wait begins.  I can't wait to see fawns!  Oh, and we have a skinny yearling buck again this year.  So we went back to putting out the goat food with the natural de-wormer in it.  He's already looking better.  Fingers crossed.

On the 'getting healthier' front, I did something active every day last week.  Only 4 days of actual exercise, but it's all good.  I did gardening and landscaping and cleaning and walking, too.  And I got down to 190.4 lbs.  I've been waiting to see that zero!  

Okay, thanks for letting me chew your ear this morning.  What's up in your little slice of the world?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-Up

Hey, All.

I thought I'd try something different today.  A sort of weekly post about what I've read.  Kind of like the post I did last Saturday, but with all the books I've read in a particular week. 

Here goes nuthin'...

That Ol' Black Magic by Silver James (6/8/18) - Urban Fantasy* - 5 stars.  Reread.  Not new-to-me, but definitely underappreciated.  Sure, Silver is my friend, but I am not biased because of it.  She writes awesome stories.  I can't be this close of friends with people who don't write good books.  Shocking, but true.

Review:  "It's even better on the second read. I caught stuff I didn't remember and it was awesome. So good.

Original review:
I thought I already reviewed this, but I can't find the review anywhere - so if you've already seen me going on and on about this book... well, here we are again.

I've always loved Ms. James' work, but she surprised me with her first foray into urban fantasy. I thought her paranormal suspense and time travel romance was good. Hah. This book passes them all and rocks hard. Awesome characters, intense action, suspense and mystery, plus all the supernatural beings you could want in an urban fantasy. And a main character you can really connect with. :happy sigh:

And this is just the beginning. I can't wait to dive into the rest of this series."

Drained by EH Reinhard (6/7/18) - Suspense* - 4 stars.  No review.  This was a new-to-me author, but not underappreciated.  It was the first in a series, but I wasn't blown away by it, so I probably won't be picking up the rest of the series.

His Cowboy Heart by Jennifer Ryan (6/6/18) - Romance - 5 stars.  New-to-me, but not underappreciated, which is good because this book should be recognized.
Review: "Wow. Heartwarming and heart-wrenching romance with a soldier suffering from PTSD and the cowboy she loves. Sometimes not the easiest story to read because of the emotions it invoked, but I loved it."  Picked this up at the thrift store.  I love finding awesome books for cheap.

Panic by KR Griffiths (6/3/18) - Horror* - 5 stars.  New-to-me, but not underappreciated.
Review:  "Good bit of horror fiction set in a tiny town in Wales, which made it a little more personalized I think. Zombie-like, but not with actual zombies. Mutants created by some kind of canisters dropping from the sky that make people insane and bloodthirsty. Not my typical read, but I enjoyed reading it."  
Also the start of a series.  I'll probably pick these up as I have time and a need for horror fiction.

Dead on Demand by Daniel Campbell & Sean Campbell (6/2/18) - Suspense* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.
Review:  "Twisty, turny suspense of epic proportions. And I loved how the authors pieced it all together by the end. I especially loved the twist at the end. Awesome. And so perfect.

In a way, it reminded me of 'Unforgotten on Masterpiece', a UK series with a lot of twists and turns, told in a totally untypical way. Sometimes hard to follow, but definitely worth the ride."  

The start of a series and I already have the second book.  We'll see how that one goes as to whether I'll buy any future installments.


I'm only three books behind on my reading goal now, but we all know how that can go.  I may surge ahead or I may fall behind again.  Time will tell. 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Thursday This n That

They finally shipped my last hydrangea bush that I ordered a month ago.  Which was all kind of irritating.  It also didn't make any sense to me that they had a 'free shipping' sale and then sent everything I ordered in separate shipments.  That had to cost them a pretty penny.  Not the best way to do business, if you ask me.  :shrug:

I did not get pictures of my lilies and now they're on the downslope of peak blooming.  Sorry about that.

The bugs have been vicious and plentiful so far this year.  We have no clue what's biting us, but the bites are SUPER itchy and nothing really works on them long term.  (I have a plethora of anti-itch things to use, too.)  Hubs sprayed the yard again yesterday, ahead of schedule because he's fed up.  I hope that spraying kills whatever the hell these things are.  These bites are making us miserable - especially at night when the itch keeps us from sleeping.  (Like we needed any help not sleeping.  Sheesh.)

FB invited me to connect my FB with my Instagram.  So I did it.  I still can't do anything with Instagram because they don't have any applications that are compatible with a plain, ol', regular computer.  Supposedly, though, if I pay for an FB ad, it will show up on Instagram.  :shrug:

We've been watching The Best Baker in America.  I really can't stand Scott Conant (sp?).  What a smug, pretentious little bug.  But I love Jason Smith -he's really the main reason we watch.  And don't think I miss when Scott makes little digs at Jason.  What a buttwart.  Poor Jason looks like that show is sucking the joy right out of him.  When will Food Network give that man his own show like they promised when he WON that season of Food Network Star?   I think they're just stringing him along until he gets fed up and quits because they can't handle a personality like his - real, down-to-earth, folksy.  Jus' sayin'.

Okay, I think that's quite enough out of me this morning.  What this n that have you got goin' on?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sometimes Pain is Good

Yesterday afternoon, I was bored and feeling stifled, so I got the bright idea to do yard work.  Specifically, moving landscaping blocks from one side of the yard (the azalea beds) to the other side (the cedar bed) to make a wall against the water.  Kind of a precursor to the retaining wall I want to build on the other side of the bed. 

Hubs asked if I wanted the wheelbarrow, but I wanted the exercise, so I declined.  Ten blocks of about 5-10 pounds each.  I got those in and then adjusted them to look right, then dug a little trench for each one to seat it.

Then I needed to make a border for the azalea beds, so I carted about a dozen rocks from elsewhere on the property.  The biggest was about cantaloupe size and the smallest more like softball.  I still have about ten-twelve of those I have to find and place.

It looks really nice.

And I am really sore this morning. 

I have been lifting two pound weights during my exercise routine, but these were NOT two pounds each.  Oh, holy Mary mother of...  Yeah.  I didn't notice I was doing anything out of the ordinary until I stopped.  Took a nice shower.  Sat down... kersplat.  The Aleve I took seems to be keeping the ache at bay, but it's about to wear off. 

Probably should've taken Hubs up on the wheelbarrow.  But the exercise is good for me and the pain will pass.  And hey, if I'd tried this a few years ago... Hell, a few months ago... I would've been way more sore.  In fact, I probably would've been chugging like a freight train while I was doing it.  So it's all good.

And the moral of the story?  Sometimes you have to do things that hurt to achieve the outcome you want.  Whether it's lugging rocks to make a pretty yard or exercising to get healthier or typing until your fingers ache so you can create a novel or simply making the choice to trash a thousand words and start over.

That last one is what I did with the beginning of Sleeping Ugly 2.  I trashed what I'd written on Saturday because it was lame and it wasn't helping me get where I was going.  And my fresh start lit a fire under my muse.  I got 2600 words out last night, despite the ache and thanks to the Aleve.

Yep, sometimes pain is good.  Still sucks afterward, but I'll do it again and again and again to achieve my goals. 

What are you doing to achieve your goals?

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 22

Here we are at the beginning of another week with week 22 receding away behind us. 

What happened?  Well, let's see...

I finished the pre-editor edits for Sleeping Ugly and got it out to my editor who promised to have it back to me on the 30th.  So there's that.  Umm, what I said about rewriting the ending of SU so it was fully encapsulated?  Yeah, that didn't happen.  Whatever brilliant idea I had escaped me entirely.  So I left it alone.  But I asked my editor to let me know if the end works for her or whether I should do more.  It's still a series.  Can't help that.  Books are what they are sometimes and no amount of massaging or shaping but the lowly author can do anything to change that.

To that end, I started writing SU#2 last night.  I got just under 900 words out before I hit the wall of 'what the hell is this book going to be about?' I have until the 30th to figure that out and write the damn book, so welcome to the June version of NaNoWriMo for me.  Whoopee.

I keep having my brain giving me the first scene in a 4th SCIU book when I'm trying to sleep.  Go away, book, I've got other things on my plate.

In other news, I've been reading pretty steadily.  I read a really fun SF and a different kind of suspense - both by British authors.  With the SF, I immediately bought the second book in the series.  I already had downloaded the second book in the suspense series before I read the first (they were both free.)  Right now, I'm reading a horror novel by... yup... another Brit.  Not sure how the British invaded my Kindle, but I'm going with it.  So far, so fun.

My gardens are growing right along.  The lily count is now at 4 blooming - 3 pinks and a yellow.  The 5th one of that variety had all its buds die.  =o(  The other 5 are a different variety and haven't started budding yet.  We started planning the retaining wall behind the cedar garden bed.  If we do it they way I want to, it'll be around $100 and mean finding a way to cart 60 11" landscaping blocks.  If we do it Hubs' way, it'll be around $60 and carting 13 18" landscaping blocks.  (His are way thicker, so we'll only need one high, while with mine we'll need 3 high.)  We'll see what ends up happening.  I suspect we'll go Hubs' way.  It won't be as pretty, but it'll to the job and be easier on the budget.  Oh, and my pink hydrangea should arrive tomorrow. 

On the exercise front, I did 6 out of 7 days again with 4 out of the 6 being actual exercise days and the other two just active.  The non-exercise day was errand running.  Last I checked, I'd lost another 2/10ths of a pound, so I'm at 191 even.  I'm looking forward to seeing that zero after the nine, even if it has some tenths after the decimal.

Well, that seems like it for me today.  What's happening in your world?

Saturday, June 2, 2018

New-to-Me Authors Reading Update

Hey all,

It occurred to me that I had intended to do updates on the new-to-me authors' books I read.  So, now that I've remembered, here's how that's going this year:

Sherlock Holmes and the Cult of Cthulhu by James G. Boswell (3/17/18) - Mystery - 5-stars.  Review:  "I've been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid, and I usually view fiction like this with a suspicious eye. But the premise was intriguing, so I gave it a whirl. It was worth every penny. Brought me back to my love of Holmes but had a new spin all its own. So much fun. I inhaled it in a day."

Murder on Aisle Three by Megan Rivers (4/21/18) - Mystery - 4-stars.  No review.

The Convenient Cadaver by Matt Ferraz (5/12/18) - Mystery - 5-stars.  Review: "I picked this up on a whim, thinking it was going to be similar to the other 'granny mysteries' I've read in the past. In a way, it was, but it wasn't quite as light. And for this book, different was a good thing. It kept me totally engrossed, so much that I inhaled it in less than 24 hrs. Grandma Bertha is a sharp old gal. The dogs are cool, but don't play that major a part. I wanted to poke the son and daughter-in-law in the head. In the end, though, it all worked out and made me smile."

A Grave Mistake by Alexander Tarler (5/26/18) - Fantasy - 5-stars.  Review:  " Okay, so I'm rounding up from 4.75. It would've been a straight 5, but the end... GAH! Anyway, this book was loads of fun to read. It had some typo issues but nothing that marred the story or pulled me out so much I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall. I'm all about the story. And this was a good one.

Exceptional premise, btw. A guy who falls bass-ackwards into raising his whole family from the dead and then has to find a way to protect them and himself from a gang of morons who want to see him destroyed? All he wants it to live peacefully with his undead family members. But nope. Not gonna happen.

That's good stuff there. Wish I'd have thought of it."

The Blunt End of the Service by LJ Simpson (5/28/18) - SF - 5-stars.  Review:  " Rollicking good space fun. Can't wait to read the next book"  (Note: I did, in fact, buy the next book as soon as I'd finished this one.)

Five new-to-me, underappreciated books in five months, so I'm on target with my goal of reading one a month." 

I've also read a couple new-to-me authors who aren't underappreciated.  

 The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin by L. Jagi Lamplighter (3/4/18) - YA Fantasy - 4-stars.  Review:  "I had a tough time getting into this book, but I finally did and it was a lot of fun. Then it sort of just ended. Not much in the way of denouement and I kind of like some denouement. Your mileage may vary.

I think part of my problem getting into this book was my brain kept drawing comparisons to another book about a kid who goes off for his first year at a magical school. :shrug: All in all, it was an enjoyable read, though."

 The Time Hunters by Carl Ashmore (4/14/18) - MG Adventure - 5-stars. No review.  I'm not sure why I didn't review this one.  I certainly enjoyed it and I remember I liked it enough that I probably should've written a review, but I got lazy, I think. 

And there was one book that would probably qualify as both new-to-me and underappreciated, but it's an older romance (1997) I picked up at the thrift store, and I'm not sure acknowledgement by me would even be helpful at this point.

Where There's Smoke... by Laura Abbot (5/19/18) - Romance - 5-stars.  Review: "Cute story. Fun read. I was about ready to slap that kid, but she turned out okay - naturally. And it all worked out in the end, like a romance should. Yay!"

And that's it for now. I have several other qualifying books waiting on my Kindle, so there's hope for the rest of the year.  And, of course, I'm finding new books all the time.  

Have you read any new-to-you, underappreciated authors this year?  If you have, tell me about them.  Either way, I hope you'll give these books a whirl.