Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 38

Well, here we are again.  The last full week of September is done.  Next week, it's October.  Fun fun fun.

I didn't do nearly enough writing last week.  In my defense, I painted myself into a corner and I wasn't sure how to knock a hole in the wall, or which wall to knock one in, or whether to traipse across the wet paint and take a new direction.  All I know is I have just over two weeks to get this first draft done because around about the 15th, I'll be getting my edits back for Unequal and will have to focus on that.  Plus, I'll be hearing from my cover artist shortly and she'll want to know what I'm thinking for the cover of UatB, which will definitely be easier to tell her if I have a completed book.

I had a flash sale on Friday.  Wish in One Hand and In Deep Wish were both on sale for 99c.  I had planned to splash it all over FB throughout the day.  Then I woke up feeling like crap.  (Technically, I felt like crap the night before.)  So, I got a couple posts up first thing and then spent the rest of the day in my recliner.  By the time I remembered to post some more, the sale was almost over and I didn't bother.  Needless to say, sales were not awesome.  They were there, though, so I'm not totally disappointed.  And I'm seeing some more page reads again.  Better than a sharp stick in the ear, lemme tell ya.

Reading did not go well last week.  I ended up DNF'ing three books and only read one all the way through.  And it was a Spillane, so I was pretty much guaranteed a good read there.  I think it also set the bar kind of high for subsequent reads afterward.  But I'm fairly certain I would've DNF'd those books even if I hadn't just finished reading an awesome bit of writing.

Exercise/activity kind of sucked, too.  I started out pretty good and did the first four days.  Then Thursday hit and I started to feel kinda crappy, Friday was a total wash, and Saturday was rehab day.  I didn't eat much those days, so it wasn't a total fat fest.

My new keyboard is awesome.  I'm still getting used to it, but hey, even with the learning curve, it's still better than the last one.  What a piece of crap that was.  Urg.

My new vacuum is also awesome.  It sucked up dirt I didn't even know I had. 

Haven't tried the new crock pot yet.

The bucks are continuing to tussle off the backyard.  It's cool, but kind of scary.  I hope they don't hurt each other.  I really hope none of them lock antlers.  Not sure how we'd handle that if they did.

I've been looking at bricks to use in a retaining wall kind of thing.  Man, those things are expensive.  But I noticed one of my new neighbors has a stack sitting off to one side of his house after the renovations they did.  Unfortunately, they're summer people and I haven't met them, so finding out if he's willing to sell them to me will be kind of difficult.  Lucky for me, there's no deadline for this project.

And that's about it for me this week.  What have you been up to?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/29/18

Hello again.  I didn't read in quantity this week.  The one DNF book and the one finished book weren't fast reads and the other DNFs wasted my time.

And despite yesterday's post at Outside the Box, I did manage to find a couple new books to try - both of them from FB groups.  I won't share the titles anymore, in case they don't pan out for me.  Both are suspense/thriller, though.

I also picked up some used books that will be making their way through here - a mystery, a fantasy, a military action/adventure, a couple literature, and a historical.  Oh, and an old book on sculpting.  That's not a reader.  It's for our collection.

69) The By-Pass Control by Mickey Spillane (9/28/18) - Thriller - 5 stars - Not new to me, but probably should be more appreciated than it is.
Review: "Typical awesome Tiger Mann novel by the most excellent Mickey Spillane. I'm sorry he didn't write more of these."

DNF - 9/28/18 - Suspense - I got about 10% in and the writing was so bad I had to put it down, which kind of sucked because I was really into the premise.  This was a new to me and low-star read, and I can see why.  The worst part was the dialogue, I think.  So wooden.

DNF - 9/28/18 - Fantasy - An old favorite I picked up at the thrift store.  I got about twenty pages in and realized I wasn't in the mood for it.

DNF - 9/24/18 - MG Fantasy (the MCs were like 13/14, that's MG, right?) - New to me and middling stars.  I set it aside at 29%.  It was annoying me. It seemed like the author was explaining things that didn't really need explaining, things that simple logic would have reasoned out.  Maybe it wouldn't irritate the correct age range for reading MG.  Then again, I've read plenty of MG that didn't over-explain.  They're kids, not stupid.

And that's it for me.  Not sure what I'm reading next.  Probably something to do with crime, since fantasy keeps pooping out on me, I'm not feeling the SF vibe, and I'm not in a paranormal place right now.  (Update: I started a new suspense before bed last night.  So far, it's pretty interesting with no major flaws.  Fingers crossed.)

Read anything worth talking about?  Pick up any new books?  Pick up any old books? 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday This n That

Hello again.  I totally forget to schedule this post, so you're getting me at just after 6am.  Weeeee.

And I'm on my new keyboard.  It arrived yesterday.  So far, so good.  But I haven't tried writing on it yet.  :fingers crossed:  I take that back.  I wrote about 100 words last night and then I got stuck.  It totally wasn't the keyboard's fault.

My new crockpot arrived, too.  And it's smaller.  I guess I was wrong assuming my old crockpot was a 4 quart.  Oops.  Oh well, I guess I'll be making smaller vats of food than I used to.  It's not like I need to make that much food for just the two of us.

If you're not on FB, you missed the saga of the new stick vacuum.  If you are on FB and already saw this, you can skip this part.  I bought a new stick vac at Wallyworld.  Got it home and Hubs started to put it together for me.  (Not cuz I couldn't, but because he's Hubs.)  He was almost done when I walked by and looked at it.  Something looked weird.  Sure enough, the filter was filthy.  With someone else's gunk and hair.  Totally grossed me out.  I took it back yesterday and exchanged it - checking the new one to make sure it was, in fact, new. 

Yeah, lots of new stuff.  Not that I'm made of money or anything, but when the crockpot cracked, I figured I could add a keyboard to the order (and get free shipping), cuz that other one has been annoying the shit out of me for months.  And now the keys were rubbing off.  Then I tried using my stick vac, but it was so old, the wheels were jammed and it was making lines on my hard floor.  So, I squeezed a bit out of the budget and bought that, too.  All three together cost me about $50. 

While I was down at Wallyworld for the second time in two days, I took the opportunity to swing by St. Vinny's.  I dropped off two boxes of books and came out with seven more books.  Heh.  If you're not familiar with St. Vinny's, it's St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.  I used to frequent one when I was in college, and now I've found one not too far from where I do my shopping.  It's awesome.  They have tons of cool stuff, but I always gravitate right to the books.  Natch.

Okay, I'm done for today.  What's on your this n that for today?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Decreasing the Anger

I'm angry all the time lately.  Turn on the news, open FB, commercials, TV shows... Blerg.

Anyway, it's not good for me.  Hell, it's not good for anyone to have that angry buzz in the background of their brains 24/7.  It raises the blood pressure, increases the stomach acid, tenses everything up, and makes people turn to their drug of choice more - caffeine, nicotine, alcohol*...  Nope, definitely not good.  So, rather than hash over what's making me so damn angry - which was my first thought for a post this morning - I decided to go over some of the ways I'm trying to alleviate the anger.

First, get the hell away from the things that are making you angry.  Turn off Facebook and Twitter.  And if you can't do that, train yourself to scan over the crap to get to what you need from those venues.  Take a walk.  Go fishing.  If you don't fish, go somewhere you can stand and look at something pretty while wiping your mind clean.  Let the air blow the gunk out of your system. 

Listen to music instead of watching TV.  Or if you're like me, listen to music on your TV - cuts out the chance of watching something annoying.  And if you're listening to the radio, change the channel when the radio news comes on.  Throw in your favorite CDs.  For me, when it gets really bad, I turn to Rachmaninoff.  Whatever chills you out.

Find something pretty and happy to look at.  Cute puppy videos.  The birds outside.  Plant websites.

Discover something new.  The other day I spent some time discovering what happens to all the pits from pitted olives.  (One place uses them for fuel.)

Read. Not 'message fiction', but something with a good story or with interesting information.  Something that takes me away from the anger.

Exercise.  Shadow boxing helps, especially if you imagine you're knocking the snot out of someone stupid.

Then once the anger is down to an acceptable level, I can go back to the insanity and weather through it once more.  I've even gotten to the point where I can laugh at it.  It's all so ludicrous, I wonder why we aren't all laughing ourselves silly.  I mean, when the former governor of Michigan said that everyone saying it didn't happen is proof it did happen, I about fell out of my chair.  She's such a silly bitch, how could anyone take her seriously?

The most important thing to remember is that I can't do a damn thing about any of it, so why I'm letting it harsh my life is beyond me.  It is what it is.  And whether it gets better or worse is outside of my control.  All I can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. 

Anyway, I hope this helps.  I'm a little less crazypants this morning and so you got this post instead of the rant I originally sat down to write.

*No, I have not taken up drinking again.  It was just another example.  Not that I haven't thought about it.  Some days the world makes me wish I hadn't dumped the last of my alcohol down the kitchen sink.  When the anger gets too much, I could seriously go for a gin and tonic.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 37

Thirty-seven weeks into 2018.  What a ride.  And we're just about done with September.  How'd that happen?  Blerg.

Okay, so anyway, here's how the week went for me:

I rolled over 32K words on Ugly and the Beast.  Not dreadful, but also not awesome since I'd planned to be just about done with this sucker by the end of September.  It doesn't look like it's working out that way.  Those days I did manage to write, I'd type furiously until I was pretty sure I had a few thousand words out, only to discover I'd barely done a thousand.  Which is kinda disheartening.

Friday, my Createspace letter finally came and I transferred all my paperbacks over to Amazon.  More on that tomorrow at Outside the Box

Then Friday, I spent some drudge time working on my back matter and front matter for all my books.  More on that, too, tomorrow at Outside the Box.

On the activity front, I only managed to be active 4 days out of 7.  Wednesday-Friday I just couldn't muster the gumption.  I did manage to drop another two tenths of a pound, though.  I'm chalking it up to heavy-duty yardwork early in the week and managing to eat less than I was burning.

Let's see... What else went on?  I think I've already talked about the crock pot and the keyboard.

Oh, yeah, it finally rained yesterday.  We've been kinda dry here lately, so that was welcome.

We've been seeing some odd birds lately.  It's migration time again, so it's not surprising.  But a couple of them were birds I'd never seen before - a male and a female of what I think are black-throated green warblers.  Cute little buggers.

Speaking of birds, we had a hummingbird ditch into the picture window.  I looked out the window and was pretty sure he was laying there with a broken neck - head all cocked to one side with his wings akimbo.  I went out to give comfort in his last minutes, but he wasn't broken.  YAY!  He just needed some tender love and care for a few minutes.  Then he flew away to the redbud and sat there for a while.  He finally flew off.  All is well.

And that's enough out of me today.  What's going on in your world?

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/22/18

Here we are again at another Saturday.  I managed more reading than I thought I would, but that's because the writing is slow going right now.

I did not buy or download any new books this week.

68) Mum's the Word for Murder by Brett Halliday (9/20/18) - Crime Novel - 5 stars.  Not new to me, but probably underappreciated.  I've had this old (1953) paperback on the shelves forever.
Review: "Fun old crime novel. The premise was interesting - the story being told from a novelist's point of view while he tags along with the actual detective. I enjoyed the twists and turns. I half-expected one person to be behind the killings and then somewhere along the way, I got an idea of what might be happening. Sure enough, my theory was right. And it was all wrapped up nicely, if a bit abruptly."

67) Outback Summer by Nancy John (9/15/18) - Romance - 4 stars.  New to me and with really low reviews, but that's to be expected from an early '80s romance (before online reviewing was created)
Review: "Typical early eighties romance novel. Definitely written before the PC culture invaded, which is kind of refreshing every now and then."

DNF 9/20/18 - Paranormal Mystery?  I picked this up on a whim.  And it was pretty good.  Well, except for the profusion of typos.  Seriously, people, proofread!  Anyway, I didn't put it down because of the typos.  I just realized I didn't like the MC and I didn't see myself getting to a point where I would like her.  I think I made it about 15% of the way in.  (Nope it was 31%.)  And as I was laying in bed that night, debating on whether to keep reading, it occurred to me that there was no way I was going to be able to give this more than 3 stars.  So why waste more of my time?  If that makes any sense.

DNF 9/16/18 - Memoir.  I've owned this one forever and I always mean to read it.  Well, I started it and I just wasn't in a place to read about a family moving to Alaska, so I stopped about ten pages in.  I'm keeping it.  I'll read it eventually.


I haven't started a new book yet. We'll see what the week holds.

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday This n That

I ordered a new crock pot this week.  My old one developed a crack in the ceramic liner.  Oh well.  Time for me to try one that doesn't have a tendency to go nuclear on Low.  I went to Amazon.  Found a Proctor-Silex model with really awesome reviews.  Went to order it and there's no order button.  Because it's only available to Prime members.  :eyeroll:  Clicked over to the white version of the same damn crock pot.  About a $1.50 more expensive, but available to lower life forms like me.  Sorry Big A, but I order so infrequently that Prime doesn't do me a damn bit of good.  And I ordered my new keyboard, too, so I got free shipping.  They should be here next week.

Yes, I will post a review of the new keyboard once I get used to it.

And the crock pot, if anyone's interested.

The day the crock pot cracked, I was making barbecue chicken.  Put some apple juice in the bottom of the crock pot (enough to cover the bottom by about 1/4"), slap a couple chicken breasts in there, season to taste (salt, pepper, chili powder, onion powder).  A couple hours later, liberally dollop some peach jelly on those suckers.  An hour later, pour your favorite BBQ sauce over them.  Once you can push on one of the breasts and have it start to flake apart, take the chicken out (another hour maybe).  Put it on a plate and use a fork to pull it apart.  Slide the meat back into the slow cooker.  Add more BBQ sauce and peach jelly.  Season to taste again.  Wait about another hour and serve.  I did mine over toasted buns and Hubs put his over mashed potatoes. 

Sometimes without warning I am known to say 'yippity skippity boink-boink-boink' in relation to nothing.  Sometimes I sing it.

For some reason, we've had a lot of praying mantises around lately.  Gross.  I was weeding and had one jump out onto my arm.  I got to show off my ninja moves then.  That night, I had three of them on my bathroom window as I was brushing my teeth for bed.  The next day I was weeding again and one popped out of the pile I was raking.  The other day Hubs was mowing and there was a HUGE one in the grass.  He went to move it and it stabbed him with one of its claws.  Lucky he was wearing gloves.  :shudder:  I hate praying mantises.  I mean, they're kind of interesting to watch - especially when they're eating their mate - but... :shudder:

We have far too many bugs here.  As far as I can tell, it's the only downside to living here.

Okay, that's probably quite enough out of me this morning.  What have you got going on in your this n that world?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Culling the Book Herd

I spent part of yesterday looking through my shelves, trying to find something to read.  Instead, I keep finding books that I have no idea why I am holding onto them.  And I now have a big stack to take to St. Vinny's.  With the added benefit of more room on my shelves now.  Yay. 

But yeah, I'm finding books that I pull off the shelf and go 'why the hell do I even have this?'  I expect some of it comes from the move.  At one point near the end of packing, I was throwing stuff in boxes.  As a result, I lost several books I wanted to keep, so it stands to reason I kept several I wouldn't have if I'd thought about it harder.

A few of them I have because I know I meant to read them at some point, but now I'm all 'meh' about them.  Like Bill Gates' autobiography.  Meh.  Into the thrift store pile it went.  I'm still debating the Jack Welch autobiography and the Guiliani book on leadership.

I did start to read a memoir about moving to Alaska, but it wasn't thrilling me.  That one went back on the shelf, because I know at some point I will want to read it.

I'm trying to go through all my unread books and either read them or get them off my shelves.  Unless I have them for some other purpose - like research.  Or they're old and I can't bear to part with them, even if I never intend to read them. 

I'm also discovering I have a lot of non-fiction that I bought with every intention of reading, but haven't.  And I haven't the heart to toss them.  Someday I'll read them.  Someday.

And then there are the books I've read, have no intention of reading again, but can't part with.  I've been porting them over to the shelf in the spare room.  I really need another bookshelf or two.  Ack.

Or I need to be more strict about culling the book herd.  If I have no intention of reading it again, why am I even keeping it?  Gah.  So many reasons... err rationalizations for my hoarding habit... Umm.

And then there are the books I would gladly toss, except they belong to Hubs.  I culled some of his books years ago - with his permission - and he stills wonders from time to time what happened to them.  "Where'd such and such a book go?"  And then I have to remind him about the cull.  =o(

I wish I never had to cull again, but there's only so much space on the shelves and only so much space in the house for more shelves.  :sigh:

Do you cull your books?  How do you decide?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 36

So, here we are in the middle of September.  Not sure how that happened.  I guess publishing four books in a year (three down, one to go) will do that to a gal.  Well, that and other things.  :shrug:

Okee doke, here we go...

I slacked off last week on writing.  I'm at just over 27K words.  I hit that thing I talked about earlier in the week over at OTB and fell flat on my face.  So, I spent some days not thinking about it.  Friday and Saturday I sat my ass down with a notepad and really thought about where I was at and where I was headed. I'm hoping to get some major writing done today.

Work began on the cover for Unequal.  Umm... yah.  I know what I want to do, but I don't think it'll be what dystopian readers are looking for.  Lord knows, I thought the first cover I did for Blink was awesome and it flopped.  The second cover of that ain't blowing people's skirts up either.  If my cover artist wasn't up to her eyeballs in work, I'd see what she could do.  I do have a slot in her schedule next month, but that's supposed to be for the cover of UatB.  And I need that done, so I think I'll leave it.  Cross your fingers for me on Unequal's cover.

I finished reading four books last week.  Three of them are on my reading update and the fourth got finished yesterday.

I've been trying to think of some kind of marketing plan for this month, but meh.  I should've been thinking about Sept marketing in Aug.

The ol' activity thing fell down last week, too.  Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday I did some form of exercise.  Wednesday I cleaned.  The other days I sat on my ass for the most part.  Still, I managed to reach a milestone on Friday and finally got below 180.  Two-tenths of a pound below, but hey, there's a seven in the tens spot after about a decade, so I'm ecstatic.  Anyway, I think I lost some weight (technically, about a half a pound overall) despite my laziness because I ate smaller portions of smarter foods.

Oh, hey, one of this year's fawn has tiny baby buttons*!  He's so cute!  I love it when you can finally tell their genders.  Unfortunately, they're all losing their spots, too.  My babies are growing up.  :sniffle:

We've been seeing a lot of different birds in the yard again, so I'm declaring migration is in session.  At least here in MO.  We've had a girlie tanager hanging around (not sure if it's a Summer or a Scarlet) and a vireo (either a Warbling or a Red-Eyed) and some different little warblers.  I love migration season.  Soon, we'll have Bald Eagles again!

Well, I guess that's it for me this week.  How are things in your little corner of the world?

*Antler buds.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/15/18

Hey, All.  It's time again for another Reading Wrap-up.  Woohoo.

I'm still reading books I have on the shelves rather than ones on my Kindle.  I was doing a pretty good about not downloading anything new, too, until a certain someone sent me the link for a free ebook that sounded awesome, so I downloaded it.  I also bought a bunch of books at the local thrift store.  Mostly romances, but a couple NF (non-fiction).

Anyway, here's how my reading week shook out:

66) My Life Among the Serial Killers by Morrison and Goldberg (9/13/18) - NF- 4 stars. 
Review: " Interesting. I picked this up strictly for research and it did it's job in that capacity."

65) Rascal by Sterling North (9/9/18) - Memoir - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated since it was first written in the '60s.  I've had this one one the shelf for years.  Glad I finally sat down and read it.
Review: "A nice, interesting true story about a boy and the year he spends raising a raccoon during WWI. It has some funny scenes and some touching ones. And it ends well. (No 'Old Yeller' ending. Thank goodness.) "

64) Secret of the Lost Race by Andre Norton (9/8/18) - SF - 4 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  I've also had this on the shelf for years.  I'm slowly making my way through all my unread Andre Nortons.
Review: "It was a good story, but gah! it just... you know... ended. And with a confusing paragraph. Maybe Ms. Norton intended to write more books in a series with this world, but I'm showing this as a single title. Which is sad. There should've been more."

I'm currently reading one of the romances I bought.  It's set in Australia, which always was a favorite of mine when I was inhaling romances as a teen.  Eh, it's brain candy, but I need that after reading about serial killers.   

What about you?  Read anything interesting this week?  What's on the menu for the days ahead?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday This n That

Hubs and I were looking for something to watch on Sunday night, so we checked out The Miniaturist on Masterpiece.  Wow, was that ever weird.  So, afterwards, I went to the internet to see what it was all about.  Read the reviews of the book.  From the sounds of it, it doesn't get any less weird, so we're done watching.  Plus, it's 'critically acclaimed', which always makes me want to run.  If I'd done the research beforehand, we wouldn't have wasted an hour being confused.

I didn't do a post on Tuesday because it would've either been 'business as usual' or 'heavy-duty ranting'.  BAU seemed inappropriate for the day.  And HDR seemed pointless. 

Two weeks ago a package was supposed to arrive at my home address through the USPS.  It never showed.  It wasn't sent with tracking, so we had no idea where the hell it went.  Inside was some work for me to do and a check.  After waiting, the office re-copied all the paperwork and cut me another check.  That package - exactly like the missing one - arrived Monday.  I took the check to the bank on Tuesday and while I was out that way, I skipped over to the post office to check my PO Box and clean out the usual crap.  (I never get real mail there. I only have one so I can have a physical address to use online without putting my actual address out there.)  Lo and behold, the missing package was in my PO Box.  Some numbnuts had taken it upon themselves to rubber stamp it with a notification to let people know my address was a PO Box.  Umm... it had an actual physical address on it and we receive mail here, so I'm not sure what the hell...  As you can see, I'm still pretty riled up about the whole thing.  Just deliver my freakin' mail to the address written on the goddamned envelope, will you?  Luckily, the office did not stop payment - which costs them $30 a pop - or I would've been really pissed.

On the upside, I have an advance payment on my next group of work.  (Office wanted to do it that way, and who am I to argue?)

Living in the back of beyond has many advantages and a few disadvantages.  Like the local businesses can't find quality help.  Or maybe that's not just rural.  It seems like the quality of the workforce is dropping everywhere. 

Speaking of which, my local Wallyworld seems to be having issues.  There are whole sections of shelving with nothing on them.  For instance, I needed mousetraps.  I went in one week and there were no mousetraps, so I brought it to someone's attention.  They said the computer showed they had 11 in the back, but since they came in 16 packs, that couldn't be right.  They were sure there'd be some next week.  Next week, still no mousetraps.  I found the manager for that area - she's a cool gal - and showed her what was going on.  She was still showing 11 in the back, and yeah, that wasn't right.  So she was going to order another 16.  I told her to order more than that because mouse season is approaching.  She did so.  Lo and behold, the next time I went in they were flush with mousetraps and I bought 12.  (We go through a lot of mousetraps here.  Those buggers love our garage.)  So, are the empty spots on the shelves all there because they think there are more in the back, but there aren't?  Computer error?  Maybe.  But shouldn't some human be checking on that?  Makes me want to go work down there just to fix the errors.  Know what I'm sayin'?

Yesterday morning, Hubs found a toad in his bathroom.  Not sure how the little bugger got in there.  It was sitting on his toilet seat between the lid and the seat.  (We keep our lids closed so Kira won't be tempted to play in the water.)  Now the question is: If a toad can get in, could a snake also get in?  :shudder:

Okay, well, that's probably quite enough out of me for one day.  What's on your radar today?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 35

It's time again for another Sunday Update.

I've been chugging right along on the writing.  Ugly and the Beast is now at 26K (I started last Saturday with 13K).  I know who the beast is now.  I think.  It may be a kind of 'one actual beast, one metaphorical beast' thing.  We'll see what my brain comes up with along the way.

I haven't done much writerly stuff otherwise.  Very little marketing, which means very little sales.  And I'm not at a spot right now where anything needs to be edited.  It's all about the writing, baby.

Right now, I feel like I'm writing total crap.  Somehow I got spun into this alternate storyline running concurrent with the plot and I'm not sure if it works.  But I'm running with it.  For now.  If it sucks, I'll fix it in edits.  Oh, and I came up with the ultimate plot twist, game-changer, shocker of all shocks.  But it might not be revealed until Book 3.

I read some last week.  One of the books was a totally awesome urban fantasy, which sort of lead me to a problem.  It was so good, I felt the voice of UatB changing.  So, I'm swearing off anything paranormal until after I get this book set in my head.  This hasn't happened in a while.  Maybe I'll talk about it tomorrow on Outside the Box.

Tuesday I thought I saw some telltale signs of Kira coming down with a urinary tract infection again.  But Wednesday she was fine, so I thought maybe I was just being a Nervous Nelly.  Umm, nope.  Thursday I woke up to a messy kitty.  I'll spare you the details.  Anyway, I waited until 8am and called the vet.  He's on vacation until Monday.  Awesome.  They give me a referral to another vet.  They're full-up.  I google and locate a vet I didn't even know existed about ten minutes from here.  She's been in business for 22 years at that location.  Derp.  She can get Kira in at 11.  Woohoo.  Long story shortened a bit, the drive was easier on Barfy Kitty, she seemed to be more relaxed through the whole thing, and the people there were very nice.  She's got a long-lasting antibiotic shot and life is good.  I guess we have a new vet now.  Yay.

Friday, I bathed the cat.  I didn't have the heart to put her through a bath on top of the vet visit, and truth be told, I wasn't really up to bathing her that day either.  Upside is she's a really good cat, so baths aren't an exercise in filleting the mommy.  She just sits there in the tub and meows pitifully until it's over.  But I do have to kneel over the tub for 15-20 minutes.  I counted that as my exercise for the day.

Speaking of which, I did something active every day last week.  Most of the days were actual exercise and walking.  I even walked the day I bathed the cat. No weight change at this time.  :shrug:

Okay, I think that's it for me.  How'd your last week go?

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/8/18

Welcome to another week of reading.  Albeit, not quite the reading extravaganza of previous weeks.  I spent the majority of my reading time with DNF books.  Bleh.  Eh, some weeks are like that.

63) Cambodia Clash (Mack Bolan Executioner #65) by Some Writer (9/7/18) - Action/Adventure - 3 stars.  I've read Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan novels.  This was not one of them.  It had no Goodreads reviews until mine.  Bummer.
Review: "Meh. Not really what I expected from a Mack Bolan novel. Of course, it wasn't actually written by Don Pendleton, so I should've expected as much. All the hairy situations Mack found himself in... they just didn't feel organic. It was like some editor somewhere said 'throw some more stuff at him', so the writer did. But it felt forced. Anyway, I was disappointed with this one."

62) Shade Chaser (City of Crows #2) by Clara Coulson (9/3/18) - Urban Fantasy* - 5 stars - No longer new to me and as appreciated as it should be.
Review:  "Ooo, even better than the first! These books are freakin' awesome!"  (Yeah, not the most eloquent, but when I'm excited, I'm exited.  K?)

DNF (9/7/18) - SF.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  This was one of my old Andre Norton paperbacks - Sea Siege.  The premise didn't thrill me, but I thought I'd give it a whirl.  I got about two pages in and put it back on the shelf.

DNF (9/5/18) - Romance.  New to me.  Not sure if it was underappreciated because I never checked.  Made it through about a quarter of the book.  This was one I picked up at the thrift store last time I was there.  I didn't quit reading it because it wasn't well written.  In fact, it had a lot of things going for it.  I stopped reading because it was giving me nightmares of sick children - which probably proves it was well-written.  But nightmares are really not what I'm looking for in a romance.  

DNF (9/2/18) - Cozy Mystery*.  New to me, but had plenty of reviews.  I talked about reading this one in last week's wrap-up, but I deleted the title out.  If you read it and remember the title, keep it to yourself, please.  I'm not out to dent anyone's sales or get blowback for my honest opinion.  But yeah, this one had a couple major problems for me.  1) Over-explaining everything, and repeating the same explanations they'd already given.  I have a bad memory, but this was ridiculous.  2) A scene where they felt the need to hash over what must've been a hot-button issue for them, or they were going for a virtue-signalling merit badge.  And it didn't have anything to do with the plot.  At almost 2/3rds of the way through the book.  Come on.  I was getting close to DNF'ing anyway, but I still wanted to know who the killer was.  After that, I really didn't care.

Last night, I started an old Andre Norton paperback.  Well, actually, I started two different ones, but the first one wasn't blowing my skirt up, so I put it back and grabbed another one.  So far, so good.

Since all the new books on my Kindle are paranormal, I'm setting them aside while I work on Ugly and the Beast.  Which is fine.  I have plenty of books to read otherwise.

So tell me... Whatcha readin'? 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thursday This n That - Commercial Edition

The Liberty Mutual commercials irritate the crap out of me.  OMG, you ran into someone and your insurance company raised your rates?  How dare they?  Poor baby.  What about the person you ran into?  Screw them, eh?  Talk about giving in to the entitlement philosophy and the idea that actions shouldn't have consequences.  Gah.  And the one where the kid can't change a frickin' tire and he's screwed because his dad's insurance company won't pay for someone else to come change it for him?  Seriously?  Him, his dad, and his friend... Morons.  In fact, Liberty Mutual makes it seem like all their customers are morons and they only want more morons as customers.  Their 'accident forgiveness' means all the customers without accidents are footing the bill through higher rates.  If I had Liberty Mutual, I'd drop them and run. 

Yeah, commercials these days annoy me.  How many commercials with obnoxious, snotty, entitled kids does a person have to sit through?  They all need spankings.  And loss of privileges.  And if I ever talked to my parents that way, I'd be in deep dirt.  Gah. 

Again, actions with no consequences.  Makes me want to scream.

And what about the commercials where the man is an idiot but his wife is oh-so superior. 

And what the hell is it with the length of commercial breaks these days?  Used to be a maximum of three minutes worth of commercials.  Now it's five to eight minutes.  Blerg.  Stupider commercials and more of them.  Whoopee.

Ahem.  I seem to have been a little testy when I wrote this post.  Not enough coffee and a poor night's sleep.

Suffice it to say, I love the mute button.  And the Jump button on my remote with another good program set for backup.  And barring that, good books to read during commercials. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Ideas and Problems that Aren't Problems, Per Se

I'm back to writing again.  Ugly and the Beast is making strides.  Not great ones.  I'm averaging about a thousand words a day.  But I am striding.

It's all good, except I have a problem... Well, not a problem per se... The ideas are flowing at me fast and furious, but my hands aren't keeping up.  I type pretty fast, but I can't do it for long stretches at a time.

You see,, I'm out of practice.  I haven't done a writing marathon in quite a while and the ol' hand muscles are atrophied.  So my old pace of 1500 words an hour is down to 800-1000 and I can only get about an hour in before things start to crap out.

Not complaining, mind you.  I know several writers who are worse off than me physically and still manage to write.  I'm just explaining.

As for the ideas... OMG, flowing so fast.  I'm keeping them all on a notepad beside my ashtray.  As I complete one, I cross it off, but new ideas are getting added faster than I can cross them off.

I know, I know... I should have such problems all the time.  Again, not complaining so much as explaining.  It's all good... as long as I can get the ideas down and don't lose them before I can write them.  And as long as I write them down well enough to I know what I mean later.  (Cuz, yeah, that's a problem, too.  Going back later only to ask myself 'what the hell did I mean here?' is a thing.)

And I'm writing these scenes in a kind of bare bones way.  Thank goodness for editing.  Get the scenes down and flesh them out later.

But I am writing.  Which is a good thing.  Writing new words is awesome.  They may not be the best words right now, but they're the framework and I can rebuild them later.  I do have the technology.  Better, stronger, faster... Ahem.

Ah, the life of a writer. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sunday Update - Week 34

Here we are again at the start of a new month.  Not exactly sure how we got to September already, but here it is.  yay.

I got back to writing yesterday.  I've committed myself to finishing Ugly and the Beast this month.  Have to get 'er done because next month my cover artist will be expecting details so she can create a cover for it.  And I've kinda committed to having it published early next year, so there's that.

I spent the majority of the week polishing Unequal so my AWE doesn't want to beat me with a stick when she opens it up.  Reading through it again, I remember why I love this book and why I'm so anxious to get it out into the world.  Fingers crossed people love it as much as I do.

Not much reading to speak of last week.  A couple books finished and part of another.

No fishing.  Like I said, I was doing book stuff.  Plus, it's the last weekend of the summer, so the area is packed with vacationers indulging in the last hurrah.  Maybe I'll go next week - if I'm on track with my wordcount.

I didn't get a ton of activity done last week either.  5 out of 7 days, but only one of those was the exercise routine.  No weight lost.  And Friday I was a bad bad girl.  I bought KFC and donuts.  First time in 6 months.  The first piece of chicken was like crack.  So good.  And the donut was divine.  I also made cake last week.  Spice Coffee Cake, which is awesome with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream.  I predict I will be exercising a lot next week.

I was supposed to have some work to do for the pay-job, but the mail got lost somewhere.  I'm supposed to be getting another packet tomorrow.  Good lord willin' and the temp mail chick don't drop it somewhere along the way.

Okay, that's about it for me.  Did you do anything worth talking about last week?  Anything to hurrah over?  Talk to me, people.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 9/1/18

Welcome to this week's Reading Wrap-up.  It wasn't a heavy reading week for me.  I'm pushing to get a book polished to send to my editor.  Considering that I intend to write a book this month, the coming wrap-ups might be a little light, too.  We'll see what September holds.

I didn't pick up any new books this week.  I'm committed to reading all the new books on my Kindle before I download any more.  You know, unless something awesome comes along.

Here's what I read last week:

61) Sabercat by TL Knighton (8/29/18) - SF*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.
No Review.

60) Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose (8/27/18) - History - 5 stars.  I'd never read anything by Ambrose before, but I'd seen the mini-series.  And this definitely isn't underappreciated.
Review: "Excellent. I've watched the mini-series (which I wish they'd broadcast again) and thoroughly enjoyed that, so I thought I should probably read the book. Well worth the time."

No DNFs.

I'm currently reading a cozy mystery - :title redacted: to be exact.  I'm about 30% in and so far, so good.   (I redacted the title because I DNF'd it Sunday afternoon.  More on that next week.)

Read anything worth mentioning this week?  What are you reading now?

Note:  The number before each book indicate it's place in how many books I've read so far this year.  If you want to see the whole list, follow the link.