Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday This n That

So, I went price shopping for dry cat food.  And I about gagged at the price, so I gave up and just bought it at Wallyworld.  Then I discovered I'm only buying a 7lb bag and what I was looking at online was a 16lb bag.  Umm, yeah, better price online, but I already break the 7lb bag into like one pound baggies for freezing.  And it takes her like 10-14 days to eat through one baggie.  I do not need 16 baggies sitting in my freezer.  Maybe if I had a chest freezer or something.  Right now, though?  No.

I have to freeze the cat food.  If I don't, it gets stale and if it gets stale, it gives Kira urinary problems.  No problems since I started freezing the damn food.  :shrug: Who knew?  Okay, people probably knew.

I am a slave to my geriatric cat.

Cat food should be one word.  Seriously.   Catfood.  Mailbox is one word.  It's a box for your mail.  Therefore, food for your cat (or dog... I'm not species biased here) should be catfood (or dogfood).

Gimpy deer is walking better on his hurt leg now.  He's walking stiff, but not limping.  I saw him stare down a bigger buck yesterday and move him off the feed by just tilting his head.  He's scrappy.  I hope he makes it.  And eats lots of deerfood.  (Think about it.)

Okay, technically, the deer here don't eat 'deer food'.  That stuff is too expensive.  They eat whole corn mixed with pellets made to feed cattle.  (As long as it's dry outside.  Those pellets turn to gruel when they get wet.)  A 50 lb bag of deer feed is like $15.  A bag of cattle feed is like $8.  And it's basically the same stuff. 

We occasionally also give them a goat feed pellet that's supposed to protect against internal parasites like worms.

It's the end of January and I've already got stuff poking up out of the dirt - irises, columbines, etc.  My lilac already has little leaf buds.  Fingers crossed for no more really hard freezes.

I can't wait for Spring. 

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Just Some Stuff

:crawls from the primordial sludge:  Mornin'.  I can't make my brain work, so here's some interesting stuff.

Okay, I can't think of any interesting stuff.  So here's just some stuff.

Coffee is my friend.  This morning, though, it seems to not be working.  Coffee versus the evil of morning.  Sometimes the forces of evil are strong, so we must make the coffee stronger.

This morning, I thought my favorite mug was broken.  It's a black mug and it had white on it near the bottom, which I thought was a spot where the glaze had chipped off.  I was seriously bummed.  So, I took it into the kitchen to pour my coffee into a new mug so I could further investigate.  Turns out the white was a piece of napkin stuck to the bottom of the cup.  No idea where that came from.  But that's how my brain is working this morning.

Sunday I tried to get back to being active by actually walking the loop for the first time this year and then later doing some work in the woods.  I so wasn't ready for it.  Leg muscles... ugh.  There's two ways to think about getting rid of muscle pain - take it easy until it goes away or get back to work and it'll work itself out.  I tried the 'get back to work' thing yesterday and did more tromping in the woods.  Nope, hurts again this morning.  Not sure which path I'll be taking today.

My friend, Silver, has a recipe for no bake cookies on her blog this morning.  I love me some no-bakes.  Yummers.  And I've been thinking about making some, so this is timely for me. 

And that's about all the stuff my brain can put forth right now.  Oh, I almost forgot... today's the last day of the Project Hermes sale.  Tomorrow, Blink of an I will be free. 

:wanders off in search of more coffee:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 4

Well, there's another week of 2020 gone by, and this one without a lot to show for it.

I wrote four days out of seven for about 4500 words.  Then I got derailed by some kind of weird ass 24 hour cold. Excuses, excuses, I know.  I'm this close to hitting 20K on Cinder Ugly, so maybe next week I can claim that accomplishment.  I also got a minimal amount of editing done on Ugly and the Beast.

I did read a bunch.  I'm 5 books ahead on my goal  I'll need that later, I'm sure.  I also hit the thrift store and got some new paperbacks.  Yay.

Then I made a to-die-for coffee cake.  It's basically cake mix made with less oil and one more egg, and it has streusel in the middle and on top.  Wicked stuff.  (Recipe below.)

Yesterday, I got tripped up by a stomach thing and accomplished doodle.  I swear, it was a week for crap.  Well, bring it on and get it out of the way already.  I've got work to do.

Other than that, work stuffs and lazing around.  Here's to a better Week 5.  What were you up to last week?

To Die For Coffee Cake

1 pkg Butter Pecan cake mix
1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

1/2 cup butter (very cold and diced)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 9x13" can pan with non-stick spray. Make cake batter according to directions on box, but using the above measurements instead of theirs. Combine streusel ingredients using a pastry blender until they're crumbly. Spread half the cake batter in the pan. Sprinkle half the streusel mixture over the top. Dollop the remainder of the cake batter over the streusel, getting it about as even as you can. Sprinkle the remainder of the streusel over the batter, again getting it about as evenly distributed as you can. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/25/20

Hello again!  Fancy seeing you here.

Well, it was an interesting week for acquiring books.  I got 4 new ebooks and 4 hardcopies at the thrift store.  Woohoo.  So, for ebooks, I have that one medical thriller left from last week and a mystery, an UF, a romance, and a paranormal romance from this week.  The hardcopies I bought were a SF, a mystery, a romance, and a crime novel.  Unfortunately, I already had a copy of the crime novel.  Dang it.  I'll take whichever copy is less attractive and donate it to St. Vinny's.

Books Read:

8) Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer (1/19/20) - Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free from the Book Doggy newsletter.
Review: "Enjoyable little mystery and the romantic angle was nice, too."

7) Demonic Indemnity by Craig McLay (1/18/20) - UF*# - 4 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free off the Reading Deals newsletter.
Review: "Fun book with an interesting premise and great characters. A bit heavy on the description side for my tastes, but that's me."

DNFs: None

Currently reading... I'm halfway through a paranormal suspense with angels (regular and fallen) and murders and cops and junk with a romance trope popping up in the middle of it.  After I finished that mystery on Sunday, I hit the reading skids where I just didn't feel like picking up a book - not because of the mystery, I just didn't feel like reading.  I got back at it on like Wednesday, though.  

And that's it for me.  What was your reading week like?

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday This n That

How did it get to be Thursday again? 

I work on spreadsheets, one per principle per month.  As I was doing one yesterday, I thought to myself 'didn't I already do this one this month?', which had me scrambling to make sure I wasn't doing the same spreadsheet twice.  Nope.  Just the feeling of time passing too damn quickly, I guess.


Last night, I made stewp.  One can of beef stew, one can of beefy vegetable soup.  Stir them together, heat, and eat.  Thins out the stew, thickens up the soup.  Dinner for the two of us, and lunch for another day.  Very yummy and perfect for the weather we're having.

Speaking of weather, we didn't get it nearly as bad as they were predicting, so once again, I have loaded up on household stuffs and didn't really need to.  :shrug:  Better to have and not need than need and not have.  Of course, there's still today for more weather stuff.  I hope the trend of missing us continues.

A few days ago, one of our bucks came into the yard limping.  I hate to see the wild critters get hurt.  There's nothing I can do for any of them.  If I could, I'd go all Dr. Pol on their asses.  Make the buck a splint out of bushel baskets and cotton and tape.  Then he'd get all better.  On the upside, yesterday, he wasn't limping as badly.  Here's hoping he just twisted his knee and it's on the mend.

Okay, that's it for me.  I know it's a short one, but it's morning and the coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet.  What's on your radar today?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Helpful Hints

Yesterday I saw a post about a lost cat that had been updated to say the cat was home and well.  Turned out he wasn't lost at all, but merely hiding inside the house.  So, to start the Helpful Hints post...

Sing the same song every time you feed the cat.  After a while, the cat will come when you start singing the song.  Warning: If you sing the song to find the cat, you must then feed the cat or the song will stop working as a call.  Also, make it a song you won't sing at other times, so you don't have the cat running up to you to eat when you don't intend to feed it.  I use the tune from Ta-ra-ra boom tee a with the words 'it's kitty tuna time'.

Use salt and cold water to take blood out of cloth.  If you somehow get blood on your clothes, dampen the cloth in cold water, then liberally put salt on the spot and rub it in.  Rinse and repeat until all the blood is gone.  Then wash normally.  This only works if you haven't washed the clothes.  Once hot water or heat from the dryer hits the blood, it's there for life.

Use peanut butter to remove gum from hair or clothing.  Probably works if you have gum elsewhere, too, but use your best judgment.

Olive oil can be used to treat head lice.  Back when the Kid was small and attending public elementary school in Michigan, she got head lice so many times and chemicals to treat it are so noxious, that I searched for an alternate method so as not to permanently damage my kid's brain.  Olive oil contains a single-chain fatty acid that clogs the breathing pores of head lice.  Oil up the head, cover it in plastic wrap, wait like 20 minutes (if I remember right), and all the little buggers will be dead.  Nit comb those dead bastards out and wash your hair.  (Yes, I had them, too, and we both smelled like a salad, but it was worth it.)

I thought I'd have more, but I'm tapped out.  Do you have any helpful hints to share?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 3

Hello and welcome to the end of week 3.  I hope your year is going well so far.

After hitting the ground running at the beginning of the month, I hit a wall running.  Splat.  So, this week, I only got about 3500 new words written on Cinder Ugly and about 25 pages edited in Ugly and the Beast.  But slow progress is better than no progress.

I did some marketing because Accidental Death and Natural Causes are both on sale.  A lot of work for minimal sales.  But minimal sales are better than no sales.  Anyway, this Kindle Countdown Deal lasts through Tuesday night.  Project Hermes goes on sale in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

In reading news, I spent most of the week on a SF paperback.  It was like 580+ pages long.  Good book.  Not what I expected from a third book in this series, since it really didn't tie into the first two too much until like the last quarter, while the second book tied directly into the first.  :shrug:  And it read more like a dystopian than a SF - deep philosophical stuffs going on in there.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, though.  I didn't review it.  Not sure if I can do it justice.

Despite my 'do it anyway' resolve for the year, I didn't do much in activity this week.  I finally finished washing the light fixture globes, which was a necessity.  I vacuumed a bit in prep for washing floors and then I didn't wash the floors.  Like I said above, I hit a wall.  I did lose like a half a pound, though.  181.2.  And I got on the exercise bike for the first time in like a year.  Ten minutes of that and then nada.  The problem with the exercise bike is that it's uncomfortable on my aberrant bone growths.  I expect if I do it more, the ABGs will get used to it.

Still no ice cream.  I'm slowly getting to the point where I don't want it.  I even went to Wallyworld and didn't go into that aisle.  We'll see what happens once the temps rise.  Typically, I eat less ice cream in the winter anyway, so there's the real test.

Yesterday, I rearranged the fridge shelves.  Woohoo.  We'll see how it works for us and if it's a pain, then I'll move the shelves back.  Right now, though, it just seems to make more sense to put the heavy beverages on the bottom shelf for more stability and the leftovers on the top shelf where there's light enough to see what the hell is in the containers.  Why I never thought of this before escapes me.  I guess I've just been putting the milk and juice on the top shelf all my life.  Habit - it's a thing, man.

Okay, that's about enough out of me.  I probably should get myself back in gear.  It's a new day and a new week.  Time to kick the old attitude in the pants and jump start the new attitude again. 

How was your week?

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/18/20

Frankly, I hate starting the week with a DNF, let alone two, but here we are again.  I did manage to finish two good books this week, though.

I picked up a few new ebooks - mystery, urban fantasy, medical thriller.  With an urban fantasy leftover from last week's finds.

Books read:

6) A Few Good Men by Sarah A. Hoyt (1/17/20) - SF - 5 stars.  Not new to me since I read the first two books in the series and, as the third book, isn't appreciated nearly enough.  I bought this back in about 2015 at the local used book store.
No review.  Suffice it to say, it was awesome and I didn't have the words to do justice to it.  Still don't.

5) Fatal Justice (Jack Lamburt #1) by John Etzil (1/12/20) - Hard-boiled Crime* - 5 stars.  New to me, but over 100 reviews on Goodreads.  Free off Book Gorilla.
Review: "Now that was awesome. Intense. Fast-paced. Satisfying end. Loved the characters, the premise, and the story. Good stuff here, folks."


1/12/20 - Mystery... Suspense? - free.  Meh.  I had this down as a mystery.  It billed itself as a suspense.  It was missing on both cylinders.  The beginning was suspensey.  The next part was folksy.  The next part was the MC on a plane griping to herself about being jilted.  :shrug: 

1/11/20 - Suspense - free.  Wow.  I think the author was trying too hard to make it gritty, but it was jarring.  And I didn't like the MC.

Currently reading... I finished the SF last night at about 6:30, and then I had stuffs to do, so I haven't started anything yet.

What did you read last week?

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday This n That

Gah.  I can't believe it's Thursday again already.  Time is just whooshing past so far this year.

I saw on FB this morning that one of my favorite K9 officers from Live PD had to have emergency surgery.  Send whatever positive thoughts you can toward Springfield, MO and K9 Lor.  I also learned that Lor and his officer, Craigmyle retired recently.  I'm sad to see them leave the force, but I'm happy for them.  We need more officers like Craigmyle in the world.

Apparently there's some kind of kerfluffle thing going on over at the RWA.  Someone read something in a historical romance written like 20+ years ago that offended her somehow and took to twitter.  Offended people mobbed, things were said, the cry of 'racist' went up... :yawn:  I read a highlighted snippet of what the dustup was about and couldn't see what the problem was.  I guess I'm not woke enough.  And I don't want to be.

You know, I talk a good game about not caring what other people think, but if I explore it deeply, I find I care more than I should.  Maybe it's being a public personality as a writer and junk.  If I weren't a writer, I wouldn't have cause to care.  :shrug: 

In other non-news, I saw the cutest little girl at Wallyworld yesterday.  She was probably, I dunno, 14-16 months?  I waved at her as I was waiting to access the soups - her mom's cart was in the way - and then she started chattering at me.  And showing me everything she had in the cart - her new sippy cups and her vitamins and some other things.  I was smiling and laughing.  I thanked her for making my day brighter, grabbed my soup, and off I went.  Then I ended up behind them in the checkout - cuz I waved her mom in front of me.  (I had a full cart and she didn't.)  There this little girl was chattering away and I couldn't understand more than one word in four.  She seemed to be getting irritated that I wasn't answering her appropriately.  Finally, I told her 'I'm sorry, hon, but I haven't had to speak toddler in a long, long time'.  I mean, my Kid is 26, so I'm totally out of practice.  That seemed to satisfy her, but I was no longer an interesting person with whom to converse. 

I was telling my mom that I'm just about through with all the honey-dos and I wasn't sure what I'd do when they were all done.  She brought up the blanket I was crocheting for my oldest sister that I never finished.  I still have all of it, but I haven't touched it since Colorado.  So, like 7 years.  Yep, Mom's got a long memory for things left undone.  (And pretty much everything else.)   Unfortunately, I don't have the space to work on blankets here like I did there.  No couch where I can lay things out as I'm working.  Laying it all out on the bed would work, but I did that once in CO and it's a pain in the back.  So, the blanket bits stay in their tub.  For now. 

May I still be as sharp as Mom when I reach 79.

And on that note, I'll leave you to your own devices.  Have an awesome day.  Feel free to leave some this-n-thats on your way.  =o)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Cat-Less Cover

Quicker than expected, because she's so damned awesome, Jessica got me my new cover back already.  So, here it is...
Okay, so there's no beast on the cover.  And I miss the cat.  But the cat isn't really the beast anyway.  And putting the hellbeast on the cover would've been kind of art intensive since he's a figment of my imagination.

Additionally, I got some encouragement toward going ahead with publication sans my Awesome Wonderful Editor.  Still sitting the fence on that one, but I'm leaning farther now.  What I really need to do is finish writing Cinder Ugly, then finish all the edits for Ugly and the Beast.  And then decide what I'm going to do.  That'll give me plenty of time to hash this out with myself.

Part of the fun of life is not knowing what's gonna happen.  Right?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 2

Good morning!  I hope it's awesome wherever you are.  And if it's not, I hope it will be awesome soon.

The writing isn't going as gangbusters as I would like, but it is going.  I'm over 10K on Cinder Ugly now.  I'm not sure I like where it's at right now, which isn't helping, but I told myself to get over it.  Write through it.  Get to a place where you do like what's going down on the page and you can always fix the crappy parts later.

I contacted my cover artist and she's removing the cat from Ugly and the Beast's cover.  I'll miss it, but it was necessary.   I should have a new cover that's pretty much the same as the old cover, sans cat, in the next couple weeks.  Woohoo.

Yesterday, I set up sales into the first week of March.  Starting Wednesday with a sale on the Dennis Haggarty Mystery novels and running pretty much through 3/7, there should be something on sale or free from my list.  I'll let you know about the sales as they happen.  I haven't set up any advertising yet.  We'll see what the budget looks like farther down the road.

I also finally sat down with the spreadsheet that details income and outgo for this writing business.  I hadn't updated 2019 since last January's numbers, so I did that and then made a sheet for 2020.  I might talk more about that tomorrow.  It's kind of depressing, which is why I hadn't updated it.

In reading news, it was a pretty good week.  Three books read and a couple DNFs.  I'm ahead on my goal, which is always good.

No baking this week.  I should be making granola bars sometime this week, though.

On the activity front, I did something active 5 out of 7 days.  It was all housework of some kind - washing windows, scrubbing the kitchen sink, cleaning the light fixtures, dusting the ceilings, etc.  I've lost a pound since the beginning of the year.  Unfortunately, when I stepped on the scale after the holidays, I had gained some weight, so I'm now at 181.6.

I've been an entire week without ice cream now and I ate the last of the potato chips this past week, so I won't be buying anymore of those.  Instead of ice cream, I'm eating vanilla yogurt with canned fruit.  It's an okay substitute.  I'm also trying to eat smaller portions of everything else.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Today, I'll be making chili, finishing the light fixture cleaning project, and washing the floors in the sun room.   ( I was just out there and it's too cold to wash floors out there today.)

The bucks are losing their antlers.  We now have one we call Half-Rack and one called No-Rack.  It's that time in the cycle.  As always, we hope to find a dropped antler or two somewhere on the property.  Haven't yet, but there's always hope.

Friday a storm blew through and dumped 3 inches of rain on us.  It also dropped a couple tornadoes within like 90 minutes of here.  Then Saturday, we got nano-hail.  Tiny clear balls of ice dropped on us for a while.  They were bouncing everywhere.  Maybe a half inch of accumulation.  What fun.  I stayed inside for all of it.  Actually, I haven't stepped outside since Wednesday, when I went to Wallyworld.  =oO

Okay, I think that's everything.  How did your second week of 2020 go?

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/11/20

Hello again. Thanks for stopping by.

I picked up three new ebooks this week - a mystery, a crime fiction(?), and an urban fantasy.  Of the books I picked up the first week of the year, I have a suspense left.  No new hardcopies.

Books Read:

4) Curtain by Agatha Christie (1/10/20) - Mystery - 5 stars.
No Review.
Note:  This is the last Hercule Poirot she wrote and it made me sad.

3) Cicada Summer by Jeff Dosser (1/9/20) - Supernatural Suspense*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free off the Reading Deals newsletter.
Review: "The beginning was not what I expected. I actually swiped the book closed and was ready to move on. But something lured me back for one more try. I'm so glad I turned the page and kept going. This book was an awesome supernatural suspense with the best parts of both genres. And you need the beginning parts to understand what happens later, so don't skip those. Keep reading. It's worth it. I inhaled the rest of this book. Didn't want to put it down. Read straight through with the television on and not even hearing the TV. Good stuff here, folks."
Warning: The regular price for this book is $6.99.  One-click at your own risk.

2) Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine - December 1979 by Various (1/7/20) - Short Stories Mystery - 4 stars.  Picked this up at an 8/$1 sale at the thrift store.
No Review.


1/8/20 - Paranormal Mystery - free.  I started reading this and ran into the 'talking black cat' thing.  Other than realizing this thing has been done to death (and making plans to change my books so I don't put two more TBC books out there), I realized I didn't actually like the MC or her talking cat.  I think the story was supposed to be quirky and fun, but it felt flat.

1/4/20 - Mystery/Suspense - free.  It was billed as a mystery, but read more as a suspense.  The problem was that the MC was too stupid to live and the author kept introducing things like the readers should already know them, and then explaining them after.  Like "Mary so did not want to run into John." with no explanation and I'm all like "John?  Who the hell is John?" then a couple chapters later she drops a hint that John is her ex.  He never shows up, though.  (Names changes to protect the anonymity, of course.)  And the MC kept doing things out of character for who the author presented her as being.  :shrug:  I gave up at about 30% when it all got to be too much for my disbelief to suspend.

Currently reading... I didn't start anything new after I finished Curtain last night.  I was too bummed.  Today, I'll wade into one of the ebooks I downloaded.

That's it for me this week.  What have you been reading?

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday This n That

Not sure how or why, but I slept straight through last night.  I wish I knew how and why so I could repeat that.  

This isn't the reason but...  After seven straight days of doing stuffs, I took yesterday off.  Well, off of everything but writing.  I actually got two pages of new words down on Cinder Ugly.  Yay.  I went with the original version.  The happier version was making me queasy.

I started a book yesterday and it was this close to being a DNF, so much so that I went to Amazon to see what the blurb was because I couldn't figure out why I had even picked it.  After reading the blurb, I decided to give it another try.  And actually, it's pretty good.  A little different, perhaps.  It's a lesson for me to not be so quick to DNF, I guess.  Of course, I could still end up swiping it closed and moving on.  I'll let you know on Saturday.

The bucks are starting to lose their antlers.  One is missing his rack entirely.  Another two only have one antler left.  =o(  On the bright side, in like 5 months the does will all be fat and waiting to drop fawns.

So, part of the 'new year, new resolve' thing is that I'm not buying chips or ice cream anymore.  I ate the last of the chips yesterday.  (Okay, we still have tortilla chips.  I've given myself a pass on those because I don't sit there stuffing them into my face every afternoon.)  We'll see how that resolve goes.  I do love me some chips (potato and corn) and crunchy cheese puffs.  I ran out of ice cream last week.  That one's been hard.  I love ice cream.  But I have managed to not buy it on two Wallyworld trips so far.  Go me.  I'm eating vanilla yogurt over canned fruit instead. 

I did two Wallyworld trips in one week because they're calling for crap weather starting this afternoon and we'd be out of cat food before the weather system moves out late Saturday.  If given the opportunity to avoid driving in crap weather, I'm gonna take it.  And if we don't get the crap weather, it's all good because now the house is stocked up.  Living in the sticks means planning ahead.

Okay, that's it for me this morning.  What's up with you?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Journey

Back in 2006 I discovered blogs.  I made my own, of course - the now idle version of The Writing Spectacle - and began seeking out other writerly bloggers.  I found a list of writing blogs on a website and began working my way through the list, checking out them all out and bookmarking the ones that looked interesting to me. 

One of the blogs I followed then was Karin Tabke's.  Hers was awesome and really seemed to strike a chord.  Of course, she was also a member of a group blog - Murder She Writes - and I tagged along behind her over there.  And I found a bunch of new books to read and authors to follow.

I also encountered a group of awesome individuals - both contributors and commenters.  That's where I met my friend, Silver, as she commented there.  And where I met my friend, Jenn, a contributor there. 

Through Silver, of course, I met my friend and editor, JC. 

Funny how that happens.

The other connections are mostly gone now, but I learned the other day that even though I haven't spoken to some of these people in years, we're still friends.  I mean, I still follow most of the MSW contributors on Facebook, even if I don't interact with them.  I still want to know what they're up to.  I still feel joy for them when good things happen and sorrow when bad things occur.  They're good people.

It's been a long road and I'm honored to have met so many good people on the journey.  This writing thing can be pretty lonely, as we all know.  People come and people go.  When I think about how many I've lost touch with for one reason or another, it makes me kind of sad.  But that's life.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for being part of this journey.  I hope you'll stick around and maybe 14 years from now, we'll still be hanging out and having fun, sharing the joys and the sorrows along the way.


Monday, January 6, 2020

Lots of Work, but No Writing

It's the 6th day of 2020 and my 'new year, new resolve' thing is going along.  Not quite the gangbusters I had on 1/1, but still going. Yesterday, I derailed myself on the writing part of it, though. 

You see, I mentioned to Hubs that I needed to wash the windows.  I even went to the store to get plenty of paper towels for the activity.  Well, he took the idea and ran with it, so we spent the afternoon washing windows - inside and out.  Him up on the ladder doing the outside ones.  Me doing the inside ones and handing him supplies through the open windows. 

And, of course, some of the windows had to be taken apart - screens out, storm windows down and out.  Brush the screens, wash both sides of the storms, put them back in after Hubs did his thing.  Not an easy job.  I mean, the ones we did look awesome, but we're both feeling it today.  We were feeling it last night, too, which is why no writing got done.

Stuff happens. 

There are still four outside-wall windows to do and three interior windows.  (We have this weird thing where there are windows inside the house, from the office into the sun porch.)  I'll get those today, aches permitting.

I also happened to mention to Hubs that it's time to wash all the glass on the light fixtures again.  Good thing we were both too tired to start that yesterday or it would've been tackled, too.  Probably a 'later this week' project.

So, where's all this put the writing?  Well, one day off isn't a deal breaker.  I'll get back to it tonight, even if I don't wanna.  Last night was less a matter of 'I don't want to' than 'I literally can't'.  Body tired, brain fried, vegetative state.

Not sure what I'll do when all the honey-dos are completed around the house.  Start the list over again?  Gah.  Sit my ass down and work on writing for eight hours a day?  Not likely.  I'd like to find a happy balance.  We'll see.

All in all, I'm happy to be getting stuff accomplished again.  I'd be happier if there was more writing going on, but I can make that happen. 

What's on your honey-do list?  How's your new year so far?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Update - Week 1

The first week of the new year.  Yay!

Tuesday night, I gave myself a stern talking to.  If anything's gonna change around here, it has to start with me.  (Writing-wise and personal to me stuff.)  These aren't resolutions, per se, but a new resolve for the new year.  I talked about it Friday.

Anyway, the new resolve has gotten me working again.  Both Wednesday and Thursday nights, I worked on editing Ugly and the Beast.  Only an hour worth each time, but better than not.  I wrote a new ending for it on Thursday night.  Friday night, I wrote a new beginning for Cinder Ugly.  Not sure if I'll keep it.  I let it stew last night and made some notes.  I'll get back after it today or I won't and I'll go back to the drawing board.  Plus, I still have the old stuff for both the end of UatB and the beginning of CU, so I can always go back.

I'm also in debates with myself as to whether to hold UatB until I can afford an editor or just run with it on my own - you know, after I have some friends read it to make sure nothing's really tragic in the writing.  The thought sends me into tiny panic attacks.  I've never considered not having my editor edit stuff.  Then again, I never thought I'd be in this position where I have to push back publication dates because I don't have the money to pay an editor.  And to be perfectly clear, I'd rather she edit my books than not because she's awesome.  Again, still debating the idea internally.  Just letting y'all know what's going on.

I have no marketing plan for 2020.  Write books, edit books, see what happens.

In reading news, I met my Goodreads goal on Sunday, so I spent the rest of 2019 reading a bigger paperback.  I finished that one last night - the first book read of 2020.

At some point, Hubs ran out of both cookies and granola bars, so I spent a day making batches of both of those.  No other baking occurred and the dining was mostly leftover turkey in various forms.

In personal goal news, my 'don't want to? do it anyway' thing seems to be working.  I've accomplished a lot of stuff that's been on my to-do radar for eons.  Like painting new letters on my keyboard.  (Note: my fine motor skills are shot, so the keyboard looks kinda psychotic but I can see where the letters are now.) (Note2: It's already rubbing off, so that idea blew chunks, but hey, I tried it.)  I also backed up my computer - twice.  One for home, one for the safe deposit box.  I got all the filing done I'd been putting off for months and I archived the old crap in the files to make more room.  I took furniture polish to the kitchen cabinets - they've been driving me nuts for months, too.  I dusted and vacuumed.  I moved my SF and my crime books around.  I sorted my 2019 receipts so they're ready for tax time.  Cleaned my bathroom.  Let's just say it's been a busy start to the year.

I also got in some woods work.  I really need to find a way to reduce the brush piles without renting or buying a chipper.  Those things are getting huge.  They'd make one hell of a bonfire if we were interested in burning them. 

So, how was your first week of the new year?

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/4/20

Well, hello again and welcome to a brand new year of reading wrap-ups.

I did actually meet my Goodreads goal for last year.  I hit 120 books read on 12/29.  Yay.  And I set a new goal for 2020 at 70 books.  So, let's jump into it...

Since I read the last new ebook on my Kindle on Sunday, I vowed not to download any others until after the first of the year.  You know, start with a clean slate and all that.  (Sure, I had already vowed that, but I succumbed to greed and picked up the two I read last weekend.)  On 1/1, I picked up a new mystery.  And then I got two suspenses and a paranormal mystery.  Fun start for the new year.

Books read:

1) All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot (1/3/20) - Literature - 5 stars.  I'd never read this before, but it's the third in the series which I've been thoroughly enjoying.  Picked up for 50c at the thrift store.
No Review.

120) To Hell and Gone in Texas by Russ Hall (12/29/19) - Hard-Boiled Crime*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Free off the ENT newsletter.
Review: "A really most excellent hard-boiled crime story that hearkens back to the old pulp novels. Totally enjoyable read."

119) Resolution by Linda Winstead Jones (12/28/19) - Romance*# - 5 stars.  New to me (which is odd because I'm friends with her on FB) and underappreciated.  Picked up for free after seeing a FB  post from her about it.
Review: "Cute story with a satisfying happily ever after and a touch of suspense. Loved it!"

None this week.  Yay.

Currently reading...  I finished the Herriot novel just before bed last night, so I haven't started anything else.

Well, that's my first week of the new year.  How was reading for you this week?  What's your reading goal for 2020?

Friday, January 3, 2020

2020 - Books Read

Hello!  It's that time again.  What time?  Time to start a new Books Read post for the new year!

In case you haven't seen one of my other years, this is how it works.  I list the books I've read as I read them (so they're in reverse order).  The titles are linked to the book's Goodreads page.  Ebooks are noted with an asterisk.  'New to me and underappreciated' books are noted with a pound sign (hashtag for you youngin's).  If it's an underappreciated second or third book I'll put a number.  If it's got none of that, it's a hardcopy - paperback more often than not.

As of right now, the goal for the year is to read 70 books.  It's a lot lower than last year's 120 books, but I'd like to think I'll be writing enough that I won't have as much time for reading.  Time will tell.  I'm not going to give 'new to me and underappreciated' a numerical goal this year, because I blew last year's goal out of the water, but I'll most likely read a lot of those kinds of books.  I like doing it.  It makes me feel like I'm doing something to help indie authors like myself.

Reviews or more information about said books will be posted on Saturdays.

And now, here we go... 

Update 10/24/20: Raised the goal to 80 books.
Update 11/30/20: Raised the goal to 85 books.
Update 12/19/20: Raised the goal to 90 books.

88) The East Witch by Cedar Sanderson (12/31/20) - Paranormal Fantasy*
NA) Christmas Moon by Silver James (12/29/20) - Paranormal Romance*
87) Double Down on Demons by Annabel Chase (12/26/20) - UF*#
86) Decker and Joy by Elle Rush (12/20/20) - Paranormal Romantic Holiday Mystery*
85) Gloria by Jessica Lynch (12/19/20) - Romance*#
84) A Case of Need by Michael Crichton (Jeffery Hudson) (12/17/20) - Medical Suspense
83) The Conspiracy (DC Jake Tanner #1) by Jack Probyn (12/13/20) - Suspense*#
82) Drop Dead, Gorgeous by Mike Jastrzebski (12/6/20) - Supernatural Mystery*#
81) Cherry Pie or Die by CeeCee James (12/3/20) - Cozy Mystery*
80) Two Hearts Home for Christmas by Tamara Ferguson (12/2/20) - Romance*#
79) A Litter of Bones (DCI Logan #1) by JD Kirk (12/1/20) - Thriller*
78) The Wrong Side of Goodbye (Harry Bosch #19) by Michael Connelly (11/28/20) - Suspense
77) A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau (11/27/20) - Romantic Comedy*
76) The Edge by Dick Francis (11/16/20) - Mystery
75) Savaged Devotion by Jennifer Lyon (11/14/20) - Romantic Suspense*
74) Flintelf (Exili's Excellent Elucidation Services, #1) by Victoria Bastedo (11/12/20) - Fantasy Mystery*#
73) Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March 1994, Double issue by Various (11/4/20) Mystery shorts
72) Rafe (Texas Boudreau Brotherhood #1) by Kathy Ivan (11/1/20) - Romance*
71) Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs (10/30/20) - Suspense
70) Groundskeeper: Raking Up the Dead (10/24/20) - Paranormal Mystery*
69) Night Wish (Nightriders MC #5) by Silver James (10/22/20) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
68) Hook, Line and Murder by Thom Elkjer (10/20/20) - Mystery#
67) Mandrake and a Murder by Ruby Loren/Silver Nord (10/19/20) - Paranormal Mystery*
66) Poinciana by Phyllis A. Whitney (10/15/20) - Romantic Suspense
65) Sit...Stay...Beg (Dogfather #1) by Roxanne St. Claire (10/13/20) - Romance*
64) The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories by Agatha Christie (10/12/20) - Mystery
63) The Scarlet Ruse by John D. MacDonald (10/2/20) - Hard-boiled crime
62) In Dog We Trust by Neil Plakcy (9/26/20) - Mystery*
61) Sphere by Michael Crichton (8/29/20) - Technothriller
60) High Stakes by Dick Francis (8/23/20) - Mystery
59) Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass (8/19/20) - Cozy Mystery*
58) Dream of Orchids by Phyllis A. Whitney (8/16/20) - Romantic Suspense
57) Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie (8/7/20) - Mystery
56) Casket Girls by Seth Pevey (7/23/20) - Suspense*3
55) Pixie Me Up by Willow Mason (7/2/20) - Paranormal Cozy Mystery*
54) Hide by Lisa Gardner (6/30/20) - Suspense
53) Live Fae or Die Trying by Jenna Wolfhart (6/27/20) - UF*
52) The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (6/25/20) - Literature
51) Steeped in Suspicion by Eryn Scott (6/20/20) - Cozy Supernatural Mystery*#
50) Modern Sorcery by Gary Jonas (6/17/20) - UF*
49) Moonstruck: Betrayal by Silver James (6/14/20) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
48) The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper by John MacDonald (6/12/20) - Hard-boiled Crime
47) Pricked by Scott Mooney (6/6/20) - Paranormal Mystery*#
46) The Surrey Stalker by BL Pearce (6/1/20) - Suspense*
45) The Wild Hunt by Ron C Nieto (5/24/20) - UF*
44) The Body Lovers by Mickey Spillane (5/23/20) - Hard-boiled crime
43) To Kill a Labrador by Kassandra Lamb (5/19/20) - Cozy Mystery*
42) Flea Market Magic by Bella Falls (5/16/20) - Paranormal Cozy Mystery*
41) Tender Trap by Lisa Jackson (5/9/20) - Romance
40) SALEM: Blood to Drink (Jason Crane #4) by Richard Gleaves (5/7/20) - Paranormal Suspense*
39) The Judas Cypher by Greg Dragon (4/24/20) - Hard-boiled Crime/Dystopian*#
38) Walking Sam by Deanna Lynn Sletten (4/22/20) - Romance*#
37) Blood Money by Chris Underwood (4/18/20) - Urban Fantasy*#
36) The Mummy (or Ramses the Damned) by Anne Rice (4/18/20) - Paranormal Romance
35) Greed (DI Scott Baker #1) by Jay Nadal (4/12/20) - Suspense*#
34) Catatonic (Tails of Talisman) by TM Stark (4/11/20) - Paranormal Something*#
33) Memorial Day by Vince Flynn (4/10/20) - Political Thriller
32) Pushing Daisy by Scott Baron (4/3/20) - SF*
31) Daisy's Run by Scott Baron (4/2/20) - SF*
30) Love You Still by Kat Bammer (3/27/20) - Romantic Suspense*#
29) Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (3/27/20) - Mystery
28) Apprentice Fool by Aldred Chase (3/24/20) - YA Fantasy*#
27) Grave Games by Skylar Finn (3/19/20) - Suspense*#
26) Fire Me Up by Alicia Street (3/17/20) - Romance*#
25) Nemesis by Agatha Christie (3/16/20) - Mystery
24) Pancakes and Pleas by Gretchen Allen (3/14/20) - Cozy Mystery*#
23) Finny's Star by Sam Bartram (3/13/20) - MG Adventure/Mystery*#
22) Retribution: Lucky's Mercs #1 by Joshua James (3/9/20) - SF*#
21) The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot (3/4/20) - Memoir
20) Love & Order by Elsie Davis (2/23/20) - Romance*#
19) The Twisted Thing by Mickey Spillane (2/22/20) - Hard-boiled Crime
18) Death on the Danube by Jennifer Alderson (2/20/20) - Mystery*#
17) Fighting for Elena by Silver James (2/19/20) - Romantic Suspense*
16) Never Date a Siren by Byrd Nash (2/15/20) - Paranormal*#
15) The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie (2/13/20) - Mystery Short Stories
14) The Hungry Gun by Steve Thurman (2/8/20) - Western#
13) Blood in the Sand by Kelly Clayton (2/6/20) - Mystery*#
12) The Christmas Cookie Shop by Ginny Baird (2/3/20) - Romance*
11) Legally Undead by Margo Bond Collins (1/31/20) - UF*
10) The Integral Trees by Larry Niven (1/27/20) - SF
9) Sins of the Angels by Lydia M. Hawke (1/25/20) - Supernatural Suspense*
8) Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer (1/19/20) - Mystery*
7) Demonic Indemnity by Craig McLay (1/18/20) - UF*#
6) A Few Good Men by Sarah A. Hoyt (1/17/20) - SF
5) Fatal Justice by John Etzil (1/12/20) - Hard-boiled Crime*
4) Curtain by Agatha Christie (1/10/20) - Mystery
3) Cicada Summer by Jeff Dosser (1/9/20) - Supernatural Suspense*#
2) Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine - December 1979 by Various (1/7/20) - Short Stories Mystery
1) All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot (1/3/20) - Literature

What's your reading goal for this year?

Do It Anyway

I have a new mantra.  Every time I think to myself 'I don't want to do it', I'm going to tell myself 'too damn bad, do it anyway'.

Don't want to wash the dishes.  Too damn bad, do it anyway.
Don't want to backup the computer because it takes so long.  Too damn bad, do it anyway.
Don't want to file the bills.  Too damn bad, do it anyway.
Don't want to take furniture polish to the cabinets.  Too damn bad, do it anyway.

Actually, it's been more like 'too damn bad, get off your lazy ass and do it anyway.'

I got a whole boatload of stuff done on Wednesday that way.  All of the above listed 'don't want to' things were done.  Plus, I dealt with some insurance stuff for the new year, took down the Christmas tree, sorted receipts into 'need for taxes' and 'trash', and cleaned some unnecessary crap off my harddrive.  And when all that was done, I spent some time reading in front of the TV, took a shower and made dinner.

Then I got back to work on edits for Ugly and the Beast.  Lord knows, I didn't want to.  I haven't wanted to for months.  But it needed to be done and I needed to get off my lazy ass and do it.  And frankly, I've been tired of my crap for months, too.  Time to get mean with myself and get serious.  I was too slack in 2019 and the lack of accomplishments shows it.

Thursday wasn't quite the gumption spectacular I'd hoped for, but I did get stuff done and finished the day by writing a new ending for UatB.

New year, new attitude.  No letting myself get away with whining about the things I don't want to do.  And I'm channeling Ben Franklin - don't put off until later what you can do right now.

We'll see if I can keep this up.  So far, so good*.

What are some things you've been putting off?   What's on your to-do list?

*Slight road bump... when you hit the ground running, expect to be sore the next day.  I'm pretty sure it was the cabinets that did it, but I didn't let it stop me on Thursday.  Slow me down a little, but not stop me. 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2019 Reading Wrap-up

Well, I read a lot this past year.  Sometimes to the exclusion of everything else.  I know... duh.

I finished the year having read 120 books.  If you want to stroll through the wrap-ups, follow this link.  That should be all the posts sorted by date (and some other posts you can scroll past).  Might take a while since there should be about 52 of those suckers.

Unlike previous years, I am not going to scan through all the entries on my reading list and give you genre stats.  It's tedious and boring and I don't want to do it.  If you're new here, I read all sorts of stuff.  I used to say I read everything, but obviously I don't read everything.  I'm still not into manga, so you'll never see it here.  Self-help ain't my bag either.  On the rare occasion, I'll read horror, but it has to be a really grabby book and not too heavy on the gore.  As with everything, the story is the key.  Which is why you don't see an awful lot of non-fiction in my reading lists.

Of the books I read, 41 fell under the 'new to me and underappreciated' umbrella.  So I totally nailed that goal.  I read six Book Twos, just hitting that goal.  And I slid in one Book Three for good measure on an underappreciated indie series I really enjoy.

Easy enough to say I read 120 books.  But what about the DNFs?  In 2019, I started 72 books I did not finish reading - mostly ebooks, but some hardcopies.  Some weeks I had no DNFs, but there were weeks where I DNF'd as many as 5 books.  The last week of the year was bad for DNFs and I hit 6 books I didn't finish.  The genres run the gamut, so there really isn't a genre I can point to and say 'those are the ones I'm more likely to stop reading'.  The most I spent on a book I didn't finish reading was $3.99, and man, was that ever a bummer.

According to my nifty 'acquired books' spreadsheet, I got 188 new-to-me books this year.  For those, I spent a mere $77.20.  There were 121 ebooks for $50.27 and 67 hardcopies for $26.93.  Not bad considering some years in the past the dollar totals were in the $500-$600 range.  I attribute this miserly accomplishment to loads of budget friendly ebooks, free ebooks, and super cheap used books.  Yes, Virginia, you can read lots of books when you don't have lots of money to buy lots of books.  As far as I can tell, I only bought one hardcopy book at full price, and that was $3.93 at Wallyworld.  The most I spent for any single ebook was $4.99 and that was a 2nd book I really needed to read NOW.  It was totally worth it.

Starting the year, my goal was to read 90 books.  I upped that number to 120 in September, then I did NaNoWriMo and totally blew my November reading all to hell.  Thus, I really had to scramble at the end of the year to make that goal.  I met my goal Sunday afternoon.  This year, I'm going in at a goal of 70 and if I need to increase that, I will.  BUT I'm hoping to actually be busy writing in 2020, so not a whole lot of extra time for reading.

How was your reading year in 2019?  Do you have a goal for this year?