Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sunday Update - Week 4

Eh, I'm dropping the 2022 out of the subject.  If you don't know what year it is, check the date of the post.  

Anyway, here's the week that was...

In writing news, I took two days off after I finished the last edit pass last Saturday and then dove into the next pass.  I'm making good but slow progress, and I'm really liking the results.  I'm through pg 14 and that's the first chapter.  

A lot of my time this week was devoted to making a cover and finding a title.  I spent 8 days straight making the cover, but I got it done.  Then the title was giving me some trouble.  I thought I had one, but then I got a different idea.  Which then led to a different idea.  I'll talk about that and show you the cover tomorrow on Outside the Box.  Or maybe I'll show you the iterations and let you vote.  We'll see.

On the reading front... well... since I was doing the cover thing and I'm using my Kindle to edit, I didn't read much last week.  :shrug:  Sometimes that's how things go.

In baking news, I made pizza, zucchini bread, and granola bars.  I also made one brick of suet -because we were out and I didn't feel like going to the store.  Have to feed the little birdies, doncha know.

As for activity, I managed 5 out of 7 days.  Two days working in the woods and one day walking around in the woods.  I had one day where we actually took a real, bonafide walk - the first of the year.  And one day I finally vacuumed the office.  Weight: 183.4.  

The woods work this week was heavy-duty.  We're pulling logs out of the piles we've made over the past 8 years.  Some of those logs are under a boatload of smaller sticks and branches, so we have to dig down for them.  Lots of bending and lifting and throwing.  After which, we're dragging or carrying the bigger logs up the hill.  Nothing smaller than say 3-4 inches in diameter.  Hoo-wah, them suckers are heavy.  Of course, I had to go and get my feet all tangled and went down on my ass.  Since I usually only fall once a year, I figure get it out of the way early, eh?  Other than some scrapes, I'm fine.  I didn't even get any bruises.  Yay!

Eventually, there will be no more downed logs on our property.  Then we'll tackle the dead trees that are still standing.  After that?  I may pester the neighbor to let us take care of the downed trees on his property.  But that'll be way down the road.  Especially since we don't do any of this when the weather is warm.  

I think that's about it.  The rest of my life is just more of the usual.  Boring stuff.  How are things in your life?

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/29/22

It was a slow reading week - mainly because I was too wrapped up in my own book to read other people's books.  Don't expect a lot from me next week either.

I did pick up two new ebooks.  An ecopy of The Three Musketeers (because, oddly enough, I don't have one) and a suspense.  I still have 6 other ebooks from the week before.  Once I'm done with this edit pass, I'll be back to reading ebooks again.  And I might just grab a paperback to help wash my brain while I'm editing this.

Books Read:

9) Once Upon a Crime by Mona Marple (1/23/22) - Cozy Mystery* - New to me but not underappreciated. Free off the Reading Deals newsletter.
Review: "Cute little mystery."

8) Faking It with the Demon by Rhiannon Hartley (1/22/22) - Paranormal Romance*# - New to me and underappreciated.  Free off the Freebooksy newsletter.
Review: "What a cute little story! So much fun! I loved Zoe and Ryan. And Misty, of course. And Wade, too. Such a neat premise and I really enjoyed the author's take on Hell."


Currently reading... my fantasy novel.  Which now has a title.  To be announced on Monday. =op

What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thursday This n That

 :blink: :blink:  It's Thursday.  Huh, how about that.  Whoda thunk it?

I read an interesting article this morning about a poet and former teacher getting cancelled because of some things in her poetry that people found offensive.  She apologized.  She agreed to rewrite her work because she certainly didn't want to offend anyone.  And she was still cancelled.  Her offense?  She described a kid as having 'almond shaped eyes' and another as having 'chocolate-coloured skin'.   How the hell are you supposed to describe those things?  :shrug:  Oh, and the book of poetry by those children she once taught - cancelled, too.  Derp.  Let this be a lesson - write what you write and if someone has a problem with it, ignore them.  They'll cancel you either way, but at least if you don't bow to them, you'll still have a backbone.

Yes, Virginia, the world HAS gone stark-ravin' mad.  :sings:  Every day, in every way, it gets a little shittier.

So, there's this trucker convoy up in Canada, driving to Ottawa to protest the draconian mandates put out by Trudeau and his ghouls.  It's like 50000 trucks and 70 miles long, if I read all that right.  We need that here.  They've had their way for too damn long and enough is enough.  And our feckless leader (or the puppeteers who prop him up) are poking at Mother Russia.  Yeah, a war with Russia in winter.  Sounds like a severely bad idea to me.  Or a Woody Allen movie.  

I finished my dragon.  I don't know what I'm going to do with her, but she's done.  I've named her Icefire.  I'm not sharing her here because she's mine and I don't want some twatwaffle stealing her.  I easily put 20 hours of my effort into making her.  Teeny tiny, pixel-level, painstaking effort - like painting miniatures with a toothpick effort.  (Yes, I used to paint miniatures. With a toothpick.  It ain't easy, folks.)

It's been blisteringly cold here.  Which means a lot of inside time.  Which is why I spent days playing with creating a dragon that I may or may not be able to use on a book cover.  I spent so much time doing this that when I went to bed last night, I could still see pixels being deleted or re-colored.  

I probably should start thinking about my container garden.  It's hard to think about gardens when it's been like 14F.  

I saw a friend talking on FB about making a potroast.  My first thought was: "How'd you afford a pot roast?"  Not because he's poor, but because potroast is so damn expensive.  

I saw something where Jen Presschicki said something about people should just chill out and have a margarita, or something.  (Maybe it wasn't her.  I dunno.  It's hard to tell which moron said which moronic thing these days.)  Anyway, it occurred to me, keeping with the whole Russia theme, that vodka was the one thing the old USSR never seemed to run out of.  Keep the peasants drunk so they won't bitch about anything.  Here?  Keep them drunk and hopped up on drugs.  People will do anything for their fix.    

Just because I'm a conspiracy theorist doesn't mean I'm not right.  

Got anything to add?  What's up in your this-n-that world today?

Tuesday, January 25, 2022


There's nothing quite like homemade pizza.  Hot and fresh and probably better for you than frozen pizza.  And it's super simple.  

Here's my recipe...

Pizza Crust

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 T white sugar
2 tsp yeast
3/4 warm water
2 T olive oil
Extra flour for dusting (may take 1/2-1 cup)
Extra olive oil for coating the bowl

Start off by putting the yeast in a small bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of the warm water.  Stir and set aside.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and sugar until combined.  Make a well in the center.  Pour in the yeast mixture.  Put the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water into the yeast bowl, swirling and stirring until all the yeast residue is incorporated and then pour that into the flour well.  Add the olive oil to the well.  Wash your hands well and then starting in the center of the well, using your fingers, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  (I do concentric circles outward with one hand, keeping the other goo-free.)  

Now, here's my weird part.  I knead my dough right in the bowl.  When you've got it all mixed together, dust your gooey hand with flour and get all the dough off and into the bowl.  Smoosh that into the dough as you go.  Knead the dough for 7 minutes, dusting in more flour every time you start sticking to the dough again.  When the timer goes off, you should have a round ball of dough and a clean bowl.  Sparingly coat the bottom and sides of the bowl with olive oil.  Put the dough ball into the bowl, turning it until the dough is covered with oil.  You just want enough oil that the dough doesn't stick to the bowl while it's rising.  Cover with a slightly damp dish towel and put in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it's roughly doubled in size.  How long you let it rise depends on how warm your place is.  Summers here, I put the bowl out on the sun porch and it takes an hour to rise.  Winters, I put the bowl in my bathroom and leave all the lights on.  Then it takes about 2 hours to rise.

Start preheating the oven now.  475F

Once it's risen to where you want it, punch the dough ball.  Right in the center.  One hit... pow.  Now, here's the other weird part for me.  I don't knead the dough again.  No more kneading.  Seriously.  You've done enough damage to your wrists already.  Just take the dough ball, upside up, and place it in the middle of a large pizza pan (mine's 16") that I've already sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Gently coax the dough, in concentric circles, from the center out to the edge of the pan.  If I want a thicker crust, I don't go all the way to the edge.  The closer you get to the edge, the thinner the crust.  

Here's a yummy thing I do next that isn't necessary, but is oh so good - melt like 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave, stir in garlic salt, and brush that on the crust before you add your toppings.  Outer crust, if you like, or all of it, if you're feeling naughty.  THEN sprinkle the edge with Parmesan.  Mmmmmm.  Then put your toppings on.  Do it up however you like it.  I usually do pizza sauce and mozzarella, then add my toppings.  Last night, I did ham, pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives.  

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.  If you like a little brown on your cheese, hit the broiler for like a minute or two max.  Take it out and let it cool for like 5 minutes before slicing and serving.  I got 12 slices out of last night's pizza.  We ate four pieces and the rest went into the fridge for munching today.  And probably tomorrow.  LOL

You can also take the dough, cut it in half after you punch it - use one for dinner and the other can go into a baggie and into the freezer.  If you do that, take it out of the baggie while it's still frozen and thaw in the fridge in an oiled bowl.  Trust me, you do not want to thaw it in the baggie.  It sticks and it's messy.  Half the dough makes like one medium thin crust or one small thick crust.

And there ya go.  Pizza.  You made yourself.  Your way.  With a tender, yummy crust.  And bones you won't want to throw away.  (Mom always called the edge part the bone, and yeah, I've throw away many a bone in my life.  But not these.)

One last point... if you're not used to kneading, be prepared to have ouchy hands, wrists, and arms the next day.  Mine are killing me today.  It's totally worth it, but I'm giving you fair warning.  ;o)

What do you like on your pizza?

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday Update - '22 Week 3

 Hello again.  Let's dispense with the folderol and jump right in.

Last night, I finished the round of editing I've been working on since December 4th.  Out of 47 days, I missed 11.  That's about a 77% working percentage.  Not bad.  I wish I could do that all year.  For the record, people who work M-F only work 71% of the days.  On the other hand, I usually only work a couple hours a day.  Can you imagine if I worked all those days at 8 hours a day.  I'd rule the world.  So, you're welcome.  (Although, if I ruled the world, there'd be a lot less bullshit in it.)

All of my books are now uploaded to D2D.  And all of them are now available at the big distributors - Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo.  Also, they're available through library distributors like BorrowBox and OverDrive.  (All of them are still waiting on Hoopla to accept them.)  I sold a book last night through OverDrive, so I've got that going for me.  Now to add some marketing to the mix and see if I can generate some sales.  

As for other writerly news, I began working on the cover for Untitled Fantasy.  I'm building a dragon out of used lizard parts.  It's painstaking work.  I'm blowing the sucker up to 1000% and trying to do a pixel by pixel thing.  :shrug:  It'll keep me out of trouble, that's for sure.  And I'm liking the overall results.  May have to change lizards, but I'm also learning what works and what doesn't as I go.  It's all good, baby.

On the reading front, I start out the week pretty lame.  Four DNFs in a row.  After that, I managed to finish two books before my Saturday Wrap-up, and I finished another one yesterday afternoon.  It's all good, baby.

In baking news, I made coffee cake.  I used my regular yellow-cake recipe, but I dolloped applesauce all through the middle layer.  So yummy.  I also made a vat of spaghetti sauce, which netted me another 3 meals worth of leftover sauce.  Yay.

Activity... well, it wasn't a good week.  I spent one morning cleaning.  Dusting and vacuuming everything but the office, so about 1300 square feet.  I never did get around to the office.  It's hard to clean in here when Hubs is working and when he's not working, I don't seem to be in a cleaning mood.  :shrug:  It was too cold for much else, but that's a lame excuse.  I can use the damn bike.  Sheesh.

Needless to say, my diet isn't going well.  Being gungho about curbing the food intake is one thing, actually adhering to the plan is other.  And, like always, every time I think about watching what I eat, I'm thinking about food and that makes me want food.  But the results on the scale weren't as bad as I feared.  Weight: 183.6 - so only up a pound and a half since 1/1.  Still, that much in three weeks is not good.  Perhaps I'm just fluffy for winter.  Yeah, yeah, fluffy for winter.  That's the ticket.

Because of the cold, we're seeing a lot of deer in the yard, gulping down corn in copious amounts.  Most of them are hale and hearty.  And super fluffy because they fluff their coats when it's cold to retain body heat.  Unfortunately, one of our does broke something, probably the ankle, on her back right leg.  Poor baby.  There's nothing we can do, and research told me deer can often do well with a broken leg.  It heals, they go on with their lives.  Killing them isn't the answer.  The best advice was leave them alone, because trying to help will only make things worse.  Hubs saw the same doe a couple days later and her foot wasn't curled under like when we'd first seen it, so she was walking on the hoof and not her ankle.  Ouchie.

Tax time approacheth.  I'm waiting on the mail to deliver 1099s.  I already got the notice that Amazon's 1099s are available for download, so if you haven't gotten yours yet, poke somebody.  Or go into the tax area and see if they're there for you, too.  Not that the news on the 1099 is good.  About $145 for the year.  :sadtrombone:

Since I'm taking today off of writing, I should be able to accomplish some other stuff today.  We'll see.  And it's supposed to warm up a little, so maybe I can get out in the woods again.  Stupid snow.  Anyway, I'm trying to be optimistic.  Strange for me, I know, but you gotta start somewhere.

How was your week?  Accomplish anything?  Was it a week off for you?  (Totally cool, because we need time off every know and again.)  

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/22/22

Oops.  I totally forgot to finish this and post it.  Derp.  Sorry about that, folks.  Let's just say this week did not start off well for me, with 4 DNFs in a row and with my brainfart, it looks like it ain't finishing up great either.  But the middle part was good.

I picked up 6 new ebooks this past week - 2 cozy mysteries, 2 paranormal mysteries, an urban fantasy, and a romance.  No new hardcopies.

Books Read:

7) The Side Hustle by Colin Conway (1/20/22) - Suspense* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the Reading Deals newsletter.
Review: "Pretty darn good suspense with plenty of intriguing characters. The asides into financial advice were interesting, even if they weren't wholly pertinent to the plot. But I'm a little into that stuff, so I rolled with it. I liked Quinn and Marci. but for me, the star of the show was Kirby. I could see him doing a side hustle as a private investigator in future stories all his own. All in all, I really enjoyed this book as evidenced by how quickly I inhaled it. "

6) The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss (1/18/22) - Cozy Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the Robin Reads newsletter.
Review: "What a cute and fun mystery. I wouldn't necessarily bill it as a 'paranormal mystery', though. Maybe a 'cozy mystery with supernatural elements'. So if you're going into this expecting one of the characters to be a paranormal creature, this might not be your thing. I started out waiting for the main character to develop some magical capabilities or find out she was a magical being. Nope. Maybe I misunderstood. Anyway... This is a normal gal solving a mystery with some incidental maybe ghosts and ghostly stuff. But I'm okay with that. Like I said, it's cute and it's fun, so well worth the read."


1/16/22 - mystery - free.  First off, it was first person, which alone is weird for a mystery.  It was also written in a conversational style, which is usually fine.  Unfortunately, this was like having a conversation a hyperactive golden retriever.  Seems nice enough, but lacks an attention span of any length.  And every zip away from the story was a bit of backstory. It was tiring to read, so I stopped.

1/16/22 - UF - free.  I want to read a story, not count how many social justice checkboxes the author can hit in the first ten pages.  And ya know, I'm old, so constantly mentioning the MC's tattoos and teal hair was a little much.  She's got tats... got it and they're critical to the story, so okay, fine, whatever.  And she's like super edgy with her oddly-colored locks... got it, but it's not crucial.  I don't constantly mention a character's brown hair.  Say the color once so the reader has a picture in their heads and let it go.  Sheesh.

1/15/22 - paranormal mystery - free.  Trying too hard to be edgy and came off as gratuitous crassness.  Crass is okay if the writer has a deft hand.  This one didn't.  

1/15/22 - thriller - free.  Billed as a thriller, came off as a detective agency mystery with too much backstory about the detective agency and not enough mystery.  Meh.

Currently reading... A fun paranormal romance.  I'm more than 50% done, so expect to see more on this next Saturday.

What was  on your reading list last week?

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thursday This n That

I'm on Linked In and I occasionally get job listings in my email.  One yesterday sounded interesting - Remote Proofreader.  Cool.  I went over to look at it.  The listing was rife with weird characters and grammatical issues.  I wonder if they put it up that way as an initial test for people applying for the job.  Sort of an "if you can read this and fix it, you're the person for us.  ROFL  (There were parts of the job, once I parsed it out, that sounded hinky, so no.  And no, I'm not really looking for a job, but if something amazing came along, who knows?)

Today, the last of my books drops out of Kindle Unlimited.  I'll get it set up and uploaded to D2D this weekend.  

In case you're not on FB or you missed it, here's a pic of one of the foxes that traipsed through my yard a couple days ago:

Yeah, it saw me and bolted, so I didn't get a chance for a good pic.  If it hadn't stopped under that oak, I wouldn't have gotten one at all.  

Yesterday, I dusted and vacuumed everything but the office.  And now I'm sore.  That's just not fair.  Getting old sucks.  Sore or not, I'll get the office done today.

I also rearranged the spare room.  I put the exercise bike under the other window, so I have a view of the bird feeder while I ride.  Of course, moving that there meant I needed to move the table with my radio and cassettes next to it (for better indoor biking), but to do that I had to move the little bookshelf where I keep the stock of my paperbacks and also the plant stand and the chair.  Anyway, the room's like I want it.  For now.  Unfortunately, I was too tired to actually ride the damn bike yesterday.  Maybe today.

:sings: Maybe today, we can put the past away...

Funny how certain phrases can make a song instantly pop into my head.  That was Jumper by Third Eye Blind.

Hey did you hear YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are merging?  They're calling it YouTwitFace.  ROFL

And with that, I'll leave.  Have a great day, everyone.  And drop a comment on your way out.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Back to the Basics of Getting Healthier

Well, I took a hard look at myself in the mirror yesterday and I wasn't thrilled with what I saw.  Literally, not figuratively.  I was getting ready for a shower and like, yuck.

Overall, I like myself.  I'm a good person, I work hard when I work, and I'm kind to small animals and little children.  That's not what I'm talking about.  Stripped naked, I'm not happy with what I see.  And I've got two choices: accept that I am fat and old OR do something about it.  

Okay, there's a third choice which is a mixture of both.  A person needs to find some kind of acceptance of the things they don't like about themselves or they'll never get past it to making those things any better.  So, I'm old and fat AND I'm going to do something about it.  Well, the fat part.  There ain't much I can do about the old part.  I made the decision a long time ago to stick with what I've got rather than try to mask it in some way - my gray hairs were earned, after all, and the thought of surgeries or creams or whathaveyou is unappetizing to me.

So, I'm working on what I can work on - my weight and my activity level.  Which means getting back to the basics for me.  Eat less, exercise more.  Started with dinner last night (because dinner was after my shower and my yuck experience).  

Now, I know me.  I don't do well with denying myself food.  What I do well at is limiting the amounts of food.  For instance, I made fish sticks last night - the bigger, breaded and fried fillet kind.  Yummers.  I usually eat two, on a bun with mayo and cheese.  Side of fries.  Last night, I had one fillet - no bun, no cheese - and fewer fries.  Plus, I made up the difference in 'amount of food' with grapes, so my stomach wouldn't be hounding me all night.

Tonight, I plan to make grilled cheese sandwiches and soup.  When I do the grilled cheese, I will use three slices of cheese - today we have muenster, swiss, and cheddar - because that's how I roll.  And it'll probably be homemade turkey noodle soup.  I'll eat half the sandwich instead of all of it, and I'll portion out a smaller bowl of soup.  Maybe go light on the oyster crackers there, too.  

It's not the freeway to weight loss, but it's a road that'll get me there quicker in the long run than trying to do this the fast way and failing miserably.  At the very least, it'll stop my expansion.

Smaller dishes of ice cream.  Not as many M&Ms in my bowl of fewer mixed nuts than usual.  Six potato chips with lunch rather than twelve.  Since we're out of cake and homemade cookies, those will be flat out for a while. (Until the urge to bake overwhelms me, then smaller portions there, too.)

That's step one.  Step two is to get my body moving in a more calorie-burning fashion.  Sure, I've been pretty active so far this winter, but the things I'm doing aren't necessarily getting the heart pumping and the fat burning.  I haven't taken a single walk this year or put a single mile on the exercise bike.  That's gotta change.  Starting today.  If the snow is gone and the temps are okay, I may walk this afternoon.  If not, I will use the bike.

In four months, I'll be 52.  I'd like to slide into 52 a little lighter and a little more fit.  And that's on me.  One-hundred percent.  

And no need to worry about my self-esteem.  It's fine.  I am what I am.  I'd just prefer there to be less of what I am and for what's there to not kill me any time soon.  And no one is driving this but me.  Hubs loves me and thinks I'm dead sexy whatever weight I am.  (Okay, the photos of me when I was 110 pounds leave him a little cold, but I'll never be that skinny again, so no worries there.)

So yeah, eat less, exercise more.  That's my key to fitness.  Time to put the key into the ignition and fire this puppy up.  ;o)

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday Update - 2022 Week 2

Here we are with the second week of 2022 ended and dare I say it?  Things might be looking up*.

In my own little world, nothing happened of national importance but there were a few things of personal note...

Fifty pages got edited and I'm now within 80 pages of being done with this round.  Can I do 80 pages this week? Tune in next Sunday to find out.  Once this is done, I'll have to do another round of edits to make sure everything I did this time makes sense and to clean up any lingering typos.  Then maybe it'll be ready to send to readers.  I may take a break from this and do some writing of new words.  Go back to Duke or Dennis or SCIU for a change.  We'll see.

I uploaded Fertile Ground and Early Grave to D2D yesterday afternoon.  EG is already hitting some other outlets.  We'll see how that goes.  Most of the other books are available at everywhere but Hoopla (they take forever).  DE and RHI are still waiting on a couple, but not any of the major ones, so have at it.

As for reading, I finished three books and DNF'd a couple others before the wrap-up went live.  Then I DNF'd two books yesterday.  Blerg.  But I downloaded a bunch of yesterday, too, so I have plenty to keep me busy.  You'll hear about all that on Saturday.

In baking news, I did honey corn bread - this time upping the honey and the sugar to 1/3 cup instead of 1/4 cup.  Yummers.  As for other cooking, I made a vat of chili and a stroganoff fail where I dumped the uncooked rice right into the beef/sauce mixture in the crockpot and left it to cook.  It ended up as mush with crunchy bits.  I know better, but I was being lazy.  I'd say lesson learned, but I've done it before and I'll probably do it again... in a couple years after the taint of this has left my brain.

On the activity front, I did something every day last week.  Woods work and log work mostly.  Then yesterday it was dealing with the snow.  I haven't weighed myself since the 5th, so I'm not going to bother dropping a weight here right now.  Maybe later.

Speaking of snow, around dark last night we had about 4 inches worth of yucky, dense, wet white stuff.  Mid-afternoon, Hubs and I were out knocking it off the cedars as far up as we could reach on the big trees and off all of the smaller trees.  It was still snowing then, so we'll see if my little cedars are laying on the ground this morning and whether any of the big cedars lost limbs higher up.  =o\

Also, speaking of woods work, I discovered a hack.  The nozzle on my can of WD-40 broke, and when I zipped over to the Dollar General, they didn't have any.  I bought some Goo-Gone to clean the blades, but I still needed something to act as a lubricant.  So I bought a cheapy can of non-stick cooking spray (NSCS).  It worked like a charm.  Every time the blade started to choke up in the wood, I sprayed it and it went back to zooming through the wood.  Afterwards, I duck-ducked whether substituting non-stick for WD-40 was a thing and IT WAS.  I'm so cool.  Then the fridge door started squeaking, so I zapped it with NSCS, too.  No more squeak.  Also yay.

And that's about it.  I can't think of anything else, so I guess I'll just wander off in search of more coffee.  Have a great day, everyone.  And drop a comment to tell me how your Week 2 went.

* The Supreme Court decision against mandates and the newly-elected people in VA doing their jobs.  Yay.  They're little spots of hope.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/15/22

Well, here we are again.  I had a pretty good reading week, all things considered.

No new books this week.  But since I only have the book I'm reading and one other, I'd better get cracking this week or I'll be screwed.  Of course, I still have scads of hardcopies books to read, so not totally screwed.  LOL

Books Read:

5) The Preacher's First Murder by KP Gresham (1/12/21) - Mystery*# - 4 stars.  New to me and while it has plenty of ratings, it's underappreciated as far as reviews go.  Free off the Amazon Top 100 Free list.
Review: "Pretty interesting mystery with plenty of good characters, an intriguing premise, and a satisfying resolution."

4) Murder in White Lace by Karen Sue Walker (1/11/22) - Mystery* - 3 stars.  New to me but not underappreciated.  Free off the Free Kindle Books Facebook page.
No review.  (In case you're new here, I don't review books with less than 4 stars.  I rarely finish books if I don't think I can give them at least 4 stars.  Why harsh some poor writer's day?  The only reason I even rated it was so it would show up in my Books Read category and I'd get credit for reading it.  I put in the work, after all.)

3) The Light of Western Stars by Zane Grey (1/9/22) - Western! - 5 stars.  Neither new to me nor underappreciated.  I picked this one up at the thrift store for 50c.
Review: "What a magnificent story. Grey outdid himself with this one. Action, adventure, unrequited love, a hero redeemed, sweeping descriptions that make the reader feel as though they are right in the thick of it all. Plus a sweet surprise near the end. So much awesomeness."
!Available in audio.


1/14/21 - suspense.  Free.  Meh, it was so loaded with backstory, it felt like a book 4 instead of a book 1, which made it not very suspenseful.  Maybe it was a new series based off another series and I missed it.  :shrug:  I don't have time to worry about it.

Currently reading... a suspense.  The last ebook leftover from 2021.

What was your reading week like?

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Thursday This n That

Yesterday kicked my butt.  I didn't even really do nearly as much as I have done on other days, but man, was I ever tired last night.  I made myself stay up until 8 and then I was done.  Of course, that meant I was up at 4:30, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.

The other day, Hubs carried a tree up from the bottom of the hill.  It was dead and I had pushed it over sometime last year.  We cut it in half and he carried the halves up.  Lumberjack dude that he is and all.  Yesterday, we sawed it into firewood.  Not exactly sure what the tree was - almost all of its bark was gone and obviously, no leaves - but that was some hard-ass wood there.  Maybe elm.  Possibly ash, although barkless ash really does remind me of a baseball bat and this wasn't like that.  :shrug:  Whatever it is, it will burn well.

Wood interests me... what can I say?

There are three things that I've always had an affinity for - trees, birds, and rocks.  This place is replete with all three.  I love it here.

I am a literal tree-hugger.  Yes, I hug trees.  Not that I believe they really care, but it makes me feel good.  I talk to them, too, and for the same reason.  Some of them have names - Oberon (the big fairy oak), Whitey (the little swamp oak), Little Red (our young red oak), Q-tip (because it's tall with a tuft of leaves at the top), Magic (because for some reason, it always has water in its crown and all the birds/squirrels drink there, so it must be magic).  The little elm I have in a pot is Elmer.  Hey, I didn't say they were the most creative names.

I realize I am not the most interesting of people.  This is why being actively social is so hard for me.  Trying to come up with something interesting to contribute to a group of strangers is difficult when you know you're not all that interesting.  I'm fine around friends.  They get me and they find me interesting or they wouldn't hang around me.  I also have a weird sense of humor and I'm not always good at picking up on social cues.  

Which reminds me... I was at the smoke shop chatting with a friend there about books and she was telling me about this book that grossed her out - in detail - right when a customer walked in and the look on his face was priceless.  I had to explain we were talking about a book and he was all like 'hey, I'm not here to judge' or something.  It was pretty funny.  Then out of the blue, the dude asked us how to spell something.  I didn't know him and neither did she, but he just blurted out 'how do you spell Lonnie?'  I guess he figured since we read books and stuff, we'd know how to spell stuff.  ROFL

Sometimes I encounter the strangest people.  A while back I came across this guy shouting obscenities toward the back of the Dollar General.  At first, I thought he was yelling at a dog, but nope, he was shouting at nothing.  A couple days ago, there he was again, this time on a little bitty bike, riding across the highway shouting obscenities at nothing.  Luckily, he turned and went the other way.  I was just telling Hubs about running into him again.  "Same guy?" he asked.  "I think so."  "Good, I'd hate think there were two of them."  ROFL

Life's weird.  You gotta find your jollies where you can, eh?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Pockets Full of Rocks

I've probably said this before, but it bears repeating... I love rocks.

From all reports, I always have loved rocks.  My mom tells a story about how my bus driver used to make me empty my pockets before she would let me on the bus, because I was always finding rocks at the bus stop and absconding with them.  

I have an old shoebox with all my favorite rocks from when I was a kid.  That sucker has traveled everywhere I've moved, much to several poor mover's laments I bet.  A lot of those have fossils, because where I grew up in Michigan was lousy with fossils and the landfill next to where I lived was constantly moving dirt, unearthing more of the treasures.

Now I'm here in the Ozarks where, I think, one of the ice ages stopped, dropping all the rocks it had pushed along the way.  Our property is covered in rocks.  

This, of course, makes digging for any reason a little difficult, but we deal with it.  There are also rocks pushing up through the lawn all the time, which makes mowing fun sometimes.  And gardening is always an interesting experience.  We pulled three wheelbarrows worth of rocks out of my front bed last month.

Nevertheless, I am in rockhound heaven here.  I wish I knew all the names for all the different kinds of rocks we have here.  All I know is one strikes my fancy for whatever reason, it goes in my pocket and comes into the house.  (Yes, I haven't changed in 45 years.)

I know I have petrified wood by the scads out there.  And quartzes of all sorts.  There's something called Mozarkite on the property.  I have a big one I'm currently using as a corner border for one of my gardens.  We also have a bunch of rocks with geodes in them, albeit not the huge fancy geodes - usually just a hole or a crack in the rock filled with tiny clear crystals.  

Yesterday, I found a rock that is super sparkly on its broken face.  The other parts are bland and uninspiring, but that one side is amazing.  It's sitting on my bathroom counter now where I left it after I washed it.  Every time I turn on the light, it makes me happy with it's sparkliness.  

I also found a rock in the roots of an overturned tree the other day that I finally brought inside and washed yesterday.  I'm not sure how to describe it.  It's like someone took a geode and flattened it out so the whole length of it is covered in sparkly bumps.  I really should take pictures, but photos never turn out the way I see the rocks.  Trust me, they're pretty amazing.  

One of my bookshelves has an assortment of rocks with a circular pattern in them.  (Lined up in front of the books... come on, I can't spare a whole shelf for just rocks.)  Another has various pretty smaller rocks I've found.  I have a crystal dish with all my super special rocks in it.  There's a chunk of smoky quartz I found on the TV stand.  There's a cool swirly patterned rock I'm using as a bookend in the spare room.  

Pretty soon, Hubs is going to start telling me to empty my pockets before I come in the house.  ;o)

I joke.  He's amazingly patient with me and my rocks.  He enjoys looking at them when I show them off, so that's a plus.  I'm forever going 'hey, look at this one' when we're out on the property.  More often than not, I show him a rock and then let it fall back to the ground.  But when they're really special, they go into my pocket.

Maybe someday I'll hit a geology show and find out if any of these super special rocks are worth something to anyone but me.  I could be sitting on a financial windfall.  LOL, or not.

What about you?  Are you a rockhound?  Or do you think I'm a little cuckoo?

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Sunday Update - 2022 Week 1

Ya know, I've been doing these weekly updates for a while now.  I don't know why it never occurred to me to put the year in the subject.  Hmm.  Okay, it's there now.  Derp.

Anyhoo...  It was a productive week for writing.  I edited six out of seven days.  Got 57 pages done this week.  That's not bad at all, especially considering I took Thursday off and I only got 4 pages done last night.  Of course, last night I ended up adjusting all the chapters, moving stuff around, adding chapter numbers and bookmarking them, etc.  Sometimes when I write the first draft, I either forgot to do chapters, sticking little hashtags to break up the scenes, or I just put CHAPTER and keep writing.  And now that's done - the book has 36 chapters.  I'm on page 238 of 360 of the editing.  Woohoo.

Okay, so Dying Embers and Wish in One Hand are both at 99c now.  I really need to get some advertising out about that.  Maybe tomorrow.

I had a nice reading week.  I finished two books and right now I'm reading a lovely Zane Grey novel.  I really like this one.  (Not that I haven't enjoyed his others, but this one is more... everything.)  I'll talk about it Saturday.

In baking news, I made pizza earlier in the week.  Then, yesterday, I made cake cookies.  In bar form, because I was feeling lazy.  Then I smooshed them into an 8x10" pan instead of a 9x13", so they'd be thicker and more brownie-like.  I probably could've taken them out a minute or so sooner, but they're pretty good.  Sadly, I ate the last of the ice cream yesterday.  Better get myself hence to the DG.  

Activity-wise... Well, it wasn't my best of weeks.  Only three days.  I got the whole house vacuumed, which is a feat.  Then we did one day of working in the woods.  Then yesterday we attacked the remaining leaf piles.  We dragged them further into the woods.  In order to do that, though, we needed to thin the underbrush.  It looks quite nice... or it will once spring comes.  Weight: 182.6

In the interest of being more social, I've been posting more to FB and MeWe.  I've also joined GETTR because a writer I follow was bragging about how many followers he's gotten on there in so short a time.  Me?  Crickets.  But I'm putting myself out there.  Not sure what to say when I'm there (or anywhere else for that matter), but I'm there.  

We got a little snow this week.  But it's gone.  They were predicting freezing rain, but it missed us.  Other than that, it's just been cold.  Yuck.  Oh, well, it's January, so I guess that's to be expected.

And there it is... another boring week in the life of B.E. Sanderson.  How was your first full week of the new year?

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 1/8/22

Hello and welcome to the first reading wrap-up of 2022.  Gah, it's going to take a while to get used to typing 2022.  

I picked up one new ebook this week - a paranormal mystery.  I still have 5 ebooks left from December, too.  

Books Read:

2) Never Say Duke by Erica Ridley (1/4/22) - Regency Romance* - 5 stars.  I'm pretty sure I've read other stuff by Erika, and this definitely isn't underappreciated.  Got it off the Amazon Top 100 Free list (all books).
Review: "What an awesome story! Great characters, great romance, great plot. I loved it all. Including the end. :happy sigh:"

1) Black's Beach Shuffle by Corey Lynn Fayman (1/2/22) - Noir Crime*# - 5 stars.  New to me and underappreciated.  Found this one on the Amazon top 100 free noir list .
Review: "Taut and interesting suspense with an awesome main character. I really enjoyed this story, so much so that I spent the day inhaling it."

No DNFs this week.

Currently reading... A Zane Grey novel and loving it.

How did your first week in reading for 2022 go?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Thursday This n That

 A while back Amazon decided that when they send you a confirmation email after you order a book, it would make the subject some kind of code - which matches neither the ISBN or the ASIN - instead of the book title.  And to see the actual title, you have to click a link in the email.  And then it asks you for your password.  Like this is some kind of state secret.  Blerg.  Are there people out there for whom having the title in the email subject is a real problem?  Are they all like 'OMG, I couldn't bear it if someone saw I'd ordered The Duchess and the Rapacious Rake.'?  Not having the title in the subject, as you might've guessed, is exceptionally irritating to me, since I use those emails to track where I'm at reading the books I've ordered.  Just now, I implemented a new step that fixes it.  I forward the email back to myself and change the subject to the damn book title.  It's an extra step, but it stops messing with my system.  Last year, I ordered 113 books from Amazon.  Try juggling those.  (And yes, I have a spreadsheet with the titles, but that's not the point.)

Why can't people just leave things alone?  Newer isn't always better.  And change isn't always necessary.  Sheesh.

Guess what?  2022 is the year DOOM happens.  (It's a videogame and a movie.  Love the movie, never played the game.)  Since we haven't discovered the gateway thingie yet, I think we're safe from that.  SOYLENT GREEN is also set in 2022.  Not sure we're in a place where we'll be turning the elderly into food, but what do I know?  For the record, I haven't seen this movie, but it's enough of a cultural icon, I pretty much know what's going on.

I heard today that our feckless leader doesn't even know what year it is.  I am unsurprised.  Remember when they hammered Reagan for making small mistakes like that?  Pepperidge Farms remembers.  But Creepy Joe gets a pass.  Feh.

I also read a newstory from the 3rd about New Hampshire and Vermont law enforcement getting called to a report of a dog running loose on a bridge.  They get there and the German Shepherd leads them to where a truck had gone through the guardrail and rolled down an embankment, throwing both occupants out into the snow.  They were seriously injured and hypothermic, but alive.  One of them was the dog's owner.  The dog was unharmed.  Dog saves man.  Again.  Yay.

My new coffee maker has a 'strong' setting.  Hallelujah.  I'm playing with the idea of being able to use less coffee grounds by making it on 'strong'.  We'll see.

I'm running one day off this week.  Yesterday, I thought it was Thursday.  I thought Tuesday was Wednesday.  You get the gist.  Thankfully, I've stopped myself before doing anything stupid.  Part of this is probably my check arriving a day late.  Throws everything off.  Derp.

And that's it for me.  Anything on your this-n-that radar today?

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

2021 Wrap-up & Hopes for 2022

Well, for all my hopes at this time last year, 2021 didn't turn out at all like I wanted.  Most of the year is a blur.  From what I can cobble together out of my various spreadsheets, here are some notables...

I did something writerly 157 days, so about 43% of the year.  But I only got one book published - Rumor Has It.  I did finish writing that fantasy novel all the way through to THE END, so I've got that going for me.

I'll do a reading wrap-up for the year on another day, but suffice it to say, I read 70 books which was 5 books short of my goal.  

I baked or did some special kind of food on 98 days - some days more than one food, but I only counted the days.

On the activity front, I did something active on 220 of those days.  And overall, my weight ended up 6/10ths of a pound higher at 182.2.  The lowest I was at was 178.2, but the highest I was at was 187.8, so it's all good, baby.

I had planned to walk 100 miles this year.  That didn't happen.  I only made it 45.25 miles walking.  But I finally started using our exercise bike and made 46.6 miles on that.  Then I got wrapped up in helping a friend move and both the walking and the biking went off the rails.  I hope to get back to both of those this year.  But I'm not setting a number for either one.  What happens will happen.

Another notable is that Hubs and I finally acquired that piece of land, which was something we've been working toward for a couple years now.  We're hoping to get it staked out sometime this month.  The property pins are in place, though.  We just want to have markers along the line so anyone traipsing around back there knows its OURS.

Every human I care about is still alive.  And well, as far as I know.  :knock on wood:  My oldest nephew and his family had the 'rona, and they got over it.  Hubs' older brother and that brother's son had the Delta variant and while they felt like crap, they got over it.  Hubs and I are still going strong.

Unfortunately, we had to put Kira down this past January 25th.  She was 17 and a half, which is like super old for a cat, and we knew it was coming eventually, but it was still hard for both of us.  No new pets were acquired nor will there be in the near future for us.

Looking ahead, I don't have goals.  Last year kicked my ass and almost every plan I put in place failed.  So, this year, I have only hopes.  I hope to get back down to like 175lbs.  I hope to publish this Untitled Fantasy.  And maybe write one or two more books.  I'd like to see my sales go up, but I talked about that yesterday at Outside the Box.  

All things being equal, I guess I can't complain.  Well, I can, but who'd listen?  LOL  Nobody likes a whiner anyway.  I'm alive.  I'm free.  Nothing hurts any worse than it usually does.  I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge and the furnace works fine.  Life is good.  Not great, but good.  And these days, that's saying something.

Hang in there, folks.  This is the start of a brand new year and there's always hope.  :HUGS:

How was your 2021?  Anything you're looking forward to in 2022?  

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Sunday Update - Week 52

Time for the update on the last week of 2021.  Yay.  But I've been up since 2:30a, so bear with me.

I worked on editing five days out of seven this week.  That got me 65 more pages edited.  As of last night, I'm on page 181 of 355.  Over halfway!  Yay!

I finally got Dying Embers loaded to Draft 2 Digital.  Just a few minutes ago.  Links will be updated once a few distributors are on board and I can get a customized link.  I set it at 99c.  I also went back and changed the price of Wish in One Hand to 99c, too.  Loss leaders for the rest of the series and all that.  Trying to drum up sales, doncha know.  (I'll do a sales wrap-up sometime this coming week.)

In reading news, I had an okay week, but I missed my yearly goal by 5 books.  Derp.  Ditto on the wrap-up thing here, too.

On the baking front, I made more cookies.  Heh, like I need more cookies.  And I made more granola bars for Hubs.

Speaking of not needing cookies, I didn't hardly do anything active last week.  One day cutting limbs into firewood and two days messing around with the dirt in the front bed.  The good-ish news is that I haven't really gained too much weight.  Starting this year with 182.2 pounds.  Only .6 pounds more than I started last year with.  Woohoo.

Hmm, what else... Oh, I created 2022 versions of all my spreadsheets.  I have some formulas to add for the big one, but the rest are ready to input data to.  Yay. had a free week of searching through birth, marriage, and death records, so I did some of that.  Discovered my cousin Gerald died last year.  (Don't worry, we weren't close.  My uncle got divorced from his mom and they were estranged.  So I only saw him a couple times at the family reunion when I was a teen.  Nice guy, though.)  And that my poor little cousin William, who would've been older than my dad, only lived 13 days.  Oh, and that my great-great uncle Cecil may have been a prisoner of war in WWII.  Interesting stuffs.  I also got farther up the tree in a couple spots where the family was still in Europe and those records were translated - like to a Great-great-great grandma whose maiden name was Grodzyski.  (Already found one whose maiden name was Pruzinski.)

Oh, and I saw a big, beautiful bald eagle not far from the house.  So pretty.

Anyway, not a lot of exciting stuff for the end of 2021.  Pretty par for the course on that year.  How did your last week of the year go?

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year!

 Every year I make a new graphic for the year to come.  Here's the one I made for this year...

ROFL... well, it made me laugh.  And Hubs thought it was funny...

I'd wish you a wonderful 2022, but we're trying to tiptoe into this one.  Like sneaking up on a bunny.  Don't want to spook it.

Have a great day, folks.  And :whispers: a kinda, sorta better next twelve months.  ;o)