If it’s Fall, There Must Be Mushrooms!

So, I’ve finally succumbed and admitted that fall is here. The rains have begun again and the plants are relieved. Mushrooms are popping up everywhere – even the gravel driveway! Tough little critters those.

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There’s these lovely, delicate ones I found on a log.

 

 

 

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And these which have cropped up behind the old run-in shed. These two photos might be of the same type of mushroom, just different ages, and stages of growth and decomposition.

 

 

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And this one growing on a whiskey barrel.

 

 

 

 

And lastly, this old beast, a shelf fungus, that’s year round, growing on an old fir stump.IMG_3256

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not a mushroom expert. I did take a class on edible mushrooms year ago and can identify chanterelles, morels, cauliflower mushrooms and that’s about it. We’ve had all three here, but they seem to come and go with whatever the current year’s compost brings in. I just look at most mushrooms and let the slugs eat them. Because goodness knows, we’re not feeding the slugs enough!

Life is moving on. I’m watching the trees slowly turn colors (and it is slower this year) and drop leaves, the koi are getting their last few meals till next spring and the cats are moving back inside, annoyed at the rain.

I’m writing on a new novel that I’m excited about and still overwhelmed at all the publishing work I have to do. I’m S-L-O-W-L-Y making a catalog page, you can find it on the top bar under Books & Stories. As I put new things up and redo old covers, things are making their way onto the catalog page which has descriptions, samples to download and links to most of the places my writing can be bought. But just because something’s not listed doesn’t mean it’s not available. It just means I haven’t had time to get the links there. Eventually, I’ll revamp the whole website, but covers need to be redone first.

I just finished an awesome novel – ‘Lost Lake’ by Sarah Addison Allen. It came out earlier this year and I bought it in hardcover (which I rarely do), because I love her books. I put it on my shelf, saving it for a time when I was looking for magic realism, wonderful characters and romance all bundled together. And last week was the time. I read it in two days. She has a gift for taking something extraordinarily simple and turning it into magic. Her first major novel was called ‘Garden Spells’. It’s still one of my all time favorite books. She’s releasing another book with the same character in January. So yay! It was such a pleasure to read a good book again. For the last three months I’ve been starting fiction and putting the book back down because it didn’t grab me. My brain was in such a hypercritical mode that I couldn’t enjoy anything, so I just read nonfiction. Of which I have a huge backlog to read as well.

Anyway, time for me to get to work. I hope you’re having a lovely fall with crunchy leaves. Ours are all soggy now, but hey, there’s mushrooms!

 



Keeping My Nose Down!

IMG_3176Fall is here and I’m still around, even though it’s been quiet here on the website. I’ve been working my tail off: writing, publishing, cleaning, organizing, winterizing, gardening, de-spidering and sometimes cooking. Ooh and even exercising.

Flannel sheets are on the bed, the cats have moved back inside, the wool carpet’s down in the living room and outdoor furniture is making its way into the barn. I can just picture the various chairs and tables walking across the property, rushing just a little to avoid the rain and cold. Followed by the swing and umbrella. Snort. I have my little fantasies.

I’ve been trying to get my body used to getting up at 6AM. AAAaaaaaccccckkkkkkk! But the youngling (I can’t really call her a child anymore, can I?) needs to be driven to the bus stop before school. Like at 7:10AM. I can’t believe she has to be there that early. Neither can she. In a couple of weeks we’ll be doing that in the dark! And rain. Now that’ll be fun. Today we got to listen to lots of bird conversation and even a frog quietly croaking from across the road.

And Hydrangeas! Like the ones in the photo above. I love how they open one color and slowly age through different shades until they end up looking completely different. The photo doesn’t capture the subtle tones in the faded flower.

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And I’ve slowly been getting more things published. I finally got another Halloween story up!

A monstrous creature has hunted her family for generations. Now it’s Rose’s turn. She’s the only thing that stands between IT and her younger siblings. Will she be the one to kill IT?

It’s Halloween and the real monsters are out.

 

And I’ve begun the slow work of redoing covers that I’m not happy with. Making some progress, but it’ll take quite a while to redo them all. With some it’s just a matter of switching fonts or shifting things around. With others, it’s a complete redo and I need to search out new cover art. And as I get more covers done, I’ll be shifting my website around a bit. Rearranging the furniture. Because I’m easily bored. And because I can.

And I’m writing and writing and writing some more. Trying to stay focused when I’m writing the first draft of one story, cleaning up another and formatting a completely different one. And trying to cram it all in while running the rest of my life and attempting to organize the household. It’s my daily challenge. Some days I make it, others not so much.

I’m also trying to stay focused on my work because there’s so much going on out in the world that I’m unhappy about and have no control over anyway. I hate feeling powerless. But my body’s telling me my stress levels are too high and I need to let some things go. So, for once I’m listening.

Keeping my head down and moving forward. At least that’s the direction I think I’m going.


Rolling Along!

The mural we painted

The mural we painted

I’ve been absent here for a while as the summer winds down, WAH! Spent a good chunk of time helping the child remove every single thing from her room. Which meant going through drawers that probably haven’t been touched in years!

Oh, the things we found. Won’t go into that since I know you want to keep your last meal down. But it took days, and the recycling, garbage and donate boxes were filled. Three large boxes of books went to her old school. And furniture left the house.

Then we spackled over paneling and sanded and vacuumed and painted. And made lots of trips to the hardware store. And painted more. And painted some more, while she slept on the couch for several nights. And got annoyed because we ran out of the paint colors we needed. And cleaned the floor. Then new/used furniture came in. Plus some of the old furniture came back. Walls were hung with decorations. So about 3 weeks later, things are finally finished, well mostly. We still need to find the right curtains or blinds. And the right bedspread, etc. But she’s back in her room, loving it and she had some time off before school started.

So now that school’s in session, a new school that starts much earlier, I’m struggling to get up at 6AM. Aaack. Isn’t that fun? And the days are getting shorter and wake-up time comes before the sun’s up. It’s been alternately sunny and rainy. So on the sunny days I’m trying to get outside and write, even though it’s cold and windy out there. Gotta enjoy the sun before it leaves until sometime next spring.

I’m working on finishing up the first draft of another novel. Then there’ll be a lot of adding in left to do before I send it out to readers. I’m also finishing up an online writing workshop which is giving me lots of great information.

Patio finally finished, well mostlyOn the gardening front, nothing is happening. I have a feeling I’m pretty much finished watering for the season, yay! Michael’s still adding sand between the pavers of the new patio. Here’s a photo of it after all the pavers had been cut, but without the sand in between them and without furniture.

Not much time left in the summer to enjoy it as the sun is slowly sinking behind the tall cedars, but I’m hoping the rains hold off till October because there’s lots of gardening to catch up on.

Today, it’s collecting poppy seeds.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to working on getting a new story up. I’m still behind on publishing things. I’ve got seven stories and one novel finished and/or out to readers. Another bunch of stories circulating out among various magazines and looking for homes. So, I’ve got to get moving on the publishing end of things! Because I’ve also got a lot of covers to rework. And oh so much more to do. But I’m not going down the road of panic. At least not today!

Cool spider drying off on a Dahlia

Cool spider drying off on a Dahlia

 

After it rained a couple of days ago, the garden was filled with slugs and snails. Countless numbers. But I also noticed a couple of very strange spiders. We always have a lot of spiders, so much food for them, so many insects! The spousal unit joked that we have the H&S garden. Filled with Hydrangeas, Hellebores & Heucheras. Slugs, snails, sowbugs & spiders.

So here’s a couple of photos. I’m off to try to pull my life together, run errands and perhaps try to cram in another couple of episodes of Prime Suspect before Netflix gets rid of it. I’ve got 12 hours more to watch by the end of the month!

Oh, and maybe try to read a book!

Another cool spider


Finally, A Cat Story!

PURR:JPEG:850X1288I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write a cat story. I have multiple feline friends, wear clothes covered with cat hair, feed the beasts twice a day, rescue garter snakes from them and they show up in my stories now and again. But I’ve never had an idea for a story about cats. Until now.

I was tooling around on stock photo sites, looking for a cover photo for something else and I found this picture. And I knew I had to write a story about this scrawny little black kitten walking down the street in the dark all by himself. Well, here he’s in a pool of light from a streetlight, but the rest of the street is dark.

So, the photo danced around in my brain for a while and finally, I had an opening this spring and this story was the result.

P.U.R.R. – Protectors United for Residential Requisition: What power does a tiny kitten have to change the world? More than you think. If cats ever got organized…

It’s available at all the normal places – Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, etc.

In other news, the patio is almost done! Just getting a few bricks cut around the edges and sanding it in are all that’s left to do. Woot! So, my outdoor writing office is back where I like it – closer to the house and the pond.

We’re about to tackle painting the child’s room. Carloads of things to donate to charity have left the house and countless paper has been recycled. Her room is nearly empty. Scary things were found lurking in her desk drawers – 2 Easter eggs from who knows how long – possibly not from this year. Really gross.

Anyway, we’re painting her room all one color, except on one wall – we’ll be painting a forest. That’ll be interesting. But fun! In the adult’s bedroom in the house, we painted cave paintings on all the walls, because it’s a minuscule bedroom with a low ceiling. It was a blast to paint and twelve, thirteen years later, I still love it. So, forest here we come!

And I just sent one novel to my readers and am about a third of the way through a different one. They’re not related, one’s Science Fiction, the other Fantasy. I’m having a wonderful time exploring this world. I’ve got more stories to publish soon and am busy, busy, busy. And school starts in two weeks! Oh yay. Time to start getting up earlier.

It’s been a glorious summer and I’m hoping there’s another two months of sun. Then I might have stored up enough heat and sunshine to make it through till next June. Possibly.

So, I’m off to wash walls for painting prep. Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer. Or winter, depending on where you live.

 


Back from the Dead!

Cool pineapple lily!

Cool pineapple lily!

I’ve spent the last two and half days sleeping about two hours then getting up for two hours, then sleeping again. Round the clock. And not eating much. Half a bowl of soup here, a cup of yogurt there. I caught something, somewhere, some nasty bug that made me feel like a python was wrestling with my intestines. And winning. Aaack.

Even when I was awake, I felt incoherent. Just sitting glassy-eyed in front of a movie and trying to stay awake, but it hurt to lie down. Hurt to sit up for that matter. Achy muscles as well as the painful wrestling match. The wrestling seems to be over, but the achy muscles are still with me. And I can’t lie down any more. It was so bad, I wasn’t even coherent enough to read the first page of a book by one of my favorite writers. Yikes.

So, hopefully I’m recovering because there’s tons of life and work to catch up on. I haven’t written all week, but last night as I was lingering in that space between sleep and non-sleep, which I did off and on all night, a huge chunk of the current novel came to me. So my brain’s been working on the story, even though my fingers haven’t been typing it into a file. I’d been feeling sort of stuck all last week, so I’m pleased to have this next piece fall into place. Yay!

And the four days before I got sick were mostly spent running errands and shopping. Not something I do that much of, but I still haven’t cleaned up after all that. I came home from errands on Wednesday and collapsed into bed. That was the day I woke up to thunder and it rained nonstop for about twelve hours or more. I still haven’t even finished unloading the car. Just got the perishable groceries out.

But I’m feeling a little better and will get back to the novel today. And perhaps to all the other things flailing about on my to do list. And grateful that the spousal unit and the child picked up the slack, so I could be a zombie for a few days.


Swallowed up by Summer!

Awesome red poppy that I’m naming ‘Fireworks’. Because I can.

 

I looked up and discovered it’s heading towards mid-July. Mid-July! Yikes. Somewhere I lost June.

I’ve been writing and cleaning up and publishing things, tending websites, watering the garden, gaping at poppies. Went to the beach one day (and I think I’m still sun burned), fought the slugs for lettuce, have pretended to clean the house every so often, herded the child to doctor and dentist checkups, herded the child to do some work around the house and pried her away from screens to read. I went to a reading by an awesome writer – Ian McDonald, met friends for dinner, hung out with relatives at a BBQ, bought a few plants. Okay more than a few. So far it’s been a busy, busy summer.

And I’m Wa-a-a-ay behind. I’ve got 11 stories and 1 novel in various stages of doneness. Some are floating around trying to find homes at magazines. Others are with my first readers. Still others are waiting till my first readers have a slot open. Others have come back and need to be cleaned up and sent out to magazines or published. And at least one, the novel, is still being cleaned up to go to my readers. And some are still being written. I feel like I’m in the middle of a carnival. Which story am I working on this hour?

And this was the time I was going to redo all my old covers.Yeah. I haven’t figured that out yet.

Pots patiently waiting for a patio.

Pots patiently waiting for a patio.

The spousal unit is busy sifting and shoveling sand for the patio, so he’s unable to keep up with the garden. The weeds are having a major party and the slugs aren’t far behind. I’m the major waterer since I work at home, and that season has begun. It takes a week to make a circuit around the entire garden and sometimes that’s fast enough. Not this July. Plants are wilting before their turn rolls around again, one of the drawbacks to having soil that’s sand and gravel. We add a lot of compost, but it’s never enough. So I’m watering both mornings and evenings this week. With the sprinkler, of course. I only water pots by hand, which takes a good couple of hours.

So once the patio’s done, snort, we move on to the child’s room. She’s going to middle school next year and has decided it’s makeover time. So we need to take all the furniture out of her room, cover the paneling and paint all the walls and ceiling. Then we’ll paint a mural on at least one wall, perhaps more. I’m tired just thinking about it. Then we get to move new/used furniture back in, furniture that’s more appropriate for a middle schooler. Whatever that is. I’ll figure that out next month.

But for now, it’s writing, writing and more writing. It’s halfway through the year and I’m still making my tiny goal of 5,000 new words a week. Only missed it twice since the beginning of the year. Yay! So, I’ve got lots of stories coming, they just need some tweaking and I’ll let them fly away. With writing so much new stuff, I’m still finding it hard to stay caught up on the publishing part of things.

Rosa ‘William Lobb’

But I keep trying.

I’m sucking up all the sunshine that I can, writing outside every day, saving it up for winter. I can already feel the days growing shorter. I’ve got to absorb a lot more sun before I’ll go quietly into the darkness of fall and winter!

Hope you’re having a lovely summer.