Random Thoughts!

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January Sunrise

Here’s a few things I’ve observed:

~At 7:20AM, whether it’s dark, dawn or daylight, there are a deafening number of bird conversations going on as I stand at the road waiting for the school bus with my daughter. I wonder what they’re all talking about.

~After buying the DVD of the final Hobbit movie and watching it last night something occurred to me. I wished that I hadn’t seen any of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings movies.

That way I could watch them all again, fresh and new, in a different order. It’s quite like after having read a fabulous book, I wanted to have not read it, so I could have the experience all over again.

~Before I went to bed last night I asked the universe for a couple of solutions to show up in my dreams.

One – the cover photo I found for my soon to be published SF novel isn’t going to work. It looks too much like Fantasy. I need a new concept.

The second – I need to figure out who the antagonist is in the novel I’m currently writing. Right now there’s a void from which all the evil actions are coming from.

So, I woke up this morning from a dream about a field of boulder sized dragon (or dinosaur) eggs. Not gonna solve either problem. Le sigh.

~This month I’ve been a failure at fixing things. The drippy sink faucet. Fail. The vacuum cleaner. Fail. Getting the Blueray Player to reboot and play Netflix again. Fail.

I have resolved to give up this shoddy life of attempting to repair things and move on to doing other things with my time. Like napping.

 

That’s it for my random life right now. I’ve got a busy day, so it’s back to work for me.


Writing Stupid!

A photo that I may have messed with. Skunk cabbage from our garden.

A photo that I may have messed with. Skunk cabbage from our garden.

While I try to learn as much as I can about Business and apply it to my own business, writing and publishing, it keeps coming to my attention that I’m failing on a few levels.

Smart writers write series: this gives them continuing characters, sometimes continuing problems that the characters need to deal with, and often continuing worlds. They don’t have to invent the wheel every time they write a story or a novel.

And they gain fans! People who love the characters and the world the writer’s created. Characters and worlds the fans don’t want to let go of. I know, I’m a fan of so many writers who do this.

And TV. I’m still angry about so many shows that were cancelled. I still miss Agent Cooper, Wash, and Parker. Oh, I could go on and on.

I wrote a series once. Years ago  – ‘The Jeweled Worlds Series‘. But silly me, I had mostly different characters in each book and a different world for each book. I couldn’t even write a series the ‘right’ way.

Cackling.

I can’t even seem to write in the same genre or using the same tone for more than one piece. Serious Science Fiction novel followed by a weird Fantasy short story followed by a whimsical Women’s Fiction novel followed by a silly Science Fiction story and on and on.

Ghost story – sure I’ll try that. Ooh and let’s make it a Mystery too.

Light little faery story? Oh hell, let’s just turn the bloody thing into a dark Faery novel. About saving the world from um, um, I’ve got it! The apocalypse! Yeah. That’ll work.

What was I thinking?

More cackling.

My brain always seems to need to stretch out into new territory. It’s easily bored. I need to keep challenging it to keep it interested in writing. Inventing new worlds for every single thing I write. New characters. New kinds of beings. New genres.

New. New. New.

I’m the epitome of contemporary humanity in its search for novelty.

Even more cackling.

Okay, I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve decided not to eat stuff with added sugar in it for a month. Except for a few squares of dark chocolate per day. I may be going insane.

Mad, maniacal cackling.

I’m going back to work now.

 


New Story Up & Catalog Progress!

I’ve been keeping my eyes on the screen and working hard. Getting a lot done. Although it’s probably invisible to most people. I’ve redone a bunch of old covers, but I’m not even going to count the enormous amount of covers left to do.

Still, progress is being made. And as I finish them, they go up onto the catalog – which you’ll find beneath the header that says ‘Books & Stories’.

As do the new stories and books.

And I’ve got another new story up!

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Soul Harvest: Trixie’s trying to hold everything together. She’s working full time and taking care of her cancer-stricken sister’s two young children. Then the bloody aliens arrive wreaking havoc everywhere. But what if they’re not here for her?

I had fun writing this story. It’s sort of a wacky first contact story, set in a tourist town in the mountains of Northern Idaho.

And I also got one of my older novels, which is in ebook and print, completely redone. So, it’s a sort of new book. And paper! Once I figure out the catalog page for that, I’ll put the link up for those of you who like paper books.

And I plan to get more of my work in paper this year. But first I need to wait for that extra paycheck to appear which will have enough moolah so I can buy a new computer. The last system update had pretty much tanked my laptop. It is now moving slower than a slug. Seriously.

I took it in and they cleaned things up a bit, but the verdict was that it’s just old. Almost six years old. Sigh. They used to last at least ten. But all the graphics and deh interwebs just keep getting more complex.

So all that is a long way of saying that once the new computer’s here, in late summer, it’ll have enough oomph to run InDesign and I’ll be making lots of paper books. I’ve heard the learning curve is brutal, so I’m calculating that by the end of the year I’ll be getting things up.

Until then, I’ve got covers to remake, more things to write and four novels sitting on my computer in various stages of cleanup, editing and formatting.

So, no pressure.

And then there’s the garden.

But there’s so much going on outside that I’ll save that for another day. Because today, I’ve got to pull together a library edition of the print novel and upload everything.

Because Libraries! They need our support.

 


At A Crossroads, Yet Again!

Spring is almost here. The Hellebores are about to kick into high gear. Cyclamen are appearing. Snowdrops are popping out of the ground. The garden is returning to life. I’ve seen my first slugs and snails of the year. Just in time Costco has Sluggo again.

I’ve been mostly busy inside. Working on a new novel and publishing things I wrote last year. I’m still quite a ways behind. But I’m under the illusion that it’s possible to catch up, so I keep trying.

Journey Into Darkness:JPEG:850X1288This week I got up a very long story written last summer.

Journey Into Darkness:

Melanthe is destined to be the next Queen. If she survives the passage to adulthood. This is her one chance to experience the world outside the domes at the bottom of the sea. After she makes the grueling swim to the surface, she has to survive on land. Will her magic last long enough to complete the challenge?
An Enigmatic Pearl Story.

This is set in the same world as one of the books in The Jeweled Worlds. It takes place years before that trilogy, but I don’t think it matters if you read it before or after.

It’s YA Fantasy, but I know a lot of adults who read young adult fiction, as do I. If you’re looking to escape into another world, give it a try.

So, crossroads.

We have a large garden, it used to be nearly half an acre. Then I decided that getting horses would be a good idea. So we spent years tearing apart half the garden. Moving some of the plants, giving others away. We made a wonderful horse space, filled with ground cover fabric and gravel in most of it, sand in another section.

Allergies hit me really hard a month after the horses arrived. The horses were awesome. Allergies not so much. I couldn’t even walk across the room because of dizziness. We finally decided it was the hay. It took a couple of years, but we sold the horses. They’re now living happily back east in the Great Lakes region. I see photos of them now and again and miss them terribly.

I don’t miss the awful allergies and dizziness and the stress of being unable to carry on anything resembling a normal life. It’s taken nearly three years for me to get better. And all that time I’ve been looking out at a vacant horse area. Which has made me unhappy. A huge reminder of failure. I don’t like to spend huge amounts of time blaming myself or my body.

What I usually do after failing is reassess, then pick myself up and do something about the problem. Three years is a lot of time to dwell on a problem without being able to deal with it.

Last summer we started moving the sand from the former round pen so it could be a foundation for the back patio. I’m hoping this year we’ll move the rest of it to the front yard and cover that with pavers.

But the big news is that I’m making a new fruit garden! I lost mine when we rearranged for horses. I’ve so missed wandering the garden and finding fresh berries. I didn’t realize what a big thing it was for me until I became totally obsessed with planning it over the last few weeks. And because it’s a sunny area, there will be more roses. English roses filled with fragrance. I’ve been lost for hours looking at online plant catalogs and garden books, making maps of the space. The kitchen table has vanished beneath the piles of books and papers.

Today, the gates begin coming down, to be sold soon, I hope. I’ll rake up gravel in places, pull up ground cloth and plant golden raspberries, blueberries and thornless blackberries for a start.

I’m so excited.

Much of the gravel area is going to become a home for containers and raised beds. I’m going to plant a fig tree in a large watering trough. I’m going to have figs again! And I’ll move the strawberries, which have been escaping their pot for a couple years now, into a permanent space.

So, I’m reclaiming that outdoor space and turning it back into a garden again. I’m so excited about the possibilities.

I’ll leave you with some of my Hellebore photos. I love these perennials. Each one is an individual. Our garden is filled with them because I buy at least a couple more every year. The doubles haven’t opened yet, so all the pictures are of singles.

 

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So it Begins!

Mahonia 'Arthur Menzies' in bloom. Making those hummingbirds happy

Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ in bloom. Making those hummingbirds happy.

A new year begins and the garden is waking up again. It’s been in the 30’s here mostly. The days are getting longer. Lately we’ve had lots of fog and a little sun.

I had marvelous holidays. Got to see lots of people, ate wonderful food and drank some delicious wine. Spent time getting to know our new love seat and swively chair. And we got a new router! Whoo hoo! We can now watch Netflix on the TV. We’re moving into this century. Watch out world!

On the downside, my ITP’s back with a vengeance and my platelet count is so low they’re threatening to put me back on steroids. Last time I was on them for two and half years. I NEVER want to go back there. Prednisone screwed up everything in my body, except it did raise my platelet level. So, we’ll see if my count goes up again tomorrow. Unfortunately, no one I’ve talked to, or read, has any idea what to do with ITP. They don’t know what causes it or how to actually cure it. And the treatment is normally either steroids or cut out my spleen. Yikes. Not even the alternative medicine community knows. So discouraging. At least it’s not contagious.

Pinus 'Chief Joseph' Even the pines are brightening up.

Pinus ‘Chief Joseph’
Even the pines are brightening up.

I started a new novel, which is going well. And upped my word count goal for this year. Plus, I’m continuing my quest to redo all my old covers. As I do each one, I’m putting them on the pages of ‘Books & Stories’. It’ll take a while before the whole catalog’s complete, but each week I’m getting closer. And of course, I’m still working on publishing things I finished last year.

I’m trying to sort through my life and decide what needs to leave. There are several things I’d like to get out of my schedule, but alas, they need to be done. Doing the budget, occasionally vacuuming, cooking, all the stuff that makes our lives function.

I’ve added in a daily walk to my schedule. Even if it is me walking in circles around the garden for twenty minutes. In the rain. Just not getting enough exercise. I’d like to tell you that I’m getting exercise working out in the garden but that’s just not going to happen. Unless it’s sunny. Or maybe in the sixties.

The garden’s still trashed out from last month’s windstorm that took down chunks of the neighbor’s dead tree. It did some fairly intense pruning of some of our plants. The chainsaw’s getting sharpened today, so perhaps cleanup will begin soon. Maybe.

Waning wolf moon with fog.

Waning wolf moon with fog.

I’ll leave you with a photo I took the other morning after walking Zoe to the bus. The moon was waning, although that doesn’t show, but I loved the look of the moon, the fog and the trees.

The fog has been so awesome, streaming down the hill and through the trees towards our house. I love the way it looks. A friend told me yesterday that she could feel it on her skin, cold like ice crystals. It gives me a sense of a blanket, keeping out the world, giving me permission to stay inside myself and just be.

It helps me stay quiet and still, listening for the voices of new characters. Finding stories and maybe even helping me figure out how to better live my life.

Happy New Year Everyone!


Happy Solstice!

I had a lovely contemplative Solstice yesterday. Making plans for the next year, rethinking my life. I even had time to make a collage!

It’s mostly because I’ve been working my tail off lately, trying to catch up on publishing work.

I’ve got another new Christmas story up, plus a Collection. So yay, I made it before Christmas. I wrote this story last summer, but obviously it took a while before I got to the publishing part. That’s part of the rethinking my life plans for next year.

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We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Milena’s alone, broke and working at a soul sucking retail job during the Christmas season. Then she meets Maggie, who has ideas about how to help. But who’s helping whom?

 

 

 

 

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Four for Christmas – Four heartwarming Christmas stories to light up the season. Stories filled with magic, crazy decorating and just a little mayhem. Includes: ‘Jokul Frosti’, ‘The Christmas Tree’, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ and ‘The Best Little Christmas Ever’.

 

Anyway, this is just a short post to wish everyone Merry Christmas and a very thoughtful New Year. It’s a good time to make some real changes in our lives.

I’m going to scurry off and finish up Christmasy surprises for family. And watch a movie. And just chill out a bit.

Hope you’re having some fun!

 

 


Pushing Through!

IMG_3462_2So far this month has been totally insane around here.

I finished a novel. Yay! Well, the first draft anyway.

Then we got some moolah when the spousal unit cashed out the rest of his vacation time. And we got rid of our 30 year old futon couch! Okay, the futon wasn’t that old, but the frame was much older, so I’m taking an average here. And bought a love seat and a chair to replace it. Whoo hoo!  Leather – so no more dust mites. And I can sit on them, because the futon couch had become a rock and no one would sit on it except the child. Now I can reclaim the living room again!

Plus, the first two weeks of December is always filled with every social thing imaginable, because people cram the whole month’s worth of events into those two weeks. Which leaves me mostly sitting around the last two weeks wondering where the world has gone.

I think I went out of the house nearly every single day to go somewhere, do something. Until I came home and collapsed.

And then we had the big wind storm which left us without power for about twelve hours and brought chunks of the neighbor’s dead tree down on part of the garden. Thank goodness it missed the house and the pond! It did a pretty unsightly job of pruning a couple of our trees, but other than that, the garden’s okay. And someday, once we get the chainsaw sharpened, it’ll mean more firewood!

IMG_3463I’m putting in a couple photos I took out in the garden. The Hellebores have begun blooming!

The top is Helleborus ‘Cinnamon Snow’ and the bottom one is Helleborus foetidus.

I love having things happening out in the garden at this time of year. And two of the four witch hazels have begun to bloom. One of them is two months early.

The weather’s been strange. It was 60 degrees last week. That’s a fabulous late spring temperature around here. Then a day later it was less than 30 degrees at night. Wide temperature swings.

So, lots of ups and down.

Wacky technology. My router’s dying. The last upgrade didn’t make my 5 year computer happy – it’s loading every piece of software at a snail’s pace. I’m planning on taking it in and seeing if there’s something I can to do speed it up, but I’m not going near the mall till after Christmas. Yikes, I’m not that crazy.

I’m making lots of Christmas gifts. And I’m behind on that too. I keep adding in projects.

The oven’s running super hot and the heater thermometer is completely off. It says it’s 90 degrees and turns the heat off when the wall thermometer reads 60. So, it’s a little chilly in here. It’s sweaters, down vests and space heaters here, unless I’m home all day and can crank up the wood stove.

The Christmas Tree:JPEG:850X1288This week has been calmer than the last and I’m a little more on track with my writing.

Progress on the current story and yesterday, I put up a new story. ‘The Christmas Tree’. It’s another ‘Bibi’s Bargain Boutique’ story for those of you who like that sort of thing. I’ll put links up as soon as it appears online in more than a couple spots. When I get back here.

But it won’t be for a few days, because hello, ‘The Hobbit’! It’s opening. I’ll be there. I don’t go out to see movies much, but I’ve been waiting for this one. Even if the series has too many battle scenes for my taste. So looking forward to it.

I’ll be using the next couple of weeks to power through some of the publishing stuff I’m behind on. Get covers made and stories up (when the ebook vendors aren’t closed during the holidays).

I’m slowly working my way through all the stuff I’ve written this year. Oh, except for a couple of novels that are still sitting, waiting. I’ll eventually get back to them and get things cleaned up and published.

So, I’ve got a lot from this year to finish up. Christmas present, stories, novels.

Then I need to contemplate what my goals are for next year. I blew past this year’s writing goal with a month to spare.

What should I do next year?