This, That ‘n the Other

I just saw a Youtube video of several mothers letting their children play on the beach covered in tar balls. But it was “okay” because they brought some Goo Gone, to clean up afterwards. Can someone say Darwin Award?

I’ve recently discovered I cannot chew gum and hand write fiction at the same time. Sounds odd, yes, but I tried three times and couldn’t quite manage it ! Pete informs me that he can do it without any trouble at all, but he failed the “chew gum and change poopie diaper” test, so I feel we’re even.

I was going to mark the day when I’d sold 1,000 books (eBook and print) only it would seem I’ve missed commemorating it by 47 books ! So, happy 1,047 books sold day ! The best part about that is, there’s no bookstore manager taking me off the shelf after a few weeks, no returns going back to the distributor, no one telling me since I didn’t sell enough in the first month, they don’t want to see more. My books can stay on the “shelves” for an eternity and continue to sell.

I’ve decided my next title, due out in July, will be a free eBook. It’s shorter than the others, and my readers deserve a free eBook. Sadly the print will still be at cost, because I can’t put something out in print from Lulu and have it free, but you can still read it online free, and download the eBook free.

Anyone who thinks handing out something for free never gets you anything is an idiot. I put up Ether as a free eBook during the “Read An Ebook Week” back in, March I think it was, and that alone generated more sales of my other titles than anything.

We had two whole days of summer this week ! Sunshine, warm temps, it got all the way up to 75* for one day. Of course that’s all over now, but it was sure nice while it lasted.

One of my mother’s dogs died on Wednesday 😦 We’re all going shooting Saturday to work off some emotion by murdering some lovely clay targets.

It’s nearly July ! I’m looking forward to the week of the 12th, when we get our new kitchen and bedroom floors installed. I have that whole week off from work for that, and plan to sit at the table and write while it’s happening. Unless the installer is hot, then I’ll just sit and watch him and SAY I wrote all week.

The characters in my current novel all have a deep Southern accent that I’m finding has crept into my own speaking voice on more than one occasion. It’s made for some interesting looks.

I’m in the mood for a Firefly marathon this weekend, but I have some Doctor Who episodes from Netflix that I need to watch . . . wonder if there’s time for both? I also wonder if I have enough fuel in my car to make it home tonight….

I could really go for a nap right now !

Rainy Day Adventures

It’s hard to believe someone who was born and raised here in the Pacific Northwet can be affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, but when you’re nearly through the coldest, wettest June on record and already feeling some frustrations about other, non-weather related things, even the sturdiest of us can get a tad bummed.

Normally in June, we’d have some cloudy days, some sunny days, far fewer rainy days – we’d have flowering plants growing in window boxes and color popping up in our gardens. Traditionally, Father’s Day is a sunny one, and you can take Dad out to any number of air shows or outdoor activities.

This June – our window boxes are empty because it’s been too wet to plant anything, the garden color is starting to mold with all the cold and dampness, and Father’s Day was a raining, chilly mess spent entirely indoors.

I’m not whining.

Actually yes, I’m whining. I feel bad about whining because I’ve lived here all of my life, and I’m used to this. But being used to the occasional shit summer doesn’t make it any more fun to endure.

I’ve been even more frustrated lately because a lot of little annoying things have been happening, building up and adding to the irritation of the weather and serious lack of vitamin D. Nagging little things that happen to us all, but sometimes pile up into one giant piss-storm that you’re left chiseling at with a butter knife.

For the cherry on top, I’m one of those people who will stew about something well past the point of being healthy. If something happens on a Friday, and you can’t do a thing about it until Monday, I’ll stew and fret the entire weekend – while other people would put it out of their minds until Monday morning.

I can’t help it, really. It’s just who I am.

So, feeling frustrated and irritated, irked and chilly, I went out on Saturday and bought myself a new targeting rifle – a PINK one, just because I can – then my Sister and I went to our Mom’s house, where she and our Stepfather joined us in an afternoon of Fathers’ Day shooting.

I shitz you not, my peeps, pink.

Myself, my Sister my Mother and my Stepfather spent a lovely couple of hours blowin’ the ever lovin’ life out of targets, cans and bull’s-eyes. I need to adjust the sights on the new one a tad, although my Sister had no troubles hitting the targets every time, I was a tad off with the new one. Using my Stepfather’s gun, I had better aim, and his has no sight. So a few adjustments are in order.

But damn, Skippy, that felt good.

No, it didn’t bring out the sun. In fact, it’s raining today, with a high predicted to be 61F. And it didn’t magically cause color to appear in the garden, or plants to show up in my flower boxes. It didn’t fix any of the niggling little things that have been bugging me these past few weeks.

But it felt good.

It felt really, really good.

The man helping me with my purchase turned out to be a fellow rock hounder, so my Sister and I spent a long while just talkin’ rocks with him, which was fun only fellow rock people would understand. He had a bag full of local crystals he’d found, and we talked about Carnelian, flint knapping and cuts.

The thing I like about weapons is the same thing I like about other power tools – if you treat them with respect, they do the same. You can count on them to perform, so long as you take care of them, clean them when necessary, use them properly, observe all the safety precautions and wear the proper protection. You know what to expect, and if something breaks down, you know how to fix it.

Much more reliable than people.

So, if it’s too cold to do any rock cutting this weekend, you’ll find me out back, blowing the living daylights outta some clay pigeons!

Duped!

I’ve always considered the kitchen to be my sister’s room, not because she does most of the cooking, although she does, but mostly because I’ve never really cared what the kitchen looks like, and she has.

For years, and years, our kitchen was a nice soft pale yellow with blue accents, very Scandinavian. Cobalt blue glass, a lovely deep rich cobalt blue sink, pale blue countertops. We’d taken the doors off the cupboards a long while ago and stripped then stained them a nice sort of cherry wood color, and painted the cabinets themselves a clean white.

But now that we’re getting a new floor in there, she decides we need to change the entire look. And I was on board. After all, I do love painting, and physical labor is da bomb! Especially in the home improvement arena. So two weeks ago we painted the walls (and ceiling – yes, I’m one of those) a nice shade of blue that leans toward the grays. Almost a denim blue, I suppose, but light denim. And we picked a shade darker of the same for the cabinets and doors – finally we were going to have some cohesion in the room and blend everything nicely together.

So the plan was, this past weekend we’d have the doors off, all sanded and primed thanks to my having taken a vacation week last week. The drawers too, all set and ready for painting on Saturday.

The two of us. Outside because thankfully we were having nice weather for a change.

Then my sister goes and gets herself an appointment to have her IV port removed – this thing that was implanted in her chest to facilitate her chemo treatments. Now that she’s cancer-free, and officially a survivor, her oncologist said she could have that removed, so she goes and schedules it for Friday afternoon !

It was a simple day-surgery, although with set up and wake up, I was sitting there for a total of five hours, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, she was “too sore” to paint ! But the kitchen was already demolished, thanks to my stellar prep work, so guess who spent the entire weekend painting 17 cupboard doors, 14 drawers and all of the cabinetry, while her sister sat in the shade and “rested.” ?

I’m back to work this week to rest! Thankfully my job allows me to sit down for most of my day, because I’m sore and stiff and tired. But I have to admit, we have a really nice looking kitchen now. My next week off in July will be spent moving furniture in and out of rooms while the installers lay wood in the bedrooms and Earthscape in the kitchen.

I need a nap.

One thing leads to another

So the other weekend, after the one interrupted by the flu, my sister and I headed over to our favorite flooring store to see if they had the same wood we put down in the living room and dining room, with the intent to put the same in the bedrooms and kitchen.

Luckily, we were told they do have it, most likely, but the salesman sent us home with two other samples just in case – – which turned out to be nearly identical to what we have anyway. Once we decided we could substitute one of those if the original can’t be ordered, I offered up to my sister the idea that we could use a different wood for the kitchen, if she wanted a change . . .

That’s when I was informed that we were now painting the kitchen.

It’s going to go from the soft yellow with blue accents, to solid blue in more of a grayer tone.

Okay, I figured, that’ll be nice. I’m onboard with that. Only, won’t that make the cabinets look a tad “off”?

Oh, she says, didn’t I mention? We’re painting them, too. Solid blue, in a shade darker than the walls, with new brushed silver hardware.

Well, alrighty then! I guess I’m painting this weekend. The trick to that is, I love to paint. I really do, naked or not (see posts from years prior). I’m really looking forward to this. We bought the paint last night, at Lowes, and tonight after work we’re going to do all the prep work, the taping and covering and all that. Then Saturday, after a hearty breakfast of soy lattes and cereal, it’s paintin’ time!

We’ll have to break before the late afternoon, in order to return to the flooring store and pick out what we’re going to have put down in the kitchen, since I was also informed we’ll not be putting wood in there. She wants tile, or something called Earthscape, we don’t know which yet.

What do I care – I’m paying a dude to put it down! I love to paint, but I don’t do floors, especially a 210 square foot kitchen floor. (for you metric fans, that =’s Farkin’ Big)

So that’s my weekend, sanding, priming and painting. I’m off all next week, so I can relax and write and relax.

Pass me a roller, I’m ready to go!

I must be getting old

Because I just don’t get it. I’m sitting in my livingroom, inside my house, reading a book while my sister is watching television, or maybe we’re both on the computers with a baseball game in the background, minding our own business inside of our own home, when it happens.

You can hear them a couple of blocks away. The low, thudding base. At first it’s this irritating noise in the periphery of your hearing, you’re not even aware of it but it’s starting to annoy you. Then it slowly draws your attention as it gains volume, getting closer and louder. Your windows begin to vibrate and rattle, your cats wake up and looked irritated, and you end up sitting there, pausing whatever it was you were doing because now you’re pissed off, waiting for the a-hole driving the stereo down the street to go by and go away!

And they always drive slowly, so you can reap the full benefits of their astoundingly nasty taste in music.

Why?

What are they trying to gain? Are they simply trying very hard to piss off the entire world, one ear drum at a time as they drive slowly around town with their volume at the far end of the dial? Are they THAT angry at the world, that they’re so willing to destroy their own hearing just to make people look up for a moment and cuss?

I was in the car one day and had one of these twats behind me, and when I glanced in the rearview I could see a voodoo doll hanging from his rearview actually bouncing in the air from the sound waves. Do you KNOW what that does to those little hairs inside your ear?

Yanno, when those things break off, that’s it, they don’t grow back. Even if they just bend all the way down, they stay there. You’re deaf. Maybe it’s too late, and they’re already deaf, which is why they have to turn the volume up so high, just to hear the music. That doesn’t make it right, though.

I just don’t understand the point, and I’ve tried. I contemplate human behavior all the time as a writer, and I haven’t been able to figure this one out. The only explanation I can come up with takes me back to the playground – – they’re just brats. They’re just doing it because they can, and because for that brief moment they can piss off everyone around them, the get to take center stage. As they drive by, they can imagine the whole world turning to look at them, and it doesn’t matter than we’re flipping them the bird, swearing back, or – in my case – hoping aloud that their dicks turn green and fall off.

During my younger years, living in apartments in the city, that was the one thing that could set me off and turn me into a raging lunatic, hearing the music from another apartment. It’s such a violation. You’re trying to spend some time at home, relaxing, watching television, whatever, and you’re invaded by thud thud thud coming through the walls, or the floor, or the ceiling. You can’t turn it down, you can’t turn it off, you bang on the walls and that just pisses them off so they turn the volume UP. You call the manager and get a recording, or when you DO get someone you find it’s just the service and they’ll relay a message but fat lotta good that does.

And you can’t just ignore it. It gets under your skin, to the point of grabbing your full attention because it’s always there, always thudding there in the walls while you’re watching television or heaven forbid, trying to read a book. It’s an invasion.

I’d go to their doors sometimes and complain, and almost always get some snotty retort about how they can do whatever they want inside their own home. I’d scream back that their rights stop as soon as what they’re doing inside their home begins to disrupt MY home – then the cussing would start, and threats. Usually by that point I’d go back inside and call the cops, which I hate doing because they have better things to do, honestly.

After a few confrontations, I stopped knocking on doors. It got too dangerous. You never knew who’d come to the door, or if they’d be armed and pissy. I started to consider getting a gun, but around that point we moved out of the city and bought a house.

Now they just drive by, and I wish for their dicks to fall off. I’d quite like everyone out there, who drives around in a car with the volume cranked way up, who takes no regard or consideration for the other people on this planet at the same time, to suffer severe fungus of the cock.

Strike a pose

I’ve been told I hold a pen in a very angry manner. Maybe that’s true, although I don’t see how it’s all that different than others. Sure, there are other ways to hold a pen, I even hold them differently for different tasks.

When I’m signing my name on a delivery slip, for instance. Or when I’m signing my name and jotting down some numbers on forms at work. I hold a pen differently when I’m writing a check or slapping some facts down on a post-it. And I hold different pens in different ways.

I don’t think that has much to do with my penmanship – I got that nasty trait from my Father, who I tend to take after in a lot of ways. And I’m from the generation who went all the way through school using pens and pencils. You could only turn in your homework typed if it was homework for typing class.

Anyway, this is how I hold my pen – and I harbor no hard feelings toward it whatsoever.


I’ve noticed as I handwrite my current novel, that my fingers last for about five solid pages before they’re so painful I have to stop for a rest. The first knuckle of my forefinger becomes red and tender (I’d been saying raw, and had Pete thinking I was bleeding all over the paper!) And that lovely, thick bump of a callous I’d had my entire school years has long since gone away, so I’m having to build that back up again, and it’s slow going.

But that’s okay. This novel is all about going slow, taking the time required. It’s going to be a long, hot summer, and I couldn’t be more pleased.


I’m going to be interested in seeing how my callous progresses, how long it takes to develop, how much stamina I’ll achieve and how strong my fingers will get over time. This is early on, I’ve just started Chapter 6 and I can manage, as I said, about five or six pages of handwriting a day before I really have to take a break and rest the fingers.

It’s awesome!

I’m finding as I handwrite instead of computer write, I’m using different words, enjoying the language in a different way, and exploring scenes I would have glossed over or missed before. Not only that, but I can recall sentences from earlier verbatim, without having to go back to see what exactly it was I’d said. The novel has solidified in my mind in a more secure way than ever before.

And it’s only just begun.

The Best Laid Plans

I had them, for this past weekend.

The plan was to sleep in, then go to the flooring store where we purchased our wood flooring for the living room/dining room two years ago, and talk to them about having the bedrooms and kitchen done to match.

We love our wood floors! It’s the best thing we’ve done to our house in the sixteen years of owning it, and can’t believe we waited this long. Now it’s time to get rid of the last of the carpet in the bedrooms, and that kitchen floor has needed replacing since we bought the house, we just couldn’t decide what we wanted until now.

After that, we were going to run errands, get some things done and then relax and enjoy the weekend.

That was the plan, anyway.

Friday morning, sometime around 1:00 a.m., that all went out the window. Or rather, done the toidy, as my sister and I each came down with the flu. Two women, one bathroom, each taking turns driving the porcelain bus.

And it was nasty! I hate throwing up, seriously hate it. I went twenty five years once without doing it, mostly because as a child I’d thrown up – as we all do – and I decided that just wasn’t for me. And I refused afterward to ever to that again.

Well it worked for twenty five years, anyway. I ended up breaking that streak a while back, and then again, and this would be the third time in my adult life that I’ve “done that”.

Disgusting.

So Saturday was a complete wash. I had it all – the fever, the aching joints, the complete inability to eat anything at all. The fever finally broke right around nine that night, so I was able to sleep. Then Sunday we were just white-washed. Utterly pail, without any desire to eat whatsoever, yet we had to go grocery shopping because we’d missed doing that Friday night and had literally nothing in the house to sustain us should the desire to eat ever return.

They would have thrown us out on the streets if we hadn’t changed their litter pans. You know how they can get.

Sunday we each managed to eat a small bowl of cereal. Today, so far, I’ve had a half a cup of coffee. I’m thinking this part of it, I could get to like. No food for two days so far, inching into three. I could get on board with this.

I have a feeling, though, sooner or later I’m going to end up eating again, and that’ll be that. But I’d really appreciate going another twenty five years before ever throwing up again!

The Annoying bit

I’ve been trying to come up with the back cover blurb/teaser/copy for the new novel coming out for evah! This one just wasn’t coming to me. Most of them are a bit of a struggle, trying to boil down the novel into a few paragraphs of teaser designed to make the reader want to read the book and not just put it down and pick up something else.

It should be easier than it is. Sometimes they flow right outta my fingers and get done the same day I’ve created the cover, others just sit there and glare back at me, laughing.

And honestly, as Pete pointed out to me today while I was whining about it, I don’t have to have a back cover blurb. After all, I’m Indy, we make our own rules about things like that. But really you need something. Even for an ebook, there has to be a description, a snippet that will catch a reader’s eye and tell him or her what the novel is about, so he or she can make the buying decision.

What killed me about this one was, the novel itself was such a blast to write, and went by so fast, then I was getting hung up on the finishing details. I’m still editing, because I’m doing that by hand and since I’m writing the next novel by hand, things have slowed down a touch.

But I have a launch date of July 1st set in my brain, so that’s what will happen, come hell or high water !

I have a cover, and now I have the blurb for the backside.

And it’s Friday. I adore Friday. Gonna go to a wine tasting down town after work, then get the groceries taken care of, and relax ! Looking forward to some fun this weekend, and maybe even a nap.

Meanwhile, after days of fussing, cussing, and pointedly ignoring, here’s a sneak preview of what’s coming July 1st:

Legend has it the Darkness gem holds all the evil of a long-dead alien race, and that whoever possesses the stone will discover the secrets hidden within. Jayden Pearce, famed fortune hunter and galactic adventurer, braved the Dark Forest and ancient temples that kept the stone hidden for centuries. Never one to buy in to curses or dark energy, he sold the gem for a tidy sum to private collector and all-around bad guy Giles Markem, who gave it to his fiancé as a wedding gift.

But legend forgot about Light, the sister stone to Darkness and the map that holds the key to untold rewards.

Jayden Pearce forgot about it, too, until his old partner returns with an offer he can’t refuse.

The Legend of Darkness and Light, coming July 1st.

Not for the faint of wrist

I’m three chapters in to my newest novel, completely hand written. My wrist is killing me, my fingers are sore, but you know what?

I’m okay with it.

Honestly, my wrist stops hurting if I just stop writing and go do something else for about twenty minutes. My fingers are getting used to it, so long as I take breaks. I hold the pen with the iron grip of anger anyway, and have to learn to relax and ease up. That will help my wrist, as well.

So does switching pens now and then. I think through the course of these three chapters, I’ve used four different pens. All black ink, because I’m a black ink sort of person, but various tips and types. Today, for instance, I’m using a Papermate Liquid Flare, extra fine tip. It’s a cheap pen, but really comfortable to use.

Each time I start out, my penmanship is pretty good, readable and not too wonky, but as the page progresses, my penmanship notably digresses. By the end of each piece of college ruled paper, it’s pretty scribbly.

But I’ll tell you one thing – – writing by hand makes you give serious thought to each sentence, each paragraph, and really concentrate on the NOW, not the next scene or the chapter following this. Although as a writer, I can see the novel as a whole, while I’m writing I’m completely in the moment. Nothing matters but the words I’m writing just then, nothing exists further ahead than the sentence I’m on.

Writing by computer can so easily make a writer hurry, and rush through important scenes in a mad dash to get to the next important scene. I think that’s where the ridiculous notion of “write a million words of shit, you can always delete later” comes from.

What a waste of time. Why take the time out of your busy life, while you’re struggling to find time to write amidst chores, kids, work, spouse, errands and life, to write down crap you fully intend to delete later?

You know, another reason I write with a pen is so I can’t erase anything. I hate seeing lines crossed through mistakes, whenever that happens it irks me until I can get beyond that page and go to another. I hate it. Writers using a computer could do themselves a favor, if they resolutely refuse to walk away from the computer – Remove your delete key.

Just pull it right up, set it aside for when you’re balancing your checkbook or editing that scathing email. And while you’re at it, pull off that Backspace key, because I know you’re all thinking “Okay, fine, I won’t delete, but I can backspace and type over what I don’t like.”

Just. Do. It.

I admit, this morning my wrist started hurting right in the middle of a good scene. I was anxious to get down another six or eight paragraphs, and my fingers were screaming at me. I told Pete that maybe, just maybe, it’d be okay to use the computer for a while, and only hand write half the novel.

He reminded me who else did things half way – HITLER. That’s right, Hitler did things half-assed. I’m sure lurkers supported him in email, which was odd, since he and I were emailing that conversation.  /old forum references

Anyway, I didn’t. I set the papers aside, did something else for an hour, then went back to it with renewed vigor. And you know what? My scene was better off for it.

Got balls?

Get a pen.

There will be Rum

The sun’s out today ! Like it was yesterday, and is going to be tomorrow and Sunday. Glorious blue skies and sunshine! Okay, so it is Spring, but around here you never know what you’re gonna get this time of year, and typically your sunny days are Monday through Friday, almost never on the weekend.

But last weekend we had glorious sunshine, and it’s baaack! Which leads me to make extremely detailed plans, so as to get the most out of the weather and the weekend. My sister and I practiced this last Saturday, and found not only were we capable of getting it done, but that it was productive and enjoyable. So this weekend, we’re going to try and do it both Saturday and Sunday.

What is it, you might ask?

Absolutely. Nothing.

My grand plans are to wake up Saturday morning, take my coffee outside on the patio, listen to the birds, gaze around the back yard, perhaps discuss the placement of the new plants, ponder the window boxes and what should go in them, admire the state of the freshly mowed lawn (the gardener came yesterday). After coffee, I’ll set up the new chaise lounges and attach the new chair cushions, then my biggest decision of the day will be: Do I read a book, or work on my own?

Sunday will be more of the same, broken only by my walkies, which I’ll do in the morning before it gets too warm.

Have you ever done that, for an entire weekend? Absolutely nothing, even when you weren’t sick? Do you know how rare that really is for the majority of us? You either have kids to worry about, or chores that need doing. There’s usually errands, a project waiting, or some other commitment clamoring for your time. Sure, it’s the weekend, and you don’t have to go to work, but how often have you spend two solid days in a row not doing a thing?

Sure, I might get some writing done. This novel is being written by hand, slowly and deliberately and very enjoyably, but that’s not work or a chore. I have rocks in the tumblers that need to be cleaned, which is also pure pleasure and done in the sun of the back yard anyway. The groceries and errands will be done after work today, gonna pick up some Baileys, maybe a fresh bottle of Bacardi, and just kick back.

That’s the mood I’m setting for the Summer of 2010. Not to be lazy, mind you. My sister has only been at her new job for three and a half months, so there’s no vacation for her this year – – she just had a full year of unemployment, so don’t be feelin’ sorry for her! And me, well, I have a lot of annual leave I’ll have to take, and I’ll just spend it around the house, enjoying the back yard and writing.

Which brings me to the point I was going to make about that . . . This new novel is being done by hand, and I’m taking it slow, on purpose. It’s a departure for me. So much so, I’m using a pen name, which is having an interesting affect on the overall writing of it all. More on that later. The novel itself is set in West Tennessee, in the summertime, and has a long, slow, humid feel to it. Writing by hand, in the summertime, will add to that in a way only hand writing authors would appreciate. Which is not to be cryptic or snooty, it’s just a fact, like grass being green and sweet tea being disgustingly sweet.

Handwriting is so different, I know ninety eight percent of you are rolling your eyes at the thought, and that’s a shame. I won’t bother preaching at you about it, but in my opinion – if you can’t get a novel done without using a keyboard, how do you even feel like a writer?

I’m looking forward to spending an entire Summer outside, with a pad of paper and a pen, so much I can’t even explain it. There was a little nagging fear in the back of my mind that I’d probably get tired, and bring my little Dell Mini netbook outside and use that when my penmanship began to fail me – but I fixed that little red wagon by giving my netbook to my niece as a graduation gift. She’s in Africa this year, and her computer broke the day she arrived, so I gave my little computer to her to keep. That little screen was hard on my eyes anyway.

I never use the laptop for a lot of writing, especially in the summer, because it’s too hot on my legs and my fingers get all sweaty on the keyboard. Not that big an issue with a pad and pen, surprisingly.

So this summer I’m handwriting, listening to bluegrass, learning how to make a Mint Julep (after figuring out exactly what goes IN a Mint Julep) and getting back to basics, in writing, living, thinking, all that. I wish I had an old rockin’ chair and a black and tan coon hound, but that would probably be taking things a tad too far !

Here’s to Summer, long, quiet weekends, lush green grass and a bottle of Southern Comfort! (which is actually a whiskey and probably way outta my league).

%d bloggers like this: