Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maybe the last frost?

It was forecast to go down to 26 the other night. With high winds, rain and snow flurries. I could heard the wind all night. It was making me nervous.

According to my chart, temperature that low would kill the flowers on the apple, cherries and strawberries and damage the fruit just about to form on the apricot and plum. So I was severely bummed by this.

The following night was only 30, a temperature that shouldn't hurt any of the fruit or flowers.

I've got my fingers crossed, but it looks like we made it through without hitting a killing temperature in my yard. Fruit growers in the area have reported losses.

The strawberries look okay. A bunch of them are in bloom. I'm really excited. I've already netted them. Having a plan ahead of time has saved me a lot of time this year.

The blueberries are just starting to bloom. Every year the bushes get larger. That's the amazing thing about nature. It has its own agenda regardless of your plans. So I can forget about the plant, but it still grows and blooms in its own time.

 I might even have enough to make something this year, like jam. Last year I had enough to eat for breakfast everyday. I would pick a bunch, maybe a whole carton (pint) in the afternoon to eat the following day. Delicious. And my netting for that is already planned, too.

Sadly, I have decided to rip out the blackberries. They had Japanese fruitflies last year, which lay eggs in the ripe fruit. You can't tell until the worms come out...ugh. Enough said.

But I think I have enough to care for in the yard for right now!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Next up...more Asher!

To my delight, people have been asking after Asher. Yes, he's doing well. And getting himself into more trouble.

I am planning a second book for him. It might turn into a series. Right now I can't say.

When I started thinking about him yesterday a scene popped into my head and I was so excited to have an opening ready to go.

Yes all the players will be there - George, Denny, Lisa and Thomas and a few surprises.

I finished the first rough draft of the apocalyptic mystery and it is off to my first reader. While I am waiting for feedback on the various versions I plan to work on the 2nd Asher - working title: Dark Deeds. And I may be tinkering around with another illustrated flash.

The apocalyptic mystery has a new name - Lethal Seasons. It's a bit rough in places, but the bones are all there. Or so I think. My reader will let me know if I'm wrong about that. April and part of May will be reading, feedback and rewrites. I had hoped to publish by June, but I think it's going to be more like July. I'm not rushing it.

Now, back to work!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My story is writing itself!

By which I mean it just took an unexpected turn. I sent my character to look at something and I was so surprised to see what was actually there.

That might sound a bit odd to non-writers, but I think it happens all the time. I get into a scene and I am acting it out in my head and suddenly a new element appears. Sometimes I have to go back and take it out because it sent the character off on a tangent that ultimately didn't do anything for the story.

And that's where I am now. A couple of unplanned things just fell into place and I have to decide if it makes sense. What does it add to the story beyond this event. I know that I introduced a character way back in chapter 10 and we haven't seen much of her since. So should I let her dangle or remove her? Is she important to the rest of the story? I thought so when I introduced her, but she hasn't had an appearance since then.

Here I am cruising into chapter 49 with new people and events occurring. Too late in the game perhaps? Not sure. I am feeling that this should be a series. And as I am probably most of the way through the book, I can see the themes for subsequent books slowly coalescing. So these new elements might be exactly what I need to set up the next book.

It's still bare bones in some chapters. I read through the more polished chapters comfortably then I hit a bare-bones one and skid to a halt. It's hard to read the rough bits without wanting to fix them immediately, but I want to lay out the plot before I start cleaning up the language.

Which is my cue to get back to writing.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hooray for Spring!

It may not feel like it every day, but it's coming.

The crocuses are up! And the baby daffs, mini-irises and primroses.


It's time to start digging in the dirt, planting seeds and bulbs. Time to start some summer veggie seeds.

This is actually an old picture. I have changed the garden several times since it was taken. Now I have raised beds and I love them. They are so much easier to take care of. There is still weeding and patrolling for pests, but somehow it's a little easier this way. And of course they are above the high water line. I have to work on drainage this year. With all the rain last year the garden was flooded a number of times.

The apricot is booming and the plum isn't far behind. The strawberries are putting out new growth. A few carrots that I missed last year have come up. I might let them bloom this year. The flower is pretty like a big Queen Anne's Lace. I like to have flowers in the vegetable garden. Some are there to confuse the bugs, but mostly because they're pretty.

Time to go play in the dirt!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I'm really busy, I think...

Another new computer. Argh!

Don't get me wrong, I love having a new computer. The price tag wasn't too painful, and I got a touchscreen -- very cool.

But I now have a spreadsheet that is a page and a half long of passwords. Sheesh. Why does everything have to have a password?

I am still finding my way around the silly thing. This Windows 8 with it's "charms" is a little odd. I find myself jumping back and forth too much. It seemed a lot easier to have it all on the same toolbar. But maybe it'll get easier.

The strangest thing so far is that I seem to type a lot faster on the new keyboard. So I guess that's a really good thing.

But feeling unsure of what's where and how to get there has left me off kilter. I transferred the files, but there's a problem with my version of Word and not all of the files will open. Very odd. So I spent a day re-saving to other formats, tossing them into Dropbox from the old computer and downloading them to the new one. Even then I had to tell it how to open them.

Everything seems so time consumingly tedious. Ugh. Aren't computers supposed to make our lives easier?

At least this time I got things done before a catastrophe. I am able to work on both computers at the same time, shifting and sorting things out.

Like why did an obsolete  pdf program come up as my default printer? Very odd.

It's just a lot of tweaking and searching and poking about. The problem is, I only have a little bit of knowledge which is very dangerous (like the time I deleted a program I needed to open certain files...sigh. Why do they have to give them such weird names?)

On the plus side, I am feeling really good about where the WIP is going. And I have been writing pretty consistently lately. Which makes me feel good and want to write more. It's a good kind of domino effect. I am thinking about publishing around June. But since I haven't finished writing it yet, I feel like I'm counting those proverbial chicks.

And I think it's time to get back to work on the WIP!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A couple of things

First of all, I just received some coupons from ACX for a free copy of of the Unintended Consequences audiobook.

If you would like a coupon, send me an email.

The sales are slow, but I haven't been doing much in the way of marketing right now.

The WIP has changed slightly. I took down the image from the sidebar because I think I will be using other artwork. And the title I had been using doesn't work anymore with the shift in plot. Bummer. Naming a book is one of the hardest parts. I was wandering through images on Shutterstock the other day and may have found the perfect one. I need to figure out how I will use it before I buy the license. One license has a limit of 230,000 copies. Ha, ha, ha! Wish I had to worry about that!

On the writing side - I think I may have finally broken through the sludge. I wasn't happy with the part of the story I was writing. Then I realized how bare bones the story was. I went back and clarified point of view, added setting, emotion and wow, what a difference. The words are flying again.

I have been reading a lot about branding lately. It makes sense. First rule - make sure your covers indicate your genre. I think mine are fairly obvious. Blood dripping into a puddle probably won't make people think it's a romance or humor. Maybe horror, but the cover blurb would clear that up. White Lies has flames, I might consider tweaking that when I have some time.

For the next book, which will be near-future, post-apocalyptic fantasy, I am thinking of using a pen name. That way all the mysteries will be under one name and other genres get other names. Another way to brand. Although I have heard that the downside to that is that it confuses fans that might read across genres. I have to think about it.

I added some pictures to the Artwork page. All watercolors. Several from when I lived out west. Enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014


The other day a person asked me, "What gives you joy?" I was stumped for an answer. And that worried me. Was my life not joyful? What was the definition of joy - so happy you're giddy?

But I love the way my life works right now. So then I thought, if I put it on a scale of 1 to 10, and 10 is bliss, I might average a 6 on any day of the week. An 8 if it's a breezy summer day and I'm working in the garden. A 9 when I check my sales figures and a few books have sold.

Maybe you have to be down in the 2s and 3s to appreciate the rise to an 8. Maybe I'm just coasting a little too high and I'm already at joyful, so I can't see what greater heights I could reach?

An hour long massage is a 10.

Dinner with friends and family can be a 10.

Laughing so hard I can't catch my breath is always a 10.

Making dinner entirely out of the garden, a blue-sky day so clear it makes your eyes tear, the scent of daffodils in spring, homemade peanut butter ice cream with dark chocolate chips, hearing robins call to one another in the cooling twilight of a summer's day, the smell of autumn leaves, sleeping late on a cold, rainy morning, spiced cider in the winter, jam made from plums off the tree I planted...

Perhaps I take joy for granted.