Jul 292015
 

Didn’t get a lot of writing done yesterday. I started working in the garden (I’ve let it get pretty bad, lately) and found that one of the bigger cantaloupes we had was suddenly missing. I found it over in a corner of the yard, where some little varmint (probably a raccoon) had hauled it away and eaten about half of it. Since the girls seemed pretty intent on it, I tossed what was left of it over the fence, and went back about my business. I worked out there until I ran the battery out on the weed eater, then started gathering up my tools and heading into the house. Just about to head inside, I noticed that Bella, our pretty white and tan Catahoula / Husky mix, was no longer white and tan. She was white and tan… with smears of black, sticky schmootz all down both sides of her neck. Bottom line – our pretty white and tan girl had found something to roll in.

She’s done this before. Since we’ve moved up here and gotten the larger yard, our girls have discovered the pleasures of finding dead animals and, in the manner of dogs everywhere, they love to roll in the remains. What is it about the stench of dead animals that they like, anyway? I mean, that’s just nasty! Eek!

So I naturally assumed that was the case again. And as she came to me, tail wagging proudly, trying for all she was worth to share the lovely schmootz with me, I frantically backed away telling her “No” and “Sit” and “Stay”. It must have looked comical at the time, her running toward me as I backed toward the back door, hands held up to hold her away from me if I had to, but filled with dread that I might have to actually touch her.

Confused, the poor girl probably thought I was mad at her, and I’m sure she was wondering what she had done, but I couldn’t let her into the house until I got her cleaned up. So I backed into the back door, grabbed the cover to the dog door and made sure she couldn’t get in, then went inside to get the shampoo.

Grabbing the water hose, I washed her outside, relieved to find that the nasty looking schmootz actually rinsed off very easily. I remembered that we had burned weeds in the fire pit over the weekend, and concluded that since I couldn’t smell any nastiness on her, she had probably found some soot and rolled in it. Thank goodness, right?

So, I gave her a light wash and while I had the hose out, I went ahead and started watering the plants on the patio. That was when I lost pressure to the hose. This was one of those magical expanding and contracting “pocket hoses” that you see advertised on TV. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are basically a length of something like surgical tubing covered by a loose cloth. Put water into the tubing, and it expands within the cloth cover. Drain the water and it contracts back to its original length. So when I lost pressure, I looked back and found that the black cloth cover for the hose was leaking. The tubing inside the cloth had broken.

Great. Another thing gone wrong.

But not a huge issue. We have an extra one of the old standard water hoses, so I just put the spray nozzle on the old hose, and went back about my business. The nozzle didn’t really fit all that well on this hose, but I thought I would get clever and use this to my advantage. Water trickling out around the fitting on the nozzle was just the thing to do a thorough watering for the garden tower, so I draped the thing over the top of the tower and determined to come out and turn the water off later, after it had had time to do its thing.

Glad that I had resolved the issues of the morning, I went inside to get cleaned up. That was when I discovered that Bella had already been in the house. I knew this as soon as I walked into the bedroom. See, our girl has a habit of rubbing her head up and down on the side of our bed. I’m not sure if it’s her way of leaving her scent on the bed, or getting our scent on her, or even if it’s just a matter of scratching an itch on her ear. Whatever it is, it was immediately obvious that she had been engaging in her curious habit all along the side of our bedspread… our nice white bedspread. And she had left lovely grayish-black smears on the pristine white cotton spread. And while I hadn’t been able to smell anything on her outside when I washed her, it was evident from the stench wafting up from the spread that it was more than simply soot she had been sharing with us. It was the nasty stench of rotten critter. (sigh)

So I stripped the spread off the bed and hauled it into the laundry room, and decided that the light wash I had given her when I thought it was only soot, just wasn’t going to cut it. I called her inside, and put her in the shower with me, giving her a very thorough washing, using my dandruff shampoo.

Bella was not amused. I can only imagine the canine thoughts that went through her mind, as I washed away the lovely smell she had so generously thought to share with me. How could I be so ungrateful? Don’t tell me that dogs can’t sulk, because that girl sulked! You would have thought I had taken her favorite toy and thrown it away. But I finally got us both cleaned and dried. I dressed, got the laundry started, and figured I was finally done with the trouble for the day.

Hah!

I went out to check on the water hose to make sure it was working properly. I should have known better. Remember how I mentioned that the spare hose was an old standard water hose? Well, I should have emphasized the word “old”. The thing had split in the side, fallen off the garden tower, and was busy turning the area just off the patio into a marsh.

You know how some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed? Why don’t those days come with a warning label? I mean, yesterday was definitely one of those days. It would have been nice to have gotten out of bed and seen a sign that says something like “Warning – this day is going to suck so bad that you’ll wish you’d stayed in bed. The crappy day authority advises that you just curl yourself back up in a ball and hibernate until tomorrow.”

These little hints would be SO appreciated.

Oh well. Today is another day, so stay safe. And I’ll try to do the same. Bye

 Posted by at 1:14 pm
Jul 232015
 

Well, the writing is moving. It’s slow, but sure. I’ve decided to follow my gut on what to do with Chucklers and am going to split the existing manuscript into two books, expanding the text of the two settings into individual novels. To that end, the first one will tell the story of the outbreak on the Bahama Queen only. The second will be the story of the outbreak’s landfall. This will eliminate the confusion that the varied settings and timelines seem to produce, and hopefully make the novel more saleable.

Hang on a second. The dogs are barking like crazy.

 

………………………………………

Bella typingOkay he’s gone.

Cricket, quick lock the door. Yeah, yeah, I’ll type quick. Oh cool, the typey thing capitalizes the first word in a sentence. Look cricket, it capitalizes… yeah, yeah, okay. I’ll tell everyone.

Okay folks, dad’s been typing on this thing like crazy lately, and me and cricket haven’t been able to get a word in edgewise. We need some of you folks to tell him to get out and walk us more. Once or twice a day just isn’t going to be enough. He needs to stop the typey stuff and get out with us more. I mean, the walks are fun and all. We get to go around the neighborhood and talk with the other dogs that live nearby. And sometimes we get to see cluckers and hoppers, and once there was that weird not-dog thing in the neighbor’s yard. Mom called it an armor dilly or something like that. But they won’t let us chase them, so that’s more like torture than fun. I mean, just this week there was a little baby hopper in the front flowerbed and as soon as me and cricket started after it, mom and dad pulled back on our leashes and wouldn’t let us chase it. And I know we coulda caught it… I just know it.

Hey cricket, how do you make that exclamation thingy… and the question mark thingy..

Okay, got it. One paw on shift and one on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh! Got it!

And the question mark ???

Cool! So like I was saying, mom and dad wouldn’t let us chase the hopper, even though we coulda caught it!!

Hey cricket, I got the exclamation thingy working!! Yeah, okay, I’ll finish up.

Anyway, we need you guys to tell mom and dad to let us run around. They have no idea how much help we could be. I mean, there’s the guys that come steal their stuff out of the big cans at the end of the driveway every week. We could stop them from doing that. And there’s the guy in the white van that comes and sticks papers in the box at the end of the driveway. He does that every day… let’s see, press shift and !!! yeah, he does it every day! And then they have to go out and clean the papers out after he’s gone. We could chase these guys away if mom and dad would just let us out.

So would you all do us a favor and tell him ?

Oops. Gotta go! Sounds like dad went around to the back door.

………………………………………

 

So like I said, the book is… hmmm… where did this other stuff come from? Honey? Did you type some stuff on my blog post?

Honey?

 Posted by at 10:04 am
Jul 152015
 

Mailchimp signupYay!  I got the visual editor for my website working again (mostly).

Just in time for Wednesday, too.  And I’ve got a lot going on with my writing since the last blog post. First and foremost, you will notice a new signup field on my site. If you’re reading this on the actual site, you will see it over there on the right. The header presently reads “Sign up for new release notifications”. If you’re getting this in a feedburner email, the signup form looks like the picture accompanying this post. At the moment, it’s not much to look at. Maybe I’ll be able to pretty it up later on, but for now, I thought it was more important to get it up and active.

Now that last sentence will likely get a “huh?” out of a lot of you. In other words, why the push to get the mailing list going?

Like I said, I have a lot going on with my writing now. And ironically, a lot of this is due to an inspirational roadblock I hit on Year 12. Without going into a lot of detail, I hit a brick wall with the plot on Y12… lost the flavor. There was a day of panic, hair pulling, and chest beating before I decided my time would be better spent moving on to another project. Not wanting to actually start a whole different book, I instead began a project that I’ve had percolating for quite some time. It will be the story of how the antagonist from Half Past Midnight managed to roll into Rejas at the head of a small army. The story should be another novella, similar in length to The Road to Rejas – possibly a bit shorter. I’ve tentatively titled it Crazy Larry.

Additionally, I have another project that I’ve been slowly working on. It’s going to be a short story collection, and it came about because there are a few particular stories that some of you have asked me to publish, but I’ve not felt right about. Not that I don’t think they’re good, it’s just that I don’t feel right charging a reader 99¢ for a short story that will only keep them occupied for a few minutes. Yet 99¢ is the least amount that epublishers will allow you to charge. And let’s face it, after paying for editors, cover work, and formatting, I at least need to recoup my expenses on the work, right?

But if I put them all into a collection together, along with some that very few people have ever seen before, then I have a single edit, one cover, and can sell it in good conscience, knowing that I’ve given the reader their money’s worth.

And since the story collection is a bit shorter than most of my work, I’ve decided to throw in the beginning of something else a lot of you have been asking for. I’m adding the first chapter for the Streets of Payne sequel (working title Payne and Suffering).

So if you want to receive announcements about these, or any other writing I do as it nears release, please sign up for the mailing list. I’m not going to spam you, or bother you with the day to day miscellany. I figure, if you really want to torture yourself with that stuff, you can just read my blog, right?

And that’s it for now. Back to writing.

Stay safe, folks.  Bye

Jul 092015
 

Well, it looks like the post editor on my web site has gone belly up, and I have no idea what the issue may be. So if and when you read my last post and were puzzled when I referenced a picture of a knife I had rough ground, there is a reason. You see, I typically write my blog posts in MS Word using a template, and upload them directly via script. Then I go into the actual web site and edit as needed, adding links and pictures to match what I have written. As of yesterday, it seems I can no longer do this. I was able to add the links I needed to add, and was able to upload the picture but the site just shuts down when I attempt to actually link the picture to the blog post. So I am going to try something new here. I am going to attempt to embed the picture in the post before I use the script to upload to the web site.

So here’s the picture (I hope), and now I’m going to attempt to upload this post. Let’s see now………….

 Posted by at 10:25 am
Jul 082015
 

Almost forgot to write my Wednesday posting. Luckily, there isn’t really any contentious news to take up any of our time today. There was the holiday weekend that those of us here in the US just celebrated. MBH and I took advantage of the long weekend and went to visit friends and family in Houston. It was a little rushed, as holidays go, but it was also a well needed and greatly appreciated respite from the day to day.

And when we got back home we had some surprises waiting for us. Our cantaloupes are finally beginning to actually produce some fruit. They’re still small, to be sure, but it felt great to find them in the garden. If all the melons that are currently growing manage to mature, it looks like we’ll get about a dozen of them. Of course, the weather has taken another turn, and it’s been raining for the last few days, so there’s no guarantee that they’ll ever mature at this rate.

There are also about a dozen ears of corn trying to grow, and a handful of grape tomatoes. And we still get the occasional strawberry or two, and Royal Burgandy bush beans. But the weather has just been too crazy this year for us to be able to depend on any sort of real return.

But I’ve learned a lot during the course of this first big garden, and hopefully next year will be more productive. Not that I’ve completely given up on this year. I just realize that the growing season is passing me by, with very little to show for it so far.

What else? Hmmm…..

Oh! MBH and I have found a new show that we really enjoy watching. It’s the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire“. It’s a weekly bladesmithing competition where they have four bladesmiths competing for a weekly $10k prize. It’s really reminded me of how much I used to love making knives. The blade in the picture here, is one that I rough-ground, but never got around to finishing. Maybe I’ll get a chance to get back to it again one day.

Hey! It could happen. LOL

And if you are interested, and haven’t already seen them, here is a link to some of the kit knives I used to make and sell.

Writing

The writing is moving along. Not as smoothly as I would like, but it is moving. For those of you who write, you know how sometimes the story just seems to flow from your fingers and you knock out three, four, or five thousand words at a sitting? Then other times it’s a fight to get one thousand? I seem to be running into a lot of those one thousand word days lately. I hit a speedbump in the story that has forced me to throw out a few thousand words, and getting back on track is a real struggle.

But I think I’m just about back where I want the story to be. It’s still rough, but it’s a first draft. Polishing it will come later.

Speaking of writing, I need to get back to it. So that’s it for now. You guys stay safe, and I’ll talk to you in about a week. Bye

 Posted by at 11:14 pm