Dec 022015

The new homesteadEach day on Facebook I get a reminder and a link to a set of posts that I made or participated in on the anniversary of the date.  Today’s reminders contained a link that started this reflective mood.  One year ago today is when I first posted about having turned in my notice at a job I had held for seventeen years.  I wrote about it on this blog in the post titled “Rebooting My Life“.

Reading back on that post made me reflect on all the things that led up to that decision.  More than that, it made me look back on the year that has passed since then.  Needless to say, not everything in the last year has worked out the way I expected it to.  Some of it has worked out better, some worse.  Of course, I suppose that’s pretty much the way life is.  No complaints.  I’ve got a good home, good life, and a wonderful wife to share it with.

Sure, there are things that I wanted to accomplish in 2015 that didn’t pan out the way I planned.  There’s the book that I spent the first several months of the year writing.  Chucklers now languishes unpublished in the virtual drawer awaiting a fresh perspective and rewrites.  My second writing project of the year is Year 12, the sequel to Half Past Midnight.  If things had gone according to plan, it would already be published.  But it’s also still unfinished.  In fact, the only thing that I’ve managed to publish this year is a horror novella that I wrote in 2014.  It sold well for Halloween, but now is barely moving.

Then there’s my gardening.  I had high hopes that I was going to be able to help cut costs on our groceries by bringing in all sorts of fruits and veggies.  Instead, between the bad growing season we had this year, and the money I spent on getting good soil into the garden, I think I probably managed to cost us a couple of hundred dollars more than what we would have spent just buying the groceries.

But here’s the thing… I learned what to do next year.  I learned where I messed up by planting too early, and so stunting some of my veggies.  I learned that the huge garden I have is simply too big for me to handle.  So I’ll be scaling it back for next year, and I’ll hold off on planting for next year until late April or early May.

And for my writing, I should be set up pretty well for the next year.  My plan for Chucklers is to clear up the confusing timeline issues by splitting it into two different books.  And the first draft of Y12 should (hopefully) be finished by the end of this year, setting it up for publication next year as well.  If all that goes according to plan, I could have three new books published by this time next year.

But not if I don’t get my phatass back to work.  So enough reflection for now.  Be careful everyone, and stay safe.   Bye

Nov 112015

WW20Reading –

I just finished reading In Ashes Born by Nathan Lowell.  I’ve been a fan of his “Trader’s Tales From the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper” books for years.  When I heard he had begun a new series set in the same universe, I was stoked.

Unfortunately, I only just got the chance to read it.  As with Nathan’s other tales, In Ashes Born does not disappoint.  The man has an amazing way with the English language, as well as with story telling.  If you’ve never read his books and like sci-fi and coming of age stories, I strongly suggest that you pick up Quarter Sharethe first of hisTrader’s Tales…” books.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked from that point on.  If you’ve already read all of them and weren’t aware of the new “Seeker’s Tales From the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper” series, well what are you waiting on?  You already know what an amazing writer this guy is.  Go get In Ashes Born.  Go!  NOW!   ROTFL

And the picture?  It’s part of a Facebook campaign fans of the book are running.  If you want to know more about it, contact me.  If you’ve already read the book, you’ll get it.


Writing –

Work on Year 12 has  been coming in spurts.  I get into a scene or section and the words seem to fly out of my hands.  Then I hit a transition and I barely get a few hundred words per day out.  It’s frustrating, but I suppose it’s still progress.  Y12 is currently sitting at a bit over 70,000 words and still going.  At this point, it looks like the book will come in around 95-100k words.  Of course, that’s first draft.  There’s no telling what will happen once it goes to beta readers and then through editing.


Garden –

The garden is about done for the year.  There are a few jalapenos, poblanos, and a smattering of tomatoes left.  The only other things growing out there (besides the weeds) are the gourds.  Looks like I’ve got thirteen of them, and I’ll likely be cutting them off the vine in the next week or two.  Then the chore of breaking down the garden will begin.  And boy, won’t that be fun?!?   Thinking


Personal –

MBH is on a business trip to Wisconsin this week.  She was looking forward to getting a chance to wrap her hands around something new, and when her company presented her with the opportunity to help out with a situation there, she went for it.  It’s just a few days, but she loves new opportunities.  And it gets her away from my ugly mug, so win / win for her, right?   Wink


And that’s it for now.  I need to get more words written.  Take care everyone, and stay safe.   Bye


Jun 222015

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve already fallen off on my resolution to post here daily. I thought about it before letting the blog slide for a few days, but had a couple of people point out to me that the time I was spending on blog posts was time that I wasn’t working on the WIP. It’s a valid point, and after considering it I’ve come to the conclusion that my time would be better served by blogging less, and spending more time on the book.

I’m not yet sure how often I will end up posting, but it will probably be at least once a week… maybe more. Maybe I’ll make Wednesdays my blogging days – “website Wednesday”. Who knows? But today is Monday, and I’m here, so…

So, what’s happened lately? The obvious one is that yesterday was Father’s Day. It was a peaceful relaxed day, with my wife trying to pamper me, and me feeling guilty when she did. The kids all called to wish me a good one, so that was really nice.

The hardest thing about it was trying not to dwell too much on the fact that it was my first Father’s Day since my dad passed. I kept finding myself thinking about him, and at times had to make myself busy doing something else to keep from tearing up. I guess it’s natural, and I know there are so many people who have gone through the same thing or worse. But it’s new for me, and I’m still finding my way.

20150622_071322We spent several hours of Friday evening and Saturday morning on the yard. With it being a much bigger yard, it takes MBH and I working together for a good three or four hours. And for the last two times we’ve mowed, we’ve noticed that the riding mower seems to be cutting crooked. This morning when walking the girls, we got back home and MBH looked at the yard and said, “It looks like one of those crazy hair styles where someone was trying to cut a pattern into their hair.” Personally, I think it looks more like drunken aliens were trying to make crop circles, and couldn’t quite hold the pattern. Either way, it doesn’t look like a well maintained lawn. I don’t know if you can see the lawn art in the attached picture, but there it is. I really need to take a look at the deck of the mower & see if there is some sort of adjustment to straighten it up.

But the garden is growing, the yard is mowed, and today it’s back to writing. Let’s see how that works out today, shall we?

Oh! A PS for the person who left a comment asking whether or not I built this website myself – First, I am using a discontinued WordPress theme called “Suffusion”. It’s very adaptable, and you can pretty much make it look however you want. I elected for a relatively simple color scheme with light print on a darker, static background. Here’s the thing though… your comment appears to be clickbait spam. Granted, if it is, it’s better written than most, but it’s suspicious enough that I’m not going to allow the pending comment through. If you are an actual person, please feel free to reply to this & let me know who you are, but until such time as I am convinced, your link will die in limbo.

Stay safe, everyone.   Bye

Jun 162015

cabbage wormInvasion of the lettuce eating something or other worm!

We noticed several days ago that there was something munching on some of the green leafies in the Garden Tower. At the time, it wasn’t too much, and I wasn’t too concerned (what with me trying to be Mr. Organic Gardener and all that.) Two days ago, I got much more concerned when I found quite a bit more lettuce chewed, as well as some of the spinach. Worse yet, some of the lettuce was beginning to rot.

Picking through the lettuce, I found several spots with black eggs all over the leaves, and finally, I found this little guy (or more accurately, this gal) happily munching away and laying her eggs. I picked out the leaves she was on, as well as the ones on which she had laid her eggs, and tossed them into the burn pit.

Alas, that was not to be the end of the story. Yesterday was another rainy day, so I didn’t go outside to check on things. Late in the evening, MBH called me outside. She found another of the little buggers, and more eggs scattered throughout an entire section of lettuce. Trying to cut our losses, I pulled the entire pocket from the tower and looked closely for any more eggs or worms. Let’s hope I go them all.

On the writing front, yesterday was a great day. It was the first mostly full day of writing I’ve gotten, and I knocked out just a bit shy of 3000 words. W00t! If only every day could be like that. LOL

So off I go again, to the WIP. Stay safe.

Sep 192012

So how many of you watched Revolution Monday night?  I did.  Yeah, I know… of course I did.  Those of you who know me already know I’m a sucker for most sci-fi, and this show looks like too much fun to pass up.  Of course, if you’ve read my book, you already knew that Revolution was likely going to be of interest to me.  I mean, come on – an exploration of society after a cataclysmic event destroys our power grid?  How could I not like that?  Cool

The bad thing is that the writer in me kept picking things apart in the show.  Don’t get me wrong – I really, REALLY enjoyed it.  But climbing down into a crashed RV that has apparently been laying on its side for fifteen years, with broken windows, only to find that the white leather seats are still in pristine condition?  Sorry, that’s not gonna happen.  And clothing that looks new – colors still unfaded, complete with factory stitching – fifteen years after that sort of quality should be available for the common folks.  Not likely.

I mean, look at this picture.  Even the AC/DC t-shirt looks to be in pretty good condition.  Now, you can ask my wife – I am the world’s worst when it comes to giving up on a comfortable t-shirt.  If it fits, and it’s comfy, I don’t care how many holes it has, or how badly the collar is worn and frayed – I will hang onto that shirt until it’s not even fit for service as a dish rag.  But I don’t think I have any t-shirt that has lasted fifteen years, even with modern washers and dryers.  And we’re supposed to believe that a post apocalyptic world is easier on clothes than I am now?  Question

All that aside, I loved the basic premise (or at least, what of it has been revealed so far), and the action sequences were a lot of fun.  The show looks like it has a lot of promise, so I’ll continue to watch and see what they do with it.  Hopefully, the networks don’t pull their usual crapola and cancel it before it gets a chance to gain a loyal audience.


Other news:

Gardening – If you follow me on FaceBook, you know I started a small garden experiment.  I built a small 2′ x 4′ moveable square foot garden, and planted some Texas Cream Peas, Red Grape Tomatoes, Di Ciccio Broccoli, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Spacemaster 80 Cucumbers, and jalapeno peppers.  Yesterday, I checked on them when I got home from work and found twenty Cream pea seedlings, and one cucumber seedling!  I guess it’s silly, but I’m pretty excited!  It’s the beginning of the Brackett Texas Cream Pea empire!  (Insert evil laugh here.)

R2R – This is the week I start working with Streetlight Graphics on the final stages of The Road to Rejas.  I’m anxious to get going with this one.  The story has been done for several weeks now, and I’m ready to get it released.  Unfortunately, SLG seems to be running a little behind schedule, so I have to remain patient.  Based on a few email exchanges, I anticipate hearing from them today or tomorrow.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll have a cover reveal to do next week!  Wink  Even better, maybe an actual release in early October.  Anyone interested?  (Boy I hope so…)  Question

SoP – Work on Streets of Payne is moving along.  As always, you can track my progress in the meter over to the right.  No, it’s not going as quickly as I’d hoped, but that’s par for the course.  I’m just thankful that it’s moving, the story is flowing for me, and there is an end in sight. I heard that the cover artist I initially hired for this one is supposedly trying to get back on track with some of the jobs she dropped out on, but I’m not holding my breath.  She was supposed to contact me a week ago, and I still haven’t heard anything.  Yeah, I’m afraid that particular purchase is just going to be another expensive lesson along the path to becoming a professional writer.

Speaking of learning about becoming a writer, I’ve noticed something over the last couple of months.  Late summer months for sales seem pretty slim.  I know that the best way to keep sales going for your work is to get more work published for people to read.  But even with that in mind, the sudden plummet in sales was a little nerve-wracking.  I queried some of the writing groups I frequent and found that it isn’t just me.  Some of the old timers confirmed that August through October are consistently the worst months for them.  I guess that means I just need to tighten my belt and get ready for some leaner times.


On a personal note –

Last Friday, our Baby Bird returned home for a surprise visit.  My wife and I were at the top of the stairs talking about something when I saw our daughter slip in the front door.  I tried to keep a poker face, but my wife saw something in my expression and asked what was going on.  When I didn’t say anything, she started to get concerned.  After a few seconds, she noticed movement out of the corner of her eye and when she saw our daughter, she squealed like a little girl.  Smile  She told me afterward that my expression had at first led her to believe that one of the dogs had done something evil on the new carpet, and I wasn’t telling her about it.  LOL.

Unfortunately, the weekend ended on a less gleeful note when Baby Bird totalled her car while going to visit some friends.  She wasn’t hurt, other than a few bruises and a strained neck, but there was the emotional and mental stress that follows an event like that.  I wish she hadn’t had to go through it.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that happens to all to many of us.  We learn from them, and move on through our lives, grateful that it wasn’t worse than it was.


And a final bit of news on the personal front – anyone who knows me, knows that I’m overweight.  Well, it’s time to do something about it.  I’ve said this many a time int he past, and I get started, and then, for one reason or another, I backslide.  It’s time for some motivation, and nothing motivates quite so much as public humiliation.  So I have decided to publicly commit to a weight loss of fifty pounds.  Now, I’m going to cheat a little right off the bat, and state that I’m starting from my worst weight, where I first began working on it.  I won’t say what that weight is, since that’s a little more humiliation than I’m prepared to deal with.  However, I am going to put another meter in the side bar that will track my weight loss.  I weighed this morning, and am happy to say that I lost another pound this weekend, so am beginning the meter at an eleven pound loss.  As great as it sounds, that’s basically a wash, since I was down by twenty pounds a few months ago, and seem to see-saw somewhere around the ten pound mark.  This time, I’m determined to get the entire fifty off.  Of course, then the trick will be in keeping it off.

Wish me luck.  Smile


Well, that’s it for now.  Time to get back to work.  The day job beckons.  (sigh)

Stay safe, everyone.  Bye