Writing is a journey, not a destination.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Helping by Shel Silverstein

Although I've sung this song since third grade (when I first saw Free to Be You and Me in music class), I had no idea until this morning that Shel Silverstein wrote this poem.

In honor of all the people in my life...

I love you all, although some of you are more useful than others. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Have I mentioned Grace published a short story of mine in an anthology? I know I said it on FB, but I can't remember if I blogged about it, and, frankly, this morning I'm too lazy to look it up.

If you want to know about Caissa Ocren's Test of Water, get Aquasynthesis...Again. Print version is $4.99; ebook $2.99. I've finally put the link over there to the left. Splashdown Books has all the ways and places the book is available, so the link goes there.

I need to order some for myself. Makes a great deal at speaking engagements. "Get autographed copies of Star of Justice and Aquasynthesis...Again for $20." That comes out to $1 for the autograph, so it's hardly a great deal, but people love the appearance of a bargain.

I've hesitated to tout Star of Justice for the simple reason that I'm currently a one-hit wonder. Yes, I could make money on the one, but then I breed ill-will by not providing a second. Worse, I build unreasonable expectations for the second, which only makes me squirm.

Once Elementals is available, I'll have two books and an anthology. I'm willing to shill for that. The second book barrier is broken by a book that has nothing to do with the world of the first, and a third book should be, God willing, on the way in a year or so. With my new knowledge of self-publishing, I'll be able to make my own anthologies of short stories when and if the mood takes me, and the inventory builds.

Happy Thursday, dear readers. Is it really Thursday? Wow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Goodbye, Farmville?

I've played Farmville, on average, three hours a day almost every day for about three and a half years. That's a lot of time, most of it enjoyable for me. So enjoyable, I used to blog daily about the game at Virtual Buttercups.

Farmville fit easily into my daily routine. I played while the cats ate. I played while I did laundry. I played while I watched TV. It provided a satisfying illusion of multi-tasking and mastery. At worst, it passed the time while I waited for something else to happen.

I've tried to be a helpful Neighbor to those who play and a considerate Friend to those who don't (I've always said I'm an addict, not a dealer). Last year, Zynga and I had our final falling out when customer service failed resoundingly to solve a problem to my satisfaction. Knowing that I will never again spend money on the game, that I will never get more farmcash as a result, has taken most of the joy out of playing.

Three hours a day (at least) is a lot of time I could be using for something else (spell that W-R-I-T-I-N-G). I suspect, it's also time that dulls my brain. I don't have to think while playing Farmville, and I don't. But the not thinking seems to extend to other areas, and I can't have that anymore. It is far easier to plant a crop than write a scene, but the scene is more important.

So, I'm quitting. I've limited play this week to half an hour in the morning while the cats eat and I listen to Focus on the Family. I'm emptying my giftbox. I'm putting my fields in order. I'm not feeling any withdrawal yet, but it's early. We'll see.

I have a book to publish this August. I'll need the time to prepare. Then I have a book to finish this year. I'll need brain power for that.

I'm not deleting the app. I'm not going cold turkey. I need the option to resume play to make sure I don't resume play. Call it immaturity. As long as it works.

Happy Tuesday, dear readers. May you find the strength to overcome your addictions. When you're ready, of course. No judgment here. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Little Time

Two posts in one week? That hasn't happened for a while. Turns out I have a little time this morning. Not sure why, but I'll take it.

Read some blogs this morning, and the problems of "time" and "focus" are not mine alone. Everyone has trouble with too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

Work and The Swamp have been somewhat overwhelming these last two months. I've stood paralyzed in both places wondering what project is the most important in the pile of important projects. It's not easy for the Turtle to change direction, so direction must be carefully chosen at the beginning to avoid biting heads off later.

The new work project is nearly complete (by "nearly," I mean another month should see it done). The Swamp never ends, but it does get delayed due to weather. My mind is freeing up from crisis mode to think again.

I've been thinking about writing. I intend to self-publish Elementals this summer (with Grace's help on the cover). I need a final round of edits, but I'm afraid after not looking at it for two years, I'll start making changes that shouldn't be made. Nit-picking when I should just leave the nits alone. I did that with Star of Justice, and I regret it now. I lost something in the "smoothing," and I couldn't get it back. I wish you'd all seen it one round of edits earlier. Ah, well.

With Elementals "out of the way," there should be nothing preventing me from focusing entirely on Dangling Justice. Nothing but me, anyway, but that's a post I'm saving for New Authors' Fellowship.

Happy Thursday, dear readers. Pick one thing, and do it 'til it's done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making Progress

The garage is as organized as it's getting this year, and possibly more organized than it has ever been. I'm down to three unsorted boxes. Those are papers about Dad and the family that will require a lot of time and tissues. That's why I haven't done it in 14 years. I'll do it when the temps are higher, and I can spread out on the porch to negate the mildew a little. The papers don't seem damaged. It's more the outside of the boxes. Weird.

I'm currently resetting the concrete blocks bordering the driveway. Those have sunk a bit over 14 years, so it's even more labor-intensive than I thought it would be. I set 5 last night and almost killed myself. I have six to go. I think. Moving these will give me a slightly better angle to get the van in the garage. It also looks a lot nicer.

My Memorial Day weekend project -weather permitting- is the first and possibly second run of a chain link fence. After Neighbor to the North disrupted my life with his mortgage forfeiture and subsequent loss of mind and removal of the privacy fence between our property that's been there since the first week they moved in, I determined no Neighbor would again control my fence. I've wanted chain link for years. This is the year it happens. Part of it, anyway. Only hitch is I need to learn how to install a chain link fence. Several websites seem to indicate it's a simple DIY. After years of watching This Old House, that doesn't comfort me.

I'll need to talk with Neighbors to the South to see if they're OK with me removing the pig wire between us. Since it's crumpled in a couple of spots, falling over in others, and I'm not asking them to pay for any of it, I'm hopeful. If not, I'll wait until new Neighbors move in and put up a privacy fence. That seems to be the norm in this neighborhood.

That's the time I have this morning.

Happy Tuesday, dear readers. May your projects come to swift and blessed conclusions.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

'Tis the Season

Seems to happen about this time every year. Spring arrives, and the Turtle vanishes into The Swamp.

I suspect this year will be as cold as last year, so I have no intention of planting anything new until mid-May, at least. However, I have lots of things I can transplant, and since they're already living in the cold, they should do fine. I can't describe how good it feels to grab a shovel and the wheelbarrow and do something that requires no thought at all.

I accidentally got put in charge of a huge project at work that's outside my official expertise, so that has been stressful and exhausting. I've come home with just energy mental energy to make dinner and read a little something before falling into bed. Since it's work-related, it's unprofessional to discuss it here, so Swamp time has been especially useful for coping. 

Without intending to, I took April off from writing. I've been making my way through my TBR pile, unfortunately by "tossing" books one to two paragraphs in. Some day I'll figure out exactly what criteria makes a book acceptable to me in such a short span. It's not genre-related. It might have something to do with writing style. I expect a college vocabulary (you know, from back when going to college actually meant something other than you were stupid enough to sell your eternal soul for a degree you don't even get), and a certain clarity of thought in presenting information. Add a reasonably interesting story, and I'm yours to the end.

Example, I discarded a YA book four pages in because not only were the character names stupid and forgettable, I was bombarded with a convoluted and confusing history of China I apparently had to know before I could sympathize with the protagonist's plight. No, thank you. Buh-bye.

I've also picked up my chronological Bible again and spend my normal blog time reading that each morning. I'm only posting today because I'm taking a fasting blood test in an hour so I don't need to make breakfast. I intend to follow the test up with a Subway steak and bacon melt.

Anyway, the work project should be winding down soon, and The Swamp can only hold my attention until temps are consistently in the mid-80's. Grace will be here in a few months, and it will be time to publish Elementals. My WIP remains in my thoughts, and I'll get back to it.

Happy Wednesday and happy May Day, dear readers. Don't forget to pay your bills. Especially that school loan. It's not going away until you do.