April 6, 2014

Meanwhile, back at the chicken coop...

Well, it's going in to week two of being a chicken mama, and the little ladies are growing and doing well. They've begun losing their down and replace it with real feathers, a sign they are getting to the stage where they can be outside. Which won't happen until the coop is built, sometime by the end of next week. I've got to get a materials list so I can hit the big box store for supplies.

Next up:  garden preparations. My brother and Second of Three put up the fence yesterday, so now we need the raised beds built, and soil bought. I'll do that this week, along with another seed and plant buying spree. I can't wait to get my hands in a garden again. Oh, fresh salad greens, how I long for you!

Sales of the charity anthology I spoke about are doing well. I'll graciously concede that it's due far more to the famous authors who contributed, and not my fantastic story. But in my heart, I know it's all about me. It isn't? Wait, what do you mean, I had nothing to do with it? Wah! Sob!

Anyway, I got a mention on the blog of another contributor, author Cora Buhlert:


She had listed all the contributors previously, in alphabetical order. With a few exceptions, it runs from A to Z:

Kevin J. Anderson, Aditi Bathia, Graham Brand, Donald R. Broyles, Cora Buhlert, Neil Bursnoll, Jamie Campbell, Michael Carmella, T.L. Champion, Helen Cho, Samuel Clements, J. David Core, Cate Dean, Stephen Drivick, Dan Fiorella, Erin Garlock, David Gerrold, Edward M. Grant, Sheila Guthrie, Jamie Horyski, Mary Kincaid, Paul B. Kohler, Paul Levinson, Kevin A. Lyons, Kelly Lytle, Ron McLarty, John L. Monk, Lindy Moone, E. Percy Muove, Debadatta Pati, Dario Solera, H.S. Stone, Joe Tannian, Vincent Trigili, Karen Tucker, Rich Walls, Stella Wilkinson, Richard Wolanski and Frank Zubek.

Speaking of Frank Zubec (and if you're not, you should be), I answered some Q & A for his blog:  


I'm at the end of that post, but above me are Kevin J. Anderson and several others who contributed to the anthology. Lots of good reading, interesting factoids, and links, links, links.

Paul Levinson linked to several of the contributors (Including me) on his Google + page:

The print version is out, at least for some, and the distribution to retailers like Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc. should be coming soon if they aren't already there. I'm pleased as punch to have contributed stories to two of the three volumes, now I need to get busy and get my other writing out and about (including a special anthology that I'll talk about later when more details are available).

Later, gator!

March 31, 2014

What do David Gerrold and I have in common?

How about Kevin J. Anderson and Ron McLarty? If you guessed that we all have short stories in a charity anthology, you'd be right. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Isn't the cover gorgeous?

The collection has all kinds of stories, at flash fiction length (1000 words or less), so there's bound to be something of interest to just about anyone. On sale at Smashwords and Amazon right now. It's edited by Stella Wilkinson, and the cover is by Gale Ramage. If you'd like to read more about the book and the authors, Frank Zubek has some interviews up on his blog. He's also a contributor.

My story, Whither Time, is about a woman betrayed by her husband and trapped in a world just beyond our own. Like a lot of my short stories, the idea for this one came pretty much intact and ready to go, though I did finesse it a bit. It started as a time travel plot, but I just wasn't happy with that idea; I knew it wasn't quite the "vibe" I was going for. After thinking about it for a while, the solution came to me.

What solution, you ask? Well, you'll have to get the book and read the story. wink wink

This is the third volume, the first was Something to Read on the Ride, which doesn't have a story by me, and the second was Something for the Journey, which does have a story by me. All sales go to the charity, Wallace and Grommit's Grand Appeal, so you can get some awesome reading material and help a good cause at the same time.

There's another anthology coming out later this spring (no exact date set yet, and other details still being worked on) that will also have a story by me in it, again flash fiction. I'm having fun writing these really short stories, they are ideally suited to my writing style. I tend to write "lean", and for longer works I have to go back and flesh out description and dialogue.

Bye for now,

March 29, 2014

Here chick-chick chicken!

I have been a proud chicken mama for more than a day now, and I haven't killed them yet! I'm so proud. The little darlings are actually looking pretty darn good, eating and drinking well and making the cutest little cheep cheep sounds. Sa-weet.

I got three red and three yellow pullets. They are a mix breed type thing. I wanted specific breeds, but since I didn't order from a breeder (what do they call people who raise chickens to sell? Mind is blank.) I had to take what my local Tractor Supply had left. I'm not too disappointed, as I wasn't sure I wanted to spend too much money to start out. Next year I plan to order more layers and some meat chicken breeds.

The chicks stayed in a small box in the kitchen over night, but I moved them into a larger box this morning. They were so excited, they kept flapping their little wings and rushing around the box. So cute. Awwww...

They have to have a heat lamp going all the time for a while. That thing gets burn your skin off hot, too. Don't ask me how I know. Ouch. While my girls are housebound, I'll get a coop built (why yes, I did put the cart before the horse), and re-locate my old dog pen. Once it's predator-proof, and the girls are big enough, they'll have a nice home and no reason not to lay lots of lovely, fresh eggs. Yum yum yum!

So, that's another step towards being more self-sufficient. Next on the agenda:  till and ready the garden beds. I bought a lot of seeds, along with some broccoli and cabbage that were already growing. I've got a strong yearning for some fresh veggies, especially salad picked out of my own yard.

I'm still working on the blog update, got to tweak it some more. The writing is coming along in fits and starts, but at least it's forward motion. I do have a story in a charity anthology (with some big-name writers!), which I'll talk about when the book is published in a couple of days.

Later all,

March 14, 2014

So, I knew last Friday wasn't going to be a good day.

It wasn't enough that the weather was bad, I had to wake up with a sore throat, congestion and a sinus headache. So, welcome head cold. Blah. I've been sick almost all year, having only about three weeks where I wasn't either sick, or recovering from being sick.

Then, around 7:30 am, the power went out. Oh happy day. I hoped we'd be lucky and get stuff restored quickly, but with so many people in the same boat I knew it would likely be at least a couple of days. We made it through Friday, even splurged with the tax money and ate out from Burger King (and thank you for still being open!). It wasn't that cold in the house, so we bundled up and stayed home.

I have loads of candles and a Sterno stove, so we had lights and could cook limited things. Saturday night we had leftover pinto beans made into a quick chili. It was pretty good, considering I fixed it by candle light on the Sterno stove. Note to self:  Self, get the camping stove and lanterns ready, because they will be easier to use.

Saturday was incredibly warm, and everything started to melt. I was having a meltdown from lack of Internet access, and my Kindle battery was running down. Thank goodness for real paper books. Still, it warmed up enough so we could stay home that night, thus saving me from killing my mother. She doesn't do well with house guests. At all.

As if no electricity wasn't like the end of the world, sometime Saturday the phone went out, leaving us with a cellphone we had to go out to the end of the driveway to get a signal on. We eventually got power back around lunchtime Sunday, though the phones weren't back until Sunday night.

But, hey, we made it through, and were luckier than many others. And now I know where the weak points in our emergency preparations are (water and heat mostly, though some sort of extra power for the fridge and freezer would be awesome). So, that gives me something to work on this summer -- as if I didn't have enough on my To Do list -- and everything is back to normal. I've even managed to catch up on my forums and blogs, for the most part. I've almost licked this cold, I managed to maintain my weight loss even though I haven't been eating the best, and it's already the weekend again.

And that's the latest news from my world.

February 8, 2014

I haven't fallen into a volcano, it just seems like it.

I have been one sick little girl, let me tell you. It started shortly after we took Daddy to the emergency room on January 4th. He was having chest pains, which turned out to be muscle strain (hooray!). Poor guy was also in the beginning stages of a shingles outbreak.

Anyway, I'd started to feel sick that Saturday, and by Monday it was all over but the suffering. I couldn't do much of anything but lay on the couch (propped up just enough for adequate sinus drainage), and bemoan my fate. Upper respiratory infections are nasty.

There were at least three days where I didn't eat at all, and about five or six where I could only get about three mouthfuls down. Needless to say, I lost about 18 pounds the hard way. I've only gained a couple of pounds back, as I decided to go ahead and start moderate carb reduction.

I'm still fairly weak, and the appetite isn't fully back -- thankfully, and it's partially due to the low-carbing. I haven't written a thing since I got sick -- since my last blog post, in fact -- other than the odd message board post. I've got stories due for collections that I've got to get done, but at least I can actually sit upright longer than five minutes!

You may have noticed the background on the blog. It's something I've been messing around with, learning how to make a background myself. It needs more work (this particular one probably won't stay long, anyway) and I need more practice! I hope to get the blog redesign done by the end of next week.

Anyone who follows me over on Pinterest may notice that I've done some work there, as well. Mainly I broke up some boards, getting things categorized better.

So, that's my update post. We'll see if I can manage to be more consistent in my blogging.