Back to Variety

On My Mind
‘Tis the season of change, again. Seems like we’ve had a lot of those in the past year or so. Just when we get comfortable with whatever changed, everything changes again. I don’t do well with such things – I’m programmed for routines, but I like to think I’m keeping up as well as I can. Still, all things considered, I’m ready for some routine sameness for awhile. A long while, preferably.

In the spirit of constant change though, I’m trying a new format for the blog again. Will it stay? Will it change? We shall see! Either way, thanks again for reading. I’m trying to get back to my “variety pages” roots.

Make It
I haven’t really made anything lately, because…big puppy = crafting stuff all put away. But the general temperature of the office I work in for the day job has been pretty frosty lately, and has me wanting some warm fingerless gloves for typing. I may well dig out some yarn and a crochet hook this week, considering the dogs are now crated during the day, and it’s safe to figure out where I hid all of that.

Eat It
I have rhubarb and peaches in my fridge this week. I’m thinking about boiling the rhubarb with sugar water (cranberry-style), and then adding some sliced peaches right at the end. Seems like that would be good either on top of or underneath a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Play It
Pokemon Go community day was this last week, and Gible was the Monster of the Hour(s)! I played for only a couple of hours (things to do on a Sunday, dang it), but got two shiny Gibles, one of which I traded to my hubby for another shiny Gible. We were lucky friends, so that gave us each a shiny lucky Gible with pretty darn good IVs. It was a good day.

I haven’t been playing much Animal Crossing lately. I fired it up once last week, but that was it. Might try just once a week for that. I love it, it’s relaxing, but…I have other things I want to do in the evenings too. So we’ll see.

Bling & Things
Forgive me wallet, for I have ordered more hair things. Specifically, flexi’s from Lillarose, and barrettes from Amazon. I can finally pull my hair back (it requires pins and a lot of hair spray, but I can, and that’s the important part), so I’ve been celebrating/keeping myself motivated to let it grow and wait to cut the color out. Buying bling, especially things that will look really nice with the new silver hair color, is a good/fun way to do that, if somewhat more expensive than it would be to just keep it cut/dyed. Pics when I get them!

My nail polish this week is named Daredevil. I’ll eventually get pics up, but it’s a very pretty green holo polish that is definitely making me feel more “daring”.

Post Round-up
If you deduced from this heading that I’m going to try keeping up with multiple blogs again, you’d be right. I don’t have that new content up just yet, so no links this week, but that’s the plan. Stay tuned!

Support your author:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) |
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible

A Kick in the Head

Things that have happened since I last posted:

– I’ve established a daily writing habit before work (I know, I’m as surprised as anyone to be writing productively in the *morning*)
– I have a fairly extensive mask wardrobe
– Two new tote bags that are lighter than my leather bag was, and I think it’s affecting my shoulder/neck issues for the better
– I’ve actually finished a draft, and started a new one
– I’ve been reading before bed again – finished two books and am working on another

I’ve written a bunch of posts since the “Toast” one, and deemed all of them unfit for whatever reason. Mostly because I felt like posting about mundane stuff might appear tone deaf or inappropriate given the state of things and all the civil unrest. I’ve been “escaping” in Animal Crossing and walking the dogs in the evenings, and generally just staying in my own little work/life “bubble”. Think of that what you will. It’s how I’ve been dealing.

But it’s time to get moving again, and my “kick in the head” came from a rather unexpected invitation by our local bookstore to do a virtual author interview. I agreed, and in prepping for the experience, I realized something important about my writing and myself that made me want to get out of my fog and back into productivity in my writing life (work life has been incredibly productive all year, but also incredibly draining, which hasn’t helped the writing life thing).

The thing I needed most was confidence. I got that – just a little shot, and it’s enough, I think, to get me moving again.

My main focus this week is figuring out the time aspect. I need time to update covers, update social media pages, update blogs, and do various publishing & maintenance tasks. But more than anything, I need time to edit and revise. I have several drafts in the edit/revise phase, and they’re “stuck” there due to my lack of making time to work on them. I could release all of those drafts as finished manuscripts within the next six months if I could just set aside some time for “marking up” and time for “typing in”.

So, that’s my goal for the week. Find two 20-minute time slots that can be “set” for each weekday and dedicated for mark-ups and type-ins. It’s really not all that easy, because I need quiet and headspace for those time slots. But, I’m determined. There has to be a way.

If I can do that early enough in the week, then my secondary goal is to set aside one more time slot for writing blog posts. Will I be successful?

You’ll find out next week!

Support your author:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) |
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible

Enter Post Here…

This week’s post will be late, but unlike last week’s, not non-existent. Things it will cover:

  • Tablet woes
  • New Bikes
  • Electric kettles

Patience, grasshoppers…

Blog Admin – New Post Topics, Schedule

I’m going to be trying out some new blog posting formats for the next few weeks, to see what feels “right” for the coming year. I planned on doing this in January, but in the personal chaos of the past two months, I just didn’t have the energy.

But, it’s time to get back in the swing of things. I was considering keeping everything on this blog, but people seem to prefer having everything all nice and neat on separate topical blogs. So I’m thinking a mixture of the two might work, and not be too onerous to keep up with.

This blog will remain largely personal, though the posts will be more topically-focused. Posts on writing will be at The Writing Desk, and my alter-ego will also have one post per week on her blog as well. Here’s the preliminary schedule for this week (subject to change, of course):

Monday: Home & Health (cooking, organization, exercise, etc) – starts next week
Tuesday: Writer’s Notes (excerpts, writing & editing discussion @ The Writer’s Desk)
Wednesday: Pet Corner
Thursday: The Dark Side @ Alex Westhaven
Friday: Just for Fun (books, TV, hobbies, outings, etc)
Sunday: Weekly Schedule & Roundup (post topics & spots for the week, quotes, links, videos, etc)

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged daily, but there’s something about the discipline of daily posting that seems to help me with the discipline of daily fiction writing as well, and I’ve been struggling to get my writing time in lately. It seems counter intuitive, but it’s worth a try, methinks.

Now to come up with some catchy topic titles for my various post days. Hmm…

Today, of course, is a federal holiday (President’s Day), so I’m enjoying a day off work and (hopefully) catching up on a bunch of things I’ve been neglecting lately. Scheduling is one of those things, obviously. And I plan to do some reorganizing as well.

Now, I need to go get some baked beans set up in the crockpot – my cooking experiment for the week. If it works out, I’ll share the basic recipe here next week (if not, we’ll never speak of it again).

I wish you a calm, relaxing President’s Day. Bonus points if you’re actually buying a mattress! 😉


New Year, New “Stuff” Coming…

Happy Monday (we’ll just pretend, okay? Fake it ’til you make it, and all that…)!

I spent most of New Year’s day and a small chunk of Friday evening finishing off the draft of Under His Wing (which I’m now positive needs a new title, so stay tuned on that). This past weekend I went through and did a light edit/spellcheck before sending it off to the editor. It’s supposed to be out later this month, but we’ll see what kind of edits it needs before we get too excited about that. I’m just glad to finally have it done – it’s the last draft I really wanted to finish by the end of the year, and I can live with getting it done a day late (we’ll just conveniently ignore the fact that it’s actually nearly two months late, shall we?).

I spent another good chunk of time this past weekend plotting out the stories I’ll serialize this year – though the way I’m serializing them is going to be a bit different. Rather than serializing them here on the blog, the serialized stories will be released in once monthly installments exclusively in my author newsletters. Yes, I realize this may not be optimal for some readers, but I think it will be a nice perk for subscribers, and I’m also hopeful that it will allow me to write faster and publish more work overall this year. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but last year, I was running four weekly serial stories at a time, which meant I always had four stories to work on every week. There wasn’t time to do the weekly installments and much of anything more on those drafts,  because I also had other projects going as well. Writing four serial stories (one for each of my alter-egos) that only require monthly installments will free me up to work on two to three other drafts at a time as they fit into my schedule, rather than around specific weekly deadlines. So I think it’s going to be a good thing all around.

The newsletters will all go out on the last Monday of each month, so you have until January 26th to sign up if you want to catch the first chapters. I will be saving each installment into a complete single file as we go along for new subscribers to download, so no one will miss anything by jumping in late. I’ll post a comprehensive set of links as we get closer to the deadlines.

As for Fridays on the blogs, they’ll now all become Excerpt Fridays, and will feature excerpts either from books already published, or drafts I’m currently working on.

In other news, I mentioned a Monthly Postcard Exchange in my resolutions last week, and I’ve set up a page on the site to explain the rules and minutia, so if you’re interested, pop over there to check out the details…

Let’s see…what else? The Talkin’ Books posts will resume right here this coming Wednesday, and this coming Saturday will be the first weekly writing & publishing centered post over at The Drafting Desk (soon to be renamed The Writer’s Desk).  Just in case you need something to procrastinate with. Those posts will deal with not only my writing schedule/progress/learning, but also the publishing/distribution/marketing side of things.

And finally, I’ll be setting up a page or two soon for my fourth alter-ego, J.M. DeBree, which is the name I’ll be publishing children’s fiction and sci-fi later this year. I’ll keep you posted on that – it should be online in the next couple of weeks.

So…quite a few things moving around for 2015, and I have a very intensive writing schedule planned, but it’s exciting and I’m optimistic that everything is going to go just swimmingly.

Questions so far? Leave me a note in the comments (wherever you’re reading this)…

Now I’m off to bed (it’s just after midnight on Monday), because one of my non-resolution goals this year is to get more sleep during the week. I’m hoping it will make work mornings easier. Can’t hurt to try, anyways.

Until next time…

Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes


Gone Writin’ & Revampin’…


Nothing much to report on the reading front this week – the truth is, I just haven’t had much time to read lately (which sucks). And I’m trying to finish two drafts I’m writing, plus all the holiday stuff going on.

So, the Weds reading posts are on hiatus until January 7th. I’m not sure whether they’ll be back in the same format or not, but we’ll see what happens when I revamp the blog schedule over the next couple of weeks.

Until then, happy reading, and here’s wishing you many bookish gifts under the tree!

On Admin Stuff, Construction Workers, & Eyesight…

First thing’s first – if you’re reading this in an email, it means my subscription export/import worked. So if you enjoy getting these blog posts in your email, woohoo! If you were hoping your subscription to my site would drop when I moved, you’re probably a little frustrated right now. Never fear! There should be an unsubscribe button at both the top and bottom of your email (if there isn’t, let me know), so you should be able to remove yourself with no hassle and no hard feelings from me.

The good news for everyone is, with the new subscription method I’m using (through Mailchimp), now you can choose whether you want all posts from The Variety Pages, just the serial stories (skipping any non-fiction posts like this one), or just non-fiction (like this one and the Talking Books posts) with no serial stories. If you’re a current subscriber, I’m not sure how you’d change that, but you can either let me know what your preference is (just reply to this email), or unsubscribe and then come back to the blog and re-subscribe, choosing your preference then. Whichever works for you. The default setting is “all posts”, so if you do nothing, you’ll get them all.

Also, comments on all blogs should be easier now. The ones that do have captcha now just have a simple math problem to solve (yes, you can use a calculator, or your fingers, or jelly beans to help if you want), rather than the long, complicated captcha I had at that other place. You’re first post will be moderated, but after that they should go up automatically.

All that said, I’m going to make a couple of minor changes to the blog format again, now that everything’s moved and reorganized. Incidentally, feel free to check out the new, improved – I’ll be adding a few things in the coming weeks, but it’s more or less done (I need more graphics…it’s on my list!).

First up, the MacKenzie serial is moving to Fridays, as of this week. I’ve been posting it on Tuesdays, but I’d rather keep all the serial posts together, and Friday is my day for fiction. So as of this coming Friday, MacKenzie Saves the World will be posted a little after midnight, and Under His Wing will be posted around 10am (MDT) as usual.

Second (and more minor), the Monday posts will no longer do the weekly recap thing, or the to-do list thing. I’m over it as far as blogging goes (though obviously I’m not over making or using lists). From now on (until I decide to change it again), the Monday posts will be “Monday Musings”, and can encompass anything from hobby news to writing laments to odd/weird/funny things I’ve seen or done. So…kind of like they are now, without all the planning and recap stuff. More interesting, I hope.

If you’re already a regular reader, you know I don’t blog about my writing much here (boring for anyone but other writers, really), but I do have The Drafting Desk where I (um, until this past month) post my daily word counts and writing notes, not just for my own stuff, but for my alter-ego projects as well. Now that the whole site moving debacle is over, I’ll be keeping that up to date again starting Wednesday (well, Tuesday if I write today, but it’s a holiday, so we’ll see). Feel free to stop in over there anytime if you want more writing-related updates from me.

Whew! I think that’s all the admin stuff I have. Boring, I know, but important, and now we can get back to more fun subjects, like the construction workers I pass twice a day on my way to work. I have to say, as much as I dislike construction, I do not mind one bit when those poor men get hot and have to ditch the shirts. Eye candy is integral to my being patient with otherwise frustrating traffic… 😉 I’d take a pic for you, but there’s really no good place to stop and hide while I do it.

I’ve already spent most of this long weekend working on the web site stuff, with short stints of weeding interspersed (and I’m gonna have to do some laundry today, dang it). I have Tuesday off work to, so I can go see the eye doctor. It’s been a long, long time, and I’m quite sure I need new glasses. I’m both looking forward to being able to see better again and not looking forward to the adjustment period for new lenses. I’m also not looking forward to picking out new frames. On account of…I can’t see without my glasses. *sigh* Hubby’s going to help, so if they look silly, I’m blaming it on him. As one does.

Now it’s nearly 1:15am, and while I don’t have to get up in the morning (woohoo!), I do still have to do my nails because I didn’t do them last night. Better get crackin’!