Thursday, March 23, 2023

Happy Birthday to my Darling Daughter


Happy Birthday to the Child Most Like Me.

You know her as Darling Daughter or DD. :0) 

Lots of picture homages to my children this month, but both the girls were born in March, so...

Without further ado, here she is.

Love you baby girl. Love you so much.


Monday, March 20, 2023

The Buc-cee's Road Trip Recap


Our Buc-ee's road trip was fun and successful. DD and I ran into...Buc-ee himself at the Bastrop, TX location!

The drive south was lovely, with high clouds blocking most of the sun until the sun was high enough to not shine directly into the windshield. US Highway 77 veered away from I-35 at the tail end of Waco and I must say, the United States / the State of Texas is sooo beautiful. 

I love, love, love driving along the back roads, seeing the beauty of the countryside as well as the small towns dotted along the highways and byways.

Remember that $1M I talked about a few weeks ago? Yeah, I might invest it in the tiny town of Rosebud, Texas. Turn it into a location for writers retreats. Main Street looked like it could use a little revitalization. Although, I must say, the town is larger than it looks when just driving through.

There were quite a few charming towns along US-77.

As for the Buc-ee's locations--which were the main point of the trip...

First stop, Giddings, TX. Giddings is a small metropolis of approximately five thousand people and it seemed like a third of its citizenry were all at this very mini-location of our favorite rest stop. Okay, not really. But it was tucked in between a Starbucks and a Walmart and was smaller than my house. I'm guessing the chain hadn't quite gotten so famous when they first built it. But most disappointingly it wasn't large enough to rate having the magnets I collect created for it...

DD is going to work her Cricut magic at some point, though, and make me a facsimile magnet to go alongside the others.

Next stop, Bastrop, TX. This Buc-ee's was very much like every other Buc-ee's. Large and crowded. I used the potty and got my magnet and we headed for...

...the third and final stop of Day 1, Luling, TX. This was also a larger location, but so jam-packed it was a challenge just to get in and out of the parking lot. They're planning to build a new store across the highway that will become the largest store in the nation once it's done. I did get my magnet, however. :0)

Also on Day 1, DD and I visited the World Animal and Snake Farm Zoo, a small facility right along I-35. They had an otter exhibit, which DD loved. They also had a petting zoo with a llama. Sadly, I somehow deleted without saving pictures of those two things. I didn't mean to, of course, but devices were being uncooperative and I probably should have just waited until I'd gotten home.  (lesson learned)

On Day 2, we visited two more Buc-ee's locations, New Braunfels and Temple, and visited the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco.

A good time was had by all, even DH who was left behind and enjoyed having the house all to himself. He thought he was getting one more night alone, and was disappointed to find us home Monday afternoon rather than Tuesday afternoon...and suggested we take more trips. :0) A plan both DD and I are happy to carry out.

Hope you have a great week!


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Is It Time? Am I Ready?


To be the published author I play on TV?

Me at GRL October 2018.

There's an author event at a local library in April that I've been invited to and that I actually signed up to participate in. It's a full Saturday during regular library hours.

I've done previous iterations of the event--evening, the romance genre only--and my biggest takeaway is that you have to have physical books to sell. The people who attend seem to want to walk away with something in their hands.

Of course, is anyone going to want to walk away with an MM romance? That's the first question.

Am I ready to really be an ally and represent the genre? Will there be people there who enjoy the genre as much as I do? But what book do I choose to showcase my work and the genre? That's the second question.

I finally picked two books and I worked for more than a week to format the MS Word documents appropriately to upload to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing so that I could order physical copies of the two titles.The covers ended up being more of a challenge, but I finally beat them into submission as well.

I gotta say it was as challenging and, more importantly, as tedious as I remember. Part of me was like "Eehhh, maybe I don't want to do this thing."

But five months out from all the heavy thoughts I was having about quitting writing...well, I don't feel like that's a path I'm quite ready to go down. I want to keep writing for a little while longer. I definitely want to finish my hockey series, but after that, I'm not sure what I want to write.

It's not that I don't have a list of ideas--I do--but they're not eliciting any spark of excitement in me at the moment, so I'll just have to wait and see what my mindset is when I have to make that decision.

Another thing I've determined that needs to happen is a revamp of all six books of the first series. In addition to new covers, I need to transition them to the more traditional third person, past tense point of view. Right now, they're second person, present or something like that.

That project might also be a good way to dip my feet back into the writer mindset and habits.

Between the time I drafted this and today, the day of posting, I got the physical copies--LOOK!

The covers need a bit of tweaking, but the insides look great.

Hope you're well. Have a great weekend.


Monday, March 13, 2023

Nacogdoches ~ The Oldest Town in Texas


Nacogdoches is a charming little town. At least the part of it I saw, which was a very small part. Its citizenry might say otherwise, but I wouldn't mind another, longer visit.

Last week, while attending my friend's memorial, my writer peeps and I stayed in a VRBO on the town square. I geeked out at the architecture in my immediate vicinity and took a few pictures. Even found a bit of inspiration for the new home of one of my characters.

One of the books in the VRBO said (and a Google search confirmed) that Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas, founded in 1779 by Don Antonio Gil Y'Barbo. Its settlement roots begin with the Caddo Indians who lived there before the Spanish.

Also -- fun fact: Nacogdoches is the largest producer of blueberries in Texas. Mmm...

The view from our VRBO...

And some additional images...

This is the side view of the building above. Look at that balcony that runs along the second floor!


Below is one of the two buildings I found helpful in picturing what I wanted for one of my heroes in the current hockey work-in-progress. The first being the place we stayed with its open floor plan and all the exposed brick.


Look at the decorative elements on this one--not to mention the bank of windows.


This building (below) has some lovely exterior brick and it's being gutted / remodeled on the inside. I'm so curious as to what the owners are going to do with the space. I'd also love to know what its shape and size is. Leaves me to image how I might build it out as well. :0)

Hope you're well. See you Thursday!


Thursday, March 9, 2023

Book Reading Report...


Image courtesy of IMGBIN.

Do you remember that one of my goals for this year is to read six non-fiction books over the course of the year?

Yeah, well, I'm just about halfway there and we're almost 1/4 of the way through the year, and I already have three more books lined up. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to have a problem completing this goal.

This is what I've read so far... 

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

This book was mentioned by a dear friend who used this book when homeschooling her three kids. She and they all have their financial poop in a group, so I figured "Why not?" It certainly couldn't hurt.

And it certainly didn't.

I learned a couple of new principles and have endeavored to put them into practice...

First, I'm gonna share the Five Laws of Gold:

  1. Put aside no less than 1/10 of your earnings.
  2. Put your money to work for you.
  3. Follow the teachings of wise rich people.
  4. Don't invest in things about which you know nothing.
  5. Maintain realistic expectations.

In addition to the those five laws, here are The Seven Cures to Fatten Your Purse:

  1. Spend 90%, save 10%.
  2. Expenses grow to equal income, so budget down to 90% of your income.
  3. Make the gold multiply. (seek wisdom/learning before investing)
  4. Guard your treasure from loss. (again: seek wisdom/learning before investing)
  5. Make your dwelling a profitable investment. (own your own home)
  6. Insure a future income. (seek wisdom; accept opportunity; work your way up)
  7. Increase your ability to earn. (seek wisdom; accept opportunity; work your way up)

There are overlaps, as you can see, but I take that to mean those points are especially important.

* * * * *

The second book I read is...

Behind the Bench: Inside the Minds of Hockey's Greatest Coaches by Craig Custance

Obviously, this is not a personal improvement book like the rest of them... I received it for Mother's Day last year after having it on my Giftster list for several years.

It took me a while to get into it--there's nothing wrong with the book. I wasn't in the right headspace because of my mom-- But the author is someone I now sorta kinda know.

"Know" in the sense that Craig is one of my favorite pod casters and we do occasionally have exchanges via the comments sections of the podcast he co-hosts. We are also "friends" on Goodreads...for whatever that's worth. I think it's cool. Your mileage may vary. :0)

FYI, Craig--if you ever see this--your book was recommended by Greg Wyshinski. For those playing along at home, Greg is one of my other favorite pod casters. And is, in fact, my first pod caster...

* * * * *

I've just started the third non-fiction book...

Eats Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation! by Lynne Truss

I'm reading this to hone my skills as a copy editor / proofreader as I'm fixin' to hustle more business in order to reduce debt and increase savings / investments.

As you can probably glean--it's about punctuation. I may or may not bore you later with any surprising insights I find. However, it's turning out to be harder to get into than I expected. There's just been a few too many anecdotes up front.

* * * * *

And last but not, officially, least--a book I read at the tail end of last year and which I might have mentioned at some point this year:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

I meant to post the whole write up for this book, but other topics came along and it got pushed and got pushed, sooo... I've lumped it in here and created a page with that review, so you can go read about my thoughts on this book if you're so inclined.

Since I read this last year, it doesn't count for this year, but it's close enough that I at least wanted to mention it and share what I learned.

More book reports to come at some point. I do still have those Strengths books to get to!

Take care. Have a great week.