Friday, September 29, 2017

Conflicting advice...?

I read two different articles in the past twenty-four hours that really resonated with me. At first glance it seemed that they are contradictory, but upon reflection they aren't.

The first article I read talks about taking that next step to becoming a master of your craft and seven habits that shackle your ability to do so. The one that struck me the most was the lack of in-depth learning. Really "deep-diving" into learning as it were. Not sharing your attention with TV or social media or whatever, but eliminating distractions and focusing hard on the task at hand.

You know I had to do that to get book six done. Noise-canceling headphones, going in my office and closing the door, focusing. It got done and I was pretty happy with myself. Now why I didn't get my act together sooner is something to ponder on another day, but the book got done.

There are many areas of writing where I need/want to improve. Looks like I need to pick one and spend some time studying. I have a friend who chooses one thing each year to focus on. That sounds like a good plan.

The second article talked about staying healthy, physically and mentally, as an author. Full time authors spend a lot of time sitting. They spend a lot of time eating quick and easy meals, which usually means carb-based foods. They also spend a lot of time worrying about marketing and writing enough books to make money on top worrying about the house, the spouse, and the kids and whatever else is going on in their life.

The point of the second article was that your health, any aspect of it, is worth more than a dream. If you're not having fun trying to achieve your dream, then what's the point? I get that there a lot of exceptions and everyone has their own balance. But if worrying about trying to write 10 books a year in order to make X amount of money leaves you an anxious mess, then is it really worth it? I mean how good can your books be at that point?

Life is meant to be lived and how can you write good characters and interesting plot lines if you don't go out and interact with people and have fun? I don't think you can.

So the combined lesson is...yes, by all means, spend the time you need to learn something specific, study hard, focus. But that's not all you have to do until it's done. Watch the rain, take a walk, smell the roses, go to a hockey game, go swimming or boating, enjoy other crafty endeavors.

Have a great weekend y'all. See you Monday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Book six is (mostly)(probably) done and off to my lovely proofreader.

About three months late. Since I'm planning to indie publish, the fact that it's late doesn't have a whole lot of consequences, it just means that my whole publishing schedule was postponed. Potential money earning postponed too. That's the worst consequence.

My plan had been to have book six done and in the proofer's hands in June and that I would start publishing the previous books in the series around that time.

But I wanted book six done before I started down the publishing road.

Unfortunately, I struggled and struggled with that story for some reason--I still don't really know why. Writing it was still mostly a chore when I finally just put my nose to the grindstone and made it happen. I have no idea if it's as good as the others or if it makes sense or if there's some major plot hole that's so large I just can't see it. My proofreader will definitely let me know.


It's finally done and out of my hair for the time being. Now I can turn my attention guessed seven.

Hope you're having a great week. Mine is looking up. :0)

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Stars & Stripes and Sacrifice

I don't care who you are--you don't get to protest the President of the US by taking a knee during the national anthem.

In my opinion, you spit on the flag, the country, and the military members who fought and died to give us the freedoms we enjoy here in America. Not to mention whatever fans you have who are patriotic or perhaps served their country.

I'm all for free speech and having an opinion, but you spout whatever you want on your time and your dime.

What this group of NFL (and other sports) players is doing is absolutely wrong. What the celebrities did at the recent awards show is wrong.

Hold a press conference if you want to tell the world how much you hate the sitting president. That sporting event and that award show is the everyday American's venue, because without them and their hard-earned dollars, athletes and celebrities wouldn't be where they are.

I'm so heart-sore right now over this.

My son's life is on the line for those pinheads and they're disrespecting him and his willingness to serve.

May GOD BLESS Alejandro Villanuevo for standing tall in the face of all this bullshit. He served as a captain in the Army, serving as a Ranger and receiving a Bronze Star for valor.

I think any player taking a knee should be suspended one game and fined. Let's see how long they hold the moral high ground.

May God Bless America...

Friday, September 22, 2017

So I went to a funeral yesterday...

It wasn't for a person I knew well. I attended out of respect for my father-in-law as it was a member of his family. I did get to spend some time with my mother-in-law, which was nice and which I don't do often enough (so maybe an item for next year's goal list, eh?).

Anyway, the point of today's post is--I know what kind of funeral I don't want. That's not to say yesterday's service wasn't lovely, because it was. If it reflected the person it was for, then great. But a service like that wouldn't reflect me.

So I got to I need to sorta-kinda plan my own funeral? Leave a package of notes as to what I want, even though, as my mother-in-law pointed out, funerals are for the living, for those left behind, and not for the person who died?

I'd like to think my kids would be pretty sad if/when I die--I mean, I was sad when my dad died, and I was there when choices as to caskets and music and stuff were being made, but I didn't know my dad that well anymore-- We'd lived so far apart for so many years. --and while I wasn't so overcome emotionally at that point, I didn't know what he would have liked.
My kids may or may not know me well enough upon my death. I hope they do, of course, but they may not. Or they may be so emotional that it'd be hard to think past how they're feeling right at that moment...

So maybe some general notes and a letter to each of my kids. That sounds like a good place to start.

Happy Friday!! Hope you have a great weekend.

P.S. ~ Please don't take this as me being morbid. The fact is, we're all going to die. Making the process easier on the people I leave behind isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Night Shift, part 2

Last Wednesday, I mentioned a phone setting that disabled the blue lights that emanate from the cell phone screen and (possibly) interfere with one's ability to fall asleep and sleep well.

It's been a week and quite frankly I'm sleeping harder than I was before and I'm having a bit more trouble waking up when the alarm goes off. If DH is experiencing restlessness at any point during the night, it hasn't bothered me much or at all. He's changed a few things that may affecting his sleep as well (for the better) but not every night is identical.

But I think, over all, taking advantage of this setting has helped. :0)

Friday, September 15, 2017

It's Hockey Night in Fort Worth...!!!

This might be more familiar as "It's hockey night in Canada" or "It's hockey night in Pittsburgh," but as of Monday, I'll be able to watch all the hockey my little heart desires on the TV in my house--not on the iPad and not on the computer. I'll even be able to watch DALLAS STARS hockey, which I didn't get to do very often because of black-out zone restrictions.

With DH's blessing, I upgraded our cable TV package to include ALL sports channels. Of course, we'll get everything else aside from premium movie channels and DH is pleased about that.

So woo hoo and Happy Friday!!!

Hope you're having a great Friday and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Night Shift

So I learned about this neat little setting on my iPhone. I've seen it pop up occasionally and didn't know what it was for and dismissed it, but I have learned what it does and it seems like a really good thing.

In the Display and Brightness setting on an iPhone, you can turn on the Night Shift and set it to come on and turn off at whatever time you want. I set mine to turn on early--6pm--because I read every night (yes, on my phone) before I go to bed.

But what does it do, Jen? Well, if you know, then skip this part, but if you don't, it does this: it swaps out the harsh blue lights emitted by the phone screen and offers up soft amber light instead. Blue light is apparently a "day-time" indicator to our brain and may hinder your ability to fall asleep and/or sleep well.

Honestly, I don't generally have trouble falling asleep. Or...maybe I do, but not for that reason. I don't think. When it's time for bed (8:30ish), I put the phone down and get comfy. With the help of an earbud and Benedict Cumberbatch reading in my ear, I'm asleep within five or ten minutes.

I originally started with listening to something to help me fall asleep because I suffered with tinnitus for awhile and it was very annoying. That went away, but often there's other noise in the house--we have no carpet to absorb it and it filters right down the hall and into my bedroom--so I try to block it out.

Anyway, I'm wondering how much better I'll sleep if I get rid of the blue lights before bed...

Tonight begins the new setting. I'll let you know if I notice a significant change.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fan Girl Moment

This past Saturday, I drove down to Austin and back (a three hour drive one way) to meet, thank, and congratulate the creator of one of my favorite current fandoms: Check Please!

Check Please is the story of a small southern gay boy who chooses a college in the upper northeast in order to live his life out of the closet. The Check Please universe is filled with well rounded characters who all have a role to play within the narrative. The creator, Ngozi Ukazu, does all the work herself.

A panel from one of the early comics. L-R: Jack, Shitty, Bitty, Ransom, and Holster.

Anyway, her storytelling and artwork are amazing, and I wanted to meet her and let her know how much enjoyment I've gotten from her work as well as derivative works (fan fiction). Also, she's gotten a publishing contract and her work will be in bookstores sometime this fall.

Here is art of one of my favorite characters, Kent Parson, who Ms. Ukazu confirmed was based heavily on my favorite Dallas Star, Tyler Seguin. Oh, and, yes, it's hockey-based, which indeed launched my current hockey obsession.

It was a long day, but well worth the drive. :0)

Friday, September 8, 2017

To tear them down or not to tear them down...

Discussions about tearing down all Civil War related statues as well as changing the names of schools and other things...

I don't usually discuss politics or religion, but I thought I'd share my two cents for what it's worth, which probably isn't two cents.

At first, I thought, you know--if we erase everything related to the negative aspects of our history, we're doomed to repeat those mistakes and forget, right? And I think that's true to an extent.

This morning as I pondered it further, I sorta went to an extreme example...

So I thought, despite being on the bad side of a fight, Robert E Lee was a great general, right? Maybe. I guess. It's been a long time since I studied Civil War history, but all signs point to it. Why shouldn't he have a statue?

But, you know, there's be an outcry heard to the moon and back if anyone tried to put up a statue to honor Hitler.

I mean, all these statues are already there. Are they hurting anyone at this late date? Tearing them down requires money and manpower, but so does the upkeep in the long run, so...

Really, I'm torn. They don't affect me either way, but it's an interesting question to ponder.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Yep, I've been AWOL... and Happy Labor Day

Well, not quite AWOL I guess. I did officially take Friday off so I could make a weekend trip up to Omaha to see my family.

It's the first long-ish road trip I've taken on my own in twenty-five years. I had my daughters with me then, DH was 2 and the Brown-Eyed Girl was 4. They're 27 and 29 now... This trip, it was just me, although the Brown-Eyed Girl was supposed to go, but Harvey through a monkey wrench in our spokes.

A good time was had by all. It was good to see my brothers and my babiest sister as well as my little nephews. We went to the Henry Doorly Zoo on Saturday.

Sunday was a lazy day that included a Harry Potter movie marathon on TV and yummy delicious food.

Surprisingly, I came back weighing the same or less than when I left. (Since weight fluctuates throughout the day, I won't know for sure for another day or two...) My gym is nation-wide and I went while I was in Omaha, precisely so I could enjoy my uncle's delicious cooking. Also the bazillion steps I took while at the zoo allowed me to enjoy my favorite item from Taco Bell guilt-free. :0)

Did you enjoy the long weekend?