31 March, 2010

A Lars eBook

While driving around the wide open spaces of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, Bill and I talked. A lot. And one of the things we talked about was my writing and all of the stuff on my hard drive. I have partial scenes and snips and brain dumps and short bits and vignettes, some from other worlds and works, but most from what I call The Dubricverse. There are parallel to the timeline-of-the-books things (like Aswin, who readers have never met), stuff about what happened during (and before) the War, what happens with characters and/or their children in the future, various potential paths different characters might take, alternate timelines/dimensions/storylines. Stuff like that.

Anyway, Bill and I discussed some of these story bits and partial novels and things that are just gathering digital dust on my computer and we thought that, maybe, someone would like to read them. A bit of research, and a few conversations with my writing buddies sent me to Smashwords.com. One finished short story later, I have an official ebook that will, hopefully, soon be available everywhere ebooks are sold.

It's called Fire and it's Lars's first case when he's nine summers old, right after he arrives in Faldorrah. Some of you may have read it - it was one of many .pdfs PaperbackWriter gave away during some freebie promotion she did back in 2006. Since Fire was finished and entirely self contained, I thought it'd be a good ebook story to start with. It's short, only about 28 pages of actual story, and it is not available in paper-book form.

I've decided to price it for 99 cents through Smashwords (and Amazon and Fictionwise and other venues when it arrives in their listing) mostly because Smashwords can create all the available formats for kindles and nooks and iphones and whatnot, while *I* can only make .pdf. I do not want to charge for things I've already made myself, so if ANYONE wants a .pdf instead of a pricier format, email me at tambowrites AT gmail DOT com and I will send you a free copy.

If I epublish other things, I think I shall have a pricing structure of 99¢ for anything under 10k words or so, $1.99 for under 25k words ish, and $2.99 for longer works. Does that sound reasonable to you all? Also, I don't at this point intend to epublish any book length fiction that might work better as a traditionally published book.

Anyway, it's mostly just something I'm considering.

29 March, 2010

Weekend Road Trip!

One of Laura's really good friends is getting shipped out to Kuwait in April. He's currently stationed in Oklahoma and they haven't seen each other in months. She wanted to be able to tell him goodbye and, with Bill and I being how we are, decided to make a family road trip out of it.

We left bright and early this past Friday morning and spent some time with the kids late that evening (was about a 13 hour drive). Saturday, Laura left with her friend to hang out on base and play video games, so Bill drove me around southern Oklahoma and northern Texas to lots of quilt shops. Saturday afternoon/evening we met up with my friend Moosey at Olive Garden, ate too much pasta, and talked and laughed and talked shop until the waiter started giving us dirty looks for hogging his table. It was a totally awesome day!

Sunday, we were out the door at 7:30am to head back home, making a pit-stop in Topeka to eat barbeque with Monica. Monica is amazing, just totally funny and cool, especially when the topic turned to corn and french fries. I don't think that Bill will ever look at food the same way again. lol ;). We could have stayed there all day if it wasn't for having to get back home sometime this century, so we piled back in the car for the remainder of the trip north, finally arriving home about 10pm. And the dogs were missing. They had, again, broken out of Fort Stewie, but Janna (our neighbor who'd been watching them) said they were there just a few hours before so we didn't worry. Much. Gozer and Stewie wandered back home not long afterward, and it was off to bed for the travel-fatigued Jones's.

It was a fantastic if exhausting weekend. I'd been wanting to meet Moosey and Monica for what seems like forever and both are great writers, great women, and just awesome friends. I got some really cool quilt fabric and templates for a Dresden plate block. Bill was sweet and charming all weekend - even when stuck listening to boring writer talk, Laura was her usual chipper self, and even I maintained a great mood after three days in the car. AND we stayed within sight of our budget!

It's good to be home though. Too bad I have to drive to Des Moines tomorrow! ;)

23 March, 2010

Pretty peachy

All in all, things here are pretty dang good. We've received - and approved - bids for painting the house, moving the breaker box, and getting some trees trimmed. I'm sewing up a pile of baby quilts - seems like most every gal I know who's in the 18-35 year range is pregnant. That's a *bit* of an exaggeration, but not much because I've added two new mommies to the baby quilt list in the past week or so.  This coming weekend is both the Northern Iowa and Central Iowa shop hops, and I haven't yet decided which hop I'm gonna do. Probably the Northern one so I won't have to drive so far, but there's a particular batik I want that's in the Ankeny shop... I guess I could call Jenny and have her just mail it to me. lol

Laura almost certainly has a full time job with bennies lined up - just has to pass the background check which should be totally effortless, so we're all excited about that. Way to go Laura!!

I've written a smidge more on Stain (link to an opening snippet for those who missed it last week) and am currently polishing up the second installment on The Ringer.

Exercising with the Wii is going well and Bill and I have added 'walking the boys' to the mix, which the dogs LOVE. They get very excited when we grab their leashes.

That's about all that's happening here. What's up with you?

19 March, 2010

A scene from Stain's opening

It's actually scene two. The book opens with a big event that's roughly mid-book then backtracks to the beginning because I really wanted to set Lars's desperation up front (but I'm not willing to give that particular secret away in a public venue). Anyway, the second scene is below the cut. It's horrid and brutal, so you've been forewarned. It's also unedited so there may be typos and content is subject to change.

Stain of Corruption

This past week or so, I've received several communications from folks asking about the state of Stain of Corruption. I have one version - since scrapped - that's finished first draft, other than the final chapter or so where the loose ends get tied up, and another - still active - that's about, oh, a third to a half done. I haven't been working on it much lately, but maybe I should get back on it. Does anyone have an opinion on me posting snips or talking about the process of the book?

No guarantees, I'm just curious.

I really need to figure out Blogger

I spent a good portion of tonight going through some essays I'd written on my awful-angsty problems with writing (same shit, different day in Tam's poor, broken brain) including a few I'd written specifically for this blog.

And what did I find? People have commented weeks, even months after I'd written and posted them. And that's saying a lot since this blog is only a couple of months old. My old blog kept all the comments in one place - which I made my home page - so even if I didn't have a good response, I at least knew what people had to say. Here, I have to notice a new comment has been added and I'm just not good at going through the posts and keeping track of such things.

I apologize for my lack of followup on some of the older posts and I've now set the blog to email me comments. For future reference (and since my site will be going down in three months) I have an email set up at tambowrites AT gmail DOT com.

18 March, 2010

Mid-March Madness - A Writing Contest

My very artistic friend Scarlett is offering a free custom blog design. The catch? You just need to write 500-700 words every other day. Details are http://bajettodesign.com/blog/.


I do not wanna. No. Not at all.

But I must. I must write. It's supposed to be my freaking job.

No. It's awful. I'm awful. And I do not want to look at what I'm writing about. Nope, uh uh, no way.


No. Can't won't. Look I'll even close the file so it won't mock me anymore. Scary scary scary bad shit there. Better to watch crap on tv.

Write dammit!

no. please don't make me. please.


17 March, 2010

!(@*%& backing fabric

I've just finished a quilt top but, apparently, my initial calculations were off because my backing fabric is 2 inches too small.

I must now formulate a plan to fix it that doesn't look like I've fixed it.

16 March, 2010


Bill loves turnips but I rarely find decent ones at the store (I buy them fairly regularly at farmers markets, though) but, today, they had LOTS and they were on sale so, tonight, we're gonna have Bacon Turnip Mash with supper! Woot!

My progressive-lens/bifocal  headache isn't as bad today - thank goodness!! - so that's a definite improvement. Laura talked with the local community college and it looks like she's gonna start on the Medical Assistant program in the fall, plus take some classes over the summer to streamline her schedule for the AAS degree (a step above the regular med assistant certification) and improve her GPA. She nearly has enough money to pay cash for the entire curriculum, so we're all pretty excited about that. If it works out the way it's supposed to, she'll graduate next summer and just about be guaranteed a job since CMA's are really needed around here. Pretty awesome collegiate visit, I must say and she's VERY pumped!

I'd pulled a muscle in my mid/lower back late last week (especially the right side - owie!!) and took the weekend off from exercising - since all the internet medical stuff said to 'not exercise' if it hurt. But it felt pretty good last night, so I got back on the Wii Sports Active schedule and, well, the first exercise in last night's routine was Alternating Standing Knee Crunches or some such thing and, um, they aggravated my !(@*%^ back. I kept going, however, through the whole program, and by the end it really wasn't hurting much at all. So I think those standing crunch knee things are the problem. I'll just be more careful. Felt good to exercise, tho, after a weekend of sitting on my butt and I'm much more chipper and energetic today. Back's still a bit stiff on the right side, but a little ibuprofen seems to knock it down to a dull grumble.

I wrote a little while driving Laura around to all the places she had to go today, was just longhand in my journal, but that's something, right? I've cleaned the cat boxes, planned some quilting projects, drank a ton of water, even managed a game of sudoku, and I'm about to tackle the mess that's my kitchen. My mood is pretty damn excellent, which is nice. Probably because 1) I can mostly see and 2) I don't hurt. ;)

So, all in all, today's been a better day. :)

15 March, 2010

It's a Grumpy Monday

The new progressive bifocals are giving me a headache (but at least the nausea has passed). My wrist hurts, a lingering remnant from the surgery a couple of years ago that flares up whenever it's damp. Laura and I had an argument. I can't find my words for the book. I don't know what to make for supper and nothing sounds good. The house is a mess. And I just wanna go back to bed.

14 March, 2010

Quilts. Lots of quilts.

I love to sew - y'all surely know that - and you may or may not know that I give away pretty much all of my projects. I make a lot of things for specific people, but sometimes I make a project simply because I want to try a new technique or there's a cool fabric line I want to play with. If I don't have a particular recipient in mind, I'll usually just make the top (to be honest, I really don't enjoy 'quilting', I'm more of a designer and piecer) because I have little motivation to go through all the work to finish quilts just to pile them up in the closet. I make a LOT of quilt tops that just sit and wait for the right recipient to come along, and it seems like a waste.

Today I was blessed with a win-win solution.

A gal in my quilt guild - Marilyn - does machine quilting professionally and she's happy to quilt projects for FREE to be donated to hospitals and foster homes and hospices and things. Now I have a place to take all of these projects that just need to be quilted before they get given to folks, and I'm DELIGHTED to make lap quilts for nursing homes and baby quilts for neonatal units and so forth and so on. I'm so excited!! Just need to get batting and backing for this stack of tops! Plus, it gives me more excuses to sew!! Woot!

13 March, 2010

Not having a very good day

Spent pretty much all of yesterday driving to and from the Iowa City area, with a stop both directions in Dallas Center (about 8+ hours total drive time). Today, we're all kinda cranky. Just one of those things, I suppose, and I didn't even have any Diet Coke (I did, however, have a Sugar Free Sunkist Lemonade, but I really don't think that's the problem). Maybe it's the weather, I dunno. Just can't wait for today to be over and tomorrow to be a better one.

I've sorted down some fabric for future quilting projects. I've cooked lunch (and will soon cook supper) and I've taken a nap. That's pretty much all I've done all day. Sigh.

10 March, 2010

We're gonna be painted!

The bid from the painters came in today and it was pretty much awesome. After living near Des Moines for so long, we're still shocked at how inexpensive services are out here in the boonies, and that's just fine! :) Still waiting to hear back from the electrician, but it looks like this years remodeling projects will move on forward without too many hitches. Woot!

09 March, 2010

So. The eyes.

My distance prescription has changed very little, but I am having problems focusing and bifocal lenses are on order to fit into my current frames. We did talk, however, about Lasik and Partial Lens Replacement surgery, and he wants me to see a specialist in South Dakota because of my particular issues to see which procedure might be a better fit for me. Eyes are healthy overall - other than the aging thing, which I knew about already, so that's good.

I just don't know about the surgeries. Lasik would mean that I'd still have to wear reading glasses but the risk is minimal and the price, while, substantial, would be less than the lens replacement. The lens replacement would be a full correction - even stave off the possibility of cataracts - but costs more and has an infection risk since a foreign object is inserted within the eye itself. So, I dunno.

I just don't know.

In the meantime, my new lenses are ordered and should be in next week.

Off to the eye doctor

I've delayed this as long as I can. After pretty much a lifetime of being severely near-sighted, my vision has gone wonky. I've been having problems focusing for months, and the edges of pretty much everything are hazy which makes it difficult to read, sew, or do anything else detailed and close up. I've had a LOT of headaches and twitchy eyes from eye strain and, sometimes, I take my glasses off to thread a needle. The last time I got my eyes checked (last two times, actually) bifocals were mentioned but I was resistant. I don't think I have much choice now.

I really don't want them and it bugs me that I'm so... scared. I have never been bothered with the ever-increasing signs of getting older - the wrinkles, gray hairs, even birthdays. Ever. And it's always perplexed me how so many people - especially women - get all upset over turning 30 or 40 or OMG! a gray hair?!?!

But this sure-to-be-bifocal thing kinda freaks me out.

My eye appointment is today. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

07 March, 2010

Sleep, headaches, and aluminum foiled neighbors

Since I'm still coming off the Diet Coke crankies (detox leads me into a depressive, headachy spiral) I've spent pretty much the whole, complete, and entire day sleeping. I slept till ten am. Finished the baby quilt top. Returned to bed at noonish, and slept till six. It's now nearly eight and I could so go back to bed again. Don't wanna do nuthin!

I really have to stop drinking that stuff.

So, I'm sleepy and have a poundy headache, but I still have to make supper. Since I an trying to cook healthier, I've chosen Italian Chicken and Peppers for tonight, but me being me, I'll make modifications. Like adding mushrooms and onions. Because we love them so. ;) The recipe calls for foil-lined cookie sheets though, and wouldn't you know it? I totally forgot to buy foil at the store this week and my little 3" strip left on the roll wouldn't cover anything. Dammit.

So I called my neighbor, Janna, who came right over with two kinds of foil! YAY JANNA!!

Good neighbors rock!

My mind wanders in troublesome directions when it's headachy and blue. Tonight, I really would like to know why our government has decided that incandescent lightbulbs must be phased out and replaced with CFLs. Yeah, incandescents take a bit more juice to operate, but they're like totally non toxic, have a 'better light' and are CHEAP. CFL's are rather pricey, their light colors things funny, they take longer to 'warm up' and really illuminate, and lastly, they're full of freaking MERCURY. Isn't it better to spend a bit more on electricity now (which is more and more commonly being created by water and wind energy) than poison the freaking planet for forever?

These are the things I ponder. No wonder I'm depressed all the freaking time.

06 March, 2010

Cursing the brown elixir

Months and months ago, I cut out Diet Coke. I cut it partly to get off the caffeine and the caffeine-headache/caffeine-high spiral, partly because it's nutrient empty and chemical heavy, and, lastly, because if I start my day with Diet Coke, that'll be all I choose to drink all day, instead of water. Surely none of those things are good for me. But every once in a while - especially if we're having something spicy for supper - I'll let myself have one. Just one. Often I don't finish that one, so it's a treat.

Which is what happened yesterday with the ribs. Was my first Diet Coke in a week.

Since I've removed Diet Coke from the daily routine, I've noticed that when I do drink it, I'm cranky and/or depressed the next day, which makes me want it even less. But it does hit the spot, oh yes! Yummy stuff that Diet Coke. I've never craved chocolate or cake or any of those things women supposedly lust after, just the ol', evil DC.

Anyway, in an effort to combat the crankies I make myself drink a LOT of water, even more than usual, and it does help make the crankies a bit less so - and it helps to know that they're not me, they're the Diet Coke talking. So I *also* drank a LOT of water yesterday. But as evening approached, Laura and I decided to go to the movies and, well, we got popcorn and pop and candy and all that fun stuff since we hadn't been to the movies since Avatar's opening weekend and, well... I had a SECOND Diet Coke. A big 'un, since we got the popcorn/pop/candy combo thing.

And maaaaaaan, am I feeling it today. I didn't finish that Diet Coke at the theater - oooooooh, I wanted to, oh yes - and I did drink some water before going to bed, but I am one cranky, weepy, ticked off, self-flagellating bitch today.

Of all the things in the world to have a problem with, I have to pick Diet goddamn Coke.

05 March, 2010

Boingy Boingy

Today, so far, has been wonderful!

The tax refund landed in checking, so I've made an appointment with the eye doctor - pretty sure I'm gonna need bifocals, waah! - called some guys to give estimates to paint the house, called an electrician to come move the breaker box, paid state taxes, finished sewing a bag for Tanya's shop, made macaroni salad, and am eagerly awaiting Bill's grilled BBQ ribs. Yep, he's out in the melting snow barbequing. Is that awesome or what? ;)

04 March, 2010


Today, we did two weeks worth of grocery shopping, hauled it all home, and put it all away.

Today, Bill and I walked to our teeny small-town library where we donated the four books I've just read (PUSH, Shutter Island, The Blind Side, and Julie & Julia) and a pile of science fiction Bill cleared off of his shelf.

Today, Gozer broke out of Fort Stewie and Stewie was quite happy to follow him to freedom.

Today, Laura had another job interview which I had to drive her to.

Today, Laura upgraded her cell phone, and we got to purchase it for her.

Today, I woke up too early and ended up taking a nap. I think I need another one.

Today, the shower grout was all fixed and I got to have my usual long, hot shower.

Today, I shall do a little more sewing, starting the piecing of a baby quilt, and continuing on a bag for a display at Tanya's shop.

Today I shall at least look at the book in progress.

And, so far today, no one has pooped, puked, or peed in the wrong place, dumped their food dish, broke their water glass, lost their keys, chewed a pair of shoes, ruined any soup, had a melt down, gotten lost, or spent too much time starting mindlessly at the tv.

Today, I am tired.

But that's okay. It's been a pretty decent day. :)

03 March, 2010

Wednesdays are apparently better than Tuesdays

Today's gone pretty well so far. I've made lunch - nice, safe, impossible to screw up frozen pizza - cut up fabric for a baby quilt, sorted a stack of papers into the recycling bin, giggled with Bill (who's taking a long weekend off work) and even managed a little housework.

Laura has a job interview this afternoon - I get to drive, go me! - and, afterward, Bill and I are heading out to attend an auction, which should be good fun. I LOVE auctions, even tho they usually make me bring home all kinds of cool things that I really don't need. But that's okay, they're a blast!  Most likely, we'll eat supper out and then I'll get back to reading Julie and Julia, which I've almost finished.

I have seen the movie, though, just night before last when it was on pay per view because I'd promised myself that if I noticed it there, I'd make time to see it. And I did. That said, I didn't like the movie all that much, it was cute and all, but I found the Julie character to be really annoying. I loved Meryl Streep as Julia Child, tho. They could have made an entire movie about her and that would have been awesome. Since seeing the movie, I am finding the book's Julie to be a bit more annoying, even tho she hasn't changed any. It's just seeing her and her meltdowns and self-centeredness (and she's exactly the same in the book, only my brain fuzzed out the annoying aspects of her personality) has really made me notice her now. But I shall press on through because it is a good story. I just wish there was more about Julia Child instead of Julie, but it is Julie's book, so I can't complain too much, I guess.

Bill found a leak in the shower this morning, apparently a crack appeared in the tile grout because our hundred+ year old house has settled a bit, but it's all fixed. We just can't shower again until tomorrow, which shouldn't be a problem, as long as we don't play in mud or grease or something. I have to admit that I am incredibly spoiled because I never worry about such things as shower leaks or bad light switches or cracks or whatever because Bill Will Fix Them. I definitely recommend marrying a handyman, especially if he's cute, bearded, and smoochable. ;)

There are a lot of little things we want to do to the house, upgrades and minor remodels, like making a real room in the basement for the bathroom, instead of having a toilet and sink sitting open and exposed in a corner, and replacing our front door which is VERY modern and doesn't fit the look of the house at all. Bill can and will handle those things and others, but we're going to hire someone - gasp! - to paint the house this spring and, most likely, someone else to move the breaker box because it's right where Bill wants to put the basement bathroom wall. I think the idea of hiring someone to do the work bothers him, but I'm totally cool with it. It'll be a lot less stress and frustration (and I really don't want him on a ladder on the porch roof to paint the second story). And, maybe, if the painters' price isn't too bad, I'll have them paint the rest of the downstairs, too, and the stairwell. Because painting the interior is my job and I'm delighted to hire it out. lol

02 March, 2010

I am so not witty today...

I had planned on posting something witty, funny, or insightful today - planned to do so as I stood in the shower under lovely hot water which is always the best time for me to think such things. Instead, after my shower I made Potato Leek Soup - which I totally screwed up by accidentally pouring in about half a cup of salt instead of a few sprinkles so the whole panful was wasted. Then we went to the Soup and Sip for lunch (thank you, Tanya, for staying open for us!!). Once we came back home, I rotated around laundry, then putzed around online awhile, still steaming over my ruined soup. Then, unable to muster the gumption for anything productive, I took a long nap.

So here I am, nothing accomplished for the day except washing two loads of laundry, making perfectly good soup inedible, and napping.

I'm ready to go back to bed.

01 March, 2010

The costs of publishing

Tess writes about costs with traditional and ebook publishing.

Please, support all authors - new and old - and buy real books!

Still working out some bugs

This new layout isn't letting me break posts. Well, I *can* break them, there's just no 'read more' button to let anyone see what's beneath the fold. So, until I figure things out, there might be some long, rambly posts without breaks. Sorry about that.

Brightening things up around here

In case y'all haven't noticed, I decided to go with a custom blogger template instead of the standard blue tic-tac one I was using. I think I like this better. It's perkier, if nothing else. ;)

The book is stalled. Again. And I'm pretty sure I know why. It's getting waaaaaay too personal. That was a huge problem I had writing the Dubric books, the constant pouring of my pain, shame, anger, and history onto the page, it just got awful. I don't want writing to be awful any more, so I'm trying to find a way to make this book not be so flipping autobiographical, even tho it's not - the main character and her problems really aren't anything like me and mine, but her reactions, oh yes, that's me all over the place. So. Anyway. It's still a struggle.

Been sewing quite a lot, actually, this past week or so. I made some strip sets that I cut up for a curved piecing project I have, plus I finished a couple of the UFO's for the guild, and I sewed a purse from scratch. I'm going to write more about those things, and post pics, at my new 'creativity' blog, so come over and see, if you'd like. :) I'll try to get something up, on the sewing projects at least, yet tonight.

I am enjoying Julie and Julia VERY much and it's wonderful to read again. Not sure yet what my next novel purchase will be, especially since the only books for sale in the area are at Target, Walmart, and the grocery store. We'll be heading into Des Moines again in a couple of weeks for a bigger shopping trip so, hopefully, I'll be able to convince Bill to go to Borders or something. We always go to Half Price Books when we're there, but I rarely find anything that clicks with me. Still looking for more suggestions for great books - especially mainstream/lit - if anyone has a good read in mind!

The world here is starting to thaw and things are getting sloppy with slush. It's a messy, messy time of year, but it's lovely to be able to go out into the world with just my denim jacket again and not be all bundled up.

Bill and I both finished the 30-day Wii Sports Active Challenge and I decided to take a couple of days off since I'd be out of town, but Bill upgraded to the 'medium' level this morning. Which about killed him. So he'll be back on the 'I'm a fat lazy slug' level with me again when I get back on the exercise horse tonight.  It's good for me to move around and get my heart rate up, but, damn. It's really messing with my wrists and hands, tho, that constant holding and manipulating the wii-mote, so much so that I went out and bought support gloves. Which Gozer ate three days later. So I'm back to hurting. Again. Ya know, I wrote three huge, long, rambling novels - and tons of other bits, pieces, stories, essays, and words through the years - PLUS made hundreds of quilts without a bit of carpal tunnel trouble, and a freaking wii-mote does me in? WTF?

But spring will come soon and I can walk instead of sweating my butt off in the TV room, which really isn't big enough for being an exercise space anyway. ;)

Lastly, it's National Craft Month and the good folks at CT publishing are putting up a pattern a day. Today's pattern is for a Cupcake Quilt! Which I MUST make. No idea what I'll *do* with a cupcake quilt, but it's too freaking cute not to make. Sorta like cupcakes. ;)