My Novels

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bleak February Days

I've spent the past afternoon and early morning setting up my QuickPad; it's just basically a portable word processor that saves text, and then can be transferred to the computer. Runs off batteries, and has a long battery life. No internet distractions.I have had this for years, and decided to get it working again because I have been tempted to buy a similar processor new to the market: Freewite. However, it is very costly and I  have basically the same thing in this QuickPad: old school, but meant to be distraction-free writing for a rough draft.

Anyway, at least I am writing a blog post. What a horrific week with the school shooting down in Florida (Parkland school). I can't imagine if I'd  had to worry about a nutcase shooting up the school when I was in class (had enough to worry about with the domestic violence in my own home!). I don't usually write about political matters, but I don't think anyone needs an assault weapon that can fire repeatedly in bursts. My opinion is that regardless of the politics, we need a strong gun law preventing sales of weapons that are designed only to kill as many as possible as fast as possible. The shooter in Florida was shooting only a few minutes and killed 17 and wounded 14. THAT is unacceptable in our society.

And then there's the issue of mental illness. We just don't do anything about it, no matter how many are killed. Just like gun control, not happening.

I have to say that I am glad I didn't have children in this extremely violent, angry, nasty society we are living in. Not every country, but frankly, the gun violence is out of control here. Thing is, unless the younger generations step up to the plate and change this, it will only get worse. I don't know what it is going to take to effectively change such an environment, but not the current political climate of meanness and vindictiveness. Sigh.

What else? I am in a writing slump. I got stuck with "Cruel Blue Nowhere" -- can't get the ending right. Have written various endings, but I'm stumped. Never had this happen, and it's caused me to just quit. (Partly why I'm writing on this gadget, just to get some words out there.)

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Saturday Noon

I've been reflecting on why I am not writing, and decided it is partly because I don't want the emotional havoc of fiction. When you create characters, especially characters with conflict and problems (necessary for plot/storyline), then you really are invested emotionally in their lives. A lot like real people, either family or friends. And since I live alone, cherishing solitude, I love the peace that comes with not being deeply invested in other peoples' lives emotionally. Maybe this is why the older you get, at least past 65+, you begin to withdraw from others. Enjoying the peace and calm of life instead of frantic, sometimes futile, emotional turmoil that comes with caring deeply for others. I'm sure this is a component of my difficulty in getting back into fiction writing. Alas, in the past two years I've written several novels, and even one that has sold very well. I still do this, but not sure it's something I want to do on a daily basis. IF I ever finish the novella I'm working on now, I may try writing short stories -- or works of 20,000 words or less. Not as much time/investment as 50,000 word novels. Do writers ever retire?!

I thought about trying to establish correspondence with someone, which would motivate me to at least write. Or perhaps I could try non-fiction and even essays for awhile, something to change the pace? Possibly.

Hate February -- my husband died at the end of this month twelve years ago. Always a pervasive sadness and sense of loss this time of year. And forty-eight years ago my dad also died in the same month. For years our family had nothing but bad events during February, to the extent we called it a family curse. Finally had a run of about ten years when nothing bad happened, then late husband died. Just keeping fingers crossed nothing occurs this year.

Oddly warm so far, strange for February; weather has been a rollercoaster all over the world. Climate change, no doubt.

A few weeks ago, I had an eerie experience. I  walked out on the back-porch around 7:30 and looked up into the overcast sky and saw four circles of light surrounding a bright center light. The four lights would rotate around the center light several times, then merge with the center light. It seemed to be just above the clouds. I live in town, but there's no kind of event with spot-lighting that would have caused that. Completely silent. It went on for at least 45 minutes, and I tried to get a video of it on my cellphone and tablet, but neither would capture it. Anyway, just wanted to make note of that. I have never seen anything like it, although when late husband and I lived at the small farm, I saw strange lights (and streaks of lights) captured by my camera the month before he died. I didn't see those beforehand, rather they showed up in my pictures.

My life, I'm sure, appears boring -- but that translates to content. Have a doctor appointment at the end of the month, the usual tests/medication refills. Then dental checkup and eye exam; really need new glasses! Not looking forward to all that either.

The dogs are thriving, for which I'm glad. I bought senior vitamins and glucosmine treats for Rambo; he's thirteen. I rescued him from the local animal shelter at one year old...a few months after husband died. He is in good health for a senior dog, and I want to keep it that way via nutrition as long as possible.

And with that, I'm outta here.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year's Day Thoughts

Let's see, 2017 was a so-so year. Nothing major happened, no illness, though my bunion continues to cause problems. I published four novels, the last one based on a kidnapping in a nearby county. Lots of fictional changes, of course, but of my longer novels and the genre I like best: crime/mystery. Alas, I have more readers for my supernatural suspense, particularly ghost stories. So I'm currently about 3/4 into the rough draft of a ghost story set in a cryonics facility. Hope to get the rough draft finished in a couple weeks, though the final novel for publication will take longer.

In the meantime, my dogs are thriving. Rambo came through surgery to remove a large lump on his side a few months ago, and is now back to his usual "guard dog" status! Muffin still prefers a soft cushion. Still feeding stray cats, and this frigid spell has me worried about them. I do have a pet door in my garage, and several bedding areas with a heat-light in there. Not sure if any go in at night, but I have seen a couple in there during the day. I hate this kind of weather, especially hard on arthritis -- teens at night, not even reaching 35 during the day. If I was the moving kind, I'd head to Florida because the older I get, the more difficult cold weather is for me.

I'm 66 now, with all the accompanying aches and pains associated with aging: arthritis, foot issues, joint problems, etc. I should be thankful I haven't had worse health problems, but up until a couple years ago, I was faithful in exercising. Either walking miles a day, or biking, and prior to that a ski machine, and bike machine. Aerobics was a part of daily life, and I think that is why my lungs are so strong. There's a medical apparatus that measures lung capacity, and the few times I've had it used, the nurse would always say 100 percent. And then she'd say, "You never smoked, did you?" And true, I never did.

But the bunion/toe problems have caused lack of exercise, not to mention continuing back issues with herniated discs. I'm one of those people who will do things I really shouldn't, like raking and blowing leaves this past fall which irritates my joints and feet. I've considered downsizing to a condo, but there are only four condo developments in this city (seriously need more!) and the initial price is high, then there's quarterly fees. And you still have to be responsible for plumbing, ac/heat units, electricity and all interior troubles. As it is now, my house has long been paid for, and the tax/insurance is not too expensive. I do hire lawn-mowing, but my yard is small enough that it isn't too costly.

When I moved back here in 2010, I swore I would never move again. It's even recorded in this blog how happy I was to get back "home," since me and my late husband lived here 30 years prior to moving away for five years. I came back alone, but this house has always seemed like home. I grew up only a few blocks away, so that might be why. This is where I wrote all my past novels, and I guess as a writer, I'm a bit superstitious that this is the place where my creativity flourishes. At any rate, I seriously think my next move will be to assisted living if I should live long enough. I keep saving for that possibility, but then again, I've always been a thrifty saver, not a spender.

Alas, that is about all the roundup from 2017.

Goals for 2018? To keep writing, maybe do more promotion since I did very little the past year. On the other hand, I don't want to force myself to write -- that becomes stressful and takes all the joy out of creative writing. Maybe write blog posts more often.

I'll close with a poem I found at a friend's blog, obviously showing how little life and the world changes regardless of the year:

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Current state of my life

What's new?

I finished my latest novel and it's now at Amazon. Here's a link: Lonesome Moon Road I am planning a promo Dec. 26-29, and will reduce the current price, $2.99, to .99 during that period. Thought readers who get new Kindles for Christmas might be looking for novels at that time.

I'm now researching for another ghost story, but not sure if that is the only theme. I have been fascinated by cryonics for some time, and what better place to set a ghost story than in a building where bodies/heads of the deceased are contained in liquid nitrogen, frozen for preservation? It's just creepy in some indefinable way, but as usual, I am sure my protagonist WILL define the eerie atmosphere.

My working title is "Nowhere." Protagonist is a security guard at this facility, and though the setting/company has some aspects of the real places, I've created an entirely fictional company in a location (mountains of Colorado) where no such place exists. Or at least that is where I'm at now in background/setting info. There is so MUCH that goes into writing even a novella and/or novel before the author ever begins the actual story. Not that I'm complaining; I love research, but have to restrain myself at some point or I would never tell the story!

In other news, life goes along smoothly. I've been battling the fallen leaves, but just about finished for this year. The battery-blower I have has helped, but I still raked leaves too. I am feeling well, physically; but one never knows. People my age are dropping like flies, so it's best to be prepared.

On that note, between writing projects, I spent a couple weeks sorting/shredding old photos that I hadn't looked at in ages. I did keep some, but whittled those down to a small box. If I should move to a condo, that would be one less mess to cart with me. I try to live light, keeping possessions to those needed/used. After spending months clearing out my late husband's many, many possessions, I vowed never to leave behind unfinished business. Therefore, I remain vigilant.

My dogs are doing well. I have started taking them to a nearby small park, which isn't too hard on my knees/bunion. Still haven't decided on bunion surgery, though my foot hurts when I do a lot of walking and/or standing. And my spinal issues are always an ongoing problem -- but as with arthritis, some of this is just aging. Not sure surgery and/or medical intervention can fix that!

And that is it for now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Medicare -- not what you think it is!

So, resuming where I left off in the last post: I had an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. No x-rays, no MRI; he just told me I needed a soft cushion. Could buy a nice gel cushion on Amazon.


Thank goodness I have Medicare with a good private insurance medigap policy (176.00 a month), so the visit didn't cost me anything. He did look at my toes, and agreed with the podiatrist -- surgery needed for the bunion and big toe correction. Still no firm plans on that, even though my bunion/toe continue to hurt, which prevents long walks, or any prolonged standing. No wonder people gain weight in their 60s; body starts failing, can't exercise! Jeez.

Speaking of Medicare, the Part D drug policies are truly perplexing. There's about ten pages of legalese that has to be deciphered, and at the end of it all, the fact is that there's so many "Tiers" for each drug it's mind-boggling. Also, different status regarding which "phase" you are in with the Part D government/insurance partnership. It's totally ridiculous. I paid $69.00 a month this year, and never met the deductible of $333.00 the entire year (so far). I'm definitely changing insurers for next year, and since it's open enrollment, I'm up to my eyeballs in trying to figure out which is better for me. Frankly, might as well get a crappy, CHEAP policy since the deductibles won't be met unless you have catastrophic issues. And even then, after about $4,000.00 you hit the doughnut hole, which means NO drug coverage at all for the next $5,000.00 even if  you have a great policy.

Let me simplify: the middle men of insurance take their cut off the top, which hikes up rates and coverage for individuals. Yes, even on Medicare (at least for Part D and medigap). Now if you are in the lowest low of income, less than $30,000.00, you might qualify for some assistance with drugs, but not me. Not that my income is sky-high, just over that critical barrier. And last year my novels sold well, which created a nightmare for my taxes.

Alas, I digress.

Medicare = Not as good as I thought.

End of rant.