Live Through Us at The Burrow


April 2015

My First Writer’s Conference

I went to my first writer’s conference, the Southern Kentucky Book Fest and Writer’s Conference.  It was in Bowling Green, KY, so I had to stay in a hotel the night before.

I dressed all nice and stuff and took my first selfie-EVER!


I arrived quite early and spent my free time looking over the books available for signing by the attending authors.

They started with local books.


And then academic books.  (This one reminded me of my friend Shannon)



Then adult and YA.  I took pics of books I wanted to look later.  Here are a few.


It also included self-published titles.


And comic books, now called “graphic novels”.  Graphic novels are gaining in popularity and getting easier to publish traditionally.


There were even a few well known authors like Patrick Carman of The 39 Clues.  This book looked pretty cool to me.

IMG_20150417_083801 IMG_20150417_083813

And one of MY FAVORITE books of all time-Click, Clack, Moo  Cows That Type.  No seriously, favorite.  In fact, it was this book that inspired me to write my own picture book years ago.  It was horrible, but most first books are. 🙂


Few, if any, authors were there.  I went off to my classes.  Here is Allie Pleiter.  She writes inspirational romance and is a devote Christian.  We talked religion a little while later, and I really like her personally.  My favorite quote, “I don’t knit because I need the scarf.  I knit because it’s a socially acceptable form of fidgeting.”  Her class was awesome too.


I went to the restroom where there were the old fashioned areas for … resting.  (Yes, I know taking a pic in the bathroom is sick.)


When I finally had time to return, the authors were busy.  Too busy.   I had to snap this of the Click Clack Moo station before running off to the next class.


I had four classes over all.  This one was another good one.


Did I learn a lot?  Yes.  Was it because of the classes?  Not really.  I did learn some from the classes, but most of it was the experience of going, seeing a book signing, talking to other authors.  It left me with a fierce determination to keep writing.  I can’t wait to go to one as an actual author one day!

Food Museum-ancient grains

It’s time for another trip through weird food alley.

Previous Food Museum post Next post


Ancient grains?  Too many puns, not enough time.

ancient crackers

What will they stoop to next?

lucky hats

I’m sure coffee lovers would appreciate this.  But yeck!

caramel coffee

Orange cream pudding?

orange yogurt

This may look like chocolate syrup, but it’s not what you think.  It’s in pancake syrup form.  Ew.  And in a honey jar.  I can see bad things happening in the pantry.  Someone sees the bear, thinks it’s honey…

chocolate syrup

Please!  Stop with the pumpkin flavors!

pumpkin pop tarts

Anyone who has ever touched an actual flax seed, they’ll see the irony in this.

crunchy flax

What is up with the ancient grains?  Do people believe they were resurrected or something?  They’ve always been here.

ancient cheerios


And that’s it for this installment of weird food with Debby.  See you next time!

Writing Cave

On Friday’s, my child goes to a homeschool co-op.  It’s wonderful and great, but finding a table there can be difficult.  Today, I decided to scout out a different area.

This was my writing space:

old writing space

It was busy, and loud enough to turn into background noise.  Really loud background noise, but not a problem.  In fact, I got a LOT of work done on Friday’s.  The problem was finding a place to plug my laptop in.  At this point, I’m still using it for Anya and need it to work.  The outer tables, for unknown reasons, always fill up.  They’re never used until lunch, just full of people’s stuff until then.  So today, I found this:

dream writing space

This is used as a classroom after lunch.  So I have HOURS of quiet time to write.  I’m SO EXCITED right now!  Seriously.  So excited, in fact, I wrote this before starting.

Food Museum-fish jerky

When the ice storm hit, I got off schedule with our weird grocery “food museum”. I’m trying to get back on schedule now, so let’s get started!

Previous food museum post Next post

Now, I’m sure this is supposed to be hypoallergenic, but it looks like false advertising.  You know.  Free!

free laundry soap

This is, by far, the nastiest jerky OR fish.  Ever.  No, seriously.  Truly gross.  I love salmon.  I love jerky.  But just a small opening of this bag made the entire passenger list in the car want to puke.  We quickly rolled down the windows and each took a VERY tentative bite.  And immediately regretted it.

salmon jerky

Mediterranean Mexican?

olive crackers

Buffalo shrimp?

buffalo shrimp

I personally like carrot cake.  But I can pretty much guarantee that anyone eating an energy bar, doesn’t.

carrot cake bar

BBQ rice???  Ew.

bbq rice

All puns aside, the thought of cream cheese and oreos is not my idea of a good thing.

oreo balls

That’s it for this episode of weird food from the Food Museum.  Stay tuned for next time!

Interview With an Author: Shelby Bach

I’m so excited! One of my favorite authors, Miss Shelby Bach, is letting me blogview her.  Whoa, “blogview”, that’s new. I just made a new word. Quick, make it viral!

I originally got into her writing from the Knoxville library. I then read up on her original blog, and then the new one. Her blog taught me more about the writing business than anything else. It was greatly inspiring, so I view this blogview as a real honor.

Back to her books. The Ever After Series –

(not to be confused with the Ever After High series that came out later) has a NEW BOOK coming out!!! Of Enemies and Endings.

It is the fourth and final book of the series, and here’s what she has to say about it.


ME: Thank you for letting me do this, Shelby.  This is really exciting for me!

SHELBY:  Of course, Debby! I would be happy to do an author interview with you. And thank you for asking!

ME: So what can you tell us about the last Ever Afters, Of Enemies and Endings?

SHELBY: Five things come to mind:

  1. It’s the longest book in the series, and it was probably the hardest to write. It also may be my favorite book I’ve written so far.
  2. It has some of the saddest and the happiest moments in the series, so be prepared.
  3. The story begins the day before Rory’s fourteenth birthday.
  4. It doesn’t have an epilogue, but the last chapter contains strong hints about what happens after the novel ends.
  5. I hope everyone likes it!

ME: When is it set to release?

SHELBY: June 30, 2015! Pub day is sneaking up on me. 🙂

ME: I read that the title for your last book was actually made by a fan.  Are any of your other books titled that way, or just the one?  Do you plan to implement that in any future writings?

SHELBY: No, Of Enemies and Endings is the only book named by a reader…so far. I would totally be open to a reader naming the book again though!

ME: How did that come about anyway?

SHELBY: It happened pretty organically. Soon after I announced the title for Of Sorcery and Snow, a few readers started guessing what Book 4 might be called on my website’s discussion boards. I read them, loved them, and send them on to my editor when it was time to name the last book—along with a few I’d brainstormed on my own. Of Enemies and Endings was the one everyone at S&S liked the most! 🙂

ME: I also read that you actually wrote several novels before Of Giants and Ice.  Can you tell us about those?  Were they good practice, or do you think you’ll ever try and publish one?

SHELBY: I did! I can’t see myself trying to publish them, so those seven novels are just good practice. But I often steal ideas from the writing I did in my youth. For example, I started a Sleeping Beauty retelling in middle school. I never finished it, but I recycled the premise and used it in Of Enemies and Endings. So, all that practice is also a good resource. 🙂

ME: What do you plan to do now that The Ever Afters are over?  Any future books in the making?

SHELBY: I’ll definitely write more books, but I don’t currently have any manuscripts in the works. The Ever Afters series was a project that lasted five and a half years, and it took up a lot of real estate in my mind. For the past few months, I’ve been in an exploring mood—both reading-wise and writing-wise.

ME: What would you have done if Of Giants and Ice didn’t get published?  Would you have self-published?  Given up?  Got a full-time job and written on the weekends?

SHELBY: If no publishers were interested in Of Giants and Ice, I probably would have shelved the project, written a new manuscript, and tried again. (I knew early on that I’m not good enough at self-promotion to try self-publishing.) But later, I probably would have revised OG&I and resubmitted it. In college, I learned this awesome story about the power of rewriting: Jane Austen originally wrote both Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice in her late teens. They weren’t published until she reworked them roughly a decade after she finished the first draft, and now, two hundreds years later, they’re classics—both in book and film formats.

ME: Is there anything else you want to tell your fans?

SHELBY: Thank you so much for reading and supporting The Ever Afters series!! Of Enemies and Endings was a tough book, and I don’t think I could have finished it without your enthusiasm and all-around awesomeness. You’re the best!

ME:  Thank you so much, Shelby.  This has been a real treat.  🙂

So there you have it folks! If you haven’t tried Of Giants and Ice yet, then you definitely need to. You can purchase both paper and electronic form from Amazon below, or visit your local bookstore. And of course, check your local library.

// //

You can also pre-order Of Enemies and Endings here:




Spring means new flowers.

red tulips

It also means new calves. red bull

Meet Bug-a-boo, the latest edition at The Burrowbug-a-boo


Cute as can be!

working calves

And his proud mother, Hope.  Hope’s come a long way.  She trusts us to handle him without her now.  She’s a very watchful mother.

newborn calf

And amazingly enough, at three weeks, he’s trying to graze.

Me and My PC

I finally got my new PC running.  Although I’m pretty mad that Live Writer isn’t installing, so I’m having to use the default on WordPress.  It’s annoying.

So, by now you’re aware of the death of my PC.

dead computer

While it tanned naked in my living room, my laptop served as central command.  During this time, many activities went on hold.  Including school.  Once the files on the laptop ran out, I had to wait for the new one to get fixed before continuing school.  I’m transferring the files now.  School continues tomorrow.  He’s not happy.  I’m thrilled to get back to normal!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This morning, I was delivering baby banana trees, and UPS arrived, with my goods.


That is one sweet motherboard.  An MSI 970 Gaming.  Now, I didn’t get it for the gaming aspect.  I got it b/c it’ll last forever, has the specs I want, and will upgrade for years to come.


It even came with a nifty little sticker for the side of the tower.  (I used an old ATX we found out in the shed.)


It also came with a door hanger.  Of course, being a responsible adult, I’ll never use this.  But it’s still funny.


Everything came with a sticker.  Even the RAM.


This was the first time I bought RAM with a plastic sleeve over it.  Thinking it a protection, it’s actually a cooling mechanism.


I still had 512MB RAM on the front porch.  Coming from programming BASIC during the days of tape decks for floppy disks, this is all just really cool to me.


I also had never bought a video card with its own cooling fan either.  I still remember when graphics cards came out, then DirectX, then…  Anyway, this blasted computer has more fans than my house!


Now the chips haven’t changed much.  An AMD-FX 4300.  (regular, not black)

amd-fx 4300

I also used a cooler with copper tubing for the first time.  These things are crazy big.  I bought thermal paste and everything, only to have the CPU come with its own heatsink with thermal paste already on it.  It was simply generic, so I’m happy I bought a new one.  The new one also came with paste, but I’ll use it eventually, right?

installing heatsink

There is one concern.  It’s so big, it’s hitting my RAM.  So far, it hasn’t been a problem, but I still worry.

cooling space

Now here’s the really cool part.  When I booted up, here’s the bios screen.

msi 970 motherboard

Sweet isn’t it?  See the strip of icons near the top?  Those are the boot sequence.  Just drag and drop to assign what order to boot the drives in.  SWEET!!  You can also decide max CPU temp, fan temps, make different “users”/settings.  I’ve never been a fan of overclocking, but you can do that too.  I choose not to.  And one last cool thing, the “Board Explorer” on the bottom right has a pic of the motherboard.  You can hover over its parts and it tells you stuff about it all.  Waaaay cool!!

msi 970 gaming bios

So, I now have the ability to blog again.  Whew!  And I have a billion posts lined up.  Hope I’m not too lazy to post them!

Editing My Book

Let’s do a quick recap. I plan to edit at least three times. (Each of these methods may include more than just one edit) Once on the computer. Once printed out. And once reading it aloud. What? Here’s why.

My brain works differently when viewing things different ways. Reading a physical book is more enjoyable to me than a digital one. It’s also completely different. So when I edit, I need to do it physically as well as digitally. That way I’ll catch more. Besides, I can do more physically with notes and colored pens and such. As far as reading aloud goes, you’ll catch things from reading aloud that you wouldn’t otherwise. Try it. Read this post aloud and see what happens. Print it out and see what happens. Not into this post so much? Try a favorite chapter of a book and see what happens.

editing your book

(This picture was just too poignant. I don’t have an editor, but that’s the way I feel sometimes.)

Editing for me is horribly difficult. It wasn’t at first. But that was when I had good writing and really just caught grammatical errors and mistypes. Now, it’s a chore filled with anxiety. As soon as I read the first sentence, a giant elephant sits on my chest and says, “You don’t want to do this. You’re rather scrub the bathroom, clean the chicken coop, do the dishes… ” You get the point. But I force myself to keep going.

When I wrote the first draft, I had to force myself to NOT edit. This is very common among writers, and I knew I needed to do it. See, editing while you write takes away precious time, and you never actually get the thing written. You just keep rewriting ch 3 or the fifth paragraph of ch 1. I’ve been there and done that before. So I placed a posty on my mirror that said, “It’s OK not to be perfect.” And I successfully wrote a whole draft. Imperfectly.

I have since removed said note. I don’t need it anymore. And besides, it’s not true now. It’s not OK not to be perfect now. I have to get it good enough that an agent will say, “I have to have this!!!” But I can’t do that in just one run through of edits. Not a chance. In fact, the first edit so far has been a great deal of plot adjustment and correctly aligning misalignments. I’ve had three chapter ones.  You know, like a problem that spanned over three chapter.  Crazy. I’ve deleted more than I can believe I allowed myself to do, and yet, my word count has grown by over 5000. My draft is measurably better. I am now ashamed of my first one, and don’t want others to see this one. It’s not done yet.

editing your manuscript

So what’s the problem? Why is it so hard for me? Is it because I’m stressing out how imperfect it is?

No. Not at all. I know I have at least two more edits to do, so I know it’s still not going to be perfect yet. What’s bothering me is that it’s not already perfect. Silly, I know. But I should read my first draft and be in awe with my awesomeness as a writer. Wow, seriously? Does anyone actually believe that?

So finally, after 10 chapters, yes 10, I remembered my posty. I remembered that I allowed myself to not be perfect the first time, that I knew and expected to change and improve it with future edits. It’s still a chore. I still cringe when I read half of it. But it’s easier now.

So if you’re having trouble editing, remember, it’s OK that you didn’t do it perfectly the first time. Or the second. And possibly even the third. You planned on fixing it later, so don’t worry that you’re having to do that now. Good luck with your writing!!

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: