Live Through Us at The Burrow


July 2015

The Day From You-know-where

Today started at 12:01AM, when I had to drive down my drive in my robe to find my boy’s dog.  Whenever he goes away for the night, Gizmo runs off.

I then got up early and tried to fix and eat a breakfast before beginning my VERY busy day, including:

  • set up author webpage
  • set up publishing company
  • bake and decorate cake for tomorrow
  • get food ready for tomorrow
  • plan release date for Anya
  • schedule activities until then

So, while doing the above, I also had to add:

  • renew truck tags
  • look into tax info and business license info and sales tax info and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t think about
  • clean off desk and deal with unanswered mail/bills/etc


So, while cleaning off the desk and doing research and buying my author’s domain name, I started baking the cake.  No big deal really.  Until…

The handle to the whisk breaks, during my last few strokes of a completed batter, spilling dirty dishwater, glue bits, and dirt that had been up in there all into my cake batter.


I started over.  The cake is now done.  It’s a sheet cake for a Tardis design, but it’s too short.  So I may have to make another one to go on top.  I found the paper to renew the tags, and my dad and husband are on their way back to grab it and do my shopping for food tomorrow and renew the tags for me.

However, I still can’t get my new webpage up and running.  No matter what I try, it’s not working.

I can only hope this day gets better because I’m running out of hair to pull. 🙂

Copyrighting that novel

So I’ve decided to self-publish a novel.  My views have changed slightly from what they were before.  Some of this is due to the time I have spent since then studying the industry, agents, publishers, and editors.  I’ll give you one or two things I’ve learned, and then move on.  For one, you’re expected to do your own marketing.  Pretty much all of it.  You may have a budget and guidance that you most certainly don’t have self-pubbing, but the work is still there.  There are many many perks to traditionally publishing your novel, don’t get me wrong.  Wish I were one of those on their acceptance wagon.

Or do I?

They will rewrite your novel to fit their cookie cutter first novel mentality.  I had no problem with this on most of my work, but on this one I do.  A few of the “must have” items in their first novel list will ruin my story.

There are fads to follow.  I’ve never been one to do that.  If your story hits the right fad at the right time, yippee!  Otherwise, forget it.  And btw, these fads are not always with the readers.  Readers don’t read what agents and publishers do.  They read what they want to.

So, the reason for this post:


Writers are told to never copyright their work, that it makes you look like an amateur.  Really.  Did you know that even though your work is copyrighted the moment you write it, that copyright protection will not hold up in court?

So, as soon as your book is done, and before you self-publish it, you might want to copyright it.  But what if it’s part of a series?  I’ll get to that.  I talked to a lawyer.  They wanted $250 an hour.  OK.  But it doesn’t take an hour, let alone two, to copyright material.  I did it in 30 minutes for $35.  Click on “register a product”.  Now, you can upload your novel and be done in a snap!  You will have to register with a crazy password, username, test question, etc.  You will have to provide all sorts of info.  You can also include your pen name.  If your work is being published under a pen name (mine is) then you can include that.  (There’s a separate box for it, so please register under your legal name.)  You can include other people that can discuss it. If your work is still untitled, that’s OK.  If your work is part of a series (mine is) then you can include the series name (or untitled) as part of the first book’s registration.  Cool, huh?  It’s all there.  There is no reason to go looking for these things.  All the items I mentioned are part of the walkthrough process.

But you can NOT include many items like multiple authors, borrowed works, etc.  So, be sure to read the fine print every time and read it well!


Up next-that contract with your illustrator for cover art.

The Hornets of The Burrow

I don’t know if I’ve talked about this or not, but bees love my husband.  It doesn’t help that he’s blind.  The first year we were here, a Mexican hornet stung him right on the nose.  It did not go well.  But to this day my dad gets the giggles every time he’s reminded of it.

So, the other day, Dad’s out working on the truck.  He was in the bed of it.  The fifth wheel trailer was attached, and he was fiddling with that or something.  He heard a noise.  A buzzing noise.  He seemed to think he might want to get out of the truck.  Hornets started to fly past.  Not great big nasty hornets, but still, hornets.  He ran inside and told us what he had found.

hornet nest

As you can see, they were right where he had been working.  It’s a miracle he hadn’t been stung!  When they settled down, we went out to get rid of them.

Dad showed us the nest


Arlis stood at a “safe” distance.


And then we proceeded to attack the nest with a hornet spray-


This is what we use.  Now, and this is very important, buy the commercial version.  The other does not work as well.  Be sure to buy the commercial version like I have linked to above.

Here is a video of us spraying.  (Does everyone hate the way they sound on video?  Or is it just me?)

I am reminded of – “I’m gonna poke it with a stick!  It’s angry!  It’s angry!”  Too funny!

And here’s a really good pic of the inside.  You can even see a larva hatching! (Click to enlarge)

inside a hornet's nest

It was dead the next day, so we knocked it down.  Welcome to our world 🙂

The Burrow goes to see a movie

Doing anything with my family is an adventure. For those just joining in, I live with my legally blind husband, 11 year old son (he’ll be 12 soon), and 72 year old father with the memory of a sieve. Everything we do as a family is an adventure. For example, when we first moved here, my husband got stung on the end of his nose by a Mexican hornet. My dad laughed so hard, he claimed we were trying to kill him.

So tonight, we wanted to go to a movie. Before going, we decided to watch “One Foot in the Grave“, a British comedy with Richard Wilson, you know, Gaius from Merlin.  It’s hysterical.  So Arlis starts laughing.  And when he laughs hard enough, he tootles.  I threatened to get him a cork.  He told me what he thought of my attitude.  The show ended.  We went to watch San Andreas.

We were half an hour early, so we bought 59 cent sundaes at mcdonald’s and ate them in the theater’s parking lot.  We were still on time, but my husband, as usual, eats at the same pace as a ShopVac.  Therefore, he got the hiccups.  We’re talking high pitched, loud, often, hiccups.  Dad got tickled.  I started laughing, choking on my ice cream.  Every time I thought it was safe, I took another bite.  I was wrong.  I wound up blowing snot out on accident.  Arlis had to search the car for a tissue, while hiccuping, and telling my dad to stop laughing so I don’t make a bigger mess.

He found the tissue, I got cleaned up, we finished eating, and went to buy tickets.  I waited by the car for Marcus.  Dad and Arlis went to buy tickets.  Halfway down the parking lot I heard it.  Hic!

We came to see San Andreas, remember?  Now I knew the show was going to be hokey, but we didn’t go for the plot line.  We went to watch the buildings fall.  It was awesome.  But the plot line was ridiculous.  We tried to be courteous.  We snickered as silently as possible and kept our sarcastic remarks to ourselves or whispered them during loud scenes to each other.  But when the pontoon broke through the window on the high rise (btw, those are bullet proof and pretty tough) we laughed out loud uncontrollably.  It was at this point that I feared the worst.  Thankfully, my fears did not show themselves to be truthful.

So in the car on the way home, we got to talking and laughing at the film.  And each other.  Although mainly Arlis.  And then I mentioned how I was just glad he didn’t get the tootles while laughing the theater.  Or the hiccups.  Or worse, both.  I could see it now-

“DAD!  Dad, I love you!”

“Don’t worry darling!  I won’t let you die!”


Of course, cheesy scenes make up laugh, so after the hic would be-

Ha! Ha! Ha!  Fart! Hic!

Ha! Ha! Ha!  Fart! Hic!

Dad started laughing.  I reminded him of the first time I heard him laugh that hard was with the hornet.  He laughed harder.

We made it home.  Everyone’s alive.  No more hiccups, but an overall hysterical evening.


The Demolition Derby

I had first heard about demolition derbies when I was in college.  From what I heard, it sounded like two people trying to beat each others cars senseless.  But it’s not.  It’s a group of people trying to beat each others cars senseless.

I went to my first demolition derby last year.  I had an attack at the time, so it’s just now getting posted, sorry.

First everybody drove by to have their cars checked.  They have certain regulations they have to follow.


Some of these cars are downright hilarious!


Then the pounding begins!

demolition derby


Video footage of the 8-cylinders

Once your car will no longer function-


It’s time to get the heck out of dodge!


The last one standing is declared the winner.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Everyone else gets removed however they have to do it, usually by bulldozer 🙂


Then came the next round.  It was with 6 cylinders.  Now, I mean no disrespect to these people, but it was like watching my grandmother do this in her old Honda Civic.  In fact, I think I may have seen one there.


This video shows what I mean, but hey, at least you get “fire” with this one, right?

Then was the lawnmower derby.  That what?  You heard me.

They also go along to showcase and get inspected.  *snicker*


Yeah-I’m pretty sure I’d have bars around my legs too!


And then they fight.

Then again, maybe they don’t


Ramblings on a windy day-or Updates for the curious

It’s pretty gusty today.  Of course it usually is here.  Marcus is researching a science assignment, and I’m writing, waiting for him to get done.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me for updates on my book Anya.  Maybe this post will help reassure and answer some of those questions.

Right now, I’m writing the second book in my Anya series. (And so far, it’s pretty awesome.  You’ll love it!)  I spend every day, Monday-Friday on it.  The first book was my first full length novel, and I learned a lot of things.  While I was writing it, I kept busy with contests, critiquing other works, and writing picture books.  I learned more than I thought there was to know.

So, you know the word counts of different genres, right?  What aspiring author doesn’t?  And all those other things writers are supposed to know like drafting queries and formatting synopses? (yeah, I know, I just lost most of you.  You probably have that same glazed look you get when I start talking about this to you in person.  But that’s OK.  Keep reading.)  But somehow, when you spend time writing, you organically learn more.  It’s not that someone gives you a magic cheat sheet that tells you everything.  Cause they don’t!  It’s that when you write something that’s 650 words long, you understand more about what the industry is looking for in their 650 word long manuscripts.  When you see the expectations of 50 agents and contests as opposed to just 12, and you see them over a process of many months, your brain puts them all together and tells you the major similarities (and differences).  And I’ll be honest, that’s as good of a description I can give it.  It’s just a “learn by experience” thing. (Sorry, I was hoping something profound would reveal itself to me. 🙂 )

But it’s not just the writing.  When you look up contests, editor and agent tweets, editor and agent blogs, you learn even more.  You learn that most of those “Get Published Now!” books and authors aren’t something you need to read.  You learn that the industry IS a great deal of luck and marketing, but that it has also changed considerably.  And quickly.  And constantly watching the internet helps in spotting those changes.

But I also learned about me.  I learned how I write, not how to write.  And I think that’s a major problem most new writers face.  They have no idea where to start.  And no class or worksheet or coverall formula is going to solve it for them.  You just have to dive in and do it.  Some things do help though.  This is what helped me the most.  And so now, as I sit and write my second novel, I continue to do a billion things at once (hence my hectic schedule).  But I’m not afraid anymore.  I don’t feel as lost or confused as I did the first time.  I feel in control of myself, my actions, and my book.  I know that no matter what happens, it’s OK.  I can keep writing.  I can keep making the stories and the characters that make others happy and keep me from losing my mind.  And even if no one wants to publish my book, I can self-publish it.

I know a lot of people have asked how or why, and they want to buy a copy of the first one and can’t wait to read the second one.  I just wanted to answer some of those questions and also tell you that yes, I fully intend to keep my promise of self-publishing Anya if no traditional publisher will.  And thanks again for all the encouragement you have given me!

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