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  • Christine Shuck

But First, We Step a Little Sideways

My life, like my writing, is not particularly linear in nature. There are jogs to the left and the right.


Kids.


Renovation projects.


Weather.


Illness.


I have learned to roll with the punches.


January was supposed to be the month that I "got back to writing." Then the plague of many faces was unleashed on our house. Covid, the flu, and just plain yuck. The baby was out of daycare more than he was in it. Which sucked for productivity.


February wasn't much better and then came March. And nice weather. And if you have been following me for any length of time whatsoever, you will know I'm a sucker for spring. I fall in love with my garden all over again. That is, until the really hot weather sets in and then can all go and die for all I care!


I am an unreliable gardener at best.


So right now, the biggest pulls to progress on Winter's Child are our foster care re-certification (this happens every two years and is a real bug-a-bear), and the super exciting news that our renovation of Cottage East is FINALLY starting!


We bought the house in 2017... for $2,000. Great deal, right?! Well, we also inherited a disintegrating wall, codes violations with the city, and $3,000 in back taxes. And it looked like this...

The view of Cottage East from our back porch. A wood frame house with a brick facade.

Ai carumba!


The codes violations meant we needed to do something, and fast, or risk ending up in court and having to pay fines. We decided that we would replace the roof, the windows, and get siding - all in one shot. But the siding folks wouldn't touch it without us first removing the bricks.


Okay...lol! So, uh, we removed the bricks for them. It wasn't HARD per se, but oh, what a mess...


The house really looked bad now! But once we had the sides off, the siding contractor we found was willing to handle the front and back brick removal and we were in business...


It wasn't without some drama and danger. During the removal of the bricks along the back of the house, part of the porch collapsed under the weight of the stacked bricks and one of the workers escaped falling six feet onto the brick pile below by diving through an open window.


We inspected the back porch later and it looks as if the part that is still intact was the original porch. At some point, it was expanded to the full width of the house, but whoever did it didn't properly tie in to the house. Yikes!


The codes violations went away. The property taxes were paid off and the house has sat for several years... waiting.


Waiting, it seems, for this year.


I guess I should have worn goggles.


We are taking it down to the studs. That's our focus for this spring. By May, we should have our funding in place and then the electrical, plumbing, insulation, HVAC, and so much more will happen.


I'm excited for this house. Not just that, but for the financial security it puts in place for us. With Cottage South, our house in Belton, a long-term rental. And Cottage East and West as short-term rentals, we hope to quickly pay off (within ten years) all mortgages.

Winter's Child

I'm almost there. Almost done. And, as is my way, doing my best to choke in the 11th hour. Winter's Child, when it is finally finished, is going to be good. I promise! I'm just neck-deep in distractions and doing my best to ignore The Liar. The one that tells me I don't write anything worth reading and other nasty stuff.


The Liar is loud, deprecating, and relentless.


Life imitates art, art imitates life - and Winter's Child is no exception. It touches on the disparaging internal voices we all have, while taking it a step further. Where is the line between sanity and insanity? At what point are the voices that hold us back the voices that also push us over the edge?


And when I think of it like that, is it any wonder I'm having trouble finishing?! Maybe the Liar doesn't want to be outted for the world to read about!


We are dialing down on the cover, which I am incredibly pleased with. I think it definitely depicts thriller, don't you?

Initial feedback has been positive. I really feel I'm on target with this cover! I'm waiting for my blurbist to whip me up the perfect book description for the back cover. Then I really won't have any good excuse for not finishing the book... right?!


The Moth Radio Hour

I no longer run a cleaning business, but our two short-term rentals keep me busy. And while I'm over there, fluffing pillows, washing laundry, and more, I've been listening to some great podcasts. The Moth Radio Hour is one of my favorites. I love the stories that are shared. I laugh, cry, and get all of the feels. I highly recommend it. And if you have a good podcast recommendation for me, send it along, I'd love to hear what you are listening to!


What Are You Reading?

I'm deeply invested in Jeremy Robinson's Refuge right now. It feels very much like some of Stephen King's writing. I also recently finished The Stepson, which felt very much like my work in progress. Usually, I avoid reading other books in the genre I'm currently writing in, but I broke with tradition. The jury is out on whether that was a good or bad idea. I also have My Perfect Daughter, another psychological thriller, is queued up and waiting for me to switch to writing romantic thriller or sci-fi next.


What about you? What are you reading? Do you have any recommendations for me?!

Find Me on Facebook

Join my group General Malcontent's Grumbles and Scribbles on Facebook and get plenty of weird memes, the opportunity to read my newest releases for free, pics of the family, and other author news. I look forward to seeing you there!

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