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Delays, False Spring, and...More Soup!

Delays, Delays, and More...

Dang, what is it about having a third child (and briefly 4th child) in the house? Or should I blame it on Covid?


January was a wash - filled with waves of illness being passed about like it was candy. And just when I thought February would be better... nope. If the baby isn't sick or testing positive for Covid, the teen has some nasty yuck she's struggling to get over.


Snow socked us all in the house for several days, but didn't cancel school, oh no. It was a work from home school day. That makes me feel old. Seriously. When snow shut down the school, it was time to grab the sled and head for a hill. But now? They assign homework and send Zoom links.


I guess I'm an old fuddy duddy, because I'm not a fan of it. Not at all.


I managed two days of writing last week before illness and snow, teacher in-service days and a holiday all conspired to prevent any more words from ending up on the page. I could write non-fiction non-stop with kids running about, but not fiction, not a chance.


Despite thinking I would finish Quit Your Job, Change Your Life, I realized I really wanted to finish Winter's Child, so I dove in, only to be thwarted. Let the gnashing of teeth be heard in all quarters.


And this week, despite being a short four day week held promise. That is, until the daycare called and said our sweet baby boy was running a fever a mere two hours after arriving. He's likely teething, but poor boy, he's miserable!

Don't Have Time to Read?

Listen to the audiobook instead! I've added G581: The Departure to YouTube just for you! Listen to the entire book for free! More will be coming in the months to come. Many of them will be using AI voice. This allows me to get them up and available in a relatively expedient manner.


False Spring

The image below is extremely accurate for Missouri. I am not entirely sure we are in 3rd winter or (heaven help us) 2nd winter, but yeah, I was wearing sandals on Monday. Today, wearing anything less than a parka is a fool's errand.

I'm really proud of the fact that I managed to make it all of the way through January, and most of February before saying...


Can it please be spring now???!!!!


I'll tell you, I'm getting too old for this. I wanna move back to California!

Seafood Chowder - Yum!

Pay no attention to Baby Shark. He is feeling extra grumpy as he continues to cut his teeth, poor little man. His sad little face does not properly represent the yumminess of the soup recipe below!


As the temps outside went from nearly 70 degrees on Monday to the frigid 20s yesterday and now single digits today, soup was definitely in order. My family doesn't particularly enjoy seafood chowder, not even my normally open-minded foodie husband, so I'll likely be eating this all myself. Poor me! lol!


This is so easy to make. In fact, I didn't really follow any established recipe, I just...slapped it together. Oh my, but it is perfect on this cold winter's day!


Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin

2 large potatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

6 cups of water

2 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon fish base (I used clam base, but the two base are interchangeable in my opinion)

1 bag (1 pound) frozen seafood mix (shrimp, calamari, bay scallops, mussels)*

2 cups heavy cream

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

1/2 tsp parsley

1/4 cup flour

*make sure they are already peeled and free of shells


Directions:

Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil in bottom of stock pot until onion is translucent.


Add water, clam base, and potatoes and boil for ten minutes or until potatoes are cooked.


Add the heavy cream, butter and seasonings. Ladle out two cups of the broth, and whisk the flour into it then add it back in. Add the seafood mix. Cook for five more minutes.


If you want the seafood a bit smaller and the soup thicker, use an immersion blender. I think it brings the pieces down to a smaller size and I like the consistency.

Writing Progress

A view of Winter's Child manuscript in Scrivener. I have a total of 28 chapters (well, 27 and an epilogue) outlined. Right now my high school teachers are gasping in shock. I hated outlining in school, I thought it sucked donkey butt.


Right now, I've written 82,570 words in the project and it's feeling good. I'm on the right track. I estimated that I would be writing a 90,000 word book, but it looks like I was a little off. At present, I've completed all but six chapters. And considering each chapter is around 3,000 words, I might end up at around 100k, possibly a little more.


Thanks to help from my nurse friends, I will be able to finish the hospital scenes and thanks to a friend of a friend in Australia, I've found the perfect house as my setting for the climax of the book. At 2,000 words per writing day, I expect another nine, possibly ten solid days of writing should finish this book.


Now I just need to find those ten days!

Large Print - all the way

I've decided to jump in and make sure that all of my books are available in large print versions on Ingram Spark. Libraries seem to really like large print versions for their aging and visually impaired audiences and who am I to say "no"?


Also, I was surprised to notice that the large print paperback version of Get Organized, Stay Organized was selling at larger numbers than the regular paperback was. That tells me a lot. And I had to ask, why not offer all of my books in large print? The more who have a chance to read them, the better!


I'll be adding them as I can. It takes a bit of formatting and time (read hours upon hours) per book to get them ready but I think it will be a worthwhile endeavor. Going forward, I'll incorporate large print editions into my regular publishing schedule.

New Book Covers

I can hear you now. "What, again?"

Yep. Again.

Until I get it right.

I'm learning to research the look of the genre thoroughly these days. And the image above tells potential readers a lot more than the image below.

See what I mean?


Go check out the top 100 bestsellers for dystopian/post-apoc fiction and you will see it for yourself. I have the cover designer working on the 2nd and 3rd books in the series too. I have already seen a difference in sales just having The Storm up with the new cover. People know what they are getting now and are more willing to click the buy button. Marketing isn't easy, but I'm learning.


After he's finished with the re-covers for all three War's End books, I'm going to have him dive into a cover for Winter's Child. Hopefully I'll have the manuscript ready for editing by then!

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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