First Draft Is Finished! Hooray!

First draft is pretty generous for what I’ve got but on this one I had to push through to the end before I could figure it all out. I still have a couple months before it has to go to beta readers and I’m going to need it. I have more [something clever will happen here] notes than I care to admit.

But I got through it. You should expect to hear more about a release date at the end of the summer.

Last weekend I nuked my Instagram account. Well, I didn’t delete but I deactivated it.

It was this story on Buzzfeed that convinced me to pull the plug. I have been enjoying it less for the reasons described but I also worry about privacy and the time suck. One more way not to follow me.

Today I had my yard barkdusted so it looks and smells amazing. It’s a chunk of change but makes my life easier in the long run. I had to speed weed a bunch of it before the guys came so I am moving slowly. One of the guys said I would sleep well tonight.

Arms of Steel

Turns out planting a tree in the middle of our lawn is harder than we thought. The lady at the nursery warned us that the ground would be hard at the end of the summer so we’ve been watering that spot all week.

Yesterday I did phase one and was quickly dismayed by how hard the ground was. It wasn’t impossible but it took a lot of effort. I dug up all the grass part (it may be dead but it’s a thick layer of root ball) and chopped up the dirt as best I could before my arms turned into noodles. I watered it again.

This morning did phase two and worked in a bunch of the soil conditioner and chopped away until it resembled a nice pile of dirt. Then I put that baby in.

This is supposedly a fast growing fig. We’ll see if it grows fast enough for me.

Summer Bounty Recipe and Free Book Promo

Someone needs classes on foods photography.

This is a recipe I found in a cookbook or magazine at my mom’s. I thought I had the original source but I can’t find it so this will be my adaptation. I thought I had a lot more squash but this was the last of it. When I was in CA visiting family people gave me huge bags of squash to bring home.

This is my best tomato crop in eons. I’ve already harvested more than I’ve had in the last 3 years and there are tons more on the way. Lesson learned: get plants that were made to grow in your area.

Here’s the finished product which looks terrible. Sorry! It’s delicious. If you like vegetables, this is a keeper. Also if you’re the kind of cook who likes precise instructions, this will be a disappointment.

End of Summer Vegetable Bake

1-2 onions, thinly sliced
Selection of zucchini and/or squash that you’re trying to get rid of, thinly sliced. Tossed with olive oil and thyme.
Selection of tomatoes that you’re trying to get rid, thinly sliced OR 14 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes
7 oz. can of fire roasted green chiles
Half a loaf of cotija cheese or any cheese that turns your crank, grated or cubed or crumbled.

Cook in large lasagna type pan unless you’re making a small version. Then use small lasagna type pan.

Saute onions in oil until limp and a little bit brown. Spread in the bottom of your dish.

Spread squash in a layer over the onions.

If you’re using the canned tomatoes: combine with the green chiles, drain a little bit, and spread over the squash.

If you’re using fresh, spread the chiles around and then layer the sliced tomatoes.

Finally, spread the cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for an hour to 75 minutes and let cool for a bit before you serve.

The first time I made it I was worried because the cheese turned so brown but it tasted amazing. Great as leftovers, too.

It’s a very adaptable recipe. I’ve used every kind of cheese depending on what I had on hand. The original recipe doesn’t use the green chiles and uses Parmesan. You can use a couple of cans of Rotel instead of the tomatoes and chiles.

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Berry Berry Good

This is my neighbor’s berry patch. It is so successful it hangs over into our yard. For some reason, he thinks this is an inconvenience to us. He encourages us to pick all we want. I picked a big giant bowl and I’m getting ready to bake a pie.

Book Two of the Crooked Rock books is finished. I have a week to tidy it up and smooth up the rough bits and then it goes to the editor. Still looking at a release date in September.

Squash Blossom

A couple of hot days and the garden is going nuts. I found this squash blossom this morning. Or maybe it should be called a gourd blossom?

I planted all kinds of squash/gourd seeds to see what happened. I have no idea what this is going to turn into.

I love picking the raspberries because they hide. You can pick a bowl and then go out fifteen minutes later and find more berries. I try to get out there once a day. We are picking slightly more berries than we can eat, a good problem to have.

The Apple Tree is Finished

This is a before photo of the apple tree. The apple tree was neglected for years. We started getting it pruned and magically, more apples came. They never tasted that great and they weren’t pretty, but I made applesauce every year and we were in compost heaven

The tree has looked a little poorly lately and I fretted about it a bit so this wasn’t a complete surprise. During the ice and snow I had an eye on it but you couldn’t tell from the house. You had to go outside. Fortunately, it didn’t destroy the fence.

Our neighbor wanted the applewood so we gave him some cash and he hauled it all off.

I’m taking it hard. Fruit trees are going into the ground, soon. Maybe.

I have finished a very not-pretty first draft of book #2 this afternoon. It’s due at beta readers in a month so I will be working like crazy to whip it into shape.

Spot the Snow Bunny

I’m still not used to seeing all this when I look out my windows. I had to go into work on Thursday and I wasn’t too happy about it but once I set out, it was a beautiful day. The commute was longer than usual but the views more than made up for it.

We lost the apple tree. I was worried about one branch coming down but the entire tree split in half and one half fell on the fence. I think the fence is going to make it but we need a new fruit tree.

Movie recommendation: Shaun the Sheep (2015). We watched this the other night and woke up in the middle of the night still giggling.

Book Report


This is the tomato of disappointment. I picked one on Friday and an identical one today. My tomatoes are pitiful this year.

I expect to have some fun book news in a couple of weeks.

We Have First Draft (Almost)


Garden report: This is the back garden which is loaded with pumpkins because I composted a big bowl of pumpkin seeds. Right now the yard is filled with gold finches who love the sunflowers. I have a couple of green tomatoes about the size of a grape. The beets are ready. We had company today and I made a huge potato salad from backyard potatoes.

I guess I forgot to post last week.

That’s probably because between job, drafting and life I am working about 70 hours a week and I’m frayed around the edges.

The first draft is at 71,000 and I need to go through about 8 more chapters plus check on one story thread before it goes off to the beta readers.

I *still* don’t have a title but I have a few ideas. I also still don’t have cover models but that’s a completely separate problem that I may elaborate on later.

I’m looking forward to hearing from my first readers and finalizing this draft and getting it out in the world.

I’m still on target for mid-October.

The List Machine


Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. And Happy Mother’s Day to all you non-mothers, too.

There is no special meaning to that image. I thought, oh hey, ball and chain. So clever for a romance writer. But I am now second guessing that.

I am still here and the new book is started. I will tease a little bit about it when I’m more sure of myself. I’m still getting my bearings on it.


How about a nice asparagus photo for clever?

I had a list of things I was going to write about today and I can’t find it. I also have updated photos of the garden and I can’t find those, either.

The greens grow so fast. We’ve already eat 2 giant bowls full and I just picked another this morning. I have so many volunteer tomatillos I can’t yank them fast enough. I started tomatoes on the windowsill. They look pretty spindly at this point. I don’t know how the garden store gets them to be sturdy. Hopefully just time. I have a couple of volunteer plants out there that I’m not sure what they are. Possibly pumpkin. The raspberry patch is looking promising.

There is so much work to do out there. I worked yesterday but I pooped out before I could finish anything major. I’m on my way back out there right now.