Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update on my Injuries

The pain is down, I can walk inside without a cane and I'm back to work - all good signs.

The swelling - well that's still an issue, I can't wear a shoe. More than half my foot is green and black, the broken toe is purple.

Scary thought, I may not be able to wear 'real' shoes for a long time. There is more damage to the arches that I realized. The front arch is flat and the side arch is half it's old height. I tried to wear a slipper this morning, that did not work.

The horses all call to me. Oppie has come over to the car a couple of times.

I'm getting really frustrated. I want to be healed all ready.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

ABNA Update

Well, this is day two of having my preview posted on Createspace.com preview board. The preview board allows 1000 views before the work is retired. I think it would take a couple of years to get that many.

I have 5 ratings and 29 views. Overall, "Lunch" rates 4 stars.

I believe that every person who has reviewed my work has a review from me. I've gotten some very nice feedback. Not sure if I should post it here because of copy-write laws, I think Createspace owns the content of the boards.

There are some interesting people on the ABNA boards. But there is a vast number of people posting. It's hard to tell who knows their stuff and who doesn't.

I shall continue to monitor and report back.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Short Update for ABNA

I've had my preview up only one day, had 21 views and 3 reviews.

I've also made a half-dozen reviews for others. The review format is a whole lot more limited than what I'm used to dealing with on Forward Motion.

I have an inkling what agents and publishers are going through when they open their 'slush' piles. You never know what you are going to get.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Preview is up on ABNA

I posted my preview for "Let's Do Lunch" on Amazon.com ABNA.

https://www.createspace.com/pub/member/create.preview.do?id=1054718

So that's my first public publication for "Lunch" we shall see if I get any reviews. There have been 7 views as of this morning, and no reviews. This appears to be typical of Createspace.com as I've been reading and not commenting much myself.

I'll get going on my reviewing, see if I can generate any interest.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

He Broke my Fraking Foot!

With my apologies to Battlestar Galactica for stealing the 'cuss' word. But I'm in pain!

Ned the idiot, my 16 hand 2 inch thoroughbred gelding stomped on my right foot tonight and smashed my foot and broke my little toe.

I just started a new job now I'm laid up!

I had to call a girlfriend to take me to the ER. I had to call my hubby home from a conference. Call my new boss at home. Call my parents and my sister for help with the horses this week. (Most likely the next six weeks.)

I forgot to pick up crutches and I'm terrified that I'll puke up the pain meds.

I can't walk and I work on the 3rd floor of a building with no elevator.

Murphy's Law strikes again.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Musings about the Amazon Contest

I've been fishing around in the Amazon forums, and reading postings and previews. I've seen an article that likens the contest to "Survivor" or "Idol" and justifies the comparison. I'll reserve judgment on that for now, see if the contest has improved over the last two years. I'll bet it has, Amazon is a giant company, they can afford to kaizan a process until it works.

I know 4 other people who entered, two in Bards Corner, two from Forward Motion. I know the quality of work that I posted wasn't up to snuff. I did a panic edit and cut my first chapter in half without time to edit, so there are rough spots.

What have I learned so far?

Forward Motion was the biggest, most powerful influence on my writing to date. I put my novel up as a crash-test-dummy and got the worst skinning of my entire life. I can NEVER thank those people enough! Dale, Jeff and Karen have taken me from a 'wannabe' to an 'also ran' which to my mind is a huge leap forward.

Why do I say it that way? Because I'm seeing a lot of 'wannabe' level writing that really, really needs help in the Amazon previews. My heart goes out to them, I've been there, and didn't know how to get to the next level.

But to be fair to everyone on Forward Motion, (I don't want the forum flooded with trolls and tricksters) I'm not going to plug FM on Amazon. It takes all kinds to make a forum work, but right now, I think I'll play my cards close to my chest until I see where we all pan out.

That doesn't mean that I can't give credit where it is due here, in my private blog.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, from Jordan's Croft

The disruptions have continued as I have started a new job. I could have used a couple of weeks to get our house back together, but fate had other ideas. I am back to work full time.

Today, Valentine's Day, we have been at Jordan's Croft for 4 years. We have made some serious changes to this little farm since we moved here. Repaired the damages, built the barn, replaced the roof, replaced the ruined kitchen in stages, and replaced the worn out carpeting with new durable flooring.

Now we are looking at installing a propane backup heating system. We have decided to face the fact that Global Warming = Bad Weather. Considering that electric power had gone down SOMEWHERE every winter for the last four, we would be wise to at least install a propane fireplace and a backup heater in this house.

I've got my husband heading up the research project.

Today we got my writing area set up. Bought a little glass desk for my laptop, with a stand to set the notebook that holds my printed copy of my manuscript. The chair is adjustable, so I'm in the perfect position to do a day's work. I've given up on the idea of having my own office, and taken over the den.

Let's face it, the woman of the house can't be secluded in a back room. I have to be in the center of everything, because nothing happens without me. What I didn't expect is how much I love being here. I have light enough to work, music and the fireplace, with all my books around me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Still Cleaning Up

Yes, I'm still working on getting life back to normal. There is still lots of clean up work, inside and outside. Fencing to repair, stalls to clean, ice to break, the daily stuff to do.

Yet, as I sip my morning coffee, my mind wanders to the entry in ABNA. March, until I hear something back. One more effort to get that story out into the world. It must be weary of rejection, I know that I am.

Will I make the first cut? Just one cut, that would be greater success than I've had so far. Checked the Firebrand twitter page. They are extending requests for 1 more week. I think there 3.7k

The new story has taken back seat to the weather, I need to re-read the last print out, and finish up my time line. Added a little something for the Feb challenge, a 'first dance' scene between Eric and June.

Interestingly enough it took place at the old Iroquois Club, with Pranxter playing. I recalled Mickey singing "Lights" and "Faithfully" with Penny and her late husband dancing to both songs alone on the dance floor. I cried at the memory. He was dying, everyone knew it. It was such a perfect moment, the two of them up there dancing. He was six-four and she was barely five foot, but they looked so perfect together.

It was a moment worth stealing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ice Storm Part VII

Icicles hang from the porch.


It was bitterly cold last night. The outside temp is below zero. The den is still 60, we woke up warm today. The dogs are playful, as pleased to be warm as I am.

There is no way to heat the rest of the house with this heater. It would burn up all the fuel and leave us back at square one. I'm tempted to start another fire, to augment the heat in the house. But my throat and sinuses are irritated and I'm still coughing. I think I need to heal up, more than the rest of the house needs heat.

This has been exhausting.

For some reason, I can't eat, when I need to eat more now than ever. But my stomach roils at the thought of food, and I have no energy to cook. I suspect that I have been exposed to more carbon monoxide than is good for me. All that smoldering wood and thick smoke can't be healthy.

The master bathroom is frozen solid, we have icicles from the taps to the bottom of the sinks. The need for clean clothing is critical. I will put the propane heater on the lowest setting and trust that it will keep the den warm while I'm gone. I'll stop by hubby's office and catch a couple of minutes on the internet.

At 4:15 p.m. we have heat, light and water!

It took 2 hours to put the house back together from all the makeshift changes. Well worth it, it feels so good to be warm again!

This was exhausting. I'm sure this ordeal will find it's way into a story or two.

Lessons learned and greatest hits:

Wind up flashlights and solar lanterns are hits.

Amazon.com was a sleeper hit. We finally found the heaters we needed online, while not a single brick and mortar store had them in stock. If we would have ordered the day the lights went out, we would have had the heater in the house by Saturday.

Buying green and/or wet wood was a lesson learned. We are lucky that I just got sick from the carbon monoxide. It made me paranoid, so we had the propane heater on the coldest night of our ordeal. It could have killed both of us as we slept.

Baking food on the gas grill was a hit. I made a great pot roast in an hour and a half on medium heat. Light one side of the grill and put the pot on the other side. The heat will cook the food, not the flames. The meat loaf was the same way. I used a meat thermometer to make sure that everything was cooked completely.

Chafing dish fuel was a hit. I could heat water to wash dishes, me, or even make coffee. I used an old metal coffee can with holes punched in the bottom for a stove. Make lots of holes in the bottom and a few on the top. I used a wok rack for a stove top. One can will boil one quart of water, or cook scrambled eggs.

We will have a propane fireplace installed this summer. Every person I spoke with who had one stayed warm through this ordeal. (Well, except the lady who didn't get her tank refilled this summer. She ran out of propane the 3rd day.) With a small propane heater from Amazon.com, we should be snug and warm no matter what the weather throws at us.

I'm going to put the horses to bed, then I'm going to take a hot bath.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part V

Ice Storm Part VI

Ice Storm Part VI

Truck and trailer, frozen to the ground.
The constant cold is demoralizing. I am thoroughly depressed by the constant pain in my joints. I can't get the fire going long enough or hot enough to make a difference and the temps outside have plunged from the 50's to the teens. I've piled on the wood, put in fire logs, built the smoldering shit as large as I dare, it makes no damn difference. Horse shit would burn better than this wet green crap.

The driveway is still a sheet of ice in front of the barn. I still can't move the truck. Grain is low. We have hay and water. I need to make a trip to the feed store tomorrow. I will need to make a road trip to Sonora for hay soon. I tossed ashes on the driveway and salt on sidewalk. The poultry has the run of the barn, which should keep them happy.

Got a call from my folks further south. They have electric and are willing to loan us their propane heater. I'm out of here, taking all 3 dogs with me.

Later.

Warm, clean, and well fed, I returned from McDaniels after a couple of hours in civilization. They have dsl and all my email is up to date. Wish I'd had a couple of hours to blog-hop.

Hubby has been huddled over the fire for hours and it is barely 50 in the den. We hooked up the heater and in 30 minutes it was 60. Of course since every object is nearly frozen it will all have to heat up before the temperature in the room feels warm.

The problem will be letting the fire die, and getting the flue closed so we don't lose all this glorious heat up the chimney. I'll stay up a couple of hours to keep fire watch. This room isn't bad; the pipes aren't frozen. I have to stay focused on the positive or I will lose my mind.

The local news said there were still 500 electric poles that needed to be replaced. CNN says there is a quarter million homes without power all over Kentucky. I can hear generators at the horse farm down the street. I'll bet they have a slew of new borne foals they are keeping under lights. I can't imagine foaling in this kind of weather.

God help us all tonight, the temperatures are falling below zero.

Ice Storm Musings

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice Storm Part V

The view off the back porch. Ice as far as the eye can see.


Day six without power, or heat, but the water is back to 'drinkable' status. The horses are safe in the round pen with a round bale of hay. We got the stalls clean yesterday while it was nice. The roosters were crowing under the window this morning. I was up at dawn, hungry, cold and miserable.

Still having problems with green wood that won't burn. Last night was damn cold because the fire kept going out. There are propane heaters around but not the right kind. Either too large to too small, none safe for inside a house. Kerosene and kerosene heaters are not to be found. Propane cook stoves are around, but our grill is on the porch with a burner, and I can bake on the grill if I'm careful.

Cleaned out the freezer and fed it all to the chickens. We should be swimming in eggs, there was an entire dishpan of frozen vegetables and meat. Everything else is frozen in coolers on the porch.

I made pot roast on the grill, in a pot. It was great. The veggies could have been a little more cooked, but the meat was well done, not medium. The solar lights have been wonderful. Amazing how long they run off a single charge, much safer than candles, though not bright enough to read by.

The chaffing dish rack has been a star player. I use it to heat water for washing dishes. The gel fuel tins are impressive for heating water or frying eggs.

Hot food and drink is imperative to keep up the spirits. I can feel my attitude lighten as I eat something hot. Remember Granny saying "get a hot meal in you, you'll be all right" back when you were a kid? She was onto something. "Going to bed with the chickens," is a saying that I thought was idiocy. Try again. No electric, no light, no tv, guess what? Sleep comes on quick.

Survival has taken over the day. I get the early chores done, heat water for dishes. Check the food in the house. Empty out the fireplace and spread the ashes on the ice. Lead the horses out to the round pen, made sure they have water.

Tomorrow I will search for a place to do the laundry. Everything stinks of smoke. I get these coughing fits that are painful. Without propane heat, we are stuck with wood, and it is choking me. Most of E'town has power, water is a bit harder to find. They were talking about shutting down the 62 main drag of restaurants and hotels if they didn't conserve water.

The smoke alarms went off yesterday for about 10 minutes. I would guess, since they aren't battery back up, that meant the electric power was on briefly.

It's going to be a long haul. They are still saying a week to 10 days for full restoration.

I'm not thrilled about this, but I can go another day or so.

PS. Got entered into ABNA just fine. I'm taking the laptop to people's houses, charging the battery and using dial up if nothing else is available.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part II

Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part VI

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ice Storm Part IV

Play keeps us warm.
 Rumor has it that we are two weeks from power restoration. If there was a place to run and hide, I would. Even clean hair isn't enough to restore my spirits. (Got that all-important shower, thanks to a visit to a friend's house. They didn't have power, but they have a gas water heater and running water.)

The third night on the floor.

The pipes haven't frozen yet, but I'm wearing thermal underwear under my pj's. We have 4 cases of fake logs and some green wood that doesn't want to burn. Even with a fire the room is frigid. I got it up to 50 once today, but I had to leave and run errands. Now it's impossible to raise the temp over 40.

There are exploding sounds that shake the house. I think they are trees exploding under the weight of the ice. The sun came out for a couple of hours, which would have made the ice soften. Most surfaces are covered with ½ to 2 inches of ice. My truck is frozen to the ground. The roads are fine, once you get to them, but our long driveway is one sheet of ice from the house to the barn.

We got the round bale of hay delivered today. We rolled it to the round pen, because the electric fence is down in places. We walked the horses to the pen for a couple hours of exercise. They went nuts at first, but settled down to eat. We brought them back in tonight, a bit calmer for the dusting off.

PS. Doesn't look like I'll be able to enter ABNA after all.

Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part II

 Ice Storm Part III

Ice Storm Part V



Ice Storm Part VI

Ice Storm Part III

There are three dogs under the blankets. Smart dogs!


Second night without electricity, it is colder tonight. We can see our breath in the living room; the den is around 40 degrees. I was gone all day, had to let the fire go out.

Bad move.

I didn't get back until late, and the dogs were shivering in their jackets. I had some things to fax, and got internet at hubby's office. Of course I had to chase down the various items that have become impossible to get because of the weather. Batteries, candles, any type of fuel, it is all go.

I was able to get some chafing dish fuel so we have hot water for tea and washing. I have a traditional chaffing dish rack, with two burners. It took an hour to heat soup, not good. I created a camp stove out of a large coffee can and a 'church key' opener. That worked a whole lot better.

I can't, in good conscience, leave the farm without at least taking the dogs. So we can't go to a shelter, and taking this road show to a friend's house sounds like torture. We have a 50/50 chance of getting electric back tomorrow.

I will pray for electricity, or a small propane heater.

The feed store will deliver a round bale of hay, so I can let the horses out. They were kicking in the stalls tonight. They like the cold. The barn was warmer than the house, which figures with three hay burners.

Yesterday I wrote about the meatloaf on the grill. It was wonderful! I cooked it over the lowest flame setting, covered with foil. It was incredible. Okay, I was starving.

Night time temps dipped into the teens. Trouble woke me up every time the fire died. Yeah, really, it was weird. I had to stuff him back under the quilt a couple of times, because I wasn't going to get up and get cold.

We have wood and it must be green because the logs won't burn. When July comes we are going to get a propane fireplace. Wood is for the freaking birds. We have the technology for proper back up heat, no sense in suffering a second time.

The need for a shower has become critical. Beyond my comfort zone, though technically it is only my hair that needs to be washed. It's the IDEA of being 3 days without a shower that is driving me nuts.

 Ice Storm Musings

Ice Storm Part III