Monthly Archives: December 2020

Books Read in December 2020


  • Murder by Other Means – John Scalzi


  • Unf#ck Your Brain – Faith G Harper
  • The Five Levels of Attachment – don Miguel Ruiz Jr.
  • Wintering – Katherine May

Short Stories


Long-Form Journalism

  • I Did Not Die: I Did Not Go to Heaven – Ruth Graham


  • The Way of the House Husband Vol. 1 – Kousuke Oono

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Books to Read December 2020

Chokehold – David Moody

Genius Squad – Catherine Jinks

Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso

Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi

Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past – Sarah H. Parcak

Profit First – Mike Michalowicz

Playing to Win – AG Lafley & Roger L Martin

Measure What Matters – John Doerr

How Brands Grow – Byron Sharp

Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

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eBay Sales: 1 pr shoes, lemon squeezer, slides, McDonald’s toys, DVD, alarm clock, capgun, and a necklace

#MilWordy Update: 104,602 words (3,655 words/day to complete)

Craft Projects completed: 0, but I got a few rows on my scarf and started a beaded ornament kit

I am beginning to think that I need to count all of the words that I write at work in my MilWordy numbers. It would make me feel better at least. I have professional emails and processes that I’ve written up in the past week that would make that number look a lot better, but that doesn’t feel right. I’m counting creative writing, blogs, and … well, things that are related to my personal business needs as part of this adventure. I am falling behind and that worries me a little bit. On the other hand, at least I’m attending a weekly sprint stream and getting a few words every week from that. And hey, while I haven’t achieved the “blog every day” ideal, I have been blogging more than usual. I’ve made progress, and that’s what I wanted from this projected.

The spam bots have become boring again. It’s just a bunch of ads for drugs and the “comments” aren’t even interesting. One bot didn’t even *try* to make a generic comment. It was literally just a keyboard smash. Where’s the pride? Where’s the attempt to fool the human into okaying your comment when it’s caught in the spam filter? The art of the con? Such a slip in standards. In my day you had to *work* for your spam comments. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually written spam comments. But they used to be done by hand in the dark days of the web when I first started.)

It’s been a quiet holiday season and that’s fine by me. My friends though, they have had much harder seasons. Too many reports of ill family members and the passing of such. My heart goes out to them. I’ve got an uncle who’s had exposure to C-19, but no word yet on his test results.

I am looking forward to the new year. And in particular New Year’s day. There’s a local auction house I’m planning to visit. This is the first auction I’ve been able to attend in person for a long time. And the auctioneers have done their best to enact social distancing. You had to call for reservations even. I’m hoping to find a treasure. Or at least have some fun while I’m there. I am promising myself that I will not be buying anything for resale. This is a very firm note to myself that I have a huge amount of items that I need to list for sale and I cannot add to it.

(I’m totally gonna add to it. You know that right?)

Anyhow, I’m working through the end of year business delights, like annual reports and royalty statements. Wish me luck.


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Sunday Night Music: Save My Soul

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Writing from Prompts #5 Creep (Orig Pub 3/30/2014)

Ellen slipped down the holly festooned stairs. The wooden treads had only one creak which she deftly avoided. Her nightgown brushed along the edge of the holly, catching occasionally on a leaf. The lights were out, except for one candle in the window to guide the Mary and Joseph to a safe place.

She crept through the front room back toward the cozier family room. There, in the corner of the room was her target, the stocking with the little puppy on the front of it. It was smaller than the others by just about one inch, which really wasn’t fair. The cookies and milk they’d left out for santa were eaten, and there was a chocolate santa left on the plate.

She smiled at the sight. That was for Petey. She was too old for that sort of thing now. She was almost eleven after all. Petey was just five. The tree wasn’t lit because Mommy was afraid of fires, but the ornaments glittered in the moonlight. The draft from the fireplace made the ornaments twist and send sparkles across the room. She smiled as one of the lights bounced off of the spangles on her stocking.

Sticking out of the top of it was a rolled up puzzle book. A doll peeked out from the edge. Ellen longed to run over to it, but she had one mission tonight.

She stepped in front of the fireplace and up onto the hearth. She looked at the blue stocking with the puppy. Her mother’s stocking was always almost empty. That just wasn’t right. She looked down at the bottle in her hand. She’d saved up her allowance for over three months for it. She tucked the perfume into Mommy’s stocking, then stepped down carefully.

She was about to creep up the stairs when she noticed the man by the tree. His beard was white and his suit was red. He smiled at her and winked. Then, he crossed the room and stepped up onto the hearth. He nodded at her once, then he turned in place and was gone in an instant.

She gaped at the empty hearth. Then, a slow smile crossed her face. She slipped up the stairs and back into bed. Santa was proud of her.


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Sunday Night Music: Shake the Room

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eBay Sales: 1 pattern, 2 honey dippers, purse

#MilWordy Update: 104,463 words (3,512 words/day to complete)

We’re on the countdown to Christmas and in a bit of decorating frenzy. We’ve managed to get the lights on the trees and brought up about half the boxes. There’s more to happen in the next few days. My body is not happy with the up and down hikes. Found 3 ornaments we’re going to let go and 1 santa figure. New Years is for downsizing though, so that’s what we’ll look towards.

The water in my bath today was a beautiful sea-green color. And I had a lovely time reading a new book.

And with all that elliptical speech, I mean to say, it’s just been a day. Though a winter day and a Sunday, but still just a day.

Documentary watched: “Leap of Faith” (about the Exorcist)

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eBay Sales: none

#MilWordy Update: 104,832 words (3,445 words/day to complete)

Today has been completely unproductive and I’ve been randomly emotional. Picture of a kitten? tears. Picture of an old man being helped home by a pack of teens? tears. Picture of Mickey Mouse in a Santa hat? tears.

Is it stress? Is it a side effect of a med? Is it my blood sugars? The world (and I) will likely never know.

Just, one of those days. Here’s to tomorrow. Peace, dear-hearts.

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eBay sales: Precious Moments figure, Wodehouse audiobook, vintage batteries, rubber stamp

#MilWordy Update: 103,595 (3435 words/day to complete on time)

Today was one of those very strange days when you feel tired, but know you have things to get done.

Then, there was a lovely adrenaline spike when the house alarm went off while we were out of the house. The security company called me and asked if I needed a dispatch. Um, yes, lovely, I need a dispatch because there’s no one home and I can’t get there in the next five minutes. That was a beautiful moment. Not. Then, there was the waiting for follow-up, even as I obsessively stared at the app screen for my alarm system and noting that only the motion sensor in the garage went off. None of the doors, windows, etc registered anything. Which, wohoo! that’s a good thing. But also — worry — are they installed properly? Are they registering? Oh gods, did I forget to arm it? No, no. See where it says it was turned on. So, an hour later, I called the company back and got the “cops found no sign of attempted entry and no persons onsite.” Yeah. Good news. Now I can have an adrenaline crash in peace. And stuff my face with some stress-eating chips and marshmallows. (Don’t judge me. *squints*)

On the other hand, I have things to do which I have not done yet, but the new Focus tool on my phone has reminded me of the fact that they are not yet done. In the interests of satisfying my new robotic overlord, I am attempting to catch up on some of these things before I go to bed. Does that mean I will actually finish all of them? No. A thousand times no. Does it mean that I don’t want to get any further behind? Yes.

In an attempt to make myself productive (home/work/business), I have been trying to do the Pomodoro method. To whit: 25 minutes on a task. 5 minute break. It works a treat so far. The app I’m using (and paid a whopping 8.99 for) has built in times, task reminders, calendar, and keeps reports. I used up the free trial and liked it well enough to actually pay for it. I count that as good. I might even bend enough to do a proper review of the think of the Apple store.

I got positive feedback from a reader of my latest book (To Market) and I am thrilled. They wrote to me, even though they’re only on chapter 6 because they were enjoying it and loved my main character. It’s a good thing because I do plan a follow-up book, if not more because I’m not done with her. And I left some things that were unfinished in the last book that really do need to be followed-up on. I just needed to figure out all of the consequences.

That brings me to my next piece of software: an organizing software for characters and timelines and plotting. I’m using it for universes and world building rather than just a single story. That seems to be the best use of it to me right now. It might be different later, but for now, I want to keep my characters straight. They don’t interact with each other often, but there are connections. And things that happen in one book might need to be referenced in another, so the timeline feature is really what I’m all about. I want to invest some more time in it before I formally review it though.

Open question to authors out there: What software to do you really love? Scrivner? Written Kitten?

I was/am in love with Write or Die. It’s excellent sprinting and it keeps me focussed because it starts yelling at you if you stop writing. I’ve never tried it on the setting that will start erasing your words if you stop because that would just make me too anxious to function. I’m hoping that I fall in love with my new software soon.

Another open question to authors out there: What is your “always do it” writing practice? Do you write at a particular time? Write only to deadlines? Need an outline? Need a slug of whiskey. (Remind me to tell you about my time at the writing convention with the booth that gave me a free slug. It was one to remember. And it was before noon, but… that’s a story for another day.

And one final question to my readers: Would you be interested in reading a 1996 paper on Nazi Propaganda?

Now, I’m off to actually see if I can drop a few more items off of my to-do list tonight. Stay safe, dear-hearts.

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Sunday Night Music: Dragostea Din Tei

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