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I Am Astounded

Crystal Blade Episode 20: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is live at Kindle Vella. You know the drill.

And while we are on the topic, I was astounded today to get an email notification that I had earned a Vella bonus for April. I honestly don’t know why—I didn’t start earning money until this month, and of that I’ve made a grand total of $1.08 from my two loyal readers (I know who you are—love you oodles).

I can only assume that the bonus is because of my like-clockwork posting schedule of M-W-F since I started posting Crystal Blade. And considering how much I’ve actually made on the story so far, this is a very, very nice bonus indeed. I’m sortakinda tempted to do the same thing with High Tide and Hurricane Warning, to be honest, but since the books will be the last two books in the Olympic Cove series I worry that readers wouldn’t know what the hell was going on.

But I will think of all that tomorrow at Tara. In the meantime, I’m gonna bask in the glow of my bonus and prep next week’s episodes.

The One Time I Didn’t Put The Car In the Garage…

I didn’t mention this before but we had a massive hailstorm roll through my area on Friday. All the weather services had said, “Yeah, you’ll get some rain maybe, maybe a little thunderstorm, no big deal” so I didn’t think anything more about it until I was out in the garage and suddenly it sounded like someone was emptying a rock hopper onto the roof.

I hustled into the house and looked out in astonishment at our apparently boiling pool. We were getting hail the size of quarters, and apparently east of us they were getting hail the size of ping-pong balls.

But the truly astonishing thing? No cracks in either of our windshields. Oh, I mean, our cars are ever so slightly dimpled here and there now, but a lot of that will pop right out with hot temps. No, the thing I was most worried about was taking a big ol’ crack in one of our windshields from a hailstone. But that didn’t happen, and the house roof seems okay from what we were able to see. I’m sure there are dents up there, but we won’t know if there’s a leak until we get a wet spot somewhere on a ceiling. *shrug* Not gonna worry about it right now.

One cool thing about the hailstorm, though; as the hail started melting the surface temps cooled to the dew point, causing the air to saturate, condense, and form one hell of a layer of fog. We had thick sheets of mist covering pretty much every green space in the area. The athletic fields over on McDermott looked like something from Ireland and I half-expected to see the Fellowship strolling out of a cloudbank.

Stupid AC System

Yesterday it was warm enough for us to turn on the downstairs AC unit so I flipped it on before heading into the garage to finish up a piece. I was in there maybe ten minutes, and when I came back into the house the unit had shut off and the downstairs thermostat was flashing an -AC error.

I informed Ramón who immediately did some research and found out that -AC meant the power had been shut off at the control panel up in the attic, most likely because the float valve (which senses the amount of water in the drip pan under the condenser) had triggered, or a fuse had blown. He went up there today and lo, the drip pan was completely full of water. Since we don’t have the equipment to blow out the drainage system he tried scooping it all out and we let the pan dry out, at which point the thermostat started working again. So we switched the A/C back on. Three minutes later it cut out again with the -AC code.

On one hand, this means we have to call our HVAC company out on Monday to come blow out the drainage system and get it working again, and we really, really didn’t need a major repair bill right now. On the other hand, at least we know what’s wrong and the outside unit is still functional, which is a relief because we were told we’d need to replace it sometime this year. Hopefully the drainage thing won’t be too terribly expensive.

In the meantime we’re letting the cool air drift down from upstairs to cool off the downstairs. It’s more than a bit stuffy down here, but the weather’s only in the mid-80’s at the moment so it’s livable. I grew up in Chicago during summers like this with only a window AC unit in the living room—if I could deal with it then, I can deal with it now.

The First of May

Crystal Blade Episode 11: Nobody Puts Baby In a Corner is now available at Kindle Vella. So, like, go read it.

Also, let me wish a blessed Beltane to all who celebrate, and please enjoy my favorite (and definitely NSFW) video of the day with a song by Jonathan Coulton (it’s a pity YouTube took down the WoW version).

Ow. Also, Auntie Em, Auntie Em!

Weekends are for non-writing chores so yesterday I got out in the back yard and spread a big bag of dirt over the new lantana in the southern flower bed, then covered that with mulch. Today I am once again reminded that I am neither sixteen years old anymore nor am I Xena. Ow. Ow ow ow.

The muscle aches have not been helped by the arrival of joint aches due to a rather large storm system that has caused me to rack the car in the garage and park Ramón’s truck in the garage driveway (we can’t get both vehicles in the garage due to all the Stuff™ in there, and for storms coming from the west the house and garage provide some shelter from hail). Luckily it only dumped a crapload of water on us, which will make the lantana happy, but it did pop up a couple of tornadoes east of the Metroplex which doesn’t bode well for an already hammered Arkansas.

And it’s going to hit 90°F tomorrow before cooling off precipitously, plus the advent of more rain later on this week so my sinuses are already turning into a snot factory as a result. But hey, there’s no such thing as climate change. *pinches bridge of nose, sighs*

Stormy Weather

Apparently March decided to go out like one hell of lion. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the appalling number of tornadoes and the sheer amount of destruction that stretched from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico today.

Dallas got off damned lightly—we got a fair amount of wind but that was about it. I was in my office when the clouds started passing over us and by the time they reached the east they were bruised and ugly. Watching the reports coming in from Little Rock was horrendous. I’m grateful that my friends and family in Arkansas were all okay, not to mention everyone else I know in places that got bad weather today. One of my favorite TikTok creators had a tornado touch down near her and damage her husband’s place of employment, and another creator in Arkansas had one come uncomfortably close.

Unfortunately, these storms aren’t going to stop any time soon, what with climate change adding more heat to the environment. I need to update our go bags and make sure we have enough carriers for all the cats (we have two hardshells and one fabric one that I bought to transport J.J., but I can pick up another fabric one on Friday which will give us carriers for all of the J Crew.

We’re in the Home Stretch

Claw‘s final edit has been finished, thank Cthulhu. Of course, the time change has completely messed with my time sense and has in effect stolen an hour that I kinda needed right now so that’s annoying.

Needless to say, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m relatively sure it’s not an oncoming train. If I can spend tomorrow running the final polish edits and putting everything into Vellum, I should be able to release at some point on Tuesday. It’s not going to be at midnight like it would be if I’d put it on pre-order, but it’ll still be out.

I’m sorry, I know this isn’t very interesting but it’s like I’m in the last mile of a marathon and I’m just telling myself I can do it, I can do it, put one foot in front of the other and at some point I’ll cross the finish line. J.J. getting so sick last week really stole away a lot of spoons and I don’t really have my stores built back up yet, but I will get there.

So, how much does Daylight Savings Time suck for you?

I’m Definitely Getting My Steps In

This is now my average day:

  • Wake up, get cleaned up and dressed
  • Come downstairs and feed the cats
  • Change J.J.’s bedding, give him a sponge bath, and make sure that he eats and drinks
  • Get him settled and comfortable, then get laundry started
  • Grab breakfast
  • Head upstairs for an hour to do some work
  • Come back downstairs to check on JJ and see if he wants to eat or drink
  • Switch the laundry from washer to dryer, start another load
  • Go back upstairs and continue to work
  • Continue to check on J.J. and the laundry every hour, taking time off at noon to eat lunch
  • Mid-afternoon, come down and give J.J. his sub-q fluids
  • Finish off the work day
  • Go out and do the food shopping
  • Make dinner
  • Clean/fix anything that needs to be cleaned/fixed (today I relubed the deck for the treadmill)
  • Cuddle J.J., tell him that he’s an awesome boy as he wobbles around the living room and kitchen, and get him situated on clean bedding
  • Go upstairs, take a shower, and crash hard

Mind you, things will ease up once J.J. feels better and everything settles down again (or, to be honest, he dies). But for now I’m splitting my time between taking care of him and writing/editing, with as much housework as I can fit in around the edges. Think good thoughts for me, please.

Well, That Was Entertaining

Just had a seriously nasty thunderstorm with high winds pass over Casa Cameron that kicked off with one hell of a powerful updraft. It literally had the house shaking and the J Crew freaking out while I ran around closing windows and eyeing our tornado hideout under the stairs. The sirens sounded pretty much continuously for about fifteen minutes but we didn’t get any hail and no local tornadoes, touch wood. Can’t check for roof or fence damage until tomorrow but I’m hoping we’re all good and I am sincerely grateful that we still have power (a lot of local friends don’t).

Of course, my UPS’s battery picked tonight to die on me. Ramón was able to dig out a massive surge suppressor for me and I have everything on my writing desk plugged into that for now (I’m more concerned about everything being on a surge suppressor than a UPS. If the desktop shuts down over night, oh well). There are a couple of places in the area where I can pick up a replacement battery so I’ll see about doing that over the weekend.

My SF Writing Brain Is Making Itself Known

As you know, Bob, I use any sort of crafting as part of my writing process and work on plot points or full stories while I’m sewing/knitting/crocheting/whatever. And I’ve used that to great effect in the last two months while I’ve been finishing projects from my office closet.

Except. While I was working on the Skulls and Roses swing dress I started thinking about a SF story. Not a romance—a straight-up SF thriller sort of idea about a cruise-type spaceship inbound from a colony around Jupiter coming down with some exotic alien disease and people scrambling on Earth to determine whether or not the passengers can be allowed to disembark. Why you do this to me, Muse?

No, I’m not going to work on it, at least not right now. I have the Paladins of Crystal and Olympic Cove series to finish first, plus the other books that I want to get out this year. The SF story can keep percolating in the back of my brain for now. But it’s like, “Really? Really, you do this to me now? Don’t I already have enough to write?”

Maybe I should try dictating again. Lord, if I could make that work I could churn out everything I’ve ever wanted to write.