Coffee heat rising

Computer Spoofed…we think…

So I got an email, apparently mailed to my Mac inbox from one of my Gmail addresses, from some jerk claiming he’d seeded my computer with ransomware and demanding a fistful of bitcoins.

Heh. Apparently hadn’t noticed what’s happened to bitcoins. Oh well.

The reason I spend top dollar to buy Apple hardware is Apple’s customer support. So it was on the phone again to Apple, this time to seek advice. James, the guy who answered the phone this time, said he thought it was spam nonsense. However, we changed everything in sight and then some, deleting stuff I’d never heard of and updating others. And of course I had to change my gmail password, another PITA.

We never had to do this stuff with an IBM Selectric… 😉

DropBox supposedly provides some protection against ransomware. Unclear exactly how reliable or thorough that is…but it’s better than nothing. It doesn’t back up your programs, though it’ll hold most or all of your data and images. However, Time Machine does copy your programs.

So anyway, James didn’t believe the threat was real, but even if it was, we apparently addressed it.

Yet another tedious techno-time-waste.

In that department, I’ve made a couple of moves to cut some of the endless time suck.

Earlier this week, I dropped a particularly active Facebook group. That was too bad in a way, because I kind of enjoy that group. But as a practical matter, I diddle away altogether too much time on Facebook, and the various “notifications” the site sends out create huge logjams in my email inbox, even though I set the thing as best as I can to divert incoming FB messages to “Junk” or “Trash.” All that does, really, is simplify the opportunity to kill even more time deleting literally hundreds of pieces of email detritus. The other day when I cleaned out the email I had to delete well over 600 useless, redundant messages.

So this will help save some time on two fronts.

Meanwhile, another diffuse time-suck went away when I decided to post the rest of The Complete Writer chapters waiting to go up at Plain & Simple Press and set WordPress to schedule them for publication into the future. Then did the same with enough If You’d Asked Me squibs to last until the end of 2019, publishing one chapter or squib per bookoid every three weeks. This, then, creates three weeks in which to write Ella’s Story chapters, rather than trying (unsuccessfully, of late) to crank out one a week.

This will provide at least a shot at making some progress on Ella.

But of course having to dork around with protecting my computing empire from a real or spurious threat creates still more time suck: Every-goddamn-where I go on the Internet, I have to sign back in with passwords I can’t remember and so have to look up, or with passwords that no longer work and so have to be reinvented. GOD, how I hate this stuff! Like there isn’t enough to waste your time on…

Deleting all the cookies on both computers kindly caused the Washington Post to forget me on my two favorite time-wasting online games. I was aiming for 100,000 points and had just reached 95,000. So that’s discouraging enough to bring a stop to diddling away more time on that stuff.

And this will free up some more time for another 2019 goal: to send the “Drugging of America” proposal around to a bunch of publishers. Or an agent…really, you don’t need an agent to sell nonfiction. I had no trouble selling the three books I have in print through real publishers. But times have changed. Unfortunately, my agent passed away some time back, and my editor at Columbia UP disappeared awhile back. But…the woman who was senior editor when I was holding forth is still there, only as a much higher muckity-muck. She just sent a request for a donation (university presses are de jure if not de facto nonprofits). So I may send her a reminder of my existence and see if she or one of her underlings will agree to see a proposal.

Meanwhile, word just came down that Quora has given up some 100 million users’ data. Went there to try to change my password. I can’t find the original PW, so I must have failed to write it into the 20 goddamn pages of single-spaced passwords that resides, coded within code, on my hard drive. Godlmighty. Another time suck. Unless, o’course, I decide to just let that one go, too.

Done In and Dogged Out

LOL! If it’s not one dawg it’s another.

Well, that’s not funny, given how sick poor old Cassie has been.

Actually, Cassie is presently somewhat better, other than having come completely unhouse-trained. She now poops and pees wherever and whenever she pleases. Fortunately, it’s usually on the pee pads I put in her favorite locales — something that’s getting pretty pricey, since I have to pick up and replace four to six of them a day. But sometimes it’s on the bathroom or bedroom rugs. Yay. At any rate, she doesn’t appear to be feeling as bad as she did.

Which is not to say she appears to be feeling well. I’d guess she’s running at about 80%…maybe 90% on a really good day. Whatever happened to her doesn’t appear to be about to go away.


Last night Ruby started barfing spectacularly. She apparently ate something that made her good and sick. It soon became apparent that this was not a life-threatening thing…but by “soon” we mean sometime after midnight.

Ruby and Cassie both are in the habit of “harvesting” mummified oranges that fall off the trees and dry up, often after having been chewed out by the roof rats. They bring these crispy treats into the house, hide them in the bathroom, and crunch them up into crumbs. What a mess to clean up!

Well, they’ve never made either dog sick before, but apparently this time one of them did.

The real concern, though, when a dog starts barfing, is that we have some nut cases around here — apparently among the drug-addled vagrant population — who have been known to throw poison treats over people’s fences, thereby killing their dogs. It’s a strategy used by burglars, but neighbors have reported having small, harmless dogs targeted. So given both dogs’ corgi-esque love of yapping, of course an unexpected, apparently reasonless barfing attack causes some worry.

By 2 or 3 in the morning, though, her stomach calmed down and she seemed OK. Come the light of dawn, she was fine. Fed her hamburger (cooked) and rice this morning and again this evening: she seems to have recovered.

I, however, have yet to recover from the three-hour night. 😀

Today I managed to get a new chapter of Ella’s Story on-line. Not quite by the self-imposed deadline…but only a day late. Since no dollars are concerned, we need not add the dollah-short part.

But this was accomplished, I’m afraid, not by actually finishing the chapter as conceived, but simply by spotting a natural pause and cutting it off there. Between the sick dogs and my natural laziness and a general feeling of overwhelmed-itude, the truth is I’m not applying myself to this project for the enough hours a day to make the required progress. One of the things it illustrates, though, is how amazing those late 19th-century and early 20th-century writers were, in their ability to produce novels on the installment plan. Dickens, for example…and Poe, I believe, among many others, would write segments of novels for periodicals. And of course, they had deadlines, just like a journalist does.

Having amused myself as a magazine journalist for a good 15 years, I can assure you that a journalistic deadline is one helluva lot easier to meet than one that requires you to make stuff up and then turn your imaginings into something believable. Or at least more or less readable. A workaday magazine or newspaper article pretty much writes itself, growing like crabgrass out of your interviews and research online and in print sources. A piece of fiction? Not so much…

To my intense annoyance, I discovered that somehow WordPress had disappeared Chapter 11. I know I put it online, because I remember the images I posted with it, and because those images still lurk in the “Media Library.” So I had to reconstruct that, yet another time-killer.

One advantage Poe and Twain and Dickens and all those had over us wretches in the Digital Age is that all they had to do was write the damn stuff. They didn’t have to publish it, too. They had…oh, does anyone remember them?…publishers who edited and typeset and designed and laid out and illustrated and proofread and printed and distributed their work. Today those who imagine they will find great fame in self-publishing have to do all that themselves. And none of us is qualified to do all those things well.

Not by a long shot. Nor does having to devote half to three-quarters of your time to jobs you don’t want to do and aren’t really trained to do leave enough hours for you to do what you do want to do and what maybe you’re good at: to write. I am so very tired of spending hour after hour after hour in digital ditz! Just to create a table of contents for the 33 chapters I’ve put online in Ella’s Story required me to do 297 mind-numbing, repetitive, tedious computer operations today. That’s not counting the typos, which in having to be redone probably expanded that number by about 10 percent.

I un-friended the FB writer’s group I’ve belonged to for the past two years or so. That was too bad, because each week they give you a chance to publish some magnum opus…which has conveniently allowed me to publicize my emittances with some regularity. Haven’t noticed any increase in sales, though.

What I have noticed, however, is this 7th-grade mean girl they’ve picked up. She’s very, very nasty. Today she took aim at me. My response to that is simple enough: fuckyouverymuch. I don’t hang around where I’m not wanted, so off I went. That, we might add, will be one fewer electronic time-suck. I don’t know whether organizers of those groups try to moderate them, or if they even can — this one is quite large. But evidently someone needs to.

And now for something completely different… Did you know that you can still read books?

No, I mean real books, the things shaped like boxes with this hinge-like strip along one edge to which pieces of paper are attached.

The Brothers Grimm

Couple months ago, I’m at the Costco and I happen to spot this old-fashioned-looking hardback with an embossed cover and gold-leaf print: Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales.

WTF!?! Last time I saw that book, it was at my great-grandmother’s house in Berkeley, back in another century when normal people could afford to live in Berkeley. It is a beautiful little production, published by some outfit called Canterbury Classics, out of San Diego. Gosh.

So for old time’s sake, I bought the thing. Stuck it on the nightstand and went off and forgot it.

One evening I started browsing through it and was reminded of what a hoot the original Grimm’s tales were. This is great stuff! And perfect bedside reading, when you’re so tired you can barely lift the dogs onto the sack. They’re very short, pretty light (in a strange and sometimes not-so-light way), and none of them require a sustained attention span.

So the other day I’m back at Costco and what do I find but a whole SLEW of these Canterbury Classics! Hot diggety! How can I leave them alone?

Yes, I know: Impulse Buy Hell. But hey: how often do you get to buy embossed hard-cover books with gold-leaf print all over them?

Grab Bulfinch’s Mythology and, by god, the original Thomas Burton’s Arabian Nights.

This stuff is too, too good. It is going to keep me amused for weeks. Maybe even months.

And so, to bed…


Ruby the Corgi Pup. © 2014 The Copyecditor’s Desk, Inc.

The Brothers Grim: Public Domain,

Frontispiece to Burton’s Arabian Knights. By Adolphe Lalauze (1838-1906) – A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments, now entitled The book of the thousand nights and a night Vol. 1, Public Domain,

Time flies…damn fast!

Woo HOO! There’s a book hiding in this pile of pills!

Tempus fidgets, as my mother used to say. She and about a million others in the Greatest Generation, I’m sure. True that, though: time passes so fast you don’t even notice it going by.

Yesterday, for example, I didn’t notice it was Wednesday. Thought it was Tuesday. Along about sundown it happened to occur to me that a whole day had disappeared. 😀 Tossed a blurb from Asked up online, but never did much else, partly because we had another sharp storm in the evening that threatened to blow down trees and power poles.

Just wrote that little piece on Quora — “Did You Ever Walk Out on a Doctor (because he was disrespectful…).” And right off the bat, it attracted something over 200 “likes” — a kind of a record. Since it went over so well there, I decided to add it to the Asked collection.

Another essay — on getting out of an abusive relationship — is closing in on 1,000 likes. Can you imagine?

In the middle of this, up pops a message from a client: did I receive the paper he’d sent me to edit?

Uhmmmm…well, nooooooo….

Turns out the damn MacMail decided out of the blue to route messages from this guy into “Junk Mail.” This was several days ago. He sent me a new copy before I could find the original among the 105 unread messages in “Junk,” the 174 derailed to “Trash,” and the 415 (!!!!) in  the “Facebook” folder.

Holy shit! There is simply NO way anyone could possibly keep up with that tsunami.

Tuesday was one long struggle through the heat and humidity to stay focused on writing the proposal for the Drugging of America book. On reflection, I realized Chapter 1 covered way too much ground, and that I needed to break it into three chapters. That took most of the day.

So I now have three new chapters — for a total of 17, plus the introduction, plus the references section, plus a resources section. And now I have to revise the chapter outline. Whee!

But by the end of today, most of the proposal was drafted. Still have to write a self-aggrandizing bio, but otherwise the most difficult parts of that thing are done. Tomorrow I’ll finish the body of the proposal, revise the chapter outline, and get the thing ready to send off. I hope.

My plan is to send one proposal to one university press — the one I think most likely to publish this book. Then when (which is usually the case: when not if) they reject, I’ll send out a half-dozen at a time until someone bites.

And I think they will. This really is a great idea for a book, one whose time has arrived. And there isn’t much competition. Other than Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest eloquent rant, that is.

But the advantage I think mine has is that it isn’t an eloquent piece of creative nonfiction cum seat-of-the-pants reporting. This is a book that could be — easily — used as a reading in a number of college courses. And not just in pharmacy or nursing. The proposal will suggest courses — real courses that I’ve tracked down at universities — in public policy, nursing, and pharmacy, plus a combined program that leads to an MD and a master’s in journalism.

Texts that sell in college courses, as you can imagine, are the sine qua non of academic publishing. Sell a book to one professor, and you sell upwards of a dozen copies a semester. If it’s a decent undergraduate course — as you can bet will be the case in colleges of nursing — you’ll unload upwards of 30 copies per section. A required lower-division course? Hundreds of copies. Every semester. At a stiff price.

I was still getting substantial royalties from The Essential Feature 10 years after the thing went to press…because every professor who ordered it for a course spawned 30 or 60 sales. Per semester.

So…that’s how I hope to sell this book.

However it flies, the thing is not going on the trash-heap that is Amazon.

Selling your squibs on Amazon is fine as a hobby. That’s essentially what my little scribbles are — the FireRider series and the diet/cookbook thing and the various other stuff. Taken together, they generate about $5 a month. When the weather’s  good. But pretend as much as you would like that you’re “in business” to sell the stuff: it’s still self-published. You can’t get a newspaper or magazine to review it for love nor money, nor do you have much chance of persuading a bookstore or a library to pick it up. And it certainly is not going to end up on some professor’s syllabus!

Another day has slipped by. I’m exhausted! Going to bed, before it starts to rain again…

Of iPhones and Spinning Wheels and Ella’s Story

Ever have one of those days when your wheels are spinning nonstop for about 18 hours? Or you feel like your nose has been pressed to the grindstone all day but it comes off not sharpened but duller than when you started?

I feel like I’ve been working steadily but have accomplished almost nothing. But really, that’s not true. By the end of the day, this week’s installment of Ella’s Story managed, somehow, to get finished and posted. As of yesterday evening, I had an idea where it was going but no idea how to get there.

LOL! Is this what one of my late, great editors used to call, crabbily, “backing into the story”? Maybe I need one of those guys back today, to snap the whip! 😀

Cranking fiction on a deadline is not easy. Nonfiction? A magazine or newspaper article? Nooo problem. You start with all the facts and you know how to tie them into the who-what-when-where-why-and-how rope. Your only hold-up is landing interviews. But fiction…you may have a vague idea where you’re going with it, but often — make that usually — you don’t have the specifics. You have to make them up. And that, heaven help you, is actual work.


Oh, but sooo many opportunities to procrastinate! What? Me, work?

§ The big potted ficus plant — a six-foot-high tree, really — the one that fell over in the most recent storm, was so traumatized that now it’s dropping its leaves. At first I thought it had dessicated somehow. Maybe the irrigation dripper that goes to its pot broke somehow when the thing crashed to the ground and got bashed by the downpour? But I don’t think so. So: four possibilities:

a) Somehow it actually did get dried out and, of course, in this crazy heat, could not survive any degree of dehydration.
b) Somehow it got overwatered. Ficus hates to be overwatered.
c) It got shocked when it fell over and whacked on the paving. Ficus will drop their leaves if you move them into a new room. Slamming it on the ground have unnerved the thing.
d) It has a disease or fungus.

The first three events, it can survive. The fourth: not so much. All one can do, though, is watch it and see what happens. This is not a good time for it to lose its leaves, since it the shade it provides shelters a roomful of cherry furniture from the morning sun glaring in through an east-facing Arcadia door.

§ Amazing article in The New Yorker…reminiscent of a friend’s life story. Had to read the whole, very long thing…then send it along to her. Took half the morning. But I drank a lot of good coffee and munched a lot of good chocolate in the process…

§ Credit union has informed us that it’s revamping its online presence. This warning, of course, is the equivalent of screaming DUCK FOR COVER! in a crowded room. The alarm is heightened by their telling us that we’d better download and save six months’ worth of transactions. Just in case.

Well. Of course that took for-freaking-EVER. God, how I hate messing with that kind of digital ditz! In the course of it, I discovered about $600 in the medical savings account, which either was transferred there by accident during the last C.U. fuck-up or, for reasons unknown, did not get applied to debt to the Mayo. Probably the latter: chances are I paid it out of cash flow without remembering to replenish the checking account from that savings account. And that would explain why I ran out of money two months early this year…

§ Cleaning! Pick up the mess. Wash the dog blankets. Clean the kitchen. If I use the leaf blower to blower the loose dog hair out of the garage, will the dog hair actually get ejected and blown down the driveway to the street, or will it just go airborne, float around in there, and then settle back to the floor?

§ And, totally NOT least, the cell phone issue.

I’ve decided that I probably want to buy an iPhone and feed it with TracFone minutes. Supposedly, the iPhone is relatively easy for old people to learn to use. And TracFone’s by-the-minute plan has worked well with the cheapo model I’ve been carrying around for automotive emergencies. And the price: enormously right.

TracFone is selling four iPhones for relatively reasonable prices. Apparently if you’re willing to settle for an older model, you do NOT have to pay a grand to get your hands on one.

If you don’t use the phone a lot, TracFone has a lot to recommend it. No monthly payments, and pretty much what you see is what you get: no little surprises to blindside you. I’ve been using it for the throw-away phone for a couple years now: totally hassle-free, as opposed to the endlessly annoying T-Mobile. You only need to pay for as much service as you’re likely to use. TrackFone’s current “bargain” iPhone comes with 750 minutes and 1,000 texts to use over 60 days. Well, that’s about ten times as much of either of those things as I would need.

Apple offers classes in the use of the iPhone, so my plan is to go over there tomorrow, study the phones and the prices there, ask if you HAVE to have bought the phone from Apple directly to get into their classes, and then make a decision.

Cox is gouging me $117 a month for land-line service that is questionably reliable and guaranteed to go down when the power’s out. And with their damned modem, I can’t attach my fancy call blocker that was working so amazingly well. And of course, Cox is resisting NoMoRobo with all its corporate strength: they simply refuse to provide it. As for the iPhone? There’s a NoMoRobo app!

Said app is not well liked by Fanboys. However, Apple also has an app called “RoboKiller,” which IS very well reviewed. Actually, it’s more than just well reviewed…it sounds delicious. Check out this one:

This is an awesome service.
Nov 9, 2017

I forwarded my calls a while back to the service when I first signed up because I was having a real issue with getting a lot of spam phone calls. I said it and basically forgot about it. Recently I had reason to go to the application to look it up because I had a question about something and I came across all of the phone calls that were blocked and many of them with a voicemail messages. When I listened to the voicemail messages, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Some of the recorded voicemail messages that were saved or absolutely hilarious. Since these spam callers call me and waste my time every time they get me on the phone, I have to admit I took a little bit of pleasure and wasting their time right back. They were actually trying to have conversations with the bots and they weren’t giving up. Meaning the spam callers. And I could hear the uncertainty in their voices and some of the conversations and it was friggin hilarious. When I listened to all the voicemails, I swear I just wanted to throw my arms around these guys at RoboKiller and give them a big hug. Best freaking service I’ve come across in a long time and well worth the money and the results are literally hilarious. If you were having problems getting a lot of unwanted phone calls, I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend this service. You seriously need to check this out. These guys are geniuses. Some of those voicemails just had me rolling in tears.

THE must have app!
May 19, 2018

Without a doubt, Robokiller is the most invaluable, user-friendly and entertaining app available today. I was inundated with daily calls me from companies I ordered something from a decade ago. I couldn’t block them because they always called from a different number. Now, thanks to Robokiller, not only am I not bothered by these calls, I get a taste of sweet revenge. Unsolicited calls are automatically answered by any one of the 43 (and growing) “people” you select to take the call; from someone hard of hearing to someone in the midst of a crisis. All the pre-recorded performances are spot on and truly funny. Every time a solicitor tries, hopelessly, to communicate with one of the recordings, you can play it back, save it, even share it with friends. You can also record your self answering the phone, and, after years of hearing the same sales pitch, I’ve made recordings of myself so in synch with their pitch, I can have them going in circles for five minutes and thinking they’re talking to someone. Really, I cannot say enough about this brilliantly conceived and well designed app.

Hee HEEE! If that’s any indication, the app alone may be worth the phone’s price!

I’m now spending $1400/year on the land line that is no longer a land line and that goes out when the power’s down (i.e., when you’re most likely to need to make an emergency call!). Once the phone is paid for (and the business can afford it, no problem), TracFone costs between $7 and $30 a month, depending on the number of minutes you choose to buy over time. Seven bucks will get you 60 minutes’ worth for 90 days. And $25 buys 500 minutes for 60 days. I would be very surprised if I spend an hour on the phone over the course of a month. My son hates talking on the phone, and most people stay in touch through email.

That’s a far cry from $117 a month!

My plan is to get the proposed iPhone. Keep the clamshell phone I use for car emergencies, which is absurdly cheap, but have “minutes” only for the iPhone. Then buy several more of the cheapo clamshell phones, keep them charged, and set the cheapies in strategic places around the house for emergency use only. By law all phones have to be able to call 911, whether they’re connected to a “plan” or not. So…given the concern that I might fall and bust my hip, my idea is to set a cheapie phone on or near the floor in every room in the house. Most of the rooms have cabinets that have shelves or drawers near the floor. Those that don’t…I can just set one of these things unobtrusively under piece of furniture, or in pot of fake flowers. There are a ton of places to set these things where no one would notice them but I would know where they are.

And then… Good-bye land line!

Heat-Soaked, Heat-Tired…

Two in the afternoon. It’s 112 in the shade of the back porch. Running up the power bill by leaving the thermostat at the night-time temp: 78 degrees. I keep fading, coming back, fading. Feel OK for and hour or two, then feel like I need to go back to bed. Just finished eleven (count-’em, 11) sentences in the Ella’s Story chapter that needs to go online tomorrow. Have no idea where the thing is going.

What next? How about back to bed?

Why, you ask, do I feel so tired, other than that the fine enervating effect of prolonged 112-degree heat? Why, indeed:

  • Up at 4:30 a.m.
  • Read email, answer messages.
  • Read news, grind teeth.
  • Get dressed, more or less.
  • Out the door with the dogs: 5:15 a.m.
  • Walk dogs one mile
  • Feed dogs
  • Mix up large container of Roundup (yeah, I know, but if you want to come over and pull fire-hazard weeds out of the alley by hand, be my guest!)
  • Unlock iron bars that span the back gate to discourage transients from using the gate alcove as a loo.
  • Don heavy garden gloves.
  • Drag wheelbarrow and dog pooper-scooper through back gates, up the alley, into front yard.
  • Use the scooper to lift a very prickly piece of prickly-pear cactus off the ground and into the barrow.
  • Lift the pot with the dead prickly-pear cactus off the ground and into the barrow, trying not to touch the plant.
  • Roll these to the garbage can in the alley.
  • Lift pot (very heavy, even though dessicated) into the shoulder-high trash can. Toss.
  • Toss dead prickly-pear pad in after it.
  • Peel ruined gloves off and throw them and the myriad stickers they’ve collected into the trash can.
  • Drag wheelbarrow back into yard. Close and lock back gate.
  • Pick up dog mounds; deposit in dog poop/junk mail container — another device to discourage transients, who will go through the trash looking for things with your name and address…especially credit-card offers.
  • Carry dribble-bottle of Roundup into the front yard
  • Drip Roundup on weeds on east side of house.
  • Down the alley: Douse the idiot neighbor’s butt-high crop of fire-hazard weeds with Roundup.
  • Drip Roundup on the few weeds that have broken through behind my house.
  • Put away the Roundup gear.
  • Lubricate the wheelbarrow, whose squealing probably woke up the idiot neighbors (one can only hope…)
  • Put wheelbarrow back in its place.
  • In bathroom, dig out tweezers. Pick (painful!) hair-thin prickly-pear stickers out of fingers and out of a toe (!! HOW???)
  • Back outside: water potted plants.
  • Turn sprinkler on bedding plants and rose on west side.
  • Check pool chlorine.
  • Jump in pool, swim around.
  • Rinse incipient growth of mustard algae off steps.
  • Wash self and hair in hose.
  • Turn soaker hose on cat’s claw vines.
  • Dry off.
  • Comb out tangles and put up wet hair.
  • Fix and consume coffee and breakfast.
  • Put away dishes.
  • Pick up dog dishes, too.
  • Write to correspondents.
  • Begin trying to write Ella, chapter 28.
  • Daydream.
  • Read news.
  • Think how fricking TIRED I am.
  • Worry that weight continues to fall off despite effort to end diet.
  • Write to correspondents at some length.
  • Write and publish a short Quora essay. Watch with amazement and amusement as a flurry of “likes” flashes up on the screen, forthwith.
  • Consider, in awe, that 17,200 people have read one of those Quora essays!
  • Make note in relevant Facebook discussion as to how you can use Quora to guide traffic to your website or author page.
  • Think how fricking HUNGRY I am.
  • Decide to fix slumgullion, using US-made pasta, which seems to be more fattening than expensive Italian pasta guaranteed made with European wheat. Ooohhkkkayyyy…
  • Think how much I do not want to drive to Sprouts to buy one (1) onion.
  • Realize I have a bunch of frozen mirepoix.
  • Exhume this from the fridge.
  • Start mirepoix sautéing. Throw in some frozen chopped spinach.
  • Defrost hamburger.
  • Set large pot of water to boil.
  • Mince garlic, add tbat and a fistful of walnuts to mirepoix.
  • Sauté hamburger.
  • Start pasta boiling.
  • Toss browned meat into mirepoix, adding dash of nutmeg, sprinkle of cinnamon. Simmer.
  • Add half a box of leftover Pomí tomatoes to frying pan. Approve: an acceptable sauce, even absence a splash of red wine.
  • Retrieve pasta; mix with sauce. Dump some on a plate; put the rest in a refrigerator container.
  • Sprinkle generous amount of Parmesan over the chow on the plate.
  • Eat.
  • Feel a lot better: maybe I’m not dying of liver failure after all?
  • Start writing.
  • Procrastinate, racking up large numbers of game points.
  • Read Facebook.
  • Write.
  • Think how fricking TIRED I am.
  • Lift the dogs onto the bed.
  • Climb on after them.
  • Write this.

So it goes.

She breathes…she moves…she…writes?

A day late and a whole lotta dollars short…finally got around to typing up and posting this week’s chapter of Ella’s Story.

The other two books I’ve been giving away as * FREE READS * at Plain & Simple Press — If You’d Asked Me and The Complete Writer — were finished long before I dreamed up this idea. But Ella’s Story was a work in progress. A lot of progress: quite a few chapters were in hand at the time I started this project.

But a few weeks ago the completed chapters ran out, leaving me to keep up with the publishing schedule by writing a new chapter a week. Talk about draftig!

So now we know how if felt to be Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Fyodor Dostoyevski and Alexandre Dumas and Herman Melville Henry James and Gustave Flaubert and Harriet Beecher Stowe and … if only we were one of them! 😀

The blog format, it seems to me, naturally lends itself to serializing novels. But…

How exactly you would make any money on it escapes me. I suppose you could sell advertising around such a thing. Or ask people to pay to subscribe. Or donate to your cause.

I knew writing a chapter a week would be a challenge. When you study late 19th- and early 20th-century lit, you occasionally come across some writer’s complaint about what a struggle it was to crank out fiction, week in and week out, for serial publication. Alas, though…I’ve never anything but overconfident.