Social Media

Late spring 2021, I decided that for the sake of my own mental health, I needed to depart from social media for a couple of months.

It turned out to be a longer break than I planned and I feel I should explain.

In late spring an acquaintance of mine from high school posted a fundraiser link on Facebook with information that her cousin’s 8 year old daughter died of COVID and the family was struggling financially due to the pandemic and they couldn’t even afford a funeral right now.

I clicked the post to comment and make a donation. The comments came up and someone else from high school had been the last person to comment.

The comment was something along the lines of “COVID is a hoax, dying of it is like dying of a cold it is impossible. Do not donate money to these people, they obviously saw an opportunity to murder their unwanted child and knew it would be blamed on this fake disease.”

Fatter reading the comment, I realized I just could not deal with people online anymore. For perhaps the first time in my life, I was actively hoping something horrible happened to the commentator.

I am not an angry or hostile person as a general rule and it dawned on me that I was angry after looking at stuff on Facebook or Twitter every time I looked at it. It is not healthy to be angry all the time. Not only is it hard on your body physically it is emotionally exhausting.

And so, I went on hiatus. I log on to Facebook messenger on my phone only on nights I have online dart league and I have not logged on to Facebook in six months.

The most common teapot when I explain why I deserted social media is “you just have to ignore those people.” Except they shouldn’t be ignored, allowed to continue spreading misery and hurt to their fellow people. We are all in our 40s now, surely we have all outgrown the bullying stage. And for those that haven’t, why? What is wrong with them that they believe this sort of behavior is acceptable from adults?

Also, social media was touted as a tool to bring people together over great distances. It has done exactly the opposite. I wouldn’t use a keyboard missing the keys E, A, and T to type a novel, why use a broken app to manage my social life?

I secretly hope one day soon, we can return to being at least civil to our fellow Americans. Yet, I doubt most people are willing or capable of setting aside our differences to search for our commonalities.

The Personality Quirk

When we got Kelly, the vet said she was sure Kelly had some border collie and some beagle in her. I can see both of those in her as well. Most of the time, Kelly acts like a hunting dog. She digs at moles underground, stalks birds in our yard, and she has this strange bark that I don’t know if I can describe, but she only uses it when she’s hunting moles. She’ll stare at the ground, jump and then give this bizarre quick deep bark.

At any rate, definitely got some hunting dog in her and her behavior has always leaned more towards the beagle in her… until recently. A few months ago, I decided to trust Kelly to walk from the backyard to the garage without a leash. This is a huge thing for her because she was a runner when we first got her. Lola is good at following orders though so she’s been doing it for years.

The first time, I allowed Kelly off leash from the backyard to the garage I noticed she did something she’d never done before. As she awaited me to get to the garage, she was running around Lola, barking at her, and occasionally jumping at her or throwing her body against her. Huh, that’s new. Kelly is not my first Border Collie (I had one as a teenager when my nephews were little). Frisky, the border collie from my teen years did this same thing with my older nephew when he started walking. Frisky would herd the nephew around the room this way. He was better than any baby gate at keeping the toddler away from doorways.

Kelly doesn’t herd the toddlers, but Lola does and has since Jude the Great Nephew began toddling around. Kelly has never really herded anything and I thought despite the collie in her she just wasn’t inclined to be a herder. Until Wednesday, I let the dogs out the gate to the garage and watched Kelly corral and herd Lola into the garage. Interestingly, Lola mostly ignores her when she’s doing this. J came home from work and I watched Kelly interact with him in our dining room and realized she was herding him towards the couch. Kelly has a routine, when J gets home, J must sit down, allow Kelly to jump into his lap, then she leans her body against his chest while sitting on her haunches and expects him to hug her. If he doesn’t do this promptly, she gets mad and ignores him for the rest of the night.

Watching Kelly herd J towards the couch, I had a sudden thought. As everyone has heard me say, Kelly is a jumper. We even tried a shock collar for a few weeks in an attempt to break the habit to no avail. Anyway, as I watched, I wondered how often Kelly’s excited jumping is really just a miserable attempt at herding a person but due to her excitement, she can’t stay focused and get the job done…

Competitive Dreams Release

Today or tomorrow, you should find Competitive Dreams at your favorite ebook retailer. I uploaded it to Amazon, Google, iBooks, Nook, and all the others on Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving/Thursday/Nightmare Friday/weekend etc! I probably won’t post links until next week as I will be preparing for Thanksgiving today and celebrating tomorrow.

The Mystery of the Socks

I got one editor’s revisions back at 4 Friday afternoon. So I am spending my weekend working and hope to publish Competitive Dreams by Black Friday. However, a sock mystery arose while I was working this morning and I decided I need to share it.

So, if I could have permanent socks on my feet I would. I hate that I have to take my socks off to sleep (and this is a recent thing, I used to sleep in them every night) and I hate that I have to take them off to shower. I love wearing socks. I feel weird when I’m not wearing them. So I’m going from change to change in Competitive Dreams when J walks in to my office to ask me why I am putting my socks under the computer table in the living room?

What? He tells me they have to be mine or my niece’s because they are “fun socks”. Okay, I’m not disputing they are mine (I have distinctive socks when I can), I am wondering why the hell they are in the basement? A) the basement is cool. B) I wear shoes from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed and this requires socks, therefore I wear socks all the time (I despise being barefoot and if I don’t have my shoes on, I am definitely wearing my socks)… I do not wear sandals or flipflops and quite honestly the reason I prefer dress boots to dress shoes is because I can still wear socks with dress boots.

So how did my socks, which I would never remove in the living room in the basement, ever, get from my bedroom floor where I took them off as I climbed into bed get downstairs… let alone under the computer table? Lola doesn’t like stairs, she’s definitely not going up and down them in the dark during the night to bring my socks downstairs, that leaves Kelly. But Kelly even as a puppy did not show interest in socks, is she sneaking off with my dirty socks and putting them in the basement? Probably not, she loves J more than me, if she is stealing socks and hiding them, they would be J’s socks. Also, I would notice if my socks were going missing overnight. Since I work from home and I spend my day sitting Indian style on a couch, I don’t change my socks every day (I do take my shoes off for this, they sit on the floor between me and my work table where I can easily slip them on if I have to get up and walk away from my computer), I usually wear them 2 days and then change them and I throw my 2 day old socks in the hamper as I get new socks out and put them on my feet. I would notice a stash of missing socks.

My niece does like fun socks, like me… but she prefers ankle or no-see-um socks and I prefer longer socks (calf or knee is my preference), I have some cute dog socks that are ankles and I don’t wear them very often because they are ankle socks and it feels weird to have the top of my ankle exposed. Which brings us back to the question of the socks under the computer table in the basement. I haven’t examined them to see if they are in fact mine… but even if they are the niece’s it’s weird that they were under the computer table in the basement. Now. my niece would prefer to be barefoot. But she hasn’t spent a lot of nights here the last 2ish years. It definitely hasn’t been enough for her to have a collection of socks under our computer table.

And so, why were there “fun socks” collected under the computer table in the basement and where did they come from? Okay, back to work.

A 9 year old should not be drinking or driving a car – why I spell out numbers in books

So, in my books, I spell out nearly all numbers. I know it’s not in line with any style manuals, but I do it for a reason.

When I was a kid/tween/teen, I was reading a book and the character’s age was given as 9. This 9 year old girl went on to drink alcohol and drive a car in later chapters and it just didn’t make sense. What the hell? This is possibly the worst behaved 9 year old in the history of the world. Towards the end of the book, she gets pregnant. Holy crap. Also, she was in high school. Why was a 9 year old a senior in high school. I had checked it out from the school library.

After I finished the book, I returned it and next time I went to the public library I decided to ask the librarian about it. She grabbed the library copy, the character was 19 not 9. Well that changes things significantly! The book now made sense. For some reason the edition I read had a printing error and the 1 in front of the 9 was missing.

When I started experimenting with writing myself decades ago, that incident was still fresh in my mind and I got in the habit of writing the numbers out… because there is no way to confuse NINETEEN with NINE. Fiction style guides say to write out one through ten and use numerals to indicate everything else when writing… but I don’t because twenty-nine also can’t become 9 if I write them out. And so, I write out all numbers less than 100.

Middle of November Update

I have had a cold and migraines most of November, which is thrilling. I am still waiting on editors to finish Competitive Dreams. I’ve written a little, but mostly I’ve spent the month playing Stardew Valley because I learned something new in October and I had to create a new character in order to get it.

As soon as the editors return Competitive Dreams, I will get it published as quickly as possible.

The Cover

I may finally reveal the cover for Competitive Dreams! I am so excited. I love it! It is nothing like the suggestion I made to Covered Creatively, which actually works out… it’s as if Angela can read my mind, because she always knocks it out of the park even when I don’t provide the necessary information. This does in fact make me love her covers even more.

The editors are still working on it, but life has happened for both of them (and me) and so the process has been slow. I will need a handful of days once they return it to finalize it, but I am hopeful it will still release this month. However, without further ado, here’s the cover (it might be one of my favorites).

magician levitating inside a Gothic cathedral

Competitive Dreams & Things

Editors are working to finalize Competitive Dreams, so look for it to come out in November (It has a great cover).

We had to replace our stove this month… I like the new one, except it plays a tune instead of a beep to alert and it’s annoying. I looked online to see if it could be changed and it can, but only if I connect it to the internet and download the app for my phone.

Here’s the thing, I actually hate smart appliances. There is no reason my oven or garage doors or thermostat need to be connected to the internet. I buy phones and tablets for that stuff, I don’t need my appliances connected as well.

I’m working on a murder mystery set during WWI. I hope to publish it next Spring.