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The Force is Strong with this One

The Force and Zoe

Our cat Zoe levitating a ping pong ball.

Waiting for the Blizzard

We’re both sitting here at our computers staring, not at the screens, but out the window. Blizzard Nemo is approaching and we are waiting for the first snowflakes to begin falling.

Ironically, we have just started a new book (Time’s Warriors, #5 in the Time’s Edge science fiction series)  which opens with a big snow storm. Our hero is standing up to his knees in snow trying to prevent two other characters from killing each other. (It’s been a long, dark winter on the planet where they are.)

We are experiencing a strange sense of deja vu. Why do we have the feeling this is going to be us in a few hours?

Life Sometimes Feels This Way

keep calm

Twas the Night We Were Blogging

computerfix‘Twas the night we were blogging, when all through the house

Not an idea was stirring that would inspire a mouse;

Our manuscripts were flung by the chimney without care,

In hopes that inspiration soon would be there;

We wished we were nestled all snug in our beds,

While visions of blog stats danced in our heads;

And my wife in frustration and I in despair,

Were beginning to think we had nothing to share.

When out of the blue I got a great notion,

I sprang from my chair in a whirl of commotion.

Away to the computer I flew like a flash,

And opened the program but the thing promptly crashed.

I pounded the keyboard, right-clicked the mouse

Then uttered a yell that was heard through the house.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a Microsoft message that wasn’t too clear.

It’s an outdated driver, so slow and so sick,

I knew in a moment this wouldn’t be quick.

More rapid than eagles our curses they came,

We stamped, and we shouted, and called it some names;

“Now, Damn it! now, Darn it! now, How do we fix this!

Oh, Blast it! How stupid! oh, How do we nix this?

This is taking too long! We’re climbing the wall!

Just go away! go away! go away all!”

As frustration did grow and our tempers did fly,

We met with the obstacle, and said “Do or die!”

So back to the keyboard my fingers they flew,

With determination, and disk repair, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I saw on the screen

Another message from the hateful machine.

As I threw up my hands and was starting to frown

Error messages appeared with a bound.

They made no sense to me and no sense to my wife,

And had but one purpose; to cause us much strife;

A bundle of codes, which took us aback,

And made us believe we were on the wrong track.

Our eyes — how they twitched! our faces weren’t merry!

Our cheeks were like roses, our noses like cherries!

My wife’s little mouth was drawn tight as a bow,

And the look on her face as cold as the snow;

I turned to the screen and gritted my teeth,

The steam from my ears circled my head like a wreath;

I felt a sharp pain deep in my belly,

And was beginning to shake like a bowl full of jelly.

I grabbed a manual from off of the shelf,

And mumbled and murmured and read to myself;

My wife caught my eye and then shook her head,

Which let me know I had plenty to dread;

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,

And fixed all the problems; then turned with a jerk,

And giving the finger to the stupid machine,

I started it up and it worked like a dream!

My wife sprang to the keyboard and began typing away,

Creating a blog to post the next day.

But I heard her exclaim, as we finished that night,

“Blogging can be quite fun, but sometimes it bites.”

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Never ask a science fiction fan for space…

Never ask a science fiction fan for space...

Sometimes Book Discussions Can Get a Little Lively

Katie and Zoe discuss Time's Edge

Katie and Zoe discuss Time’s Edge

Family Guide to Putting Up Christmas Lights

1. Spend an hour (or two) hunting through the basement for the lights. Resolve to label the boxes this year, even though last year you were convinced you would remember which boxes you would need.

2. Untangle strings of lights. Yell for assistance when you become so hopelessly entangled yourself that you cannot get free without wire cutters.

3. Plug in lights to make sure all bulbs are lit. Discover several dead bulbs. Spend an hour hunting for box containing replacement bulbs. Wish you were lit.

4. Replace bulbs. Haul lights outside. Wonder where the rest of your family has disappeared to. Wish you had found a good hiding place, too.

5. Contemplate tree in front yard. Wonder why it seems so much taller this year. Get step-ladder. Not tall enough. Get taller step-ladder. Try to decide is it would be better to fall onto the frozen ground or into the tree itself. If ground is not frozen, try to aim for mud, which will cushion the fall.

6. Stomp inside and bellow for family. When they creep out of hiding, place them in strategic positions around the tree: one to hold the light strings, one to climb the ladder, and one to run madly between the light holder and the ladder climber, shouting directions.

7. Argue about the best way to string lights. Husbands: Always take the manly approach. If it is harder, higher, more complicated, always try to convince your spouse it is the one and only correct way to do it. Wives: Always take the aesthetic approach. If a few minor adjustments will make the entire display breathtaking, always advocate for it. Afterwards, if you do not like it, you can make him change it back. Children: Get bored and then run around trying to lasso each other with the light strings.

8. After all the lights are on the tree, haul out extension cords. Spend an h0ur crawling under shrubs and artistically arranging rocks to hide the cord so that it seems that your electric lights are magically working without electricity.

9. Plug extension cord into socket. Start swearing when it doesn’t work. Spend an hour trying to determine why. Husbands:Unplug everything, including all the lights strings already on the tree. Plug it all back in and swear again when it doesn’t magically work this time. Wives: Offer helpful advice, such as “Did you unplug everything and plug it all back in again?”. Children: Get bored and then run around singing the same Christmas song over and over until your parents join in the fun by chasing you around the tree.

10. Finally discover the circuit breaker that popped and reset it. All say “ooh” and “aah” when the lights come on. Marvel at the magic of Christmas.

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

In response to many requests, we are rerunning our popular Thanksgiving post, Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.

Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the store,
Not an employee was stirring. They could give no more

Their stockings were torn but they did not care.
They just hoped that closing time soon would be there.

The children’s department was completely a wreck
While the staff glared at shoppers and wished them to heck.

The managers were tired, the employees were pooped
And all wished with fervor they could go and get looped.

When out in the aisles there arose such a clatter
They all started swearing. Now what was the matter?

Away to the noises they wearily trooped
With heads that were bent and shoulders all stooped.

The overhead lights did glaringly glow
Like the rage of a fire from someplace below.

When what to their overworked eyes did appear
But a nut in a sleigh full of holiday gear.

And the little old driver was so peppy and sleek
They knew in a moment they were all up shit’s creek.

A man from corporate to the staff came
And he whistled and shouted and called them all names.

“Now, Dumbass! now, Birdbrain! Now, Stooper and Bonehead!
On, Cranky! on, Stupid! on, Leadass and Meathead!

“I want top profit stores, I want top profit malls!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before a wild hurricane fly
The staff looked at each other and let out a sigh.

So up to the man, the staff they did drag
To see what new horrors he had in his bag.

And then, in a twinkling, he loudly did yell
“I want you all to sell, sell, sell, sell!”

The staff bowed their heads and were turning around
When out of the sleigh he came in a bound.

He was dressed all in Gucci from his head to his feet
His tie cost more than they all made in a week.

A bundle of sale signs he had flung on the floor
But then he said, “Wait! I have even more!”

His eyes, how they twinkled! his smile, how scary!
His cheeks were like roses, (from drinking some sherry).

His cruel little mouth was drawn up in a grin
He had the air of man who knew he would win.

The plan from corporate, he held tight in his fist.
And when he unrolled it, the staff got quite pissed.

He had a girl on each arm and a group of kiss-asses
(Who were really accountants with bow-ties and glasses.)

He was greedy and dumb, a corporate kook
And the staff when they saw him, all wanted to puke.

A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head
Soon gave them to know they had something to dread.

He spoke no more words but went straight to his work
He changed the whole store plan (because he’s a jerk).

And giving the finger to all of the staff
He then strode away with a soft evil laugh.

He sprang to his sleigh, and his suck-ups he hailed
“Let’s get out of here, boys, before we are flailed.”

But they heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight
“You had better make plan before Christmas night!”

An Ode to Bestsellers

(Sung to the tune of “The Monster Mash” written by Bobby Pickett, Leonard L. Capizzi)

I was looking at my stats late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my book from its slough began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list
The bestseller list
It was an Amazon hit
It hit the list
I pumped my fist
It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list

From their computers in their happy homes
To the Amazon boards where the critics roam
The readers all came and their Kindles shook
They wanted a download of my book

It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list
The bestseller list
It was an Amazon hit
It hit the list
I pumped my fist
It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list

The downloaders were having fun
The series had just begun
Readers could download a three-pack
Or buy paperbacks, one by one.

The scenes were rockin’, all were digging the plot
Word spread quickly, they liked it a lot
Everyone predicted the book would thrive
If only some characters came out alive

It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list
The bestseller list
It was an Amazon hit
It hit the list
I pumped my fist
It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list

Out from his lair, a critic’s voice did ring
Seems he was troubled by just one thing
He opened the book and shook his fist
And said, “Whatever happened to a final plot twist?”

It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list
The bestseller list
It was an Amazon hit
It hit the list
I pumped my fist
It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list

Now everything’s cool, the critics have calmed down
And my new book is the hit of the town
For you, the reader, this book was meant to
Hook you on the series; I’ve planned twenty-two!

It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list
The bestseller list
It was an Amazon hit
It hit the list
I pumped my fist
It hit the list
It hit the bestseller list

The Writer’s Clock

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

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