QuickJAB

Bugged by Bugs

 

I love dragonflies because they eat mosquitoes. Anything that can catch a mosquito and chomp it down is a hero to me. I managed to snap a photo of a red dragonfly as she zipped past me. 

I had a day this week that was obviously a concerted attempt by bugs to terrify me, and they were successful.

Are you squeamish about bugs? Stop reading now because this is not for you.

Bugged #1

I was sweeping out our chicken coop that hasn’t had any chickens in it for almost a year. Most of my sweeping was sweeping down the walls and corners near the ceiling because the cobwebs were thick and sticky. I had my hair pushed up into a ballcap, not my writer ballcap, and I wore work gloves, but my arms were bare because it was hot. I had knocked down all the cobwebs and spiders’ eggs and was sweeping the floor when FarmerMan came into the coop to check on me. 

 

We have dropdown doors on the inside of the coop for the nest boxes that close the boxes when the chickens are too little to lay because we don’t want them to learn to roost in the boxes. FarmerMan knows how I feel about cockroaches, so he peeked behind the doors and told me he found cockroaches. He sprinkled the poultry dust that we use in the nest boxes to keep out bugs and mites. Cockroaches evidently hate poultry dust because 200 (okay, maybe it was 20) cockroaches flew out from behind the doors and LANDED ON ME. I screamed, brushed off cockroaches, and flew out of the coop, almost literally.  

Bugged #2

Later that morning, we sprayed our trees. FarmerMan had more chores that didn’t require my participation, so I went to the camper to write.

 

Toby helps with mowing by clearing the mowed area of grasshoppers that fly up, in case you wondered why I don’t help with mowing.

The camper is my favorite writing spot because I don’t have any distractions. When I went into the camper, TWO aggressive, black WASPS went in with me and buzzed me. I’m allergic to stings, but my most severe reaction was a few years ago when a black wasp stung me, and I collapsed. I had no intention of a repeat performance, so I flew out of the camper. FarmerMan killed the two, found their nest, and dispatched the nest. I was kind of over trying to write in the camper, so I went inside the farmhouse.

Bugged #3

 

After I was inside, I was certain I was over being bugged. I wrote until it was almost time for lunch, then my computer rebooted itself then came back up and rebooted itself: automatically and repeatedly. I pulled out every computer trick I knew, including trying to catch it mid-reboots, so I could run a diagnostic test or two. It finally quit rebooting and mooned me with the Blue Screen of Death. 

I called a Computer Guy, who said it sounded like a hardware failure, but they could probably recover my hard drive. FarmerMan took it to the computer shop. I discovered I have every file on the computer backed up, except for one: my Character Bible, which is a listing of  the names of all my characters (4 series with 27 books and approximately 50 different characters per series), major, secondary, and minor and their physical descriptions, relationships, and in which books they appear. I certainly hope they can recover the hard drive. I bought a new laptop, so I can write in the camper, at the coffee shop, on trips, and while I sit on the sofa with my feet up.

Meanwhile, that’s The End of my sorry tale of being Bugged by Bugs, and I’m writing.

 

Guess which series my newest book belongs in…

 

Did you know I’m a full-time author who is completely supported by my Readers?

If you buy me a cup of coffee,  I promise I’ll drink it while I’m writing at the coffee shop. 

Tap on the cup, the ko-fi link (get it?), or HERE to donate to Judith’s coffee fund.

ko-fi.com/judithawriter

QuickJAB

Science Fiction Short Stories

Promotional Giveaways

IASFA Promotion July 24-28 2022 Science Fiction

Have you heard of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Lord of the Rings, Enders Game, Dune, 1984, Fahrenheit 451? All are Science Fiction Classics!

Ready for a new generation of Classics?

IASFA

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors banded together for a rare opportunity for you to pick and choose one or sixteen of their best science fiction short stories that are free only from July 24 – July 28.

Tap the link to sign up for your stories ISAFA Science Fiction Short Stories Giveaway

psst. Be sure to look for ESCAPE TO SURVIVE!

Escape

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Buy Judith a coffee!

QuickJAB

Spies Blend In

The best spies blend in with the herd.  

You know the Cow Rule, right? When you’re driving in the countryside, it’s obligatory for all passengers to say, “Cows,” when they see cows in a field. I may not always follow all the rules, but I definitely would never break the Cow Rule. 

The Spy in the field is banking on the Cow Rule, so when cars and trucks pass by, the passengers say, “Cow,” and everybody’s happy.  

Except for that one time we were driving on a familiar road near our small farm, and I startled FarmerMan when I shouted, “DEER!” He slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road, fully expecting to see a doe with a fawn or two behind her as they darted across the road in front of us. He was even more startled when I hopped out of the truck and stepped near the ditch and snapped a photo then climbed back in. “I got it!”   

This deer with her tribe is exactly what Maggie Sloan had in mind when she decided she needed to blend in, like a Gray Man. If you haven’t read any of the Maggie Sloan Thriller Series, I suggest you start with Book 1, I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY.

UNLESS you’d like to read a New Unpublished Short Story that isn’t included in any of the Maggie Sloan Thriller Series, THE LIBRARIAN WHO WANTED TO BE A SPY, that is available when you sign up for a Giveaway that includes the books and stories of 70+ authors through July 31. Of course, if you love the short story, you’ll love the Maggie Sloan Thriller Series. 

Here are the covers, so you’ll have a visual when you look for the MAGGIE SPY books.

   

If you’ve already read THE LIBRARIAN short story, you might enjoy I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY!

QuickJAB

The Eccentric Historian

My Foster Plants

Foster Plants June 2022 smaller

Sometimes people fall into a position at a company that isn’t a good fit for their interests or their skills. My favorite was a brilliant historian with a PhD who worked in a group of software engineers. I don’t know how it happened because he was there when I joined the company and the group.

He had an incredible knowledge of history, particularly of his niche specialty, but I had trouble following all his wonderful tales, so I’m not sure I ever knew what his area of expertise was. One day, he came into my office with two large, brown paper grocery sacks and set them down on my already-crowded desk. 

Inside the heavy sacks were plants and dirt. He told me that he stayed up all night  to dig up the plants in his yard because he decided to retire immediately and sell his house, and he was sure whoever bought the house wouldn’t be the right type of person to give the plants proper care. He told me what kind of plants they were, but I was still in awe of his plan to walk out and walk away from work and his house. 

He told me the plants were rare, native plants and very delicate, and I was the only one he knew that would take care of them properly, so he decided I could foster them until he bought another house and could get them back from me. 

That was seventeen years ago, and we have moved twice since he gave me the plants. We’ve never watered them, but we have divided them several times and have more pots of plants.

Over a dozen years after he abruptly disappeared, I was so inspired by his example that I gave two weeks’ notice, instead of the “expected” three months’, that I was retiring. Then I started writing…

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

Signature cropped

 

QuickJAB

Donut Lassies

The original US National Donut Day was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the brave women, “Donut Lassies,” who made history when they risked their lives during World War One to raise the spirits and to bring hope to thousands of soldiers, in part by serving donuts.

In 1917, Salvation Army volunteers traveled to France and set up makeshift “huts” in abandoned buildings near the front lines then provided writing supplies, stamps, a clothes-mending service, and most importantly, donuts and sweet treats to boost morale. The donut became a symbol of hope and home to the young American men, with over half of them between the ages of 18-23, who fought in France.

Next time you have a donut, other sweet treat, or a cup of coffee or tea in your hand, raise a toast in remembrance of the courageous Donut Lassies who took a taste of home and comfort to the fighting soldiers on the front lines of WWI.

And to slip in a book about donuts, you might be interested in SWEET DEAL SEALED, Book 1 of the DONUT LADY COZY MYSTERY SERIES.

       

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16 Post-Apocalyptic Novels of Survival

All 16 are FREE May 22-26

What is Post-Apocalyptic?

The “code word” for Post Apocalyptic is TEOTWAWKI: The End Of The World As We Know It caused by catastrophic disasters of political upheaval, nuclear annihilation, or  power grid collapse from an EMP, solar flare, or hacker attack.

Sound grim? It would be if that’s all it was. BOOM. The End. 

But Post-Apocalyptic Novels focus on unlikely heroes with skills and flaws who struggle with the challenges and fight to survive. Our heroes might be knocked down by the sheer magnitude of TEOTWAWKI, but their slivers of hope don’t die. 

IASFA

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors banded together for a rare opportunity for you to pick and choose one or sixteen of their best post-apocalyptic books that are free only from May 22 – May 26. 

Tap the link to sign up choose your books and there’s a bonus of an extra 5 books when you sign up!

https://iasfa.org/May22

 

QuickJAB

Cat’s Ears and Survival Month

See the feathery puffballs? Did you think of dandelions? These are actually Cat’s Ears and are related to Dandelions, which I think should be spelled Dandy Lion, so we can remember the name of their distant cousin, Cat’s Ears, aka Dandy Cat’s Ears.

All parts of the Dandelions and Cat’s Ears plants are edible, but the leaves are a tender delicacy in the spring, and full of vitamins A, C, and K in addition to folate, calcium, and potassium. I’ve eaten dandelion salad, and it had a similar taste to arugula. As a side note: I think if I ever made a Cat’s Ears salad, I’d call it a dandelion salad, just because.

So, how is this related to survival? Including greens in a diet helps a body stay healthy, and walking outside to forage in a chemical-free yard or field is much more convenient and nowhere as costly as driving to a grocery story. Alternatives are good.

I’ve been trying my best to grow greens in my garden the past few years, and I’m looking at you, buttercrunch lettuce, bok choy, romaine, and collard greens, but the bugs feast on the leaves before I can.

I’ve discovered the leaves on the Cat’s Ears aren’t ravaged by bugs. Who knew? I had a whole field of salad with no painstaking planting, watering, thinning, weeding, or weeping.

So, why is this month Survival Month? Because first, I sobbed over my collard greens then researched Dandelions and Cat’s Ears; and second, Book 5 of the Grid Down Survival Series, Danger at the Farm, will be released at the end of this month!

Want to read Danger at the Farm? Click here for the link!

Or would you like to start the Grid Down Survival Series with Book 1, Danger in the Clouds? Click here for the link!

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB

Stories Are Everywhere

I see stories everywhere, and I’m certain all writers say that, but look what I found! I don’t remember seeing it when we went into our Friday Date Coffee Shop, but when I was on my way to go outside to people-watch, it smiled at me, and I was shocked!

I have never seen a Short Story Dispenser before, and I was surprised I was the only one admiring its beauty and genius. There are three buttons: Press 1 for a short, 1-minute story; 2, for a 3-minute story; 3, for a children’s story. So, I did, and the dispenser printed out my selected story on paper that reminded me of one of the long receipts that some retail stores print, except the stories were interesting. (looking at you, national drug store chain, and you know who you are.)

The short 1-minute story was an enjoyable poem that I read in seconds.

The 3-minute story was not a quick read. I read it several times because of the depth of the science fiction survival story, and every time I read it, I caught another nuance. Wow.

The children’s story was interesting and funny, and I laughed. I don’t know if anyone in the coffee shop noticed because it didn’t matter to me. I half-expected someone to join me and ask what was so funny, but maybe they waited until after I left to get their own story.

The graphic at the top of the Short Story Dispenser is the logo for the Thomas County Public Library System. Well played, Librarians!

When Farmer Man joined me, I was really excited about the Story Dispenser and told him all about it and the stories, and he listened. He’s a keeper.

QuickJAB

Honey Bee Buffet

We don’t mow our front field in the early spring because the honey bees love the clover buffet. The bees gather pollen after the sun dries the dew in the morning until early afternoon when it’s bee quitting time because the Georgia sun is hot. I guess they get too sweaty, and they aren’t that kind of bee. *

Toby always goes with me when I take a walk in the front field. Evidently, Sadie taught him to take over her job of guarding me, and he takes his work seriously. I am particularly safe from all birds and grasshoppers. He used to snap at bumblebees, but he decided against that; we’re not to discuss that ever.

I don’t know if our bees are wild bees or if they have a lovely apartment at a beekeeper’s farm. It doesn’t matter to us; we’re happy they are enjoying their springtime buffet at our place.

I suppose you think there’s a story that was inspired by the Honey Bee Buffet… and you’re right. I’ll give you a hint: Donut Lady and Andrew decide to celebrate National Honey Bee Day.

You’ll have to wait for the story because it’s in SWEET AND SOUR DEAL. You can preorder now, and Book 6 of the Donut Lady Cozy Mystery Series will automatically be delivered to you on June 21.

       

Extortion, Murder, and Honey Bees. 

Another Story with a Twist.

Sweat bees* don’t make any honey and are particularly drawn to the salt and minerals of sweaty humans’ skin.

Not Into Cozy Mysteries? No Sweat*

*See what I did there? There’s a new Sci-Fi or Thriller book every month or so for you! Tap the link… to subscribe to the newsletter for book news and stories!

Or if you like, Tap on the cool Word Cloud!

QuickJAB

Inspiration, Weeds, and Books

How could weeds that overtook a garden be an inspiration for books? There’s a story for that!

This is one of my four raised garden beds. When I first heard about raised gardens, I thought the gardens were on tables that were waist-high. I loved the idea of not having to bend over or kneel in the dirt. I signed up for the local county Department of Agriculture Extension Service classes on raising vegetables, and I was excited that one seminar was devoted to raised beds. I was sorely disappointed when a tall (everybody’s tall to me), young (ditto, young) woman led us outside to view the raised bed garden she had constructed for the class.

Her raised bed garden was six feet by six feet, and she had some green plants in it. She knelt next to her raised bed to show how easily she could weed and maintain her garden. She implied that a raised garden bed had to be six feet by six feet for the garden magic to work, but I pointed out that she had a little trouble reaching the middle of the raised bed. She said her raised bed was new, and everyone limbers up as they garden.

I’m not sure how much gardening it takes to become so limber that you’re taller. She didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

A few years later when we moved to the farm, FarmerMan built a raised bed for my short self, and I can pull weeds from the middle of it without climbing in. Last year, this raised bed had serrano peppers. After a visit to the hardware store yesterday, I came home with vegetable plants and vegetable seeds, and it was time to weed.

The best weeding news of the week is that it rained a total of three inches this week, so pulling weeds could have been much worse.

Here we are! I weeded the raised bed garden and planted nine plants: all collard greens. The irrigation system is in place, and rain has been in the forecast for today and one day next week. The perfect supplement to our irrigation system.

So, how does that relate to books?

My oldest series got a little weeding and a snazzy new look too. The series is great and fun to read, but the covers weren’t quite limber enough because they didn’t line up well with the cozy mystery theme.  You wouldn’t see them in a group of covers and say, “Ah ha! That’s obviously a cozy mystery novel!” They aren’t bad, and they kind of imply they are mysteries, but that doesn’t make them limber or cozy mysteries.

Old Cover. You can tell it’s a mystery because it says so on the bottom line, but you probably didn’t immediately read the fine print at the bottom before you saw the picture.

  

New Cover. If you’re a cozy mystery reader, you’ll probably recognize this as a book that’s suited for you because of the cover. If you aren’t a cozy mystery reader, you might like the donut cover better; not because it’s a book you’d want to read, but instead…Donuts.

  

If you’ve read any of the Donut Lady Mysteries, just a note for you that the stories have NOT changed. We just gave our DONUT LADY more of the center stage on the cover. Unless you want to have the paperback with the most current cover, please wait just a little bit longer for Donut Lady, Book 6, for a new Donut Lady story.