Quick JAB

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.

 

QuickJAB

What’s In a Name?

If you grouped the first three novels in a series together, so readers could read them one after the other without having to search for the next book, what would your call that group? A litter? A caravan? A herd?

While caravan has a nice ring to it because you read the books one after the other, I’m not sure anyone but us would understand. There isn’t an actual word that everyone in the book world uses for a group of related books, so we have choices.

When I researched the online bookseller websites, I found three common terms:

  • Collection
  • Omnibus
  • Boxset
    • Collection may be confused with an anthology, which is a collection of unrelated short stories in one book; according to the dictionary, a collection of books is a library.
    • Omnibus sounds a little old-fashioned, but it’s probably the most accurate because it’s defined as a volume of several novels that were previously published separately.
    • Boxset originated with paperbacks sold in bookstores that were sold in a physical container: an actual open-ended box with a cover portraying the series. When ebook publishers first published ebooks as boxsets, readers, especially literal me, were disappointed because we didn’t receive the novels inside the pretty box in the mail.

Which term do you like?

Here is a caravan of three novels for you. No fuss, no bother; each novel leads you to the next while Donut Lady solves another murder or two.

Donut Lady attracts customers with sprinkles, donuts, and coffee and attracts the attention of killers when she closes in on solving murders.

QuickJAB

Not Your Typical Friday Date Night

Some people go out on the town for Friday Date Night. We drive twenty miles into town for our Friday Date Morning.

 

We go to Grassroots Coffee for coffee, cinnamon rolls, and exciting computer and conversation time.  I frequently interrupt his computer time with a question or two that turns into a long, interesting to us discussion. My latest questions: When the grid is down, can I move a ham radio to a house when it is currently installed in a truck? How do I power it? We didn’t have any people stop by to listen to our absolutely fascinating discussion. They were either in awe of the intensity of our Friday Date conversation or befuddled by our novelist/consultant survivalist lingo.

Notice the cinnamon roll? It’s truly the best in town. I don’t know whether they actually use Maggie’s cinnamon roll recipe, but it certainly tastes exactly like the ones I make at home. There’s nothing like a homemade cinnamon roll and Grassroots special blend coffee for a stellar Friday Date.

If you can read my computer screen, you know my ham radio questions came from my almost finished novel. The answers are in DANGER AT THE FARM, Grid Down Survival Series, Book 5, which will be released on May 27. Preorder DANGER AT THE FARM now, and you won’t have to try to remember the date.

   

While you wait for May 27…

If you aren’t familiar with the Grid Down Survival Series, now is the perfect time to read DANGER IN THE CLOUDS, Book 1.

MAJOR DAVE ELLIOTT’s farm becomes a refuge and target after the abrupt collapse of the power grid and economy. His autistic granddaughter’s gift to see danger thwarts attacks on the farm. But when lawlessness rules, Major is determined to expose the treacherous plan to control the US government. Will he succeed where others have so tragically failed and died?

QuickJAB

Binge Readers Rock!

We’re being told we need to practice self-care, right? Binge readers actually invented self-care by immersing themselves in a story that takes them away from day-to-day stresses and into a world where they share the exciting adventures of overcoming bad guys with their favorite characters.

Somewhere not long ago, a sharp pyschologist peeked into her office waiting room and noticed that three relaxed patients were reading ebooks or paperbacks while the rest of the patients paced, fidgeted, or fumed about the wait. Ah, ha! Self-care! She promptly instituted a take one/leave one book table and hired another psychologist to help with her practice.

Ready to binge read? Here’s an omnibus of the first three books in the Donut Lady Mystery Series; or in today’s language: boxset. Tap or click on the books for MORE…

BookBrushImage-2022-3-11 Boxset

QuickJAB

GRID DOWN SURVIVAL SERIES

Have you noticed there’s a new book on the block?

Dilemma: The original Grid Down Survival story made its appearance in 2018 as a Young Adult book, THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS. The book was a blend of the stories of Major Dave Elliott and his granddaughter, Aimee Louise, but didn’t quite reach all the  readers who would enjoy the story.

Easy Fix: A “Major” (did you see what I did there?) adjustment, and DANGER IN THE CLOUDS expanded to focus on more of Major’s story and was released in January 2019.

A Series is Born: DANGER IN THE CLOUDS became Book 1 of the GRID DOWN SURVIVAL SERIES in 2020 when DANGER IN THE WIND, Book 2 was published. Watch for Book 5 in June 2022!

Dilemma: The Girl Who Saw Clouds still had a lot of non-YA adulty boring stuff.

Fun Fix:  THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS underwent a huge Minor (get it?) rewrite, and THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS, SECOND EDITION was released in January 2022.

Related to A Series is Actually A Thing: Because THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS is the same story as Book 1, except it’s from Aimee Louise’s point of view, the next book to read is DANGER IN THE WIND, Book 2.

Your Dilemma: Should you read both DANGER IN THE CLOUDS and THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS? Aren’t they exactly alike? It’s up to you because both books tell the same basic story, and you’ll know what happens next and how the book ends. There won’t be any surprises for you except remember that even if two people go through an experience together, their points of view are different. Your choice, but either way, if you enjoy one or both of the books, you can continue on with DANGER IN THE WIND.

Friendly Fix: Confused? Tell me what confused you, and maybe I can help!

QuickJAB

Out with the Old; In with the New

The Girl Who Saw Clouds

GirlSawCloudsFrontCover5 Jan 2022

New GRID DOWN SURVIVAL SERIES Book 1 a novel for YA readers.

Autistic and Orphaned. The nation’s survival depends on her.

Aimee Louise doesn’t see faces; she sees clouds. Happy, sad, and worried clouds, but most importantly, she sees the clouds of danger.

A local transformer explodes, but it’s only the beginning of the coordinated, widespread collapse of the nation’s grid and economy. When the power-hungry criminal discovers the information to stop his plan to take over the US government is hidden at the new family’s farm, the attacks escalate and become personal. The target is Aimee Louise.

Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to Go For It!

A week or so ago, I was on track to finish a new book that’s already set for preorder on March 15 when the admin of a really cool authors’ association announced only two members had submitted books for the upcoming Young Adult Science Fiction promotion that the association was sponsoring.

I had a YA Sci-Fi book! Of course, it was written in 2018 and was my second book. For any authors who are reading this and suddenly remembered your own second books, I heard your groans.

I assumed all Book #2 needed was a teensy rewrite to clean it up a bit; nice thought, but after I dived in, I was shocked at how awful it was. The story was good, the characters were great, but the writing was rough.

My talented editor, bless her fearless, flaming, red pen, and I did a four-day marathon of painful, exhausting writing, cutting, rewriting (me), and ruthless editing (her), and the end product was a brand-new book, Second Edition, Book #20!

I submitted the Second Edition with its own new cover, and BOOM! The Girl Who Saw Clouds, Second Edition, is included in the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors, IASFA, promotion from January 23 – January 27. Here’s the link to the promotion where you’ll find 14 sci-fi novels that will be FREE through January 27: https://iasfa.org/get-free-books/

If you’ve read DANGER IN THE CLOUDS or even the original THE GIRL WHO SAW CLOUDS, you already know the story, but the Second Edition has a bit of new material that wasn’t in either of the other two. You might enjoy a fresh read!

If you haven’t read any of the GRID DOWN SURVIVAL Series books, dive into the new second edition. BONUS! It’s free all five days from January 23 – 27.

TheGirlWhoSawCloudsBuy