The Buttersmiths’ Gold and An Unfortunate Announcement

Look, Deirdra A. Eden of A Storybook World sent me this!  A friend of hers, Adam Glendon Sidwell, has a book coming out.  It’s a middle grade novella called The Buttersmiths’ Gold, and it’s coming out May 2.  I love kids’ books, and this looks pretty cool.   Here’s a bit more about it.

The Buttersmiths’ Gold



Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you’d want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you’d want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you’d stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all.

Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He’s a Viking through and through – he’s thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That’s what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan’s muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

About The Buttersmiths’ Gold

The Buttersmiths’ Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths’ Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing.

If you’re interested in checking out Book 1, here is what it’s all about:

Evertaster, Book #1:

A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.

When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.


Those sound awesome, don’t they?  Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about Adam’s book(s), I need to tell you something.

I have to quit the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.

This is the worst thing ever.  I was really looking forward to the Challenge, but I just cannot post every day right now.  I thought I could handle it, but I just can’t.   This class won’t be over until May, and I just cannot do all the assignments and post every day.

This blog is already three A-Z posts behind, and I don’t foresee catching up at all.  You know everything has been pretty crappy for a while.  Well, it’s not getting any better, unfortunately.  If I don’t cut something, I’m not going to make it.

Perhaps next year I’ll be able to do it.  I apologize to anyone who signed up because of the Challenge.  A couple of things:

  • I’m not going to stop posting; it just won’t be every day.  This yearly thing gets me motivated to post at least twice a week, and with the book in development, it’s not like I have nothing to say.
  • The 300th post thing will still happen—just not when I thought it would.  (It involves cookies, so stay tuned, since that’s what you voted for.)
  • The announcement I was going to do on April 30th will still happen, where I tell you more about Tunerville.

Thank you for reading and commenting and for all your support.  Now go check out Adam’s books!

New–Microsoft Office 2013


Recently, I was able to download Microsoft Office 2013 onto my personal computer (a 15” Toshiba Satellite aka Littleun), through my job, at an unbelievable discount.  Here is my review.


Right now, at work, we have version 2010.  It has a lot of bells and whistles that 2007 doesn’t have.  I was hoping for something better with 2013, but instead, I feel cheated.

Since I use Word the most, I’ll complain about that particular program.

  1.  No color schemes.  I am not kidding.  Only blinding, eye-scorching white, light gray, and dark gray.  That’s it.
  2. Ugly interface.  The ribbon, the desktop icons, and the header all look flat and cartoonish. It’s optimized for Windows 8 (please) and Windows phone.  No one I know is excited about Windows 8.
  3. When I type, the cursor sliiiiiiiiiiiiiides across the screen in a very annoying way.  It almost looks as if it will slide right off the page.
  4. No Office button (I knew this would be the case).  In 2010, the File tab opens a page that lets you print, save, etc.  2013 has a huge white page with all the document properties on it, and it’s ugly.  The white hurts my eyes, and there is no way to change it.
Ick.  Ick ickety ick.

Ick. Ick ickety ick.

Now that I’ve bitched about it, I’ll say some good things.

  1.  My documents look the same.   I save everything in 97-2003 Compatibility mode, because my color printer is hooked up to an ancient Best Buy Insignia desktop with a Pentium IV inside (aka Old Wheezy).  It runs Office 2003.  When I take a flash drive back there to print something, it has to open on that computer.

When it dies, I’ll move my 17” Satellite laptop running Vista (aka Biggun) back there and it won’t be an issue.  It has 2007 installed and everything that opens on Littleun opens on him.  I hope it doesn’t; Wheezy is still running Windows XP and I have a game that won’t play on anything else.

Someone really needs to remake this game.  It is awesome.

Someone really needs to remake this game. It is awesome.

Image:  Wikipedia

  1.  Everything works the same.  And the dialog boxes look the same when you open them, thank God (see picture below).
  2. As you can see in the picture, all the commands, buttons, etc. are in the same place.  It’s not the same adjustment we had to make moving from 2003 to 2007, dealing with the new ribbon.
Still ugly.

Still ugly.

Speaking of the ribbon, I’ve gotten so used to it now that when I have to do anything on Old Wheezy in 2003, I can’t deal with it.  I won’t be taking advantage of the cloud features.  Sorry, but I just don’t trust someone else with my data just yet.

Maybe someday I’ll get used to this new interface.  And here’s hoping Microsoft releases a service pack with some theme colors in it.  There are some cool things, so I’ll just keep busy playing with those.




Ooh, look, two Mondays in the same week!

I was so proud of myself for getting caught up on my A-Z posts.  I got all my homework done, and actually had time to relax a bit Sunday evening.  Then….

It came.



The Scream by Edvard Munch—Image:  Wikipedia

A horrible day.  I felt like poo, I had to do something not fun (never mind; I don’t want to talk about it), and it was just overall a shitty day.

Tuesday isn’t going much better, let me tell you.  We were supposed to have thunderstorms today, but instead when I got up, everything was cold, cloudy, and foggy.  Bleah.

Now I’m home, and unfortunately, I have to do homework.  The big assignment this week is a brochure.  Oh joy.

Today, I also decided to give Tunerville one more pass on the computer before I print it.  This one should go much faster.  So far, I’ve added little bits here and there as I go.  Now the book is at nearly 83,000 words.   I don’t want to make it too much longer, but there are so many things I want to stick in there!

I still need to do some research.   I think once I get to R, I’ll write a post about research.   I’ll have to research doing research—it’s much different for Stephen King or Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child to do it than someone like me, who doesn’t even have a book out.

Think if I threw the dictionary out the front door that would count?

Think if I threw the dictionary out the front door that would count?

Image:  Surachai /

  • I need to talk to someone at the news station.
  • I need to talk to someone who knows something about physics. (I already did, but they weren’t much help—I want to make sure I have some basics right.)
  • I need to talk to someone at NASA to make sure I don’t violate a copyright on a certain term.

Well now it’s time to do homework again.  Wish me luck.  Perhaps I’ll get caught up again later this week.

"And maybe scallops will fly out of my pants!"

“And maybe scallops will fly out of my pants!”





The Royal Mail Steamship (RMS) Titanic.

The Royal Mail Steamship (RMS) Titanic.

It’s Titanic Day again….But I’m not going to do what I did last year.  I’ll just light the candle (and maybe handle my piece of coal).  Last year, I took one out of the sealed plastic (!!!) and held it for a while and thought of those lost.


See the coal at the top of the place setting in the photo below; this was last year, when I made myself dinner using authentic recipes from the cookbook on the left.  And yes, my kitchen counter really is that ugly.


Gotta love that 1952 Formica....

Gotta love that 1952 Formica….

Photograph by Elizabeth West

If I ever finish my 7,351,630-piece plastic model of the ship, I will post a picture of it.  And there have always been plans to make a miniature room box.  Just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  A first class stateroom and a third class one would be fun to do.

If they really do build Titanic II, I will sail on the thing.  I’m saving my pennies.  Probably won’t get to go on the maiden voyage, but that’s okay.  Unless I start dating a celebrity or some gazillionaire, which isn’t likely.

Thinking about Titanic got me thinking about legacies.  As writers, we hope to leave something behind, preferably a piece that will inspire, or at the very least, entertain.  If J.K. Rowling died tomorrow (no no no no no no no!), she would leave behind a series beloved the world over.

I would love to write something that people enjoyed as much as I enjoyed the Harry Potter books.  It wouldn’t have to be that level of fandom, but if everyone who read my books told me they really liked them, that would make me very happy.

And some money.  Yes, please give me money for them.  It’s hard work.

Remember, if you reproduce this image and use it for legal tender, the Secret Service will bust your ass. And I will laugh mine right off.. 

Image:  Wikimedia Commons

As I commented on a blog post linked below, Titanic‘s legacy was the changes in maritime law the ship’s sinking brought about.  The deaths of those 1500 people were not in vain.  I assume the people driving the new one will be laboring under the reputation of their ship’s predecessor, and will be very, very, very careful.

Kookies (Shut up; it’s for the K post)


Thanks to people who voted in my poll on what to do for my 300th post a few days ago.  There weren’t very many, but you know who you are.  The overwhelming vote was for making cookies.  Well, that’s not really much fun for YOU, because you don’t get to eat them.

I’m thinking about a way to share them.  Technically, my 300th post will fall after the A-Z Challenge is over, unfortunately.  If I continue to blog daily, skipping Sunday, it will be on May 4 (Star Wars Day!), but I need a break.  So I think I’ll do it at the end of the Challenge instead.

Look for an announcement soon!

Okay, calm down.  I haven't made the announcement yet.

Okay, calm down. I haven’t made the announcement yet.

Image:  stockimages /

Man, I can’t find my little 3-hole pocket notebook thing full of highlighters.  I looked everywhere.  Arrghhh!

My house may have eaten it.  It has also eaten:

  • My black Harry Potter t-shirt with the foil Hogwarts crest transfer on it that I bought the same night I got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and which I haven’t even worn.
  • My blue hoodie from where I went to school before, barely worn.
  • My new leggings I bought for skating, worn once.
  • Anything I need right at that particular moment.

I really shouldn’t be blogging. I should be working on my homework.  Why, once I’m through this class, I’ll know how to do the following:

  • Make a brochure
  • Write an entire research proposal, progress report, and recommendation report (did I mention this is a second block class, and we have exactly FOUR WEEKS to do these, plus all the other assignments?)
  • Rip all my hair out and set it on fire.


Image:  imagerymajestic/        

Now I must do homework.  Look for my L post tomorrow, after which I will be caught up.

Before I go:

Anyone who wants to and who loves kitties and doggies, please consider donating to the Houston Humane Society in memory of my online friend Kim, who died this week of pneumonia.  She was a very sweet, humorous person who loved kittehs and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.

Here’s the link:


Juggling Papers


I’m so tired I can hardly see straight.  Not really liking school this time around.  A good job seems kind of worthless when there’s nothing to come home to.

What about me?!

What about me?!

Photograph by Elizabeth West

I did finish my first edit today at lunch.  Yes!

What’s the next step?  To print out the book and go over it in hard copy.  I am NOT looking forward to that.  I have 82,417 words and 314 pages to haul around.

Lucky for me, I’m kind of hoardy, especially with office supplies.  In my combination craft/storage/whatever room, I have about twenty 3-ring binders of various sizes, all waiting to get creamed by my dragging them around hither and yon.

One binder goes in my skate bag; it contains program instructions, notes, a little diagram of a hockey rink I use to draw my programs on, and sometimes, in the pockets, my music.

The book editing binder usually has the manuscript, and a 3-hole pocket thing full of highlighters of various colors, a pen, and small and large sticky notes for tagging stuff I want to find again.  Rose’s Hostage went through several hard copy edits; I had a large grocery bag full of paper I ended up recycling when I was finished.

There’s one more, and that’s the one Brian Keene has right now.  According to his blog, our critiques should be coming back to us in a few weeks at most.  I’m alternately excited and terrified.

I’m too tired to look for any pictures tonight, so I’ll leave you with cartoonist Simon Tofield showing you how he draws a kitten.




I found this word in my thesaurus.  It means misfortune/mishap, but also bad news, catastrophe, and disaster.  Which indeed, members of my Consumerist group got today.

One of our members passed away on Monday, of pneumonia.

Kim was a very lively, sweet person who loved cats and stuff that was blue.  We’ll miss you, Kim,  more than we can say.   Our prayers go out to you and your husband, your family and your kitties.

Some people might think it strange to mourn a person you never actually met, but anyone who has spent time in a chat room or a newsgroup or any Internet community know that online friends can mean as much to you as the people in your backyard.

Rest in peace, my dear.


A2Z-2013-BANNER-900_zps1a85732aI’ve been doing it.  I’m very tired of doing it and the first class isn’t even over yet.  If I survive this, it will be a miracle.  Although that’s not really the miracle I asked for….

With all the things I have to do, I’ve pretty much given up on reading the textbook, except for some skimming.  I’ve been trying instead to use that time to assign myself the homework of making sure I get at least ONE chapter edited on Tunerville every day.

As soon as my TV show is over, I promise.

As soon as my TV show is over, I promise.

Image:  Ambro /

Besides the chaptering, I’ve been reading through and fleshing out some very inadequate prose.  Some writers would say it’s better to carefully consider each line as you write it.  Yeah, well, the only way I could finish it was to just whack it out.  The niceties had to come later.  This isn’t literary prose.

Someone asked me the other day what kind of book I was working on.  I really had to stop and think about that one.   It’s a mainstream commercial novel that you might find in the airport bookstore, or in Barnes and Noble’s General Fiction section, the home of the uncategorized novel.

BUT—since this month’s Challenge is about my editing process, I’m going to reveal the hook of Tunerville at the end of the A-Z Challenge.  I’m taking a big risk here; it’s entirely possible this book will never see the light of day, as those readers who are writers know.  I don’t want you to think it’s great and then not be able to read it.  If you hate it, it’s no big deal—you wouldn’t care anyway.

I’m going to give YOU some homework.  I’m rapidly approaching my 300th post (yay!).  I would like to do something special for it.   I’ve thought and thought, and it’s really frustrating that I don’t have a book of my own to give away.

So what do you all think I should do?  See my very first poll below.

Someone suggested I give my cat away, but I think I would miss her.

PatioCat Curtains are Toast



I’m going to spend this post complaining.  Here goes.

  1. I’ve had a headache for four days.
  2. I’m a post behind and I can’t seem to catch up.
  3. It’s only Tuesday.
  4. I just opened my school folder for the week to discover the amount of work I have to do makes me want to jump off a cliff.  No more second block, six-week classes.  Ever.  Again.
  5. I hate my school’s online class board because I have to go through 75 folders to access all the material.  Or, it could just be this teacher posts 7500 things in all the folders.  It’s taken me an hour just to look at all the material.  I have completely given up reading the chapters.
  6. There’s nothing on TV tonight except a rerun of Little House on the Prairie, the one where Mr. Edwards gets mauled by a bear and John doesn’t shoot it and thinks he is a wimp for life.
  7. I don’t want to study; I want to read On the Banks of Plum Creek.  I’m reading them all again—I do it once a year.
  8. We’re supposed to have severe storms, but not until after midnight, so I probably won’t get a lick of sleep tonight.
  9. Dear God, now it’s The Waltons.  Shoot me.
  10.   I bought a bag of onions and cut them up and put them in the freezer and now the entire house smells like onions.
  11. I can’t upload any pictures for some stupid reason.

Some good stuff did happen today.

  1. I got a LOT of editing done at lunch.  Yay!

Once this first edit is finished, I’ll print my book.  Then I get to haul the hard copy around with me for a while.

  1. The sun came out for a while today.  Double yay!
  2. Someone (probably my neighbor) moved my trash can back up to the house today while I was at work, and put the shopping paper in my mailbox.  Aww.
  3. The city picked up the dead possum that I found in my yard.  Blargh.

Let’s hope the rest of the week will slowly improve.


Footling Around

A2Z-2013-BANNER-900_zps1a85732a I wanted to edit at lunch today, but my computer at work only has two USB ports.  My mouse was in one, and my phone was in the other playing music.  Arrgh!

It’s just as well.  By the time I get really rolling, it’s time to go back to work anyway.

So, I footled around by writing my Saturday F post while eating my lovely meal of hard-boiled eggs, an organic everything bagel with cream cheese, a mango and some lovely milk.  What can I say—it’s Monday.  Let’s hope all these leftovers don’t make me sick.

Footling around is like doodling.  Your brain needs mindless activity.  It can be either something pointless, or a thing you’ve done a hundred million times, during which your mind sorts through information and processes ideas.

How many of you have had a revelation while mowing the lawn or doing dishes?  Yeah, me too.  I learned the hard way—STOP AND WRITE IT DOWN.

Writers need to footle.  It may look like we’re not working.  We are.  Thinking is work.

For some, it's harder than for others.

For some, it’s harder than for others.

It was definitely harder for me today; it took another twenty minutes for me to remember that I had my outlet charger for the phone with me, and by then lunch was over.  Happy Monday, everybody!