Research while Searching

I’m searching for a topic to write on right now. Well, I’m sort of searching. I have six or seven things I know I’m going to write. Hopefully, someday in the future (the nearer the better), I’ll be able to carve out meaningful time to write. At present I can only carve out a few quarter hours at a time. That’s not enough to make the effort worthwhile, so I don’t carve out that time and write.

So instead, what I’m doing is researching. That may sound strange, especially when I say that I let the time I spend researching drag out to hours at a time. How can I justify the time to research when I can’t justify the time to write? My only answer to that is: All time spent researching will eventually show up in writing, somehow, somewhere, sometime in the future.

In 2015 and a little in 2016, my research project has been Thomas Carlyle, leading to two different works of his. I’ve discussed that on this blog before. However, that is perhaps useless research, as I’m not certain I’ll ever actually get those two works written. Both of them are started, and both are well along. However, they will have limited appeal, and I don’t know that they will add to any scholarship on Carlyle. Anyhow, I’ve set that aside for now, all except for occasional reading in his letters (I did a little of that last night).

About two weeks ago I decided to get on with research on another project. My wife’s immigrant ancestor in her paternal line is John Cheney. He came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, residing for a few months in Roxbury before removing to Newbury. A history of the Cheney family in the USA was written in 1897 by Charles Henry Pope. As is typical of genealogies written about that time, it focuses on the men, all those who carried the Cheney name forward. The daughters and granddaughters are given very short treatment.

My goal with this book is to document John Cheney’s life in a more expansive way than Pope could in 1897, given the limit of the resources available to him, and to list all (or as many as I can identify) of his descendants for three generations. Much has been learned over the years, especially in the Internet era. More is coming available every year as more and more documents are scanned and made available for viewing on the Internet, sometimes for a fee, but often for free. I won’t be able to identify all the descendants for those generations. John Cheney had 12 children, 10 who lived to adulthood, 9 of whom had offspring. They produced the third generations, and had a total of 65 children (at current count; trying to verify three more). Of those, it appears around 50 married. If they produced an average of 6.5 children, as their parents did, that would be 325 names in the fourth generation, the third generation of John Cheney’s descendants. That’s a lot of people, even in the Internet era.

So, I’m doing this research, trying to verify what Pope has in his book (which includes no sources for specific data), and trying to add information on the daughters and their offspring. I’m reasonably complete on John Cheney’s children, and can see an end coming for his grandchildren. I have only nine left with no information other than a name and who their parents are, plus the three that people. While I’ve been writing this blog post I’ve been going back to this research, and have found reliable publications that goes a long way to documenting the children of one of John Cheney’s daughters. I had their names from Pope’s book, but not a lot of data. I still don’t have as much documented data as I’d like, but with this new source I have a lot more. Yea!

I think I’ll end this. Time to button up this new find, write the name of the source, save the URL, and put this info in a place where I can find it later, on my Nook and on my computer at work. Progress as promised. I love research.

Author Interview – Faith Blum

HotWest - The Solid RockFaith Blum, who is a fellow member at an Internet writers site, has a book out that I suspect some readers of my blog might be interested in. It’s The Solid Rock, which is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Solid-Rock-Hymns-West-Book-ebook/dp/B01CWCDBJK DAT: The Solid Rock sounds like a title for a non-fiction Christian book. But your book is a novel How did you come up with that title? Faith: All of the novels in my series are named after hymns and the hymns are woven in throughout. I chose The Solid Rock because the theme of the song fit the theme of the book so well. I didn’t know exactly how well until I finished the rough draft, though. It was perfect! DAT: Give us a 60 second tour of the book. Faith: The Solid Rock is a Christian Western Mystery about a talented detective with a mission to find his kidnapped colleague who ends up working undercover with a heinous outlaw who has more plans than first meet the eye. DAT: The description of the book at Amazon gives no hint of any romance element. Is there one? And if so, tell us a little about it. Faith: There are a couple of slight romance subplots in the story. I’ll try to tell you about them without giving spoilers away. One is between the daughter of the missing detective and another young man. He’s been waiting for God’s leading to ask her father’s permission to court her and finally gets it. There are also five mail order brides in the story, although their romances are mostly told in the three novellas that will be coming out this summer. The other romance subplot happens mostly in the final chapters and epilogue, so I can’t really tell you anything about it without major spoilers. DAT: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Faith: I hope readers will see that Christians aren’t perfect and that’s okay as long as they continue to let God guide them.
DAT: This is book five in the Hymns of the West series. What are your plans for this series? When might we expect the next book in it?
Faith BlumFaith: For now, I plan to end the series with The Solid Rock. My spin-off series, Hymns of the West Novellas, still has three novellas coming this summer, though. And I am currently writing a series called Orphans of the West about some of the orphans who have been introduced in either a novel or a novella. I am also planning to write two other series’ about the descendants of characters from either the novels or novellas leading all the way up to current times, and possibly a slightly futuristic novel or two. That will depend on how long it takes me to write the other series’. So even though this particular series is coming to an end, the characters will live on.I hope some of you will buy Faith’s book. Check out her website:http://www.faithblum.com/and her series page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HymnsoftheWestOh, and Faith is doing a giveaway: a full set of paperback books! Fill out this form to earn entries to the giveaway. Each entry gives you one point, plus there are opportunities for bonus entries.

Back to Normal?

Yesterday we took our three grandchildren back to their parents in Oklahoma City. We took them to our house to spend Spring Break, intending to bring them back today. However, having a 7 year old, 5 year old, and almost 3 year old proved to be a bit much on the nerves and constitution. So back they went, a day early. That means today we were back to normal.

But what is normal? Is there such a thing? My “normal” I mean usual routines. I am a creature of routine, I must admit. Yet, for the last year or more I have not been able to find or establish a routine. My work at the office is somewhat routine. Leave the house the same time each day; work till lunch; eat lunch at my desk; walk a mile if weather and energy permit; work the afternoon; leave each day about the same time and drive home. The activities on any individual day could shift, but they rotate among predictable tasks.

Evening has become a little routine. I’m hot and heavy into stock trading right now, trying to come upon a winning formula that will allow us to recover from prior losses. Alas, that takes up all of the evening. Or, more correctly, it takes up all the remaining brain energy. By the time I spend an hour or two figuring out what to do with stock trading, I have no mental energy left for much else. I might be able to file papers or update the family budget records. But creative writing? No, won’t happen.

So, I’ve written nothing since October last, other than the Blizzard of 1948 story for the Meade County Historical Society webpage (which they have yet to post; not sure why). Things continue to float through my head, and I continue to suppress them. I have three works that need revision. On is a very minor revision on one page, and applies only to a print version and Kindle version. That should be easy. The other two require a number of typos to be fixed in each, and each having two different e-book versions and no print version. Those are three discreet tasks. They aren’t exactly creative writing, but they will further my writing “career,” so I should knuckle down and do them.

Perhaps I will this week. Before starting this blog post I finished my income taxes. I had them almost all done two weeks ago, or maybe three, but then the non-routine got in the way of the non-routine, and I had to lay tax preparation aside. But I just got them done, now needing only printing, signing, copying, and mailing. That’s the last non-routine item out of the way, which should allow me to concentrate more on writing.

May it be so.

Some Days

Some days are better than others, some worse. Today is one of the worse.

It’s probably not a day to be writing a blog post, but I haven’t found enough to care for to read or do much else.

Life isn’t always kind. In fact, some days it’s mean, rotten, and nasty. This is one of those days.

I don’t know if I should keep the blog going or not. I’ll be thinking hard about it over the next few days, maybe weeks.

Retirement is 1 year, 8 months, and 14 days away, though I’ll probably had to add a year or two to that.

A Tale of Two Weekends

Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities tells the story of London and Paris at the time of the French Revolution and contrasts the societies of England and France during that time. At least, I guess that’s what it does. I have never read it (it’s on the reading list). A tale of two ——— is an oft used meme for contrasts, which you find in books, articles, and in conversation.

So, based on my title for this post, you might think I’m about to write how two weekends were different. You might also think that this will be two recent weekends. After all, a blog can be a sort of diary or journal, and my blog certainly is for many of my posts.

You’d be right about it being two recent weekends, as it’s last weekend and this weekend that we’re in now. However, you’d be wrong about the weekends being substantially different. In this case I’ll tell you about two remarkably similar weekends. Similar, that is, in terms of accomplishment.

Last weekend, February 27-28 (not counting Friday evening), I got so much done I was surprised. Saturday morning, rising around 7 or 7:30, I went straight to The Dungeon and caught up on family budgeting. I was about two to three weeks behind due to the trip we made causing me to miss most of two weekends at my computer. But I got it all done, with everything balancing and matching the bank accounts. That brought me to just before 9:00 a.m.

At that time I went upstairs and cooked breakfast for the ladies. It wasn’t terribly elaborate, but it was nice. I then went to the backyard and continued removing leaves. This is a rock yard, not grass, and for about ten years we decided to just let it go. We weren’t using it, so why go to the effort? Summer of 2015 we decided we’d better restore it to reasonable health and attractiveness. The main remaining work at the new year dawned was clearing ten years of accumulated leaves on the rocks. We’d done some last year, but most of the 1/2 acre remained to be done. Last weekend was my third two work on it during this mild winter, and I achieved major progress, leaving only a sliver of it to be done another time.

Then it was inside to fix and eat lunch, then back to The Dungeon, this time to work on the stock trading business taxes. I had already calculated profit and loss for the year, and I had my spreadsheets from last year copied to this year and partially filled out. I was hoping it would go easy. The annual statement from our broker had come it during the week. The main work was to check that against all my spreadsheet entries and make sure I didn’t miss any. I had missed a $13.97 dividend, which I added. The next main work was to compare the 2015 IRS forms against the 2014 ones and see if my spreadsheet needed any tweaking. The forms are the same, so all I had to do was plug in any  missing numbers and add a few bells and whistles. That all went quickly. Then it was manually transfer amounts from the spreadsheet to the tax forms and save them.

All of this I accomplished in less time than I expected. The business taxes were done in record time, and I had time to spare. So I filed bills and statements, both for the business and for personal finances. By the time to head upstairs for supper, most of the filing was done. I was way ahead of the game.

Sunday was church as normal, with me teaching Life Group. After lunch Lynda and I went for a long-ish walk, including a large uphill grade. It measured out to 2.65 miles. That felt good. Then down to The Dungeon to work on personal taxes. Again I had to check 2014 spreadsheets against 2015 forms. Again I found no difference. I had to add to the spreadsheets the Social Security worksheet, since Lynda began collecting Social Security this year, but that didn’t take too long. Two hours after starting, personal taxes were done with the exception of my writing business Schedule C. That will go easily once I inventory the books I have on hand. Oh, and I wrote and posted to this blog before doing the taxes.

So the weekend ended with considerable accomplishment, and a feeling that, if I could just do as well every weekend, I’d never fall behind in my chores. This weekend we’re in now would be the test. I’m happy to say that I’ve been just as productive as last weekend.

Saturday morning I helped some friends from our Life Group at church get rid of junk in their basement. Actually, I was the organizer of the work party. We hauled it from the basement, up the hill to the cul-de-sac pavement, loaded it in pickups and trailers, and drove it to the weekend disposal facility for our county. Three hours and that was done. On the way home I stopped at Lowe’s for some shelf material and other items needed.

After lunch it was back to the backyard. It took only an hour to clear away the rest of the leaves, and to remove a couple of large deadfall items from the yard. I then sawed some smaller logs into firewood length. This wasn’t a lengthy process, maybe half an hour.

After that it was down to The Dungeon. I still hadn’t done the inventory of books to sell in hand, so I instead updated the family budget and filed a few papers. It was 5 p.m. and I was done with all I wanted to do that day, so was able to go upstairs and relax. I read some for pleasure, some for stock trading, and some to prepare for teaching Life Group.

That brings me to today, which I can summarize as follows: prep for Life Group early; attend church and Life Group; lunch at church, an informational meeting about the upcoming building project; home to relax a bit; then down to The Dungeon. I started on this blog post, but keep switching off between this post and my budgeting spreadsheet. I’m adding a bell and whistle to it. After that, all I have on the to-do list is e-mail my book inventory spreadsheet to my work e-mail so I can take the inventory tomorrow (since most of my books are at work).

Then, I’ll relax. I’ll head upstairs to relax and resume reading. I have a book I’ve just started reading for pleasure. Perhaps I’ll have time to read in that. I have stock trading reading to do, and some of my mother-in-law’s papers to file. I’m actually behind on that. But, for now, I’m off to my budgeting spreadsheet to see if I can finish that bell and whistle in the next half hour. See you all in a week.

 

Our Trip to San Antonio

On Sunday, February 14, Lynda and I headed out on a road trip to San Antonio. The purpose was for me to attend and speak at the Environmental Connection 16 conference, the annual conference of the International Erosion Control Association. We had begun to make this an annual event in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Then life circumstances got in the way and I attended alone in 2014 and 2015.

We had to accommodate life this year, as Lynda’s mom is living with us. We either had to find a place for her to take her along. We decided on the latter, knowing we would be slowed down, but feeling better about having her along with us instead of bunking in with someone else. For sure she couldn’t stay alone. Lynda also wanted to take our not-quite-3-year-old granddaughter along, but I vetoed that. It would be extra driving to Oklahoma City to get her, extra luggage and gear to carry, REALLY being slowed down. No, while I enjoy the grandkids immensely, this wasn’t going to happen.

Except, that Sunday morning, as we were preparing to leave, we got a text from our daughter in OKC. She had almost fainted in the shower. Clearly something was wrong. Lynda immediately said we should offer to take the granddaughter off her hands for the week. That scheme was approved, and so off to OKC we went. I guess I’m just an old softy.

Due to the extra driving, we didn’t get into Dallas that night until almost 10 p.m. I had planned on us getting in before dark. The next day, when we visited the 6th Floor Museum (the Kennedy Assassination site), we had our hands full between corralling Elise and helping Esther to work the audio tour guide gadget. I saw much less of the museum than I had hoped to. But at least I saw it, and walked the grassy knoll, in fulfillment of a dream I’ve had for some time.

Then it was on to San Antonio, getting in a little later in the evening than I’d hoped for. On Tuesday we saw the Alamo, then went down to the River Walk for lunch, then back to the hotel for an afternoon of rest. All of this was walking, as our hotel was right downtown, not far from the main attractions. That evening I had dinner with my old high school/college friend Alex Larson, who has lived there for 14 or so years and who I hadn’t seen for 42 years. That was good to see each other and rehash old times while Lynda, Esther, and Elise walked to the downtown Denny’s, the restaurant that would become our main eatery.

Wednesday through Friday was the conference, so my days were tied up. But I turned down every invitation for evening activities, and decided just to go back to the hotel and help my wife with the 90 year old and almost-3-year-old. I spoke three times at the conference, giving the same paper twice and teaching a half-day class. This is my sixth straight year to speak at it.

Saturday we decided to go to the zoo. It was a great time, though Esther had trouble getting the hang of the motorized wheelchair. In hindsight we would have been better off getting a manual one and having me push her. We saw lots of great things at the zoo. The temperature was just right, the crowd was large but not oppressively so. We had a good time.

Then Sunday, Feb 21, we headed home. We did the drive to Oklahoma City in less time than expected, had dinner with the kids, dropped Elise off, and headed home, arriving about 11:00 p.m.  I forget what the mileage was on the trip counter, but I think over 2,000 miles. I’m glad it all turned out okay. I got back in the groove without any trouble, and had a somewhat productive week afterward.

Book Review: Reasonable Doubt

I don’t know how many people who read this blog know that I’m a skeptic when it comes to accepting the official version of the death of president John F. Kennedy. I’ve read most things about it that I can get my hands on. My collection of books concerning this subject is fairly large.

So I was glad when I was in a thrift store and found one I hadn’t seen before. Reasonable Doubt, by Henry Hurt, is a 1985 book that purports to be an overview of the entire assassination theories up to that point, say until 1983. Thus, it is a somewhat older book, with much research having been done since then.

The book is good, not great. It covers the major theories about Kennedy’s death: Who did it? Was it a conspiracy? If so, whose conspiracy? Did Oswald have anything to do with it? Was he just, as he claimed, a patsy? If it was a conspiracy, how could it have been pulled off, and why haven’t some conspirators come forward and proclaimed their stories? All good questions.

The book covers very little new ground, though I think I learned a little something in each chapter.  The one thing that was new to me was the alleged participation of Robert Easterling. He approached Hurt in the early 1980s, wanting to tell his story. Easterling’s supposed part in it was very low level, driving some people in and around New Orleans, and in Dallas. As Hurt tells Easterling’s story, he was supposed to be the getaway driver for Oswald the day of the assassination, but Oswald didn’t show.

The Easterling connection seems very thin. Hurt describes it as such. Easterling had problems in his life, and wasn’t a source that could be believed without having corroboration. It seemed quite far-fetched that he had been used in this manner, and that the people he was “in contact” with either existed or, if they were real people, were involved in a conspiracy to assassinate the president.

The chapter on Easterling helped to lower the book in my estimation. The rest of it was good. For sure, if you were just getting involved in wondering about the murder of JFK and if the government was telling the truth about it, this book would be a good one to start with. Three stars out of five. It would have been four except for the Easterling chapter.

R.I.P. Billy McConnell

A young man I know, Billy McConnell, passed away this week, age 36. The first report was that perhaps two competing medications caused him to vomit in his sleep, not wake up, and choke to death. Today his grandfather told me that wasn’t correct. He had a blood clot go to his lung, and he died from that.

12583984_10153320934336500_1157518651_nBilly had a difficult life, having significant physical and learning disabilities. He had neurofibromatosis, which runs in his family. His eyesight was quite poor, and he may have been legally blind. He had some speech difficulties, though I never knew how much was physical and how much was development. For sure he was developmentally challenged. Yes, Billy had many physical and developmental problems.

He was pretty much raised by his grandparents, at least all the time I knew him. We attend the same church, and I got to know Billy. In 1992 I started a teen Bible quizzing program at our church, which is one of our denominational programs. This part of the country was, at the time, a hotbed of teen Bible quizzing activity, and the top quizzers and teams in the nation typically came out of our region, either Oklahoma or Arkansas. Billy came out for it the next year, probably in his 9th grade year. He was the same age as my son.

At first I wasn’t so sure about that. The little I knew of him at the time I knew he didn’t have the abilities to compete. However, we had enough teens to have both an “A” team and a “B” team (and sometimes a “C” team), and I didn’t want to turn anyone down. So Billy came out for Bible quizzing. I don’t know how much he studied—if he even could study. He came faithfully to practice, and went on all of our quizzes, most of which were out-of-town over-nighters. He didn’t often “jump” to answer questions, or if he did he didn’t often get the answer right. But he came out; he absorbed the word of God; and he competed.

I recall a quiz in Oklahoma City, I think in Billy’s second year in the program. He was on the B team. Right after lunch, when the event turned from round robin groups to double-elimination tournaments, our B team had their first quiz in the large room, with the big quizzing set-up. The operator of the equipment slid the name “Bentonville” into the marquee. This was in one of the lower tournament brackets, and our B team quizzed against a team of similar abilities. The others on the team were more advanced than Billy, though they were by no means experts or top competitors. The A team, which I was coaching, wouldn’t quiz for half an hour, so I stayed to watch a while.

The first question, one of our quizzers jumped. In this set-up you had to walk ten or twenty feet to a microphone, and say the answer into it so the judges could hear. That meant your answer was audible throughout the large room.  A fairly large audience would hear how you answered. This first boy actually had an easy question, and got it right. Bentonville led 20-0. On the second question, the second boy on the team jumped, walked to the mic, and gave the right answer. Bentonville was up 40-0.

On the third question, Billy felt that he knew the answer, and he jumped before anyone else did. The quizmaster called him to the mic. He walked toward the mic with confidence, and gave the right answer. It was neither a hard or easy question—it was an average question, one that you had to know something about the part of the Bible being studied to get right. Obviously, Billy had either studied or had picked it up along the way. The rules say that when the third person on a team gets an answer correct, the team gets a 10 point bonus. So Billy got 30 points for that answer, and, three questions into a twenty question quiz, the Bentonville B team had a 70-0 lead.

That was a great moment, for the team and for Billy. I got to stay a few more minutes before having to go on and corral my team and get them ready for their quiz. I heard later that the B team won its quiz. Billy had a big part in it.

I need to share one other story about Billy. This was at church, one Wednesday evening. Back then the church had a dinner every Wednesday night, not so much for fundraising but for fellowship. This Wednesday I sat across from Billy. A couple of other adults (not his grandparents) were close, including one who was in authority in the church. Billy said something that was disparaging of someone else. I’m not sure he knew what his words really meant. I gently corrected him and explained what he had done and how he might have handled things differently. The adult in authority who was nearby laughed. Billy shortly had finished eating and left. I asked that adult why he laughed. He said, “Billy’s hopeless. Don’t waste your time trying to help him.”

With all his difficulties, Billy was never going to be a valedictorian. He would never be able to beautifully recite poetry; or drive a car; or partake in so many of the activities others his age did. But to be laughed at, to be abandoned, to be denied the help he could use to do what he could, and excel to the best of his abilities…well, that just wasn’t right.

I don’t know if his time in teen Bible quizzing helped Billy much or not. I’d like to think it did. I certainly think the efforts I made with him helped me; hopefully they helped him as well.

I would see Billy now and then through the years after he became an adult, either when he visited at church, or when we happened to see each other around town. We always had a brief and pleasant conversation. He didn’t seem to change much. I think, at his passing, it had been three years since our last contact. I would have liked to have seen him again, and am saddened that I never will anymore in this life.

Rest in peace, Billy. Condolences to his extended family.

2015 Book Sales Report

Well, let me start right off with the 2015 sales table, then I’ll break it down. You might have to click on the table and view it full size to read it.

DAT Book Sales 2015

So in 2015 I sold 83 books. That’s one more than I sold in 2014. A few outlets I sell at via Smashwords haven’t reported all of 2015, so it’s theoretically possible I’ll have a couple of more sales. However, I never sell any books at those outlets, so I feel okay posting results now. Here’s some breakdown

  • Titles published in 2015: 51 sales
  • Previously published titles: 32 sales
  • Print books: 63
  • E-books: 20
  • Personal sales: 24
  • Sales through retailers: 59
  • Items with at least one sale: 13
  • Items with no sales: 8

So, I had a better year with print books than with e-books, a complete turnaround from prior years. But that’s not an accurate picture. Two of my news books, Daddy Daughter Day and Seth Boynton Cheney: Mystery Man of the West , I published only as print books. Since they were my two best sellers, naturally that would skew my results toward print books.

The Seth Cheney book was my best seller, at 29 copies. This was a book for members of my wife’s family, prepared prior to a family reunion in Dodge City in the summer. It had about 100 pages of narrative with photos and maps, and 200 pages of genealogical data, also with photos and maps. I completed it a month ahead, had time to market it to the family, and they bought it. I have only one unaccounted for sale that may have been from a non-family member. Sales of this will not be repeated in 2016.

So, was it a good year, or a dismal year? I suppose any time your sales increase, even if the increase was less than 2 percent, you should consider it a good year. On the other hand, selling only 4.17 copies per book published is rather dismal.

Oh, well, onward into 2016. Next post will be goals for the year.

And, I’ll link a smaller image of the table for linking at Absolute Write.

DAT Book Sales 2015 smaller 298x130

End of Year — Beginning of Year

I begin 2016 much the same way at 2015: With a cold. It’s a deep cold, though not quite as bad as the one last year. Then I lost more than two days of work. This year, I had a deadline last week (a deadline of my own making; perhaps more on that in another post), and couldn’t take time off. Friday was probably my worst day, but I toughed through most of the day, met my several deadlines, and left for home and a restful weekend.

Yesterday I spent much time in The Dungeon. But, I wasn’t writing. I worked on end-of-the-year paperwork. I made sure our stock trading tracking was all up to date, which it now is. I filled out some trading sheets on current trades. I organized receipts for filing.  By then it was time for a relaxing evening of ordered pizza and reading.

Today, skipping church due to the cold, I got to The Dungeon early enough to have a fair number of hours at my tasks. First I began working on my 2016 income taxes, specifically the tax forms for stock trading.  And, the good news is they are done, except for a few bits of information I’ll add when our December statements arrive, and double-checking it against the year-end statement when it arrives. I then spent an hour or two filing papers. To look at my desk you may not think I did much, but I truly did. My filing basket is way down from where it was. My desk is somewhat freer of clutter (though certainly not uncluttered). The utility receipts are lying on the floor next to the desk drawer they are filed in.

All in all, I’m happy with where things are. I have much more work to do, but I’ll always have that. And, the work I did wasn’t taxing physically. The day has seemed restful despite having accomplished much. And, it’s only 2:00 p.m. Still time to do more. And I’m feeling much better than I did the last four days.

About writing, however, I have no accomplishment. I don’t feel like starting a new project until I have other things more complete. A new short story is buzzing through my head, the next in my Sharon Williams Fonseca series, but I don’t want to start it yet. I have two different novels also stimulating my gray cells, but, again, I’d like life to be a little more settled before I commit time to them. Corrections to books already published are in order, as is buttoning up a Thomas Carlyle project that I want to put on the shelf for a while, but which I want to have in an easily re-start-able condition. That’s about the only writing I worked on in December.

So, the clock having just chimed, I believe I’ll go upstairs, put some socks on (it’s cold in The Dungeon), eat a piece of fruit for lunch, and then return to see what more I can get done. Who knows but that, by the end of the day, my desk will be uncluttered, my mind will be more focused, and I’ll have a plan of what to do next.

Author | Engineer