A Mixed Bag

My job, and consequently my life, is a constant juggling act. As Managing Editor for circus-160165_960_720Limitless Publishing, I wear a lot of hats and have to balance the needs of authors, editors, proofreaders, our marketing team, formatters, cover designers, anthology projects…and just thinking about this makes me want a drink.

Factor in household responsibilities, the husband, personal care, and the Direwolves, and it’s even more chaotic. Mozzie just started a new hole in the yard (sorry, Tom) and rolled in it for a while, and we’re expecting my in-laws this evening for a visit. Oh, well.

Still, I try to focus primarily on one category each day. It might be an admin day, in which I manage things like schedules and planning, or an editing day if I have a looming deadline. It might be house stuff, or on the very rare days I don’t have an edit in progress, I can actually kick back and play with yarn.

For most of my life, this meant crochet, but I taught myself to knit a couple of months ago, and am working on my third scarf. I don’t even wear scarves, but it’s a good starter project. I’m using one cake of Lion Brand Mandala yarn, and you have to use the whole thing to get the full colorway, so it’s a long one. It’s currently, um…couch-length.

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See? Couch-length.

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Close-up of the working end, complete with lifelines. I still have lots of green and some blues to get through to reach yellow again, which is where I can finish off.

I want to learn cabling next, or maybe make a shawl or some slightly larger, more challenging project. Yesterday, I ordered a full set of interchangeable stainless steel circular needles from ChiaGoo, and can’t wait to play with them. Expensive, but cheaper than buying each individual size and cable length as I need them. That’s my justification.

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It’s still early, but today’s agenda is crowded and not conducive to focusing on one thing. I have to get things ready for the arrival of our house guests, finish an edit, continue the management-juggling, and get myself presentable enough to go to dinner this evening. Email is caught up for the moment, laundry running, so next up is some editing interspersed with house-tidying…and eventually a shower. I hope.

Or probably everyone else hopes, because I sincerely do not care.

Tuesday Means New Books!

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If it’s Tuesday, that means Limitless Publishing has some new books for you to enjoy, and today we have two fantastic choices–a New Adult (college-age) romance, third in the Scandalous series by R. Linda, and the Carnival of Fear horror anthology, featuring thirteen all-new, never-before-released stories by a great team of authors.

First up, we have Harper and the One-Night Stand, by R. Linda, book #3 in the Scandalous series. I have a special fondness for this one–and the author–as I am the editor for this bestselling series.

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A few too many cocktails in paradise, and I woke up in someone else’s bed. My ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s bed, to be exact.

Huge mistake.

Nate and I agreed it wouldn’t happen again. We didn’t want to hurt Brody. Only it did happen, repeatedly, until I finally found the courage to walk away.

But I couldn’t ignore the temptation, and I soon found myself back in his bed—or on his floor—stealing secret kisses and forbidden touches, sneaking around behind everyone’s backs.

I tried so hard to resist Nate’s charms, but my resolve crumbled. How could I not be swept off my feet by water towers in the rain and deep confessions on the beach?

The last thing we want is to hurt anyone, but it is out of our control. And there isn’t a thing I can do except give him my heart and hope he keeps it safe…regardless of the consequences.

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And check out books 1 and 2 in the series, Bailey and the Bad Boy and Indie and the Brother’s Best Friend HERE!

Now, step right up for the Creepiest Show On Earth! Get ready for Carnival of Fear, an anthology by thirteen amazing Limitless Publishing authors…

Best part…it’s only 99 cents!

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There’s a lot of fun happening tonight from 7:00-10:30 p.m. US Eastern time. Click HERE to join our What Are You Afraid Of? group so you don’t miss out.

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls!

Step right up to the darkest carnival you’ve ever seen.

Do you like puppets? Well, we have a marvelous one. This poor little thing was left all alone to die, only to wake up with a taste for revenge.

If smiling, red-nosed clowns bore you, you’ve come to the right place. Just follow the bloody path of mutilated clowns, and it will lead you to a room filled with gruesome revelations.

But that’s not all.

Ready for a mind-bending experience? Wonderful! Our contortionist won’t just showcase her extreme flexibility, she’ll also shock you with her insatiable appetite. Want to know her secret?

She’s cursed—but shhhhhh, don’t tell.

So grab your friends and join us as we create the most bone-chilling atmosphere.

Because we’re coming to your town…

…and we’re bringing the Carnival of Fear.

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The Most Convenient Food Ever

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Food science is wonderful, and this is truly amazing. Did you know you can purchase 100% nutritionally complete, healthy food, all in a single bag? There are age-appropriate formulas for all life stages, from infant to senior, and you can’t beat the convenience. Just measure out the appropriate amount of bite-sized nuggets and munch away! It’s full of protein, fruits, vegetables, has grain-free formulas for those with gluten intolerance, and even has essential vitamins and minerals added, and a tasty coating to enhance its natural flavor. Doesn’t that sound great?

What? No? It doesn’t?

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Of course, it doesn’t. But that’s exactly what the majority of people feed their dogs. You wouldn’t feed your child or yourself this way, because you’re not an idiot. You understand that a diet consisting solely of highly-processed ingredients, cooked at high heat and dried, is not healthy. You need fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, all in as wide a variety as possible to be truly healthy.

Even the cheapest, most crap-and-filler-laden commercial food carries the “seal of imagesapproval” from the Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) as “100% nutritionally complete.” But AAFCO is not the FDA–or a government agency at all. It’s a private corporation, basically the fox watching the hen house. All their “approval” means is the bag contains what it says it contains, and if a pet is fed this particular food exclusively…it isn’t likely to die of starvation or malnutrition. It in no way certifies the ingredients are of any sort of quality.

If you (or your child) ate nothing but dried cereal, ramen, and hot dogs every day, you probably wouldn’t die. But would you be healthy? How much healthier would you be if you ate those things, but also added fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables?

I see it all the time in various dog groups. “What kind of food is best for my (insert breed here)?” They get a range of replies from the most expensive, organic, grain-free brands with exotic proteins like kangaroo or pheasant, to “I feed Crap-In-A-Bag from Costco, and my dogs have always done fine on it.” They choose a brand and buy that same bag, same variety, month after month, year after year.

At the very least, they should change the protein each time. Get beef, then the next time the chicken and turkey, then the lamb, then the salmon. The only variety some dogs get is the occasional pizza crust or tidbit from their people’s plates or what they manage to scavenge from the trash. No wonder they’re garbage-hounds. They’re starving for real food.

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I’m not anti-kibble. I feed about 50% grain-free dry food, because the tree that fell across my fence last year didn’t have $100 bills for leaves and I have two large-breed dogs who like to eat a couple of times a day.

You don’t have to go all-out with a totally raw diet. It’s not for everybody. But no matter which commercial brand you buy, you can make it healthier. At the very least, you can mix in a raw egg, or plain yogurt, or ground beef or turkey, some raw liver, or shredded and lightly steamed leafy greens or sweet potato, or a handful of fresh blueberries. Any or all of these once a day will go a long way to add high-quality nutrition and natural enzymes and probiotics to your dog’s diet.

There are complete frozen raw diets available at most pet supply stores. Not so much the “big box” stores, but your local or regional shops. These contain a range of proteins, bone, vegetables, and fruits, and can be used to supplement kibble. There are freeze-dried or dehydrated foods. I’m currently buying Sojos freeze-dried. I mix that up, then stir in the dry food.

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If raw grosses you out, cook it–but don’t over-cook it. There are all kinds of “stew” recipes out there for dogs. Put it in your slow cooker and add some to your dog’s food every day.

You don’t have to be a food chemist or a chef. Simply put a little thought into what you feed your dog. Just as you eat some processed convenience foods but also recognize the value of whole, healthy, natural foods, do the same for your dog. Convenience is…convenient. But the dog you love deserves more.

PS: While writing this post, I encountered THIS article taking a similar look at “dog food for people.” It was an April Fool’s story, and…It. Is. Hilarious.

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The Dreaded Spoilers

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We’ve all had it happen. A new movie comes out, and some ass-crumpet posts a pivotal detail on social media before you have a chance to see it. A TV series airs in another country or time zone before it airs in yours, and though you promised to stay off Facebook, you pop in for “just a minute” and discover a favorite character is dead.

Wails, anguish, threats of swift and blinding retribution.

But there’s another kind of spoiler, one some viewers actually seek out. Let’s skip movies for now, since I rarely watch movies, though I did watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri yesterday. (Spoiler alert: There are billboards. Three of them. Outside Ebbing, Missouri.)

Television episodes are provided to select reviewers before the episode airs, and some of them work with fandom sites to reveal key information before it is broadcast. They can’t just post them anywhere, though, or the network will quickly figure out who it is, and their early-review days are over.

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One such group is The Spoiling Dead Fans, though they got a lot of heat from AMC, and now the spoilers are shared in a closed group, TSDF Army. Around Wednesday or Thursday before the Sunday US premiere of an episode, a Q&A covering key story developments appears, and lots of people read them.

I do.

The Spoiling Dead Fans has over 450,000 likes on Facebook. The closed TSDF Army group has over 40,000 members.

Why would anyone want to know what happens before an episode? For me, it’s a combination of anxiety and immediate gratification. I admit, I do sometimes skip the spoilers for a huge episode like a season premiere or finale, but I usually read the spoilers for The Walking Dead. I’m a highly anxious person, and I’ll get so worked up with the anticipation and tension that I can’t enjoy the program itself. I’m also very Veruca Salt, and “I want it now.” No waiting. I want to know, so just tell me, already. If I know, I can mentally prepare myself for anything disturbing, or pay closer attention as the revelation of something exciting approaches.

There have been exceptions. I didn’t read about the season finale as we awaited who would Negan bash in the head…and regretted it. I’d heard rumors of a possible cliffhanger, but refused to believe they’d do that to fans. And they did. And I was furious. There’s nothing worse for an immediate-gratification person than having to wait six months for an answer. I still hate Scott Gimple. So. Much.

There have also been a few times even TSDF Army declined to post a spoiler. Most notably was when Chandler Riggs himself contacted them and asked them not to reveal Carl’s impending death. Because he asked politely and respectfully, and was humble and mature about it, they agreed.

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Right now, their source has decided not to provide spoilers for the upcoming final two episodes of the current season. This is his or her prerogative, and we don’t have any right to complain. We’re not entitled to spoilers. There are rumors out there, but very little of it can be confirmed. So I’m going into tonight’s episode with not much concrete information. I kind of hate it, but I understand.

How do you feel about spoilers, either the right-after-it-airs kind, or the pre-broadcast ones? And after a movie or episode is out there, how long is the appropriate time to refrain from posting spoilers on social media? I mean, it’s not realistic to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself for months, just because someone is waiting for a movie to hit Amazon, or because someone is a season behind in binge-watching The Walking Dead. I think a week, maybe two, is fair. If seeing the movie or series isn’t your priority, you have to accept the risk.

As for tonight, I very strongly suspect one particular death. I have some good hunches about a few other developments. But I’m going in with a lot less information than I typically have, and there’s only one thing I can say about that…

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Brain Vacation

I’ve had a stressful, busy week, so other than some light editing, I’m giving my brain the day off. There will be knitting, TV, time with the Direwolves, and Tom has suggested pizza and movie night. When he gets home, he’s bringing pizza from a place with wood-burning ovens we’ve been meaning to try. Right now, I think the movie will be Three Billboards.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos of my day, as always, featuring Mozzie and Oliver.

An Intriguing Image

When we were out at Prohibition last weekend and I was enjoying some tasty dirty martinis, I noticed two framed art prints I found unusually intriguing. Let me explain and see what you think.

Artist Brent Lynch has a piece titled “Lounge Bar,” featuring a man and woman in what appears to be a mid-20th-century bar.

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Nice, yes, but that’s not what I saw last weekend. It seems the full painting featuring two people is also sold in two pieces, one featuring the man and called “Cigar Bar,” and one featuring the woman and called “Evening Lounge.”

They’re normally displayed like this, a literal two-piece version of the original so it can be hung side by side or near each other.

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But prohibition had them hung opposite, and it intrigued me far more than the above options.

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The above isn’t from Prohibition, but an image I found online.

This is my actual dark, quick-snap from last weekend…

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I tend to get strangely fascinated with random things or people when we’re out, because I’m in a constant state of low-level anxiety, and also tend to consume a lot of cocktails to compensate. But it’s been nearly a week, and I’m still thinking about these prints. I love the classic, elegant, mysterious, noir feel of it.

I definitely like them hanging opposite, looking away from each other. What’s the story? The author in me wants to know.

  • Are they a couple, but have fallen out of love? They’re facing away from each other, not engaging at all.
  • Are they strangers who could potentially be soul mates, but they’re missing the connection because they’re both focused elsewhere, lost in their own thoughts?
  • Are they not even there at the same time, with the images being the same bar at different times? Are they star-crossed lovers who missed their chance encounter, perhaps by minutes?
  • Were they once a couple, and this was “their” bar, but they’ve now separated, each coming to the bar alone, thinking of what they’ve lost?

I can’t think of a time a piece of art has drawn me in this way. I think I’d like to buy these prints, but I rarely have images of people anywhere in my house. That’s how deep my social dysfunction runs. I don’t even like pictures of people. Also, there’s no red decor in my house, so I’m not even sure where I’d put it.

What do you think is the story behind the paintings, if displayed as I saw them, facing away from each other? There’s a story there, probably more than one.

Doctor Who Universe

A couple of months ago, I started watching Doctor Who for the first time. Just the modern seasons, not the originals. I’ve now finished all ten current seasons, and I have to say I like it…but I don’t love it. I’m not a crazed fan, and if they said there wouldn’t be any more seasons, I wouldn’t be heartbroken. I liked it enough to watch all ten seasons, though.

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My favorite Doctor is definitely 11, Matt Smith, and my favorite companion is Amy. I liked Rose, despite her awful makeup that seemed to run off her face every time she cried, which was a lot, and never took to Martha Jones much. Then Amy came along, and I really loved her story arc.

When the 12th Doctor came along, I tried to like Peter Capaldi, but he was more dour and less quirky than #11, and I never fully connected with him. I thought I’d like Bill a lot, but ultimately she was mostly just okay.

My favorite episode overall was the one with Amy and van Gogh. It was poignant and thought-provoking and definitely hit all the feels. There’s even a knitting pattern for a scarf like Amy wore, and I’m probably going to make it.

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I suppose I’m looking forward a bit to the introduction of the first female Doctor in season 11, but not with “watch the calendar” enthusiasm.

Then I moved on to Torchwood. I’d say I like it about the same as Doctor Who. I know a lot of viewers are enthralled by John Barrowman, but he doesn’t do it for me. He’s not a very good actor, and I know he’s supposed to be the dashing hero, but he looks like a cookie cutter right out of central casting, or a cartoon of the handsome Captain Jack Harkness brought to life.

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There’s not a particular character or relationship that resonates with me, and I’m not sure why. I know Owen was supposed to be the good-looking rascal, but I seriously hoped he was going to be killed off at the end of season 1. He annoys me.

The relationship between Gwen and Rhys seems forced and isn’t enhancing the storyline. Ianto is potentially interesting, but feels two-dimensional. He does have some of the best deadpan one-liners, though. Tosh is okay, too, but not terribly compelling.

But I’m only a few episodes into season 2, so maybe that will all develop more.

Who are your favorites and least favorites on Doctor Who and Torchwood? Are there aspects I’m missing? I did enjoy seeing James Marsters in his guest role on Torchwood. I also liked the Eugene Jones episode, so I’m hoping there are even better episodes ahead.

Edit, Knit, Repeat

My next edit was delayed, so I did a lot of knitting yesterday. It was probably a good thing, though. After being out both Saturday night and Sunday, way more social interaction than I’m used to, I was having the usual introvert reaction, not wanting to talk or think or engage much while I re-charged. I knitted and watched Torchwood most of the day.

This scarf is in some ways both easier and more challenging than the other two I’ve done. You absolutely have to count stitches correctly due to the vertical lines of the loops and double decreases. But it’s also clear within several stitches if you’ve miscounted, because the pattern doesn’t line up. I’ve only had to use a lifeline once so far on this scarf.

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It’s going to be a long scarf! It’s already about 18 inches, and I’m only into the third color, not counting that tiny bit of yellow at the beginning, and I still have purples, greens, and blues left. It felt like the orange was never going to end, which sucked because I really hate orange. Too perky.

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Here, you can see the transition from the orange, to the dark pinkish-orange, to the magenta. I can’t wait to get into the “cool” colors, which are my favorite.

Part of my edit arrived a while ago, though, so I have to work a bit before I can knit today. But I have some weird nervous energy going, like I’m forgetting something important. I might need to putter around the house a bit and see if that helps, or if I remember whatever it is.

I could’ve crocheted about four scarves in the amount of time this knit one is taking so far, but old dog, new tricks…important if you want to keep your brain from turning to lumpy oatmeal.

Two In A Row

We did go out last night, and I didn’t die. I did talk to a bunch of people whose names I don’t remember, despite having asked them several times, and I met a nice dog named Zoe, because I always remember dog names. I also snuck a couple pictures of some random guy because he had the prettiest long blond hair I’ve ever seen, but Tom convinced me I should definitely not give him my card and tell him he should seriously consider being a cover model because it’s almost impossible to find good stock photos of guys with long blond hair.

Now, brace yourself. I went out today too. Two days in a row, shower, bra, public. Me. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, so we took the Direwolves to the beach for a few hours. We usually go to Fort Macon State Park because it has plenty of parking, and a nice walkway over the dunes.

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Mozzie and Oliver are maniacs going to and from the car, but once we get to the beach,  they’re both so good I can’t even believe it. They walk nicely, splashing in the surf, not reacting to people or dogs we pass, and lie calmly on the blanket when we get back to our spot.

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Standard poodles definitely attract attention. Two people asked if Oliver was a standard, and one of them even noticed he has his full, natural tail.

I am absolutely exhausted. I’ve walked more in the past two days than in the previous two months, so I’m going to sit here watching TV and knitting until it’s time to watch The Walking Dead tonight. I’m finally almost past the orange part of the yarn, thank goodness. I hate orange, but you can’t have “rainbow” anything without it, although if I were in charge of the color spectrum, I’d definitely change that.

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The Direwolves have just reminded me I absolutely can’t sit here the rest of the day, because it’s supper time, and they’re hungry. They have me very well trained.