March 28, 2022

Nothing Ever Gets Done

To stay organized, I write future plans in my planner.
I also decorate it to encourage myself to use it.
The unadorned pages covered in commitments call to me.
        No, purple. 
            Yes, Purple.
                With stars!

I have purple and yellow colored pencils, markers, and pens,
    None of which are on hand.
I do not share my art tools with the children,
For I have seen what they do to their own.
But Daughter needed colored pencils.
       And she had none.
        So I let her use mine.
They must be in her room.

I open her door.
It smells.
I reach over the bed to open the window.
There is food and trash among the blankets,
    And stains on the sheets.

She can not sleep and play in here.

A bag for the trash,
A pile of the dishes,
Thank God for the waterproof mattress cover.
It can go in the washing machine with everything else.
I feel something wet,
    Under my foot.
        It is slime,
            Embedded in the carpet.
How do you remove slime from the carpet?
Google: “How do you remove slime from the carpet.”
    Ice—but only if the slime is fresh.
    Baking soda and vinegar—will also bleach the carpet.
    Dish soap—
Dish soap is wonderful: It cleans anything out of everything.
The dish soap does not immediately make itself present.
Maybe floor soap will work.

Once the slime is out and the carpet dries, I will need to vacuum.
Let me grab the vacuum,
It should be down here.
It is not down here.
Why isn’t it down here?

He’s the only one who forgets to replace the vacuum.
I grab the vacuum attachments since I will need them as well,
    And carry them as I look for the vacuum cleaner’s hiding spot,
        Which is Husband’s room.
        Because his room is the only room he ever cleans.

I go into Daughter’s room.
The smell.
I forgot to remove the bedding—I should do that first.
On the way down to the laundry room,
    I grab a favorite pillow of Daughter’s to wash as well.
Everything will not fit in a single load.
At least one load gets started, and I make a mental note to continue doing laundry.

I return to Daughter’s room.
The smell is a little better.
    The vacuum waits for me.
        I should vacuum Daughter’s carpet next.
            Everywhere except the spot of slime.
                Since vacuums don’t like wet stuff.

The vacuum is actually working really well,
    Typically it tries to suck in the edges of the carpet,
        And the rotating brush gets stuck as it grips on the shag fibers.
Not this time.
This is amazing.
    Except the stickers aren’t coming out.
        Well, they have adhesive,
            So I will pick them out later.
    The crumbs are not coming out either.
There is no debris collecting inside the vacuum’s chamber and the suction is poor.
An amber light tells me it is clogged.
But upon inspection, there is no clog.
Perhaps the filter is dirty.
The filter is wet.
Why is the filter wet?
What did Husband do to the vacuum cleaner to make the filter wet?

Also, it smells.
So I wash it.
I would normally use dish soap to clean something like this,
    But I still don’t know where the dish soap is,
        So I use the floor soap.
I vaguely recall that the filter should not be washed with soap, just water.
Too late.

The filter is still wet.
It will take an entire day to dry.
    And I still need to use the vacuum cleaner.
….I use my hairdryer to quickly dry the filter.
    The heat gun would be even faster!!
        The heat gun would probably melt the filter.
            The hairdryer will be safer.

I get the hairdryer from the bathroom.
I should do this in the bathroom.
The filter might spray droplets of dust-saturated moisture all over the place.
It won’t—because I already cleaned it—but only clouds of dust came to mind.
I turn on the hairdryer.
    I think it’s working.
        Shouldn’t something be happening?
            This is taking too long.
I’ll have to give it a day to dry.

I should put the filter next to the vacuum’s home so I can find it later.
I also need to charge the vacuum,
And the vacuum’s attachments should go with it.

I enter Daughter’s room.
The smell is faint.
The window is open,
There are no sheets on the bed,
And there is slime in the carpet.
I need to saturate the slimy spot with soap.
I use the floor soap—I am technically cleaning the floor.
It will need a few minutes to break down the slime.
    I should take a break.
        I have completely forgotten why I went into Daughter’s room in the first place.

As soon as I settle at my desk,
My planner reminds me that I need colored pencils to decorate it.
That was why I went into Daughter’s room,
    To find my colored pencils.

I check.
They are not there.
The window is open.
The mattress is bare.
The carpet is covered in stickers and crumbs,
And there is a mushy wet spot.

My daughter can not sleep or play in here.

….And my planner still begs for purple with stars.
I haven’t gotten anything done.

January 3, 2022

Happy New Year 2022

I'm not the only one who had high hopes for 2021 but came out of the year fairly disappointed. Without going into too much detail, parenting has been an incredible struggle this past year. The pandemic has been really difficult for my kids as well, and they've needed much more support from me, their school, and the community this past year. They are a huge priority to me, so I had to put a lot of things on the back burner this past year, and unfortunately, that included writing and publishing.

As always, I'm starting the new year with lots of goals and aspirations. I have a couple projects started that I'm really excited about and hope to share with you soon. I'm planning to attend more events this year and am looking for more opportunities to connect with you all. 

I'll leave this brief update with my toast for 2022: May it be slightly better than the previous two.

July 28, 2021

Upcoming Events and Appearances

To say that I'm excited that things are opening back up is a complete understatement. It has been such a relief this past month being able to take my family places, go shopping and to the park without wearing a mask, and not constantly worry about the health and safety of all the people I love.

I had the pleasure of attending Galaxy Con in June and Fredricksburg Comic & Toy Show earlier this month. Interacting with people and meeting fans helped me feel like a 'real' author again. I enjoyed meeting other authors, artists, and creators and admiring their work. I also had a first at the Fredricksburg Comic & Toy Show: I sold every single book I brought with me.

Currently, I'm impatiently waiting for more books to ship so that I'll be ready for all my upcoming conventions. Here's a list of my upcoming events:

Big Lick Comic-Con

August 7-8, 2021
Roanoke, VA

Big Lick Entertainment’s mission is to create events with a message and meaning is unmatched in Virginia. Big Lick Entertainment boasts a roster of signature events including southwest Virginia’s largest New Year’s Eve event, the Big Lick Downtown Countdown, the largest Oktoberfest, the Big Lick Oktoberfest, biggest kid-centric festival, the Big Lick Kid Fest, the record-breaking concert series, Flat Pickin’ Fridays, the areas biggest barbecue celebration, the BOCO BBQ & Country Music Fest, Virginia’s only cocktail festival the Big Lick Cocktail Classic and more!

Harrisburg Comic and Pop Con

September 18-19, 2021
Harrisburg Mall, Harrisburg, PA

This two-day event offers over 100,000 sq feet of celebrity guests, comics, cosplay, contests, panels, guest artists, and many vendors including comics, anime, and pop culture goods!

I also keep a list of my upcoming appearances on my Events page, so make sure to check it out to see updated info on my new shows and events!

EDIT: I also planned on attending the Fairfax Comic-Con in late August, but it has been postponed to spring 2022.

April 19, 2021

Novel Rereleases and New Puzzling Escapes Adventure

The pandemic has not been great for my productivity. Supervising two kids 24/7 and facilitating virtual school for an entire year has been a huge struggle. The school has finally invited students to attend in person--for two days a week--and it feels like I can finally breathe a little.

I haven't had the time or energy to write very much. I've slowly worked on a couple Puzzling Escapes books and helped format a number of other writers' books, but the focus required to write an entire novel has escaped me. There are a number of stories I want to write, and now that I have a bit of time to myself, I can dedicate myself to them.

Currently, I'm working on the next Puzzling Escapes installment. This one has the reader solve a mystery rather than escape a situation. The idea of a treasure hunt sparked my interest and after a little research, I fell in love with the Florentine Diamond. So far the book has lots of puzzles and some narrative, which means there's still a lot of work to be done before it releases.

There are a couple of novels I've written that I failed to market. After the debacle around the release of Quality DNA, I was pretty burnt by Amazon and unwilling to market my work at all. My next two novels launched with little fanfare. Only when I released In the Lurch did I feel ready to tackle advertising again. To keep things simple, I only brought a few titles to events, and since the two forgotten novels never sold well online, I decided not to bring them to events, further sealing the books as commercial failures.

I'm excited to bring these novels back as new editions with fresh covers. I even gave At Fault a new title: The Earthquake Anomaly, which better represents what the story is about.

Both of these books will release on May 1st. If you'd like a reminder on release day, you can sign up for my newsletter.

I'm looking forward to tackling all the stories zipping around in my head. And of course, I especially look forward to sharing them with you.