Mysteries...with some steam!

Category: Ramblings (Page 1 of 2)

She’s Alive!

Haha. Hoo boy.

So after over a year of diligent hand washing, and mask wearing, and avoiding hugs with friends (I really like hugs)…I goofed.

As near as we can figure it was during a beach volley get together. It was over a few days last month and I had dropped by to see ‘the gang’ at the beach on thursday afternoon. I had not played myself but had sat with a few friends, discretely sitting apart(ish), and watched a game. We did not wear masks, but we were fairly far apart. At one point though…I believe I drank from a water bottle that wasn’t mine. This was the big ‘oops’.

As it turned out…one of the gf’s of the guys playing, who I was sitting near, ended up testing positive. I learned all this much later.

The weekend went by, I played some games, I hung out at home. I was feeling great! Until tuesday morning of the next week when I had that “gee…did a truck run over me in the night?” feeling. Full body ache. Wicked headache. No fever though! So I thought…meh. Whatever.

Wednesday was worse. So with alarm bells finally going off I got driven to the testing site and had to gargle with salt water and spit delicately into a test tube. When it comes to gargling I’m a total pro – so no issues there. But the swishing back and forth sequence was more problematic. Somehow I ended up drooling a fair bit. This was, I imagine, neither very sexy, nor was it ‘best practices’ from the look the nurse gave me. Sigh.

Later than night I got ‘the phone call’. And then I was sent off to isolate by myself in the cottage. Feeling (deservedly) like I had leprosy, my main agony was imagining everyone else who I had now exposed. It was two days of hell waiting for everyone at the house to get appointments for testing and getting the results. All negative! Unbelievable.

I slept well that night I can tell you! After that, it was just putting in the time while my body cycled through the various covid symptoms on my personal menu. Loss of taste/smell? Check. Body ache? Check. Fatigue? Oh My God Yes! Headache? Check. etc. etc. Still…never had a fever thankfully. I was chilled though. So lots of hot baths, when I had the energy to drag my ass to the bathroom and turn on the water, at least.

Anyway! I’m now out of isolation, back at the house, feeling pretty silly, but back to maybe 80% of my former swagger!

Hope you’re all staying safe!? And…always double check who’s water bottle you’re holding!


Little Free Libraries

I love little free libraries.

Those little boxes that people have made at their end of yards and people take and leave whatever books. Some are works of art, like small houses with little windows, carefully crafted with tiny shingles on the roof. Others are thrown together and scarcily keep the rain out. Still…I love them all.

On my daily walk with the dogs I have a route that takes me past five different libraries (seven if I do the bigger loop).

The contents are always changing of course, which makes daily visits a constant journey of discovery. And the selection is generally hard to predict. One day a whole science fiction collection will get jammed in between a dog eared cozy mystery and a historical tomb that has been there for months. The next day it will be a stack of Harper’s magazines, and some Scandinavian noire.

But I say ‘generally’ hard to predict…because there is a trend based on geography!

The battered red library with the wonky hinges at the end of our street is predominantly populated by sci-fi, cook books, and various self-help themes.

The one around the corner (a beautifully done mini version of the actual house behind it) leans towards YA (young adult) sort of fair. But also mature mysteries (Tana French, Louise Penny, most noticeably).

Then, past the path through the woods, is the mother lode. A large multilevel box outside a modern flat-roofed house…but across the street is a retirement age condo building. All those wonderful grey haired little old ladies who — apparently — have an unending appetite for the filthiest sort of romantic smut imaginable. The turnover is daily, and some of the stuff is too graphic even for me! (Anal gang-bangs? Really??) Additionally though, is a great volume of cozy mysteries and Agatha Christie type material.

Fourth on the list is a cool log-cabin type of box. It has lights inside when you open the door and everything. Now were into mostly thriller sort of things. Lee Child, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, etc. etc. But also religious pamphlets, travel guides, and the biggest source of popular ‘literary’ type things.

Lastly, down by the beach, is another favourite. The turn-over here is wildly eclectic, and huge. Every visit is a new grab-bag, and competley unpredictable.

Regardless of the library in question…I’m tempted to buy a bunch of ‘The Night Swimmers’ in paperback and seed them in. Just to see how long they stay before someone takes them home. And then wait to see if they return again.



So the great March give-away went pretty well I think.

245 copies of “The Night Swimmers” were downloaded over the five days of the promotion. Which is cool!

I know from reading on the Reddit romance subs that it is often the case that people will download ‘anything’ free…but not necessarily ever get around to actually reading them. And also that free offerings tend NOT to translate into ratings and reviews. Like because the reader didn’t have to invest financially in it there is somehow less attachment to the book. Curious. Some interesting psychology going on there I think!

Speaking of which…I’ve been delving into the world of voyeurism. This is going to play a significant role in “Katie Undercover(s) Book 2”. So I’ve been onto a few related websites and, wow! Really fascinating to me. Entire apartments with multiple cameras in EVERY single room, recording absolutely everything 24/7. I gather that the residents receive some significant remuneration beyond (presumably) free accommodations.

These are (mostly) all young and attractive individuals and I expect the heat must be cranked to the max as clothing is often limited. Which is of course largely the point.

I can barely function on a zoom call without being overly self-conscious. I cannot conceive of being remotely comfortable in one of those apartments where my every move and angle is constantly recorded! But maybe you would get used to it?Maybe you learn to just block out the thought and live your life ‘normally’. Certainly the folks I’ve seen appear to have pulled that off.

Will ‘Katie’ be able to though…? I wonder.


Free Free Free!!!

I’m kicking off March with a free promotion on Amazon!

That’s right! For 5 whole days, the world can enjoy “The Night Swimmers” (ebook version) completely free. So that’s right now! March 1 to March 5. Get ’em while they’re…hot? Crazy huh!? Apparently not. I’m told it’s a good thing to do to raise one’s visibility in the (very, very, very) crowded sea of new authors.

One favour though, if you do read it, puhlease give it a rating/review on Amazon or Goodreads. It would mean the world to me! 🙂

Did you know that apparently on Amazon alone a million (1,000,000) new books get published every year? I mean…holy cow! That’s a LOT! Now I’m fairly certain that a big percentage of those might contain a spelling/grammar mistake or two. And I imagine there is a chunk of angsty teen vampire-related themes that might be a bit overworked. But still..

So the word on the street (just an expression – I don’t go out much these days) is that a free give away can help give a bit of a bump. This idea works MUCH better when you have other books available that aren’t free, so as to entice new readers into your little world. But I figured I would give it a go right now just to see what happens.

Amazon only lets you have promotions like this for a short period of time so it will be long back at ‘regular’ price before book 2 is all polished to a shine and ready for publishing. At which time I can always do the free promo thing for The Night Swimmers again.


I’m getting a new (to me) laptop! I found a used place downtown that has EXACTLY the same little Lenovo that I have now. Only theirs has one where the keyboard works. I’ve gotten a bit tired of the sticky keys on this one – the result of a oopsy when I dropped it and a bunch flew off. Some teeny tiny plastic edges got snapped/folded/scrunched. Its never been the same since. So…time for an upgrade.

What else? Oh yes! I took a WHOPPER of a fall the other morning. I was out with the dogs (and Christie) and we were frolicking along the beach in the crisp morning air. The tide was high, and in one cove, the logs were piled up and beautifully dusted with frost. Super slippery frost. As usual I was wearing footwear of less than practical leaning. We were climbing over a small pile, and using the logs as (narrow) pathways as it’s easier than trudging through the pebbles and kelp and bric-a-brac.

The sun was only somewhat up and I looked to admire the light dancing over the water and ….Swoooooop! One foot zipped out from under me. It was like I’d stepped on a buttered teflon…or maybe like that time the lube bottle broke and things with my vibe got a bit out of hand…I digress.

Anyway! I landed with a wallop on my ass/thigh. I now have a nifty bruise that looks like I was kicked by a small mule. It’s become a ‘please do NOT touch me there’ zone at the moment.



Marketing 101…

…was a course that I probably should’ve taken! Haha.

After early excitement with some sales over the first two days the flood of those clamoring to read my novel dried up pretty fast. Flatlined completely. Crickets.

But I am in no way disheartened! This is all a learning process, and I’m already figuring out many things that I will do differently when the next story is ready. So that’s all good. Meanwhile, though I really need to try and get some reviews and ratings going on. Both on Amazon and on Goodreads. So if you’re reading this (and read ‘The Night Swimmers’) I’d be hugely grateful for a quick review or even just a ratings click.



Okay, that said, what wisdom can I impart…

Oh yes! Do not — I repeat do NOT — leave your favourite flip-flops outside overnight. Even though you think that they’re ‘just beside the door’ and under the safety of the deck…the racoons don’t care. I found one halfway down the yard and it was chewed almost beyond recognition. The other…well…presumably it didn’t come off so well. I imagine that by now it’s either passed completely through a raccoon’s digestive tract or maybe they just used the little chewed-up bits to play with in some sort of sick and twisted raccoon sporting event.

Possibly my flip-flops were targeted because I have nice smelling feet. It’s doubtful…but I’m clinging to that belief.



So it was quite a thrill to wake up and find the email confirmation that “The Night Swimmers” had jumped its way through the Amazon approval hoops. The bigger thrill though was seeing that even before I knew it was up for sale…someone in Australia had already figured that out!

My very first sale. Ever.

I have always wanted to visit Australia. And now I have one more reason to! I need to search out that first buyer and bring them a signed copy of the paperback! And then pester them with questions on what they thought about it. JK!! The anonymity of Amazon means I shall never know who they are…but they have my thanks!

(I’ve decided that the buyer is most likely a grizzled ranch hand in some teensy place smack dab in the middle of the country that no one has ever heard of. And he likes it that way).


Wattpad Meets Bandcamp

For those who don’t know, Wattpad is a website where aspiring authors can freely share their stories with the rest of the world. It’s been around since 2006 and claims to have a staggering 90 million users. Like…damn!! That’s a lot.

So I tried it. I became 90millionth and 1 user (give or take) last fall. And I had a super fun time for about a week or two. Which was as long as it took me to figure out what the site actually is…and what it isn’t…and also, what it should be. (Which is the point of this post).

What it is….
It’s a social media site. Really. That’s the crux of it. And it’s one that skews to a young demographic who lean toward highschool romances, things with werewolves and vampires, and all manner of ‘fan-fic’ type things. But it’s also a place where authors and readers (typically all one and the same from what I can tell) can interact…though it’s mostly chatting that has little or nothing to do with writing as a craft.

(Shortly after I joined their servers got hacked and the wheels were wobbly for a while. In fixing the holes they decided to scrap a companion site they had running which was a forum environment, so most of the interaction is gone – at least for the time being).

What it isn’t…
It is definitely not a place for anyone hoping to create something of quality to the extent that anyone would actually pay to read it. At least not for 99.8% of it. They do have a pay to read program (which mostly has higher quality stuff) but it’s a very cliquish invite-only framework and it’s very difficult to break into from all the complaints that I read.

What it should be…
Okay, this is not my original idea! In fact, I’d never even heard of until another author on Reddit made the point I’m making now. Which is, that, is a website for musicians that allows artists to; create accounts, upload their music, set their own prices, and create a web presence to promote their work. If you go there and see what they’ve done it’s like well…no shit! It is exactly what somebody needs to do for authors.

Anyway! I’ve been echoing those thoughts in all the writing subs on Reddit for a while now but I thought I’d share it here in case someone gives Bill Gates or Elon or somebody like that a copy of my book for valentines day. Which of course might lead them here to check out this blog and leave them thinking: Hmmm…I’ve got a few bucks lying under the sofa cushions….I should start up a website like that…hmmm….

(fingers crossed)


Sordid Searches

One thing with this novel writing gig — it does generate a wildly convoluted and varied browser history. My god, the things I’ve looked up! And bookmarked, and occasionally downloaded. All for reference and research of course. But some of it wanders into some…well..interesting areas to say the least. Not all of it I’d be super comfortable with needing to explain to…well…anyone!

Though, on the plus side, I guess I can also take the view that I can justify pretty much anything now as being ‘research-related’ and not at all of the actual personal interest. No, no, no! Honest! ;P

Still…it’s probably best that — links to articles concerning the buoyancy properties of breast implants, or images of the current hot sellers in the strap-on-dildo line, or instructional videos of how best to ‘exquisitely ruin’ your guy’s orgasm — should all remain secretly hidden away.

To that end…I’ve been taking some time this morning to do a bit of browser clean up. The only hurdle so far is that I had to watch a few things to make 100% sure I no longer needed reference to them…which led to a bit of a prolonged side trip to have a relaxing shower.

Rinse. Repeat.


Home Stretch!

When I typed that title just now I was really thinking about how I had finished another chapter this morning and was now in the final stages of completing my novel. But then I realized that I was also doing some yoga just a few minutes ago and so…technically…that was also ‘stretching at home’.

The yoga, was of the naked-in-the-sauna variety. The chapter completion was not. I suppose one could write naked, and actually I guess I have on more than a few occassions in the comfort of my bed. But I doubt they make a sauna-proof laptop. Or do they? Probably NASA has something up to the task. That would actually be pretty stylish now that I think of it! Relax in the sauna…smell of cedar…the click and pop of the electric heater…ice cold water bottle…and then be able to type away!

I suppose the keyboard would need to be sweat proof. You’d probably want to be able to just hose the whole thing down after.

Sorry…way off topic!

Okay. Yes. Another chapter is done! And things are defnitely very exciting in the story just now. Action. Danger. Nudity. All the fun things!

So now here I go, no longer in the sauna, but onto the next chapter!

Wish me luck!


Animal Stories

So my fiancé talks to pets.

Not in the typical “Who’s a good dog!?!?! You’re a good dog!! Yes you are…yes you are…!!” sort of thing. Or in the Kristoff and Sven the reindeer cute sort of interaction where he does the animal voice to hold the conversation together. Oh no. And not even (as far as I know) in the more magical Dr. Doolittle actual talking to them sort of deal.

His chats are entirely one-sided. Always (at least the ones I’ve overheard) follow current events of a political nature, or are weather-related, or maybe just more in the moment issues like ‘why isn’t the coffee grinder working’ sort of things. Generally, he concludes by looking at whichever animal happened to be listening as if waiting for a reply…and when one isn’t given, he says something like; “Well…okay. Think about it. Let me know.”

He does this when he’s alone or thinks he is. And I find it beyond endearing, though his sister thinks otherwise. Partially because one of the spin-offs of this approach is that whenever pets have been adopted (and it’s a rotating door on that aspect) and the need to name said pet is there then if he has his way the animal is always given a ‘regular’ name. Like David. Or Susan. Or Kevin. (The rest of the household calls Dave the cat ‘Dave’. My fiancé insists on ‘David’). When other family members are involved the pet names tend towards the ‘Sparky’, ‘Mittens’, ‘Zuzu’ end of the spectrum.

I have yet to get my chance for a pet naming…but I’m thinking hard! 🙂


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