Entries to Win Afghan

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Genesis of the Dubois Files Mysteries

I do have one video from yesterday that is ready to share. This tells how I got the idea for the Dubois Files mystery series for kids.

I'm still thinking there may be a video of me reading from "Druggist" that someone will send me. If so, I'll post that in the future.

In other news: Michelle from work and her husband came and he looked at the pump. Can you believe the water line is still frozen? We cleared out a bunch of the dirt that animal moved in, placed the heater in a hopefully better location, and he assessed the damage. Maybe not too bad. Will call pump guy again tomorrow.

Under the heading of long-standing pet peeves, my scanner has always had issues talking to my computer with Windows 7. I could usually get it to work though. After the last update- the one that sent my computer to the shop because it messed things up so bad- the scanner would not speak to the computer at all. So, today I uninstalled the scanner and started over completely to re-install. Nope. So, a perfectly good scanner is now a piece of junk because Canon won't deal with this issue. You can read message board after message board that there is a driver missing that Canon simply will not develop/supply/whatever. If I have to get a new scanner, I think I'll go with Epson. This all took hours, of course.

I did manage to get the final version of the map for The Secret Cellar just about done. I'm about to go print it out in the correct size to see if it looks good.

See Book Launch Event
See Draft of the map
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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Launch Event!

Today was the book launch event at the BookMark book store in Ludington. It was organized by writer/hiker friend Hanne Kelley. She did a really nice job. I've done a ton of "events" that weren't planned at all- the organizer just throws you out there and lets you promote yourself. Of course, you have to do that, but the whole atmosphere is much enhanced, and seems less pushy, if someone else has your back, so to speak.

Hanne introduced me.

book launch event

If I counted right, there were 17 people who came. This is a nice size group. I was pleased, and the bookstore owner was too.

book launch event

I read an excerpt from Dead Mule Swamp Druggist. I have some other people sending me pictures and video yet. If one of them captured that I'll post it, but at the present time I don't have it.

Then I shared about my newest project, the Dubois files mysteries for kids. Linda Sandow, the cover artist, shows some preliminary sketches.

book launch event

I do have a video of my comments about this series. I'm trying to get it moved from my camera so I can edit it. Slow going. I'll have to use it another time.

Finally, there was cake! What a hoot- the bakery spelled my name wrong and then tried to fix it when Hanne picked it up.

book launch event

Nancy Miller, the owner of Shagway Arts Barn, to whom the book is dedicated, was there (despite not feeling well!) She supervised the cake cutting.

book launch event

Sold 14 books. Best of all, I convinced the owner that all the really local authors should have better displays of their books. That's a real winner! And I was invited to participate in a fairly prestigious vendor event next Christmas.

See First Shagway Vendor Event
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Friday, January 19, 2018

Some Things Are Looking Better

I will confess to being a tiny bit grumpy yesterday. Sorry!

Today, we had heat at work. That's a big plus.

Beth decided she wanted to make burgers and homemade fries for everyone. She was the chef.

cooking burgers on a griddle

We brought all the fixin's, and healthy appetites.

potluck lunch

I made the buns last night. They are good, but I forgot how big to make the balls of dough, so they were more like slider buns. We ate 'em anyway.

potluck lunch

Dig right in!

potluck lunch

The electricians were there, so I think the wiring is ready, or nearly ready for the "new" stacker. They also used their handy lift cart to change a couple light bulbs for us. Much safer than how we usually do them with the fork lift.

lift cart

Still no water, but I've got the well pit warmed up. Now I just have to get the pump guy back here to figure out what damage was done.

I'm brain-cooking a new design for a decent cover for the well pit. I also shoveled some of the dirt out that the miserable animal-whatever it is- has moved into the pit. Really a LOT of dirt. And getting it out would be MUCH easier with two people- one in the hole and one above.

In other news: I mailed some books. That's just about it, except for little stuff. I'm chilling before heading back to work. Have good hopes for some writing progress this weekend. The Book Launch party at BookMark in Ludington is tomorrow at 4 pm!

See Fix-it Day at Work
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fix-it Day at Work (Sort of)

We had a repairman with us at work all day. First he got the front station on the inserter working, which has been non-functional for two weeks. No picture of that.

Next he replaced this belt that was really torn up. It's just spread out on the floor here, to measure for the new piece, but you can see it was completely split up the middle.

split conveyor belt

It's part of the belt system that carries papers up the wall. Here's where it came off of. It goes around those exposed rollers.

conveyor belt

He was going to also replace the belt that carries papers from my station out the window, but that didn't happen for some reason.

He was also going to hook up our new to us (refurbished) stacker.

newspaper stacker

Guess again. Now we have to have an electrician come before that can be accomplished, and we have a large inanimate object to work around for another unknown length of time.

The strapper didn't heal itself in my absence either, so we have to do the little dance with the strap reel for who knows how long. That's making my hip ache. We've looked at the manual and on line, and can't even actually figure out what part is causing the problem. Clearly not the part that's listed in the troubleshooting guide. If we take it apart now, before the current reel of strap is used up, that will all be trash because they just come unwound if you take them off, mid-reel. So, I'm sure we won't even look at it till it's empty.

And there is still no heat at work. Only in our room... We are special.

And there is still no water here. I thought the heater I bought was defective. I could not get it to turn on in the well pit this morning even though the little light said it was getting power. So I took it to work and it was fine (although it couldn't make a dent in heating our huge room). Brought it back and it still wouldn't work in the well pit. What the heck, right?

Took it to the house, and it's fine. I finally figured out that the sensor to turn it off if it tips is REALLY sensitive. I'll have to go back down in the pit with a board and a level because there is only has a dirt floor, which that clever animal has dug up. What fun. I should do that before I go to work in the morning. We'll see.

I went out to catch you another sunset because color is GOOD!

I also caught the red-tail hawk. Not a great pic, but I'll take it. S/he always makes me smile.

redtail hawk


Bed soon. We hand-stuffed papers for hours today because we couldn't run the machines while the guy was working on them. I'm bushed.

See The Stacker
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tomorrow Will be Warmer

Well, the pump was still frozen despite the heater I put down there yesterday (which is practically new, and was working fine last I used it... who knows?), and the young whippersnappers that came were not amused. I'm sure they get tired of dealing with frozen pumps all winter.

So, they put a concentrated heater right beside the pump, and it should be thawed tomorrow. I went and bought this milkhouse heater to replace the failed one. Don't think I should plug both it and the one the guys brought into the circuit at the same time.


The weather is supposed to warm also, nearly up to freezing, so that will make it easier for whatever heater to do the job on the pump.

I also got chewed out for the not-so-great cover on the well hole. That was somewhat deserved, but it was the best I could do at the time and it's done the job for four years without a problem even in really cold weather. I think the other heater must just have failed.

The biggest problem with covering that hole is that it's a large well pit. There used to be an actual shed over it, but that burned down something like 45 years ago. I've drawn plans for two different style covers, and then got thinking about them and realized each had flaws that were going to be difficult. Not to mention expensive. So nothing decent ever got made.

Guess I'll need to get serious about that this summer and figure out something.

Meanwhile, here's a nice warm sunset.


Tomorrow we should also have water. Maybe there will be heat at work- that would be nice too.

See Four Years is Better Than Three
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