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Monday, April 28, 2014

On Hiatus


Monday, April 14, 2014

One More Push

This week is my LAST chance to get things in order at Casa South. To say that I'm stressed out is putting it mildly.

It makes me angry beyond words that the house still isn't ready. My only option now is to give it one more Herculean push and hope it's enough.

I nagged Greg for YEARS--years, mind you, knowing these last few months would be hell on earth even under the best of circumstances. But you can't convince a procrastinator that chores clone themselves when you're not looking.

Don't get me wrong. It's ridiculously hard to keep a ranch running all by yourself. We're running two ranches simultaneously pretty much by our lonesome. That's all the more reason not to let the little things pile up. I'm not as strong, bright, or mechanically adept as Greg is, so I'm always busting my keester trying to stay one up on problems when they appear.

Putting a house on the market is serious business and everything has to be perfect. I'm depending on him to keep the house and acreage immaculate once I'm gone.

It's a rotten job to be the nag, but I can't be in two places at once, and it's not like any of this was unexpected. We both knew the timetable.

At least most of the big chores are done. My biggest concern right now is painting the house, which I'll do this weekend, and mowing the acreage so it looks nice and neat.

I'm already dead tired from moving a mountain of dirt (by hand), birthing baby goats, and jumping up in the middle of the night every time Tank so much as makes a whimper. My shoulders are one giant knot from putting in the garden. And I haven't even had the chance to mow and rake my place yet. It'll have to wait until I get back.

I tell myself that it's just one more week of giving it all I've got, but I gotta be honest, I'm not sure how much I've got left in me.

My goal right now is to empty Casa South as much as possible. Less clutter will make it easier to keep neat and presentable.

All I want right now is to put this behind me. Wish me luck--or send me a truck full of hardy elves!

Monday, April 7, 2014


It took four hours and two brain tumors, but we finally finished our taxes. We were way later than we usually do them, but we had to find a time when both of us were at the same place at the same time.

Taxes take all the joy out of freelancing. I'm pretty good at keeping accurate records but it still takes forever to document each and every job. And let's not talk about the deductions.

When we were near the end, I found two more deductions for Book Cover Diva, but Turbo Tax (the software we used) wouldn't let us go back to my business deductions. We could access all the other deductions but not the ones for the business. 

I finally gave up and let it go. It wasn't worth a third tumor.

Do you do your own taxes?


I'm really beginning to get a sense of Greg's retirement. Next week, my favorite house and dog sitter is taking care of the homestead while I do last minute updates at Casa South.

It's all starting to get very real. It's already made some changes in how the rest of the year will pan out. One of those changes is the newsletter I planned to put out. I think I'm going to wait until Greg is truly retired. Right now I'm doing a dozen things at once and I don't want to get distracted.

Tank is constantly on our minds too. He's slowed down some more, but still in good spirits. When that second part changes, we know we'll have to make some hard decisions. But not today. He still wants his cookies!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Tale of Two Fishes, Marian Perera

Marian Perera writes some killer fiction (no pun intended) but this time she went all out with a sharkpunk tale--a story about a girl and her bonded shark.

Only a writer could make the connection between pet bettas and sharks. Check it out. Anyone out there with an aquarium?

Fish Tales

Demon was the most aggressive fish I ever had.

He was a betta, a Siamese fighting fish about two inches long. But he wasn’t afraid of anything. When I put my fingers in the tank, he would try to bite them with his tiny mouth, while flaring out his gill covers to make himself look bigger. He terrorized all the other fish. He was my favorite, and I always saved the freshest brine shrimp for him when I bought them.

He was lovely, too. Sapphire scales, long trailing fins tipped with crimson, and evil little red eyes, hence his name. But one morning I found him floating belly-up. I think the other fish finally had enough of his bullying, ganged up on him and beat him to death somehow, because he wasn’t diseased at all.

I dug a little hole in a flower bed and buried him there, because I couldn’t bear the thought of flushing him. And I never had another fish quite like him.

Bettas manage to be both beautiful and fierce fighters; pit two males in an environment they can’t escape, like a tank, and one is likely to die. It was probably a fondness for them which made me curious about sharks too. I’d call those the bettas of the ocean, except they’re much less showy and territorial. Then again, they do have more impressive teeth.

Jaws first made me interested in sharks, but by the time Deep Blue Sea came out, I wanted something different, something other than the usual trope of sharks swimming around with a kill-all-humans mentality. The more I read, the more variety there seemed to be among them, not just in shapes and names—megamouth, angel, cookiecutter—but also behavior. Grey reef sharks, for instance, are social and gather in groups of up to twenty. So if you see one fin breach the surface, don’t look below.

Sharks can sense magnetic fields, learn to press a target to get a reward, and understand who’s who in their pecking order. I decided to use all these in a story, though since most sharks can’t be successfully kept in tanks—they’re not Demon—I needed a fantasy element. In my story, a secret organization called Seawatch captures sharks young and mentally bonds each to a trainee—also young, seven to eight years old.

The link calms the shark, so it doesn’t dash itself against the walls of a pool in a panicked attempt to escape. After that, each pair is trained in scouting and sabotage.

Not that this makes the sharks safe. They’re not Flipper. More like Ripper. Seawatch operatives never feed the sharks, so they won’t connect humans with food, and because the sharks sense emotions through the link, the operatives quickly learn not to become angry or afraid. But there’s nothing quite like riding a huge apex predator through the sea—or under it. With their speed and strength and instincts honed over millions of years, they’re unstoppable.

Except Seawatch’s enemies have killer whales.

The Deepest Ocean, a sharkpunk romance, was released by Samhain Publishing on April 1st and the sequel (shark vs. kraken) will be out in August. There are so many tales to tell about these bad boys of the sea—and the people who entrust their lives to them.

What fish do you find scary? Barracudas, deep-sea anglerfish, piranhas, megalodons? Shout out in the comments—you might give me an idea for another book!

Bio : Marian Perera was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in the United Arab Emirates, studied in the United States and lives in Canada. For now. You can learn more about her and her books at her website, her blog, and Twitter (@MDPerera).