Shadows in Death – Review

3.5 stars – good but not great book

This book is better than a three but not quite a four – 3.5 really describes it best. I like the interaction between Roarke and Dallas. Yes, I know they’re married but in this book there seemed to be more equality and more acceptance of how they both don’t like certain things but even though they didn’t like it, they still did it – so the other had some peace of mind. Robb’s writing is spot on – as usual. The plot was different. This was a really slow start and I struggled to read it. The case was solved early – too early in my opinion. Then the shift in the action went to the other plot line. In between – it dragged. Normally I read these books in two nights. This one took me longer than normal and I felt no compulsion to read it. Post read – I enjoyed it but it wasn’t memorable. Robb makes it clear that Roarke and Dallas have created a family around them who stand up for them and stand with them. This was nice to explore. It was also nice to have a slightly different approach to their marriage and the case. This is a good story, worth reading but nothing grabbed me about it.

Right as Rain

Finished the JD Robb book – Devoted in Death.  It was good, a little bland but overall good.  I read a bit in Cast in Sorrow by Michele Sagara.  However, it was raining last night and the sound of the rain, the thrum of it lulled me to turn out the lights early (for me) and go to sleep.

As I lay in the dark, words rushed into my head (no surprise there) and I turned on my phone and spoke them into the phone which then copied them down.  When I have time, I’ll see if they make a poem.

There is something soothing about the rain and thunder.  It seemed to roll through last night.  I ache everywhere with my arthritis but the sounds, the clean smell, all of it just seems to sooth me.

This morning there are amazing clouds, from white to grey to darker almost black.  The formations are incredible.  It looks like someone smeared a brush across the sky with different colors.  They’re moving pretty quick, changing the scene as they go.  It’s beautiful.

Perfectionism is a Curse and a Blessing

Edits are done on the Wayfarer series.  I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working on editing the novels already published.

This started because I reread them and found errors.  My impression was there were so many errors, I had to redo them.  I started the process and in doing so discovered there really weren’t that many errors or errors that were so drastic they need fixing.

My next step is to analyze the errors and decide if it is worth the time and effort to republish.  The perfectionist in me is saying HELL YES!!!  But the realist in me is saying, let’s be reasonable.  Time is a precious commodity.  I’ve done the editing now are those errors really so important I need to republish?

Part of this is me needing to make sure I’m producing a quality product.  One side benefit from doing these edits, Wayfarer eight seemed to pop out of my head and onto the pages so is now in the rough draft stage.  Wayfarer nine has been started.

I’m planning some vacation time at the end of the month.  I’m staying home to write.  I’m hoping in that time I’ll finish Wayfarer nine and the Defenders series.  I am about halfway through the third book and keep getting distracted from finishing it.

I also need to get some crocheting done.  I’m going to try to get some of that done this weekend but I’ll have to see how it goes.  When I want to write, there is little else I can do.  I write or my head explodes (or feels like it will).

I’ve not been hitting the marketing aspect of my author business so I need to get back at that.  I feel like I never have enough time for this (and the other hats I wear).  I’m hoping to have another book out by the first part of next month.  If I can finish the Defenders series while I’m on vacation, I’ll try to get that one out in August.  Then I turn my attention to either new novels and non-fiction or I look at the sequels to other series waiting in the wings.

So much to do and so little time to get it all done.  I keep reminding myself I’m one person capable of doing one thing at a time (unless I’m doing three or four).  I’m trying to keep my to do list realistic as well as my own expectations.

This is why I’m hoping to let go of the need to correct the minor errors I found in my books.  It helps to see books done by professional publishing companies have errors in them.  As I read the JD Robb series, I kept finding errors.  She is a long standing author, who is published through a traditional publisher, with the use of a professional editor.  Still her books have errors.  It helps me realize I need to let go of the desire to be PERFECT in my work.  Missing commas are not going to show up on a report somewhere.  Though I could see a missing commas department somewhere investigating … wait I digress…

Next step, decide how many of the books need republishing and how many I can let go.  After that I’ll move on to the next task.  Writing, marketing, publishing, and the list is never ending…

Hermit Hole

Essentially I’m a pretty private person.  Now if you know me personally I’ll share almost any aspect of my life but if you don’t know me, I’m pretty private.  It is hard for me to be on social media.  It puts me out there to a lot of people.

When I went on vacation, I took a week off of social media, book marketing, everything except spending time with my family.  Social media and book marketing are key to getting my books sold.  I’ve been back a little over a week and just am struggling with going public again.

I’ve met some interesting people online.  One of my friends I met online only.  I’ve never met her in person but I feel we are closer than most people.  She is caring, giving, and understanding.  I can tell her anything and get no judgement.

I’ve been in my own little world the last week.  Enjoying the me time, the quiet time that I think my soul needs.  I’m feeling rejuvenated and recharged.  I finished off the JD Robb series – just waiting on the next one which comes out in September.  I’ve been going through the Wayfarer series and looking at edits.  I’m through two and half books.  There are only a few edits I need to make and I’m weighing that against the time it take to make the edits.

Next is to work on the next novel – either Wayfarer or Defenders.  I also want to work on the next Murder and Dragon Lord’s books.  These two haven’t been started at all though I have some ideas.

I have a pile of crocheting I want to work on.  Ideas are just flooding me.  I need to work on the baby blanket, skirt, and bibs for co-workers.  After that I have a list – a very long list – of things I want to get done.

Right now I’m just happy in my little hermit hole but I know reality will be climbing in my quiet little hole with me and pushing me out into the world to get things done.

Crochet Arm

In an effort to have an afghan done before we go visit our daughters, I’ve been putting in a lot of hours crocheting.  Probably more than I normally do.  Yesterday, I noticed that when I tried to straighten my right arm, it hurt. 

I have aches and pains all the time, so I didn’t think much of it.  But this is a muscle twinge rather than the ache of arthritis.  Every time I reached to the right with my right arm, I’d get this twinge in my arm. 

It finally dawned on me, I have crochet arm.  I’ve been spending my time crocheting.  This means my arms are folded in to my body and not stretched out.  Apparently I’ve been doing this so much, I’m now getting issues when I do straighten my arm.  My muscles are saying what are you doing?  We don’t move that way anymore.

When I told my daughter this, her response was “but it doesn’t hurt when you crochet so you’ll be able to finish my blanket right?”  I laughed.  I will finish the blanket and listen to another JD Robb book but really where was the concern? 

With luck, I’ll have the afghan done this weekend.  I’m on the third repeat of rows and think it will only take five repeats to be long enough.  Then I will turn my attention to the border – which has 13 rows in it.  Now I’m going to check yarn because I have gone through enough I’m concerned about having enough to finish the project.  I think I have six skeins left but need to check my basket to see if  have more.  I am hoping I have more because I think six is enough to finish the afghan but not do much work on the border.  I’ve already spent about $200 on this afghan so I don’t want to purchase more if I can avoid it.

Meanwhile, I’ve been massaging my arm, stretching it as I work, and trying to avoid moving it in such a manner that makes it hurt.  I know in the end, the afghan will be gorgeous.  I’ve already had several offers for others to take it.  I don’t think my daughter will allow it to be borrowed or taken by anyone else though.   

Overloaded and Overwhelmed

Things are speeding up at my day job which is putting a stress on my writing and crocheting because I have so much I want to get done but I’m tired when I get home.  My pain level isn’t helping but I’m hoping for milder weather in March.

Mentally I have a long list of things to get done editing, writing, brief descriptions, press releases, production for the manuscripts and that is just the general list off the top of my head.  I still have a gift to make and a few other things.  My daughter is grumbling about people being put before her afghan so I need to focus on her project.

I have a LONG LONG list of to read books.  So many I can’t even begin to say.  I can’t seem to make myself read Cast in Peril.  I guess I’ll go back to making myself listen to one chapter (at least) before I start the next JD Robb.  I’m on book 15 of the JD Robb series.  I want to get all the way through them and move on to other series.

The nice thing about crocheting is that I can listen to books and crochet so I’m doing two things I love at once.  Unfortunately when I write, it is the only thing I can do.  Tonight I worked on two stories and considered the start to another one.  I want to finish the final Defenders book.  I need some quiet weekends to be able to do it though.  I’m in the middle of writing a battle – a turning point in the book.  It takes my revolutionaries from thugs to respectable people attempting to change the rules of a society.  It’s turning out good for now but I need some quiet time to focus on it and think about where I am with all my large cast of characters and where I need to be and how I’m getting there.

I probably wrote about 3000 words tonight, maybe more.  Not bad considering I’m tired and cranky.  I’ve got too much in my head to not write and too much in my head to write and get the stories down.  It’s a matter of whittling away at my to do list.

Tomorrow promises to be another busy day.  We are coming up on advising followed inevitably by registration.  I’m sure it will be no worse or no better than other semester but just long days spent trouble shooting why people can’t register.  I managed to get a variety of tasks off my desk today and that felt good.  I like being busy while I’m accomplishing things.

This weekend is busy, very busy.  I’ve got things scheduled for most of the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I’m hoping I can get some down time with my feet up during all the chaos but we will see.

I made a call to one of my student loan places today.  I was supposed to get a tax form.  I didn’t and called them about ten days ago.  They said they would mail me one and still haven’t gotten it.  I called back today and got someone who was very helpful and got my form.  It was the largest chunk of the interest I paid so it was an important document to have so I can do our taxes.  I’m going to have to try to fit them in some time soon.  Normally I like to have them done by this time but with the schedule I’ve had and the missing document it was difficult.

With all this stuff in my head, I just need to make a comprehensive list and start working on it.  Part of the reason I haven’t is I don’t want to overwhelm myself with the list.  I have too many projects going right now and I need to finish a couple off.

Tonight – I’m going for an early night (for me) and hopefully a little more sleep than I’ve been getting.  Hopefully that will lower my pain level and keep me moving forward with my long list of things to do.

Coupons, Crocheting, and Juggling…

After I finish a manuscript and switch to something else, I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything.  I have to remind myself there is more to life than writing. 

Sunday, I spent the day listening to an audio book and going through the stack of coupons.  Since my stack was so large, it took me most of the morning to go through them.  I got the three piles done (one for me, one for my middle daughter, and one for my Atlanta daughters).  I talked to my middle daughter for a bit to sooth her pre-test nerves. 

Ken came home from helping his sister with a car that wouldn’t start and we had lunch.  I worked on a throw and finally finished it last night about 8:30.  I started another crochet project but realized I had done the first row wrong so I have to tear it out and start over.  I like the pattern, I just got the count wrong – at least that’s my hope because otherwise the pattern is screwy.  It’s a new book so it could be the pattern but I’ll try the first row again tonight. 

I’m still listening to Obsession in Death.  I’m up to chapter 13 and enjoying it.  Robb does a good job in drawing in the reader and even though this is the 40th book in the series, it is still an interesting story. 

I have editing to do.  I’m trying not to think about writing so I don’t get more manuscripts to edit but the third book in the Defenders is calling to me.  I know what the next two or three scenes will be.  I just need time to write them.  However, I also want to make sure I get the editing done.  I’m juggling again, juggling projects for both writing and crocheting. 

Often I feel like I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them.  That is when I remind myself it will all get done in time.  I have to remember to not be too hard of a boss to myself.  I get annoyed when I know I should do things – like marketing – and find myself opting to do things I know I like more – like writing.  It is a matter of balance. 

Checked off…

Yesterday I managed to check off two big things on my to do list.  I got the taxes done for my mom and sister as well as the paperwork for my uncle.  Last night I finished writing the rough draft of Wayfarer 7.

This morning I promptly rewrote the ending as it felt bad and abrupt last night.  I woke up knowing a better way to end it.  One of my test readers said it felt too final and the tweak I had in mind I hope makes it feel less final.

However, this means I now have four manuscripts in the editing phase.  I will try to get them through this phase and into production.  It will take time.  I swear I’m going to write on the Defenders series next.

Before I turned to the Defenders, I want to get some crocheting done.  I think today will be a day of going through the LARGE stack of coupons I have to clip and then crocheting to see how many gifts I can make.  In all honestly I’m working on the throw I need to make and hoping I can finish it today.

As is normal for me after finishing a project, I feel rung out and used up.  The ending for seven was tough, One of the constants in the book goes away.  Now I’ll have to replace it in the next book but I’m not thinking about eight until I get some editing done.

I think I’ll work on crocheting for the next two weeks with the editing thrown in.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do a cover reveal for Wayfarer Aegis shortly.  I am excited for the release of all these books.  I love them all and can’t wait to get them edited and into production.

If I do the coupons, I can lay out my crocheting on the card table and figure out which projects I can get off my to do list.  If Ken doesn’t want to watch Babylon 5 with me, then I’ll probably listen to the new JD Robb book.  Either way, my crochet hook will be going and my brain will hopefully get a rest from creating – well creating a story anyways…

It’s dang cold out, it seems like the perfect day to stay inside and get things done, fun things like harassing my husband and crocheting.  All while I wait nervously for my test readers to come back with whether they like seven or not.

A Return to Normal?

I hesitate to use the word normal because I don’t consider myself normal but I guess I could qualify it as normal for me.

This week has been busy with work and writing.  I’m neck deep in a manuscript (Wayfarer 7) and working towards finishing it.  I’m also attempting to get some editing done which thinking of all the aspects of all the novels related to whatever I’m editing.  Since one is a prequel to Wayfarer, this means I have to keep in mind all the things that have happened in the books since and how they relate to the prequel.  I’ve also got a murder mystery novel to edit and the first edits (search and replace) for the sixth Wayfarer novel. 

Edits inevitably lead to the need for a cover.  I have the prequel one done and will be doing an event to share the cover.  I worked with TJ Jahns to get the cover going on the murder mystery.  I’m hoping she will come back with a cover for me to use.  It still leaves me with a cover to make for Wayfarer 6 which I still don’t have a title for yet but I’m working on it.  I have one in my head, I just have to think it over and decide if I like it.

I started one of the crochet projects I need to get done.  I’ve got the new JD Robb book Obsession in Death to listen to so I may take a break (once I’m done with 7) and listen to that while I work on the crochet project. 

This weekend I’m working on taxes for people and helping my uncle with some paperwork.  It promises to be busy and possibly frustrating.  I was going to work on my own taxes but then I got notified that two or three of the forms I got were wrong.  I believe I will get the corrected forms next week – I hope so at least.

To do list – marketing of Wayfarer (on sale)
                   finish writing Wayfarer 7
                   Editing three manuscripts
                   Crochet gifts – student workers, wedding, baby, Virginia’s afghan
                   Read new JD Robb
                   Taxes for people and paperwork for my uncle.

These are just the things I need to do by Saturday or Sunday.  I hope I can get them all done.  Ken’s back home so I’m less productive though he is very understanding and gives me lots of time and space to do what I need to.  Still I sort of like spending time with my husband.  Seems like if he’s around and in the house, I could maybe spend some time with him. 

Oh and I have season 5 of Downton Abbey.  I wanted to watch it this next weekend but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  If I get all of my to do list done maybe I can do it next weekend.  I can work on crocheting while I watch. 


I’ve found myself in a bad place with reading books right now.  I have one book I hate.  I read two chapters of it last night and wanted to throw the book (i.e. my kindle) across the room.  I’ve been struggling to finish this book since June of last year.  The JD Robb book I’m reading is slow.  I’m a tad bored with it.  I’ve read it before.  It gets better but I feel like I won’t get to that part.  The Sagara book is just tedious.  I can’t stand to listen to more than a chapter at a time.

My strategy to get through these books is this.  Tonight I’m going to skim the beginning of each chapter of the BAD book.  I’m going to read the last two chapters and finish the damn thing. 

For the JD Robb book, I’m going to listen to the opening of the chapters and see how I feel about where I am in the book.  I’ve read this book two or three times already so I don’t feel obligated to read every word.  I’ll likely skim ahead until I get to the parts I like.  I know once I reach a certain point in the book, I’m going to want to listen to the whole thing. 

For the Sagara book, I’m going to continue to intersperse a chapter or two at a time with other books. 

I love to read.  I enjoy falling into a story and getting lost for hours as I traverse the world the author has created but these three are just annoying me.  I know the next JD Robb one won’t annoy me.  I’m not going to pick up any more by the BAD book’s author – not ever.  I hear from my daughter that the Sagara books I’m behind – there are three – two of them are like the one I’m currently reading (so this one and one more) and the third one out is back to her usual format and story telling set up.  I’ll get to a good book.  I think it’s going to take a few days – unfortunately.