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Winter is Here

For a while, I didn't think winter was coming this year. Even into the second week of January, we had 40º temps and the ground was still green. Every time we got a storm, it came as rain instead of snow.

But this weekend, the middle weekend of the first month of the year, we got a good old fashioned snow storm. The temps barely got out of the teens yesterday, and when I got up this morning it was 6º outside! Brrr! Looks like the cold stretch will last for the next week, at least.

We did our morning walk all the same, though it had to be short, or Roxy's poor paws would suffer. Still, she refused to go without us, so we bundled. Only my eyes showed through my wrappings. I resembled a fluffy and colorful mummy.

The pond froze over for the first time this season. There's been a little ice here and there, but it's frozen solid now, except for the spot where the stream runs in, and the hole being kept open by a predator feeding off the overabundance of goldfish we never intended to proliferate. We're not sure if it's a mink. It's smaller and has shorter legs than a fisher, and weasels don't like water. It's too small to be a river otter. It seems to have made itself a den underneath my little red storage shed. We're deliberating what should be done, if anything. It does seem that nature has sent a solution to our pond's over population problem, but it's tough to let nature take its course. At least it doesn't seem to be eating the koi. Maybe. I hope.

We got about 7 inches of snow, before this cold snap, which is when the photo of Roxy was taken. It melted almost immediately. Then it rained and sleeted and snowed a little more, and now there's a layer of ice, topped by a dusting of snow, with the grass still poking out from underneath. And I am counting my blessings anew that I am a work-from-home type. All I need to work is my laptop and an internet connection. But I could also write stories with a pencil and paper if push came to shove.

Or if even that went away, then I could tell stories, making them up as I went along, in front of a warm crackling fire.

2024 Goals

I have some goals for the coming year, and due to events, I didn't do my usual year-end review, year-ahead wish-making, goal-setting exercise. So I'm doing it now.

I'd like a certain number of paid subscribers to my publications. The Bliss Blog and Eat Like You Give a Shit both have free and paid subscriber levels to help offset the time it takes me to write them. I have a number in mind for each.

I'd and a certain a number of clients for my" Whole Food, Plant-Based Transition Coaching" program. Not more than I can manage easily. Ease is going to be a key word for me this year.

I also have a number of stories I'd like to release this year. Three is the number I'd like, but two is more realistic. I finished The Mermaid Murder and it's releasing in March. Check.

I've just started writing The Runaway Bride, a next generation Texas Brand Tale featuring Maria-Michelle Brand Monroe, the daughter of Lash Monroe and Jessi Brand from The Baddest Virgin in Texas. This is the beginning of the next iteration of the Texas Brand series! So that's a pretty safe bet to be the next one.

In one week, the spring semester begins and I will finally be able to put my carefully crafted scheduling plan into action. I'll see if it works and then readjust if necessary.

Right now, though, I feel like there's nothing I can't do. I got through a journey through my personal holiday hell all the way to the Christmas miracle at the end. If I can come out of that almost unscathed, then surely, I can do all the tasks I've set for myself in this new year, in small pockets of carefully segmented time that includes novel-writing, three blogs, college classes, coaching, self-care, and family time. I need to rearrange those a bit. Self-care, family time, storytelling and classes are equal in importance to me, and then all the rest are bonus activities with which I reward myself when the other tasks are done.

These are very high goals, and I bet I can't do them the entire year. I bet I won't even want to. I might have to rearrange a bit, spread things out a bit, lighten things up a bit, or even let something go for now. It's a malleable, manageable mass of possibility, my life right now. I have surrounded myself in things I absolutely love doing and sharing and learning about. I have the energy and health to do as many of them as I can, while still feeling good. If it gets overwhelming instead of fun, I'll adjust.

I have so many passions to try to explore in this one little lifetime! There just aren't enough years. But I'm making the most of every last day I'm given.


Brown and de Luca Return

THE MERMAID MURDER March 12th in Paperback and eBook

Psst! Pre-ordering a book is the literary equivalent of applauding when the curtain opens in a theater, before you've even seen the play, just to express your excitement and eager anticipation of what is to come. It also generates ripples of that excitement throughout the book universe, which helps the book, which helps the author, which helps ensure the series will thrive and go on.

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