Category Archive: misc

When your bulldog barks and your canary sings

It’s been a few days since I last posted, but there hasn’t been much to report. The weather has been godawful, with highs in the teens and/or rain/snow/sleet/slush … so we’ve been more or less housebound until today. But I’d be lying if I said I’d gotten much work done.

Mostly, I did some odds-and-ends spring cleaning – stuff like emptying and sorting both of my closets, and bagging up stuff to donate. Also, I culled a couple of boxes of books and will drag them off to sell them when the weather lets up; did a whole bunch of laundry (bedding, sweaters, all the not-every-week stuff); got my inbox down to zero; made an appointment to get our taxes done; and sorted out the last of our receipts to make that appointment go more smoothly.

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Speaking of taxes, a friend of mine posted this article about filing while freelancing. It’s got some good info in it, but I think it over-complicates part of it a tad – especially for those of us whose income may vary wildly from quarter to quarter.

So in addition to the advice above, here’s a little simplifying trick I’ve been using for the last few years – and it seems to (a). keep Uncle Sam happy, and (b). keep me out of trouble:

  • Start a second checking account. Take 30% of EVERY CHECK YOU GET – no exceptions – and stick it into this secondary checking account. Pretend this money does not exist until quarterly taxes roll around.

  • Pay Uncle Sam from that account. When quarterly taxes come due, send the IRS a check for whatever has accumulated in there over the previous 3 months.

This “hack” (if you will) has saved me a LOT grief over the last few years. I’m not writing big fat checks from my usual checking account (shared with husband), I always make my 90% of taxes (against actual income – see article above) – and usually, after all relevant deductions and so forth, I’ve overpaid a little bit. So I get a refund! Refunds are better than the alternative, let me tell ya.

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In other news, DON’T FORGET – Humble Bundle is LIVE and I’m in it! So are a whole bunch of other people, including (but not limited to) such diverse authors as Harlan Ellison, Kelley Armstrong, Connie Willis, Joe Lansdale, KJ Parker, and Tim Powers. And, as someone pointed out via Twitter – for some of these titles, this may be your ONLY OPPORTUNITY to pick them up digitally if you’re outside the United States.

So. Click here to take a look at what’s available. All the usual HB rules apply – pay what you want, no DRM, divvy up your payment however you like between authors/publishers/charity. A HUNDRED BUCKS WORTH OF BOOKS for whatever you find stuck between the sofa cushions, basically.


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Apparently I never did post here about the cat’s lab results, in the wake of her “what the hell is going on with this little old lady cat” bloodwork. In short, everything came up fine and dandy, which is both good and bad. Good, because yay, she is healthy for an elderly feline. Bad, because it means she’s just getting old and weird – and there’s no magic pill for that.

At present, we’ve got her on one of the aforementioned pheromone collars and a regimen of kitty Valium before bedtime. These things worked great for the first week, then everything kind of leveled off to a level which might best be described as Acceptable If Not Fantastic.

Most nights, she wakes up 2-3 times and howls her head off … but only for maybe thirty seconds, and then she calms down and goes back to sleep without anyone “rescuing” her. Ideal? No. Vast improvement? Yes. We can live with it.

Since the weather’s been so cold and awful, she’s been spending most days camped out in my bathroom – where I leave the heated tiles turned on 24/7 for her creature comforts. Of course, she threw a sulking fit at me when I took away the bath-mat for laundering; but that’s what she gets for puking on it.

“What am I supposed to do with THIS?
Lie on the naked warm tiles like some kind of ANIMAL?”

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As for Greyson, he’s a snow-dog at heart – and I’m glad he got a few days of the white stuff to frolicking purposes. Hell, I even took him out for a rare after-dark walk the other night, when the snow was fresh and dry. It was 25 degrees but every kid in the neighborhood was out, and so were half of the dogs. It was a very social evening, and it made for a very happy Greyson.

He’s an excellent pooch.
He deserved it.

And he’s the only reason I’m even remotely sad that last night’s rainstorm washed it all away.

Another Humble Bundle – Now Featuring JACARANDA!

SO GET THIS: You know how yesterday I was all like, Jacaranda is shipping, yay!? Well today, I have YET FURTHER Jacaranda news for you and yours – starting TODAY you can pick it up as part of THIS-HERE HUMBLE BUNDLE PROMOTION on a pay-what-you-like basis.

Behold the glory of Subterranean Press’s offerings! IN ADDITION TO Jacaranda – in this bundle, you’ll also find a number of other fine folks INCLUDING but not limited to Peter V. Brett, Connie Willis, Dan Simmons, and Jack Vance!

But perhaps you’re asking yourself, “Self, what on earth is a Humble Bundle, and do I want any part of it?” Well now, that’s easy: (1). A Humble Bundle is a collection of fabulous ebooks, (2). HELL YES YOU DO. Here’s how it works:

  • Humble Bundle rounds up some ebooks
  • You pay whatever you want for them
  • Your money supports an awesome charity

And that’s the long and short of it, right there. The ebooks have NO DRM and are available in a VARIETY OF FORMATS, supported by all the usual readers – including iPad, Kobo, and Nook. You put up however much money you think is fair – AND you get to divvy it up however you like between the publishers/authors, the charities, or even the HB tip jar.

Everybody wins!

By supporting this particular bundle, you’ll be supporting Worldbuilders – Pat Rothfuss’s amazing non-profit that partners with Heifer International. So that is just ONE MORE REASON to throw some dough into the hat and grab yourself a whole bunch of kickass reading material for the device of your choice.

Now get clicking, you maniacs! And by all means, feel free to spread the word :)

Jacaranda – Now Shipping!

Finally! Jacaranda is live, and it is SHIPPING right to you kind folks who either (a). already pre-ordered it, or (b). plan to order it really, really soon. According to the publisher: “We already have more distributor orders for the trade hardcover than we can fill, so ordering now might be a good idea.”

There are a few more copies of the limited signed edition on hand, so you collectors out there have a bigger window to grab yourself a copy; but if you want one of the hardcover trades, it’s basically now or never.

Click right here to order directly from the publisher while copies are still available. Or, via that same link, pick up a signed limited jobbie at your relative leisure.

Alternately – you may nab yourself a digital version – available now for $4.99 via the usual suspects:

Don’t forget, Jacaranda is my FINAL FORAY into the Clockwork Century universe. This is the epilogue that puts it all to bed. Click here to see what PW, Locus, Romantic Times, and others thought about this last little adventure.

Here, have a quick bonus review, which the publisher caught but I somehow missed – wherein the San Francisco Book Review was very, very kind:

    “While other novels in Priest’s Clockwork Century series have dabbled in supernatural elements, Jacaranda is the first to go full bore and embrace the supernatural. It leaves behind much of the steampunk and pseudoscientific trappings that characterize the series, offering a cursed hotel and perils less tangible than sap-poisoned rotters and Civil War profiteers… A welcome new wrinkle in an established series, Jacaranda shows there’s plenty of life left in the Clockwork Century universe.”

Many thanks to the reviewer there, and to everyone else who’s taken the time to chime in – though alas, as mentioned above … there are no plans for further life in that particular universe at this time. Probably ever.

So! Jacaranda. Get it while it’s hot! Get it while it’s buttered! Get it while it’s there to be gotten, because when these hardcover trades and limited editions are gone, they’re gone for good.

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Finally, on a closing note, thanks so much to everyone who has kept up with this weird, mad, world setting of mine over the years. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege, and now it’s both complete and concluded. It never would’ve happened without you.