Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


Technical exasperation and a winter blast?

Image by annca from Pixabay

Happy Easter (or Passover or *fill in religious flavor*) weekend everyone! Nothing quite like not getting together with family for egg hunts and jelly beans.

We usually host Easter for my in-laws, so this year we haven’t been rushing around to finish stashing clutter and cleaning stuff. Wait, that might not be a bad idea anyway…

I didn’t expect Week 4 of working from home to be any different than the past three weeks. Except it was. Note that all the schools were on an extended spring break until this week, when they started their online learning stuff.

We live out in the boonies. Even though we are only a mile and a half outside town, our town is all of maybe 2000 residents, and at least a dozen miles from the nearest major highway/interstate. Consequently, we have DSL internet service, and not even very good DSL at that (read: streaming movies? Don’t bother. We’re lucky to watch YouTube vids without buffering).

Our internet service has been slow but sufficient for years, and just enough for the past few weeks as I was remoting to the office servers for work.

That service was fine until this week, when all of a sudden even opening Google seemed to be a Herculean task that never finished. Seriously. I can’t work like that. So naturally I call our ISP (Internet Service Provider, the only show in town for a long time) to see if they can either improve the speed or bump us to a better tier (especially since they raised our price last November).

The ISP said they can’t do anything about the drop in speed. A phone line for DSL only handles so much, and even though we’re paying for “up to 6 Mbps” download speed, we have never gotten that. Ever.

However, I suspect they are throttling our speed during the day to shunt the capacity elsewhere, because from 7a to 7p every single day this week our internet was at a virtual standstill, even too slow to run an internet speed test.

Ugh. I can’t work like that. We do have some other ISP options these days, and at a comparable price (after they increased our rate without giving us better service), so we ordered new service from a different provider. As you might guess, they are super busy right now (go figure!). We might have new service installed in six weeks.

Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

So, I’m going to work my way into a “night shift” to take advantage of the usable speeds from 7p to 7a. That of course still means I can’t do anything on the internet during the day. All my plans to catch up with blog post reading, etc. have been scuttled


I’m waaaay far behind, so if you see a comment from me on a post that’s a month old, don’t be surprised. Luckily(?) my new writing class is pretty paper-based, so I have no excuses to not do my homework.

As for spring, we had one awesome 70-degree day this week. I even took the opportunity to go for my first outdoor run of the year. Beautiful!

Glad I enjoyed it because Easter is supposed to be snowy. Yes, you read that right: the spring celebration of Easter comes with its very own winter storm watch. They are including a few inches of snow in that watch. And next week our daily high temps are predicted to be 20 degrees below normal, so think a few degrees above freezing.

Nothing like spring in MN to wonder if the seasons have identity crises.

Anyway, I have my lights up, a book to revise, and a hunky Muse (who is giving me the stink-eye because I’m not working on said book right now), so I’m good.

Stay safe and Happy Easter/Passover/etc!


Harvest winding down #gardening #minnesota

L to R: zucchini, Mariachi peppers, brussels sprouts, kale. In back, cucumbers and tomatoes

I can’t believe it’s September already. Didn’t we just have the Fourth of July? The autumnal equinox is due in a couple weeks. Ugh. That means there will be even fewer hours of daylight. And it’s the official start of fall. Not that anyone told the mosquitoes they should shut down operations. I think we have a new batch; bloodthirsty little buggers!

We’ve been enjoying some great stuff from the garden. The green beans are done, the zucchini is testing my tolerance, and the tomatoes … Oh, the poor tomatoes! They have almost completely succumbed to the blight. The cucumber is hanging on, but production is waning. And as you can see in the pictures, I haven’t weeded for a long time.

Another angle. The kale looks great!

I picked the onions, since they were ready and for some reason a number of them had started to rot (gee, could it be due to all the rain we’ve been having?). I started digging out the potatoes last night, and have half a wheelbarrow full with about a quarter of them left to dig. Many are misshapen, with bumps and nodules and weirdly alien protuberances. That tells me there is some mineral lacking in the soil, and I suspect calcium is the culprit.

Potatoes front L, weeds front R, bare aisle where onions were

And here is a closer-up view of my poor tomato plants, along with my cilantro happily blooming with tiny white flowers.

Cilantro and tomatoes, with kale in the background. Oh, and weeds!

The other night as I was heading to the garden my husband showed me a surprise: the first eggs from this batch of chickens!

One of the chickens was camera-shy; we have seven chickens total. We have no idea which chickens started laying. Once all seven start laying, we won’t have to worry about egg shortages. In the winter, though, our chickens have always slowed down the egg production, so we’ll see how many keep laying through the cold months.

Another sign of fall:

Monarch butterflies!

Can you see them? It was hard to get a good picture from the house, but I didn’t want to go outside and scare them away. Monarch butterflies gathered on one of our trees. I don’t know when they left, but it was so cool to see! In case you aren’t aware, monarch butterflies migrate south. It’s one reason people are encouraged to have areas set aside for wildflowers, so the butterflies have something to keep them going on their trip.

I have an empty nest this weekend–yippee! I am going to focus on writing, damn it. Revisions, then moving on. Oh, and more homework, but maybe not until later next week. Our Sisters in Crime chapter has also put out a call for short story submissions for our next anthology, so part of my brain is working on that as well. Something twisty for that one.

Enjoy your weekend, and may the trees not start changing colors quite yet!

And your point is what, exactly?


It’s HERE! #mystery #aviation #amreading #newbook #releaseday

Trade Paperback and Ebook (Camel Press, 2019)

Happy Release Day!

Join me in welcoming my debut novel into the world!

Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.

It has been a long couple of years, from the time I signed the contract with my publisher to today. And before that, a few years of writing, revising, and revising some more.


Follow me over the next couple of weeks as I tour through the blogs of some generous hosts. This writing community of ours is incredible, with writers supporting and encouraging each other. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to those who are letting me use their blog for a day to promote my book. THANK YOU!

Visit these blogs on the dates listed to learn more about Murder in Plane Sight :

March 13: D. L. Finn
March 18: Betsy Kerekes
March 19: Staci Troilo Audiobook Release Day!
March 21: Joan Hall
March 25: Jacqui Murray
March 27: Mae Clair

Order at     Amazon     Barnes and Noble     IndieBound