Hello You Owners of Sparkling Clean Hands!

Well, this has been a month, hasn’t it?

I’ll cover my writing updates and worldwide worries in a bit, but let’s start off with something most of us can agree on…we all need a laugh and a bit of escape!

Reading Changes for the Pandemic Panic

My initial goal this year was to get through as many of the books on my crowded shelves as possible then donating the books I read to clear up space for, well, more books.

Since most of my books are hefty historicals, macabre mysteries, or horrendous horrors I didn’t think any of these would be optimal reading material for the already anxious mind.

So, around mid-March I went through my library’s Overdrive ebook catalog, went to fiction, then to humor, and added dozens of titles to my wish list.

Starting last week, I plunged into a couple and they really have helped ease a little bit of my frantic mind. I highly recommend this as a reliable and safe form of Covid coping.

Here’s what I’ve read this month…

Kill the Farm Boy (audiobook) – The first of my humor selections and boy was I giggling as I listened to this one. It’s the first in a series (The Tales of Pell) and I will definitely be putting the other books on hold soon.

Brina the Cat: The Gang of the Feline Sun (ebook) – Very heartwarming and it had me flipping pages like mad to see if Brina (who runs away from home) would return to her owners or keep heeding the call of the wild.

A Death in Vienna (paperback) – Not as captivating as the TV show Vienna Blood, but it did hold my interest. Although it really left me wanting some Viennese pastries!

The Rosie Effect (ebook) – Recommended by blogger and quilting queen Tierney, I could not stop reading this romantic comedy. I couldn’t help but cheer for (and sometimes cringe for) the painfully awkward main character. If you can find a copy, add it to your to-read list NOW.

The October Man (audiobook) – Okay, as a nutty Ben Aaronovitch fan, I don’t know how I missed this one when it came out, but once I got a copy I devoured it. It’s a spin off from the Rivers of London/Peter Grant books and it does help if you’ve read at least the first book of that series (which you should).

Wallace & Grommit: The Complete Newspaper Strips Collection Part 2 (ebook) – Yes, more comics. So many puns. So much cheese. So many laughs :))

Semper Fidelis (audiobook) – This is the fifth book in Ruth Downie’s Medius series. I didn’t like the 4th book much at all and was a little hesitant about this one, but it proved to be a great read…or listen.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do you have any humorous reading suggestions for me?

By the way….if you’re looking for some books to add to your own reading list, be sure to check out the bargain & freebie promos at the bottom of this post.


Some Mopey Blather You’ll Probably Skip Over

Writing right now is a challenge.

With the local library shutting its doors in March, Mr. Husband has been home from work. I’m used to eight hours of being able to focus on what I need to do and moving from task to task without interruption.

So it’s been a strange situation trying to get used to having someone in the house…someone who doesn’t have much work to do. I feel rude and guilty that I’m “ignoring” him, but I’m trying to push past that and stay on task.

The other tough spot is feeling like none of what I’m doing matters. With the lack of concern in the U.S. regarding The Virus, I can’t help but think I’ll be dead before my current work-in-progress gets published.

And this manuscript isn’t being published years from now…it’s got a tentative release date of late summer or early fall of this year. It’s really hard not to despair as the Orange One plays politics with our lives.

Also, I know we’re all concerned with the here and now of keeping our distance and keeping our hands scrubbed, but I’m fretting over the future. Currently, most countries are not allowing in foreigners. The trouble with that, especially in the US is that most of our crops are planted, tended, and picked by migrant workers.

Since we’ve closed the borders, it’s a curious and unaddressed question of who is going to do that work. It’s already next to impossible to get flour, nuts, canned goods (and of course toilet paper). What’s summer and fall going to be like if we can’t harvest fresh produce (much of which then gets frozen, canned, etc.)?

I don’t want to be alarmist, but I’ve already devote several new spots in my garden to vegetable beds and I’d suggest, if you have the space, to make this year the year you start a veggie garden. Hopefully, we won’t need it, but it’s worth being prepared…plus any extra lettuce leaves can be used for TP, if this hoarding mania continues.

Yes. Wait, no. Um…


Okay, Enough of That. Time for Creative News!

Despite the despair and the change in working conditions, I have managed a bit of productivity…

  • As mentioned last week, I released The Battle of Ares: Book Five of the Osteria Chronicles. Book Six, The Return of Odysseus, will get one more proofread in April before its release in May.
  • I’m almost done with the third draft of book one of my zombie/magic/mystery trilogy, and it’s really shaping up into one of my favorite projects so far. Once I fix a few more issues, I’ll jump into the third draft of the second book.
  • I completed my longest short story ever. It was for a contest with a 10,000 word limit. My story came in at a whopping 9000! It’s been sent off so keep your fingers crossed.
  • I finally cobbled together all the elements for a new website, The Book Owl Podcast. So, if you have time, please have a wander around the new nest.
  • I’ve also (I think) gotten all the cogs in place for the launch of The Book Owl Podcast. I can’t believe the learning curve and all the bits to line up with this stuff!
  • And, last but not least, March saw my best month of book sales ever. I feel like a bit of a war profiteer, but I did offer up some serious bargains, so I’m sure that helped.

Alright everyone, I’m going to wrap this up. Now, I want to hear from you….

What are you doing to take your mind off things?

Are you starting a garden or planning ahead in some other way?

What’s the oddest change you’ve made due to The Virus…I want funny, wry, sarcastic answers on this!!




2 thoughts on “March Writing and Reading Round Up

  1. Hi Tammie,

    I am sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed at the moment. (Is overwhelmed the right word?) I can understand your concerns for food production, and why you want to future proof yourself. We also use a lot of overseas labourers, backpackers etc for our food production. The government is encouraging those who have lost jobs in other areas to work at fruit picking etc. So far, things seem to be okay, and we are assured that supply chains are working well.

    We seem to be fortunate that our case load of diagnosis is a week or so behind other countries, which is giving our health system time to ramp up. Hopefully it will be able to cope. Things are quite dire in NYC, aren’t they?

    Like you I am finding it hard to settle to doing work. I wonder what the point is, and it seems rather trivial in the big scheme of things. However, I am enjoying the textile challenge I am doing. A different challenge is given each week. So I only need to work on each for a week, with no pressure, no expectations, it doesn’t have to be a polished work. Play time. So at the moment I am just trying to let things be, to float and see where the water takes me. Floating works sometimes, and at other times I feel the panic of drowning! I know I will go back to creating bigger things, but what and when is still unknown.

    I guess we are all finding those things that bring us comfort and eases our minds. I hope you can find solace in your writing. Stay well Anne



    1. Hmmm, I was thinking maybe overwhelmed isn’t the right word, but perhaps it is. Even getting the mail out the mailbox right now is an absolute chore of opening things outside, touching the inner contents with a “clean” hand, disposing of the outer envelope, getting the contents inside, scrubbing my hands, then disinfecting any door handles and the mailbox. It’s almost like a vacation day when I don’t get mail :))

      Oregon did put into place Stay at Home measures pretty early so our cases are low considering we’re bordered by two of the states that started off as the worst in the US (California & Washington), so we are lucky in that regard.

      As for the food situation, it seems no one is addressing it here, neither the lack of food here and now, or the future of how food is going to be grown/harvested this season.

      There’s little on the shelves (although fresh produce is still coming in it seems), you can’t find even the most basic supplies (flour, rice, eggs, milk, nuts) at the grocery stores or from online grocers, and there’s no word on when/if basics will be available. I know the stores are doing their best, but this only sets people up to want to hoard when supplies do come in.

      I wish they would set up a wait list to help ease people’s minds that they will get supplies when they come in, but so far Mr Husband and I are making sure to reduce our portion sizes and I’m strategizing how to get the most servings out of the food we have in the pantry. I find it especially annoying because I love to bake, but since I don’t know when/if there will ever be flour available, I’m afraid to use any of the flour I do have.

      But enough whining. Now that I’m adapting to having Mr Husband in the house, I am getting a fair amount of work done and find that when I lose myself in a tricky chapter or am wracking my brain trying to figure out how to set up this podcast project, I am able to completely forget about the bad stuff. Which might explain why I’m working so much :))

      Anyway, I like your play time project, my play time right now seems to be poking around in the garden and finding yoga videos for a good stretch in the evening. Have fun creating and stay healthy!!!


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