Category Archives: For Fun

Still the Best

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I still think this is the best meme ever. Still makes me laugh.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend, hopefully it’s an extra long one too! I have vacation for the week, so I’m on the super extended version. This will be a good week of new experiences.

I bought a grill that arrived while I was still in MD. Yesterday I put the grill together and cooked food on it today. Didn’t even burn the house down. Burnt the veggies a bit, and the meat was under-cooked. I’ll throw it on the stove later. Hey, it’s all a learning process. Tomorrow I’ll experiment with grilling salmon. Should be interesting. Worst case scenario is I screw it up and have cereal. It’s a decent plan B.

For the house project, I got the painting done today and will start installing the floor tomorrow, after I learn how to use my miter saw. The thing is so huge I bought a stand for it so I could move the whole rig around. The assembled stand and attached saw is now sitting in my dining room. That’s where it’s supposed to go right?

It’ll live in the dining room for a while. I can easily use the stand to roll it out to the deck when I need to cut the floor planks and bring it back in when finished. Sure, common sense dictates that the saw should live in the shed where I roll it out there for the night, but that’s just silly talk. Saw lives in the dining room – check. (It’s of course right next to the nail gun I have yet to unbox).

Nothing like the impending arrival of company to get a procrastinated house project moved up on the priority list! So with that shuffle of painting/flooring moving up the list, editing has slipped a few notches. I’m almost half-way done with running the book through Autocrit, so I’m not panicked for time yet. Plus I’ll have time tomorrow and next week provided the floor installation is uneventful (I’m not holding my breath).

Happy 4th, kids. Don’t blow off any digits!

New and Interesting

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I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, having new experiences, and the like. I seem to be on a roll for doing new, bizarre, things that are far more interesting, and fortunately non-hazardous, when a little too sleep deprived.

Sticking both contact lenses into the same eyeball and wondering why everything looked so fuzzy had me stumped for more than a few minutes until I figured out the issue.  Two lenses in the same eye don’t make your vision twice as good. Now I know!

Last week I tried to open the hotel door with the car keys. When the hotel that I’ve been staying at with work travel for the last 2 years has NOT changed their key cards, for me to suddenly try to use a rental car key fob to open the door was just plain baffling. No shocker that the door wouldn’t unlock with that method. The good news is I figured out the problem before going back to the front desk to report the issue.

So after taking a couple of days off to regain a few wits to get me through to the end of this week, I’m hoping I don’t do something doofus-like in the near future. But things tend to run in threes, so I’m due for at least one more to come. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll laugh about it just like I did with the contacts and the hotel door.

Book update: Editing for the second edition is in full swing on The Monster Within, and I’ve pre-ordered the new cover for it to start that work in August.

Softball Addiction Part 2

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By golly I just had to be happy that Ole Miss (more properly known as the University of Mississippi out of Oxford, MS and nemesis of Mississippi State University) won the SEC championship. Given that Mississippi State’s battle cry is “Go to hell, Ole Miss!”, I couldn’t say the words as an MSU grad given Ole Miss took the title for the first time in program history.

They were ranked dead last in the SEC and came out on top with some fine softball games in the mix. Well done, Ole Miss, well done, … though I still hate your battle cry of “Hotty Toddy” and whatever it is and means.

The regional tournament following conference play wrapped up today, and after a nail biter and fighting their way out of the loser’s bracket, LSU advances. The super regional games start on Thursday, and I’m not quite sure how the world expects me to function for the next two days without any games. To my friend in Boston that I’m visiting this weekend, we’re gonna be watching softball, dude. Lots of softball.

In between work and getting my softball fix, I continue to do the rework on the first Burnt Mountain book, mind plotting (this is plotting in my head only, not typing anything yet) the new book rattling around in the brain pan, and doing some demolition in the house. Because if you’re already stupid busy, throw in a house project on top of things just to keep it interesting.

My upstairs hallway floor is stripped down to plywood and the walls are covered in sheet rock mud to smooth out lumps and bumps and soothe my OCD. I’ve decided to learn how to do trim work and install new flooring on my own without a bleeding clue how it all works. Heck, I’m still buying the tools I need for the work and will have a few user manuals to read. So ultimately, this house project, which is just the beginning, will be a lot like my early days of writing. I’ll start off without a clue and figure it out as I go, mistakes and all. Gonna be a blast!

Campbells and Locusts

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Though two weeks have passed since the last post, it sure feels a lot longer. Getting clobbered at work with long work days will do that. Last weekend was mostly a blur since I spent two of the three days trying to physically and mentally recover from working a week in the gut of Washington D.C. The hours to prep and put on a multi-hour electronic medical record system demo for a large DC hospital was quite the rodeo, and it went well with good participation and feedback. So after all that, I needed a couple of days to recoup. By last Sunday I was back at the keyboard and banged out a good six hours of writing.

This weekend I’m starting things off getting the truck worked on. Rocks in windshields, bad. Funky noises from the engine, bad. Time sitting in waiting areas with my laptop, pure freakin writing gold.

Next weekend is the annual Campbell family reunion in the deep south. Many from our clan will descend on poor, unsuspecting Picayune, MS and gather. And like locusts we will devour much in the way of southern vittles. There will be few dishes, pots, or pans with anything left in them after the big reunion lunch. We’ll also be celebrating my parents’ 50th anniversary complete with tartans and kilts. It’s going to be a blast.

So with that, I’ll vanish for another couple of weeks. Facebook locked down my book account citing a potentially compromised/hacked site which I highly doubt. So in between other things and as time permits  (you can tell I’m really stressed about this) I’m working on getting that resolved. Personally I’m more interested in rushing to get to next weekend to see the fam. 🙂

 

image by sxc.hu

Guest Post and Special Offer: Joel D Canfield

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Hi Everyone, Cheryl here. Below is a guest post from my friend and fellow author, Joel D Canfield. I’m honored to be part of his blog tour for his latest novel’s release. Enjoy!

A Still, Small Voice (Is Better Than a Big Loud One)

Being the shy, sensitive type, I try to avoid shocks. Don’t like loud bangs. Bright lights are painful. Quick movements trigger my duck-and-dodge reflex. Gore and other explicit stuff in my entertainment turns me off.

As a result, the pool of introspective noir I can enjoy is limited. Elvis Cole and Harry Bosch are near the edge of my realm. Kinsey Millhone hasn’t scared me yet. Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are fine. Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin make the grade.

They say you should write the book you want to read.

I’ve done that at least five times now, written introspective noir that’s safe for the most delicate constitutions. My latest, A Still, Small Voice is my 15th book, but only my 5th mystery. It’s the second featuring Phil Brennan, who, yes, is named after Mr. Marlowe, the hero in all the books written by the greatest mystery writer ever, Raymond Chandler.

Phil Brennan is a loner. Was, I guess. He’s getting to know the folks in his neighborhood. Some of them are great.

Some are real stinkers.

Our man Brennan, of course, judges everything by his childhood and his failures, which means sometimes he misreads people and situations.

Just like the rest of us.

Truth be told, my books barely qualify as mysteries. There’s always something unknown and someone trying to uncover it, but that’s never the core of the story. These stories are about morally rigid people jammed into morally ambiguous situations, forced to make the best bad choice.

Readers tell me the books help them confront their own personal moral dilemmas. That’s good, because that’s why I write them: to remind myself what I believe. [Cheryl butting in… Quick fact. Joel’s first Phil Brennan book, I didn’t have a lot of time to read it at first when it came out. But once I got about half way into the story, I emailed Joel with some early feedback: “HOLYCRAPTHISISLIKECRACK!” and then devoured the rest of the book in short order.]

No, you won’t find any overt preaching about right and wrong. You’re a grown up. You already know.

What you will find is the vicarious experience of a good guy struggling through bad times and coming out okay in the end, even if he is a little ragged and rumpled by the process.

At the moment, anyone who signs up for my newsletter gets A Still, Small Voice free. Download it instantly. [!!!!!!!]

You’ll also get my 4 previous novels. All 5 of them. Free. You probably want to do that before I freak out and change my mind. [I’ve read all 5. You want to get them!]

Who are your favorite mystery writers? I love finding new authors to stalk. It’s how I discovered that there’s actually a mystery sub-sub-sub-genre for Wisconsin coffee shop cozies. And they’re good. (Though I live in southern Arizona now, Wisconsin is my home state, and no, we didn’t leave because of the weather. I miss the snow and I hate the heat. [See why I like Joel so much? I left the deep south for Maine to gain the snow and skedaddle out of the heat. Kindred spirits we are!] Watch for how that affects my next book.)

What was the question again? Oh, yes. Your favorite mystery author everyone should know about. Fire away.