Caffeine Connoisseur

I’m not a coffee snob. Just because I know good coffee doesn’t mean I turn my nose up at bad coffee. Unless I have a choice. I mean, I’m not going to take the bad coffee if the good coffee is right there.

I guess I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I can’t help it. Good coffee is just so good.

I’ve always preferred good coffee to bad, but lately I’ve gotten more picky about it. A few months ago I acquired a French press. I don’t remember why, I think I thought it was pretty and it would be just as easy as using my little one-cup drip brew since we have a water cooler that heats the water. And it was just as easy, and more of an experience. I even got an hourglass to time my brewing.

The thing with a French press, though, is you have to get the grind right. Coffee ground for drip coffeemakers is finer than what you’re supposed to put in a French press. And while it is possible to find coffee specifically ground for the French press, it’s not easy. Not in grocery stores, anyway.

So I decided to try grounding my own. I had a little handheld blade grinder for when I was feeling fancy. Surely that would work!

Good lork, those things are loud! And I had to really pay attention, or the grind would still be too fine, and I’d be drinking solid coffee at the bottom …

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Sneak Peek at In the Forests of the Night, Book II of the Seize the Fire Trilogy

Hello! I’d love to write a cheery introduction, but I am dying of a cold right now. (DYING, I tell you.)

Please enjoy this sneak peek at In the Forests of the Night, releasing November 15th! Here’s Book I, Burning Bright, if you need a refresher.

 

In the once-fair city of Olencia, high in one of the unbroken towers of the Kisaran, the Lady Inizre slipped through a door and shut it softly behind her. A girl sitting by the bed stared in the dimness of one candle, then started out of her chair.

“My lady! Your veil startled me. I thought—” She took a deep breath. “I did not sleep. I have been pinching myself—” she held out her arm as proof.

“Peace, child.” Inizre waved her off. “Has he been restless?”

“No, Lady Inizre.” The girl shook her head. “Not a sound while I’ve watched.” She smiled, as they taught healers early to do. Smile, and project confidence to the frightened family. “He sleeps, my lady. He will heal.”

Either she had no healing talent, or she lied extremely well. Inizre did not care to learn which. “I cannot sleep,” she said, “so I will watch him. Go to your bed, child.”

“As you will.” The girl dropped a curtsy and slipped out. When the door had closed behind her, Inizre approached the bed.

“Eshan,” she breathed. “My son. Ten long years I yearned to see your face, now it hurts to look on you.”

But …

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Adventures in (Avoiding) Editing

Friday I stayed home from work. I had a touch of a stomach bug, enough that I definitely needed to stay home, so I wasn’t ditching work–I was just really glad that I needed to be home. I needed the day to edit.

Edited all day Saturday, excluding a grocery store run and probably some time wasted at some point.

By Sunday I was getting tired of editing. So I made a deal with myself–twenty minutes of editing, ten minutes of break. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve been needing to do for a while, and I wanted to get some of it dealt with.

The first break, I cleaned the litterbox, then decided to light a candle to deal with the residual smell. I grabbed a candle holder, took an empty tealight shell out of it and crunched it in my hand, then dropped a new tealight in and lit it. Then I touched my face or something with the other hand, and scratched my freaking face deep enough to draw blood with a tealight shell.

I went back to editing.

Next break, I decided to see if switching the light bulbs in the track lighting in the kitchen would help anything. We hate the track lighting, but we’re not ready to have it replaced. Anyway–took a little longer than ten minutes, but I got the bulbs replaced and the kitchen is 3x a bright as it was, yay me!

I went back to editing. But before very long …

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Curiosity Killed the Cat – Part 1

Curiosity Killed the Cat

A free fantasy serial

by KD Sarge

 

Part 1: Through a Hidden Door

 

A child’s city, Srivasi thought when the horses crested a small rise and below them the forest held back from the edges of oddly short buildings of white stone with golden streaks. Graceful arcs that should have soared, domes that should have stood tall—

“His scarf!” Gerda shouted, making Srivasi’s head ring. She wriggled, twisting and shoving and nearly knocking him out of the saddle before she slid off the back of his horse to land on her feet. “I see his scarf!” At the sound of her voice, goats came running to cavort about her. “My darlings, here you are!” She ran to meet them. “But where is Dasid?” she asked the goats.

“Small ruins,” Jhi Bo growled in Fwenye as she swung down from her horse. “They are still ruins. Why is it always ruins?” The black warhorse shook his head as if to echo her disgust, bridle-bells jingling. “I warned you,” Jhi Bo muttered as Srivasi scrambled down. “Did I not? Just because a woman weeps…”

“She’s a child,” Srivasi argued despite his still-ringing ears and the fact that Gerda was a solidly-built girl not two fingers shorter than he was, who wrestled farm animals and younger siblings every day of her life. “An orphan child, looking for her little brother. How can we not help?”

“Easily,” Jhi Bo grumbled, but …

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(Actually) Netflix and (Actually) Chill

I’ve been watching a lot (too much) of Netflix lately. I love documentaries, and they have a good number of things I want to see. And some of the “reality” shows… Here are some things distracting me from my brain of late.

Dino Hunt–two teams of paleontologists in different locations try to get an excavation done before the rains come, the tide rises, it’s time for the students to go back to school–some deadline, whatever they can come up with. It’s narrated like it’s a competition, but really it’s just interesting. Oh, and it’s all set in Canada. And Dan Aykroyd narrates it. The episode in the Bay of Fundy is especially cool. Site of (they said, I haven’t checked) the highest tides in the world, they had ten days to get their digging done. The one guy was collecting dinosaur tracks. Footprints, from a hundred million years ago…

Reno My Reno–people buy (mostly) cottages on lakes, start renovations and one way or another get in over their heads. Dave and his team come in and save the day. I like it because it’s reminiscent of my favorite home improvement show ever, In a Fix. They send off one part of the couple (in one show it was a friend of the single mom who had been trying to help with the fixes) and keep the other to teach them how to do the work that’s needed. I like it because they’re not doing fancy stuff like a lot of …

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Spending My Inheritance

Surprise! It’s me again. Siri Paulson is taking a well-deserved wrist break, so we’re switching spots.

Last week, I posted about my wonderful grandfather. I would talk about him more, but I don’t need another cry right now. So I’ll talk about the fun he and Grammy (they plotted the inheritance together) gave me.

Friends, for the first time since I lived in a studio apartment where my bedroom was my living room, I have a TV in my bedroom. I bought a TV and a blu-ray player, a new keyboard (because my other new one is driving me up the wall and round the corner) and a new set of PC speakers because only the right one works of the current pair.

I also bought my daughter a TV for her room. She can now play videogames in her room and stop rearranging the furniture in the living room which she never then puts back so no one else can use it! I mean seriously, when you walk into the living room and the couch is a foot from the entertainment center…!

Ahem. TV in my room. It sits on top of the hutch of my desk, so I won’t be terribly tempted to watch it when I am trying to work. My neck would start hurting pretty quickly, I imagine. It sits perfectly for me to watch it from my comfy, awesome new bed, though. Last night I snuggled up with my eighteen-year-old cranky teenager and watched Moana.

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Still Fixing My Car

My grandfather gave me my first car. It was 1990, and the car was a 1970 Ford Custom 500 Galaxie. It was seventeen feet long, and it had fins. It had over 200,000 miles on it. It was in pretty much perfect condition.

That was my grandfather. When you spend money on things, he believed, you take care of them. He had a truck that was older than my car. His car, the one he preferred to drive, was their “last new car” when my grandparents bought it in the eighties. It still looked in great shape when I parked in his driveway last month, paying what would be my last visit to a 94-year-old man.

My grandfather stormed the beach at Normandy. I can’t tell you much about that–I am learning now, as I knew I would one day but I was always meaning to do something about it “soon,” that I did not pay enough attention.

Grandpa worked at the Joy manufacturing plant in my hometown, building huge orange mining machines until he retired. He and Grammy ran a farm too, and raised four kids. Grammy worked sometimes, when it was convenient, so she would be able to get Social Security too. Then they moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona, and ran a four-trailer mobile home park in their retirement.

Historians call them “the Greatest Generation.” For my family at least, I know they certainly rose to the challenges of their lives.

I was there when my grandparents celebrated …

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The Gift of Cash

I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. Giving cash (or often, gift cards) shows you don’t care. You don’t feel like taking the time or trouble to pick out a “real” gift.

Let me tell you a thing.

Once, years ago, a friend had been trying to find something to give me for Christmas. I was in rough financial straits at the time. It seemed silly to give me something useless. I had bunches of books and movies already, and also he didn’t know what I might want. (This was in the days before Amazon wishlists. Or at least, before I had one.) I had just moved from a good-sized house to a tiny apartment, so I had no room for anything more than I had anyway.

Anyway, as the situation dragged into January and he got to feeling worse and worse about it, he finally handed me $50. He told me I couldn’t spend it on bills–I had to get something I wanted.

Friends, I went to a discount home store and bought myself some curtains. My little white box of a living room got curtains, and my new place became much more homelike. My daughter’s room got purple sheer curtains, and I got to stop worrying about how she never remembered to close the blinds before changing. My bedroom got bright red blackout curtains–so I had a pop of color AND some additional darkness for days I got to sleep in. I even bought a little curtain for the …

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For the Feral Children

Two weeks ago it was National Library Week. Coincidentally, I was listening to Neil Gaiman’s “The View from the Cheap Seats” including a speech he gave to librarians.

Neil Gaiman describes himself as a “feral child who was raised in libraries.”* Though I was not lucky enough to get to the library very often as a child, the concept resonates with me. Especially since he also read and loved the Three Investigators series…

My first library, the Franklin Public Library, sounds much like his first favorite library—a large Victorian mansion, the entire first floor full of books. I don’t know about his, but mine was built in 1849, renovated in 1921 to house the library…

Red brick Victorian mansion three stories with multiple chimneys and green shutters

I remember my library card was blue. It had a tiny metal strip in it. My mother’s library card was brown. It meant she could get more books than I could, and from more than just the children’s section.

My mother always had to get some children’s books on her card, as the limit on my blue card was cruelly low.

Walking in the front door of the library, you had to go up three or four steps to get to the library floor. There were also stairs heading down. And a turn of steps going higher in the building. I never went up, but I just knew that wonders lay there. My mother said meeting …

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Editing a Book is Like Buying a House, or: Being a Grown-Up is Terrifying and Exhilarating

I’m forty-seven years old. I’ve had bunches of jobs. More than a dozen, just counting employers and not different positions, or jobs I’ve quit and come back to. I’ve owned eleven cars, and rented fifteen apartments/houses/condos. I’m a mom, a widow, an author, and an occasional college student.

You’d think I could get over the “this is scary holy cats!” carp by now.

And as I type this, no joke, “Eye of the Tiger” starts playing.

I’m working on buying a house. It is, astonishingly, like editing a book. Which, coincidentally enough, I am also doing right now.

What are these similarities?

There’s so much to consider.
  • Two out of three in my household take the bus to work/school. We thought several houses would be in the running because they were close to a bus route that wonderfully runs clear across town, starting near kid’s school then passing near housemate’s place of work. Then we saw that the earliest bus going west (the necessary direction) on that route would not get her to work until an hour after her start time. Suddenly a lot of houses on the east side are out of consideration. Houses on the west end may still work out. Except the kid’s school is on the far east side of town…and on, and on.
  • I’m editing the second book in a trilogy. What did Hiro say about the Watchstones in the first book? Did he know what he was talking about when he said it, …

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