OHAI

It me again.

There’s lots of life processing in my head, but not much turning itself into wordable form. Until that clog loosens, I’m gonna keep on keeping on.

It’s my birthday month, and that means I can write what I want to.

And what I want to post are smaller, mundane chunks of words, randomly tossed into the blog instead of letting them be ground fine between the stones of Facebook or Twitter. Maybe if I do this more often I’ll be able to drag the hot heavy ideas off the back burner where they’ve been simmering and turn them into a singular stew.

And maybe I’ve been watching too many Stephen Colbert “Quarantinewhile” segments. ANYway. For this first short segment: consumer product observations!

I’m not the kind of person who gushes and gets giddy over housekeeping, but I’ve come across two cleaning products in the last little while that just impress the bajeebers out of me.

First, Dawn dish spray. I grabbed it because it smelled good, the bottle was COBALT BLUE, and also I’m all about washing dishes under running water instead of putting my hands into a full sink of dirty soak water.

Review: It’s shockingly good. Takes off gunk FAST & rinses clean. You won’t catch me replacing all my regular sink-washing dish soap with it any time soon, but for dishes that basically need a quick scrub it’s downright phenomenal.

Second, Oxi-clean powder. (not to be confused with Iocaine powder.) I’d been eying this stuff for years, but couldn’t get past my revulsion for the infomercial pitches. On my last Target run, I found little tubs of it all over the laundry section, as if they were staging a takeover and pushing out all other products. (reality check says: the store rearranged inventory to fill all the shelves where disinfectant wipes used to live.)

ANYway. So I caved and grabbed a little tub. Turns out despite all the awful hype and snake-oil sleaze talk about secret chemical processes, it’s actually a super-effective detergent booster and cleaning agent. The commercials were just so busy trumpeting its marketing malarkey that they forgot to call it by the name most of us Olds would recognize.

It’s washing soda. FFS. No wonder I haven’t been able to find washing soda in forever. And being what it is, it does exactly what the commercials promise. Washing soda is a dirt-busting, grease-lifting weapon that’s been in the laundry arsenal so long my great-grandmother would know it. Now it’s all dressed up in new fancy-ass clothes, that’s all.

Better living through chemistry, oh, yeah.

So…I think that’s that for now. Until later, friends!

Writer Reading Report: Smoke Bitten

Thanks to NetGalley, I received two ARCs (advanced reader copies) of upcoming novels by two of my favorite authors. Here be my short but heartfelt reviews of the first one I finished. It’s out now, so you don’t even have to wait!

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs.

I expect most people interested in Smoke Bitten have read some or all of the preceding books. Smoke Bitten is the twelfth in an urban fantasy series about Mercy Thompson,  part-time coyote, full-time auto mechanic, Volkswagon owner, seer of ghosts, and neighbor to a werewolf alpha.

So if you’re checking reviews because this book looks interesting, you’re right! It is!

I always recommend starting at the beginning of any series as well=established as this one–or at least with a book closer to the beginning.  That said, if this is the only Mercy Thompson book you can find, it’s a great chapter in the ongoing saga, and a decent introduction to the complex, entertaining dynamics between members of an ever-increasing cast.

Honestly, any plot summary without spoilers would be either redundant or too vague to be useful. The important points. First, as with most other books in the series, the events in Smoke Bitten take place over a very short time frame.  Second, the action is local, and the stakes more personal than world-changing.

The plot shines brightest when Mercy is dealing with her friends and family. Often she’s making hard choices between people and rules, between principle and practicality. In this book, a problem arises from the solutions to problems resolved in previous books.

It’s a tangle of big personalities, old grudges, and buried mysteries, with all the emotionally satisfying, complicated I’ve come to expect from this author.

 

A low-priority request

Hiya friends! I hope StayAtHome Spring 2020 Day X (where x is an integer value greater than zero) is treating you well.

If you have perchance ordered paperback copies of Novices from Big River Online, could you let me know when the book reaches you?  I’m collecting data for science! I expect it will take a lot longer than usual, with books being in the non-essential column compared to a lot of things BRO is shipping right now, and also I’m made of curiousity.

(Big hat tip to Seanan McGuire for my new favorite search-engine-dodging alternative for a certain retailer’s name.)

Note 2: If you care to leave a review for Novices online somewhere, that would be beyond fabulous and I would be ever so grateful, but…well.  I know reviews are hard. True confession, I’m behind on them too. Three reviews on my Habitica to-do list are bright red for being late-late-late.

**Note 3: Also remember that when you alert ME (privately, thx) to any typos/proofing glitches in any of my books, you get entered in a raffle for a free copy of the next book.

On the other hand, if you report typos & errata to Big River Online, the book gets pulled off the website & the creator gets penalized. Just an FYI for those who didn’t realize that.

And that reminds me, I owe someone a free copy of Novices. I do love giving people free things when I can.

AND I need to change the cover picture and add the paperback link to the book page on my website and ask Author Central to link the paperback & ebook entries…ah, all the authoring details. Never-ending fun. (for some values of fun)

Until later, all!