I must be still really tired because the novella’s edit just drained me to nothing. I stopped cooking and cleaning. I just edited for like 2 weeks straight and my brain feels like it’s just done. So in an effort to focus on the positives, behold my list of Yays.
- Novella has gone out to the beta readers. Yay.
- Septic tank has been pumped. Yay.
- Kid 1 ordered a cleaning service for Friday. Yay.
- End of edits celebration dinner accomplished yesterday. Yay.
- I woke up with a horrible headache, but Ibuprofen and Excedrin are working. Yay.
- Exterminator is coming tomorrow to spray for bugs and scorpions. Yay.
- Kid 2 sent another chunk of her project. Yay.
- I am going to take another mental day off today. Yay.
Some yays require further explanations.
The so called novella is now even longer, almost 45,000 words. ::stares at the offensive novella:: Why are you so long?
The official length for fiction works are as follows:
- Short story: under 7,500
- Novelette: between 7,500 and 17,500
- Novella: between 17,500 and 40,000
- Novel: over 40,000
So this novella is 7,000 words longer than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Joy.
We tried to cut things. But most of the editorial feedback was “put more things in.” We did. Oh well.
Septic tank yay. It is amazing how much peace of mind pumping the septic tank can bring you. The second house we ever lived in had a sewage issue. It came up into the yard. It came up into the house. We had no money to fix it and Gordon’s mother who owned the house either wasn’t able to or didn’t want to admit the problem existed. I am forever traumatized by sewage. We’re good for at least a couple of years. Hopefully.
Celebration dinner. Before you ask, it was soft tacos/fajitas with mango pico de gallo and cantaloupe cucumber salad. Kid 1 made her trademark guacamole. We used shredded Mexican Cheese mix for the fajitas.
For meat, we had steak and chicken. Steak was marinated in a mix of lime juice, a bit of taco sauce, chopped cilantro, salt and HEB Beef fajita spices. Chicken was 4 chicken breasts, marinated in Urban Accents Chili Taco Simmer Sauce, cilantro, and HEB Chicken fajita spices with a splash of lime juice. HEB should pay me for product placement.
The simmer sauce can also be bought from Urban Accents website. I found it lacks acidity to be very effective as marinade, so adding about a lime’s worth of lime juice does the trick. I am planning on making my own chili sauce with a bit more sweetness. I found a recipe online and I will report back on results.
Both chicken and steak can be grilled. Chicken can also be baked in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Yes, I know recommended time is 20, but I like to be thorough. When I bake this particular recipe, I rest the chicken breasts on a wire rack set in the pan and I think it adds to cooking time. Steak can be broiled. Don’t forget to wrap the soft taco size tortillas in foil and stick them in the oven while the chicken is baking. They will come out nice and warm.
Pico de gallo is traditionally made with serrano peppers, but we skip them in our family because Gordon prefers mild foods and the chicken is relatively spicy already. Every Texas family has their own spin on salsa and pico de gallo. For mango pico de gallo House Andrews style, you will need ripe tomatoes, sweet onion, mango, salt, lime, and cilantro. Chop everything up, salt, squeeze a lime into it, and mix. If the meat is less spicy than chili chicken, I sometimes add a dash of chili powder to pico de gallo to add a bit of heat.
We do it by volume: 2 parts tomato, one part onion, one part mango. So if you chopped up a cup of tomatoes, you will need half a cup of onion, half a cup of mango, and enough cilantro to make it look pretty. I normally buy one bunch of cilantro and use half. Sometimes I use more. Cilantro is like garlic. Everyone has their own tolerance.
You can also put peach into pico de gallo instead of mango. But it needs to be firm.
I like these assemble-your-own style of meals because everyone gets what they want. Fajitas and tacos are my favorite.
Now I am going to go outside and mow the back yard with electric mower while Gordon mows the front. I love the electric mower so much. No fumes, no gas, no weirdness.
Hurrah for the little things!
Electric lawnmowers are the best. They don’t hurt my brain with their loudness.
And they START so easily. No yanking the cord over and over. Just hold the handle, press the button and you’re off.
I also love the fact that mine is light enough for me to pick up with one hand, when I need to.
Rather use the ride-on especially the zero turn to mow our lawn – have 2 acres
….. 🙂 🙂
Patricia Schlorke says
Hurray for the yays! That’s a lot of accomplishments in a relatively short amount of time. No wonder your head hurts.
Here’s a list of kudos to complement your list of yays:
You finished the edits. Kudos!
You’re taking care of yourself by taking mental days off. Kudos!
You took the time to celebrate. Kudos!
You cook what sounds like delicious food. Kudos!
You wrote EVEN MORE new book-words for us. Kudos!
And thank you for all the above, esp. doing the self-care.
::takes all the kudoes:: Thank you!
I am also enjoying the electric tools. I wish my lawnmower was cordless but it was left by previous occupant in the large waste pickup and works! So yay FREE!
Does it take long to chop everything for pico?
I hope you’re listening to some great music while you mow!
Lyra Teal says
I’m not sure I’d you’ll see this, and I apologize if it’s inappropriate to ask on this post, but I have a question for you.
You guys say the key to being an author is to love the grind. And while I love writing I have a hard time getting to the finish line. I usually hop around to new projects leaving half finished worlds behind in my wake like a serial world killer.
I recently challenged myself to *just write the book*, set up a spread sheet to track my progress and everything. Only, now I hate the plot. I love the characters, I love the universe… But I hate the central conflict of the book and find myself wanting to abandon it.
So my question is– have you ever forced yourself to finish a plot you hated? If so how?
This is a blog post, but a short answer is: don’t. Don’t force yourself to write something you hate. You have to figure out why it’s not working. Tell me, what is it about the story that makes you hate?
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. <3
This is a sci-fi book, and in broad strokes; one planetary government is trying to take out rival planets with what amounts to bioterrorism, and the herione stumbles upon the plot and has to stop it. But I'm getting caught up in the 'does it make sense that they could get away with this unseen for long enough to weaponize this?' and 'does the science of this bioweapon make sense?'.
And I guess, digging deeper into it… Maybe I just feel like the plot is just not good enough. That maybe it's a tad on the juvenile side.
As a biologist, let me put my two cents in. Bioweapons can be wastly diverse and most are quite hard to detect. For example, you can have a plant virus that can obliterate a major crop. DNA can literraly be transfered on a peace of paper, which than can be used later on. Virus and bacteria splicing is relatively easy and any lab can do it. Labs are controlled only ocasionally and even then, the ammount of control varies based on the application a lab is listed for.
My advice would be to answer these things to check if it is feasible:
1. What are the customs/defense strategies? (look into Australia customs for some initial inspiration if necessary)
2. What form is the bioweapon? (eg. virus, bacteria, parasite, poison, radiation)
3. What is the target of the bioweapon? (eg. crops, farm animals, water, air, people)
4. What is the effect/spread like? (mild initial consequences can have longer lasting effects but are slower to develop, while fast acting ones are one and done for multiple reasons)
5. Do they want the planet to be usalbe/some people to survive (what is the goal)?
I hope some of this helps. I repeat I am not a specialist on the topic but I read a lot and I was as interested in viruses as I was in plants while studying (chose plants in the end cause they are awesome). My advice is also to ask someone from university/scientific comunity if you are stuck. Most people like to share knowlefge on the topic they love.
Good luch with the writing.
Bill from nj says
Another thing to consider ( as another frustrated writer), you are writing science fiction, the point being it doesn’t have to be known today. For example, you could postulate an intelligent virus that can adapt its own structure to bypass immune systems ( god help us), not possible today but it could be in the future ( not saying use that idea). Hyperspace, anti grav,time travel are not possible today, but tomorrow,who knows ( of those time travel is the most unlikely)…all of course with the caveat ‘from a frustrated writer’). Jules Verne insisted that it be backed up by hard science as then understood, even when it was demolishing his methodology ( in ‘from the earth to the moon’ the objections a skeptic points out are in fact true). But you don’t have to,that is the fun of speculating.
Bill, good point. Thank you. I do like to be a little grounded in reality but if the internal science is consistent, well. As you said, science fiction.
Ilona, so far my favorite scenes and the ones I look forward to writing are the action scenes or the moments of body horror, re: bioweapon. There is a touch of romance in the book and that would have been my favorite in the past but these days I find myself a little more, erhm, blood thirsty.
You’re awesome! I’m going to roll those questions around in my head to see if I can get a better grasp on it. And I’ll see if I can find a contact at the local university to ask about viruses and pathogens.
Lyra, what are you favorite scenes that you’ve written? What’s the easiest to write? What scenes do you look forward to and they almost don’t feel like work?
The only weirdness that my family had with electric mowers is when the axle(?) for the blade sheared and the multiple times my dad ran over the cord.
Lol, done that!
Entirely selfish yay that the generously portioned novel is one step closer to my greedy eyes. I
More altruistic yay for your celebration and delicious sounding food.
William B says
Yeah, but gasoline mowers work better for the thick grass over the septic field. ????????????
Yay for taking care of yourself! Mental health is important!
Yeah, yeah, but the most important thing u left out! Did. U. Buy. Gorgeous, Expensive mountains (ok, maybe a small hill) of fabulous Yarn?!!
Inquiring minds want to know????. A stash reveal is requested.
Congratulations on all your achievements!
Will take pics tomorrow.
I have a question. Is there an importance/ advantage in the book being a novella and not a novel (if the word count puts it in the category of novel)? Look forward to reading it either way 😉
I was wondering the same thing. Does the publisher require them to get it into novella length for marketing reasons?
But yay to the relaxation. I love our electric mower too for the same reasons.
The contract says “novella.” In traditional publishing with firm word count deadlines, it can cause issues. If you are in an anthology with 3 authors who turned in 20,000 word novellas each, you don’t want to be the one with 40K monster. In this case it doesn’t really matter as much, but it’s a matter of principle. Going over required length by a bit is fine but that’s not a bit… Professional pride is at stake. Yes, we pretty much failed there.
But, but, but…more words for us readers!
We love MORE words!
Hope you find time to relax on your day off.
And thank you for sharing the mango salsa recipe. Yum.
+ infinity. Bring on the failures! We can handle them.
I’m with Debbie! More words! MORE words! MORE WORDS !!!! A whole bunch of yays there. 🙂
I love everything you write!!! You are SO awesome, and SO appreciated. Also feel for your situation not finishing the lawn because you are too hot, etc. We are in Oregon, it is supposed to be “June gloom” season (overcast), but we are having a “heat bubble”. Talk about bioterrorism! Or would it be geoterrorism? It is 104F today, 109 tomorrow, 110 Monday! We aren’t used to that out here.
Much love coming your way, Andrews team. You are the best!
Huh. I could see wording the contract as at least novella-length, but seems like it would be to their benefit to allow you to go over, if the plot supports the added length. More word for their buck, so to speak.
Thank you for the answer. I’m glad there’s not issues caused by being part of an anthology and totally get the professional pride thing. Sometimes that’s the harder thing to forgive oneself for.
Hope you had a yay afternoon!
And I plan on reading whatever it is when it comes out.
Well, I sort of understand that delivering wrong size of book for particular contact may be a problem, but…
Yay a longer book!
I always run out of your books way to soon.
Yay for mental health days! When I take one, I don’t mow the lawn! But I do read your books.
Congratulations on getting all those important tasks done! Your celebratory dinner sounds delicious! Thank you for writing such great stories, and for allowing us a glimpse into your lives.
I’m willing to pay more for a novel than a novella. (Okay, truth is, if you guys write it, I’m buying it.)
Enjoy your mental health break.
Sara B. says
Yay for the Yays! Enjoy and celebrate when you can. I hope the fact that we are seeing more yarn and knitting info, and more cooking/recipe sharing, means you are finding your balance again? … and that you are emerging (for a time) from writing/editing pressures and finding more time for the other things you enjoy.
Glad you enjoy mowing — my mom loved to mow the yard, and embarrassed my sisters by mowing on a string-bikini top (this was the 70’s). Not sure you (either or both) could embarrass your kids, as they seem sensible and grounded, but it could be fun to try?
Yay for yays!!
And tomorrow shall be Friday and then it is weekend. Yay!!
We may even have decent weather ( I am in Ireland, even the possibility of decent weather is counted as a win) YAY!!
As for now, relaxing with my purring cats is also a yay!!
Really looking forward to the novella/ novel ????
My dad had his heart attacks when I was 12, and my brother left for the Air Force that year, so mowing the lawn became my job the next summer. My parents bought a small electric mower so I could handle it. Electric mowers are great. Rest and enjoy having the edits done. So the novella is misnamed. The BDH just gets more to read. Yay.
Yay for the Yays!
We also put pineapple into a pico – it must be fresh.
I need a mental health day! Glad you got one
Yay for all the yays!
Also, yay for us with a longer book! I’m sorry if you wanted, or were contractually obligated for, a novella length book, but selfishly I’m happy. You could write a book the length of an old school encyclopedia and I’d thrilled, but I understand that some people prefer shorter books.
Good for you to take a mental health day! Hopefully you get as many as you want or need! ????
*I’d be thrilled ????♀️
Sorry! I should have double checked it prior to posting!
I would absolutely read a House Andrews encyclopedia. Kudos to you for taking care of yourself and taking care of business.
Congratulations! Yay days are great.
Judy Schultheis says
Your recipe for pico de gallo reminded me of the one fruit salad I can stand to eat.
Melon (my preference is honeydew)
Mango (I buy a carton of the fresh prepared for each melon I use)
Berries (blueberries for preference, up to a pound)
Sweet onion (one large, chopped reasonably fine)
Cilantro or Italian parsley (I know several people who don’t get along with cilantro, and I like the Italian parsley better myself)
I thought I just loathed fruit salad till I tried this one. I do, in general, loathe fruit salad – very persnickety sweet tooth – but I really like this one.
Also, I am very happy that things are looking up on several different fronts. Can’t wait to get the pre-order information on your novella.
Donna A says
Nothing quite like the smell of fresh cut grass. Enjoy your well earned rest day.
Yay for the yays!! Also the yummy taco/fajita recipe!!
Go Kid#2 – well done!! May the force be with you for the rest of your project!
So the word count for all the papers I wrote in four years of college would come in somewhere around the low end of novella category. All of them, added together….
My dad used a push mower (also known as a reel mower) to mow our fairly small front and back lawns. In the summer, when we were old enough to use the mower, we argued over who got to mow the lawn versus indoor cleaning chores. Because the lawn mower was way more fun than the vacuum or scrubbing the bathroom or kitchen floor!
As it happens, I just finished prep for an assemble your own dinner tonight. Eight friends of 40-50 years (long, not old) meeting in an orchard on an absolutely fabulous day. We met at summer camp back in the day. Almost everyone else is coming straight from work, so I got elected to throw something together. Apart from the steamed shrimp and deviled eggs I picked up at the local butcher/market, and the chips and dips from the local organic market, prep was confined to washing and, in the case of carrots and broccoli, cutting up for dipping. For most of us as horse people, even washing is kind of gilding the lily for carrots. Strawberries and blueberries will be eaten out of hand. I don’t do ambience on short notice, so it’s paper plates and napkins all the way. It will be fabulous.
Kay Marcantel says
HEB!!! How I miss not living in Texas anymore! Every time I head into the Houston area I stock up on everything there.
Heather McHugh says
I know this is going to be a little weird but, I love your life! It’s hectic and frazzled but little pit stops of comedy. Thank you for sharing.
Yay! For all the wins no matter how small.
yay!!! Glad you took a day off. Those recipes sound yummy! thanks for sharing!
“I like these assemble-your-own style of meals because everyone gets what they want.”
Yes! Some of our other AYO meals are: baked potatoes, personal sized pizzas, cobb salad, and breakfast burritos. The variety of toppings and sauces means that everyone gets the perfect meal.
Love your slice of life and your wins!
My cilantro tolerance is zero. I’m one of those weird mutants who can only taste soap when I eat cilantro, so. Everyone tells me it’s amazing and I’m missing out, and I’m sure they’re correct. But, soap. Blech.
Can’t wait for the novel-cleverly-disguised-as-a-novella to be released!
My daughter has mutant taste buds, but it affects how cantaloupe tastes. I am not keen on the taste of cilantro, though it does not taste like soap… just a flavor I don’t really like.
Sara Foehner says
me too, on the mutant thing. but over the years i have learned to enjoy the taste of soap. so i guess i am weirder than you!!
Helen Burgess says
One huge yehfor me, is getting my cat back. He was missing for 13 days. We put posters up, notices on the village web site, knocking on doors and I was losing hope when we got news that he had been shut in a house undergoing building work. Luckily he had access to water so survived. Much thinner but otherwise ok. The relief was immense. Having him back next to me on the sofa is such a happy feeling
***HUGS****(for both of you)
and ear scratches for the cat (if so tolerated)
I’m so greedy, I want to know what world the novella is based in. I keep checking for an update on the release schedule. I know we have to wait until the publisher announces, but the suspense is driving me crazy.
Also thank you for the recipe ideas! Love your blog.
Bravo for the list of accomplishments!
And thank you for the recipes
Hurrah for all the yays. Enjoy the respite ????.
I have a question. Does word count include prepositions, connectors etc? I think I remember reading in school that words like ‘to, an, a, and…’ don’t get counted. But then every assignment I have recently submitted uses the Microsoft word counter which has me constantly rephrasing science language so that it ends up reading something like, “<10% chemical impurities added. Heated 650C." In place of the more natural "less than 10 percent of chemical impurities, like sodium nitrite were added, and the solution heated to 650C in the test tube."
Yay for the yays!
Is the novella part of an anthology with other stories and authors or stand alone? I have seen anthologies with the stories having varying lengths, but regardless of which it is, I really hope they will allow a few thousand more words!
I love the various recipes you’ve shared on this blog. In the vein of crazy requests (that usually show up in your email), could there be a $0.99 kindle shared on the blog compilation cookbook?
Thanks for considering my request, I’m off to look for mango.
I had some peaches that were pretty green and have never really ripened. I bet they’d be good in this recipe.
Congratulations on finishing the edits! Enjoy your much deserved celebration!!
So looking forward to reading everything you’ve been working on. Om nom delicious books~
Thank you for all the effort you keep putting in! I know it’s stressy, but I’m SO thankful for it. <3
Yay, high five, kudos, congrats!
So, the novella has grown up to be a novel… as a faithful member of the BDH, I fail to see the problem here… 😉 (I know, I know, contractual obligations, oversize book printing costs etc. But from my perspective, I want to read every single word of it.)
I wish you days of relaxation and a peaceful weekend.
Aman Sidhu says
Just that. That’s it.
I know you guys are working very hard. I hope you have a vacation planned so you can reinvigorate.
Cheryl M says
It all sounds wonderful, wish I could have a fresh pico. Uncooked onions make me very sick. Le sigh.
Lightly sauté the onions with a sprinkle of salt and a little butter. The trick is to sweat the onions a tiny bit but not really cook them. Then add to everything else. It removes the heartburn of raw onion and adds a slightly smoky flavor. Good luck!
Thanks for that info!
I’m so excited about the “novella”! Can’t wait. You know everybody’s going to read it, love it, then beg for sequels, right?
I hope you enjoy your mental health day off. Hope you get a chance to relax and unwind. You deserve it. As a reader, a novella can never be too long. Thank you for all your hard work. I had a headache too. Mine was because of dehydration so I am drinking as much as I can.
Soo the novella is a novel? Yay!
For Texans that weren’t born here but got here as fast as possible, that is the most Texas fajita recipe I have ever read.
We got an electric snow blower, you’re right, they are so much nicer…
I made our salsa Saturday and still have some left, so we’re doing tacos tonight. My recipe is tomatoes (heirloom unless I can get summer garden tomatoes) and sweet onion in roughly equal amounts. Jalapeno (or sometimes Anaheims) and freshly-chopped cilantro to the point the green ingredients roughly match the amount of red and white. Then fresh-squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes depending on size and juiciness) and salt to taste. Simple and delicious. We do have to whirl it in the food processor a bit, because hand chopped will break all but the thickest chips and I like them thinner.
Mmm… now I’m hungry, but won’t start cooking for an hour yet! =)
I’m so excited for this large novella, I hope you don’t catch any flack with the publishers, but it sounds wonderfully long.
Erin Valentine says
Important question though… if you were to add TAQUITOS to that yummy TexMex meal, would they be soft and made with flour tortillas or fried crispy in corn tortillas? Asking for someone who has argued with multiple Whataburgers that their taquito is not a real taquito.
taquitos are usually the very small corn tortillas and are either rolled or folded and fried. I’ve never seen flour ones but I’m limited to Texas in making that statement.
Whataburger refers to their breakfast tacos as taquitos and they are always soft flour. I don’t know of anyone else who calls a breakfast taco a taquito. Just Whataburger.
Inga Abel says
I get the feeling, that you need a hug! So please feel hugged!!!
Might be, because I might need one, too, and I just read romantic novel, that made me cry twice ( I reread Catalinas and Dinas books before that, so don‘t be too mad!), so I am in THE MOOD FOR HUGS!
I love the recipes, because my son and I like chicken wraps, so I might take ideas from those ????! Reminds me of the Baylor kitchen!
Day after tomorrow Switzerland will be almost back to „before Corona“ and all our Casino customers will be back on their most weird behaviour! Wish us luck!
I know it‘s weird that your readers hang on every word you drop ( Like the Golden Calf ????), but you give hope and a kind of grounding to everyone.
Thank you for beeing here and letting us in!
Greets from Switzerland!
Yay for you, taking a mental health day!
Yay for us, getting more of your words in the novella/novel!
Hilly G says
Everything sounded great until the cilantro ???? ????. It doesn’t taste right to me at all. Eh, I am not a fan of spicy ???? stuff either or god forbid guacamole! The gene apparently skipped me. My Latina card is at the point of being revoked ????????♀️ I like what I like.
CONGRATULATIONS on all of the YAYS!!!
Our albatross is water. First house the street, garage, yard and cars flooded. Turned out we were the low spot in the neighborhood and when paved parking lots went in up the street SPLASH! Second house we are down to the yard and occasionally street and very very rarely the garage flooding. We are moving UP. hee hee hee
I love novels!
I don’t have a lawn mower or lawn orphans, we have more of a lawn mowing boy band, but I do have an electric snow blower and electric chain saw. It’s my badass lady saw ????♀️
Your celebratory menu sounds tasty. I like pineapple pico de gallo, it’s great with chicken fajitas. <3
What brand electric mower? ????
Last year, we were struggling with an old, very noisy, gas lawn mower and decided to go battery operated, cordless… got an EGO at Home Depot and we LOVE it! We have about a quarter acre, so not a big lawn, but one charge is good for 2+ times and the mower even folds up so it can be against the wall and not take as much space. We also love the Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner… it used to be a pain with cords and bags, plus it is lighter so it is much better in many ways!
New novel. Yay!! My yays are mowed both back and front and didn’t quite melt. Went boating on the lake today and there was a breeze!!
Hope you get more down time than two days, one of which you spent out in the heat!
You had me until “cilantro”.
I saw the picture and thought you were making pineapple salsa. It’s awesome with teriyaki salmon.
It sounds like you had a fun time.
Keep up the good work!
Hopefully, the “novella” will show up in preorders soon. I hope to throw money at it as soon as I can.
Thank you for the updates and the recipes.
So the novella turned into a novel. Oh well, we’ll wrestle through it ????
Would it not work as two novellas instead of one too long one?
I’m proud of you for focusing on the positives! Yay 7,000 more words and maybe admitting that the novella identifies as a novel.
Love the food tips!
Yay for the wins! Can you share the brand of electric lawnmower that you use? I’ve been trying to look for tools that don’t require a pull cord because I can’t pull those darn things to save my life.
I celebrate my yays this week with lots of snack-tasting and satisfying my sweet tooth. Black sakura macchiato is best drink so far 🙂
Ah, septic systems. Have lived mostly in houses that had septic systems without much trouble. But we had a big celebration party, had a big tent, caterer and on the invitations specifically requested “no children.” But two couples that were invited on the in law’s request, between them also brought 5 uninvited adults (without asking). They also brought 3 kids. We provided fancy portable toilets to take the burden off the septic system. BUT the kids discovered that if they kept flushing the toilet upstairs and downstairs at the same time they would overflow the lower toilet. Adults were outside. Why was part of my backyard turning into a swamp? Where were the kids? I walked into water flowing over my bathroom, hall, into the kitchen and dripping through the floor to the basement.. I frogmarched the kids out to their parents. We had the septic system pumped. And pumped again. They damn near destroyed the system, never mind the floors. The only saving grace was that it was pretty much clean water flowing around indoors. One mom’s response, “Oh, just throw some detergent in it. You should have had something for kids to do.” I figure I was due good karma for about 20 years just for not killing anyone.
You should be nominated for sainthood for not suing the party-crashing parents for the destruction their children caused. I have lived with a septic system for 35 years here, it’s been pumped out a few times, but it’s never really been a problem since the original leech beds were extended because the bank wouldn’t lend a mortgage on a house with small ones. We had to buy a second lot to put them on, but we wanted the land, anyway, so we did that. I can’t imagine how a septic system could be flooding the back yard over the course of a few hours because destructive children kept flushing toilets.
It is, by the way, incumbent upon the parents to monitor their children while at a party in a private home, and to keep them out of the house when the party is outside. The host is not a babysitter, even if children had been invited in the first place.
As you probably guessed, it was an old system. We didn’t expect it to hold up to a large party . That’s why we brought in the party potties. We did a few years later put in a whole new septic system. Wow. That was expensive, but not as much, I bet, as having to buy land to put it on. Yikes.
Margaret R says
Not sure why, but all of a sudden I’m starving after reading this post……must go buy the ingredients for fajitas..
If you’re traumatized by sewage watch Drain Addict on YouTube. He’s an Australian plumber with a rubber rat as a mascot. Fascinating and truly gross.
Congrats on finishing the edit. Always appreciate a longer story.
Please, don’t get angry at novella for being long! Just charge us more for it. I would love to read a long novella!!
We have septic also. Standard maintenance is every 4 to 5 years but if more people in the house, it needs to happen more frequently
My friend waited 6 years and had stuff come up in the bathroom yuck
We are pretty diligent. 🙂
Johanna J says
Don’t let the word count rule this story. It’s not that much over the limit. I trust you’ve been doing this long enough to have a feel for what needs to stay in to make the story work best. As others have said, just charge us a little more for a longer version.
And hooray for all the “yay!” moments you’ve had.
How exactly does an electric lawn mower function (I guess batteries)? How long does it stay charged? I’m assuming there isn’t a cord plugged in somewhere while you mow…
Jennifer Atkinson says
We also have a septic. It gives me great relief when it is pumped, like there is a worry in the back of my head as the tank slowly fills up and it only gets relieved as the pumping truck pulls away. And the company is called The Honeydippers so that makes me giggle.
About the “novella” size – um, it seems like the story is telling you the size it needs to be? Maybe?
Your menu sounds delicious. Yay for your yays!
Counting your blessings almost always helps.
My husband also has a sewage trauma, although his was just one incident. It’s very common in this part of Europe to have an apprenticeship along with and instead of a high school. Only certain high schools, usually for the rich, are college prep schools. Others are a cross between high school and vocational training, where year one is mostly in the classroom and year four is mostly in the field.
My husband’s first apprenticeship was in construction. Until halfway through his first semester, he and his classmates were sent out to a building where they (the construction company & school) were told a water pipe had burst and they had to drain, clean, assess and repair.
When they got there, they found a sewage pipe had burst, and my husband spent the day in sewage up to his thighs. He went home that night and told his parents he wasn’t continuing in this apprenticeship. He ended up in IT instead.
To this day, his father says he isn’t in construction because “one time he got a little dirty.”
O_O I have worked some truly grubby jobs, including occasional facefuls of various ruminant manures, but human sewage is a whole other category.
Bill from nj says
If that was me the novella would end up at like 100,000 words,I like dialog too much!
I like battery powered tools ( I just love my drills). The problem I have had is the rated charge life is not what they say. For example my wife is like many of you,she doesn’t like gas powered tools,so I bought her a battery powered leaf blower w 2 batteries. In usage it is great for quick cleanup but for fall and spring cleanup it lasts 10 min on full charge,so I get about 20 mins, which is paltry.
My yard is about 1/3 acre and a lot of it now is not grass, it tends to be tough grass. I borrowed a friend’s 40v battery mower and it was able to do the front yard. I figure once my Honda gas mower ( it is the best engine I have seen, easy to start, not finicky) dies they should be perfect for what I need.
As far as being tired,I kind of wonder if that is still a lingering effect of the vaccine , my wife and I have been feeling a lot more tired ( note,it could be other things, and it is not a reason not to get vaccinated if it is). Then again given the fact you guys remind me of Harpo Marx in one of their movies,where Groucho tells him he can’t burn the candle at both ends and Harpo grins and takes out a candle burning on both ends, that is you guys, it w you it seems like 3 ends….lol
Being tired is not a side effect of the vaccines. It’s a side effect of not being able to do anything normal and going insane trying to find a way through staying home for a year while the pandemic raged. The minute you start doing what’s normal for you instead of worrying about the pandemic, you’ll stop being depressed, which causes you to feel tired. I hope that day comes soon for all of us. Be happy. Take joy in the small things and let the big things wait.
In a previous career I was a septic system inspector for the health dept., I recommend that systems were pumped every two years. Pick a easily remembered day, such as July 4, and then every other years get the tank pumped.
Hope that helps
I firmly suggest a good massage at a spa, along with all the other pampering you need to ease the headaches and exhaustion of sitting and editing for so long. After all the trials of the new house for your daughter, after the trials of the scorpions and the septic system, after the hours of not doing anything “normal” for so long, it’s time to take a real break and get some pampering. BIG thanks to your daughter for getting the cleaning service in to stop you from trying to catch up to it. You need to get out of the house and relax where you can’t do any work at all, no matter what you feel needs to be done. Find a place where everyone is vaccinated, wear the face mask, anyway, and get pampered. Get a manicure and a pedicure. Sit and let your mind drift to a vacation you either remember or dream about. Let go of the edits that are done. For heaven’s sake and for your own sake, let go of it all, and relax!
For our sake, thank you for doing all that work so diligently. I look forward to finding out what has had you tied in knots for so long.
I always do better with a ‘Yay’ list, than a to-do list. I still have a to-do list, I just call it my ‘wish list’. It may sound silly, but I find more things get done on my Wish List as it feels more positive and upbeat, if that makes sense? It feels like it drains less energy and gives me back a sense of accomplishment and adventure. Words and descriptions make a difference in how I choose to view the world. (Although I guess I’m still vulnerable to peer pressure as I remember I need to mow lawn…) ????
Nancy Sumpter says
Didn’t Blood Heir start out as a novella and grow into a novel? That turned out super great!!
I have another few questions for innkeeper questions part 2.
We know the inns are sort of empathic and can take action on their own when they believe it will benefit their innkeeper (the inn independently made a covered porch for Dina so she wouldn’t continue to get sunburned). So….will the inn try to form a link to Dayson so that Dina can open a door to see her sister and niece and arland whenever she wants? The Inn loved Helen….i could see the Inn trying to forge that connection so that it’s easy for them to visit a lot…..so…will it happen??
Second question: will we find out more about Sebastian North in the upcoming novella?? I love that cat…especially his name and am dying to know more!!!!!!
Third question: Will we get more George, Gaston and Jack in the Novella?? I finally read the edge series, so then I had to reread innkeeper and I love those characters!!!!!
Thanks for answering my question about maud and klaus’s biological father….i thought there might be a good story there….but i guess not….good to have that settled for me though….:)
Thanks so much!! Love all your stuff, but Innkeeper is definitely my favorite…it’s my comfort food when i just want a really good cozy read.
I MUST be in the Kate Daniels group of the BDH. I read this and thought,”OOOH there’s going to be a novella/novel Yea!. Oh look food”
Sara Foehner says
Drooling over the food!!!!!!!!!!
If it’s any comfort, I have often wished that The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe was longer.
Yay ????! ????????
ain’t life livable, oh heck it’s downright grand, when the next step peels another dreck off your list …
mental health, the peace of arranging your space
g’wan wit yo electric mower gyrl
ya kno, yo zen is arriving when ya start contemplating mowing in a pattern … psst
ya kno ya done lost yo mind when ya do ????
Mental health day yay! My boss/organization is good about needing to take mental health days as needed. And there are times it is NEEDED. Others can be planned ahead. Reading is my goto for recovery.
Loving the Yay’s!
Lynn Thompson says
Bwah ha ha ha. Thank you, Ilona Andrews, for the post.
I Love my electric lawnmower and even better electric chainsaw. I had replaced pull twice. So now I just motor generator to where I need chainsaw, plug in, dress in safety gear and proceed. So much easier. Same for mowing grass. Generator was originally for keeping well house functioning in frozen winter for livestock. But I mobilized it onto a grounded platform that I can move with tractor or manually. Much less noise too. ????
Thanks for cold food dinner suggestions. It’s been hot and I just don’t feel like cooking.
So it’s a novel. It will sell. My fellow BDH will see to that. We like well written books.
Was this the inspiration for Catalina’s mango salsa?
What’s taco sauce?
Yay for all of your yays ! Can’t wait for the novella, however it’s marketed!
OMG Just thought the same thing! I know this is Tex-Mex but the native Mexican in me got stuck on: “What in tarnation is taco sauce?
Michelle Smith says
The food sounds wonderful! Bought my husband an electric riding mower. He loves it and it so quiet.
Feel your pain about the septic system. When we were first married in 1982, we had a lovely 100 year old farm house. He was VP of Manufacturing and we were having a rep from Japan over for a Bar B Que. Of course the spectic backed up in the bathrooms that morning and being a weekend could not get anyone out then. Fun times, not. Love being on the sewer system.
Love your Blog and love your books!
Kat in NJ says
Just catching up (it’s been one of THOSE days) but I had to take a quick second to say those taco/fajita recipes sound amazing! And now I know what we can have for dinner this weekend…thanks for sharing!! >>drools all over phone!!<<
What, no lawn orphans?
Loretta Laroche (expert on humoring your way out of stress) says you should shout, “TA DA!” and maybe put on a toy crown or tiara or Viking helmet when you accomplish these sorts of things. By all means celebrate the wins.
I am personally happy to have extra words in this “novel-la” because that means it will be just a little longer from the time I start reading it to the time I am desperately waiting for your next book release.
I love my electric mower too! I can mow early in the morning when it’s cooler in Florida and not worry about being a bad neighbor because it is very quiet. Not that my neighbors worry about disturbing me but I still hold myself to my own standard.
I like all of your yays, particularly the delicious food. Your tacos sound yummy.
Being selfish, I am also thrilled that the novella is now book-length, though I’ll be delighted to read it no matter the published length.
We still have a gas-powered lawnmower but it is self-propelled, so much easier to mow with. I have never considered an electric one since we have a fairly large yard.
I love the marital sharing of the lawn-mowing chore. Well done!
Have a question. I buy canned jarred salsa, local farm private brand, and want to turn a jar or two into a jam. These are fruit salsas (strawberry, pineapple, raspberry). I plan on running it through the blender to get rid of chunks but not sure how much pectin to use.
Does anyone on here use Pomona’s pectin? They use calcium (provided) to activate the pectin so multiple cups of sugar are not needed. Yes, I did contact the company but no reply as of yet.
Sara Foehner says
thanks for the tease on your coming novel. but i think everybody wants to know, what world will it be set in? is it a Magic book, or one of the other series?
From an avid reader-
I’m okay with a longer novella. ????????????
Your celebration dinner sounds so YUM I am now hungry.
We will be trying your fajitas recipe as soon as possible! Your carnitas recipe has been shared many times and is an absolute favorite. I did convert it to instant pot as I can never get my act together to use a crock pot. I continue to recommend your series and treasure the excitement of reading a new installment. It is better than Christmas to see how you have woven a new tale in these amazing worlds. Thanks again for supporting your fans addiction.
You know us so well. 🙂 Your celebration dinner sounds delicious and I think I’m going to shamelessly steal your mango pico de gallo recipe. Have a great day!
Robyn Bave says
Whenever my grandmother came to visit she would make rye bread. She learned how to make it from her mother-in-law. The family immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia before my grandfather was born. I asked my grandmother to give me the recipe and teach me how to make it. There was no recipe but she did teach me. You put warm water in a bowl with the yeast. Let the yeast soften. Add rye flour and caraway seeds. Stir, then add white flour until it is the consistency of thick whipping cream. Let rise about an hour. Add salt and more white flour until dough can be handled. Place dough on a floured counter and knead. Pick up the dough and slam it down on the counter to work in the flour. Slamming the dough helps you work out you frustrations. Grandma said that is why Czech women were happy. When the dough feels right you place it in a pot that has been greased with leftover bacon grease. Punch your fist into the center of the dough and name someone you love. If they love you back, it will be a good batch. Cover and let rise for about an hour. Turn out the dough on the floured counter top. Divide into four pieces. Shape each piece into an oval loaf and place on a flour dusted cookie sheet. Rub the loaves with more bacon grease and let rise. Bake at 375 F for about an hour. When they are done butter the tops of the loaves.
I asked grandma to let me measure everything out before she added it in so I could have a recipe. I can half the recipe for just 2 loaves or shape them more roll size.
Soooo many of my dad’s recipes had bits that he taught “when it feels right” “when it’s the right consistency”and my favorite “until it’s done.” I had to learn to translate these to teach others.
YAAYs with you!
Thanks for the recipes…I’ve recently (only 2 weeks ago!) discovered pico de gallo and am happy to know about variations.
Here in Singapore, we can get lovely mangoes year round.
(Sorry I don’t have anything more articulate to say, but I wanted to go with my true heart’s reflection.)
Love your recipes, both here on the blog and in the books. Have you considered hosting a section on your site just for the recipes?
Moderator R says
If you go right under the title and click on the Recipe tag you will find that section already curated ????.
Bon appetit ????!
Coming in late to suggest the BEST marinade for fajitas (chicken or beef) is a 50/50 mixture of pineapple juice and soy sauce. No more than 20 minutes for chicken, up to 45 minutes for beef. Tenderizes the meat and leaves enough residual sugars to caramelize everything nicely on the edges without being at all sweet. Pat meat dry, season as you like with dry rub/spices, and grill.
Hungry now. ????
I am definitely going to try your mango pico de Gallo…
I moved from Central Texas to Montana nearly 4 years ago. I love MT but I was raised in the Hill Country (New Braunfels). Went to college and worked in San Marcos for over 10 years and lived in Central & South Austin for over 10 so I do miss it at times – but not the heat & humidity! I love hearing little bits and pieces about your everyday lives as it reminds me of home. And I do miss HEB! Can’t wait until they start shipping again.