Through A Winter Storm

Since writing Blackout, I decided maybe I should let everyone into my life a bit more. I did a lot of research for the book series, and have been trying to make it as close to a good version of fiction-realty as I am able to. I spent hours looking up doomsday prepping. Among other things my poor kids have had to endure now through the years, is also my new passion for canning and homesteading.

So, in light of that information, here will be my weekly segment on my “doomsday” prepping and homesteading.

This week we have been dealing with a new storm coming our way. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Southern Minnesota we feel done with winter now. As I am writing this we are looking at over a full foot of snow. Two weekends ago we had a complete shut down of my area of the state for two full days. The army was called out to rescue people from the highways and local citizens grabbed their snow mobiles to help wherever they could. This storm today is looking to be just as similar.

This week’s prepping blog will be on getting set up for long storms like this one. This will not count for anything destructive like a tornado or hurricane, but will work for any storms that cause you to shelter in place for up to a week. Here are a few things you should always have prepared for such a situation: water, warmth, and food.

As my kids constantly repeat while we are learning new skills: You will die in 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.

Obviously this is dependent on location and climate, but it is a great reminder to get things in order.

FEMA says to prepare for three days without government interference during most natural disasters or dangerous situations. I say that is a good start, but as this winter has proven to my family, prepare for a week instead.

Air: make sure your fire alarms, carbon dioxide alarms, and fire extinguishers are working well. Another air quality issue is to make sure you can burn candles or lamps safely indoors. Check your cooking supplies as well to make sure they are for indoor use during a power outage and not the ones that can kill you by giving off fumes or toxins.

Shelter: Make sure your house is set for a long time without electricity. Remember that electric covers all water pumps and heating/cooling systems. This also includes sanitation issues like flushing toilets and keeping things clean without running water. Stock up on paper and plastic throw away things instead of trying to do dishes if your power goes out. Another tip is to fill the bathtub up to as high as possible to be able to gravity flush your toilet.

Water: A gallon of water per living thing in the household per day. In my house we have four kids, two adults, three dogs, three cats and a frog. I can use one gallon a week for the frog. The other animals and people follow the one gallon per day each. This is drinking and cooking water. So do not think that a gallon a cat is excessive. You might find you need that water to cook a meal.

Food: An average person needs quite a few calories to survive in a high active state. I am going to give you the best advice I can ever with this, though: Don’t go crazy or overthinking your food supply. Create a list in advance to the storm. Make a weeks worth of non-refrigerated breakfasts, lunches, a snack, and a supper. We can our own food, but if you’re not against it then get some canned meals like raviolis or soups. Food fatigue is a thing, though. Do not think that everyone will enjoy rice and beans with every meal.

How do I do it? Here it goes:

My first trip to the store is always to stock up on water. My water through my tap from my well is not drinking water. If the power goes out then we lose our filtration systems. I always filter our water three ways before we store it if I am getting it from my well. For a storm such as today’s I will just go to the store and buy our water in gallon jugs. We keep these gallons underneath our large queen size bed. When I restock for a new storm, then we pull out the old ones and use them in our kitchen. Not hard to just rotate these every month or so.

I then sit down and come down with a complete list of meals for the week. Every meal and every snack is set in my plan. Get shelf stable foods. Remember we are planning for a power outage with the large storm. I also check my pots and pans in my camping gear to make sure I am able to cook such meals. I use a new small grill as my indoor cooking “stove”. DO NOT USE COAL OR OTHER GRILL SUPPLIES INSIDE! It takes longer, but I put candles inside the bottom of the grill as close to the grate as possible as my “fire” to heat my camping pot. Remember to keep your supplies for putting out the fire if need be close by and to keep your CO2 detector also in the room. Most store canned foods can be eaten without being heated up. Get some dried fruits and bars for snacks. Go shopping for the things you need as soon as you have this.

Now that we have food and water, we need to start checking our shelter. A winter storm like this will cut the wind through the windows. Stock up on blankets, try to make sure you have your windows set to insulate, and again check your sanitation supplies. We make sure we have the tacks set to close off one of our living rooms to make the heat stay in one room. During the large polar vortex our outside temperature got down to negative 60 (F) and we lost our heater for the entire thing. The kids still set and played games just fine and did some school work in comfort. We kept the one room we had at about 68 (F) degrees. When the guy came to fix the heater he was shocked at our set up. Be the shock for your rescuers, too. Stay warm. Remember to insulate windows, doors and openings with blankets. This allows breathing but doesn’t let in the cold to the degree leaving them open would. Look into any heating that isn’t ran on electricity with caution. Read everything you can before you buy it. Not everything is meant for a house.

Bathtub filled for flushing the toilet, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, and paper dishes for garbage. If you know of anything more that your family might need every day during a week, then grab it now as well.

Not really in either category is our electronic needs. Most of us don’t have phones connected to our walls any longer. We only have cell phones in this house, so we have three battery packs for them. Our phones stay on their charges to the wall until the power is out. Once we have no electricity then we only use the phones for emergencies until power is restored.

Entertainment would be an issue without computers, TV, video games, and such in most cases. Especially when everyone must be stuck in one room for safety and warmth. We have many card games, board games, activity books, reading books, and of course toys that don’t need a lot of room to play with. My kids are homeschooled so they also have their school work to do if need be.

All of this seems like one week of no fun, but really we like to just pretend to be camping during this time. The kids love using their flashlights (with red coverings to not blind me when they accidentally turn it to my face like all kids do). We make things as entertaining as possible for the kids and they never realize their full danger of the situation. This is for one storm, too.

We always make sure we are prepared for every storm. This was just for a winter storm. We have already been stuck inside for more than 90% of this winter due to the weather. Since I prep for long term issues, then we are very much comfortable even if we missed going to the store for this storm (we did make it out before the storm to gather our supplies).

Do not feel the need to go broke for one storm, either. Do not go out with the masses to grab random things, either. Go before the rush and do it with a complete list. This keeps you in a budget and also keeps you away from the panic.

Adversity Prepping Tip: When going shopping for food on a regular day or week, just grab a few extra cans of a sale item your family will eat to add to your food preps. One or two cans a week to put into long term storage starts to stack up over time.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday, so that means more goals for a new year. Let me catch everyone up on my year:

Last year I got very sick. Finally my disability put me into a blind situation in a bed for weeks. I could only lay with my thoughts. I couldn’t speak, look at anything, and my hearing was even worse than usual. As I was stuck in that bed, I came up with new stories. I couldn’t type them out. I couldn’t even dictate them to anyone. My voice didn’t work. I could only use a few signs from Sign Language with my family to get across anything I needed.

It’s over with, though. For the most part, at least. I am glad for it. I have found my limit and to the point where I can be upright for almost a full day again. It does keep me from being able to get to town when I need to. I feel bad, because I have a pile of books to send out for my Patreon. If you are one of those waiting for my books, then be ready.

I also got into a book signing in a local town. It was a blast. I was able to be interviewed by a local newspaper, as well. I am so lucky to have been able to do that. I also have another few signing appointments set up for this new year. I love meeting you guys in public.
Then last summer I went on vacation for two weeks. We had a great time. For one whole week we went around Michigan and enjoyed the tourist locations. Then we went back to upper Minnesota and camped in the wilderness as survival training. So many new ideas came to me while laying in that tent. We even survived a tornado while hugging each other and hoping the trees didn’t fall onto our camping location.

The last major thing I have to announce is the release of Blank Slate as an original book! I revamped it and set it up for sale. Buy it now and keep it forever on your shelves.

With a new push to keep on schedule, please know I am ready to finally get things released for everyone. My goals are going to be shown instead of declared this time.

Enjoy my stories and free chapters on here? Please feel free to check out my books available and my Patreon for some paid for stories and chapters. Don’t feel like subscribing to anything? That’s fine! I also have a ko-fi set up for one payment only to send me a gift!

Blank Slate
Learn more:

Thank You!

I want to thank everyone who donated to my Patreon last month and also those who bought my books. I have received the money needed to get me a new laptop. You all are awesome. If you want to continue to support me in my writing, then feel free to subscribe to my Patreon and get the perks of new stories and first access to hard copies of books before they are published. Also, a $10 subscription gets all three of my current published works, autographed, in the mail to your house. Isn’t that nice?

But, thank you everyone for being awesome in helping me out with this. I appreciate all of my fans and readers. You are the best people in the world.

Next free spooky short story will be out on Monday on my Patreon site. Even if you do not want to subscribe, you may still follow for new stories and updates. Thank you!

They Came For Me

Just put up the new story on my  Patreon account (link opens in a new window). Go and peak. This one is free for the month of Halloween.

Writing on my phone is a pain, though. If you enjoy my free story, then please donate for my Patreon site. Get chapters to ongoing books, read them first, and help me get a new laptop to coninue my work. For just a dollar a month! Best offer ever, and cheaper than buying a full length hard bound novel. The more interest i get on patreon, the faster I can type. Replace my babysitting job, and I will have a ton of time to write. Thank you everyone.

Hope you enjoy the story. Next one is better.

School Once Again?!

Wow! I can’t believe the summer is already over! School has started once again, and so my break is over with. Everyone ready for more stories, chapters, and fun?

This month I am doing a second release of Keeper’s Kinn with a new format, cover, and some touch ups on the inside. So, make sure you are set up on my 10$ a month patreon pledge to receive the new edition of this book. Pledge by November 1st to get both editions in the mail, because after November 1st it will only be the new edition.

In other news, I am also gathering together past and present short stories for a small novel release in honor of my sister’s passing. This is my tribute to her life. She was the one who would encourage me to write, tell her stories, and read constantly to her. I miss her deeply, but I know she would want me to continue giving out my best to everyone. Once again, a pledge of $10 will get you a copy of this book for your shelves.

In my house we have a new school year started, and so I have become extra busy. This also means my second job has begun as well. All pledges and buying of my books gets me closer to making writing a full time occupation. My kids appreciate everyone, since this will also mean I am less tired and able to be with them more. I just am glad everyone is enjoying my stories again.

So, the last of the updates is that I am going to be also writing on book two of New Camelot. Warlord is now on my computer in outline form and ready for me to be entirely engrossed in it. I will be doing Warlord for NaNoWriMo this year. If you are a $1 pledge to my patreon, then you will be receiving the daily updates with that this coming November. Each time I finish the nightly writing on that book, I will be posting it on here. Are you ready to find out what happens next to Jenn and the families? I know I am ready to tell the story. Projected release in book form for that book is September 2018. Stay tuned!

I plan on posting the next chapter to Foreseen sometime during this week. Hope everyone is enjoying that book. I have been planning this one for three years now. Glad to finally work on it and get it out there. No projected date for publishing it, yet, but I will keep everyone posted so people can add it to their book shelves in the future.

I think this finishes my diary for this update. Hope everyone enjoyed the short story I posted today.  Remember to follow my facebook account, and I will try to remember I have a Twitter. Enjoy your day!

Head on over to my patreon to do pledges to my writing. Thank you!

Short Books

Sometimes, we all just need to read a quick story. Something to get our brains tired or occupied. The same happens when I write. Some days I don’t have the full novel in me. I work hard at writing, but sometimes it isn’t a full length novel. Most of the time it is a quick story. Something around 20 thousand words.

These aren’t even journal entries. These are longer than those, as well. I am writing these alongside my novels.

So, what am I saying?

I have some short stories to put out there. They will be quick reads on kindle or nook. A train station ride into work or two (depending on how fast you read.) A small story to read on breaks at work. Little things to read at night to wind down from the day.

What genre are they? The same with my novels. I don’t stick to one genre. They will be mystery, comedy, drama, and maybe a bit of fantasy. I was thinking of even doing a quick sequel to one of my full length novels. We will see.

I am writing these when I hit a block on my full stories. These are random. Something that I don’t think could ever fill the criteria of a novel, but still needed to be out there.

Yes, I am writing. Want me to write more? I would appreciate feedback on my current novels and stories. Leave a comment on here or review them on Amazon or Goodreads. I really do read them all (and your emails to me).

Thanks to everyone who is still reading and enjoying my books, Facebook page, and blog. I appreciate every single one of you.

Links to buy my books are in the menu tab on this blog. Thank you.


Not the next chapter, oops

Sorry everyone. This is not the next chapter for The Storm or for Casey like I had promised. I am editing Casey for open internet viewing (it is very much adult, the next chapter), and I have once again lost myself from writing that ending for The Storm. Also, I celebrated my birthday this past weekend instead of writing.

This coming weekend is my third child’s birthday party as well. We are mass cleaning the house, and I am going into panic mode. Which is usual before I throw a big party. Lots of cleaning to be done, since I work most days with so many kids that my house never gets done fully everyday.

I have two more blogs this week also being written for my “daily write” that I have given to myself. They are both issues close to my heart. I will release them later this week.

The other thing is that I possibly have blog interviews to do this week. We’ll see.

So, after this post is up and done, I will be going back to my regular scheduled programming. Expect another chapter for Casey next Monday and I’ll be returning to updating The Storm as well next week.

Expect two more posts this week from me in my journal section. I hope they aren’t too boring. Let’s just hope this week goes smoothly. Wish me luck!


Still trucking along

I have been writing. Not necessarily what I should be writing, but I have been writing. My books are increasing, and that is what I need to be doing. It takes me time to do these things.
Unfortunately, last week was filled with lots of family emergencies. I also had sick kids. This means that I have been writing, but not on Warlord. I am finding myself onto crunch time with my books, though. My goal was to have so many written by the end of the year, and released next year. Family problems were not brought into that equation.
In other news, though, I have decided to start another set schedule to update The Storm and Casey on my blog again. I am also going to start reading to bring my brain back down to earth, as well. I need to show myself a break from certain issues and still get my work out on time.
Schedules are so hard for me. My four kids, my job, and my extended family makes things difficult to control one. I plan out everything, but always find myself crying while trying to keep up with everything I planned. That is never good for anyone.

Today I am sitting down with my planner and getting everything down. From homeschooling the kids to writing my books; everything will become a good plan for me. I am also going to tackle my reading list for the year. Be prepared for updates now on a weekly basis of my old stories and my new stories. I am going to work on my blog outline this weekend as well. That is in my schedule.

I will plan a journal once a week as well. Just be prepared for rambling some weeks. I don’t know what to really put in a journal. I do my best not to discuss politics on here (go to my Twitter for that) nor religion. Unfortunately, both of those things are surrounding all of us currently. I will have to find something to write about that is so close to my heart, but isn’t in those zones.

I also work five to six days a week for ten to twelve hours a day. I have another facebook page just for that rambling, chaos, and torture. I will link that at the bottom of the page if you’re bored and want to find out what I do all day.

I am shocked, though, to find people still liking, following, and favoriting my story on other websites. It is amazing to me that I have been silent for so long, but still people enjoy reading things. I feel the need to keep that going. At least for the sake of my fans. So, my goal is to update The Storm immediately this week. Then put the updates once again on a rotation. Once The Storm is finished, I have another story to take its place.
Well, I am being pestered by children, so I will leave now. Please enjoy my blog, my facebook pages, and stay tuned for more stories and books!

(Buy links are in the menu on this page if you haven’t bought one of my books. I suggest you check them out. Might be worth a subway ride or a plane flight read!)

Rant on Writers Block

I have writers block. Seriously, horrible, bad writers block. I don’t even know what to write on my blog today. I have four stories I can write, but even with outlines nothing is coming to my brain. I’m finding that as my financial situation goes down hill, so does my muse. (That isn’t this kind of blog, though.)

I know how I used to get over writers block when I was a kid. I’d put my headphones in and drown out the world. I’d scream at the top of a high hill over the desert outside of my housing area and then walk back daydreaming. Most of the time, though, I’d clean with my sister. During our cleaning everyday I would come up with a story, another chapter or something new. She’d let me go on and on. I’d pace, clean, do something. Later in my life, I would call her to do the same thing.

Most of what I want to write would not be suitable for public consumption. Some of it would even not fit in with my current story lines. It’d be more mature, maybe, than I really want to publish ever in my life. I feel the need to get some things out, but I know they are not what I should be writing.

I have half a first chapter done for New Camelot: Warlord. I am stumped on how to get the adventure started. I have over three thousand words in my outline just for that book! I should be able to combine it into something over 50 thousand words long. My characters have even hinted about side stories they want me to add into this new book. I want them on paper. I know they should be. Yet, here I am worried about stupid stuff. What if I forget what one of them look like while I’m typing up? Did I put the right age? I know these are things my beta and editor find later, but I’m worried they will miss it. I’m worried that you, my reader, will not want to read it if I screw up the little stuff.

Then I have that last chapter to The Storm. It was huge! I wrote it. I finished it. Then my laptop fried (literally smoke in the drive). Gone! I have to rewrite it. What if it isn’t as good? Does anyone even care anymore if I wrote it? I know 96 reviews on alone says that people want to see what happens next. I just now need to get into the mood to finish it. I will get there sometime this week. I am determined.

Casey also needs a new chapter. That is where some of the my off-shoot stories are coming in. I have four books outlined for this one series. I don’t even know how adult I want to make these books. I know I could delve deep into the under belly of high school life, or I could keep it a light hearted teenage book about an outsider who becomes popular. I also have the choice to keep it light hearted for my innocent blog and publish the much darker stuff when it is gone to paperback. Do I want to mislead the public that way, though? I might write up a later mini-chapter and publish it under “M” rating on fictionpress to see how it does.

My last book that I’m working on is actually being hand written. I used to write all of my stuff out in notebooks for people to pass around at my high school. They would read the next installment and pass it on. Sometimes I would get things back with notes put into the margin by these friends. I craved this feedback and enjoyed it. I don’t get that same type of feedback on my original fiction anymore. Kind of makes me sad. So, I am bringing back the handwritten first draft for a book of mine. It is in a beautiful hard bound journal. We’ll see if I ever have it transcribed or if it will just become something to be sold after I die (if anyone ever cares to make me popular enough to buy something like that.)

The other thing that is holding me back is my lack of internet access. My phone has run out of data. This blog alone will have to be post dated when I get internet again. That is if I don’t grab the free internet at the grocery store tonight, instead. We’ll see. This lack of internet, though, makes research hard to do. It also makes contacting important people for feedback also very hard. With the need for instant reviews I need internet. I am working on that now. I hopefully will have full access come March (happy birthday to me).
I guess I just need to rant a bit. I’m hoping getting all of this down will mean I can sit tonight and bring about something. Another story. Another chapter. Anything. Let us hope for a new chapter for Casey this week or the last chapter of The Storm. On Saturday I will be able to blast my music and zone out. We’ll just hope that is enough now.

Today’s writing at least got done. It’s something. Sorry this was just drabble and a rant. Nothing interesting.

(Buy links are in the menu on this page if you haven’t bought one of my books. I suggest you check them out. Might be worth a subway ride or a plane flight read!)