Family Priorities

In my last post, which was a while ago, I mentioned that I was living in a town 4 hours from my family and working to pay off debt. Well, that lasted 6 weeks. My wife and kids went to pick me up around Mother’s Day, and when I hugged my wife I noticed she had lost a lot of weight.

Abbie is a small framed girl already. The school she teaches at is a huge stressor for her, and my being gone added to it. We have 3 kids and it was more than she could handle while juggling school stress, too. It was an easy decision to make. I was home for good a few days later.

I was working at a hotel and had already put in my notice to switch to a better company and position. I decided to pass on the new job and go home where i was needed. The slim job market here makes it tough, but something will come along.

In the meantime, I have been writing again. I have had a horrible dry spell. Nothing clicks like it should, and everything just kinda sucks. That’s if I can even get a good idea going anyway.

I have created a new character for a story series, Waylon the Wandering Whale, and the “Morgan” franchise is getting some new stories. I am still waiting to hear back from a publishing company for “Bella and Betty Bear’s Big Fight. Good Knight Ricky is still a challenge, but I am finally moving on that again. The missing element has been found, and it really changed the dynamic of the story. So, Things are happening, I’m just not overly vocal about it for now. Remember, Morgan Goes Fishing is available on Amazon or starting tomorrow, my eBay store.

We have also been working on our house. A LOT. It’s amazing what you can do to a house for under $50. We have painted, put in bookshelves, cut out trees and brush and hauled off 6 loads of trimmings. We have been busy. Here’s a flower bed we did over a tree stump I chopped out.

The good news, I have been more inspired to write. It’s almost like the more I work, the more ideas I have to write about. It’s not uncommon, I guess. Hard work is good for the brain. At least for me.

The best part of being home is my kids. They grew so much in the 6 weeks I was gone. Bella is a little marvel. I don’t know how to explain her, but she is amazing. Smart, caring and so much more big girly. Morgan just jad her 5th birthday. I don’t know what it is about her, but she inspires me in so many ways. Then there is Ricky. My little man. He has had some attitude issues that we are trying to work through.

I closed my facebook account. I can be found on Instagram and will be posting more there. I will even be starting some small video announcements and reveals. Find me on Instagram @danlittle104. My ebay store is also up and running, and I will be integrating things from there to here more very soon, so check it out @https://ebay.com/usr/littlebooksandhobbies. Find a book and enjoy.

Y’all have a good day.

Dan

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Haunted Items, A good story or the real thing

Hello everyone. I know it’s been a while, but there have been some changes going on, and I have been adjusting. I tried to post last week but lost the ambition.

Recently I have been thinking about haunted items, dolls, toys, furniture. Stuff like that. I have long thought about buying something just to see what happened. There are dolls listed on ebay, but to me that seems like a bit of a scam. It’s easy to say aomething is haunted. Reading the description it even states no guarantee. To me, I just see a way out of being blamed if the so-called haunted item has no real haunting.

I love the idea. I would love to see something happen with a haunted item. Videos show occurrences and you can find stories, but I have never had a first hand encounter. I may buy a cheap doll and see what happens.

My wife is completelt against me doing it. But you see, I have an advantage right now. I am living in a little apartment 4 hours from her so she wouldn’t have to deal with it. Then there’s the downside, I would be buying something and not being honest with her about it and that would be a major problem. I’m not going to lie to her. We have a good marriage for a reason.

So, I’m not sure which way to go. If I’m honest I am willingly going against her comfort and beliefs. If I lie I am not the man she married. Most likely, I will sit quietly and wonder. If a good opportunity arises I may just take it. Maybe a present would be a way around it. Lol.

Anyway, I mentioned changes. I am now living back in the Black Hills for work. For the next year, my wife and I decided to do this while she works at her school. It’s a 4 hour separation, but there are few options for work at home.

Missing my kids has been a huge inspiration though. I have come up with some killer book ideas. I have been working on a drastically changed Good Knight Ricky. I have to find a map artist because I am including a map for the readers reference. It’s a fun idea.

I am sorry I have been away for so long. My work schedule sucks and it’s really cut into my ability to post much. Everyone have a good day. Let me know your thoughts on the haunted item idea. Where else can i look for something? How do i not just lose my money on a lie? Things to ponder.

Have a great day.

Dan

He Broke My Car

Hello everyone. I am a little annoyed tonight. I really should be mad, but I am pretty calm about it. A $4 stop at the gas station tonight cost me a bumper. A bumper corner really, but still.

I stepped into the gas station for possibly 2 minutes. I stepped out to see a Jeep Grand Cherokee sitting in my rear bumper. My car was parked all the way in the spot, between the lines and he hit me. From behind.

Luckily there were 2 cops at the gas station when it happened. One saw me pull in and get out, then heard the impact. The other was pulling in when it happened. Both were cool as can be while I assessed the damage and we traded insurance information.

This is where I got mad. The other driver did not have insurance. If I heard correctly it wasn’t his car either. This is a risk we run living near a reservation. I hate that, but there are different laws due to them be a sovereign state.

Once we traded information the other driver took off and my little car got it’s revenge by removing his front bumper. My car lost a corner of the bumper cover. My biggest hangup, it’s winter in South Dakota, why no insurance.

Oh well, it is what it is. It’s a risk of the area that we know all too well. Nobody was hurt, but my $4 stop really got expensive fast. It could have been much worse. The real good part, my wife handled it really well when I told her what happened. That’s her baby.

Have a good night everybody. Please stay safe.

Dan

A Big Week

Last week I talked about goals our family has, and the limited options we have here to make them happen. We have a few new options that will help tremendously. It just means I have to move about 4 hours from my family and take a new job.

I got a message from a friend in the little town of Deadwood. It’s a casino resort town. Not a big place, but it’s home for our family. We’ve lived there in the past and loved it and made some good friends. This friend told me she talked to her manager about me and her manager asked her to talk me in to sending in an application.

I did, even though it’s four hours away. Yesterday I was offered and accepted the position. A few hours later I found an apartment to rent that falls within what I was willing to spend and still make financial sense. Then there is the downside. My family will be staying behind in a town we all wish we weren’t in.

The reason for this is simple, my wife is a teacher. We are trying to build her resume from a few years ago and a couple bad pregnancies. So she will stay here for another year, two at the most. Then she can have enough stability to hopefully get in at a school in the hills.

In meantime we are focusing hard on debt payoff. My job will plow us through in about 18 months at the most including paying off our house. It’s ambitious, but it’s doable. It’s a priority for us.

Do I want to be away from them for a week or two at a time? Not at all. I want them to have better opportunities, so I will sacrifice now, and God willing, we all move back to the Black Hills together and not be apart again.

For some people the idea is horrible. They think family needs to be together which I agree with completely. I also know that it won’t be forever. I’ve also heard, well why not just scrape by for another few years and all go together. My response to that, scraping by doesn’t have to be an option.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance and make a change. It’ll suck for a little bit, but it’ll definitely be worth it. Don’t let being broke be an option. Strive for better. You deserve it, your family deserves it. But mostly, why settle?

Am I The Angry Neighbor?

What happened to common courtesy, common sense and being decent to others? I have never been known to be completely rational. I will admit that I have a temper. I would be lying to myself to say otherwise.

One thing I always strive for is being good to others. Do I fail? Yep. Is it easy? Nope. Did it work out today? Not at all.

I am beginning to think that I am the angry neighbor nobody likes. This isn’t so bad in some cases. They won’t ask to borrow stuff. But in reality,it’s a big deal.

I have had run-ins with 3 neighbors so far. One was a simple trespassing when drunk and making my family uncomfortable in our yard thing. We asked a few times but he didn’t listen. Finally after my wife saw him creep around the corner in the dark we put up no trespassing signs. No more issues.

The other issue was a different neighbor blowing snow from a yard onto my just shoveled sidewalk. The whole length as he traveled down the sidewalk with the blades hitting our grass and dirt, throwing snow and dirt across the walk. He was decent enough to turn the chute toward our vehicle when he got closer though. So we had rocks flying at it. That was awesome. I lost my cool and yelled at him and told him to get the stupid thing away from my house. Then I had to re-shovel. I probably wouldn’t have cared he hadn’t watched me shovel it off as walk inside less than a minute earlier.

Today was probably handled poorly. All winter my neighbors landlord has come over and cleared the snow from their yard and driveway and pushed it into ours. Just yesterday I pulled my pickup around to park on the street. Today I have a 3 foot tall snow pile pushed right up against my garage from the neighbor’s driveway, so I have to dig out my drive again.

I tried being reasonable at first. Then he tried saying that my house belonged to him. My house payment says otherwise. But, he decided it’s okay to plow into my driveway, block off my garage and put all the snow from their yard into mine.

I came unglued. Finally after telling him 5 times he understood that the property line means that’s where my yard begins and he is clearing my drive of his mess. This sounds really minor, and it may be. But what happened to respecting others property?

I don’t use their yard. I don’t hurt their property. I help where I can. But seriously, have some courtesy. Yes, they need to have a parking spot, but should I stand for them using my stuff for themselves?

So, maybe I am the angry neighbor. I’m okay with that. It doesn’t mean it’s fun or easy. I just think people should have some respect. As one of two homeowners on my block, we have to deal with potentially disrespectful neighbors, but I don’t have to let them mess up my space.

Trying to Succeed in a dying town

I have been very quiet the last several months. I think it’s a mild depression caused by where I live. A few months back we bought a house in the little town we live in. Since then we have learned a few things.

This town is dying. It’s not a quick death, it’s slow and painful. Poor leadership has been pretty obvious. It’s evident all over town. It has amazing potential, but I feel people have lost hope. I can understand why.

We are 100 miles from anything. I actually love this. Our town has a handful of small businesses we visit. If there is anything big we need, we drive 100 miles. It’s fine.

How does this work for writing and freelance work? Well, it doesn’t really hurt me much. It does however kill my muse. There is no inspiration here. I have been moving along halfway decently on my online bookstore. I will be integrating it here more in the very near future. So there’s a silver lining.

My writing has taken a hit. I have gotten a few new manuscripts written while I stay home with my daughter. This has been a lot of fun. I’ve written 3 and have 3 more in the works. I even picked up a book reading for April.

The opportunity here is minimal. The jobs are scarce, businesses are closing and people are leaving. It’s disappointing. I have actually started looking into jobs a few hours from home.

In the meantime, we are focusing on digging out of debt. When we are done with that we are planning a move back to the Black Hills. I nearly lost hope here. It’s not easy. Sometimes your success is found in the determination to get out. There’s always a way, as long as you don’t lose hope. This is at least what I keep telling myself.

Over the next couple weeks keep an eye out on the Book Nook. I will be adding listings of the things I have for sale. It’s a little bit or everything, so check it out.

I just thought it was time to give an update on where I have been. Y’all have a good day.

Dan

My poor girl

We have those weeks that we are always happy to leave behind us. This has been one of those weeks and we have a couple days to go. I broke a tooth and have to wait to get that taken care of, and worse than that, my Bella baby broke her nose.

The last 2 days for me have been slow and painful. I broke a tooth and it has kicked my butt. For a while though I didn’t feel anything. Adrenaline does that, especially when it comes to your kids.

When my son got home from school he asked if he and Bella could play with the neighbor kid. Sure, no problem. He knows he has to watch his sister, and I check up on them regularly. We live in a safe neighborhood and we can let kids play. It’s awesome.

The kids had been outside playing for maybe 15 minutes when Ricky comes in without Bella. Naturally I got ready to fuss at him for leaving you sister outside, like kids do. Then he tells me Bella fell and had a bloody nose.

I run outside and see Bella covered in blood. I grab her and the handkerchief in my pocket, sit down in the snow and start taking care of it. Within seconds I start going through all the questions in my mind, do we go to the ER, maybe I should take her to the clinic, crap if I do that I have to call my wife and tell her. Maybe I should just take her inside and stop the bleeding, if I do that, what if it don’t stop. It’s possible I was panicking.

Ricky stayed right by my side ready to help Bella. She is 3 and he is 6 and the greatest thing in her world. She’s sure of it, and he didn’t leave her side. I was proud of him.

After a blood soaked handkerchief, some toilet paper a wet wash cloth and a heart attack, we got her cleaned up. We had to wash her coat, gloves and shirt to get the blood out. The poor girl had a rough few minutes.

Now I could ask what in the world happened. Ricky told me they had been running to the neighbors house and she fell on the ice. Nothing horrible or mean, she just fell. Luckily she was okay.

I wish I could say this was our first broken nose. Unfortunately, I cannot. My wife has broken her nose 8 times. Three of those have been since we got married, and of those 3, two were caused by Ricky. One was playing, one was the result to too much sugar with a severe sugar sensitivity.

Once we got Bella checked all was well, just a broken nose. She has such a cute little nose too. Once the swelling and bruising goes down I am sure she will be fine. But, man, what a day.

Author Interview with Shannon Stewart

I had the opportunity to work with Author Shannon Stewart for a promo piece for her book Grief. Luckily I was able to do an interview with her. Check her out, her book has a lot to offer. So, let’s get started with Shannon Stewart.

Name:  Shannon Stewart aka Daredevil Bama Gurl aka WHITE COAT WOMAN

1.What is your earliest memory of writing?

A:  I’ve always written poetry.  I kept a book of them all the way into adulthood and may one day publish them.

2. How did you get started in your writing career?

A:  I have so many stories floating around in my head and I’ve started and stopped over a dozen.  I just never had the desire to just completely finish one until I saw my husband doing the same thing but finishing.  He starts and stops stories all the time but he does it when he gets a block and he just moves to where his creativity takes him.  That method works for me as well so now it’s like an assembly line. Expect to see a lot of productivity from me in writing now.

3. Do you write in multiple genres? If so, which? Is it hard to transition between children’s book author and your other styles?

A:  I’ve never really just settled on a genre.  Like I said, I have many stories floating around in my head and I’m pretty sure there are multiple genre involved.  So, my plan is to go wherever my creative juices take me.

4.What comes to you first: title, character or setting?

A: I generally think of multiple interesting scenes.  They don’t always fit so I save them for when the rest of the story pops into my head.  As it develops, I start formulating the plot around those ideas.

5.How many books have you written?

A:  I’ve written 3 full books so far, but I’m only about to release my first short story.

6.We know writing isn’t always the most lucrative business. Are you a full time author, or do you do other work as well?

A:  I’m now a Family Nurse Practitioner and I’ve been a critical care Registered Nurse for the last 18 years.  I’m also an co-executive for my own indie record label and publishing company.

january 2018 - critical care registered nurse shoot

 

7.. Do you have a certain way to set your writing mood? If so, what does it involve?

 

A:  I don’t set a mood.  I write in my spare time.

8. What is your latest book about? (book summary/sales description)

A:  Grief is a short story I have on pre-order on Amazon. I write a different take on the 5 stages of grief that we typically go through multiple times in life.  I sensationalize each stage a bit to make it entertaining to keep people’s attention in today’s world but at the end of each of the 5 chapters I add some White Coat Woman education. I also have a very sensational 1 minute book trailer to peak the curiosity of people who watch it.

9. Where can people find you and all of your amazing projects? (website, social media links and any upcoming events you’d like to share)

A:  http://www.whitecoatwoman.com/

whitecoatwoman@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/daredevilbamagurl/

https://www.instagram.com/daredevilbamagurl/

https://twitter.com/nurzshannie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83FrnZXbW7U

10. What is one obscure, non-writing related fact about you? (something fun, interesting, or a little quirk)

A:  I’m a social media micro-influencer and I have a branded name of Daredevil Bama Gurl.  It’s a name my husband gave me because I like rock climbing and parasailing and different stuff like that.

10142017 willie stewart shoot4084_pp

11.What goals have you set for yourself in your writing career?

A:  I have just one goal for my writing career and that’s to have fun while doing it.
12.You just sold your one millionth copy, how do you celebrate? (Dream big, right?)

A:  I would want to throw a huge party for everybody in my hometown of Ozark, Alabama.  That’s not too big right? I would plan on much bigger things but I would want to start there so people back home could see that being from a small town doesn’t mean great things can’t happen.

13. How many books do you hope to release?

A:  I don’t have a set number.  I just want to continue to write as long as I’m having fun doing it.

This is where my book can be found:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LDLGPNF

grief 3d product cover

 

Abandoned Indiana Farmhouse

Hello everyone.

I just got back from a Christmas trip to Indiana. I grew up there and left about 9 years ago. We did go back for a year but it wasn’t home. It’s fine to visit though.

As we made the plans for our trip a friend of mine asked if we could go to an old cemetery she likes. The week I left, back in 2010, we decided to have a picnic there. Over the years she has come across some new cemeteries to check out.

There is a large Amish population in the area, and one of the places she wanted to show me was an old Amish cemetery set behind an abandoned house. Naturally, I had to see the house.

When we walked in, we entered the kitchen, and the first thing I noticed was a creepy looking stuffed baby doll on the floor. That was off-putting.

As we went through the house it got more interesting. The floors were covered with more than 20 years of trash and old clothes. The floors were carpeted with every article of clothing the family had to own at that point.

We found a notebook when we went upstairs. It had a note dated 1993. I was 8 at that time, so that was cool. I was apprehensive to go upstairs due to the roof and windows being gone, so I was concerned about safety.

Anyway, the upstairs had what was probably 3 bedrooms. One room was filled with old mattresses. One had the typical creepy chair sitting in the middle of the room. The other was inaccessible, the floor wasn’t sturdy enough for us to get to close.

The rest of the downstairs showed typical signs of being a home. There was a trophy on a dresser and another thrown and broken on the floor. Someone had to be proud of that at some point. Now it just wastes away. That bummed me out.

The living room was hard to get through. The walls were pretty torn up and trash was everywhere. There was what appeared to be a kids room off to the right that had a small chest with pandas on it. That was neat, especially since my friend calls her son her little panda.

The rest was just trashed. I didn’t go into the basement. It wasn’t worth the risk. The bathroom was well worn out, but it had all the fixtures. I was surprised. For being empty for 25 years and having no windows, it was still solid.

This wasn’t the coolest abandoned place I ever explored, but it was good. It’s been a long time since I really had the chance to do that. I encourage you to get out and explore some areas. It’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s exercise. Just don’t get in trouble for trespassing.

Overcoming the block

A while back I talked about the lack of creativity I have been dealing with. I figured out what it was. I had been to busy with home projects to focus on much else.

It’s a pretty lame reason to not be able to write, but it makes sense. Have you ever been there? You know, the point where anything else on your plate just kinda shuts you down? These are normal times.

Life happens. For me it was a mess of a house that needed a ton of work before we could move in. Then we had a bunch of projects after we moved jn. I would be up until 3 am working some nights.

When you mix in 3 kids and a wife with her hands full at school, and just needing some extra stress relief, it gets busy. Don’t let life make you feel like you’ve lost your edge.

Just a few months ago I was buried in writing work. The last 2 months, not a thing. I am trying to pick up more things here and there. I know it will come. Sometimes, you just need to empty off your plate.

Now for some updates, Morgan Goes Fishing is getting a new series behind it. It will be a sight words based series based on Morgan. I am writing them to be progressive stories. Each one more difficult than the last. Morgan Goes Fishing will be a more difficult book.

Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon, is being shortened. Write for the age, not the reading level if you are writing a story based on someone you love. Ricky is 6 and reads on a 4th grade level. You can’t combine those. Write for the age. They will enjoy it more. It will be out next year.

Bella and Betty Bear’s Big Fight will be out next year. This will complete the stories written for my kids. Illustration on Ricky and Bella will be my hold ups as I secure the funding.

I am moving forward with an eBay based book store. I have mostly history books listed now, but stop in and check it out. It’s at Little Books and Hobbies on ebay.

So, I can get moving again. When you come to these times, don’t force it. They happen. Writing will never stop. The creativity will slow down here and there, or your ideas will be crap. Don’t get discouraged. When the ideas hit, run with them. Even if they take some time to come to you.