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

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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.

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.

Why I disappeared

We all have times in our lives when we just kind of disappear. This last month has been one of those times. I have kind of just shut down and avoided all of social media and sites. Probably not the best business move., but here is why it happened: We bought a house.

We live in a small town. Not the place we will stay, but it works for now. The opportunity to buy this house came along and we couldn’t really pass it up. Then we walked in to the place. I had to question my judgement.

We bought a house from hoarders. I mean, really, really bad hoarders. I am a minimalist and the overwhelming garbage in the house shut me down. It took us nearly two full weeks to clean out just the garbage. We filled a 12 yard dumpster in trash just from 3 rooms.

I then found out they were holding stuff for other people in the house, and didn’t bother mention it. So, we had people digging through the dumpster to get the stuff out that belonged to them. That’s fine I suppose.

When we were finally able to see the floors, I decided the carpet had to go. Luckily we found some pretty decent hard wood floors under it. If not for this scraper we would have never gotten to it. http://a.co/d/cKg0IfG

It is an ugly job, but it made it a lot easier. It helps to break the glue and under layers to remove the carpet. Finding the floors in the condition they were in made my day. Down the road we will rent a sander and refinish them. The house was built in 1920, so they need a little love. We have a lot of work to do, but it will be well worth it.

My next job is tearing out some plaster on a couple walls and hanging drywall over the lath. The shared wall between the living room and kitchen had a leak by the chimney and it messed up the plaster, so it has to go. That will have to wait until summer.

We are finishing up the bedroom paint and then we can finish moving in. It has been a long month, but the end is in sight. I am quick to get overwhelmed and shut down while I remedy a situation.

I have been doing some work on Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. This is my latest short story that I am writing for my son. It has been a fun one too. I also have books for sale through my Biblio.com page, https://www.biblio.com/bookseller_info.php?d=2916574

I am also on Instagram and Pinterest both @danlittle104. Follow me there and feel free to check out Biblio. Give me a like and a share. If you comment, I will do my best to respond. I am really trying to start a harder push here. Things are leveling out on this end.

 

Book Review Stress

Hello again everybody.

Tonight is more of a vent session for a part of my blog. I love what I do. I love getting to read new stories and present them to my kids. The excitement in their eyes as I read them a new one is pretty much why I started writing.

So, what is there to vent about? Sometimes I can’t take a book past the initial reading stage with me, and it doesn’t get presented to my kids. It’s the hard part. Sometimes a book will just fall short for my standards, and I don’t feel comfortable writing a review.

At this point I deal with a serious personal conflict. I was asked for a review, not editing. I could post my opinion of the story at that time. I have seen people offer a positive review for a certain fee. To me, that’s crap. If a story is good, but delivery needs work, I can’t write an honest review.

I have to operate fairly. I will be the first to admit that my punctuation needs some serious help. I am eternally grateful for editors. I don’t use them here. Honestly, I hope my wife never reads a single post here. She would kill me.

So how do you handle a book that isn’t ready, but has been released. I struggle with this. I decided that instead of doing a review, I offer a few critiques to the author. Again, I am not an editor. I just try to offer a few tips to bring out a more complete product. I think we should all do that.

I don’t charge for my reviews. For me, it really is about encouraging the authors. It’s not easy having an editors eye and terrible grammar. I can tell you a sentence is wrong, but I can’t come close to telling you how to fix it. Infinite commas I suppose.

I am always looking for more books to go over. My kids range from 3 to 6, so naturally I look for that range. I you have something, please, let me know. I would love to do a review for you. Everyone will get the same treatment. If there is a problem, I will address it with you privately before I just throw up a review for some blog content.

I truly enjoy what I do. There is a world full of amazing talent out there. We get to tap into that. I love that. Shoot, we get to see what may be a big seller before its even in print. That’s why I don’t charge. I have considered a donation thing if someone felt so inclined. I try to always throw in a little bit extra for people I hire for my projects, so a donation is a fair idea.

Anyway, have a great night. I have to meet a school to see about a book reading for their elementary and preschool classes. That’s exciting. Take care, and thank you for letting me vent.

Dan

New Book

Happy weekend, everyone. I decided to take the day off and do some fishing with the kids. They had fun. We caught nothing.

Just before we made it to the lake I got a message from my illustrator. She had a rough sketch ready for my book for my son.

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Good Knight Ricky and his dragon Colborn

He is almost 6, and a typical boy. He wanted me to write a book about him being a knight. I have had the idea for several months, but disappointing sales of Morgan Goes Fishing put it on the back burner as I tried to promote it some more.

I have sold 3 copies in the last 2 months. Createspace will be shutting down, so I will be looking for better options for printing.

The Lizzie Andrews Series series needs some serious help. If you are at all interested in genealogy, history, classic women, war, any of it. Stop by our kickstarter page. If it doesn’t get funding it doesn’t happen.

My partner is doing next to nothing to promote it, so I get to push for my own good. We will be offering a one hour genealogy help prize to any donors. This way we help them, for helping us.

Now, for my son’s book. It is called Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. He is a 6 year old boy with his pet dragon set out to save the kingdom. It’s for 5 to 8 year olds, probably 4,000 words.

I will share little details over the next couple of months. It’ll be a slow process. I will have to get money up for the illustrations and go over all that. I am considering a kickstarter for that as well, but I am not likely to use it. It may be a good way to get a boost to Lizzie as they see both projects from me. So I don’t know.

These are all things I will have to get worked out. If I do it it will be a straight across the board cost for a copy reward. Basically treat it as a preorder setup.

Anyway, let me know what you think. I appreciate the support I get here. You all have a great weekend.

In the meantime, if you want to grab a copy of Morgan Goes Fishing, you can buy it here, in my book nook. They are for sale at $6.99, and I will send a coloring bookmark with all purchases when the shipment comes in.

Dan

Kickstarter

Hi everyone,

Today I launched the kickstarter campaign for The Lizzie Andrews Series. This is the project I have been working on for a while. I partnered with Kathy Jo Bryant to make this one happen.

She was looking for an author to share the stories of her 3rd great grandmother. These stories have been passed down since the 1800s, and have even been featured in newspaper articles.

Lizzie lived to be 110 years old. She lived in North Carolina, Virginia and Alabama throughout her life. She met General Washington around the time of the Siege of Yorktown. He gifted her a pair of silk stockings for her dancing skills at a cotillion he met her at.

That is actually going to be our first story set to release around presidents day. I am working on the manuscript now. Gypsi Walker, a college student, is working on our illustrations.

Our campaign will give you the chance to support the project and secure your own copy of the book before it is released. Take a minute and check out our link.

Have a great day

Dan