A Banner Day

Rich is on vacation this week, so we went to the dump today. If you’ve never been to the dump, it’s liberating and even kind of fun.

We have a spare room upstairs that has been a catch-all for many years. Today was the day to get rid of the junk. Rich backed the truck up below the window, and we threw stuff out and into the bed of the truck. The sound of breaking glass was exhilarating. Legal destruction. Computers, monitors, a television … these were the fun things to pitch. Bags of superfluous junk, boxes, old business records? Throw them out the window! I asked Rich if he felt like David Letterman.

I think we’ll go again tomorrow.

The dump (or the landfill if you are more refined) wasn’t the best thing about today. Take a good look at this picture:

ImageAhhh … the perfect set up for a perfect evening. Today was not a day for the new way of eating. I’ve lost 52 pounds since the beginning of June, and I feel great, but this was a treat day. Yes, that’s a fortune cookie from the Hunan Chicken for dinner. And that’s a high-powered Cola-Cola. Oh my gosh! Caffeine and chemicals taste sooo good! The vintage ashtray filled with peanut butter M&M’s? That’s a gift from hubby. You bet I won’t hold back on those.

So here I sit … on my new deck … happy as a clam and ready to write for the evening. The locust noise has reached about 150 decibels, but I can live with that. It’s a beautiful evening with the temperature at 70 degrees. Justin Timberlake is singing Mirrors on the iPhone, Rich is in a chaise next to me, and the dog is hunkered down beside him. All is right with the world.

I’ve been writing quite a bit lately. I’ve had a hard time not feeling guilty because Susan Hunter has taken a back seat, but I have to write what has been filling my mind – and that is my new series, Two Sisters and a Journalist. … Synopsis: Jo Ravens stumbles across (well, actually she crashes a bicycle on) a murdered girl. It’s the fifth body she’s found in two years. She solved two of the previous murders with the help of her sister, Pepper, and her friend, Jackie (the journalist). Jo enlists them once again to help solve the murder of Peaches, a prostitute from Pittsburgh. Things get a little creepy for Jo when the dead girl comes to her in dreams.

Of course, there is some humor, because I’m simply not that serious. The first few chapters have been run by my mother and my sister, and both have given the book two thumbs up. I’m to the halfway mark at about 25,000 words. I’d like to finish this book within two weeks and then go right to finishing my Susan Hunter book. My goal is to have both ready to publish by the end of October. After that, I’m considering something I said I would never do again – National Novel Writing Month. I can write book number two in the new series in November. I think that sounds like a plan.

I’m taking time this weekend to read blogs, so I’ll be by to see you soon. What’s the number one thing I’ve missed with you while I’ve been gone? If you’re writing, how are things going? Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you had any M&M’s lately?


Almost done! We still need skirting around the bottom, handrails on the steps, and the two boulders to the right need to be hauled away – to a dump! The gate at the top of the stairs keeps the dog in and strangers out.

79 thoughts on “A Banner Day

    • Thanks, Honie. I admit to being in a bit of a funk when the granddaughter first left. It will probably be another year before we see her again, but I’ve been able to shake the blues and am excited to see what I can accomplish before the end of the year. Looking forward to catching up with you!

  1. Peanut butter M&Ms have become my vice lately, too! I eat them at work at my desk all the time, lol. I have yet to be successful at NaNoWriMo, but best of luck this year! I like visiting the dump, lol…course, the ones we have around here are the small town ones – the dump in a ravine kind surrounded by trees – but I always think there’s something beautiful about all the trash tossed between the greenery. Something poetic. The way you feel when you look at other people’s trash and it feels like treasure to you. Yes, there’s is beauty in lost things. Like forgotten memories or something. 😛 Happy writing Maddie!

    • Hi Amanda! Yes, we have a small town dump, too! 🙂 It’s surrounded by woods. We drive up a hill, back up to the off-load place, and then throw it all over the hill. I don’t know why I find it so much fun. It’s nice to see you! Let me know if you throw your hat in the ring for NaNo.

  2. Maddie!!! I’ve started an email to you girl. Just have to finish it. You go girl on the weight and the books! Woohoo!!! I love the deck, the m & m’s and the coke. Just wish I could have some. You are such a tease! hahahah. Okay, now I really need to finish my email to you. See you soon lady! xo

    • Got your email! Thanks so much! It was a treat to have M&M’s and Coke. Hope I don’t get sick. I know I’m pretty wired from the sugar and caffeine, and it may be a while before I head on up to bed. 😉 Keep writing, Jackie!!

    • Hola, El Guapo. What? No adventures? I always envision you cliff-diving, sea-dooing across the ocean, hang gliding …

      Maybe next year. Hope you at least listened to some great music. What’s at the top of your list right now?

      • Listening to a whole bunch of stuff. Heard a track from Brett Dennen that grabbed me – Sydney.
        Listening to Foals at work right now. Not sure what I think yet…

        (And I saw Buster Poindexter, because Buster Poindexter!!!)

        • Brett Dennen – Sydney. Not sure about that one. I’ll have to listen a few times. He looks like a youngster – but he’s 33!

          I checked out Foals, and I like them quite a bit.

          Buster Poindexter – LOL! I had no idea he did Hot Hot Hot. What a hoot, and I love Heart of Gold.

          Thanks for some good music, El Guapo. You never disappoint. 🙂

    • Hi Donna Jean! I am so happy with the deck. We had the most horrible cement steps out there for years. I’m sure all of our neighbors are happy we got rid of that eyesore. I sure am! Are you working on your next book? I think the cooler weather motivates me to write, too.

    • Hi Julia! I’m finally ready to get back to everything – blogging, writing, “normal” life. It was a heck of a lot of fun playing hooky with the granddaughter though.

      Are you almost done with your editing? Will you be starting a new book for NaNo this year? Maybe I’ll find out when I get over to read your blog. 😉

      • I am glad you got to spend time with your granddaughter. I loved spending time with my grandparents growing up. 🙂 No I am not done with editing. Bad me. Yes, I will do the NaNo, will be writing my second book for this trilogy. I am finding that writing is much easier than the editing process or maybe it is just more fun. 🙂 lol

        • I’m not sure which I like better. I’m impatient to get the story on paper, so sometimes writing doesn’t seem like so much fun. Other times, I love how a story drags me along to places I never thought of going. But I must admit, I do like editing and trying to make what I wrote better. We’ll have to buddy up for NaNo!

  3. So good to hear from you again, Maddie. Sounds like you’re doing great.

    Holy shamoly, what a nice job on that deck. Two boulders to get rid of? I thought Michigan was the only place that grew rocks. They’re everywhere here. 🙂

    • Hi Tim! I’m eating M&M’s so I feel like a million bucks tonight. 🙂 (Stupid sugar!)

      Those boulders aren’t really boulders. They’re a mass of cement, rocks, and even cement block. They were part of a footer (or something) under the steps that went up to the porch. They weigh a ton (or two), and Rich could barely move them with a buddy bar (or a spud bar, or whatever those things are). A sledge hammer doesn’t even nick them! We do have a guy lined up to come get them, but even he is working out his options of how to move and get rid of them.

      You can keep the real boulders up there in MIchigan. 😉

  4. Can I borrow your discipline, Maddie. I need to knock off a few extra pounds and finish my book too.
    It’s been a madhouse around here with all of my son’s *back to school* madness.

    Dare I say,
    I think the posts you missed over at my place might be some of your favorites yet. You may have to scroll back quite a bit, though. & I sent you mail too. Hope it got to you safely.

    Congrats on everything! You continue to amaze & inspire me!

  5. Welcome back! Been a while, hasn’t it? I’m not getting email notifs of new posts any more for some reason so I have to trawl the reader and I tend to miss stuff. I’m also trying not to read blogs because it takes away writing time. Frustrating. And contradictory. The new laptop I bought last year to replace the older one with the dead battery so I can write on the train has been hijacked by my daughter, so I ordered a new battery for the old laptop so I can again write on the train. I was surprised last NanoWriMo that I could actually get a lot done on the train if I hide away in a corner. Currently trying to rewrite my Rochelle’s Briefcase story. Changing the angle a bit. I’m upping the romance and mystery factors, adding more backstory and making the briefcase stuff a distraction for her rather than a focus. What do you think? I’m aiming for year’s end to have it finished.

    • Hi Richard! Yes, it has been a while – too long. Blogging does take away from writing. That’s why I wanted to get back into my book pretty solid before I jumped back in here.

      You are a dear to let your daughter hijack your new laptop. I hijack hubby’s new laptop when I write outside.

      I’m tickled to hear you’re working on Rochelle’s Briefcase. I love the premise of the story and know you will find the best way to present it. I like your *new angle* ideas quite a bit. You know I will be first in line to read it when it’s finished. 🙂

      • I actually prefer the old laptop. The new one has the touchpad and buttons all flush with the front panel. Same texture so you can’t tell where your fingers are.
        Thanks for your support with RB. It’s you and about 3 others who spur me on! 😉

    • Hi Brooke! I really need to catch up with you. I don’t know how things are going for you since you moved back to the states and got engaged! I’m sure it’s all very exciting.

      I’m delighted with the weight loss. I had it to lose, and I really needed to lose it. I don’t want to work out as hard as you do, but I definitely need to start adding some exercise to my day. I need to start toning before I lose any more weight. I told Rich I wanted to take the elliptical back upstairs because I hate having here in the room where I write, but maybe I should just suck it up and get on the darn thing. 😉

  6. Welcome back. We recently had a garage sale, and what didn’t sell either got trashed or given to Goodwill. A good feeling to get rid of stuff! Meanwhile, I’m off to the store for some M&Ms. 🙂

    • I love garage sales. We usually have one every few years, and we do Goodwills, too. The stuff we threw out this week was so much junk that accumulated that was of no value to anyone. Rich’s father passed several years ago, and we brought a lot of his “workroom” stuff here. Pieces parts of ham radio equipment, and tons of other oddball things. I don’t even know what most of it was. Rich gave away some of it, sold some of it, and added a few things to his collection. The rest of it went over the hill at the dump. It was quite liberating, and we’re glad to have the space back. Hope you enjoyed your M&M’s! 🙂

      • Love the pretzel M&Ms! … Meanwhile, we have a neighbor who has so much stuff for a variety of reasons … and she feels overwhelmed.

    • Thank you, Carrie. It has been a good summer for us. Having the granddaughter here with us for a month was absolutely wonderful, and now getting all of this other stuff taken care of … in addition to writing again … well, yes, it’s been great. Hope things are well with you. I’ll catch up soon!

  7. That dump sounds like awful fun. I like the idea of being able to throw out all these things without a care in the world. Congrats on the weight loss! That is quite an achievement. 😀 You definitely deserve some MnM’s and coke.

    Oh, and it’s great to hear that your writing has been going well. =D

    • I’ve really missed you, Zen! We went to the dump again today and threw out another truck load of junk. It’s was another awesome day of listening to the sound of stuff breaking as it went over the hill. 🙂 I think I’ve had my fill now of sugar and caffeine. I can really tell how much better I feel when I don’t have it.

      I hope your new job is going well!

  8. Oh Awesome Deck!! Congratulations Maddie, awesome diet! Can’t wait to read your new book too! That darned NaNo gets in your blood and keeps calling you back. Missed you, I’m glad you’re having fun!

    • I hate this computer–now I have to type the comment again…grrr…Great to hear from you, Maddie–love the deck! I’ve been working on two WIPs, and two short stories. I hope my novella will be released in October or November. Don’t know about NaNoWrite yet. It might get those WIPs finished. I can’t believe this year is almost over (this comment was much longer before).

        • Thanks, Maddie–the short stories are coming along–slowly but surely. The novella will (hopefully) release later this month. I’m still thinking about NaNoWriMo, and I’ll let you know if I decide to sign up. My life is crazy. If I wrote about it, no one would believe it.

    • Hi Pam! You have no idea how much I miss you and your blog (and your dogs). I thought I would be reading blogs by now, but I’m trying really hard to stay dedicated to the writing. I’ll have the new book finished in about an hour. (Squee!) I’m still on target to jump in for NaNo. Will you be joining in this year?

  9. ‘Rich is on vacation this week’ and I gave him time off to enjoy the wonderful deck that he built. ‘Rich is on vacation this week’ so we packed a picnic hamper and went for a drive.
    ‘Rich is on vacation this week so we went to the dump today.’ Spot the odd one out. 🙂
    You lost fifty two pounds, Maddie. Well done. I hope they never find you.

  10. Majorly impressed with the weight loss, the cleanout, the deck…sorry the granddaughter visits are so long between :(.
    What did the fortune cookie say?
    and yeah I might be in for Nano – I figure it’ll take me 2 to 3 goes (this will be 2) to actually get anywhere…

    • Hi Annie!! Wow, I’ve missed you. I intended to get around and visit and blog … but the new book and life got in the way again. I finished the book and have been trying to get around the past couple of days. I’ll see you soon!

      Also, if you do NaNo and participate in the buddy part, I’m Breezy Books (with the space). My avatar is the dog from my Big Easy Hunter book. And the fortune cookie said something like if you wanted to get something done – get cracking! So I did! 🙂

      • You did get around and visit alright!! 🙂

        Missed you too Maddie but awesome to hear how everything is going for you.

        I haven’t decided about NaNo yet…most of me would like to do it more than anything but another most of me is so busy and stressed right now, kind of overwhelmed by life and work…grrr…in saying that I’m going to the beach this weekend 😉 but have a work function which I’m stressed about…I need to go breathe now ha ha ha

  11. Wow….when you set your mind to something….you tackle it head on!!! So proud of you, friend! You deserve the treats! Love the new deck….you will get so much enjoyment from it!

    Have been to our little town dump successfully….but when we lived in Missouri and took a load to the county dump….we could NOT get the stink out of the truck!! The truck we borrowed from my son! Car wash….twice…..home washed twice….had to buy new floor matts and more. And there was nothing visible! We NEVER went to that dump again. EVER! LOL! Thanks for bringing up those lovely memories! haha

    So good to hear from you, friend!!!! Keep Writing! ♥ paula

  12. I don’t know why that one posted and my others wouldn’t.
    Love the deck. Glad you are makin’ progress.
    I used to love to go to the dump only I would bring back more than I took. There was always something there that I could make something else out of.
    I takin’ a short break for some R&R.

    • Hi Bo! I’m catching up with some “old” comments tonight. Our dump is a throw-your-junk-over only dump. There aren’t any piles of stuff or places we can walk to look at junk. But I still like to go there and pitch things over the hill. 🙂 The deck is finished, and I really like the way Rich did the skirting. I didn’t want lattice work, so he used boards horizontally. I’ll have to add another picture soon.

  13. Congrats on the weight loss – that is outstanding! I can only imagine this will help your back. Plus, feeling good about yourself is bound to unleash all kinds of creativity. Way to go!

    • Hi Connie! I’m sorry I’m so late in responding. How is retirement going? 🙂 I am definitely feeling better with the weight loss. I don’t know about the creativity though. It’s hard when your muse is M&M’s and they are a scarce item in our house. 😉 But I am definitely doing better all around. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Hey, Maddie. Just wonderin’ how the week long celebration of Chowderhead write up is coming along! Are you still roughin’ it in? Or are you final drafting? 😉

    • LOL, Adam!! There’s no denying it, you have have been on my mind. I *am* writing my fingers to the bone – but not about the wonderfulness that is Chowderhead. I’m hours away from finishing my new book, then I’ll be jumping right into finishing Susan Hunter #6. November is NaNo, and I’ll be writing a new book then, too. I never squelch on a bet, so you’ll get your week, but it might be the holiday version around Christmas. 🙂 xoxoxox

    • Thank you, Rita Kay. I’m still writing on the deck (even though I dragged a heater out there a couple of times), and I’m hoping to lose the rest of my weight soon. Thank you for always stopping by and being so supportive.

  15. Nobody writes like my Maddie!.Whenever I need to let the breeze blow through my hair I visit.Man 52lbs !,well done I’ve at least 40 to shift but have been procrastinating for the past decade on shifting it..Love the deck too.

    Love from Ireland


    • Mark! You Irish stud muffin, you! Glad you stopped by; sorry I’m so long in responding. I think my follow on you has been dropped by the WordPress gremlins. I seem to be missing several. I’ll be over shortly to see what’s up in your neck of the woods!

  16. Yay – you are back! I’ve been checking in every so often to see if you were writing again! Lovely to have a deck to write on – and a pile of M&M’s although I’m a chocolate girl myself! Looking forward to getting my hands on your next books. x

    • Hi Piper! I just started last night and this morning to race around to blogs and do some checking in. I’m hoping I can juggle everything and keep up with bloggers now. I’m still writing and am on track for at least two, hopefully three, books out by the end of the year. 🙂

  17. Good news, Maddie: I’ve FINALLY started to work on my second book!
    I have miles and miles to go – to say the least – but I’m on the right rack at last. So far, I’ve only been able to write a few words, but if they’re the right words, then I’m content.
    Now if I could only channel your work ethic, The Hook would be golden!

    • Yay! I’m proud of you, Hook! You have some of the best stories to tell, and I’m so happy you’re pleased with how it’s going so far. I think you’re doing fantastic. I’m home all day without too many interruptions, so it’s not that hard for me to park it in a chair and write. You have to juggle a busy job, an active family, and pets – while still finding time to write. I am amazed at *your* work ethic. Keep up the good work!!

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