Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekend Reading: The Tired of the Rain Edition

It has been a rainy week here in San Diego, which is good from the standpoint of ending our drought and bad from the standpoint of screwing up my exercise routine. The ground was too wet and the sky to foreboding for me to try for a rollerblade today. I went for a short run in my neighborhood instead. That is a poor substitute. Meanwhile, my run on Wednesday was preempted by rain, and I ended up doing one of the 10 minute workouts on an old exercise DVD I have instead. Also a poor substitute.

Like all San Diegans, I am so spoiled by our usually beautiful weather and I am done with this rain.

Anyway, on to the links.

There's a GoodReads giveaway for Caresaway, which you should enter if you want to try to win a paperback version of my latest release.

Margaret Redlich, the author of Don't Call It Bollywood, wants to send you a Valentine's Day card.

Here's a short write up of an idea I've heard about before: students living in nursing homes to provide companionship in exchange for free or reduced rent.

In less civilized news... Our President Elect had a news conference and it was horrible. This was the best reaction: This Is Why You Don't Kiss the Ring.

A former spy weighs in on the infamous dossier and the Trump-Russia mess.

Josh Marshall attempts to parse what is happening. I've mostly given up trying to figure it out, and am just trying to respond to things in face value, and press for what I think is right and fight against what I think is wrong. And I'm hoping that it all works out.

Wesley Lowery found the letter Coretta Scott King wrote opposing Jeff Sessions' appointment to a Federal judgeship back in 1986.

An analysis of the evidence for the opinion that Comey cost Clinton the election. When there is an investigation into this mess, I sure hope we find out why Comey acted the way he did. I cannot understand it. Was it just partisanship? Incompetence? Fear of the hyperpartisan congresspeople calling for Clinton's head? Something more sinister?

David Perry on the end of the Obama era.

The Bush sisters wrote a really nice letter to the Obama sisters.

Ann Friedman on why we should march. I am leaning towards going to my local Women's March. I am not the marching type, but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and all that.

A sobering report on the coming post-antibiotic age and how to avoid it.

A sobering report on the opioid crisis and why it is going to get worse.

To put this next link in context, a story:

I had a bit of a meltdown on Wednesday over food. One of the chores that falls to me is planning and cooking our weekday meals. This is a thankless task because my kids are super picky (and my bad karma/genes are to blame) and my husband generally adds hot sauce to anything I cook, which he swears isn't a commentary on my cooking but sure as hell feels like one. But someone has to feed us, and despite frequent attempts to transfer at least some of this task to Mr. Snarky, it still falls to me, for reasons that I rationally know are good and irrationally still hate.

Add to this mess the fact that I'm constantly trying to expand my kids' food horizons by cooking things they might consent to try and might even like. My last notable success on this front was the miraculous pretzel chicken, but that one was so miraculous that I continue to try. One of the food-related sore points in the division of labor at Chez Cloud is that Mr. Snarky does not continue to try and basically just makes plain pasta for the kids whenever it is his turn to cook (i.e., Saturday and Sunday).

This week, I'd picked a nice Parmesan risotto to try on the kids. They like Parmesan. Risotto is creamy and yummy. It seemed like a good thing to try. I found a crock pot recipe and figured I could get it started on Wednesday afternoon, since I work from home on Wednesdays. So, come Wednesday at 2:30, I took a break from work and went into the kitchen. I chopped and sauteed the onions that would probably have made the dish unacceptable to my kids but that I refused to leave out. So I chopped those onions really small.

I got the crock pot ready. And then I reached into the cupboard for the arborio rice I distinctly remember purchasing on Sunday, and it was not there. I tore the kitchen apart. Nope. I called Mr. Snarky, who had helped put the groceries away and he was no help.

And then I lost it. I emailed Mr. Snarky and said I was on strike. I would not be making dinner that night. I did not care what we ate. I would eat cold cereal before I cooked us anything. I was DONE.

My inability to go for a nice, cleansing run made this small meltdown worse. The stupid 10 minute dance workout did not have the same effect. A kickboxing workout would have been awesome, but the garage (where I kickbox) is still a mess with our Christmas decorations and other crap, and so that was out of the question.

So basically, I fumed all afternoon and evening.

And then this article about the division of labor in marriages came across my feed.

Clearly, it is time for Mr. Snarky and me to sit down and work out a new division of labor. I wrote a lot about this back before our kids were in school. One of the most popular posts I ever wrote was on men, women, chores, and relationships. I still think that if things are out of whack, your options are the three I identified in my follow up post, but I think I did not appreciate at the time how much the balance would change as the kids got older and their care became less hands on and more consuming of head space. Oh, I got the concept of mental load and how home stuff can consume that to the detriment of your head space for work, but I didn't foresee how much the mental load would go up as the kids hit school age and how much harder that would make it to balance chores fairly. I suspect some of my commenters with older kids tried to tell me. It didn't get through, or at least not enough to prepare myself for it.

And of course, no matter how much we try to divide the load up (and we do), almost everyone else in the world just assumes I am the main point of contact and so a lot of stuff just ends up in my email inbox by default.

Anyway, this is turning into a full on post about division of labor, and not a links post, so I'll stop and promise that I'll revisit this issue soon, and update my old posts with what I'm learning now. Hopefully, Mr. Snarky and I can rebalance our loads over beers this weekend.

I never did find the missing rice, either. It is a mystery.

In other working parent news, apparently lawsuits for gender discrimination based on differential treatment of parents are on the rise.

Here is some beautiful embroidery art. (Aside: I share a work of art every Saturday on my Annorlunda Books Facebook page and Twitter feed. This is the art for this Saturday.)

And here is a beautiful story about the power of stories. Yes, that's two David Perry pieces in one links post. He had a good week, I guess.

Hooray for triangles guy:

The requisite bunny to end on:

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Interesting Times Suck

Things just keep getting weirder and scarier, don't they? I had planned to write about our Family Fun List today, but I find that I need to write about the political situation instead. I hoping that if I get this out I'll be able to focus a bit more on the tax forms I need to fill out this afternoon. 

So anyway, our current political situation sucks. It really, really sucks.

I don't know if all of the allegations in that document Buzzfeed published are true, but I'm with Matt Yglesias on this one: we don't actually need to know if they are true to know what should happen next.

Donald Trump should release his tax returns. If he won't do that, an investigative committee or special prosecutor with subpoena power needs to be created. Like, for instance, the bipartisan commission proposed in the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which every single Democrat in the House now supports. 

Let's say Trump releases his tax returns and they just show the usual "rich person legally avoiding taxes" stuff and/or the investigation into the Russian hacking happens and Trump and his team come out clean. Great! Next, he needs to really and truly address the fact that he will be in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution from the moment he takes office.

He apparently laid out some useless plan at today's press conference. I'm not wasting my time listening to his lies, so I'll wait and read about what he said later. I did note that all the journalists I follow on Twitter and quite a few other people thought that what he actually did was a lay out a plan by which foreign governments could more easily bribe him. I need to do some paying work today, so I'll have to look into that later.

Meanwhile, he has nominated a man for Attorney General whose past actions and words make it clear he doesn't think Black people should have the same voting rights as white people. I'm with Jamelle Bouie on this one: we don't actually need to know (or care) if Jeff Sessions is personally biased against Black people. We just have to notice that he works to create racist outcomes. The Mother Jones report on how Sessions blocked Black judges is one example of this.

And that doesn't even touch on the other nominees. There is so much awful, it can be overwhelming. 

I've been giving a lot of thought to what to do now, and the short answer is "hell if I know."

But here is what I've decided to do. I don't know if it is the right thing, but it feels right to me. I've been judging my actions by this question: What would I wish I had done if it all goes to hell? That way, if it all goes to hell, I can at least skip the self-recriminations.

1. I am calling Congress a lot. 

I've read the Indivisible Guide, the tweets that led to the Call the Halls guide, and a bunch of other tweets about how to effectively lobby Congress. They all agree that the thing to do is to focus on your own representatives, so that is what I'm doing. I follow them all on Twitter now, and am figuring out what their pet issues are, and will push on them to do the right thing as needed. So far, though, my representatives are mostly ahead of me. So I'm calling to thank them and/or remind them about things.

I am also calling two other sets of numbers: Committees and Leadership. Former congressional staffers mostly say this won't matter. They may be right, but I don't see how it hurts, and I think we are in unusual times and so past experience isn't a perfect predictor of what will work. I suspect that at least some of the Congresspeople and their staff are a little freaked out by the weirdness of this historical moment, too, and are wondering if they are going to end up looking like Neville Chamberlain or worse. Maybe if they get enough phone calls encouraging them to act, they'll come down on the side of action. I don't know.

Also, the Committees do represent me, even if I don't have a direct representative on them, and I think that once someone accepts a leadership office in Congress, he or she can hear from all of us on things that he or she controls, like bringing a bill to the floor. And obviously, if Speaker Ryan or Majority Leader McConnell ask for public feedback about a key piece of legislation like the Affordable Care Act, I think they should hear from all of us.

However, I am swayed by Emily Elsworth's argument against calling the offices of Congresspeople who don't represent me. She worked for Jason Chaffetz (who you may know as the House Oversight Chair who still wants to investigate Hillary Clinton, but not necessarily Donald Trump) and said that when their phones lit up with calls from mostly out of district, they ended up so overwhelmed that they just turned off the phones, and then they couldn't hear from people in their district. I don't want to do that to anyone. There are people all over the country who are worried about what is happening right now, and I don't want to interfere with their ability to call their representative.

(And if you're sitting there thinking that you don't want to listen to someone who once worked for Chaffetz, I recommend listening to her interview with the 451 podcast. It is the "Never Give Up, Never Surrender" episode.)

So, I will call the number for the relevant committee (you can find this on the Committee's website) and I will call the Office of the Speaker of the House, but I won't call the offices of representatives on the committee unless they represent me and I won't call Speaker Ryan's Wisconsin offices. I call when there is something in their purview that I want to ask for: a change in hearing schedule or action to bring a bill to the floor. For support/opposition to specific bills or nominees, I stick to my representatives, because they have a vote in that.

But, this is just my opinion and what I am personally doing. Like I said, I don't actually know what the "right" thing to do is.

One thing I do know, though: I am unfailingly polite and respectful when I call. We can learn from the Tea Party's tactics, but we don't have to emulate their obnoxiousness.

2. I am focusing and relying on filters

I can't be completely up to date and informed on everything that is happening. So I've settled on this approach:

I have some issues I'm actively educating myself about. The big one is voter suppression. 

On most other issues, I rely on the reporting of the sites I find usefully and honestly filter signal from noise. I really like Talking Points Memo for this. It has a Democratic slant, but it is honest and the editor's analysis is smart. For a more right wing slant, I read the Economist. We get that in the mail because my husband likes it and again, I find them honest and their analyses smart, even when I don't agree with them. I also subscribed to The Washington Post, and use that to keep up on the news. I also made a Twitter list of journalists I find trustworthy, and my plan is to use that to help me figure out what I need to pay attention to at any given time.

I look at my filtered info and decide what calls I need to make. I am trying to restrict calls to Wednesdays, but sometimes I need to call on a different day to be part of a coordinated action or because something is happening before Wednesday. But I don't need to be 100% current, so I'm trying to let more things go past in the moment, and come back and catch up at the end of the day.

3. I am looking for the leaders whose voices I want to amplify

I made another Twitter list, of politicians whose voices I want to follow and amplify. I'll be checking that at least daily and sharing things from it. I may add activists to that list, too.

The opposition (cause, yeah that's what we are) isn't super organized yet. We may never be super organized. I can't fix that. But I can find the voices of the people I think are helping and amplify them. 

In addition to my reps, right now that list has Ruben Gallego, Jason Kander, Cory Booker, Katherine Clark, Elizabeth Warren, and Eric Swalwell. I'll be adding to it as I find more people speaking up in a way that goes beyond the standard talking points.

4. I'm trying to stay calm but resolute

We are in a Constitutional crisis. The open question is whether we come out of it with a Constitution that is more than just a piece of paper. 

I can't believe this is true, but I really do think it is. This scares the hell out of me. It makes me angry, because it did not have to be this way. But here we are.

I recently read a book about the student activists that helped end apartheid, When Lions Roared, by Manju Soni. It is novella-length, so I read it for my Tungsten Hippo project. It is in fact the book I posted about there today. I had to read it slowly. Reading about what those activists had to face and what the price they paid for their activism was too painful right now, so I took it in bits.

I think we are at a branch point. We can fight now with phone calls and maybe some protests, or we can find ourselves in a future where any fight will involve risking prison or death. I don't want that future, so I'll make the phone calls. 

I don't have any illusions that things will change quickly, though. I keep thinking back to the Evan Mecham nightmare I lived through in Arizona, and how he kept saying and doing jaw-dropping things and nothing seemed to happen... until all of the sudden, he was being impeached, under indictment, and facing a recall all at once. I also keep referring back to the Watergate timeline

So, I think my job as a citizen right now is to do what I can to keep the pressure up. If you have a Republican representative, your voice is particularly powerful right now. Like I said above, I have to believe that there are Republicans who are afraid this is going to end poorly. They need help finding their backbone to stand up for what is right and vote for an investigation. I honestly believe it is in the Congressional Republicans' best interest to join in this. The more damning information that comes out without them acting, the worse they are going to look. But for whatever reason, they haven't seen it this way yet. Maybe if enough constituents call them to urge them to reconsider, they'll decide to act.

As for the rest of us, we have to accept that it may take a new Congress to get the investigation and oversight of Trump that we deserve. If that is the case, I am ready to fight like hell to get as many Democrats as possible into Congress in 2018, and then hold my representatives accountable to investigate the crap out of this mess.  

5. I'm making my contingency plans

I really don't want a future for my children in which political dissent comes with a high cost. And so, I'm taking the idea that we might yet decide to leave seriously. I know that I am lucky to have that option so easily available to me. I am resolved not to take it lightly. But when I wrote my goals for my company this year, the idea that I might want to be able to move my business to New Zealand was always present. It informed my decisions about what I will focus on. 

But for now, I'm here, and I'm fighting. 

I am angry that I have to fight. I wish we had somehow avoided this mess. But we didn't. As I've said many times: I don't care who anyone voted for in the election. I just care what they will stand up for now. I think there are reasons to push for an investigation into the Russian hacking and oversight of the conflicts of interest that transcend party politics. I also think that we should all be concerned about voter suppression, and interested in expanding participation in our elections rather than shrinking it. Right now, many Republican leaders are on the other side of that issue, but I know from personal conversations that not all Republican voters are. That is because voting rights are also an issue that transcends party politics. I will happily welcome the support of people from every corner of the political spectrum in the fights for these issues.

I will also be fighting for the policies I believe in. If you disagree with me on these policies, we can still agree to fight to preserve our Constitutional democracy. That is how it should be. That is how it used to be. Let's work together to make it that way again. 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Personal Goals 2017

I mentioned in Friday's links post that I have all my goals for 2017 written now. I usually post about my personal goals and our Family Fun List (hey, goals can be fun!) here. First up: personal goals.

2016 was a tough year for me. I felt behind and overloaded from the very start. The extra misogyny in the air due to the election was really difficult for me to handle even when we all thought Hillary Clinton would win. And it was in the air all year long, it really was. When she lost, I found I couldn't spare the time to process my unresolved emotions around some of the memories the campaign stirred up because I needed to focus on responding to the threat Trump poses. Baratunde Thurston has described Trump as a denial of service attack on our democracy, and that is the most apt description I've read. Figuring out how to do my part to resist that while also doing the work I need to do to keep our bills paid took some time and effort.

So I spent all of 2016 feeling like I was reacting to circumstances, not following my own priorities. I felt like I didn't accomplish many of my goals. But when I pulled out my list and did a final accounting, I found I'd done better than my gut feeling told me I did. That was actually a bit of a morale boost, and speaks to the power of writing down your goals and holding yourself accountable for them. It helps keep you from blowing them off when things get tough, and perhaps more importantly, it can show you that you made progress even when it feels like you're stalled.

Let's look at how I did:

  • Revive my yoga practice. FAIL. I did some yoga this year, and solved the space problem so that I could do it more regularly (basically, we let the kids trash the open area between our sofa and dining table, which helps them remember to keep the area between the sofa and TV clear.) But I didn't do yoga anywhere consistently enough to call it a practice.
  • Crochet something useful. SUCCEED! I am calling the teddy bear sleeping bag useful. I'm working on a purse for me now, but I chose difficult yarn and it is slow going.
  • Finish the Ancillary series. SUCCEED! And I enjoyed the series to the end.
  • Learn how to make another type of New Zealand meat pie. FAIL. I hardly even made the steak and cheese pies I already have down. They take a lot of energy.
  • Play my violin and viola at least once each. FAIL. Sigh.
  • Develop an exercise routine. SUCCEED! I was trying to get there from the start, but the routine really solidified when I came back from vacation and saw the pictures of me in a swimsuit and swore to live the healthiest life I will enjoy. The Friday afternoon rollerblade is particularly great, but I'm managing a solid three days of exercise per week. I get up early on Mondays and go for a short run. Mondays are the only day of the week I can consistently make myself get up early, but instead of feeling bad that I can't do it other days, I'm just taking advantage of my Monday motivation. I either kickbox or go for a slightly longer run on Wednesday afternoons, and then there is my Friday rollerblade. I also go for a walk after lunch on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but this is a leisurely walk so I consider it a bonus, not part of my "real" exercise routine.
  • Organize my closet. SUCCEED! Of course, it is getting messy again. But for awhile it was beautiful.
  • Finish setting up the office. SUCCEED! The blinds are up, the bookshelves are in. It is awesome.
  • Get new curtains for the living room/dining room. SUCCEED! And they make me very happy.
  • Invent a signature cocktail. FAIL. This is disappointing to me. It would have been a fun goal to work on!
  • Organize the tea cupboard. FAIL. I don't have any ideas for how to fix that other than to reorganize all the kitchen cupboards and that is too much to contemplate.
  • Do one Spanish-learning activity every day. SUCCEED! DuoLingo for the win.

That's a 7/12 success rate, which isn't bad. Also, we went kayaking and I'm wearing dresses more often now, so some of the 2015 goals got done in 2016.

Here are my goals for this year:

  • Keep up my exercise routine. I don't usually do "continue doing X" sort of goals, but this one still feels a little shaky and it really matters, so it is not only on the list but the first thing I committed to myself to do.
  • Read a book on my Kindle instead of random things on my phone for at least one bedtime/week. I enjoy my social media time, but I also enjoy reading books.
  • Get making music back into my life. I keep trying, I keep failing. Maybe this is my year.
  • Volunteer - find a place to volunteer at regularly and do it. I've started working on this one. I'm researching potential volunteer options. I'm currently leaning towards volunteering with the local child abuse prevention charity that organizes the Adopt-a-Family event we participate in at Christmas time. I want to make a decision and get myself volunteering by February.
  • Frame the postcards for our office. We brought some postcards that are reproductions of artwork showing the region around St. Jean de Luz that we visited during our 2015 trip to France. The interior decorator who helped with our remodel used those postcards to recommend colors for our office. So now we need to get them framed and hung.
  • Paint the baseboards in the hall. This is a lingering item from our remodel, which finished in late 2015. I refuse to let them remain unpainted another year.
  • Buy a new mattress. We need one, and perhaps putting this on the list will get it done, like the curtains last year.
  • Invent a signature cocktail. I'm trying again!
  • Establish a yoga/meditation practice. I'm trying this one again, too, because the times in my life during which I've had a regular practice are the times when I have responded to stress the best, and I predict a lot of stress about the political situation in 2017.
I decided to leave it at nine goals this year. I want to focus more on my work goals, and I also expect to spend more time than usual on political things. So a shorter goals list feels right. I'll also be continuing with the crocheting and the efforts to learn some Spanish, so I think I won't be bored. 

I'll be writing about my work goals over at my newsletter this Friday. I've given myself a bit of a head start on one of the goals. I want to increase the reach of my Tungsten Hippo project, and late last year I started a monthly giveaway to help with that. This month's giveaway post went up today. I'm giving away two copies of Vanessa Fogg's wonderful novelette, The Lilies of Dawn. Go enter the giveaway! Tell your friends!

And tell me about your goals for the year in the comments if you want, or give me ideas for how to achieve my goals, or write about something random. Whatever.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Weekend Links: The Back to the Routine Edition

This post is going up late today because I was slower than usual on my Friday rollerblade and didn't have time to write the post before I had to pick up the kids and then make dinner. It was a nice rollerblade, though.

A rolling photo

I predicted I'd be slow on my first outing after the holiday break, and intended to leave early. However, I was determined to finish my end of year accounting and 2017 goals and financial plan before I went. The accounting took longer than I'd have liked. I was off by $20.10. I went through every single transaction for the year looking for my error and could not find it. Finally, I decided that this represented an error of much less than one-tenth of one percent in my overall balance sheet and I'd just make an adjustment and move on. 

I'd already written a solid draft of my 2017 work goals and financial plan, so it didn't take long to finish those up. This means that I have all my goals for 2017 written. I'll write about them next week: the personal and family fun ones here, and the work ones at my Founding Chaos newsletter.

Anyway, on to the links.

First, a reminder of the Annorlunda Books news: Caresaway is now available as a Kindle book or paperback, and I'm looking for submissions for 2017.

If you're still struggling to get back to productivity post-election, John Scalzi has some suggestions. I also wrote about how I'm maintaining productivity over at my real name work blog back in November.

I will say that the thing that helps me the most is setting aside a small amount of time every week for activism. I make phone calls and do other activism type things for 30-60 minutes every Wednesday morning. Knowing I have that time coming helps me focus on my work the rest of the time. This week was unusual, in that I also made a couple quick phone calls on Tuesday morning (the House ethics office) and this morning (the Senate Judiciary committee). For someone who hates making phone calls, I've been talking to a lot of bemused interns these days. They have all been very nice, even if their amusement at getting a bunch of calls from people clearly reading scripts they've found or written for themselves shows from time to time. I can understand: listening to somewhat nervous callers recite a soliloquy about the need in depth hearings about the fitness of the nominee for Attorney General (for instance) would be a weird job.

Speaking of activism: the sister district project is an interesting idea.

A friend of a friend has a Twitter account and Google group dedicated to a weekly action item list. And/or you can check in with the Indivisible Guide team to see if they know of a local group organizing to take action.

"... you brought your fists to a glitter fight.
This is a taco truck rally and all you have is cole slaw.
You cannot deport our minds; we won’t
hold funerals for our potential. We have always been
what makes America great."

The poem is a little more dismissive of those who are nervous about the changing America than I feel, but I get where it is coming from. I am a sap and still hold out hope for an America with room for all of us. Cole slaw is pretty good with tacos, to be honest.

Jason Kander, Missouri's outgoing Secretary of State, is one of the up and coming Democrats to watch, I think. Here is his piece about what he learned as a Democrat in a red state.

Like a couple other of the new Democrats I'm watching (Tammy Duckworth and Ruben Gallego), he is a veteran. (You might remember him from his Senate campaign ad in which he assembled an automatic rifle blindfolded.)

Has the center really fallen? I think some of us are still trying to hold it. This piece argues that the historical task of the left right now is to help hold the center.

Republicans may be backing away from Repeal and Delay. There are concerns from some of their own Senators. However, if you care about the Affordable Care Act, you should keep calling representatives. Read this Jonathan Chait piece about how Repeal and Delay would be forever if you need more motivation.

I haven't had time to read any of the articles about the newly released intelligence report yet, so I guess you can look forward to those links next week.

I'm mostly done with the "understanding Trump voters" genre, but there were two pieces I read this week that seem worth sharing:

And the NY Times article that a lot of people shared about why some blue collar men are unwilling to take the jobs that are available. I think some of those blue collar men would be surprised to learn that a lot of women who do "caring jobs" would rather do something else, too. However, before you dismiss the men in that article, ask your husband about it. Mine stated flatly that he could never do nursing work. I pointed out that he does great with the caring work for our kids. I pointed out that empathy and performing caring for strangers are skills that you can learn. Nope. It isn't that he thinks the work is beneath him. It is that he thinks he'd hate it and suck at it. His back up plan if automation kills his current career is food prep.

We have a lot of adjusting to do to get ready for the new realities of work, I think.

If you don't know what lutefisk is, look it up and then you'll see why I am laughing at the idea of a lutefisk hotline.

Mostly my family has pickled herring. And lefse! Now THAT is something that needs a hotline. I had some delicious lefse over Christmas, courtesy of my aunt and uncle who flew in from Minnesota.

And of course, we need to end with some bunnies.

Lots of bunnies.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Easing Into 2017... And a Release Day

Today is my second day back working after the holiday break. I'm doing OK, but I wouldn't say I'm setting any productivity records. That will come later, once I've convinced my body that no, we don't need an afternoon nap everyday. One of the items on my list today was to start on my 2017 work goals list. I did that, and then went out for my first run of the year. It had been several weeks since my last run of 2016, due partly to the break and partly to two colds I got in December. I've still got lingering congestion from the second cold. So the first run was underwhelming. Still, it felt good to stretch my legs a bit, and I'm genuinely looking forward to the first roller blade of 2017, which should happen on Friday, weather permitting.

I also think I'll try to schedule a walk on the beach soon, maybe even next Wednesday. I find beach walks to be a good way to do some deep thinking about goals, and I have a new book release to celebrate.

Speaking of that new book release....

Caresaway, by DJ Cockburn came out today. I am trying something new with this release. I've made the ebook Amazon-exclusive for three months, and will experiment to see whether I can make the Kindle Unlimited program worthwhile for me. I prefer to go with a broad release, but the KU program gives me access to some additional advertising tools, and I want to see if they are worth giving up the other markets for a few months.

So anyway, you should all buy a copy of Caresaway! It is a thought-provoking "in your head" thriller set in the near future. Edward Crofte has discovered what seems to be a miraculous cure for depression, but he learns that it comes at a steep cost.

Here are the usual links:

And for your social sharing convenience (please help spread the word!)
Here's a funny-sad true story about the book. At one point, one of the characters says "So we've made a must-have accessory for the next Bernie Madoff." It originally said "the next Donald Trump," but we decided to change it because we didn't want to tie the book into the current politics, fearing it might make the book feel dated later. This was back when Trump was still just a somewhat unlikely candidate for the Republican nomination. Sigh.

Anyway, check out the book, I think you'll like it! If you're in the Kindle Unlimited program, you can read it for free for the next three months. If you use an ereader other than a Kindle, you should be able to buy it from Amazon, download it, convert it to an ePub (e.g., using Calibre) and then load it onto your ereader. I have never done this (I have done the reverse: bought from Kobo, converted to mobi, and loaded onto my Kindle), but it should in theory be possible. Or, I guess you can wait until April, when I'll expand the release to the other ebook retailers. But why wait? Try it, and if you run into trouble email me and I'll set you up with an epub.


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