Moving to a New Location!

Hello there, readers and subscribers! As I’ve previously announced, I have been working on a new Web site.

Well, it’s officially live and open to the public! It’s and it will focus on my writing and what I have planned for the future.

I also will continue my blog over there. I decided that, since I’m no longer living in Idaho, that I had better change things up a bit. The new Web site is one that I can take with me anywhere, as it were, so why not?

The blog will feature the same writing tips and inspiration that you can find here, but I also am planning to do book reviews for independent authors, author interviews, and perhaps even chapters of one of my books.

So if you want to keep up with what’s going on, or just want to see what I’m all about, follow the link I posted above!

See you there!

Second Draft Complete!

I am continuing work on my Web site, and will hopefully be able to show it to the world at large soon. I just need some artwork to make it more attractive.

But between attempts to get things working, I’m happy to announce that I have finished the second draft of one of my novels! This is one that I started back in 2014, as part of National Novel Writing Month. I wrote a good portion of the second half in 2015, but didn’t finish writing the final chapters until last year. And now, draft two is finished.

I still don’t think it’s quite ready for broad publication, but now it’s in a shape where I would be willing to share it with others who would be willing to read it and provide feedback. What works? What doesn’t? Where are the typos?

This is one of the biggest issues I’ve seen with self-published works. The authors don’t take the time to read through their writings to edit and correct mistakes – the just rush to get the book published. Another flaw is that they don’t try to get feedback from other people, too. Your friends and fellow writers can be the biggest helps to producing quality works, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help!

In any case, it’s time to get back to work on the Web site. Stay tuned! And thanks for reading!

Wanted: Inspiration….

So I’m trying to get ideas. Not about things to write about. That’s easy – I can come up with about half a dozen interesting scenarios or concepts an hour if I focused.

No, I’m trying to come up with ideas for a Web site. My Web site, as an author. What do I want it to look like? What should I have as the central focus or image? What do I want my readers to notice when they first arrive?

I wonder if I’m just overthinking things. Maybe I should just toss something up, and then tweak it as time goes along. I should take a look at a few other author pages. Perhaps that will give me the inspiration I need.

In any case, once the site is in a place where I feel comfortable sharing it, I’ll post the Web address here. Until then, I’ll continue to try and hammer out… something.

But if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to share!

Been a Long Time….

It has been quite some time since I last posted here, hasn’t it? Well, a lot has changed since my last posting – the most significant thing, of course, would be that I no longer live in Idaho.

No, I’ve moved to Eastern Washington now to be closer to family. The part of the state that makes sense – not the loony left coast, where they view plastic straws and grocery bags as a threat to the free world.

I’ve also put off writing regularly. Hence my lack of activity here. But I’m trying to pick it up again – I’ve finished a second draft of one of my novels, and am almost finished with another second draft. I just have one chapter to go! I’ve also done something I rarely do – set a New Year’s resolution. I want to self-publish one of my novels before the end of the year. And I look forward to telling all my readers about it!

However, since I no longer live in Idaho, the topic of this blog doesn’t really fit any more.

So I’m going to look into creating a new Web site focused on my skills as an author and editor. I also will try to generate a new blog on that site. It will still focus on some of the insights I have as a writer, advice I have for aspiring authors, odd gaming news and reviews that I feel compelled to write about, and whatever other random nonsense I feel might be worth posting about.

Maybe I’ll even pose chapters from one of my books there so people can check out my writing for themselves. Who knows?

When the site is up and running, I’ll be sure to post about it here. That way, those readers who have followed me here can catch up with me there.

If I have any readers left, that is. It has been a long time since I’ve written….

Closed for business

Well, that’s it. I regret to inform you, my readers, that Garnet Services is no longer in business.

Since I opened it last September, I have had one paying customer. I have had a couple other people express interest in looking at their computers, but since I couldn’t actually fix their problems, I decided not to bill them. What can I say? I’m a nice guy.

But obviously, my hopes on trying to make a living that way didn’t pan out. There doesn’t seem to be enough interest in rural, door-to-door computer repair. As for the proofreading and editing side of things, I can’t compete with sites like, where people offer to do the same thing I do for a much lower price. So I’m shutting the virtual doors to Garnet Services.

I am still thinking about continuing my writing, but I’m undecided. I don’t seem to have the time or inclination for it any more. I would still like to post my last NaNo, a chapter at a time, but have had trouble developing a Web page for it. That and the whole “finding time” issue.

Frankly, I find playing video games to be a more entertaining way to relax than writing stuff no one is going to bother to read, anyway. Perhaps I’ll change my mind later, though. We’ll see….

Obviously, I don’t really have any plans on participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t even know what I would write. I do encourage other writers to give it a shot, though! It is a fun experience, and a great way to get the first draft of a manuscript completed. So I’ll continue to cheer you on!

Do your research! (part 1)

I have been reading quite a few e-books lately. Mainly because I find it rather convenient to take my Kindle to work with me, but also because I am thinking about self-publishing one of my own novels. It seems that no one else wants to publish it, so why not?

But I’ve found that the reason why some of these novels have never been picked up by a publisher is because they have been shoddily written. Bad punctuation, grammatical errors and typos abound in the self-publishing world. Many of these authors could really use a good editor.

(Blatant self-promotion time – consider Garnet Services for your editing needs!)

But sometimes the problem lies in the research the author has done – or in some cases, failed to do. I ran across one instance in particular in a trilogy called “The Institute Series” by Kayla Howarth. This is a rather interesting spin on both the post-apocalyptic and superhero genres, and is certainly worth a read. But one instance really bugged me, and it’s something that is such elementary knowledge that the author really should have picked up on it.

In one scene, a character is holding a shotgun. A few pages later, the character swings the shotgun around and fires… a bullet.


OK, for those that don’t see the problem here, a shotgun is not a rifle. Or a handgun. They don’t fire bullets, or anything of the sort. You see, a shotgun fires shot (hence the name), which are tiny spheres or particles of metal which are packed into a shell with the gunpowder and other explosive material. Sometimes shotguns can fire other material – such as rock salt or beanbags – but they don’t fire bullets.

Admittedly, the series – and possibly the author – takes place in Australia. Given the draconian gun laws in that country, the author may not be aware of the way shotguns work. She may have never even held a shotgun in her hands.

But overlooking something so simple can lower the credibility of yourself as an author. For example, let’s say you have your police detectives come across a murder scene. Judging from the look of the body, the coroner determines the victim was killed with a shotgun blast. If the police detectives then begin searching the body for exit wounds, or looking for a bullet embedded in the walls… well, these detectives probably shouldn’t even be on the force. And if you have your detectives find a “large-calibre slug” fired from said shotgun deep in the doorframe, don’t be surprised if your readers decide to read something else instead.

If you, as an author, aren’t sure about something, be sure to take a moment to look it up. With the Internet, there is a wide variety of resources to choose from. Admittedly, some are better than others (especially with the raging debate about “fake news” going on right now), but it’s worth your time to do the research and make sure all your facts are correct.

After all, the only time you want your readers laughing at you is when you’re writing comedy.


Not your Momma’s Chicken Pizza… I hope.

We just received some new and exciting products in the meat department. Including a new line of items that could be the inspiration for dinner! We no longer have to steer people to the deli department for pulled pork – we have it for you!

But there’s one product that made me a bit hesitant. As I was taking the items off the pallet, my eyes caught a Lunchable variety that I didn’t recognize. The name on it read “Chicken Pizza.”

Chichen Pizza? As a Lunchable? It could be good, I thought. It depended on what they used as a sauce. Some sort of creamy alfredo or barbecue sauce, and it might work. Or it could be bad.

I opened the box to put the product on the shelves. They decided to go the “bad” way. To the point where it was hilariously bad.

Lunchables already offers a cheese pizza. It basically consists of a small flatbread crust which you (or, more than likely, your kids) put a smear of tomato sauce on top, then sprinkle shredded cheese over the creation. Presumably, it is eaten cold.

Well, Lunchable Chicken Pizza follows the same formula. Only on top of the cheese you can add some tiny chicken nuggets. Ta da! Chicken pizza… thing.

I think my exact words upon seeing the product were “Oh my goodness, this is horrible! Kids will love it!” And yes, some have sold since we’ve received it.

But that was pretty much the only bad addition to the Walmart deli wall. Great Value now offers their own variety of Lunchable-like products as well. As well as chipotle chicken breast lunch meat, uncured hot dogs, and Jimmy Dean Sausage Scrambles.  We even have foot-long Ball Park hot dogs for a limited time.

So stop on by the Moscow Walmart! If you happen to catch me there, I’d love to help you find what you’re looking for. And if you’re daring enough to try the Chicken Pizza yourself, I’ll point it out to you.

This post brought to you by Coolidge Ice! When you need to keep it cool, think Coolidge!

The other day the store received several packages of pull-up diapers. What struck me as amusing was that the packages prominently featured Iron Man. Not a baby version, but as he would appear in the comic books. It made me wonder what Tony Stark would think if his super hero identity appeared on a package of diapers! Would this be a common occurrence in the Marvel universe? Could people expect to pick up coffee with Ant Man’s face on the cup? Or paper towels emblazoned with the Fantastic Four logo? Would companies need to pay a licensing fee to the heroes in order to use their likenesses?

But then this made me wonder about if the same thing could happen in the real world. What kinds of products could we expect to find our own real-world “heroes” on? General Patton-brand napkins? Alan Greenspan floor cleaner? Bill Gates’ gum? Condoleeza Rice-brand bottled water?

Yes, there are products that are named after the founding fathers, especially George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. And there are other products – such as perfumes and sausages – with celebrity endorsements (most of which I probably wouldn’t consider a hero in the first place…). But what about others who aren’t exactly seeking the spotlight?

This could apply to the fictional characters in the worlds we create. Suppose you have a police detective who has achieved some fame. Will he have to hire a press agent because companies want to use his likeness for their fedoras or trench coats? Could contract negotiations be a way to expand a story – possibly in a humorous fashion? Maybe the protagonist vampire hunter needs to take a break from hunting nosferati (is that a word? I think that’s a word…) in order to get a lawyer to file a cease-and-desist order against a company using the hunter’s likeness on crackers.

The price of being famous could be a burden – especially when it comes to legal aspects. It could add a dimension to your works to make them more realistic, too. Sure, you may have fireball-throwing wizards or aliens with eyeballs on the ends of their tentacles… but no matter what setting you’ve got, you’ll have a bureaucracy seeking to make things more complicated than they need to be!

It’s too early to post….

We have an alarm clock that automatically adjusts for Daylight Savings Time. That way, we don’t have to set it. Isn’t that wonderful?

Unfortunately, it seems that the date for Daylight Savings Time is hardwired into the system. So instead of changing on a Sunday morning, it changes on a set date. Like… today. As a result, I got up an hour earlier than I was supposed to… and didn’t even notice until about half an hour ago.

Well, I have time to kill before I have to leave for work. Might as well give my sadly neglected blog an update!

I managed to land a job at the local Walmart. I’m in the meat department, stocking shelves, checking product for quality assurance, helping customers, and the like. It’s decent work, and I like the people I work with. I don’t spend a lot of time sitting, so there’s lots of physical activity, at least. I’m thinking that I will have to share interesting stories and observations I encounter while working there.

I still haven’t decided where to post my latest novel. I’m kicking around the idea of setting up another WordPress site and linking it to this one, but the challenge is finding the time. I’ll want to have decent cover art for it, after all.  And no, I haven’t decided to pursue my dream of being a professional writer again. In fact, aside from game reviews, I haven’t wanted to write much of anything these days. If I’m not going to get anything from it, why waste my time? I’d rather do something fun, like play games, or spend time with the family.

“But, Todd!” you might be saying. “Writing is fun!” I may have thought that at one time, but not now. Coming up with ideas to write about is fun. Editing is fun. Helping other people with their works is fun. But actually writing a coherent plot? Well… OK, that can be a little fun. But not as much fun as other things in my life right now.

Actually, sleeping sounds like fun right now. But I have to leave for work soon. Sigh….

In any case, I hope those of you reading this are having a good day, and that your clocks are working correctly!