I’m slowly working my way through the first chapters of Dice Ford 2. It’s been a bit of a struggle. I’m not sure if it’s the inner critic—I may take the workshop on Critical Voice to assess. But it could also be just that it’s the beginning, which I found from writing the short stories had to be solid for me to write the rest of the story.

One of the things I’ve discovered is about default words.

There’s a lot of writing advice out there that says not to use the thesaurus, that whatever your creative side puts in is fine.

That’s not always true though. So much of writing advice teaches us to fear doing anything!

I’m finding that I have default words. They’re the first thing that I come up with and sometimes they’re not the right word for the situation.

For example, I was describing a city street packed with tourists. My default word was crowds. Make sense right? Well, I looked it up in the thesaurus, mostly to see if I could vary the word since I used it three times.

And I found out that there was a better word to describe the street: Throng. The two words weren’t interchangeable. So some of my writing has been to stop and look words up.

Word pet peeves: Bemused and amused are not the same thing. Neither is smirk and smile. I read one book where every single character smirked.

Also, I got a new release out. It’s a different kind of book for me called Grocery For One: Budget Saving Strategies for the Solo Cook.

I finished the first draft at the end of December. Then I watched Out of Stock on Discovery Channel. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth watching to understand why we have supply chain shortages. The shortages would have happened eventually, but COVID-18 sped them up.

After watching the show, it became apparent that the section on sales I’d included was out of date with the current situation. So a cycling pass to reshape the book. I wrote it because I got tired of seeing hand-wavy tips that said, “Just meal plan! That’ll save you tons of money.” (nope) or “Clip coupons” (doesn’t work if you don’t buy processed ingredients).

It’s up for preorder with a release of February 22.

A piggy bank in a shopping basket cover for Grocery for One: Budget Saving Strategies

Grocery for One

If you’re a solo cook, you know how challenging it is to shop for food each week. Grocery stores cater to families, solo cooks an afterthought. Websites recommend tips that aren’t always realistic when you’re the only one cooking, like meal planning or batch cooking every meal.

Add inflation and supply shortages…what’s a solo cook got to do?

Grocery For One: Budget Saving Strategies for the Solo Cook provides strategies for saving money when you shop, including:

  • How inflation may affect what you buy
  • Demystify the grocery list
  • Products to stop buying now

No gimmicks! No tricks! Just commonsense methods that work.

I also did the copy edits for another collection, called Ring Twice for Ghosts. Cover:

A ghost runs through a cemetery in Ring Twice for Ghosts