The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Uncategorized Page 1 of 39

Coffee Talk: Baby Chicks Doo Doo Do Doo! Also, Revolution Progress and Writer Self-Discovery

Coffee Talks are where I chat with you as though we were sitting down together over coffee, updating you on my life, my work, and what’s been on my mind lately. I’d love to hear what’s been going on with you, as well, so keep the conversation going in the comments!

Note: I wrote this post on Friday, but lost connection to my web host right as I was ready to post it. So that’s why you’re getting a rare Saturday post, following a lot of back and forth with tech support to fix the issue.

Happy September! So it’s basically fall now and also already Halloween. Yes, yes, the equinox is still weeks away and temps are still in the high 80s and 90s, but that’s a minor detail. Bring on them pumpkins and candy!

(Also, just so you know, Christmas this year begins on November 1st, so you should probably prepare.)

And now for our big news: THE CHICKS ARE HERE YOU GUYS!!!

And I’m going to be spamming all my feeds with unsolicited chick pics from here on out, so be warned.

Thankfully, they only had to travel from Missouri, and the weather stayed nice and mild for their trip, and they all arrived safe and sound. We’ve got three Speckled Sussex and six each of Buff Orpingtons and Easter Eggers (aka Americaunas — they lay blue and green eggs). We actually ordered five of each, but they were short on Sussex and substituted one each of the other breeds, which is fine.

We also ordered all hens, but I’m hoping a rooster made it into the mix. With fifteen birds, we figured there was a good chance that might happen, so we didn’t order a roo. But I’ve read that it can be hard to get an established flock to accept a new rooster, and we would really like to breed them and have a sustainable flock, so I’m a little apprehensive about that decision, and crossing my fingers that at least one of our new babies is a boy.

For now we’ve set up a brooder for them in our master bathtub, one of those extra-wide and deep garden tubs that come standard in double-wides that we never use. It’s working great. When they outgrow that we’ll move them out to a transitional brooder in the warehouse until they’re big enough for the coop–which we’ve now got a definite deadline to finish building.

Oh! I got so excited about the chicks that I forgot to mention that Mr. B. and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this week. The chicks were something of an anniversary present for us both. I shared on my personal Instagram about what I’ve learned in all these years about keeping a marriage strong — you can read that here.

Moving on to writing news, I’ve found my groove again, and the last half of Revolution is chugging along. This week was the first week in I can’t even remember how long that I’ve written every day. I switched things up by going to pen and paper and also shifting things around so I can write first thing in the morning, and those two simple changes have made all the difference. This morning I brainstormed and plotted out the remaining scenes, which are four in number. The end is so very nigh, y’all!

I’d love to finish it next week, but even if I don’t, I’m on track to finish it this month. I would also love to release it in time for Halloween, and since I’ve been editing as I go, I think that might actually be a realistic goal. I’ve already got the cover ready so all I’ll have to do is format it, which is mostly a matter of pasting it into a template, and then proofread, and then it’s done! Yay!

Speaking of figuring out what works for me, this week I discovered The Quitcast by Becca Syme. Well, “discovered” isn’t really the right word, because Becca’s been on my radar for over a year now. But I finally got around to checking out her podcast, and now I’m kicking myself for not doing so a year ago. She’s a writing and self-publishing coach who centers everything around the Clifton Strengthsfinder, which is less of a personality test and more of a strength and aptitude test that’s based on actual science, and can tell you a lot about how your brain is wired.

I’ve taken the test before, some time ago when it was free, which is no longer the case. Out of curiosity, I took this free knockoff earlier this week, and my top five matched my Strengthsfinder results, which are Strategy, Empathy, Ideation, Intellection and Belief (Communication, Relator, Futuristic, Context and Consistency round out my top 10). Becca helps put all that information into the context of what it means for you as a writer, how you function, why writing advice does or doesn’t work for you, how to figure out what actually does work for the way you’re wired, etc.

While I’m sure her coaching delves a lot deeper into figuring these things out on an individual basis, her podcast has been giving me a lot of insights into my own writing habits, successes and failings. And while it hasn’t exactly taught me anything about myself I wasn’t already aware of, it has helped me come to terms with and accept that there are things about the way I operate as a writer that are never going to change. I’m never going to be the kind of writer that churns out several novels a year, and I’m only going to burn myself out if I try to work at that pace. I need LOTS of time and space to think and process, and I need a lot of time between big projects to recover my energy.

It’s also helped me understand that, as someone who has a high degree of empathy and is also future-focused and doesn’t cope well with uncertainty, these crazy times we’re living in are extremely draining for me. I’m spending tons of energy just coping with the way the world is right now, and that’s why I’ve been so ridiculously tired lately and why it’s been such a struggle to find the mental energy and the will to write. So that’s helpful. I think that’s why moving my writing to first thing in the morning, before I get on social media or get exposed to any news, has made such a big difference. And I’m going to spend the weekend thinking about ways to protect my energy from all the insanity and stress without entirely sticking my head in the sand.

Another thing it’s helped me realize is that I’m prone to magical thinking about the future–thinking things like, “Okay, that didn’t work, but next time will be different”–and that I need to learn from the past and adapt my behavior accordingly. For starters, I’m going to accept the fact that I never get any novel writing done from about mid-November until January 2nd. And instead of making plans to start a new novel during that time and then beating myself up over neglecting it, this year I’m going to be intentional about taking a break from writing during those weeks, and instead focus on other tasks that I’m more likely to actually do. For one thing, I’ll focus on ways I can repackage my Dominion trilogy, since it will be done by then — like finally getting the paperbacks done and putting together an electronic boxed set. And I’m thinking that would also be a good chance to finally migrate my mailing list from Mailchimp to MailerLite and create a new series of autoresponders. I’ll probably take part in some giveaways, too. And already, just thinking about not having to worry about writing during the holidays and getting to focus on these things I’ve been putting off for so long is getting me jazzed about the season.

That might be too much of a look at how the sausage is made for your taste. But even so, I highly, highly recommend checking out Becca’s work and her YouTube channel. She’s got a series of books for writers, too that are going on my wishlist (that’s an affiliate link, btw — if you use that link to make an Amazon purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you, which I have to tell you because the FTC is extremely concerned that you don’t know how affiliate links work).

Before I sign off, I want to say one thing regarding current events. I think everyone who leans toward being apolitical or moderate or who prefers to stay out of the political debate has a threshold where they feel compelled to get off the fence and choose a side. While I haven’t exactly been moderate for a long time, I did generally avoid voicing my political opinions online for far too long. My threshold was crossed last year, and I found my voice and my courage to start using it to speak out against evil and stand up for righteousness and liberty.

I don’t know where your threshold is, friend. But if the recent actions of the current administration haven’t been enough to push you past your limit and compel you to choose a side, then I don’t know what it will take, and by the time you reach your limit, at this point, it might well be too late for it to make a difference. I’m not saying everybody’s got to start going to rallies or become keyboard activists. But if you haven’t already, now is a real good time to look around at what’s happening, at who is doing what, and make up your mind about where you stand, and what you stand for. Because in the immortal words of somebody famous and probably dead, “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”

And that’s all I’ll say about that in this space, although I’ve got plenty more to say in my personal Instagram stories if you’re interested.

And now, I’m going to sign off and start my weekend. I’m going to take a break from writing and let these last four scenes percolate in my head while I spend time with our new baby chicks and watch a scary movie or two.

Have you taken the Strengthsfinder (or something like it)? If so, what are your Top 5?

Oh, and PS – I’m still working on that conspiracy theory post, which is seeming more relevant by the day. Watch for that sometime next week!

Is the World Under a Spell?

Somebody must really not want this post to be seen. Twice now it has completely disappeared from my site without a trace, which is the weirdest thing. Hopefully, this third time posting it will be the charm that makes it stick. If you’re a subscriber and you’re getting this in your mailbox AGAIN, I’m so sorry. Say a prayer that this will be the last time.

Image by ksyfffka07 from Pixabay

It’s interesting to me that New Agers and astrologers believe we either are entering or have just entered the Age of Aquarius, which is supposed to be this era of spiritual awakening for humanity. It’s interesting because that actually seems to be happening to a degree. More and more people are coming to a heightened awareness of spiritual forces at work in the world and of something greater than themselves. In this post-postmodern era, following a long post-enlightenment period during which even the Church-at-large mostly abandoned belief in the supernatural in favor of a materialist and naturalistic worldview, people both within and without Christianity are waking up to the fact that there’s too much that is left unexplained by such a worldview. And as things get darker and darker, both Christians and non-Christians are gaining a stronger sense of the reality of spiritual warfare.

The enlightenment was a real mixed bag, wasn’t it? It led to some great things, like a better understanding of science and physics and nature, and it led to the advancement of Judeo-Christian values and beliefs in human dignity and liberty and God-given rights that led to the founding of our nation. But it also led to humanism and secularism and atheism and the abandonment of belief in the supernatural, even in the Church.

I find it highly ironic that among his worshipers, Lucifer is heralded as the Light-bringer, the one who bestowed the gift of knowledge on humanity — yet he used, or perhaps even instituted this Age of Enlightenment, which brought us an increase in knowledge, to convince the world that he doesn’t exist, which may have been an even more effective trick than managing to convince so many that God doesn’t exist.

But after a couple hundred years or so of that being the dominant viewpoint, people are coming back around to belief in the supernatural, if not necessarily to belief in God. I don’t hold with the beliefs of astrologers and New Agers, but I absolutely believe that they are in touch with beings beyond this realm, demons and/or fallen Elohim, who are giving them factual information, albeit twisted facts that suit their agenda to keep humans as far from God as possible. Some of those beings may even be some of the Powers and Principalities who are allowed to direct, to an extent, the culture and the affairs of those who don’t belong to Christ.

And make no mistake: if you don’t belong to Him, you belong to them.

Sadly, because so much of the Church embraced materialism, local church bodies who know and understand what we’re dealing with and are equipped to instruct their congregations in how to deal with this increasingly more aggressive spiritual activity and deception are few and far between. Most churches also aren’t equipped to handle, say, an unbeliever who has a sensitivity to these things and who tries turning to the church for answers.

For something like 1800 years, the Church was able to provide a Biblical basis for understanding and dealing with the supernatural and paranormal and placing it in its proper context. But for the last 200 years or so, and especially the last hundred, a pastor’s response to someone dealing with demonic oppression or who has encountered something they can’t explain is more likely to be along the lines of, “You should probably see a counselor and maybe get on some medication.”

Of course, there’s the other end of the spectrum–hyper-charismatic and NAR-type churches who embrace the supernatural to an unhealthy degree, going way off the Biblical script in order to have experiences that prove how spiritual they are, emphasizing the Holy Spirit over Jesus, teaching unbiblical doctrine and dangerous spiritual practices that open them up to the same ungodly forces that New Age and occult practitioners flirt with on the regular. A close cousin to this is Richard Rohr’s brand of Progressive Christianity, with its meditative practices and spiritual disciplines meant to achieve enlightenment, and its gnostic and New Age panentheistic views of the Universal Christ Consciousness rather than faith in the person and finished work of Christ Jesus.

And then there are all of the non-Christians who are growing in spiritual awareness, who are turning to things like New Age and the occult, paganism and witchcraft in their attempt to grapple with, understand and dominate this new reality.

I think the Church’s failure to provide sound, Biblical answers to all of this, answers that don’t dismiss or redirect, but equip believers and affirm their experiences, is largely responsible for why we’re seeing such a rise in all of the things mentioned above.

I’ve taken in a couple of things lately, one a Christian podcast and the other a decidedly unchristian documentary, that discussed this idea that we’re going through a sort of re-enchantment. That the Enlightenment that was supposedly this great awakening to knowledge actually put us to sleep to the fact that the world is an enchanted place, full of magic and shared with otherworldly beings — the stuff of both fairytales and nightmares (and if you’ve read the Brother’s Grimm and the older versions of those stories, then you know that fairytales pretty much are nightmares). And now as things are getting darker, many are waking up to that sense of that which is other, and they’re hungry for it. They want answers. And they want to feel safe and in control.

I believe this is why we’re seeing such an increase, not only in attendance at the kinds of churches that emphasize spiritual experience over doctrine or that teach inner divinity and paths to enlightenment, but also growing interest in witchcraft and the occult. It’s why these things are going mainstream. It’s why satanists, who used to stick to the shadows and fringes of society, now feel comfortable taking out billboards to advertise their sick rituals as services.

And I think it’s why so many celebrities are coming out as witches and occult practitioners, and why, more and more, we’re seeing televised concerts and performances that look like pagan and occult rituals. And now we have former child Disney stars turned pop superstars singing about meeting the devil and inviting him to spend the night.

Which brings me to a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now, which I think in some way is related to all of this: is the world literally under a spell?

The Bible warned us that there would be strong delusion in the last days. Of course, the hardening of hearts of those who love the world and the culture more than Jesus has a lot to do with that. And we also know from certain passages that God has been known to send lying spirits to deceive the disobedient.

But is there something darker and more sinister at work, taking and holding so much of the world captive? Are these ritualistic performances that engage millions of viewers part of that?

Maybe. Or maybe those are just a symptom.

But one thing I’m sure about: social distancing, separation and isolation, masking and the dehumanization that comes with it, forced and coerced submission and compliance — these are all hallmarks of cult initiation rituals. And the true believers who have drunk the Kool-aid behave like nothing less than members of a cult.

I feel in my gut that there is something very, very strange and sinister about this whole virus and how the world has responded to it. That there is something happening on a metaphysical level that is fundamentally transforming not just society, but humanity, and not for the better or the good. And that somehow all of this ties together.

Of course, I know that all of this is God-ordained, that it’s setting the stage for the end times and the Tribulation, the rise of the Antichrist and the one-world government, religion and currency that he’ll control.

So how do we, as Christians, respond to all of this?

My sincere wish is that the Church at large would wake up, stop mythologizing and allegorizing everything the Bible tells us about the supernatural, and start equipping the saints with this knowledge and with the proper context and perspective to prevent us from falling prey to these beings and their deceptive practices. Equipping us for spiritual warfare. I know there are some small churches here and there who are doing this, but they are woefully few and far between. The Church has fallen down in their duty in this regard, and they need to step up and lead the charge.

But unless and until that happens–and I won’t hold my breath for it to happen–those of us who are aware need to connect however we can and support each other. We, the believing Church remnant, and the Holy Spirit who indwells us, are the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2. We hold back these spiritual forces of darkness through prayer and through worship. We can do these things individually, but I believe they’re more effective when done corporately, as a body. Jesus said where two or more are gathered together, there He is in our midst. And I think that’s why churches have become such a target, why the Powers that Be are so dead set against the saints assembling together.

But we need to gather where we can, when we can, to worship together, and to pray. And we need to be willing to be true lights in the world, shining the light of Christ and of Biblical truth into this darkness, proclaiming Christ, proclaiming truth, refusing to kowtow to lies and deception. And we need to be willing to teach, to patiently, graciously and lovingly reach out to those who are curious and hungry for a world full of enchantment and magic and explain the source and powers behind these things and what the Bible has to say about it all.

We’re here to hold back the darkness, Christians, not to cower before it. We’re at war against an already defeated foe. Our greatest weapon is the Word of God. And we step onto the battlefield by getting on our knees.

It’s Time to Get Real

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to share my faith journey here on my platform. I keep putting it off because there’s so much I want to share and say, and I don’t know where to start. But getting started is always the biggest hurdle. The only way to get over it is just to pick a point and go for it.

So I’m going for it. I feel like this is necessary because in a time when so many Big Name Christians are “deconstructing” their beliefs and falling away from the faith loudly and publicly, obviously wanting to take as many people as they can down with them, it’s important to hear stories from those who, like me, have faced challenges, carefully examined their beliefs, scrutinized scripture, and come out stronger in their faith than ever before.

First, some background. I came to know Christ at a very young age. I’ve been saved as long as I can remember, and there’s not a time in my life that I’m conscious of when I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus or a reliance on God. I’ll spare you the details, but growing up with a narcissist and alcoholic for a father, my faith got me through a lot of chaos and hard times. I’ve been a prayer warrior from the age of four or five. I learned very early on how to effectively pray.

That’s both because and in spite of the fact that my family were believers. My earliest church memories are of a Vineyard-style charismatic church down the road from where we lived. My dad, though he was apathetic about God, didn’t want us going there and so at some point he started taking us to a Methodist church. He soon stopped going, but my mom continued to take us there faithfully for years, until the teaching there started taking an uncomfortably progressive turn. After that, she got us back into a non-denominational charismatic church with a strong Full Gospel flavor. And all the while, every summer a nearby Baptist church bused all the kids in my neighborhood to their Vacation Bible School. I say all of this only to point out that I had a pretty eclectic religious upbringing, and I’ve never had any loyalties to any particular denomination.

But from the time I was about 14 on, we attended the same non-denom charismatic church. Some might label it hyper-charismatic. It was heavily steeped in prosperity and Word of Faith teaching and practiced a lot of things that I wouldn’t realize until much later were unbiblical. A lot of it never sat quite right with me, but I couldn’t articulate why, and I thought the problem was with me.

Fast forward to my early thirties, when I met the man who would become my husband. By this point I had stopped attending church, though I still prayed regularly and cracked my Bible open on occasion. One evening, early in our dating relationship, I sat across from him at a coffee shop and fell more and more in love with him as he spoke animatedly and enthusiastically about the Bible, and simultaneously more and more convicted that I, a life-long Christian, knew so little about what was actually written in the word outside of the passages that prosperity teachers love to return to again and again.

The next day, I opened my Bible and started reading through the Epistles. I kept it up, day after day, and soon it became a habit. I started it mainly so I could keep up with Matt in conversation, but it didn’t take long for my eyes to be opened to the deception I’d been under for so long, and how so much of what I’d been taught was not actually what the Bible said.

That was the beginning of what I call my Great Spiritual Awakening, a process that is still ongoing today. Since then, I’ve gone through so much and learned even more. I’ve grown in ways I’d never imagined, but I’ve also fallen into — and been delivered from — other forms of deception, which I’ll be talking about here in future posts. The point of all of this is to say, the antidote for deception is knowing the truth that’s written in God’s word.

I’ll say that again: the antidote for deception is knowing the truth that’s written in God’s word.

We’re in a time right now where deception is rampant, both in the Church and in the greater world outside. We’re constantly being deceived by the media, by politicians, by doctors, by false teachers and false gospels, by conspiracy theories and people accusing us of being conspiracy theorists if we merely question the narrative, by gaslighting and propaganda… the list goes on. It’s mind-boggling, and it can feel next to impossible to know where to go for actual truth, especially in a culture that denies that objective truth is even a thing that exists.

But God’s word is truth, and it can arm you against deception and equip you to see through the lies.

For a good long while, I’ve been praying about how God wants me to show up in this small space I’ve carved out here online, and how he wants me to use my talents. He’s given me a gift for wrangling words, and I’m sure I’m meant to do more with it than tell stories about ghosts and zombies or write about dogs and cats for a living. I’ve been hesitant to dive in, partly because, like I said earlier, there’s so much to say and it’s overwhelming. And partly because it’s such a huge responsibility. I don’t want to presume to take the place of a teacher, and I certainly don’t want to come off as trying to be anyone’s Holy Spirit substitute, pushing my personal convictions onto others.

But what I know for sure is that I want to use the measure of talent and influence I’ve been given to be a light in the darkness and to combat deception with truth. And more than anything, I want to inspire women to put away fluffy, shallow Instagram Christianity and pick up their actual Bibles, to learn what is actually written in its pages, to arm themselves against deception and armor up against the spiritual onslaught that’s facing our Church, our nation and our world.

The time is past for me to fly under the radar and be timid about sharing my faith and experience.

So from here on out I’m going to be using this space (not exclusively, mind… I’ll still talk about writing, and life, and whatever strikes my fancy) to do just that. If you’re concerned I’m going to be constantly preaching, that’s not my goal. The Bible is actually a really cool and amazing book, and I hope to help you see that. And to say that Jesus himself is amazingly cool is the mother of all understatements.

We’re going to get into some interesting stuff. I”m going to share some personal stories. We’re going to talk about why I quit doing yoga, and the Enneagram, and mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer. We’re going to talk about the historicity of the Bible and why you can trust it. We’re going to talk about the supernatural and the Powers that are waging war in the unseen realms. We’re going to talk about HOW to study your Bible, as well as WHY. We’re going to be examining false gospels and heresies and why they’re false and heretical. We’re going to look at what truly makes a Christian, Christian. I’m going to be pointing you to good teachers who can explain everything so much better than I can, and reviewing and recommending books and other resources. And more!

These times are scary, but they’re also exciting. And I was scared when I started this post, but now that I’ve laid all of this out I’m excited about this new direction.

What a time to be alive, y’all. Let’s do this.

Photo by Ryan Riggins on Unsplash

It’s Happening…

I’m moving to a new web host. Jeanmariebauhaus.com might be down for a few days as a result. Meanwhile, you can still get here via jeanmariebauhaus.wordpress.com. Once my paid account here expires tomorrow, you’ll probably start seeing ads, and possibly even sponsored posts, inserted by WP.com. Those have nothing to do with me — they’re the price of a “free” account.

Once everything is moved over, I’ll announce it here and on Facebook. If you follow this blog via WP.com, you’ll probably have to re-subscribe over at the new host, or enter the new RSS feed into your WP.com feed reader. More on that once everything’s set up.

So let’s give self-hosted WP another whirl. I signed up for a three-year account. Here’s hoping I won’t regret this move…

So We Did a Thing…

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I was kind of amazed to look at the date this morning and see that we’re already a full week into March. March! Are you kidding me? It felt like February would never end, but now here we are less than a week from Daylight Savings time and only two weeks away from actual spring.

Weekend before last was a very full one. I spent Saturday, which is normally my sabbath/rest/be lazy as all get-out day, cleaning, going over my accounting and doing our taxes while Matt was out at an all-day thing. Then on Sunday we both went to another all-day thing with our new friends. It was a very long and full day and by the end of it I was completely introverted out, but I was also covered in tiny paw prints and slobber from our friends’ two adorable Chihuahuas, and that filled my heart in a way that it hadn’t been filled for too long. I also got to pet goats and pigs and got a lesson in gardening, so it was a day well spent.

I took Monday off to recover. Which mostly involved lazing around and watching YouTube and reading, but also a perusal of a certain section of Craigslist, which led to a decision made on Tuesday to do a certain other thing. Prior to that, my plan was to spend the rest of the week getting back into a writing routine for my novel and this here blog, but the rest of the week ended up being all about prepping for said thing instead.

And then on Friday, we went and did the thing.

Guys, meet Dixie.

At seven weeks and ten pounds, her favorite things are sleeping, belly rubs, chewing everything she can get her mouth on, and playing in the leaves.

We’ve had her now for roughly 76 hours but it feels like much longer. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that we barely slept the first night. We followed all of the YouTube trainers’ instructions on getting them to sleep quietly in their crate overnight, and those instructions did not work at ALL. I ended up caving and pulling her out of there around 1 AM and letting her sleep with me on the couch so we could get some sleep. That’s pretty much been the arrangement every night so far, and we’re very tired.

But otherwise, things are going well. She’s incredibly bright and has already learned a ton, and we’ve established a routine that basically goes like wake up, potty and eat and/or get a drink, play/train/exercise until she passes out, get stuff done while she’s asleep, repeat throughout the day until time for bed. Have I mentioned that we’re very tired?

Tired, but full. Her gotcha day was full of mixed emotions–we’re both still not over Pete, nor will we ever be, and it still feels a bit too soon for this. But at the same time, she’s already starting to fit in and feel like family. We’re all falling in love and learning and building trust, and I must say, it’s pretty amazing. And it’s a very different experience, too. For one thing, she’s the youngest puppy either of us has ever had, so the learning curve there is really high. For another, at seven weeks she’s already more than twice the size of Pete and growing fast (I think she might already have put on a pound or two since we brought her home). Although she’s tiny for a German shepherd, after him she feels huge.

Right now, at this stage, she enjoys a certain amount of lap cuddles, and we’re both trying to take advantage of that as much as we can while she’s still small enough for them. There’s that part of us that can’t wait for her to grow into an actual dog and not be such a handful to manage, but we’re trying to enjoy this stage, knowing how nostalgic we’ll be for this time a year from now when she’s five to ten times the size she is now. I don’t think she’ll get huge — her parents are both about mid-sized, as far as GSD’s go — but she’s a definite change from the tiny little puppers we’re used to.

Today we achieved a major victory — getting her to hang out by herself in her crate with the door closed without acting like she’s dying. Tomorrow, we’ll take some of the chicken wire we picked up for our eventual chicken tractor and see if we can rig up some kind of exercise/emergency potty pen around the front of the crate, and then we’ll work on getting her to sleep in the crate overnight with the door open into the pen, and work on getting me back into my own bed.

As I’m writing this, she’s sacked out on the floor next to my feet. Before long it will be time for another trip outside and another round of play and exercise until she’s ready to pass out again. We’re going to be in such great shape because of this dog, y’all. Don’t bother with a gym membership — just get a large breed puppy, and you’ll never miss a day of exercise.

But you will miss some sleep.

In other news, I signed on with another content marketing client — I’ll be helping out with a breed profile project for Chewy’s blog. And my steadiest client, the one who informed me early last month that they were slowing article production, is going to have me writing infographic copy instead, which comes with a significant pay raise. So things are looking way, way up in freelance writing land. Which means I can stop spending all my time and energy trying to find work and start focusing back on my novel and blog again… once we get this whole puppy sleep situation sorted out and my brain is functional for something more challenging than a stream-of-consciousness blog post.

This was indeed a long, dark winter, but spring is nearly here, and things are looking so much brighter. And in a few more weeks, we’ll get our chickens! Squee!

Writing & Publishing Update – October 9, 2020

Happy Friday, folks! It’s a chilly, rainy fall morning as I write this, although the sun’s fighting to come out. I’m wearing my fall flannel and I’m here with my favorite afghan, my dog (who is still hanging in there) curled up in my lap, I’m sipping Cinnamon Apple Spice tea out of my Boo mug, and a candle is making my office smell like pumpkin pie, and I’m loving every bit of it like the walking basic cliche that I am (at least it’s not a PSL in my Boo mug, so give me credit for that).

I just wrote and scheduled the official launch announcement for Revolution Part One to go out to my mailing list on Monday, so I’m feeling good about that. It actually releases this Sunday, and there’s still time to pre-order.

I’m happy to report that the writing has been going like gangbusters, albeit on my secret romance project that I mentioned in my last post. As for Revolution Part Two, I’m going through and polishing what I’ve got so far, which is quite a bit — nine chapters, some of which are massive. Once that’s done, I’ll go back to the editing and revising as I go method that worked so well for me on Part One. That way when I get to the end it will be DONE, except for the proofreading and formatting.

I’ve also got a draft of a stand-alone horror novella saved up from last year that I’ll be getting ready for publication after Dominion is all done and off my plate. Plus I’ve got plans to release all of the Dominion series wide very soon (that means everywhere else besides Amazon), and to release them all in paperback. And I’m sure there’s also a boxed set somewhere in the not-too-distant future. But all of that is down the road a bit.

Meanwhile, I’m striking while the inspiration’s hot on this sweet romance novel and working on getting a platform together for that pen name. Again, if you enjoy sweet and cozy romance, drop me a line or leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to let you know where to find all of that. Otherwise, I’m trying to keep these audiences unmixy to protect my precious Amazon algorithms, hence all the caginess.

In other news, it’s Halloween all month long here at the Bauhaushold. We’ve got so many Halloweenish movies we want to squeeze in, not to mention snacks, that we can’t possibly do it all on one night, so we’re spreading it out through the month. We’ve already checked the original Halloween (although we’re sure to play that one again on the actual night), Prince of Darkness, Dark Night of the Scarecrow and the 2010 remake of The Wolfman off of our watch list, and that’s hardly putting a dent in it. I’m not sure what we’ll be watching this weekend, but I think we’re both ready to take a break from movies and squeeze in some of our favorite Treehouses of Horror and that perennial Halloween classic, Hilloween (so much nostalgia — I had many a Junie Harper in my life growing up).

Okie-doke — back to the word mill. Have a great weekend, y’all. ♥

Happy Halloween! I Brought Treats!

 

 

halloween-963122_1280

Okay, confession: these treats are recycled. We’re in the middle of getting ready to move and I don’t have time to run to Target and pick up new bags of candy make new content. But these old treats are still yummy, I promise!

Here’s me last year doing a Halloween live reading of my short horror story, Snack Machine:

 

And here’s me narrating two creepy pieces of flash fiction:

 

 

These are all featured in my short story collection, Midnight Snacks. Click here to get your copy. It also includes my horror novella Eucha Falls, which is available as a free standalone wherever e-books are sold. And if you like those you’ll also like my creepy story about a witch’s ghost, Weather Witch. Get it here.

But wait, there’s more! Before you go, be sure to check out my Restless Oklahoma and Stuff I Think You’ll Like blog tags for more spooky reads and recommendations.

And finally, here’s a Halloween tip: If you’ve got more candy corn than you know what to do with, try mixing it into your popcorn. We tried this the other night and it was the perfect mix of sweet & salty — and I’m not even a fan of candy corn. But that was a big bag o’ deliciousness.

Happy Halloween, folks. I hope you’re enjoying it this year. As for me and mine, we’re going to take a break from packing and prepping to enjoy our favorite monster movies and candy. What Halloween traditions are you enjoying this year? Shout it out in the comments!

Have a Happy Yam Sham!

 

It has been a busy, busy couple of weeks. And not even thanks to NaNoWriMo, which I pretty much gave up all hope of winning midway through last week. There have been a lot of errands to run, and freelance gigs to get done, and stuff needing done around the house. Hopefully, next week we’ll get back to sanity and a normal blogging schedule.

In the meantime, I wanted to pop in and say, Happy Thanksgiving! I have much to be thankful for this year. Well, I do every year, truth be told; but compared to where we were at this point in time last year, this year has been much more gracious to us. This year we’ve witnessed God’s provision in several areas, not the least of which has been health and finances. It hasn’t been a year without challenges, but it’s also included a lot of awesome, for which I am incredibly grateful.

Here’s wishing a lovely “ritual sacrifice with pie” day to you and yours.

Fire bad. Tree pretty.

zNaNoWriMo Participant 2014This week did not go as planned. Matt and I ran all over town  running errands and stocking up on winter supplies. Wednesday was supposed to involve a quick morning run to Sprouts to stock up on produce and bulk dry goods, after which I was going to catch up on writing and freelance work. But just before we left, the insurance adjuster FINALLY returned our call (did I mention here that we were involved in an accident last week?).

We spent probably 45 minutes on the phone with him, asking and answering questions about our claim, and then he approved us for a rental car, so we had to go pick that up, which ate up another hour or so. By the time we finally made it to Sprouts it was noon already. Tuesday and Thursday were even more hectic. The upshot of which is, I haven’t added a single word to my NaNoWriMo word count since Monday.

This introverted homebody is completely worn out. But at least we’re ready if the winter weather that’s expected to hit this weekend turns into a big deal. Today was all about getting caught up on my freelancing so I don’t have to work through the weekend, so it hasn’t exactly been restful. My new plan is to spend Saturday vegging out and recharging my brain, and then Sunday, while Matt is distracted with football, I will make a valiant effort to catch up on my word count before deciding whether to throw in the towel on trying to win ‘WriMo this year. Unless ice knocks out our power, in which case my chances are pretty much screwed. But at least we’ll be well fed and we won’t freeze to death.

Here’s hoping next week is much calmer.

How the Satanic Panic Almost Ruined Halloween

http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Junie_HarperOne of our favorite things to watch this time of year is the “Hilloween” episode of King of the Hill. In this episode, traditional Halloween-related activities come under assault from hyper-conservative religious (and litigious) types who assert that Halloween is a satanic holiday. Soon, satanic panic pervades the whole town and Halloween is called off and trick-or-treating is banned. Children are instead sent to the “Hallelujah House,” where they’re allowed to wear costumes as long as they’re “Christian” in nature and are subjected to a spook house display of real-life “horrors” like teen pregnancy before being thoroughly evangelized.

Refusing to bow down to the hysteria, Hank Hill and friends protest by marching through town in their Halloween costumes, violating the trick-or-treat ban and the citywide curfew and in the process reminding everybody what Halloween’s really all about in our culture: candy and good, clean, innocent fun. Pretty soon, the whole town is marching with them, and they march right up to the Hallelujah House to collect their children and give them a proper Halloween.

Before I go any further, I want to point out that one of the things I appreciate about this episode is that it’s not presented as “those crazy Christians” vs. more level-headed non-believers. Anyone who watched this show with any regularity would know that Hank Hill and company are church-going Methodists with a love of God, Country and Texas. So it’s more like ONE overzealous Christian against a whole town of Christians who are usually more level-headed but nevertheless get caught up in the hysteria.

Anyone born after, say, 1985 might watch this episode and find it funny because it seems so absurd and over the top. But to anyone who grew up in the Bible Belt and lived through the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, it’s funny because it’s true.

Halloween took a weird, dark turn during the ‘80s. When I was a little kid during most of the ‘70s and the very early ‘80s, Halloween was one of the best times of the year. My neighborhood at the time was a true community, with a volunteer fire house that acted as a meeting place and a Ladies’ Auxiliary that organized neighborhood events. One of those events was an annual Halloween party at the firehouse. They set up a spook house for the older kids, and had costume contests and candy for the younger kids. Once it was over, everybody went trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. It was safe, and fun, and nobody gave a single thought to Satan.

Then one year my mom decided we weren’t putting up any Halloween decorations. Why? Because Satan. By this point, the county had installed a government-run fire department a few miles from our neighborhood, and the volunteer firehouse had been shut down and the Ladies’ Auxiliary disbanded, so the yearly parties were already a thing of the past. But trick-or-treating was still a big deal, so thankfully our mom backed down from forbidding us to dress up or trick-or-treat. She was one of the only mom’s who did, though. I had a hard time finding friends to go out with me on Halloween night that year because they were all being taken to “Hallelujah parties” at their churches.

This went on for a number of years. My mom continued to forbid us to put out Halloween decorations, although she still let us dress up and have our fun. I sat through a lot of sermons and lectures from youth group pastors about the evil origins of Halloween. At some point, nights out trick-or-treating started to end with a trip to the emergency room to get our candy x-rayed to make sure it didn’t contain needles or razor blades. Giving out baked goods or anything unwrapped or homemade became verboten because they might be laced with poison. We made sure to keep our black lab put up because Satanists apparently loved to sacrifice animals with black fur. Walking around the neighborhood to trick-or-treat became deemed unsafe because we were all targets for satanic kidnappers, so we started seeing station-wagons and minivans full of kids being shuttled from house to house.

 

http://img.youtube.com/vi/Ce_rXR3tdqQ/0.jpg

Somehow, this…

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Francisco_de_Goya_y_Lucientes_-_Witches%27_Sabbath_-_WGA10007.jpg

… was supposed to be a gateway to this. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Through it all, I remained stubborn like Hank Hill. I refused to stop trick-or-treating or dressing up. For me, Halloween was about dress-up and make-believe and fun, safe scares and getting a sugar high. I failed to see how any of that glorified Satan. I still do.

I’m happy to see that, for the most part, all of the fear around Halloween has abated, and the holiday is a lot more like what it was when I was a kid. I still hear grumblings from time to time about Satan and Druids and pagan origins — but I also hear that stuff about modern Christmas and Easter traditions — and one local mega-church has a big-budget version of Junie Harper’s Hallelujah House that draws a big crowd every year.

But overall, it seems like everyone’s relaxed, and Halloween is more popular than ever. I drive around town and see churches advertising pumpkin patches and trunk-or-treat events. Walking through my neighborhood, I see plenty of houses and yards that have been spookified for the occasion. Even my mom has her grandkids and great-grandkids out for hot dogs and trick-or-treating every year.

Matt and I have our own Halloween traditions, which involve carving pumpkins, munching on popcorn and candy and watching John Carpenter movies in between handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. And you can bet our house is covered in Halloween decorations (although we still need to do something with the front porch).

What about you guys? Is Halloween one of your favorite holidays, or do you have reservations about it? Are you old enough to remember the Satanic Panic, and did it ruin your Halloweens, too? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

And if you haven’t seen it, try to spare 25 minutes or so to watch “Hilloween.” You’ll be glad you did.

 

Page 1 of 39

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén