Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

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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!

 

 

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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.

 

Book sale aftermath and killing a significant number of darlings for the greater good.

So the big October sale is over and everything is back to regular price. It didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but it still gave me a boost in sales, and I gave away a respectable number of books that will hopefully translate to some loyal readers down the road.

One thing I learned is that putting everything on sale to coincide with my book launch was not a good idea. It drew attention away from the new book, which is the opposite of what you want to happen during a book launch week. So… won’t be doing that again.

As for my new WIP, Ghost of a Chance, this morning I trashed all but the first two scenes. The scenes I deleted were meandering all over the place, so I’m going to chalk that up as a discovery draft and example of why I’m not a good pantser. Now I’ve got a partial outline and a better idea of where I’m going and what needs to happen to get there.

If this were NaNoWriMo, I’d have just made some notes about what needed to happen and kept going from there as if I’d already written it that way, and waited until I finished the draft to go back and redo the beginning. But since I’m not (yet) racing to meet a crazy word quota by a certain deadline, going back and writing the correct scenes seemed more likely make the rest of the story flow better.

I will be attempting Nano this year, albeit I’ll be cheating by working on this WIP. I’m going to do my ever-lovin’ best to finish the first draft by the end of November, but a lot depends on my freelancing schedule and workload, so it’s hard to say how that will go. I wanted to try something new in an effort to carve more time out of my schedule for working on the draft. My plan was to keep the little laptop I write on by my bed, and read over what I wrote that day before I turn out my light, and then make myself wake up and start writing in bed when my husband gets up in the morning. But then this morning, which was supposed to be day one of this new endeavor, he woke up WAY too dang early, and I fell back to sleep before I could even remember that I was supposed to write. Then when he came in and woke me up it was time for us to do our morning Bible study together. So… maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow morning.

Nanowrimo participant 2014

If you’re planning to do Nano this year, Kristen Lamb’s blog has several excellent posts on how to do well in that challenge. This post in particular is a must-read for anyone taking on creative endeavors in general.

And now I’m going to join my husband in an off-schedule weeknight cheat night, because the weekend was too short and we have way to much pumpkin and Halloween-related goodies and entertainment options that need to be consumed, and we were both really craving some pumpkin ale (as I write this I’m sipping on a positively delightful Red Hook pumpkin porter). I’m sure I’m going to regret this tomorrow.

Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? Are you playing by the rules or are you going to be a rebel? Let’s talk about your Nano plans in the comments!

Oh! And if you’d like to read occasional excerpts from the WIP, I’ll be posting them on Ello. Be sure to friend me if you’re there already. If not, I’ve got two invitations and nobody to give them to, so holler in the comments if you’d like one.

On coping with fear. And zombies.

I was planning to write something this week about clowns and why they’re so dang disturbing; but the truth is, I’m too distracted by real-life horrors this week to be much into the fun kind.

Yesterday, Matt and I learned of the passing of a Facebook friend, who was killed in a motor scooter accident. Apart from making us both really sad, it’s also made me hyper-aware of my own mortality and how there are no guarantees that we’ll reach old age. This is coming at a time when I’ve already been managing a certain amount of anxiety about the state of the world, which seems to be getting scarier by the minute.

The thing about living in Oklahoma is that all of the scariest threats seem far away. We’ve always felt insulated by virtue of the fact that we’re well inland and we’re a state that not many people outside of Oklahoma care about or even give much thought to. Of course, we have tornadoes, and those are scary, but that type of weather doesn’t occur here all year long. Tulsa has its fair share of violent crime, but we take reasonable precautions to help ensure that we won’t become victims. But when we watch things like terrorism and deadly epidemics on the news, we feel horrible for the people who are living with it, but also thankful that it’s all so far away an not part of our daily lives.

Except that these things have started to encroach on our own back yard. Recently, down in Moore, only about two hours away, a woman was beheaded by a recent convert to Islam. And now Ebola is starting to make the rounds down in Dallas, only a six-hour drive from here. And a 30-minute flight, which seems much more significant in light of the fact that the second nurse who’s been diagnosed with Ebola took a flight from Cleveland back to Dallas the day before she began showing symptoms. Dallas is a hub through which at least half of the flights from the Tulsa International Airport pass through, so there’s a high probability that there were people bound for Tulsa on that plane with her.

I’m not trying to scare-monger. My point is that these are anxiety-inducing times we live in, especially if you have an over-active imagination, as most writers tend to have. It’s important to have a way to deal with that anxiety and channel it in a healthy direction instead of becoming paralyzed with fear. One way I deal with it is to turn my focus to make-believe horrors. It’s much more fun to think about how I’d survive a zombie uprising than to think about how to avoid catching scary contagious diseases that make you bleed out of your face-holes.

Zombie plan

(via Infocult)

Of course, as a person of faith, the primary way I deal is to give it all to God. After confessing my fears and meditating on the promises of scripture, my anxiety invariably gives way to peace. But it’s easy to forget to do that, and to get wrapped up in the moment and fixated on what I could be doing to mitigate perceived threats. It’s also easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless in these moments. Ultimately, though, I trust that my life and the lives of those I love are in God’s hands, and that I don’t need to be afraid.

What about you, dear reader? What’s pushing your anxiety buttons lately? How do you manage anxiety and fear? Do you have a zombie plan? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I’ve been watching a lot of Ghost Adventures-type shows lately, partly for novel research and inspiration, but also because I just get a hankering for that sort of thing around this time of year. But I always have to stop watching them at some point because they tend to give me nightmares. I don’t really mind bad dreams that much; they often turn out to be great story fodder. But my husband definitely seems to mind my tendency to scream and shout in my sleep when I’m dreaming that something is out to get me, so for his sake, I stop watching.

The fact that I write about ghosts and the paranormal inevitably means that from time to time I get asked what I actually believe about this stuff. Since it’s Halloween (Halloween being a month-long event at my house), it seems like a good time to answer that question on the record.

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