my week – and winter – in review

Posted on: April 12, 2015

Here it is, Sunday morning, 4/12.  The sky is clear blue and the temp is already 50*…awesome.  The high for today is expected to be in the low 60’s and thunder storms moving in late tonight.  I can deal with that.  Three days ago I had 8″ of wet slushy heavy snow.  I shoveled the steps and enough of the deck to get to the grill :), but I knew it would be gone quickly, so why shovel? I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

Forecast is 50/60’s all week, so that should take care of the rest of the snow pack.  It’s been a very long winter.  We had our first snowfall on Nov. 9, and by Nov. 11 there was 20″ on the ground.  That’s what is melting now; it never left.  Six months of winter is NOT the norm for here, it just feels like it.. lol.  For all of that, we are still a foot low on average snow fall and that hurts the water tables.  Hopefully the coming rain will help.

I didn’t fire up the woodstove yesterday, and I won’t today, maybe not all week!  This could be the turning point.  My wood has held out really well.  I still have one full row left (two face cord – 8x8x1 log) plus a 1/4 row.  The first of May I will move that out onto a pallet as my first burn for next fall, and start the process all over again of filling the shed (8x8x8+, which this year was 5 rows plus a half row that stuck out).  I try to be done with splitting and stacking wood no later than June 15, so I don’t have to worry about it as I head into my busy summer season of work.  Wood is critical to my way of life and has high priority.

My driveway is a muddy mess, but I can deal with that because it means the snow is melting and the permafrost is rising/leaving the ground.  Spring here is usually two weeks of melting followed by two weeks of mud and then it’s summer 🙂  During the winter I only keep half of the driveway open.  It’s a long U shaped drive and the southern end always drifts badly and it’s a strain on my aging snow-blower (and me), so I don’t bother.  It’s very close to the time when I just might try busting through what’s left.  The worse section is the last six feet right at the road where the snowplows hit.  If I can bust through that, even a single set of tire trails will help melt it that much faster, and I can use that end of the drive.  Why is that important?  It’s hard packed gravel and doesn’t get muddy and I can leave the bad part untouched to dry out without leaving ruts while staying OFF the main road.

Tufts is healthy and a bit pudgy from the winter confinement and he’s loving the meltdown because he gets to go out. He always trims down in the summer of exploring our property.  My ten acres is split by the creek.  Two acres on this side and eight that backs up to hundreds of acres of forest.  Tufts rarely ventures past the creek.

On the writing front.  Wow, what a winter it has been.  My second book, The Journal: Ash Fall, was released at the end of November and did really well until January, when almost ALL books seemed to slump (post-Christmas Crash I’ve been told).  With the warmer weather things are stirring again.  The third book in the series will be released on Tuesday!  TJ: Crimson Skies has been touted as the best one yet. I will be making an announcement across the groups as a reminder :), and then again when the printed version is available in another week. AND I’m 75% done with the fourth – and final – book of the series, TJ: Broken Shores (title is still being debated).  It wasn’t until the 4th book that I realized I was addressing the elements: Earth, Wind/air, Fire and now Water.  Interesting.  There isn’t a release date for #4 yet, but my publisher loves my sales, so the releases have been pushed to the front, though no guarantees. I have a goal of finishing it by mid-May, or sooner.

Why the final book?  That could take a bit to explain, I’ll try to keep it simple.  My series has been popular because it’s so believable, it reads real and draws you into the story.  I do that by feeling what the characters are feeling:  all their joys, their pain and sorrow, all of it.  Quite frankly, I’m getting depressed.. lol… these ‘people’ have been through SO much in the two years the story spans, that it’s time to give them – and me – a rest.

Next fall, when my $$ job is over and the canning is done, I will start writing again.  This time it’s a cookbook that goes with the series, then there’s a children’s book on prepping I’ve been kicking around and who knows what else.  For now, though, I need the mental and emotional break from all the fictional disasters.

Today, with the wonderful weather, I’m doing some spring cleaning.  I might even hang sheets and rugs on the line outside to dry 🙂


9 thoughts on “my week – and winter – in review

  1. Melanie, the 5th is already started and should be released in April. Thank you for your response and loyalty.

  2. I really hope there is a 5th!! Your books are engaging and practical all at the same time. Definitely some of my favorites, thank you!

  3. I can’t wait for your 4th book, the others were fantastic. I really enjoyed a prepper novel from a woman’s point of view, very refreshing. I was also pleased to have a character with special needs, so many families will need to plan in ways other preppers don’t. My 11 yo grandson has autism as well as MR. He is non-verbal, although loud :), uses diapers and is a runner. He currently lives in a group home but in a crisis will come here with his parents and I can keep myself up at night thinking about keeping him and everyone else safe too.

  4. Jenn… I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the series so far! Book #4 is done and just waiting for the publisher 🙂 … AND…. I promised a #5

    Having an autistic in the family is challenging to say the least. The real Jacob is high functioning Aspergers and has 8 languages under his belt now! he’ll be eleven in July…


  5. I just finished Book 3 of your series. I read all three books in about a week and a half. I love the story line and the character development is great. Having the autistic grandson really hit home for me because my son is autistic. You gave me some good ideas on things that would be beneficial to have around for him.
    I was explaining some of the story line to a non-prepping friend of mine and she decided she wanted to read them too. I hope it gets her more in the mindset for prepping. Looking forward to your next book!

  6. Sandra, the series isn’t over yet 🙂 The Journal: Broken Shores (#4) is finished and hopefully will be out sometime this summer. There is a book #5 slated for the fall, and then there is a cookbook in the works too. After that, I don’t know where the story will go, but…. we’ll see 🙂


  7. I wanted to add my WOW to the above. I started the series on Sunday and it is now Tuesday and I just got book 3! I love to read, and this is truly great. I have also picked up a few hints and have ordered a few more plants to add to my porch and am looking into “Bulk” Items. I can say that we have a month of food for 6 adults now, but with all the crazy stuff happening I think it is time to expand. Thanks so much for such wonderful characters. Hoping that at some point we can pick up with the Grandkids and their lives since Emi was touched on as an adult briefly. Thanks so much again for writing the series!!

  8. Just purchased the kindle TJ: ash falling and TJ Crimson skies. I read through the entire night Saturday night. Your books as you say are ‘REAL’ and you develop the characters really well. Keep up the great writing and don’t let Tufts get lazy next winter! He sounds like a real character!!

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