Work, mostly. Then there was this pandemic. But I did write a new book.
EV – Electric Vehicles Come Home is full of information about Electric Cars and other Vehicles around the world. There are cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, planes, skateboards, etc. Yep, there’s an electric skateboard.
I try to keep all that information not so boring. To help, I included some stories about my visitors from another planet. They came looking for information about Electric Vehicles (EVs). They figured, since I’ve been researching them for 50 years and had written one book about them (Select Your Electric Car), and was working on a second, that I would be their best source of information.
There’s also a story about Whistlethwaite, the legendary EV owner and his standoff with Jake – owner of a Monster Truck. Plus a couple of fictional stories about planes.
EVs have come home. Sales of Electric cars are outpacing sales of other cars. In Norway, most of the vehicles sold are electric. Sales are heading that way in other countries. If you don’t already own an EV, you’ll want to get in on this wave. If you do, maybe you want to upgrade.
EVs now have plenty of range (you can drive one for your daily commute and then some before having to charge). Charging can usually be as quick as you want. It’s always easy. It will save you money over buying and owning a petrol-powered cars. And there are plenty of vehicles to choose from. Plus, you’ll be helping to save the environment.
And, to paraphrase President Biden, These suckers are quick!
Your home should be an environment in which you can rest, recharge, and flourish. It should be optimized for your comfort, but also for your health and well-being. Many of us feel like our homes could be healthier spaces, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it (or what “healthier” actually means). Try some of these simple tips and you will be on your way to a more balanced, relaxing, and positive home environment, presented by princesstigerlily.com.
Ditch Toxic Cleaning Chemicals
Most cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals. According to the American Lung Association, these can be hazardous for you and your family, irritating eyes and throats, worsening respiratory illnesses, and even sometimes causing cancer. But they are also terrible for the environment in various ways. Volatile organic compounds can make their way into lakes and rivers and affect the ozone layer, while packaging is rarely recycled.
If you want your home to be healthier for both yourself and the environment, look to eco-friendly alternatives. Eco cleaning brands are increasingly popular and available, or you could make your own cleaning products from staples in your kitchen. This guide by Hip2Save is a great resource, offering a green alternative as well as a DIY option for every main type of cleaner.
Clear The Air
Many of us worry about the pollution in the streets but forget about the quality of air in our own homes. Indoor air pollution can be just as harmful, with most of us breathing smoke, dust, pet dander, mold particles, and more on a daily basis.
Use a quality air filter to keep the air in your home clean, and change the filter regularly to keep it effective – a MERV 8 filter is a great choice, trapping 90 percent of airborne particles. Changing your filter regularly is also good for the environment as it reduces your energy consumption.
Make Your Home (Literally) Greener
You can never have too many houseplants. Plants are great for your health for many reasons: they boost moods, reduce stress, increase productivity, and produce oxygen that makes the air inside our homes cleaner. If you’re not a natural green thumb, don’t worry – there are low-maintenance varieties that anyone can keep alive and healthy, such as aloe, spider plant, rubber tree, and ficus.
Address Any Eco-Unfriendly Problems
Take a moment to look around your home. Are there areas of your home that you can’t keep warm/cool? If so, you may have a leak in a window that’s allowing air from inside to escape outside, which makes your HVAC system work even harder. If you encounter a problem and it’s beyond your means to DIY, visit Angi.com to find local contractors who specialize in this type of repair. Look at reviews to determine who you feel can handle the job. On average, you’ll spend around $290 for repairs, but it’s important to get at least three quotes first.
Declutter For Your Mental Well-Being
Having a healthy home isn’t just about clean air and fewer chemicals. You also need to make sure your house is somewhere that encourages and enables mental well-being along with physical wellness.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to declutter. Decluttering is having a bit of a moment, but you shouldn’t think of it as a fad. It has the potential to simplify and ultimately hugely improve your life in the long-term.
This is because clutter is actually bad for your mental health – it stresses you out, makes it harder for you to focus, and ultimately serves as a constant reminder of an endless to-do list. You don’t have to go full minimalist, but reducing the amount of stuff in your life can be a huge relief. It will also literally make your home easier to clean and maintain, freeing up time for you to actually enjoy your healthy, tidy home.
If you’re not sure where to start, pick an established decluttering method. As well as giving you a framework, these tend to be more drastic than simply sorting through stuff at random, which keeps you from dragging out the process for months.
All of this may feel like a lot of work, but in reality most of this advice can be implemented in a weekend or two. Committing to making your home a healthier and more sustainable place will allow you to enjoy your downtime so much more, and to do so in a way that is genuinely good for you. A healthy environment could also be a gentle push to building healthier habits and an overall happier life.
My wife and I started 2020 in northern England. We had been visiting friends. And now we were taking the train back to London. Our suitcases were too big for the train – anything bigger than a small backpack is too big. On that scale, ours were gigantic. A nice conductor told us to hop off the train at the next stop and run with our luggage to first class where there would be room for our luggage. We didn’t quite make it to first class before the train took off again. We scrambled back on. At least there was room in the corridor to stand with our luggage. But every time somebody had to go to the WC, we had to move out of the way.
We returned to Washington State, not too much worse for wear. My wife soon headed to northern MN for time with her elderly father. I started looking for a new contract.
Then we found ourselves in the midst of a pandemic. And all Heck broke loose. I started Mother May I shopping. Mother May I Take a step forward? Mother May I bag my groceries?
Various topics became the theme of the year – Pandemic, Climate Change, Black Lives Matter.
I did find a contract six months later. In that regard I’m lucky, since many became unemployed this year. And it was a contract which I could work totally remotely. So, doubly lucky.
My personal plan was to get the house in shape to put on the market. We would then sell it and move to Hawaii. The house needed a lot of work. Plus we’d be living there for like forever, so we had to sort through stuff and figure out what we were moving and what we were selling or giving away. We got help with that. A couple would come by, pick up most items from us and try to sell them. Sometimes they made enough that they shared some of the profits with us.
The house did sell towards the end of the year. And the new owners could use whatever furniture we didn’t want. So we got rid of even more.
But now we had to be out of the house in a month and we still hadn’t secured a place in Hawaii. Hawaii limited who could visit. Well, anyone could visit, but they had to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. Now, you can get a COVID test and skip the quarantine. I hear that Kauai still requires the quarantine.
We realized we couldn’t make the transition to Hawaii before we had to be out of the house. So my wife went to her fathers (and sisters). I joined them later.
We lost a dear friend and a couple of relatives last year. None due to COVID.
We ended up in a place with an opposite clime to Hawaii.
I had planned to write and publish several books last year. Lack of Time and COVID trauma limited what I could accomplish on that front. I did get 5 books published. I wrote two more which I’ll talk about in a later post.
#99: Invulnerable (About a Superhero who is …)
#100: Solutions Galore
#101: Graduation Day Ja Vu
#102: Packing Petite
#103: Triangulated Love
So, my dreams didn’t come true. And I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on that. I should have been focusing on the 90% that did come true. Yet, it’s like when my wife and I were climbing Picacho Peak several years ago. Lots of people, mostly children would come by in the opposite direction. As they passed, they’d tell us that we were almost there. When we finally arrived at the top, I looked for that gnome who was people people to say that. I never did find it. We were almost at the top. We were 90% of the way there. Yet that last 10% was the hardest. Life can seem that way sometimes.
This year we plan to get to Hawaii. We took a pause for the Holidays. And I’m sure other things will pop up that we’ll need to focus on. Now that I’ve written those two books, I’ll be editing them and getting them ready for publication. Three narrators are working on Audio Books for me. I’ll need to review their work. I also have several more audiobooks I’ll need narrated. And I should spend some time marketing my books.
Work will be busy. Long days will be normal. Plus when we move, I’ll need to find a break in the work schedule to have time to make the move.
And in our free time, of which there won’t be any, we need to find time to relax. We need to find time to spend time with each other and with distant friends and family. We need to chill out. We need to let our minds be filled with heavenly things and beauty. And if we’re shown a way to bring those things into this world, we need to do so.
And once we move, we need to spend time on the beach. Not everyone has access to a beach. But somehow they need to find a place where they can believe that they are in Paradise, if only for a few hours.
I should have added the word Easily to the title of those post. Alas, I didn’t.
When writing my fantasy series, The Wizard without a Wand, I had trouble keeping track of all the characters. First, there’s the tensome – ten Wizard School students who hang out together. They even share the same dorm room – the school calls their dorms hotels. Even so, we all know they’re just dorms, not hotels. Then there are parents, teachers, the Principal, etc.
I figured, if I had trouble keeping them straight, my readers might also. So I added a cast of characters at the end of each of the ten books in that series. I didn’t intend for there to be 10 books. I didn’t even intend for it to be a series. That just happened.
Anyway, when I added that series to my website, I decided to add the cast of characters to the website also. Then I decided to get fancy, and put each of the Tensome on a card on the website. I wanted the card to be animated, so that when a user clicked it, it would turn over and show the user more information.
You can use these animated cards for playing cards, greeting cards, or business cards. You might want to use a card for each of the top people in your company on your company’s website.
Turning over the card, means rotating it. For my children’s superhero series Zuper Zero (Only three books this time, so far. Again, series was unintended.), I wanted the front of the card to slide into the sky. So, I added the Scroll method to the Rotate Method.
Then I added the Slide method (a variant of the scroll method with more options), the Fade method, and the Open Method.
In my scifi book Shalomar (no series this time), one of the main characters is named Glo-Reta. One of my favorite lines from that books is, Life wasn’t bad, living with Glo-Reta in Gariza. Anyway, I wanted the front of the card to glow as it disappeared and showed the back. So, I added the Filter method.
The Filter method is a repeat of the Fade method, however, in addition to opacity (opposite of transparency), you can apply blur, brightness, contrast, grayscale, hue-rotate, saturation, and sepia. My test picture glowed the best with brightness and contrast. Glo-Reta’s glowed the best with brightness, grayscale, and hue-rotate. I have no idea why grayscale helped. hue-rotate alters the color, so yellows become purples, or some such.
My best selling books are audiobooks. These sell way more than the e-book or paperback versions. To a large part, it’s the marketing effort. But, also it seems that audiobooks are the book format du jour.
My top sellers (regardless of format) are:
Consulting 101 – The Basics
The Wizard without a Wand – Book 1
An Elbow, A Flower, A Stairwell or Two – Fantasy/Romance
Strawberry Cheesecake Applesauce – Recipes
Cascadia Prime – SciFi
The Gnarl – Fantasy
Nanutea – Romance/Fantasy
The Dancer – Book 1 – Fantasy
Of Violet and Brunettes – Children’s
The Language of the Wind – Mystic Poetry
Prince Pugawulamukapee – Children’s
Select Your Electric Car
The Wizard without a Wand – Book 5
Our Elemental Nature – Who Am I
These and my many other books can be found on Stubbart.com and on Amazon.
It was Graduation Day – the worst day of his life. Jeter would have to dress up in his monkey suit of a graduation gown. Somebody would almost likely steal his graduation cap before he made it to the podium.
At least one bully was bound to not make his day. And no doubt some cheerleader would harass him.
The worst part of today, was that Jeter would relive it over and over again. But he didn’t know that yet.
Perhaps you missed your Graduation this year due to COVID or other circumstances. Perhaps it was a GOOD thing that you missed your Graduation. You might still be experiencing it!
I’ve been solving problems for 60 years. I use various techniques to solve problems quickly. Businesses pay me lots of money to solve problems, and most of them think I’m very good at it.
I have included many of the techniques I and others use in my 100th book – Solutions Galore. Solutions may or may not require a project. But it can help if you treat solving a problem like a project. I take you from the beginning to the end of the project. I explain things like brainstorming, my 12 simultaneous approaches, the KISS principle, testing, teams, etc.
Looks like all I have to do to make my e-books available on Kindle Unlimited is to make them exclusive to Amazon/Kindle. However, if they’re exclusive to Amazon/Kindle, that means they’re not available on Apple or Nook. Which would be better – I don’t know. So I selected a few of my books to be exclusive on Kindle. These are my books which are available on Kindle Unlimited: