If you give your husband a truck continued – The Chuck Box: Part Deux

In my effort to provide a humorous spin on a project taking up space in my garage for far too long, I inadvertently offended the mighty carpenter / do-it-yourselfer / mad-engineer that is my other half by posting an image that did properly convey the amount of hard work he put into his creation, nor its sheer awesomeness.

[Warning! The following is an advertisement and may contain views and opinions that do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial or writing staff of http://www.alliepottswrites.com.

Participants were not paid for their time.]

I give you –

THE CHUCK BOX: Part Deux.

Measuring 33.5″ tall, 60″ long, and 24.5″ deep (0.85m x 1.524m x 0.6223m) and goodness knows how many pounds in its ‘closed’ position, the chuck box (which could also be described as a tiny home kitchenette) has everything one might need to create a home-cooked meal, even when you are miles from home including a working sink operated by a foot pump as well as a double burning gas-powered grill with gas storage tank. Utensils are also within ready reach as are (my personal favorite) a trio of travel wine glasses.

But that’s not all.

The entire top flips a mind-boggling 180 degrees thanks to a well-placed piano hinge. A pair of hidden legs then extends to provide this lucky chuck box owner an extra meal prep counter space.

But your taste buds aren’t the only things to get a workout thanks to this monument of epic engineering.

There’s more?

Feast your eyes on an optional audio-visual extravaganza complete with flat screen tv, speaker system, power bar, remote caddy, and over the air extended antenna. This detachable system is perfect for keeping small children (and those full-grown) entertained for hours and is especially handy during long tailgates throughout football season.

How do all these awesome electronics operate? I’m glad you asked. The A/V system is run off a portable solar panel plus inverter (not pictured), which my other half will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about if you ever ask him.

But wait, we’re still not done!

When it is time to pack up, the entire box closes like a traveling steam truck of old protecting its contents until the next time you journey off to create new memories.

Act Now. Limited Quantities. Time is running out!

I wish I could say contact my other half here for questions about what it would take to get yourself one of these marvels, except we have yet to figure out how to lift the thing high enough to fit on the trailer hitch.

However, knowing my other half, he already has a few ideas as to how to solve that problem as well. My guess? Those ideas will be equally awesome, but take up the remaining space in the garage for the foreseeable future.

Until next time!

 

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If you give your husband a truck…

If you give your husband a truck - www.alliepottswrites.com

Inspired by Laura Numeroff’s If you give a ___ a ___ books

If you give your husband a truck (or SUV with 4 wheel drive), he’s going to want to take it off-roading.

When he looks for places to go off-roading, he’s going to locate an accessible beach.

He’ll want to spend the whole weekend there, so he’ll want to invite his friends.

He’ll call them all and start to plan.

When he’s making his plan, he’ll realize they’ll need food to eat. Thinking about the food will make him think about how they will store and prepare it.

He’ll want to bring a grill.

You’ll have to get some charcoal

and a cooler (or two).

Moving Day

Not our car, but not far off. Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com

Of course, he’ll also want to try everything out before his trip.

He’ll ask you to taste test his recipes.

He’ll hit a home run.

Then we’ll all do a happy dance to celebrate.

Dancing after eating so much food will be uncomfortable, so he’ll want to lie down to digest.

He’ll probably start thinking of how much space his and his buddies’ supplies will take up and how uncomfortable the ride will be.

He’ll have to get a trailer hitch.

He’ll see how much room he now has to play with and he’ll think of ways to fill it.

Then he’ll discover a thing called a chuck box.

He’ll find some wood and want to make one himself.

You’ll watch him get hooks, hinges, and a tiny working sink.

When the chuck box is finished,

… when the chuck box is finished…

… when two months of weekends spent in the garage have passed and the chuck box is still not finished,

you both will want to get out of the house.

Wanting to get out of the house will cause him to spend more time thinking places his truck can take you.

And chances are,

if he thinks about his truck (or SUV),

he’ll want to take it off-roading.

Our Chuck Box - www.alliepottswrites.com

The work in progress. Seriously, it has a kitchen sink.

Time flies when you are having fun – an end of quarter review

It is hard to believe that Spring is here, especially when there are parts of the US still getting dustings of snow. It seems as if I was just ringing in the new year and setting goals for what I wanted to accomplish over the course of the next several months.

This week, in the spirit of looking back, while continuing to plan forward, I decided to revisit a few posts from the first quarter.


Original: “You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven today and we don’t know where she is.” – Ellen …

Source: The great grain-free reboot: a thirty-one-day challenge

Update: Well folks, I am happy to say that not only was I successful in achieving this goal, I managed to figure out the recipe for making grain-free taco shells that actually hold together. I would have included a picture, but they seem to disappear off my plate before I can get the camera out.

In fact, I have found limiting my grain intake to be so easy, especially with ready-made alternatives like Against the Grain frozen pizza, I’ve decided to keep the challenge going.

In case you are curious about the zucchini shells/wraps – all you need is:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese

That’s it.

Set the oven to 350F. Grate the zucchini and squeeze the results a couple of times to drain excess water, then shape and flatten on a stick proof baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy. Creates 2-4 soft tortilla substitutes.


Original: This is the launch week for a young adult science fiction book called Joan the Made written by Kristen Pham. While I always enjoy celebrating my fellow indie author’s bookbirthdays, this one …

Source: How to support an indie author for free – a first experience with the Kindle Scout Program

Update: This post had not yet lived in the blogosphere for a week when I received a note from the people at the Kindle Scout Program informing me that they were no longer taking any new submissions from authors and that I had until May 31st to claim any free books gained through the nomination process. No reason for this announcement was given. I will continue to look for other ways to support indie authors and encourage you to leave reviews as much as possible. It makes a huge difference.


Original: May include spoilers. My office door opens and a woman with curly brown hair peeks in. “Um, are you ready for me?” she asks with a smile. Not waiting for a reply, she crosses the thresh…

Source: One super serious, yet totally fictitious performance review – featuring Uncertain Faith’s Charlotte Row

Update: Unfortunately, Charlotte’s story is not quite ready for publication and I am now in the process of rewrites based on feedback received from early readers. While I still am optimistic I’ll be able to publish this book this year, it most likely won’t be until late summer / early Fall. This also has delayed some of my other book projects such as the third and final installment of my Project Gene Assist series, which is also currently in progress.

I would encourage those who are interested in being part of the next round of early reads (I DO appreciate feedback) or simply want to be the first to know when these books are launching to sign up for my mailing list.


Most Liked/Viewed Post – What happens when your New Years Resolution calls your bluff (hint – the universe laughs)

 

 

How to support an indie author for free – a first experience with the Kindle Scout Program

A way to support #indieauthors for free and an Introduction to #KindleScout - www.alliepottswrites.comThis is the launch week for a young adult science fiction book called Joan the Made written by Kristen Pham. While I always enjoy celebrating my fellow indie author’s bookbirthdays, this one is special as it is the first book I helped bring to market through Amazon’s Kindle Scout Program.

I say that like I put in a lot of work.

For those who aren’t as familiar with the ever mysterious world of independent publishing, the Kindle Scout program is a way for authors to get a little financial and marketing boost from the all mighty Amazon without sacrificing all their creative control or signing away their rights for future works in the worlds they create under the guise of non-compete terms.

As I am still in the midst of rewrite, I have yet to try my hand at gaining access to the program with one of my own books, but that didn’t prevent me from seeing first hand what it can do for others.

Enter Kristen.

A few months ago, around the time I was launching my last book, I discovered she’d uploaded a sample of her latest book as well as it’s cover to Kindle Scout. Now all she needed was nominations. I read through the description:

On Joan Fasces’ eighteenth birthday, she discovers that she is cloned from the famous Joan of Arc. But being cloned in America comes at a steep price. Segregated and oppressed, clones are forced to act as docile servants to the rest of the Evolved population. Joan can either run from her fate and spend the rest of her life in hiding, or she can join a Throwback rebellion populated by clones of the greatest leaders in history.

I was intrigued.

I opened the sample. The first chapter caught my attention. I am a sucker for dystopian young adult, even if I know there is bound to be things like a selection ceremony gone wrong and an angst-laden love triangle. Tropes are tropes for a reason. I saw nothing in those sample pages to make me think this book was unworthy of being considered by the powers that be. (I also happen to know that Kristen has had a short story selected as a top ten submission on Wattpad by Margaret Atwood so it was an easy bet.) I pressed a button – Nominate Me.

That’s it.

Image is an affiliate link

A few weeks later I received an email from Amazon informing me that Joan the Made had been selected for publication. Yay for Kristen! A few weeks after that I received another email from Kindle Scout. They were sending me a free advanced copy of the e-book. Yay for me!

I also saw that I’d been given a Scout Score. 10 points for nominating a book. 10 points for having a book I nominated get selected for publishing. 20 points for redeeming my free book. They weigh these points like redeeming the free stuff is the harder part.

Unfortunately, I did not think to sign up for the program using the email associated with my Amazon account which meant, I would not be able to gain an additional 40 points for reviewing the book. Oh, well. I’ve reviewed it anyway, noting I’d received an advance copy as is proper, but my review doesn’t show the coveted verified purchase tag. The unverified status of my review was one of the exceptions.

I noticed that she’d already amassed close to 30 reviews on the US Amazon site, even one from an Amazon top reviewers, and the book wasn’t even live yet, providing authors aren’t the only ones benefiting from this program. I, on the other hand, am still begging and pleading for reviews months after publication. Clearly, once again, I’m doing things the hard way.

I’m not sure how well it would work for later books in a series, but overall, based on what I have experienced, it is a program I will have to seriously consider when its time for me to branch into something new.

Until then – nominate, read, review, and repeat. It’s free!

You may just make an authors year.


Follow-up note: Within days of posting this I received the following note from Amazon: “April 3rd, Kindle Scout will no longer accept new submissions, and you will no longer be able to start a new Kindle Scout campaign. Once the current campaigns end their voting period, you will have until May 31st to log into your Kindle Scout profile, redeem free copies of your selected nominations, and save any info you may want.”

This is obviously disappointing as it was a neat way for emerging authors to gain additional reviews and exposure. I’ll update this post if and when I hear of any potential replacement for the service.

How to remain focused on your goals when life is determined to get in your way

How to remain focused on your goals with life is determined to get in your way www.alliepottswrites.com #writinglife #goalsMy eldest son became sick and not just with a little cold. No, he’d caught the flu. The same strain of flu that was being featured on every nightly newscast. Taking care of him, and monitoring his symptoms was an absolute must.

At the same time, the forecast called for snow. Again. It was in the 70s (22C) the week before, but I live in North Carolina. We can go through a whole year’s worth of seasons in a week. In fact, we add a few more to the list – there’s also pollen season and hurricane season too. (Yes, yes, Colorado – where you can have all four seasons in a single hour – I know we have nothing on you).

But normally it doesn’t snow more than once or twice a year South, which is exactly why my parents moved us here when I was a kid. As a result, most of the people who live around here don’t have a clue what to do when the white stuff starts falling other than to rush out and get milk and bread like it will become the new world currency.

I had just gotten my eldest dosed and settled under blankets when I received word that the school system would be releasing my other son three hours early. Snow hadn’t even started falling, but classes for the rest of the day were canceled.

I received another alert. Not only had the school closed early, the following morning’s opening would be delayed by three hours.

My eldest’s fever climbed to 102.6 (39.2C).

The family calendar showed my hubby would be going out of town the balance of the week.

And then beta feedback for my most recent WIP came back as a solid ‘meh,’ signifying major re-writes were required.

Is it weird that I see a grumpy face in this?

There were doctors appointments to make, prescriptions to fill, dinners to cook, and her royal highness to walk, not to mention the work which needed to be made up from missed school and the day job. While juggling all of this, I needed to re-write thousands of words per day if I had any hope of reaching my writing-related goals.

And yet, during my regular writing time, when most of the house is either quiet or asleep, I found myself staring at a black computer case. I didn’t even have the energy to lift the lid, let alone turn the machine on. I felt I’d broken something. My creative muscle simply refused to work.

Which brings me to the topic at hand – how to remain focused on your goals when life is determined to get in your way.

Give yourself permission to let something go

With the exception of the week between Christmas and New Year, I’ve been posting something on this site weekly for a few years. My posts, on average, are between 500 and 1200 words meaning I’ve published more than then three books attributed to my name on my Amazon author page. I take pride in my consistency. I view it as keeping my promise to you, but something had to give.

Recognize your priorities

As much as I love this blog – the outlet it provides and the community it builds, my number one goal isn’t to be best known as a blogger. Scaling back my efforts for a week, under the circumstances, was an easy choice to make (as was giving up on cleaning my house for a few days). In fact, I may adopt a practice suggested by Diana Wallace Peach over at Myths at the Mirror to take one week off a quarter as a way of refreshing the mind and spending time on the priorities that matter most to me.

Don’t confuse artificial targets with your real goals

What do you mean? Aren’t they the same thing? No. A goal is where you want your arrow to go. The target around the goal just helps you aim. Hitting the target alone isn’t enough. It’s the bullseye you want.

For example, my target was to release the sequel to An Uncertain Faith in May. That target, however, is really nothing more than a release schedule, a deadline to help keep me motivated day in and day out. My goal, on the other hand, is to write a book that lives up to, if not exceeds, the reader’s expectations. Quality, therefore, is my goal, and frankly, there is no way I can achieve that goal unless I am willing to shift my bow and aim at a target more reflective of my current environment.

Ignore the urge to splurge

Once you have agreed to let certain lesser priorities go and/or readjusted your timeline after a period of stress or frantic activity, you may find yourself with feeling like there is this hole you have to fill. I’ve been told others call this strange sensation, ‘having spare time.’ Unaccustomed to spare time you may be tempted to take on additional tasks or responsibilities which sound easy in theory but are not in line with either your priorities or your goals. Don’t.

Life will fill in that time for you just fine on its own. Trust me.

Accept that setbacks happen to everyone

Even to people who’d prefer to present themselves as having it all together.

I am disappointed to be sure, but I am not giving up, nor do I feel bad about giving myself a break. I will still have another book out this year. It may just be after the summer instead of in the weeks leading up to it. I am able to remain focused by keeping in mind a setback does not mean the end. I’m back in my chair, plotting forward once more. It’s all I can do.

Because most importantly, when life is determined to get in the way of your goals, the best thing you can do is:

Never stop trying