A good turnout!

By the time we were turning the corner towards home, we were seeing groups of trick-or-treaters. As we drove into the alley, a horde of at least fifteen (mostly seven-ish with three or four parents who held the tiny ones and toddlers) rounded our corner, and I had to rush inside. Hubby was already filling the pumpkin with candy. I got inside and dumped the new candy in just in time for the first doorbell.

“Man, that pumpkin is scary!” said one child.

“Isn’t it, though?” said Hubby, handing out the Kit Kats. “My wife made it.”

“That explains it,” said the kid, turning to rush towards the next house.

We had quite a turnout. Around eight-thirty, we made a quick run to a friend’s house to see all the decorations she had put up and experience her husband’s megaphone and “talking scarecrow” stuff. As their door opened, a ghost dropped from the second-floor balcony and a lion roared. Their stop was not for the fearful!

There were some strobe lights and a couple of police cars in the darkness, so it bothered my left eye (the one that got damaged the most by the radiation) and I got dizzy. We had to stop by Sonic for a diet Route 44 limeade and some Tots. But my visual system wasn’t really happy until we got back home and fell out. Charging the Kindle right now. Hoping that a few people took a chance on the Splatterfairies and enjoyed them. I picked up some reference books and plan to spend a while browsing them before I conk out for the night. Excitement is tiring!

Happy Hallowe’en! A Blessed Samhain! Dress Up Today!

I hope everyone who is celebrating All Hallows’ Eve has a wonderful experience!

A minor chord: I went through channels at Amazon Customer Service and did two e-mail messages and one live chat (with three people going up the chain of command on the other end) and never could get them to put The Splatterfairies’ Hallowe’en” on the “FREE PROMOTION TODAY” page or reduce its 99-cent cost. Alas! I should have started earlier. I will do that for Christmas, when I plan to put up a free Amazon Short. They tell me that you have to go through Smashwords, or that you have to be chosen at random. The supervisor finally e-mailed me back, saying, “Sorry that we don’t have the title you want. Here’s a 99-cent credit.”

To their credit, they were quick in responding. The problem was that they were all in India or someplace, and I could tell English is not their first or best language. The people who chatted with me seriously didn’t have the facility in English to understand something unusual or complex. They were confused. I don’t imagine they get lots of requests like that, anyway.

But! If you are willing to give the story a chance for the price of a small cup of coffee or soft drink at a fast-food place, and you have a Kindle, please take a look at the story. It’s the one I was solicited to write by Dean Wesley Smith back when he ran PULPHOUSE, for a special anthology, and I got it back after they’d closed down the press, saying it had been on his desk all that time, waiting for an appropriate place to be published (the original anthology was canceled.) I got a handwritten response from Marion Zimmer Bradley saying that she wanted work that scared her readers, but didn’t turn their stomachs (!). Her assistants had made a few red marks here and there recommending minor changes in the language (you’ll see what I mean if thou readest it), leading me to believe that they actually read it all the way through. It doesn’t have anything stomach-turning, but my mother wanted the people not to be–oh, I won’t tell you. You’ll have to read it to see whether you think Ms. Bradley and my mother had a point, or if they just didn’t have a sense of whimsy while reading it!

I’ve got to make a candy run. SOMEONE ate up all those bite-sized KitKats and Nestle’s Crunch bars@!!@

Putting up a Kindle Single for free?

I just got finished formatting and submitting my story THE SPLATTERFAIRIES’ HALLOWE’EN (or A Maul and the Night Visitors) as a Kindle Single. My intention was to publish it and give it away FREE today and tomorrow! It’s only about 4500 words, so it’s definitely a freebie single.

But! I didn’t see any way to make it free (the cheapest option was 99 cents) and it told me that we might be waiting a day to see it go live.

*sigh* Should’ve done this sooner.

Anyone ever done this? How do you make a title free for a specified time, or forever?

Michael Nesmith Plays Marfa, TX–tonight

Michael Nesmith Plays Marfa, TX! It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Meteor shower forecast for tonight, visible there, as well.

How I wish we could be there! It’s a LONG way from D/FW, though. And I have the Two Crankies who say it would be silly. Their musical tastes don’t include any ex-Monkees.

Hubby has been home for a couple of days on vacation. It was our 27th anniversary yesterday. (I was a child bride. 12. That’s the age I would have to have been in order to be the age I claim I am now.) He gets less cranky and mean the longer he stays away from the people at his job–I think he’s one of those persons who becomes like the people they hang around with, which is okay except when he works with a bunch of cranky cynics–and he was almost NICE today. We went out for lunch AND dinner. But Mama woke up with reflux and chest pain issues, and panicked. That meant she went with us on the excursion to get his anniversary present, and he had to wait a half hour before we could take her and puppy back home and go out to lunch ourselves. He doesn’t realize that, yes, she IS fragile and is NOT inventing her various limitations and ailments. He will always think of her as Hercules because she always played that Superwoman role. If she falters at all, he thinks she’s “ready for the home.” She thinks he’s mean to me and that we deserve to bail out and go live in Carmel with her hero Clint Eastwood. (Clint, are you listening? Are you open to two fat ladies moving in with their yappy Pomeranian and Frank Sinatra albums?) It really tears me apart because when they get me alone (or think they have me out of the other’s earshot), it’s constant tearing-apart and blathering about how bad the other is. Does not help that one is a foaming conservative (he’s misguided–again, the co-workers and the influence of the angry crowd) and one is a screaming lifelong liberal who would be doing a sit-in on “Occupy Everything” and waving any sign they wanted her to. They get into it and SHOUT when I’m standing between them. The dog just whines and covers his face. I have to cope with it, sigh.

I wanted to go somewhere on a little road trip this week, but neither of them would tolerate the other on an overnight trip, and each had a different destination in mind. The loonybin is a possibility for me, soon, but not really quiet enough. And the dog doesn’t deserve to go there (I am the ONLY one who takes care of him, takes him out, feeds him, and the like–the other two are too occupied waiting for me to wait on them, ha.)

He returned the present I got him, BTW, in order to get the one he got. I had gotten him one of those induction chargers that supposedly charges your iPhone and all that, as he has both a Droid phone and an iPhone along with everything else. But he thought it was not ideal, as he charges most of his stuff on his computer. So . . . he had something else in mind.

For the past year, his boss and workplace have been vacillating between “Our product is about to take off” and “Doom and gloom, get your resume ready,” so he has been on a roller coaster. Finally on Tuesday, he was called in from vacation to be in a meeting with a bigwig who flew down from headquarters. His boss is now his former boss, having taken another position within the company, and the big boss says he’s going to map out a new plan for the group that will be a two-year development deal. They are all putting in for security clearances. Mama was completely tanked that day because she didn’t trust them–she expected the guy to issue pink slips–but even she thinks that this guy must be for real, and we’re going to trust that this all goes well. So hubby has done a flip-flop from “we can’t afford all this toilet paper–use only one square” to “I deserve a good present.”

All that is background so you can understand why he would go to a computer store and buy himself a $500 tablet (charging it on his credit card, but still! House needs painting and new flooring and etc., etc.!) It was on sale . . . for $425. And it seems to have made him so happy. He kept asking if I liked it (I hope that isn’t because he thinks he should buy me one!) and showing me the features. A person does need a splurge once in a while.

I got two necklaces at the World Market and a new cable for my GPS so it’ll work in the van again. I really didn’t need anything. Except to lose weight and get a book contract and an agent, of course, but those things always GO WITHOUT SAYING. Hear me, Universe? (sound of raspberries in reply)

Seriously, I’m content if our current fairly good fortunes continue. But the two of them really do have to resolve their differences. It’s way too stressful for the Pom.

But IS IT GOOD ENOUGH?

Just got an acknowledgement from the agent who requested the full manuscript of MURDER BY THE MARFA LIGHTS. The request came through yet another contest that I entered, sponsored by a Mystery Writers of America chapter. I tightened the book last week and then went through to eliminate anything that seemed “overexplaining” or too twee. But I don’t always recognize this stuff in my work or in others’ work. Also, Ari is still Ari and not a go-getting confident success story. Gil is still smarmy. Aaron is still . . . well, we never find out, not really.

But is it good enough?

*cringe*

We just won’t know for a while.

O Great Pumpkin, please give my candy to the other penitents who aren’t diabetic and fat, and instead let the agent like the book!

(Sending sincere vibes through all local pumpkin patches)

Number facts and the order of operations, Facebook style

Let’s talk about the Facebook (yuck) meme that is going around, the one with the addition problem.

It’s stated as:

1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 x 0 = ?

There are several answers offered–17, 16, 15, 14, and 0.

If we use the order of operations, we do the multiplication first. Note that there are no parentheses involved, and that if there were, we would do the operations inside parentheses first.

1 X 0 = 0

So we can just remove that last “1” from the addition. We then count the ones. Note that one of the ones is subtracted, so we add negative one (or we subtract one, depending on which terminology you want to use.).

I added fourteen ones (I subtracted once). Thus I would choose 14 as the answer.

Had there been parentheses around all of the ones, the answer would indeed have been zero, as many of the Facebookers have marked. However, since there aren’t parentheses, we go by order of operations and condense that last operation. Then we do the addition/subtraction in sequence, as that’s the rule.

I thought it was encouraging that an addition meme even went around Facebook at all, but since there has been controversy about the problem, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to work it out. If anyone disagrees with my answer, we can discuss it.

I don’t get on Facebook very often. I am on it only because (1) that’s the only way I ever hear from my cousins, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, or aunt, because they aren’t on LJ and don’t like to do e-mail, and (2) a bunch of my old friends from elementary school (!) and secondary school are on there, and that’s the only way I get to find out about THEIR lives. I don’t usually bother to update. There’s a lot of silliness and linking. I hate the games that they have on there. It’s not my style. Also, they’ve made a mess of the way they show you the updates, doing a “top news” thing instead of just giving me ALL of them in chronological order. I don’t want to do Google+ because they insist upon “real” names (for whatever value you consider “real”) and real phone numbers and info, so marketing people will get full ammo when they look at the info of those who “like” something, all unsuspecting. The more social networking you do, the less time you have for writing, blogging, and cleaning house. It’s a timesink, like Facebook.

But Facebook is there to peek into people’s lives, so I sometimes do it.

Couldn’t resist addressing this question (because TOO MANY PEOPLE were putting zero as the answer and thinking themselves clever!)