Random Thursdays: Random Happiness

Unexpected happy-making things, both big and small, have happened all this week.  Don’t know why, don’t care, but I’m enjoying them all.


Pumpkin bread for breakfast this morning, courtesy of Downith, who sent me her recipe!

I would have taken a picture of the results, except I tasted them first, and then the family woke up and all that’s left is crumbs and a grocery list with MORE PUMPKIN written on it and underlined twice.

Spice cake was already on the list, because Lyra’s recipe kicks it, too!


On Tuesday, I helped a nice lady find a photo of her grandson in the newspaper and order a print copy from the website.

I found out today that she took the time to write out a comment card saying how helpful and friendly I was—those things go straight to the director, and my annual evaluation is coming up!


 Janie had her softball awards ‘ceremony’ at the local ice cream parlor two evenings ago—her trophy is featured in yesterday’s post.

I took Sunny along and we stood in line for ice cream while she charmed the socks off the older couple behind us.*

The woman mentioned that their children and grandchildren had come down for the holiday, but they’d all gone home and the house was far too quiet.

Our house isn’t quiet,” said  Sunny.  She pointed to Janie’s group.  “I have a sister.

Ice cream and shared laughter.  Awesome combination.



I got my FOID card in the mail yesterday, which means I can rent a gun at the local shooting range and  practice.

I’m hoping to work up to the broad sides of barns, but we’ll see . . .


Wayne E. Pollard, creator of the webcomic Bo’s Café Life, is going to have a collection out soon!

Wayne is a great guy, and his gang of struggling writers at the coffee shop are spot on—laughing at them imeans laughing at ourselves, and that can only be a good thing in this business!

He also gives the occasional nod to writer support services:

The comic has been featuring interviews from editors, agents, critics, and others in the industry, as well as an Ask Dingbang feature that I never miss.

The morning doesn’t start until I get my Bo fix— and soon I’ll be able to read my favorites without worrying about my wireless connection!


My husband brought  my packed lunch to work for me before I even realized I’d left it on the kitchen counter this morning.


I have no idea why this feels like a huge confession . . . but I’ve been known to write a little fanfiction—for practice, experimentation, relaxation, the occasional dare, the instant feedback, because I’m a huge geeky nerd, whatever.

I’m well aware that I’m choosing to use some of my writing time on derivative things that can’t be published, but this is something  I enjoy doing, and I know it’s improved my writing.

I haven’t participated much lately, but this past month, the Leverage fandom at the site where I post held an awards thing, where readers could nominate and vote on their favorite stories and writers.

Someone was kind enough to nominate one or two of my stories in a couple categories,  and I was up for best author, all of which was quite the ego boost.  I voted for other people’s stuff, and then the voting period was extended, so I forgot about it.

Then yesterday, I received a ton of e-mailed congratulations.

Turns out, one of my stories placed first for best original character, best alternative universe,** and best overall story, and tied for second for best general-category (with its sequel, if you can believe that).  And I placed first for best author.

I know that this isn’t the type of thing one mentions in a query letter, and I know that fanfiction is generally vilified—be honest, how many of you read the previous paragraph and thought well, how hard can that be?

But let me explain why this is important, personally, to me:

There are about eighteen-hundred stories in that fandom at last count and an average of three new ones pop up every day.   I wrote that story three years ago.  And readers still remember it.

That’s the real award, right there.

And a challenge to do the same thing, all on my own.


This week has been great so far!  How’s yours going?  Any random happiness to share?


* As she does to any grandparent within a thirty-foot radius.  So far, she’s only used this power for good instead of evil, but I’m keeping a close eye . . .

**Which I’m taking to mean that the events in the story occurred outside of the shows, though it obviously referenced several.


Right on target, more or less (okay, less)

Today was my basic pistol safety and training course!  

My friend Grace and I were the only students, so the instructor didn’t seem to mind when I asked all sorts of weird questions, most of which pertained to my WIP.  He told a couple of great stories, too, most of which I stole, with his permission.*   I took tons of notes, jotted down every slang term he used, and generally enjoyed myself.    

I passed the test and earned a badge:

And then we went to the firing range and shot a .22 ten times each.

Grace is a natural at holding a gun steady and while her groupings weren’t all dead center, she had groupings.   My target had lines . . . and to be strictly honest, not quite so many holes as hers.   I’m apparently not a natural at anything involving guns.

The instructor reminded me that I was a complete beginner and thought I might be rushing my shots out of nervousness.  He reassured me that I was handling the gun safely and correctly . . . except for the hitting the target part.

I  expect I was rushing a bit—but I wasn’t nervous.  I was stoked.

Grace and I can’t wait to try it again with bigger targets and a boxful of cartridges.

But we’re going to have to wait until my FOID card** arrives before the shooting range will allow us to practice.  I mailed the form today, but the wait is around two months.

That’s okay—I have a manuscript to correct . . .


*He also gave me his card, so if I had any other questions, I could e-mail him!  I have a Gun Expert, but having someone local who can show me why I’m wrong is a Good Thing. 

**Firearm Owner’s IDentification card—it’s actually required for any resident of Illinois to possess or purchase firearms or ammunition.  Since the local firing range doesn’t allow outside ammunition to be loaded into their rentals, I need a FOID card even if I don’t ever  buy or own a gun.   To be honest, I’m not sure I want to have one in the house.  Maybe I am nervous—though that doesn’t make me wrong.

Today’s webcomic,  Space Base 8 , is the sole brainchild of David Scott Smith, who is frankly brilliant and draws the most adorable robot I have ever seen.