Category Archives: Writing

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Gunslinger cover


I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King. I own a lot of his books, as my husband’s mom buys them for us all the time, but both of us have only read a few. I’ve read On Writing and The Shining, and now The Gunslinger.

The Gunslinger is the first book in King’s Darktower Series. I think this is the closest King ever really gets to sci-fi. King intended Darktower to be an epic, his magnum opus, and it certainly is impressive in scope.

This first book does not explain a lot about the world it takes place in, but it does give the reader enough information so that they’re not confused. It’s a great beginning, and it really does just set the stage for the rest of the books. I’ve heard that the first 4 books are the best, so I will definitely be reading all of those, but I don’t know yet whether I’ll finish the series, which I’ve heard drags on a bit in the later books.

They’re making a Gunslinger movie, and I really wish they were making a miniseries instead. The sections of the book are really each their own scene, each of which would make a great episode of its own in a series.

King sets the scene really well visually, and characterizes Roland really well while still keeping a lot of details in the dark. I read the original version, but I would probably recommend reading King’s edited version, where he fixed a few inconsistencies. The world the book takes place in has some references to our own, especially in the form of Beatles songs, but technology is very different and for the most part lacking. There is also a bit of magic and some references to gods/supernatural beings. For the most part, this book shows us this world, but none of the “why things are the way they are”. I imagine much of that will come later.

If you like fantasy and you haven’t read The Darktower series, I would definitely recommend checking it out, as it’s really engaging and interesting.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?


I don’t buy a lot of books full price. This isn’t because I don’t value them. It’s because as good as my intentions are I don’t tend to read books I buy for a very long time. So by the time I read it, it will be available in used book stores for a lot less. And I like supporting used book stores. But I also like supporting authors, so when it comes to small presses and debut authors, I try to buy books full-price. Otherwise, if I see a new book I’m interested in, I usually file it away for future used bookstore hunts.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is a book I saw in Hastings many times before I purchased it. I think it caught my eye because of the cover. It’s a pretty blue book with a fun, eccentric looking illustrated woman’s face on it. The synopsis was fun. But I wasn’t going to pay Hastings prices for it.

Until Hastings went out of business, that is. I have a lot of (mostly negative) thoughts about mega-media stores like Hastings. I did not feel bad at all taking advantage of their closing sale clearance prices.

(There won’t be spoilers in this review) Read the rest of this entry

Ghosting vs. Releasing

Today we have a guest post from W.M Chandler! She writes about the importance of cutting loose toxic relationships while recognizing that not all conflict is toxic.

We have all experienced relationships that did not serve us in a positive way, whether it was a family member that only caused turmoil, a malicious friend or a narcissistic significant other. Letting go of a relationship to better your mental state can be both empowering and jarring for both parties.

When evaluating your relationships, it is important to recognize the difference between long-lasting negative feelings and an exclusive instance that may have an opportunity to be remedied. This is the difference between the need to release a person from your life and simply “ghosting” on a relationship that might have been only temporarily soured. Read the rest of this entry

Gamifying Home school for Older Children

Today I’ve got a new article up about gamifying home school for older kids! Whether you’re familiar with gamification or not, this piece gives some ideas about how to incorporate it into a home school environment!

Taking Your Gardening Underground

If you’re looking for ways to keep your family self-sustainable through the winter, check out this article I wrote for Right to Thrive! It goes into some of the basics of building underground greenhouses where you can plant your produce year round!

How “Fire Touched” by Patricia Briggs gets personal agency right


fire-touchedIf you haven’t read any of Patricia Briggs’ books, I highly recommend them. They are fantasy books set in basically our world, but with werewolves, fae, and other magical creatures that humans are aware of, if not completely in the loop about the extent of their powers.  And being set in the Pacific Northwest, there’s lots of cool landscape and locational shout-outs to the region!

“Fire Touched” is the 9th book in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy is a mechanic who can shapeshift into a coyote and was raised (and now lives with) werewolves. She is also friends with vampires and fae, though the magical beings don’t usually get along with other types of magical beings. All sorts of drama between vampires, werewolves, humans, fae, and witches ensues.

In “Fire Touched” Mercy is asked to protect a human child who has magical powers because he was trapped by the fae for hundreds of years. So yes, he is not actually a child, but he looks like one and has not really developed social or life skills beyond that of a child.

I don’t want to spoil too much, and I can’t go into to many details without spoiling important events in the series for those who haven’t started it, but there’s one major thing that stuck out to me in this book and that is personal agency.  Read the rest of this entry

Organizing Cupboards

My husband and I are pretty good about keeping our home clean. He keeps the kitchen pretty spotless (so I have something to mess up when I cook), and does the laundry, while I tend to focus on keeping the crap (okay, MY crap) from piling up in the common rooms. If my craft-room mess is contained to the craft room, we’re looking pretty good.

But there are definitely places in our home that suffer from lack of organization. Our bathroom shelves are pretty disheveled, with body care products thrown up there with no regard for order. We also have a couple of “junk drawers” in our kitchen that are pretty frustrating to dig through when we’re looking for miscellaneous items. Read the rest of this entry

Storage Solutions for Messy Craft Supplies

In the 2 years since I moved from being a wannabe crafter to an active one, I’ve accumulated a lot of craft supplies. Many of them fit well in the drawers and shelves, but there are certain items that seem destined to make messes. Below are some of my problem supplies and how I’ve battled them. Read the rest of this entry

Saving Money Moving

Whenever I read “saving money” advice, I feel like it’s written for people who live in the 90s. These people still have landlines, pay for services that are free on the internet, and aren’t drowning in student loans.

So when I write financial advice, I try to steer clear of outdated, useless “tips”. I recently wrote for Whitney Hansen’s blog, which has great articles about saving money, traveling, and becoming an entrepreneur! My article explores some simple but effective ways to save money while moving. Enjoy!

Three Secrets to Productively Working from Home

This is a guest post, written by Debbie Rosemont, Certified Professional Organizer. You can see her bio below the post, but first here are some great tips she wrote about working productively in a home office!

For some of us, working from home is a daily occurrence. For others, it is an occasional possibility. Whether you work from home as a routine, or telecommute periodically, there are benefits and challenges that you’ll encounter. A few of the benefits are that you can work in your PJs, save time on your commute, and can attend to personal tasks throughout the day, as well as to your business.  A few of the challenges are that you can work in your PJs (dressing professionally may help us feel more “serious”, dedicated or focused on our work), don’t have a commute (for some, that commute helps them separate home life/tasks from work and vice versa), and can attend to personal tasks throughout the day, as well as to your business (shiny personal objects competing for your attention as well as shiny business objects).

Here are three strategies we recommend for maximizing your work time from your home office:

Tip #1 Resist the temptation to do household work:  Mixing your work-work with your house-work can make you less efficient and slow down progress on your goals.  If you’ve blocked out time to work on your business, make sure you’re making the most of that time by avoiding small tasks like tossing in a load of laundry, opening the household mail, or reorganizing the pantry.  Several small tasks can add up over your work day. Save these tasks for the beginning or end of your day, or even during a (dedicated) lunch break – essentially before or after your work is done.

Tip #2 Turn off the TV, XBOX, YouTube, Facebook, etc.:  Get what you want out of the time you have blocked off for work by eliminating common background distractions like having the TV on.  Having such things in your field of vision makes it too easy for your eyes to wander away from your inbox, project or report and onto your favorite sitcom. Consider taking 10 minute breaks for each 50 that you work to browse the web, check updates on Facebook, or watch a “just for fun” clip on YouTube, but make sure to limit the break and then turn the media off when you return to work.

Tip #3 Keep your work on schedule:  Block time on your calendar that is specific to your work-related tasks and appointments. Stick to those blocks by using reminders and timers. Make your workday schedule specific by working off a task list, or honoring blocks of time on your calendar for work tasks and stay focused on those things for that specific block of time. Take a little time each week to plan your work week, identifying your priorities (what few tasks, if I accomplish them this week, will help me accomplish my business goals), scheduling in time to work on them, and a little time in for fun as well.

Here’s to your organized and productive life!


Debbie Rosemont, Certified Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant, started Simply Placed, in 2003 to help clients increase productivity, maximize efficiency and bring balance and control into their work, homes and lives. Simply Placed associates work with individuals and businesses to create effective organizational systems, clear clutter, successfully manage time, focus on priorities and achieve goals. They help people work smarter, not harder, to increase their bottom line and peace of mind through consulting, hands-on organizing, and group training. They can be contacted at 206-579-5743 or