Q: On Instagram, you talk about your “day job”. Isn’t writing your full-time job?

Not yet, brother. Not. Yet.

Photo by Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka on Unsplash

I actually have a real person day job at the moment. In fact, I normally have a real person day job, a part-time job, and several side hustles.

Why? Because I hate being bored, and I’m fascinated by business in general. I know that’s not a sexy answer, but I really like knowing what businesses work, how they work, and how much money one can make with service and product based business.

As previously mentioned, I have several side hustles going at all times.

Side hustle – a side job; not a con

Me. You may proceed

I have an actual business (Pilgrim Fowl Press), teaching side job (Skillshare and Udemy), and I have a few more that I’m not ready to mention as they are in the pasta phase aka the testing phase.

So, that’s the long answer. No, writing is my full-time job. It might never be, because I like to play around with businesses, projects, and side hustles. The goal, however, is to make writing and my publishing company the main source of my income.

Let’s see what happens, shall we?


If you are a tinkerer as well, like to experiment with business, or have given your friends and family project fatigue with all of the ideas you have, you would be perfect for this group I’m forming of like minded side hustlers and experimenters. Considering joining this new and not yet consistent newsletter for the MORETHANONEIDEA Club – http://eepurl.com/gYSCd9

The Grocery Store Made Things Less Than Clear

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about COVID-19 directly, and I am standing firm on that for right now. That might change as things in our communities change, but for the time being, I will be casually reporting from time to time on things that are COVID-19 adjacent – like my trip to the grocery store yesterday.


We ran out of bread. This would be easily remedied by a trip to the grocery store under other circumstances, but right now, it’s a pipe dream. But I, dear reader, am a dreamer and a doer. So, I went to the grocery store.

As I walked toward the store, a teenager wearing the store apron, a mask, and gloves was sanitizing the handle on the grocery carts. I stopped and asked myself how many plagues we avoided by sheer luck since this practice appeared to be new. I took the cart closest to me.

I had a list on my phone –

Pause if you have an Alexa device or an Echo device and you aren’t using the Shopping List function, you are missing out on its most valuable feature.

Me. Carry on reading now.

I had a list on my phone which included a few miscellaneous items, bread, and dog food. I had no reason to walk through the produce section, but I did. Why? Because it was stocked to the brim. Completely full of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables. From the looks of the produce section, the grocery stores were getting back into a normal stocking routine.

I was inches away from blowing my entire grocery budget on all of this readily available food, but I stopped myself and remembered that I can only eat so much. I grabbed some Cara Cara oranges and recommitted to my list.

When I rounded the corner and headed toward the bread section, it too was mostly stocked, but this is where things started to feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

A man, I think, dressed in a hazmat suit complete with mask stood in the bread aisle squeezing loaves. A woman across the aisle leaned against the hot dog buns to get at least six feet away from me and Mr. Hazmat. She had the hood of her hoodie tied tightly around her face, plastic gloves, and no mask.

Note here: The coronavirus cannot get in through your ears or skin unless there is new information of which I am not aware.

The canned foods aisle was Mad Max territory. It was bad. No black beans in site. Repeat – No. Black. Beans.

As I went through the self-checkout, I saw an old woman with a dish towel tied to her face, a really fit couple wearing zero protective layers, and a woman around my age leaning into her cart to push it.

This is why it is confusing. It looks like the grocery store stocking system is stabilizing, but it’s hard to ignore the we-are-inches-away-from-Soylent-Green looks on people’s faces when out in public especially in grocery stores.

The new could be sanitized handles on shopping cart, people keeping a safe distance from each other in public places (aka not shoving each other out of the way), and sometimes not getting everything you want and need.

Part of that doesn’t seem too bad.

What I Read – March 2020 Edition

I’ll be honest – I read one book.

Song of a Wingfin is the first book by author Annette Williams McCann. Annette is a singer, songwriter, and now author. She is also a friend of mine. I’m basically pre name-dropping.

In this book, we follow a young girl named Noreen who finds herself in the midst of an adventure after making a black thorn pact with a…wait for it…fairy mermaid which is called a wingfin!

This book packed full of magical characters with the most interesting personalities. This book was a joy to read, and I feel very honored and lucky to have had the opportunity to read it early.

You can read more about Song of a Wingfin on Goodreads.

If you do read the book, please be sure to leave a review as it helps other readers find the book. Thanks in advance.

Author Voices

As I type this, I have three author voices – the children’s book voice (Barbara Ann Burgess), the blog and article writing voice (Barbara Burgess), and the romance voice (Lily Dae). Come July, I will have another author voice to add to the club house of writers that inhabit my mind: B.A. Burgess, scifi and miscellaneous fiction writings.

Author Voices vs Pen Names

I get a little bent when people call my author voices pen names. I’ve called them pen names in the past which makes me aggravated at myself, but I did it to keep things from getting complicated.

If ever there was a place to get complicated and wax philosophical about something as meaning less as a pen name, it’s on a blog. So, here’s the conversation I try to avoid having with people concerning my author voices and why they aren’t pen names.

Unwitting Person (UP): Why do you write under a pen name?

Me: I don’t.

UP: Yes, you do. That romance book. You wrote that under a pen name.

Me: It’s a voice.

UP: A voice?

Me: Yeah. An author. One of the many that live in my head.

UP: You hear voices, homey?

Me: No, but different stories require different writing styles and a different “mojo” if you will. So, I let different writing voices write different books.

UP: So, you basically get possessed and write all this shit?

Me: No, Jason. Listen very closely – Pen names are meant to hide the identity of the author. I don’t care if people know I wrote any of this stuff, but I need to keep all of the different genres separated by tone. The easiest way to do that is to organize them by voice. Giving each voice a name makes it easier for people to find the work they want to read, and it makes it easy for me to slip in and out of genres without getting writer’s fatigue. Does that make more sense?

UP: I don’t care anymore.

Me: I don’t either, man. I don’t either.

End of Song.

Q: If you aren’t bribing me to join your newsletter, why would I sign up?

Convenience.

The first Tuesday of every month, I send a newsletter with a brief message about the goings on in my life and a link to all of the blog posts from the previous month.

Once you click the link, you can peruse the headline and whole posts reading what interests you.

I will also send you links to courses, books, and things when relevant.

So, you can get the blog posts immediately delivered you by clicking Follow in the sidebar, and/or you can click the bones in the sidebar to my monthly newsletter.

Of course, there is always the option to do neither without any hard feelings.

Impromptu Blog Challenge

Can I blog for 30 Days without missing a post?

I have no idea, but I know if I am going to do this I need some guidelines. Without guidelines, I will most likely start posting pictures of River daily by day three.

To Pinterest!

(5 minutes later)

Okay. Forget Pinterest. Too much information there and too many challenges that involve prompts. Let us make our own rules, yes? Yes!

Guidelines/Rules

  1. Must blog daily between the hours of 4:30a and 11p, because I am an early riser but have been known to stay up late to meet a deadline.
  2. No offering a writing prompt as a blog post. Example of what not to do – Write about an army of chicken nuggets battling fish sticks. Winner takes kitchen! Go!
  3. No prewritten stuff from months or years ago.
  4. No photos only. If you’ve got nothing and want to post a picture, great! Put a paragraph under that mess.

Okay. I think that’s all. I’m sure I’ll add and amend the rules as I go, but for now, I’m into it.

This counts as my first post.

March: A Review – 2020 Edition

March this year has included self-isolation, a 5k, books written by friends, and less than adequate edits of my own books.

Self-isolation

Being at home with zero social obligations has been at once delightful and maddening. It has afforded me the opportunity to take some classes, learn some music and get a little fitter.

5k

Yesterday, I ran a 5k out of nowhere. I felt like I could. I said to myself aloud that I could, and then, boom. I did it. It was amazing.

My attempt to recreate my 5k this evening did not go as planned at all. Turns out running with dinner freshly spread about the bottom floor of your stomach is not a great idea.

Books Written By Friends

I was able to read my friend Annette’s new book this month which was great fun and you should all read it – Click here. My friend Tony released his book to the world this month as well. Both of these events plus all of the other things that Annette and Tony do make them superheroes. End of statement.

Less Than Adequate Edits of My Books

I have done a less than heroic amount of edits on my scifi book and my print copy of A Christmas Rideshare, but that’s okay. I had a couple of off days, because the well of work had run dry. When this happens, it is typically because I’m not farting around enough or exercising enough. I’ve taken care of this. Don’t worry.

How is April Looking?

Well, April is looking pretty chipper aside from the confusion and uncertainty that’s going on in the world. But I cannot fix or control the world. No, no. I must do what I can for myself.

The plan is to finish the edits on the scifi book, make a better cover for said book, finalize the paper back of the A Christmas Rideshare, and run at least two 5ks.

Let’s see what happens.

Q: What’s with all the dinosaur bones?

Oh, you mean these bones –

Field Museum

The better question is why don’t you have dinosaur bones all over your website, sir or madam or person.

Look, I’m a simple lady. I like dinosaurs. I like museums. Going to the Field Museum was on my travel wishlist. So, I went. I loved it. It was amazing.

I’m still there now. Living in a closet. Writing this blog.

Okay, I’m not, but it would be kind of great if I were, right?

At Least We Didn’t Cannibalize Each Other

Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash

On April 6th, things will be open again. People will be going back to work, and people will have built up a month or two of toilet paper, cleaning products, and canned food.

I was talking with Tony about this earlier today. He had questions as to what kind of people we’d be when this crisis is over? Will we be better people on the whole? Will the country be kinder? Will the world?

I made a joke about people emerging from their homes squinting into the sunlight and feeling dirt beneath their feet for the first time in a month. But, you know what, I know that won’t happen.

I have never seen so many people going outside since this COVID-19 pandemic. People are doing yard and garden work themselves. People who had given up on mowing their own lawns not only have to do it themselves now (because teenagers are bags of germs), but they want to do it themselves.

People are practicing social distancing in the public parks that are open. They are visiting friends and family outdoors with an appropriate amount of air between them. Communities are hosting fitness events in cul de sacs and dance classes on balconies of apartment complexes.

We are getting back to nature because of this damn virus. Those who are lucky enough to not have the virus are walking more, getting more sunlight, and getting more fresh air.

We are also communicating more. I have used Facetime more in the last week than I have my whole life. I am not the only one. My mother has been using Facetime too.

I have texted my family more often and connected with colleagues via video more often in the last week than I have all year.

We are becoming better communicators in part, because we aren’t working all the time the sun is out. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for day jobs including my own, but it is hard to want to talk with anyone after you’ve cooped up with two monitors and a wireless headset for upwards of eight hours.

Also, let’s talk about the phenomenon of hand washing. Were we, as a people, not washing our hands before?

I’ve never felt safer touching things lately. People are washing their hands constantly, and they are so proud of themselves for it. It’s like we’ve all discovered fire…again.

What I’m driving at is, I don’t know how we will come out of this. From where I am sitting, there will be those of us who emerge from our homes post-pandemic with appropriate amounts of vitamin D, better relationships with our family and friends, and the cleanest hands we’ve ever had. There will also be those of us who have lost people, lost jobs, lost hope. There will also be new survivalists that fill cabinets, sheds, campers with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes.

But no matter the group you’re in or I’m in when this is all over, we will all be winners as long as we can say, “At least we didn’t cannibalize each other.”