Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, writer, and possessed by cats

Tag: Death Wish Coffee

On writing, gaming and drinking coffee

Yes, yes, I know. I promised a snippet and you will get it. Not today or even tomorrow. I am going to start doing snippets on the weekends. I am hard a work on the final edits for Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3). I am also starting the preliminary draft for Dagger of Elanna, the follow up to Sword of Arelion (Sword of the Gods Book 1). After that, not necessarily in this order, will come Nocturnal Challenge, a secret project I can’t discuss just yet, Skeletons in the Closet, and a host of other books demanding to be written.

One thing I’m learning is that I have to take a little bit of time between projects to not only switch “voices” but to decompress. That week or so is when I try to catch up on my reading, see movies and trying out new video games. I don’t buy a new game after every finished product but I do when something interesting catches my eye or someone I trust recommends a game.

That’s why I played — and later reviewed — Rise of the Tomb Raider – Digital Deluxe Edition [Online Game Code]. It is why I am now playing Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Gold Edition – PC. This is the first time in a long while I’ve bought the actual disc for a game. But this particular edition was a much better buy than going to Steam and paying for the game and then buying the season pass. So, I bought the disc, installed it on my laptop and started playing.

And found what has, so far at least, been my favorite Assassin’s Creed game to date. Part of it is the story and mechanics. Part is the fact I can, on many of the missions, choose which character to play. I can go more for brute strength by playing Jacob or stealth by choosing his twin Evie. Yes, for those who feel there needs to be a female playable character, Ubisoft has given you one.

I’ll follow up with a full review when I finish the game but, for the moment, I am enjoying it a great deal and it has helped with the decompression from finishing Slay Bells Ring and doing edits (which I hate doing) on Honor.

So where, you ask, does coffee come into all this? That’s simple. Like a lot of writers, I seem to live on caffeine. My brain doesn’t get going in the morning without that kickstart you can only get from a cup of coffee. I grew up in a household that used a Corningware stove top percolator, even after the company recalled them. My dad’s philosophy was that your coffee wasn’t strong enough unless your spoon could stand, unaided, in the middle of the mug. Not that he would ever ruin a cup of coffee by adding anything to it. Coffee was meant to be drunk black as night and hot as Hell (or cold as the Arctic in the summer).

Fastforward to today. I’ve done the Mr. Coffee route and the Keurig k-cups. Mr. Coffee and those type of coffeemakers can leave you with scorched coffee because you leave it on the burner. The alternative is to brew into a carafe that is a bitch to clean. K-cups will never, ever make a full-bodied cup of coffee. Sorry, it just isn’t going to happen.

So someone finally recommended Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee, The World’s Strongest Coffee, Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic – 16 Ounce Bag. I balked at first. After all, you may as well say it is $20/lb. Ouch! Then I started looking at what I was paying for Peet’s or Starbucks to put into the reusable k-kups as well as what I spent to drink regular k-cups. By the time I added up the cost per cup and how many cups per day I was drinking, I thought I might as well give Death Wish a try. After all, if it was as strong as they said, I might not drink as much.

Boy has that been a good decision. My four or five cups (read large mugs) of coffee each day minimum I’d been drinking is down to two cups max. A pound of Death Wish lasts approximately 2 weeks. So my monthly coffee budget is $40. If I were buying k-cups (Green Mountain because that is the brand the rest of the family likes), and if I were averaging 4 cups a day, my monthly budget would be over $80 ordering from Amazon. It would be less if I were lucky enough to find a sale locally but those are few and far between. Starbucks whole beans would run somewhere between the two. So, for a great tasting coffee that has enough caffeine to get me going and that doesn’t leave me crashing later in the day, I’ll pay the price. It works out to be less in the long run.

Now, if only I could find chocolate as good as Death Wish is as coffee and that was as affordable per use, I’d be a very happy camper, er, writer.

The sun, it burns

Like many this morning, I look out the window and groan as the sun peeks over the horizon. No, I didn’t party too hearty yesterday. I’m just not a morning person. Add to that the fact I finished the rough draft for Skeletons in the Closet Saturday and my brain is still a bit fried. So, with the exception of going to my critique group yesterday, I took the day off. I will probably take it a bit easy today, re-reading Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1) and Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2) in preparation for starting the final edit round on Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3) , the third book in that series.

What surprised me with Skeletons is how the book wound up playing out.

When I first started writing it, and I will admit the first chapter hit paper a couple of years ago and then the project was shuffled to the back burner, I didn’t know where it was going. That’s the main reason I let other projects go ahead of is. I dusted it off when I needed something light and something I thought I could simply put aside again while I got my head into the right space to finish the edits for Duty. What I didn’t expect was that Lexie, Granny and company would demand I finish the book.

More surprising was where this book ended. My novels generally run in the 80k – 120k word range, depending on genre. Skeletons hit its natural ending around 40k words. That means, after final edits, it will come in somewhere around 50k words (there are those pesky little details and descriptions that need to be added in, as well as a couple of scenes that need to be fleshed out). However, that wasn’t the only surprise the book presented to me.

Oh no. Not at all. Whether my evil muse — Myrtle, in case you forgot her name — took inspiration from my posts last week about how books become series or what, the natural ending point for Skeletons isn’t the end of the story. Not by a long shot.

Sigh.

So, unless I want to fight the muse, I have just found myself with another series. At least this one has a very clear ending and will only be one more book (okay, maybe two. Myrtle the Must is evil, remember.) Now, what this means is that the title of this first book will change. Skeletons in the Closet will be the series title. What the new title will be, I’m not sure — yet. Unfortunately, Myrtle is saying I haven’t had enough coffee — even if it is Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee, The World’s Strongest Coffee, Fair Trade and USDA Certified Organic – 16 Ounce Bag — to wake her up.

With Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3) coming out in April (and it is available for pre-order now), I’m not sure I will get Skeletons #1 out before then. I am going to try, but I don’t want to rush either book. So, I guess this is my way of saying I will keep everyone in the loop.

In the meantime, check out Nocturnal Challenge (Nocturnal Lives Book 4).

The one thing Lt. Mackenzie Santos had always been able to count on was the law. But that was before she started turning furry. Now she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy to keep the truth from the public-at-large. She knows they aren’t ready to learn that monsters are real and they might be living next door.

If that isn’t enough, trouble is brewing among the shapeshifters. The power struggle has already resulted in the kidnapping and near fatal injury of several of Mac’s closest friends. She is now in the middle of what could quickly turn into a civil war, one that would be disastrous for all of them.

What she wouldn’t give to have a simple murder case to investigate and a life that didn’t include people who wanted nothing more than to add her death to the many they were already responsible for.

For a change of pace, if you enjoy a little bit of romance with your suspense, or a little bit of suspense with your romance, check it out Slay Bells Ring.

Fifteen years ago, Juliana Grissom left Mossy Creek in her rear view mirror. She swore then she would never return for more than a day or two at a time. But even the best laid plans can go awry, something she knew all too well, especially when her family was involved.

Now she’s back and her family expects her to find some way to clear her mother of murder charges. Complicating her life even further is Sam Caldwell, the man she never got over. Now it seems everyone in town is determined to find a way to keep her there, whether she wants to stay or not.

Bodies are dropping. Gossip is flying and Juliana knows time is running out. After all, holidays can be murder in Mossy Creek.

Snippets for Skeletons in the Closet will continue through this week and then I will start snippeting Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3).

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