All The Stories Have Been Told

I love being a media consumer. And man, do I consume.

This year I've read 72 books (so far). I binge watch Netflix, borrow DVD's from the library, and download really long audiobooks when I know I'm going to be traveling. And while I fully believe that reading, watching, and listening is only one step behind actually putting your fingers to the keys and writing, there is a downside.

And that downside is that I always know what's going to happen.

There's a theory that there are only seven basic plots. I've been told for years that all the stories are exhausted, we're just recasting them in a new mold. When I was younger I didn't believe that, but now I see that's only because I hadn't been exposed to many of the already-manufactured stories in existence. Now that my horizons have expanded I can see it's pretty much the case.

I know. I always know. My brain has devoured so many plot lines, characters, story arcs, and fake conversations that it's almost impossible for me to get the same enjoyment out of books, movies, and TV shows that I could when I was younger. I'm at the disgusting point where I can predict dialogue. Recently, the boyfriend and I went to the movies and there were three different points where I turned to him and said the next line of dialogue before it happened.

I'm really annoying to go to the movies with, by the way.

There are benefits though - I know what people expect when they're reading my stories, so I veer off somewhere else. An author who blurbed my debut novel, Not A Drop to Drink, told me that he decided to do so when he thought he knew where it was going and then... it didn't.

But people are onto me.

Basically, they expect me to either kill someone they really like, come up with something amazingly disgusting - or both. Like M. Night Shymalan, I've got to find a way to reinvent myself, because everyone is onto my tricks.

Maybe I'll write a romance.

15 Water Conservation Tips & What To Read To Save Your Life

The recent climate report is more than a touch alarming, and if you're anything like me, you immediately began thinking about all the horrible ways we can die as a result. Something similar happened in my brain around 2010, which is when I started writing Not A Drop to Drink.

Even though it was published five years ago, it's more relevant today than ever before.

I learned a lot about water conservation while writing Not A Drop to Drink, so today I'm sharing some tips, along with my reading suggestions that just might help you survive the aqua-pocalypse.

Take a bucket into the shower. Instead of letting all your rinse water run down the drain, collect it for use in watering plants.

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. Water leaves the faucet at about 2.5 gallons a minute. If you're brushing your teeth for the prescribed two minutes, you just sent 5 gallons of water down the drain.

Do the same when washing your hands.

If it's yellow, let it mellow. It takes roughly 1.5 gallons of water to flush a toilet, significantly more of it's an old model. Ask yourself if you must flush the toilet every time.

Fix the leak. Even small drips accumulate.

Re-use pasta water. There's no reason to dump all that water you just used on the spaghetti down the drain. Let it cool, then use it for your plants.

Wash your car at the car wash. Many carwashes reuse the water that's captured in the pit, which is not possible at home in the driveway with the hose. This is one of those odd tips that actually makes your life easier while being good for the environment.

Shorten your shower. Yes, I love a nice long shower, too. But some showerheads spit out that stream at 5 gallons a minute. A nice hot shower is nice, but so is having a habitable planet to live on.

Have efficient fixtures. Aerated faucets and low-flow toilets are the new black.

Shrink your lawn. Or hell, why do we even have those things? I mean, seriously, what is the point?

Don't do laundry or dishes until you need to. A clean counter top is nice and an empty laundry bin is better, but did you have to do that half-load just now? This is the 2nd tip on this list that encourages you to be lazy. Listen to me. I know how to do this.

Watch you water bill. A sudden spike could mean there's a leak somewhere you can't spot it easily.

Install a rain barrel. Gardening in the summer can use a lot of water. The sky is great because sometimes it supplies that stuff for free.

Keep flushing... with less. Don't like the idea of letting your urine hang around a bit? Fill a half-gallon jug of water and sink it into your tank. Flush with a clean conscience and an empty bladder.

Water in the morning. Love your lawn too much to take my advice on #10? Water in the morning, when cooler temperatures won't evaporate what you've used.

While you're on that low-flow toilet with the submerged half gallon in the tank, do you need something to read?

Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman: When the taps run dry, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi: In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindlingshares of the Colorado River. When water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

H2O by Virginia Bergen: Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning “It’s in the rain. It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure,” the drinkable water is running out. Ruby’s left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father–If he’s even still alive.

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher: Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations.

The Pros & Cons of Drinking Your Own Pee


Last week marked the five year anniversary of my debut, Not A Drop to Drink being published. Since my post-apocalyptic debut I've written historical, mystery, contemporary, thriller, and fantasy. With seven books published, and an eighth coming in March, I've researched some odd things.

One of the difficulties facing me when I started writing Not A Drop to Drink was how to make the world believable. I think that's a huge leaping off point for any writer of Sci-Fi or Spec-Fic. How do we sell the world we pop our characters into? In my case, it wasn't one of those things where I could lackadaisically describe some trees (although trees are awesome) because the entire plot is based on the environment.

So, in a world where water is scarce and most of the water that does exist is cholera-ridden, how the hell is my character surviving? Well, I'm the biggest nerd you've ever met. So I researched my butt off in regards to H2O. I read about the history of water, I read about water ethics, and I read about water purification methods.

Yes, we can get salt out of water - good tip...

... but my character doesn't live near the sea.

Yes, you can drink your own pee...

... but not on a long term basis. Also, I wasn't sure I wanted DRINK to be identified as "that book where the chick drinks her own pee all the time."

Which left me with this - how is my character going to conceivably drink pond water in a world where I slashed the population down with cholera? Luckily, I'm a very invested nerd and I read National Geographic, where I discovered the SODIS method.

Yes! Science to the rescue! In short, the SODIS method involves putting water in clear plastic bottles and exposing them to at least six hours of sunlight. The UV-A rays in sunlight do the work, killing off viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Gee, thanks sun. You rock.