I Hate Taxes -or- The Monster Who Ate Half My Writing Time

Friday. Finally Friday! Woohoo!

Let me get this part out of the way first. I actually was able to write some stuff that I’m reasonably happy with this week, despite the tax challenges I rant about below. I introduced even more new characters (and they are important to the story,too), and I had a lot more action. This one is turning out to have a lot of action so far. I like.

I also am coming across some unplanned developments on the relationship front for some of my characters. That’s even more interesting to me. I like where this is going.

Of course some of the characters once again acted without consulting me, which made me work hard to fit their actions into the story, but I think I have it now.

And I also came up with plans for another new story that I think I may write after I finish up this and the next. The only hint about that one I’m giving is that it has a girl who lives in her car, possibly even a Smart Fortwo. Yeah, cramped. Still, they are so cute!

Okay, now the tax stuff.

I came to three conclusions this week:

  1. Turbotax is not my friend.
  2. Our tax system is designed to punish us.
  3. Turbotax is NOT my friend!

So let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

  1. Turbotax may be wonderful 95% of the time, but it isn’t always there for you when you need it most.

    The federal part of Turbotax is simple, easy, wonderfully designed.

    The state taxes, however, can be slightly not-so.

    I finished our state part and it found something when it ran its final scan. Huh. Okay, I’ll go back and recheck my state numbers. Everything was fine, but I got the error again. I repeated this process, making sure of my number, yet still an error. Several iterations of this led to the same conclusion.

    I’ll just correct the number right there, it lets you do that. I’ll just do that and get on with life. Uh-uh, said Turbotax, we’re just going to capriciously switch it back to the incorrect number and find the exact same error.

    Over and over.

    Fifteen quinzillion hours later (It’s a billion times a bazillion, look it up!), and I’m practically banging my head into the wall in frustration.

    Yeah, I was not pleased.

  2. Our tax filing system clearly targets those of us who don’t have accountants to do all our work for us. Yes, the EZ form is, well, easy. After that, it goes downhill quickly. You can either pay someone else to screw your taxes up for you, or do it yourself. And if you do make an error, they will catch it right away when you file.

    This of course leads me to ask one simple question: If they have enough information to know that you didn’t enter something correctly, then why do you have to enter it in the first place? Seriously, if they have all your information and can catch your errors then why don’t they just automatically do it and send you either a refund or a bill?

    Is this a test of our math skills?

    Maybe a test of our patriotism? Only a real patriot would voluntarily subject themselves to this, right?

    Or is this to punish those of us who can’t file EZ and can’t afford a full time accountant to do it for us?

    I think it’s that last one, honestly. It must be.

  3. Turbotax again? Yes, it repeatedly gave the wrong answer and wouldn’t let me correct it. I even had my wife take a look, and it still did the same thing for her. I even tried contacting them for help without any luck. Eventually we gave up and went to FreeTaxUSA. I really recommend them. Cheaper, easier, and lets you fix things if it gets them wrong. Way better than Turbotax.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Work In Progress/Wonderful Week For Eagles Fans

Hey everyone!

Well, not eve… oh wait, I did that in the last post.

Anyway…

My work in progress is coming along. I’m getting excited about it again, and that’s a great thing. At times my excitement has flailed about on this project. I’m always more excited when creating something new. For a while now I’ve just been getting all the actors in place so the scenes can take place, but now… now we have scenes, and it’s so wonderful to finally get here!

This week I added another new creature. This makes two now that did not previously exist in the Non-Vampire series universe, and I’m excited about it. I like adding new creatures, I just don’t want to make them too magical. I like to take existing creatures and monsters and sort of de-magicize them, basing as much of the creature as possible on at least a theoretically believable science. It doesn’t have to really be possible, but I would like if my creatures weren’t just the kind that could go “poof” and be able to kill someone or make lightning shoot out of thin air. The point of this ramble, and I guess it kind of has been a ramble, is that I try to limit the magic as much as possible. I don’t like it in books when all problems are caused and fixed by magic. It can work sometimes (Harry Potter, for example), most of the time it just doesn’t work for me.

So no magic wands in my books*

I want soooooo badly to talk about the new creatures, but I don’t want to spoil things. Ugh. But one was based on English folklore and the other on Greek mythology. That’s all I’m giving you for now.

Hm, what else happened this week?

What could possibly have happened that I can mention?

I just… I don’t know.

Oh wait,

There is the fact that THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES WON THE SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, sorry I shouted there. It’s just that I’ve been an Eagles fan since forever. I literally was still in elementary school when I started rooting for them. That’s a long stinkin’ time, okay! And in all that time, in those ***censored*** years, I’ve never once had a chance to say that my team is the champs. And believe me, there were a few things that made this one extra special. It was against the same team that took away their chance last time, for instance. Same quarterback, even. It came when the Eagles were massive underdogs. It comes at the expense of the GOAT. There’s so many other reasons this is special, but I am not going to outline them. Us Eagles fans finally got our trophy, though, and that’s what is important.

If you’re a Patriots fan, I sympathize. I’ve been on that end. But hey, you’ve had your wins lately. It was our turn.

I have to get back to writing.

Everyone have a wonderful week!

*Okay, so there could possibly be a magic wand in the future. I make no definitive declaration that I will never have a book with magicians and witches in it, just not for now. Also, no disrespect to the thousands of other magical books, because some are really quite good.

Just Another Post

Hello Everyone!

Well not everyone, exactly.

Just the people reading this.

Not really any point in saying hello to anyone not reading this because they wouldn’t know, right? Of course I could just be nice and include everyone. At least I’d know I said hello. As would everyone who reads this. But anyway…

This has been the longest week! At least I’ve been making progress on my next book. Actually the book after the next, because the next is basically complete and just needs a cover and quick review before release. I haven’t decided on an exact release date, but I’m thinking probably sometime in March, maybe. Maybe April.

Probably April.

But the work in progress is progressing. I’ve made some pretty major decisions on it, so now I just need to get going on the writing and finish it. There are some interesting twists to the story from the first two books (it’s book three in the Brynne, Non-Vampire series), and I’m hoping they go over well. Some new enemies and new creatures as well. I’m excited to see what people think.

But I keep having this story bounce in my head. Okay, several, but one that I keep coming back to. I may have to write it next. The only problem is that the last time I went back to a story that I had been thinking on for a long time it took me just short of eternity to write. But that one was a very complex story. The story in my head is one I’ve written very roughly before, but would want to start nearly from scratch on because it was so rough and needs so many changes. Not to mention, I know a little more now than I did then and the world has changed somewhat in the past five years.

So if I do write that story next, it would be the first book I put out with a transgender character in it. That’s kind of scary. Get anything (and I do mean anything) wrong and someone will be upset. Get everything right and a whole different group will be upset with it. Though I honestly couldn’t care less about the kind of people who would be angry if I wrote the book and got everything perfect. Those are probably the kind of people who are already upset because all of my books have gay characters. In short: not my audience, to put it nicely.

So what else is going on this week that I can write about? Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so we have six more weeks of winter. Which, the way things are going, is probably good news. Good because it’s only six more weeks. I was under the impression that winter was never going to end.

I’m tired of winter.

Here’s my imagination of how it could be, if only life were fair:

Alas, life is not fair. I do not live at the beach, and it feels about 12 degrees above I-may-instantly-freeze-to-death.

Superbowl this Sunday! Go Eagles!

Have a good weekend!