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!

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!

It’s A New Year

Hi everyone!

Sorry no post last week. I got busy and distracted. Okay, I also got lazy. There, I admitted it. I’ll try not to do it again.

So it’s a new year and for a lot of people that means New Year’s Resolutions.

Don’t those words sound ominous?

Is it just me that thinks those words are ominous?

I really do think those words are ominous.

Why am I still talking about how ominous I think those words sound?

I have to stop using the word ominous!

So… I’m back. Sorry about that. Anyway, I don’t really make those ominous resolutions. It just doesn’t work for me. Let’s face it, most people don’t follow through anyway. But I do sometimes think of things I’d like to improve upon in the new year. I’m not making a resolution, just… planning to try better or make changes in some areas.

So I’m planning on writing a lot more. Way more. Faster, less complex, less troublesome stories. Let’s face it, Freedom’s Fate beat me around and called me bad names for way too long. I don’t want to go through that. Yes, I had to get that story out of me, it was burning in there. That doesn’t mean I want another story that takes me that long and is so structured ahead of time. My usual writing style is to have a basic idea ahead of time and sit with the keyboard letting it flow as it comes. Freedom’s Fate was not that. I love the book, loved writing it, love the characters. I just want to writing something different now.

Don’t worry, book two for Freedom’s Fate is all ready to go. I’ll probably do a quick review of it again in a couple of months, after I’ve had some time away, but I think it’s pretty much all set.

I’m planning to read more this year. Not that I didn’t read much last year, but I just have a lot in my TBR pile that I definitely need to get to. And that doesn’t even include new things that I come across to add to it. I actually have a TBR mountain now, I guess.

I also have to spend some time soon finding a better way to market my books. I have tried a lot of different things in the past, but I don’t think any of them are as effective as I had hoped. I’m still thinking on this one. People can’t read my books if they don’t know they exist, right?

So anyway, there is a lot to do in my new work in progress and so little time in the day. Better go.

ominous

Doh!

Have a great weekend!

ominous

Go away you villainous word!