Wait, can those two things really go together? You know, in the right light, it might be possible. But not today.

Today I just had to share something I came across last evening that just blew me away… A pretty-looking spreadsheet! My desktop basically bit the dust after five long years and so that forced me to upgrade. The version of Quickbooks that I had on that machine was just as old, it had never been upgraded, but worked fine so I thought I’d just move it over to this one. Nope. Shows I was born in in the BC era (Before Computers). The OS on the old machine was XP so of course hardly anything I had would move over to Windows 8.1.

Anyhow, long story short, I am NOT buying a tone of software after buying a new system, so here enter Excel. I have a passing knowledge of Excel, so then entertained the thought of just keeping my business ccunting on Excel. That’ll be fine, right? Well, yes and no. Yes it does the job, but no I’m not able to do all those fancy formulas.

Here comes my great knowledge of the Internets to the rescue! There are all kinds of resources for finding simple templates and bunches of formulas…. It’s almost exciting. Toss in a glass of wine and some chocolate, and that’ll make for a very evening.

But wait! I like to draw stuff and try to make a living with that, so looking at dry, shrivelled lines with numbers is… dull. No torque, no turqoise, no love interest. Yuk. So off I went to search for something interesting to look at while making (a few) invoices. Looks like for once the Earth’s gravitational pull was pulling just right because look what came up! I’m posting links here because I think she does a fine job of her spreadsheets, and she looks to be a pretty fine artist too. And these are easy enough to tweak with your own artwork (or mine, hint hint). Fan of Supernatrual? She’s got you covered.

She put these together for NaNoWriMo, so all you writers out there (I know you’re there somewhere), do check them out. NaNo is almost over, but every month can be NaNo month! I’ll be doing my own probably in February, because this month is dedicated to the final edits of my already-finished book. Yes, I did that plug on purpose. :-)

I intend to use the template to set up my word counts for future novels, as well as for my accounting. I think they are clever, colorful, and interesting. Visit her site and download the templates! Svenga Gosen clearly states they are free to use and share. LINK

Speaking of hot stuff, I just finished reading Michelle Hodkin’s third book in the Mara Dyer series: The Retribution of Mara Dyer. This book has been over a year on the To Be Read list, waiting for it’s release. The books are Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance genre books, and I have to be honest. I really enjoyed the first two, and almost really enjoyed this last one. The story is mostly written from the viewpoint of the main protagonist Mara Dyer, who is basically a misfit in her world. I won’t go into the plot too much as it would be too easy to give spoilers, and so much is revealed in this last book that we didn’t know in the first two.

The Good, from my own point of view:

Mara is naturally not such a strong person so much of what happens makes enough scence. Not everyone can be (or would want to be) Barbarella. She is a sweet girl, but strongheaded nonetheless, and that really came through in this last installment. Really. No kidding. This girl has a backbone underneath that cute white dress.

The voice of the book. I really like Michelle Hodkins voice. Her writing can be poetic and really nice to read, and made the book one that I really looked forward to curling up with (I’m not a fast reader).

The characters. I liked Mara and her friends, and Noah was an interesting dude too. And apparently he has the hair we all dig so much. I liked her friend Jamie a whole lot too. Speaking of Noal, he isn’t in this book much, but counts when he is there.

What I didn’t like (but it’s just my opinion, and means nothing)

This third book disappointed me big time, about two-thirds through. It was really very interesting to watch Mara go down the road she was going – that was the best part of the book for me – and the idea of the enitre 3-book story is actually a good one. What I didn’t like is that it felt like such a departure from the first two books, much like the three Hunger Games books. The first one was REALLY good, the second one as well, but holey moley the third book felt like a different species all together. It just breaks the spell completely apart. Change is good, overhauls need planning.

The idea the author presents of good guys can be bad and bad guys can be good is fantastic, but there was no warning at all (unless I missed it), that certain characters were at first doing the evil-dude things and then whoops! no no, see, it was not really evil. I don’t know… it just made me twitchy that everything was going along well, tense and everything, and then boom. Reasons of stuff. But anyway. I haven’t given any spoilers, and I really do like these books actually.

I just had to get this off my chest. Michelle Hodkin is definitely an author I’ll read again, just please don’t make a u-turn at the end of a series! If you have read the book, let me know what you thought of it!

A bientôt!

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