December 14 2017

Book Review: The Man from the Train The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery

I found this book quite by accident while searching online for an audiobook to listen to on my phone using the OverDrive app. I find that I get many more books read this way because I can take advantage of driving times and other times when I could never read a traditional paper book or even an ebook such as when I am packing my lunch, cleaning the kitchen, or even making a meal. I was a little disinclined to listen to it because it was so long, but let me tell you it goes by so fast. Since I listened to most of the book at either 1.6 or 1.8 speed, it likely cut the time to listen to it down significantly.

As someone who has long enjoyed watching shows like Numb3rs, CSI, Criminal Minds and Cold Case shows this was right up my alley. I really enjoyed how the authors explained that the technology at the time did not help them to catch the guy. In fact, the lack of technology made it appallingly easy for him to get away with murdering loads of people. The murders covered in this book took place between 1898 and 1912. Fingerprints were just becoming important and communication between the various law enforcement departments was practically non-existent. Blood was only able to be matched by type, so not terribly helpful. I really appreciated that the authors explained to me, as the reader, why certain things were done or not done. Toward the end of the book, when they finally explain how they found out who did it and how they were sure it was the right person, I felt completely comfortable with their explanation and found it believable. It was fascinating hearing how they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in the country over one hundred years after the fact. This means they solved numerous cold cases in the process of all their research. Unfortunately, his reach was even deadlier than he might have realized because a few innocent people were punished and put to death for crimes they didn’t commit and a few more were lynched and died because they were thought guilty of crimes “The Man from the Train” committed.

Reading this book did make me appreciate just how far crime-solving technology has come in the last hundred years or so and help me to understand that something like this would most likely not be able to go on for so long in this day and age.

It amazed me how thoroughly they were able to research crimes from over one hundred years ago. They explained things so well I understood the logic behind where they looked and why they kept looking for more crimes before the ones they were finding. I would love to see this book turned into a movie, mini-series, or TV series.

If you are looking for a good book to read or listen to, I highly recommend choosing The Man from the Train.

The Man from the Train The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
Bill James – Author
Rachel McCarthy James – Author
John Bedford Lloyd – Narrator
Release date: September 19, 2017

If you are interested in buying this book, please consider using the affiliate link below. It won’t cost you more and I might make a few cents because you did.

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery

December 9 2017

Only (Five Minute Friday)

Today’s Five Minute Friday word is only.

I only need to write for five minutes. I only have a million things to do. Not that I will do them because I am only writing. I was making the graphic to go with this post. I really enjoy doing that and seeing how different I can make them while keeping them looking similar in style. I’m only a novice at it but seeing them makes me proud because instead of paying only $1 for some of the photo backgrounds that Canva offers, I take my own. Whenever I am out and about and see an interesting texture, I snap a photo with my always-present cell phone. I zoom in so the texture is all you see filling the screen and sometimes I zoom in even more. In case you are wondering, today’s graphic is only denim, I thought the orange would go nicely since it reminded me of the thread color on many faded pairs of jeans I have worn over the years. Often, I only have one pair of shoes to my name, only a couple of pairs of jeans. Who wants to have two weeks worth of laundry piled up? If you only use what you have until it wears out, only have the bare minimum of things, you can never have too much to wash when everything is dirty, right? I only have a couple of loads a week most of the time.

I have learned a lot by being a blogger. I only need to know what I need to know today, tomorrow’s problems will present themselves soon enough. I teach myself how to do only what I need to know how to do at the moment. I used to use PicMonkey to create my graphics because it was free. I got pretty good at it, but then it suddenly wasn’t free anymore and since this blog has yet to earn anything for me, I try to get things free when I can. So I used Canva instead because again, it was free. I was frustrated because using Canva wasn’t the same as PicMonkey and it was new and different. There are still things about it I don’t understand, but I only had the need to try it when PicMonkey got greedy and decided I couldn’t save my graphics unless I paid. Thanks for the opportunity to learn something new. PicMonkey pushed me out of my comfort zone and I only learned more because of it. I still think of myself as only a newbie blogger, but then I find someone who is way newer to the whole thing than I am and I can help them so much by sharing the mistakes I have learned along the way. Maybe I am no longer only a novice. By continually stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, I continually amaze myself with the new things I am learning each week. Many weeks I feel I am only writing for myself and the spammers who seem to be the only ones to leave comments. I get enough of those that sometimes I don’t trust the honest to goodness real comments when they do happen. I am only me, so why do all these spamming people from so many other countries want to spam my blog? Do they read it and decide it is worthy or does some bot find my little old piece of the web and deem it worthy of posting a spammy comment to? Only God and the spammer really know.

I only do what I do and try to share some of the lessons I have learned the hard way in my half-century inhabiting this planet. Remember, it isn’t always that deep, sometimes it is only denim!

I forgot to set the timer and once again when I get to writing the words just keep spilling out onto the page. So you, dear reader, get an extra long ramble to read.  Remember I post new content every Thursday and whenever I get the Five Minute Friday prompt written, ideally on Friday. Until next week, I am only your humble rambling writer. Have a great week and subscribe so you can be the first to see what I post next Thursday.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Only
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

December 7 2017

Ben Franklin Used A BuJo?

I was poking around the internet as writers are known to do from time to time and stumbled across photos of an old journal of Ben Franklin’s. Reading some of his entries are interesting too, but the layouts of some of the pages that were not all text are what caught my attention.

I got really excited because it looks like a lot of bullet journal layouts I have seen. I told hubby, “Ben Franklin was a bullet journaler!”

“How do you figure?”

“I’ve got photos of his journal to prove it.”

“Show me.”

So I showed hubby the three photos above and he agreed they looked like something that might be in a bullet journal. Not that hubby is a bullet journal expert, in fact, he is more skeptic than anything.

Franklin had what basically amounts to a weekly habit tracker.

He also had a 24 hour time tracker

So, there you have it. Ben Franklin may have been one of the earliest known bullet journalers.

The new year is fast approaching and I have been considering how to set up my 2018 bullet journal. Some spreads should be copied into the new one, others will get blank versions of things in the old one, like the list of books read for instance.

What spreads do you find extremely helpful? Have you tried using a bullet journal? I have been using one for over a year now and love it! If it was good enough for Ben, it is good enough for me! Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite page or layout idea you want to share.

Photo of Franklin comes from:

http://leadershipvoices.com/2013/10/07/manday-quote-ben-franklin/

The pages of Benjamin Franklin's Journal are from:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20203

December 1 2017

Near (Five Minute Friday)

As the end of this year draws near, I find myself thinking about the goals I set and whether or not I will be able to accomplish all of them. I think about the word of the year I chose for 2017, FEARLESS, and all the things I dared to try because I was determined to live up to my chosen word. I have been thinking about my new word of the year to guide me through 2018 and am having trouble deciding which word to choose. No rush, I still have an entire month left to think it over while working on trying to finish up projects that are nearly finished or I am nearly out of time to finish. No, I won’t tell you about them yet, that is what my end of the year goals wrap up will be for.
I know in December I won’t be writing anywhere near the 55,000 words I wrote in November. But I will still be writing, at least every Thursday night. If you haven’t already entered your email to sign up to be notified when I post something new to this blog, I really wish you would. There is a sign-up box near the top right of the page, and it takes nowhere near a minute to do it from start to finish.

Are you thinking about the goals you will work on in the new year? Me too! I feel like focusing on goals this year has helped me to get so much done. I am actually having trouble figuring out what I can do next year to top this year.

December is always a tough month for me. November is the month I really focus all my free time and effort on writing and winning NaNoWriMo, this leaves me in a bit of a funk because I am usually exhausted, and missing the excitement and extra write-ins with my writing people. I miss the community all focused on the common goal. It takes a while to get over that and begin to focus on holiday preparations which always seem rushed because we didn’t start until December to consider what we would do.

So, as we near the end of this year, what are you planning for 2018? How can you make it your most successful year yet? Nope, I don’t know either, but I’m at least thinking about it.

Check back soon. I usually post twice a week on Thursday and Friday-ish. I get super inspired, sometimes I will post something extra over the weekend. Don’t forget to sign up for emailed notifications so you won’t miss any posts!

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Near
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

November 30 2017

NaNoWriMo Wrap-up

I have come a long way as a writer in the last four years. I have finally become a year-round writer. (As of this month I have written over 113,000 words so far this year!) I am not afraid to call myself a writer. I have put in the work and time and, though I may not have a book published yet, I AM a writer. I have 5 NaNo wins under my belt to prove it (to myself if nothing else).

My motivation for the month was a printout of the image below. This is my 2014 NaNoWriMo progress graph, also the first year I attempted to write fiction. As you can see I got off to a super slow start because I had no idea HOW to write fiction and I just plain had NO IDEA for a plot of any sort. I seriously doubted I could ever catch up once I got started and then around the 25k mark, I began to question whether I had a workable plot at all (I really didn’t), so I didn’t write anything for a few days. Seeing this graph and how I beat the odds, no matter how badly they were stacked against me, kept me going this month. My present-self would like to take this opportunity to thank my 2014-self for sticking it out and winning because if I hadn’t done it back then, I’m not sure I would have believed I could do it this year.

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