Monday, January 26, 2015

Notes of the Day

It’s a Monday, so I’m outlining my day and week. And wondering where I spend my time. Mondays are my usual taking care of business day.
I have The Bride Says No book and cover to lift up to Indy publishing. It's a perfect Valentine's Day book. (Watch for it?) I used my neighbor’s fence and a rose shot. There’s e-mail to send. There’s Twitter and Facebook stuff, Life stuff—like getting the recycling down to the center.

On top of that, I have to worry about this doll. (See below. Ad work comes first, you know.)

People wonder where I get my ideas from, and this is a fine example. I saw this doll in a thrift shop and fell in love with her. (Yes, I love thrift shops. :) She is unusual for our area. For one thing her eyes blink, not something you’d usually see in thrift shop. Her little dress has Ich Bin Lieb Stamped on it, which is German. (She needs her panties repaired.) My daughter knows how to fix ratty doll hair, learned on Pinterest. I am not a doll collector, btw. This one just caught me.

Moving on to examine the doll's back... She evidently spoke at one time. I’d love to hear her, though the tiny record isn’t playing now. If anyone knows how to get this working I’d love to know.

So. Here’s the story I came up with: This doll was actually used by a spy. Here’s why that premise is valid: In our tech world we’re expecting high-tech stuff, rather than the simplicity of a speaking doll record. Spy catchers could overlook this doll. And there’s no end to the secrets that little battery could hold.

Oh my gosh! Maybe those stacks at 45 and 78 records could hold all sorts of secrets! :) Anyway, that doll fascinates me and I’m certain there is a story in her somewhere… She’ll turn up in one of my books.

The rest of the week is pretty much work because I’m trying to get those precious links into my Indy ebooks. January and February are hard working months for me, because when spring comes...

There’s always a gripe. Here's a short one: the cost of inkjet cartridges, which can be more than an actual printer.

If you have any idea what is on that doll’s little record, let me know?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back From Novel Interrupts

WILD DAWN (New cover):
Kidnapped and freezing in a mountain cabin, high-born Lady Regina is terrified when the mountain man arrives with his baby son. MacGregor needs a woman to care for his son and he's offering marriage, or she can be left to die.
A man scarred by his own past and devoted to his baby, MacGregor isn't willing to be tamed to her hand; she isn't the docile wife he'd planned. But this mountain man is in hot pursuit, determined to keep his wife and baby safe, and is surprisingly tender, more appealing by the minute.
With another powerful man hunting her, wanting to possess her and the legendary power that is hers, Indian wars circling them, MacGregor and Regina struggle against terrifying dangers, passion, and love in a wild new dawn...
It's foggy outside my office this morning, a perfect time for reflection on the new year and goals. After a few months of having Novel and Book Biz Interruptus, I'm back at my desk. (The holidays were a very busy time.) During this time, there has been very little actual writing.

FWIW, I'm enjoying the indie side of publishing after years of being legacy published. I didn't realize, at the beginning of this indie publishing gig, how much work it would be to get my new and reverted novels into epub. Some writers choose not to do it: either they will go with a publisher or they will hire someone to do the work. It's all a matter of personal choices. But I've always been a hands-on person. (Translate that as one who admittedly likes control.)

One of the important criteria for developing a writer's career is not often mentioned. And that is stamina/endurance. We only have so much creative and physical energy. Past those limitations, we stand to lose creative (and promotional) ground/quality.

Still. The holidays. Sigh. Enjoyed them with family, but had to step back. Thus, Novel Interruptus.

Business and contact with writer friends/groups serve to stimulate the Taking Care of Business mode.

In case you've gone through this, the first thing you have to do is to make a priority list. That will depend on where you left off and what is most necessary. Here's my current list:
1. Add links to my e-books.When you first start indie publishing, you don't have links to add other than your website, blog, newsletter etc. As each new book comes along, you add the previous book's links.This is highly recommended by all promoters. If publishers put links to the author's social media, website, etc., it would help promote the books. Instead, most want the reader to come to their website.
2. Update covers. I can do basic graphic work, but also use designers. Wild Dawn, a western romance is a redo. (BTW, Wild Dawn is unusual for that subgenre.)
3. I'm adding more indy books to iBooks and Kobo. Kindle and Nook have most of them.
4. Update my Facebook pages.

The above is all busy work, having little to do with writing. But it does start the wheels turning.

After that comes Goals:
1. Somewhere at the bottom of the list, I'm going to learn CreateSpace formatting.
2. Updating the links on my blog/website, i.e. iBooks.
3. Use all my how-to write articles in a book.

If I can catch up minimally on my links, covers etc., hopefully I can get back to writing because one book is not far from completion, the second in a series. It has waited all this time....

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Gift Givers and Tunisian Hooking

I hope you're enjoying the holiday season and my Christmas Snuggable(s): Miracles and MistletoeThe Pendragon Virus,  The Loving Season. :) 

Books are always great gifts, but sometimes we writers do other stuff.

Like Tunisian Hooking: I'm not a knitter or a crocheter. However, I got this huge bag of stuff at Goodwill, which included probably everything needed--and a big batch of cream yarn.

My mother and sister crocheted everything, from the most delicate to afghans. (Which left me bored, of course.) But then, a few years later--lots of years later--this came along and looked interesting. My books contain things I've done, seen, tried. If YouTube can't explain it, well...  Look for Tunisian Hooking somewhere in my future books. :)
So. Carolin, who knows everything, pitched in to explain the long hooks in the photo. They are Tunisian Crochet Needles, which come in all different sizes, in aluminium/plastic/bamboo etc. Also, there are ones with long plastic strands for longer projects. The bottom effort is a mix of whatever I might know.

To use, you work back and forth and never turn the creation. You crochet one way and knit the other, so back and forth. Thanks to YouTube, I can now crochet a basic Tunisian stitch and the purl knit stitch. I'm learning what size hooks go with what yarn/project and am ordering larger Tunisians. (I'm still on dishcloths and have a mighty stack of them for gift giving.)

So far, I can double crochet enough for a dishcloth--and these are the best stress relievers possible. You can carry a cotton ball in a plastic sack with a crochet hook everywhere. They are great for waiting rooms. I've tried my iPad in waiting rooms, but crocheting does help a lot of tension--like at 3:30 this a.m. when I awoke from the prehistoric giant sloth chasing me.

Tunisian crocheting has a tendency to curl badly when starting, so Carolin advised using a large crochet hook to chain off so many.

While visiting my daughter, we made use of JoAnn's/Michael's etc. coupons and picked up more crochet hooks and yarn. (Neither one of us crocheted at this pt.) Note: the Tunisian needles are not that readily available and Amazon has a great selection. Do check on coupons, which represent big savings, at the craft stores.

With the help of YouTube, our iPads/minis, my daughter and I managed to learn more. She created a beautiful baby blanket. She went on to a basket weave stitch and is trying a shell stitch. I am back at the double crochet starting gate with the 2 Tunisian stitches.

If you're looking for stress relievers, I can highly recommend crocheting simple dishcloths. They make great gifts, rolled and tied with raffia, they are usually much appreciated. (And they can even be used as bath time exfoliators.) If you're a beginner like me, don't start a large project at first, but work your way up.

Also recommended are my Christmas Snuggable(s): Miracles and Mistletoe, The Pendragon Virus,  The Loving Season. :) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Upcoming & Potstickers

The Ebook of this is out now, but the paperback cover is so gorgeous, I wanted you to see it now. Thank you, NajQamberDesigns.


The Basket Maker's Wife:
 Safely hidden away from her horrifying past, single mother Nora loves her elderly friend, the inituitive owner of The Basket Shop. A young woman on-the-run arrives, and the three women's lives unite, changing Nora forever. Amid a cast of characters who love her, Nora fearfully faces the past, a new full life, and the terror of a shocking gift that has waited for her....
 A Different Kind of Story from Cait London:
 The Basket Maker’s Wife concerns the Celtic trio: The Maiden, The Mother, and The Crone (Elder woman). Those are the three stages of a woman’s life, and I hope you enjoy the women, their lives and loves in The Basket Maker’s Wife.

I usually write about things I know, rather the elements involved and am working on another book in which I'll use the following Freeze Now, Serve Later Recipe. It's great for Brrr Weather.

These are ground pork dumplings, sometimes called potstickers by our family. I usually put these together while watching a movie and freeze for later.

Some of my family likes them browned in sesame oil, but I prefer them in chicken broth. (Broth is usually onions, garlic, some red pepper flakes, parsley or chives, maybe mushrooms.)

The Big Tip is to use plenty of flour on your parchment paper/cookie sheet and to separate them. The Dumpling Wrappers are delicate.

There are several "Korean Mandu" videos on YouTube. Isn't YouTube great? I call it my University. :)

Here's the basic recipe:
1 lb ground fresh pork
tofu if wanted
finely chopped green onions
2 TBS corn starch
2 TBS sesame oil
soy sauce, not much
salt as needed

Use in the proportions you like. I mix this and separate, working with 1/2 and keeping the other cold. Put a teaspoon of meat mixture in the center of the wrapper, smooth water around the edges, and crimp. Freeze.

I've used green chives and white onions in lieu of green onions. I've skipped the tofu at times, and added different available greens, i.e. kale. Be sure to keep everything finely chopped. These dumplings are great to freeze on the cookie sheet and later place into plastic bags. Kids love them fried in sesame oil.

A supply of dumpling wrappers is always at the ready in my freezer.

I hope you have time to enjoy the upcoming holidays, either with family and/or friends, or just settling into a quiet time with dumpling soup and perhaps reading The Basket Maker's Wife Amazon/Nook :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Land's Early Christmas

Is it too early to think about Christmas? IMHO it is too early, prior to Thanksgiving.

But in BookLand, authors are busy getting Christmas books out there. And so am I. (Check out my updated Book List)

But the Other Side of me, that homey side is busy gift-making.

I have a whole line-up this year, and beaucoup thanks to a good friend, Carolin. She helped me get down one crochet stitch, which has served me well during lots of stress. After a full day's work, I crochet dishcloths. It's so much fun choosing the colors to suit the person I want to gift. They are great little gifts. So me and my one stitch have been busy. I have no idea how many I've made and gifted. Caro has promised to teach me a new stitch next year.

This is a big flat basket filled with my crocheting stuff. I did just crochet an eternity scarf for someone who needs to cover her nose and mouth during winter chill. And I'm headed toward those Tunisian needles someday. Maybe. :)

I usually bake cookies, and always, always, gingersnaps.

This year, I think I'll make apple butter and homemade laundry soap. Maybe.:)

But those little dishcloths have done wonders for my stress levels, topping off the night with a movie and crocheting.

My current Work in Progress features a heroine who does a lot of this homemade stuff, so I have experienced what I write. Most authors research their topics, but quite a few of us sew, paint, and have creative hobbies, aside from our profession, writing.

Meanwhile, if you're stocking up your Christmas reading, do check out the links to my Christmas "Snuggable" List on my Book List Page, which is growing.