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Showing posts from November, 2010

That Gluten-Free Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

I'm the one that's gluten-free. The son that lives with us is vegetarian. And with only three of us at home this Thanksgiving, only two of whom are carnivores, we decided to try for a gluten-free vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner menu.

High point: This time I didn't make a black bean casserole that looked like a loaf of cornbread piled on top of a can of beans.

Even higher point: Today--Tuesday--the son announced, while studying at his computer, that...
He liked my cornbread (A first. Gluten-free baking, at least my gluten-free baking, is often boring and dry, but I added salsa to the dough this time and, apparently, it worked!)He doesn't like squash, and had serious doubts when I triumphantly carried my stuffed acorn squash to the table, but it was really goodAs was the rice stuffing with bits of cranberry in it (so now I know what stuffing to do for Christmas).Oh, and that Indian thing I did last week apparently tasted nice too.I think my son just made my day! And I'…

Friday's Gift

It took a while before I realized Black Friday referred to future shopping, not some dire historical event. Having learned, I decided not to participate--there must be better ways to work off those calories than going to war with the neighbors. Meanwhile the internet was full of sites advising "Shop Black Friday deals from the comfort of your own home," conveniently forgetting the internet would reduce to a blank screen on Thanksgiving--well, blank screen with tiny icon saying "waiting for something.something.ad" while you wait for "something.com." Still, Amazon's advertised deal on Black Friday Kindles was certainly enticing--would my scruples (and internet) hold me back, or would I try?

They said the deal would start at 9am Pacific time, so my husband brought me coffee in bed at 8:20. By 8:40 I was awake and sitting at the computer, which was slightly less awake. Middle son was reminding me "Don't read your emails Mom. Just go to Amazon.&quo…

WooHoo! Black Widow has a cover!

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I just got my first look at the cover for Black Widow, coming soon from Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Look at that black and red--perfect for a black widow spider--and the blue man's slowly succumbing to her web, or her to his. That red and gold makes me think of Christmas too, and it sounds like the book will be out in time for the season. What a wonderful Christmas present for the computer, e-read for the cook, and sheer delight for me.

Start with week with Action or Literary Prose

I'm still catching up on posting my book reviews for that reading journey. These are the action adventure tales I've read in the last couple of weeks, and scroll down for literary fiction--my favorite.

The Capablanca Variation by Douglas Quinn: Charlie's Angels meets James Bond--world-traveling agents steered by a behind the scenes chess-master; death, mayhem and destruction.

The Electric Church by Jeff Somers: dystopian science fiction; dark world; scary technology; and great fun.

Shadows from the Past by Ashley Dawn: Christian suspense with lots of backstory and description. Former friends thrown together in the hunt for a murderer who's got them both in his sights.

And in a more literary vein...
The Reckoning by Howard Owen:  A teenager comes of age, tied down by his father's own coming of age during the Vietnam war, and threatened by loss. A surprisingly powerful tale that stays with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Seducing the Spirits by Louise Young…

Children's stories (and tales for the young at heart) for Saturday Morning

These are the childrens' and young adults' books I've read recently on that reading journey... Fun reads for a Saturday morning while rain drips outside.

Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke: I'd been waiting to get this in paperback for a while. I love the series, just not quite enough to shell out for a hardback. And this was a very fitting conclusion--best yet in my estimation.

My Sparkling Misfortune by Laura Lond: With an evil anti-hero narrating his fall from wickedness, this one's great fun and told in a really enjoyable voice.

The Unwanted by Daniel Carter: Genetic engineering, faith, superheroes and the FBI combine delightfully. Looking forward to more in this series.

The Royal Dragoneers by M.R. Mattias:  A well-crafted world with rich detail and vivid descriptions, interesting characters and an enjoyable storyline.

Dawn of the Shadow by Peter Kelly:  Young adults trying to make their way in the modern world are suddenly faced with a very different history than the one …

Some scary books for a windy night

Continuing to list those books I've been reading recently, here's some scary ones for when that rain turns to howling winds tonight... As usual, if you click on the links you'll find my reviews on gather.

Friday the Thirteenth, by M. Flagg:  Humanity's more dangerous than the jungle, so she chose Manhatten; a fun little scary romance.

The Poison of a Smile, Salazar book 1, by Steven Jensen: Beautiful evocative language. Lovely old-fashioned feel of Bohemian decadence. Gruesome, haunting, sad...

The Eyes Have it, by Denise Bartlett: An intriguing lunch-time read with a green-eyed sting in its tail.


Vow of Superstition: Dragon's Blood, by Skhye Moncrief: A fascinating world, with dragons, and a drink of dragon's blood to seal a young woman's fate.

Witches, Werewolves and Jack the Ripper, by G.M. Jackson: a cool scary story that looks at the Jack the Ripper story from some very interesting points of view.

Wonder, an erotic anthology edited by Selena Kitt: There'…

How Long is a Piece of String?

I used to ask way too many questions as a child, though surely not as many as my own children. My Gran would silence me by saying "'Cause y's not z," and my Granddad would ask, "How long's a piece of string?"

I'm hosting a Second Wind Publishing discussion on Facebook and Goodreads where I ask how long's a novel, novella, novelette, short story, etc... and invite you to to wonder where dribbles and drabbles and chapters and  blurbs fit in. I think my biggest conclusion so far is I'm still not sure if my e-book's a short story or a novella, but I'm convinced I'd find it harder to sell as a short story. Somehow short, and pay real money for it, don't quite fit together. But what do you think?

Some cozy books for a rainy day

It seems like a while since I posted a list of reviews. I think I must have been distracted by something. I think I'm still distracted--runs round the room. And no, the housework's not getting done; at least, not just now. But the contract's been sent and I really need to get down to reading and writing.

So, what have I read recently on that reading journey? Too many books to list I think, so I'll put the mysteries and cozies here first and write another post with some more...

As usual, if you click on the links you'll find my longer book reviews on gather.

Murder in Winnebago County, and Buried in Wolf Lake, by Christine Husom: Two murder mysteries set around the very likeable and believable Sgt. Corky Aleckson, with a very authentic feel, down-to-earth characters, and villains that are scarily real.

A Miracle at Speedy Motors: The 9th Number One Ladies' Detective Agency novel by Alexander McCall Smith, and I'm still addicted. I love the way he lets his read…

It's in the mail

I mailed it.
Okay, first I reread it, even though my husband had read it last night. Then I signed it and read my signature and checked up on the date. Then I wrote the envelope...

Then, since I was going to the post office anyway, I parceled up my self-published books for copyrights, labeled each, attached deposit slips, wrote case numbers on envelopes, stacked them in a box, counted them, checked them, counted them again...

Then I drove to the post office and with quivering fingers signed the check and sent five books and one contract off.

Today was a stressful day. And it's raining, windy, gray and miserable...
...and I'm still dancing round the room!

Fears, Rational and Otherwise

1. Maybe I misread the email...
I've reread it a thousand times, and shown it my husband and son. It's not likely to change.
2. Maybe the email wasn't really for me...
But it's got my name and the name of my novel on it.
3. Maybe I'll invalidate the contract somehow--misspell my name or something...
So I'll get my husband to check it before it goes out.
4. Maybe I'll address the envelope wrong...
But the address is online, on the contract and in the email; I've lots to chances to make sure it's right, and my husband will certainly help.
5. Maybe my writing's not good enough, and the novel will just get worse the more I edit...
But they thought it was good enough to make me an offer...
6. Maybe the editor won't like me...
But the publisher does, so I know they'll choose someone just right...
7. Maybe...

All those irrational fears are jumbling around in my head. Just sign the contract and get it sent back and STOP WORRYING!

But maybe that tickli…

That Dreaming Thing

I used to dream about how it might happen. A phone-call maybe. A letter that didn't begin "If you sent a stamped addressed envelope we are returning your manuscript." Or an email of course. But the emails always begin, "Thank you for your query... but..." And that's what I thought this email would be when I clicked on it.

"Thank you for choosing... After careful consideration... I would be pleased to extend an offer of publication to you..."

I jumped out of my seat. I shrieked. My son, after first confirming I wasn't in pain, said, "Did you just get an offer?" Then I demanded he, and my husband, read the email just to be sure I wasn't somehow inventing words that weren't on the page.

I wasn't. It's real. I have a contract in my hands waiting to be signed. They said yes to my novel!!!! (And it wasn't even the one I was working on last week for that "full manuscript" request. This one was right out of the …

The Official Indie Book Reviewer List

I just got an email about "The Official Indie Book Reviewer List," a sort of Yellow Pages of book reviewers who are interested in small-press and self-published books, and review them free! It sounds a wonderful resource. Christy Pinheiro is offering it as a pdf file for just 99 cents, and I'm thinking I really ought to buy it. But while I'm thinking about it, here's a link so you can think about it too.

http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/

Free book reviews is free publicity, right? And free publicity might translate into sales. So, many thanks Christy for the hours you must have put into compiling this. I hope you sell lots and lots and decide to bring out a POD paper version next year. (I know. I'm boring. I do like paper books.)

Contact information, submission guidelines, likes, dislikes, pet peeves... what more could we indie writers want?

In the Spotlight!

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My eBook, Refracted, is in the spotlight over at A.F. Stewart's "In the Spotlight" blog today. It's a beautiful site, spotlighting lots of wonderful books and authors; I'm honored to be in such good company. There's an impressive Amazon associate page too where you can find links for purchases. I'm really grateful to A.F. Stewart for spotlighting me, and I hope you'll all go over there and browse the various posts.

Thank you.

Doing housework on a manuscript

I should be dusting, polishing, cleaning floors... all those pine needles the rain tracked in...

Instead I'm dusting, polishing, cleaning words. I got an email from a publisher yesterday. They want to see the whole manuscript of my Young Adult novel!!!!

Yes, I know it doesn't mean they're going to say yes, but it's one step higher on the mountain of dreams. Please wish me luck, and well-dusted, well-polished words.

Meet Anjuelle Floyd, and win a kindle!

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To celebrate the release of her novel, The House, author Anjuelle Floyd is offering a (1) Kindle Wi-Fi (retail value: $139.00) as a part of her promotional blog tour. I'm delighted to have Anjuelle as a guest on my blog today, where she is giving a fascinating character sketch of Edward Manning from her book, and answering the question "How does a writer come up with her characters?"

See yesterday's post for more information about Anjuelle Floyd and The House, and don't forget to read to the end of this post to find out how to win a Kindle!

Over to you Anjuelle:


CHARACTER SKETCH: Meet Edward Manning
Have you ever wondered how a writer comes up with her characters? Author Anjuelle Floyd provides a peek inside the profile of her dying character, Edward Manning. 

I recently began reading a book on the craft of writing fiction, entitled “The Half- Known World,” by Robert Boswell. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1555975046/httpanuellec-20

Boswell suggests that st…

Anjuelle Floyd visiting my blog tomorrow--chance to win a kindle!

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Author Anjuelle Floyd will have a guest post on my blog tomorrow, which I'm very much looking forward to. To celebrate the release of her novel, The House, she's offering a (1) Kindle Wi-Fi (retail value: $139.00) as a part of her promotional blog tour. A WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 1, 2010, so don't forget to visit tomorrow and find out how to enter. Meanwhile, here's some information about Anjuelle and The House.

About the Author Anjuelle Floyd is a wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in mother-daughter relations and dream work.

A graduate of Duke University, she received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. She has attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has received certificates of participation from The Hu…

Meet Bruce DeSilva

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I'd like to welcome author Bruce DeSilva to my blog. His Book, Rogue Island, has been getting some rave reviews, and is touring the internet at the moment. I was delighted to be asked to be part of the tour.

Bruce DeSilva offered to write a guest post here, so I asked him my favorite question, little realizing what a great read his reply would be. My question: Please would he tell me something about his journey from there (unpublished) to here (published and racking up the 5-star reviews). His response... well, you'll have to read on. Meanwhile he's offered to drop in from time to time during the day to answer any other readers' questions.


Over to you Mr DeSilva... Way back in 1968, as I trotted off to college to major in geology, my favorite high school teacher made a prediction:  I would soon find myself writing from compulsion. 
He was right.
My first job after college was covering the little town of Warren, R.I., for the venerable Providence Journal. Over the next 20 ye…

Bruce DeSilva, author of Rogue Island

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Bruce DeSilva's Rogue Island currently has fifteen 5-star reviews and three 4-star reviews on Amazon. Bruce will be visiting my blog tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's some information from his Press Release...



Advance Praise for Bruce DeSilva’s ROGUE ISLAND:
“Rogue Island has everything a crime fan could want…this tremendously entertaining crime novel is definitely one of the best of the year.”Booklist *starred review*
“Smart-ass Mulligan is a masterpiece of irreverence and street savvy, and DeSilva does a fine job of evoking the seamy side of his beat…they all contribute to the well-wrought noirish atmosphere that supports this crime novel's dark denouement. A twist in the tale will keep readers turning the pages until the bitter end. —Publishers Weekly (A “Fresh Fiction” Fall 2010 selection)
“The smallest state bursts with crime, corruption, wisecracks and neo-noir atmosphere in DeSilva’s blistering debut. Mulligan is the perfect guide to a town in which the only ways to get thing…

Watch this space...

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I have two authors visiting my blog over the next few days. On Friday, Bruce DeSilva, author of Rogue Island, will be talking about (my favorite question) how he got from "there" to "here." In his case, "here" is an author blog-touring the internet with a fantastic book that's already got tons of rave reviews. I'm so lucky to have him visit here, and I know his story will be really interesting.


Then next Monday Anjuelle Floyd will be visiting. To celebrate the release of her novel, The House, author Anjuelle Floyd is offering a (1) Kindle Wi-Fi (retail value: $139.00) as a part of her blog tour. A WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 1, 2010.

TO REGISTER ONLINE - http://bit.ly/TheHouseKindleGiveaway

Two fascinating authors. Two great books. And a competition. Watch this space. I'm certainly looking forward to reading my blog on those days:)

Discovering Google Reader

Okay, I finally took the plunge. I clicked that "view in Google reader" button on my blogger dashboard. Then I made a coffee while it loaded--it seemed to take forever but only 'cause it had so many blogposts to compile. Then started to read.

I shall certainly read way more blogposts now I'm using Google reader; it's so neat, just scrolling down the page reading them one after another instead of having to click. But I'll leave fewer comments I suspect since scrolling back to the top of an article to open, then back to the bottom to comment, then...--well, it just takes a a bit more decision-making effort when I'm already absorbed in the next interesting post. I'll get better at it I expect, learn to open some posts in a window before I read... something.

Anyway, Google reader's pretty neat and I like it, so thank you to those dear blog friends who told me to try it. But now it's time to make another coffee. Rushing wind, blowing leaves, gray ski…