Monday, August 21, 2017

Sub Op

Otter Libris has this open call for their upcoming MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation antho: "Sometimes the tools that mundane detectives use to solve the crimes of the world just aren’t enough – sometimes you have to call on a little magic. We’re looking for urban fantasy stories that involve a crime scene and require the investigator to use magic or engage the aid of a magical being to solve the crime. Did the house’s hob see what really happened in the domestic violence incident? Does a detective come into possession of a genie’s lamp that will grant him one wish, and he uses it to solve the case that got away? Does your gumshoe use a tracking spell to find the perpetrator using a few strands of hair she found at the scene? The people in your world can use magic openly or on the sly, it’s all up to you. But your story must be urban fantasy, and involve a crime scene and magic in some way."

Also, on what they really want to see: "Comedy, comedy, comedy! We truly don’t see enough of this in the slush pile and giving us something that makes us laugh will give you a leg up on the competition. Diverse protagonists – we’ve got nothing against the classic gumshoes of the noir era (usually white males), but we want to see something new. This doesn’t mean we won’t accept a story with a white male lead, but you’re going to have to knock our socks off. Magic systems and magical creatures outside of the typical European-based fare that’s dominated Western publishing for so long. Again, we want something new and fresh; and if you do use the more well known European-based magic and creatures, you’re going to have to wow us."

Length: "We’re looking for stories that fall in the 3,000 to 10,000 word range. We will consider looking at stories outside this range, but they need to be just too good for us to pass up. You have a much better chance if you keep the word count within our range. Please query us before sending a story outside of the word count guidelines." On reprints: "We prefer unpublished, original fiction. However, we will consider including one or two reprints in this anthology, but only if they are overwhelmingly fantastic. Make sure you let us know if your story has been published elsewhere before." Payment: "Unpublished stories earn a onetime fee of $25 plus one contributor’s copy for the original terms of the contract. Reprints earn a onetime fee of $10 plus one contributor’s copy for the original terms of the contract. Payment is within 90 days of publication." On submissions: "We will be accepting electronic submissions only. Make sure you put “MCSI” in your email subject line. No simultaneous or multiple submissions please. Send your story as a .doc or .rtf file to submissions at otterlibris dot com." Submission Window: "We will be open for submissions for the anthology beginning on October 1, 2017 and close to submissions on January 31, 2018.

For more information, go to their guidelines page here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

For Art's Sake

This is another pic test, but also displays what was a big step for me as a quilter. Over the summer I made my first official art quilt (which I define as a quilted piece created organically and strictly to function as art.) I've done some crazy quilted and fiber art pieces, but both times I used stitch guides or patterns. This time I planned nothing, collected the materials I wanted to use as I spotted them, and then put it together and embroidered and quilted it. No patterns. No stitch guide. I designed it based on things in my life, and went with improvisational stitching.

How was it, working on the art quilt? I can tell you that it felt intimidating and frustrating, and at times scared the crap out of me. The whole time I worked on it I wanted to run for my how-to books and use something from them rather than invent my own designs. Even as I put the last stitches in I considered hiding it under the bed.

It's definitely not perfect, and I've seen art quilts that are a hundred times better. I also love every single awkward unplanned imperfect stitch of it, because it's mine. My world. My art. My hands. My vision. I know because I did the same thing thirty-three years ago when I wrote my first novel.

I had no practical reason to make this art quilt. The time I used to work on it could have been spent working on a handmade gift for someone else -- I live in what has become the house of quilts, so I give away almost everything I make now to family or friends. I didn't need another wall hanging; I'm actually running out of wall space in the office. When I thought about it before I made it, I felt like I was being selfish to put so much of my spare time into what seemed basically useless.

Any of that sound familiar? Most of us are so busy with making a living or caring/providing for family that we feel guilty when we give a little of ourselves to our art. To do something just to create beauty, that doesn't generate income, almost seems wasteful. To vent or rejoice or mourn or celebrate through art is probably the best therapy on the planet, and yet we beat ourselves for doing it, or behave as if it's something we have to do in secret, like using drugs or booze.

This art quilt, awkward and amateurish as it is, represents one of the changes I'm making in my creative life. I'm taking a little time for me now, and I don't feel guilty about that. I've spent my life to caring for and giving to others. There are still things I need to discover. I'm going looking for them.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jump Start Ten

Ten Things You Can Do to Jump Start Your Writing Life

Color Spark: Put together a palette of colors (DeGraeve's Palette Generator will make one for you based on any online pic you feed to it) and create a character or setting based on the color combination.

Copy That: Write cover copy for a short story or novel you want to write. If you like how it comes out, use the copy as your story outline.

Cover It: Create a book cover for a story you want to write, and hang it up in your writing space as inspiration/motivation. Or use a cover generator like this French one (input your byline in the box and pick an edition) to generate something random, and write a story based on your results.

Descriptive: Go to a beautiful spot with a notebook, pen and (optional) camera. Describe where you are and what you see in as much detail as you can in your notebook. If you bring a camera, take photos of the most interesting aspects of your spot. You now have the setting for a scene; when you get home write one.

Eavesdrop: The next time you go out (and make sure you do this discreetly/safely) take a notepad and jot down the most interesting things you hear the people around you say. When you get home, choose one or more of the things you wrote down as dialogue, and write them into a scene.

Hour Aside: Devote one hour at the same time every day to work on a writing project (or, if you don't have one, start a new project.) People with day jobs, try getting up an hour earlier -- that always works for me.

Idea Book/Journal: Start a journal of writing ideas. You can just list whatever comes to mind when you think about writing. If you already have enough story ideas, write a journal from the POV of a character.

Super Short: Write a flash fiction of 100 words or less. If you want a real challenge, write a one-sentence story.

Trunk Treasures: Unearth any old story you never finished. Take from it one element (character, dialogue, plot, setting) and use that as inspiration for a new short story.

Uncontest: Find a fee-free writing contest that intrigues you, and write a submission for that contest just for fun (note: if you finish the story in time for the contest's deadline, submitting it would be awesome.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

More Pics

























Pic #1 : Cheetah pic taken by my guy for me.

Pic #2: Dome chandelier at the place the kids took me for my birthday lunch.

Pic #3: 81 spools of vintage thread I bought at GoodWill for $7.99 (storage box included.)

I'm trying out Blogger's photo upload extra-large size, and experimenting with how the text works with it. Also, I found this about storage limits on Blogger in their help forum:

"As of now there are no such storage limitations specifically for images you upload on Blogger. As Blogger is a part of your Google account, Google provides 15 GB of free memory for each account. This 15 GB will be shared across all Google products linked to your account such as Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos.

Blogger usually doesn't have any limit for the storage as the images the you upload will be stored in Google Photos of your Google account."

Just FYI: I pay $10.00 per year to Google for 36G of storage space for my free e-books, all of which take up only about 3G.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Waiting

Today's post is being written on my new desktop computer, Calliope. She's got awesome memory, and the latest version of Word and Excel. She also supports my ancient Microsoft Digital Imaging Suite (circa 2006) and the equally decrepit version of Adobe Acrobat I own (no date on the box, but probably about 2008). Despite the fact that I can now hook up with X-Box and Netflix and all the other bells/whistles Calliope is fully prepared to host and ring and blow for me, Word + Excel + MDIS + Acrobat is all I really need for my ghost writing gigs.

My old desktop became corrupted and unreliable a few months ago, forcing me to depend solely on my old laptop, which is actually my emergency backup computer. I was tempted to go out immediately and buy a replacement, but at the time what I could afford to spend wouldn't get me what I really needed (with a kid in college I prefer to pay cash for everything, too.)

I thought about what would be my dream computer. I wanted a lot of memory, better processing speed, and a more reliable brand, so I asked around for recommendations -- and my daughter's friends turned out to be the most helpful in that department. I researched, looked at prices, and waited some more.

It made me a little nervous to be dependent on just one old laptop, but I got into the habit of backing up everything multiple times per day, and in the meantime saved my pennies and watched for good sales. I thought I might have to wait until the holidays to find what I needed marked down. Then I spotted Calliope, marked down $180.00, at a back to school sale. She was exactly what I wanted, so I bought her. She was such a good deal that my guy also bought one for our kid to take with her to university. The icing on the cake was getting software, a printer for my kid, and protection plans at a fraction of what they usually cost, as they were also on sale (if you bought a new computer.)

While I don't like waiting for what I want, I really like getting what I want on my terms. That makes it worth the wait.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Pics Problems

I am ready to give up on Photobucket as a photo archive, as their service has become so problematic I can hardly upload anything anymore. Since Blogger offers a pic upload, I'm going to experiment with it today to see how it works (and show you some of the work I've been doing while I was on hiatus):
























Pics #1-2 (Small Size on the Blogger Upload): Two throw quilts I made over the spring; I designed the bargello pattern for the second one myself.

Pics #3-4 (Medium Size): A tote I made from fabric scraps for a friend of my guy's who was in a car wreck; a quilt I designed and made with some gorgeous blocks and fabric that our pal Theo sent me.

Pics #5-6 (Large Size): A beach tote I made for my daughter after accidentally destroying hers in the washer; and my very first official art quilt, which I made for fun last month.

I have to figure out the text wrapping on Blogger's photo upload, but otherwise it seems pretty easy.

Can anyone recommend a photo archive/hosting service (other than Photobucket) that is simple to use and doesn't cost an arm + leg? Let me know in comments.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Free NaNoWriMo Resources

I got an SPAMish e-mail from the National Novel Writing Month folks offering me a discount on an online writing class with some university where Joss Whedon evidently went to school. All due respect to higher education and all, but I am perplexed by this (Mr. Whedon writes novels?) That's what I get for subscribing to their newsletter, I suppose.

I don't think you should have to pay anyone to learn how to write novels (disclaimer: I never did.) The reason I started PBW was to share what I know and learn about writing with others who are self-taught like me, and/or who can't afford to pay for education. So here are free writing resources from the PBW archives for anyone who wants to prep for NaNoWriMo:

Characters: You can get a mini crash-course in how to craft characters in my post about stand-out characters here, and a fun way to create character references by using my Character Trading Cards idea.

Outlining: Check out this post for everything you ever wanted to know about novel outlining, including a link to my Novel Outlining 101, the most popular post of all time at PBW.

Plot: Plotting with Purpose is an online workshop I did ten years ago that still holds true to everything I do today.

Setting: My workshop post Food and Fire gives some insight as to how I work (and often struggle with) writing settings.

Style: I even did a virtual workshop on writing style here.

If you do a keyword search here at PBW you'll likely find a post about almost anything to do with novel writing, too, and with workshops I usually include links to other authors' opinions on the topics. You can also use keywords and research 40K articles on writing over at Hiveword's Writer's Knowledge Base.

I'm also in for writing a novel in November, and once the NaNoWriMo site opens for the 2017 challenge I'll see what group options there are so those who want to join me can congregate together all during those crazy thirty days. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the kick-off on November 1st.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Back to Writing

Although fall doesn't officially start until September 22nd this year, the month of August always feels like summer's end to me. I think it's partly all the back to school sales; seeing those inevitable yellow cartoon bus signs plastered on a bin of file folders or hanging over an endcap of highlighters signals the finality of fun for the year (for me, anyway -- summer is my favorite season.)

This week I've been plotting a new work project that will keep me writing until the holidays arrive, and like any fresh story I'm completely in love with it. I want to start it so much I've been scribbling bits of dialogue and sketching characters and printing out research notes all week. Tomorrow I'm heading to the office supply place to acquire a new binder -- and I'm thinking of colors and how I want to make this huge, rich palette for the whole cast of characters, because they're all so different, and yet -- look, I can do this all day. My point is that I'm excited and thrilled and so enthusiastic about this story that I feel as if I could write the first book start to finish this weekend.

But: I'm not ready to write it.

Why? Not like I haven't written a book before, right? Plus I know what I want to do. I can even see some of it in my head. When I'm this worked up about all the sparkling beautiful parts of a story, it can be almost painful not to write it. But: I'm not a pantser, or a particularly organic writer. I'm a plotter who wants everything nailed down before I write a single word. I need the whole story, figured out, run through, mapped out and precisely detailed, and that I don't have down or done yet.

It doesn't sound like fun, and I know a lot of writers can't do the kind of prep work I do because it kills their mojo. I'd love to be a more organic, artistic writer, but I know me. When I do this I have to be very methodical, very focused, or I won't finish the project. I don't want to waffle or wonder when I'm writing because that derails me. I don't want the story to be a surprise. Fun for me is getting it done minus train wrecks or surprise parties on the page.

Knowing the kind of writer you are is half the battle, I think. Our blog pal LJ Cohen, who is probably my polar opposite as a writer, talked about how she works in this post. One thing she wrote should be tattooed on all our bods somewhere: "Don't let anyone get away with saying there's only one way to write a novel."

I know tons of ways to write a novel; I've probably tried at least half of them. I also know what works best for me -- the way that hurts a little in this glitzy in-love stage I'm in, but that will enable me to deliver. So I'll spend the next day or two finishing up my very detailed outlines of the plots and characters, and discuss them with my client while I do a bit more research and let everything percolate. Once I have all that done, I'll set up my novel notebook, sit down at the computer and write those two words that still send a little shiver through me, even after typing them sixty-seven times: Chapter One.

What have you got planned for your fall writing? Anyone thinking about doing NaNoWriMo? Tell me in comments.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Now and Then

This is going to be an artsy, I-just-want-to-show-you-cool-stuff post that I want to write more of on the blog. Apply it to writing if you want, because the shoe certainly fits.



I bought this antique crazy quilt fragment from Kelley Street Studio on Etsy because a) it's beautiful, b) it depicts a spider in a web watching an owl reading a book, which is way cool, and c) it was my reward for working through my birthday. It's also over a hundred years old, which makes it even cooler and more precious to me (plus it was very affordable for a little piece of history.)

I'm working on an art quilt right now, and having another quilter's work helps me improve my craft. I can look at a lovely piece like this and let it teach me something by taking in the stitches, colors and composition. The palette of the patchwork, the texture of the silk, the design of the embroidery -- all of it speaks to me as a quilter on multiple levels.

That said, I have my own mojo, too. Before the antique patch arrived, I stitched a spider and web in one of my art quilt blocks:



It was fun to compare the two. I made my web with holographic Sulky, and my spider is based on an orb weaver I often see in my backyard. Mine is also much more primitive, as that's the look I wanted for this piece. What I brought to the creative table is how I see spiders, what I know of them, and how I envision and translate them in my art. The quilter back in 1890 who made the spider watching the owl likely did the same.

In a hundred years or so maybe a quilter will acquire a piece of my work they think is cool and historic, and compare it to their work, and this connection will continue -- or not. The delight is that it's possible, as I just proved by acquiring hers.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Everyday Inspiration

When I unplugged back in March I needed more than a break from the internet and the blog. I had a huge project to tackle, creative batteries in need of serious recharging, and a desire to get back to who I am (versus who everyone expects me to be for them.) This little critter here is an example of things I was missing. Over the last couple years I'd gotten so busy that I wouldn't have said okay when my kid said, "Mom, come outside and see this cool bug."

I stopped burying myself in have-tos and must-dos. I started going outside again, and taking pictures of cool bugs. I wandered a little every day, not to search for anything specific but to be open to inspiration. That cool bug (only the second mantis I've seen since we moved here) inspired a character in the novel I just finished; one who turned out so well that my client complimented me for it.

Would I have created the character without seeing the cool bug? Maybe -- but it probably would have taken longer, and the character might not have been as original. Taking five minutes to admire and photograph this little critter was just for fun, but it helped me with the work, too.

Since I am the least random person I know, I spent a couple of months doing very random things. I ordered a mystery box of modern fabric (which I don't use) and got a bunch of very graphic fat quarters in black and white with touches of gold. You should have seen my face; I've never made a black and white quilt. The point of the exercise, however, was to get out of my fussy old lady crazy quilting color junkie corner and try something new, so I made the fabric into this quilt.

The process made me appreciate modern fabrics; their deceptively simple patterns become classy and vibrant when you start putting them together. The challenge of making such graphic materials work together taught me some new tricks. Since I'm now set on making a true black and white quilt, I think it expanded my horizons a bit, too.

We tend to get complacent with our creativity. I've been doing the same things over and over because I'm pretty good at them, I don't have to think about the work involved much, and the results are predictable and positive. Whether it's quilting or writing or anything, there's nothing wrong with sticking to what you know. That said, unless we try new things once in a while, we can't grow.

What have you done lately to seek new sources of inspiration? Let us know in comments.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Back

Yes, it's really me. After 4+ months on hiatus, I've had ample time to attend to my family and freelance work, get my head and heart in the right place, do lots of other-than-writing creative things, and think about how I want to change/not change things with PBW. I don't have all the answers, but I know if I stay away much longer I'll throw in the towel -- and I'm not willing to give up on this just yet.

The long break was very good for me, writing-wise. Since I've been away I built a new universe, wrote three novels, four novellas and lots of interesting copy. I've also embarked on a new business venture that is very promising. If all goes well I should be gainfully employed until I'm ready to retire. With a kid in college who would like to go on to medical school, that financial stability is really important.

Since my career shift from traditionally-published author to freelance writer I've been struggling with what to do with the blog. I know what I don't want, and what I can't do. Politics are not my thing. I haven't been reading much for pleasure, and while I love books I don't want to review them anymore (but I will knock out what I owe Library Thing; just off the blog.) I'm not inclined to self-publish anything but free reads, so there's no point getting into the whole indy pub stuff. I'm not able to talk about my job except in the most general of terms, so that's off the table, too.

PBW needs to evolve into something else. That's where the question marks come in. I've been having a lot of fun over at Tumblr with my non-writing projects, and I'd like to do a writing version of that here. While NDAs prevent me from sharing details about what I'm working on, I can still talk about the process, neat things I find that help with the work, and anything that helps boost the quality and productivity of the writing life. I am and always will be passionate about that.

There are also a few things about my work that I can still share, too. For example, my French publisher did this amazing cover for their edition of The Clockwork Wolf. I'm thinking about writing a sequel to Ghost Writer for NaNoWriMo this year, and posting my draft online so everyone can follow the process. I'm looking around for a new desktop computer, and doing lots of research on that. I'm getting back out with the camera and taking pictures, mainly of architecture, to help with world-building and making covers for my free reads.

I've missed you all, too, and I want to hear what you've been up to -- so if you're still speaking to me, let me know in comments.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Wishing You

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wishing You

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wishing You

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wishing You

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Hiatus Extended

Just checking in to let everyone know I'm fine, and still hard at work wrapping up a big project for one of my clients. After this one I have to jump right onto another one, too. Bottom line, I will be on hiatus for at least a few more weeks; possibly longer.

Of interest to writers who never think about what their heirs might do with their private work, author Margaret Forster's personal diaries are being posthumously published by her widower.

Anything you write is up for grabs after your death, and often becomes more valuable to boot. Maybe the author wouldn't have minded; after all her family will profit from it, and evidently she was quite devoted to them. Or maybe she wanted them kept just for family reading. The sad part is that no one can ask her now.

So, another PBW classic reminder: if you have something you've written that is not intended for public consumption, best burn it now while you're still kicking.

Monday, March 13, 2017

On Hiatus



At present family and work need more of my time, so I'm going to put the blog on hiatus until I catch up. See you when I do.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Whole Story

With the upcoming release of Disenchanted & Co. in French I've been getting some e-mails about when I might be returning to traditional publishing. Let me shed some light on the subject.

It took me four years to sell my last two traditionally-published novels. I had to leave the publisher I had worked with for fifteen years in order to get them published. Once I finally secured a contract, I also wrote a free promotional e-book, created a blog for the new series, solicited the cover quotations, took a booth at a national convention where I spent three days selling myself as well as the books, had countless giveaways, sent out review copies to anyone willing to read them, and did a (for me) huge amount of self-promotion in order make the new series a success.

I didn't resent any of it, as I think those books are among the best stories I've ever written. Shortly after the print publication of the second novel, however, I started to go blind. I did have to deal with that, which I think everyone can understand took priority over continuing the self-promotion.

When I finally recovered from two eye surgeries, my publisher indicated that sales of the books would not support any new releases in the series, and I was out of a job. I failed. I was finished.

That sounds like the end of the story, but for me it was just the beginning of a new one.

As I've always preached to you, I didn't give up. I went about finding a way to still work as a professional writer. It took some time, but eventually I succeeded. Three years later I'm employed full-time as a freelance ghost writer and copy writer. I've carefully built a list of terrific private clients who employ me regularly, treat me with respect, give me enormous creative freedom, and pay me quite well.

I'm really happy, too. I no longer have to deal with anything but the writing for the very first time since turning pro back in 1998. I realize now this is what I should have been doing all along, so it's actually a wonderful thing that I failed so miserably.

Some readers feel angry or frustrated with me for not doing more to deliver new books under my byline, and I'm sorry about that. I know many of you are supportive of my work, and for that I will always be grateful. If I ever publish under my byline again, it will be for you.

That said, I need to make a living, and (just like everyone else) I want to be happy in my work. That means writing stories and copy for my clients instead of my readers. So for now, I hope you will understand and be supportive of this new chapter in my writing life.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Marching On

Time gets away from us, doesn't it? When I'm working I hardly have any awareness of it, how much has elapsed, the hours I spend in my writing space, etc. On those occasions when I'm in the zone I forget time altogether. The dogs often have to remind me that it's the hour for our walk, or to start dinner (they get fed when we eat, but they always want theirs early) or even when I should be in bed instead of at the computer.

I've always been like this, which is why I have so many calendars and planners and such. Without them I'd be entirely clueless as to the date. It is Monday, right?

I have no idea what happened to February, but it's poofed, vanished, gone. Last time I checked the calendar it was February 24th. I woke up this morning and it's March 6th. I can tell you I spent the last week of February and the first week of March building, fine-tuning and mapping out a new universe for a client. At the same time I've been putting together my series notebook, ordering research books, and getting settled in for the long haul, writing-wise. In the process most of the personal stuff I had planned for February poofed on me, too.

Back in January I started working on a tote to take to the county quilt show and share some new ideas I had with my sewing sisters. I had basically a month to get it done, and I didn't. So I took the unfinished work to the show, and got teased for being overly-ambitious. Still shared my ideas, which was thing most important to me. I might start working on next year's show project as soon as I finish this one, though.

Despite the inexplicable time jump from February to March I got the important personal stuff done: the family and the dogs are cared for, the house is relatively clean, and the laundry is under control. I'm almost ready for the next visitor. Sometime today I need to go grocery shopping or we're having soup and sandwiches again, but other than restocking the pantry and the fridge, I'm good to go for March.

I used to beat myself up for not finishing things according to plan. Only when I realized that I will always plan more than I can actually do did I stop smacking myself over things undone.

Time marches on. Yesterday (and really, it seems like just yesterday) I brought my youngest home from the hospital after a nineteen-hour labor with a midwife supervising the delivery. This past week she flew to Washington DC for a science conference. On her own -- this because she's not a newborn; she's a grown woman. Between these two events in her life and mine there were twenty-three years, but from my POV it might as well be twenty-three minutes.

Time does not wait for you to notice it. It is a perpetual army of moments, indifferent to you and on the move forever. Our lives and our time here are finite, so make the most of yours.

Friday, March 03, 2017

WFH Op

Looking for ghost writer work? I spotted this op over in the paying markets forum at AbsoluteWrite.com:

"I'm looking for a ghostwriter, for a 30k words story, the payment is 0,025 USD per word. It should be satirical in nature and containing some fetish scenes. If interested, please write an email to: dirtysecrets@mailfence.com , with a short sample of your work."

As far as the info goes it's a little sparse. If that comma in the payment is supposed to be a decimal point, then the job pays $750.00, which is not bad. I'd e-mail first, confirm the rate and ask any questions you might have about the genre and details before you submit. Satire can be a lot of fun, but anyone who is uncomfortable with writing fetish material should probably skip this one.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Gerard

According to a family statement in comments at his blog, Gerard Vlemmings, the host of The Presurfer, passed away suddenly last Saturday, evidently from lung cancer.

Over the years here at PBW I frequently credited Gerard for the links I swiped from The Presurfer and his other site, The Generator Blog. I started reading his blog way back in 2003, and have visited The Presurfer almost daily ever since. He was not only hugely popular, but a terrific gentleman with a truly wry wit. Now and then I was able to contribute a lead to him for his blog to pay him back for all the interesting links he passed along to his readers.

I always counted on Gerard to be part of my morning. He never failed to deliver something interesting and thoughtful to my day. He was a genuine online treasure, and I will miss him more than I can express.

Safe journey, my friend.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Quilt Show Pics

I had an amazing time at this year's county quilt show. I saw so many beautiful quilts, talked with their incredibly talented makers, and got some wonderful ideas for my own work. Kat went with me one day so I got to show off my kid to my friends. I think I completely recharged my creative batteries too, always a great thing.

We also had fantastic luck with the show raffles. I won two: a huge basket filled with yarn and pattern books, and a adorable ceramic purse stuffed with fat quarters, sewing tools, and a journal:



My daughter was the big winner with this lovely wine rack filled with fabric, patterns and even two bottles of very nice vino:



It's also a little funny -- none of us drink -- but the bottles will go to friends who appreciate wine. Kat generously gave me all the fabric and patterns, so I'll have to make her something neat.

With fingers crossed that this slideshow embed code works, here are some of the pictures I took of the show quilts (Added: the embed thing isn't working for everyone, so here's the link to open it in another window: http://s259.photobucket.com/user/LynnViehl/slideshow/2017%20PBW/Quilt%20Show%202017):

Friday, February 24, 2017

Off to the Quilt Show

I'm taking off today to hang with some of my quilter pals who are in town for my favorite county quilt show, where I invested in this for my daughter:



The Quilting Goddess smiled on me, too, as I won a door prize:



It's so cool -- I don't own a pin magnet, and I've never made a rag quilt. Free fabric, too.

I'll be back on Monday with pictures of the show -- until then, have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kit in Paris

Last year I sold rights for my steampunk books to J'ai Lu for translation into French, and they very kindly sent me the art for the first two covers:



This is for the book one.



This is for My Lord Mayhem, a contract I negotiated by myself, so I'm especially delighted to see it's in my favorite color.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Art Space vs. Work Space

This past weekend my guy and I took on a monster spring cleaning project, which involved unloading everything from the kitchen, donating what we don't use to Goodwill, and scrubbing every inch of the cabinets and counters before reorganizing and putting everything back. I have a big kitchen, and after three decades of cooking for this man and our kids, way too much stuff. We made three trips to Goodwill yesterday and I've still got a pile of things to take over today.

I did pretty well, too. I got rid of two sets of old dishes, innumerable gadgets, old flower vases, pans, pots, and three small appliances. I wasn't sorry to see things like the 20-year-old blooming onion maker drop in the donation box (I haven't used it since the nineties.) At the same time, I couldn't let go of my daughter's Where's Waldo plastic cereal bowl, which I can guarantee you she will never use again. That bowl is for me and my memories of her in her high chair, dropping Cheerios for our dog Missy when she thought I wasn't watching.

Cooking is work, but it's also an art. When it comes to meal preparation, the kitchen is both work space and studio. Having a spotless, well-organized kitchen now will help me be a better and happier cook, which will result in more creative meals. Since I'll be cooking only for two starting this fall, I definitely need that, but it's also about respecting myself. I work every day in the kitchen, and it should be a space that allows me to do that comfortably and well.

Next on the spring cleaning list is my office, which I've let slide over the past couple of months because I've been so busy. I could let it wait until summer, or do it a little at a time, which is also perfectly acceptable. Thing is, I have some new, significant writing projects coming up on the schedule, and I need the office to be as clean, efficient and uncluttered as the kitchen is now.

Whether it's cooking or writing, I'm always happy to go to work. I'm not very conscious of my work space when I do. That said, I feel better when everything around me is tidy. I think I work better, too.

What's on your spring cleaning list for 2017? How are you going to tackle your projects? Let us know in comments.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Clarity

My guy and I both like lighthouses, so when we got the chance to go inside the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime museum, we couldn't resist:



Signs all around the lighthouse property warned us that climbing the lighthouse's spiral staircase was the equivalent of walking up a fourteen-story building. I wasn't worried; while I'm not going to win any marathons my legs are pretty strong.

Looking up from the base of the lighthouse:



So we climbed. We took a few short breaks on the landings (I'm not so athletic that I can climb up 219 steps without stopping.) The staircase narrowed the higher we went, and we had to wait for people coming down the steps, but finally we made it to the top.

The view proved to be pretty spectacular:



There was a little window that allowed you to see inside the lighthouse's gigantic Fresnel lens, too:



And then there was the climb down, which was not half as tough as the climb up:



If you're ever in the area I highly recommend it as a terrific experience, especially for history lovers.

At the top of the lighthouse I experienced some extraordinary clarity, too. While everyone around me looked nervous, excited, and even a little intimidated, I felt right at home. My guy marveled at the small size of the room where the Lightkeeper worked to keep the beacon burning, but it looked right to me -- maybe because it was about the same size as my work desk. I also liked how hard it was to get to the top; you really had to want it to do all that work.

One lady mentioned how dull the Lightkeeper's job must have been, not to have any television or radio or things to do. I could see him sitting and reading by the light of the beacon, or writing letters, or simply watching the boats come into the harbor -- none of which seemed boring to me. If I had been born in 1888, I would have applied for the job.

I've always thought of retreating from the world into my work as going to my ivory tower -- the old chestnut most writers use -- but from now on I'll think of it as manning my lighthouse.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wishing You

Monday, February 13, 2017

Off Again



I'm unplugging this week to have some fun. See you on Friday.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sub Op

I spotted this multi-job freelance op over in the Paying Markets forum at AbsoluteWrite.com:

"Underground Book Reviews is a community of independent authors. We write a new review of an indie book each week, free of charge.

We are looking for reviewers, columnists, judges and blogging partners in 2017. All positions are paid freelance positions, starting at $15 per article, with the potential of earning up to $75 per review. If you are interested, please fill out our contact form with the title “FREELANCE REQUEST”. Include a short resume and a link to an article or review that you have written, as well as a link to your personal website. An online presence is a must, and active involvement in the indie community is a huge plus."

I took a look at the web site, and it seems pretty interesting. With the huge volume of indie titles being published, the ops might result in steady work, too. Disclaimer: as always with any freelance position, please do thoroughly check out the job requirements, restrictions, and any applicable fine print that might be included before you sign on.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Greenworks

One thing I'd like to do this month is repurpose some cardboard and paper from my recycling bin; this stack here consists of two somewhat dented clothing inserts, a 2017 calendar insert, a lidless chip box and the view-panel sleeve my new laptop skin came in. I have no idea what I'll make out of them, but I figure one project per week should be a decent challenge.

Her are some stats from the EPA on recycling:

In 2014, in the United States, about 258 million tons of MSW (municipal solid waste) were generated. Over 89 million tons of MSW were recycled and composted, equivalent to a 34.6 percent recycling rate. In addition, over 33 million tons of MSW were combusted with energy recovery and 136 million tons were landfilled.

In 2014, 89.5 percent of corrugated boxes were recycled. About 61 percent of yard trimmings were composted. Organic materials such as paper and paperboard, yard trimmings and food were the largest component of MSW generated. Paper and paperboard accounted for over 26 percent, and yard trimmings and food accounted for another 28.2 percent. Plastics comprised about 13 percent of MSW; rubber, leather and textiles accounted for over nine percent; and metals made up nine percent. Wood followed at over six percent, and glass over four percent. Other miscellaneous wastes made up approximately three percent of the MSW generated in 2014.

Recycling and composting of MSW results in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. In 2014, the 89 million tons of MSW recycled and composted provided an annual reduction of over 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, comparable to the annual emissions from over 38 million passenger cars."
(You can find the entire report by clicking here.)

My tiny town has started weekly recycling pick-ups, so I could just dump everything in the bin now, but I think it's still important to find new ways to reuse things. Recycling anything costs money for hauling, sorting, storing and processing. Repurposing costs little to nothing, and allows you to make something yourself versus buying it new, so you can also save money.

You don't have to make a huge art project out of recyclable materials, either. For example:

1. Instead of buying note pads or shopping lists, save whatever you print out, flip it to the blank side and stack it in a clipboard -- instant scratch paper. You can also cut it down to a smaller size and stack it in an open box.

2. If you have a shredder, you can shred your junk mail and use it as packing material for the next package you ship.

3. Keep a used envelope to store coupons for your next trip to the market. These also make great holders for lottery tickets, extra bookmarks, sticker sheets, or anything flat.

There are plenty of resources online to help you, too. Here's a blog post by Francesco Mugnai about projects made from recycled cardboard that is particularly fabulous (I love the chandelier and the cat furniture).

In the weeks ahead I'll report back on my repurposing projects as I finish them, and show you what I did to reuse the materials.

Friday, February 03, 2017

7 to 1

In a few weeks I'll be heading to the county quilt show I attend every year, so I'm making a new crazy quilt tote to take with me. This is mostly for fun, but also to show my sewing sisters that I'm not all work and no play.

I have been all about the work these last few months. Along with the new copy writing job, I've been immersed in a big project nearly every day since October of 2016. I'm finally at the finish line, too (I should cross it some time tonight.) This is the largest and longest ghost writing job I've worked on since I went freelance, and it's taught me quite a bit. What I'll take away from it -- aside from the very nice paycheck -- will help me improve my scheduling, how I juggle my work sessions with home life, and how much time I devote to things other than writing.

How much time you work and play often determines how successful you are, but it can also affect how happy you are in general. My most productive ratio seems to be seven to one, or one hour of play for every seven hours of work. I learned a long time ago that if I spend my entire day working (this includes housework as well as writing) I go to bed feeling exhausted and creatively drained. The flip side is just as If I blow off work and play all day I am swamped by guilt and worry over the work I'm neglecting, plus I can't sleep.

Finding my optimum ratio was actually a by-product of my plan to hand-make all my Christmas presents last year. For five months I devoted at least one hour a night to my gift projects, all of which were fun for me. I then noticed how much better I felt in the morning when I went to work. I started tracking my work/play hours along with my mood in my personal journal, and settled on seven to one as the ideal balance.

To find your happiest work/play ratio, here's the process I used:

1. Track the time you normally devote to work (things you have to do for income and/or family) and play (things you want to do for fun) for one week. Be honest, too, because inflating or deflating the hours spent won't give you a real picture of how you're spending your time. Mark the days when you felt at your best and most productive.

2. Take the work/play ratio from the day you felt at your best during the first week, and use them every other day during the next week. Again, mark the most productive days.

3. For the third week, take all your best day ratios and come up with an average, and use that ratio every other day. Keep tracking your best days.

4. Take the ratios from your best days during the third week, average them again, and use that ratio every day for a week.

You can keep doing this until your average ratio figure stabilizes, but after a month you should have a pretty good idea of what your best work/play ratio is.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Off to Finale



I'm finishing up a big project for a client, so I'll be unplugging for a week to complete the last stretch. See you next Friday.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Map Me

Literature Map is a reader recommendation generator that seems to work off what readers authors share, and I'll quote here: "The more people like an author and another author, the closer together these two authors will move on the Literature-Map."

Ah, vanity, thy name is byline. I didn't think mine would even register on it, but lo and behold:



(My map is a bit bigger than this, but I couldn't fit it all on the blog and have it readable.)

Some PBW trivia: Judith Ivory and I belonged to the same RWA chapter way back when I was rookie, and we talked a couple of times, mostly about gardening. She's a lovely and very kind lady, and I probably share only one reader with her, but I'll take it. I laughed when I saw Rob Thurman's name (not pictured) since I never imagined we'd share readers. I'm also a little startled by how many names I didn't recognize, but I guess that's because I don't read much genre fiction these days. Must remedy that.

I nicked this generator link from author Sara Donati, who has a very interesting map of her own and blog post about it here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Writing 2017

I spotted this multi-sub op over in the Paying Markets forum at AbsoluteWrite.com:

"We are a horror fiction magazine open to submissions! This will be for our April Issue, both in Print and on Kindle. It is our second issue. Our Featured Author for this issue is Jack Ketchum. We'll be open for about a month!

Pay for Short Stories is $50 plus a print copy. As an added bonus, we do not maintain copyrights over your work. As soon as we publish, the rights return to you.

We also accept:
Poetry
Flash Fiction
Creative Non-Fiction

And, if you'd like to review, there may be a spot open for that as well.

Visit us to find out more! We have a bunch of shenanigans going on!

www.deadlightsmagazine.com"

Instantly reverting rights and shenanigans are always good things in my POV, so you horror writers should check it out.

We're already past the middle of January, which leaves eleven months and eleven days to write in 2017. My count for the month is already 55K, so I feel like I've started as I mean to go on, and I need to. I'm currently working out with the clients what I will write for the next eight months, and beyond that I've been reserved to write until December, so there's even more to do before 2017 wraps.

Working out a writing schedule for an entire year can seem daunting, especially for the organically minded, but it's really just a matter of deciding what you want to do and how much time you want to devote to it. Most pros eventually figure out what they can comfortably/reliably produce, and (unless they're superstars who can do whatever they like and still make millions) map their time out accordingly so they know what and how much to pitch in advance.

Here are some tips to help you plan your 2017 writing year:

Calculate your daily count: Write at a pace that's good for you for a week or a month, and keep track of your total wordcount. Divide the total by the number of days it took you to write that, and you'll learn your daily count, or how much you can write in a day. This should allow you to calculate how long it will take you to finish any project.

Get a writing calendar or planner: 2017 Calendars are super cheap right now, and devoting one strictly to your writing schedule will keep all your plans and quotas in one place. You can also use a digital version on your computer or your phone.

Factor in time off: Unless you live by yourself, write seven days a week, and never leave the house, there will be days when you can't/won't write, so it's a good idea to know when your holidays, family events, vacations, etc. land on your year. Mark these on your writing calendar first so you can see them while you're scheduling your writing time.

Allow recharging space: Try to take a little time off from writing every month to allow the well to refill, recharge your creative batteries, etc. This month I'm taking only be a couple of days, but next month I've reserved a weekend for fun and two days to attend the county quilt show.

Have a reward system for making your goals: I get paid by the clients when I finish their projects, but that's my income. I've found that having a little reward to look forward to helps keep me motivated, so I make a point to give myself one every time I do make those goals. Rewards don't have to be big or expensive things, but they should be something you really like. For example, last week I took my daughter out for lunch at a neat Japanese restaurant we both like, and this pic is the bento box lunch I had, which was a delicious reward.

Are you going to schedule your writing year? Got any tips to share? Let us know in comments.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Independence

Over the last couple of weeks I've heard a lot about the closure of All Romance ebooks, which has evidently is going to cost a lot of writers overdue royalty payments. I don't know enough about the facts or circumstances to comment on what happened, but any time writers end up losing money they earned I sympathize. I hope everyone affected by this manages to recover and find new and more reliable venues for their work.

As a freelancer I had to part ways with a client who offered to pay me royalties instead of my contracted fee. I accept only flat fee work from my clients, one project at a time, payable on delivery. Until I get paid for the last finished project I don't do any new work, either, which keeps my risk minimal. This also makes my income reliable, and keeps both sides honest and happy. As much as I liked my former client, I am an independent contractor now. I have no desire to go back to hoping I get a royalty check and that the figures are authentic.

My line of work is not a gold mine; I don't make income ad infinitum with flat-fee, on-delivery, per-project contracts. I sign over all rights to the work to the client, so there are zero royalties. When the work is done, I'm paid in full, I'm finished, and I move on to the next project. These are some of the reasons that writing for hire is not for everyone. You have to go into the project knowing that once it's finished, it belongs to the client entirely. I'm fine with that (I prefer it to byline work, actually) but for some writers this can be very difficult.

How you profit off the success of writer for hire work is by repeat business. What makes money for your clients creates more new jobs for you. Once you have a list of regular clients who will pay you well to continue writing for them, your income stabilizes. That means you don't have to hunt for new clients or go for weeks or months with no money coming in. It doesn't happen overnight -- it took me two years to build my client list -- but if you're picky, and only work on projects that interest you with people who inspire and respect you, you can make a decent, reliable living.

There are other benefits, too. A freelance writer doesn't have to pay 15% to an agent to get work, or wait months on an editor in NY to make a contract offer, or wonder when royalties will be paid, or if they're even accurate. If you go flat-fee only, as I have, you don't have to deal with royalties at all. In time you can even forecast your income by advance bookings; mine presently stretch to the end of 2017. I'm not being smug about that, either -- I've worked very hard at making this gig work, but there's always plenty of competition out there. As a freelancer you have to keep giving your clients the best you can, or they will dump you for someone better.

Sometimes taking a different direction can change everything, too. All I ever really care about is the writing, and making a living from it. I have always written very fast, and once the work is done, I always want to move onto the next thing, too. That's why writing for hire was a perfect fit for me; I just didn't realize it until I left traditional publishing and went 100% freelance. So if you're starting out, or considering making a radical change as I did, first think about what you want, and what you're willing to do for it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Off to Write



I'm taking off today to work on a project for a client. See you on Monday.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Notebooking 2017

This year I'm trying a different approach to keeping track of my progress with personal and business projects. Instead of keeping a regular journal, a writing idea journal, a business journal, a quilt journal and a weight loss journal, I'm keeping notes on everything in this one notebook.

So far it's worked pretty well. It saves time, as I don't have to switch between journals to check on something else. I won't misplace the notebook because I carry it around with me all day whatever I'm doing. I can also schedule ahead with more confidence because everything is in one spot. I've never journaled like this, so it feels a little weird, but I figures I'd give it a couple months and see if it works better than my old system.

Right now I haven't planned any of my schedule except for work, my weight loss finish line, and a family visit in March, but I'd like to put some full-month pages or dated bullet lists in the notebook so I can look at the entire month in advance. 2017 already feels like I should be keeping things open and flexible, too, so I plan to save at least one day a week as an anything-goes spot. In between all the work, family and home stuff I'm also tinkering in the notebook on my secret project for 2017, which makes it a little more fun.

How are you dealing with 2017? Planning or no planning? Any tips on how to keep on track? Let us know in comments.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Sub Op

I spotted this interesting antho open call over at the Paying Market forum at AbsoluteWrite.com:

"Copper Pen Press is currently seeking submissions of high-quality fiction for Freakshow: Freakishly Fascinating Tales of Mystery and Suspense, a forthcoming short story anthology set within the world of a traveling circus, carnival or freak show. Writers can spin their yarns in the past, present, or future.

We are looking for dark, twisted and unusual mysteries with dark, twisted and unusual characters. We want that “holy shit!” factor.

No splatterpunk. No erotica. No fantasy.

No horror – that is, not yet. We will be launching our horror imprint soon. Mmmmwwwwwahahahahaha.

Payment: $50/story plus a contributor’s copy for non-exclusive rights.

Submission Guidelines

Submit only finished, non-published, original stories, between 2K and 7K words.

We do not accept snail-mail submissions. Your submission package must be e-mailed to submissions@copperpenpress.com. This e-mail address should be used for no other purpose. Include the title of the story and author name in the Subject box.

The manuscript should be attached, formatted as a .doc or .docx (Microsoft Word) on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper, double spaced with one-inch margins. Use Times New Roman 12-point font.

Number all pages, beginning to end, in the header. The header should also include the author’s name and title of the story. Do not type this information on each page. Use the header function of your software.

Attach a second file with a short bio, your legal name, all pen names in use, your complete publishing history, and contact information including complete mailing address, e-mail, telephone and social media info.

We will not take phone calls or emails regarding the status of your manuscript. We will respond to your submission once it has been read, whether we are interested in publishing it or not.

Simultaneous submissions are permitted. If you have accepted a contract with another publisher, or wish to remove your manuscript from submission, you may contact us by email at editor@copperpenpress.com.

Submissions usually take 4 to 8 weeks for a response. We will not send critiques.

Deadline – October, 31, 2016"

Monday, January 02, 2017

Book of the Month & Year

My pick for December's book of the month is Someone to Love by Mary Balogh, the first novel in her new Westcott series. The author starts it off with a huge plot twist right in the beginning of the book, which sets the stage for some amazing storytelling.

When the Earl of Riverdale dies, he leaves behind a secret as well as a fabulous fortune. His widow learns that her husband provided financial support for Anna Snow, an orphan girl in Bath, whom everyone assumes is the earl's illegitimate daughter. Now a teacher at the orphanage, Anna is summoned to London by the earl's attorney. I won't spoil the surprise, but that's when things then go BOOM.

Anna also has more surprises in store after she meets the new earl's guardian, Avery Archer, the Duke of Netherby. Avery seems like nothing more than a little, foppish kind of guy; not at all hero material. Wait for it, because he's one of the most interesting male protagonists Mary has written in a long time. You'll be cheering for him and Anna by the end of the novel.

I really enjoyed this romance, and I can't wait to jump on Someone to Hold, the next book in the series, which should be released in March.

It was very tough to pick the book of the year. I read 104 books for pleasure in 2016, and the majority of them were terrific. I discovered new-to-me authors I will be collecting, and rediscovered some old favorites that still delivered the magic.

I made my choice based on the one book that I thought about for the longest time, and recommended most often to others. It's the third novel in an indy published series that has from the beginning impressed me to no end. I think this installment delivers even more than I expected after the promise of the first book and the intrigue of the second. It's my #1 book for 2016 for so many other reasons, too. The story is very well-written, adventurous, and packs a wallop of a plot. The characters were already pretty fabulous, but now they're growing up and developing into people whom I want to read about for a very long time.

This book takes me back, too. Science fiction used to be wonderful when I was a kid; I buried myself in books by A.M. Lightner and Edmund Cooper and René Barjavel. Unlike most of the literary nihilistic techfests no one even wants to call science fiction these days, the SF of my teens offered journeys you actually wanted to take. The stories whisked you off to an incredible new future with problems you wanted to solve while you got to know amazing characters in fantastic settings.

I miss all that, and the hope that came from those books. They didn't spit on the future or the reader; they entertained and inspired us. They were the stories that helped us deal with the troubles in the present, and made us want to be better people when we grew up. If that makes me terminally uncool so be it.

For all these reasons LJ Cohen's Dreadnought and Shuttle is my book of the year for 2016. You can read my write up about it here.

Finally, for posterity, here's the list of all the books I read for pleasure in 2016:

January

The Everything Mediterranean Diet by Connie Diekman and Sam Sotiropoulos
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Face of Battle by John Keegan
Scarce Resources by Brendan Detzner
Live to See Tomorrow by Iris Johansen
An Unbreakable Bond by Robyn Donald (revisited read)
Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett
Creative Quilting with Beads by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader
Silent Melody by Mary Balogh*

February

Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison
American Cooking: New England by Jonathan Norton Leonard
Elegant Stitches by Judith Baker Montano
52 Small Changes for the Mind by Brett Blumenthal
Essentials of English Grammar by L. Sue Baugh
Driven by Fire by Anne Stuart
Heartless by Mary Balogh
The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde
Sight Unseen by Iris Johansen
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
The Arrivals by Melissa Marr
The Private Patient by P.D. James
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson*

March

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
The Elementals by Francesca Block
Ashes of Candesce by Karl Schroeder
Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends by Lewis Spence
How to Publish Your Own eBook by Nik Rawlinson
Alternative Art Journals by Margaret Peot*
Elegant Stitches by Judith Baker Montano
Never Kiss a Rake by Anne Stuart (revisited read)
Never Trust a Pirate by Anne Stuart (revisited read)
Never Marry a Viscount by Anne Stuart (revisited read)
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Dante's Circle Box Set by Carrie Ann Ryan
Firefly Hollow by T.L. Haddix
The Gettysburg Campaign by Charles River Editors
Branded by Keary Taylor

April

Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick
100 Perfect Hair Days by Jenny Strebe
Bed Riddance by Ogden Nash
Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen (revisited read)
Grimoire for the Green Witch by Ann Moura
Letters to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron
Gladiatrix by Amy Zol
Only Beloved by Mary Balogh*
Troubleshooting! by John Lyons

May

Barron's 101 Watercolor Techniques
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
A Shiver of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton
Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 by Winston Graham*
The American Diabetes Association Diabetes Comfort Food Cookbook by Robyn Webb
Reckless by Anne Stuart (revisited read)
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes

June

Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent
Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Fun with Fabric by Jane Foster
J'adore Montreal by Isabelle Lafleche
Black & White ~ Bright & Bold by Kim Schaefer
Sewing with Fabulous Vintage Fabrics by Arden Franklin
Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
Dreadnought and Shuttle by LJ Cohen*

July

The Body Reader by Anne Frasier
Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (revisited read)*
Redemption Road by John Hart
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
French Country by Barbara Buchholz and Lisa Skolnik
Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal
One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins

August

Longbourn by Jo Baker
Slow-Cooker Quick Fixes by Southern Living
Imprudence by Gail Carriger
Wolf in Waiting by Rebecca Flanders (revisited read)*
Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz
Country French Kitchens by Carolina Fernandez

September

Frostline by Linda Howard and Linda Jones
The Big Four by Agatha Christie
Rex Harrison by Roy Moseley with Philip & Martin Masheter
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton
Stoker's Manuscript by Royce Prouty
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
On Thin Ice by Anne Stuart
Second Son by Lee Child*

October

All Shook Up by Susan Andersen
50 Ways to Wear Denim by Lauren Friedman*
Lady Fortune by Anne Stuart

November

Byzantium ~ The Early Centuries by John Julius Norwich
Shadowlands and Songs of Light by Kevin Ott*
Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa

December

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh*
South China in the Sixteenth Century by C.R. Boxer
The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses
Ricochet by Sandra Brown
Free-Form Embroidery by Judith Baker Montano
Strip Happy ~ Quilting on a Roll by Suzanne McNeill
Bonk by Mary Roach

*My pick as book(s) of the month

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Wishing You



Image credit: CreAuthor