Friday, December 23, 2011

You may be a Literary Genius and just not know it...

I love odd little literary news items. There was a big one that occurred over the last weekend. Charlotte Bronte's little tiny 4000 word 'magazine' sold for almost a million dollars in England.

I guess she wrote six of them. Four are in the care of a Bronte museum in England, and one is still missing. The museum bid for the hard-to-read hand-written book, but was outbid by a French museum by 20,000 pounds.

Charlotte was only 14 in 1830 when she wrote the books to entertain her younger siblings. I have to wonder if she had any clue that her childish scribbles would later be fought over by two countries and be so valuable. I read comments on one of the articles about the sale, and the British seem to be very upset. What appears to grate on them the most is the fact that it was bought by the French, and it will be taken out of Bronte's native country.

Charlotte later went on to use one of the 'magazine' scenes in her novel Jane Eyre, one of the greatest novels ever written.

Switching gears-

A couple of days ago, I was watching a news segment on Earnest Hemingway's home in Cuba. If you read his biography, you will find that Hemingway was a tortured individual. He suffered illnesses, wars, plane crashes, electroshock therapy for depression, and eventually shot himself in 1961. He had the advantage over Charlotte Bronte of being recognized for his work, both good and bad. He won a Pulitzer, and eventually a Nobel Prize in Literature, but it took him as many bad reviews to get there as good.

Again, another legend, though from a completely different perspective.

The news anchor wandered through Earnest Hemingway's home with his grand-daughter Mariel, and they paged through an old manuscript. It was hand-written, heavily scribbled on, and, they remarked, definitely not ready for release to the public. There was too much profanity.

I guess what interests me the most is the dichotomy between the author's journeys, and how they ended up being two of the most well-known authors in history. It's heartening to know that they started out EXACTLY the same way I have- wanting to write.

I believe we have legends in our midst right now, recognized and not, that have changed the writing genre as we know it. Maybe someday WE'LL be the legends. We just have to perservere and write the very best work we can.

What author do YOU admire most for their work in the genre?

Thanks for stopping.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Recipe for Bacon Bark...Don't wrinkle your Nose!

Ok, I don't normally post recipes here, but I felt for the better good of Woman kind, I needed to post this. It's quick and easy, and people will DEMOLISH it!
The holidays are wonderful. Family, friends, presents, get-togethers. But with all that fun comes stress. I always stress more about the food I need to take than the actual traveling out of state to see family. What am I going to take to the Christmas party/ Thanksgiving dinner/ family get-together? My husband actually gets pissed at me because I stress so much.
This can be made the day before you leave, though, and travels perfectly.

NUT mixture-

  • 1 cup pecan halves

  • 1 cup walnut pieces

  • 1 cup almonds

  • 2T Maple Syrup

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, plus an extra sprinkle

  • 1t. Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 1/2 t. Paprika

  • salt and pepper

Bacon mixture-

  • 6 strips uncooked bacon (I used 3 strips of extra thick bacon)

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 t. Paprika

  • salt and pepper

Stir all of the ingredients in the nut mixture until everything is coated. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dice the bacon into small cubes. Mix all of the bacon ingredients in a bowl, then spread onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Cook 8-10 minutes, until the sugar is bubbling. Remove from oven and add the nut mixture, stirring thoroughly. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Serve warm or allow to cool, then break the nuts apart.

I served it the next day. After it cooled, I just threw it into a plastic container and packed it away. Super easy, and the men will absolutely love it. I made this for Thanksgiving, and had people calling me for the recipe as we left.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Writers Beware...Book Country

There are several businesses and services popping up, with the rise in self-publishing. One of those is the new Book Country initiative by Penguin.

Now, Book Country has been around for a while, but Penguin only recently started offering self-publishing services. Basically, depending upon the service you BUY, they guide you on how to set up your manuscript, format it for all the separate outlets for sale, let you create your cover on their software, then disburse it. The packages they offer are:

--$99- they provide you with the tools to format your manuscript, you upload the manuscript to them, and they distribute it. E-book only.

--$299- again, they provide you the tools to format your manuscript, this time for e-book and print. They provide you with tools to create your cover, and tips on marketing.

--$549- you send them your manuscript, and they do everything for you.

Now, if the fees were the end of it, I probably wouldn't be upset. They provide a service, you pay for it. Fine. Instead, you have to sign a contract, forking over 30% of whatever you make.

All of the 'tools' they provide to learn how to format your manuscript, you can find on Smashwords for free. You can find covers for ebooks for $20 and up. Editing services can range from a few bucks up to several hundred. My point is, it can all be done for less than Penguin is advertising, and the services certainly shouldn't cost you royalties for the life of the book. They don't advertise for you anywhere other than the Book Country site, there is no service for issues that arise later, no follow through on anything.

If you put out a book priced at $2.99, through Amazon, you, the author, keep $2.05. But if you use Book Country, they take 30% of your royalties, so you will make $1.47 per copy. Now, $.58 is a lot of money over the length of a contract.

I worry that people will want the Penguin logo on their book, and will sign anything to get it.

I'll give you the example Joe Konrath used on his site. 'I've sold 500,000 ebooks. If I'd published with Book Country, they would have taken $290,000 in royalties from me. That's just awful. '
I worry that people will be so excited to have the opportunity to have Penguin put their stamp on their self-pubbed book, and will rush into something they will regret years down the road.

If you want to self-pub a book, take the time you need to do it correctly. Don't jump onto a bandwagon because of a name, and be sure to read any contract you enter into VERY carefully. This is your financial future you are gambling, so take the time to plot it correctly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Exotics Debacle From Zanesville, Ohio...

My family has been calling me today and last night to let me know about the news in Zanesville, Ohio. Yes, I live in Kentucky now, but I used to work at Muskingum County Sheriff's Department, the agency in the news right now trying to corral the exotic animals.
I remember Terry Thompson as being an ass. He had too many animals to keep track of, and they were always getting out and causing trouble. He had cattle on another property (which I thought he used to feed his exotics) but he was always too busy to build fence to keep them in properly. So it was left to the S.O. to block traffic and take property damage reports when the cattle trampled lawns. I was once sent on a call to look for his bear, which had somehow gotten loose. The bear was handleable, but it still gave you chills when you got near it. Terry walked it home like you would a dog.

If Terry did take his own life, it's a shame, but I think it's more of a shame that all of those animals had to die as well. They had no choice in the matter. I also feel bad for the deputies who had to kill the animals. Deer and the occasional dog are bad enough, you expect it with the job, but to have to take wolves and cheetahs and lions is heartbreaking.

The one tiny piece of hope I have is that the animals enjoyed their brief time free. And I hope that the animals left over find better homes in the zoos and parks than Terry could have ever given them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10 Sites for Self-Pubbed Pre-Made eBook Covers

I have a lot of friends getting into self-publishing, and I plan too as well, so I've been investigating sites to buy covers for ebooks. Let me tell you, there are some fantastic cover artists out there. All of the ones listed below have pre-made designs for sale, with prices ranging from $18-$65. The prices usually include title and author name change, but be sure to check for yourself. And most of the sites of course offer design services for individuality. Here are some sites and designers worth investigating:
1) Dara England~~ I have to give props to Dara, because she did the covers for the two Decadent books I have. I absolutely love them both, and I have the utmost respect for Dara as an artist. Unfortunately, Dara's so freaking awesome that she's not accepting new clients. BUT, she has a nice page of pre-made covers for sale.
2) ~~ Jimmy Thomas. That should be all I have to say, but since some people are just getting in to the business, I will explain. Jimmy Thomas is a romance novel cover GOD. Tall, Dark and Handsome, mouth-watering bod. He has created his own company with stock images as well as pre-made covers. You may have to register, but it's easy, and well worth the access.
3) Razzle Dazzle Designs~~ They have beautiful pre-made covers and pages of stock photos.
4) Fantasia Frog Designs~~ I just love the name of this site. No, really, they're doing covers for Decadent Publishing, and they're pretty freaking awesome. Again, pre-made covers and stock photos.
5) Hot Damn Designs~~ Didn't see very many pre-made covers, but I know they do a lot of design work.
6) Purple Ink Graphics~~ They have some beautiful designs on their website. I had to make them purple.
7) Book Graphics~~ Thay have oodles of pre-made covers. A little more basic perhaps.
8) Delle Jacobs~~ Actually created a lot of the pre-made covers on the Jimmy Thomas site. She looks to be really good at Historicals.
9) Tibbs Design~~ Has a lot of good solid authors as clients.
10) Spittyfish Designs~~ You kind of have to navigate around through the categories to find all of the covers, but they look really good.

Hope this helps you out. If you know of others, maybe leave them in the comment section. Also, too, a word of caution. There are a lot of Joe Schmo's popping up thinking they can design book covers. Investigate the company as thoroughly as possible before sending money.
Thanks for stopping!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Archangel's Blade

It took me a while to find this book, and I was so aggravated. Wal-mart, for some reason, will not carry Nalini Singh's books. I looked at several different stores the week it was released. Could not find it.

Two weeks after it's release, I had to go to Lexington for an errand, and I stopped at Barnes and Noble. Found the book, bought the book, read the book in one day. And I loved it.

This is one of the most impressive series I've come across in a long time. I rank it right up there with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward.

I think Nalini's niche is writing powerful action blended with heartstopping emotion. The heroine in this book has been physically, mentally and sexually abused, and you genuinely worry about her being with the hero, an unyielding, cold, vampire enforcer.

I'm going to let this percolate in my mind, and then go back to read it a second time. Actually, I may read all four books in the series again, just because she's such a gifted writer.

If you have a chance, look up this heartstopping, thrilling Nalini Singh series. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Something new...

I've struggled to keep up with my blog. I don't post very often, and I think it was too little. I'm hoping that by creating a new, pretty blog, I'll want to go to the blog and create.
I know. I've pretty much said that before. I still like my website, but I needed something to keep me engaged. I hope you like this.
Just to clarify too, this won't be just for writing things. There's too much that goes on in my life that isn't writing related that I'd like to talk about. Kids, animals, Kentucky, you name it I may blog about it. So, bear with me and I look forward to your feedback.