Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Giveaway is over, congratulations to the winners!

My book giveaway at Goodreads is over and the winners have been announced! Congratulations to the five winners:

Bitsy Anderson
Kendra Swallow
Fiona Clark
Dana Palmer
Gabbie Jonhson

They will each receive a copy of my book, Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A couple of things...

ONE: There are only three more days left to enter my book giveaway at Goodreads - it ends March 31st. I'm excited to learn who the winners will be. I have the books right here, waiting to go out to their new owners.

TWO: I read a negative review for a self-published book today, and rejoiced. I've read samples of several self-published books which were not very good, and yet they had several reviews which rated them very highly. When I see that I wonder if it's all family and friends writing the reviews, or acquaintances who are too embarrassed to say what they may have really thought. When a one star review pops its head above the crowd of accolades, I do a fist pump and say, "Yes!"

Why? Well, the particular review that I'm alluding to here, mentioned poor writing, grammatical and syntax errors, and the overall poor flow of the story, among other things. And I would have to agree with the reviewer for the book in question. As a writer, I want to know about these things - preferably before my work goes out to the public. But if I've published trash, I also want to know that. I'll want to improve my writing, or take a good, introspective look to see if I should leave writing behind and allot my time to other things.

I have three self-published books out there and very little feedback. One of the things that is stressed by other writers, self-published or not, is that writers must keep writing. Self-published writers tell each other that continuing to write and publish is one of the things which must be done in order to pave the road to success. I haven't gotten much feedback on the work I have out there, and because of that, I haven't really written anything for a while. I don't want to be throwing muck out there, if that's what it is.

So I'm waiting for feedback. I'm not afraid of honest reviews, in fact I crave them. It's hard to improve when everyone is just smiling and patting your back and gushing. Hey, I've gushed over books before, but I honestly felt the love. You can see some of my gushes over on my other blog under Recommended Books. I don't do reviews, per se, I do book recommendations over there. I will do reviews on Goodreads, and I've occasionally given a bad review, but the books were exceptionally horrible. These weren't self-published books, but I think that if self-published authors hit that 'publish' button before their work is truly fit for public consumption, they should be ready to hear about it - and be grown-up enough to take the criticism and use it to improve their craft.

I hope I'm grown-up enough to hear the truth about my books.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Full Moon

Over the weekend, the moon's elliptical orbit brought it the closest to earth that it's been in 18 years.

photo by Steve Ash

My husband and I had tickets on Saturday night, the full moon night, to see the Celtic band, Runa, perform in the cozy venue of a nearby national park lodge. My husband dropped me off and went to take a few pictures of the moon. He finally joined me at intermission, so he was able to enjoy the last half of the concert, which was fabulous.

photo by Steve Ash
We came across a herd of deer grazing at the edge of a forest on our way to the lodge. We snapped a few photos of them, too.

Click on any of the pictures to see them even bigger, and then hit the back arrow to come back to the blog.

Hope your weekend was enjoyable, too. And Happy Spring!

Friday, March 11, 2011

First Review for Rose of Par Kluhnd!

My first review! Rose of Par Kluhnd has been reviewed by Books, Off the Page blog. They've also posted the review to Goodreads, and with their handy widget, I've included the review below:

I am, of course, thrilled with this review! Please visit Books, off the Page to find more ebook reviews.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What takes up some of my spare time?

I've taken up spinning. No, not the exercise kind, the old fashioned Rumplestiltskin kind. Although I have yet to spin straw into gold.

This is what I've been spinning:

That's a storage tub full of raw sheep's fleece. It smells like a barnyard. I'll take a little bit out of the storage tub every so often and plop it into the bathtub for a wash:

You can see that, although this is only the first soaking (the washing has to be done gently so the fiber doesn't felt), it's already vastly improved over this:

You can even see some white in there!:

After it's been washed and has dried, I comb it out with my wool combs (which would beat any ninja weapon in a contest for most lethal-looking). After the combing, which aligns the fibers even more than carding does, I pull the combed fiber off of the wool combs through a small hole in a tool called a diz. This organizes the fiber into a long rope, which gets rolled up into these puffy balls of wool: 

From here I'll either dye the roving (which is what the ropes of fiber are called) and then spin it, or I'll spin it into yarn and then dye it. Here are a few remnants of dyed yarn that I made from this same fleece. They're left-over from a couple of projects that have already been knitted and given away as gifts:

So that's some of what occupies my time when I'm not writing or promoting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good Writing

Once when I was having a stressful, hectic week, I grabbed one of the Harry Potter books on my way up to bed. My husband looked at me, "Harry Potter?"

 I said, "I have to go to Hogwarts for a while."

I read to be taken somewhere, to experience new things. A good writer can take story and writing and create something wonderful. A good story combined with good writing can transport the reader away from all immediate cares and deposit them in another world. And that is exactly what I need sometimes, to go someplace else for a while before coming back to deal with all of the day-to-day stuff again.

Writers have to keep this in mind. Work on the story, work on the writing, until it can take the reader away to someplace they want to be.

I think that with the new (relative) ease of self-publishing in the ebook format, some writers are a little too anxious to get their work out there. I've seen many 'indie' books that could have used a lot more work before the author hit the publish button. The story may have merit, but sometimes the writing brings it down. Usually it's the writing. I would caution all writers out there who are thinking of going the self-publish, or indie, route, to slow down. Hone your craft. Hone your work. Let it sit and come back to it, especially if it's your first piece.

Quality is worth the wait. Quality is worth the cutting and the rewriting. Did you know that Markus Zusak rewrote The Book Thief several times from different points of view until he hit upon writing it from Death's perspecive? Sometimes excellence takes lots of work. Don't be afraid of excellence.

And read, too, copius amounts. Then have the smarts to learn from what you read.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ebook Promotion Week at Smashwords!

Smashwords is repeating their annual Ebook Week special promotion starting Sunday, March 6th and ending Saturday, March 12th. I'm participating in the promotion with Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale. For one week only at Smashwords, my book will be 50% off with this ecoupon code, to be used at checkout:


Click here for Rose of Par Kluhnd's Smashword page, and use the coupon at checkout to receive this ebook at the discounted price of $1.50, only at! The promotion begins Sunday, March 6th and ends Saturday, March 12th.