Hi, sweet people. I owe you an apology. During August, I have been swamped and inattentive to you, to your comments, and more. Sadly, I remain under water with obligations and medical care until sometime in October. I want you to understand why I am behaving badly and not getting back to you when you write. Very soon, I promise to make it up to you and get back on top of things again.
I want to announce that I have started a Facebook page. Oh, heart, don’t fail me now. I swore I would never go on Facebook or any other similar strictly social network. Well, it seems that Facebook has evolved into more and so have I.
Since I am only, I don’t know, a millennium behind everyone else on the planet and haven’t a clue what I am doing, please be patient with me as the Facebook page evolves.
Finally I want to remind everyone who is interested in the FROM WRITERS TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS CONFERENCE on October 5, to get your registration in. The price of $60 for 6 sessions will rise to $75 in September. Why pay a penalty for procrastination? Be proactive and save $$$. Remember, lunch is included in the admission.
Click here to register:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 304-285-8205 for more information.
You may read about the conference at http://acornbookservices.com/Writer_to_Published_Author.html
or see the brochure about the conference below.
Click on the link above to start your self-education about Print-on-Demand publishing. The blog site creator has collected cost, contract, royalty and other information in one handy table.
If you are using a traditional publisher, the information provided may give you some negotiating leverage when you’re preparing to sign your next contract.
RE-RUN OF MARCH POST
JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU, YOU CAN BUY THE ANTHOLOGY USING THE LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.
OUR 30-YEAR-OLD MEMBER MISSED THE PHOTO OP. SHE IS VERA SINES-KLANK.
Wow! In my little writer’s hideaway, I got a phone call to tell me the newspaper interview was published March 3. Not only was it printed in the local newspaper, but it is available on-line, too. The link is above. I don’t know how long they keep on-line articles floating in web-space, so look now.
(The photo was taken by staff photographer Joe Crocetal of The Herald-Mail newspaper in Maryland. The dark-haired one on the top left of the overhead shot is me.)
We received 5 pages of publicity in the on-line article. How lovely!
In case you are hearing about this for the first time, let me give you background. I am a member of Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. We published an anthology in late December 2012. The book is available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble (on-line only) at a very affordable price. If you have an interest in a sneak preview, click the Amazon link below. The Barnes and Noble link is also available for you with Nook readers.
Dates don’t stick in my brain. That’s why I always disliked history classes. The tests seemed to focus on memorization of lots of dates. I was at an instant disadvantage. I would have preferred that the instructors focused on the lessons we can learn from history. If that had been the case, I likely would have majored in history. I love to learn. I hate memorization.
But I digress.
I was saying dates don’t stick in my brain. I can’t remember when I first decided that I would start a writers group. If I were to guess, I would say it was two years ago. About that time, I started attending writing workshops by mystery author Lauren Carr, hosted by different local libraries. In fact, it happened after the first Carr workshop, but before the second. At the second workshop is where I asked for anyone interested to give me his or her contact information.
It took a bit of time to find a meeting place. I had a list of 25 names. I had no idea how many would actually show up. Rose Harris, owner of a local coffee-house in historic Williamsport, MD, was willing to let the group use her back room free of charge two times per month. The local library also had a meeting room, but it was in high demand. The writers group may have to compete for meeting dates. That was no good. Plus, the library felt sterile. The vibe at the Desert Rose Cafe was nurturing, creative, friendly. As an added bonus, “the eats” were good and inexpensive.
It was the vibe that made the decision for me.
Over time the group whittled down to a dozen, then ten regulars. The group was very diverse, from writing styles to personalities to topical interests. Yet we jelled. We shared work by reading aloud. We criticized (in a constructive way) and guided each other in developing our craft. We encouraged and inspired each other.
The restaurant hosted a writing contest, posting short works from the group in the dining room, asking diners to read and vote on a winner.
We all were winners, because, after the contest, we decided to put together the Anthology. We had faith we could create a collection of short works, edit them, compile them, then publish them in a period of about six months.
With the professional assistance and coaching of Acorn Book Services in Harpers Ferry, WV, by December, 2012, the humble writers group–Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe–released its first e-book. The members range in age from 30 to 80-plus and live in a three state area.
One member with Asperger’s Syndrome remarked that the release date of the e-book was one of the greatest days in his life. During the course of writing for the Anthology, he made a decision to move out of his parents’ home and into his own apartment, so he could enroll in college. He is currently working on a solo writing project.
An administrator in the local library system called me a couple of days ago to express her surprise and joy that Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe had achieved its goal. She offered to help arrange publicity for the book through the local newspaper. In turn, I offered to promote the library workshops as wellsprings of creativity. Without the library’s workshop, the Anthology would never have been written.
An idea led to a call to action and resulted in the creation and e-printing of a publication. A young man’s life changed. Others came to see that setting a goal and working on it faithfully yielded results. Several are working on new solo projects.
Dreams do come true.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I plan a Kid’s Stuff book sometime in the future. Here’s another project from the book suitable for the school-aged child. It’s a perfect activity for the Christmas break from school. It keeps idle hands busy, AND it teaches children about the winter life of birds.
In winter, natural foodstuffs for birds can be sparse. When the thermometer dips, birds need a source of fat, carbohydrates and protein to provide calories for warmth, flight fuel, and general health. Suet cakes offer a source for all three at one convenient location.
Children benefit from this project by:
- engaging in a useful activity
- learning about other creatures who share space with them on the earth
- helping birds survive in winter
- learning about bird nutrition
- identifying the birds that show up to eat the suet
- Understanding the thermodynamics of changing a solid to liquid (melting suet) and returning the same to a solid (freezing the suet cake)
- following the directions in the recipe
- working cooperatively with you to complete a project
The first item you need is a feeder. The hanging wire cage type of feeder, with an opening door on one side for reloading, is readily available where bird seed is sold. Or you can recycle (another child benefit) an aluminum pie pan to use as a flat surface feeder.
The second item you need is wax paper to wrap the finished product for freezing. You may substitute freezer wrap or other food wrapping material if wax paper is unavailable. Scotch tape is useful for sealing the package ends.
- jar of peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
- 1-2 lbs beef fat (see the butcher at your grocery store). Any bits of beef still attached to the fat offer a source of protein, but you want the fat as clean of large pieces of meat as possible
- 1 C flour (if you have old flour that has gotten buggy, that is perfect for this project)
- 1 C corn meal (ditto on the “buggy” advice above)
- Sunflower seeds or mixed birdseed
- Raisins and/or finely chopped apple or cranberries
Assemble a square cake pan or small rectangular casserole dish, a large mixing bowl, a measuring cup and a large spoon for mixing the dough. Spray or wipe the pan surface lightly with oil to make it easy to remove the finished suet cake.
Melt the beef fat, using a large pan over medium to low heat. You do not want the oil from the fat to sizzle. (Warning: closely supervise your child to prevent the child from getting burned.)
When the beef fat is melted, add the contents of the jar of peanut butter to the fat and stir until mixed well. Turn off the heat under the pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal and chopped fruit. Carefully pour the hot, melted fat into the dry mix and stir, adding the seeds to help thicken the dough. You want a finished consistency of thick cookie dough. Set aside and cool until fingers can safely touch the soft dough.
Press the suet cake dough into the cake pan. Let it cool thoroughly. Slice it into rectangular blocks, sized to fit the suet cage feeder. Wrap the block in wax paper, tape it closed, and freeze until you are ready to put a block into the feeder.