Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No excuses--action

I'm one of those unique blends of introvert/extrovert.
I'm content with my own company, but I do like people.
It takes me a lot of self-talk to get me to a social situation, but once I'm there I usually have a wonderful time and am glad I went.
This coming weekend (June 3 to 5) I'm going to a writer's conference. I won't be there alone. Oh, no, gobs and gobs of people will be there.
What's helping my extrovert drag my introvert?
Well, tons of things actually I'm going with a dear friend and fellow writers' group member.
On Friday night I'm looking forward to listening to William Deverell talk books.
***
I fondly remember meeting this author in print. I was visiting an aunt. She showed me the book she was reading--Kill All the Judges.
I said, "Oh, that looks interesting." I began to read and, with my aunt's permission, left with the book.
Yes, I have a wonderful aunt.
***
Also Friday night I will be meeting with a literary agent--for the first time, ever.
and..and...and...
This weekend I'm not listening to any excuses from my introvert. This weekend I'm allowing my extrovert to act.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
If you are an introvert, how to you convince yourself to be social?
If you are an extrovert, how do cope with being alone?
Currently, I'm experiencing some trouble posting comments. So, please know--even though I may not be able to reply--that I'm grateful for your comments.
***
Next Post: Podcast: reading of The Sweater Curse

Monday, May 30, 2011

Useful article on using #

I haven't been using #
Why?
Well, simply put--I didn't why they were so important.
Then I read this interesting article on Zombie Don't Blog
Thank you, Rusty.
I'll be back.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Please welcome Author Jerri Drennen

How/why did you start to write?
Jerri: My youngest of four was three and I needed an outlet to keep my sanity so I picked up a pen and paper and started to write a romance. I was a voracious reader of the genre and I thought, heck, maybe I could write one. I have a hard time looking at that book now--ten-plus years later. It's awful but I've improved a lot since then.

How did you become an author?
Jerri: It was at the beginning of the e-publishing boom. I wish I could say it was a good experience. It wasn't.

What was your first published piece?
Jerri: The book was titled Her Man Flint. I'm thinking about self-publishing the story in the future.

Where was it published?
Jerri: The now defunct Triskelion.

How long ago?
Jerri: 6 or 7 years ago

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
Jerri: What I am now, a wife and mother. I'd have to say it's an asset since I was at home and able to write.

What inspires you?
Jerri: TV, newspapers, and the people I encounter.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques
Jerri: I really don't think I'm very good at marketing myself or my books. I'd rather be writing.

Parting words
Jerri: I just want to thank you for having me here today.
(Thank you, Jerri. I really appreciate and enjoyed your visit.)


Unplanned

Blurb

Galen Hall wakes in a Ecuadorian jail with a murderous headache, a murder charge, and a memory gap where his alibi should be. How does the jungle guide prove his innocence? His best friend comes to help, only to bring with him the woman whose unplanned love sent him fleeing the Amazon to begin with.

One night of steamy jungle passion has botanist Dana Rutherford carrying a stranger's baby. While coming to terms with raising a child on her own, she learns of the father's captivity. In a town where corruption reigns, she unknowingly initiates a jailbreak, and finds herself again face-to-face with the hunky, green-eyed devil who has changed her life forever.

Excerpt

"God no," Dana Rutherford said in utter shock when a light plus sign formed on the stick between her thumb and forefinger.
She snatched the test box off the sink and reread the instructions. The results had to be a false positive. After all, what were the odds of getting pregnant after having sex once?
The mark on the indicator grew clearer and tears filled Dana's eyes, her throat closing off to the point she could hardly breathe.
She stared in the mirror, aghast at her reflection. Once vibrant, mocha-colored hair now hung limply about her shoulders.
She leaned in closer to get a better look at herself and noticed the prominent dark circles under her eyes, giving the impression her eyeliner had run. Too bad she wasn't wearing any.
How was she going to tell her brother about her condition? He'd never forgive her. This could ruin the Rutherford name and reputation, which meant everything to him. So much so that it had driven her away from California's Silicon Valley to teach here in St. Louis.
Dana placed the stick and box on the sink, and with shaky fingers, shoved a loose lock of hair behind her ear.
In despair her attention dropped to her stomach. The toned abs she'd worked so hard to achieve wouldn't be firm for long.
She struggled to take a breath. A baby was coming whether she liked it or not--created with a man who didn't care one iota about her, had actually been angry to find she'd been a virgin when they'd made love.
The event replayed over in her head--his look of disbelief, eyes reflecting his outrage at discovering the blood--as if she had used her innocence to trap him in some way.
She slapped her hands over her eyes. This turn in her life couldn't have come at a worse time. She had no one to talk to, not with her friend Mattie hundreds of miles away in another country, and telling her brother Robert was completely out of the question. She wouldn't tell him until she was ready.
Dana made her way to the bedroom and dropped onto the bed. Galen Hall could be anywhere in the world and was likely impregnating another woman as she sat here. That image alone sent her stomach pitching like a fifty-foot schooner in a white squall.
Why hadn't she listened to Mattie when she'd told her to stay away from him? Like she didn't know the answer to that. The danger he'd represented had been too tempting. She'd been drawn to his seen-it-all-and-then-some emerald eyes; he was so much more knowledgeable than she. But the minute he'd touched her, entered her heated core, he'd changed her forever. Also, it hadn't helped that they'd survived an ambush in the jungle and she'd been nursing Galen, who had gotten shot. What did they call that? The Nightingale syndrome?
Now look at her. Her life had been turned into something Lifetime Television would make a movie out of. Virgin Botanist meets Jungle Guide in the Peruvian Amazon and unprotected sex ensues. Hell, that was too out there for even them.

Unplanned buy link



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good News!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how nervous I was about being judged. The seasonal gallery on Salt Spring Island (ArtCraft) that sells my hand knitting each summer--may not sell them this year. That was my concern. This week they sent me an email and...and...I'm in. Hurray!



I won this beautiful ebook reader. Much thanks to Long and Short Romance Reviews
My husband assures me it's very easy to use, but I'm still intimidated by this new technology. With all the great ebooks available, I will get over it.




It's a reality. The Sweater Curse is a paperback. Yup, I'm smiling. (More about this in future posts.)



And the icing on the cake, I attend the Mayne Island library book sale and scored this collection for under a dollar. A Prayer for Owen Meany is an old favourite. Margaret Atwood's (Canadian author) Alias Grace I've heard praised. A Maiden's Grave by Jeffery Deaver--I don't know the book or the author. Tip: attend the Mayne Island library book sales. Each time I score wonderful reads.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Celebrating spring Mayne Island style
































































































































































































































I would like to apologize for the spacing of these pictures. Each time I tried I deleted a picture and had to start all over again. After three attempts I stopped trying for perfection.



















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Monday, May 23, 2011

Knitting: proper patch pocket placement

I don't have a straight eye. There I said it. It's out. I feel much better.
Usually, this defeat doesn't present any problems. Usually--not always. One of the times it does is when I what to add a patch pocket to a sweater I'm knitting. Packet pockets are added after the sweater is knit. There is nothing to indicate where the pocket should go. The advance of this is that you are fear to add the pocket where ever you think it should go. The disadvantage is that your pocket could be sewn on crooked. For me, with my defeat, this "crookedness" is an ever present danger.
What to do?
What I did was invent a sure fire system that gives me straight patch pockets each and ever time.
From me to you, here it is...
This example is on a cardigan. I knit the sides of the cardigan in Stockinette stitch--except for a rectangular of reverse Stockinette stitch.

This reverse Stockinette stitch indicates where the patch pocket will be placed.


I measure the rectangular and knit the pocket to fit.



I pin the pocket in place.

Please note the ribbing on the pocket extends beyond the reverse Stockinette stitch on the cardigan.



All that's left to is sew the pocket on.



There you have it--a properly placed patch pocket.




Clever. Yes?

I have other pocket tricks. My wish is show another to you soon. Let's hope that I will reach this goal.

Happy knitting



Friday, May 20, 2011

Please welcome Author Elaina Lee

How/why did you start to write?
A teacher gave me an assignment in the sixth grade, we had to write a fantasy. I wrote about a young girl who'd just lost her parents and went to live on her Uncle's farm, where she found the animals could speak to her. Every spare chance I had, I sat at the big Apple computer and typed away! Haven't stopped since. : )

How did you become an author?
I worked really (really) hard, LOL! For three years I slaved over improving my writing with the help of a fabulous group of women. When I thought I could handle the pain of rejection after all my hard work, I submitted and to my shock, was offered a contract.

What was your published piece?
A dark romantic suspense titled Written in Blood.

Where was it published?
Noble Romance

How long ago?
November of last year.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
Well, first I had to decide if I wanted to just write for me or if I was really serious about being a published author. I thought writing the book was the hard part, but it turns out, that's actually the easiest part. Did I really want that? Or did I want to just stay in my blissful ignorance of all the rules? No, I wanted to be published, so I went in search of other authors who help me. And yes, their expertise and support has been a HUGE asset.

What inspires you?
Music and events in real life that make me go "hmmmmm"

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques?
I have NO idea what's been successful. I don't write erotica so my sales are pretty low. I purchase marketing ads and seek out reviews, as reviews sell books. But mostly, I just make sure I'm out there being 'seen'.

Parting words
Thank you so much for having me!
(It was a pleasure, Elaina. )






Lyndi Crisdean is assigned one of the hardest cases in her career as a defense attorney. A serial murder case. Investigating is Alek Trevian, the lead investigator for the district attorney, and a handsome and supremely dangerous man. Lyndi finds herself in over her head when she chooses desire for Alek over common sense. If they're caught, Lyndi will lose everything she's worked for. Circumstance beyond her controll pull her toward Alek, for he turns out to be the only one who can help when threats start to mount against her.

Lyndi may be the key Alek needs to bring down a murderous cult running loose in his city. When her beach house is broken into and a man begins to tail Lyndi, Alek can't help but reason Lyndi may be next on the cult's hitlist. The question is, will be discover the identity of the cult, keep her safe, and still win the case against the serial killer she's defending, all while losing a battle against the strong, untamable desire she alone ignites within him?



Author website: www.elainalee.com



Author blog: www.elaina-lee.blogspot.com

More information regarding WRITTEN IN BLOOD


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do you have a ghost story? Contest

My friend and fellow author Kathleen Gallagher is running a contest to promote her new book
Echoes At Dawn
Here's my entry...

In the mid-90s, when I was a newly wed, I decided to return to school while still working full-time. This decision meant I spent many hours by myself in my study--slumped over textbooks. From this room, I could overhear my husband's comings and goings.
One evening as I was reading an especially complicated passage, I suddenly felt a warm presence. I looked up expecting to see my husband leaning against the doorframe--he wasn't there. I was alone, but the presence remained.
That's weird, I thought.
Even though it was winter, I smelt lilac. The fragrance was familiar.
My grandma's hand lotion.
Faintly I heard a sound. Listening closely, I made out words. "Don't worry, elsken, everything will be okay." The voice was familiar.
Grandma.
How can that be? She's in a nursing home--three provinces away--back home in Manitoba.
The phone rang, I overheard my husband answered. "Hi, how's it go-- Oh...oh...I'm so sorry. No, it's okay I'll tell her."
He replaced the receiver, walked into my study and drew me into his arms. "Leanne, I have some bad news."
I fought threw my tears. "Grandma passed away."
"Yes, but how did you..."
"She was here. She said good bye."

Do you have a ghost story?
If so, please enter Kathleen's "Echoes At Dawn Story Contest"
You could win a beautiful pendent (designed by Rae Bradbury-Enslin)
Contest ends June 14th
Winner will be announced June 15th
Enter today!
***
Also much thanks to Sarah on Facebook who sent me this...
Shuswap Writers' Festival
Friday: May 27 at 5:00 pm
Location: Salmon Arm, British Columbia
www.saow.ca

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Podcast will return

You may have noticed that there was no podcast today. I apologize for the disappointment. Please keep the faith. The sound guy and I will return more (chapter four) from The Sweater Curse.

7 reasons why you should buy The Sweater Curse

1)The story is captivating--read the reviews.
2)This is only the beginning--I'm already working on the sequel.
3)The surprise ending includes this sweater pattern...

4)Serves as your introduction to Icelandic (the language of Iceland)
5)Learn about an Icelandic paranormal entity.
6)Contains tips on starting your knitwear design career.
7)Gives insight into life as an artist.
***
I did receive help yesterday which will--although it will cost a pretty penny--eventually get me closer to solving my mystery. (For more on this, please read yesterday's post.)
***

Next post: Do you have a ghost story?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A mouthful of mystery

This mystery began last February. At that time, I was off-island with a throbbing tooth ache.
What do to?
I found a walk-in dentist clinic. The dentist was young and gentle. She found the offending tooth and recommended extraction or root channel saying, "Do you see? In the x-ray, that line in all the other teeth. It's missing in this one. The root is dead."
I said, "I'm not attached to it. Yank the sucker out."
My husband was there and called for reason. "Let's get some painkillers and make an appointment with your dentist."
So, we did.
After a through examination, my dentist said, "There's no record of any problems with that tooth. It doesn't even have a filling. The root does look dead, but..."
Thanks to the painkillers, the pain disappeared.

April came and along with it suddenly--overnight--I gained a ton of weight in my left cheek. The same side of my face where the tooth pain had been.
Where the two things related?
I didn't know. Hopefully someone else would.
I made an appointment with Mayne Island's Family Nurse Practitioner. She thought it could be a blocked saliva gland and made an appointment for me with a ears, nose and throat specialist.
Off island, I meet with the specialist. He examined my ears, throat and even shoved a tiny camera up my nose. He told me, "Your ears, nose and throat are normal. I think your problem is a dental one." He recommended that I make another appointment with my dentist. I did.
My dentist examined me yet again and took another x-ray. He explained--yet again--that there was no history of problems with that tooth. The root did look dead, but roots just don't die. Unless I had a trauma such as a car accident. He referred me to a specialist. I made an appointment for May 17th--today.
On Friday, May 13th I began to experience a new problem with that side of my face. This time it feels like someone has shaved off the inside of my cheek. The pain is especially bad right after I eat something rough such as toast.
Hm-m-m.
Please wish me luck as I try to solve this mystery.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Knitting---the good, the bad

The Good
When you are working a large project you won't be able to complete it in one sitting. You will need to secure your live stitches on your needle. You do this by using a stitch saver. Most stitch savers are small caps that slip onto the end of one needle. This is the most common type.
I'm not sure when this little red stitch saver entered my life. I don't even know how I acquired it. Did I buy it along with a fistful of needles at the church fair or was it among a yarn donation? How ever it happened I can't imagine my knitting life without it.


You: Why is it so special?
Me: Well, not only does it keep my stitch safely on my needle but it also keeps my needles together. As well, I can stop knitting in mid row, slip the stitch saver on and be good to go.
Love it!

The Bad
Many plastic knitting needles are constructed in two pieces. This is a bad thing thing because it means at any time this can happen...




If...when...it does I'm left scrambling to collect my stitches and slip them back on to my needles.

There is a solution--work with steel or bamboo needles.

So, why do I continue to work with plastic needles?

They' re affordable.

However, as my husband has often pointed out--cheap isn't always the best way to go.

***

In cyberspace...

Today, I'm visiting Sarah Ballance's blog. Please visit me here

***

Next post: A mouthful of mystery

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pattern shared

It's the middle of May. Summer is on it's way. Let's celebrate! Knit this fun knitting project today.


Barefootin' Foot Thong

One size fits most (model's foot is a size 8)

Tension: 4 stitches = 1 inch worked over seed stitch

Needle: 4.50 mm (US 7/ UK 7) or size to obtain tension
one set, plus two double point needles to make I-cord
Yarn: worsted weight (approximately 100 yards)
cotton and hemp yarns work well

seed stitch (over even number of stitches)
Row 1: knit one, purl one--continue to end of row
Row 2: purl one, knit one--continue to end of row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern

Triangle panel (make 2)
Measures: four inches x two and half inches
Cast on 16 stitches
Work in seed stitch for one inch
Continue in pattern decreasting two stitches every second row

I-cord

Using double point needles, cast on 2 stitches
Work six I-cords one and half inches long for end loops
Work two I-cords twenty-eight inches long to wrap around foot (adjust length of I-cord based on size of foot)

Finishing
Sew shorter I-cord at the corners of the triangle panel to form loops
Thread longer I-cord ties through loops
Wrap I-cord ties around foot and secure with a knot.


***


Please welcome author Veronica Lynch

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My life on stage


An actress? Me? Um, not! Or at least that's what I thought before I encountered Mayne Island Little Theatre. After that meeting I was never the same. MILT taught me to step outside my comfort zone and have fun doing it--mostly.
My acting career was brief, varied and coloured by many happy memories. Choosing from them proved to be a challenge.
My role as a monk was easy. All that was required of me was to walk across the stage chanting and hitting myself in the head with a piece of foam. Oh, yes and the tricky part--do this in sync with others. Well, this tricky part proved to be too tricky for me. I thought I'd never get it right. I did eventually manage to reach this goal once during a rehearsal. You can't imagine my relief when Carol McAndrew (the play's director) said, "No, I think it's funnier when you're not in sync."
The actor who was playing Charles was already on stage, reading the paper. I entered looking every bit the pregnant wife.
"Charles," I said rubbing my swollen tummy. "I'm having a baby."
"Penelope, it's a balloon."
"It's a baby."
"It's a balloon."
This debate continued until Charles stood, pin in hand, walked over to me and burst my balloon.
"Prick!" I roared and the audience howled with laughter. (on the island I'm known to be shy and reserved--or at least I was then)

Thank you MILT and may you have at least 30 more.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tension (basic knitting tutorial)

My gauge guide is a silver metal bar that many non-knitters may mistake as a ruler with a series of holes in the centre.
You may have overheard a knitter say, "Wow, this sleeve looks too big. I hope my tension is correct."
What does that mean?, you may have wondered.
Well...
Tension refers to the number of stitches per inch. For example, a pattern may list the tension as 5 stitches x 8 rows = one inch
Many variable will effect the number of stitches you get to the inch. For example...
-the weight of the yarn (finger weight, worsted weight, chunky)
-the size of the needle (4.50 mm/UK 7/US 7)
-how tightly or loosely you knit
Using my gauge guide, ensures that my garment will be worked in the proper portion.

You: Do you work an entire sleeve, back or front and then measure?
Me: No, you work a sample swatch
You: What's a sample swatch
Me: Using the yarn and knitting needles you will use for your project, cast on twenty stitches and work in Stockinette stitch for four inches.
Measure the swatch using your gauge.
Do you have a 4 inch by 4 inch square?
If you have six or more stitches to the inch, work and measure another sample swatch using a large needle. Conversely, if you have four or fewer stitches to the inch, work and measure another sample swatch using a smaller needle. When your sample swatch measures 4 inches by 4 inches you have the correct size needle for your project.

Some projects such as scarves don't need to fit. This is why no tension information is given on the patterns for such projects.
***
Next post: Celebrating Mayne Island Little Theatre's anniversary.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Short Story: Childless by Leanne Dyck




Childless

***

Ben leaves his mom and runs to me, eager to start his day in day care. "Hi, Ben. I missed you." We share a hug.


"How many children do you have?" His mother asks.


"Oh, me? No, I don't have any. I'm not a mom," I confess.


"Too bad, you'll never know what it's like to love a child."


Her words pierce my heart. I feel numb, faint, cold, blind to light. My womb aches to be filled with life, my breasts with milk.


A boulder grows thick and heavy in my gut. Each time I hear a baby coo, giggle, or cry the rough edges of the boulder scarp against my stomach lining and I'm in pain.


How can I pass from virgin to crone without filling the role of mother?

***

Please visit the authors who are participating in Six Sentence Sunday

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Author Keta Diablo's new book...

Blurb:
When the blazing fires of revolt ravage the countryside, Lauren and Sage McCain are trapped amid the flames of destiny. The Civil War has crumbled a Nation, and the Dakota Sioux uprising has turned southern Minnesota into a violent battlefield.
Holding On To Heaven is a story of love between two men and a woman, love between siblings, and a love that crosses all boundaries and forges all cultures.

Reviews:
What an outstanding book! Keta Diablo has penned the most amazing story!
Five Roses: A Romance Review

Holding On To Heaven is a moving adventure about love, passion, revenge and family honor. Keta Diablo has created a story with characters as rich and adventurous as the Wagon's West Series, The North & South trilogy, and Donati's Wilderness epic.
Fresh Fiction

Holding On To Heaven ends on a cliffhanger, surely there will be a sequel to the story of Lauren and Sage. A solid historical novel with attractive characters and a strong sense of place.
RoundUp Magazine

Amazon Reader: This is a wonderfully written story. It has a vast collection of characters that everyone can relate with, from the ones who like love stories to people who prefer the war-time stories. Its just another fine example of how Keta's stories can cover many generations of readers.
Five Stars


Holding On To Heaven buy link
Keta's Keep Romance Blog
Keta's Author Home

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What fell off my knitting needles...

This vest with sleeves (short sleeved cardigan) has two pockets and is easy to toss and cozy to wear. The pattern is an adaptation from my Summer Sunset pattern. Much thanks to my friend Terrill Welch for taking this photo.
***
Today I'm visiting Sarah Ballance blog
and the Decadent Publishing blog

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Podcast author reading

I hope you are enjoying listening to me read from The Sweater Curse.
Today I offer Chapter 3 Part 2
(From Chapter 3 Part 1--please recall that Gwen is visiting her mother Hannah.)













Podcast Powered By Podbean



Please remember, you can access all prior readings by visting the Podcast page



http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com/p/radio-show-podcast.html



***



Next post: What just fell off my knitting needles?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My own personal he...

I really can't decided between the two. Or, perhaps, much like the main character in The Sweater Curse I'm stuck in Purgatory.
I am battling my way out--but it's not easy.
Where am I?
What am I doing?
I'm reformatting The Sweater Curse so that it will become a print book. It will be a limited print run and books will only be available on Mayne Island. (Friends and relatives will be able to obtain the book directly from the author--me.)
I'm very grateful for those professionals who format books. They are worth their weight in gold.
So formatting isn't much fun, but designing the book--that's a hoot.
This edition sports a shiny new cover and other additions as well. For example, a questions for discussion section.
Questions such as...
1) Who, in this story, would you label a villain? Why? Do they have redeeming qualities? What are they?
9)Why do you think Jaron was self-confident?

**
Next post: Podcast: author reading of The Sweater Curse (Chapter 3, part 2)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Selecting yarn (basic knitting tutorial)

Today is election day in Canada.
I've voted but I'd much rather select yarn.

I've heard a few too many stories about new knitters walking into yarn shops and having clerks hand them yarn that looks like the yarn pictured below.
Understandably, most of the knitters that had this experience end up abandoning their needles.
What do you look for?
-light colour yarn
-evenly spun
Look carefully at the first picture. Now examine the second.
In the first picture, notice the little 'n' each is a stitch. If you take the time, you can count each 'n'.
In the second picture... Well, it's hard to see anything but a mixture of colour.


Happy shopping.
Good luck voting.