Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More fun with weak acid dyes

I've been dyeing some more. This time I dyed around three ounces of wool roving. I've pictured it here as it's drying on a screen in the spare room along with some fleece that I washed yesterday.

The fleece will go through the whole process once it's dry - combed with the wool combs, pulled off through a diz, and dyed. I can hardly wait for the dyed roving to dry so that I can spin it.

I also dyed about 350 yards of yarn that I spun before dyeing. All of this is from the raw fleece that I got for Christmas. I'm looking over knitting patterns and trying to decide what I'll make.

What I really want is a loom so that I can weave.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Seed Catalogues

I've circled so many things I want from my seed catalogues that I may go bankrupt if I order them all : )

I have to prune my choices. Or maybe it's thin. I have to thin my choices. Thinning always hurts.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Operation E-Book Drop, getting free ebooks to the troops overseas

Logo design from the Imagination
and Graphic Artistry of
K.A. M'Lady & P.M. Dittman
 I've just signed up to participate in Operation E-Book Drop, a program in which authors can give coupons to troops overseas for free downloads of their books. As of Jan. 22nd there are 590 authors participating in this program and it's estimated that 2 million coupons for free ebooks have been dropped to our troops overseas since Sept., 2009.

If you're an author and have books in eformat, click the logo to find out how to participate.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nook color!

I got a Nook Color ereader for Christmas. Actually, I should clarify that. My husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas which I was thrilled about, except for the fact that Kindle isn't library-friendly. So we sent the Kindle back and I got a Nook Color instead.

In making my choice for which library-friendly ereader I would get in exchange for the Kindle, I narrowed it down to a choice between the Sony Touch and the Nook Color. What finally swayed me to the Nook? Pandora Radio. If you can access a wi-fi connection, you can go online with the Nook, which comes with the Pandora app. It's absolutely wonderful!

So I not only use my Nook for reading wonderful library books, but I can plug it into my stereo and listen to ebooks or the utterly fabulous Pandora Radio while spinning.

If you're not familiar with Pandora, it's an app which lets you plug in a favorite title of music or an artist, and it will build a radio station of similar music for you to listen to around that. My favorite station to listen to while spinning is built off of Waltz of the White Lilies by the Irish band, Deanta.

I'm so happy with my Nook Color!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The cover of my new book!

This is the cover for Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale!

It's out now and available through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Smashwords.com. In the next few weeks it will be available through most other ebook retailers, too (Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, etc...)

Click on the cover for more information about the book and where to buy it for just $2.99!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

73 acres saved from the commercial world for adventuring

My daughter and my dog and I like to go on adventures. There is a parcel of land just a hop, skip, and a jump away which we use for just this purpose. It has been for sale for the past couple of years, and this made me sad. I've always hated watching wonderful woodland turned into office space and other commercial buildings. I've always dreamed of having unlimited funds with which I could go around buying up these parcels of land so that I could leave them untouched and wild.

Well, something of the sort has actually happened! The local paper has stated that this exact parcel of land - 73 acres of woodland - has been donated anonymously and will be turned into a park. It will eventually have a small, gravel parking lot and hiking trails.

Hooray for dreaming and for dreams coming true! My daughter and doggie and I will continue with adventures like this, this, and this in these 73 acres of woodland without fear of their coming to an end.

Monday, January 10, 2011


It's so gratifying to be able to turn this:

Into this:

I've spun the first yarn from my Christmas fleece. 150 yards of luscious, soft, squishy, springy, stretchy two-ply. This is really nice wool.

The process involves washing the raw wool (VERY gently, so as not to felt it); combing the washed locks with wool combs into what's called top, or roving; and then spinning two bobbinfuls of singles yarn, which are then plied together into a two-ply yarn.

And I've literally only scratched the surface of that bag of wool. I have 99% of the fleece still to process. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Report on Self-Publishing eBooks Experiment

Several months ago (April, 2010) I began an experiment. I self-published two ebooks through Amazon.com to see what would happen. At the time, the self-publishing world was starting to really wake up to ebooks and Amazon has made it (relatively) easy to upload and publish your written works through their Digital Text Platform, and make them available for purchase through their Kindle ebook store.

You can do this in various other places, too. I, for instance, have also published one of my books through Smashwords.com, which makes your ebook available in many formats for just about any ereader. Through their premium catalogue, your book is also included in the iPad ebook store, the Sony ereader store, the Barnes and Noble Nook ebook store, and other ebook catalogues.

So, the big question, how have my books done? Am I a self-published millionaire yet? No.

A thousandaire? No.

A hundredaire? No, but almost.

Let me break it down for you.

My Twelfth Christmas was published in April, 2010. Since then, I've sold 194 copies, the majority during the months of November and December (it's a Christmas story). This short story sells for $0.99. I make a whopping $0.35 on each one sold. So this book, thus far, has brought me a total of $67.90.

The Witch of Starmont was published in July, 2010. Since then, I've sold 12 copies, half of those during the months of November and December (I think they were probably from people who liked the Christmas story and wanted to see what my other book was like). This is a novella and I've priced it at $1.99. I make $0.70 on each one I sell, so this book, thus far, has made me a total of $8.40.

So, together, thus far, I've made $76.30 from my little two-book self-publishing experiment. Oh, and over 200 people have taken a gander at my writing.


It's exciting when you see you've made a sale. And it was very gratifying to see my little self-published Christmas story ranked in the top 20 bestselling Christmas ebooks at Amazon, and often in the top 10 bestselling children's Christmas ebooks simultaneously during the holidays. That feels like success right there. But number-wise, it's hard to say.

I know of many self-published authors who sell hundreds of books per month, and several who sell over 1000 books per month. And then there are some who sell a book here and a book there over the space of several months. This last is exactly what my sales are like when it's not Christmastime.

For those of you wanting to know, I've done very little advertising and self-promotion for my books. This can make a difference, if you do it smartly, and well. I was thinking of doing some sort of advertising during the holidays for my Christmas book, but when I saw sales start to uptick in October on their own, I sat back and wanted to see what would happen without any advertising. I did make my presence known more than usual on the kindleboards and on a couple of amazon kindle holiday book threads, but that was the extent of my self-promotion (other than the obvious links I have on the blog here - which, by the way, rarely get a click-through).

And so the experiment continues.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fun with acid dyes

This is my first foray into dyeing with weak acid dyes. I had three skeins of sock yarn that I spun for my sister to experiment with. The yarn is superwash wool/nylon:

I applied the dyes using plastic condiment bottles (for ketchup/mustard) purchased at Walmart. I processed the skeins in the microwave. It was really quick and easy.

The colors are wacky and sort-of tie-dyed-looking. I'll soon have more fiber to experiment with, I've been processing the bag of fleece I got for Christmas and have ~1/4 pound of combed top so far waiting to be played with.

In the meantime, my sister is going to get the makings of one funky pair of socks : )

Saturday, January 1, 2011