Thursday, March 31, 2011

Congrats to the giveaway winners! And, we have skipped the other seasons and gone straight back to winter.

My book giveaway is now over and five winners have been sent a copy of Rose of Par Kluhnd: A Fairy Tale. Congratulations to:

Bitsy Anderson
Kendra Swallow
Fiona Clark
Dana Palmer
Gabbie Jonhson

Out of 1389 people entered, they were the winners! One is from Great Britain, one is from Canada, and three are from the good ol' United States. Your books are on the way! And a big thank you to all of those who entered to win a copy of Rose of Par Kluhnd. Wish I could afford to send everyone a copy : )

In other news, we seem to have skipped over spring, summer, and fall, and gone directly back to winter. At least our doggy likes the snow : )

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In which I mention a Book Giveaway and digress on the topic of Negative Reviews

ONE: There are only a couple of 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 the other day, 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 really have 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 under Recommended Books. I don't do reviews, per se, I do book recommendations here on this blog. 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 28, 2011

And so it begins...

I now have 216 starter pots planted with various herb and veg seeds. The growing season has officially commenced.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Reapers are the Angels

Alden Bell's (aka Joshua Gaylord's) book, The Reapers are the Angels, is a harrowingly beautiful book about the zombie Apocalypse.

If you happen to be looking for just such a book, this is it.

This one is going to stay with me for a while. It's not one of those that fades away and you pick up again thinking, "Maybe I'll read this," not realizing that you already have. No. You will always remember this book.

Highly recommended, even to those of you who are not zombie fans - I'm not either, but this is now one of my favorite all-time books.

There is beauty and wonderment to be found, even in a world full of zombies, if only you choose to see it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Two things...

First, Elizabeth Taylor has passed away at the age of 79. The other day I was excited to find my favorite movie of hers in the $5 bin at the store - National Velvet. She's very young in that movie. Her youth and energy are so immediate and palpable, and I always think about how, when she made that movie, she had her whole life ahead of her. It's sad to think that a legend is now gone, but today I'll unwrap my $5 prize and see her again as she was when it all still lay before her.

Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney in National Velvet

Second, the movie Jane Eyre will be in out soon. I never really liked the book, classic though it is. It was always a little too dark and creepy for me, and I didn't really like the love story. But, of course, I will go see the movie - the trailer makes it look very good. And I'll probably revisit the book. Maybe I'll be cajoled into seeing what all of the other admirers of Jane Eyer see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The full moon, deer, and Runa

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!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


It's here! And serious work has begun:

Photo by my daughter, Jessica

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Here's what's on my wheel right now

Here's what I 'm currently working on. I've already made one two-ply skein and named the yarn 'Candy Shop' because of its bright colors.

What you see in the picture is one of the singles which will be plied with another singles to make the two-ply yarn. This is wool which I've processed from my Christmas Fleece, dyed, and am now spinning.

These yarns will go into the inventory for my vendor booth at the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show which I'll be participating in on June 11th. I may also be a vendor in the Crooked River Fiber Fling in Peninsula, Ohio, in August.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More on Bald Eagle sightings

The other day I spotted a bald eagle while walking the dog in the neighborhood park next door. Over the weekend, my husband and I decided to go find some more. There are nesting sites nearby so we went to the eagles this time:

And we spotted some. My husband captured a few photos. This one has a mallard flying rather close to an attentive eagle:

Here is one of my favorites:

And here are a couple of pictures he took of the sunset from our back yard after the recent snowfall:

Sometimes the colors of the sunset linger for a while, subtly changing until dusk takes over. This particular sunset faded very quickly. I was glad my husband was able to capture it before it was gone:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hopefully the last snowstorm?

Another snowfall last night. Some of us are hoping (against hope?) that it was the last. I took some pictures while walking the dog.

It was a wet, heavy snow, just right for making snowpeople. Alas, my kids are old enough now that snowpeople aren't often on their to-do lists anymore.

The first review of Rose of Par Kluhnd is in!

My book, Rose of Par Kuhnd: A Fairy Tale, has received its first review, and I'm thrilled with it. To read the review please visit Books, Off the Page. That link will take you to the review of my book, for all other reviews, please click this link.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I saw a bald eagle today!

There I was walking the dog when I spotted a bald eagle happily circling part of the park next door (where I was at the time) and the neighborhood.

Bald eagle numbers have been increasing here in northeast Ohio and so these sightings are becoming less rare. There are lots of nesting sites along the upper Cuyahoga River, and in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is just a hop skip and a jump away from where I live.

My son and my daughter have both seen bald eagles over the past few years while doing mundane things like driving home from high school and (again) walking the dog.

But today was my turn, and it was pretty nifty to watch a bald eagle soaring over the soccer fields in the neighborhood park.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ebook Week at Smashwords - 1/2 off coupon for my ebook!

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.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring is on the way!

I spotted two robins and two red-winged blackbirds yesterday. Spring is just around the corner - I can feel it coming!