Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Skye Kingsbury: The Dictionary of Flowers and Gems

The Dictionary of Flowers and Gems by Skye Kingsbury Part One: Something for Readers “The Dictionary of Flowers and Gemstones” contains specialized lists on subjects such as love and affection, friendship, courtship, and refusal. This list covers beauty: Amaryllis: Radiant beauty, Worth beyond beauty Cherry Blossom: Beauty, Female power, “Life is beautiful but transient” (Japan), Sexuality (China) Daisy: Beauty, Loyal love, Patience, Purity, Simplicity, Iris: A message promising love, Beauty, Faith, Majesty, “My compliments”, Perfection, Valor, Wisdom Jasmine: Beauty, Elegance, Friendliness, Grace, Sensuality Lily: Charm against evil, Death of a loved one, Female beauty and sexual attractiveness, Fertility, Majesty, Purity, Wealth Lily, Orange: “I burn for you”, “There’s a flame in my heart” Lily, Pink: “You are pretty” Lily, Tiger: Pride, Riches Lily, White: “It’s heavenly to be with you”, Majesty, Modesty, Perfect beauty, Purity Lily, Yellow: Fun, “I am walking on air”, Happiness Orchid: Beauty, Love, Many children, Mature charm, Refinement, Thoughtfulness Snowdrop: Beauty of spirit, Consolation, Hopefulness, New beginnings Violet: Faithfulness, “I return your love”, Modesty, Sweet beauty Water Lily: Beauty, Enlightenment, Love, Mental purity, Mystic powers, Purity of heart Part Two: Something for Writers I am both a writer and an artist, and quite often I like to include flowers in my work—I often choose the flower(s) with the meanings that fit the best. But I kept finding myself having to search not only multiple books, but also the internet to find a flower with the meaning that I wanted. This led to the creation of “The Dictionary of Flowers & Gemstones.” I use it in my own works now that it's complete, and it has its own place in my shelf of resources. That’s the lesson I learned: If you can't find the resource that you need, make it yourself. You don't have to settle for the half-done books when you can write the complete one yourself. It might be a lot of work, but you won't be digging through thirty texts for the information anymore. Part Three: Book Blurb and Buy Links Sunflowers for health and lavender for chastity; chrysanthemums for wealth and bachelor’s buttons for celibacy. For every emotion and feeling, the Victorians used flowers, bushes, and trees to express it. Not just love, attraction, and desire, but also doubt, indifference, slander, and cruelty. They created beautiful bouquets and tussie mussies to express their connection to the natural world and also their emotions — not all of them pleasant — to each other. We’re rediscovering this bygone way to communicate our deepest thoughts and emotions and “A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems” can help. We’ve taken over 2,000 plants, supplied their scientific name, and arranged them from Aaron’s Beard ([Hypericum calycinum]: Invincibility, Protection) to Zinnia, yellow ([Zinnia]: Daily remembrance, Remembrance). We also sorted the plants according to emotions, from Abandonment to Zeal. Finally, we created specialty lists to cover emotions such as courtship, love and affection, beauty, and refusal, making it easier to create themed bouquets and gardens. A bonus section lists more than 400 gems and crystals and their associated powers and benefits. See which ones strengthen the chakras, encourage feelings of peace and calmness, radiate love, and fortify your self-confidence. “A Dictionary of Flowers and Gems” provides an easy-to-use reference for all practitioners of the floral and gemstone arts. Amazon Amazon Kindle Kobo Apple Part Four: Short bio and media links My name is Skye, and no, it’s not my real name, but it’s the one I go by more often than not. If you’ve noticed that it’s somewhat familiar, it’s probably because you’ve stumbled across my Twitter or Tumblr, Earth_Fire_Skye. If not, then don’t worry too much about it. I’m twenty-one, though not for long if the passage of time has anything to say about that, and I enjoy many hobbies, which range from reading and writing, to drawing and crocheting random stuff. Currently, I live in a town in somewhat southern Pennsylvania with my dog and cat who I love very much, even if they do have the tendency of driving me nuts. Skye Kingsbury’s Link Peschel Press

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: November 2018 Episode

It's time for the first Wednesday monthly IWSG blog hop. Thanks to all the hard working people behind IWSG and especially to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting the whole awesome group. Please visit the website and find the entire IWSG list of hop participants.

Each month there is a voluntary question participants can answer if they'd like.

How has your creativity evolved since you began writing?

Not sure I have an answer to that, but I'm interested in reading what other people say to this query. I would say that I've evolved a lot as a reader. I read across more genres than I did when I first started. I also am a pickier reader and buyer of books.

This past two weeks have had some ups and downs for me as a writer. Big downer was my third quarter royalties report. Ouch! Not buying that Rolls Royce yet. But then, I received a contract for my second book in my Star Ship Refugees series and then!!! two days later my publisher sent me a contract for the third book that isn't even written yet. I've never received a contract before the work is completed before. I'm thanking my small but mighty publisher, New Concepts, for their confidence in me. If you go look, you'll see my newest cover first and foremost on the publisher's homepage. Despite the low earnings, I'm plowing forward.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

One of my writer friends shared this post listing a number of writing contests covering the next few months. Maybe you can find one that interests you, and many of them are free entry.

The end of Daylight Savings Time always seems like the start of winter to me. I do get a lot of writing done in the winter, but I hate the cold. You're probably tired of hearing that. I do enjoy the scent of numerous fireplaces at work as it cools down, and the fresh air on a frosty morning.

The nose can distinguish between a trillion different smells.   The Old Farmer's Almanac

Speaking of the Old Farmer, I've been shopping for my 2019 planner. Still haven't found one I like better than my trusty Old Farmers Planner so you might be graced with lots more tidbits from it next year. Hope some of them make you smile.

"You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes." Douglas Malloch

Do you have a discerning nose? Has being a writer helped you be more creative? Do you love or hate Daylight Savings Time?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Suburban Stockade by Teresa Peschel

Suburban Stockade by Teresa Peschel Part One: Something for Readers. My book “Suburban Stockade” is a series of essays laying out how my husband and I made our lives more resilient, allowing us to better cope with the vagaries of life and the very uncertain future bearing down on us. I really believe that anyone can do this. You start where you are and move on from there. That does not mean it’s easy. It does mean considering the various aspects of your life: is your life what you want it to be? Does your life suit your values? “Suburban Stockade” is not a series of tips (although I do have some, addressing topics I’ve never seen addressed elsewhere such as the Window Dance and daylighting), nor do I wear my tinfoil hat very tight. Everything we did, my family and I, the choices we made to live on less, consume less, and do what was right for us and not for the consumer society around us, now allows us to do what we do today. We are self-published writers. Are we rich? No. Are we hanging on? Yes. And we can continue to do so. We have some resilience and we are not at the mercy of the bank. Part Two: Something for Writers Kings use gold. Gentlemen use silver. Peasants use barter. Slaves use debt. Why did I choose this aphorism? Because writing, for most of us, won’t bring in truckloads of money. However, if you are willing to live low on the food chain, the income generated by writing may be all you need. You can be freer. You can become more financially independent. You can use the power of “NO.” You can become a full-time writer and quit that job you hate. Part Three: Your book blurb and buy links: “Suburban Stockade” is Teresa Peschel’s manifesto memoir about her quest to drop out of the rat race, embrace her peasant ancestry, and prepare her family for an uncertain future. Peschel describes not just how we got here, but how we can escape, by not playing the game where the rules are set by corporations and economists and rigged by politicians and the media. Escape into a world where we pay down debts, save money, buy a home we can age in, keep ourselves secure, and cut spending through simple tasks such as insulating our home, hanging laundry, searching for mongo and obtainium, and effective grocery shopping. “Suburban Stockade” will not teach you how to garden, fill your arsenal, and prepare for zombies and the fall of civilization. It will teach you the value of organization, public libraries, heating and cooling your home through the Window Dance, enhancing your home’s natural light, installing hedges and fences to improve your privacy, learning the rudiments of sewing and cooking, and grocery shopping like a Jedi master. “Suburban Stockade” is a manifesto, a polemic, and a chat with your smart neighbor over coffee about your families’ futures. It is for people who seek answers to the dissatisfaction and apprehension they feel. Following its advice can’t prevent the bad times from coming, but it can cushion the shock when they arrive. Trade paperback: Kindle: Nook: Google Play: Part Four: Your short bio and all media links to you: Teresa Peschel lives with her family, her dog Muffy, and two mostly useless cats in the Sweetest Place on Earth. She has long been interested in sustainability, resource depletion, and finding a balanced life, not too much and not too little. Why take more than you need when other people and animals need lives and space too? Teresa Peschel’s links Peschel Press

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: October 2018 Version

It's October already. Fall is here though the weather this week is more like late August style. Looking forward to cooler nights. It's also the first Wednesday which means IWSG monthly blog fun. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, we're all able to be part of this supportive group. Find the entire list here and join us in reading some terrific blogs today.

Best wishes to all who have entered the latest anthology contest. There are so many terrific writers in this group that I'm glad I don't have to make decisions about what stories are selected.

The IWSG question of the month:

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I know many writers have been helped through a difficult time by writing. That is not me. When some major event occurs in my life, I don't write. Writing is a job to me. One I love and enjoy, but it's not where I go as an emotional outlet. 

The first book in my newest space opera romance series is now available on Amazon. The Alien and the Teacher has me very excited to be writing about space again. The second book in the series is on its second set of revisions and the third is started. Adventure in the stars with a bit of romance.

On clear nights in the darkest places, approximately 3,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. The Old Farmers Almanac

On the personal front, my granddaughter is a real joy. She learns new words every day. We dance to music a few times per day. Play chase outside. Go on at least one field trip per week. (State museum last week) Do the shopping and cleaning. Go to library reading class once per week. And that doesn't count all the reading and playing with toys we do. You'd think I'd be exhausted, but she energizes me. Grandma has to keep up.

"Children have more need of models than of critics." Joseph Joubert

Poldark is back on PBS. It started its 4th season last Sunday. The show gives an insight to the plight of the poor and the callousness of the rich and landed in England in the years post-American Revolution.

None of the new shows have caught my interest totally. I watched the new Magnum, because who isn't curious to see how anyone can replace Tom Selleck? It's okay so far. Watched the first Manifest and tuned out in the middle of the second episode. Lot of mystery but it was moving too slow for me. The Gifted is back and again, it's okay. I'll stick with it for a while.

Any new shows catch your interest? I'm looking for recommendations. Is your writing every a comfort or is like me, the job? Signs of fall in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bill Peschel: The Casebook of Twain and Holmes

The Casebook of Twain and Holmes by Bill Peschel

Part One: Something for Readers

While writing the seven stories in “The Casebook of Twain and Holmes,” I read a lot of works by and about Samuel Clemens. I read his speeches, his travel books, his memoirs, his sketches, and his short stories. There were also several books about him by his friends and even the family’s maid. From them I drew the pieces that I put together to form the man in the stories.

Here are a few of those personal pieces:

1. Mark Twain was his penname. The flesh-and-blood man was Sam Clemens, and his personality was very different from the humorist.

2. Clemens loved to tell stories. There was nothing he liked better than to sit with friend and talk about whatever came across their collective minds. He also had what appeared to be a bottomless fund of stories to draw upon.

3. When dining with his family, his interest in telling a story was so intense that he would get up and walk around the table, as if he needed to be in motion all the time.

4. He was not above stretching the truth until it was unrecognizable. One favorite story was of the Mark Twain imposter who toured Australia. When he fell ill, the state’s governor-general visited the fraud, and when he died, he was given a grand funeral. No such person existed, a fact confirmed by checking the database of Australian newspapers online.

5. Sam loved to smoke cigars, up to three dozen in a day. If a cigar wasn’t available, a corncob pipe would do. “I never regarded myself as an excessive smoker,” he told a reporter. “I never smoke when I am asleep, and I do not smoke more than one cigar at a time.”

6. He rarely read novels. He preferred nonfiction. He rarely read novels, and those he did seemed to infuriate him. Of Jane Austen: “I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Of James Fenimore Cooper: “Cooper hadn’t any more invention than a horse; and I don’t mean a high-class horse, either; I mean a clothes-horse.” Of Oliver Goldsmith’s “The Vicar of Wakefield”:  “A singular book. Not a sincere line in it, and not a character that invites respect; a book which is one long waste-pipe discharge of goody-goody puerilities and dreary moralities; a book which is full of pathos which revolts, and humor which grieves the heart.” And Rudyard Kipling: “[He] did measureless harm; more real and lasting harm, perhaps, than any other individual that ever wrote.”

7. Reports of his volcanic temper are accurate. One morning, in the bathroom next to his bedroom, he became upset at the buttons popping off his freshly laundered shirts, and flung each one out the window of his Hartford home. He grew so enraged that he followed them with the rest of his shirts, then the collars, all the while cussing a blue streak.

Part Two: Something for Writers

The thing I learned about Mark Twain from reading his works is that his style was original. I never got the impression that he spoke boiler-plate English. He didn’t use a phrase that had been engraved on the readers’ minds so often that another iteration of it would leave an impression. Nor has time turned his phrases rote. People may quote him, but they do not imitate him.

Twain also saw his profession as a trade, not an art. He was a worker, and pen and paper were his tools. This can be seen in the writing advice he left behind. They emphasize the practical side of the writing profession, as seen in these quotes:

“Let us guess that whenever we read a sentence & like it, we unconsciously store it away in our model-chamber; & it goes, with the myriad of its fellows, to the building, brick by brick, of the eventual edifice which we call our style.”

“Read it aloud. I may be wrong, still it is my conviction that one cannot get out of finely wrought literature all that is in it by reading it mutely.”

Part Three: Book Blurb and Buy Links

Beloved Humorist. Best-Selling Author. ... Consulting Detective.

Now it can be told: Mark Twain’s adventures with Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Mycroft, and Irene Adler.

As part of his autobiography, Samuel Clemens dictated seven stories that he later ordered burned. Discovered at a Pennsylvania farm auction and edited by Pulitzer-Prize winning editor, Bill Peschel, they uncover the Mark Twain nobody knew: who interfered in a marriage proposal, organized a boxing scam, and went grave-robbing. A Twain who also caroused with a young John H. Watson in San Francisco’s Chinatown; needed Holmes’ help with a blackmail plot; tangled with Mycroft Holmes and kidnappers in Morocco; and ran up against Irene Adler and a vengeful German officer in Heidelberg.

Most of these stories — four featuring Holmes, and one each with Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and Irene Adler — appeared in the 223B Casebook series collecting Sherlockian parodies and pastiches. These tales are now available in this exclusive complete edition from the Peschel Press.

Part Four: Short bio and media links

Bill Peschel is a former journalist who shares a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. He lives with his family and animal menagerie in Hershey, where the air really does smell like chocolate.

The author of “Writers Gone Wild” (Penguin), he publishes through Peschel Press the 223B Casebook Series of Sherlockian parodies and pastiches and annotated editions of Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Whose Body?” and Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” and “The Secret Adversary.” An interest in Victorian crime led to the republication of three books on the William Palmer poisoning case.

Bill Peschel’s Links

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: September

September already and it still feels like summer out with heat index in the 100's. Whew! But it is the first Wednesday and time for IWSG, that magnificent group started by Alex J. Cavanaugh and growing every day. Please visit other participants in this monthly blog hop where we share failures, successes, advice, and ask for help. You can find it all at IWSG and the list of members is here.

Optional question this month:
What publishing path did you take, and why?

I sought the traditional path to being published. The first few years, I submitted manuscripts to agents, editors, and entered a few contests. I used to keep those rejections, but it became a fire hazard. The entire time, I continued to work on my next book and attend conferences and join writing groups to improve my craft. There was so much I didn't know at the start. I eventually found a small press that I am still with, New Concepts Publishing, who publishes my romance novels. But along the way, I've had three different small presses go out of business while I was under contract with them. One of them gave no regard to their authors and RWA went to court for us and got our rights back where they were tied up in a bankruptcy case. Not pretty. I had another mid-sized publisher who decided they were going to change direction and they dropped over half their authors. I had three fantasy novels under contract with them at the time.

I'm still working on a fantasy novel that I intend to pitch to the big traditional houses and an agent or twelve, but it's a long way from ready. The path to publication is sometimes frustrating and is seldom a reaping of huge financial benefits. But as long as I enjoy writing, I'm going to keep at it. My most recent novel, The Alien and the Teacher, is the first in a new series of space opera romance. Getting this cool cover helps me to forget the frustrations. It is only available from my publisher at this time.

Anne R. Allen had this interesting post related to today's question. 9 Pieces of Bad Advice for New Writers

Some trivia from The Old Farmer's Almanac because I like Factiods.

At least 182 moons, including those around dwarf planets, are known to exist in our solar system.

A group of flies is called a business.

I have a less kind name for a group of flies. Living in the country with horses and goats living nearby, flies bring a little too much business to my house.

Back full time watching the granddaughter now that school has started. I'd need twenty pages to tell you how fun and amazing she is. Never thought I'd be one of those grandparents, but here I am.

Has your path to publishing been a smooth sail? Ever get some really bad writing advice? Flies getting in your business in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: August 2018

Yes, it's August! We suffered the wettest July on record here in Pennsylvania. If you followed the national news about flooding in central PA, you probably saw some pictures of my hometown, including the infamous one of the groundhog clinging to the top of the fence. I'm ready for some drying time, Mother Nature. The local news announced last night that July, 2018 was the wettest month ever recorded for our area.

I'm honored to be a co-host for this month's IWSG blog hop. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this terrific group and all the people who help keep it going. You can find all the participants on this list. Try and visit some new folks today.

I'm sharing co-hosting duties with some terrific bloggers. Thank you, Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, and Lee Lowery.

This month's optional question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I would say don't wait. If you have a story inside you that you want to share, write it. Don't wait until the kids are older and you have time. Don't wait until you take one more class or attend one more conference. Butt in chair and write. Right now.

I'd like to thank the bloggers who hosted me for my mini-tour to promote the release to Exile's Savage Lady. I also want to thank my faithful followers who stopped into to comment on my various stops. You guys are the  best. If you missed any posts and would like to science up a little, here's the list.

The Whole Shebang What science subjects did I research for the Survivors of the Apocalypse Series?
Christine Rains  What is minimal viable population for humans?
Write With Fey  How a pandemic could end the world.
Paranormal Romantics Where would you want to spend the apocalypse?
Diane Burton  The Domed City. Can it save mankind?

Let me close this post with some wisdom from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

If an average man never shaved, his beard would grow to be about thirty feet long in his lifetime.

A group of goldfinches is called a charm. (Lots of these pretty birds around my abode.)

Waste not fresh tears over old griefs. Euripedes.

Do you have some good advice to those starting out in the writing business? What's the longest beard you've ever seen? Are you dry where you are, or suffering like us with more rain this week?