Jason just got back from a photo trip, and he’s sharing some great shots. Here’s what he had to say:
I’m talking about artichokes and characters at The Blood-Red Pencil today. Hop on over and say hi.
Also, there’s only one more day to enter the Booklover’s Bench April contest. Don’t miss out on a chance to win either a $25 gift card or a choice of some great books (yes, I’ve got one in the hat–a print copy of What’s in a Name?)
But I don’t have a Kobo, you say. Or an iPad. Guess what. Neither do I. However, the Kobo app is free and it works on all sorts of devices. (I have it on my Nook tablet). It even works on an iPad. Click here to see where you can use it.
I wish I could get that “pre-order” button everywhere else, but the truth is, Kobo and Apple are the only two places I can set it up that way. So, although Kobo and Apple are the “underdogs” relative to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I want to reward my readers who are likely to have to take that extra step by giving them that low price.
What’s the advantage of having pre-orders? The way it works is that any pre-order sales are “stockpiled” in the e-bookstore’s database. Then, on release day, they’re all counted as that day’s sales. Thus, your book debuts much higher in the rankings than if it had to start at ground zero. The algorithms then see that nice (I hope) number of sales, and pick it up, perhaps even displaying it on the website, or showing it as a top seller, or emailing device owners that there’s a hot new book out there.
So, by pre-ordering, you’re also helping the author in more ways than simple royalties. (Which, on a 99 cent book aren’t going to be much!). Hope you’ll consider it and pass the word along.
It’s Passover. My daughter, Jessica, lives in a small town in Northern Ireland, where she has as much trouble finding Passover foods as I do in Divide. However, she’s much more energetic than I am, and made her own macaroons. She said she thinks she found this recipe somewhere on about.com. I found some ready-made ones down near my other daughter’s house when I was helping out after her surgery, and I bought them! But here’s what Jessica has to say.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment sprayed with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop out 1 inch mounds, placed about 1 inch apart, on a lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, until just turning brown. Cool and store in a sealed container between sheets of waxed or parchment paper.
The macaroons will keep nicely for several days. Variation: Divide the coconut mixture in half, and add the chips to one half, leaving the other half plain. Adding cocoa powder also works, but you’ll have to experiment with the amount until they’re chocolaty enough!
Jessica says to form them into balls with medium pressure, instead of just scoops, to help them hold their shape.
Makes about 5 dozen macaroons.
Today I welcome Nancy Naigle to Terry’s Place. Nancy was born and raised in Virginia Beach. She balances her career in the financial industry with a lifelong passion for books and storytelling. When she isn’t writing or being banker girl, she enjoys antiquing, working on anything crafty, and taking in the magic of nature on her small farm in Drewryville, Virginia.
Setting: real, totally made up, or based on a real place?
I totally make up my towns. It’s more fun for me to take favorite places and memories and mish-mash them into a new town all my own. That being said…Adams Grove is a real town in Virginia. It’s right up the street from me. I can’t tell you how many people write me telling me they almost turned to see that little town off Route 58. Unfortunately, all they’d really find, instead of a quaint Main Street, is a Ruritan Club and a few churches.
What’s on your desk?
<Gulp> Seriously? Always two laptops, and yes both are up and running. Desk phone, blackberry and iPhone. Desk lamp (the kind with plugs in it for all my electronics) with a couple lucky things hanging from it – a special lucky charm bracelet, a prism in the shape of a heart, and a necklace made from a quarter. A black cup full of pens. Red stapler. 4 thumb drives. A red external disk. My At-A-Glance calendar (red leather). 3 sticky pads (assorted size and colors) and stacks of papers and reminders. $15 Starbucks Card. $10 Amazon Card. 2-$10 Staples Cards.
Do you read books more than once? If so, name one. What’s special about it?
I rarely read a book more than once. I’m really not sure why, because I will re-watch movies so many times I know the dialogue.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
I contacted the lead guitarist of the Bret Michaels band to see if he’d give me inside scoop on the music biz and help me be true to the music scene. I left him a facebook message when they were in Lynchburg, VA for a concert. It was a long shot at best. But, lucky for me, it worked out. Not only did Pete Evick offer up amazing assistance as I wrote Cody Tuggle’s story in Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies, but he and I are collaborating on another writing project now.
What I’m reading: For the Love of Parvati, by Susan Oleksiw; Nightingale, by Sharon Ervin; One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (book club).
Today it’s more about prettying up your manuscript for print via CreateSpace. I’ve talked about the basic template settings, and how to hyphenate using the “optional hyphen.” Today, it’s a few more tips for making your book look like a “real” book. What do I mean? Right now, stop what you’re doing and go to your bookshelf and grab a few fiction books. Open to a random page. Look at the top of the pages. You’ll see headers. Odds are, there’s the author’s name on one side, and the book’s title on the other. They might not be the same; I don’t think there’s a rule that says the author’s name goes on the even pages, or vice-versa. You can decide.
What about page numbers? Sometimes, they’re in the headers, sometimes in the footers. Again, it’s personal preference. Headers and footers aren’t too hard to do in Word. They’re in the “Insert” tab, under header. (Click on any of the images to enlarge)
I’ve got an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Deadly Puzzles to give away via Goodreads. I’ll even autograph it for you. Click below to get to the entry form.
Have you entered the Booklover’s Bench April Contest yet? Good prizes, and lots of chances to win. Take a look.
I’ve been ultra busy lately, and haven’t had time to get out with a camera. And, (hint, hint,) nobody’s stepped forward to share any of their pictures. So, today, I’m going back and reposting my very first Friday Field Trip which first appeared on my old blog back in January of 2010. How many of you remember this one?
I have a terrible memory for details. Couple that with my dread of description, and you’ll understand why I like to have a camera available whenever I go out. One never knows when you’ll find something worth recording.
I’ll kick things off with some pictures of a trip we took to Holland. Hubby had a meeting in the small town of Harderwijk. While he was doing Important Meeting Stuff, I toured the countryside.
I hope you like it – and just maybe some of these shots will inspire a scene or a story for you as well. Or remind you of something you’ve read, or somewhere you’ve been. Today’s shots were taken in the days before digital cameras, and I scanned my snapshots. Plus, it was a cold, gloomy day. Not the best quality, but I hope you get a feel for the place.
On Monday, I gave some tips for creating a basic print book for CreateSpace. Today, it’s about making the manuscript look “pretty” and more like a traditionally published print book. Again, I’m using Word 2007. (And if you missed my tips for digital formatting, there are links in Monday’s post)
When you submit a book file to CreateSpace, they want a PDF file, which stands for Portable Document Format. It’s basically a picture of your file. It should look exactly like what’s on the page in your word document. For example, digital books don’t like fancy symbols. Some aren’t even all that ‘fancy.’ Some software will take an ampersand (&) and put wonky stuff in instead. So, in my digital version of the book, I refer to a Bed and Breakfast, or a B and B. In the print version, there’s no problem with writing B & B. And since digital books aren’t the same as print books, I always have two completely different setups.
If you formatted your book based on Monday’s post, you should have a workable document, and technically, CreateSpace would probably approve it. It won’t look bad, but it’ll be missing a few elements. The trouble is, your traditionally printed books are typeset, and PDF books are images of your word document. When you set your page layout to justification, Word will spread the words out so the margins are even on both sides. Sometimes this leaves big ugly gaps.
I found this recipe in the Food Network Magazine, and everyone enjoyed it. The pork tenderloins can be made as a “Stand Alone” and served with other sides if you want. Also, the beans can be done as a salad or as a hot side. The magazine recipe was for a salad, but I cooked them and it works great.
Cumin Pork With Black Beans
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 3 limes
1 t chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce +
2 t sauce from the can
2 t ground cumin
1 ½ lb pork tenderloin
2 T olive oil
3 small red or orange bell peppers cut into thick strips
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 t honey
½ c roughly chopped fresh cilantro (I don’t like cilantro, so I leave it out)
Preheat oven to 425
Combine half the red onion with the juice of 2 limes, the chopped chipotle, ½ t cumin and a pinch of salt in a bowl; set aside.
Sprinkle the pork with the remaining cumin; season with salt. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 T oil, then add the pork. Brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove to a rimmed baking sheet; roast until internal temperature is 145, about 15 minutes. Let rest before slicing. (Note: this is good as is, so if you don’t want to do the sides, you can simply cook the pork as directed)
While the pork is roasting, add the bell peppers and remaining 1 T oil to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until slightly softened. Add ½ c water and ¼ t salt. Cook until the water evaporates. Remove from heat. Add the onion mixture.
Sauté the remaining onion in a saucepan until soft. Add the juice of the 3rd lime, 2 t adobo sauce, honey, and a pinch of salt. Stir in the beans. Heat until warm. (Note. If you want a salad side dish, mix everything without cooking). Garnish with cilantro.
Slice the pork. Serve with the beans and peppers.
Today I welcome Carl Brookins to Terry’s Place. Carl is a novelist, writing three distinct series, and he’s also a long-time reviewer of Crime Fiction. He’s from Saint Paul Minnesota, where he’s currently in winter weather recovery.
Plotter or Pantser?
I usually begin the novel at some significant step and then the story winds itself out to the end, at which point I stop. However, more and more I find myself creating specific detailed plot points or action scenes and carefully considering where they should be placed in the narrative. I guess that makes me a little of both. In either case, revision, revision, revision. I love revising, but I’m not a fan of epilogues.
Setting: real, totally made up, or based on a real place?
My settings or locales in all three series are real places. The stories take place in real time. I admit that sometimes it’s necessary to make subtle physical alterations in order to accomodate the story. I once eliminated a whole village from an island. I heard from the mayor of the town about that. In the academic and detective novels, I use real place names in urban settings and I don’t worry when the city council changes the direction of one-way-streets.
E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
I still prefer print, but as a reviewer, I read e-books on several different platforms. In many circumstances, such as on a plane, or a boat, an e-reader is very convenient, and I’m published on different platforms. In general, I think the digital age has freed many good writers to reach their audiences. There is, of course, a downside.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
I persuaded a prominent financial planner to explain in detail how stock brokers and financial planners are able to steal from their clients and not get caught. I had the general concepts, but I needed the language, so, with his permission, I recorded the lengthy interview. It was a fascinating time and I learned a lot, besides the language I was after.