Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I didn't get much done this week either. I'm starting to worry I won't meet my deadline of finishing the revisions by the end of June.

Quote of the Week:  "You are the guardian of your joy. Don’t let anyone take it from you, and especially don’t let it slip through your fingers while you’re paying attention to other things.” ~Unknown

What I'm reading: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy. This is the seventh book in the Killer Instincts series, but it's the first book I've read by Ms. Kennedy.

Random things: I have Thursday and Friday, and next Monday off from the day job for the 4th of July holiday. While I had to work extra hours the first part of the week, I'm really looking forward to the long weekend.

Random Photo of the Week: 

                          The monster who raided my radishes earlier this week.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Draft Number What?

In most cases when a writer types "The End" on the last page of a manuscript, it's only the first draft of many. I have heard of writers who only do one draft of a book, but I've never actually met anyone who's able to do it. Not saying it doesn't happen, just that for most writers writing a book takes multiple drafts to get it to the point where the author feels it's publishable.

When I first started writing I would often get mixed up as to what draft I was working on. One time I somehow managed to get pages from a previous version mixed up with the current version I was working on. It was a mess. That made me decide I needed a better way to keep track of what number draft I was working on.

I started putting in the header of each page the title and "draft #" whatever version it was. While that worked most of the time, I would sometimes forget to update the header and end up with more than one version with the same draft number.

I decided there had to be a better way to tell by looking at the manuscript pages if I was working on the 2nd or 4th draft of a manuscript. Around that time, I came across an article / posting from Susan Elizabeth Phillips. (For those of you who aren't familiar with her work, Ms. Phillips is a best selling author who writes amazing contemporary romance novels. I highly recommend her books, especially Nobody's Baby But Mine which is one of my favorite all time books.) She mentioned that she prints out each draft of her manuscripts on different colored paper.

What a great idea. There'd be no way of mixing pages from one draft with another. Now I print the first draft on regular white paper, the second draft on yellow paper, the third on pink, and usually the final and fourth draft on green. I always use pastel colored paper. If you try to use the fluorescent pink, yellow, and so forth, the brightness will quickly give you a headache.

So if you also sometimes have an issue knowing what draft you're working on, try Ms. Phillips idea. It's worked for me. :o)

Friday, June 24, 2016

This I know for sure...

We have a bunny that lives in our neighborhood. I'm not exactly sure where it lives, but we see it every now and then in our yard or in the neighbor's yard next door or across the street. Every spring I keep an eye out for it just to make sure I know it made it through the winter. I haven't seen it lately and was worried something happened to it. I live on the outskirts of a pretty big city, not quite in the suburbs. (We're literally two blocks from where the city officially ends and the next town starts.) Despite being in the city, there are quite a few feral cats. There's also been sightings of foxes and coyotes so I was worried something may have killed it.

Just the other day, I saw the bunny. And it wasn't alone. As it hopped across the neighbor's yard, I noticed a smaller bunny following along behind. It was too quick for me to get a picture, but here's picture of the adult bunny.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Last week was a rough week writing wise. I didn't get a lot done, but hope to make up the lost ground this week.

Quote of the Week: "Think about what you want to happen and keep heading in the direction of that outcome. The more you envision your happiness, the better your odds will be of actually living it." ~Unknown

What I'm reading: Good Dukes Wear Black by Manda Collins. I found this book while perusing the shelves at my local library. I'm looking forward to starting it this evening.

Random things: I found out I need to have surgery on my left ankle. Not the way I wanted to spend the warm summer weather, but I can't put it off. I'm hoping I won't end up in a cast for the whole summer.

Random Photo of the Week:

                                          Somebody playing with his new toy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Recipe

I went to a family and friends gathering over the weekend. It was perfect weather and a great time. The menu included a lot of barbeque foods which I'm not a fan of, but it also included some lighter fare and a couple of gluten free dishes. (My nephew's girlfriend has celiac disease so gluten is a major no-no for her.)

I chose one of the less calorie and fat selections so I was a bit leery even though I am trying to eat healthy for the most part. (Who isn't?) I was mainly worried about the taste because some things just don't translate well when they are revised from calorie and fat dense recipes to a lighter version. It was one of the best sandwiches I've eaten in a long time.

Here's a copy of the recipe I got from the hostess:

Healthy Shrimp Po'Boys

2 tablespoons dill relish
1/3 cup lite mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce (You can adjust the amount depending on how much heat you like.)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun spice (I used McCormick Cajun Spice Blend, though it isn't salt-free.)
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 head lettuce
8 tomato slices
1 good sized onion sliced into rings *optional. (I omitted these since I'm not a fan of raw onion.)
4 Hoagie rolls

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet, swirling the olive oil around in the pan to coat the bottom. Toss the shrimp with the spice mixture until well coated. Place in the pan. Over medium heat, cook the shrimp on both sides until done - about 2 minutes for each side. Place on a paper towel with a plate underneath to drain any excess oil.

Slice the rolls in half, add mayonnaise to each side if you'd like. Add lettuce, tomatoes, onion, then top with 1/4 of the shrimp. Cover with roll top and enjoy.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Friday, June 17, 2016

This I know for sure...

I'm trying container gardening again this year after taking a 2 year hiatus. I've never been successful because my vegetables were always raided by squirrels. Either they would dig up the plants before they were barely started or they'd steal what did grow. If they didn't steal it, they would leave the tomato or cucumbers on the vines, but take a bite out of each one.

This year I'm trying to grow yellow squash, cucumbers, basil, green peppers, radishes, sunflowers, daisies, johnny jump ups, and asters. When I first started I kept the various containers inside until the seedlings had a pretty good start. I thought while they were indoors, they'd be fine. Instead my cat would pull the plants out of the dirt and leave them beside the pots like so many dead corpses.

I've had the plants outside for a few weeks now. When I first put them out, I put a few pieces of hair in each pot. Someone told me the scent of human hair would keep the squirrels away. Umm, not so much. They left the plants alone for about 3 days and then dug in each pot. I was able to save most of the plants. I lost a lot of the johnny jump ups, all of my daisies, and all but one yellow squash plant. 

Desperate, I googled how to squirrel proof a garden. One of the first remedies I came across is putting coffee grounds in the pots. Since I drink coffee every morning, coming up with the grounds isn't a problem. I put a few grounds in each pot, around the rim of each pot and on the porch floor near each pot. Guess what it works, but you have to reapply the grounds every couple of days or so otherwise the squirrels do come to visit.

So if you're trying to garden and are having squirrel problems, give your plants a little coffee. It helps the composition of the soil because coffee grounds have nitrogen which improves the soil structure. It also helps keep away snails and slugs if you have problems with them too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Still working on finishing the revisions. I ended up writing 7 new pages to help a much needed transition from one scene to another.

Quote of the Week:  “Grab onto hope and carry it wherever you go.” ~ Unknown
What I'm reading:  Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. This is the first book in Ms. Castillo's Kate Burkholder series. The book came highly recommended so I'm looking forward to starting it this evening.

Random things: My nephew's car finally died. My sister bought it new in 2001, then gave it to my nephew when he graduated from college and moved to Ithaca a few years ago. It had 177,800 miles on it. He's now driving a 2016 Jeep. It has so many new features that he's not used to (including power windows), that he said he feels like he'd been living in the stone age and didn't even realize it. 
Random Photo of the Week:

                      One of my favorite candid moments at my nephew's wedding that 
                       the photographer captured.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Self Publishing

I know a number of authors who self publish their work. There are any number of reasons - creative control of content and cover art, being able to put out new books whenever they want instead of having to wait months and months to have a book released, not being able to find an agent and/or publishing house they are happy with, the much larger royalty percentages, and the quicker payout of them.

I have to admit I've thought about going this route. The royalty percentages alone are enough to make me consider it. But I don't know anything about formatting a manuscript into the correct format for a self publishing platform and I don't know anything about designing cover art. I realize there are companies and/or individuals I can hire to do these things for me, but I hate the thought of paying for something where there is no guarantee I'll make my money back. Of course I could learn how to do it myself, but I don't know where I'd find the time to learn and practice with it enough so I'd feel comfortable putting it out into the marketplace.

One final reason is self published authors are much more likely to be the targets of plagiarism those those published by major publishing houses. Here's an article that details how prevalent it is and how hard it is to fight against. Plagiarism In The Age of Self Publishing