A Brief Glimpse of the Inn:
Now that I've got the first book finished and out of here, I thought I'd post a little excerpt for those of you who were wondering about the Christian fiction I've been writing. To give you the basic series premise, the storyline follows the small town life and adventures of three sisters who turn their father's old Victorian home into a bed and breakfast.
One of the running threads in the book is about an old Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook from the thirties. The youngest sister Jane, a former chef, tries making some of the recipes.
Excerpt from "Going to the Chapel"
by Rebecca Kelly
“Why am I doing this to myself again?” Louise overheard Jane grumbling as she brought in a tray of dishes from the dining room. She saw her sister remove a loaf of bread from the oven, using a red and white striped kitchen towel to protect her hands from the hot pan.
“What are you doing to yourself now?” she asked as she came over to the stove.
“I’m baking friendship bread for the Summer Festival contest.” She carefully set the pan on a cooling rack, then groaned as the golden brown oval slowly sink down in the middle. “No, no, don’t you dare. Don’t do that. Stop falling this instant.”
The bread continued to deflate, until it resembled a large, rather sad-looking doughnut.
Jane made a frustrated sound and stamped her foot. “I don’t believe it! That’s the sixth loaf I’ve made this week!” She tossed her towel on the counter in disgust. “I will never get this recipe right.”
Louise studied the dismal results. “You could glaze it and enter it in the unusual desserts category.”
Jane gave her a baleful glare. “There is no unusual desserts category.”
“I see.” She went to the old red and white cookbook and examined the recipe page. “Then perhaps you could try one of the recipes that isn’t quite so time-consuming – something that would be a little easier to prepare.”
“I was tempted to make the Dutch Dandelion Wine, but I think I’d end up drinking it myself after this.” Jane sighed. “Plus I threw all the dandelions in the mulcher. Who would have thought you could use weeds for something other than compost?”
Louise patted her shoulder. “I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
“No, I won’t.” Squaring her shoulders, she picked up the next jar of bread starter she had prepared, and regarded it the same way she would a hand grenade. “I’m a trained chef. I have worked in one of the finest restaurants in the country. I will make this bread if it’s the last thing I ever bake.”
Creative Excuses for Every Occasion:
This is a cute humor book, written by Andrew Frothingham and Tripp Evans, published by St. Martin's Griffin books (ISBN#0312130422) that offers a variety of straight, quippy and sometimes outrageous excuses for just about every social or personal situation. The authors list old standards then more creative approaches, and include how you can blame your dog for every single thing. I thought the dog jokes got a bit thin -- one or both of these authors really does not
like canines -- but otherwise quite an amusing little read.
Have Wrench, Will Quilt:
Put together -- built, really -- the quilt frame today, and spent three lovely hours cackling and quilting on it. Before I dare stretch silk on it I thought I'd try an all-cotton quilt first. Following are the photos, in which some of the boys decided to pose -- and btw, this frame is over eight feet wide. I literally could not fit the camera frame around it -- I had to stand in a corner of the house on a chair to get the one shot. In the first photo you can see a weird green glow around Rush's head, I have no idea why. Maybe he's an alien?
I will be moderating the Think Tank tonight, just forgot to put it on the community calendar until this morning. You'll be able to recognize me by the large dent in my brow from thunking my head against the monitor.
Blogger has been wonky lately too, so if you don't see updates here, go kick someone at Google, since they bought it.
Publish process completed successfully...
The Other Carrot:
Now that I'm done, I get to play with my new toy (reward for writing the play, the books, the novella, the short stories, the proposals and everything else I've done since November 1st): a new three-rod king size quilt frame. Yes, I can heard you all grinding your teeth in envy now -- but this is all wood, state of the art, and it folds, tilts, adjusts, everything but sews the quilts by itself. I'll never have to baste another quilt again. It arrived on Monday and I would not allow myself to even open the box, but today I'm going to put it together as soon as I can convince my slothful backside to get up and haul out the tools.
Other things to do on my week off: The Author in the Window project will be kicking off very shortly and I've already set up the list-serv. Basically I've been waiting on one offer for a book I think will be perfect for it, but if the offer doesn't come through by next week, I will use a book with an existing contract. I'm also trying to decide how best to handle bringing people on board -- it may end up being invitation-only in order to weed out those who would join for purposes other than to see how things work. I hate to do that; I want this to be open to everyone who is interested --but a certain element has to be barred or they'll wreck it for the rest of us. Check the weblog next week for more details.
E-mail (groan) -- I know I owe like everybody in both hemispheres e-mail, sorry. I will do my best to catch up on that. I've been meaning to get some new excerpts posted and update the quilt page at my author site, too, so that's another item on the to-do list.
But today, today I'm going to play. :)
P.S. Thanks to everyone for cheering me at the finish line.
Go ahead, call me a mass murderer:
because the deadlines were met and ground into dust and the books were written and mailed on out of here and ladies and gentlemen after 45 days in the seventh level of writer hell, as of 6:08 pm today I am:
Yep. I have earned my week off.
Eye of the Beholder:
I have to go to the eye doctor after I finish this last deadline, I'm having trouble focusing on print again and end up squinting a lot. I hate the eye doctor, of course, but he's not as bad as the ortho doctor so I can deal with it. The other thing I hate is the inevitable, "Do you want an exam for new contacts?" After nearly giving myself corneal lacerations wearing contacts ten years ago, the answer is automatically a polite version of "NFW."
I know they're unfashionable and considered hideous/unattractive/dopey, depending on who you talk to, but I like
wearing glasses. I've been wearing them since I could walk, and I am legally blind without them. The great thing about glasses is that I don't have to stick my finger in my eyeball to put them on, and I can pop them right off when I get into the shower or when faced with visual unpleasantries. I don't have to sleep in them, put little drops in my eyes, worry about them falling off and getting stepped on or sliding up under my eyelid. They make my nose look a little more attractive by hiding the scar on the bridge. No one really recognizes me without my glasses and when I take them off, the kids actually get nervous (but it's more that "oh God, Mom's going to walk into the wall again" anxiety.)
There are people I know who have gone to great lengths and expense -- like Lasik surgery -- to avoid wearing glasses. The day I let someone cut up my eyes just to look more attractive? Lock me in a closet. The whole idea gives me the willies, because I am so dependent on my vision, not only for work but for the simple joy of seeing all the neat stuff in the world, like my kids and nature and reading books. Going blind is right up there with being burned on my Ultimate Fear list.
I guess I'll have to get bifocals this time; the eye doc said if my script got any worse that was the next thing. Ce la vie.
I'm going to post this over at FM and on the community calendar there, but for those who stop by here, I have to push back the start of the novel series workshop I have planned to start on the 19th for a week to the 26th -- sorry, can't be helped; paying work has to come first. Please make note of the date change if you are planning to attend.
Two Word Thesaurus/Engine:
Lexical Freenet offers an online Connected Thesaurus
which allows you to search for two words (this is excellent for poets and writers); shows related words, connections between the words, find links (associative paths of words leading from one to the other), mutual synonyms, rhymes, words that are spelled similarly, and words using the original in a substring. It also allows you to reverse order of your query to get it from the other angle.
AMAZingmorONs Strike Again:
I'm told a certain online bookseller has my next Jessica Hall book The Steel Caress listed as coming out in hardcover for $6.99. Ah, no, please do not be deceived (again) by these brain-dead people, it's just a paperback. If you do have to buy online, I recommend Mysterious Galaxy
, they're an independent shop run by terrific folks who can always use your support. Plus they never screw up my listings. :)
I picked up a copy of "Across the Nightingale Floor" mainly because I'm into many things Asian and the name Lian Hearn caught my eye.
Lafcadio Hearn, a half-Greek, half-British (though often mistakenly touted as Irish) writer who among other things lost an eye, was an editor at the New Orleans Item,
translated and published Creole and gypsy folktales, opposed white slavery and child labor and wrote the novel Chita
about a tidal wave that hit New Orleans in 1856 (are you getting tired yet? The guy knew how to live the literary life.) Those were the highlights, until he married a Japanese woman, immigrated to Japan and changed his name to Koizumi Yakumo. Hearn remained a citizen of Japan until his death in 1904, and he just happens to be one of my personal heroes.
So I bought the book thinking, "A descendent. Cool."
Alas, I was wrong -- Lian Hean is just a pseudonym (this is blatantly admitted on the book jacket, but I never read those things.) The author evidently came out of the closet shortly after this book sold on its own merits. Lian is actually Australian author Gillian Rubinstein, who is quite well-known for children's books and plays.
"I think there is a strong tendency among the spectators or the readers of culture to pigeonhole people, and that's the thing that artists hate having done to them,"
Ms. Rubinstein is quoted as saying when she finally 'fessed up. "They want to be free to do whatever seems to be the right thing at the time."
Nice philosophy, and borrowing Lafcadio's surname sure didn't hurt either. I won't comment on the book itself, but I'm sure she'll Go Far. The whole thing bothers me on a couple of levels, though -- are writers forever to be judged on established work in one genre? Is this not a better reason than any for us to diversify as much as possible through multi-genre writing? And is it right to steal another writer's surname in order to market books? I was fooled, but do I like being fooled? Not really.