Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fanfare and timpani!

The table is finished and in our living room! Actually it's been in the house for a week, but I'm just now getting around to sharing photos.

Our neighbor had two extra chairs, unfinished, still in the boxes, so she contributed them to the cause. My husband will be making benches for either side of the table.

Not bad for $25.00 and some elbow grease, eh?

Two months down, one month to go...

Running a business from home is a challenge, especially when you're raising kids along with growing your business. I've been lucky enough to be sharing "kid care" with 3 other moms this summer. Our children are all around the same age, and there's been a variation on a theme of musical chairs along the lines of "who's house will the kids be at today?"

I will be sorry to see the summer end, but happy when September 2nd arrives.

All that being said, let me guess... you've been dying to know what book will be touring in August, right? Not so much? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.

The Smart One by Ellen Meister is touring with Blog Stop Book Tours in August! Information is posted at the Authors On Tour page, and there's an interview with Ellen at the Author 10 Q&A page. Ellen will also be participating in Author Talks! toward the end of the month. So if you want to join in the discussion, go get the book!

The first Blog Stop for The Smart One is tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blog Stop today and Author Talks!

Okay, the first ever Author Talks! book discussion is open! And look for a review today of Leah Starr Baker's The Bunko Babes at From The Cheap Seats... Reviews, Writings & More

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Author Talks! at Blog Stop Book Tours

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Leah Starr Baker, author of The Bunko Babes, will be available tomorrow and Thursday to chat with readers about her book. I will open up comments tonight before I go to bed. Stop by Author Talks! and leave a comment or a question for Leah.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Next to the last Blog Stop for July

Wow! July has flown by. Stop by A Mama's Rant for the next to the last review of The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker.

The last stop will be on Wednesday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blog Stop Book Tours Author Talks!

July 30 and 31, Leah Starr Baker, author of The Bunko Babes, will be stopping by Blog Stop Book Tours to "chat" with readers. I'll post the link to the page on Tuesday, July 29.

It will work like this... I'll open up comments the morning of July 30. If you have comments or questions for Leah, post them, and then Leah will stop in periodically to address or answer them. The Author Talks! page will also be available July 31.

I really want to get a dialogue happening, and I thought it might be a cool way to connect Leah with readers. I'm hoping to do this with each author that tours.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dealing with loose ends.

Thursday seems to have become my day for catching up. So far today I've scheduled dates for book reviews for August, run to the hardware store, read some of the book I'm reviewing next week, washed dishes and run a load of laundry through the wash. And, oh yeah, read a bunch of blog posts that I subscribe to through Google Reader.

I still have things to get done today. Look for a blog post tomorrow about the new thing I'm trying out this month at Blog Stop Book Tours. The name of it is Author Talks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blog stop today for Leah Starr Baker's The Bunko Babes

Stop by Anything That Pays... A Freelance Writer's Blog to read a terrific review of The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reigning in... stretching out.

So... ummm... yeah, I was missing in action yesterday. I have a better excuse, though, than the dog ate my homework.

I don't know about you, but I need room to work and especially to think. With the kids home for the summer, and all the things we've needed to get done while the weather is warm, the house has not been an uncluttered, pristine expanse of comfortable space. When the clutter reaches a certain point, I start to feel as though the walls are closing in. It usually takes an interesting catalyst to kick start me into taking back my space. The catalyst showed up Sunday afternoon.

We don't have a dining room, nor do we have a kitchen nook. This means that we haven't ever had a dining table in our house. We have TV tables that we use every evening when we sit down to dinner. I've been growing ever more dissatisfied with this arrangement, especially in the last six months or so.

We decided a month ago, that if we could find a table, we'd get rid of our couch, and put a table where the couch currently sits. I found a table! The antique shop down the street had one for $25.00. It needed to be refinished, about ten hours of work between sanding and polying, but we're no strangers to hard work. It should be done by Saturday.

In order to be ready for the couch to go out, and the table to go in, I spent yesterday cleaning and re-arranging the living room. It took me most of the day, but it's done.

As of Sunday morning, I will finally have a place to have coffee with my friends. I will also be able to sit at my table to write (gasp!) longhand if I want. My kids will have space to do their homework. I'll be able to do crafts with my youngest boy. I won't have to spread the bills out on my bed when I'm doing the monthly write checks thing.

I'm so excited!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Amazing book review today!

I've been doing virtual book tours since May, and I have to say, the bloggers who are reviewing books for the tours are fantastic! Smart, insightful and good writers - they are joy to work with!

To read what one of them has to say about The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker, stop by Writing From Kiddom today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Is there anything better than the sound of a good soaking rain? There very well may be, but I can't think of anything right this second.

The mellow hiss/patter is intermittently interrupted by a crack of thunder. The lightning is keeping me from wanting to wash the dishes in the sink or load the washer (not that I ever really want to do those things anyway).

So, instead of attacking the household chores just yet, I think I'll sit down and work out my schedule for the rest of July and create a to-do list. That's productive use of a for-the-most-part-quiet summer rain, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book Review - The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker

The Bunko Babes
Leah Starr Baker
Harrison House
ISBN # 978-0978513757

The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker is one of those summer reads whose title and cover usually would send me elsewhere. Thankfully that didn’t happen this time, for which I was pleasantly rewarded. It isn’t often an author is able to include a character’s faith without attempting to convert the reader or use it to create conflict.

At first, keeping track of the many characters became more and more of a chore, to the point where I gave up – since they were the same women found most anywhere. However, this did allow me to relax and connect with the story Baker tells, which is where the power of this novel lies. The story of a life filled with the power of love - of family, of friends and of God - is never easy to put into words. Words that left me smiling.
- Lori Schneider

For more information about The Bunko Babes and Leah Starr Baker, please visit Blog Stop Book Tours.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Departure... of sorts.

I've spent the better part of the morning listening to Bernanke talk about the sad state of our economy. I'm discouraged. He keeps talking about how we got here, but not a lot about good solutions for improvements.

Gas prices are up. Food prices are up. When income can't possibly keep up with inflation, what is there to do?

Well, here's what we're doing.

  • We're driving a lot less. Hubby is picking up things we need at Target, or Walmart, or Home Depot on his way home from work. He drives right by the stores, so why make a trip when we don't have to? The local grocery and hardware store are within walking/biking distance, so if we need something right away, we're using our own physical power, instead of gas.
  • We're eating out less. We don't go out to eat very often anyway, but now it's really not an option.
  • We're using our Sam's Club membership much more. Since we're eating at home more, we're buying in bulk. It absolutely saves us money.
  • We are absolutely not installing the window air conditioner this year. On hot days, I close up the house by noon, and use box fans to keep the air moving. It was 101 degree heat index last Thursday. Our house stayed at a comfortable 83 degrees.
  • We are turning off lights when we don't need them. They throw heat during the day, so keeping them off keeps the house cool.
  • We're tending and nurturing our garden. Right now, we have raspberries, black raspberries, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes starting to come in. Have you seen how much tomatoes cost at the grocery store?! Not to mention the salmonella scare? Our gardens are organic, and we know whose hands have touched the food.
  • We are watering our gardens with rain water we've collected in plastic barrels. I refuse to pay for water, when it's only used for watering.
  • On cool days, we make our own bread. Granted, the Kitchen Aid mixer my mom bought for us years ago, makes it a much easier process, but still, when a loaf of bread is almost $2.00, making our own is cost effective.
  • We're buying 3 to 5 dozen eggs, instead of a dozen at a time. Much cheaper.
  • Our kids are drinking much more water, much less juice and pop. It may even save on dentist bills down the road.
  • And, we are using our library cards.

I'm sure there are other things we're doing, but these are the ones I can think of right now.

What are you doing to cut costs?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Something new!

Leah Starr Baker, author of The Bunko Babes, has graciously agreed to be part of a book discussion group, to talk about her book, at Blog Stop Book Tours. I've been thinking about doing this for a couple of months. And, it will start with Leah, sometime toward the end of July. Stay tuned for specific details.

For today's review of The Bunko Babes, stop by Something She Wrote.

Friday, July 11, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

To read an incredibly articulate review of Leah Starr Baker's The Bunko Babes, cruise on over to Mama Needs A Book Contract.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary to me!

A day late, but... yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog! I made a commitment last July to write every day, Monday thru Friday. For the most part, I've honored that.

The blog has evolved since it began. I had intended to write about Freelance writing, but it soon became much more about books. I'm good with that change.

So, yeah, just thought I'd mention it.

What a difference a day makes...

Woke up this morning full of energy and ideas. I've been letting baby-step thoughts hang out in the back of my brain for the last couple of weeks - giving them time to stretch and grow. Today, I can finally get them on paper and organize them.

I'm not so patiently waiting for ARCs to arrive in the mail. There are some great books being released this Fall, and I get to read a couple of them soon.

Lots to do, so I have to get to it. Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I'm a witch... well, not really.

Yesterday, I reviewed The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent. I wanted to share what I discovered, about myself, while reading the book.

The names of the people accused are real. One of those people is John Proctor. John Proctor was the first man accused, tried and hung for witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.

I've been researching my family tree off and on for years. Last Fall, I finally traced my Brackett line back to Scotland. In my research, I had run across the name Proctor. So, after reading The Heretic's Daughter, I looked the name up, and discovered that the Bracketts married into the Proctors just after the Salem Witch Trials.

I am a 10th generation descendant of John Proctor. As one of my friends said, when I related this story to them, "Well, that explains everything!"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Review - The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's Daughter
Kathleen Kent
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN # 978-0316024488

"Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier"

Kathleen Kent's debut novel is a dark and enlightening tale of what happened to one family during the Salem Witch Trials. Daughters forced to turn against mothers, husbands against wives - this is what mass hysteria does to communities.

I have been interested in what happened in Salem, Massachusetts since I read The Crucible by Arthur Miller, when I was in grade school. The Heretic's Daughter is much more historically accurate than The Crucible, and (I think) a much better read. I really connected with the characters. I found myself wondering what I would be willing to sacrifice for my children, had I been in Martha Carrier's shoes. And, I wondered if my daughter would have been able to let me be hauled off to prison, if I had told her to let it happen, so that she could live.

The Heretic's Daughter is one of those books that I couldn't put down. However, the book didn't leave me wanting more. The story was told - clean and neat. There didn't need to be more.
(September 3, 2008, pp 352, $24.99)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Late to class... detention?

Okay, I'm a little late to post this morning. I already know I'll have detention, because I have work to do tonight.

One Blog Stop today at Mom Is Just A Nickname. See what Beth has to say about The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker.

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's Friday, and it's Independence Day!

As much as I have been known to bitch lately about the sad state of our country, I happen to love July 4th. I love what it stands for, I love that it falls in the Summer and I love that I get to spend it with my family!

It's a beautiful, warm, clear day here. Perfect grilling weather.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Blog Stop today!

Stop by Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? for a review of The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker. Leave a comment or ask a question as Leah will be stopping in a couple of times today to respond.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Networking is fun!

One of the benefits of my career is meeting amazing people. I had the supreme joy of talking on the phone with Ellen Meister yesterday morning. She is the author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, and has a new book, The Smart One, being released in August.

I was invited to her launch party, but I can't go, as it's in New York, and I am in Minnesota. However, a freelance writer friend of mine lives close to where the party will be held, so she will be attending in my stead.

I spend a lot of time networking, looking for marketing/promotion ideas and leads. When I have the opportunity to connect people, I do it. I see it as networking Karma. Plus, it's just plain fun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy July!

July is a great month! Especially since July 4th provides a three day weekend this year. We'll be sticking around home this year (gas prices and all that), but we'll be enjoying ourselves with friends (possibly camping nearby).

July is also the month I'll be touring The Bunko Babes by Leah Starr Baker at Blog Stop Book Tours. The first Blog Stop is today at Not Enough Coffee. Feel free to leave a comment or question for the author. She'll be stopping by to visit!