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Dowser 4 – the paperback

March 30, 2015

This seriously pretty proof for Shadows, Maps, and Other Ancient Magic (Dowser 4) showed up last Thursday, but I thought I would wait until it was available for purchase before mentioning it.

Dowser 4 paperback proof

As with all the Dowser paperbacks, the cover and the page break knife image were designed by the lovely and talented Elizabeth Mackey.

backcover of Dowser 4

While Mark at 52 Novels made sure that the text, formatting, and chapter headings were all pretty, pretty.

Inside Dowser 4A big thank you to both Elizabeth and Mark for helping to bring this beauty to print. I prefer to read in ebook format these days, but there is just something about holding your own paperback that is absolutely thrilling.

Want to grab one yourself? You can order copies through Createspace and Amazon. Coming soon to B&N.

Have a great week!

A reconfigured office and a giveaway

March 27, 2015

GIVEAWAY CLOSED – MISSY FROM NEW ENGLAND IS THE WINNER THIS WEEK! YAY!

So I’ve been spoiled this week. I treated myself to a walking treadmill for my standing desk, then Michael decided that he was going to repaint my office along with reconfiguring my desks.

We just threw the office together when we moved here in September to get it as function as possible as quickly as possible so I could get Oracle 1 published.

Now when I complain about my ‘writing cave’ I will actually be joking.

New paint, new treadmill, and new reconfiguration.

New paint, new treadmill, and new reconfiguration.

The paint colour is the ever classy ‘cloud white.’ I still need to hide all the wires, but I spent two hours on the treadmill today and actually hand wrote 2k of Dowser 5 this afternoon while walking! And, not to worry, I have another regular desk underneath the window on the opposite wall for when my feet get tired. :)

While we were pulling everything out of the office I unearthed a box of misprinted paperbacks.

IMG_0219

Remember these?

And, since I’m a fan of decluttering, I thought I should give some of these ‘rarities’ away.

To that end, for the next five Fridays, there will be a giveaway here on the blog. I’ll start with two full sets of Dowser 1 – 3 and Oracle 1, then three Dowser 1s, then three Oracle 1s, and finally one lone Dowser 3.

The covers of the paperbacks are all oddly tinted to various degrees with pink and red. And, in a few, the top and bottom margins shift down or up around the halfway point.

I’ll autograph and label the books as misprints. I might even throw in an I See Me postcard and some butterfly tattoos.

Shall we begin?

Would you like to own this set of misprinted, but still pretty, paperbacks?

Misprinted paperbacks

You would?

Then #1. Comment on this blog post with your favourite quote from any of the books.

And #2. Tell me why it’s your favourite quote.

Remembering #3. To include your email address in the comment form so I can contact you.

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. Giveaway closes 9 a.m. PDT Saturday, March 28, 2015. Each entry will be assigned a number, and the winner will be selected by random number generator.

May the random number generator be in your favour!

First egg!

March 26, 2015

We moved to Salt Spring Island last September on an adventure. As this adventure unfolded, I decided I would like chickens for the garden … why not dive in? And, yes, going to the Fall Fair might have had something to do with this sudden desire.

So chicks aren’t particularly easy to source in the fall, but Heidi from Greendale Heritage Farms had some Black Copper Marans and Blue-Laced Red Wyandottes that she’d hatched for her own breeding program and decided to sell to us on October 16, 2014.

And so it began. From the little chicks we were worried about keeping warm during the ferry trip home to this:

First pullet egg from our Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte Splash hens

First pullet egg from our Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte Splash hens. She laid just perfectly in the nesting box – first try! Though for some reason she removed all the straw first.

I admit I squealed a little and made Michael run back to the house for his phone (for pictures).

First pullet egg

First pullet egg and the coop

The flock

The flock. Two Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte Splash pullets, One BLRW Splash Cockerel, and two Black Copper Maran tucked in the corner.

And one tasty medium-soft boiled egg with a touch of salt:

Soft boiled egg

So that was today’s new experience. Life is ever changing.

Too much story…

March 21, 2015

There is too much story running around my head this morning … and last night all I could dream about was Jade and Warner and all the conversations they need to have or will have but there isn’t ever enough time for any or all of that because life is always happening … or the world is caving in.

Then there’s the new pieces haunting me … the snippets of a dream I had early this morning that my mind keeps trying to tidy up and make into a narrative, then make into a narrative that would fit into the universe of the Adept. Because otherwise I’m being a bad writer and allowing myself to get distracted from the work.

Yes, story is different than the work. The work – where my fingers should be curled around a shiny Parker fountain pen filled with green ink instead of tapping on my keyboard – is plotted out through Dowser 5, 6, and Oracle 2. The work is those three books, in which most of the story is pretty firmly set.

But the story – and my mind – is with Kandy in a side story I don’t have any time to write. And also it’s captured by this new idea …

Sigh.

The hot chocolate cooling beside me in my piggy travel mug might help bring focus.

And for you? While you patiently wait to see if anything coherent will issue forth from my direction in the nearish future?

For you, I insert a picture of chicks in a box.

SFHs and WAs in a box

These babies are now in their (much bigger) brooder in my laundry room. I’m trying to not constantly check on them, say every fifteen minutes or so. I have grave concerns that one will die from something I could have prevented, or they will eat each other.

Hmmm, this may be contributing to my lack of focus.

And I don’t like my office.

I might have to do something about that later … the office. For now I have simply moved into the dining room.

And the chicks will probably be just fine … if they don’t turn into cannibals the second I apply myself to the work…

ETA: these sweethearts are from Briarwood Poultry. We swooped over to Vancouver Island, had lunch with my Dad, and picked them up in Mill Bay. Five Swedish Flower Hens and six Wheaten Ameraucanas.

Dowser 4 – Tease in a Cup

March 19, 2015

Tease in a CupPresenting Tease in a Cup, Kandy’s second birthday cupcake, from Shadows, Maps, and Other Ancient Magic (Dowser 4). These blackberry chocolate cupcakes share the same base with Sass in a Cup but they’re iced with blackberry buttercream! The touch of lemon in the buttercream is definitely the secret ingredient. So tasty!

blackberry chocolate cake

blackberry buttercreamTease in a Cup was originally featured on the Reader Cafe on March 14, 2015. :)

Oh, happy birthday to my sister!!

Chocolate and Eggs

March 15, 2015

Yesterday a lovely neighbour messaged to see if I wanted a dozen of her eggs. Though I had a dozen in the fridge, I immediately said “yes, please,” jumped in the car, and tore off down the street to pick them up. Who says no to farm fresh eggs? Not me.

Before I even got my hands on the eggs I had plans for Egg Benedict for Sunday brunch (courtesy of Michael) and Chewy Gooey Chocolate Cookies for an afternoon snack. I believe this is the perfect pairing, using the yolks for the hollandaise sauce and the whites for the cookies.IMG_0179

Then Gerri – the lovely neighbour who is willing to share eggs from her heritage flock – mentioned she was making a chocolate soufflé, which – having never made one myself – sounded like WAY too much work for a Saturday evening to me.

Of course, sometime before making mini pizzas for dinner last night I decided I should try to make a chocolate soufflé as well.

Yeah, I know one doesn’t just whip up a soufflé on a whim, but around 8:30pm Michael and I paused Winter Soldier and gave it a go … the first attempt at the ‘chocolate part’ seized, and I over-whipped the whites as a result of the delay. But, eventually, I baked something that looked reasonable for a first try.IMG_0176

Except I didn’t like it.

It tasted floury, even though the recipe only called for three tablespoons of flour.

Four eggs, some sugar, and a half cup of chocolate. I used some of my precious Allure from Chocolate Arts, and I didn’t like it.

Why?

Not enough chocolate.

You know what has more than enough chocolate?

The Chewy Gooey Chocolate cookies currently in my oven. I’d recommend these over a fiddly soufflé any day.

This is what I look like when I blog on a Sunday afternoon

This is what I look like when I blog on a Sunday afternoon. First selfie ever taken on my new laptop!

Modifications to the recipe/notes: My go-to chocolate for these bad boys is Tanzanie by Cacao Barry, which cuts the sweetness perfectly. Don’t refrigerate the batter!! And either eat these the day you bake them, or freeze immediately. Michael loves them frozen, but they thaw beautifully. :D

RIP Terry Pratchett and Wintersmith

March 12, 2015

I’m exceedingly sad to hear of Sir Terry Pratchett’s passing today.

I could rant about the cruelty of Alzheimer’s, to which I lost my step-mother last year, but I’m not going to.

I could also go on and on about what I loved about Sir Terry’s books – I’ve selectively read every one he ever wrote about witches – but I won’t.

What I want to do to celebrate a fantastic fantasy writer is to pass his work on, hopefully to someone who’s never read a book by him before.

My introduction – years ago via a blog mention from an old friend, Darren – was Wintersmith. And I think it still might be my favourite book of Sir Terry’s, though I just bought Good Omens and hope to start reading it tonight. Wintersmith is technically the third book in his young adult series, but it was a perfect entry point for me and I hope it will be for one of you as well.Wintersmith kindle cover

To celebrate his life and his work, I want to buy this book for one of you – for kindle, or iBooks, or Kobo, or B&N, or in paperback. You name the format and I’ll buy it.

Comment below with your favourite book of Sir Terry’s or why you’d like to read Wintersmith specifically to enter.

I’ll assign each comment a number, run a random number generator, and select a winner at 5 p.m. PST on March 12, 2015 (today). Open internationally for ebooks. Canada and USA for ebooks or paperback. Remember to fill out your email address in the blog comment.

ETA: 5:20pm – GIVEAWAY CLOSED. WINNER to be contacted shortly.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett. Thank you for the entertainment, the inspiration, and for the strong women and fantastic world you created.

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