I've written before about how I like to make graphics. I think they're fun, and usually I do them to either celebrate a National Day of ... or to plug my own or somebody else's books. For instance: Today is National "Talk LIke A Pirate" Day, and I made a graphic for it for the Cozy Chicks.
I've made them for my friends, too.
And, of course, I've made them for myself.
My question to you is ... does seeing these kinds of graphics influence you? Would you be interested in any of the books because of the graphics. I sure hope the answer is yes, but even if it's no, I'll probably still make them because it's fun.
I can't draw. Mr. L laughs hysterically at my attempts, but that's because he CAN draw, and paint, and make funny cartoons, and makes exquisite maps. My creative gifts just don't fit into that category. But, I can put together a graphic using different elements. How many elements do you think there are in the Telenia graphic above? Would it surprise you to know there are 8 different things going on?
the title Meet Wren. Never Underestimate the power of a woman with a loom. the book cover the photo of the witch. the Tales of Telenia logo my website URL the black background
I find it fun to put all these elements together. And so I'll ask the question again: do these types of graphics influence you?
And here's a bonus graphic just because it amuses me. (Coming October 15th.)
I must be doing something REALLY wrong when it comes to my book trailer videos and uploading them to Youtube. After two years, the one for A Crafty Killing has EIGHT views. Book Clubbed has over 400, but most of them have less than 100.
One of my readers makes videos of her Dollar Tree hauls, which is how I got started watching them. There are literally HUNDREDS of Dollar Tree Haul videos out there and some of them get THOUSANDS of views. I didn't know this until I subscribed to one Lady's channel because she had a cooking video. (I LOVE cooking videos and watch a lot of them -- usually when I'm supposed to be writing.)
I try to get in and out of the Dollar Tree as fast as possible (because you can drop money like crazy for stuff you really don't need.) I mostly buy padded envelopes, cheaters, and batteries. When my Mum was alive, I'd buy her Ginger Snaps (if they had them--they go FAST. But then Wegmans started carrying them again, so now I can easily get MY ginger snap fix.)
So, what do you think the fascination is with the Dollar Tree?
P.S. If you want to see the Crafty Killing video (which Ellery Adams and I made together) click this link.
Doesn't everybody love fudge? I rarely eat it though because of the calorie count. The first time I made fudge, I was about 13 and didn't know what a candy thermometer was. We didn't have one, so I winged it. I didn't end up with fudge, I ended up with chocolate-flavored SAND. I felt like Betty Crocker had failed me.
Here's a recipe for peanut butter fudge that doesn't need a candy thermometer and tastes pretty darn good.
1/2 cup butter 2 1/4 cups brown sugar 1/2 cup milk 3/4 cup peanut butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. Pour over the confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth; pour into an 8x8 inch pan. Chill until firm and cut into 1-inch squares.
My Dad could do just about anything, and do it well. He made furniture, jewelry, fixed clocks and watches, and he carved. He made hundreds of figurines, animals, but mostly he carved Santas.
Backstory: My Dad did most of his carving back in the 1990s. He even won a prize for one of his Santas which, unbeknownst to him, had been entered in a carving contest in Beria, KY by his former carving buddy. Dad's Santa won first prize! (He carved one just like it for me, too--you can see it on the right.)
I don't know why he carved so many of these little tree ornaments--bored, I guess. But he did. The little guys below are the original 20 I've been hanging on my tree for the past 10-15 years.
The one in the top right hand corner is one I asked him to make. You see, I bought something similar at a yard sale for a quarter, and I wasn't sure where it was made or by whom. Someone in China? Some craftsman (or woman) here in the states? It was real, hand carved and painted, but it didn't hold any meaning for me. So I asked Dad to make one for me and it would be special because HE carved it. He did, and it was. (Look at the detail on it below.)
After my Dad passed away in the fall of 2009, I found quite a number of carvings he hadn't finished, and bunch that he had but just never got around to giving away. They're mine now!
I love the fact that, while they may look alike, they're all actually quite unique. Look at the eyes and noses on these little guys, and how different their beards look.
I always looked forward to Christmas and getting something wonderful my Dad would make, be it a carving or a lovely piece of furniture. I'm so sad that'll never happen again, but I have so many wonderful items that he made -- and he always made them with love.
How about you--what do you have that is terribly special because someone made it for you with love in their heart?
Would you just look at this little Beefeater? My friend Gwen sent him to me. She said, "I stumbled across something that made me laugh myself silly, and I couldn't think of who else might think it was funny but you, so I wrapped it up and sent it to you."
A Beefeater French knitter?
Well, I think he's absolutely adorable. I'm going to hang him on my Christmas tree. And then he can come and live in my office so I can admire him every day.
Have you ever played with a French knitter? (I think I did when I was a kid, but I can't be sure.)
For cheese lovers, like my character Angelica Miles, the happy day has finally arrived! National Moldy Cheese Day! (She can hardly curb her excitement!)
And to celebrate, here's a recipe for blue cheese dressing.
¾ cup sour cream 1/3 cups mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ½ teaspoon dry mustard ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. Season with the mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in the blue cheese. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
To make a good pot of tea, you're supposed to scald the pot with hot water first, then make tea. Not only do I scald the pot, I also scold it. ("Oh, you naughty teapot!") Which do you think is more traumatic for the teapot?
I'm not kidding. All you have to do is go on Facebook and you'll see that over six MILLION people LIKE him. In fact, 6,958,686.
Meanwhile, only 1,696 people like me.
Over the weekend, I conducted an experiment. I asked people to help me get six million new LIKES on my Facebook page. I got a LOT of comments, and a bunch of people (17 in fact) even shared my post and asked their friends to like my page; 21 of them actually did, and I'm so very grateful. (Now they just need to go out and buy every one of my books. Thanks!!!)
Is 6,000,000 LIKES too lofty a goal? When Will set up his Facebook Page, did he ponder getting nearly seven million LIKES? Is he ultimately shooting for ten million? Should that be my goal, or should I shoot for a more reasonable goal, like ... maybe 1,700?
Let's face it, my Lorraine Bartlett name is the least known of my three (that you know of) writing names. Then again, my L.L. Bartlett FB page only has 924 Likes. (I don't think most of my Jeff readers are on Facebook.) In contrast, my Lorna Page has 2,348 Likes. (Lorna has a LOT more readers on Facebook.)
Why do I even CARE how many Facebook LIKES I have? Is it because I was never popular in school? Is it because my best friends don't even live near me so we can go and have lunch or share of cup of coffee? Why do we humans strive to be LIKED.
I don't know, but it seems to be a need we all have.
So, if you're so included, and you think you might LIKE me, here's the chance. Click the links below.
One of the things I like best, besides the charming ambiance, the delicious food, the nice strong cups of tea, is the china. I wondered what it was, turned my saucer over, but didn't see any marking. : (
So there I was last night, flipping through the latest issue of Teatime Magazine and there it was--featured in a story. Oh boy, you never saw someone flip to the products page so fast in your life. It said they had obtained the china from Replacements Ltd.
Hey! Over the years I've bought a bunch of china from Replacements Ltd. Of course, I didn't like the price they quoted so I went online to see if I could do better. Damn. It was the same price. Still, I went ahead and ordered ONE cup and saucer. I just love the pattern so much I had to have it so that I can drink my tea from it and think about those lovely afternoons at the Prince of Wales.
Oh the mail I get ... I think that's a standard title for one of Lee Goldberg's regular topics on his blog, (which I read religiously). He usually gets mail from someone asking an outrageous favor (like, here I am a COMPLETE stranger--please drop everything and help me promote my book.... (oh, yeah. I got one of those last week, too), or a nasty fan (?) letter (I also got one of those last week).
The other day I got a note from a reader saying: "In 'Sentenced to Death' Angelica makes puppodums in the microwave. I've never heard of these, but when I looked them up no one seems to make them in the microwave."
Well, I do! Okay, the instructions say you're supposed to fry them in a skillet ... or something like that. Fuggetaboutit! Who has time? And who wants to clean an oily skillet when God gave us microwaves to make our lives easier?
It took a couple of years of trial and error (hey, I've been busy writing books and stuff!), but I've now got it down to a science and I am happy to share my secret with the rest of the world. (Hold your applause until the end of this post. Thank you.)
First of all, I had to experiment with the timing. Too long and they burn to a crisp. Not long enough and they're horrible. And never try to cook a puppodoum in the microwave if you line your glass plate with paper towel. Either that, or stand by with a fire extinguisher.
I found the best way to cook puppodums was on a Syracuse China plate. (Any heavy duty restaurant plate will do, I just happen to collect their Americana pattern.) I found this dinky plate, and it's brother, at a yard sale. (Yeah, I could go to Replacements.com and buy the entire set for a gazillion dollars, but I prefer the thrill of the yard-sale hunt.)
Next up, preparing the puppodum. I squirt mine with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray. (I used to use the garlic version, but because I liked it they discontinued it. Product manufacturers always discontinue something the minute I decide to use it. Good thing I don't buy Oreos, huh?) You can use any cooking spray, like PAM, as well. After three or four squirts, I use my finger and distribute the ICBINB to evenly coat the puppodum. I place it on the little plate, and into the microwave it goes.
BTW, I have no idea what my microwave wattage is, and must admit I really don't care. This microwave takes 45 seconds to cook the puppodum to perfection. (It takes a lot less if you just toss it on the glass plate inside your microwave--about 20-22 seconds, but as I mentioned, sometimes they burn. The heavy china must distribute the heat better. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.) If this seems like a l-o-n-g time, you can do something else while you wait. I like to drink a glass of skim milk when I eat curry, so usually my lunch is ready (today I'm thinking of having MTR alu muttar on rice) and too hot to eat anyway (did I mention I like my food PIPING HOT?), so 45 seconds is more than enough time to pour a glass of your favorite beverage.
The end result may look like a dinosaur scab, but it tastes just fine. (If you like lental flatbread, that is.)
So there you have it: puppodums cooked in the microwave.
(It's okay to applaud now.)
I love answering questions about my books and, quite honestly, rarely get them. So if you've wondered about anything in the books--please, ask away. (It's hard coming up with new ideas for blog posts.)