Six on Saturday – What I Saw – January 26, 2019

I went to the Community Garden yesterday to pick some greens. The tatsoi and collards are holding up to the recent brutal cold under a light row cover.

I steamed the leaves and topped them with pan grilled shrimp.  There was a little left over Basmati rice from a couple of days ago to which I added pan toasted pine nuts and golden raisens. A healthy, yummy dinner.

2. Some clumping onions (or are they garlic chives?) haven’t fared as well but will come back in the spring. I need to divide them. They came as a freebie from a neighbor’s bed. The rest of that bed has been covered in black plastic to keep the weeds from proliferating.

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3. Across the alley from the community garden is our public library with a garden that was installed and is maintained by volunteers. I am one of them. The chokeberries against the blue sky are beautiful.

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4. At home many of my azaleas are wearing a comforter of fallen leaves. It was so wet this fall I couldn’t get to the leaves, but in this area I don’t mind one bit. I hope the extra insulation will keep the plants safe from our recent extreme temperatures. One day last week it went from 50 degrees Farenheit to 19 in just eight hours.  And then a few days later it almost hit 50 again. The plants must be very confused.

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5. I am astounded that sage in a window box of herbs wasn’t totally blasted in the recent cold snap. This sage goes on from year to year but in the spring I need to pull everything out and replant it with fresh soil.

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6. When I was in Maine before Christmas I saw a small concrete leaf casting in a gift shop. It was about the size of the one I made below and retailed for $45. It made me wonder what the price of some of the large ones I’ve made would be. That’s my hand just to give you some perspective about size. The casting was made with a hosta leaf.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. It’s the end of January and getting harder to find new things to share. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Write on Wednesday – Where Do My Books Belong? – January 23, 21019

I have a problem. I don’t know what kind of books I am writing .

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They are romance, but not in a generic bodice ripper sense. They have a strong paranormal bent but it’s not the only theme. Spirit guides abound and a ghost is featured in the second book in the series. And in the third book (revisions continue) romance, paranormal, spirit guides and the ghost all come together. But when I look at the list of Amazon best selling romance, I don’t know where these books belong. This will be important when I reissue the first two in the series and publish the third as on Amazon Kindle you need to pick two categories for each title.

I copied the best selling romance list below from The Passive Voice. If you are a writer or a reader you should subscribe to this blog written by a lawyer. Very interesting stuff on a wide variety of topics. One of the blogs this week was about the importance of Children’s Picture books and had a link of a Scottish grandmother reading to a baby. I was laughing out loud by the end of that YouTube video.

Anyway, here is the list of the Amazon’s best selling romance categories. It was also instructive to look at the covers of these books, but that didn’t help me figure out where my books belong.

I found another romance list on Amazon.

“For a title to appear in the Romance sub-categories below, the title’s search keywords must include at least one of the keywords or phrases listed next to the sub-category. These categories and subcategories are specific to books listed for sale on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Other marketplaces may not support these keywords. ”

Category Keywords
Romance/Inspirational/Amish* Amish
Romance/Inspirational/General* inspirational
Romance/Military military, navy, army, soldier
Romance/Multicultural & Interracial interracial
Romance/New Adult & College new adult
Romance/Paranormal/Angels angel
Romance/Paranormal/Demons & Devils devil, demon
Romance/Paranormal/Ghosts ghost, spirit
Romance/Paranormal/Psychics psychic, telepathy
Romance/Paranormal/Vampires vampire
Romance/Paranormal/Werewolves & Shifters werewolf, shapeshifter
Romance/Paranormal/Witches & Wizards witch, wizard, warlock, druid, shaman
Romance/Romantic Comedy comedy, humor
Romance/Sports* sport, hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball, football, olympics, climbing, lacrosse, nascar, surfing, boxing, martial arts, golf
Romantic Heroes/Cowboys cowboy
Romantic Heroes/Doctors doctor, physician, surgeon
Romantic Heroes/Firefighters firefighter
Romantic Heroes/Highlanders highlander
Romantic Heroes/Pirates pirate
Romantic Heroes/Politicians politician
Romantic Heroes/Rich & Wealthy billionaire, rich, millionaire, wealthy
Romantic Heroes/Royalty & Aristocrats nobility, royalty, aristocrat, prince
Romantic Heroes/Spies spies, espionage
Romantic Heroes/Vikings Viking
Romantic Themes/Amnesia amnesia
Romantic Themes/Beaches beach
Romantic Themes/Gambling & Poker gambling, poker, casino
Romantic Themes/International international
Romantic Themes/Love Triangle love triangle, menage
Romantic Themes/Medical medical, doctor, nurse, hospital
Romantic Themes/Second Chances second chance
Romantic Themes/Secret Baby baby, pregnancy
Romantic Themes/Vacation vacation
Romantic Themes/Wedding wedding
Romantic Themes/Workplace office, workplace

*Subcategory is specific to the U.S. marketplace or Amazon.com.

This information helps — sort of — romance/paranormal/ghosts comes the closest, but I still don’t know where my books belong. They are set in the Caribbean. That’s not a category. They have spirit guides. Not a category.  Two of the characters in the second and third book are twins. Not a catagory. I was surprised that there wasn’t a Christian romance category. Not that that would have helped me.

As I look at the list above I realize that maybe each of the books fit into different romance categories because they follow the same characters through a generation. Different characters take center stage.

Knowing the category of a book is important in marketing because of key words. I probably should have thought more carefully about this twelve years ago when I wrote the first in the series. But I’ve learned that my books don’t always follow the plot line I intended. Which is what created this problem in the first place. I still don’t know where my books belong.

Maybe I need to research Fiction categories.

 

 

Six on Saturday – Stuff is Happening – January 19, 2019

We had a Goldilocks snow last weekend.  Not too big, not too little, just about right at six inches. It was pretty. The big storm heading our way this weekend will bring us rain rather than snow. Just what we need! But despite the wet weather, stuff is happening in the garden.

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2. My little spruce in a pot on my deck was festive at night.

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3. I tried for a photo of the red twig dogwood in the snow, but couldn’t get one that showed the color. It is so pretty on these dreary days. Since this does well in this wet area I am going to continue the colony. I layered several stems in the fall and will have to wait to see if they took.

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4. In the same “pond” as the red twig dogwood shoots of Stella d’oro day lilies are emerging. They don’t seem to mind being under water either.

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5. This parsley hasn’t succumbed to the freezing temperatures…yet. On Sunday it’s supposed to go from 48 daytime down to 12 degrees Farenheit that night. Yikes. Makes me think of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. I need to go out and turn a pot over that parsley.

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6.  A columbine has self seeded in one of my containers where I grew eggplants last summer. I’ll transplant it in the spring. The color of the flowers of the self-seeders is always a surprise.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. It’s getting harder to find new things to share, but stuff is happening in my garden. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – In and Out – January 12 2019

We may get some snow tomorrow. Perhaps 1 – 3″. I am hoping to get a photo of my red twig dogwood (Arctic Fire) against a white background. If I do, I’ll post it next week. It’s been cold enough that the ground is frozen along with the remaining puddles.

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2. I checked the lenten roses but the buds are still furled. However, in one of my raised beds a  lone hyacinth is emerging. A squirrel must have planted it.

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3. Fred the French Gardener posted a photo of moss and I could see some outside my office window. I put on my chicken boots and went out for a closer look.

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4. The slender Hinoki cypress in the front of the house has lovely foliage.

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5. Inside I was thrilled to see an open bloom on the first orchid I have ever managed not to kill. The blooming stalk is very long so I’ve propped it on the clivia (which shows no evidence of flowering yet).

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6. I need to cut back my the geraniums in the inside big pots, but that will be a job for tomorrow when there is snow on the ground. This morning I enjoyed a spot of color.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look — even on these dark, cold winter days. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

Write on Wednesday – When I Have Nothing to Say, Someone Else Does – January 9, 2019

I follow a number of blogs. One of the ones I actually read when it comes into my email box is The Passive Voice. The tag line for this blog is “A Lawyer’s Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing.”  The Passive Voice finds interesting articles and blog posts that bear on publishing. They are usually short but have links if you want to read the original.

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Today when I am immersed in revisions to my novel, and have nothing thoughtful to say, I suggest you check out The Passive Voice. There’s always something interesting  and thoughtful there.

 

Six on Saturday – Lean In – January 5, 2019

A statistic last week indicated we have had over 70″ of rain this year, double the usual amount. No wonder we feel inundated. Many local farmers have lost their winter wheat crop as seeds rotted in the ground. Last spring some planted corn three times.

For us home gardeners the rain is a big inconvenience. Lots of leaves still on ground that’s too wet to work on, and piles of tree trash that gets deposited on the lawn with every big blow. But although I have been a gardener for more years than I like to admit, it continues to amaze me that life in the garden goes on. You just have to put on your wading boots and lean in.

  1. Other SoS gardeners have been showing blooming hellebores. I thought I checked last week and didn’t see anything. Obviously I didn’t lean in far enough. I only saw buds on one plant this morning and I haven’t kept records in the past, but buds the size of Christmas tree lights (not the little ones) are impressive for January 5.

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2. Raindrops in the early morning decorated a small leafed maple.

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3. In one of my raised beds at home I had transplanted some beet seedlings from my Community garden bed last summer. They never did a thing but I didn’t pull them when fall clean-up was delayed by wet weather. They are showing growth among the fallen leaves. I wonder if I will actually get beet roots in the spring. img_8104

4. Fennel doesn’t surrender to the weather and tends to self seed which can be a problem. This is in a raised bed. I’ll keep it because the Black Swallowtail butterflies pupated on the stalks last year and the foliage is a tasty addition to winter salads. I can see some rabbit damage.

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5. Even the dried heads of hydrangea Limelight are beautiful in the early morning mist.

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6. In an effort to organize seeds this winter I purchased some half priced Christmas storage. The seeds won’t care that the boxes are red and green. With lidded containers I’ll be able to get the seed box off my work surface.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look and lean in. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Write on Wednesday – Words To Live By All Year – January 2, 2019

There’s a line in the Christmas play that Laura Ambler and I wrote (The Santa Diaries) that seems perfect for this time of year.

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When the character, Will Hawes, knows he will eventually take his place in the long line of Santas in his family, he says, “I finally realized that people still want the same things; a hug, a laugh, a kind word, to not be lonely, and maybe even find a soul mate. And not just at Christmas.”

So lets all laugh and hug (appropriately), and be more kind. The world will be a better place.

Happy New Year!