Applesauce and Norwich Terriers

Hey, just for something new, why don’t I put up a blog post? What a thought!
After all this time, I have a number of random things to write about, but I’ll narrow it down to two.

First, if you’d like to see what I did yesterday, here’s a pic:

2016-11-05-16-09-28That’s applesauce. Craig and I broke our previous record for the number of quarts made in a day. Previously in the 30s, our total now is 58. This was the yield from 3 bushels of apples.

Here’s the fun part about all this: we don’t have apple trees, and we don’t eat applesauce. I won’t bore you with the whole long story about how this came to pass, but will say that we have kids and grandkids who love applesauce, and most of this will be divvied up among them. The remainder, I plan to turn into applebutter, which activity, as I may have mentioned in the past, is how I traditionally like to celebrate New Year’s Day.

That’s one random thing. Here’s the other:

This summer, some of my writer friends were talking about doing a novella collection together. At first, I thought, “That’s not for me,” probably because I think of novella collections as being romances.

Matter of fact, two of the friends I’m talking about participated in a just-released novella collection, The Bucket List Dare. It’s the-bucket-list-darefour stories by four authors about four friends who challenged one another to revisit the “bucket list” they made in college and tackle one daring item before they turned thirty. I have not read any of these stories (Why not? you may ask. I don’t do romance, is my answer), but two of the authors (Pamela S. Meyers and Linda W. Yezak) are my buds, so I’m putting in this plug for their new release.

Okay, back to my point:
The novella collection my friends were proposing had a tiny house theme. The stories could be any kind of contemporary fiction (that is, they didn’t have to be romances) provided the protagonist lives in a tiny house. As I watched their conversation online, I thought it sounded like fun. So when they said, “Who wants in?” I surprised myself by raising my hand and saying, “Me! Me! I wanna do it!”

804d4591ad06aa82f195d94749732509
This is not a tiny house in the sense I mean, but it’s a free image. And I like free.

These gals are so with-it. Organized. Knowledgeable about what they’re doing. Next thing I knew, they’d set up a Facebook page for the authors involved in the project and a schedule setting out when this aspect and that must be completed in order to be ready on the release date they’d decided upon. (We’re publishing through CreateSpace.) Whoa, Nellie! We’re really doing this!

Next question: Can I do this? I’m the speculative weirdo — I don’t usually write contemporary fiction. And I’ve never been a big fan of the tiny house craze. But I let my brain ramble with a few story lines, came up with one I liked, starting writing, and had a whole lot of fun!

I wanted to get finished as quickly as possible so I could get back to the big project I’ve been working on since last September. So I wrote the story in record time, ran it through my critique group, and am doing a final proofread.

And am back to my first love, which is speculative fiction. And that last sentence is a bit of a pun, because the title of my novella for the tiny house collection is First Love. But it’s not a romance. Interested? I hope so.

I haven’t read any of the other stories, but I’m sure they’ll all be good. Look for the collection’s release in early May, and stay tuned for updates about this project here on YsWords. I promise to not wait another six months before posting again.

Another view of that lovely applesauce...
Another view of that lovely applesauce…

Meanwhile, back in the spec-fic world, remember my last post, in which I gave a preview of the opening chapter of my WIP? Well, I’m now at about 143,000 words, and there’s still quite a bit of story to be told. As I indicated in my last post, it’s too long for one book, so I’ll turn it into a series. Once I get the whole big, unwieldy thing written, I’ll be in a better position to decide where to divide it, and how to make one section end and transition into the next.

I have a lot of work to do before I can release the first part in this new, as-yet-untitled series, which I’d like to do by the middle of next year. That’s why I was eager to get the tiny house story finished–so I could move forward with this puppy.

Speaking of puppies, I gave a dog to my protagonist in the tiny house story.

Photo from Wikipedia
Photo from Wikipedia

I was in the middle of the third chapter when I realized she needed one. I resisted, because I, personally, don’t want a dog. Been there, done that, and am convinced that life is a whole lot easier, cleaner, and less nerve-wracking when you don’t have pets. But my protagonist needed a dog; it just couldn’t be avoided.

So I did some research—almost as if I were looking for a dog for myself—to see what breed would be most appropriate for a woman of her personality and in her situation, and I decided on a Norwich Terrier. I’d never heard of that breed before, but my protagonist is very happy with hers, and she recommends them.

Applesauce the Dog, alive and well 28 years later!
Applesauce the Dog, alive and well and living in Parma, Ohio almost 29 years later!

One last observation: for our youngest daughter’s first Christmas, we gave her one gift: a great big stuffed dog. Why only one gift? Because she (Rustie, the daughter) was less than six months old and so didn’t care about Christmas, but I felt obligated to give her something. The dog was about the same size as Baby Rustie, and she paid no attention to it until she got older. Somewhere along the line, she named it Applesauce, perhaps because of the color. Or perhaps because her mother used to make large quantities of applesauce every fall. And the family used to eat it frequently.

None of this has anything to do with anything, but I couldn’t very well title this “Applesauce and Norwich Terriers” without mentioning the stuffed dog named Applesauce.

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We Have The Winner (times three)!

file0001699656351As I’ve been promising for the past three days, I put all the entrants’ names into a plastic bucket this morning and pulled out three.

(Insert drumroll here)

The winners are:

1) C. P. Bialois (who entered by tweeting)

2) Brenda Pace (who entered by leaving a comment)

3) Jil Getner (who also left a comment)

I’ll be contacting each of these directly to see which book they’d like and where to send it.

Meanwhile: thanks to all the others who entered. And I mean that; I truly appreciate your interest in Gannah and your support for my writing addiction.

If you’d like to try again, I’m doing a Goodreads giveaway during the month of June. That involves only Words in the Wind and Ransom in the Rock, and because Goodreads is huge, there will be a lot more competition for the five free copies I’m giving away of each of those titles. But you’re certainly welcome to hop over there and enter there, too.

There’s also the option of buying them from Amazon, of course. If you’re in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, you’ll find all three titles for sale at Dayspring Christian Bookstore on West High in New Philadelphia. Both the Dover and New Philadelphia public libraries have the first two books available, and if you ask, they’ll probably buy the third for you. (Please do, in fact!)

Congratulations to the three winners, and thanks once again for helping to keep Gannah growing!

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Win a Trip to Gannah (times three)! DAY 3

DSCN5865What  a peach of a deal! A free trip to Gannah for three lucky winners!

Tomorrow, I’ll draw three names. I’ll contact them to offer any of the three titles in the Gateway to Gannah series they’d like to receive.

If the winner lives in the US, he or she can choose either a print or e-book; otherwise, only e-books are available. (Sorry, but those shipping costs are a killer.)

You have three ways to enter:mf679

1) Comment. Leave a comment on this blog, and be sure to include your email address. You’ll receive one entry each day you do this.

2) If you’re on Twitter, tweet about it. The easiest way to do that is by clicking on the “t” symbol under “Share This” at the end of the post. When the automatic Tweet comes up, delete “I like” and instead write: “Win a #FREE #book on @yanderson101’s blog.” (Make sure you leave the link to YsWords.) This gives you another chance to win — one entry per day that you do this (not one entry per tweet!).

3) Tell your Facebook buddies, making sure to mention me so I’ll be able to reward you. (You can use the Facebook button on the “Share This” bar at the bottom of this post.) You’ll earn one entry per day that you do this.

The first day of this three-day giveaway, I provided a brief description of each book. Yesterday, I gave you a paragraph from each to whet your appetite. Today, I’ll share the first sentence and the last word of each:

 

Stars cover

First sentence: Dassa trudged through the Ayin Forest across a crusted snow, her weary steps fueled by the nearness of her goal.

Last word: smiled.

 

 

Words cover

First sentence: “End.”

Last word: end.

 

 

 

Ransom in the Rock

First sentence: Her chest tight with dread, Lileela opened the closet.

Last word: belonged.

 

 

I hope these little snippets have enticed you. If you’re interested, make sure to leave a comment so you’ll at least have one chance to win. Telling your friends about the giveaway will increase your odds.

Good luck! I’ll draw the names and announce the winners tomorrow.

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Win a Trip to Gannah (times three)! DAY 2

three windowsThree windows of opportunity!

Well, the first one’s closed, but there are still two left. That’s right, two more days in which to enter to win a free book.

You heard me right: today and tomorrow, you have the opportunity to win a free trip to Gannah. On Wednesday I’ll draw the names of three lucky winners, each of whom will be able to receive their choice of the three titles in the Gateway to Gannah series.

If the winner lives in the US, he or she can choose either a print or e-book; otherwise, only e-books are available. (Sorry, but those shipping costs are a killer.)

Three books will be given away, and you have three ways to enter:file000185159942

1) Comment. Leave a comment on this blog, and be sure to include your email address. You’ll receive one entry each day you do this.

2) If you’re on Twitter, tweet about it. The easiest way to do that is by clicking on the “t” symbol under “Share This” at the end of the post. When the automatic Tweet comes up, delete “I like” and instead write: “Win a #FREE #book on @yanderson101’s blog.” (Make sure you leave the link to YsWords.) This gives you another chance to win — one entry per day that you do this (not one entry per tweet!).

3) Tell your Facebook buddies, making sure to mention me so I’ll be able to reward you. (You can use the Facebook button on the “Share This” bar at the bottom of this post.) You’ll earn one entry per day that you do this.

In case you haven’t had the opportunity to visited Gannah yet, let me give you some little snippets to whet your appetite. I’ll keep the theme of three and provide a paragraph from the third page of each book:

Stars coverThe sun still shined undimmed by clouds, but the shadow in her heart drew darker the closer she drew to the palace. Fear knotted in her chest, though she smelled no dangerous animals near nor sensed treacherous changes in the weather.

 

 

Words coverShe flopped backward onto her bunk. Deep weariness, the inevitable result of separation from her planet, made her bones ache. This was so pointless. Why had Pik insisted she come?

 

 

 

Ransom in the RockLileela pouted, a feat that never failed to impress the blank-faced Karkar. Especially when she managed to produce a few tears in the corner of her eyes, like she did now. “Why should that worry them? They’re rich, they own all of Gannah, but people there don’t use money. It wouldn’t burden them to keep me on Karkar the rest of my life.”

 

Interested? Make sure to leave a comment so you’ll at least have one chance to win. Then come back tomorrow and do the same thing. Telling your friends about the giveaway will increase your odds.

 

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Win a Trip to Gannah (times three)! DAY 1

DSC_4150_Iván_Melenchón_Serrano_MorgueFileThree doors of opportunity!

Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday (that’s June 16 through 18), I’m running a book give-away.

Because I never do things the normal way, I’ve decided against using RaffleCopter for this. (Are you familiar

Three? One for each of us?
Three? One for each of us?

with RaffleCopter? Do you despise it as much as I do, or am I just weird?)

So here’s what’s happening this weekend: I’m giving away three (3) books. The first three titles in the Gateway to Gannah series. And yes, meercats, that’s  one for each of you.

Moreover, you’ll have three ways to win.  To-wit:

file0001538344361) Leave a comment on this blog, and be sure to include your email address. You’ll receive one entry each day you do this.

2) If you’re on Twitter, tweet about it. The easiest way to do that is by clicking on the “t” symbol under “Share This” at the end of the post. When the automatic Tweet comes up, delete “I like” and instead write: “Win a #FREE #book on @yanderson101’s blog.” (Make sure you leave the link to YsWords.) This gives you another chance to win — one entry per day that you do this.

3) Tell your Facebook buddies, making sure to mention me so I’ll be able to reward you. (You can use the Facebook button on the “Share This” bar at the bottom of this post.) You’ll earn one entry per day that you do this.

Simple enough, right? For you it is. As for me, I have to record all the entries, print them out, and cut them up into little individual slips of paper. Yeah. ‘Cause I’m too stubborn to use an automated system.file1421235566707

Then on Thursday, I’ll put all the entries into a hat — okay, not  a hat, but a plastic bucket — and draw a name. Then I’ll draw another name. Not satisfied with that, I’ll draw a third. Each winner will receive his or her choice of the three Gannah books currently available. These can be print (for those who live in the US) or e-book (these, I can send anywhere). In fact, in keeping with the pattern of threes, I think I’ll offer those ebooks I mentioned in one of three formats: PDF, .MOBI, or EPUB. Does that suit you?

So, in case you’re not familiar with the three books I’m talking about, I’ll tell you a bit about them.

Stars coverBook 1: The Story in the Stars

Ancient Gannah was well on the way to taking over the whole galaxy, until the people of Karkar engineered a virus that stopped them in their tracks. Now, eight centuries later, the plague has struck again. When the League of Planets receives the distress signal, Karkar-born doctor Pik is ordered to find a cure, despite his hatred of the whole Gannahan race. By the time he arrives on Gannah, it’s almost too late; Dassa is the only survivor. And she has a mission of her own.

Dassa and Pik survive a pirate attack, unsafe starcraft, food poisoning, vicious beasts, and a plane crash. But the hardest part is enduring one another’s company. The Creator who wrote the story of redemption in the stars has commanded her to share it with her reluctant savior. That’s not all He expects of her, but the rest is unthinkable.

Words coverBook 2: Words in the Wind

Dassa’s landing craft crashes on Gannah 10,000 kilometers from the settlement just as a blizzard sets in. Injured, she takes refuge from the storm in Ruwach Gorge. In the ancient Gannahan language, ruwach means both “wind” and “spirit,” and Dassa’s not sure which meaning applies. Seeking food and shelter, she stumbles upon an old stronghold she recognizes from ancient legends—stories she’s been taught were myths. As she explores, she uncovers indisputable evidence that many things she thought she knew are in error.

At the settlement, her husband, Pik, must not only try to find her, but he also must take charge in her absence. Rebellious settlers and a wayward daughter make it difficult enough. But when the animals threaten to break the ancient treaty and resume the old Wildlife Wars, Pik’s hard-pressed to hold things together. He’s afraid that if he ever manages to find Dassa, she’ll have no home to return to.

Alone in the mysterious canyon where reality and fairytale are flipped, Dassa wonders the same thing. Though separated, she and Pik learn together whom to trust and what leads to death.

Ransom in the RockBook 3: Ransom in the Rock

How much is a life worth? And who will pay the price?

Fifteen-year-old Lileela returns from the planet Karkar, frothing with bitterness over what she perceives as abandonment by her parents. Why do they want her back now? And why does Karkar demand such a huge payment for delivering her? Neither she nor her family suspects that Karkar’s true motive is revenge. The tiny New Gannahan settlement has no hope of repelling an invasion – no hope, that is, except for One the Karkar can’t see.

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Okay, so there you have it. Make sure you leave a comment — tell all your friends about this give-away — and come back tomorrow and Wednesday for more chances to win!

 

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A Thoughtful Review

Rabid Readers ReviewsYou may have noticed (though I doubt if you’ve given it much thought) that I haven’t been very attentive to my blog lately. I’ve been pretty much ignoring Twitter, too. Some of this is for the purpose of a test: if I neglect social media, will the world come to a screeching halt?

Surprise, surprise: the answer is no. I doubt it’s caused my book sales to fall off either, since they weren’t selling to begin with. Bottom line: it’s freed up some of my time with no dire consequences. Perhaps the experiment was worthwhile!

Whether I take up blogging and tweeting again with greater diligence remains to be seen. Meanwhile, a new review came to my attention this afternoon, and I thought I’d share it with all my fans out there in Blogdom. It’s a little different, but rather gratifying.

Don’t let me tell you what to think of it, though. Decide for yourself: Review of The Story in the Stars on Rabid Reader Reviews.

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Monday’s Musings: How Well Do You Know Gannah?

Isn’t that a cool “gateway?” My brother, Stan Smith, took the picture at Mackinac Island. The nifty natural feature is called Arch Rock.

I’ve been thinking of using the image as a logo for the Gateway to Gannah series but am not certain it’s appropriate. After all, it’s a recognizable sight, and I don’t want to give the impression that the gateway to Gannah is in Michigan. But I needed an image for this post, so I’m using it today. With Stan’s permission, of course.

Along with the pretty picture, I’m giving you a fun way to kick off your week: a quiz to test your knowledge of the world of Gannah. Whether you access the planet by way of Arch Rock (good luck with that, by the way), via Kindle, or through the pages of a printed book, the only way to know the answers to these questions is to visit Gannah.

Or, you could find someone who’s been to Gannah and ask him or her. But it’s a lot easier to find the books than to locate someone who’s read one of them, so I recommend the read-for-yourself method.

I’ve designed the questions so that no matter which book you’ve read of the two currently available (Book #1, The Story in the Stars and Book #2, Words in the Wind), you can know the answer. If you’ve read them both, you have a leg up on those who have only been to Gannah once.

So hop on over and take the quiz. There’s no prize involved, but you might find it fun.

Click here to take survey

I’ll share the results, along with the correct answers, next Monday (November 19).

 

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