Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kill Me Tomorrow by Diane Alberts


Jasmine Baruch is a jinn--a supernatural being who fights demons with fire. While that's difficult enough, she's got bigger problems. She's a virgin, and in the jinn culture, that is sheer blasphemy. Jinn are supposed to be passionate, promiscuous creatures--everything she isn't. Due to marry the next day, she takes matters into her own hands by using 1 Night Stand. But, like the rest of her life, nothing is easy. The man chosen for her, though incredibly gorgeous, is a demi-sanguine; a half-human, half-demon--and her enemy.

Gavin Werbato is looking for an easy night of sex. Nothing more, nothing less. Instead, he gets a gorgeous jinn convinced it is her duty to kill him. He can certainly think of better things to do with her soft hands than murder. He need only convince her of that...

Can the fire sparked when these beings collide be controlled, or will it consume their world as they know it?

Author bio:

Diane Alberts lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her husband, four kids, and a bird. She lives in the mountains--but wishes it were the beach.
She has been writing since she was in elementary school, but only recently fulfilled her dreams of being published in 2011. Enjoys dyeing yarn and knitting in her "spare" time.






Thursday, July 28, 2011

Music on Mayne Island (UHF)

Mayne Island Music society welcomed a lively large crowd (200+) to the Agricultural Society grounds. Board member Bob Irving was M.C. (Yes, once again my husband was volunteer sound man--all agreed he did a fine job. )

Open mic featured performers from here

and far (This couple was from southern United States).

Nanette Johnston, a local favourite, warmed the stage.

My brother-in-law T.D. Christopher entertained with an original song and his rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and then...

UHF took the stage.

Quoting from The MayneLiner Magazine (the community voice of Mayne Island)

The enigmatically named acoustic/vocal trio, UHF, are Shari Ulrich, Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes, as brilliant a teaming of three disparate talents as a Canadian West Coast accident could ever be.

When they first joined forces in 1989 for what was planned as a one off performance at Vancouver's Winter Roots Festival, Vancouver born Henderson was best known as the long time lead singer and songwriter for the successful Collectors and Chilliwack bands. Ulrich, an ex-Californian, had been a key member of British Columbia's Pied Pumpkin, The Hometown Band and a respected solo singer/songwriter while Forbes, from Dawson Creek and known for years as Bim, was a long time formidable staple on the North American folkroots circuit.

Ulrich, Henderson and Forbes are all seasoned and prolific songwriters -- indeed, each continues a solo recording and performance career -- but it took a special focus to come up with tunes that suited the trio and led to the critical success of two albums: UHF and UHF II. "It's a wonderful balance," Henderson has said of the group. "I find some neat mysteries in it. One of them is how we get the vocal blend we do. I would never have expected that to work. But it just did, an amazing surprise."

(written by Carol Munro)

Speaking as a Mayne Islander, I was thrilled that such a well known group performed on my island home. Much thanks to this amazing group.


Next post: Please meet author Valerie Mann

Saturday: Kill Me Tomorrow by Diane Alberts

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lulu Bell marches in the pride parade

Shoulders back, head held high Lulu Bell marches in the pride parade.
What's the pride parade?
Here's a link
Who's Lulu Bell

'Lulu Bell descended upon us as we sipped our espressos. Jay stood to greet her. The flamboyant Amazon wrapped him in a warm embrace.

"How've you been, sugar?" She marked his cheek with two bright pink lips. Then she noticed me and held me with her serene eyes. She coiled a handful of lengthy bright pink fingernails and made a clawing motion as she hissed. "Who's this cupcake?"

"Play nice, Lulu Bell. This is my girlfriend, Gwen."

I looked closer and noticed Lulu Bell's Adam's apple.

"You better treat Jai-nie baby right, or you'll be messing with me, cupcake. Lulu Bell, gender bender extraordinaire. Am I a boy or a girl? Why be either when you can enjoy both? Hey, we're all freaks. Some of us just wear it better."

Lulu Bell's dramatic, vivid geometric paintings graced the cafe walls. Each sported a hefty price, which admirers were overjoyed to pay, and there were many admirers.'

(quoted from The Sweater Curse)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer top hand knitting pattern shared

Update:  This blog has transformed from a knitting/writing blog to a writing blog.

Mayne Island is once again experiencing summer. This year we've had a few sun soaked days between the rain. While I'm enjoying the sun, I thought you might enjoy the "Too Cool" summer top. It can be wore alone or over a cami (halter top). I'd recommend you use a summer weight yarn such as bamboo, silk, cotton, hemp blend or linen blend.

Skill level: beginner

sts stitches
k knit
p purl
k2tog knit 2 together
RS right side

Finished Sweater measurements
Bust: S-32"/M-36"/L-40"
Length: 20"
Tension: 1" = 5 sts over Stockinette stitch on 6 mm (US 10) knitting needles
Needles: One pair of straight needles in the size needed to obtain tension. One pair of double pointed needles for I-cord.
Yarn: worsted weight 360 yards
Instructions for Small are given first with changes for Medium and Large in brackets.

seed stitch (over an even number of sts)
Row 1: k1, p1--to end of row
Row 2: p1, k1--to end of row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern

rib stitch (over an even number of sts)
Row 1: k1, p1--to end of row
Repeat row 1 for pattern

Back is worked in two panels, worked at the same time from two balls of yarn.
From 1st ball of yarn (right back)...cast on 36 (42/46) sts
From 2nd ball of yarn (left back)...cast on 36 (42/46) sts
Left Back: Work 30 (36/40) sts in rib, then 6 sts in seed stitch
Right Back: Work 6 sts in seed stitch, then 30 (36/40) sts in rib
Continue working in established pattern until work measures 11 1/2 "
Shape Armhole: Continuing with rib pattern, k2tog at the outside edge of every row
When work measures 13 1/2", continue armhole shaping, and work in seed stitch across both panels with one ball of yarn for 1 1/2". Break yarn on other panel. Back now measures 15". Cast off.

Cast on 72 (84/92) sts
Work in rib stitch until work measures 11 1/2"
Shape Armhole: Continuing with rib pattern, k2tog at beginning and end of each row. Continue shaping armhole until front measures 13 1/2".
Continuing armhole shaping as given, work in seed stitch for 1 1/2".
Front now measures 15". Cast off.

I-cord (make two)
For instructions on how to make I-cord, please visit
(Did you notice that I add a "Knitting techniques" page. Check it out. It's very cool.)
Work cord until it measures 24".

Sew side seams.
Sew on I-cord: Begin sewing one end of the cord from the side seam up the back armhole shaping to the cast off edge of the back. Place the other end of the cord at the seam, and sew up the front armhole shaping to the cast off edge of the front. Repeat for other side.
Weave in ends.

Designed by Leanne Dyck

I'm currently working this pattern -- but I'm making changes as I knit. I'll share the finished results with you once I cast off.

Next post: Randomly blogging Tuesday (preview: sale on The Sweater Curse and other fine Decadent Publishing releases plus blogs I'm visiting)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Your Biggest Fan by Graylin Fox


Mary's obsession with the boy band Caelan began in high school. She and her friends went to the shows, picked their favorite band member, and plastered their walls with posters. Mary's obsession leaked into college but soon was placed in a box of memories as she matured, fell in love, and built a life with her husband.
But Happily Ever After is elusive. When she suffers a horrific loss, can she depend on her old dreams to salvage her mind? Can she wander through those memories and still keep reality within her grasp?



"Oh, Mary, you're fine. You jut need to get out more," Ada would reply.

The first semester of sophomore year, they started a Caelan fan club with four other girls in their dorm. They met weekly, carpooled to concerts, and became inseparable. Sara even came up for the first couple of concerts of the year.

Sara pulled Mary aside on the first trip. "Ada is very good for you. You keep her around, okay? Promise me."

"I promise," Mary let out a long breath. "Why are you always so worried about me? I'm fine."

"You keep saying those words, but they never reach your eyes," Sara said.

"My eyes?" she asked, hurt by Sara's words.

"Your eyes look sad when you don't get A's, or we talk about guys." Sara hugged her. "I love you, and I worry about you. You know that."

Some friends know me a little too well.

Sara's boyfriend proposed two weeks later, and her trips to visit Mary stopped. They continued to speak every week by phone and send text messages. Mary was going to help her pick out her wedding dress when they were home for Christmas. Ada offered to come along for moral support, but they decided it would just be the girls from high school.

Mary and Ada would frequently argue about which guy was the cutest and occasionally, Ada was caught off guard by her vehemence. "You take this too seriously, Mary. It's just a boy band!" Ada would tell her with a laugh.

Mary never told Ada she knew she took it too seriously sometimes. That she would catch herself fantasizing so often about a future with Devin she would forget to complete some assignments on time and had to do extra credit to keep her grades up.

The last semester of sophomore year, she took abnormal psychology and loved it. One weekend home with her mother, she read the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. She went through every disorder and checked off the ones she was sure she had. Of course, she also diagnosed her mother, father and all of her friends. At the end of the weekend, one thing came to mind: I'm a little more obsessive than normal. Have to watch that.

Buy Links

Graylin Fox is a science fiction, fantasy, and thriller author and poet. She began writing poetry in 1993 with her first poem published in 1995. In 2008 her characters demanded a larger format and she began to expand her talents into the short fiction market.

Decadent Publishing published her short story, Coming Home, in January 2011. Her short story series, Summer Fae, began with Contagion in April 2011. This series will continue with a novella in late 2011 or early 2012. In summer of 2011, Decadent Publishing will release Your Biggest Fan, a psychological thriller.

The first poem was "My Warrior" and remains one of her favorites. As her life took her on it's journey the poetry remained a beloved escape.

Her poetry can be found both in print and electronically. There is a handful available as free reads on her website. Lessons will be published by The Stray Branch #8, Fall/Winter 2011. Unconditional Love published by Moon Washed Kisses in their debut edition, Dark Encounter was published in Strange, Weird, & Wonderful Summer 2010 issue. Folded in Darkness was published by Dark Horizons Issue 57, September 2010. Blood Bound was published by House of Horror, Issue 17 it was chosen to be in House of Horrors 2010 Anthology.

She lives in a marsh off the eastern coast with plants that struggle to survive on her "happy muse" weeks and a tiny cat runs the place.

Graylin can be found at




Thursday, July 21, 2011

randomly blogging Thursday

Tomorrow is Saint Mary Magdalene's feast day. She is the patron saint of the church I attend.

( This beautiful old church was built in the 1800s and overlooks one of the most beautiful views on Mayne Island. link)

To honour her, I offer this poem, chant, prayer...

Mother, May I

Mother Mary,

Mother Goddess,

Mother may you.

Create me, hold me, transform me,

From virgin to mother to crone

Blessed Mother,

Mother Creator,

Mother may I.

Create, hold, transform,

From virgin to mother to crone

The divine love,

The power of three

To learn more about Saint Mary Magdalene, please visit these links


Next post: Please welcome author Stephanie Williams

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#book-clubs' Discussion Questions

In the print version of The Sweater Curse I was able to add a few features such as an additional hand knitting pattern (Islandia), a glossary of Icelandic words and a series of discussion questions. These questions are ideal to use by a individual reader or by a book club.
Here they are...

1)Who, in this story, would you label a villain? Why? Do they have redeeming qualities? What are they?
2)Who, in this story, would you label a hero/heroine? Why? Do they have flaws? What are they?
3)Why do you think Hannah allowed Oli to teach Gwen to knit?
4) Is Gwen justified in blaming Hannah for Kris' death? If not, who is to blame? Who/what could have saved his life?
5) In what ways does Gwen reveal her hatred for her mother? Who/what is to blame for Gwen's failed relationship with her mother?
6)Why do you think there are no pictures of Gwen or Kris in Hannah's office or house? Do you believe that Hannah grieved the deaths of her spouse and daughter? Why do you think Hannah attended Gwen's funeral?
7) What do you think Gwen's life would have been like if she'd continued to live on the farm?
8) Why do you think Jaron is self-confident?
9) Why do you think Jaron was interested in viewing Gwen's designs?
10) Is Gwen and Jaron's relationship a positive one? If not, who is to blame for the flaws? What, in your opinion, could have been done to strengthen this relationship?
11) Do you believe Heather Newsfeld stole Gwen's design? If so, what action--if any--should be taken and by whom?
12) Knitting brings Gwen comfort and inspires her to create. Yet, Hannah tells her, "Crafts are for the common folk. Art is far more worthy of your time and energies." Explore your own bias and believes concerning art and craft.

Next post: randomly blogging Thursday

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Me: Please excuse my tardiness... I was busy searching for seeds.
You: Seeds?
Me: Yup, seeds. I know, it's a little late to plant seeds for a September harvest. That's why I'm late. I was frantically searching.
You: What are you trying to grow?
Me: Um, well, two events...
Decadent Publishing Paranormal Author Blog Swap (September 21st)
Decadent author are to go out into cyberspace and find an author who will house us on their blog. If you're an author...if you have a blog...if you would like to house me on September 21st...please, leave a comment. Thank you.

Word on the Street in Vancouver (September 25th)
Ever since I heard about this event I've been wanting to go.

You: Why?
Me: Well, just check out this link.
This year, thanks to the Crime Writers of Canada and my Vancouver chauffeur, I will.
You: Good luck, Leanne

Monday, July 18, 2011

What am I knitting?

I have been knitting. Oh, yes I have. I just haven't been finishing.
I started knitting with this lovely yarn.

It's a blend of acrylic and linen.

It will eventually be this...

only with a few changes which I look forward to sharing with you.

I'm knitting this to wear to an island wedding this August.

When the weather grew colder I rethought my outfit and started knitting with this beautiful yarn...

I love this shade of red and it will become...

(Do you recognize this top?) However, I'm altering the pattern as I want a cardigan. I had to stop working on this project when I received a phone call.

I sent 8 baby sweater sets (sweater, hat and finger puppet) to ArtCraft (a seasonal gallery on a sister island). Last Friday they phoned with good news. "We've sold all but two of the sets. Do you have more?"

My response, "No, I don't but I will have."

I've been speed knitting ever since. This morning I finished this...

When this post is live, I'll cast on stitches for another sweater. I'm hoping to finish three sweater sets by the end of July. Please wish me clear sailing. : )


While I'm busy...
Here's a
link to tons of craft resource sites.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What Not to Fear by Robert C. Roman


Michaela Miles is Philly's best detective. Sometimes her methods are medieval, but that's not surprising. Michaela has been fighting evil for nearly four hundred years.

George Matthew Franklin, Matt to his friends, is on the cutting edge of forensic science. He has been paired up with the city's best detective to prove what the new techniques can do. There's only one problem: he won't find much evidence if he can't take his eyes off his new partner.

Michaela and Matt make enemies, because Bad Guys don't like detectives or investigators. Demons and Fae, Vampires and Thugs, none of them can get away with misbehaving when these two are on the case. When they all join forces to take vengeance, everyone involved will learn that there are always worse things to fear.



"You wanted to see me, captain?"

"Have a seat, detective."

"I prefer to stand."

The captain's response was dry, his lips forced into a rueful smile, "I didn't ask. We might be here a while, and I don't want you looming over me while we talk."

"Oh, please. You're nearly as tall as me sitting."

"You have exceptional talent at looming. Sit."

The owner of the beautiful voice sighed, a sound like wind in virgin forest. "Whatever." Matt heard one of the cheap office chairs give the tiniest squeak, as if a child had perched on it. "Why isn't Frankenstein sitting down?"

The captain's voice took on the clipped tones of a parent dealing with a particularly frustrating child. "He doesn't loom, and we haven't been making small talk."

"Doesn't loom? He's a mountain! How does a mountain not loom in an office the size of a walk in closet?"

"Inspector Franklin, it appears the detective is intimidated by you. Please, have a seat."

Matt knew when an invitation was an order. Gingerly. he settled himself onto a chair opposite the detective. As he did so, he caught a glimpse of...

Beauty. Perfection. An angelic visage gazed at him and found him wanting. Features too even to be real stared back at him, formed of skin like milk and framed by broad curls of jet. Lips the color of carnation petals moved, and her voice filled the room again.

"Captain, why is the creepy scarecrow staring at me?"


Review of Fae Eye for the Golem Guy by Night Owl Reviews

"If I had to sum up this entire novella in one word, it would be this: fun. Fae Eye for the Golem Guy might be considered something of a confection, quickly consumed but pleasurable. And like any treat, it left me hungry for more. I look forward to discovering what else Mr. Roman has to offer his readers."

Robert C. Roman's Internet homes




Friday, July 15, 2011

Please welcome author Steve Piacente

How/why did you start to write?
I started witing very early; pretty much the day I found out I couldn't do the math, but was good at describing the people who could do the math. Though private as a child, I went on to make a career out of telling stories--the first as a daily newspaper reporter, then as a government speechwriter, and now as director of a federal agency's website, where we use tools in addtion to wrods--such as videos and photo galleries--to tell our stories to the public.
How did you become an author?
I became dissatisfied with the amount of storytelling I could do in a daily newpaper story, and so decided to return to school for a Masters in Fiction at Johns Hopkins University in the late 1990s. Rigorous fiction workshops forced me to re-think the way I had been writing for years. For instance, I had to learn how to expand a significant moment, to build anticipation and draw it out, as opposed to blasting all the key information into the first paragraph, as print journalists typically do in newspaper stories. This set me on the path to write several short stories, and then a novel.
What was your first published piece/Where was it published/ How long ago?
These three questions are all tied together. My first published fiction was a short story called Four Hands, which I wrote during the Hopkins program in the late 1990s. I was working on another piece in our family room downstairs, while upstairs my two daughters, then 14 and 12, were practicing a piano piece for an upcoming recital. Their teacher had given them a duet that required four hands, two for the high notes, and two for the lower. There were more fighting than playing, and I was about to lay down the law when I realized that a better story than the one I was writing was sitting right in front of me on the piano bench. I used the practice sessions to reveal the girls' characters, made the dad a renowned conductor worried more about his reputation than his children, and the recital, when all goes horribly wrong, as his moment of enlightenment. Four Hands not only got me an A, a small literary magazine called Potomac Review also published it--my first published fiction. Coincidentally, I recently received a note from the magazine saying that Four Hands was one of the editors' favorite 50 stories, and asking for permission to reprint it in an upcoming anniversary issue. I look forward to seeing it in print again.
What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I began writing pretty much the day after college graduation and have never stopped. My first job was as a high school sportswriter at the Naples Daily News In Naples, FL. After two years, I moved to the Lakeland Ledger, a New York Times-owned paper in Central Florida. There I switched from sports to news. My work caught the attention of editors at the Tampa Tribune, who invited me to apply for a position there. I became the Tribune's Washington correspondent in 1985, and switched to a similar position for the Charleston (SC) Post-Courier several years later. Reporting definitely positioned me well for writing fiction. I had crusty editors who did not believe in writer's block and who weren't shy about telling me how to improve stories. I had bristly readers who helped me develop a thick skin. My press pass took me into hundreds of places I wouldn't have gone to otherwise, every place from the White House to backstage at the circus. During those years, I learned how to write quickly and clearly, to listen and learn what made people's voices distinctive, and to hone my ability to separate fact from fiction.
What inspires you?
-Great writing by authors like Annie Proulx, John Steinbeck and Philip Roth.
-My children, wife and mother. (I invite readers to watch "Moment of Clarity" on my YouTube channel. The video explains the dedication of Bella to my mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease in Florida
-Ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

-And my students at American University
Please share one your successful marketing techniques?
Here are two that have worked for me: build a map and hitch up a trailer!
Build a map
Find readers from as many states as possible. Get them to read your first 50 pages, and then send back their name, city, state, head shot, and one positive line about your book. Use Google maps to create a free map of U.S. on your site, and plant pushpins to display the groundswell of support already underway. The Bella reader map is at:
Hitch up a trailer
People like videos, so take your story, reduce it to half a dozen plot points, and find yourself a good videographer. Work together on a script and storyboard, and then get out of the way. The payoff can be substantial. Our trailer greets you on the homepage of
Parting words
I believe that even with all the amazing technology around us, including new media tools that have rewritten the rules that once governed publishing, we're still driven by very primitive instincts, things like passion, hunger, jealousy and ambition. Good storytellers must recognize this, and weave tales that explore and shed insight on the impulses that drive our behavior. As a reporter for many years, I'm a strong believer in the "guess what" test. If I say, "Guess what?" and you answer, "What?" I have one chance to capture your attention. If I fail, I know you're moving on to another storyteller. I sum up Bella in these three lines that I hope meets the "guess what" test. Isabel Moss knew she could lose her huband when he went off to war. When the call came, she was almost ready. What stopped her cold was the second call...
Links Visit Bella on the Web:
Friend Us on Facebook:
Follow Us on Twitter:
Watch us on YouTube:
Tumble with us at:
Read the Reviews on Amazon:
Isabel Moss knew she could lose her husband when he went off to war. When the call came, she was almost ready. What stopped her cold was the second call...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Last Saturday on Mayne Island (church fair and music)

First I have to brag. Hubby and I got a top score on Rock Band for drumming and singing C.C.R.'s Proud Mary. Here's proof...

Now come with me to the St. Mary Magdalene church fair...
First stop for me is the book tent...

I bought 10 books for six dollars--among them: The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (I read this in junior high but wanted to re-read it and couldn't find Hubby's copy), The Pelican Brief by John Grisham, Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner, A Son of the Circus by John Irving, Look at Me Now and Here I Am: Writings and Lectures 1909 - 45 by Gertrude Stein.
Two of these authors have dyslexia. Can you guess who?

More fun activities, wonderful treasures and delicious food under tents.

For example the craft tent--knitting, crochet, quilting, and sewing.

New this year the make-a-castle-out-of-recycled-material

It's rather amazing when you think children under twelve made all of the above.
(I apologize my camera ate one of these pictures.)

Inside the church music played. Can you hear Carol's elegant harp?

Then we have to pay a visit to the horse and donkey.

So much to do that sometimes you just have to take a break and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

Later that night Hubby and I went to an outside concert on the grounds of the Agricultural Society Hall.

Hubby was sound man.

Compassionate Guerrilla played.
It was fun music to dance to. I cut the : )

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#Podcast (Ch 4, P 8)

Judy: Who's reading?
Leanne: Me
Judy: What are you reading?
Leanne: The Sweater Curse: Chapter 4: Part 8
This is the last podcast.
Judy: Ah, but I'm so disappointed. I was really enjoying these.
Leanne: Thank you for your positive feedback. Because you've been such a good listener I've got a surprise for you next Wednesday.
Judy: Can't wait. : )

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Judy: Where can I find more of your podcast author readings of The Sweater Curse?

Leanne: Thank you for asking. You can find more here.


Next post: Randomly blogging Thursday: Mayne Island news

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beta Reader

Saturday, July 9th at 4: 30 pm I finished writing A Long Way From Her (young adult adventure)

Blurb: Lyndi Wimpel longs for a boyfriend, an adventure, a life. Flipping through a magazine she spies an ad for a youth group--she wants to join.

However, her mother insists it's too big a step. Lyndi has her own doubts. She feels that dyslexia has rendered her stupid and socially inept. She fears she won't be able to live in a group with other teenagers.

Regardless of these fears and doubts, Lyndi joins Katimavik--a government run youth service program. The adventure takes her from her tiny community in rural Manitoba to St. Anthony, Newfoundland to Brantford, Ontario and to Village des Huron, Quebec. Lyndi is challenged and transformed by the experiences she has and the people she meets.

Last sentence added: We kissed.

Word count: 58, 315 words

How do I feel?

A blend of emotions everything from wondering how I accomplished this feat to wondering how I'll do it again, but most I feel proud.

What happens to the manuscript now?

It goes on to my beta readers.

While I wrote this manuscript I worked with a writing (critique) group. Working with fellow writers kept me motivated and helped me with individual chapters and paragraphs.
Now that the manuscript is done I can't wait to receive the feedback of my beta readers. I'm fortunate because they are writers and avid readers as well as being good friends. They're the tip of friends who would pull me over and tell me, "Hey, Leanne that dress doesn't really suit you." So I know I'll receive honest feedback. I've worked with beta readers for each of my published books. I highly recommend seeking the help of at least one.

To learn more about beta readers, please visit these links

Here's a definition

Here are some tips on 'Being a Good Beta Reader'

More tips here

Here's 'How to get honest feedback on your writing from loved ones'
plus an excellent list of questions to ask your beta reader

Monday, July 11, 2011

How to handle a bad review

I'm buoyed by the positive reviews I've received for The Sweater Curse. However, reviewers have not always cheered over all my writing.
How did I deal with those words?
Well, by realizing that writing is a journey. After kicking the wall and shedding a few tears, I acknowledged my thankfulness for the reviewer. Yes, thankfulness because she pointed out an area that needed improvement. I did this while my friends and family sang, "That's only one opinion--we love it."
Write fearlessly,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Author Cynthia Justlin

How/why did you start to write?
As a child, my imagination was always running wild, but it wasn't until I got to Junior High that I really started putting pen to paper. I had a wonderful English teacher who nurtured creative writing by giving us class time to write whatever we wanted. Mine were always sappy stories with a hint of romance, so it's not surprising that I now write romance. I owe a lot to Mrs. Bach and her coloured sheets of writing paper!

How did you come an author?
My 'someday' dream was always to write a book, but it wasn't until I had my children and became a stay-at-home mom that I thought about seriously pursuing publication. Up until that point I'd written short pieces, so when I finally tackled my first full-length book, I realized that I had a lot to learn about how to put a story together. Some may have been disillusioned by this, but I love the nitty-gritty craft of writing, so learning just fueled my passion.

What was your first published piece?
Her Own Best Enemy is my first published piece. It's the first time I've had the opportunity to share my writing with the rest of the world, and I have to say, it's been an amazing experience. There's something about sharing your writing that leaves you vulnerable, but when readers let you know that they get what you've worked so hard to convey, it makes all those hours of polishing your rusty words worth it.

Where was it published?
Her Own Best Enemy is published on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and All Romance Ebooks.

How long ago?
The book was released on March 13, 2011.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?
I have a Bachelors of Science and worked in the field of chemical sciences before deciding to stay at home to raise my children. My love of science and technology is a huge plus in writing romantic suspense, and you'll often find that my stories incorporate some element of science in them. It can be difficult to merge my creative side with my analytical, though, and there are times when I have to work extra hard to shut that analytical part of my brain off so I can let the story blossom.

What inspires you?
Music is a huge inspiration to me. I am a music junkie, and I couldn't live without it. And, you know, just living life inspires me. In the past year, I went through a difficult illness, which taught me that every second is precious. I want to smile and laugh and create and enjoy each moment. All of those things fill up my creative well.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques?
I confess that I'm a very shy person. I don't like putting myself out there, so marketing is one of those things that makes me want to stick my head in the sand!Over the past few months I've been learning to put myself out there, and the best advice I received is to just connect with readers. Talk to them on forums or twitter or facebook. Be accessible, and share a little bit of your life with them. So, that's what I try to do. : )

Parting words
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Leanne. (You're most welcome, Cynthia. Thank you for visiting.) I encourage everyone to take time to smell the roses--I know it's a cliche, but such a true one--hug your loved ones, and be grateful for the good things in life. And laugh every day, it is SO good for the soul!

Her Own Best Enemy
Romantic Suspense





Desperate to track down her ex-husband who disappeared along with their son, Grace Stevens delves into his past and uncovers evidence of a shocking dual life. The man she thought was an ordinary computer consultant is in fact a former high-ranking Special Forces officer with unique skills in military intelligence. With nowhere to turn she is forced to plea for help from Keith King, the one man she hoped to never see again. Against her better judgment she'll have to put her child's fate into his hands.

Keith has officially hit rock bottom. Framed for the theft of deadly missile components, the cynical Special Forces officer is in danger of losing the only thing he can count on his career. His one shot at clearing his name lies in locating. Grace's ex, who was working with Keith on a secret mission to take down a cutthroat military traitor. But to team up with Grace he'll need to spend 24/7 with a woman who has every reason to hate him. Out to use each other for their own agenda, desperate mother and disillusioned soldier fiend they must work together to say alive, and in the process discover that sometimes even the best of enemies fall in love.




Thursday, July 7, 2011

randomly blogging Thursday

Friday, July 1st (Canada Day)

I stayed on island and throughly enjoyed some fine Mayne Island entertainment and you can too...

First up, a musicial written by local play write Sam Israel Waiting for Patsy

Just click here




This was followed by Wash & Dry (written by Shel Silverstein in co-operation with Dramatists Theatre, NY)

Just click here


Yes, I'm fortunate to live among talented islanders.


Next post: Please welcome author Cynthia Justlin

randomly blogging Thursday

My life last Thursday...
I travelled by ferry, bus and skytrain. Where was I headed?
To a Rush concert.
Where you there? Most of Vancouver was.
Lead singer Geddy Lee and I did a duet. We sang Limelight.
Okay, so he may not have seen or heard me, but I was singing along--at the top of my lungs.
Nothing but rave reviews for this all Canadian. I've gone to three of their concerts. They never fail to give their fans more.
Next post: Today at 6 pm "My life last Friday..."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On writing

I keep many journals some I encounter daily. Others, full, lie forgotten. I unearthed one of these yesterday, flipped through it and read...

How to begin? The first word is key. "If"--no, that's no good. "When"--no. "There"--no. "The"--no. "I" perfect. It loudly declares not only the voice but also the subject. Immediately it tells the reader this story is about me. I like that.

Next word "don't"--a nice strong word.

Then what? I don't drive--no. I don't swim--no. I don't speak--no. How about... Yes, that's perfect--write.

Now, my reader is wondering, what does she mean she doesn't write--she can, she has.

The last word is critical. It completes and clarifies. That word--well.

Read the entire sentence, "I don't write well."

Should I end with a question mark? No, a period will suffice.

Next sentence...

I need to come with a better system so gems like this don't get lost. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 4, 2011

#knitting pattern shared

I hope your Canada Day was fun and relaxing. Mine was wild! I'll write a brief review soon. How about Thursday?
Based on your reaction to the Barefootin' Foot Thongs, I thought you might enjoy...

The String Bikini Gloves

Knitting needles: one pair of straight needles 4.50 mm/ 7 US/ 7 UK
two double pointed needles
Or size to obtain tension

Yarn: light worsted weight cotton/acrylic blend
one 50-gram ball will make two pairs of gloves (size large)

Tension (Gauge): 5 stitches x 8 rows = one inch over Stockinette stitch

4 x 4 rib (over even number of stitches)
row 1: knit 4, purl 4--continue to end of row
Repeat row for pattern

1 x 1 rib (over even number of stitches)
row 1: knit 1, purl 1--continue to end of row
Repeat row for pattern

Wrist (make two)
Cast on 40 stitches
Work in 4 x 4 rib for two inches
Cast off

Fingers (make two)
Cast on 14 stitches
Work in 1 x 1 rib for one inch
Cast off

I-cord (make six)
Note: small to large sizes are provided. Instructions for medium and large sizes appear in the brackets.
Make four I-cord two inches long
Make two I-cords two (two and a half, three) inches long

Sew wrist and finger seams
Sew long I-cord from middle finger to wrist. Sew one small I-cord from ring finger to wrist. Sew one small I-cord from middle finger to wrist.
Weave in ends

Every attempt has been made to ensure that the instructions are clear and correct. Please notify me of any errors so I may correct them immediately. ldyck(c)06/06

Next post: On writing--a short story

Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome knitwear designer Sarah Barbour of Rope Knits

Who taught you to knit?
A very nice woman named Jill Baer. She was one of those people who you'd definitely want with you if you were stranded on a desert island; she could knit, spin, shear a sheep, grow her own food--that sort of thing. She was a great person to learn from as she respected patterns but also understood how to "own" your knitting. She recommended Elizabeth Zimmerman's books and of course they've been great resources as I've learned how to create my own patterns.

What knitting method do you use? Continental? English?
I'm an English knitter. I've taught myself Continental and use it for colorwork sometimes but I've never gotten used to using it for regular knitting.

What is your favourite stitch pattern?
Just one? That's sort of like asking me which of my children I like best. Well, since I have three children, mind if I give you three stitches? (No, please do. : ) ) I think I'd go with moss stitch, which is easy, looks plush and cozy, and doesn't roll; fir cone lace, which gives you a very elegant looking fabric for relatively little effort; and though I love most cable patterns, nothing beats a Saxon Braid for making you feel like you've accomplished something.

What is your favourite yarn?
But there are so many! I'm finishing up a project in Valley Yarns Sheffield which is very nice, I made my Argentina shawl with Himalaya Yarns Duke, a single-ply, worsted weight silk probably the most elegant yarn I've worked with. I've loved most of the Blue Sky Alpaca yarns I've worked with. I could go on, but that might give you a sense of what I like.

Is there a needle size that you prefer to work with? Bamboo, plastic or steel needles?
I tend to work most with #5, #6, and #7s. (US sizes) I tend to prefer sport-to-worsted yarns so those work well. No real preferences on the material--it really depends on what's going to work well with the yarn.

What is your favourite item to knit?
Sweaters. Which is too bad because they take forever. I keep telling myself I'm going to focus on scarves or hats 'anything quick' but the sweaters and the cardigans keep calling me back.

What are you currently working on?
I have several patterns in various stages of almost finished: a cardigan that's being test knit; a hat with a matching wrap that I need to write out the charts for; and a crocheted shawl that I'm doing for a yarn company. And I just submitted my first book proposal to a publisher--wish me luck! (Absolutely! : ) I'm sure all knitters who pours over your beautiful will join with me in wishing you luck.)

Why did you become a knitwear designer?
I began tweaking other people's patterns to suit me. And sometimes I'd buy yarn just because I liked it and then start playing around with it to see what it wanted to become. Eventually I was making things up from scratch.

Tell me about your first pattern?
My first published pattern was the Seafoam Shawl, though it was called the Sweet Ruffled Shawl when it was published. It's a very easy pattern, a simple 2-row repeat with a stockinette stitch border.

Where did it appear on your website or in a magazine or ezine?
It was published by Knit Picks. I think they sold it as a pdf file originally. A couple of years later, when the rights reverted to me, I made it available as a free pattern on my site (see link above).

Do you attend fibre festivals? Why? Why not?
The only reason I've never attended one is because to date, the ones that have been held within a reasonable drive of where I've lived have not worked well with my schedule for various reasons. I hope to rectify that soon.

Have you taught knitting classes? Where? When?
I love teaching knitting (and crochet). I've been teaching for about five years, mostly at a local yarn store and through our community college. Most of my students have been adults. I've met a really interesting mix of people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages, but I've never had a single male student.

What is the most rewarding aspect about being a knitwear designer?
I think designing something is a little like having a child conceiving the idea is really fun, turning the idea into an actual object can be exhausting, writing the pattern (for me) is rather painful, but when I'm all done I can look at it and say, I did it and I love it to pieces!

Personally, I find marketing my work quite challenging. I'm not great at putting myself out there and mastering things like advertising and Twitter and Facebook, etc. I'd much rather curl up and knit. But I'm slowly getting better at it.

Sarah wrote: "I did the Love Japan pattern as a fundraiser in response to the earthquake/tsunami in Japan"

For more knitter eye-candy, please visit Sarah's Internet homes...
Patten overview