Saturday, September 29, 2012
It's been a string of beautiful days and I've done my best to enjoy them, taking walks when I can, and playing with the kittens. Oh, they are growing up so fast! The mother cat has taken them out on the prowl every day. Today they were gone all day and she came back up from a different direction. They ate, but I knew that Half-Pint (the runt) always waits until everyone was done eating. I don't know why exactly. I wonder about him being left behind sometimes. So, when I went out there before dinner, saw them under the catalpas, I realized Half-Pint wasn't going out with them. I went out and called to him. He comes to me. I think I've become like his... grandma or something. The mother cat doesn't like when I interfear. Too bad. I pet him and watched him curl against my leg and want to nuzzle me. None of the other kittens do this. (These are feral cats)
The mother cat came bounding up and I thought, Okay I'll bow out. I walked back up to the house and sat on the picnic table. I was a little surprised that Half-Pint chose to follow me instead. Meowing the whole while. I thought that maybe he might be hungry, so I lead him over to the other side of the house where their food is kept. I sat on the steps and he wanted to lick my fingers. I put the small bowl of food down. He wouldn't eat. But still wanted my finger to lick. So, I tried something different. I took a small piece of food and held it in front of his mouth. He took it! I kept giving these small morsels one by one to him and he ate each piece. Then we decided he was full. I went and got the little toy for him to chew on and claw--instead of my fingers. I played with him for a while and then I had to go in to eat.
Earlier this week we figured out why the water bowls in the backyard would be drained almost within an hour or so after filling them. We couldn't imagine squerels and birds would be sucking down a quart or so of water in one sitting. Then we caught the culpret in the act. A doe. She wanders into our backyard often. I saw her tonight, in fact. And she also find my impatients delectable. I think I have 3 or 4 plants left... *sigh*
After enjoying my husband's mostacholi with meat sauce, I went to do dishes, and Dennis went outside. I knew what he was doing. Playing with the kittens. Well, I threw off my rubber gloves and the apron and went out there.
Dennis is not a cat person. He is a dog person. He'd found this plastic ball--about the size of a baseball--and he has gotten the kittens to play with it. We call it Kitten Soccer. Dennis is the referee and the announcer, of course. The truck is goal. He tosses the ball up in the air and the cats jump up and then pounce on it. One usually gets the ball and does that thing where they curl their body around it and hold it with the front paws and kick with the back while they're on their back or side. Hilarious!
I wish I could post pictures, but I can't. I don't have any to post of the kittens anyway. You'll just have to imagine five kittens attacking this blue ball. And sometimes there are fights on the field. I yell fowl, fowl, but they keep on fighting--sort of like in a hockey game, actually. And meanwhile one kitten bats and races the ball to the goal. Tonight Half-Pint won. 4-1 against Captain Jack.
I've been working simultaniously on Spell of the Black Unicorn, another short story and then also a cover for the short story--"Murder Mansion". It's horror. It was born from flash fiction a few years back, and was published at an on-line publication and the editor (who is also a writer friend) told me I could publish it elsewhere. So, I think this may be my next short story I will publish next month.
Speaking of which, I'm to get my edits back from my publisher in a few weeks, and so eventually I'll be busy going through those whenever I get them. And the search is on for the cover.
So, that's my week in review. Hope you all are having a good weekend!
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
I have an account at Author Central... https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/home
If you don't have an account there yet, you might want to get one, because once you have any sort of story, novel or whathaveyou on Amazon, you'll want this account so as to go and check on sales, and you'll want to create your biography page. It's all accessable from this page.
My biggest worry about the downloading is how to get what I've got to download. I had trouble with it the last time (I have someone else do the formatting for me),and realized that my file was in my downloads on my computer. Duh. So that went through great. And also be sure that if you have a cover it has to be at least 1000 pixels on the longest side with an ideal width ratio of 1.6--2500 pixels on the longest side is perfurred, but mine was at the 1000 pix range. Otherwise that will not down load either. You don't want to get this far and cry with frustration at these crucial points of getting your book into Amazon.
So, once you have created your account with Author Central and are logged in, under HOME, you want to click on "Add New Title". A window comes up.
1). You want to fill in spaces that pertain to you, your name and so on.
There will be a little window for the description blurb. This can't be too long. But I can't remember how long is too long. I think my last one ranged under 60 words.
2). PUBLISHING RIGHTS - if you are the author it is not public domane.
3). TARGET BOOK TO CUSTOMERS - This is where you have to decide which catagory your book/story fits. There will not be one for urban fantasy, so you'll have to find something that fits.
Under this you'll have CATAGORIES: you get up to seven. Think of one or two-word descriptions of your novel. Is it a ghost story? Is it about witches? Is it about lovers? Are there other things in the story that happen, or something that is featured in the piece and can use one word to describe it? Like say... camping, or candy, or trucks, or something that you can use to bring readers to your story. Mine had a vampire in it, but it also featured a cemetery, and I think I may have put arrows or something like that in there too.
4). UP LOAD BOOK COVER- this is the big test to see if your cover will go through. I think I spent about 8 minutes chewing my fingernails (not really, but I really expected to see it upchuck on me again, but it didn't). The picture should have your title and author's name on it, and has to be TIFF or JPEG, and remember has to at least have 1000 pixels on the long side.
5). UP LOAD THE BOOK FILE (this is the exciting part!)
You will have to first enable digital rights (you must select one before you can do the download)
You will get a window into which you will place your file. Go to wherever the file of your story is, and open it.
6). PREVIEW YOUR BOOK - just so you know, your book or story will not appear on Amazon for at least 12-24 hours., but it will appear on kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad and iPhone.
7). VERIFY YOUR PUBLISHING TERRITORIES - if you live in the US, it will be US. If you live elsewhere you choose that. There seems to be a bit of a difference in how you get paid, but also you have to claim your rights in whatever country/countries.
Pricing/Royalties - A book/novel can go with 70% royalties. A short story will go with 35% (I don't remember why. But obviously one is usually more than the other).
9). Kindle book lending- this is up to you.
Then make sure you click SAVE & PUBLISH.
If you've forgotten something OR something didn't go through, this is where you find out. You will see that they've boxed in the places you've forgotten to fill in, or whatever the reason.
At this point you will have a list of other countries and all you have to do is make sure and click through them, and have them convert the pricing for each. It will be at least 48 hours for your book to appear to other countries on Amazon.
And that's pretty much it. I thought I'd share this with any of you who have not gone through this process. It helps to know ahead of time what to expect, and what you need to have prepared when you get into this so that you aren't having to make decisions at that point. Especially your description, because that's a hard one to do on the spot.
Now a side note here: Since Blogger has disrupted my ability to post photos and do a few other things here, I may not be blogging here as much. I will try and do a few things, but as I'm looking over this, I don't even see the spell check on this. Yeah, before you chime in and suggest I try Google Chrome--Been there, done that and wanted to poke my eyes out--it was slower than my normal window. So NO THANKS!
As a result I have worked on a new web site it is called The Prioress of the Paranormal
I don't have much on it, but I've worked on it some.
And I am on wordpress, and CAN place my pictures there!
So there you have it, my pretties. And look how many days until Halloween! I have already begun decorating!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
I remember when I was a teenager thinking "What if I ever met a real vampire?" What would he be like? Well, being that I was an impressionable teenager you can just imagine, I suppose, what I may have wanted in a vampire.
He would have to be handsome, of course.
Charming - without a doubt.
Romantic - naturally.
Mysterious and somewhat dangerous, because it comes with the package.
So, when I began writing this short story this summer, I sort of fell back on some of my memories of being a teenager, and worked on "Vampire, My Own". Since it had been rejected, by the place I sent it to, I figured there was no reason to not publish it myself, and so have been working on the cover and having the formatting done for me.
And YAY! I just got it up on Amazon this morning. It will go live in less than 12 hours now.
This is my first YA paranormal. I had to go with Occult/supernatural on Amazon. Here is the blurb:
While taking her usual short cut through the cemetery one night, sixteen year old Karen Murdock meets handsome Lute Riley. Over the next few nights a romance blossoms. But when her best friend, Angeline, becomes sick and dies suddenly, Karen realizes that Lute had been seeing Angeline on the sly. Karen wants revenge. But can she kill a vampire?
Here is the link to it: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009FAXUP8#_
I want to thank Carole and John Gill for helping with formatting and the cover (getting it enlarged).
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
As you can see the mountains, and the very namesake--glaciers--rise from it like ancient gods frozen in ice and granite.
The little tiny island out there is called Goose Island. We love taking pictures of it. This is only one picture.
This next picture is me standing beside our truck with more of the mountains behind us.
And this on is from another spot further into the mountains. There's a falls to the left of the picture in this.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Dinner was excellent. I had rainbow trout--split open with tail and head still on (I'm not at all bothered by that), over the baked potato and these spring veggies we learned were shipped fresh from southern Calif. every day. Our waiter was all business, very efficient, but not too terribly friendly. Dennis had smoked prime rib--unusual, but very delicious. The meal put us back, but well worth it. I had a white zin that was excellent. Dennis went with beer. Nothing could beat that view, as we were seated at the large windows over-looking these mountains?
The next morning, we were the first ones up. It was so quiet, we could hear any ghosts that may have been walking around. You see these pillars? These are actual sequoia tree trunks hauled in 100 years ago by train, then used mules to haul them from the train to the spot. The Blackfeet Indians set up their camp around the site to watch with fascination how the white man was going to get this thing up.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Today's setup was mediocre at best. Models were indicating storm development in Wyoming (WY) and moving into South Dakota (SD), as well as some weaker storm along the Colorado (CO)/Nebraska (NE) border. With that in mind, we drove west out of Valentine, NE toward Chadron, NE in order to get further west and see what would happen. After a very brief pit stop in Alliance, NE, we made our way south to Bridgeport, NE to figure out where to go. After some more analysis, we chose to head north in the even that storm should fire in WY and move east. In addition, we were in the Nebraska Panhandle, so the road network is really quite abhorrent. There is only 1 good North-South option (US Route 385) and 1 good East-West option (US Route 20).We found an old, abandoned house to take pictures of while waiting for storm development to initiate in-between Alliance and Sidney, NE.
After waiting for a while, nothing was happening to the north in the Ardmore*, SD region, which was one of our targets. Meanwhile, a storm blew up near the CO/NE border, which was our second possible target. We chose to start working our way south toward this cell, which was a good 90 minutes away, while monitoring the area near WY/SD. Fortunately, that storm was moving to the ENE at a slow pace of 15 mph. We intercepted this storm near Sidney, where we encountered 1 inch hail stones. This was quite an interesting storm, as there were 2 cells popping up very close to it, and we could see 3 storm bases quite clearly. One of the bases seemed to be getting bigger, and it started to look more and more "interesting." We followed this to Lodgepole, NE, where it became an LP (low-precipitation) supercell. The structure was absolutely phenomenal!!! It had very nice "barber pole" structure, which eventually turned into a more laminar (stacked) supercell. We stopped near a wheat field to take pictures of this amazing storm, where the sunlight, golden wheat, and a small farmstead provided the perfect background.
Later, this supercell transitioned from LP to "Classic" mode, and that is when we started to notice "nubs" dangling from the storm base. 2 of these nubs had areas of rotating dirt underneath, which meant 2 tornadoes had formed. Keep in mind these were not textbook by any means, but they were still neat to see, considering LP supercells rarely produce tornadoes. We stuck with this storm for quite some time, and it kept getting better. Eventually, a very nice "clear slot" formed, which was a sign the storm was starting to re-generate. As we were jockeying for position yet again, rain started falling in this clear slot, which usually results in tornado development. One of the tour guests noticed a very ominous lowering in this rain shaft, which turned out to be a funnel. We were unable to stay long because of how much lightning was being produced from this storm. The radar return showed a very distinct hook echo, but it did not last long. As we pulled off the road one last time to take our final pictures, we were treated to an amazing light show to end the evening. This made our drive to Imperial, NE, where our hotel was for the night, much more enjoyable. Our total mileage for the day was 510 miles.
*There was a very photogenic tornado that formed near Ardmore later that evening after we bailed on the SD target. This goes to show that storm chasing does have its ups and downs, but we were still fortunate to chase the storm we did :-)
I want to thank Justin for taking the time out of his day to send me his story, photos and his interview.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
JUSTIN: I was always fascinated with weather, but the event that really kick-started my interest happened when I was 6 years old. It was a perfectly clear day, and then everything took a turn for the worse one summer evening. We saw a tornado a few miles away from our house in the country, and my dad was able to film it. While he was filming, our neighbor's tree across the street was struck by lightning. Of course, I thought this was SO cool! But we all ended up retreating to the basement.
JUSTIN: Storm chasers are important because they are sometimes the only way people know of impending danger. Take my personal experience form April 9, 2011. I went chasing with three other people, and we ended up in Mapleton, IA, to seek shelter under a gas station awning from ping-pong sized hail. Even though it was really dark and the sirens were blaring, the lady attendant at the gas station didn't know what was happening. We explained that she needed to take shelter immediately. Sure enough, the gas station power went out, and a tornado formed 200 yards from our location!!! Luckily, no one was killed in that town (which was demolished in this storm), and the worst injury was a broken leg.
REMINDER: my next post up will be Justin's actual storm chasing event from this year. He has some wonderful pictures I want to share with you, so please do watch for it!
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
As you may recall our last stop, yesterday was Pompey's Pillar. It was raining and so we couldn't get up close to it. So, we went on to arrive in Butte. The sun came out as we moved on. That was promising. The motel, Days Inn, was a much nicer place, and Papa Johns was right around the corner. Even though we'd had pizza the night before (Pizza Hut), this was much better. Besides, their garlic sauce rocks!
The next morning we had a very good breakfast, so we got out the door in record time!
I make notes along the way of several sites to stop for. We try and stop for lunch, but they weren't serving when we were hungry. Why does it have to be 11:30? We walked out, and the woman stopped us and said they'd be willing to fry up a hamburger.
Hamburgers, and sub sandwiches have been our fare for days, now. Not interested. Sorry.
We continue on, and eventually reach Browning. This is an Indian Reservation. It shouldn't surprise me, therefore, that a lot of horses in pastures.
We reach a bridge that is being re done. A major operation, let me tell you! So, we take the road that has always been in used, going beside the newer bridge.
Because I had gone on-line and had figured out the lodge was not within the park itself, I knew that it had to be coming up soon. We soon came to a small town (East Glacier), and Dennis sailed through. We saw the sign, which was large enough, and it wasn't exactly saying TURN HERE or OOPS, YOU MISSED IT, DUMMY, TURN BACK!!!
We were early. And I mean about 3 hours early. They were not going to check us in (or give us our room number) until 3 pm.