Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yea! Readers want to read my book!

DIRsmall Oh, Wow--after yesterday's post SEVEN people want to read Dead in Red.  I know that's not earth shattering for you, but when my last royalty statement came, it said only three copies had been sold in six months.  (Do I believe it?  Not for a minute--but getting answers from a publisher is like getting your cat to read Dr. Suess--aloud!)

Anyway, now seven people will be reading (and I hope sharing) the book with friends. 

Meanwhile, I've entered a whole new world of processing orders and shipping via Paypal.  Like why is my shipping address (my P.O. Box) invalid?  Why don't they like addresses with more than three lines?  Some people haven't asked me to personalize the book.  They're first editions -- might they be worth something some day and worth more money if they aren't personalized?

Hmm.  A whole new world awaits.

Meanwhile, back to the stack of books heading out to the far-flung reaches of Hawaii, Michigan, Canada, and the UK.  Wow--this is fun!

(Did you want to order a copy of the book?  Find it here.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A sad day for me . . .

MOTMfromBN One of the saddest days in an author's life is the day her book goes out of print.  For my first book, MURDER ON THE MIND, that day came shockingly fast--ten months after publication.  In retrospect, it shouldn't have come as a surprise.  The book had a lousy cover; it went out too late for Big Four reviews; the price tag of $26 was too high for an unknown author, and though I spent a ton of money and wrote to over 400 libraries begging--er, asking them to buy the book, and that warranted a 100 copy reprint, it wasn't enough. 

C.motm.ww.SM Luckily, that novel found a much happier second life as a book club edition from Harlequin's Worldwide Library imprint.  It was given a nice cover, and Instead of a print run in the hundreds, it had a print run of about 21,000.  Not too shabby, and probably equal to or greater than it would have had as a paperback original. 
After 18 months, the rights reverted back to me and the book is now available as a Kindle download and on audio as a CD and an MP3 download.  There's a possibility it'll be available again as a trade paperback later this year. 

DIRsmall Dead In Red, the second Jeff Resnick book, came out in June 2008 with a dynamite cover, great reviews, and once again a killer price of $26.  Okay, if you're John Grisham, Stephen King, or Patricia Cornwell, people will cough up that kind of money for a hardcover (and there's a good chance the chain bookstores will discount them up to 40%--hey, you ever hear of a loss leader before?), but that doesn't happen with a small press book.

The book did not have a second life as a paperback.  (Harlequin said, "Sorry, we don't like this subplot.")  There are legal reasons why I haven't yet offered it as a Kindle download.  The consequence?  Far fewer people have read this book than the first.

I was told in February that Dead In Red would be going out of print in March.  This was not a surprise, as Baker & Taylor, one of the biggest book distributor's in the country, has not listed it since last August.  (I asked B&T why and they said it was the publisher's fault.  I asked the publisher, and they said it was B&T's fault.)  Last fall I actually BEGGED the publisher to list the book as out of print, because then I could start the countdown until the rights reverted to me.  (We're talking September 2011 at this point.)  In late February, the publisher offered to sell me the remaining copies of the book still littering their warehouse.  I jumped at the chance.

What does this mean for readers?  They can now get a signed copy of the book for substantially less than the publisher (and even Amazon) was selling it.  Who's making it available?  ME!  I've got a paypal link on my web site and am offering the book at three price points:  $14 Media Mail; $16 Priority Mail, and $20 International.  


Do I think I'm going to make money at this?  Hardly.  But I would like to see the book find eager readers, and I'm hoping that the substantially reduced price will help.

The future What's the future of the series?  Despite the fact I have two more books sitting on the shelf, and ideas for at least another two books, there are several reasons not to publish them at this time.  I don't happen to agree with them . . . but wiser folks than me have advised me to sit on them for at least another couple of years.  Patience has never been my strong suit, so I find this extremely difficult to do . . . but, honestly, could I juggle the promotion for three series?  Right now, with my limited resources, the answer is a loud NO!  So, I wait.

In the meantime, would you consider buying/reading Dead in Red?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Power of Post-It Notes

Post it notes I think one of the best inventions of the 20th Century was the Post-It note.  Has to be, they're all over my house to remind me of stuff I can't remember on my own.

I have four of them on my keyboard right now.

COUNTS:  As I mentioned last week, I'm going to send out postcards for the large-print edition of Bookplate Special.  I went on WorldCat (which tracks books in libraries) and found out where all the large-print editions of Murder Is Binding and Bookplate Special are.  I had some notion that I'd figure out what libraries had one, but not the other, and target them.  Whoa!  Turns out there were 158, and narrowing it down was a lot harder than I thought because not all the library systems had live links.  *Sigh*

Polar bear stamp ORDER POLAR BEAR STAMPS:  You got it.  When the postcards arrive, I'm going to have to mail them out, and mailing them out means stamps.  I ordered the 28 cent stamps and they'll arrive later this week.  Guess I can toss that note out now.

LAUNDRY:  This note is actually a couple of weeks old.  It could stay there forever, if the stickiness holds.  I mean, are you ever really done with laundry?

PAGE NUMBERS:  I had to print out the labels for the post cards, but I have a memory like a sieve.  I didn't now how many labels were still on the roll, so I'd do them in blocks of 25.  1-25; 26-50; 51-75, etc.  Guess that one can go, too.  (My the keyboard is getting tidier as I write this.)


There are currently ten Post-It notes and 6 other notes attached to the sides of my flat-screen monitor (Oh, and one business card.)  One has nothing but the ISBNs for a bunch (not all) of my books. (Need to update that one.)  I have passwords, character names, spellings of words I always get wrong, and even a little note that says "I heart (the symbol) you" from my hubby.  (That's a keeper!)

No doubt about it, I couldn't live without Post-It notes.  How about you?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Like a bolt from the blue

Lightning strike Like a strike of lightning hitting me, I realized this week that I'm addicted to promotion. I love it! Okay, not the traveling bit. I'm just not happy sleeping in a bed that's not my own, but I do like the nit-picky stuff that goes with promotion.


Take yesterday, for instance. Out of the blue, I wondered if I should do a library mailing for my upcoming large-print release. I have to tell you, if Mary Fairchild hadn't written to the publisher and complained about the original cover, this would not have happened. But the cover was changed, and it's cute and fun and I found BookplateSpecial myself at the old keyboard putting together a postcard and ordering it. It was a real pain in the butt when it came to the backside, and I had to fiddle with it for at least 45 minutes, but in the end, it came out the way I wanted and I hit the send button.

(I also printed out hundreds of address labels for when the postcards come.)

Also, yesterday, I made up my mind that I'm going to order some Haven't Got a Clue coffee mugs. Since I don't drink coffee, I'll just have to drink my morning cup of tea out of it. I think it'll be fun. (And I'm going to give one away in the charity basket I'm making for the Malice Domestic conference next month.)

It shouldn't surprise me that I enjoy packaging up bookmarks and printing labels.  The jobs I've enjoyed the most over the years included a lot of nit-picky work.  There's a certain satisfaction felt at the end of the day when you can look at something and say, "look what you accomplished."

Ever feel that way?


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back to Square One?

Even though I won't have the cover for my first Victoria Square book for another three, four (five?) months, I've got a conference to go to at the end of April (Malice Domestic, in case anyone wondered).  I'd like to be able to hand something out to people that says, "Be on the lookout for . . ."

Artist drawing Therefore, I've been working on a bookmark to hand out.

I love this aspect of promotion.  And in this instance, I came up with everything:  the concept, the wording, the placement.  What fun to bully ... er, suggest to my art director ... everything about the project.

All I needed before going to print was the ISBN.  But I also wanted to talk to my editor about another promotional idea I had, so I sent him an email with the bookmark jpg attached.
I was quite surprised when within an hour of hitting send he was on the phone:  How attached was I to the title of the book?

This question never bodes well.

I told him I wasn't married to it.  That is, I could live with a change.  After all, this wasn't my first choice of a title.  In fact, I think it's at least the third (possibly fourth?) title this book has had.  He said they'd (presumably the Marketing Dept. -- since they were the LEAST thrilled with the title) have a meeting and have something to me by Friday.

One of my biggest character flaws is a lack of patience.  Therefore, I went right to my cozy author chums and my favorite cozy reader list and asked for help. 

Wow--these ladies are quick on the title draw.  Within four hours, I had at least 50 title suggestions.  I think one of them is a real standout ... but it won't be up to me to pick the winner.  And the Marketing Department might not like ANY of the titles.  Still, I sent them off to my editor this morning.

Now I wait.  And hope.  And I'll let you know as soon as I know what the new title of Victoria Square #1 is to be.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To Postcard...or NOT to Postcard

Chapter.sm A week or so ago, I tried an experiment.  The company I use to send out my emailed newsletter (at a very reasonable price) also does postcards.  I wondered how good their product was.  They allow you to send out one free postcard, so I made one for my upcoming release Chapter & Hearse.  I had a little trouble getting my apostrophes to come out, but after fiddling with them for almost half an hour, got it right.  They tell you your card will be send out within 3-5 days.

So I waited.

And waited.

And finally TEN days later, I got my postcard.

I must admit, the printing was excellent.  The card looked wonderful.  I was a bit skeptical of the timing, as the card said it was presorted first class and it took ten days for me to get it, but I figured if I set the thing up, it might be worth sending out a week earlier than planned.

Then I searched the site for the pricing.  Oh.  Brick wall here.  I couldn't find ANYTHING.  So I wrote to the company.  A day later I had a URL for their cunningly concealed price list.

Googly eyes Wow--did my eyes go boing! or what?  The cost came in at 83 cents per card (more if you mail less of them--less if you mail a LOT more).

Well, that was the end of THAT scenario.  Mind you, everything is automated.  You do the layout, they approve it, they take your mailing list, sort it by zip code, print the card, and out it goes.

I would save at least $313 by doing it myself.  Okay, that means I'd have to spend a MINIMUM of 6 hours (more likely 8) putting on address labels and stamps, but hey, $313 is money I could spend doing other promo.  And what if I hired someone to put those labels on--I could still save at least $200.

I don't have all the time in the world, but I know how to make time.  I have a feeling I'll be sticking down labels while I'm doing other stuff -- like watching TV, or on some rainy Saturday afternoon when there's nothing to do.

What else does an author have to do?  (Oh, yeah--write the books!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Doesn't everybody need cowboy stamps?

Usps Maybe it's because it was winter and cold and miserable out, but I finally decided that if I had stuff to mail out, and it wasn't over 13 ounces, why in God's name was I driving all the way to the Post Office all the time?  That's when I decided to buy stamps online.

That may have been an expensive mistake.  You see, I'm not just buying a couple of stamps here and there, I'm buying $50+ worth of stamps at a time.  Who knew they had big horn sheep stamps in a 17 cent denomination?  Shouldn't everyone have 17 cent stamps hanging around?  How about those Edgar Allan Poe stamps?  When I send out bookplates or bookmarks, I like to have Poe on my envelope.  My local Postmaster told me--all gone.  Never to be seen again.  Not so.  I've bought and used sheets and sheets of them.  (And, I just ordered more yesterday.)

Cowboy stamps I'm in the middle of a very big mailing project.  Thousands of bookmarks to booksellers, mostly in packages of 25.  That's a lot of stamps.  I ordered $1 stamps; 75 cent stamps; 10 cent stamps; 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 cent stamps.  And then, what the heck, more Edgar Allan Poe 42 cent stamps, plus Cowboy stamps.  (Doesn't everybody need Cowboy stamps?  I do--and I have a feeling I'll be buying a LOT more of these.  Hmm...shouldn't they do a Bonanza stamp now that the four stars are all deceased?  Boy, would I buy a lot of THOSE!)

My friend author Leann Sweeney uses Click and Ship a LOT.  I'd like to use it, too, but it seems like I mostly send out first class packages, not Priority--and yet, I'm sure I've seen the same "postage" put on envelopes for Media Mail.  Hmm ... more investigation must be done.

In the meantime, I'll be happily anticipating my next shipment of stamps from the P.O. and glad that my trek to the mailbox is only down the length of my driveway.

So, are there cowboy stamps in your future?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bonnie's sick

Bonnieinlaptopcase My kitty isn't well.  She's got hyperthyroidism and according to the Thryro-Cat brochure, it's "a condition that abnormally accelerates the body's metabolism."  I'd say so, Bonnie lost two pounds pretty fast, and when you only weigh 11 pounds, that's a lot.

For the past couple of weeks she's been on medication and regained at least half a pound.  Luckily, I was able to give her the medication by swabbing the inside of her ear.  At first she didn't seem to mind, then she figured out--uh-oh, here it comes AGAIN!

We could have continued with this kind of medication for years, but what about when we need to take a trip?  We'd have to board her, which would be extremely stressful for her.  As it is, having blood tests every few weeks is extremely stressful for her.  Time to make a decision.

Syringe How about one injection that would cure her forever!  Of course, there are a few tiny drawbacks.  First, she'd be radioactive for about a month.  She'd be able to come home from the vet specialist in 7-10 days, but then we have to keep the litter box material out of the waste stream for at least another two weeks.  That's a lot of kitty litter.  (About 50 lbs of it.)  And the cost!  Let's just say I won't be getting that new kitchen floor any time soon.

Bonnie on my chair1 Yup, we've decided to go for it.  It will be a stressful week for all of us--but especially Bonnie, out little Gingerbread Girl.  But this procedure has a 95-98% cure rate.  I've heard from two friends whose cats have been through it and did well afterward.

My wallet is going to hurt for a while, but having Bonnie healthy again will be worth it.

Would you have made a different decision?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

And such an innocent flower

It shouldn’t be surprising that a mystery author is guilty of wanton murder. Mind you, it wasn’t premeditated, but it was murder just the same.

I’m talking about my houseplants. I’ve always wanted a green thumb. Both my parents could produce flowers and vegetables by barely lifting a finger (okay, hauling 50 lb sacks of manure might help them out a bit). They planted things and they flourished for years. I plant something and it shrivels and dies in days. (Or it’s eaten by bunnies, ground hogs or … something mysterious we haven’t been able to identify. Probably an alien species sent to Earth to thwart my gardening abilities.)

Primrose Take for instance the once-lovely primrose I’ve had for a little over a month. The day it arrived home it was flourishing with big purple and yellow flowers. Now it looks like this. Did I water it enough? Too much?

Mind you, I have had a few successes, but I really can’t take credit for them. I inherited a rubber tree when a friend at work retired. It existed (you can’t call what my plants do “living”) in our dining room until all but four leaves had dropped off. With nothing left to lose, I tossed it out on the deck and forgot about it. It thrived on neglect and natural rain and humidity, thinking it had landed back in its homeland. I bring it in for the winter and it goes back to existing until late spring rolls around and the threat of frost is minimized.
Then it goes back to its happy lifestyle for another three to five months (depending on when fall arrives) until I have to bring it in once again.

Cactus
My Christmas cactus never bloomed and looked ill when I tossed it, too, out on the deck last May. This year it’ll bloom twice. (Although this second blooming won’t be as magnificent as last fall’s.)  I find it amazing that I haven't killed it since it came in last October.

On this first day of spring, I’m hoping the primrose survives. If it makes it, it’ll go outside (I’m having a novena said for it). I’ve also got another cactus that can go out on the deck. So far, it has a much better gardening success rate than me.

By the way--Happy First Day of Spring!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Snow peas in my future?

Wednesday was shopping day.  Here we are only days from spring and the "seasonal" section of the supermarket was all decked out for summer.  Excuse me, but we still have an entire season to go before we get to summer.

But the one thing I was eager to investigate was the seed rack.  For several years, I've been trying to find Kentucky blue (pole) beans.  I've only been able to find Kentucky wonder, which were good, but not as good as the Kentucky Blue.  Yup, the store had them, and I bought three packages.

Sugar peas I usually grow potatoes in a bin, but this year I think I'm going to put them back in the ground.  Instead, I'm going to try to grow leeks in the bin.  It's the same principal, you cover them up as they grow, so they'll grow taller.  This should be fun.

But the most exciting thing is snow pea seeds.  I've never grown them before, and they're a "cold" weather crop, so I can plant them in the next couple of weeks.  (And hope the rabbits don't get them.)

Meanwhile, tomorrow I'll be talking about some other plants.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Time for a purge?

It seems like we have a million pens in this house.  You'd think at least a tiny portion of them would actually work. 

I've been collecting pens and pencils for years and have a few that seem to work.  In fact, some of these pens are really old (in pen life).  I have to hold onto them because the new ones seem to work a time or two and then poop out.

A few years ago, I discovered the gel pen.  Whoa!  Nice--and in great colors.  I liked them so much I bought a set of them in about 48 colors.  I let them sit for a few weeks and lost the receipt.  Do you know that NOT ONE OF THEM WORKED!!!

LLBs pens I've got mugs of pens scattered around the house (four of them in my office alone) and do you know that if I grab any pen in those mugs they probably won't work.  They worked the time before, that's why they're there--but the next time.  Nope, won't work.

The thing is, I always have hope that they WILL work.  I love them.  I want them to work.  When they don't, I take it rather personally.  
I've decided I need to do something about it.  Have a thorough pen purge.

Gulp.  

Now, to find the courage to do it.

And what's bugging YOU today?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are you wearin' Ore the Green?

Irish Lass
I don't know about you, but I'm celebrating St. Paddy's day with Irish soda bread, and corned beef and cabbage.

And here's my favorite Irish Soda Bread recipe (which was included in my first Booktown Mystery, MURDER IS BINDING).

4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup corn or canola oil
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cup golden raisons
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Foil-line a baking sheet, lightly grease.

In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, and oil together.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture.  Add the caraway seeds and raisins.  Stir until a soft dough forms.

Irish-soda-bread-with-brown-butter With floured hands, shape the dough into a large ball on a lightly floured board or waxed paper.  With a sharp knife, make an X across the top of the dough.  Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the top with milk.  Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown (30 to 40 minutes). 

Serve warm with butter.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

S-L-O-W-L-Y I turn...step by step...inch by inch....

New baby book I love finishing a book.  There's such a sense of satisfaction.  There it is, your brand new baby, cute as a button and all you want to do is show it off.  Of course, then you have to wait a YEAR or more before that happens . . . .

Unfortunately, I'm not in the last throes of writing the book.  I'm not quite in the middle either.  I'm still in that EXTREMELY PAINFUL part where I'm hoping the whole thing comes together like a giant wedding cake.  I'm still laying the foundation layers right now.

My writing goal is 1250 words five days a week, or 6,250 words a week.  Here we are at the 15th of the month (eeek!  The Ides of March) and I've only been getting about 295 words a day.  S-L-O-W-L-Y the story is coming together, but it's taken me three months to get here, and I have less than three months to go.  I can see me rushing when it comes to deadline time -- and then I have another book to deliver three months after that.  (Luckily, that book is in better shape than the one I'm working on now--at least I have a complete draft of that done.)

Jigsaw puzzle I didn't have a breakthrough yesterday, but I did eek forward more than I have for a full week (despite the fact I had a lot of great ideas on Thursday).  So I have pages and pages of scene fragments just sitting there, rather like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Now to figure out where the pieces go, and how they all connect.  (This puzzle is beginning to feel like all one color.)

Crossed fingers I guess I'm a little discouraged right now.  But I have a feeling when I'm done, this book is going to be one of my favorites.  At least, I'm crossing my fingers that it happens.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Keep the racket down, boys, some of us are trying to sleep

We've had mild temps for the past week (mild being over 40).  The snow, that's been at least two feet deep for at least six weeks, has finally started to melt (or evaporate--I'm not sure which) and slowly my yard is beginning to reappear.  Of course, now it's supposed to rain for the next week, but that doesn't bother me as much as snow.  And, for writing purposes, it's much easier to work when it's NOT sunny and pretty outside.

Daffydills The daffodils have poked through the dirt, but even that isn't much of a sign of spring.  Last year my daffy daffs poked their little heads out in January.

What really makes it seem like spring is one the way?  Birds.  Suddenly there are a lot of birds around.  And they're tweeting.  AND WAKING ME UP BEFORE I WANT TO BE UP AND AWAKE.

Robin Of course, this is just a prelude to April when there'll be even MORE birds sitting on the pine tree outside my bedroom window and starting to squawk about 4 a.m. and continue until at least 7.  Cute as they are, hopping around the yard, looking for worms or looking for building materials for nests, couldn't they sleep in until 8 or 9 and THEN become industrious?

Oh well.  I suppose it's a small price to pay for sunny days and warm temperatures.

If you live up North, have the birds returned to your town?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pill Popping Ads

PET PEEVE THURSDAY

By Guest Blogger Kate Collins

Pills My biggest pet peeve – hmm, where do I begin? Okay, I guess I’d have to say that what drives me the craziest (not that it’s a long drive) are the hundred of ads on TV every evening for prescription drugs. During one hour, I counted nine. Nine different drugs being shoved in my face per hour! Three hours of television viewing equals twenty-seven drug commercials per evening. Times seven days a week would be -- Wowzers! Are we that sick?

Grim reaper What totally irks me is that in a one minute commercial, more than half of that time is used for the side effects. You want to fix those dry eyes? Oh, boy, do we have a pill for you! Be prepared, however, for glaucoma, seizures, dry mouth, liver damage, your eyeballs popping out of your head and your dog choking on them –  and possibly death. Gee, those dry eyes don’t sound so bad after all.

And then there’s the sneaky way the ad companies disguise the side effects. You’ll see people laughing, dancing, flying balloons, shopping for shoes, picking flowers or their noses – anything to distract you from listening to the bad things that can happen when you swallow that pill. Next time an ad comes on, mute the volume and just watch. You’d never guess you were watching a drug ad. And after you try that experiment, do it the opposite way. Don’t watch the ad, just listen to the warnings. They’ll have you running for the hills – of Switzerland.

Other countries ban pharmaceutical ads, and personally, I’m in favor of that. I’ve read that doctors often prescribe pills that patients ask for rather than what the doctor feels is best – because the patient sees an ad and decides that’s what he wants. Is that how a doctor should practice medicine? I don’t think so.

Red pill And don’t even get me started about the whole “take a pill for the symptom and don’t ask about what caused it” syndrome, otherwise known as TPFSDAWCI. (Bet there’s a pill for that, too). I asked a doctor why some people got high blood pressure as they aged and others didn’t. He said it was genetics. Guess what? He was wrong. A bad diet and lack of movement cause it. There are tons of studies on how to reverse high blood pressure naturally, but the sad truth is, doctors are trained to equate a symptom with a pill. “Here’s your prescription. You’re done. Next patient please.” And because of those annoying TV ads, we’re trained to expect nothing else.

That, in a very big nutshell, is my biggest pet peeve. Anyone else sick of those ads, too?
=====================================
Anemone Kate Collins writes the Flowershop Mysteries.  Her latest, Sleeping with Anemone, is now available.  For more information on Kate and her work, check out Kate's Web site.  Kate is a member of the Cozy Chicks Blog and posts on Mondays.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An unhappy consumer

As some of you will recall, I got a new fridge a couple of weeks ago.  The appliance showroom was full of those autopsy fridges (stainless steel) which looked big enough to store a woolly mammoth.  Meanwhile, all the fridges that were either white, bisque, or black looked like a LOT smaller than the autopsy fridges.

Salesman Eager for a sale, the salesman (no doubt working on commission) shook his head.  "No, ma'am, all these fridges have the same square footage."

Hmm.  I didn't have a tape measure, so there was no way I could check.
So I purchased my fridge and waited a week for them to deliver it. 
It took one huge ice chest, a medium ice chest, and a big plastic bag to empty my old freezer.  Luckily, it was about 15 degrees outside, so out in the enclosed porch it went.

The new fridge arrived, and when I put all the stuff back inside of the refrigerator part with no trouble.  And then I started putting the frozen stuff away.  Guess what?  I only managed to put two-thirds of the freezer stuff back.  (I still have a bag of bread out on the enclosed porch.)  And since then, everything inside of it has been trying to escape--especially heavy pieces of frozen meat. 

I've been pelted by chicken, sausage, frozen bags of lima beans and peas, birthday candles, bags of ice, boxes of puff pastry and veggies burgers, and one thing's for sure:  That freezer is much, MUCH smaller than the old freezer.

The fridge is DEFINITELY smaller.  It might be the same height as the old one, but it's definitely . . . thinner.  There's about five inches more space around it than the old one.  That's probably why it rates as an Energy Star model.  Of course it takes less energy to run . . . IT'S SMALLER!

Thumbs down2 The thing is...we're stuck with it.  No more buying veggies on sale.  No more frozen loafs of bread.

I am unhappy and I loathe my new freezer.

Have you ever been disappointed by a major appliance?

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Little Girl's Best Friend . . .

On Saturday, on the Cozy Chicks Blog (where I post on Saturdays), I wrote about my new cover for the large print edition of Bookplate Special.  You can read the entire post here.

Barbie Logo One of the things I like about the new cover is . . . Barbie, sitting at a table inside a stylized version of Angelica's cafe, Booked For Lunch. 

Vintage-Barbie-Solo-In-The-Spotlight-1 I got my first Barbie when I was about five.  My Aunt Sunny bought it for me and I was absolutely thrilled!  I also got at least one outfit, too, Solo in the Spotlight (as per the photo on the left).  My Barbie was a brunette--like me!  I loved that doll, who was the first of several Barbies I've owned over the years.
That GIrl My parents gave me my next Barbie.  She came in a gold and white lame one-piece bathing suit, with molded dark hair, some kind of triangular kerchief, and three wigs:  blonde, brunette, and readhead. The thing is . . . I almost never put the blonde and brunette wigs on that Barbie.  I liked the red wig best, maybe because it made her look a little like Marlo Thomas (That Girl!)

Barbie w wigs There weren't many little girls in my neighborhood, but I'd play with Donna and Jeannie and they had a LOT more Barbie clothes than I did.  Their mothers had Barbie clothes patterns and made them up.  (Jeannie's mother was either a better seamstress or Donna and her sister Karen were a LOT harder on their Barbie clothes than Jeannie.)  My mom tended to knit Barbie clothes.  I remember my Barbie had a yellow and white knitted skating outfit, and a red sweater that my mother made on the same knitting needles she used to knit my father socks.
Donna and Jeannie both moved away when I was about eight.  After that, I had no one to play Barbie with.

Bummer.

After that, my folks bought me Barbie's little sister, Skipper, and her friend (or was she a cousin?) Scooter?  Both were redheads.  And then Barbie's Cousin, Francie.  Along the way I had a Penny Brite, a Tammy (and her little sister Pepper), and Libby Littlechap, but Barbie was my favorite.
I used to play Star Trek with my Barbies and my brother's G.I. Joe.  (He had a Gemini Spacecraft!!!)
But then . . . I moved on. 

That wasn't the end my relationship with Barbie.  About 19 years ago, before I got married, my friend Anne, who was (and probably still is) a BIG Barbie fan, got me interested in "them" again.  I bought yet another brunette Barbie (a cheapie), and started accumulating more Barbie clothes--including a wedding dress.  (Doesn't every little girl want to wear a "Barbie" type wedding gown?)  About the same time, I found a blonde Skipper doll in almost mint condition . . . except.  The poor thing was naked.  She and new brunette Barbie have lived on the top of my closet ever since.

Star trek Barbie & Ken And still . . . that wasn't the last Barbie I bought.  I was shopping at Toys R Us for my young nieces, and found Star Trek Barbie and Ken--and on sale!  How cool was that?

I probably won't buy any more Barbies.  Okay, I will occasionally look a the Barbie aisle if I'm in a toy store, but I haven't seen a brunette Barbie in years.  I collect enough things, I don't need any more Barbies. 

But that doesn't mean I'm still not interested. 

How about you?