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Rant: Do NOT Sign Me Up

Two months ago, I entered one of those “win a gift cert from Amazon” from an author site. There were seven or so authors listed in the “follow me” or “tweet” me” entry. I didn’t read the fine print. I usually do, but since I only saw a few authors in the list, I didn’t suspect that 150 authors were going to have access to my email. And put me on their newsletter lists. I am not kidding. After the “contest” ended, I had ten welcome emails the first DAY. Five the next. Six or seven the day after that–and SO ON FOR TWO WEEKS. I was unsigning up as fast as possible, but it didn’t stop. Some days it was one new newsletter, other days it was three or four. I just got ANOTHER ONE TODAY — a full two months after I entered. It isn’t the first one this week either.

Look, I’m an author. I sympathize that you need readers, but I assure you–participating with even 50 other authors to get sign ups IS NOT THE WAY TO GOOD READER RELATIONSHIPS. Sure, it’s cheaper when you all go in together to give away that high dollar Amazon gift cert. But you have not gained me as a reader. In fact, I was so angry, I sent off a few emails to more than one of the authors (some didn’t have unsubscribe buttons that worked.) And yes, I reported some of the emails to mailchimp as “I did not sign up for this list.” Is that mean? Yes. Because mailchimp will close accounts if they get enough of these reports. But the fact is, I DID NOT SIGN UP TO THESE LISTS. Even if it was said somewhere, I DID NOT SIGN UP. Don’t sign me up under the guise of a simple giveaway. One or two authors? Fine. Ten? Probably okay. After that, it gets murky, but after 15, it is downright obnoxious and annoying. And you’re going to get a huge number of “readers” who aren’t the least bit interested in books or reading so you’ve just wasted a lot of time and money.

I just met another author on FB who is giving up writing and going back to the day job. Sales are down for all of us. I’m working on doing the July New Releases list I told you about. I looked up favorite authors to make sure to include their books–four of them stopped writing. One or two stopped writing in 2010. Another in 2012. One never wrote more than one book. Writing a book, editing it, publishing it and finding readers IS A LOT OF WORK. But there are no shortcuts. Some of us are going to fail to find enough readers. That’s the way it is. Don’t make it harder by scamming ways to add to your mailing list.

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Posted: June 21, 2017

Bargain: Steampunk with Mages

Broken Wizards – Love the cover on this! Word on the street is there is a light romantic element to the story (as all good steampunk should have!)

Time’s up for mages!

The wizard purge is in full swing. Sorcery is illegal in the modern, steam-powered Iron Empire. The Magistrate’s Black Guards hunt the uncivilized mages using mechanized armor and mysterious, clockwork weapons. The guards deliver their prisoners to the Butcher, Captain Vice. All wizards are tortured and executed as traitors to the state . . . with one exception.

That exception is Devin, an outbreak mage and ex artificer, a prince of machinery. The Magistrate exiles the youth over Vice’s protests to the wild kingdom of wizards and dragons. Devin only knows gears and springs, but his savage magic offers salvation, if he can tame it. The exile must learn to harness his dangerous, new powers before the Butcher tracks him down to finish the job.

Follow Devin’s quest in Book One of The Artifice Mage Saga. Join the fantasy steampunk brawl of metal vs. magic where sorcery is bloody, science is greasy, and nobody’s hands are clean.

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Posted: June 20, 2017
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Review Sites

Always on the lookout for new review sites, here’s one for sf/f – West Coast Book Reviews.

Along those lines, an old favorite for fantasy: FantasyLiterature. Very fun site with occasional book giveaways and funny contests.

If you are a reviewer, feel free to post your site in the comments!

And completely unrelated, but someone ask about silicone soap molds (and bath bomb molds) that are round. I think these are used most often for making bath bombs, but I do put my silicone soap molds in the freezer for an hour to get a clean “peel.” I love using silicone. They are the best molds out there!

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Posted: June 19, 2017
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Bargain: Women’s Fiction–with Dog!

Hard to resist a good dog story! Wish Me Home is on sale and the audio as a companion read is also on sale.

In her first work of contemporary women’s fiction, bestselling author Kay Bratt draws on her own life experiences to create a raw, yet inescapably warm, novel about friendship and a wary heart’s unexpected capacity to love.

A hungry, stray dog is the last thing Cara Butter needs. Stranded in Georgia with only her backpack and a few dwindling dollars, she already has too much baggage. Like her twin sister, Hana, who has broken Cara’s heart one too many times. After a lifetime of family troubles, and bouncing from one foster home to another, Cara decides to leave it all behind and strike out alone—on foot.

Cara sets off to Florida to see the home of her literary hero, Ernest Hemingway, accompanied only by Hemi, the stray dog who proves to be the perfect travel companion. But the harrowing trip takes unexpected turns as strangers become friends who make her question everything, and Cara finds that as the journey unfolds, so does her life—in ways she could never imagine.

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Posted: June 19, 2017
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Bargain: Women’s Fiction

One Season of Sunshine on sale for a very cheap 99 cents.

These adoption stories have always intrigued me. One of my best friends growing up was adopted and those questions really do linger.

Adopted as an infant, Jane Aaron longs to know the identity of her birth mother and why she gave her up. Her only clue is the name of the small Texas town where she was born, so she’s come to Cedar Springs for answers.

Handsome ad executive Asher Price lost his wife, the beautiful, mysterious Susanna, in a terrible car crash eighteen months ago. When he hires Jane as the nanny for his two children, sparks fly. Jane finds herself falling in love with both Asher and his children, but begins to suspect that Susanna was not the perfect mother and wife the family portrays her to have been.

As Jane gets closer and closer to finding out the truth about both her own and Susanna’s past, devastating secrets begin to emerge that may be more than anyone can bear. Will the truth bring Jane and Asher closer together or tear them apart forever?

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Posted: June 17, 2017
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Dining Rooms and Pools

Here we are, back at the NaN ranch. 🙂

The entry living room at the big house.

And what have we here! The greeter is sleeping on the job!



The formal dining room at the big house (there were multiple dining areas. No idea why. I barely use the one at my own house, but apparently different occasions warrant different tables.)

I don’t remember if each dining room had its own china, but this beautiful pattern caught my eye. Gorgeous!


More pieces in the china cabinet.

I think this dining area was off the porch. Maybe a breakfast room.

Well, maybe this is the breakfast nook. Or the card table.


A most gorgeous porch! I do wish that they had let us see the library room. I think an estate like this MUST have a library and it MUST be gorgeous, don’t you think? Maybe next time. And if they don’t have a library, I think they ought to let me convert one of the dining rooms to a library nook, at the very least. Oh, just imagine the fun I’d have stocking it up with my favorite books!!!

The pool. The big ranch house is on one side of this courtyard and then there’s a gate to a large lawn area. Another gate on the other side leads to the small ranch house. The barns are beyond that. There’s a front entrance gate to this courtyard too. The back gate leads to the employee apartments and the bunk house (which is now rented out to summer guests who wish to get away from it all in style.) The pool was originally fed by the natural spring that is some distance away, up a hill on the property. It is now modernized and contained like a normal pool. The picture doesn’t do the size of the courtyard justice. It’s surrounded by a flower garden, some grass and Spanish walls. There are benches and gates to other parts of the property. Quite lovely. I do think this would be a great setting for a murder mystery, but, of course, the perp would never escape before getting lost!!!

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Posted: June 15, 2017

A Secret Book List

I haven’t talked much about books in the last week or so, but there is some good news. I’m compiling a list of new releases for July 15 and many of these are gems! I’ve been reading a lot and picking books for the list. Some will be on sale, some are just books I really liked, some are books on my wishlist (I’m reading as many of them as I can before July 15!) Save your pennies. I think you’ll really like some of these books!!! *rubs hands together* It’s gonna be great!

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Posted: June 14, 2017

More Ranch House Pictures

The largest ranch house on the property was partially closed off (probably most of the bedrooms). But there were several rooms I didn’t get to show you the other day because I took a lot of pictures. So today, I’m posting a few more shots of the various ranch houses. Mind you, some of them are a little mixed up because there were so many rooms, I lost track of which house had what. My apologies.

Okay, truth here. I’m not sure which house this was in. It might be the gardener’s house (I think it is, taken from the sitting room looking back into the kitchen). But I got some of them confused because there were too many houses! If it’s not the gardener’s house, it’s the smaller ranch house looking into the modern kitchen. The setup was similar for the gardener’s house in any case–just a short bar/window between the sitting room and the kitchen. The gardener’s kitchen was just smaller.


This was a study/porch in the small ranch house.



A smallish dining room in the smaller ranch house.



Modernized sitting room in the small ranch house.



For the life of me, I don’t know which house this was in.

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Posted: June 13, 2017

More NaN Ranch – The Small Ranch House

Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, you couldn’t just run into town for takeout. Shoot, even when I was growing up in NM in the 70s and 80s we didn’t do that. We had a huge 1/2 to full acre garden, fruit trees, pigs, and cows. At times we even had chickens. So I can imagine the NaN Ranch, being much larger, had to have an even larger garden to supply enough food to go around. There was a separate gardener’s dwelling on the property that was all about quaint and efficient. It’s also quite beautiful today, but the rooms were small so taking pictures was impossible! It reminded me of a tiny house–a small kitchen with a bar/open window overlooking a sitting room with a single easy chair that had space for a few books on the window ledge and in a pinch, you could add a guest chair. The sitting room could function as a closed in porch too. A small bathroom has been added and there was a small bedroom. As for the gardens, the vegetable gardens seem to have been replaced with grass and flowers. Only a small vegetable garden remains.

I’m not sure why there are two large ranch houses on the property–the kitchen I posted yesterday is from the larger ranch house where the family lives today. These pictures are of the smaller ranch house (which is quite large, btw). It was remodeled years ago into a modern building, but has since been restored with more historical aspects–although still modernized for current use. This first photo is a large ranch style table for feeding quite a few people at one time. At the far end of the picture, you may be able to make out the more modern stove/kitchen elements.

Note the wood stove (that had been taken out and is now returned) and the bins for storing flour/potatoes/rice?


My grandmother had one that we used for potatoes and flour. The guide did not know what the bins were used for originally, but sugar and flour came in giant bags back then– 50 to 100 pounds. For that matter so did pinto beans, onions and potatoes. Dad reminds me quite often that they sold dried pinto beans for 5 dollars per 100 pounds.

This ranch house has many bedrooms and barrack style showers. I assume that at some point it was used to house many employees, perhaps workers during branding season or to move cattle from one end of the ranch to the other. Cattle can be moved several times a year from pasture to pasture. Branding is usually done in batches, but those occur close together (in the case of Dad’s cattle, he brands most of the calves during the same month, but we are talking 30 to 40 head of cattle). The cattle would also have been herded across wide spaces to get to market when it was time. In modern times, they are loaded into a cattle or horse trailer and taken to auction.


There were showers for men in one room and one for women in another. I doubt the original concrete floors were polished as they are today. 🙂 There were at least two bedrooms with rows of bunk beds stuffed inside the narrow rooms.

Porches were a key feature of homes back in the day–not only could multiple windows be opened to let in breezes, those same windows could be closed and the doors and windows out to the porch closed. The porch was, in essence, added insulation against the elements. With the porch closed off against the cold or heat, it was another layer between nature and home. Today’s homes rarely have wrap around porches or a roof that extends well past the house itself (a great feature for cutting down on heat–shade is provided near the house and the sun is reflected away from the house, again acting to keep heat out, cut down on wind/rain/snow against the house and so on). There were porches around both the main houses that I”m sure are great places to sit in the morning and evenings.

Large sitting room between the kitchen and the porch area. There’s a large fireplace behind me.

There are multiple other buildings on the property for today’s employees. There’s a set of apartments (with their own garage below) near the pool. I didn’t get the impression that the bunkhouses in another area were in use today (for employees) but instead can be rented for your weekend away in the middle of nowhere! There was another cluster of what was probably bunk houses that appears to now be used for storage and washing machine facilities.

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Posted: June 12, 2017

The NaN Ranch Tour

While in NM there was a historical tour of old estates going on. In this case, one estate. I grew up along the Mimbres River and never knew this estate existed. For the most part, the “estates” in this rural area are hand to mouth, scrabble living. The Nan Ranch sits off the main road, completely invisible to the passing world. The owners have 50,000 acres (which sounds like a lot, but it takes 1000 acres to raise 30 cattle in most parts of the state.) The Nan Ranch has the Mimbres river and a spring for its water source. I believe it also had oil investments to help support the ranch.

It was started in 1870–one large kitchen and another room. The kitchen still has the original tile and it covers the room–even the ceiling. (You can see a crack through the tile if you click and enlarge the picture, but this is the only damage from time that was evident.) Obviously the light fixtures are new!

An old fashioned sink–the kind you needed when you dealt with canning, butchering, very large pots and pans and so on.



The more modernized view of a separate sink in a different part of the kitchen.


I found this particularly intriguing. It’s on the back side of the kitchen and both sides are cabinets and such–it’s the pantry/storage for the kitchen.

The gorgeous modernized stove. (Later, in one of the other houses–a smaller ranch house–you’ll see an old wood stove that is much fancier than the one we had growing up.)

The tour actually started in the big barn. I guess barns don’t interest me as much as kitchens do! I’ll do some additional posts from the tour in the coming days.

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Posted: June 11, 2017
Filed in Walks in Life
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