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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Plan Man, Still No Moola But Fun


Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

When I started this blog, I didn't intend on it to be entirely about farming. From May to October, that's what consumes us. Farming is Lance's endeavor, and we're along for the ride. But it's a great deal of work, too much for one man, so we'll be mightily involved until he's self-sufficient. It's what we want to do. We went into this communal living project to combine our talents and still be able to pursue our individual goals. I have to say, growing and eating our own food is rewarding. We're looking ahead to year three, and there are still a lot of things we need for the farm. We're lucky we have neighbors that are happy to loan Lance the attachment for the tractor. He can keep it for days at a time. We're lucky we were able to get a two year no interest loan that enabled us to get the material for the watering system and greenhouse. In fact, we have enough to build the second greenhouse and add on to the drip system. But the list of needs is still long. We'll eek it out somehow. I'll clue you in on how we do as this next year progresses.

Pirate Pickles and Relish - gourmet
Pirate Pickling Co. is part of the plan. We have the product. We have the "look". There are a lot more hurdles to get over in order to sell our product on a larger commercial basis. This is just a test year while we get all the needed licenses and certification. But we can sell it direct and we're working on that. Found the table for the markets, had a banner and business cards made, and this weekend Lance will be putting it out there locally.

Now that harvesting and pickling are done, Frank and I can get away occasionally as finances allow. As I write, we're at an RV park in Laughlin, NV, actually, a ways from the main area and on the reservation at a casino called the AVI. I told Frank I would take him to a movie and dinner for his birthday here. There wasn't a movie we wanted to see. We checked out the dinner restaurant and choked on the prices. We ended up at the casual restaurant and had prime rib for $9.99. It was okay. I gave him $10 to put in the slots, he turned it into $70 and we headed back to the RV to watch a movie on TV. I couldn't get him to play his winnings. He's saving it for our next trip.

One short health note: still thankful for the Indian Medical Center since we can't afford insurance. The dermatologist found two spots to biopsy. They were benign but showed evidence of pre-cancer cells. He gave me a cream to put on twice a day for four weeks that will inhibit these bad cells from growing. I'm to put it on all sun exposed areas over the next few months (small areas at a time). It can react on my skin like I've been burned. I can handle that if it prevents future problems. Thanks again to my great grandparents for getting on the Indian roster that allows me this care. 

"Docos"
I promised to start posting recipes we use on Tortuga Flats Farm. The first one is what not to cook. As part of our goal to be self-sustaining, Lance is hunting and occasionally dragging Frank along. They came up with the idea to make Docos (dove tacos). Dove is gamey tasting and it seemed like a good idea. DON'T try it. We ended up feeding them to the dogs!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Promo, Promo...Back to Writing

MUSE MONDAY
What a week it was! Amanda in the Summer was free on Amazon for five days which required me to spread the word. I appeared on thirteen blogs and tweeted up a storm. Totally missed writing my Tortuga Thursday blog.

The point of free days is to get your name out, get the book seen and lead readers to the author. I became a ratings maniac checking my Amazon rank every few hours. The higher the rank, the more books are downloading. The thing is I have no real idea of what the ranking means. I know there are thousands of free books offered on any given day. To break the top 100 is supposed to be a big deal. And I did break it several times getting as high as 86 in over all free Kindle downloads. I actually made it to number 6 in women's contemporary. That one threw me since my publisher classifies the book as mainstream historical.

So how many books did I give a way? No idea. And I won't know for probably a month or better. It takes Amazon a while to report numbers to my publisher who will then post the results on their on-line author pages.

The question is will this give a way help me? Will more people know who I am? Will more readers look for my books. Will I actually sell some copies of Amanda in the Summer? Will I sell more copies of my other books?

Can I get back to writing, please?


Monday, October 21, 2013

Living with an Impatient Muse

 MUSE MONDAY

A favorite corner that pleases my muse
My muse has been testy lately. Okay, so I don't have an actual muse that I can point to or introduce to you. She's me, the inside me, that is chomping at the bit to write a new chapter in any one of the books I've put on the back burner for a few days. Which means I'm testy with myself.

I can't blame me for losing patience with me when I'm only doing what I have to do for all those other facets of writing.

First off, I'm a finalist in the Hot Prospects contest with my current manuscript, Southwest of Love and Murder. The judges sent me their comments which I can use to improve my pages before the final judges choose the winner in the Romantic Suspense category. The judges are editors from large publishing houses and I'd really like to impress them with my writing. I'm laboring over the improvements. Tedious and eye-bugging work.

Secondly, on Tuesday Amanda in the Summer starts a run of five free days on Amazon. Just being there isn't enough. I have to spread the word which means I've been writing guest blog after guest blog and reaching out to dozens of sites to mention the free days. If editing and re-editing the pages for the contest is eye-bugging then this sort of promo is doubly so. I'm pretty tired of staring at the computer.

I'm looking at the end of this week like a rabbit would a carrot dangling in front of her nose. But I have the sneaky suspicion that I will no sooner make it to the end when I'll get an email from my editor with the second round of edits for The Art of Love and Murder.

Oh be still my muse, er, me.

Be sure you go to Amazon tomorrow to download a free copy of Amanda in the Summer. http://tinyurl.com/mb5cwly

Friday, October 18, 2013

Never Give Up by JoAnne Myers

FEARLESS FRIDAY

Please welcome JoAnne Myers to Fearless Friday. We'd love to hear your story. Take it away, JoAnne.

For as long as I can remember, I have had an artistic flare-whether that be for writing, painting, sewing or drawing. I recall as a child how much I enjoyed drawing. The writing came later. My seventh grade English teacher was Mrs. Henderson-a young mother and wife. She gave us a writing assignment and after gifting me with an A+ told me I should consider writing as a career. She meant as a journalist. I did not take her advise and become a journalist (one of my many misgivings). My mind went toward other things as many young girls dream of-a husband, home, and family of my own. I put my love for writing and painting on hold for years. I unfortunately married a man who like my mother never encouraged me to be artistic. It was not until my children were grown and I no longer had a husband, that I went back to my first love-art. I got a late start, but was always encouraged my children and others to partake of artistic endeavors. I now have four books under contract with Melange Books, and three publishing houses vying for my biography true crime novel, “The Crime of the Century.” 

So my words to you all is no matter what road you choose, never forget your passion and always keep it close to your heart. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from enjoying your natural talents. You might need to put art on a temporary hold, but don’t ever, ever give up. 


“Murder Most Foul,” available here: www.melange-books.com/authors/joannemyers/MMF.html
Here is the link to buy it directly from LULU:


BLURB: 
When two dismembered torsos wash up on the banks of the local river in the small industrial town of Pleasant Valley, residents are horrified. Between contradicting statements, police ineptitude, lust, lies, manipulation, incest, the motorcycle gang The Devil’s Disciples, crooked cops, and a botched crime scene, everyone becomes a suspect.
The young beautiful Jackie Reeves, a registered nurse, believes the killer is a man from her past. She contacts the dangerously handsome FBI Agent Walker Harmon. An arrest is made, but Harmon and Jackie believe an innocent man is being railroaded by local cops. Determined to find the truth, before anymore killings, Agent Harmon and Jackie are forced to run a gauntlet of deep trouble and turmoil, which marks them for death.

Buy Link to Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between: http://www.amazon.com/dp/147837022x

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's a Wrap and a Baby Recipe

 Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

One more bowl of bell peppers to strip the seeds from for next year's crop. A few more plants in the greenhouse to chop down  to make room for the winter crops. One more row of carrots to harvest. Then Lance will scrap the land, turn it and till. He'll do that a couple of times over the winter.

Tomatoes that didn't ripen before the frost.

Tomato row before the tear down.










Greenhouse nearly clean and planting again.




Onions, cayenne, sage, thyme and parsley drying.










Get these great Popsicle makers at the store. Mix 50/50 with water and any fruit or cooked veggie. 
In the coming months, I'll share some recipes we use here on Tortuga Flats Farm. Simple baby Popsicles are the first!

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Early Announcement

 MUSE MONDAY

It's Sunday night, and I'm staring at a blank screen. The only time I ever get writer's block is when I want to type a quick, clever Muse Monday blog.  For some reason I freeze up when I challenge myself to writing about my craft.

Two days ago, I reconnected with an old friend and had dinner with her, her parents and brother. They remembered the high school Brenda who they really didn't know all that well. My published status had them fascinated. I got questions, one after another, about my books, my process and every other facet of  writing. My mouth ran off. I had no trouble at all expounding on any subject related to my writing. It was amusing and fun for me. Now I'm speechless. I must need an audience in the flesh to get me going.

So I'll just put a plug in for Amanda in the Summer. AND make the big announcement here - it will be free on Amazon for five days beginning October 22. I need everyone to download a free copy. I'm shooting for 1,000 downloads a day. Help me out - it's a quick make you cry, make you smile read. And it's free!


Three generations of women…and the secret that strengthens their love.

A line of women, all named Amanda, stretches back for generations. Each with her hopes, her joys, her pain—each pouring out her heart in correspondence with a dear family friend who shares their lives, understands their loves, and joins in their sorrows.

But within the correspondence lies a secret. And as the youngest of the Amandas retraces the journey through the years—beginning in post-war America and following through to modern day—the letters reveal, layer by layer, the Amandas who came before her. Soon, the truths and lies hidden in the letters lead her down a path of self-discovery that forges a bond between her past and future.

Please spread the word! Here's the link:




Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rub-dub-dub Potatoes in the Tub

Me - washing potatoes before storing
Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

This will be the last blog with updates on harvesting. There are still some carrots to pull but that will be the end of it. I did a taste test on the carrots because we have some of the fattest carrots I've ever seen. The results are the fatter the carrot, the less sweet. If they're too big, they're bitter when eaten raw. They lose the bitterness when cooked but aren't very tasty. So we're freezing them for the doggies.

Potatoes are all out of the ground and it wasn't a bad  haul considering very little effort was put into them. Lance used ground that hadn't been
Baby pool makes a great wash tub
planted in before. He put some compost on it, tilled once and planted. Fire ants got some of the plants and frost others but as you can see in the picture, we have enough. We planted small goldens and reds.

Potato must dry before storing
My sister moved into a house that had a pots and pans rack in the ceiling. She didn't want it so I snagged it with an entirely different idea in mind. This will come in so handy next summer when we have garlic to dry. I hung a few peppers and the last harvested onions. I like it!

So...we'll be clearing the fields in the weeks to come and starting all over
New Drying Rack
again. Stay tuned for some recipes in the coming months. Christie is a great cook and I'd like to share some of her recipes for the food we harvest.



What farmers do for exercise!

Our cute little farmer girl.