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Review: Stitch and Structure by Jean Draper – A luscious tactile experience

“This object that we hold in our hands, a book… that tactile pleasure, it’s just not going to go away.” –Maggie Stiefvater

I am incredibly tactile. If I see a beautiful object, I want to touch it. To run my fingertips over it, search for a scent, close my eyes and enjoy the texture over my palms. Doesn’t work real well in museum situations, but books, textiles, fibers? Plants and wood, leaves and flowers. It’s all the same to me. I want to touch. To breathe in the scents. To run my eyes over beauty and feel it in my soul.

Touch. And to touch Stitch and Structure by Jean Draper is sheer pleasure to touch. I Feet in the Soil  Jean Draper- sculptural  Pieced cottons and silks, dense hand stitching in Mulberry silk and cotton perle to give a three-dimensional structure to the surface: removed it from its packaging and was immediately surprised by just how tactile the cover is. Soft, with a definite velvety feel, as if I were touching a newborn kitten. The format is large, allowing me to rub my palms over the cover, my fingertips loving the softness. The beauty of the cover on a visual scale is gorgeous. Textured textile, cords and wraps, spread out in a luscious view, reminiscent of a landscape of mountains and valleys seen from above – and the eyes of the earth along the top, both clever and surprising.

Then, opening the book is yet another joy. Smooth, supple paper, cool to the touch. Rich, vibrant colour, brilliant black line drawings, the artwork leaps from the page, starting that little flutter of the heart that indicates that you have in your hand something truly gorgeous.

And then, the art itself. These are unconventional structures: linear and curved, odd and unusual, some radiantly colorful, some reminiscent of earth, wood and stone and the swirl of water, the nest of a bird, the striations of a cave wall. Beauty. Structure. Form. Light and airy, or dense and convoluted, each item on the pages carries a sense of the soul of the earth. Draper’s work is the epitome of organic textiles. You learn her methods, whether it be drawing with a purpose, photographing natures lines and edges to constructing with threads, mounting threads in apparent thin air – her methods are beautifully Jean Draper interview: Hand stitched landscapes - TextileArtist.orgdesigned, her art flawlessly flawed, making each piece a mix of odd, unique, and stunningly unusual in the best of ways. I am thrilled with the book, can you tell?

I won Stitch and Structure from Reader’s Desk (ijustread.it) in their Read Whatcha Like startup-logoGiveaway, and I can’t say just how pleased I am. Thanks, Reader’s Desk, for allowing me to choose this book for my prize!

Review: Napoleon, A Pierced Series Novella By J.C. Mells

nap
The last “Pierced” for a while… so if you haven’t read them all, start from the first and sweep right through! These books are like chocolate, you can’t get enough!

I don’t know whether to be happy – or to cry!! I just finished Napoleon, a novella in the world of the Pierced series. And this is going to be the last in the series for a while, as J.C. is going to be moving on to other writings for a while. So – one of my favorite character’s stories comes to a head – but I don’t get my Pierced now! Ah well. I can always go back and reread when I miss Pierce, Lucas, Napoleon and all the gang. And hey, if you haven’t read the series yet, you are in the enviable position of being able to start at the beginning and go straight through, so there is always that!

Napoleon is such a great character. But let’s back up a bit. When Pierce and Lucas, the main characters of the series, first meet, Lucas is wearing a pink gay-pride T-shirt while trying to kidnap her. So, through the rest of the series, she calls him “Pink” – which is hysterical as he is a huge guy, rough, tough and no nonsense. But he wears this shirt, and many others in the same theme throughout the series, to support his sister’s adopted child, Napoleon, who is gay. And of course, being a gay werewolf is pretty far outside the realm of “acceptable behavior” in the wolfie world.

Now, after all the trials and tribulations of the previous books, we pick up from the last as Napoleon and his friend, Moused, take off for the Big Apple and college.

Moused and Nap go to New York. There ought to be a movie about that, surely.

The only problem is the very hunky, very straight, and undeniably uber-arrogant and spoiled future heir to the Uppsala Pack of Sweden, the largest pack in Europe. Living in Nowhere, Nevada for the summer, the home of Napoleon’s pack, the Prince has made Nap’s life a complete misery, alternately flirting with and flinging Nap away. Thank goodness Prince Sixten Dahl is off for Oxford while Napoleon is for NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and Moused for Columbia. OH, but wait . . . there’s more! For Six is not headed for Oxford after all – and Nap’s life has just become a living hell once again. Crushing on the straight guy. Oy.

J.C. Mells has brought me so much joy with her Pierced series. Her Nowhere Pack is a true treat – mixing wolves, vamps and humans, straights and gays. All the things the straight-laced Packs really, really don’t comprehend. Read the series. If you follow my reviews, you will know if you like the same books I do. And this series is one of my absolute favorites! And remember, J.C. is still giving away free copies of her second in the series, Escaped for a link to your Amazon review of Pierced!

Let me know how you like the series! Bet you will . . .

Bring on the CHOCOLATE!!! Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic Cover Reveal!

 

Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic!

TREASURES_cover treasures_coverreveal_stockchocolate_comingsoon

OH, yummy! Now I am going to have to go make rich, gooey DARK Chocolate cupcakes, then find my athame and have a party! Yippee, skippee, Rah Rah YUM!!!!

 

Biography

Meghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2, Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – Dowser #3

Novellas/Shorts – Love Lies Bleeding and The Graveyard Kiss

WARNING: author has been known to manipulate characters with chocolate, sex, and fantastical plotting. Readers beware http://author.to/meghancianadoidge

 Linkscupcake

Blog, www.madebymeghan.ca

Twitter, @mcdoidge

Facebook, Meghan Ciana Doidge

NEW RELEASE MAILING LIST

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

meg

Mark Your Calendar! Thursday Is Cupcake Day!

dowserbanner
Check out the first two. Like chocolate, you won’t be able to resist the third!

I can hardly wait! going to go back and give the first two a quick read so that I am prepared for the next!!

And don’t forget Meghan’s other wonderful books! These are new covers for the Dowser series, but her other works have great covers as well, and you can even see the old-style cover for Cupcakes below.

doidge
Click for Meghan’s Goodreads page!

Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

My Interview With Phoenix Author Ink!

phoenixFriday, December 20, 2013

Turning the Tables with Leiah from So I Read This Book Today

Next up in our Turning the Tables interview series, we sat down with Leiah from So I Read This Book Today and found out exactly what she loves about indies and what she’s looking for in her next great read.

Also–she edits. So, be sure to check out her blog when you’re done here!
Don’t forget, if you have questions you want added to the next blogger/reader interview, email them to us at phoenixauthorink@gmail.com and we’ll add them to the next interview!
Now, for Leiah’s Q&A-

Are you a writer?
I am not. Though I do admit to living in another world in my head, where dragons and shapeshifters are real – does that count? 😉

Um, Yes. =)
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Do you have aspirations of publishing a book someday?
I don’t. I think the reason is that I am very much a reader, rather than a writer.  What is it they say? Those who can’t, teach? Honestly, I very much admire those who have the skill, nerve, and fortitude to write. Writing is a lonely journey, one that needs encouragement from others and a great deal of self confidence within one’s self. I derive great enjoyment from immersing myself into the worlds created by these strong, intelligent people.
Awww, thank you for the compliments! While we writers do tend to have a certain amount of confidence (or ego), at the same time, we’re prone to bouts of self-doubt. We love hearing how awesome we are.
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What is your overall opinion of self-publishing?
Good and bad. The good is that I have found multitudes of wonderful writers whose work I would never have had access to had there not been self-publishing options. Publishers tend to lean towards what “sells” rather than what is actually good writing. And when they find a book that sells, such as the “Fifty Shades” series, and others, no matter how bad the writing is, they purchase others of the same ilk, ignoring exceptional writers whose work may not fall within those strict boundaries of “if you like that book, then you will like this newest book that is just like it . . .” The bad, of course, is that some authors are so desperately careless with their work, paying no attention to grammar, spelling, and other requirements of truly good writing. That is irritating and frustrating in the extreme – especially when an author has what could have been a well written story that is ruined by carelessness.
3 for 3 on the “Indies need to do better with editing” answer. Tell you something???
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Do you read self-published books?
Nearly exclusively now. I also edit and proofread for several self-published authors.
She edits!
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What is one thing you like about reading or working with indie authors?
They are not “entitled” unlike a lot of the professionally published authors. They listen to their readers, pay attention (usually) to feedback, and there are a lot of books out there that never would have been published by a publishing house – and yet the books are marvelous.

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What is one thing indie authors are doing well?
They are putting works out there that are above and beyond the boring repetitiousness of the works published by the industry. Many of the authors are writing with true intelligence instead of cranking out the mindless, boring pablum that is readily available though the publishing industry. It seems that the industry, rather than finding authors that are capable of stimulating the mind, instead focus on the “YouTube” mentality of “the lowest common denominator.”
I love the originality that comes with having publishing control!
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What is one thing indie authors need to work on?

Paying attention to the technical aspects of the writing process. I often feel as if some authors don’t even have their friends or family proofread their work, much less a professional editor. Poor grammar, spelling, use of the wrong context for words (reign/rein) and other English grammar issues are frustrating and will ultimately make me put down a book within a few pages and discourage others from reading the authors’ books.
She means Critique Partners and beta readers. If you don’t have those, get some. If you don’t know the difference, email me and we’ll talk.
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What’s your preferred genre to read in?
I am extremely eclectic in my reading, but often love “urban fantasy” the best when I am simply reading “for fun.” I first found the genre back in the late 1980’s through the works of the first great authors of the genre, Charles de Lint and Emma Bull among them. However, no one is ever any more surprised to find me with a heavy science tomb in my hand than they are a Russian novel or a “cozy mystery.”
Eclectic. I like it.
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What kind of story are you most excited to read right now?

I just finished proofreading Trinkets, Treasures, and other Bloody Magics an Urban Fantasy by Meghan Ciana Doidge which I truly enjoyed. I am waiting for two more Urban Fantasies by two other indie authors, Mark Henwick and J. K. Walker, that I will be editing soon. Other than the UF genre, I am currently re-reading the whole Dave Roubichoux series by James Lee Burke, a wonderful Southern mystery series that pulls at my “lyrical prose” heartstrings.
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What’s your prediction on the next “hot” genre?

Honestly? I hate trying to answer that question, as I very much dislike the “hot and heavy smexy” that seems to be the current “hot” genre. While some “smexy” is at times welcome in my reading, the current recitations of the same regurgitated story lines is boring in the extreme. My hope for the next “hot” genre would be books that harken back to the underpinnings of great literature – rather than being a focus on one “genre” I would love to see works of great, lyrical prose become the next “hottie” whether they be mysteries, straight fiction, or any other genre.

Thanks for all of your feedback, Leiah! We appreciate your opinion and expertise SO MUCH! Come back anytime!

About Leiah:
I have been a reader all my life. The first book I remember reading was my cousin’s Greek Mythology high school textbook when I was six. Growing up in Arkansas, I never had a lot of access to books, so I read what I could, when I could, including the backs of cereal boxes (I know, cliche, right?) School was the discovery of a world of wonders that I had no idea existed. Especially for a fat girl with glasses and braids. I spent the next several years wandering around with my nose in books, from fiction to physics and everything in between. (Hey, I still do that!) These days, I am home most days, after surviving stage-III breast cancer. After two solid years of ATC chemotherapy and a long stint of radiation, I just don’t get out as much as I used to. Of course, that leaves me even more time to read so who really cares? Yoga keeps me from turning into a lump, and the dogs make me get out and walk, so life is good! My favorite reads are Urban Fantasy, mysteries and many, though not all, paranormal works. I can still get into a lot of other genres, and do, but everyone has a favorite child, even if they don’t want to admit it, right?

I have been a quilter for years, am going through a “knitting jones” right now, and absolutely love doing home renovation – not something I can do very well anymore, but hey, at least I got that stupid fan up! I love animals, the environment and food (even though my cooking consists of box brownie mix these days . . .)

Technically, I have a Masters Degree in Forensics and a Bachelors in Math as well as a Bachelors in English Literature from long ago in a land far, far away. I utilize my Forensic Degree doing police and forensics consulting for Indie Authors and my Literature degree as an Editor for up-and-coming Indie Authors in a variety of genres.

To find out more about Leiah, visit her blog at So I Read This Book Today.

Review: Frat House of the Dead by J. K. Walker

frat
Creepy novella with a twist of humour, a great introduction to the world of Salt Lake After Dark!

Frat House of the Dead is a great little novella which follows up on the happenings of Glacial Eyes (Book One of Salt Lake After Dark). If you have a previous edition of Frat House, you can download the new, edited version from your Kindle Library.

Glacial Eyes was one of my favorite series beginnings of the year. It was a requested review by the author, and I am tremendously grateful I acquiesced to the request, as it quickly earned J. K. Walker a spot on my “must buy immediately upon publication” list.

In Frat House, Jazz and her girlfriends attend a Halloween party – a party which will prove to be a lot more than they expected.

The story lines that make GE so good are included in this book, but we also learn a bit more about the ladies, especially Tammy, Jazz’s best friend, and Rachel the Technowitch. One of the things I really like about Frat House of the Dead is how J. K. weaves in a strong thread of humour through the story while not losing it’s edge. A feat that is missing in much of the Urban Fantasy books published today.

The book is clever, fast paced, and gives you a good overview of the female characters of the Salt Lake After Dark series. If you are considering the series, check out the novella. I have no doubt you will be as enthralled by the series as I am!

Sigh. If you are going to review a book, review the Book!

kindleThis is something of a “training” post. I have seen a lot of reviews of craft books, knitting books especially, that aren’t reviewing the books themselves. Instead they are “reviewing” the fact that they can’t figure out how to print out patterns from the books.

Myself, I cannot understand why anyone would WANT to print out a pattern from a book on Kindle. I use mine all the time. However, to help out those who are having problems, I posted to the Kindle help site. Below is what I posted. Hope it helps you out!

One of my favorite pattern authors got a bad review because the reviewer wanted to print out patterns instead of using Kindle to follow along. So, I am providing this information for those out there who would rather print out patterns, though I can’t imagine why you would want to, as using the Kindle is AWESOME for patterns.

It isn’t the author whom you should be asking this question of. This is a technical question that should belong to Amazon Kindle. Giving a bad review for a book of knitting or other crafts is totally unacceptable because of something that the author has no control over.

First, using a Kindle for knitting is the PERFECT method. I use it all the time for patterns, some immensely complicated. You can highlight your spot, mark with different colours, make notes of where you are in the document, bookmark, note any changes you make to the pattern. Anything and everything you would want to do with paper you can do with the Kindle, quickly and effeciently and it is still there when you get back to your knitting. You can easily carry your Kindle with you wherever you go, just drop it into your knitting bag and you are good to go. What could be easier?!

Now. You can’t print from the Kindle directly. However, to answer your question, here is what you do.

If you don’t have Kindle Reader for PC loaded on your PC, you can download the software here: http://alturl.com/73xdp

Now, go to your Kindle Library. Find your book. Under the “Actions” dropdown menu, locate “Deliver to My” and in the dropdown box select “Name’s Kindle for PC”. The Name’s is your name, of course. You can also “Download and Deliver via USB” if you don’t have wireless.

The book will download to the Cloud. Now, under “Actions” again, click “Read Now”. It will open up the book in a separate webpage. The tab should look something like https://read.amazon.com/?asin=B00FAUTMBI

You will be looking at the book. To the right and left, you will see grayish arrows to move through the book. To go quickly to the pattern you want go to the Table of Contents and click on the title of the pattern you want. Now you can prepare to print.

The layout on my computer is to see two pages at once, but I have a 24″ screen, so I am not sure if you will see one or two. You may have to print out more than one set of pages, which is fine; the directions I am giving will work. You just have to pull up the pages one by one for printing. It is easier to see and work from this way anyway.

Now, to print out the pages it is just like printing any other document, but you have to use PRINT PREVIEW to set it up the way you want to see it. You may have to play with it. On mine, I set to Portrait (which gives me one page on the screen) and 125% which fills the page and gives me easy reading. You may have to play with it a bit to get the sizing right. Then Print.

If this is too much, and you want to, you can also use Print Screen on each page of the Kindle for PC document, open a Word document, change to Landscape layout then Paste into the Word screen. Then, just print it out.

This should answer all your questions about printing out patterns from a Kindle book.

It is that easy. Happy Crafting!

Review: Morehouse Farm Critter Knits: 20 Easy Patterns & Designs for Animal Scarves, Hats & Mittens

critters
It’s Holiday Knitting Time!
Click to pick up this cutie at Amazon
FOR FREE!

It’s Holiday Time!!! Time for handmade gifts that show you really care, that you really put some thought and care into your gift. And if you have children, nieces, nephews, or even friends or for yourself, (I have GOT to make the Loon Backpack for myself!) these are great patterns for goodies for all your friends and family. And get this:

IT’S FREE!!  http://alturl.com/55rr2

If you like to knit, or even if you haven’t done so before and have always wanted to, you should really download this book and give it a try. If you haven’t knitted before, check the net and you will find all sorts of sites on YouTube.com to learn how to knit. Or, even better, check out your local yarn shop. It is a wonderful way to support your local economy and get to know some really nice people! In most locals you can go in and get your yarn, then sit down and have all sorts of nice ladies wander by to help you out. They usually offer classes for newbies too, which can give you the opportunity to meet new people to share your interests with.

Overall? I look at knitting, or any craft books, and ask myself certain questions. Is the book well written? Are the instructions clear and easy to follow? Are any charts well defined and easy to follow? Is the key easy to read? Are there easy instructions for anything that may be new to the knitter? (YF, cables, etc.) Are the photos well done and beautiful?

Grab this book quickly, before it goes off “Free” and then make sure all your friends know about it!

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