Nanowrimo’s Almost Over

And so is my Thanksgiving/Winter Heating Season quickie sale, which ends at midnight on Sunday the 26th of November.

As always, you can make the purchase for yourself or as a gift for a friend, and can collect on it either right away or at a future date.

Meanwhile, I have to trundle out and purchase this year’s turkey and all the rest of the traditional Thanksgiving oddments.

And in honor of the season, a reprise of my 2012 posting of The World’s Easiest Cranberry Sauce recipe:

1 bag fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Put cranberries into a small-to-medium-sized saucepan.  Take a moment to make certain there isn’t a twig or a pebble in there by mistake.  (I’ve never encountered one, but everybody says to check, so somebody must have, at least once.)

Add the water and the sugar.  Stir to combine.  It’s probably a good idea to use a wooden spoon, because you’re going to want to stir the mixture some while it’s cooking, and it’s going to get hot.

Put the saucepan on the stove and turn the burner up to high.  Bring the cranberries-water-and-sugar mixture to a furious boil, stirring every now and again.  Keep on boiling it until the cranberries have all popped.

Remove from heat and pour the sauce into a bowl or tureen or what-have-you, so long as what you have isn’t going to melt from the heat.  Put the saucepan in the sink and run some water into it, so that you don’t end up having to remove the cold solidified remnants with a chisel later.  Remember to turn off the stove.

Serve the sauce with turkey, or with pancakes, or with whatever seems good to you.  It’s good warm or cold, either way, and will keep for a day or so in the refrigerator.

Some people fancy this up with lemon peel or other seasonings, but simple is easier and works just fine.

An Early Opportunity

In honor of Nanowrimo, and of the onset of the winter heating season,† I’ll be running a seasonal sale on editorial and critique services from now through the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  My usual rate of $1500 for a line-edit and critique on a standard-weight novel goes down to $1000 for the duration, and rates for epic-sized doorstops will be similarly discounted.

As always, you can purchase a gift certificate – as a gift for a friend, or for yourself – to be redeemed at a later date.


The snow that fell last Friday? Is still here.

Summertime, and the Living Is Sneezy….

We’re now well into the time of hot, oppressive days and high pollen counts.  The cats, instead of sitting like little furry meatloafs with tails and paws neatly tucked in, are stretched out into longcats, and can be reliably used to find the spots with the best cooling cross-drafts.

Which are no good to the rest of us, because the cats own them.

Summer is not the most enjoyable time for doing work, but work nevertheless must be done (this is where I point, in a discreet parenthesis, to the “Editorial and Critique Services” link up at the top of the page), so I’ll leave you with a handful of links to amuse or interest you during the days when you’re not on vacation at the beach, or in a mountaintop cabin, or in a hermetically sealed and thoroughly air-conditioned hotel room, if such is your pleasure:

First, a clip of Jim Macdonald, my co-author, in his other role as a magician (complete with top hat!)

Next, a good (and funny) explanation of the context rules for the use of bad language, and a report on the discovery of the earliest known use of the f-word in written English.

And finally, a video demonstrating how to put on a set of late 14th-century armor.

Stay cool, and enjoy.

For a Few Days More

In honor of the upcoming (for those who celebrate it) Easter holiday, and because the cold winter just now passing away kept me from starting my customary spring sale in a more timely fashion, I’m taking this opportunity to extend the seasonal special until April 23rd – or Low Sunday, as it’s called in the liturgical traditions.  (It’s traditionally the choir’s day off after the intensity of Holy Week, or at least such was the case back when I was a grad student at UPenn and singing in the church choir at St. Mary’s, Hamilton Village – which was also the church I was married in, and I was pleased to see, when I Googled it, that the parish is still going strong and is still active in social justice work after all these years.)

As usual, the seasonal special gets your standard-weight novel (or that of a friend) a line-edit and critique for $1000 instead of the customary $1500, and the purchase can be redeemed either now or later, as the recipient pleases.

Springtime Seasonal Special

It’s time again for my traditional springtime special offer:

Sample Spring Gift Certificate2017

Yes.  From today through the 16th of April, my usual rate of $1500 for a line-edit and critique on a typical 80,000-100,00 word novel drops to $1000 (or $1030 for PayPal, to cover the fees for a non-personal transaction; using Google Wallet, if you’re set up for it, avoids this problem and is faster as well.)  You can purchase a springtime gift for a writer friend, or for yourself, and redeem it at any time between right now and whenever.

(If you’ve got a 100,000+ word doorstop of a manuscript, and still want to take advantage of the season, contact me and we can work out an appropriate discounted price for a longer work.)

Business Cards, I Have Them

bizcard

Now all I have to do is figure out the most effective way to deploy them.

Do I press them into the hands of all I meet?

Do I save them for giving out to people who sound like they might actually be interested in editorial services?

Do I stick them up on random bulletin boards?  (If I were selling a used snowblower, I’d tack a notice up at the local IGA grocery store, but that’s different . . . or maybe it isn’t.)

Do I scatter them broadcast over freebie tables and consuites at sf/fantasy conventions I happen to attend?

This self-promotional thing, it is tricksy and difficult, especially if one doesn’t have the natural temperament for it in the first place.

Winter Comes, Every Year

And so do the winter electric bills, because we heat our (big, old) house with electricity.  We used to heat it by means of a wood-burning forced-hot-air furnace in the basement, but gave that up after about a decade and a half – wood is cheap, compared to other locally available heating methods, but it’s a hassle from start to finish.

First you have to purchase the firewood, which means finding a reliable Firewood Guy – something that’s a lot harder than you’d think, because your typical reliable Firewood Guy is usually just one year away from selling his chainsaw and his skidder and retiring to Florida, so calling last year’s supplier almost never works.  Once you’ve got the firewood, it has to be stacked, all eight or nine cords of it (a cord, if you’re interested, is a stack of logs measuring 4’x4’x8’, and if you’re ever in the business of purchasing cordwood for yourself, make certain you specify “full cord”, because unscrupulous dealers are not above selling you so-called “face cords” which are only half the width of a proper cord.)

Then the stacked wood has to be heaved down into basement where the furnace lives; this will have to be done repeatedly throughout the winter, usually in the dark on bitter cold nights, because that’s always the time when one or another of the house’s occupants comes into the office and says, plaintively, “There’s no more wood in the basement and the fire is getting low.”  At which point somebody – probably you, because why else would they have come into the office to complain about it – has to suit up in full north country outdoor gear and go move some logs.

After that, you have to go down into the basement and heave yet more logs, this time from the basement into the furnace.  And you’ll have to do it again before you retire for the night, and as soon as you get up in the morning (forget about sleeping in, if you heat with wood), and every four or five hours throughout the day.

So once I started having paranoid fantasies about chimney fires, and about the insidious threat of carbon monoxide, and about tripping and falling on the rickety basement steps – but especially about the basement steps, because I have the sort of ankles that can turn on a crack in the kitchen linoleum – I said the hell with this, and switched to the backup electric baseboard heat.  I have dreams of converting the house to oil or propane, because all the ductwork is still in place, but a project of that expense and magnitude would require major money up front, and Hollywood hasn’t bought one of our novels yet.

Which is why one of the early posts on this blog, back when I was just getting started, was my Fire in Fantasy Rant, and why I’m taking this opportunity to point a discreet finger at the Editorial and Critique Services link up there above the header.  If you’ve got a novel in need of editing, you have it in your power to help me make the electric company very happy.

Seven More Days

A quick reminder that it’s only seven more days before the end of my traditional Midwinter Festival Sale – if you’ve got got a friend who might want a critique and line-edit, or if you want to buy one for yourself to hang on to until you’re ready to use it, you still have some time left.

In the meantime, have some links to pictures of gingerbread houses and a guide to finding local Christmas light displays and last year’s Festival of Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, to amuse you during the season.

The Looming Spectre of Christmas Presents

That time of year is coming around again . . . the Northern Hemisphere Midwinter Holiday (exported to the Southern Hemisphere by transplanted Northern Hemisphereans), in which we celebrate, among numerous other things, the fact that the sun has come back for another year.  I never fully appreciated that aspect of the season when I was a young thing growing up in Florida, or even in Texas; it took moving up to live cheek-by-jowl with the 45th parallel to show me just why so many different cultures thought that the winter solstice was a thing to celebrate.  Right now, we’re in the tight and rapid end of the downward spiral, with night closing in at 4PM or even earlier, and the sense of relief when the days start getting longer again is, believe me, immediate and intense.

So we celebrate our midwinter holidays with good food and good drink and the exchange of gifts, and that brings us to one of the perennial worries of the season:  what to give to the other people in your life.

If one of the other people in your life is a writer, I can help you with that.  From now until the 26th of December, you can buy your writer friend the gift of a line-edit and critique from Dr. Doyle’s Editorial and Critique Services for the seasonal sale price of $1000.00, to be redeemed at the time of the recipient’s choice.

Sample December Gift Certificate

The gift purchase comes with a .pdf certificate suitable for printing out and presenting to the recipient in the wrapper or envelope of your choice.  The holiday in question can be customized for the recipient, as well.

(And if the recipient of the gift happens to be you, that’s fine, too – this has been a rough year, and we need to be kind to ourselves as well as to others.)