Saturday, December 31, 2016

Day #2: Pie Time to Celebrate

Sorry to all you math nerds...I didn't mean 3.14,  I meant apple pie with a flaky crust and pumpkin with nutmeg, cinnamon, and fresh whipped cream *slobber* 

Christmas may be over, but the New Year is right around the corner. If you need a good book to ring in 2017, then check out Riding with the Hides of Hell. It's free on Amazon from now until January 3rd. It's a hell-a-good adventure story for Young Adult romance fans.

Kindle Price $0.00
Today - Jan 3

Now...back to pie time. A feast for your eyes!

Blue Ribbon Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Butternuts in the Background

Digging In

Dog Diggity
Abby (with her tops down) Zelda, Tilly, and Tango

Friday, December 30, 2016

Day #1: Riding with the Hides of Hell
Free eBook on Amazon


It's that time again...time to go to Amazon and download your free copy of Riding with the Hides of Hell. It's available for the next five days to celebrate 2017. Tell your friends, pass the joy along...Free!

Happy New Year!

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Riding with the Hides of Hell is a gritty Young Adult romance set in small towns throughout the Pacific Northwest. It’s about a strong girl and a moody grump finding love on a road trip from hell. 

**Young Adult FINALIST in the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest**

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Day #5: Merry Christmas!

FIRST: Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a joyous Festivus for the rest of us.

SECOND: Today is the last day of a FREE Dealing with Blue eBook on Amazon. They're going like hotcakes so get in there and get a copy. 


THIRD: What are we up to here in the PNW? Well...we've opened our gifts and have discovered that more than one of us likes Legos in this household. Trix are for kids; Legos are for everyone.

"Houston, we may have a problem."
Family Lego Addiction

Feelin' Like a Kid in the Candy Store

We also played in the snow! But while the weather warnings say words like "blizzard" and "snowpacolypse," we're scratching our heads and wondering about the blue skies and sunshine. The snow is melting fast around here. Gotta get the fun in while it lasts!

Angels in the Snow

Making a Snowman
with a Red-Pepper Nose

Snowball Fights
Pack 'em Hard, Ladies!

"Humans are weird."
Tilly and Tango

Fun's Not Over Yet...

Next book giveaway is Riding with the Hides of Hell...so get ready! It will be FREE December 30 - January 3, just in time to ring in the New Year :)
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Day #4: Fabulous Five Ornaments

Day #4 is the eve of...the last day of...the free ebook of...Dealing with Blue on Amazon. It's a Young Adult love story set in a small town. Here's what's inside:
Life used to be organized and normal until Suzy Blue moves in with her hoarding mother. Her neighbor, J.J. Radborne, has his own set of problems. His ex-girlfriend is turning up the heat in a confusing mind game, but fortunately, he knows exactly who to team up with: Suzy Blue. Yeah…perfect. Now, if she’d only cooperate.
Kindle Price $0.00
Now - Dec 25th

Now for the fabulous five...Christmas ornaments! My late Aunt Judy used to craft her own ornaments out of beads, wire, and ribbon. On our trees we see our favorite decorations with her craftsmanship, unique and sentimental, and we remember her.

Angel

Mice Friends

Snowflake

Rainbow Star

My Aunt Judy made hundreds of ornaments: icicles, wreaths, drummer boys, toy soldiers, Christmas trees, and a lot more. The clothespin reindeer above was made by my little brother for a holiday craft when he was in elementary school. Ah...the good old days. I love seeing these things on Mom and Dad's tree.

The Head of Donner

I made this one out of a pompoms back in the day...and it made me laugh when I saw my kids hanging it this year. So odd with the bug eyes set close together. Lol.

Homemade is best!
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"If all else fails, sprinkle glitter on it!"

Friday, December 23, 2016

Day #3 Puppies in the Snow

It's day three of operation, "Free ebook" on Amazon. Dealing with Blue, a Young Adult, small town romance, is available for a free download today thru December 25th! Christmas is fast approaching and with the impending snow blizzard, it could be a great way to cozy things up. Warm fire, mug of hot chocolate, a furry friend (or two), and a good book. Give Dealing with Blue a shot :)

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Tango

The Snow Scout
Tilly Bean

Happy Birthday, Puppies!
Tilly and Tango Turn Two

Dealing with Blue

On one side, Suzy Blue has a mother with a hoarding problem and on the other, the hunky neighbor, J.J. Radborne, who needs a stand-in girlfriend. Suzy's makes a deal with him, but how can she keep him away? It takes a lot of pretending.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

DAY #2: Dealing with Blue
Free eBook on Amazon


These pancakes are awesome! All slathered in syrup...salty, sweet. Yum. The recipe is from the Land O'Lakes cookbook called Treasury of Country Recipes, an old cookbook I use all the time. The recipe says it makes six, but if you like your pancakes big, pretend it says, "Makes a hearty four." 

After you get done slobbering over the ingredients list--bacon, cheddar cheese, apple compote--then pick up an ebook copy of Dealing with Blue. It's currently free on Amazon now through December 25th.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Day #1: Dealing with Blue
Free eBook on Amazon


Winter Solstice is here! Snow...icicles...a cold chill. I'm ready to bust out a couple sleds and put on my skis. We'll be playing outside for the holidays and throwing white stuff around. This Montana girl has the chains packed, but first...let's whip some donuts. Lol. Safety first...yes, yes. I know. Hi, Mom!

Anyway--got side tracked there--what I wanted to say is go to Amazon and download your free copy of Dealing with Blue. It's available for the next five days to celebrate the holidays. Tell your friends, pass the joy along...Free!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.


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Dealing with Blue is a Young Adult love story about the serious Suzy who acts like the school's party animaniac is her new boyfriend, and that her hoarding mom is perfectly sane. Yeah, there's a lot of pretending going on. This book is a stand-alone set in a fictional small town somewhere in western Washington. It's about a strong girl and a bad boy peeling back the layers to discover what's true.

**FINALIST 2015 PNWA Literary Contest for Young Adults**
**FINALIST 2016 PNWA Nancy Pearl Book Award**

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Favorite Artist: Dale Chihuly

I recently went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit located near the Space Needle at Seattle Center. It had approximately 15,000 positive reviews on Yelp, and I'd never even been there! Last weekend, I decided it was time to get out of my house, renew my creative energy, and get my art on.

I'm glad I did because I absolutely loved it. My favorite part of the museum wasn't glass, but Dale Chihuly's abstract paintings...so textural and full of energy.

Boats

Chandelier

Vivid Paintings

Glass Bowl

Garden of Reflections

Space Needle

Glass House

"Tough times never last but tough people do." ~ Robert H. Schuller

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

From the Art Docent: Analogous Color

Analogous Color Assignment

Third graders don't want a lecture; they want to get to the good stuff, and so do I. So I keep the front end of art class pithy, leaving plenty of time to delve into the project. Since this was my first class of the year, I shared my expectations with the kids:

1.) We're exploring the medium; it's an individual journey.
2.) Mistakes are part of the process and a lot of times can be called "happy mistakes." Go with it, and see what happens. This is a first draft, not a master piece.
3.) It's your work, and if you want to use green paint for shadow instead of black, go for it. Own it.
4.) Everyone's piece will look different, and that's okay.
5.) Have fun!

On the Rack

Here are two videos that inspired this assignment for analogous colors:

13 Watercolor Techniques by Mr. Otter Art Studio
Watercolor Winter Landscape by Mr. Otter Art Studio

The lesson included:
1.) The definition of analogous colors on the color wheel: three colors that sit next to each other.
2.) Examples by a master artist. My pick was Vincent Van Gogh's Wheat Field Under Clouded Sky
3.) Examples by a current artist, like comic book artist Kazu Kibuishi's Explorer.
4.) The masking/blocking concept with tape to resist the watercolor paint.
5.) Making a gradient wash using the analogous color scheme of blue and purple and the variations in between.
6.) Using a smaller, pointed paint brush for details.
7.) Paying attention to the direction of light for shadows.
8.) How salt crystals look when applied to wet watercolor paint.

B's Aspens in the Snow

R's Details Include Swirls and Smiley Faces

Art Class Presentation

"I dream my painting and I paint my dream." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway Winners!

Cooking Up Some Good Reads

Go, go, Great Britain! The three winners of Riding with the Hides of Hell Goodreads Giveaway are:

Jamie from Hampshire
Clare from Shropshire
Janet from Swansea

Each will receive a copy via Amazon.co.uk. Jamie, if you're reading this, your address didn't mesh with what Amazon thought it should be, and I've sent an email to Goodreads regarding this. I hope they contact you in a timely fashion so I can get a book shipped off to you.

Clare and Janet, your books have been ordered and are on their way. You should receive your copy by Monday, according to the powers that be.

I hope you enjoy it!

Tilly Bean Feeling Kick@ssy in Her New Skull & Bones Hoodie

"You can have anything you want if you dress for it." ~ Edith Head

Monday, November 07, 2016

A Goodreads Giveaway Coming Right Up!

Will and Miki's story is called Riding with the Hides of Hell. It's a young adult romance filled with adventure, danger, tough luck and tough love. This was a finalist in the YA category for the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest and was last year's NaNoWriMo project. It's finally come to life, and I'm celebrating by giving away three free copies through Goodreads. Whoot!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Riding with the Hides of Hell by Stacia Leigh

Riding with the Hides of Hell

by Stacia Leigh

Giveaway ends November 16, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is upon us, so get ready. It runs the month of November and starts on All Saints Day, right after Halloween. The goal: Write 50,000 words toward a novel.

Sure, go trick-or-treating and have some fun the night before, but then throw out the junk candy (okay, pick out the good stuff), and clean the coffee maker. Sharpen your pencils even if its simply to tuck behind your ear. Set your alarm...hit snooze. Whatever. Just put your butt in the chair and clickety clack every day for thirty days. Create a habit. Cry. Try. Do it. Be proud.

If not for you, do it for the dogs. Do it for Tilly Bean. I mean, really...look at that face!

Wonder Underbite
Tilly Bean

But for some reason, the official NaNoWriMo web banner wasn't doing it for me. I put it up on Facebook, but my portrait covers the 2016. Poor design, peeps. The Dudess can't abide ;)

NanoWrimo 2016 Participant Web Banner
Sorry, but no.

So I made my own Facebook banner. I pulled up my Destination Moon illustration from long, long ago, the one inspired by the song of the same name, sung by the awesome Dinah Washington.


My Version: Destination Moon
Feel free to share!
Hell, Yeah!

My November Facebook Portrait
Moon Faced

YA Romance #3 in the Works

I'm in between a pantser--some one who writes by the seat of their pants, guided by inspiration and caffeine--and someone whose a planner, one who writes an outline, character sheets, knows their plot points and when the starter pistol goes off, they've got a stack of notes to boost their confidence. So does that make me a plantser?

Yes, I like it :)

So my temporary cover is done. I've researched my character portraits on Pinterest. I've written up some bullet points on character development sheets, and this time, I even wrote a synopsis. I'm sort of ready. I'll sit in the basement with my computer, my cup of coffee, my dogs, and my space heater...stare at the screen...and wish I'd planned a little bit more.

Fun! Join me! My username is EspialDesign.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Currently: Celebrating Formatting Success!

With my personal tech guru, Gosho, by my side, I downloaded my Riding with the Hides of Hell files from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in HTML format. We reviewed the KDP supported formats section and got to work.

Gosho downloaded HTML Tidy (Google says: "HTML Tidy is a web browser application whose purpose is to fix invalid web code, beautify the layout and formatting of the incorrect markup. The user interface is composed of two main editors where you can edit your content in a visual and a source editor.") and "we" got busy eliminating unnecessary code as per KDP's HTML guidelines. Basically, I watched while Gosho did all the heavy lifting (and swearing, etc)...

...and my loyal companions were equally helpful, offering up their morale support...

Tilly Bean and Tango "The Rug"
Heat-Bathing and Dreaming of Mexico


"How could I be so blind? He's in love--with a machine!"


"Let's plan a weekend getaway in the basement on our computers."


"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant." ~ Mitchell Kapor


"Tech Support Made Easy"
Hello? Can you hear me now?


Gosho...are we done yet?

__________________________________

After getting KDP confirmation (after a 5-hour wait) Gosho and I eagerly checked the "Look Inside The Book" previewer and nearly cried. The spacing was off just like before and where the hell did my image go? Well...after another hour of research, Gosho found this on the KDP site: "That's it -- the new file will overwrite the old file within 24-48 hours. The 'Look Inside' sample will update within a week."

Maybe all this fuss was for nothing? More wait-and-see? I think Gosho needs a drink.

Well...in a week, I hope it all turns out so readers will have confidence in the ebooks they're buying.