Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Reinventing Ruby Themed Giveaway

It has been about a month since REINVENTING RUBY, my self-published foodie contemporary romance came out, and I'm pleased with the response. Most people who have read it seem to like it, even though there are no witches in it at all :-)

If you haven't given it a try yet, I hope you will! It is available as an eBook everywhere, and in print from Amazon (you can follow the link up above). If you did read it and liked it, remember that good reviews are really, really, really important for authors, and pretty please take a minute to put up a quick one.

As thanks for all your support, I decided it was time for a Reinventing Ruby themed giveaway. Since pomegranates are a big part of the book, I found some cool citronella and pomegranate tea lights, and a lovely pomegranate scented soap. Plus, there is a fun notebook with the book cover on the front.

Giveaway goodies!

I think Magic and Angus approve.
As always, to enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter form. Yes, you get credit for things you've already done (like following me on Twitter--you DO follow me on Twitter, right?) and no purchase is necessary. Although if you buy the book, it will certainly make my day.

So tell me, what is your favorite fruit to cook with? I love cooking with pomegranates and pomegranate syrup. There are even some of my favorite recipes at the end of the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mystic, An Update

I took Mystic back to see his vet today, a follow-up to the emergency visit last week when he had to see someone else because she was on vacation. As many of you know, my giant gray cat Mystic (not so large anymore, alas), the brother to Magic, has been going downhill for some months now. We're still not really sure what's causing the issue--x-rays haven't shown much, and blood tests show us all sorts of issues, including kidney failure, which is a new development in the last few months, and an unexplained very low red blood cell count. He lost his appetite and a lot of weight (going from 16.8 lbs to his current 12.2) and had problems pooping, but we've never really figured out why. There could be an underlying cancer we've never found, or it could simply be age, although even fifteen year old cats don't usually fall apart for no reason.

Mommy, I don't feel well.

We'd managed to stabilize him to some extent. Half a prednisone every other day got him eating again, and three other meds kept him pooping. Recently I also started giving him subq fluids at home, something I had all-too-much practice with from dealing with Samhain's six year fight against renal failure.

But then he peed outside the box three times in eight days. (Copious amounts, but not stinky, thank goodness, because he drinks so  much water.) I was pretty sure it wasn't another UTI, because that's not how he manifests them, and tests showed I was right. The vet we saw last Wednesday suggested that it was possible it was happening because he was in pain, and I thought that was likely because he'd been sitting all hunched over and also really being nasty and aggressive with Magic all of a sudden, unlike his usual periodic bullying.

So the vet tried him on a strong painkiller, which was premeasured in syringes I could just squirt into Mystic's mouth. The verdict was very clear--his behavior changed almost immediately, and he hasn't peed on the floor since, he's mostly better with his sister, and he is obviously more comfortable. This was a little bit "good news, bad news." Obviously it meant he was in increased amounts of pain, which was bad (and probably another indicator of the worsening of his condition, as was the fact that he had lost another pound after staying stable for a few months at 13.4). Plus, this medicine is usually used on a temporary basis only, usually for post-op pain relief. There are very few pain meds that can be used on cats, unfortunately, so our options were limited.

So we went back today to see his beloved regular vet to get her take on this. Luckily, she agreed with me that at this point, any possible negative issues from the painkiller were offset by the necessity to keep him comfortable and reasonably happy. (Basically, he's on kitty hospice, although there is no way to tell if he has a month or six.) He's on a half dose, which seems to be doing the trick for now. It's expensive stuff, of course, but I don't care. He may be fifteen years old, but he is still my baby, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that whatever time he has left is as good as I can make it.

He is, if anything, more affectionate than ever, and I feel blessed that I have such a great vet, and good friends who are willing to care for him--bazillion meds and all--when I go out of town. He's a damned good cat.

Stretchhhhhh. I feel better!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jewelry Sale!

From time to time, I put up a few pieces of my gemstone jewelry on Facebook--mostly just to show off what I've been working on, but also so my fans and friends can have a chance to buy a piece now and then. But I realized I haven't been sharing them here, so to make up for that, not only am I going to do a post with some of my jewelry in it, I'm going to put them on a special sale, available only here! (They're all currently at The Artisans' Guild at their full price, but if you happen to live local to me, let me know.)

Here are a few necklaces that I thought my peeps would like. The first person to claim a necklace in the comments gets it. We'll then arrange payment through Paypal (or a check, if necessary, although I will cash the check before I send the jewelry). Or I could do it through my mostly-defunct shop on Etsy, but then I'd have to add a couple of dollars to cover their fees. Shipping will be $6 in the US, and more elsewhere.

#1 Amber & Jet w/ Pewter Goddess 22" long, $85 on sale for $72

#2 Amber & Jet with Double Sterling Pentacle 22" long, $89, on sale for $72

#3 Double Strand w/ aventurine, amethyst, moonstone with crescent moon, 17" and 20", $69, sale $59

#4 Aventurine & glass crescent moon, 19 1/2 inches, $69, sale $59

#5 Book cat pendant w/ black onyx, riverstone, tiger's eye, 20", $69, on sale for $59

close up of the kitty!
 #6 Black cat pendant with amber & jet, 18", $79 on sale for $69

I only do these kinds of sales a couple of times a year, if that, so if you've been longing for a Deborah Blake original, speak now or, well, wait until the next time! If you do want one, be sure to comment here first to hold the necklace for you, and then contact me either via Facebook or email (magicmysticminerva at yahoo) to deal with the details.

Either way, feel free to say how pretty they are.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Book Research Taken to Extremes

I've done some strange research for my books in the past. For instance, when I wrote WICKEDLY WONDERFUL, I had to Google "locations of nuclear plants in California." For weeks I waited to see if the FBI was going to show up on my doorstep...

But this weekend I got a little more, um, hands on, with my research than usual. In the manuscript I'm working on right now, the protagonist--who knows nothing about farm animals--has to milk a goat. I had a pretty good idea of how it was done from looking at youtube videos and talking to a friend who used to have goats, but I wanted to make sure I got it right. (If you get info wrong in a book, I assure you, people will tell you about it later. Repeatedly.)

Luckily, one of the artists at The Artisans' Guild shop I run happens to be a nun who is in charge of the animals at the Holy Myrrbearers Monastery where she lives in nearby Otego, so she invited me to come milk one of her goats. My friend Ellen went along to watch, take pictures, and no doubt laugh quietly to herself.

It's not as easy as it looks.
 I had a great time, even if initially I got as much milk on my pants as I did in the bucket.

The goat was very patient with me.

Mother Katherine with another one of her charges

Where the milk ended up!
 There were three adorable little kittens in the barn that had been abandoned across the street not long before. (People do that in the country all the time, alas.) They were happy to clear away the milk I got out of poor Claire. The rest went to her kids, who took it directly from the source.

Lots of goats!

Ellen with her new friend Caliban
 Mother Katherine also tends to many sheep (whose wool is made into the yarn, scarves, and felted insoles she sells at the shop), chickens, and the working dogs who live there.

So tell me, what did you do with your Saturday? And if you're a writer, what is the strangest research you've ever done?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

RWA Report and Book Giveaway

I've been back from my trip to the RWA National Conference for a week and a half, but it has taken me this long to get around to reporting on it because A) as usual, I was exhausted when I came back and B) I've been really busy.

But here, at last, is a quick report on my trip.

It was good.

Oh, sorry, you wanted a little more detail? I got in Wednesday late morning, checked in, and caught up with my roommate, the fabulous Maria V. Snyder. (I adore her books. If you haven't read them yet, go run out and catch up.) The two of us ended up going out to dinner that first night with two of my favorite peeps from the Coastal Magic convention, author extraordinaire Carrie Ann Ryan and copy editor extraordinaire and Official Woman with the Coolest Hair Chelle Olson. We went to a fun brewery restaurant and shared tastes of all the different beers made in house. Also, yummy guacamole.

Chelle, Carrie Ann, and Maria
 One of the best things about going to this particular convention is being able to meet up with people I never get to see anyplace else. I had a great lunch meeting with my agent Elaine Spencer (which I somehow completely failed to get a picture of, dammit), met the glorious Tawna Fenske in person at last

The glorious Tawna Fenske
 Had breakfast and then other meet-ups with one of my favorite people, Harlequin senior editor Patience Bloom (who has the best red hair evah and is also a sweetie of the Nth order).

One of the reasons I decided to go this year was because one of my very favorite authors was giving the keynote speech at the luncheon. I love, love, love Susan Wiggs' books (they're an auto-buy for me) and while we follow each other on Twitter, I've never met her. She was a great speaker, and when I got to meet up with her later at the Berkley party, it was absolutely the highlight of my con. (And AGAIN, no picture! Argh!)

Susan Wiggs
At these cons, you tend to run into the same people over and over again. At this particular one, that person was the lovely and charming Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I kept swearing I wasn't stalking her, but I'm not sure she believed me. Either way, she was absolutely gracious about it.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips. And yes, that book came home with me.
At the "Cool Kids" table for the awards ceremony.
 One of the highlights of the convention is the RITA awards ceremony. I actually got to sit at the Cool Kids table between amazing author Kristan Higgins and my lovely pal Patience.

The last night, I had fun in a photo booth with Princess Alethea Kontis (who I also know from Coastal Magic--seriously, you people want to go to THAT convention) at Sherrilyn Kenyon's book release party. It is possible we got a little silly.

As always, I kept my goal to have bacon every day at the con. It's important to have goals in life, don't you think?

Dinner on the last night with roomie Maria. BBQ by the pool, yum!

Best roommate ever
 I always come home from these things with a million books. This time I swore I would limit it to ten, so I didn't have to pay to ship a big box home. Yeah. Not so much.

27 is the same as 10, right?
 Although in my defense, the three books in the middle are ones my agent brought me to read for inspiration on the current book I'm writing, and the pile on the right is for the cat sitters and some friends, and a giveaway. AND I had to mail home the rest of the swag I brought with me to give away.
 Oh, wait, did I say giveaway? I brought home a copy of Susan's last book, The Family Tree (I already have it in hardcover), plus a luggage tag with a picture of her upcoming book, A Map of the Heart. Plus, there are two tote bags! I'll probably also throw in some misc. bookmarks and such. Who wants to enter?

This is going to be a quickie giveaway, only on for a few days, so be sure to enter right away. Oh, and Magic the Cat would like you to know that she helped me pack.

She's never happy about me leaving, and you can tell.
Enter by filling out the Rafflecopter form. You get credit for anything you've already done, like following me on Twitter. (You've already done that, RIGHT?)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next up, a blog about my visit to Animal Adventure Park to see April the giraffe!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Reinventing Ruby Out in Print!

For those of you who asked (and thanks to  my hard-working team behind the curtain), Reinventing Ruby is now out in PRINT!

It is unfortunately more expensive than the eBook, because Print on Demand costs a lot more, but I have kept the price as low as I could by taking only about a dollar in profits. I just want my paper readers to have the book too.

I hope you like it!
You can get it HERE.

Coming post about my trip to RWA Nationals, and my day at Animal Adventure Park visiting April the giraffe! Plus, a giveaway...

(Also, a reminder that early reviews can make or break a book. Please take a minute to review the book if you like it. *smooches*)