Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Review of "The G.O.D. Factor"

Back in July, I posted about some wonderful reviews I got for “The G.O.D. Factor” from Christina E. Rundle and Charles Gramlich. And then this past week, C. Leigh Purtill posted another great review here. Or, you can follow this link to my website where I have them all listed. This part makes me glow every time I read it: “a little Ray Bradbury, a little Isaac Asimov, a little Robert Heinlein. It all adds up to a really fun story with a main character you want to spend more time with.” *sigh*

The consensus seems to be that I need to write more in Monica’s world about Monica’s life. And I’m not promising anything, but I did put a sentence or two on a blank page yesterday while I was thinking about how I might go about doing that.

In the meantime, I have a few other stories to finish…

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Laundry Soap

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a housekeeper. There have been times in my life when I was better at keeping up at it than others. When I lived in the cabin in San Francisco, for example, giving the floor a daily sweep was almost a necessity.

But that didn't mean I got underneath everything or dusted everything or even did dishes everyday. But over the years one of the chores I have almost come to love is doing laundry. Now, I'm not going to go into all the things I like about doing laundry since I already did that here (oddly enough, a year ago). A few years ago, I started making my own laundry soap. I tried it first for fun. I mean I bake my own bread sometimes, why not my own laundry soap? I liked it so much - how it turned out, how it worked out for me (better health, not so many chemicals against my skin, nice smells, etc.) that I haven't gone back to commercial laundry soap since.

Now, I have mentioned over time how I make my own laundry soap. And I know I'm not the only one out there who does it, but it's amazing how many people are - well - amazed - when I tell them I do this. So, since I've recently been typing up instructions, etc for people who are curious, and put together a batch for my sister for her bday (I hope you've opened your bday gifts by now - please?), I thought I would post here, once and for all, that yes, I DO, in fact, make my own laundry soap.

I got the original recipe from the book, The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier. Here's a copy of that page from her book.

But here's what it has morphed into for me:


2 cups (1 bar) grated soap/soap flakes (Dr. Bronner's Rose-hemp all-in-one castile soap)
2 cups baking soda (Arm & Hammer)
2 cups washing soda (Arm & Hammer)
2 cups borax (20 mule team)

10-30 drops each of the following essential oils: Lavender, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rose Absolute (or other essential oils depending on your needs/likes).


Use 1/8 - 1/4 cup per load (give or take and depending on load). I would use 1/4 cup for the laundromat-sized machines if they're full, but less if you're just doing a partial load. More for more soiled loads.


The lumps are probably the borax, it gets lumpy. And there are some pieces of soap that don't grate all the way down. So you might find a soap bit or two at the bottom of the washing machine.

I recommend shaking up the container it's in a bit before each laundry session - not each load, but each session - just to make sure it's all stirred evenly. Settling occurs and all that.

If you use stuff like Spray-n Wash and OxyClean in wash or to pretreat, it works with those just fine.

If you are trying to whiten or brighten a load, then instead of bleach, add Sweet Orange essential oil, or maybe hydrogen peroxide, oxyclean or distilled white vinegar.

White vinegar makes the water softer and keeps your clothes from drying stiff if you hang them to dry. Also breaks up any uric acid.

If you're trying to fight germs or fungus or something that you're not sure will come out with a regular wash, then add a little rosemary or tea tree oil or eucalyptus essential oils as they are all anti-fungal.

So, there you have it. If you need to, bookmark this entry so next time you hear me say I make my laundry soap and you're surprised to hear it because you forgot, you can go back to this entry to look up what it is I do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Full Circle

So, because this is so cool, I thought I would post this.

This is me and the fabulous C. Leigh Purtill back when I first met her at her book signing for "All About Vee" at Chevalier's Books back in May 2008. I blogged about it here.

And this is me and the fabu Leigh at my own book signing for "The G.O.D. Factor" this past Saturday. Also at Chevalier's!

Just seemed kinda cool.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Top ten thoughts on hawking my wares at my first book signing ever at Chevalier’s whilst waiting for people to show up…

1) I wonder if my little novella will grow up to be a real book like the ones on these shelves one day?

2) If I had a tail, I probably wouldn’t slouch as much when I sit.

3) Would it help if I chased people down in the street?

4) I don’t suppose there’s a way to lose a chunk of weight before anyone shows up, is there?

5) There’s lipstick on my teeth. I just know it. There’s lipstick on my teeth.

6) This is beginning to feel remarkably like that party I gave in junior high.

7) Don’t look at the time. For God’s sake, DO NOT LOOK AT THE TIME!

8 ) Need to ask Vicki Pettersson for some Vegas Show Girl dance tips incorporating holding a book so I can dance on the sidewalk and get people to stop and come in and buy my book.

9) Or even just wave it around a little.

10) The people here are awfully nice. I sure hope I sell some of these suckers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It never hurts to ask...

Cross posted from http://puttputtproductions.com/blogetary/2011/08/14/it-never-hurts-to-ask-2/

I’m getting ready for my signing on the 20th at Chevalier’s (http://chevaliersbooks.blogspot.com/). So, I’ve been going over the reviews posted by people to print out and have on hand with me (you can find some of them here: http://www.puttputtproductions.com/published_work/novellas). (BTW – if I sent you a review copy and if you haven’t had a chance to read and review The G.O.D. Factor yet, then let me know when you do so I can post a link to it on my site and use it in future – hopefully – signings.)

I have to confess, at first I was just excited that it was happening. Then, all the particulars started setting in. Ordering books. Ordering enough books. Ordering them on time to get them in time. Making postcards. Mailing postcards. You get the idea.

Now, most of that is done and I’m just plain nervous. The books haven’t arrived, yet (but they will soon). Should I read? Is that done at Chevalier’s? Then I need to practice what I’m going to read, right? What should I wear? Will anyone show up? Will I feel like throwing up the entire time? Or just defeated like when I gave my first party in junior high that fell as flat as a lead balloon? Why am I doing this? Wouldn’t it be better if I stayed at home and just watched Buffy and wrote? What got me into this?

Oh, that’s right. I asked. I sent emails. I picked up the phone. I asked and was given an answer.

That’s one of the things I realized I’ve been learning lately: It never hurts to ask.

I think I need to start including it in the mantras I frequently discuss in writing circles, such as “Write, revise, repeat” and “Always pay attention, because you don’t know where the next idea will come from.”

Sometimes I get people, mostly persons of the high school and college-aged persuasion (kids from Road Trip Nation and my college Alma Mater Western Washington University’s online mentoring program being two examples), asking advice on how to get started on writing, copy editing, proofreading, and generally making a living with words. It’s hard to answer their questions. Most writers know the saying: There’s three rules to becoming a writer but no one knows what they are. Being/becoming a writer is a very Zen process. It’s different for everyone. What is the same for everyone is that it happens through hours of just simply doing it. And then there’s all that practical stuff. There are entire libraries and sections of the book store and Amazon.com dedicated to all that practical stuff (formatting a manuscript, grammar and editing, finding a critique partner, getting involved in a writers group – or not, taking writing workshops – or not, getting an MFA – or not, writing a querying letter, proper etiquette with your editor, etc., etc., etc.).

So, while I don’t want to overwhelm the questors who come my way, I do want to point them in the right direction. I usually end up saying things like don’t give up. Keep at it. Find others like you. Pay attention to everything. And now I’m going to add “it doesn’t hurt to ask” to that list, just as they’ve asked me.

It can be very difficult to ask for or about anything. We’re always afraid of rejection – the big no – no date, no job, no story, no second chance. Plus, as much as we talk about free speech in this country, and our rights to it, the subliminal message is that a “good” girl or boy is one who doesn’t question anything; who simply does what their parent, teacher, employer, spouse, commanding officer asks of them. It’s ingrained in fairy tales and legends from several cultural outlooks. A good/pious/patriotic/virtuous person simply does what they’re told. Without question. And if they are good enough/patriotic enough/virtuous enough God or a fairy godmother or some other Deus ex Machina will come down, recognize how good and brave they’ve been and reward them accordingly. My shorthand for this is usually “maybe if I keep my mouth shut and head down they will go away or we won’t get in a fight this time…” (which never works for anyone’s information).

On top of all that, I think there’s a little bit of ego tied up in the unquestioning lifestyle. Some people think better of themselves if they don’t ask. Or they feel like other people will think that they’re stupid if they ask. Maybe they feel like their “manhood” or “womanhood” has been bruised or questioned if someone questions them about something or if they have to ask about something. They get irritated with other people who ask, thinking that, “I figured it out on my own, so you should, too!” Well, yeah. The questors are figuring it out. They’re asking about it to help themselves figure it out. They’re looking to you as a sign post. If you’re going to get your ego tied up in it, then look at it that way, rather than at the “nuisance” factor.

Oftentimes, not asking is actually the lazy way out. You won’t get a writing job or internship unless you ask – and keep on asking until you get one. Hell, you won’t even know they’re available unless you ask. You don’t get an editor to look at your story or poem until/unless you write a nice cover letter/query letter ASKING that they take a look at it. And if they won’t look at it, write another cover letter to another editor. You won’t find the right writers group or critique partner unless you ask around.

It’s the same with other parts of life. We all know that most of us get employment by going out and looking for it, not by sitting at home and waiting for it. If you’re broke and need help paying rent or getting groceries, how do you know whether or not there are people and programs out there that will help you unless you ASK. That man or woman that you’re interested in isn’t going to “know” you’re interested in them unless you ask them out. If you don’t know the price of something you ASK.

While I am a speculative fiction writer and do think that telepathy could be a rather cool (albeit dangerous) thing, the fact of the matter is that most of us do not possess that skill. We can’t read other people’s minds and they can’t read ours. We have to ask other people for information and sometimes they have to ask us.

Recently our apartment building has been undergoing inspections and I hate strangers in my abode with their street shoes on. Other places I have lived, I had a welcome mat where people could wipe the shoe crude off. We aren’t allowed mats in our apartment building. I was going to keep my mouth shut – “be a good girl” – compliant with the wishes of The Powers That Be. But, then I remembered that it can’t hurt to ask, hard as it is sometimes, because the answer will not always be pleasant. So, I picked up the phone and asked about people removing their shoes before entry into my apartment. And I found out that they can, sort of. They have booties they can wear for such requests. I wouldn’t have known that unless I asked. If you’re vegetarian or allergic or have other health considerations when dining out you also know the power of “it doesn’t hurt to ask.” That is the only way you can find out things. If you’ve ever needed help with anything – studying a topic, caring for someone who’s ill, caring for yourself when you’re ill, or even just time with a friend – then you know. It never hurts to ask.

In fact - frequently - people were waiting for you to do just that – just ask.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The G.O.D. Factor excerpt

If you’re haven’t ordered a copy of “The G.O.D. Factor,” yet cuz you’re still on the fence about it, then you can read an excerpt of it on Bewildering Stories here: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue442/godfactor_ex.html

You can buy it here: http://sdpbookstore.com/storybooks.htm#godfactor

And, as a reminder, if you live in Los Angeles, I’ll be signing copies at Chevalier’s, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., 90004, on Saturday, August 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's in a Name?

Warning: Pretty good take off, but shaky landing on this one, so be prepared (in some respects, it's really kind of dorky). In which I discuss names, what they mean and how they effect us, and then read a poem, kind of named in reference to the Names Quilt.

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTr7NX0Uzn0

Monday, August 1, 2011

City Music

This is the second poem published in the Summer 2010 issue of Poetry Quarterly, City Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaXtYYKRZRY. For more of my poetry, go to Putt Putt Productions (www.puttputtproductions.com). For more issues of Poetry Quarterly, go to www.poetryquarterly.org.