Monday, 4 March 2013

Such a Slacker

My apologies for not posting sooner and more often. It is amazing how caught up in life we get. I haven't been slacking in my writing however, although you would think otherwise by the lack of posts on this blog in recent months.

I wrote and self-published Writeful Advice in early mid-September, then we had a family tragedy so the rest of September and a good portion of October were taken up just trying to get through each day. As I was aimlessly clicking on articles and links, I came across the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) site and registered to write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days. The strangest part was I had no plot in mind, no characters and no direction. I was beginning to think I had completely lost my mind, but that all changed the morning after I registered. I woke up with an idea in mind, and quickly wrote out the basic outline (it was all I was allowed to do until November 1).

Between helping my Dad and Uncle on the farm and taking care of my own livestock, I didn't have much time for writing. Of the 50,000+ words I finished with, about one quarter of them were written the last three days. For anyone who says it cannot be done, I am proof that it can - along with several thousand others.

The most unusual part about writing The Hidden Estate was I am a nonfiction writer. Taking the plunge and diving in head first showed me that I do have what it takes as a writer, no matter the genre. I do prefer nonfiction, as I like to teach others the many things I know (the reason behind The Homemaker Helper Series). I do have to admit, incorporating some of my knowledge has made for an interesting fiction title. The  neatest part for me is I also came up with an idea for a sequel, which I will be writing in between games at the Tim Horton's Brier this week.

I have also done some work on Cooking 101, the next book in The Homemaker Helper Series. I am almost happy with how it looks now, so if all goes well it will be released later this year. Instead of just putting together an assortment or recipes, I have included lists of things every kitchen should have, as well as the gadgets and appliances which make our lives easier.

The third book in the series has also been started, which includes (but is not limited to) storage, cleaning and decorating. I also have the outlines almost finished for each book in the series (which will be at least 12 by the time I am done).

After my week away, I will be refreshed and ready to get back to my writing projects at hand. I do have a few in different stages of progress and am working on setting personal deadlines so I can release one every two or three months. I will post again when I return from the Brier. Have a great week everyone!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Website Review – Alacraft

While searching online for craft sites I happened across Alarcraft, an online craft store in Australia. The site has simple navigation to pages with Braids & Trims, Bridal, Butterflies, Craft Flowers, Crochet Cotton & Accessories, Diamante Products, General Craft, Haberdashery (aka notions), Lace, Motifs, Quilting Fabrics, Ribbon, Scrapbooking, Stickers and Yarns & Knitting.

The selection of products available surpassed my initial expectations when I arrived at the Home Page. Don’t let the simplicity of the site fool you into thinking the range of products is not there. Although I am on a different continent than Alarcraft I am aware the prices are very competitive to what we have available in Canada, perhaps even slightly lower.

Being a craftperson myself, I would not hesitate to order any products from this particular site. (Unfortunately they are currently only shipping within Australian borders.) My personal favorites are the Haberdashery, Scrapbooking, Quilting Fabrics and Sticker pages. The selection of the latter is as good or better than any local craft outlet.

The Blog posts are very informative, providing instructions on a variety of crafts. The content is evergreen (will never go “stale”), which perhaps explains the absence of post dates. The "evergreen" approach is very important to keep visitors coming back to learn something new. I have personally bookmarked the site and will be returning to learn more about knitting.

I particularly enjoyed reading the Cardmaking post, as it explains what is needed to make your own cards. The materials are basic and they suggest using basic card stock if just starting out with making your own cards. Handmade cards are usually treasured more than store-bought, so if you have a special occasion coming up, why not try out this simple craft?

The knitting and crochet posts are also informative, and give the reader basic instructions on how to get started. Learning the basic stitches and utilizing them will lead to bigger and better projects as you increase your skill. A scarf is a simple project to start with; before long you may find yourself knitting sweaters for every member of your family.

The bottom line: if you are in Australia, you can order some wonderful products that will be shipped to you promptly. For those who are not in the shipping zone, visit the site for updates and posts on other crafts. If there is a particular craft you would like more information on, simply contact them via the form on the site and request a blog post.

Have a great day!

Note: this is a sponsored post.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Taking a Hiatus

I have been feeling rather stressed lately in terms of not getting "Cooking 101" out by this time, but have decided in order to make it better I really do need to have more time. Summer is always a busy time for me with the garden, helping my Dad and trying to keep on top of my own acreage work. We also sheared alpacas so I have fleece to process now, which will be a whole new experience for me.

In addition to the above, I am also in month number three of the HubPages Apprenticeship Program. It is a program in which I write articles, get paid for each one I submit and earn an additional ongoing revenue based on views. I am also learning more about choosing titles, using HP capsules and SEO. It is an intensive program which I am determined to complete; so in order to do so I have to put something on the back burner. Learning more about SEO will help with my books as well, so I feel the hiatus will be worth it.

My family and I are also taking a mini-vacation in less than a week to Jasper National Park. We have a cabin booked right up at Miette Hot Springs, which will be a nice treat for all of us. I am looking forward to some relaxation time; perhaps even do some writing just for me.

I will keep you all posted on the progress of the Homemaker Helper Series, but for the moment it is being put on hold. I will be working on it off and on; just not releasing any new books for a little while.

Stay tuned for posts on my Alpaca Fiber processing adventures; I will be trying my hand at carding, spinning and felting as soon as I get the proper equipment.

Have a great day!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Home Based Business

Do you currently operate a Home-Based Business? If so, do you sell products or services? Do you have an outlet for your products?

The reason I am asking these questions is because I recently stumbled upon (or should I say, was re-introduced to) a business I can run in addition to my writing/freelancing career. The best part is I can sell my work through the company and earn extra income that way as well.

The company I am referring to is SFI (Strong Future International). I joined several years ago, but let my membership slide. I was very impatient and was not as knowledgeable in terms of marketing and the internet in general. I do admit I was expecting the dollars to start rolling in almost immediately, and became a little disgruntled when they didn't. Being a brick-and-mortar business owner when my children were younger, I should have known it takes time to build a business. Needless to say, I am giving it another chance.

Once I realized I could incorporate what I am already doing in terms of writing and social networking, becoming an SFI Affiliate did not seem so difficult after all. The best part is, it is free to join. There is never any obligation to buy anything. However, each affiliate must earn a minimum number of points per month to be entitled to the perks of the company. These points are easily earned the first month, as they give you every opportunity to benefit from all of the training materials provided.

After the first month you should have started to build a downline of your own, which in turn translates into more points for you. This is a no-risk opportunity, and with the utilization of the internet anyone can be successful at it. It will require some effort on your part, but in time the rewards will be well worth it. I started again at the end of June, and earned Executive Affiliate Status by mid-July. If my calculations are correct, I have made Bronze Team Leader (I will know for sure by mid-August).

There are several ways to earn money with SFI, but the most popular and by far the easiest is to sell TripleClicks Credits. With TC Credits, you can bid on the various Pricebenders Auctions which run throughout the day. As an affiliate you have the option to sell these credits to others, thus turning a portion of the sale into commissions for you. For a better look and understanding of the Pricebenders Auctions, click here. As I write this, the current auction is for 50 CSAs (Co-Sponsored Affiliates) - a win of this auction will increase my commissions considerably. (I do have to say, I have been outbid this round - it looks like I will be needing to add to my TC Credits as well.) I put a cap on how many TC Credits I use per auction; if I didn't I would use them all on one item. I capped this particular auction at 4 credits; tomorrow is a new day.

In addition to earning with the Pricebenders Auction Credits, you can also earn by displaying the TripleClicks decal on your car. Participation is this is free as well, but there is a small shipping and handling fee (less than $2.00) for the decal and other information. I am anticipating a small deposit from my participation in the Wave3 program. For those of you who spent a lot of time on the road, this is an ideal option for you.

Regular sponsorships and listing your own products in the TripleClicks Store will increase earnings exponetially if utilized properly. Keep in mind I make no guarantees in terms of earnings, but if you put forth the effort the earnings will follow. If you have an idea of how much you wish to make, there is an earnings calculator on the membership page as well. Go ahead, give it a have nothing to lose and everything to gain. For the SFI main sign-up page, click here.

Good luck, and I look forward to you joining my team. Have a great day!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Work at Home Opportunity

I personally know how difficult it is to make ends meet sometimes. I recently found a site that is great for anyone wishing to earn a few extra dollars for that vacation, car repair or college fund. All you need is a good comprehension of the English language and basic writing skills. There is a simple screening test to weed out those who don't put in the time or effort to do a good job.

The site I am talking about is Postloop. It pays you to post your opinions, ideas and answers on forums. It is 100% legitimate and I personally have already had money deposited into my PayPal account. I have found several forums I like and that are tuned into my interests, including crafts, hobby farming, writing and health - just to name a few.

If you have a few extra minutes in your day, and like to spend time online - why not get paid for it? Click on the banner below for your chance at being able to take that much-deserved vacation a little sooner.

Have a great day!

Earn Money Posting in Forums

Friday, 11 May 2012

5 Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here! Have you begun your spring cleaning yet? I started with my garden shed early in the week, and had an interesting surprise. Read more about it here.

My next step is to go through closets and bookshelves. As my children get older they no longer need many clothing items or want to play the "little kid" games. The clothing I donate to Goodwill, and the games and toys become part of the "yard sale" pile. I have a toy box in my living room for my nephews when they come over, but aside from that it is time to liquidate the countless toys which have accumulated over the years. My son is 18 and my daughter almost 16 so it is definitely time to let go of many of the toys.

Books and movies usually are exempt from being tossed, no matter what age they are for. My goal is to one day have a home library (yes, a room full of books and comfy chairs to read in) and will keep books for all ages and interests. Movies will be a part of that library as well.

When it comes to deciding what to donate or sell, keep a few things in mind.

  1. When was the last time you used the item? The general rule is if it hasn't been used for six months, get rid of it. There are exceptions to the rule, such as seasonal items.
  2. Have your interests changed? For example - do you have a shelf full of fabric but don't sew anymore? Donate it to your local Quilt Guild and they will use it for quilts for local children's hospitals. A Guild in a neighboring town (Vermilion, AB) recently displayed quilts they made for the Stollery Children's Hospital at their Quilt show. I am a quilter, but will most definitely be donating part of my fabric stash to help support the cause.
  3. Have you lost/gained weight? Get rid of the clothes that no longer fit. If your weight changes in the future, go shopping. Do not keep your "skinny" or "fat" clothes as they just take up space in your closet in addition to frustrating you when you see them. As the years go on our bodies change; you may weigh the same as you did when you were in your early 20s but your body shape may be different. Work with your body, not against it.
  4. Do you have small appliances you never use? Perhaps an extra kettle or toaster? Donating such items to Women's Shelters helps those who may have to start a new life with nothing due to domestic issues. (Clothes, toys and other household items are always welcome donations for Women's Shelters.)
  5. Do you have room for all of your "stuff"? If you find you are needing to rent a storage bay or are considering buying a bigger shed, then it is time to go through your things and downsize. If you have children getting ready to set out on their own, perhaps boxing up some extra dishes, small appliances and quilts will help them adjust to their own place by having some of "home" go with them.
These are just a few thoughts on getting rid of the extra "stuff". As you go through your closets, shelves and totes you will undoubtedly find other ways as well. If they are items you would like a return on, post them on your local online garage sale page (if you don't have one, create one) or ebay. These are options if you do not want to have a yard sale, or don't have enough stuff for a yard sale.

Good luck with your spring cleaning! Have a great day!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Catching Up

Oh my...has it been almost two months already?!

I have been busy with Cooking 101 (anticipated release is on or before May 31, 2012), the next book in the series, as well as working on articles for HubPages, Knoji and a few other sites. I have also spent some time working on the third book in the series as well, which I hope to have finished within six months. In addition to the above, I have also outlined almost 40 ebook ideas, some of which I have used for articles.

Today our newest addition to our alpaca herd is one week old! I was very blessed as I was able to see the birth of this one; the little boy born in February was on the ground and probably an hour or more old before I saw him. I can't wait for the next one to arrive, but it won't be until fall. I think we have done well considering the five females we bought were supposed to be open (unbred).

Pictured below is the new baby at less than 24 hours old with her mama.

It took her a couple of days to find her legs and not fall flat every time she tried to run. It is nice now that the male born in February has a playmate. I can't wait until we have more!

I love staying at home and taking care of our animals. They are often my inspiration to write, and are most entertaining at times. If only I had more pens...

For those of you who are interested in more of what I have available please visit my website. From there you can like my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter and check out my Pinterest boards. I also have an open forum available for members and non-members to interact with one another and make the most out of the free resources available.

Have a great day!


p.s. My website is more than just writing; it is a source for patterns, ideas and interaction with like-minded people all over the world.