Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Oprah, Weaving Destiny, and My Hair (Not in that order)

I've been hair-color challenged lately.  For years I've colored my hair a pale blond to match the shade it was in High School.  But lately I've been experimenting, because (1) I can, and (2) change is good for you.  I've been thinking of trying RED.  Like "a sunset after a bomb went off" red (that's a Trueblood reference for those of you who don't watch).

I know you're thinking, how could that plan possibly go wrong? But currently my color is less than stellar and I'm not feeling particularly photo worthy.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I saw this little ad on Facebook about the Oprah Winfrey Network.  You could enter to win a free journal.  I'm a writer so journals have a high value in my life, thus I clicked. I was taken to a page where I could set up a profile for myself that included a section called a "Dream Board".  I was intrigued by the social media aspect of the site, so, I filled it out.  But when it came time to upload my photo, I decided to use the cover of Weaving Destiny rather than an old photo, since a new photo was sooooo not happening.

I was totally floored when I received this email:

After reading through the links, I can only guess that somehow the cover infringes on their solicitation policy, although that's hard for me to buy into.  Nevertheless, I now have an old photo on my Oprah profile.  

I don't see myself visiting OWN on a regular basis.  I'm healthy, unviolated, and have good relationships with my parents, my kids, AND my husband.  I do sometimes check out the recipes and book recommendations and, of course, I'll enter to win the giveaways. :) But I think I'll keep my comments and my dreams to myself. Because if I can't use my cover as my profile pic, then I'm guessing wallpapering my Dream Board with Soulkeepers' images isn't going to fly either. I guess when they say "Dream Board" they mean unrequited and obscure dreams, not the I'm-getting-it-done-and-making-it-happen type.

If all this talk about Oprah has left you squeeing with fan girl enthusiasm, visit http://www.oprah.com/own. You can make your OWN profile and even enter to win a chance to meet the big O.  And if you happen to comment in the books section that the best deal in Young Adult fiction is The Soulkeepers Series, well, I had nothing to do with that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cutting the Cord

I sent out several eBook advanced review copies (ARCs) of Weaving Destiny today. I would have liked to read through the manuscript again from start to finish.  But the time has come to cut the cord.

The book has been read, critiqued, and edited by over half a dozen people.  Consistently, they've liked it as well or better than The Soulkeepers. Still, I found it next to impossible to let go.  I was tempted to keep my manuscript safe and warm on my desk where it couldn't be poked or analyzed by reviewers.

Well, I didn't REALLY want that.  A book is written to be read.  So, I helped my baby book onto the bus, hoping that these first experiences with the big bad world would help it to grow into the novel it was meant to be.

It's hard to move on. I loved writing Weaving Destiny. But other babies are waiting to be born.

Do you feel the same way about your writing?  Do you obsess over making your manuscript perfect when you know it's time to move on?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spread the Word: Weaving Destiny & Sept. Book Event

I'm pleased to announce that Weaving Destiny will launch Thursday, September 15, 2011.  If you haven't read The Soulkeepers yet, now would be a great time! *hint* If you can answer some trivia questions about book one, you'll be able to increase your chances of winning the prize packs.

Also, I would love to meet you at my first Weaving Destiny event:

September 10, 2011 1-4 pm
Aurora Public Library Local Author Fair
Eola Community Center
555 S.  Eola Rd.
Aurora, IL

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why is the blonde always mean?

Have you seen Mean Girls? I caught a part of it this weekend.  It's one of my favorite movies.  Tina Fey is an absolute genius. But one of the things that bothers me about the movie is the stereotype that blondes are mean.  It's not just Mean Girls.  Young Adult literature is filled with blonde characters that are heartless, cruel, and by some illogical twist of fate, also popular.

So here's my blonde anonymous confession. *stands up* My name is G. P. Ching.  I was a natural blonde in High School and I was a nerd.  I was not popular.  I was not mean. I was, however, wicked smart and opinionated.

Guess I didn't fit the mold, huh?

Here are some other stereotypes that I find comical in YA literature.

1. The heavy girl is always sweet.
 BAH!  I knew lots of heavy girls who were really mean and made it their life's mission to tear down anyone they felt was better than them.

2. The minority is the outcast.
Uhm...Our class president was a minority and my school was 98% white.

3. Attractive girls are cheerleaders.
Not so.  Today, the athletes that make the cheer squad are the ones who can tumble, have rhythm, and lead the crowd.  Last I heard, beauty wasn't on the scorecard.

4. Asians are brilliant.
Well, this one is mostly true. LOL!

So why do you think these cliches persist?  Which ones make you laugh? Are there ones I haven't mentioned that are your personal pet peeves?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Personalized autographs: Not just for paperbacks anymore!

When I first heard about Kindlegraph, I was skeptical.  I mean, the website is seriously lacking in the info department.  It has the feel of something a college kid slapped up as part of an extra credit project.  Still, the lure of having this option available to my readers led me to add The Soulkeepers.

The author interface was a great start.  My only complaint is you can't adjust the size or layout of your message.  My first time, I learned the hard way that less is more.  You get about ten words of text and then your message is running into your signature.

As far as signatures go, I've heard some other authors complain that they would like to use their actual signature and can't.  Kindlegraph gives you the option of signing with your mouse or choosing from a variety of prefabricated signatures of your name.  Those who have tried the mouse signature say it's worthless. It just so happened that a prefab version matched my signature almost exactly, so I chose that route.

After I did my part, I was wary of advertising the service.  Would it be difficult or impractical for readers to use?  Lucky for me, my first request came from a Facebook friend with a kindle.  I'm happy to say that she reported back to me that the process is very easy and the results are great.  Kindlegraph sends the signature on a separate page  to the readers kindle.

So, if you are a reader with a kindle and a copy of The Soulkeepers, feel free to request your personalized signature.  And if you are an author considering this service, give it a try.  It really is a terrific way to make the electronic book reading experience a bit more personal.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Services: Hire Me to Help You Publish

I founded this blog back in 2010 based on the idea that a person who wants to write should write, whether or not they have the approval of others to do so.  That's why I called it So, Write. The best writing comes from the heart. Since then, I've watched this blog grow.  I now get between 200-500 hits per day and have had over 30,000 visitors.

I'm now happy to announce that I'm taking my passion for supporting new and emerging writers one step further.  I want to offer you one on one help.  Here are the services I'm introducing on So, Write.

Formatting Novels for Self-publishing: eBook (Kindle, Nook, & Smashwords formats) $75, Paperback (PDF) $75

Advertising: For $15 per day or $75 per week, I'll put your book cover in the upper right hand corner of my blog (where you see The Soulkeepers right now).  I'll link that picture to an interview I'll do with you.  I'll advertise that interview on twitter. At the end of your run, the cover comes down but the interview stays up.

Developmental Editing: An in-depth read of your work pointing out strengths and weaknesses in plot, character, pacing, structure, and over-all effectiveness.  This is not line editing, but I will point out errors that stand out to me.  $50 per 10,000 words.

I look forward to working with you!

Prices are subject to change.  Turn around time is based on my availability.  All payments are required through Paypal before services are rendered.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Has anyone else ever seen the movie?  It's not exactly Hollywood's finest but it's worth a laugh or two. I wasn't laughing, however, when the heat ripened all of my tomatoes at once this week.  All of them.  Tons of them.

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you probably know that I'm a gardener.  Every year I plant an array of vegetables, and every year I make homemade tomato sauce.  I dry my own basil and oregano and I even grow the onions.  Anyway, it's been a crazy summer and August crept up on me.  I found myself with  a counter covered in plum tomatoes.  How many?  Well, I didn't count them but after I'd blanched, skinned, cored, and diced them it made 48 cups.

So last night I was up until midnight processing 12 quarts of prepared sauce.  I asked myself, "Self, why do you do this?  Surely, there is an easier way.  A jar of sauce, after all, is like $2.99."  I didn't have any answers.  It's a huge time suck.  But to make myself feel better about the time I spent weeding, watering, herb-drying, picking, peeling, coring, chopping, measuring, stirring, and processing (deep breath) so that my family could have fresh, homemade, BPA free, tomato sauce, I'm posting my recipe here so that you too can ponder why I do it every year. 

Ching's Tomato Sauce

1-4 glass red wine

12 cups roma tomatoes, peeled,cored,and chopped
3 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

3 small cans tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried black pepper


Drink wine. Mix everything else together in the biggest pot you own, the one you never use because it takes up too much room in the dishwasher, and simmer for an hour.  Scoop it into canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. Require family to do some major sucking up each and every time you use prepared sauce. 

Enjoy knowing you are one step closer to domestic goddess. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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