CloudConvert - File Conversion Utility
I've been MIA lately. Sick kids, sick pet, busier than heck at the day job. But with spring infusing fresh energy in my winter weary soul, I'm back!
Today I'm sharing a Chrome app, CloudConvert. It is also a website, but I use Google products so much, it's convenient to have a connected app.
We've all needed to convert a file type to something else. This app/site converts audio, video, documents, even ebook files. And you can choose Google Drive or Dropbox as the destination so set it to convert and go about your business. When the file is converted, it will appear in that location. And it's free! It is in Beta, so there may be glitches.
Guardian Angel (continued...)
Welcome! If you're visiting from Leslie Hachtel's blog, I'm so glad you came over! If you missed her, be sure to go back, you will love her way with words!
We've been challenged to create a flash fiction piece with these three words: coffee, lizard, and coffee. To increase the level of difficulty, I decided to continue the previous flash fiction piece. Grace is a mother with a secret and Brock is former Seal who's agreed to protect her. Here's the link back to the original scene to catch up. I really hope you enjoy it! I'm so happy I managed with one word to spare.
Grace leaned against the table near the boathouse, staring at the lizard soaking up the spring sunlight by the river. Brock hadn’t had much time the night before to take in her athletic body before she’d angrily marched off. Or how bright blue her eyes were. Or that she was a little too thin.
She glanced up, a shadow crossing her face until she noticed the two steaming mugs of coffee.
“Is that for me?”
She smiled and it was like the sun breaking through storm clouds. Under different circumstances, he'd be planning how to breach her defenses.
Now, head on over to Raine Balkera's blog to see how she used coffee, lizard, and spring to create a 100-word scene.
3 Things to Do Before Planting
After a long, hard winter, I feel this desperate need to get outside and get my hands dirty. The problem? For my area, it's too early. I live in Zone 7, where we are advised to not plant before April 15, as that is typically the last frost of the season. To check your zone, click here and enter your zip code.
Since we are still in danger of frost and possible snow flurries (ugh! so over winter!), here's what I'm doing while I wait for the magical date for safe planting of tender plants.
1. Make a plan. Plan out your garden(s). Research plants you want and create a timeline. Use this tool from Gardener's Supply to create your raised vegetable garden. Or this tool from Better Homes and Gardens to plan your flower garden.
2. Purchase seeds and start them inside in a sunny location. This way when they are seedlings, past the last frost guidelines, you can move them to a cold frame to harden off before getting them in the ground. Here's a great site called SeedSavers which carries heirloom, preservation and non-GMO seeds. Order bare root plants or live plants and the companies will send them when it's the right time to plant for your area. Better yet, plant native plants which will grow better and support indigenous birds and insects. Find a local native plant seller and guide by clicking this link.
3. Spread compost and turn the soil. You can prepare the garden by taking your prepared compost and turning the soil, integrating the nutrient rich materials and aerating. This link is a guide to raised bed gardening and preparing the beds before planting.
Doing these small things now will make your planting all the more enjoyable when the weather is warm. Ready, set, plant!
Everything's New This Spring!
Raine Balkera wants to know what everyone is working on at the moment. Details & conundrums and snippets from manuscripts. Welcome everyone who's hopping over from Ronnie Allen! If you missed her, make sure you go back and visit her.
What am I working on right now?
I am working on pre-edits for my re-contracted novella Sorcerer's Legacy in the Wiccan Haus shared world series. When the former publishing house (Musa Publishing) closed, Decadent Publishing acquired the series, authors included (if they chose). Two contracts returned and the pre-edits in progress, I am eagerly anticipating seeing my wizard story published.
I hope you'll follow my journey as a writer and check my blog. Follow me on Twitter (@CarolynSpearRom) and Facebook (CarolynSpear-Author).
Now it's time to visit the talented Kim Handysides, a fabulous writer and wonderful person.
This week our question comes from Betty Bolté, author of Samantha's Secret, a historical romance set during the American Revolution. This is the third book in her series set in South Carolina and releases April 21, 2015.
If you've hopped over from the fabulous J.J. Devine, welcome. Make sure to hop back to visit with her if you missed her!
The question: Do I celebrate St. Patrick's Day and/or how I'd like to?
In a word: No. I do not regularly celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I have two kids in school, both hubby and I work full-time plus and the teachers don't recognize St. Patty's Day as a homework holiday.
Would I like to celebrate? Hell yes!
Let's go with my top three ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day:
3. Having a pint of Guinness or two fingers of Jameson in a small pub in County Kerry or County Cork surrounded by locals having a good time.
2. Visit St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in County Armagh. While the church itself has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since it was founded by the saint himself in 445 A.D., it's the ground where St. Patrick walked and preached.
1. Waking up to a traditional Irish breakfast in an Irish bed-n-breakfast. What could be better than breathing in the moist fresh air on a soft morning, the plaintive bleating of lambs on the breeze.
An Old Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
For everyone who is partying, enjoy one for me!
Now on to the ravishing Raine Balkera, contemporary author. Can't wait to see how she celebrates this holiday!
Where I'd love to write....
The sensational S C. Mitchell wants to know what my ideal writing retreat is like. If you've wandered over from Kim Handysides (isn't she simply lovely?), welcome. If you missed her, make sure to go back and visit.
To say I've spent time thinking about this would be an understatement. I have a Pinterest board.
Now I love nature and I need solitude (really a good hiding place from the small humans living in my house). And I love Treehouse Masters show on Animal Planet. It would have a ton of natural light, solar power supplemented as needed by traditional power, yards of bookcases and loads of wall space for my plotting notes.
This one tickles my whimsical fancy. I'd feel like a fairy and maybe even wear my daughter's wings if I had this amazing retreat!
I definitely need a deck. Maybe a suspended bridge, too. And more French doors to welcome the outdoors in than I can count.
So what do you think? Does a treehouse do it for you? Leave me a comment! Now to our next awesome author, Collette Cameron. I'll bet her ideal writing retreat has some blue roses integrated....
If you're starting a newsletter or need to change to a new format, try LucidPress. Make it even better by linking it with your Google Drive account. Use one of their simple to modify templates to create a professional newsletter yourself. I've used it for a simple (and last minute) chapter newsletter and was able to complete it in less than an hour. The first time. Share with your subscribers via URL for a more interactive experience. Embed links to your book's trailer, your buy links and links to your social media.
This is a super easy recipe to make and customize.
Ingredients (for family of 4):
2 tsp olive oil
4 green, red or yellow peppers (or a combination which is what I like)
1 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped (or dehydrated flakes)
2 tsp minced garlic or 1fresh garlic clove, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (I use petite diced)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Wash peppers and remove seeds and white membranes. Simmer for five minutes in water.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown onion and garlic, then add drained can of tomatoes. Add ground beef, crumbled, to mixture and brown until no longer pink. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Fill peppers with beef mixture and place peppers in baking dish. (I use parchment paper underneath.)
5. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes then top with cheese. Cook an additional five minutes to melt cheese.
The next time I make this, I will include rice during the browning of the beef and a little cheese throughout when stuffing. Picky hubby ate entire pepper, too!
Calm.com - Zen-like music with timer
I found this site a few years ago. I love it for writing. Simply, pick a calming, new age-y tune, leave the browser tab open while you write on your device. If you are dealing with writer's block or have a small window to write, set the timer. Really this site is made for meditation or yoga but I find it ideal for drowning out those pesky distractions like the calls of the child ("Mom!") or TV.
The Guardian Angel
This week's prompt comes fromJ.J. Devine- A Flash Fiction scene of 500 words that contain the words happiness, egg, and purple. If you're coming over from Beth Carter's blog, welcome! If you missed her, head on back to check out her inspiration!
“Hey, Grace, come here a minute, will you?”
Damn, all she wanted right now was a long hot shower followed by some quiet time with her son. With a long-suffering sigh, she slipped her aching feet into her Birkenstocks. Hippy shoes her boss called them. Her uncle was a crotchety old bastard, but he was the only father she’d ever known.
Fighting the frigid wind that stung her cheeks and brought tears to her eyes, she made her way up the hill from the boathouse where she’d been stowing the kayaks and gear. She scrambled through the cabin door, slamming it and the impending storm behind her.
Two men sat at the table, each with a beer.
Suspicion crawled up her spine. Uncle Ben didn’t have visitors inside the house. At the river, yes. An owner had to run his business and show proper hospitality. But since she’d returned home he’d respected her need to privacy for her safety and her son’s. This particular visitor could have walked right out of the pages of GQ. Impeccably cut suit, crisp white shirt and shoes with a shine that would put the Queen’s Guard to shame. And his face, an odd combination of the haughty class of Pierce Brosnan and the rugged suave charm of Tom Selleck, was handsome enough to make most women swoon.
She wasn’t most women.
Uncle Ben rose, moved to the fridge, a little stiffly but clearly disguising the pronounced limp he’d picked up in a military training accident. Or at least that was the story he’d told her. He was certainly trying to impress this stranger. Stupid male pride.
He handed her an ice cold long neck and caressed her forehead. “How did you get this goose egg on your head?”
“Oh, has it turned black and blue already?”
He smiled. “More purple.” Easing into the chair across from the stranger, Ben pressed, “So, run into a tree?”
“One of the teenagers today wasn’t looking…”
Grace shrugged, dropped into a chair at the table, focusing on her uncle while her mind ran scenarios about the sexy businessman. Oh God, Uncle Ben couldn’t sell their river guide business. Could he?
She had to admit, maybe he was ready to retire. He deserved happiness. Who knew, maybe Miami or Arizona beckoned. If only she had the cash to buy him out…
“Well, it seems you need someone to watch your back. Or rather, your head,” he added with a gruff chuckle. “Meet your guardian angel, Brock Harrington.”
Guardian angel? “Like a bodyguard? I don’t need one and certainly don’t want one.” After a long draw on the bottle, she scoffed. “Besides, this city boy doesn’t know a thing about survival in the woods.”
For the first time he spoke in a slow, sexy Texas drawl. “Darling, don’t let these fancy duds fool you. Years in Uncle Sam’s finest teams have over-prepared me for protecting you. I reckon I can figure out how to run a kayak down class four rapids.”
Head over to A. S. Fenichel's blog for her submission!
Shifters & Spice (e-book 99 cents!)
Romance writer. Paranormal and contemporary. Mother of two and wife of perfect husband. Love the environment, travel and reading.
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