The Healer and the Pirate

The Healer and the Pirate is available now on Kindle and Nook, and in print at Lulu and Amazon!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

To Write, or to Learn?

The Tucson Festival of Books is fast-approaching! I'm considering going; it's always neat to hear what authors have to say. And it would be fun to leave some flyers in the food court. ::whistles::

But when it comes down to it, I've heard dozens of authors give tips on writing. When what would help me more than any set of tips I can think of is this:

Shut up and write!

That's all. I don't think there is any magic bit of advice that will take the place of just buckling down and focusing. So I might be doing that in a couple weekends, instead of the Tucson Festival of Books.

Then again...Miss Hannah's Gourmet Popcorn might be there again this can I say no to rainbow popcorn???

(this sandwich from Beyond Bread was also amazing)

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Muppets

FINALLY saw The Muppets movie...if you like Muppets, it was adorable. Not sure it was as brilliant as the original Muppets, but I found it really enjoyable. Don't want to spoil any more.

Though if you're not familiar with this bit, you might want to give it a look. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tropics Made Safer; Baking Soda

I rarely think about how antibiotics have changed the world--back before World War II in particular, illnesses which are easily treated today would lay people out for weeks or even kill them.

American Scientists Find Remedies For Dysentery and Leprosy.

Manila, (By Mail) to United Press.--Dr. Lim Boon Keng, president of the new university at Amoy, told the American chamber of commerce here today that the work of the American scientists in Manila has opened the tropics to the white man. These men evolved treatments for amoebic and bacillary dysentery which have removed the dread of those diseases in the tropics. He said this work alone justified all the expense on account of the bureau of science, but many other notable things have been achieved by it, for example, spread of general scientific knowledge of the efficacy of Choulmoogra oil in treating leprosy, a task in which Filipinos have assisted.

--Columbia Evening Missourian, Friday, February 24, 1922

Apparently, injections of Chaulmoogra oil (spelled differently in article) were the preferred treatments for leprosy in the 1920s and 1930s. This paper outlines its sounds like the clinical trials were extremely limited. Then again, there weren't so many treatment options back then.

I'm loving the "PHONE: Two Seven Oh!"

--Columbia Evening Missourian, Friday, February 24, 1922

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Marie-Grace and Cécile (American Girl)

So I recently finished reading the 6 books of the Marie-Grace and Cécile books in the American Girl series. It's an interesting set because there are 2 main characters, each with 3 stories. (Traditionally the American Girl dolls had 6 stories each, and they'd sometimes be given a sidekick/friend who got 1 book of her own.) There are 2 different authors for the stories (Sarah Masters Buckey for Marie-Grace's books and Denise Lewis Patrick for Cécile's).

I'm basing these reviews off our system at the Kinyn Chronicles blog.

Ridiculously simplified summary: 2 girls from different worlds become unlikely friends and face a yellow fever epidemic in 1853 New Orleans.

Christian content: (not rated) The American Girl books are not Christian books and I don't expect them to be such. The main characters do go to church and pray together in times of turmoil. A very ill character imagines she'll be an angel when she dies, which isn't really a Biblical viewpoint. A character says "mon Dieu" which the book translated as "good heavens" (though the glossary also notes the more literal translation "My God!").

50 possible points; in each category, 6/10 (or 3/5) would constitute 3 stars, or average.

Compelling - 8 points (out of 10). I had a hard time getting into the second book, Meet Cécile--it was one of those books that just didn't flow for me immediately for some reason. Book 3, where the fever picks up (along with some unlikely elements) is where things get going for me. (From the American Girl site it sounds like some kids (?) would disagree.)

Characters - 8 points (out of 10). I didn't expect to like Marie-Grace, but she has several moments where she is genuinely shy. I was incredibly shy as a child (my dad called it "painfully shy") and still have a lot of those traits. I adore seeing shy and introverted characters in fiction, though I don't see many of them. Cécile is the exact opposite--rather bubbly and outgoing. She won me over in Marie-Grace's book (not written by the author of Cécile's books) but I didn't feel quite as drawn to her as I did to Marie-Grace, who has the advantage of being the newcomer to New Orleans (and thus the one that's a bit more relate-able). A few supporting characters stood out for me, particularly Ellen (Cécile's Irish maid) and Marie-Grace's father (doctor), but I didn't think many of them were very memorable. The books are really about the two main girls, though.

Writing/editing - 7 points (out of 10). I didn't find any typos or anything, but the writing had a lot of things that writing groups will drill out of you. The writing is few of adverbs, "was"es, telling phrases like "Maman looked stern", and such. (If you ever reread the old American Girl books--and even the Rebecca books--those sorts of issues are common throughout the series.) It did take a little while to get used to the style but once I did it wasn't too distracting.

Plausibility/believability - 3 points (out of 5). The historical aspects felt more or less "right" to me, but I'm honestly not sure how much interaction a black and white girl would have actually had (though as a modern girl I love to see it!). Both main characters had some special talent I thought rather implausible--Marie-Grace has an outstanding singing voice, and Cécile (like the last historical, Rebecca) dreams of being an actress. (Unlike Rebecca's 1914 parents, Cécile's parents don't seem expressly mortified by this.) I feel like this was sort of a fantasy of 1850s life more than a realistic portrayal, though again, that's not terribly uncommon for the series.

Positive - 3 points (out of 5). I like books with happy endings/that make me feel hopeful. These have a mostly happy ending. Sadder than a typical children's book, but much more optimistic than an adult historical novel.

Gut reaction - 3 points (out of 5). I really enjoyed these books overall, even if they are perhaps sort of escapist, so I'd like to say my gut reaction is that I liked them. Unfortunately, some of the art is just stiff and awkward-looking, and art has always been a big part of these books. The tiny sketches in the books are not nearly as high-quality (or useful!) as they were in the other books I remember. (Others complain that the books don't use the same structure as the original books--Meet Kirsten, Kirsten Learns a Lesson, etc. As much as I liked the idea of comparing different holidays and milestones across time, they changed that a few books ago so I'm used to it by now.)

Bonus points to balance reviews - (5 points)

Total points: 37, or 3.7 stars

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I forgot to mention to everyone that Maggie and I have a pretty cool interview on Clash of the Titles. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lulu vs. CreateSpace

So as of this entry, The Healer and the Pirate is currently available on Lulu for $9.99 (free shipping through February 17, 2011 with the code FLIGHTLESS305). But we recently also put our book up on CreateSpace, which allows us to sell in print on Amazon.

I'm sure authors are wondering--which is better, CreateSpace or Lulu?

OK, actually, not many authors are wondering that...Lulu used to be the way to go back in the mid-2000s, but CreateSpace, which wasn't a great choice as recently as early January, has become VERY competitive now that they let you publish to Amazon for free (if you buy a proof copy).

Print quality is pretty similar:

CreateSpace on the left; Lulu on the right

For CreateSpace, we chose the 9 x 6 size, because the cost per page is fixed regardless of trim size. For Lulu, we chose 5.5 x 8.5 because that is one of the few trim sizes that you can get with the cheaper ("publisher grade") paper. I slightly prefer the smaller size of the Lulu book, but it's pretty much a wash.

You can see the colors are a little different.

I guess CreateSpace had a pretty easy one-piece cover maker--Lulu's is difficult. Unfortunately, I didn't know about CreateSpace's cover craetor until after I'd had Maggie make the front and back cover separately...and in fact, until after I'd finalized the book and ordered the proof. So Lulu's spine (bottom book) looks much nicer.

Inside, we chose cream paper for CreateSpace, which is kind of neat. (CreateSpace on top; Lulu on bottom)

For some reason, I couldn't use the same font on CreateSpace as I did on Lulu, so it's a much less interesting Times New Roman.

But long story short, when it comes to the actual books, CreateSpace and Lulu's products are pretty similar.

For other differences--Lulu's page count is MUCH longer than CreateSpace's (375 for Lulu; 290 for CreateSpace), to get about the same royalty at a $9.99 price point on Amazon. On CreateSpace, we would actually get a higher royalty than Lulu, but I see no easy way to find our book on CreateSpace. As it is, that 290 page book on Amazon gets us the same royalty as a 375 page book on Lulu.

Lulu sometimes has free shipping codes and almost always has a 25% off code. But potential buyers will have to go through quite a few hoops to actually order from Lulu.

In short, Lulu and CreateSpace (the site) have the best royalty for the author, but I know Lulu is a bit of a pain to buy from, and I assume CreateSpace isn't the easiest. Amazon's royalty for a CreateSpace book is not very good, but it's workable. One very notable disadvantage to CreateSpace is I don't think they allow dynamic changes to the text--I THINK you have to pay a fee to make any changes to your book once it's published, and at the least I'm SURE you have to buy a proof copy.  Lulu will allow you to tweak your document or even make substantial changes at no cost.

For the buyer, Amazon is almost certainly the best/easiest place to buy, especially since they get free Super Saver Shipping if they spend $25.

And speaking of royalties and such!  We're going to be removing "The Healer and the Pirate" from Lulu at some point; not before the end of February. That makes the 375 page edition with a special font a LIMITED EDITION! Not a bad idea to buy if you were interested, especially with free shipping through February 17 (code FLIGHTLESS305).  The reason we will remove it from Lulu is simple math.  We have to sell about 14 copies on Lulu to get a $20 royalty check.  If we have it available in print on two places, then in theory it will take twice as long to get a royalty check. I'm assuming people are going to buy on Amazon instead of Lulu.

(Speaking of which, we are considering raising the price of our book at some point--other Christian fiction paperbacks often sell for between $12.99 and $16.99! So the $9.99 price is an introductory price at this point.)

Anyway, I do like Lulu and they've been good to me in the past. If you want to publish a copy of a book for a family member, I think they are the best way to go, with unlimited/free updates to your book and sporadic free shipping codes. But I'm not sure they're a great place to sell your work to an audience.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Statehood, Arizona! - part 2

So as I mentioned, there's not really anything in the newspaper from 1922 regarding the 10th anniversary of Arizona's statehood. But there's plenty from February 1912, statehood day!

Arizona Republican, February 14, 1912, page 1

Hon. George W. P. Hunt Takes Oath of Office as First Governor of the Newly Created State of Arizona.
In the Presence of Several Hundred Spectators Gila Man Was Inducted Into Office at the Capitol at Noon Yesterday.

With the ceremony so timed that the assent to the oath came a few seconds before 12 o'clock, George William Paul Hunt, standing on the portico of the capitol building, yesterday assumed the responsibility of the first governor of Arizona. The oath was administered by Chief Justice Alfred Franklin, in the presence of the retiring territorial officials, the incoming officers of the state, a host of personal friends, a vast assemblage of the men and women of the territory who covered the lawns in front of the building, and William Jennings Bryan who was holding an impromptu reception on one of them. Immediately after the inauguration the governor took his station in the executive chambers with Mr. Bryan on his right hand and the two gentlemen received and shook hands with hundreds who filed through the building to welcome one, the state's first choice for governor, and the other the world's most famous "commoner", of democratic faith and holding principles much in accord with the governor.

Simplicity and modest ceremonials were the keynote of the event, in strict accordance with the wishes of the new governor who holds that as a matter of principle the higher the official, the nearer he should place himself on the common level in al (sic) affairs of state….

--Arizona Republican, February 15, 1912, page 1

(As an aside, if you live in the Phoenix area and have average mobility and haven't visited Hunt's Tomb--the giant pyramid where he and some family members are buried--at sunset, you might want to get on that. The view is amazing!)

Panoramic Procession of Admission Day Events Evokes Enthusiasm of People.
Merrymaking Extended Far Into Night and Closed with Inaugural Ball Held on Streets.

The forty-eight star has been planted in the blue field of Old Glory.

More with complacency than with enthusiasm Phoenix celebrated the event. The city was crowded, to be sure; hundreds came long distances to see the governor take the oath of office and to shake his hand at the evening reception. But it was not a boisterous, din-creating crowd. The spirt was there, true enough, but it took the form of contentment rather than a glad frenzy.

A few minutes after 9 o'clock yesterday morning a telegraph operator received the message from Washington for which Arizona had waitd (sic) over thirty years--ever since those days when the old men of the Indian fighting generation dreamed dreams of statehood. From that time until midnight the first Admission Day was celebrated…

--Arizona Republican, February 15, 1912, page 1

Attorney General Bullard and Sharlot Hall Address Students On Duty of Future and History of the Past.

Attorney General George Purdy Bullard and Miss Sharlot Hall tore themselves away from the statehood celebration in Phoenix long enough to address the students of the Normal school at Tempe, and take to the south side metropolis something of the spirit of the day which found more complete expression at the capital.

The talks were listened to by an audience of more than a hundred highly appreciative of the privilege. THe attorney general spoke of the "Responsibilities of Statehood," and eloquently discussed the important part to be played by the boys and girls in such development.

Miss Hall discussed the history of Arizona, and as no one is more competent to handle so interesting and diverting a subject her talk was most timely….

--Arizona Republican, February 15, 1912, page 6

The "normal" or teaching school they are referring to is now known as Arizona State University, by the way.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12.--For the first time in the history of the White House, moving pictures of an event of national importance will be taken tomorrow when President Taft signs the proclamation admitting Arizona to statehood. The pictures will be taken by an employe of the treasury department and will be presented to the president. Another set may be made part of the official record.

--Arizona Republican, February 14, 1912, page 1

I could not find a video online of the signing, though other articles said as many as 3 films were made.


This is the day of days for Arizona. Today the hopes of years, the aspirations of more than a quarter century find their fruition in statehood. Today the buds of hope burst into full flower of realization. Today the sovereignty of more than two hundred thousand people is proclaimed. Today Arizona, the last of the continental states, steps into the union and thus completes the ocean-to-ocean chain of sovereign commonwealth….

Arizona embarks on the sea of statehood under clear skies. Though storms are sure to come this newspaper has absolute faith in the integrity and capacity of the people to take care of themselves and of the state in any contingency that may arise. The Republican rejoices with every man, woman, and child in this state on the admission of Arizona into the American union.

--Arizona Republican, February 14, 1912, page 4

The Arizona Sentinel and Yuma Weekly Examiner, Bisbee Daily Review, and Weekly Journal-Miner of Prescott also reported the news.

Here's a little video I found on YouTube…the last minute or so tells an amusing story that I think sums up Arizona's politics pretty nicely.

Happy Statehood, Arizona! - part 1

Happy Arizona Statehood Day!

(Celebratory egg made by my friend Emily!)

February 14, 1922 was the 10th anniversary of Arizona's statehood! And I found…1 reference to it in the newspapers from around there. And that was from Minnesota!


St. Valentine's Day.

Greetings to the state of Arizona, 10 years old today…

--The Bemidji Daily Pioneer (Bemidji, Minnesota), February 14, 1922

And that's…all I found from non-Arizona newspapers. Ouch!

What were they doing in Arizona on its 10th anniversary?

Regan Kayos Pierce.

PHOENIX, Arizona, Feb. 14.--Jack Regan of Los Angeles, middleweight, knocked out Sailor Pierce of Phoenix, here last night in 12 seconds. The first blow struck floored Pierce for the count. In the main event Jimmy Kramer of Kansas City, won in the fifth round on a foul from Chet Neff of Los Angeles. They are lightweights.

--The Morning Tulsa Daily World (Tulsa, Oklahoma), February 15, 1922

Couldn't find much else! A local paper did show how Arizona differentiated itself from New Mexico:


(From Saturday's Daily)

There are almost twice as many rural dwellings in Arizona as there are urban homes, according to the report of the census made in 1920, says a bulletin from Southwestern District Forester Frank C. W. Pooler, of Albuquerque, to the Prescott National forest service office, yesterday.

According to the census report, there were in 1920 73,673 dwellings in this state, 48,709 classified as rural, and 24,964 as urban. In New Mexico, there were 78,024 dwellings, 64,113 rural and 13,911 urban. THus, although New Mexico has 4,351 more dwellings than Arizona and 15,404 more rural dwellings, the state would show a more advanced type of civilization through the fact that it has 11,653 more urban dwellings than its neighbor.

--Weekly Journal-Miner, Prescott, Arizona, February 15, 1922

And that was it! Wow!

Check back in an hour for some articles from 1912. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

VNSA Book Sale Tips

Just a few little tidbits about the VNSA Book Sale (a wonderful annual book sale in Phoenix). Mostly because last year's post got quite a few pageviews from people wanting to know about it!

When should I arrive at the VNSA book sale?

I can't tell you for sure, but if you're not there WELL before opening (I heard someone in line mention 4 AM), you can expect a wait. Our experiences in the past 2 years:

2011: Arrived around 9 AM; got in around 10:20 AM
2012: Arrived around 10:30 AM; got in around 11:45 AM

My brother and his wife (and baby!) arrived right around 11 and I reckon they probably got in at noon. So if you're not going to get there at 4 AM, the wait time decreases the later you arrive, but the wait seems to be pretty steady from 9-10:30 or so.

(It FELT like the line was longer in 2012 versus 2011--in fact, it probably was, but the line would move more slowly earlier in the day.)

Anyway, there is still plenty of cool stuff there even if you arrive at 11...but I'd say there's more cool stuff there if you arrive at 9.

How much does it cost?

If you park at the Coliseum, it was $7 this year (the fairgrounds get that money; not VNSA). The sale is free, but the longer you spend there, the more likely you are to spend more money...

What should I bring?

Definitely bring some sort of bag or bags to carry your books in. In years past they had plenty of bags for all, but the supply seems to be diminishing; I'm not sure they had ANY in 2012. If you plan to buy a lot, or even just something heavy, you likely won't regret bringing a rolling suitcase or backpack. (A rolling suitcase makes it very easy to buy more books, though.) You can get a shopping cart at the sale (just have to wait a bit), or the other option is to find an empty box and throw your books in and carry that.... Yeah, if you're not going for a cartload of books, go ahead and bring a bag.

Wearing sunscreen is smart if you'll be out waiting for an hour (and if you get there before noon, that's not unlikely). It's not a bad idea to bring a bottle of water for the line.

And I'd definitely suggest you bring a friend or two! You'll save on parking and it makes the line more fun. If you're the type who can strike up a conversation with anyone, that's fine too. Otherwise, I think a newspaper would be a pretty good idea. I'd hesitate to bring a book because I don't know how they'd figure out it wasn't theirs, but several people had some so there must be some method.

Can I hold someone's place in line?

They had signs saying not to, and I'm not sure what would happen if you tried cutting. Actually, we saw my brother, his wife, and their baby across the rope and stopped to chat with them for about 30 seconds. The people behind us started moving past us, despite the fact that we were still probably 30 minutes away from actually entering the building so there wasn't anything to gain by moving ahead instead of waiting for a minute. Anyway, yeah, I wouldn't try it if I were you.

Why is the line so long?

Probably the fire marshal not wanting everyone to get burned up in case of an emergency. It felt less crowded inside this year, but that might be due to the areas I was browsing.

What can I find there?

Almost anything. I didn't even look at half the sections this year, but I browsed the tiny books, the old books (but not the really old/rare books, which require you to leave your bag/suitcase/boxes/etc. outside), the old magazines (some from the 60s!), craft books, sewing patterns, children's books, textbooks (not many of those), DVDs (lots of popular movies, I think around $3), CDs, kids' DVDs, business books, finance books, and even some National Geographic CD-ROMs. Yes, I got the whole collection from the 1920s for $1, and yes, you can kind of sort of view it in a newer Mac; the viewer itself doesn't work but fortunately all the pages are images and appear to be organized in such a way that I can view them chronologically. :)

How do you decide what to buy?

Everyone has their own strategy. If you're on a very tight budget, your best bet is to not pick up anything unless you really want it (and maybe to just bring a small bag or no bag at all!). If your budget is a bit more flexible, I'd suggest you pick up everything you think you might want (provided you can carry it!). When you're done browsing, or your arms are too tired, you can set your things down (usually on the floor, granted, though this year there was some vacant space at textbooks by 11 or so) and sort through what you want and what you don't want. Anything you don't want, you can put in a conveniently located discard box and it will be placed back in its proper area.

What did you buy there?

To be honest, I haven't done much with the books I got last year, so I tried to be cheaper this year and gave myself a budget of $20. (Spending less time helped, too!) So here's what I got for $19.50 this year.

Did you go to the 2012 VNSA Book Sale? Any great finds? Any tips?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Topsy Turvy Day

OK, it's not really Topsy Turvy Day, but I didn't get the history blog entry together...check back Tuesday! I'll be looking for Arizona stories in honor of my state's centennial. :)

In writing news, "The Healer and the Pirate" was featured on Clash of the Titles! Voting is over, but check us out! Comment there if you'd like, too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Writing for fun?

I think writing is always kind of fun, but I suppose there is a freedom in just writing with no mind at all for publication. And I know for sure it's fun to be your own boss of what you write. Of course, if you write to be published by an editor, you don't have complete control--editors may tell you to make massive changes.

Just off the top of my head, I'd rank writing fiction forms, from most to least freedom:

  • NaNoWriMo
  • Online role-playing
  • Writing and never sharing it with anyone
  • Fanfiction
  • Writing to independently publish
  • Writing for publication

You can in theory only make money off those last two, though there can be some overlap. Of course some NaNoWriMos are made into salable fiction, and if you write fanfiction of public domain characters, you can sell it (and sometimes make some good money!).

Anyway. Just rambling, mostly. Blogging has more freedom and less freedom than all of those...not liking the deadlines of writing a few times a week quite so much. :)

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Super Bowl Commercials?

    No, I didn't particularly watch the Super Bowl, but fortunately, with the Internet, you don't have to watch the game if you're not a fan (or don't have a fan in the household)...and you can still see the commercials! (Frankly people say they watch for the commercials but I found several years ago the commercials weren't worth it...nowadays the best ones are online before or shortly after the game anyway.)

    Anyway, yes, the Audi one was the one that made me laugh.

    Though the M&M one was also ridiculous yet funny.

    Did you have a favorite ad?

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Cheap Chocolate, 1920s Henna Shampoo, Women Circus

    Business Girls Plan Novel Attraction for Two Nights in April.

    A circus is a thing for their annual public performance, the Business Women's club council of the Y. W. C. A. has decided, so circus it is to be, sometime early in April. The council members, following their meeting this week, took back word to the 20 clubs of which they are members and asked that they begin preparation at once for their individual parts.

    The circus will be given in the Y. W. C. A. building two nights in succession and admission charges will send a delegation of business women to the annual city conference at Estes park, Colorado. Last year the proceeds from the hippodrome performance sent to Estes park a delegation which proved to be one of the largest at the conference. Traditional circus stunts will be performed by the clubs and booths conducted. The clubs range in character from the women employes of oil companies and bankers to a department store and switchboard operators.

    --Morning Tulsa Daily World, Saturday, February 4, 1922 (page 2)
    And these prices are making me pretty seriously jealous.

    --Morning Tulsa Daily World, Saturday, February 4, 1922 (page 2)

    29 cents for a half pound of Hershey's chocolate? Fairy food sounds pretty good…midwesterners, is it?

    Of course, the same page noted that union mine motormen made $8.49 per an eight-hour day, while nonunion ones made $4.80. Per DAY! So I guess it's not that cheap after all. (Though fairy food has gotten much more expensive anyway!)

    Also note the henna shampoo; that surprised me, as I thought it was pretty modern.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    I'm finished!

    Someday I'd like to be able to say that. :#/ I always have so many ideas, sometimes it's hard to follow through. (That and the Internet is just so interesting!)

    So I'm going to TRY to finish a few projects in 2012. (God willing, maybe even the sequel to The Healer and the Pirate!) Granted, this could end up just being a couple short stories, but hey, that's something.

    Do you have any goals for 2012?