No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

Let’s start off March right with a new batch of writer’s links. From using twitter to stealing your way to freelancing success. There is a variety of subjects here for both the beginning and more advanced writer. Enjoy!


14 Ways New Facebook Betrays Small Business

Penmoto Review

Once Upon a Tweet: Telling Stories In Twitter

30 Dr. Seuss quotes that can change your life [infographic]

How To Ensure You Don’t Become A Poor Communicator On Your Way To Freelance Writing Success

How To Steal Your Way To Freelance Writing Success

10 Things I Love About the Kindle

Author Platforms That Don’t Make Me Nauseous

The Function of “The”

Antique Manual Drill

In addition to my writing, I’ve been a creator of artisan jewelry for around 16 years. One of the staples that I use in my jewelry are handmade coiled beads. They are accents in earrings, form gently bended arms on bracelets or add a texture element to necklaces. The wire beads are simple to make once you have the proper tools and the technique down, but look complex. The trick is all in the steadiness of the tension you put in the wire as you make them. Ten years ago, I had purchased a device called a Coiling Gizmo. It is the basic tool that most other artisan jewelers use to make the beads. The tool is a U shaped form that you clamp to your bench with holes that will hold two iron rods, each bent on one end to form a handle crank. By turning the rod in the hole, you create the wire beads. One rod is thick and is similar in size to a 14 gauge wire. The other is thinner and conforms to a 18 gauge wire. Both rods created coils that were too large for my intended use. For a time, I stopped using the Coiling Gizmo and only used the coil beads in my larger creations.

I’m not one to admit to admit to defeat in my design ideas and set about creating my own coiling gizmo that would make coils and beads small enough to work in my intended creations. The first replacement needed were the rods. After chatting with other artists, ones that were more advanced than I in the art of coiling, I was told that a 0000 knitting needle was close to a 20 gauge wire and the G string of a guitar was just over the size of a 26 gauge wire. These were the sizes of wire I would rather work with. So I bought the knitting needles and the guitar string and added them to my studio tool box.

Next I needed a way to turn the needles and string so that I could create the coils. My first attempt was with a battery operated power drill. That did not go well. I was not able to control the speed enough to create smooth coils without gaps. I was at a loss as to how to fix this problem until I read of another artist that used a hand cranked manual drill. By using the manual drill, I would be able to go slow enough and to regulate the tension of the wire to create the smooth coils I craved. It was one of those eureka moments and I knew that this would be the solution. But where to find one???

I searched every hardware store in my area and only found power drills. I was told that no one used manual drill anymore because they were old-fashioned and out of date. I searched online, but again had no luck. Only power drills were for sale and the one or two manual drills I did see online were very expensive and had high shipping costs. I was not willing to pay the price.

Months after I had started my fruitless search, I was selling my jewelry at a Harvest Festival located at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum. It is a place full of various models of steam powered machines that ran cotton gins, tractors and other antique farm equipment. During the festival, the children are given rides around the grounds on 100 year old tractors. Demonstrations on how life on the frontier are given for the children’s education and amusement. Handmade crafts and jewelry are one of the attractions of the Harvest Festival and the reason I was there. Two booths down from mine was a husband and wife team that sold antique tools. Their shop stocked old wooden boxes, files, saws and low and behold, antique manual drills! He had two of the little treasures for sale, each for $10. I bought one that had clean moving gears and operated smoothly. It is a POWR-Kraft drill from Montgomery Ward that was made starting in the 1930s through the 1950s. It is a tool that was manufactured in the United States and is solid steel with a wooden handle. It will out live me due to its rugged construction.

After the venue was over, I returned to my studio and was able to have complete control over the coiling of my wire. The egg beater style handle of the drill was easy to use and the collate held my knitting needles securely. After that it was easy. My new bracelets and earrings were a huge hit. Other artists had trouble figuring out how I made my beads so small and I was given much kudos for them. Now I make the beads twice a year and use them regularly in my jewelry.

Guest Post: Not Just For Christians by Brian Holers

One of the beauties of self-publishing is that the gatekeeper has been fired. In this new world of books made possible by the Internet, no one is left to guard the door. To tell the reader what is what. This state of affairs may introduce an element of confusion for dogmatic readers, but the good news is, new breeds of literature are being created.

Self-publishing allows literature to cross over in new ways. Traditional Christian fiction publishers, for instance, disallow most references to sex, and even the most juvenile profanity. Self-publishing changes this. Not to suggest a writer should ever debase a genre—as writers we are obliged to choose our words carefully. But the old Christian books kept many readers away. “I’m not going to read that. That’s Christian. It’s boring.” Still, nearly every Christian I know periodically swears, fights, and even becomes amorous from time to time. Christians like good stories too, with depth of character, excitement, whimsy, action. The success of a book like The Shack shows the need for stories of real people dealing with real problems, in a faith-based context. It doesn’t even have to be good literature.

As humans, we all look for answers. Stories are stories. Conflict builds to crisis, which leads to a form of resolution. Sure, some people never doubt their faiths, even in the face of horrible tragedy. Others do. Some never ascribed to a faith in the first place, and instead spend their days casting about for a context to this condition we call humanness. The problem with much traditional Christian literature is this; when a character is pushed to a crisis, and the only change we read is “he fell on his knees, then and there, and accepted Jesus into his heart,” that incident may describe a beautiful sentiment, and may have value to a real person in real life, but as a reader, it doesn’t tell me anything. A reader wants details. He wants to see the sweat break out. She wants to hear the thoughts and words that accompany the character’s condition. Literature is literature. We want to see development. We want to get inside the characters. We want to get to know them. That’s why we care. Regardless of the genre label put on the book.

Doxology is a story in between. The book has a religious message; given its primary setting in rural north Louisiana, that message is Christian. But the characters are just people. They experience the same emotions all people do—love, joy, loss. Their conflicts grow and grow until they must be resolved. Like real people, they go astray, take paths of separation from God, or just from what is good for them. They experience desires that can never be fulfilled, want things that can never be had or even understood. They discover the traits in their lives that aren’t working, and set out to find new habits that will work. Many Christian values are universal—a belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that our lives are worthwhile. An understanding that letting go, and learning how little we are in charge, makes life more manageable. A certainty that the kindness and compassion we offer to others is returned to us a hundredfold.

Some say God. Some say the universe. But we all–when we’re honest, and when we pay attention, have a sense of something looking out for us, giving us what we need. Putting people we need into our lives. We give credit for these gifts as we see fit. Good literature promotes a point of view by showing the reader how a character’s modes of operation and beliefs work for her (or don’t). Good literature, whatever its genre, lets the reader inside. Lets the reader do part of the work. Doxology, in this vein, is a story at the crossroad of God and man. It presents God as the characters experience God, and as real people experience God, looking out for them, giving them what they need. Coming to understand how God has been there all along.

Doxology is a love story. Faith plays a role, as it helps the characters find answers and resolution, improves their lives. Like Jody and Vernon and the others, we all look for redemption from brokenness of the past. They and we find it, as people both real and imaginary alike do, in family, friends, productive work, a sense of place, a faith in something greater. Doxology is a story, first and foremost. Its characters face problems. Their conflicts grow. They look for resolutions and ultimately find them, imperfect as they are. We the readers get to know them, and we care. We sympathize. They matter.

Doxology by Brian HolersAbout Brian Holers: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his Website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

You can find Brian’s new book Doxology on Amazon or Barnes & Noble for an 99 cent introductory price.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

As we like to do here at No Wasted Ink, on Monday I share some of the writing links that I’ve been reading during the week. From pricing your ebooks to the latest going on at smashwords. I hope you find them as interesting as I did!

8 Strategies for Launching a Brand Presence on Pinterest

Nook Book Signing Success!

Can You Be a Traveling Freelance Writer if You Suck at Writing?

Ebook Pricing is Driving Kindle Readers to Indie Authors

Organizing facts and details in your writing

20 Fun and Inspiring Character Writing Ideas

New French Law Seizes Digital Rights

Creativity Blocked? Here’s the Solution

Smashwords to Distribute to Blio and Public Libraries Via New Distribution Agreement with Baker & Taylor

Italian Cooking

There is something about the scent of homemade spaghetti sauce as it bubbles away in my kitchen. It speaks of lazy summer nights out on the patio, of food that is healthy and rich in flavor, and it reminds me of the love I have for my little family as I provide good food for us at economical prices. My sauce is full of rich tomatoes, Italian sausage, red wine, garlic, basil, a touch of brown sugar and lots of time in the crockpot to develop its thick and rich character.

I started cooking at the tender age of twelve in defense of a mother that couldn’t cook her way out of a disaster. My mother attempted many recipes from chili, to spareribs, even to pickling cucumbers. All the recipes were from a parade of modern day cookbooks that were stacked haphazardly in our kitchen. Everything she touched was met with culinary failure. I remember a day when she silently stared at four long rows of homemade pickles in our basement, opened a jar and sniffed the contents. Then she threw out every single jar of pickles she had canned. She told me that she did not feel that they were safe to eat. About the only positive thing you could say about my mother’s cooking was that it remained edible…almost. When I around five or six years old, my father started to take over the kitchen and on the days he cooked, while the fare was hearty and not imaginative, at least you could eat it. I always regretted that I had no family member to learn cooking from and that there were no regional or old world dishes for me to inherit.

During my teenage years, I slowly took over dinner preparation. Both my parents worked and then went out square dancing four nights a week, so the task of getting a meal on the table for myself, my parents and younger brother fell on my shoulders. Cooking, cleaning and washing dishes became my daily tasks. I did not enjoy washing the dishes or the cleaning, but I slowly gained an appreciation for the art of cooking. I watched cooking shows on television and learned that each region of the world had their own pallet of flavors that they favored. Learning how a culture cooked its meals gave me an understanding of what it might be like to live in other parts of the world and how other families might gather around their table. My favorite type of cooking became Italian cuisine. Mainly northern Italian since I loved aborio rice and the rich beef dishes of that region. I find the food is healthy, light and full of variety.

As fate would have it, I met and married a half-Italian man. One of the things that he loved while we were dating was that I cooked Italian food that reminded him of his mother’s, although he would always point out that his mother cooked Southern Italian fare and I cooked Northern Italian style. I would hear him chat with his mother about my dishes and she would integrate him about what I cooked and what ingredients I used. Then declare that it was not quite what she considered Italian. Even so, I spent many a day watching cooking shows with my mother-in-law and we both enjoyed comparing notes about our favorite television chefs. Cooking was something that we had in common.

I think about my mother-in-law sometimes when I make my homemade spaghetti sauce. It is not a recipe handed down to me by my grandmother or mother, but one that I found rave reviews for on the internet. It is Jo Mama’s Spaghetti Sauce, the author claims that her children will turn down a steak dinner in favor of her sauce and after making it many times over the past few years, I agree with her. It is now my sauce and one that I’m known for. I always make a huge batch all at once and freeze away four or five quarts of it for future use. My husband loves it. I might not have been raised with the traditions of an Italian mother, but I think that my mother-in-law approved of my cooking and how I take care of her son. I hope she is up there smiling down on us as we enjoy our spaghetti dinners.

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