The Voyage Begins…

Willow Croft

“Quantum Singularity is a voyage through time and space. This poetic journey crosses oceans, traverses other realms, gets lost in the past, and disappears into the future. Choose the right path; the path that leads to the corner of Cosmos and Infinity, and the way will never be lost.”

You are welcome to join me on my voyage through time and space.

Purchase your ticket here:

https://www.createspace.com/7159342

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1546682147

I’ll be planning some visits to the Goodreads realm, as soon as my author page is up.

Hope you enjoy the magic!

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How Fantastic is CreateSpace?!?!

 

As some of my regular readers of my Chaos Fairy blog know, if things can go wrong, they will.

I initially started off my first venture into self-publishing with the publishing platform BookBaby. Let’s just say, that it was a typically disastrous Chaos Fairy experience, and leave it at that. I was really disheartened after that experience, and was faced with a decision about committing to CreateSpace over another, more expensive option. So, as my poetry book is my trial venture into all the fiddly bits that go into publishing a book, I finally opted to use CreateSpace. I was nervous, because there were a lot of negative reviews about CreateSpace online. Still, economics was the deciding factor, as I found the price to publish my book was way cheaper than the original quote I had from BookBaby.

From the get-go, CreateSpace was incredibly professional and knowledgeable. During the process of getting the initial quote, I found communicating with the customer service representative to be so much easier and straightforward. We were totally on the same page in regards to the book’s goals (that the poetry book would be my dry run into self-publishing). They totally got everything I was trying to achieve without me having to explain, argue, and defend myself a hundred times.

They continued to provide the same level of exceptional customer service and professionalism throughout the (still ongoing) design  and completion process. They provided me with samples so I could visualize the fonts in question. They were so patient and supportive in walking me through the design process and the changes needed. Furthermore, they were completely respectful in making sure the erroneous details I had noticed during the changes process were noted and fixed.

Plus, CreateSpace provided a free round of changes in case I was an idiot and missed something (even with my keen editorial eye), or something didn’t look quite right in the actual layout. All of this was done with COMPLETELY NO HASSLE! If there was something that went wrong with their design and layout issue–discrepancies, or other technical and design issues and layout, they fixed it. No problems, no runaround, no excuses.  This has never happened to date in the Chaos Fairy’s memory. Ever. In fact, it’s a rare occurrence in customer service experiences, in general, these days. Where everyone had a reason why it’s your fault, not theirs, and companies have adopted a zero accountability policy. Not to mention the loop they put you through in automated purgatory before you even get to talk to a real person. That is, if you ever get to talk to a person at all, much less one willing to help you resolve the issue. (I think the tactic is to make you give up and go away, actually.) With CreateSpace, I get to talk to a real, live person each time there’s an issue, and they are completely willing to listen and help you resolve the issue to ensure you are happy with your publishing project. They were consistently helpful, and always professional.

One of the complaints I read about online, regarding CreateSpace, was that the books arrived with messy glue, and with extensive book damage due to shipping. And that the books were printed in mismatching hues on the front cover. While I can’t comment on that, as I haven’t received my final books, yet, I did receive a printed, bound proof for the interior. So far, so good. No messy glue, no book damage. We’ll see how the final project turns out, as I haven’t seen the cover in the final printed form yet. But I have no worries. Even if there’s something awry, CreateSpace has shown they will fix the problem to my satisfaction.

This customer service experience was so novel to me, that I wanted to cry. To send their staffers that helped a big bunch of flowers or edible fruit bouquets, or something. I’m so used to being put down, dismissed, ignored, mocked, treated with disrespect, and, as a result, having to go out and wage total war just to be heard. Car mechanics, staff at grocery stores, in the workplace, or even on the behalf of my pets or my own health, via dismissive veterinarians and doctors.

So, I just wanted to give some well-earned praise to CreateSpace and all their (incredibly patient) wonderful customer service representatives and staff, as well as the design team. You’ve managed to break the Chaos Fairy Curse! Thank you for making my life a little bit easier!

The Flat-Out Terror of Getting Published

Okay, dear readers, it’s official. I am going to be a published poet/author. Granted, my poetry book is self-published, but’s still putting my written word out there.

Sometime this March May (thanks, Trent’s World, for noticing that/commenting on it! 🙂 ), my poems will be released (inflicted?) upon the world. Brace yourselves!

Will keep you posted re: author website, promotional events/goodies and all that fun stuff.

Thanks for being along with the ride!

Fun Ways to Enliven Eating at Home! Even if You’re a Single Dweller!

In an offshoot way, I was a little inspired by Reflections of a Modern Philosopher’s post, Popular Prescription: Patriotic Porch Pie, which got me thinking about the food rituals we practice, which led to this blog’s inception.

When I was in undergrad school, I went to stay with a fellow student over one of the school’s holiday breaks. She and her mom would have theme dinners. When I was there, they had a “yellow” dinner–all yellow foods and yellow plates. It was such a fun idea, that I (almost) yearned to have friends IRL so we could all get together and have fun theme dinners like that. *laugh*

Somebody I knew, once, suggested we get together and cook dinner once a week, so that we (both single) could have a home-cooked meal. It ended up in an argument, because I was in the kitchen and I turned around to find this person sitting on the sofa, playing with my cat. “Oh, hell no,” were my exact words, I think.

So, I thought I’d post some fun ways to liven up your meals, regardless on whether you’re someone whose world is populated with hordes of friends, or a prickly loner like me. Most of these have a nerdy theme, of course!

The Geeky Chef has recipes ranging from the X-Files to Twin Peaks to Legend of Zelda! There’s even a cookbook!

Mulder: Did you bring enough ice cream to share with the rest of the class?

Scully: It’s not ice cream… it’s non-fat tofutti rice dreamsicle.

Mulder: Ugh… I bet the air in my mouth tastes better than that.

Check out this amazing database of recipes from everything from games to comic books to movies to manga/anime…can’t wait to try some of these! http://nerdyrecipes.tumblr.com/

Here’s a list of some fun cookbooks to get you started (some appeared on an earlier post): http://www.thatsnerdalicious.com/features/14-of-the-best-cookbooks-for-nerds-featured/

Here’s some menu ideas for geek-themed parties for all your (imaginary?) friends: http://www.sparknotes.com/mindhut/2012/10/04/geek-themed-dinner-party-menu-ideas

My preferences are all geek/nerd related (unless it’s Halloween!)–what sort of foodie themes would you like for your dinner-and-a-movie/TV/Book-nights? Share your creative ideas in the comments!

Letting go…

…of books.

Yes, I’m still hanging on to a lot of books. I am having trouble letting go of two books I added to my collection back when I was eleven or twelve.

I picked up these books and remembered, more than the meaning of the text within, how I felt when I first read them.

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With Audre Lorde’s The Black Unicorn (1978), I remembered that this book was a light in a very dark time, when I felt completely alienated among humanity (aka middle school LOL) and with Haiku Harvest (1962), I had forgotten how drawn I was to Japanese culture, in the sparkly imaginative way belonging to my preteen years.

Why is it so hard to let go of inanimate objects? Even for the sake of living more lightly on my B.F.F. Nature?

But the good news is that I may end up getting rid of a whole stack of coffee table books! My fear of letting go of my book friends made me take the photo without the spines. (Here’s hoping I won’t continue to hoard them. *laugh*)

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What about you? What inanimate objects do you hang onto evoke nostalgia? Or how do you let go?

(I’m not sure how this topic is going to work out–I miss Science Saturdays! LOL)

Quirky, Flavourful Mysteries!

For Misfit Monday (aka Nerdy Pleasures!), I am sharing my secret predilection for themed murder mysteries.

Yes, despite the grumbly, ass-kicker front I try to present to the world (or hide LOL), I love those murder mystery series that revolve around recipes, knitting, candle-making, cats–you name it.

Once, I went to the Gulf Gate Library and they had these brightly coloured strips of paper that listed recommendations for further reading–like “If you like…then you’ll like…” so I ended up reading every book they carried of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson mysteries–with delectable titles like Blackberry Pie Murder and Red Velvet Cupcake Murder. Yum.

They stopped making those little suggestion strips, I think (sadly!), but here are some other guilty, nerdy reading pleasures!

Tim Myers, candlemaking mysteries (OMG, he’s got a lighthouse murder series, and I love lighthouses! Holy sleuthing, Batman!)

http://timmyersfiction.com/traditionally-published-novels/

If my eyeball gets better, I want to start reading some more Hanukkah and Christmas-themed murder mystery books, even though I’m pagan. Oh, I’ll bet there’s Halloween murder mysteries…my favourite holiday! Got hooked with Kate Kingsbury’s books: http://www.doreenrobertshight.com/id2.html

And read through a lot of these knitting murder mysteries, as well: http://www.maggiesefton.com/knitting.html

I am lax in my reading of Rita Mae Brown’s cat mysteries (sadly, have only read a few) but will catch up one of these days.

http://www.ritamaebrownbooks.com/

Got any other suggestions, or favourites, in this genre? Or am I alone in mystery-lovers’ Nerdville? *laugh*

Okay, now I’m going to work on a manuscript for a client, or, in reality, try not to freak out about slowly going blind in my poor eyeball. LOL.

I can’t see too well, so forgive any typos and poor/stilted  writing. ;-p

I Spread Misfit Chaos at the “Celebrate Local Authors” Event Last Thursday!

Last week, The Chaos Fairy met a bunch of local authors, including Lois Duncan, at Gulf Gate Library’s “Celebrate Local Authors” event. It was great “book nerd” fun!

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Richard Hodder, the master of ceremonies (and Gulf Gate Library staffer) got things started Redfoo style! (Oh, wait, that was at the afterparty. 🙂 My bad.):

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Authors who presented at the event (which came off chaos-free, despite the attendance of The Chaos Fairy, amazingly!)

Gabrielle Lennon

Remind me to hire an actor surrogate the next time I have to do any public speaking. Because it REALLY pays off in keeping the interest of the crowd. Actor (and writer) Gabrielle Lennon gave a powerfully haunting read of her provocative, no-holds-barred short story, which relates the circumstances of a young girl struggling with life and her not-so-ideal home environment. (Have I exhausted all my purple prose adjectives yet? *laugh*) In short, I could feel a palpable emotional and visceral response emanating from the audience in response to the suspenseful arc and chilling ending of her story. To say more would be a spoiler, but check out her short story collection, Touch Me Real and Other Stories, and her poetry collection, After Midnight: A Book of Poetry, via her website: http://gabriellelennon.com/.

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Tom J. Hosted–The Naughty Red Fox

What’s the most important tool a writer needs to have in their arsenal? A SENSE OF HUMOUR! And Tom J. Hosted NAILED it with his charmingly funny presentation that detailed his journey in creating his juvenile fiction Christmas story called The Naughty Red Fox. (I apologize for the blurriness/poor quality of the photos–still haven’t been able to upgrade my camera :-(.)

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Tom with letters from his fan club in the background!

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The laughs continued with Spokes Ableman (aka Ed Hopper) sharing some delightfully snarky antidotes from his book, Don’t Push Me: Walking The Wheelchair Walk. http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Push-Me-Walking-Wheelchair/dp/1507843321

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I try not to play favourites, but I really enjoyed longtime animator, filmmaker, and children’s book writer Tanya Weinberger’s presentation. Maybe it’s because she tackles environmental causes, like in the case of her book, The Compost Pile ( http://www.amazon.com/Compost-Pile-tanya-weinberger & YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR3U5lyJhAM). Or, perhaps, it’s because she collects quirky eggcups! Or maybe it’s because the Chaos Fairy is a big kid at heart! And, as you can see from the pictures, Tanya Weinberger is very animated, herself!

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Local Florida history and culture also stole some of the spotlight, thanks to the dedicated efforts of local authors, longtime residents Jane Gill and Gene Jones. Jane Gill’s fiction novel, A Matter of Pride, is set in Florida, and Gene Jones’ historical fiction novel, Suwanee Divide (http://flcivilwarsuwanneedivide.com/suwannee-divide-civil-war-novel/), looks deeper into Florida’s past–all the way back to the Civil War. Of all the books here (I was unable to afford any books–there’s no currency in the Chaos Realm, after all!), I’ve only read Suwannee Divide, because I had a copy from a few years back. It was an excellent read–you gotta check it out, especially if you’re a history nerd like me!

Jane Gill (on the left) sharing information about the Florida Memory project (www.floridamemory.com), an online archive that preserves Florida’s history and artifacts. Visit her website at http://www.amatterofpridebook.com/

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Gene Jones (Suwannee Divide) swapping stories with fellow author Eloise Hanner:

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There were also quite a few travel authors and such (the above mentioned Eloise Hanner, for example)–another favourite topic for the Chaos Fairy!

Dennis R. Blanchard (www.dennisblanchard.com) spoke on “close encounters of the bear kind”, accidentally blinding himself with his super-deluxe seen-all-the-way-out-to-space headlamp, and many more outrageous adventures he fell prey to (no pun intended) while hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

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Let’s hear it for awesome women adventurers Jane V. Blanchard and Eloise Hanner!

In addition to her travel experience books, Jane V. Blanchard (in the middle, in photo) has her own travel blog! We love bloggers!  http://womanonherway.com/ (On the right, also in the below photo, is local suspense and fantasy author, Susan Klaus.)

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Eloise Hanner is:

1) A vibrant, kick-ass speaker!

2) A kick-ass adventurer, who traded a stockbroker career to join the Peace Corps. She was stationed in Afghanistan. In 1971. Need I say more? Live vicariously through her adventures, here: http://eloisehanner.wordsandwriters.com/.

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McClaren Malcolm also takes us on a thoughtful historical  journey through an old Georgia church, and the community that surrounds it, in her book “Spirit of the Valley” http://www.amazon.com/McClaren-Malcolm/e/B001K8PJ4S.

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Lois Duncan

I saved Lois Duncan for last, not because she’s probably the most well known of Sarasota’s local authors, but her presentation came with a message that is especially pertinent in light of recent events. It’s difficult for me to write in a way that doesn’t detract from her eye-opening presentation, and somehow cause unintentional offense and upset.

Yes, I’m talking about recent incidents that have put U.S. police departments, and their corrupt practices, directly into the nation’s spotlight. Hopefully, there are very few people who aren’t aware of the high-profile murders certain police officers have been committing against its African American citizens.

Lois Duncan, herself, has dealt with this same level of corruption and dishonesty from the police department of New Mexico, as she explained in her presentation. As she continued to relate, she has once again “picked up her pen” as the primary weapon she wields in her attempt to uncover the truth behind her daughter’s murder and expose the ongoing cover-up the N.M. police have held to, to this day, and their potential underground connections to local crime rings. New details and new information about the case, she tells us, are the premise of her book (a sequel to her earlier book on the same subject) One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer.

As I lived in New Mexico for a few years, and have family there, I was already familiar with the unsolved case of Kaitlyn Arquette, thanks to articles that had been written about it in local papers. Being both a native of Sarasota, and a on-again-off-again resident of New Mexico over the years, and also having read many of Lois Duncan’s books as a kid, Duncan’s presentation about her daughter and her continued quest to find the truth, made me feel a strong personal connection to Duncan, and the things she had/continues to go through. Or maybe that was just due to Duncan’s powerfully intense up-close-and-personal presentation that seemed to move many in the audience, myself included.

For more information about Lois Duncan and her books, past and present:

http://loisduncan.arquettes.com/

Real Crimes website resource:

http://www.realcrimes.com/

Articles:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/timstelloh/who-killed-lois-duncan-s-daughter#.qvwKea6ya

http://www.copefoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=58

I hope I’ve helped in raising awareness about this, and others, unsolved cases, however small my effort may be…