Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Coming Soon: APPLES SHOULD BE RED


Coming Soon:

APPLES SHOULD BE RED


Book Blurb:

Recipe for Thanksgiving Dinner:

Start with sixty-two year old politically incorrect, chain-smoking, hard-cussing curmudgeon.
Add fifty-nine year old sexually-repressed busybody in pearls.
Throw in beer can-turkey, a battle for horticultural supremacy, and nudist next-door neighbor.
Serve on paper plates, garnished with garden gnome.
Tastes like happily ever after.


Penny Watson presents an over-fifty romantic comedy novella. 21,000 words. Story includes copious profanity, botanical references, and old people.




Have a nice day,
Penny

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Camp Chlorophyll!


Today's Project!


As most of you know, I'm a plant geek. I went to school for botany/plant taxonomy/horticultural science, followed by floral design school, followed by years of working as a florist and gardener.

I decided to try a new project for 2014...each month I'll do a botanical tutorial: design, holiday decor, gardening stuff, indoor plant collections, etc.


❧ CAMP CHLOROPHYLL! ❧



Not those kinds of plants!

For January 2014, I thought it would be great to start off with a really fun, simple, colorful and festive way to usher in the new year. It's a table centerpiece you can make at home with a plate, candle, hunks of oasis, and colorful flowers.



Step 1

Pick up some bright flowers with sturdy stems. I got roses, stock, and hydrangeas at Trader Joe's. You don't need to spend a ton of money for this project. Just getting some basics at the grocery store will work. If the weather was better, I would putter around outside and collect some branches and flowers from my garden to use.



 
Step 2

Soak the oasis (green foam blocks you can buy at a craft store, florist, or sometimes grocery shop).




Step 3

Condition the flowers. Recut the bottoms of the stems and soak in lukewarm water. You can add the packet of preservative if you want to.




Step 4

Get a nice big chunky candle and place it on a sturdy plate. NOT good china!




Step 5

Take the oasis and cut it into pieces that will fit around the candle.




Step 6

Cut flowers and foliage into pieces, make sure bottom of stem is stiff, not flimsy, or it won't pierce the oasis effectively.




Step 7

Start making a "nest" with foliage pieces.




Step 8

After inserting greens, start adding flowers. Make sure stems are in contact with oasis so they will absorb the moisture.




Step 9

Pack on flowers until all the oasis is hidden. 



 

Step 10

Spritz flowers with water to keep them fresh.




DONE!

Light candle and order take-out for dinner since you're now too exhausted to cook.



Gorgeous! You have now completed Task #1 at Camp Chlorophyll. Congrats!


Until next month,

Stay Green!

Penelope

Monday, January 20, 2014

PAINTED FACES by LH Cosway - A Review by Penny Reid



Top 5 reasons you must read Painted Faces by LH Cosway

A Review by Penny Reid

People.
PEOPLE.
PEOPLE!!!
This book, you must read it. And here is why:

1. The funny. Yes, funny. I know you’ve read the blurb and are wondering to yourself how can this book be funny? But it is. Here are some of my favorite lines:
"I might not have a boyfriend, but I have cupcakes, and those tasty bastards haven't let me down yet."


"It makes me feel more normal when I can see my life is full of stereotypes."
"...Hello. You'll be starring in my dirty dreams tonight, Mr. Blue Eyes"

2. Freda (the girl). Freda is a real person. She has flaws—of the physical and the mental variety—just like a *GASP* real person. She also doesn’t fall into bed with people. She’s also smart…. I know, right? Doesn’t sound like a book person, sounds more like a real person.

3. Nicolas/Viv (the boy). Nicolas is… *sigh* Sorry, what was I saying? He is maybe the most masculine, alpha, sexy male I’ve ever read. Just thinking about him makes my chest all achy.

4. You will be uncomfortable and you will love every minute of it! And, I’m not talking about dirty/weird/kinky sex uncomfortable. I’m talking about challenging your perceptions of gender by making you fall in love with someone who isn’t ‘normal’ or typical, but someone who is so beautiful and exquisitely drawn. You are compelled. You have no choice. Viv is love. Freda is adorable.


5. ALL OF THE FEELS! Every single one of them. I laughed, I sniffled, I was angry, I was frustrated (but not for long).


Also, of note, I’ve read this book twice. I never do that. The last book I read twice was The Lord of the Rings, so BAM!

Pick it up, read it, you will love it. And feel free to send me thank you notes and chocolates when you do.

Penny Jr. (Penny Reid)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Are You Feelin' Social?


Authors have an opportunity in 2014 they didn't have 10 or 15 years ago.

They are able to chat daily with readers.

Sure, readers could write fan mail in the past, and possibly meet a favorite author at a book-signing. But these days, due to the prevalence of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads, they can actually find out what their favorite author had for breakfast.

(Peanut butter toast).

This is a good thing and a bad thing.

The good thing is that readers love the interaction with their favorite authors.

The bad thing is that sometimes readers hate the interaction with their favorite authors.

Examples:

GOOD: Reader gets on Facebook and finds out that her favorite author is writing a novella with some awesome secondary characters, and is having a give-away. Cool!

BAD: Reader gets on Facebook and sees writer get rude and snarky with a critical fan and finds out favorite author is a douchebag.

Social interactions can have both positive and negative effects on your brand, your sales, your peace of mind.

If you're a super social person, you may love chatting it up with fans. As long as you are professional and don't waste 24 hours a day on social media, this can be a great thing.

If you're an introvert and resent time away from writing, or are generally a cranky bastard and can't help telling folks to f*ck off when you get angry, this could be a bad thing.

Which leads us to...

PENELOPE'S SELF-ASSESSMENT 
AND FLOWCHART FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Are you social? Do you love chatting with fans? GO TO STEP 4

2. Are you anti-social? Do you hate people? Do you despise social media and want to hack Facebook and make it disappear off the internet? GO TO STEP 3

3. Skip social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and focus on your website (non-interactive) and newsletter. Minimize social interactions with readers. You may want to work on advertising spots and other non-social forms of publicity.

4. Do you have a limited amount of time to spend on social media a day, and need to maximize this time? GO TO STEP 6

5. Do you enjoy taking frequent breaks during the day and chatting with other authors and readers? GO TO STEP 7

6. Get a Facebook account. If you only have a limited amount of time a day to spend on social media, this is the #1 way to connect with readers, colleagues, spotlight your books and releases, and brand yourself via dialogue/comments. It is essentially a low-maintenace blog where you can post book covers, pictures, links, excerpts, make announcements, and most importantly, chat with readers and answer questions. Skip Twitter which is real-time and a big time-suck. Also avoid message boards and other sites that require lots of time/energy/up-keep.

7. If you need frequent breaks during the day, Twitter is the way to go. It's real-time chat, so you can pop in any moment of the day or night and find someone to talk to. Readers, agents, editors, bloggers, authors. Just beware: it can turn into a big time-suck.

8. Do you love making visual collages, collecting images for inspiration? Try Pinterest.

9. Do you want a place to connect with other readers and feel part of a community? Try Amazon message boards, AAR message boards, Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, etc. Reading social sites. BEWARE: There may be special rules about promotion for authors.

10. Just remember, keep it light and friendly with readers/fans. You may want to avoid topics like politics/religion, etc, if you are unable to discuss these topics without erupting like a volcano. Also, as difficult as it may be, you need to present a professional public persona and be cognizant of your behavior on-line at all times.

You want your readers to say "I'm so glad I got to talk to Penny today! She's the best."

Not...

"Penny is a d-bag. I hate her."

Good luck out there!

Penny

Friday, January 10, 2014

Adrien Brody of the Day


So I was having a chat on Twitter with some folks, and I suddenly realized a horrible, awful thing.

I forgot to watch Predators 3!


I've seen Predator (1) about a million times...




I've seen Predators 2...




And of course I saw Alien V Predator...




But I TOTALLY FORGOT there was another Predator movie. Ack! And just as I was searching for the DVD on Amazon, I realized that this film was on F/X, right at that moment! (How weird is that!)

And so I watched it.

And I discovered something.

I've got just one word for you.

Adrien.

F*cking.

Brody.

(OK, that's actually 3 words).

I thought he was sort of a skinny dude. Didn't think much of him.

And then I saw this...


And this...


And this...




And I didn't even care that he doesn't have a beard!

Evidently, Adrien Brody gained 25 pounds of muscle mass for this film.

Schwing!




I see a Predator Marathon in my future....

Happy Weekend!
Penny

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coming Up: Cool Books, Opera, and Shen Yun



Cool reads and events coming up on Penelope's horizon...

1. A long time ago (B.C.--BEFORE CHILDREN), my husband cultivated an interest in opera. We decided to rekindle that hobby with a trip to the Boston Lyric Opera this spring. We're getting tickets for Rigoletto, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. My husband has already started listening to opera music again, much to my children's everlasting delight.




2. Next event...we're taking the whole family to see Shen Yun this year. It looks like an incredible show that combines Chinese culture, music and dance.


3. I'm reading my Christmas stash of books...


I just started reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. So far it is HILARIOUS and I can't stop laughing. My mom sent me this for Christmas.





Next I'll be reading Mud Season by Ellen Stimson. My hubby got me this book about a city slicker who moves to Vermont. It sounds right up my muddy alley.





Finally, hubby got me this adorable cocktail book called Storied Sips. I'm thinking of doing a new year's resolution where I try every single cocktail recipe in this collection before the end of 2014. This is sort of the antithesis of all those healthy resolutions. I like it!

I'll leave you with the recipe for a mai tai since I'm dreaming of a tropical island at the moment. Here you go....the MAI TAI recipe from Storied Sips...

2 oz. aged dark rum
1/2 oz. orgeat (almond) syrup
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. simple syrup
Juice from 1 lime (fresh)

Put all ingredients in a shaker, shake it up, pour into a lowball glass and garnish with mint. Pretend you're in Floria in the sunshine!



Hope everyone is well and staying warm and dreaming of a tropical island...

Penelope

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Will 2014 Bring? Here's Hoping...


Green Heron
1. Trip to Sanibel and Ding Darling for most awesome birding!





Weenies at Westminster
2. 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Show in NYC. Yipppeeeee!




The return of Lucy The Wonder Weenie
3. A new addition to the Wonder Weenie series. Hint: Santa might stop by for a visit!




Chihuly Glass
4. I'm hoping to make it to Seattle or Phoenix to see a Chihuly exhibit.




Year of the Lumberjack
5. Planning on writing 2 novellas, one about a lumberjack in Vermont.
One about a lumberjack in the North Pole who happens to be Santa's son. 
That's a lot of lumber.



New decorating scheme: Red and white combo
6. For some reason, I am obsessed with red/white decor, 
and now I want to redecorate my whole house. 
Here are some more ideas for this...







I'm going to keep at this until my husband notices and asks "Why is our house turning red and white?" 
Hopefully, that won't happen until I'm done.




Dahlias
7. This is my gardening goal for 2014...a dahlia collection. All different colors!



I hope all of you have something fun and exciting and new planned for 2014, too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Love, 
Penelope

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Cheers!



Happy 2014!

Cheers to a merry new year!

All my best,
Penelope