21 February 2018

Month in Review - January 2018




Oops...I almost forgot to post my January recap, and I nearly wrote 2017 instead of the current year! Has that happened to you, too? But before I get sidetracked by my sentiments, let's recap last month. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for January 2018, chosen by you, the readers:



Thank you for reading my blog! Please feel free to come by often to catch up on my latest endeavours and Happy Writing!




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

14 February 2018

Dog Bakery: Homemade Valentine's Day Cookies



Happy Valentine's Day! I thought this the perfect time to share this yummy dog treat recipe with you. Show your furry companions that you love them, with homemade Valentine's Day Cookies. They are made with all the things dogs love, such as peanut butter (please read the label beforehand and make sure it doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners, especially Xylitol), pumpkin puree (soothes the stomach) and coconut flour (an excellent grain alternative for dogs with allergies). Another drool-worthy dog treat that's easy to make!

Ingredients: 

For Cookies:

1 1/4 cups coconut flour 
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
1 Tbsp pure pumpkin puree
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs 

For Frosting:

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tbsp beet juice
Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
- In a large bowl mix flour, peanut butter, carrots, pumpkin puree, honey and eggs. If dough seems a little dry add a bit of cold water; if the dough seems a little too soft, add a bit more flour.
- Roll out cookie dough, cut out cookies with cookie cutter, and and place cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake cookies for approximately 18 minutes.
- Let cookies cool completely.
- When cookies are cooled, mix yogurt with beet juice and beat the mixture until it has thickened. 
- Let frosting sit for 10 minutes to thicken further.
- Frost cookies and add sprinkles.
- Chill cookies in refrigerator for at least two hours. 

Since these cookies are made without any preservatives, I recommend keeping them refrigerated. Hope your furry friends enjoy those cookies as much as mine do!

                                                                      Piper




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

07 February 2018

International Epilepsy Day 2018




Changing things up this week for a cause near and dear to my heart: Next Monday is International Epilepsy DayThis initiative is jointly sponsored by the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy. It is a global event which takes place on the second Monday of February each year with the aim to improve epilepsy awareness and highlights the urgent need for further research of this debilitating condition. Epilepsy not only affects just the patients but their families, too. And incidentally, on the 12th of February my Epi-warrior Lana would have celebrated her 13th birthday. How appropriate!

But not only humans can be affected by this neurological disorder; dogs can suffer from it as well. As many of my readers know, my furry friends, Lana and Darren were diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy at the age of four and two respectively, yet they both lived life to the fullest! While I managed to keep them relatively healthy for little over four years, Lana and Darren did battle with plenty of side effects from their meds but won many of them just as any Epi-warrior would. Supplements, along with lots of love and conventional epilepsy treatments, helped my furry friends every step of the way. They enjoyed traveling, run around and play, or just relax in front of the fireplace. I loved them with all my heart, and they loved life!

Although this is not my first epilepsy awareness blog post that I've written without my beloved Epi-warriors Lana and Darren by my side, it's still not easy. It's downright hard, even though I have new furry friends in my life. Thankfully they are seizure-free...knock on wood! I love to look at old photos and videos of my former furry companions before they left to cross the Rainbow Bridge. They were happy and mostly healthy, with a great zest for life. It makes me smile (and sometimes cry) to look at those memories of Lana and Darren, but I hope their message will continue to offer hope to other Epi-warriors and their families. 

Please know that you are not alone with this monster called Epilepsy and that such a diagnosis is not the end! There is support out there, with many Epi-warrior parents, veterinarians and other resources available to share their insights, experiences, and information. I have shared many resources and websites in the back of my book, Living with Canine Epilepsy, for that very reason. And if you can't find what you are looking for then ask around...I'm sure there is someone out there who can help. 




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.




31 January 2018

Writing a Book: Self-Editing




As most of my readers already know, I'm in the midst of editing my next historical fiction piece A Life in the Shadow of the Crown. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips and tricks that help me along the way to polish my manuscript.

Take a Break

After finishing your initial draft put it aside for a day, a week, a month or however long you need to return to it with fresh eyes.

Structure the Task

Tackle the largest tasks first, such as plot structure. Once you are satisfied with it, move on to the smaller details, like grammar, style, and punctuation.

Use Online Tools

Don't be afraid to utilize online tools, such as Grammarly or Hemingwayapp to discover which sentences might be difficult to read, improve your vocabulary and check for contextual spelling. While these online tools do not replace a flesh and blood editor, they can certainly help along the way. 

Read Aloud

It might sound strange, but read your work aloud; you can even record your own voice. Hearing the rhythm of the words can help you edit the flow. Sometimes it's easier to hear the mistakes than to see them. 

Have the Computer do the Reading

Whether you're just tired of reading yourself, or have a sore throat - just have your computer do the reading. Regardless of the OS on your computer, there's a solution. Microsoft Word has this ability already built in, even though it's not prominently displayed. If you prefer or do not use MS Office products, perhaps one of the third-party software is for you such as eSpeak or NaturalReaders

Check the Tense

Errors in tense can sneak up on anyone when in the midst of writing. Double-check to make sure you didn't inadvertently switch back and forth. 

Change it up

After reading the same text over and over again, you begin to see what you want to see. Try reading from back to front to uncover previously undiscovered errors. 

Be Ruthless

Do not be afraid to cut passages from your manuscript that just don't work! So it doesn't feel like a complete loss, paste the cut passages to a blank document for future reference. 

Change the Look

Modify the font, colour and/or font size to give you a new perspective. The altered appearance could help you see the text in a different light.

Since my list of self-editing tips is not all inclusive, I would love to hear what works for you. Please feel free to add to this list in the comment section!



Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

24 January 2018

Writing a Book: Finished the First Draft. Now What?




First drafts don't have to be perfect. They just have to be written -Anonymous

I try hard to follow that motto. So, a couple of days ago, I finished the first draft of my upcoming novel A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF THE CROWNI cannot even begin to tell you how good it felt to be able to write the words 'The End'! The first thing I did was to perform my happy dance in the kitchen. Not counting research time, the manuscript took me nearly four months to write. After I typed out the last few words, I sighed a deep breath of relief, and then I couldn't help but think:

I can't believe I finished!

While I was in the midst of writing, I couldn't help but feel a sort of mid-book panic, and I asked myself: Where is this story going? How will I finish it? Is the plot strong enough to keep the readers' attention? 

I suppose second-guessing yourself while writing is not an unusual occurrence, and I feel that way every time I put words on paper (or in most cases on a computer screen). So, it is with great relieve and satisfaction when I somehow manage to finish my manuscript without too much trouble.

Time to take a break!

After finishing the initial draft, I find it helpful to gain some distance by setting the manuscript aside for a while. When I finally begin my first round of editing, I can do so more objectively. 

It's such a relief! 

It's exhilarating to write an initial draft, to dream about the characters, their lives and the way the story might unfold. This phase of the creative process can be quite taxing, and can take up a lot of my time. But, after the emotional and physical drain begins to subside, it is replaced by a great sense of accomplishment. 

Thank goodness there's an editing process!

While we would like to believe that there's no way our writings need editing, we all know that they all need it, whether we like it or not. As a matter of fact, my upcoming book will undergo many rounds of self-editing, before any editor gets to put their hands on it. No matter how many books I write, I would never skip the editing process, and although it can be grueling at times, I am thankful for the feedback, which can only make my books better. 

Don't get too attached!

I just created this fantastic piece, but I know I really shouldn't get too attached. They are just words jumbled together in sentences and paragraphs, which I hope make sense to readers. But as much as I might love what I wrote, I need to go back through the entire book and eliminate what doesn't work. To make this process seem less of a loss, I cut and paste my deleted items into a blank document for future reference. Waste not, want not! 

Hopefully, people will read it!

I love to write stories I enjoy. Otherwise, why bother?

Of course, different people read my books with different expectations, but I've learned long ago that I can't please everyone. And so, I shall continue to write what I love, with the hope that my writings will bring joy to some of my readers, and provide others with the information they seek. I can't help but wonder, which parts of my book will or won't please readers.  


So, what about you? How do you feel after you've finished writing an initial draft? I'd love to hear from you!




Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.