03 March 2021

Month in Review - February 2021

 


Wow...hard to believe that February has already come and gone! St. Patrick's Day and Daylight Saving Time are just around the corner. But before any of that happens, let's recap last month. So now, without further ado, here's the list of the most popular blog posts for February 2021, chosen by you, the readers:


With Valentine's Day just around the corner 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...

 ...They just have to be written  -Anonymous

I try hard to follow that motto. I cannot even begin to tell you how good it felt to be able to write the words 'The End' on the last page of my upcoming novel LOVE, POWER, AND THE EMPEROR WALTZ - A Country Girl Empress Novel  (Book six of The Country Girl Empress series)...


When publishing a book, the moment of truth is simply inevitable. After all, it is the moment that you have anxiously awaited and probably even dreamed about. The printed proof copy of your book has finally arrived on your doorstep! That just happened to me…my newest historical fiction novel LOVE, POWER, AND THE EMPEROR WALTZ - Book 6 of the Country Girl Empress series showed up on my door step a few days ago. I'm just giddy with excitement.

 


With the new year, arctic outdoor temperatures seem to creeping up on us. Do you bundle your pup up for below freezing temperatures, sleet, and snow? If you do, then good move! You’re already taking steps to ensure your furry companion stays comfortable and healthy during the cold winter months. However, there are plenty other problems that cold weather brings. Here's a short list of ways you can do even more to make your dog(s) comfortable during cold weather...

There have been plenty of occasions I have felt like giving up and quit writing. In fact, only the last couple of weeks were excruciatingly busy. Things became especially bad after I announced my two upcoming historical fiction novels, part five and six of THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS series. I couldn’t help but wonder if the insanity was worth it!? Like many others, our family has a LOT going on, particularly during this time of the year...


by A. Piper Burgi

Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her MajestyThe Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, The Perpetual Traveler, and Excerpts from the Imperial Diary. When she isn't busy typing 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 LinkedInFacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.
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24 February 2021

Book Publishing: How to Review Your Proof Copy in Just Three Steps


When publishing a book, the moment of truth is simply inevitable. After all, it is the moment that you have anxiously awaited and probably even dreamed about. The printed proof copy of your book has finally arrived on your doorstep! That just happened to me…my newest historical fiction novel LOVE, POWER, AND THE EMPEROR WALTZ - Book 6 of the Country Girl Empress series showed up on my door step a few days ago. I'm just giddy with excitement.

Up until then, this book had only existed in computer files, hard-copy printouts I’ve used for editing purposes, and as an online digital proof on my computer screen. But now I can see my book with my own eyes, and hold a physical copy of it in my hands. Moments like these definitely have the power to move people, and rightly so. When you are almost ready to publish, and you are anything like me or so many other writers, you now feel both excited and maybe even a little frightened at the same time. But don’t hit that “Publish” button just yet!

But why would you even want to bother reviewing a physical copy of your book, when digital review copies are readily available? Putting a book together is a complicated process. It involves writing a manuscript, adding photos, lots of editing, page design, cover creation, and many other things just to get to this point. The purpose of the proof copy is to ensure that you’ve done everything correctly. Errors that were invisible on your computer screen or even in printouts suddenly seem to jump out at you. All sorts of errors can creep into our files…misalignments, extra spaces where there were none before, typographical errors, etc. And this is when a hard copy of your book can make a huge difference.

How to Check Your Book:

This is the last stage in the publishing process before your book goes public, so spend some time on this step and to do it right. Books can last a very long time, and so do the errors contained within them. Take this your opportunity to make your book as error-free as possible. I like to apply the following three step process:

1. Read Your Book


- Read the entire book, and while doing so I like to check for inconsistencies and typographical errors.

- Is the text complete? Did a paragraph get left out somewhere?

- Or did part of a sentence get cut off at the bottom of a page?

- Are the fonts consistent throughout the book?

- Do you have paragraphs where the word spacing is much looser or much tighter than others?

- If possible, have someone else who also read through it. Two sets of eyes usually see more than just one set. It is quite surprising how many errors can be uncovered this way.

2. Take a Close Look at the Book


I try to ignore the text and instead concentrate on everything else. I have a hard time with this step because I am automatically drawn to the writing. Here are the things I like to look for:

- Those pesky orphans/widows; the single lines at the bottom of a page or parts of lines at the top of a page. If I can get rid of them, I will do so.

- Running headers should be consistent and should show the proper information, such as the book title or chapter titles. Those sorts of mistakes can easily sneak up on you, so it pays to check for them thoroughly.

- Does each chapter start in the same spot on the page and contain the same elements in the same order?

- Blank pages should have nothing at all on them, not even a header.

- Page references can be another problem. If you referred to something “on page 213″ or “in Chapter 4″ is said reference still there or has it shifted somehow? Or perhaps it has disappeared altogether.

- Paragraph indents ought to be consistent throughout the book, no matter what style you used.

3. Double-Check the Cover


 The front and the back of your book cover play a significant role when marketing your writing. People do judge a book by its cover, so make it the best you can. Here are elements I like to check on:

- Does the overall design meet your expectations?

- Are the book title and the name of the author clearly visible?

- Make sure that the ISBN on your copyright page matches the one on the back cover.

- Proofread the text on the back cover!

Don’t be too surprised if you need to upload revised versions of your book interior and/or cover several times! That’s actually part of the normal process. Of course even after proofing your book mistakes can still sneak by (it can happen to the best of us), but there will definitely be a lot less of them. It pays to check your proof, and correct your files before uploading the revised version. When it’s time to publish your book, you can be confident that you have done everything to bring the best product you can on the market.

Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t find too many errors in my proof copy!  =)

Do you review a printed copy of your book, before it is published? What do you like to double-check? Add your tips and tricks in the comments section below!


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her MajestyThe Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, The Perpetual Traveler, and Excerpts from the Imperial Diary. When she isn't busy typing 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 LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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17 February 2021

First Drafts Don't Have to be Perfect...

 ...They just have to be written  -Anonymous

I try hard to follow that motto. I cannot even begin to tell you how good it felt to be able to write the words 'The End' on the last page of my upcoming novel LOVE, POWER, AND THE EMPEROR WALTZ - A Country Girl Empress Novel  (Book six of The Country Girl Empress series). The first thing I did was to perform my happy dance in the kitchen. Not counting research time, the manuscript took me a bit over two 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 five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her MajestyThe Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, The Perpetual Traveler, and Excerpts from the Imperial Diary. When she isn't busy typing 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 LinkedInFacebook, and Goodreads.
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10 February 2021

Drool-Worthy Valentine's Day Cookies for Dogs


With Valentine's Day just around the corner 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!




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)




- 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!

Happy Valentine's Day!

                                                                      Piper


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her MajestyThe Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, The Perpetual Traveler, and Excerpts from the Imperial Diary. When she isn't busy typing 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 LinkedInFacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.
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03 February 2021

Month in Review - January 2021

 

Oops...I almost forgot to post my January recap, and I nearly wrote 2020 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 2021, chosen by you, the readers:

1. When You Feel Like Giving up on Writing

There have been plenty of occasions I have felt like giving up and quit writing. In fact, only the last couple of weeks were excruciatingly busy. Things became especially bad after I announced...

2. 9 Essential Winter Care Tips for Your Dog(s)


With the new year, arctic outdoor temperatures seem to creeping up on us. Do you bundle your pup up for below freezing temperatures, sleet, and snow? If you do, then good move! You’re already taking steps to ensure your furry companion stays comfortable and healthy during the cold winter months...



I realize that I'm a bit behind the power curve with this article since it's already the middle of January. However, I say "better late than never". Plus, I don't believe it's ever too late for yummy cookie and cake recipes. So here they are last year's five most popular Christmas Cookie Recipes from my recipe book 'TIS THE SEASON FOR CHRISTMAS COOKIES...



A few days ago, I bid farewell 2020 (...and good riddance!) with little fanfare and lots of bubbly. Last year was indeed a strange one, with a pandemic, wearing masks everywhere, lockdowns, and loads of other less than pleasant occurrences. Keeping my fingers crossed that 2021 will be in improvement...

5. Sneak Peek of my Upcoming Historical Fiction Novel AT THE CASTLE OF DREAMS

As most of my readers know by now, I've been diligently working on my next historical fiction piece, AT THE CASTLE OF DREAMS for some time, and the fifth book of The Country Girl Empress series is nearly ready to hit a bookshelf near you. I can also well imagine that many of you wouldn't mind a sneak peek. Well, you won't have to wait any longer.


Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added five historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her MajestyThe Country Girl EmpressA Life in the Shadow of the Crown, The Perpetual Traveler, and Excerpts from the Imperial Diary. When she isn't busy typing 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 LinkedInFacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.
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