Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anthology Builder

Check out the cool stories (all genres) and art at Anthology Builder:

I have a short story collection there too: Aliens, Animals, and Adventure.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Decorating ideas

I came across more nifty ideas in the June/July issue of ReadyMade magazine. They made a nifty holder (for condiments, utensils, bottles, etc.) from a cardboard beverage carton. Strengthen the bottom with duct tape and cover it with gift wrapping paper. And make a fake lamp chain with a little plastic toy. (You know I've been wondering what to do with those cute critters in softsoap dispensors. I wonder if they'd work.)

A trellis made from old tennis rackets bought at a thrift store is a fun idea; it looks like they're attached to each other with ties, but I'm not sure what keeps them in place. There was an interesting article on working with Legos too. I see they have a digital edition, but you have to be a subscriber to access it. (You have to register online.)

Here's their website link: ReadyMade

Friday, May 29, 2009

Organize your kitchen sink (link)

Kohler has some interesting kitchen sinks called Stages (two sizes) with articulated faucets. It seems cluttered to me, but it might be useful to some cooks.

Link: KOHLER: Stages™ Kitchen Sinks: Kitchen: : Kitchen: New Products

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toilet flushing problem (link)

Replacing the toilet in a four-year old house seems extreme; I agree with the suggestion that the home owner simply remove the toilet and check the drain before buying a new one. I've replaced the same toilet--along with multiple wax ring replacements--more than once. It seems much easier--and less expensive.

Link: Ed Del Grande: Ask Ed -- A Toilet Eruption

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aliens, Animals, and Adventure

This collection of some of my reprinted stories includes stories of adventure and time travel (The Doorway, Guard Dog, and Flashback), genetic engineering (Moovin' Up), and aliens (To the Last Drop!, Pilot's Course, Pretty Pink Planet, Hot Yellow Planet, and You Are What You Don't Eat), along with big and small cats (Taking Tawny Home and Stray Cats) and some fantasy (The Haunted Garden and The Princess Quest), and more.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Solar heating

There was an interesting energy column in the real estate section in today's paper. Solar power, even just for your water heater, is not a do-it-yourself project. You need good carpentry, plumbing, electrical, roofing, and other skills; and you have to be careful not to put holes in your roof. I also learned that there's a safety issue because of the high temperatures that solar-heated water can reach.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Replacing the kitchen sink (link)

Will he have to replace the countertop too? He'll have to find out by removing the sink. Maybe not... Link: Ed Del Grande: Ask Ed -- A Big Sink Problem

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Home and garden ideas

There are so many solar-powered products available now! I came across a stonelike polyresin pillar with house numbers that I may get for our house, which is a ways back from the road. This is from Collections, Etc. (see link below). They've also got a pole with hanging baskets and an eagle on top that glows at night. And solar rocks (resin) connected with a cord. (The eagle, pillar, and rocks also have batteries. Why?) There are a variety of lovely lights too. Hmm. These also require batteries. The solar-powered lights I already have don't have batteries...

They also have a toad cottage that looks like a little house. It's really cute. All my toad houses are much more natural looking. I presume this doesn't have a floor. (I saw one with a floor once in a store--no good for toads since they can't burrow into the ground then.) And I love the door with a lighted window (solar power and battery). I've mentioned doors that attach to tree trunks--on the ground--but this is really nifty; it comes with stepping stones.

In another catalog I saw some antique insulators that have been recycled into pendant lights and soap dispensors. (I love recycling; see link below.)

Links: Collections Etc.: Unique gifts, home and garden decor, and housewares. A collection of unbeatable values!

NapaStyle - Home Furnishings - Easy Entertaining - Recipes from Michael Chiarello

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kitchen storage ideas (link)

There are some interesting storage ideas on this HGTV webpage, including window sills, corners, baskets, book shelves, and old food cans.

Link: Kitchen Storage With Style : Kitchens : Home & Garden Television

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Publication news

I have a mini-review of Man-Kzin Wars XII on the Christian Science Monitor website (Readers' Picks): Books

My story, Seedlings, is included in Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer (a shared world anthology): Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer: Robert J Santa, Lawrence Barker, G W Thomas: Books

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook is out in a new edition with color photos; here's a link with both editions on the publisher's website; the one on the left should be the new edition, but it's not in the description: Publish America - Publishing Writers' and Authors' Manuscripts

My children's book, Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?, is available on the B&N website: Barnes & - Book Search: Why Won't Anyone Play with Me?

My short story (reprints) collection, Aliens, Animals, and Adventure, is available from Anthology Builder: AnthologyBuilder: create your ideal anthology

My audiobook of time travel tales, Sugar Time, is available from Hadrosaur Productions: Hadrosaur Audio Odysseys

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alternative energy solutions (link)

There are videos and photo slide shows on this HGTVPro website to help you decide how you can save energy: Energy Options: Alternative Energy for Your Home : Main :

I had planned to install solar panels some day, but now I'm thinking solar shingles. Our current home has a heat pump, and I appreciate not ordering fuel every winter. (I can remember tossing burning pieces of toilet paper into the furnace before we got the new furnace at the old house. The old house was bulldozed a couple years ago, btw, after we sold it.) Wouldn't it be great not to have a big electric bill!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook

I'm happy that the new edition of my house book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, has color photos, but finding that edition isn't easy. Here's a link with both editions on the publisher's website; the one on the left should be the new edition, but it's not in the description: Publish America - Publishing Writers' and Authors' Manuscripts And I have no idea if the new edition is on any of the booksellers' websites, such as Barnes & Noble, amazon, etc.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Getting away from home

Usually I focus on ideas for the home and garden, but in the June issue of Country Living is an inviting article about vacationing in luxurious tents around the country. At El Capitan Canyon in California are spacious safari tents with all the amenities. Then there's Huckleberry Tent and Breakfast at Clark Fork, ID; Dunton Hot Springs at Dolores, CO; Falling Waters at Bryson City, NC; Fossil Rim at Glen Rose, Tx; Costanoa at Pescadero, CA; and Luana Spa at Hana, Hiwaii. They all sound like fun and comfort with plenty to do nearby.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Top ten color trends for 2009 (link)

"Bold colors from the '80s are making a comeback, but in more subdued, elegant designs." The colors on the list on this HGTV website include hot pink and blue, gray with a twist, silvery blue, and velvety rose.

I like them all; as a matter of fact, my bedroom has pink walls and blue accents. (The pink has been toned down--it was formerly known as Pepto Bismol pink--with white--sponge painting).

Link: 10 Can't-Miss Color Trends for 2009 : Decorating : Home & Garden Television

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Plumbing problem (link)

Why is the drainage problem worse after the new tub was installed? Yikes!

Link: Ed Del Grande: Ask Ed -- New Tub Trouble

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

SF anthology news: Man-Kzin Wars

I recently interviewed Hal Colebatch & Matthew Joseph Harrington, two science fiction authors whose work I really enjoy, and both interviews are in the May issue of Expressions (writing ezine):

From the introduction in Expressions:

I've been reading the Man-Kzin Wars series for a long time. The series was created by Larry Niven, but different authors joined in. The latest volume, Man-Kzin Wars XII (Baen, 2009), includes two great stories, Aquila Advenio and String, co-written by Hal Colebatch & Matthew Joseph Harrington; in both stories, humans and Kzin team up. For those unfamiliar with Man-Kzin relations, the Kzinti (tiger-like aliens) started attacking, enslaving, and eating humans a long time ago. Now things are different--somewhat, sometimes, and in some places. I enjoyed these stories so much that I tracked down the authors to learn more about them--and their stories.

Link to May issue of Expressions: Expressions 107

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Outdoor living

The latest Plow and Hearth catalog has a colorful selection of umbrellas, pillows, and outdoor rugs. And there's a birdbath with a tiny house in the middle of it; 'course I can't help thinking about how hard that will be to clean. I have a fancy birdbath with birds on the edge, and I have to use a toothbrush on it, besides my regular scrub brush. I love the mosaic hummingbird feeder; red is the predominant color, of course. I've never seen one that beautiful. There's a variety of mushrooms for the garden also. I'd love to get that mushroom stool.

There's a lovely iron trellis with three bells hanging from the top; as a matter of fact, I've seen it in an earlier catalog, and we're buying bells to hang from one of our trellises. Another idea I love is the little doors and windows you attach to a big tree trunk for a whimsical touch. I like the little houses you can put in your flower beds too. There's a variety of outdoor furniture and a raised dog bed to keep your dog, when he's outside, cool and a little safer from fire ants, etc.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dragons & magic: theme anthologies

My story, Seedlings, is included in Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer (a shared world anthology), which is available at [Plant mages fight with magic and their sentient plant companions.] Magistria: Shards of the Goddess is upcoming; my sequel, Crystal Quest, will be in it. [Ricasso Press]

Black Dragon, White Dragon is also out from Ricasso Press and available on I really enjoyed the diversity of Black Dragon, White Dragon. So much imagination, so few knights and virgins, and when they appeared, there were interesting twists.

Magistria link: Magistria: The Realm of the Sorcerer: Robert J Santa, Lawrence Barker, G W Thomas: Books

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Habitat for Humanity

It's National Women Build Week (May 2-10). Locally Lowe's and Habitat for Humanity are looking for volunteers to work one day at a Habitat construction site. "Across all 50 states, more than 7,000 women volunteers are expected to build at more than 200 Habitat for Humanity construction sites. ... women volunteers have built more than 1,400 Habitat houses nationwide."

From the Ledger real estate section