The Trials of Self-Publishing

“For all we know he was her killer,” Glenda replied softly.

“Yep, that is true. Glenda, where’s all this leading? What would we do if we did find this guy?”

Chapter 9, Eye of the Magpie

As the Queen of Formatting, I have to admit it was a daunting process to upload my book to Amazon. I had taken an intense self-publishing course through our local library that helped me tremendously. AND it still took me almost two months to upload my book.   :^(

The first hurdle was errors in my manuscript. I click through all of them. Some are typos in dialogue, and I tell the reviewer to ignore them. If I remember right, I think I had two actual spelling mistakes, and I think that is pretty darn good. I correct and then reload my document. That Folks, takes maybe an hour of time. The rest of the saga involves my struggles with the book cover. It is a bit of a comedy of errors.

The lovely Joelle Johnson, of Saskatoon fame, did a beautiful piece of artwork for me for my cover. In the top left-hand corner there is an angry magpie, coming in for a landing. Below it we see, through a rifle scope, our two intrepid sleuths, engaged in conversation. There is a red wash over the whole page, some dripping down menacingly towards the women.

Neither Joelle nor I had ever created a book cover before. My first realization was that the format of the picture was wrong. The watercolour is a slight rectangle, closer to a square. A standard book cover is six inches by nine inches, a taller rectangle.

I have never mastered a graphic software like Photoshop; I have used simple, free-ones successfully that I have found on the web in the past, to resize a picture or take out red eye. I thought it would be easy enough to do some photo editing, say with cropping. Not so fast.

Programs that I used in the past were no longer available. I did a bit of research and found GIMP 2.10. It is not simple. It has a lot of icons that I haven’t got a clue what they mean or what they do. But it is free. I spend a day or two experimenting with various buttons and perusing their online manual and finally come up with this:


Then I upload my book cover to Amazon, fill in a bunch of boxes, find out I need a TIN number for US taxation purposes, contact another Canadian author who goes Huh?, Contact my accountant, who knows exactly what I am talking about and informs me no, I don’t need a TIN. figure out a way for Amazon to pay me, and my e-Book is uploaded. But … Amazon takes 72 hours to review it before it finally pops up in their store.

Continue reading “The Trials of Self-Publishing”

The Journey Begins

This became the beginning of something Gene looked forward to and took great pleasure in. — Chapter 11, Eye of the Magpie

While I wait for you, my esteemed readers, to find me on this blog, I’ve decided to add some recipes, cooked up in in my book, Eye of the Magpie, that you might enjoy.

20180711_202159_resizedMy big bad wolf piece of pie

Today, my husband, Adrian “Mike” Pearce, made a delicious rhubarb and strawberry pie. So, I’ve decided to start with it.

For this particular pie, he used the Tenderflake crust and about two cups of strawberries and two cups of rhubarb.

Usually Mike uses my Mom’s Crisco recipe for his pie crusts. And I do attest that his pies are 99.9% as good as Martha’s. The Recipe comes from the old Crisco boxes. They have updated the recipe a few times since this version.20180711_153145_resized

Sometimes though, due to time pressures, he cheats and buys Tenderflake pre-made pie crusts. He and I have the continual debate of which is better: a shortening-based or a lard-based pie crust. His Mom used Tenderflake, ergo his preference.20180711_153319_resized

Regardless of the shell, most people believe it is what’s on the inside that counts. And for that, Mike turns to the Joy of Cooking, pg. 650, “Berry Pie with Fresh Fruit” recipe. (Tenth printing edition, June 1978.)

Our friend, Jeff Woodward, labelled Mike (or Adrian, as he calls him) a baker and myself a cook. That is because I hardly ever exactly measure anything. I follow my Mom’s rule of thumb for making pies.

Mom used about five cups of filling. She would put the fruit in a bowl and sprinkle it with sugar. Her ratio was about one-half cup sugar and up to two-thirds of a cup of sugar for each cup of fruit. Less for sweet things like apples and peaches and more for sour things like rhubarb.

After the sugar was well-stirred into the fruit, Mom would add a few tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken up the ‘sauce’ made from the sugar and fruit. Apple pie is the only time I remember her using any spices, a bit of nutmeg and a lot of cinnamon. If the apples were dry, she added small bits of butter atop them, after pouring the fruit into the shell.

Once the fruit mixture was in the pie shell, Mom would fold the top crust and cut triangular shapes into it. She would carefully add it atop the big mound of fruit filling and pinch the two crusts together with her finger and thumb. Then she would pop it into the pre-heated oven (400 degrees,) turn the heat down to 325 degrees and bake it for about forty minutes. Yummy!

I’ve never mastered the art of making pie dough. Mine comes out hard, non-malleable, and never quite tastes done. Yet to watch Mike today, or Mom in the past, make pies, it looks like the easiest thing in the world. With the Crisco recipe, and Mike or my Mom’s hands, the crust is light and flaky yet substantial enough that you can pick up a piece of pie and eat it just like that.

That magic and the magic of eating the fruit from your very own garden, picked that day and baked into a pie, well, it never gets old.

Before I go, I just need to add one more thing: that I cant wait for my sisters to read this and tell me that what I wrote is NOTHING like how Mom made pies!