Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Friday, April 29, 2005

It's Time for Blatant Self-Promotion

Okay, it's like this. This is the end of the first month of the second quarter of this year. I need to sell some books. My books are romance novels, too "sweet" to offend anyone. They are published in electronic form (downloads) by two publishing houses -- Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books ( and are very reasonably priced. You can purchase them without leaving the house if you have a credit card or a PayPal account. And there is a place on each of those websites where you can print out an order form if you want to send them a check.

Now, if you go to Hard Shell Word Factory, you can do a search of my name, Jane Bierce, and find five books -- all of which I love dearly, but I'd really like you to look at DEARLY BELOVED.

If you go to Awe-Struck E-Books, do a search of my name, Jane Bierce, and you'll see three books there -- all of which are good, but I'd really like you to look at DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH.

Instead of having to run to the bookstore and sit on the floor in the romance aisle or go to the coffee shop area to read the first chapter of my book, you can read it right there on the computer screen and decide if you want it.

And if you don't like my book(s), you can wander around the site and look at other people's books. Some of them are hotter, some aren't romances. You'll find something.

Happy reading!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Naked Ladies on the Lawn

The first winter I lived here, I looked out the kitchen window and saw thin green leaves growing form the ground in clumps. I thought they were crocuses, but was disappointed when February passed, and no flowers came from those leaves. I compared the leaves with some from real crocuses that grew under the bedroom window, and realized they didn't have any white stripe int he center. In weeks to come, the green leaves turned brown ont he ends, slumped to the ground, then gave up the ghost entirely without any evidence of blossoms at all.

I knew something had to be wrong there, because although bulbs can reproduce by making more bulbs underground, they still flower. Before too many days, little white six-petaled flowers came up. I found out that they are called Wood Anemonies or Stars of Bethlehem. But here in East Tennessee, they are called Naked Ladies.

Now that the Redbuds are passed and the Dogwoods are quickly following them, the irises are standing tall with their Tennessee blue flowers, the Naked Ladies are sprawling indolently on the lawn. They gather in huge patches where their green leaves have formed carpets for them.

Summer can't be far away.

Monday, April 25, 2005

A Narrow Escape

My husband and I were working in the garden Friday morning, edging it with a black plastic bumper between the nice plants and the weeds (the weeds are winning, BTW), when I heard a strange wood-creaking sound. Looking around the first time, I saw nothing unusual. Husband, of course, heard nothing. I heard the sound a second time and ascertained the direction it was coming from -- a big tree beside the driveway.

The third time, a limb splintered from the trunk and started to fall, to be caught in the V of the branch of another tree that grows adjacent to the first. Luckily, My husband was about four feet away from the branch, but I think he was somewhat shaken. We finished our work, avoiding walking under the branches.

About an hour later, we had a wild storm with wind, rain and even hail, but the limbs remained still attatched to their trees. They did succumb to being pulled down by my husband's truck, however, and are on their way to being firewood. I'm glad we took care of the situation. Bright and early this morning, the propane tanker came to check our tank.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Hail on the Chief

I live in a staunchly Republican area of Tennessee. This is Bill Frist country. The fact that I'm registered for the opposing party gets me widely ignored. I feel like an outcast, but that's okay, because I've generally been an outcast, a minority. Even when I was a Republican, I was a minority.

The President was supposed to go to Cade's Cove this noon to give a speech honoring the Smoky Mountains National Park. He didn't get there. His trip to the park got as far as McGhee-Tyson airport and that was it. We had Rain! We had Wind! We had Hail!

I have been known as a weather witch, stopping bad weather to keep a parade running on time, making it rain when we need it. I've even been accused of turning off the electricity in six states, although I contend I'm the one who turned it back on.

If anyone comes looking for me, saying that I made it hail on the Chief, I'm not talking. I'm thinking -- but I'm not talking.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Imagining a Conversation

Remember Bob Newhart's old comedy routines, where he talked to someone on the telephone, trying to be business like and reasonable, and you filled in the other half of the conversation? The individual in the audience entertained himself, really, thinking what the other person might be saying, and why.

Well, I was thinking something along those lines today. I reflected about the EPIC conference I went to last month. We had a sort of Open Mic thing where some of our members read things they had written, snippets that enterained us.

One fellow, Murdoch Hughes (who won an EPPIE the following night for Murder in LePaz) approached the microphone with something grey and furry on his head. He read a well-considered piece he'd written about being a vegan werewolf.

Now, what struck me today was -- well -- where did he get that thing on his head? I met his wife. She's a lovely person with a very calm aire about her. So I was thinking, of her end of the conversation.

"You need what? -- You think I can make something for you to wear on your head. -- You want it to look like--Well, yes, grey fur would make it look authentic, but --"

I'd better not go any further with this. If I don't laugh, I'm going to get a headache!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


My husband and I love asparagus, and there is nothing like it when it is picked fresh and steamed lightly.

We have lived in places where it grows wild, so when we would see it growing wild, we would know we could grow our own. But it takes several years and some rather specific care to grow it to maturity. And we moved every three years. Just at the time when we would think we would get a crop the next year, my husband would get transferred.

The last time we planted asparagus, we sold our house by land contract -- which means the new buyers senT us their payment every month and we would pay the mortgage and insurance from their payment. Most months, there would be a little note telling us important neighborhood happenings. One month the message was, "We really enjoyed your asparagus this spring!"

We bought some asparagus plants today, and I intend to get them in the ground shortly. You see, we had wild plants growing in the yard, but they never send up enough sprouts to make a meal.

We're getting old, though. Do you expect there is asparagus in heaven?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I Hate Weeds!

Now,I have a firm belief that there is a reason why everything was placed on earth. Or why everything developed. Adapted. Whatever the current theory is, I could probably find some logic in it.

I'm not so sure it applies to weeds. Oh, I can see the beauty in dandelions, violets (which we don't try to eradicate for aesthetic reasons), wild geraniums and a few other attractive plants. There are medicinal uses for plantain and sassafras. But can anyone tell me what good thistles, sticky weed and crab grass are?

Unfortunately, we have an over-abundance of the last three. I spray and spray and spray, but since we live in the country, it is all pretty much in vain. So long as there is a westerly wind, they all will migrate, right toward my delphiniums, hostas and iris.

Who wins? The people who make the weed-killer, that's who!

Monday, April 18, 2005

It's Hard To Blog...

....When there is a new Keepsake Quilting Newsletter on my and yellow fabric, a pattern for Island Pants! The level of drool on the desk gets intolerable.

...When the rose bush needs to be sprayed for black spot fungus, and have the effected leaves taken off. I just want to get out in the sun and clear, warm air and do something, even though so far what I have been doing hasn't worked.

...When there is a half-finished baby dress beside my sewing machine. About two hours work would finish it. But the dress is a Size 1 and the baby is less than three months old. I know she's going to grow fast, but she lives in Minnesota, so she won't really need it for a bit.

...When a book is taking shape in the back of my mind. Characters are forming, thinking of wild rides to take my mind on.

But I did it anyway!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Issues to Consider

I listen to NPR a lot, and this noon on Fresh Air the topic was the globalization of the world. First it was done by countries, -- as in the British, Spanish and Portuguese colonizing the underdeveloped areas of the world. Then it was done my companies -- those multinationals that became mega-companies, like IBM and Wal-Mart. Now, with the communications we have today, it can be done by individuals.

If you have a terrific idea, you have the opportunity to make it into something that can be produced and sold around the world, via the Internet. Many people are doing this. They are not hampered by geography, or even by physical problems, if they can put their plans into action. This is my own extrapolation, not one expressed on the program. My own mind started grinding out thoughts.

Electronic publishing is a good example of this. Electronic publishers can be anywhere -- New Zealand, or Iowa. They don't have to be in New York City or London. And the customer can be far, far away from a brick-and-mortar bookstore and still have just what they want to read.

We live in a wonderful age. I just wish I knew how to make the most of it... I need to go think....

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Kudos to the Groundskeepers!

I watch golf! I was thrilled on my trip through Houston last month to fly over a golf course whose sandtrap I recognized.

Most of all, I love the Masters for its Amen Corner. In years when the timing has been wrong, I mourn that the azaleas peaked too soon. It seems also, in those years, the guy I'm rooting for doesn't win...but then, I'm fickle.

This year, the groundskeepers did such a lovely job, even with all the rain.

An extra ration of Mountain Dew ought to be given to the groundskeeper who trimmed the grass around the hole at 16 to make just one or two blades of grass that smidgen shorter so that Tiger's ball would hang there and then go in.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I Love Weekends!

I especially love the second weekend of the month. On that Saturday morning, a friend and I, and sometimes her mother, go to Sevierville to the Cherry Pit, to Sampler Saturday. In January, you pay $5 and you get a packet of fabric and the pattern to make a quilt block. If you show up every second Saturday after that with your block done, you get another packet, so you can end the year with twelve quilt blocks and all you have paid it $5. It's a good deal.

The catch is that you have to sit for about fifteen, maybe twenty minutes while the owner of the store shows you all the new fabrics and patterns and gimmicks that have come in, and you have to show her your block. And sometimes you see a gorgeous piece of fabric and you have to buy it--well, sometimes you just do have to replenish your stash.

So I am working on my third Sampler Saturday quilt and I really enjoy the gatherings. It gets me out of the house. It redistributes what wealth I have. It cheers me up.

What's not to love about Weekends?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A World Without Pie Crust

Our Thursday social schedule is always highlighted with a visit to the supermarket. It's not a general supermarket, where they have something other than the store brands on a usual basis. If you want Alfredo sauce, you have to go somewhere else. It has one type of whatever it has, take it of leave it. (Fancy stuff is usually being remaindered, so grab it when you see it.)

I've been going there since the day the place opened, and know a lot of the people who have worked there by sight, if not by name. Some I know by name.

We needed pie crust. Now, until about six months ago -- at the peak of pie-baking time -- they ran out of the crusts already in the little pans. Which was no big problem -- we had enough pans to use under potted plants and so on to last a long time. So we started using the refrigerated dough that is in round shapes and folded in quarters -- all you have to do it bring them to room temp, unfold and patch the little hole in the center. We even went to the Dollar Store (see our Friday social schedule) and bought some neat glass pie pans, which even our daughter admired. (Note, we haven't seen them in the Dollar Store since.)

But today, much to our chagrin, there was no - nada - nil pie crust at the less-than-supermarket. No frozen crust in little pans, no refrigerated pie crust to unfold and patch. We upbraided the keeper of the frozen food department, one Tony, who has been known to get us things we need from the back room somewhere. "It's not available," he told us. "That's what the computer says."

"It's not a seasonal item," I said. He just threw his hands up and shrugged.

The world is without pie crust. We do, however, have a new box of Earl Grey tea, from the remainder shelves.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I Won!

I as re-elected President of the Electronically Published Internet Connection -- EPIC -- a group of writers, publishers and other publishing professionals who are dedicated to bringing the public ebooks -- books that can be read on electronic devices. Like PDAs, Gameboys, dedicated handheld readers and other computers... there are good reasons for this.

Almost all books eventually end up in landfills. When you consider the size of a paperback novel, multiply that by 20,000 copies of that book, which is the number most publishers consider the break-even point. But in order to have that many sales, they generally have to print twice that many books. What happens to the extras? They are stripped of their front cover, which it returned to the publisher for a refund, and the rest of the book heads to a landfill. It is illegal to sell a paperback book that does not have its front cover.

So -- think of the trees that were cut down and processed (the processing is very acidic) not just for the books that are sold but the ones that are destined for disposal.

Electronic books exist in computers, to be emailed to you and downloaded into your reading device. If you love it and want to read it over and over again, you can save it. If one reading was enough, you can delete it.

You can modify (electronically) a GameBoy to contain 800 books. Ever think of taking 800 books on vacation with you?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Back to WORK!

I've gone back to the keyboard to work on a book. The thing is, this book is BUILDING PASSION, the first book I ever had published. It was released as #15 in the Harlequin American Romances line back in July of 1983. I've had the rights back for a while, and I'm hoping to have an electronic publisher re-release the book.

Did you notice the date? Do you realize that was before many people had computers in their homes? It was ancient history, as we view it today. BUILDING PASSION was typed out, word by painful word, onto paper by an office-sized Smith Corona Electric typewriter. It made a lot of noise and it was bulky. That was when "cut and paste" was really "cut and paste"!

When I finished the last draft of my book to send the manuscript to the publisher (on spec), it took me a whole month to type the clean copy. Now, if I want a copy of a manuscript in paper, it takes maybe an hour to run it off. But generally, I just email a file of the manuscript to the electronic publisher. No ton of paper, no horrendous postage, no chance it will be maimed, spindled and mutilated in transit. If it gets lost, I simply email another copy of the file.

But I have to retype every word from the print copy now...So help me it will be the last time. When I got my first big royalty check in April of '84, I got a computer. I've upgraded several times, but I have never looked back with any nostalgia at the "good old days".

Friday, April 01, 2005

I Need a Kick-Start

I've taken a long time off from my writing, and I need to get back to work. The problem is that, as a writer, I often doubt my skill, my topic selection and my talent.

The story that is uppermost in my mind is one I might look at on a shelf of books and say "who cares!" But it's the story that wants to be told. It's not a true story, but it could be. Someone could actually do what my main character wants to do -- providing conditions were right.

Every day I see announcements of wonderful books that people have written -- at least the blurbs portray them as the next greatest book -- and I wonder why my books don't get that much attention. Maybe I ought to just go ahead and get the book out of my head. If somone likes it and publishes it, and other people buy it, good.

If not, at least I won't have a headache anymore.