Archive | September 2011

Radio Silence Has Ended

It’s been over a week since I posted. Most of that is because I was out of town last weekend at Hottime on the Mountain in Asheville, NC. I was fortunate enough to be asked to demo one of my murrine ring beads.

I made one like this but added butterflies. It went pretty well, despite using a smaller torch than I am used to (which is pretty much always the case in these settings and is totally fine). It just means the poor attendees had to spend a lot of time watching me wait for glass to melt.

However, on Sunday morning many of them showed me their class beads and everyone did super awesome. I know what it feels like to be scared of using murrine. Greg (the hubby) is a master and it still took me years to get comfortable with trying. It’s really not that hard, I promise.

Anyway, I came home with a pretty nasty head and chest cold. This is what happens when one doesn’t have kids and rarely spends a bunch of time with the general public. Our immune systems just aren’t up to fight off the latest germ de jour. Hopefully I don’t infect Greg. Two of us sick just won’t do. Especially since I’m feeling pretty pathetic right now.

One bright spot in my day however is a five heart review I just found on Sizzling Hot Book Reviews of Haunted on Bourbon Street. It’s the first book blogger review I’m aware of and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Haunted on Bourbon Street is a wonderful debut novel for Deanna K Chase with a well developed plot, strong characters and a multi-faceted story line with twists and turns to keep you thinking.Haunted on Bourbon Street  is sultry and sexy with just enough tension to want the reader to scream, yet enough details to leave the reader satisfied that they aren’t guessing what’s going on. I have to say, pick up Haunted on Bourbon Street and just enjoy it for the paranormal mystery romance that it is.”

Yay for a pick me up!

Favorite Things Monday~Jewelry by Simply Adorning

Confession time. I’m a bead maker who rarely wears jewelry. I’m usually at home writing or in the studio making beads. It isn’t an existence that lends itself to getting dressed up. Or getting dressed at all for that matter. I could spend all day in my jammies and no one would know.

So when it comes time to actually go somewhere, I almost always forget to add a piece of jewelry. Sure, I have pieces. I display them at shows, pull them out for my bead events, but on a daily basis? I often have to dig around in my purse for a bead to show a stranger what it is I do when the subject comes up.

But now I think that is all about to change. I have a customer, Laura of Simply Adorning, who does the most amazing things with my beads. Man-o-man does she make them look awesome! I never knew my beads could look so good.

This peacock pendant was the first piece I got from Laura. She made one and sent me a picture. I knew right them I had to have one.

 

 

 

 

Then I saw this in her store! I’m a bit of a sucker for a ring, but when I saw my floral bead set in there…wow, just wow. I love this ring.

 

 

But this is the piece I adore. Simply adorning indeed. Just gorgeous. How could I resist wearing this at every opportunity?

You can find variations of each of these pieces in Laura’s Etsy store.

Party Time! Welcome to the Bead Soup Extravaganza.

It’s Bead Soup time. The lovely Lori Anderson is the coordinator of the Bead Soup party. Click here to find a list of all the participating blogs.

Basically it works like this: All participating artists are matched up with another artist and we send a focal, a clasp and some coordinating beads off to our partners. Then we each make a piece of jewelry and blog about it on party day.

Today is party day! My partner, B.R. Kuhlman (be sure to stop by her blog to see what I sent her and what she did with my beads), sent me this jam-packed box of goodies:

The package included an amethyst focal, dyed mother of pearl, ear wires, lilac stone, amethyst beads, seed beads, crystals, and a silver plate clasp. There were a lot of goodies in my package. I admit to being a little overwhelmed with what to do with it all, but she sure left me with a lot of choices.

So without further ado, here is what I created. It’s a little out of my norm, since there isn’t any lampwork in it at all. I thought about adding some, but she gave me so much to work with, I wanted to devote this piece to just her beads.

 

Since my tastes run more simplistic, I do have a lot of stuff I didn’t end up using, but it’s not like they won’t find their way into other things.

BR did the gorgeous wire-wrapping on the pendant, and I put everything else together.

So you tell me. How did I do?

New Addition

Psst, remember to come back tomorrow to join us in the Bead Soup Blog party.

Big news in Chase land this week. We have a new addition:

Greg finally decided to sell his 1971 VW Bus. Sad, I know, but she’d been hanging out in the back of the house ever since we moved here four years ago. It was only used when we needed a bigger car to haul something or when my car, the Altima, had to go in for service. Not too great for a car to just be sitting around.

Last year, we put a total of one tank of gas in her. She ran perfectly fine. But with no air-conditioning and no reason to take her out, she was becoming a lawn ornament. Now she has a new home in sunny California and is getting a make over. The buyer said he’d send us pics when she is finished. I sure hope so.

Anyway, we had been thinking we’d get a truck to make it easier to haul stuff, or Greg wanted to get me a Jeep to use for shows. However, all the Jeeps we found were less than desirable and Greg didn’t want to get a truck that would just sit out in the back collecting pecans from the tree back there.

It appears the Suburban is the ultimate compromise. The funniest part is my sister also drives an Altima and has a Suburban. I’m pretty sure she’s convinced whatever car she gets next will eventually end up in my driveway.

The  beasts are pretty happy about it.

They went a little crazy when we got home yesterday. Little dog syndrome? 🙂 I don’t know, but Puck wouldn’t stop barking at it. It was pretty dang funny. Puck is the white and black one.

Connections and Social Networking-The Buisness of Lampworking Extras

If you’re in business you’ve heard probably heard you need a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Google+ account, be a member of forums, and possibly have a blog.

Okay, so you’ve gone out and signed up for all those things. You blog maybe once a month, you’ve head is pinning in circles at Google+, your twitter feed spits out random posts from Ashton Kutcher, The Pioneer Woman, and Sh*t My Dad Says, and Facebook changes its interface so often you can’t keep up. How is this helping your business?

It’s probably not helping at all. Unless you’re genuinely interacting with like-minded people. If you’re a gamer and the only people following you on Twitter are fellow gamers, your spam posts of what you listed on Etsy are mostly likely just a waste of time. If you only use Facebook to  keep up with your siblings and their children, that venue isn’t working for you either.

You need to be connecting with like-minded people on these sites in order for social networking to be of any use to your business. It seems an obvious thing to say right? Think about it. Are most of your friends on Facebook other lampworkers? Or are they jewelry designers? Do you have both? Are you open to your customers friending you?

When it comes to Facebook, I let anyone on my friend feed as long as they aren’t constantly sending me spam messages or arbitrarily adding me to groups I didn’t ask to belong to. On Twitter I will follow anyone interested in glass, beads, marbles, jewelry making, craft, whatever. Again as long as they aren’t spamming me direct messages.

Okay, now that we know who we should be interacting with, now what? Interact, connect, make friends. That’s the whole point. Just spamming new listings will not get you far. In fact it might get your dropped, blocked, and ignored. FYI-my lampworking Twitter feed has been sadly neglected. It currently only gets Etsy and blog updates. So don’t go looking at that feed as an example. If I was following me, I’d probably block me. I’m much more active over on Facebook.

Now, you’re friending and interacting with people who appreciate glass. Great. Now what? Nothing. That’s it. The thing with social networking and connections is you never know when someone you’ve met will post a link of yours to a private beader group, retweet a listing, think of you for a teaching gig, or ask you to write an article for a publication. All of these things are free advertising and all you did was chat with someone online.

I have a concrete example of what I mean. I’ve been a member of Lampwork Etc since Corri first opened the doors over there. One of the members, Barb, knew me from the online forums. She’s another lampworker and a few years ago at least she bought some beads from me (which totally made my day BTW). In August I met her in person by chance at Bead Fest Philly. It was great to chat with her in person. Being totally awesome, she bought some more beads and signed up for my email mailing list.

Last week I ran an after Labor Day sale and out my newsletter went. Barb, again being totally awesome, shared that newsletter with a bead group of hers online. Needless to say, my sale was a huge success and I’m pretty swamped with orders right now from a bunch of new customers who just heard about me due to Barb.

If I hadn’t been socially networking with Barb years ago, would this have come about? Hard to say. She could have stopped by my booth at Bead Fest and signed up for my newsletter. But without the personal connection would she have shared my link with her bead group? Certainly our personal connection helps tie it all together.

Social networking is about making connections. Many of the opportunities we’ve been given have been a direct result of connecting with people, through a friend of a friend, direct interactions with people on the internet, or just being part of the community.

You never know when a connection is going to lead to something or if it ever will. The trick is to put yourself out there enough so you’re part of the community. If you’re only online to just sell your work, people will notice and it’s likely to backfire. Just be yourself, make friends, and the rest will follow.

Meet the Author–Claire Delacroix

Today I am hosting, Claire Delacroix (also writing as Deborah Cooke), fellow member of the Romance Writers of America Online chapter. Hello, Claire! Thanks for joining us.I’m guest posting over on her blog. Here.

Back in Time by Claire Delacroix

This year, I’ve been re-issuing a lot of my Claire Delacroix backlist titles in digital editions. This is a fun exercise, mostly because I love cover art. It’s really exciting to have new covers created for these stories, particularly if I wasn’t that crazy about the one used by the original publisher.

But what I want to talk about today is going back in time. There are two ways that this republishing program has taken me back.

First of all, these are books that I wrote five, ten or fifteen years ago. The amazing thing about proofreading my own books is that I remember what was happening in my life at that time. It might be something small that I’ve forgotten over the years and a chance phrase in the book reminds me of that incident. It might be something more important, a crisis that we got through, which then somehow coloured the stories that I was writing at the time. It’s both strange and wonderful to stumble across these details, remember something past, and marvel over how long it has been (and how much has changed.)

The second way that these books take me back in time is with their settings. Many of them are medieval romances, so I get to visit that era all over again. I’ve been to the fourteenth century in Scotland, a time of intrigue and romance, with The Rogues of Ravensmuir and again with the linked trilogy, The Jewels of Kinfairlie . Right now, I’m travelling back to the twelfth century, again in Scotland, with Bride Quest II, my trilogy of romances which have more of a fairy tale sensibility.

I’ve also done some time travelling in a more dynamic style with the review and republication of three of my time travel romances. I really enjoy the humor of people from the past finding themselves in our time and vice versa. There’s something fundamentally romantic about two souls finding each other across time and re-reading these stories has bolstered my faith in the power of love. It never needs much reinforcement as that’s a pretty core belief for me, but still, time travel romance make me happy – I’d forgotten just how much.

All of these books are available for Kindle, and directly from Smashwords , as well as from third-party sites like Diesel, Apple and Sony. There are excerpts and review quotes on my website if you’d like to read more.

The third way that these books have tugged me back into the past is by reminding me of the other books I’ve read. I catch glimpses of old favorites in my own words, and that has prompted me to dig through my overloaded bookshelves and rediscover books I haven’t read in a while.

What about you? Do you like to re-read books you’ve enjoyed in the past? Do you have a groaning shelf of keepers like I do? How do you remember all those little incidents and treasures from the past?

Claire Delacroix sold her first romance in 1992 and since then has published over 40 romance novels under the names Claire Delacroix, Claire Cross and Deborah Cooke. Her books have been USA Today and New York Times bestsellers and have won numerous awards. For more information about Claire, visit one of her websites, her blog or her Facebook pages.

www.delacroix.net
www.deborahcooke.com
www.thedragondiaries.com
blogging most weekdays at Alive & Knitting www.delacroix.net/blog
www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix
www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage

Note from Deanna:

I definitely have tons of books on my shelves that I love to revisit. Even if it means just picking them up and gazing at the cover. So much so, I have trouble loaning them out. For goodness sake, what if they don’t find their way home?

BTW, have y’all checked out that gorgeous specimen on the cover of The Rogue? Must go find out all about the Scottish rogue…