Saturday, May 30, 2015

Product Review Dragonfly Soap

I bought this soap at a farmers market from the maker herself, Katherine.
She was so sweet and didn’t think I looked old enough to have kiddos. After showing her pictures of my babies, I got a Mother’s Day discount.

We got three bars.
One was a patchouli, oatmeal and goats milk bar. I’ve been using this as a facial bar and totally love it.

We also got a lilac bar. I love the way it scents my whole bathroom when I shower.

The third one we got was called Hippie Chick. This one smells so juicy.

I’m always skeptical of the quality new stuff like this, especially homemade.

The soap doesn’t dry out at all. Even after lots of use it looks crystal clear without the pealing edges.

Even though this soap is less expensive or comparable to the soaps you would get at a Bath and Body Works, these soaps last forever!

The lather on them is amazing, just like using a liquid soap.
My skin feels very clean afterwards with a light, natural scent.

The soaps themselves are a work of art. I can only imagine how amazing Katherine’s house smells after making soap all day.

My husband loves these too.

Here are a few pictures I found on her Facebook page:

Here is another of her websites to check out:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How To Tell A Good King From A Bad King – Hint From The Chronicles Of Narnia and Book of Mormon.

Okay, so here goes a political post that I don’t often do because, at this point, people already have their minds made up.

There are many people very unhappy with the current American government. There has even been talk among some higher government sources that a civil war could quite possibly be a reality.

As an author, part of my job is to study people from an objective point of view.
I started a study of kings and compared it to our current ruler here in America.

If men start relying on the government more than God and themselves for their food, clothing, housing, cell phones, education, etc. then we set up a man or government to be a god. When that man or government falls, that’s when we will have riots and people starving.
A bad leader will want to create a dependent society. A dependent society is much easier to control.

I was watching Prince Caspian and during the final battle, when the two opposing armies are rushing toward each other, I noticed what the kings were doing.

On the Narnian side, King Peter picked up his sword, even though he was already battle worn and injured, he rushed the enemy with his people following behind him.

On the Telmarine side, the king pointed his sword and shouted, “Charge” then he stayed safe while his men advanced forward into battle.

King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon labored with his own hands to support himself so he didn’t have to add additional taxes on his people. Mosiah 2:18. King Benjamin also stood by his people in battle and fought with his own strength. Words of Mormon 1:13
Same with Alma. Alma 32:5

King Noah was the opposite. He taxed his people heavily so he and his buddies could party, wear nice clothes, get drunk, etc. See Mosiah 11:13-15. When his people came under attack he ran away and encourage the men to leave there helpless wives and children and save themselves. Mosiah 19:11

It is also mention in the Book of Mormon about an enemy king who ended up taxing King Limhi’s people 50% of profit. This was considered slavery and bondage. Mosiah 7:22-24

How much are you paying in taxes? Sales tax, property tax, income tax, government fees for doing anything, food tax, gas tax etc. There are almost 100 types of taxes in America that didn’t exist 100 years ago.

In many ways, history really does repeats itself. I encourage everyone to study both good and bad kings from history and learn the qualities of real leadership.
You can compare these qualities to any person in a leadership position.

People serve a good king because they love him. People serve a bad king because they fear him.

Images from:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Carving Out A Niche - Marketing Books

Another Publishing Parallel – Marketing

I’m going to make this story easy and have it take place in the writer world.

Once upon a time in the magical kingdom of Writer Haven there was a great famine.
The famine became so great that many writers gave up. Some citizens of Writer Haven started wars with each other because they felt like there wasn’t enough to go around.

A great flood of new technology caused many new authors to flock to writer world in hopes for prosperity.
Some writers wanted to close the gates and not let anyone new in. It was fight every day to horde and protect resources.

The king of Writer Haven looked over his kingdom and saw the war about to start by desperate writers trying to get their books out into the world.
They all believed they had limited resources and avenues.
Some believed the only options to get books distributed was through a publisher, bookstore, or Amazon.
Some thought their only way to market was social media and blog tours.

The king reminded the whole kingdom of the daily feast. This was a feast that every citizen could attend any time they wanted. No one was limited and everyone could eat until they were full everyday.

Thousands of writers flocked to the feast for dinner and noticed only ten pies.
They each grabbed a knife and plate and started fighting for a slice of pie. Everyone knew that ten pies couldn’t feed thousands.

The king raised his hands and stopped the commotion and asked why they were fighting.
They said they felt like there wouldn't be enough room for everyone to market, they has to be the loudest, they had to have the most friends on Facebook, they had to have  the biggest blog tour etc. in order to beat the rush of marketing authors.

The king looked confused and asked. Did you not see what else was out there besides pies?
The authors looked and suddenly realized the table went on for miles. There wasn’t just pie, but cake, roast turkey, rosemary grilled potatoes, pasta salads, jello salads, baskets of exotic fruit from the Philippines, authentic Hungarian soup bowls, bread made by the Amish, popcorn from Disneyland, Smoked fish from Alaska, blackberries from Oregon. The options for this marketing feast were world wide and endless.

Some authors rushed and ate so much that they got sick. Others stopped and really had to think about what they wanted on their plate and what was the most important.

I want all my author friends to think about this.
This is Marketing.
Your table is miles long and your options are worldwide, but you can’t “eat” everything even if you think everyone in the world will want to read your book and your goal is to be richer than Stephanie Meyer, and own a bigger castle than J.K. Rowling, and have an epic movie made like Tolkien.

Lets talk now about carving out a niche.

You need to think about your goals for your book. I’m not saying you can’t have a castle like J.K., but as with any goal there are steps to take.

For example:
Let’s pretend you have a children’s book about gardening. What are some niche markets you can tap into that will bring your sales percentage up?

  • Farmer’s Markets
  • County fairs
  • Speaking to Elementary age kids about the importance of gardening.
  • Parent and children gardening blogs
  • The local FFA
  • Social media involving Outdoor activities for kids 
  • Homeschooling groups
  • Get a booth at a Homeschooling convention
  • Host a contest for kids. Whoever grows the biggest pumpkin etc. wins a pair of gardening gloves.
  • Join the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Start a gardening club for youngsters
  • List your book on
  • Connect with America the Beautiful (a non-profit providing free seeds)
  • Connect with Captain Planet Grants
  • Talk with owners of gift shops. See if they would be willing to sell your book during their farm festivals or let you do a reading on a hayride.
  • Connect with EPA Environmental Kids Club
  • Connect with Farms for City Kids.
  • Check out local gardening clubs.
  • Home depot and other home improvement stores could also be used as distribution outlets.

The list can go on! I found a whole world of kids gardening stuff by spending 10 minutes on the internet.

Will these same marketing ideas work for someone with a medieval romance book? Well, maybe, but it won't be as effective.

My concern is that I see authors, let’s say with the children’s garden book, that have one of two attitudes. The famine attitude and the food glutton attitude.
The famine authors think:
I don’t have a “real” publisher. (So? Go do it anyway.)
My publisher will do all this for me. (No. No they won’t.)
There is no way for me to market this type of book. (I just proved there are hundreds of unique ways to market this book.)

These are the authors who give up before they really tap into their market. Or they look out how their author friend with the medieval romance book is marketing and try to follow her and they are not as successful in her niche market.

The glutton authors think this:
All I have to do is spam the internet and everyone will buy this book
I’m going to become as rich as God off this book.
Everyone else will see their sales go down because of how well I’m doing.
Every book store in the world will carry this book.
This will soon be required reading in all schools.
I’m going to sell more books than Stephanie Meyer.

These are the kinds of authors that everyone complains how annoying they are on social media or they try to start wars with other authors because they see only the "ten pies" instead of the whole table.

We can take any type of book and come up with a huge list of unique ways to market it.
Remember that table? There is enough for everyone. If authors really understood this then authors would not look at each other as competition, but as allies and friends.
Soon you realize that the feast can be a potluck and we can help each other out and still have plenty.

My wish is for authors to be as creative in marketing as they are in writing their books.

Steps to finding your niche:

1. Determine who best would like your book (age, gender, culture) be specific.
2. Find other people and organizations (festivals, conventions, novelty shops etc.)
3. Ways to make public appearances (schools, signings, teaching engagements.)
4. Media ( Podcasts, radio, news interviews, radio readings etc.)
5. Social media (be specific and don’t market only to authors. See hobby groups, education groups, etc.
6. Mass distribution (advanced marketing) For most authors, I would suggest the help of a publicist or marketing specialist to help in this area.

Some times its easier to think about marketing when its not your own book.
For practice, what are some ways to market a book about how to draw fairies?

What are some ways to market a book about American Law?

What are some ways to market a book about African History?

What are some ways to market a fantasy book about mermaids?

Feel free to share ideas.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Antiques in Aurora

Aurora is a little town in Oregon with a population of about 940 people.

As you drive through the main street there is a bakery and a few other shops, but what Aurora is known for is the Antique shops.

You can park just off the main street and walk to about a dozen little cottages converted into museums of the past.

Leif took me on a date to Aurora since he knows how much I like this kind of stuff.

This is a washer and dryer in one.

A stack of old photos

Not a selfie. This is a cool mirror.

This was my most fav thing I saw.