Author Archives: Gina Storm Grant

The Journey Begins…

How did I get interested in upcycling you ask? Sure you did.

I started watching those reno shows: Fixer-Upper, Masters of Flip,  Leave it to Bryan, Holmes on Holmes, and several others. My faves these days are Save My Reno because they upcycle, and Good Bones because I just want to hang out with Karen. She’s so much fun. And? She upcycles.

From there, the slippery slope led to Pinterest, and then various Facebook Groups. I love Upcyclers Anonymous, Paint it Beautiful, and several others. There appears to be a great divide between chalk paint and mineral paint, but that’s a tangent for another day.

Since I have a “discount for life” at Canadian Tire, I usually start there. I had just moved into my new home in Aurora, Ontario, and hired a painter to paint the entire multi-pastel house in a rainbow of greys. (Not quite 50 Shades…). So at Canadian Tire, I bought black outdoor paint for my patio table, grey chalk paint and a can of protective topcoat. All by Rustoleum, because that was what they had. I had yet to hear of Annie Sloan, Dixie Bell and F.A.T. paints. Not to mention Fusion Mineral Paints.

Hmmm. Not sure it’s a good idea to buy a specialty product at a general store, because the can must have been sitting there for years. The bottom had hardened into a lump that defied stirring. But the top looked okay, so I persisted. It was just practice for now, right?

I grabbed a little Ikea shelf I’d had for years, a box that wine had come in, and five “heads” I’d snagged at a thrift store. Oh, and some carved dragons I’d bought on the beach in Bali in 2000.

So I primed with white Bulls Eye primer and painted. It’s not as easy as it looks. Brush strokes and bleeding paint are my nemesis, but for these projects, it was good practice.

I also experimented with Modge Podge, stencilling and stickers on these pieces. The stencilling worked best. I’ve yet to try transfers, because they’re not cheap. I’ve read that you can make your own by feeding wax paper into an ink jet printer. I see a jammed up ink jet printer in my future, so I’m holding off on that.

Enough words, Gina. Show us what you got:

First up, my little Ikea drawer system. My learning here is that I don’t like it when the rest of the piece isn’t nicely finished. However, I’d read that when you paint a drawer, it can often get just that tiniest bit too big for easy sliding.

Here’s the finished box deployed on my office bookcase. As you can see, I’ve covered the poorly decoupaged top with a stationery tray, and added the little bat sticker. It’s cute. It’s functional. I really didn’t care how it turned out. Next…

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Next was the wine box. I practied my painting, and later, stencilling. I used a dollar store self-adhesive stencil and as you can see, it pulled off some of the paint. Note to self: use the protector coat first, then the stencil. Haven’t tried that yet. Will let you know how it goes.

The next two projects actually worked out pretty well. First were the dragons. I’d bought them from a seller who walked the beach in Bali–a memorial trip I’d taken when my mother passed away. The seller told me they were stained with brown shoe polish. I can’t recall if I primed them and I don’t have a before picture, but I painted 2 coats of the grey chalk paint, then dry brushed on some of the Rustoleum black even though it is for outdoor furniture. Then dry brushed some dollar store gold acryllic paint. The inside of their mouths was done with dollar store red nail polish. I love how they turned out. They have place of pride on top of a beautiful antique cabinet purchased years ago at an auction in Toronto.

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Lastly, I painted the white styrophone heads grey. I wanted them to be vaguely reminiscent of Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels. Painting styrophone was a challenge because it kept chipping off. I finally found if I handled it very carefully, and then didn’t touch them till the protective coating had dried, that I could then dress them and display them. Now they sit atop my antique barrister’s bookcase.

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At first, I just sat the heads directly on the bookcase, but after posting a picture to Upcycler’s Anonymous, someone suggested I acquire candlesticks. A quick trip to Salvation Army and $12.00 (less senior’s discount) later, here we are.

So far, I was 2/4 on my practice projects. It was time to move to something real. Stay tuned for my next blog post…

#upcycling #newlife #thrifymystery

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Me, my shelf, and I

Post #2 in my new Upcycling Life

The first thing I did when I bought my new home in Aurora, Ontario and began to rebuild my life, was buy smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher. The second thing, was shelves. Tons and tons of shelves. Despite having gone all KonMarie on my belongings, half of which went to my ex, I still filled a moving truck. One of the big suckers.

I’m so lucky to have a “discount for life” at Canadian Tire (although in some cases, Home Depot was better priced). I bought heavy duty black plastic shelves, lots of chrome shelves on wheels, and was given some wooden Ikea shelves. And so, before I started to upcycle, I organized.

Give a gal a label maker and…

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Workshop Shelves
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And labels for all…

I had some stuff from my husband, a lot of dollar-store stuff, and some other stuff I’d bought from Canadian Tire and Home Depot.

And thus I began my upcycler life. I finished my first trial and error (mostly error) piece on January 13, a month ago today.

More about that in my next post…

Girls don’t need tools

It was 1968, I was in Grade 8 when an announcement came over Hodgson Junior High’s PA system: “There will be a special Industrial Arts after-school class for girls. Maximum 15 girls. Sign-up sheet on the door. First come, first served.” 

Back then, girls were required to take Home Ec, while boys were shunted to Industrial Arts. No exceptions. Always the rebel, I was dying to learn how to fix stuff. My dad didn’t know how to change a light bulb and my mom used a hammer for everything. Needless to say my signature was the first on the list.

Imagine my shock when I wasn’t one of the 15 girls chosen. I headed for the VP’s office, demanding to know why not.

In a low voice, despite the door being closed, the VP informed me that there were… girls… who would need to know this kind of thing. They’d be… on their own. Probably raising families… on their own.” Our school sat squarely between a middle class neighbourhood and a rather dumpy “wrong side of the tracks” neighbourhood. (Which would later gentrify right out of my price range.)

“What about me?” I asked. “I need to know these things.”

“Oh, no.” He chuckled. “You’re from a good home. You’ll marry well.”

I’ll marry well. Huh. What do you even say to that?

And I did. I married a man who knew how to do it all–hang drywall, fix plumbing, rewire a lamp, and refinish furniture. But he wasn’t interested in teaching me any of it. He preferred to work alone and I knew better than to touch his tools. When we split up last year, he was scrupulously fair in dividing up the tools (but not the power tools), making sure I got my equal share… of things I didn’t know how to use.

So here I am. Five months later, totally enamoured of upcycling furniture–saving pieces from landfill and turning them into beauties. It’s all trial and error… more error than trial sometimes. I now own a drill and a power screwdriver. They were sold as a set–I don’t know which is which. No kidding. The instruction manuals? All assume that much basic knowledge. Me? I don’t know how to affix a drill bit. Or is it a screwdriver bit? But I’ll figure it out.

I’m perservering. I’m pleased with my results so far. Because with paint, if you screw up, you just do it over. Here’s a sampling of my work so far:

From this… to that. It’s all from gargage sales and thrift stores, even the lovely striped fabric was a $3.00 curtain from Salvation Army.

Stick with me for some entertaining adventures in upcycling. Because you know what? Girls do need tools!

 

Learn to love Microsoft Word

Kobo Writing Life

By Joan Frantschuk

Have you ever screamed at Word because it just will not cooperate?

Word is a writer’s best tool, best resource, best friend. Writing a book is hard enough without the added aggravation that unfamiliarity with Word can create. As a writer, you owe it to yourself to learn how to use all its features—without shouting. If your font changes unexpectedly, your pages break in weird places, your titles are wonky, then this course is for you.

In Mastering Word for Fiction Writers, you’ll uncover the solution of Styles for consistent text, the speed and convenience of the Navigation Pane for reorganizing your scenes and clicking around your manuscript, and how to write a synopsis in just THREE steps.

Do you want to improve your editing skills and work easily with editors?

Word can help you write your book without aggravation, frustration, and distraction, allowing you to focus on…

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Pricing Your Print Book

Woven Red Author Services

“My cover designer wants to know my list price for the bar code. Where the heck do I get that price from?”

The Cast

Before we begin, there’s a cast of characters for you to meet.

The Author/Publisher: that’s you.

The Printer/Distributor: companies like CreateSpace, IngramSpark and many others.

The Retailer: bookstore and libraries.

The Reader: the end consumer of your books.

The List Price

LIST PRICE = FIXED COST + ROYALTY

This is the price the reader will pay to get her hands on one copy of your beautiful print book. It’s usually added to the barcode on the back cover. Above is the barcode from Above Scandal by my alter ego Joan Leacott. The list price is $17.95 US. The price is coded into the shorter set of bars. Because I’m Canadian, I include a price in Canadian dollars.

The Retailer sometimes gets a portion of the LIST…

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What did you read in 2016?

I read 65 books in 2016. Below are listed 62 of them. I re-read quite a bit this year, including a number of Janet Evanovich and some Sir Terry Pratchett. I think my favourite books this year were a couple of witty/serious middle grades: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” “Husky,” and “Wonder.” I hear “Wonder” is being made into a movie this year.

In writing news, I wrote one book and published one book, RE-INVENTING LOVE. I have another underway.

I look forward to reading a bunch more in 2017. And also some writing and publishing.

What did you read in 2016?

2016
1 Alexie Sherman The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian YA
2 Andrews Jesse Haters YA contemp
3 Archer Jodie Archer & Matthew Jockers The Bestseller Code non-fiction
4 Barkley Linwood Never Saw it Coming Thriller
5 Barton Fiona The Widow psychological thriller
6 Blake-Hall Karen (ed.) Villainous Vacations crime antho
7 Blume Judy Are you there, God? It’s Me, Margaret YA
1 Byrne Arthur Killing Hemmingway YA
2 Campbell Colin Free Days with George Memoir
3 Chilton David The Wealthy Barber Returns non-fiction
4 Delany Vicki Valley of the Lost, Const Molly Smith #2 Mystery
5 Delany Vicki Winter of Secrets, Const Molly Smith #3 Mystery
6 Delany Vicki Negative Image, Const Molly Smith #4 Mystery
7 Delany Vicki Among the Departed, Const Molly Smith #5 Mystery
8 Delany Vicki A Cold White Sun , Const Molly Smith #6 Mystery
9 Delany Vicki Under Cold Stone, Const Molly Smith #7 Mystery
10 Delany Vicki Unreasonable Doubt, Const Molly Smith #8 Mystery
11 Ernest Cline Armada sci-fi
12 Evanovich Janet Visions of Sugar Plums Parnormal Mystery
13 Evanovich Janet Plum Lovin’ Parnormal Mystery
14 Evanovich Janet Plum Lucky Parnormal Mystery
15 Evanovich Janet Plum Spooky Parnormal Mystery
16 Evanovich Janet Lean Mean Thirteen funny mystery
17 Evanovich Janet Fearless Fourteen funny mystery
18 Evanovich Janet Wicked Charm Parnormal Mystery
19 Evanovich Janet Tricky Twenty-Two Mystery
20 Evanovich janet Top Secret 21 Mystery/comedy
21 Evanovich janet The Chase,  Fox and O’Hare Series 3 Funny Thriller
22 Evanovich janet The Shell Game (E-Short),  Fox&O’Hare Series 4 Funny Thriller
23 Evanovich janet The Job, Fox&O’Hare Series 5 Funny Thriller
24 Evanovich janet The Scam, Fox&O’Hare Series 6 Funny Thriller
25 Evanovich janet The Pursuit, Fox&O’Hare Series 7 Funny Thriller
26 Evanovich janet The Caper Funny Thriller-short
27 Evanovich janet The Heist,  Fox and O’Hare Series 2 Funny Thriller
28 Evanovich Janet Curious Minds Knight & Moon 1
29 Fallis Terry Poles Apart Literary humor
30 Ford Deborah The Dark Side of the Light Chasers non-fiction
31 Gilbert Elizabeth Eat, Pray, Love Memoir
32 Gino Alex George YA
33 Hawkins Paula The Girl on the Train literary thriller
34 Hiaasen Carl Flush light YA
35 Hiaasen Carl Bad Monkey Absuridist mystery
36 Hiaasen Carl Basket Case Mystery
37 Hiaasen Carl Chomp Mystery
38 Hiaasen Carl Lucky You Mystery
39 Hiaasen Carl Sick Puppy Mystery
40 Hiaasen Carl Star Island–Skink 6 Abusurdist Thriller
41 Howell Simmone Girl Defective YA
42 Leib Josh I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President funny MG
43 Lemon Lisa The Big Stiff funny mystery
44 Leonard Elmore Cat Chaser Mystery / Thriller
45 Levitan + Cohen David + Rachel Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares YA conemp
46 Lynch Margaret Tapping Into Wealth non-fiction
47 Moore Christopher Secondhand Souls Absurdist UF
48 Murphy Derek Shearwater YA UF
49 Palacio R.J. Wonder MG contemp
50 Patterson James Honeymoon Thriller
51 Patterson James First to Die (#1 Ladies Murder Club) Mystery
52 Patterson James Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross #1) Mystery / Thriller
53 Pratchett Terry The Colour of Magic humourous scifi
54 Pratchett Terry The Light Fantastic humourous scifi
55 Pratchett Terry Guards! Guards! humourous scifi
56 Robertson Robbie Testify autobiography
57 Sayre Justin Husky MG contemp
58 Sincero Jennifer You are a badass self-help
59 St. James Simone Lost Among the Living Paranormal Thriller
60 Wendig Chuck Zeroes contemp sci-fi thriller
61 Wolfe Inger Ash The Door in the River Mystery
62 ? The idiots guide to money management non-fiction

 

 

Re-Inventing Love is ON SALE!

It’s Boxing Day and All Romance Ebooks has certain titles on sale. Check out Re-Inventing Love.rilcold

RE-INVENTING LOVEThe road to love is paved with good inventions.

Re-Inventing Love was judged a FINALIST* in the prestigious Rainbow Awards: (*Books receiving an average rate of 30 or more out of 40.) “Re-Inventing Love was an entertaining and engaging read. The characters were very endearing and I loved Max’s distinctive voice. Storm created a very credible world and I was transported there every time I picked the book up. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.” It also won an HONORABLE MENTION.

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Like free books? Click here for free books and news delivered right to your mailbox.

SUMMARY

Engineer and assistant inventor Maximilian Grün is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.

When promising young inventor and mathematician Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations—their very lives!

Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.

But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat him.

Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?

Click for: EXCERPT   REVIEWS

Ah, writing. How I have missed you.

I was 27,000 words–about halfway through–the first draft of my YA psychological thriller, Untrue Crime, when my friend Kay Lynne Simpson (aka The Nightowl) passed away suddenly. I called it a half-Nanowrimo (like a half marathon) and stopped writing to help the other local fen with Kay’s needs, and then to grieve.

Now it’s six weeks later and I’ve only just re-opened the document.

I started writing back in 1997, when Kay Lynne told me I had to. I’m ashamed to say my first fanfic is still on the net if you know where to look. Then in 2007, I decided to go pro, quickly contracting my first novel, Gym Dandy.

Now it’s 2017 and this is the longest I’ve ever gone without working on a book, either writing or editing. I’ve been doing a wee bit of marketing, but not a heck of a lot of that, either.

So just in time for the holidays, I’m back at it. I’m re-writing the opening. Instead of taking chapter after chapter to get to the main story action as I usually do, it’s now in the very first scene. I’m pretty pleased with it.

Of course that means deleting a bunch of stuff, but tighter writing trumps word count.

So we carry on…

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My #1 Favourite DIY Editing Tool: Word Proofing Options

A very informative article. Well worth the lcick. (If only there was some way to catch those typos and mistkes. 😉 )

Woven Red Author Services

Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhotos.netFor pointing out gaping plot holes, sagging middles and uneven character development, nothing beats the eagle eyes of a good editor. I wouldn’t publish without one.

But for spell checking, grammar checking and copy editing, I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript.

This post takes a closer look at what Word has to offer.

Word Proofing Options

Word has a wide array of proofing options grouped under AutoCorrect, spelling and grammar checking, and writing style options.

AutoCorrect

You’re familiar with autocorrect on your phone and the inadvertent, and sometimes hilarious, assumptions that apps make. Word does the same. Those funny substitutions don’t mean you turn off Word’s AutoCorrect; it’s far too valuable to ignore.

On Word’s AutoCorrect tabs you’ll find:
  • seven AutoCorrect options
  • ten AutoFormat options
  • fourteen AutoFormat As You Type options.
Among those options, you can set up punctuation AutoCorrects like:
  • replace straight quotes with curly quotes

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Baby, it’s cold outside and in…

Today is #bookqw (book quote Wednesday). This week’s work is COLD. This quote comes from Edwardian Steampunk, Re-inventing Love.

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