St. Andrews Scotland and The Old Course!!

My lovely and adorable bride and I celebrated our 3oth wedding anniversary in July and scheduled a September trip to Scotland to celebrate. It has been and continues to be a wonderful life, but hard to believe we were ever this young!

Wedding Photo St. Andrews

We visited Ireland for our 20th and, with both of us having a good bit of Scottish ancestry, Scotland seemed a great choice for our 30th! One of the many highlights was our visit to St. Andrews and The Old Course. Since we visited on a rainy Sunday, we actually got to walk out on 1, 17, and 18 and had a tour guide tell us more about the course and its history. Fascinating stuff, especially if you are a golfer or golf fan!

A Little History

Imagine, if you will, the history that haunts the course. According to our friends at Wikipedia, golf was first played on the links in early 15th century. They also tell us golf had become so popular in Scotland that King James II banned it because he felt young men were playing too much golf and neglecting their archery practice. The ban was upheld until James IV became a golfer himself and ended the ban.

Think of the legendary figures who played there. Kings, Presidents, and professional and amateur golfers battled the elements and the course. President Eisenhower played there, as did Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Seve Ballesteros, and Bobby Jones all won The Open Championship at St. Andrews. That’s an impressive list of people whose footsteps you can follow on the course.

The Road Bunker

St. Andrews is famous for its pot bunkers and the Road Bunker next to the 17th green has cost many a player a chance to win the coveted Claret Jug. I stood looking at the bunker, trying to imagine how I would play out of it should I ever get the chance. I think I would just declare it unplayable and take a drop…

Road Bunker St. Andrews

Road Bunker St. Andrews

I mentioned the elements above, and we got the full experience during our visit. It didn’t rain a lot, but it rained, the wind blew, and still people walked the course. We got soaked, but dried out during a tasty lunch after out tour. Maybe it was typical Scottish weather (it rained every day we were in Scotland), but the course is intimidating enough without adding in the wind and rain.

The R&A

The Royal and Ancient headquarters sits just off the course. We didn’t take a tour and see the Claret Jug, but it was cool to get a picture of the home of the governing body of golf around the world (with the exception of the US and Mexico).

St Andrews R&A

R&A St. Andrews, Scotland

Here’s a look up the 18th fairway toward the hotel that sits across the street from the course. Beautiful view!

18th Fairway St. Andrews The Old Course Sept 2018

18th Fairway St. Andrews

The Swilcan Bridge

It’s not clear in the picture (sorry), but the Swilcan Bridge is in it. That bridge, believe it or not, predates golf on the links. The bridge is over 700 years old and is one of the most iconic photo locations in the golfing world. Lana and I had to have our picture made standing on it!

Swilcan Bridge St. Andrews

Lana and Bill on Swilcan Bridge St. Andrews

After As a gift from our tour, we received a couple of cool keepsakes. We both have a scorecard from The Old Course and a commemorative golf ball. Of course, I picked up a golf hat, too!

St. Andrews Souvenirs

St. Andrews was an amazing experience. To walk where legendary golfers and notable dignitaries have played was special. I would have liked to have played The Old Course (which, along with the other courses in St. Andrews are open to the public), but you have to book a tee time about a year in advance and have a handicap of 24 or less. Since I haven’t swung a club in about 3 years, not sure my handicap would qualify me anyway.

I know I didn’t capture everything about St. Andrews, but at least gave a small slice (sorry for the golf pun) of this golfing treasure. If you’ve visited or have a story connected to St. Andrews, leave me a comment and let me know. And let’s connect on social media. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Say hi and let’s start a conversation!

 

 

Wire-Wrapping – My First Attempt (Not My Last)!

Readers of my books (The Gemstone Chronicles) and this blog know I love gemstones! I try to go gemstone hunting about once per month, and my two rock tumblers run continuously turning out polished stones by the 3 lbs. barrel full . In fact, I have gotten quite a nice collection of tumbled stones (as evidenced below)!

Wire-Wrapping Tumbled Stones

So, what to do with all these gorgeous stones? I pondered the question for a short time, and then decided I would try my hand at wire-wrapping them. And, since I received a Dremel and a Dremel workstation as gifts, and had a set of diamond drill to use in the tools, I could drill holes in them, too! In addition, my lovely and adorable bride (Lana) gave me the tools from her experiment in beading a few years ago, and I had everything I needed to give wire-wrapping a shot. Here is my drilling station. The plastic container holds water (keeps the rock and drill bit cool) and a piece of rubber (so I don’t drill through the plastic). Pretty cool!

Wire-Wrapping Dremel Workstation

How did my experiment work? Well, I drilled holes in an amethyst and a piece of jasper I had tumbled and decided to give the jasper a try. Below is what the jasper looked liked after drilling.

Wire-wrapping Jasper

 

Now for the drilled and wrapped piece!

Wire-wrapping wrapped jasper

I like the way it turned out and I think it will make a great pendant. I still have to do the amethyst and drill more stones, but I think this will be a great way to use the tumbled stones I keep producing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll open an Etsy store in the future!

That’s my first wire-wrapping effort. I know it isn’t great, but I will keep practicing until I get better. What do you think? Is this a good use for my tumbled stones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Do you wire-wrap? Any tricks or tips you want to share? You can let me know in a comment, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com or connect with me on the socials and tell me there. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest, so  look me up and say hi! I can use all the wire-wrapping help I can get!

Nuclear Powered Aircraft – In Dawsonville, GA!?!?


Nuclear Powered Aircraft!?

Readers of my blog and The Gemstone Chronicles know that I spent a decade in US Navy riding submarines and recruiting. I was trained as a nuclear reactor operator, and still keep up with some of the news in the nuclear world. My lovely and adorable bride, Lana, introduced me to a very cool website atlasobscura.com. While browsing the site, I came across an article on a government research facility from the 1950’s in Dawsonville, Georgia. What does this have to do with submarines or nuclear power? Well, this research facility was used to test the radiation effects on various materials and the surrounding forest in an effort to build a nuclear powered aircraft! The map below, though kind of hard to read, shows the layout of the site.

Nuclear Powered Aircraft Site Map

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the site was the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory (or AFP No. 67) and was run by Lockheed. The purpose was to test various military vehicles and the surrounding forest to assess the effects of nuclear war on the environment and wildlife and the do research on a nuclear powered aircraft. The site was closed in 1971 and sold to Atlanta as a potential site of a second airport. The topography wasn’t suitable for an airport, and nature has reclaimed much of the site. Here is a picture of the hot cell building.

Nuclear Powered Aircraft Hot Cell Bldg

With the secrecy surrounding the site, it comes as no surprise that most of the documents about what was done in the forest remains highly classified. And no nuclear powered aircraft came from the work. It does make me wonder, though, if some of the experiments led to materials used on submarines.

I did further research and found a lot of conspiracy stuff (not surprisingly) about the site. I also found claims of animals with interesting deformities and abnormalities. There are alleged sightings of deer with two racks of antlers, albino black bears, and other such creatures. In the research I did, one of the reactors on site was an open air (or naked) reactor that was hoisted into the air while operational and without shielding, allowing the radiation to blast the surrounding forest. Personnel at the site were in underground shielded areas during the open air testing. The picture below shows the site circa 1960.

Nuclear Powered Aircraft GNAL-Circa-1960-Web

The underground facility was supposedly six or seven levels deep, but who knows for sure. When the site closed, the entrance tunnels were collapsed and sealed. One of the remaining visible buildings is the hot cell, which is also sealed and surrounded by barbed wire fencing. The hot cell is where they placed irradiated materials for further study. The building was deemed to be too hot to demolish until the radiation levels subsided more. That might be another 30-50 years…

The area is now public land managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails, and you can kayak down the Etowah River that runs through the site.

As you can imagine, I have to take a trip up there to look around. It isn’t very far from where I live, so maybe next weekend might be a good time to go! When I do, I will be sure to post pics and do a follow-up to this post.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, we never had a nuclear powered aircraft. The USAF did experiment with a reactor in a plane, but that was to test the shielding for the crew. The reactor never actually powered the engines. I do recall when I was in Idaho in the Navy, there was an experiment going on to convert nuclear power for space travel, though, but I don’t know much more than that.

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It looks pretty cool to me, but what do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know. You can connect with me on social media, too. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. And, if you don’t want to miss a post (including my follow-up to this one), subscribe to the blog!

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy 2016!!

Happy Holidays! I was in my living room last night, helping Aidan and Maggie (yep, the same two whose namesakes grace the pages of The Gemstone Chronicles series) decorate their Christmas tree (we have 2 – one that is the front window of our house where we place most of the presents and a second one we call the kid’s tree). We put many of our favorite ornaments on the kid’s tree, and it always spurs moments of recollection of when we got the ornaments, why they are special, and then we have to find just the right spot for the ornament to hang. It made me want to share some of our holidays with you, my readers and friends! Without further ado, then, here are some holiday images to share!

First, here is our house, well-lit for Christmas! This year, our relatively new boxwood shrubs are finally large enough to light.

Happy Holidays 2015-Christmas-Lights-Web

I really like our front door, too. Our snowman with his red hat and scarf are a great addition to the decorations!

Happy Holidays Christmas-2015-Front-Door

 

As I mentioned above, we have 2 trees. This is the tree at the front of the that house shines with the rest of the lighted decor to lend our house a festive glow!

Happy Holidays Christmas-2015-Tree

The kid’s tree is beautifully decorated, too. Some of my favorite decorations on this tree are the Noah’s Ark ornaments.

Happy Holidays 2015-Kid's-Tree-Web

Here are my favorite Noah’s Ark ornaments!

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-1

 

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-2

 

Happy Holidays 2015-Noah's-Ark-3

To go along with the season, I want to thank all of you readers out there for visiting my blog, leaving me comments, and reading and reviewing my books. You have no idea how much your comments, connections, and feedback mean to me. Thank you all!!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and Tumblr. You can always just drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com, too!

Have yourselves a safe and happy holidays and best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

Gemstones Again!! Faceted Emerald, Quartz, and Citrine!

Gemstones again! I haven’t done a gemstone post in a while (partially because I haven’t been gemstone hunting due to other commitments – like marketing The Gemstone Chronicles), but I now have some very cool stones to showcase! Before I get to the final versions of the gemstones, though, I wanted to show you what the stones looked like when I found them.

The first stone is an emerald. I sent this one over to my gem cutter friend because it had a great green color when illuminated by a strong light. And, the natural shape was pretty cool!

Gemstones Again Emerald

I know the picture doesn’t show the green color. It was difficult to capture…

The second stone I want to show you is a quartz crystal. I found this one and it was extremely clear. Now, I believe the stone is beautiful in its natural state. What do you think?

 

Gemstones Again Quartz

The final stone is a citrine. For those not familiar with citrines, they are the same stone as an amethyst, but with different impurities to give them a yellowish-orange color.

How did the gemstones turn out? I think they are amazing! Here is the finished emerald. While not as green as Lana’s emerald from posts past, or what I envision the Emerald from the Elven Bow in Book Three: The Emerald, it is a great stone!

Gemstones Again Emerald-Cut-Emerald-6.5-Carats-Web

If you recall from my Rubies and Diamonds post, I asked my gem cutter friend Gene to facet two round brilliant cut quartz stones. They are 1.25 carats each. Here is a picture of them!

Gemstones Again Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

To match these, I asked Gene to cut the quartz rough above in a brilliant cut, as well. I think he did a fantastic job! I can see this as a pendant or perhaps a really big ring!

Gemstones Again Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

 

The last stone is the citrine. I have a bunch of citrines, but they are usually so fractured inside that they aren’t really suitable for faceting. The stone above seemed very clear and, as it turned out, it was!

Gemstones Again Citrine-Princess-Cut-1.7-Carats-Web

Apologizes again for the pictures as they really don’t show the beauty of the stones, but, as you can see, this Princess Cut weighed in at 1.7 carats and is a great yellow color!

I have to go through the stones I found this past weekend and see if I can find a few more to send to Gene! I also plan to start creating cabochons after the holidays, so stayed as I post progress on them!

What do you think of the finished stones? How do you think they should be mounted? Gold or Silver settings? Pendants or rings? Let me know how you would mount them?

Connect with me:

You can connect with me on social media, too, and let me know what your thoughts about the stones are. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just send me an email to bill@williamlstuart.com!

Happy Holidays!!

Thanksgiving 2015 – What a Great Year It’s Been!!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 from The Gemstone Chronicles!! It’s hard to believe another year has almost passed, but it has! Like many people, I like to take a little time to reflect back on the year and list out wonderful things that happened (in no particular order), milestones and accomplishments, give thanks for all I have, and look forward to what the upcoming year might bring. If you readers will indulge me, here we go!

  • The Atlanta Writers Club is the first writers club I have ever joined. The lovely and adorable Lana presented me with a membership as a Christmas present last year and I was so excited to receive it! And, I have learned much more than I ever expected from attending the monthly meetings. I want to increase my interactions with the other members as I move forward in 2016, and learn even more!

 

  • The Augusta Literary Festival was my first (and hopefully not my last) visit to Augusta. The Augusta Public Library holds the festival annually. The festival is the home to the Yerby Award and was a lot of fun to attend. I met a number of great people, was a panelist for a discussion about self-publishing, sold a few books, and generally had a great time. The 2016 Augusta Literary Festival is scheduled for Saturday, March 5, so make your plans to attend and discover new books for your own reading pleasure! Below is the picture of Lana and me at the 2015 event!

Thanksgiving 2015 Augusta Literary Festival Lana and Bill

  • In April, I submitted The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian to IndieBRAG for consideration for a BRAG medallion. After about a 5 month wait, I was happily surprised to learn the book had been awarded the BRAG medallion! What an exciting day for me and my books! According to the BRAG medallion website, only about 10% of the books submitted are awarded the medallion, which puts The Carnelian in excellent company!

Thanksgiving 2015 THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web

  • I was lucky to be included in the Oconee Chamber Fall Festival in Watkinsville, GA in October. A wonderful arts and crafts event held in a beautiful small town not far from Athens, GA (home of my favorite team the Georgia Bulldogs). The weather for the event was spectacular, the venue perfect for the festival, and the festival attendees were great. Books sold quite well, and I met tons of new people. A return for the Fall 2016 event is likely.

 

  • I saw a post on Facebook one day about the Ambercrest Little Free Library. I did a little research and thought the concept of the little free library was very cool, so I contacted the man who got it started in the Ambercrest subdivision (which is near my house) and donated a couple of my books. As a lifelong reader, I hope to help spread the love of reading to a new generation. If you look closely at the picture, you will see one of my book marks and, on the lower shelf of the library, The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst!

Thanksgiving 2015 Ambercrest-Little-Free-Library-Web

  • Lana and I took a weekend trip to Wilmington, NC. We had the opportunity to wander through the city, take a boat tour up the Cape Fear River, and visited the USS North Carolina (BB-55), a World War II battleship. For a submarine sailor, visiting the ship was an interesting experience. I was impressed by the amount of space (something at a premium on a boat), and the 16 inch guns were awesome!

Thanksgiving 2015 USS North Carolina (BB-55)

  • We didn’t take our usual spring or summer trip with Aidan and Maggie this year as Lana had back surgery. That didn’t stop me from building Maggie’s fort, though. Maggie wanted me to transform her play set in the backyard, so I did. What do you think of the finished product?

Thanksgiving 2015 Maggie's Fort Finished

  • There are so many more things for which I am thankful and there were some tough spots, too. Lana’s back surgery has been a resounding success and for that, I am forever thankful to the wonderful doctors and staff of Emory Healthcare. Lana’s grandmother (yes, we have 5 generations alive on Lana’s side of the family), Polly,  turned 100 this past April. What a blessing!
  • On a sad note, though, Lana’s Uncle Bud passed away as did her Aunt Virginia. Both were great influences in Lana’s life and we miss them every day.

There are so many other things I could discuss, like my continuing education in the ways of book marketing, the growth in my social media connections, or my WIP (an adult thriller). However, I won’t take up any more of your time for now. After all, there are turkeys to eat, presents to buy, and family and friends to enjoy! Do take some time, though, to be thankful for all that you have and for the family and friends who surround you. I know I’m truly blessed by Lana, Laura, Mike, Aidan, Maggie, and the rest of my family and friends too numerous to name here!

I also want thank all of the readers who have purchased the books this past year, those who have left reviews, and to my future readers, too! You have no idea how much it means to me when someone reads the books and leaves reviews or comments! Thank you!!!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me on social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or you can email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. If you don’t want to miss a post, you can also subscribe to the blog! Drop me a note and let me know what you are thankful for this year!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!!

 

Food Blogs and What Authors Can Learn!

This blog post is a bit of a departure from my usual topics of The Gemstone Chronicles, submarines, unusual and mysterious places, and conspiracy theories. Today I want to talk about food blogs!

Why food blogs? As readers of The Gemstone Chronicles know, my lovely and adorable wife Lana has a food blog. It was her foray into the blogging world that prompted me to self-publish my books and embark on my writing efforts. So, I owe food blogs for that inspiration. Besides the inspiration, though, food blogs like Lana’s can teach authors quite a bit.

Food stuffed-turkey-breast-feature-600x480

In the current environment in which we Indie authors exist, we have to be writers, publicists, marketers, social media experts, and many other roles. Such is the life of most bloggers. But, I think food bloggers have a little more to do. What do I mean? Take Lana’s blog for instance. Here is a normal routine for her to get a blog post ready:

  • Decide on the recipe. Will it be a theme or a recipe from her childhood?
  • Purchase the ingredients
  • Do the prep work for the ingredients
  • Cook the dish and photograph each step while cooking
  • Design the photo shoot, get the props arranged, style the food once the cooking is done
  • Set up lighting
  • Shoot the food before it dies (a term that describes the length of time before the food loses its desired appearance)
  • Process the photos
  • Write and edit the copy for the narrative around the recipe
  • Post the blog post, send out to social media and email list
  • Interact with others on social media to promote and market the blog

I’m sure I missed a step or two in Lana’s process, but you get the general idea. Now, compare that to what an indie author might do when writing a novel.

  • Decide what to write about
  • Research the book
  • Flesh out characters, plot, and story
  • Write the first draft
  • Either work on a cover or contract it out, but author still has to approve it
  • Rewrites and edits until the book is ready for release
  • Decide on the platform(s) for publishing (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.)
  • Publish
  • Promote, market, and publicize

The processes are very similar, I think, but food bloggers have to do it 2-3 times per week! And there are some extremely successful food bloggers out there. One of the first (and probably the most well-known food blogger) is Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. While Lana’s blog isn’t quite a large as Ree Drummond’s, Lana does get almost 2 million hits per year on her site! Compare that with my blog, where I get 15,000 per year (which I am trying to grow), and you see how much more popular her site is.

I will be taking a few pages from her book, and using some of her promotional ideas and efforts to see how they translate to my blog. As I am trying to use the blog to help promote my books, I can see how more blog traffic spreads the word about The Gemstone Chronicles. I encourage writers to visit food blogs, study how they write their posts, interact with their readers, and build an audience. I do caution authors, though, that they have to be sure to be genuine and not just act like sleazy salespeople. Yes, we all want to sell books, but just selling is a turn off. Be real, get to know your readers (of both your blog and your books), and reciprocate with supporters. Read other authors’ books, and write reviews. Tweet, pin, and post the reviews on Facebook and other social networks. When someone posts a review of your book, post it. This gives readers information about your book, but it also recognizes the effort that someone took to produce the review. And remember, you have to be persistent!

Here are some of the food blogs that Lana visits frequently:

I encourage authors to visit food blogs (and other blogs, too). Read over the recipes (and maybe make one or two), leave a comment (even if it is about the writing), and learn from what the bloggers do.

What food blogs to you follow? Have you learned anything from them? Leave me a comment and let me know! And, if you happen to have made a recipe from Lana’s blog, I would be interested to know how you liked it. As chief taste tester, I like to know that people enjoy her dishes as much as I do!

Connect with me:

Connect with me on social media, too. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Tumblr. You can also email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to hearing from you. If you don’t want to miss a post, please subscribe to the blog!

 

Oconee County Fall Festival – Book Signing Fun!!

The Gemstone Chronicles is headed to Watkinsville, GA on Oct. 17th for the Oconee County Fall Festival! I will be there (with the lovely and adorable Lana) signing books, meeting new friends, fans, and hopefully celebrating a UGA win over Missouri later that night. Below is a picture of an older UGA mascot, UGA VI!

Oconee County Fall Festival UGA

UGA VI

Where is Watkinsville, GA you might ask? It is about 10 miles south of Athens, GA (home of the UGA Bulldogs) and the county seat of Oconee County. This year’s Fall Festival is expected to draw a crowd of more than 20,000 visitors, with over 200 vendors in attendance (including me)! This makes it the largest arts and crafts event in the area!

I will be there with all 4 books in The Gemstone Chronicles series and will have some swag to go along with the books. As I usually do at signings, I will you give a gemstone when you buy a book. So, if you buy the IndieBRAG Medallion honored book,  The Carnelian, I will give you a tumbled carnelian.

 

Oconee County THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web

Here is an example of the carnelians I will be handing out with each book sold.

Carnelians-for-Oconee County -Web

 

The Amethyst will get you a tumbled amethyst.

 

Oconee County The Gemstone Chronicles The Amethyst Cover

Here are the amethysts I plan on handing out with each purchase.

 

Amethysts for Oconee County

The rubies and emeralds are in the tumbler. They won’t be smooth and shiny like the stones above. In fact, they will be in their natural rough stage. I put them in the tumbler to clean them up a little bit. After that, hey will be recognizable for what they are.

Plan on coming over to Watkinsville, GA for the Oconee County Fall Festival and enjoy the food, arts and crafts, and pick up your copies of The Gemstone Chronicles. Then, go cheer on the Dawgs as they play the Missouri Tigers between the hedges! I promise to try to send some pictures out via Instagram (which is new to me)!

Connect with me:

If you would like to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com.

See you on October 17th!

 

Nana’s Cooking – The Real Deal (with a Slight Southern Accent)!!

Readers of The Gemstone Chronicles fantasy adventure series know that, in the books, Nana’s cooking, has a food blog successful enough to allow her and Beebop to retire early and purchase their mountainside home, and swings a mean frying pan! Today, though, I want to focus on the real Nana (my lovely and adorable bride Lana), and her real life food blog!

Lana started her blog on Super Bowl Sunday 2009. Neither of us were interested in the game (it was the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Arizona Cardinals, in case you were wondering – and Pittsburgh won), so she decided to start a food blog. Her career as a webmaster made it easier for her to start and she built her website from scratch. From its humble beginnings as a hobby, it has grown to be a significant presence in the food blogosphere!

What can you expect to find at www.lanascooking.com? As of today, there are more than 600 recipes with a Southern accent, nice food photography, and step by step directions on how to prepare the delicious dishes featured on the blog. Lana likes to make traditional Southern recipes. She adds her own little twist on them. She designed the site in an easily navigable manner that makes finding just the right recipe a snap! Below are a couple of examples.

Have you ever heard of Pecan Cheesecake Pie? I can tell you (as chief taste tester I have to sample each dish) that it is fantastic! Here’s a picture:

 

Nana's Cooking pecan-cheesecake-pie-final-5001

I do believe Lana channels someone’s Italian grandmother. She makes some pretty amazing Italian dishes. This was one of her recent meals and let me tell you, it was simply delicious!

Nana's Cooking Jumbo Meatballs

Lana dotes on her family, too, especially her two amazing grandchildren. As readers of my blog and my book series The Gemstone Chronicles know, Aidan and Maggie are the inspiration for two of the main characters (and Lana inspired a 3rd character, too). On her blog you will find posts about them, a couple about me, and a few other topics that she enjoys.

I could go on and on about Lana, how her blog inspired me to take a chance on publishing my books, her cooking, and the many other things about her that I adore. It will be better for you all to just visit the site. Try a few recipes, read though the blog, and discover what a great site it truly is!

Connect with me:

If you want to leave me a comment about Lana’s blog, please do. If you want to connect with me on social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com.

Lana’s connect information is on her site. Be sure to leave a comment or connect with her when you visit.

Shameless Self Promotion – My Truck Magnet!

If you recall from my last post, I listed a couple of new promo sites I found (ebookdiscovery.com and TheBooksMachine.com) and talked about the magnetic sign I was ordering for my truck. Well, the sign arrived yesterday and I am very pleased with how it looks! Time for shameless self promotion!

Shameless Self Promotion Truck Magnet

I’m even more please by how it looks on my truck’s tailgate! Here goes the shameless self promotion!

Shameless Shelf Promotion Magnet on Truck

I placed the sign in the middle of the tailgate and it almost blends in with the truck paint. I like the look of it!

Yes, I know that I’m going to be accused of shameless self promotion for riding around Atlanta with a sign promoting my books on the back of the truck, but I’m okay with it. After all, it really isn’t any different from a lawn service or other business advertising their business or service on their vehicles. And, as an Indie author, I don’t have publicists or other such folks doing this kind of work for me. When it comes to marketing and promotion, I’m about all I have and I have to do it on a slim budget.

I ordered my sign online and it cost about $25 for a 12 x 18 magnet (including shipping). I got it in a week or so. It was easy to do (especially since the lovely and adorable Lana did the design work for me). I took the .jpg Lana designed and scaled to the proper size, loaded it on the website (I used Vistaprint), and it was done. Easy!

Of course, I have no idea if this will work at all. I may simply be out $25. But, I figure that I pass (or get passed by) hundreds of vehicles every day to and from work and I can have the magnet attached every time I go to the mall, a bookstore, or even the hardware store. Readers are everywhere, and maybe one will take notice, read one of the books, and recommend it to others. If nothing else, I may get a few new friends on social media!

Connect with me:

Speaking of social media, if you want to connect with me, I can be found at any of the following: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or you can email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I welcome comments, shares, and other blogs to follow, so don’t be shy!

What do you think of my shameless self promotion idea of the magnetic sign for my truck? Too much? Not enough? Leave me a comment and let me know!