Category Archives: Uncategorized

Do Something


I have never liked do-gooders. Do-gooder to me was defined as a busybody, a ‘holier-than-thou’ person who dispensed a liberal helping of judgment along with whatever ‘charity’ they were giving. I don’t know if my definition was the prevailing one, or some warped after-effect of my upbringing.

But, either I need to review my prejudices and admit I’ve been wrong, or I need to help change the definition. Maybe both. Because I, along with everyone else in the world, need to become do-gooders. It doesn’t matter if we can’t afford our car payment, there is someone who can’t buy shoes. We lost our house, someone else has lost their house and their marriage.

I can feel crappy because I have no job, and have to scrape by, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Or I can take what little I have and give part of it to someone who needs it more.

I’m not saying anything new or profound here. I’ve just figured out something I can do to help.

I make things, I write stories. I am going to begin taking a percentage of my sales and give them to someone in need. Call it non-denominational tithing. Maybe they’ll be able to do the same someday, maybe not. But I’ll feel better. I’ll know I tried.

Because you buy the things I sell either here, or Smashwords or at the Farmer’s Market, you should have a say in where the money goes.

So, for everything I sell in April 2011, I will be giving 10% of the gross sales to one of the following charities. I have a poll here on my blog for you all to choose which you would prefer to see the money go to. And I will repost a choice in April for sales in May. And, please click on the links below to go directly to the charities themselves.

Grameen Foundation

Supports microfinance, commonly known as banking for the poor. Microfinance provides small loans, savings, and other financial services so poor people can launch businesses. GF’s work has helped families across Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

Injured Marine Semper-Fi Fund

The Semper-Fi Fund provides financial aid and quality of life solutions to: marines and sailors as well as members of the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard who have served in support of Marine forces, when they become injured in post 9-11 combat or training.

Maine Sea Coast Mission

The Maine Sea Coast Mission, founded in 1905, provides assistance in coastal and island communities from mid-coast to Downeast Maine. Programs and services include: emergency financial assistance, addressing immediate needs such as heat, electricity, and other emergency circumstances; food pantries; Sunbeam Island Health Services; and a thrift shop.

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Published!


I am published on Smashwords!

Devil’s Daughter is a romance set in the early days of Georgian America. The post-revolutionary world of Boston society seems to be easy pickings for Henri Du Mont and his daughter, Angelique. But, while they think Boston is the perfect place to find their next dupes, one girl stands up to them, risking everything.

Here is a link to order my book.

The Devil's Daughter always gets what she wants...

Spring!


Spring is really here in Downeast Maine.

Several days of temperatures in the high sixties/ low seventies, and even once (I admit the car was sitting in the sunshine) it hit 81!

Now, Friday, it’s a little more of what you would expect for this part of the world, 60 and breezy. And you can smell spring in the air.

We took a trip to Campobello Island yesterday, it was simply beautiful at Herring Cove Provincial Park. And we discovered a new (to us) lighthouse at the far end of the island. Evidently if you hit the tides just right, you can walk over to the lighthouse, but that will have to be next time.

The Head Harbour Light on the northern end of Campobello Island.

So I didn’t get much writing done, but, boy oh boy, did I ever recharge my creative batteries. And maybe we should all give ourselves permission to do that once in a while.

Web Presence – Part Two


There is a lot of great advice out there about creating a web presence. But I don’t see a lot about the transparency of the web. It may be for as simple a reason as few people realize what a fishbowl we have created for ourselves.

As we craft an interconnected presence, we forget on some level that it is all viewable by everyone. For the first time in human history, you can’t easily have different faces you show to different groups.

My father was evidently a hardworking cheerful man at work. A real go-to guy. No-one at his job knew (I don’t think) that black demons of depression and rage overtook him when he walked in through his front door every night. He would sit and smoke and drink in the dark, and woe be to anyone who annoyed him.

No one knew what went on behind closed doors.

Today, his behavior would have been harder to hide. Perhaps he would have gotten help for his self-medicated depression, perhaps he would have been fired or something worse. But people would probably have known he had “issues”.

Now our friends, our coworkers, our love life is becoming interwoven in a big broth of HERE I AM. I don’t think we are made for such openness. Thousands and thousands of years of privacy have lulled us into thinking we can be one thing to one group, something else to another, and yet something else to a third. We see it trip up 0ur politicians, we hear the random story of Facebook comments seen by the wrong people, but it will happen more and more as time goes on.

We have yet to learn the lesson of watching our words, and I think it will become more and more critical. What do you think?

Web Presence


The act of writing today may be as solitary a pursuit as when Jane Austen curled up with a pen and paper in her father’s library.

But….

There is another component to be reckoned with. Public, merciless, painful as it may be to the hermit-like writer, that component is a web presence.

Blogs, such as this one, help the reader find the writer, and get a feel for the writer’s voice. Blogs also help the writer define themselves to themselves – akin to a journal in some ways, more like a hair shirt in others *sigh*.

A website is equally, if not more important. A place where the reader can go to see and order books, it’s as much the writer’s shop as the blog is the writer’s home. My new website is www.leandracollins.com and, while it’s newborn, I think it has its mothers eyes.

Still to come, Facebook and Twitter. And, while all of these things are awkward and scary, it is worth it to be able to write!

Miracle Mirepoix!


After almost fifty years of putting food in front of hungry family, I discovered mirepoix.

Now, I have to admit, I was never much of a carrot person, having been brought up on carrots from a can. Blech! But this past year we had our first garden, and the thing that grew the best was carrots.

One Day's Output from our garden

Faced with what seemed like thousands of delicious carrots that sprang like magic from my ill-prepared ground, I wracked my brain for what to do with them. A good portion were frozen for winter, we had carrot cake and carrots as a regular side dish. The carrot cake was lovely, as a side dish they were okay.

But chopped and mixed with celery and onion…. WOW.

And that is all mirepoix is – or at  least that is the basis for it.

Chop two parts onion, one part celery and one part carrot. Done.

You can add it to soups or saute it before you make chops, or chicken or even hamburgers. It becomes step one of all your cooking, and you look like a genius in the kitchen. You can use it in omelettes.

You can add green peppers. You can put herbs like oregano or savory in some of the portions. You can freeze it, and have a taste of summer all year round. That is actually what we did, and I’m working my way through the freezer and all its one-cup portions of miraculous mirepoix!

Close Call


Well, I had the closest call I would like to have regarding a house fire. I actually had a house fire in 1978, electrical, in the walls. It was frightening, but because it happened in the walls and there weren’t flames, it was almost a virtual fire.

At least not as real as what happened yesterday.

I was writing in my new office, and my husband brought up the space heater to help heat the small room. He lit it and went back downstairs. I was typing away, working on Chapter Seven of the new book when I noticed dust motes in the air. I didn’t think too much about it until they got heavier. I turned around in my chair to see huge flames leaping out of the top of the space heater.

I jumped up and stepped on the shut-off switch, nothing happened.

I ran to the top of the stair, where we have a fire extinguisher and called down to my husband. As I yelled for him, I turned back to the office door. Huge billows of black smoke was pouring out of the top of the heater, like a chimney from hell. In the next few seconds, he ran upstairs and we got it out. Then I was scared. The house was full of smoke, there was soot all over the walls in the rooms that were open. I had to wash curtains and bedding and wipe down everything.

And, while cleaning up, I realized what could have happened. I could have been in the bathroom, or gone downstairs for a cup of tea just at the wrong time. Scary!!