Jane Mulberry

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since Sep 16, 2020
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Recent posts by Jane Mulberry

I have a couple of writing projects to finish this winter, a gratitude journal and a novella. As winters here are usually mild, I should be able to do a bit of gardening, getting a few more perennial food plants and herbs in along the inside edge of my mini-food-forest hedge. I'd like to work my way through a how-to workshop I purchased months ago on a free illustration app, Sketchbook, and also do a bit of painting - more design than art. Plus I have a bunch of unfinished sewing projects nagging at me! Plenty to keep me busy.
EDited to add - I also want to have fun with some of the BBs that are doable for me, so there's that, too!
As D. Logan said, it all comes down to cost. A stock photo costs a few dollars, commissioning an artist will cost many hundreds, at a minimum. I prefer the painted style covers for fantasy, too. It just says fantasy to me, while as Pearl said, the photo cover says romance (which I happen to enjoy, but not if I'm looking for fantasy!). But unless the publisher knows they'll sell enough copies to justify commissioning custom art work, they won't. I'm kinda puzzled at the rebranding of existing books with photo covers, though. If they want a fresh look, they could do that with new typography on the existing painted designs and some light tweaks to the images.

Romance overall sells more than fantasy, so I suspect that had something to do with it, too.  Or, did the publisher stay the same between editions? I wonder if the rights reverted to the author, who has published the new editions herself. Rights for the cover designs would remain with the original publisher, so she'd have to get new ones. As well, any edits and proofreading done by the publishing house remain with the original publisher. All the author gets back is what she sent them. So chances are, she'd need to pay to get those redone, as well. That would explain there not being much left in the budget for covers.
6 days ago
In our very small house in the UK, we use a similar compost pail to the one Raven suggested, with compostable liners similar to the ones Nikki referenced. They are supposed to be completely made from plant material, but I don't know the brand as they're supplied by the local council as part of their waste reduction campaign. They don't break down for ages if they're dry, but as soon as they get wet, especially with mildly acid fluids (hubby's bad habit of pouring his tea remains into the caddy without straining it first!) they break down rapidly. Waaaaaay too rapidly sometimes!
The only catch for what D.W. wants is that the pail is small, suitable for a 2 person household if emptied daily. If I'm processing stuff from the garden or a bulk batch of fruit and veggies and producing a lot of compostable scraps, it needs emptying two or three times daily. So for a bigger household, it's a no go. The other issue is that I suspect the carbon filters may contain plastic fibre, though it should be possible to find ones that don't and I will be looking out for those next time we need some.
We also have a no-kill household. Though we have a thriving rodent population in the garden, we worked to seal anywhere they could enter the house and haven't had issues with them coming indoors yet. The house does have a bit of eau d'cat about it, so that could be why. Also it's a newer home. Older homes have a lot more little gaps rodents can squeeze through. I like the suggestion of rodent homes outside for them. It won't lure the ones who've found a warm cozy place to sit out the winter from the house. But maybe when they leave the house in spring, that's the time to go on a gap-filling round of the dwelling, and providing alternative habitats in the garden can encourage the critters to find somewhere else to stay next year?
1 week ago
I kinda think the point here is about finding ways to celebrate while keeping other people safe. It's not about cowering away in fear, but about finding responsible ways to live now that the virus IS here, that won't unnecessarily risk the lives of the elderly, the disabled, and the ill in our communities.

Your party sounds fun, Lisa. Enjoy it! But I really hope your high-risk friends and family with have the wisdom to stay home.
1 week ago
Hugs, Raven and K Kaba. Praying for you both.

My hubby has complex CPTSD after childhood abuse, and also PTSD from stuff that happened to him in adult life (military and healthcare professional). He's also on the autistic spectrum which makes the world an even more confusing and hard-to-be-in place for him. He's come close to accidentally hurting me a number of times before I realized how things were and learned I need to make plenty of noise when I approach him, give warning of what I'm doing waaaaaaaay earlier than I think I should need to, take everything slowly and gently. When we first met and in the early years of our marriage, drank far more than I realized to self-medicate, dangerously high levels. One day, he recognized the harm alcohol was causing his body and stopped drinking. He's been sober for many years now, but the PTSD symptoms, hypervigilance and constant anxiety became far worse when he stopped drinking. It was healthy, because as long as he kept drinking, he couldn't heal the memories and the beliefs he'd formed about himself. But things were tough for a while.

Raven, you are so right about traditional talking therapies for PTSD. Certainly for my husband, most of the therapy he went through made things worse, not better. Most therapists have no idea how to deal with PTSD, let alone CPTSD, let alone CPTSD complicated by autism. Too much retelling the story reinforces the hold the past has rather than lessening it. He worked for a while with one clinical psychologist who helped, because she didn't use a one-size-fits-all therapy model (works about as well for therapy as it does for clothing!), She worked with him and tailored an approach based on narrative therapy and CBT that helped him feel really heard, and then she helped him to see different ways of thinking about himself. That was a limited time thing, but he's carried some of what he learned there forward with him. He's far happer and more constructive in his thinking than he used to be. Life is still challenging for him and for me, and will always be. As I've grown older I've gained patience and wisdom, though my own health has suffered in the process. But things can and do improve.

Jennifer, if you're living with or supporting someone with PTSD, all I have to add to what the others said is this - make self-care a focus. Don't let the other person's issues run your life. It isn't selfish to want time out, to need respite, to set healthy boundaries, and to recognize that you can't be the other person's therapist. You can be a friend, a lover, someone to help them feel seen, someone to remind them of their true value and worth, separate from whatever happened to them. But you can't heal them, and it's not your job to, even though they may think it is and you may think it is. All you can do is love them and love yourself too, and that's the most important job there is.

If you're the person with PTSD, K Kaba said it so well. Please treat yourself with love and care. Eat healthy, do things that nurture you. See your value and your strengths. See that you are more than your past and what happened. Trust that things will get better. They will. <3
1 week ago
I love your fishing vest idea, Bonnie! I've been thinking of getting one. Hubby wears them all the time, in summer and winter weights because he has to have a zillion pockets. I'm also thinking to make myself a couple of aprons with plenty of pockets - either buttoned or zippered. One for indoors work and one for outdoors.

LOLing at myself for not noticing what the embroidery on Jay's original post was saying. I just admired the fine work the embroiderer did. Had to go back for a second look when comments mentioned the dumpster fire!
1 week ago
Advanced Aunt Nattys, especially if she's living in a remote area where medical help is hard to come by, may also need to know enough about mainstream medicine to know when a doctor is needed or not. Right on the border of natural and mainstream medicine here. Her first aid kit might include things like a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure monitor), a pulse oximeter (measures the oxygen concentration in the blood), and some urine test sticks (checks for all sorts of things in urine). A kit like this can be put together for under £100 in the UK, not sure about in the US.
Using any of these things is very easy. Knowing how to interpret the results appropriately and safely takes wisdom and study.
But I can imagine in a remote situation how useful it would be for Aunt Natty to be able to call a doctor and give them the numbers when she wasn't sure if someone needed to see a doctor or not. Also useful when she KNOWS they need to see a doctor and is trying to convince the doctor of that (our situation here in the UK).
3 weeks ago
I make a fair chunk of my income online, and most of is it what could be classed residual. There are things I can actively do to promote it and increase the income, but if I did nothing at all, there would still be some income. Enough for someone to live a simple and frugal life, growing much of their own food and harvesting their own wood for cooking and heating.

For most of us, starting to earn passive income is what Paul said:

Help people, online, for free. Anywhere. In any way. On your favorite topic(s). Be thorough and magnificent. In a few months, go back and harvest the things you did to help others and see what you can cobble together into passive income.

To start, ask yourself what you're the go-to person in your community for - in your family, your friends, your neighborhood, your church, your favorite online forums? What are the problems people come to you seeking help with? What are the recurring patterns in the replies and the support you give? That's your area of expertise.

Then it's a matter of packaging your expertise, into blog posts with affiliate links, an ebook, a video course. There's a time investment, but most of these can be done with no or minimal expense. Now you have a product to sell or to give away.

People hold back because they don't think what they have to offer is good enough, or they see the market is already crowded with similar books or courses. But you have something unique to offer. Maybe that's a way of doing things not many other people are trying. Maybe that's a particular set of challenges you've had to overcome. Maybe that's something from your own unique life experience that helps give you a different slant on things. Whatever it is, it's your unique selling point. If you don't know what that is, ask your friends.

As for not being good enough - maybe it is, maybe it isn't. We're not the best judges. If you aren't sure you can charge money for what you have to offer, give some away. Ask people what they think of your book or your course or your site. And when it's enough -- not perfect, but when you have a minimum viable product -- put it out there with a price on it and see what happens.

The main thing is to start! Just start. I write fiction, and launched my first book 6 years ago. I don't earn a lot, but I've built up a readership. What I earn would be enough to get by on if I had to. Okay, if the economy completely crashes, maybe I won't earn enough. That's why I'm squirreling away what I can now and intend to buy land as soon as I can. But I have friends from years before I started seriously writing for publication who also taked about doing the same thing. They're still talking about it. So start now. Don't be the person still talking about doing it in six years time. You earn your first dollar by doing something.