“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson
There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to help dogs, but for all of my efforts I must admit that I have found somebody whose devotion to man’s best friend makes mine look inadequate.
His name is Gordon “Shotgun” Shell.
I met Susan Toy through the Humber School for Writers online program some years ago. The first thing I learned about her was that she was obsessed with food and books. I have since learned that cats are a close third.
The other quality that made her stand out was a need/desire/talent for sharing information. I used to call her our 'clipping service'.
Today I’m featuring a guest post by Dennis Ference!
It all began when my neighbour, Rodger, called and asked if I’d like to visit a coffee plantation on St. Vincent.
A coffee plantation? I had no idea anyone was growing coffee on the mainland, although I did know they had the soil, altitude and climate suitable for maturing beans. I was intrigued. I immediately checked online and discovered that green coffee beans can be roasted in a wood-fired pizza oven. I happen to have built one of these.
We met with Duke and his wife at their property in Green Hill and they gave us an over-whelmingly accommodating tour that was filled with every bit of information to do with coffee.
I mentioned to Duke that I was interested in experimenting with roasting coffee in my pizza oven and he provided me with a pound of green beans. As well, I bought a half pound of the roasted, ground coffee Duke is selling.
First thing I had to do was design and build a roasting container. It needed to keep the beans moving and allow for even heating and exposure to the fire. So I ended up with a design that’s kind of a cross between a squirrel cage and a paint roller.
Here’s a short video of the roasting process … essentially just rolling the roaster back and forth across the floor of the oven until you hear a distinct cracking sound as the beans expand and turn brown.
As soon as the desired darkness was reached, I removed the roaster from the oven, spread the beans out on a tray and sprayed them with ice water to stop the roasting process. Once they were cooled, I winnowed the remaining chaff off the beans by tossing them into the air in a colander.
I enjoyed what I thought to be an outstanding cup of coffee! Absolutely no bitterness or acidity, and it had kind of a mocha aftertaste, despite the fact that I purposely dark-roasted it. Which says a lot for the quality of the beans themselves. Would I do this again? For sure! In fact, I’ve already planted some of the raw coffee “cherries” Duke gave me and I should see the first sprouts in about a month. I never expected when I moved to Bequia in 1996 that I would ever become a coffee nabob …
Three more articles on the relationship between writer and editor.
From The Digital Editor: When an Editor Matters by Rich Adin
“Editors do matter. The choice of editor does matter. The type of editing does matter. A good working relationship between author and editor does matter. And it is vitally important that an author not believe that each word he or she has written is sacrosanct and cannot be changed for the better.”
(This next article may seem quite shocking at first glance to readers out there, but what the author has to say makes a great deal of sense to me who has worked on the publishing side of this buisness and knows how most decisions to publish are actually made.)
From FUTUREBOOK: Let’s abolish editors by Agent Orange
(Like the author of this article, I too was impressed by Berg’s book about Max Perkins. Those were the days when editing and editors were very important – perhaps even the most important aspect of publishing.)
From Publishers’ Weekly: What Ever Happened to Book Editors? by Marjorie Braman
Leading up to the holidays, I thought it would be fun to hold a contest for readers of my blog so that they may win copies of both my eBooks! There will be a copy of each of Island in the Clouds and That Last Summer available for a draw to be held on this blogsite on Dec. 23rd.
Anyone is eligible to win, and even if you have read either or both books, you will still want to enter for the chance to win a copy to give to a friend. Let’s say you’re giving someone an eReader as a gift … Wouldn’t it be fun to include a copy of one of my books to be downloaded on that eReader so they may begin reading immediately?
All you have to do to enter is post a comment below and tell me whether you would like to win a copy for yourself, or for a friend, and why you want to win either Island in the Clouds or That Last Summer. You’re welcome to enter to win both eBooks, but please enter twice and list the titles separately.
Good luck to everyone!
SPOTLIGHT ON: Susan M. Toy
What is your latest release and what genre is it?
“Island in the Clouds” is what I refer to as “tropical fiction” – it’s a mystery set in the, well, tropical location of Bequia, a small island in the Caribbean
Quick description of it.
The dead body in the pool is putting a serious dent in Geoff’s morning.