K.A. Jordan's Blog

September 21, 2015


I've still got quite a yarn habit. The top photo is some Mohair fleece that has resisted all my efforts to clean it. You might be able to tell that it is almost clean, the ends are fluffy and everything is great...right to the cut end.
What I'm looking to create is more of the bottom photo. Soft yarn in nice colors that spins like a dream.
Not gonna happen with the Mohair, as far as I can tell. The skin-side is stuck together with something that acts like glue. Since this is goat hair, it's not lanolin, which is actually good to have in a fleece. 
There are two schools of thought on washing goat hair. One is LOTS of hot water, but don't touch the fiber because it will felt in a heartbeat. Heavy use of Dawn detergent is recommended. Some people say borax, some say not to use borax.
I've tried hot water & detergent. I've tried cold water & detergent. I've tried cold water & borax and a vinegar rinse. I've tried cold water & detergent soaked for 24 hours. I've tried hot water, detergent, borax & rinsing. I've tied epsom salts, which worked better than plain detergent. Hot water must be kept hot, which makes rinsing a challenge. 
Today, I soaked a big batch of Mohair in a dye bath and a bit of vinegar. I cooked the whole thing in a crock pot for 4 hours. I added green, blue and yellow dye to the pot. The blue vanished, it ether didn't take or it mixed instantly with the yellow, because there's no sign of it.
I've been fussing with this mohair for a week. I also washed two batches of burgundy suri alpaca that came out really nice. So I opened up a bag of Grumpy's fleece and washed a batch of alpaca today. 
I've got very little Mohair and a BUNCH of alpaca fleece. So I've decided to just let the goat fleece soak in it's own 'brine' of potassium. The process is called Suint Fermentation. The link is to one of the better websites on the process. 
I haven't got a greasy sheep fleece to kick start this mess. So I bought some potassium pills to kick start the process. So far it looks like it's working. 
We've got a run of nice weather. I'm allowing the fleece air dry in the back yard. All my washing stuff is set up back there, and the fleece washing project is coming along nicely. 
Tomorrow I collect a few gallons of rain water for the Suint Vat and I'll let that ferment in the back for a week or two. Eventually, I hear tell, the fleece will produce the microbes needed to get the sticky stuff out of the fleece. 
Meanwhile, the stuff I dyed today will be come a crude yarn with tales and stuff sticking out. Like the orange yarn below. 

We'll see if it works or not. 
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Published on September 21, 2015 21:10 • 4 views

September 5, 2015

100% Alpaca, dyed with Koolade
Jacob wool, dyed and plain
A peek at the stash
Left to right - Alpaca in yellow & green, wool alpaca blend, llama dyed with cherry Koolade, natural wool in brown
It's time to celebrate something fun and festive...my yarn! I've been spinning, because it relieve stress and experimenting with Koolade dyes.

There's citric acid in the yarn, I get a Koolade aftertaste when I knit. It's kinda creepy, really, to taste Koolade for hours after you put the yarn down. I didn't lick the yarn, or my fingers. It gets into your pores. Makes me glad I didn't use any harsh chemicals to dye the yarn.

Still the colors are bright and cheery. They are likely to be fairly close together when you dye in batches. (One package of Koolade per ounce of yarn.)

If you want to learn more about dyeing yarn with Koolade start here.

I'm currently working on a hat (of course) and might try a set of fingerless mittens, with the green and yellow alpaca. I loved my stumpy-looking llama wool mittens from two years a go. I might give that another try,
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Published on September 05, 2015 01:59

August 31, 2015

Weeks of drama are now behind us, and I'm starting to draw a breath.

The Hoard is slowly finding it's way out of my house, back into the Peddler's Mall booth #329.  A couple hours work tamed the mess inside the house and on the porch. We took a load to the flea market booth and made a bit more breathing room. There's much more that needs to go!

Something will need to be done about the studio, but not today.

There's been some interest in the little farm, not a serious offer, just a low-ball to see if I'm desperate. As much as I'd like to see the farm rented, it would have to be to people who can afford to keep the place up.

Dad is doing as well as can be expected. Dementia is a bitch, strokes make it worse.

The books are selling better now that I've switched from Smashwords to Draft 2 Digital. It's amazing the difference in just changing vendors.

I've got more mowing to do here at Jordan's Croft. The bush-hog is running VERY well.

Time to get back to it.
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Published on August 31, 2015 14:50

August 18, 2015

I'm going to set aside the hurt and the shame to post this. My husband and I recently helped out a 'former soldier' and I'm going to post the results here.

Took me 6 weeks to get my truck back. Without this truck, I can't get hay and my horses starve. 
"Custom Painting" looks like a 2-year-old did it.
"I worked all night, but I got it done." Sure you did.

Red ceiling, yellow walls, green trim?
"Just need to touch up a couple spots."
For this, I was charged top dollar. Right now, I'm going let remain anonymous. He's got quite a bit of my property in his possession. But once that's gone...
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Published on August 18, 2015 03:51

July 28, 2015

I've hit a wall with #TheHoard.

There's been tremendous progress. I've been fortunate to have help, wonderful help, from my friends and my husband.

We've gotten the center of the garage cleared enough to walk around.

The studio walls have been painted and there is another coat and some trim to be done this week. (I hope, I hope.)

But my little booth at Peddler's Mall is filling up FAST and there's not much in it. Paradox, I know. There's just so much stuff in the garage, and not much room to put it in

Then I was informed that I need to re-ticket my items because I put the booth number under the item number. Some of the 'B#' of the ticket didn't show because the sheet shifted during printing.

This is 3 pages of labels we're talking.

So I'm stuck. I have to go back over what I already did, to go forward after a huge step back.


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Published on July 28, 2015 21:34 • 5 views

July 20, 2015

Oh man, I wish there was a faster way to get rid of #TheHoard.

The majority of it is mid-way between "too useful to pitch" and "too valuable to pitch" so I'm putting a buck on the average item and stocking the booth with it.

I know, I could have an auction.

That's what normal people do.

But I don't know what's there, so I can't just let it all go. There are a few valuable items, somewhere in that mess. I wouldn't get anything for them at an auction.

Three months, I'm going to do this for 3 months. I should be able to dispose of hundreds of items in 3 months. Some of the stuff I'm offering for sale is mine. That's what's selling the fastest.

But I keep bringing in a load of stuff a week. Cleaning it up at the house and pricing it. And it's selling.

I'm taking another load to the booth today. Tomorrow I'm going to get another load from Talbot Hill. We finally put a dent in #TheHoard. I'm seeing progress as I go back to the farm and walk into the barn.

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Published on July 20, 2015 11:26 • 3 views

July 7, 2015

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Published on July 07, 2015 11:52 • 3 views

July 4, 2015

I finally rented space in a consignment mall to help get rid of #TheHoard. A month of very busy yard sales didn't make a dent in it.
It took three of us to get the shelves and a load of stuff moved. I thought I was doing great, until the price tags went on and I had to take my hands off the items. 
Holy Hoarders Captain Marvel!
I cringe a bit every time I get a sales report. I've got to get a grip on this before I end up on AMC's TV show. This is NOT what I expected to feel.
Stay tuned!
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Published on July 04, 2015 19:51 • 3 views

July 2, 2015

There's been a pretty big shake up at Scribd. They've cut an estimated 90% of their best-selling Romance titles, according to this post on the Smashwords blog.

Mark of Smashwords had this to say: "It's ugly.  The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books."
There's been a good bit of screaming going on, none of it screams of pleasure. (Sorry, couldn't help it.) Here's Selena Kitt's take on the subject:  
"Look, if we don’t stop this ride now, we may never be able to get off. And this particular ride ends at welfare-ville. So let’s not go there. There are plenty of erotica authors who have made a nice living from writing. And we are satisfying a very voracious readership. Why shouldn’t they have books they want to read, too? And why shouldn’t we get paid for them?"
Selena points out that the Erotic Romance genre has taking a hell of a hit in the wallet. 

What has just rung a big bell for me is this: the average Erotic Romance author is female. Their readers are also female. This means there are hundreds of women (readers and writers) who've just been cut off at the knees. And having been sliced and diced from two different directions in the same week, these women are truly reeling.

Can I call it a sexist conspiracy? Or an anti-female conspiracy?

I could, but that's not what I think it really is. Both programs are suffering from too much success. Women are reading the erotic shorts as fast as the writers can churn them out. There's money changing hands at a faster rate than either Kindle or Scribd can handle. 

In all honesty, I think erotica is going to go full circle, back to sites exclusive to the genre. We're gonna see a new book vendor, or two, or three pop up and the erotica writers are going to thumb their noses at Amazon and Scribd. Their going to take their lucrative business elsewhere, and both Amazon and Scribd are going to notice.

Both of them might heave sighs of relief. (rolling eyes) 

I know that Smashwords and Mark Coker are ready, willing and able to pick up the slack. The site will handle the traffic. It will need a nicer interface. Readers need to know the site exists and will cater to their reading habits. 

Fortunately, none of this has any impact on my e-books.

My e-books are still up on Scribd, and haven't been in Select in two years, or Unlimited ever. Three of Mom's short stories are in both programs on Amazon. 'The Secret of Aleworthy Acres' is free today and tomorrow on Select. 'Character Flaw' was supposed to come out, not sure how I missed that. 'Shelter from the Storm' was free two weeks ago. It had a pathetic free run of 12 downloads in two days.  

'The Secret of Aleworthy Acres' had 11 d/ls already today. So it's doing a bit better than the other two. 

I'm not sure where I'm going to release the next short story. I've put a lot of time and effort into it. It's a sweet, senior romance, and I've been toying with the idea of putting it up on Smashwords as a pre-order. 

Ninety days is too long when my main markets are somewhere else.

PS - buy my books. 
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Published on July 02, 2015 18:49 • 2 views

June 30, 2015

This just came off the Smashwords blog:
Scribd, the fast-growing ebook subscription service, today announced dramatic cuts to their catalog of romance and erotica titles.

Effective immediately, I (Mark Coker) estimate 80-90 percent of Smashwords romance and erotica titles will be dropped by Scribd, including nearly all of our most popular romance titles.  Books priced at free are safe and will remain in their catalog.

Based on what I've been able to glean, the lower the price and the higher the word count, the better the odds the book will remain.  Few books priced $3.99 and above will remain.  Scribd is not publicly revealing the formulas for what stays and what goes, probably because much of this is still in flux. They're cutting all publishers and distributors with the same blunt knife.
It's ugly.  The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books.  In a letter to publishers and distributors delivered earlier today, Scribd said:Dear Publisher

As you know, in starting Scribd, we bore the majority of the risk when establishing a business model that paid publishers the same amount as the retail model for each book read by a Scribd subscriber. Now, nearly two years later, the Scribd catalog has grown from 100,000 titles to more than one million. We’re proud of the service we’ve built and we’re constantly working to expand the selection across genres to give our readers the broadest possible list of books for $8.99 per month.

We’ve grown to a point where we are beginning to adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can continue to expand the overall size and variety of our service. We will be making some adjustments, particularly to romance, and as a result some previously available titles may no longer be available.

We look forward to continuing to grow subscribers, increase overall reading, and increase total publisher payouts in a way that works for everyone over the long term. We of course want to keep as many of your authors and titles on Scribd as we can, so we’d love to discuss our plans and how we can best work with you going forward.

Thank you for your business.

Bottom line, romance readers - readers we love dearly at Smashwords - are reading Scribd out of house and home.  Scribd's business model, as it's set up now, simply can't sustain the high readership of romance readers.  They're not facing the same problem with readers of other genres.
WoW! Read the rest HERE

Never thought I would see this.

Okay, I admit I've never been a fan of Erotica. I've slammed them as pornographers and rolled my eyes when Erotic authors brag about their earnings.

I've already noted that B&N weighs the rank of Smashwords titles by about 100k points. They've done that for years now.

But I never, ever thought I was going to see this.

I don't know if Swallow The Moon and Let's Do Lunch will be affected. Both are short and under $3.99. Neither of them is going to Scribd via Smashwords. (*Which doesn't matter, D2D sent out a similar notice. The difference is they aren't looking at 90% of their catalog.)

I'm going to test the links. Yes, the books are still up.

Perhaps I will get a few more sales because of this. But I'm not going to hold my breath. This is a very, very strange thing to watch happen.


There have been rumors that the purge is aimed at the content, but I've also been told that Erotica has never been part of the subscription service. So I raise an eyebrow at Mark's assertion that the Erotica titles are going too.

Perhaps we will never know why this is happening.
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Published on June 30, 2015 15:47 • 3 views