Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: Murder On Edisto

The fast pace of Murder on Edisto (Edisto Island Mysteries) by C Hope Clark is set in the first few pages when the heroine, Edisto, Callie Morgan returns home from her job as a Boston Police Detective to find her home is an inferno and her husband has been killed. Devastated by the murder, she and her teenage son seek refuge and healing in a quiet beach house on one of south Carolina’s barrier islands, but Callie is given no
respite and neither is the reader. One page after another C. Hope Clark builds the suspense to create an entertaining and believable story where the stakes are high and the consequences shattering.

Clark has created a main character, Callie Jean Morgan, that comes to life with incredible strength and genuine flaws. The reader feels her struggle with very real demons, both internal and external, while trying to support her son through the loss of his father and keep him safe but she finds the secrets she has kept from him impeding her efforts.

Adding to the readability of the book, the town of Edisto is populated with a cache of eccentric personalities. From the yoga practicing neighbor to the local handyman to the town cops Edisto island comes to life with classic small town traits.

Murder on Edisto is C. Hope Clark’s fourth novel and is preceded by her Carolina Slade Mysteries. Having read Clark’s first novel, Lowcountry Bribe, I was pleased to return to her work to see Clark’s growth as a novelist.

I received this book as my winnings in a promotional contest but I have just purchased the follow-up, Edisto Jinx.

 Purchase Hope's books on her website or her Amazon author page.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Like Mother: Like Daughters

 Oinkette is learning to write stories in school. I'm very proud of her. Last year she entered in the PBS kid's story contest in the Kindy division. You can find out more about the PBS Kids writing contest     HERE. Oinkette did it all on her own and even though she didn't win a prize, she had a good time.  
For most of this year, her classes have focused on the setting, order of events, and the 5 w's (who, what, where, when and why) and how. She's full of ideas and stories. Young kids love a good story. They want to be told a story, to imagine one, to watch one unfold.
I, especially, like that nonfiction is as important as fiction in school these days. When I was in school, every unit was a fictional story and it always ended in death or loss of some kind. No happy endings outside of Kindergarten.
Mr. OinkPen hated fiction and reading in school was meaningless to him until middle or high school. Reading only became interesting when he was reading for specific subjects. His English teachers were mostly male but they gave him his real introduction to nonfiction.
Anyway, I am thrilled  that my Oinkette and Oinkling love books as much as I do. I love that they love science books, and history books and everything really. I am proud to say the I am raising a pair of devoted readers and budding writers.
 For young writers who, what, when, where, why and how is a good starting place. I don't know if Oinkette will enter the contest again this year but if she does she'll have my whole hearted support.  What else can I say. Like mother; like daughter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10 Things We Learned as Vendors at a Craft Fair

We had the pleasure of working a local craft on Nov 8. Although we share multiple craft talents between the two of us, neither of us had ever rented a table at a venue like this to sell our stuff. In between browsers and buyers, we came up with our top 10 bits of advice for anyone thinking of becoming a craft fair seller.

1. There's no accounting for taste...that is to say one man's trash is another's treasure. All sorts of things are sold at craft fairs and the most popular item week one of the season could be a bust ever other week of the season. It is very hard to peg what will be popular in any given week. So that thing you made that you think is totally tacky? Someone is going to love it and want one in every color. That other thing you made because you love it and think everyone should have it? You'll end up keeping every pair.

2. Pack light. The more you bring with you for props, the more you have to haul out of there.

3. Coffee or tea? Yes please! Don't forget it. Set up is EARLY in the morning and grumpy people sell less.

4. will regret forgetting them and will have to find that brownie the size of Montana.

5. WATER! It gets hot in those buildings once everyone get to setting up and later shopping. The air is also pretty dry. You'll feel like a camel and in the middle of a sale is not the time to go dry.

6. Don't be afraid to slash prices or cut a deal if business is slow. There could be several vendors selling something like what you've got...give the customers a reason to buy your wares!

7. Keep smiling and greet people. Every hour, I liked ot get up and take a tour of the sale to stretch my legs and check out the competition. No matter what someone was selling, I found that few people smiled or greeted me or were even willing to chat about their wares. You don't have to be a pushy sales-person (no one likes that), but be friendly. If you don't wanna be there or really like dealing with people, then why do it?

8. It's not over until the fat lady sings. We sold barely anything, like had $9 profit in the till until the last 60 mins where we then sold a lot. We spent all day talking to many people about the benefits of our wares, offering commission work, talking about anything and everything and nada. It really looked like we'd gone to the bother of paying for a table, investing several hundred hours making things (we met to craft 2 times a week for 4 months AND spent most evenings and weekends crafting alone), to go home craft fair failures. Well, that last burst of business was awesome and we met our modest goal. If you'd asked me at 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, or 1pm if I saw the goal happening? Nope. But we did it! We didn't give up, and it paid off. It was rather dejecting to sit there and no one want our stuff. I really think people wandered the show for hours and then bought in the lasst hour after all the best deals were on the table. I can't blame them, but I wish I had prepared myself mentally for hours of rejection. Thankfully I had my BFF to pass the time with.

9. So, given #8, Don't take it too harshly or be insulted when someone bypasses your table. People love to look and touch, but getting them to buy is a hard thing to do. The economy is poorly right now AND the first sale of the season is still WAY before Christmas frenzy has set in. Some people want be done their shopping before the frenzy, but far more people love to look about at all their options, think about it, look at other options, and then buy closer to Christmas. It's the "better" concept. This is a mixture of the desire for a better deal and is not wanting to miss out on a better gift out there. I feel we probably would have had better success at a fair closer to Xmas. It wasn't even cold on Sat and no one wants to Xmas shop when it doesn't even feel like Xmas yet. It's like going into CVS in on the 1st of September to be greeted with light up Christmas trees and Christmas music. Too early to be meaningful.

10. Don't quit your day job. The handful of vendors we talked to made about $200 for the day. That seems like a lot, but consider this: set up was 7am and close was 3pm. Once you factor in the cost of the table, the bother of set up/break down, cost of materials and time to make things....This is not a real way to make a living. It was a nice little bit of side-cash going into Christmas season, but no day job. I like having $200 for our business, but having a "real" job would pay far more faster without the temptation to spend all of my money on other craft booths while i sit and ponder my latest project....

If you've read to the end of this, We've taken everything we didn't sell at the craft sale and have set up a blog store. So look at our yarn addicts shop and see our wares and BUY something! Be aware, we're sell-outs and will totally cut a deal...and often will make a good trade if you've got something cute.

Oink Pen Signing Out

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Permanent Oink Hits the Road

Permanent Oink is planning an adventure. October 10-12 Jilly and I will be attending Creatures, Crime and Creativity Con in Hunt Valley, Maryland. The three day conference is jam packed with learning and networking opportunities. The event is sponsored by Intrigue Publishing, a local publisher.

The C3 Con is a hybrid of a writer’s and fan conference. There are “Master’s Classes” for writer to be taught by John Gilstrap, Rebecca York and other bestselling authors.

John Gilstrap is the author of the Jonathan Graves series set in the Virginia area. Saturday he’ll be teaching the Master’s class for crime fiction writers on the technical “stuff” we often get wrong. He’ll also be the keynote speaker on Saturday night. Rebecca York will be teaching the class on world building. And Brad Parks will be teaching us how to hold the reader’s attention.

If you’re interested you can register just for Saturday at a cost of $135.  The one day registration include three meals and the choice between 20 panels for readers and writers. And you get to hear John Gilstrap speak at dinner.

On Friday at 4 pm I'll be on a panel discussion of
Social media – Can you survive as an author without it? Also on the panel is Weldon Burge, and Bags Hightower.
On Saturday I will moderating the discussion of  Characters: How to keep them fresh and exciting. Authors on the panel are Brad Parks, Kathryn Johnson, and Brandon Patterson.
Jilly will be sitting on the panel discussing, What do Fans want? Also on the panel will be Tom and Marie O'Day. Moderator is Sandra Bowman.
And Oinkwell and Oinkpen (though Oinkpen has rough year) will be there, too, trying to get their photos taken with all the writers and teachers. They’re such hams.
For more about the conference visit


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Literary Beauty: Sweet Minerals Make-up

Writing is a solitary pursuit but at least put on some lip gloss.

Read all the way to the bottom of the post to find out how you can win a Sweet Mineral lip gloss of your very own.
With Sweet Minerals
I’ve flirted with using mineral make-ups over the years. I’ve tried various brands from drug store brand, department stores, on-line, and artisan blends but usually end up gravitating back to liquid  make-up. The liquids invariable cause break outs. I’ve even gone to department store counters only to come home with instructions (and a face chart) so complicated I give up.
I tried a new line of mineral make-up called Sweet Minerals.  My niece Jennifer is a true believer in the line and recently, became a consultant. She assured me that makeup didn’t irate her skin and was fool proof. She invited me over to her house to give Sweet Minerals a whirl. Saying I was a skeptic would be putting it mildly; I went over prepared not to like Sweet Minerals.

Jen started out by asking me what I liked.  I told her I would be happy if I could just match my skin tone with a foundation and do a simple neutral face.
In a strange reversal of roles, Jennifer applied make to my clean moisturized skin. (I remember applying her make-up for special event.) We both wear the fairest shade Sweet Minerals offers. She showed me how to quickly apply concealer and the powdered base. Next came Sweet Mineral’s 3 step eye makeup with one try I was able to look competent in applying.

Then came bronzer and blush. The bronzer is dusted in the hollow of the cheek, the hairline, under the jaw and nasal fold. Then the blush is applied to the apple of the cheek. Whatever else the makeup has or doesn’t have—it definitely has that slimming voodoo that made me look thinner and gives the high cheek bones I always wanted. The entire face was lightly brushed with mineral veil. The procedure was simple enough and would only take me about 10 minutes to get the fresh, light, neutral look I liked and could apply.
But what about the makeup itself. Sweet Minerals was found by 3 local Baltimore moms Candace Maurer, Christine Marriner and Heather Lins who wanted a pure mineral makeup that didn’t contain the irritating ingredients of liquid and, some, mineral makeups that will give a flawless, lasting finish.  Two of them. Candace, and Heather are professional makeup artists; Marriner formulated the makeup. The result is that Sweet Minerals doesn’t contain parabens, bismuth, fragrances or filler.

Before. Too scary for me.
So why does the absence of those ingredients matter? Parabens are simply a preservative and the FDA regulates the use in cosmetics. It isn’t associated with causing cancer or anything like that but it has estrogen like qualities that could be a problem for some women and cause break outs. My philosophy is why put chemicals on your skin when you don’t have to. Bismuth is a common coloring ingredient in makeup (and used in some over the counter stomach medications like Pepto-Bismol.) And while the FDA says it is safe to use in cosmetics, if your makeup is giving you black heads and clogged pores bismuth is the most likely culprit. The irritating effects of fragrance, I think is self-evident. Perfume sensitivity seem to have become so common that many work places are becoming fragrance free environments. As to filler—talc comes to mind. Not something that I want to put on my face daily.

So what is in Sweet Minerals. According to their website, “mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides, silk, ultramarine blue. May contain kaolin, magnesium myristate, boron, silica.” Zinc oxide is a physical sun block. Kaolin clay is a common ingredient in facial masks and noted for drawing impurities from the skin. None of these ingredients are known irritants according to the FDA
I ended up buying the full face kit and haven’t regretted it a day since. I seem to get more competent at using methods taught to me by my niece every time I apply my make-up. My skin just keeps looking better and better. I have had no break outs or blemishes. Even though the FDA says that using mineral make-up will not shrink your pores or improve your skin. And after using Sweet Minerals for 2 months I think they are wrong. My skin looks better even without make-up.
The only negative about the product is that it can be a little drying on skin of a “certain age.” Making certain that I apply a light weight moisturizer over my whole face along with a nourishing eye cream helps. I haven’t had the problem of the powder emphasizing fine lines though powder make-ups often have that tendency. In fact in my before and after photos I can see that a couple of lines I have between my brows have disappear.
The real selling feature for me is that Sweet minerals really does last all day.  The proof came for me on a rainy Saturday when I had to go to outdoor picnic. The rain poured down, breaking only long enough for us to come out from under the tent to grab some barbeque. Yet, when I got home my make-up looked just as fresh and, well, perfect as when I put it on. (I wish I could say the same for my hair.)

My Sweet Minerals representative is my niece Jennifer Hawkins Waltemire but I purchased the make-up I have been using. You can reach Jennifer at or 410-449-2373

My colors:
Foundation:Fair C1 
Concealed: Light
Eye Primer: Soft Focus
Blush: Naked Caramel
Bronze: Island Tan
Eyes: Champagne Fluff, Brownie Nut, Bakers Chocolate
Eye Liner: Espresso
Lips: Naked Caramel Blush with clear lip gloss
Mineral Veil: Original

Jennifer has generously offered to give a  Sweet Mineral lip gloss to one lucky person . To be entered in the drawing  complete ALL THREE TASKS.
1. Like her Facebook page at
2. Follow the Permanent Oink Blog.

3. Leave a comment on the blog post about which lip gloss you would like to win from the selections on
The lip gloss is a $22 dollar value! Winner will be chosen at random on Saturday September 19, 2014




Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I adore my piglings Oinkette and Oinkling. They're both growing terribly fast and every day they both do new surprising things. Oinkette has entered a story contest and Oinkling is starting to babble. Soon, they will both be grown and I'll be left with only theman and cats to bother. Awful future! After we figure out how to get our piggie logo rolling, I will see about getting this for my girls. Someone has to take over the pig pen when Oink Well and Oink Pen retire to play bingo and shout at neighborhood kids...way way into the future.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oink Well's Point of View: Where's the Pink?

A month or so back I took a part time job in in a local clothing consignment shop. It been more years than I care to admit since I have worked in fashion or retail. And I have to admit I am hopelessly out of touch with what is actually in-style. Over the years (read decades) I have developed my own unique style that I call “Gypsy Writer with an Aging Hippie Chic Flair.”

In case you’re not familiar with that particular style it incorporates lots of long flowing skirts guaranteed to hide any figure, good or bad. The favorite of my collection is a patchwork maxi that my husband abhors. The variety of fabrics used in the skirt allows me to wear any color of t-shirt including my beloved PINK. (I bought this in an actual store over my husband’s weeping objection.)

Pink is a key color in my style which is why I was shocked when Pantone released their color forecast for Spring 2014 and it did not include a single shade of pink. The closest is Cayenne which more of red. Oh the purples are lovely.  The Violet Tulip makes want to run to the make counter for some fresh eye shadow. And the Placid Blue make makes me long for a lakeside spot to snuggle up with my laptop.
But for Pig’s sake where is the pink? Not a hint of Cotton Candy or Baby Pink. No Blush or Tickle Me Pink. I’d settle for Barbie, Carnation or Champagne. But I really long for is Piggy Pink. 
Stylist say that pink is not a good color for women of a certain age but then why do we love it so. I think we secretly long for those days when nothing gave us more joy that a pink tutu or a stick of peppermint and big pink bow was the height of fashion. And when it comes to it we haven't change much over the years. Inside every woman of a certain age or beyond is the girl who wove pink ribbons in her hair. 

Finding our style is part finding what makes us happy. The pro stylists will turn their noses up at my pink cowboy hat, so be it. They don't have to live in my skin or my clothes. And to them I say Oink! Oink!
For a list of the various shades of pink go to

Keep Calm meme is from