A Quick Shout-Out!

So I need to give a quick shout-out. In the process of putting together my book, Vulture Culture 101, I needed access to a bunch of skulls and hides that I don’t have in my personal collection (yet) for the identification section. I contacted the good folks at Moscow Hide and Fur in Moscow, Idaho last fall, and they were kind enough to give me access to their warehouse, which is not normally open to the public in the way a retail store is.

Not only did they have me send them a list of the skulls and hides I needed pictures of so they could have them already pulled out by the time I got there, but they were exceptionally accommodating in making sure I had enough space and lighting to get the pictures done (like the one above.) AND I got a complete tour of the warehouse, which considering I’ve been ordering from them for something like fifteen years was like getting to go to DisneyLand. (Plus I got to feed their chickens!)

So, yeah. Definitely recommend them both as a reliable supplier and good people 🙂

Layout is Done!

So after pushing myself for one more big marathon session, not only did I get the interior layout of the book done over the weekend, but I also made the cover! You can see the latter in the picture above. (That space in the corner of the back cover is to accommodate the bar code.)

I’ve uploaded the files to the printer, and requested proofs so I can make sure everything is good to go. As soon as those arrive later this month, assuming all is well, I’ll put in the order for the books themselves 🙂 Yay!


I have bad news and good news. The bad news is work has stalled again on the manuscript for the moment while I get my tax stuff all ready to go for this year (whee!) The good news is that as soon as that’s done I can get back to the manuscript! I won’t make my end of March deadline, but I’m going to keep plugging away amid all the other plates I’m spinning.

The other bit of good news is that the Vulture Culture 101 stickers are here–yay! These will be going out with IndieGoGo packages, and yes, the leftovers will be for sale afterward.

Alright. Wish me luck as I continue balancing receipts, Excel spreadsheets and numbers, my nemesis!

Formatting, Formatting, Formatting…

So I’m back to working on the layout for Vulture Culture 101. I’m in the thick of making sure all the guest essays are formatted the same, which is a challenge since everyone seems to use a different word processor. I use Microsoft Word for layout (since I can’t afford money to pay for or time to learn other programs like QuarkXPress) and while Format Painter does great at making sure the font is all the same type and size and the spacing is uniform, it doesn’t do anything for tabs or hard returns, so I have to go in and do all that by hand, plus make sure the pictures all fit. It’s not my essayists’ fault, of course; they’ve done a kick-ass job of writing their works and getting them to me. I just have to be the one to deal with the picky little details.

Once that’s done, it’ll be on to adding in the rest of the photos for the book. Due to printing costs, the pics will all be in black and white; even a color insert adds a LOT to printing costs, and I want you all to be able to actually afford this book. However, I am planning to add color versions of some of the pictures, like the hide and bone ID pics, to the Vulture Culture 101 website.

Alright, y’all, back to it!

Looking At March

Holy cow, folks, I lost track of how long it was since my last update. My apologies. I’m not going to give you a big rundown on all the other things I’ve been focusing on in my life; suffice it to say that I have been hard at work clearing the decks so I can focus on getting this done. 

I am looking to send the book to the printers in March. Here’s what still needs to happen:

–My awesome guest essayists have sent me the bulk of their work and at this point I’m just waiting for a few pics and minor details. I’ve already plugged everything else I’ve received into the manuscript.

–I’m currently added some finishing touches before I start actual layout of the book. (I took a break from turning all my sources into proper APA format to write this post, in fact. Why, oh why, didn’t I write my citations properly the first time instead of just posting URLs and book titles? Ahem.)

–Layout involves formatting the pages, the text and the photos correctly. It’s something I used to do professionally so it’s not that difficult, just REALLY TIME CONSUMING. But it’ll look great when I’m done!

–Once that’s done, I’ll have a final page count and I can make the actual book cover. See, the page count determines the size of the book’s spine, which affects the trim size of the entire cover, so I can’t actually design the cover til I know how big it has to be, down to the millimeter. Thankfully CreateSpace has some good tools to help with that. 

–At that point I can get the book files submitted for review to make sure there aren’t any errors, and then once I get the green light I can order the books! Yay! It’ll take a couple weeks for them to get to me, during which time I’ll be prepping IndieGoGO (IGG) perks and the like. 

–Shipping is going to take a bit of time as I’ll have literally hundreds of packages to send out, but IGG orders will be the first ones out. Since I am a one-woman-show and this isn’t the only thing I do for a living, it’s going to be a bit of a process, but I’ll keep you all posted. 

–Once all that’s done, yay! The book thing is done and everybody has their stuff and hopefully you all like what I created!

I really appreciate your patience; I seem to have a bad habit of underestimating how much time it’ll take me to actually do a thing, so I need to remember this for my next IGG. *sigh* The curse of the optimist. But it IS happening, if more slowly!

So. Done with my update, back to the manuscript. You rock my socks!

First Update of 2019!

Hi, everyone! So, first of all, happy new year! I hope your 2019 ends up being worth all the crap 2018 threw at us.

Second, things are getting back on track for Vulture Culture 101. The guest essayists are putting the finishing touches on their essays and should have them in their final form by the end of this month. Once I have those I can actually lay the book out, add in photos, get a final word count, and then design the cover accordingly. After that I should be able to get the book to print; I’m hoping to release it by early spring.

I really, really appreciate your patience; 2018 knocked my feet out from under me in a lot of ways, and while a lot of good came out of the experience, it did mean a few things had to be temporarily back-burnered, including this book project. But I never lost sight of it, and it’s time for me to get this thing out into the world.

Vulture Culture 101 Update

Okay, folks! A quick update for you.

So I know I had projected this book being out Summer 2018. Unfortunately, what I didn’t anticipate was getting some contract work with a local conservation organization. It’s really fun work; I get to do everything from habitat restoration to environmental education, but it has also eaten up a lot of my time. And I’m still having to keep my artwork up as it’s still a big part of my income.

What this means is that (as I had to do with the Tarot of Bones) I’m going to have to push the release date back. At this point, I want to have Vulture Culture 101 in your hands by the end of the year; my autumn should be quieter (fingers, toes and eyes crossed) which should allow me to finish up the last details. It’ll also allow my guest essayists to polish up their tutorials. Yes, the book will be a reality; it’s just going to be a little later than I had optimistically anticipated.

I appreciate your patience and your ongoing support!

Photos and Essays!

So one of the sections of Vulture Culture 101 will include some photos of commonly encountered hides and bones (particularly from North America). This is to help readers with identification of items they may have on hand, but aren’t quite sure what they are. Obviously it’ll be impossible to take photos of every single species out there, but I’d at least like to help readers know the difference between a raccoon skull and an opossum skull!

We’re making good progress on the guest essay tutorials; I’m currently in another round of edits, and I’m really pleased with the writers’ work. We still have a bit of polishing to do, but overall things are looking great 🙂

Quick Update

Hi, all! Just a quick update to let you know where we are with things! Right now my guest essayists are working busily on tutorials for Vulture Culture 101, on topics ranging from bone cleaning to tanning to wet specimen prep. I’ve already gotten to see a couple of rough drafts, and I am super excited for the first round of formal edits later this month! These are some super Vultures, and I’m pleased to include them in my book.

Will post more news as it happens 🙂


Hi, folks!

HUGE thanks to everyone who backed the Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign! We ended up raising $4,602, which is 153% of the original goal. We managed to reach the first stretch goal of skull stickers, and though we didn’t make the second goal of animal skull flash cards, I’m still planning to release those independently later this year.

What’s next? I have a few finishing touches to put on the manuscript, and I’ve already selected essayists for the tutorials on tanning, bone cleaning and the like. Provided everyone can get their essay in on time, I should be on track for my Summer 2018 release of the book. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the extra perks for my IGG backers, book cover design, and other details.

And again, thanks to everyone who backed, shared and otherwise supported this campaign!