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10 Tips: How to Publish A Book

44,007 words and 197 pages comprised the final manuscript
Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to me about my book. I've had quite a few emails with lots of questions about writing a book, so I thought that I would dedicate today's post to help those of you aspiring writers at the beginning of your book writing journey. I hope you find these helpful.

1. Pick a topic that you are passionate about.
This is the most important. You are going to spending countless hours on writing, editing, and proofing the book over and over again. If you love it, this entire process will always be exciting.

2. Pick a topic that hasn't be written about.
Let's face it, the world is full of talented folks. It used to only be restricted to those in magazines or on the television, but with the advent of social media, especially Pinterest, the talents of many are flooding our computer screens. Be sure to do your research. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Has it been done before? If so, how can I do it better or improve on it?
  • Is there a public demand for what I want to share?

3. Find a publisher who publishes similar books to the one you want to write.
Do an internet search and check out publishers that are like minded. Check out their mission statement. For example, there are certain publishers that specialize in cookbooks.

4. Create an outline of your book.
Develop a table of contents. What do you want to include in this book? Why?

5. Write at least two chapters or more.
Start writing. By writing a few chapters, you will be able to provide the publisher with samples of your work. It also helps to get a jump start on this project and see if you have what it takes to actually dedicate your energies into the project.

6. Share it with family and friends.
Have your family and friends give you honest feedback. Did they enjoy it? Does your voice come through? Is there a market for it? Do they want to read more?

7. Believe in your book.
You will have to "sell" your book to the publisher. You are the first marketer of your vision. You may get a few "no's" before a "yes". Keep on sharing it.

8. Patience is a must.
The larger the publisher, the longer it takes to get a book to market. I started talks with my publisher in July 2012. My book will not hit the shelves until Spring of 2015. Despite the long process, with the power of my publisher, my book will be available online as well as at small independent bookstores and large bookstore chains across the nation. It will also be available overseas. It was very important to me to be able to get the book into the hands of those who so desire.

9. Know your audience.
Truth be told, I do believe that writing a blog has helped. It has been a wonderful way to practice writing and discover who my audience is.

10. Investigate self-publishing.
Check out self-publishing. It is much easier than you think to get an e-book published. For the cost of a few hundred dollars anyone can write and publish a book on Amazon.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Honey Berry Blast: Williams-Sonoma Juice Week

This week I was invited by Williams-Sonoma to participate in Juice Week and share one of my favorite juice recipe. A huge inspiration for my love of juicing comes from the local harvests around us on Cape Cod. Whether from our local farmer's market or fresh from our garden and berry patch my family regularly enjoys fresh juices throughout the growing season. This time of year it's berry season and a few weeks ago we harvested honey from our beehives. This juice combines all of that deliciousness. This is one of the kids' favorite juices. It tends to blur the lines between juice and smoothie and it comes together in mere minutes.

We use our Vitamix all year round to make soups, smoothies, juices, hummus, pesto, and more. We especially love to use our Vitamix to juice. This way we are are able to enjoy not only the juice but all the fruits' benefits including fiber.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 cup of ice
Add all the ingredients into the Vitamix or your blender. Combine until well incorporated. We gradually increase from 1 to 10 on the variable speed of the Vitamix. Enjoy immediately!

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Down Home Blog Hop~Number 94 + Apple Mason Jar Pencil Holders

Delight your teachers on the first day back to school with these darling apple mason jars!
Perfect for holding pencils, pens, rulers, and flowers they are so simple to make.
Supply List: 

Pint size mason jars
Red spray paint
Green card stock
Garden twine


In a well ventilated area, cover your work space with newspaper and spray the mason jars with red spray paint. It will take two coats. Allow them to dry between coats.

Cut the green card stock into two inch leaf shapes. 

Punch a hole in the top of the leaves and tie two of them onto each mason jar with the garden twine.

Personalize the jars by adding the teacher's names to the leaves.

Fill them with your choice!

Welcome to this week's hop! It's back to school for many of you families out there! Do you have any tips or projects you'd like to share this week on the hop? All are welcome. Feel free to share up to three posts from your blog. Inspire us, share with us and teach us something new. Thank you for joining us this week. Now, let's get hopping.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

A Dying Beehive

Burning frames filled with wax moth eggs and larvae.

I watched one of my beehives die this past Thursday.

Someone must have sprayed their blooming plants. The plants were full of blossoms and my unsuspecting bees went. They drank the nectar and shared the bounty and location with the rest of the hive. There I sat in front of it, watching dying bees literally fall out. I sat there until dusk. Hundreds were dead. Some barely still alive in the pile outside the hive. There was nothing I could do but sit there and pray for them to be out of their misery quickly. I am hoping that none of the other hives went to that location. In nursing, I've seen many terrible things that have left a mark on my memory and heart that I can never forget even if I wanted to. Thursday, was another one of those days.

Friday I returned. There were scores of dead bees outside the hive. I opened the hive. Sadly, I found the queen. She was flailing around and curled up. She appeared to be dying. The hive was also being robbed. Inside I found yellow jackets and bumblebees. I also found wax moths. There were a few larvae of the wax moths and wax moth eggs. Working quickly, I removed any frames with signs of wax moths.

I then went across town to my strongest hive. From that hive, I took two frames full of brood and the bees. I also retrieved two deep frames full of honey that I had in reserve. I returned to the ailing hive and placed those frames and honey in the upper deep with a layer of newspaper between them. This hive needed numbers. The newspaper would allow the bees time to accept one another before they chewed their way through. I closed it up and let it settle. I reduced the entrance.

I visited again today, I found the dead queen. I shrank this hive down for lack of population to one deep. Some decisions need to be made. This hive will never survive in this state-queenless and depleted.

I have a couple of options, There is a nuc that my friend and I made earlier this summer that I might combine with this hive. I fear it is too late for them to make another queen, although it is not impossible.

Early this evening, my Mom and I burned the frames with the wax moth eggs and larvae. This is one way to eliminate them. The other way is placing the affected frames in the freezer for a few days. I stood there and watched. All of the bee's hard work was gone in flames and smoke. Out of respect I waited until the flames went out.

I will do what I can to rebuild this hive or combine it with another. I have pledged a commitment to the honeybees and their cause. Tomorrow is another day.

If you are a homeowner, please consider how, when and why you apply chemicals to your yard.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens

Well, the cat is out of the bag!


My book is available for pre-sale on Amazon. How did I find out? Some of you folks are pretty clever and emailed me to let me know that you bought my book! Love you for that! Thank you! It's hard to believe that we are finally heading down that finish line.

It all started out as a culmination from my years of writing Tilly's Nest. Tilly's Nest began as on an online diary for my children to chronicle our adventures in backyard chicken keeping. For the past five years, I have watched how special keeping chickens has been for my family, especially my children and YOU. It's truly amazing what a small flock of fluffy butts can share and add to a household. I also noticed that there were no book out there for kids that described what we had enjoyed, learned, and loved about chickens.

In July 2012 after working on this book for a few months, I mustered up the courage and emailed Storey Publishing a query. I shared all that they required and sealed the envelope with a little prayer and a wish. It wasn't too long until I had heard back from one of their acquiring editors. They were interested but the book had to "jump through" many meetings. It took months for my book idea to finally meet up with the final team that would eventually say YES in spring of 2013. I was given a deadline in December of 2013 to complete and submit the full manuscript. I was off to work.

The worst part was that I could not share anything with you all. I am terrible at keeping surprises under wraps. All through the summer and fall of 2013, I spent a couple of hours writing each day. Mostly done at night, after the kids had gone to sleep for the evening. I wanted to keep life as normal as possible. Play dates, beach time, summer trips, apple picking, school volunteering, regular blog posts, and freelance work all remained the same.

A week before Christmas in 2013, I pushed the send button on an email to my book's editor. I submitted the manuscript. Then everything went quiet. It was quiet for months. I was told about this, as the editors often are working on several books at once, juggling them all without letting one drop. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Then, on one winter day, I received an email. They loved it!

We began to revise the book- edit, revamp, rewrite and combine. I had only 144 pages to place my 197 page manuscript into. It was going to be tough. Back and forth we went for months on the revision. We even added new material. We also scheduled the photo shoot for May.

Today we are still working on the book. The cover has a few versions and is yet to be finalized by the marketing team. Sample pages are starting to come in from the designer. They increased the page count to 160. I have an entire team at Storey working on this book with me. I am happy to have my book become theirs too. Countless hours have been given to my book and I am so incredibly grateful but I'm also grateful to you.

Thank you so much for all of your support, encouragement, and love over the years. I had never thought of myself as a writer. It's amazing sometimes where our life's journey will take us if we just let go of the reins and not be afraid to take that leap into the great unknown.  For me, that great unknown was a chicken coop!

You can find my book here, available for pre-sale.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest

Down Home Blog Hop~ Number 93 + Fresh Dill Pickles

Overnight, it seems we are pulling cucumbers out by the dozen these days. That can only mean one thing, it's pickle making season here at Tilly's Nest. I love to make these simple refrigerator pickles. There is no canning or hot water bath to immerse these babies in. Simply wash your jars and lids with hot soapy water and you are ready to get to work. Here's what you'll need to get started:

8 Large Cucumbers
1 Red Onion
Pickling Spice
Black Peppercorns
8 Fresh Cloves of Garlic
8 Sprigs of fresh Dill
4 cups Distilled White Vinegar
8 tablespoons Sea Salt
8 Pint size Mason Jars with lids. I used the new green ones!

Wash and dry your jars and lids and place them next to your working space.

Slice up your cucumbers. It's your choice coins or spears. We tend to mix it up!

Then slice up your red onion.

To the bottom of each of your pint jars add 1 large crushed clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon pickling spice, a pinch of black peppercorns, a tablespoon of chopped fresh dill.

On the stove in a small pot, simmer the vinegar and the sea salt just until the sea salt has dissolved into the vinegar.

Next add layers of the cucumbers and onions to your jars.

To each jar, add a 1/2 cup of the vinegar and salt solution. Top the jars off with hot water and seal with the lids.

Leave them out on the counter overnight. Then refrigerate all the jars promptly. The pickles should be consumed within three weeks or so.

Welcome to this week's hop and thank you to all who linked up last week to the party! I'm so happy to see you stopping in. Feel free to link up to three posts from your blog. I can't wait to catch up this week and see what has been happening at your place. Don't forget to invite a friend. We love to meet new like minded friends.


It has been almost a week since I completely integrated the baby chicks in with our older flock of six hens. The babies, two Buff Brahma Bantams, one Salmon Favorelle, two Easter Eggers and a Golden Laced Wyandotte, seem to be finally settling in. I have doubled up on feeders and tripled the waterers and there is plenty of room in the large new coop. For hours, the kids and I have spent portions of our days, sitting outside the coop watching the two flocks become one. Through our observations, we have come to realize the big girls tolerate the presence of the little ones.

It doesn't mean they have to immediately love or even like one another.

There are no evening snuggles, but the little ones are allowed to sleep in the coop. Each morning as I go to open up the pop door to the run, I find the little ones perched up on the roosts as the other chicken mill about in the floor's shavings. Everyone is content to be co-existing.

No feathers have been plucked and there has been no blood shed. Sometimes, this can happen as you integrate two different flocks of ages and sizes without proper introductions.

They intermingle. There is no chasing. There is not relentless taunting. There is no stalking. There is no harassment. Occasionally, one of the larger girls will assert herself by pecking on one of the little one's neck. The peck is not meant to induce harm or inflict injury. It is just a reminder to the little ones that they are higher up in the pecking order.

They are content to respect one another. This makes me happy.

Tolerance is such an important life lesson that the chickens have shared with our family. Not everyone is going to like you, nor are you going to like them. However, it is important to always be courteous, respectful, and kind. You don't have to be friends. You don't have to hang out. But you should always lead by example. It's a great big world out there and the flock of humanity is grandiose in size. Sometimes, the chickens seem to make life's lessons simpler. For that I am grateful. Those fluffy butts never seem to disappoint. Especially when sometimes, the timing of their lessons seem to coincide with the events in our lives and the world around us.

Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest