Archive for November, 2012


Silver Laced Polish Chickens love Just A Couple Of Chickens

My Silver Laced Polish chickens were some of the sweetest in the flock, and the easiest to catch and snuggle, maybe because they couldn’t see or hear as well as the other chickens. But hey, this is a fabulous face. That is it’s face… all those fabulous feathers are the face.

100 years ago, I wouldn’t have had much choice in chickens.
I would have been limited to whatever chickens my neighbors raised.

Today I can choose my chickens based on all kinds of preferences:

  • big or small,
  • brightly colored or monochrome,
  • weird combs or standard,
  • old breeds or new,
  • mellow or feisty.

Now, I know enough to choose a bird that is well suited to my climate – but only because I didn’t choose properly the first time around.

My fancy top-hat Polish chickens were not comfortable in the minus 10 degree winter days of Northern New Mexico. They would spend all day under the low hanging heat lamp, regularly torching their top hat feathers into little puffs of smoke.

I also didn’t realize that the kinds of chickens that lay lots and lots of huge, perfect eggs are not always the same kind of chickens that sport fantastically decorated feathers.

Since my egg and feather business at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com offers blown eggs and natural feathers that were raised with love and care in my own small flock, I wanted exotic feathers from my hens, and so my second flock was full of exotic wonders.

They didn’t lay well at all.

And I learned that heritage breeds of chickens, ducks, and turkeys were definitely healthier, hardier, and more able to beat me at chess.

I learned that if I want eggs… I should choose a heritage egg layer.

If I want meat, I should stick with the broiler breeds – which will also lay eggs, and some of them will lay very well.

And if I want feathers, really special feathers, I’m going to have to compromise on both eggs and meat.
Beauty comes at a price.

There is a super-cool chicken selector tool at www.MyPetChicken.com to help with this process… I could spend hours on that thing!  It’s so fun!

Faverolles, Chantecler, Minorca, Australorp – ah, that one I had, White Leghorn – great chicken although not heritage – mega egg layer, Cubalaya… whassa cubalya?,
I should stop….
maybe one more spin on the chicken selector tool… really, I should stop… just one more time….

 

Col. C. J. Tippett draft cover for his memoir about his aviation pioneering life

This is a mockup of a draft cover for Col. C. J. Tippett’s memoir, embedded in my new book about him. Handsome grandfather! Well, he wasn’t my grandfather at that time… and the book is in advanced draft, entering the submission to publishers cycle – before I go ahead and self publish. Which will it be?

I’m holding a complete advanced draft of my book about my grandfather, Col. C. J. Tippett, and his aviation pioneering adventures in my hand, and I’m asking myself:

Should I submit to publishers?  Or should I self publish?

And I am a self publisher, and one of my topics on this website is How To Self Publish A Book!

I’m not alone wondering. Many authors holding a finished, or near-finished, manuscript are wondering. And if they aren’t, then as they enter the traditional publishing submission cycle, they will be. Many authors, and publishers, and agents, believe that there is a mark of professionalism – a stamp of approval – a badge of belonging – a mantle of accomplishment…. to a traditional book deal and I agree. There is.  The only way for a self published author to earn a similar mark, stamp, badge, mantle is to sell enough books to either make a profit, attract a bigger publisher, or both.

But there is another very practical aspect that drives the question.

Self publishing is a lot of work, and financing a print run large enough to make a profitable deal with book distributors takes a lot of money. Traditional publishers take on that financial burden, but then the self publisher may be giving up more earning potential on each book sale. If there are enough book sales to make a profit.

And so the spinning dervish of the decision goes round and round and round.

Here is another perspective that I hope can help. The traditional book proposal process forces me to carefully review and prepare my book’s marketing potential. I have to do this anyway to successfully self publish my book.

I have to write a catching introduction, describe my book briefly yet thoroughly, summarize each chapter, choose sample chapters, write a pertinent personal bio that does not contain “I started writing at age 8″… (ruh roh, …) and package it all up with a marketing plan that includes a discussion of competitive titles.

So why not go through the book proposal process (doing it properly and carefully) and submit to agents and publishers that I really do think might be interested in my project?
I can’t think of any reason not to.

I take it further, and continue to submit my books even after I have self published – starting my letters with “My book has sold over 1500 copies at XXX locations. I have received YYY positive reviews, and XX emails and letters from readers who enjoyed the book…”  and no, I haven’t yet attracted a publisher or agent, but I have sold over 1500 copies of my book, Just A Couple Of Chickens, so far – and going strong.

I think, one day soon, traditional publishing and self publishing will both be processes authors use. I’m starting now, despite the gap that does currently exist between the two publishing camps. My advanced draft of my grandfather’s biography, which was working titled “CJT, A Biography” and is now working titled “When No-One Else Would Fly, The Life of Col. Cloyce Joseph Tippett, USAFR, Ret.” is now in the submission process (I’ve compiled a list of publishers who accept direct proposals from authors as well as genre-specific agents) and may be self published in 2013 (or 2012) depending on the results of both my submissions and my advance marketing work.

Stay tuned to find out how it goes!  You can also sign up here to get an email when the book is ready for purchase.

Actually, the funnest part of the whole process is researching the “competitive” titles that are similar to my aviation history biography of Col. C. J. Tippett. I don’t think of them as competition, I think of them as reading material!

 

Col. C. J. Tippett and Sheriff Eugene W. Biscailuz

Sheriff Eugene W. Biscailuz was a Los Angeles legend, and the grandson of a gunslinging lawman. He was part of my grandfather’s pre-LinkedIn network that got him the job!

In the continuing series of famous people who met my grandfather… there’s a colorful story of a real life gunslinger in 1930’s Los Angeles, whom Tip encountered while trying to find a job as a young aviator.

Tip was job searching, and he had help from family. It was networking, old school:

Tip’s wife’s father, Harry Hossack, had a brother who worked in the Los Angeles, California, sheriff’s department. Harry’s brother had married a lady officer who reported directly to the Sheriff. The Sheriff knew every businessman in Los Angeles, particularly Mr. H. H. Wetzel, who was the Vice President of Douglas Aircraft. Douglas Aircraft was exactly the kind of company that Tip wanted to work for. So a connection was made for a woman’s brother-in-law’s son-in-law.

Sheriff Eugene Warren Bicailuz wrote a letter of introduction for Tip on June 9th, 1936, and Tip got the job. He was a junior project engineer at the Douglas aircraft factory, as the fantastically popular DC-3 was rolled out and away.

Tip’s account of the job is delightful, and the letters in his archive from Sheriff Bicailuz are treasures. Tip included his experiences on the factory floor in his memoir, which is almost ready for publication.

Biscailuz is mainly known to history for his creation of the California Highway Pattrol, the best of its kind then and now. He joined the LA County Sheriff department as a clerk, after graduating college with a law degree, and moved up. He was proudly Hispanic, descended from Spanish Basque settlers with roots deep in the pre-American culture of Los Angeles. Biscailuz’s grandfather was one of LA’s first lawman and died in a shoot out on the muddy streets in the 1800s.

Sheriff Biscailuz, in his own time, faced down a hail of bullets and braved a live bomb to talk down a labor dispute.

There’s a story there… of Sheriff Biscailuz and his father, and his grandfather. Grandfather stories are my specialty… perhaps one day.

If you are interested in being on the book announcement list, please email me. It’s a richly detailed journey through an amazing period of history.

 

Me, Myself, and I are taking advantage of our opportunity to interview the author of “Just A Couple Of Chickens,” a book we wrote and self published. We’re not sure who that fourth duckling is…

The Westchester Press is pleased to present this exclusive opportunity to interview the author of “Just A Couple Of Chickens,” a funny and informative book about chickenistic and economic adventures that has sold over 1,500 copies so far and counting.

The author, Corinne Tippett, is here with us today – mainly because this is her blog and she is writing it. But enough about us, let’s get to the questions!

The Westchester Press: Thank you for being here with us today, Corinne. How is your book doing now that it has been out for almost two years?

The Author: You’re welcome! Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my book. It’s still selling pretty well, which is great for me and my publisher – I mean, for you, but one contributing factor is that the book talks about economic struggle and hardship, and I really thought it would be out-dated by now. But the theme is still current and all of us would like to see that change. Economic change.

The Westchester Press: We hear you there! High five on that one. Are you really working on a sequel? What’s taking so long on that?

The Author: Okay, so high five from self publisher to author is kind of more like clapping, don’t you think? And yes I really am working on a sequel and it takes as long as it takes, okay? For one thing, I had to finish my grandfather’s aviation history biography which I was supposed to write first but I did the chicken book instead, and for another thing, I really want a happy ending of total economic healing and it’s taking the whole country a while to get that going.

The Westchester Press: A new book?  An aviation biography? Who is publishing that? Are we publishing that?

The Author: At this time, I am in the process of submitting my grandfather’s aviation biography to a traditional agent or traditional publisher. Because I think it’s a project that may be well suited for traditional publishing, and I’d welcome the team approach to producing it. But if that doesn’t come through, then I will certainly self publish, and you’ll be my first choice.

The Westchester Press: But you ARE a self publisher!  You ARE The Westchester Press!  How can you do this to us?

The Author:  I don’t believe that self publishing and traditional publishing have to exclude each other. And once I self publish a project, I will continue to submit it to traditional publishers along with a sales count… and we’ll see what happens.

The Westchester Press: We need a minute, sorry for the delay. We’re looking up the word “fidelity” in the dictionary.

The Author: This seems to be going just as well as our quarterly company meetings. There’s no “i” in team, people. Okay, now you aren’t talking to me. So, now I’m not talking to myself? Isn’t that a good thing? arrite. Two can play at that game. I mean, one can…

okay.
fine.

 

 

 

Col C. J. Tippett visited the Spruce Goose

The Spruce Goose was Howard Hughes answer to military transport, but it was more useful as a party ship.

During World War II, the US military realized that they needed bigger transport planes to ferry equipment and supplies across the Atlantic. The government put out the request to US aircraft manufacturers, and Howard Hughes, of Hughes Aircraft, decided to respond.

There was a catch.

The aircraft couldn’t be made of metal, due to wartime rationing.

Howard Hughes was already rich and famous by the time he started the build. He was also already known for his eccentric and volatile personality. He took up the project to build the largest transport plane in the world as a personal quest. And he did it.

He named the aircraft the Hughes H-4 Hercules, and despite rumors that it was too large to fly, it did – on November 2, 1947, two years after the war was over.

Delays in design and construction had rendered it obsolete before it ever went into service.

The public called it the Spruce Goose, and considered it a grand folly by Hughes. But it was a remarkable aircraft and revered by aviation enthusiasts.

In 1980, the California Aero Club put the Spruce Goose on display in Long Beach, California. This is where Colonel C. J. Tippett comes in.

In the 1980s, my grandfather, Col. C. J. Tippett, was hosting a series of parties on behalf of the air force and state department for the foreign air attachés. These parties were a highlight of the air attaché circles, and promoted diplomacy and communication through channels that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible.

Tip, and his wife, Liz Whitney Tippett, had a reputation for fantastic, celebrity-studded parties in wonderous venues. The Spruce Goose was the perfect setting.

The cockpit of the Spruce Goose is usually available on tour by special ticket only, but for the party, it was all open. I know, because I was there. I was in college and the invitation to join my grandfather and legions of foreign air attaches was a treat. The Spruce Goose made it even better. I couldn’t believe the size of the flying boat, designed to take off and land on water. The wingspan was incredible, and the longest in aviation history.

I saw the Spruce Goose again, about thirty years later, at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon – only an hour away from my home in Portland. I toured it again, thinking of my grandfather and that party. The aircraft looked the same. Astonishingly huge.

Sitting in place, it has flown through time… unchanged.

It is one part of Howard Hughes legacy to aviation, the most visible and tangible to me. In our family legends, Tip had met Howard Hughes, and probably had some rousing discussions with him, but unfortunately, I have no documentation to prove it.

No letters, no stories in Tip’s memoir, which is almost ready for publication, and no photographs. But in the spirit of six degrees of separation, if the Spruce Goose counts as an entity, I can get to Howard Hughes in two!

 

Does this sound like a strange question?

Not what breed is my chicken…. not what kind of chicken is this…. what color is my chicken?

Crele is a feather color Corinne didn't have in Just a Couple of Chickens

I made a Crele color quilt for myself to share the wonder. Crele is a color found on fairy chickens, also known as Modern Game Bantams. It is my new favorite chicken color.

When I placed my first hatchery order for the minimum 25 chicks, I went for “hatchery choice” because it was the least expensive way to get a wide variety of chickens. It also happens to be a good way to get a box of roosters, but I didn’t know that at the time…. the story makes for a very funny book, “Just a Couple of Chickens”, which I wrote in 2009.

I spent the next two years trying to figure out what chickens I had. I used their:

  • comb configuration,
  • feather shape,
  • body size,
  • laying habits,
  • and most of all, their feather colors.

And I still couldn’t figure out some of them, because if I thought there were an amazing number of chicken breeds in our world…. I hadn’t even begun to discover how many colors existed.

Inside each breed can be different colors and patterns and feather types, layers and layers of speciality that go deeper and deeper until I am totally lost.

This is where poultry shows are so exciting. The breeds and colors and patterns and feather types are all presented in perfect order, with experts and judges and breeders standing right there, ready to talk!

Which is how I learned about my new favorite color for a chicken… called “Crele”

It is a kind of coppery, gold, buttered, barred, starred, glorious cascade of tawny, scintillating, auriferous, honey-tinted feathers.

I saw it on some roosters at the PNPA show last season and have never been the same. Best of all, Crele comes in Fairy Chickens!
(aka Crele Modern Game)

But it seems to be best on the roosters. Which is a problem, as there are no roos in my future. Urban chickens are not roosters.
Okay, but what about the Crele Penedesenca Hen!  Now there’s an aurulent, caramelized bedecked neck of feathers…

I’m not sure that backyard chickens is so much a hobby as it is a… condition.

 

 

Sometime after writers stopped using quills as ink pens, our copyright laws came into being. The law assigns copyright when a work is created – you don’t have to register. But it’s a good idea, especially since today’s quill is a computer and the paper is online.

Copyright on a creative work exists as soon as the work is put to paper. The author doesn’t have to formally register the work with the US Copyright office, but it’s a good idea to do it before self publishing a book, or submitting for traditional publication.

An author does have to register the copyright before claiming a case of copyright infringement, and having registered the work long before there is any question of infringement can help your case.

I see it as a professional approach to my creative work, a finishing touch.

The creative work does not have to be published before registration, and in fact, due to recent changes by the US Copyright Office, if the work is unpublished, it can be uploaded electronically for the registration process – which is a change from having to mail a hard copy. (Mailing a hard copy is part of the Library of Congress Control Number process, which happens after the work is published – including self published…)

I recently went through the copyright process with the finished draft of my grandfather’s aviation history biography, and I have some tips.

  • Prepare an electronic copy of the manuscript that is smaller than 11.3 MB, because that is the single file upload limit and a full length manuscript is almost certainly bigger than that. Make a compressed PDF or split the document into several files… the upload process does allow one project in multiple files (up to six). So getting that ready in advance will help.
  • Choose a time when you can do the whole process in one session, so that you don’t risk stopping part way. It will take about an hour, depending on the copyright office’s online response time.
  • It will cost $35, (as of 2012) payable online at the time of registration, so having a credit or debit card ready is a good idea.
  • At www.copyright.gov, you first establish a profile and choose a user name and password. You’ll use this same profile for every work you register for copyright.
  • The first step isn’t very obvious, despite the care given to try and make the process more streamlined. It’s called Register A New Claim… and from there, you go step by step.

You will have to click a confirmation button at the very end of the process, and it isn’t complete until you do, so don’t leave the process until you’ve clicked that button. It’s not a very obvious button… the Staples Easy Button is a better design, but you’ll find it.

It’s not required to register – copyright is yours once you create a work – but it’s a good idea to do it when you’ve finished your book, before you self publish, or before you submit your book for publication. Add a copy of your work to our Library of Congress!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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