Thursday, February 27, 2014

Over at Suzanne Johnson's blog Prenatura today!

I'm over on Prenatura today!
Many Worlds, Many Magics:

If you’re a fan of fantasy, you know magic works by different rules in almost every world. Fantasy’s the genre I grew up in, as a young geek girl, and one of my own favorite things, be it in a novel, movie, or video game, was discovering how the magic of that universe worked.

Today on Prenatura I’m going to explain the unique magic systems of four classic worlds, and give you a sneak peek at the magic in my own book, Into the Tides.

Come check it out!

(Remember, next Publishing Industry News will be next Friday, March 7, to help me get back on schedule. See you then!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dream Vacations: What would you choose?

Even better than drinking it
at my home: drinking tea at
the tea's home!
Over the weekend my friends and I talked about dream vacations. We decided we'd love to do a group tea tour, trying teas in Japan, China, India, and Morocco. In our dream vacation, we'd stay 3-4 days in each country and go from place to place to try the most excellent of teas, in their home locations.

Green tea, oolong tea, white tea, chai, herbals... an array of the tastiest of tasty.

If you and your friends were to come up with a dream vacation, what would you choose? Where would you go and what would you see or do?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creating a Fantasy Language: Choosing words

You may remember the posts I've done on creating your own fantasy language a while back. Recently someone asked me an interesting question that I thought I'd share with you.

(Creating a fantasy language: (Lesson 1, Rationale, Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4, Choosing words, Creating an Alphabet)

How do I choose my words?

For this language, it uses a basic English alphabet, so I chose random short letter combinations as word roots. Some I just nab parts off words I see around me; others I pull out of nowhere. I rarely run out of ideas since there's so many basic combinations, but being random can be harder if you like working with a system. It's fun, though, because if you end up with two similar words you can start making puns in your language, and sometimes I do things with it like say the words are considered associated in the culture (so if "hoskon" also meant "colorful," I might say having lots of furniture is considered a sign of being a cheerful person).

It was actually easier in a language I made with a character alphabet that had 56 characters, each either a single letter or a pair of letters (similar to Japanese hiragana). The first 50 characters I each assigned to be a word on their own, and I chose a set of fundamental concepts that I thought would be most important to an evolving society --“ti”=life; “so”=I/self; “fa”=water; “ku”=eat; “da”=first; “sho”=after; etc. Then, whenever I needed a new word, I chose which of those 50 concepts it was most related to and combined the characters. So, “sotifa” would be “blood” and so on. The last 6 concepts I used for conjugating verbs, making plurals, making adjectives, etc.

Another method, if you want to sound similar to a certain language without being that language, is to find a word in the target language that means the same and changing it to sound similar to the words you already have (if you have a language without o’s, for example, and you want to create something vaguely close to german, the word for week might be “vak” instead of “Woche”; and you don’t want it to be too close, so “bahn” for train might be “bina”).

If you don't have a language you want to sound like, and you're not interested in creating a system of characters, you can still use a system to create thematic words. Choose what sounds your language uses and make a chart lining them up along the top. With this method, I write 4-5 "words" for each starting letter, using different verbs for each. These words are associated with basic concepts.

In general, short words will be your basic concepts. So choose 2-4 letters from your sound system to form a large set of basic concepts (I'd go with at least 40-50, including numbers, some basic time/space prepositions, concepts of self, affirmations and negations, and survival-related words like eating, water, fire, home, love, etc). I usually try to make opposing concepts (fire and water, for example) to sound as diametrically opposite each other as possible (sosa and bitu might be a good pair, with different consonants that have very different sounds, and different vowels), but you might prefer to make them similar or inverses.

Then, as with root words, you can use these concepts to combine into new words, or form words that sound similar to existing concepts.

Choosing the basic concepts for my societies is one of the most influential pieces in coming up with the culture. After all, what we say reflects how we think. So it tells me what that society considers most important.

How do you choose words for your languages?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Random links for the fun of it

I'm trying to get back on schedule, so the next publishing news will be not next week but the week after.

In the meantime, it's Friday. Let's celebrate with some just-for-fun links this time!
Speaking of cute stuff.

Emergency Cute Stuff: Tumblr of cute animals when you really need them.

Herding Cats and Burning Soup: Cat Thursday for, well, cats; and the rest of the time for romance book reviews and recipes.

Random pretty landscape
(by Matthew Hunt)
Dogs' brains respond to voices like humans: Because you always suspected your dog know how you were feeling from what you were saying.

World of Leathercraft Etsy shop: For all your Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and other geek-themed leather gear.

ThinkGeek: Where I buy a good half of my Christmas and birthday gifts. Yes, including gifts for other people...

Steampunk Tendencies G+ page: I follow them. They put pictures of pretty steampunk stuff in my feed. Fair deal.

It's a seal pup in the sand.
You looked like you needed a seal pup
 to brighten your day.
If Star Wars existed in a 1980s high school: Pictures of what it would be like.

Girl Genius: But I'm sure you already read this webcomic. (If you somehow missed it, it starts slow but is one of my all-time favorite webcomics.)

Order of the Stick: Another webcomic you're probably already reading. If not, it will make you laugh. Makes fun of D&D and roleplaying while diving full-tilt into them.

I've always thought clouded leopards
were pretty.
(by Kellinahandbasket)
GoodReads "What's Your Love Story" infographic: To help you choose which classic romance your life may resemble.

Top Ten Sci-Fi movie earners infographic: Adjusting for inflation for true fairness, the top ten sci-fi movie earners of all times.

Earnest Hemmingway's Burger Recipe: If you're going to eat a burger, eat it like Hemmingway.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Into the Tides Book Bonus: Travel Powers

Today is a little book-bonus! In posts such as these, I'll give you extra information from my novel that you won't find in the book itself.

 In Into the Tides, people who have magic are called "Powers." Each type of magic has a different set of capabilities, which is based on genetics. And for each Power type, there are 6 different levels of ability, called classes, with 6th class being the weakest and 1st class having the most magic. How a person's class is determined is based on what they can do.

 I've been working on creating descriptions that explain what each Power type can do, by class. If you're reading the book and wondering what the characters are capable of, and what they would be capable of if they were higher in class, you can find out!

Here's more about travel Powers. While the abilities similar to a first-class travel Power are described in the book, no real travel Powers show up.

A non-exhaustive list of some

Magic Types

Travel 6-
  • Passive: Sense presence of obstructions within 3 feet
  • Active: "skip" with interference 1 foot once every 30 seconds
  • 6th class travel Powers are encouraged to avoid skipping while moving, as they are notorious for running into things
  • Passive: Sense presence of obstructions within 20 feet; sense presence of approaching obstructions (such as sensing that people, cars, or horses are moving nearby, and from approximately which angle; does not sense objects less than 3 cubic feet) within 40 feet; uncontrolled skip with interference of 2 feet on average once a week
  • Active: skip with interference 10 feet once every 30 seconds; break skip period into smaller skips (such as skipping with interference 5 feet every 10 seconds)
  • Passive: Sense presence of obstructions within 40 feet; sense presence of approaching obstructions within 60 feet; uncontrolled skip of 2 feet without interference once a week
  • Active: skip without interference 1 foot a day (continuous distance only); skip with interference 30 feet once every 45 seconds (may be broken up)
  • Passive: Sense presence of obstructions within 60 feet; sense presence of approaching obstructions within 100 feet; uncontrolled skip of 5 feet without interference once every 5 days
  • Active: skip without interference 5 feet a day (continuous distance only); skip with interference 60 feet once every minute (may be broken up); skip with another person with interference 5 feet every minute
  • Passive: Sense presence of obstructions within 120 feet; sense presence of approaching obstructions within 180 feet; uncontrolled skip of 5 feet without interference once every 3 days; sense buildup of uncontrolled skip within 6 hours (+ or - 6 hour accuracy) of its likely occurrence due to buildup; sense uncontrolled skip 2 seconds before it occurs if skip occurs due to buildup
  • Active: skip without interference 10 feet a day (continuous distance only) OR 2 feet every 12 hours; skip with interference 100 feet once every minute (may be broken up); skip with another person with interference 20 feet every minute; sense when another person is skipping within 100 feet (radius)
  • Passive: Sense presence of obstructions within 200 feet; sense presence of approaching obstructions within 300 feet; uncontrolled skip of 5 feet without interference once every day; sense buildup of uncontrolled skip magic with +/- 4 hours accuracy; sense uncontrolled skip due to buildup 5 seconds before it happens
  • Active: skip without interference 20 feet a day (continuous distance only) OR 2 feet once every 4 hours; skip with interference 150 feet once every minute (may be broken up); skip with another person with interference 40 feet every minute; skip with 2 people with interference 5 feet every minute; skip another person without self 5 feet every minute within as long as person can be seen; sense when another person is skipping within 300 feet


Effectively, skipping is a teleport: Power is at location 1 and a microsecond later at location 2. Clothes and nonliving objects (up to 15 percent of body weight) stay with travel Power during a skip; excess objects are left behind in whole (such that a person weight 100 pounds carrying a 7 pound weight and a 10 pound weight would result in the  entire 7-pound weight being left behind). "With interference" means objects between starting location and ending location interrupt movement, with Power's ending location automatically being directly in front of interfering object. Skipping occurs as if traveling normally without jumping, so a 3-foot wall would stop a skip, but a 3-foot post that the Power could walk around does not--however, the distance to walk around the post would be added into the distance of the skip, shortening the total length of the skip by an equivalent amount.

The Power emerges skip at same speed as he or she was traveling when entering the skip. "Every x seconds" refers to a minimum recovery period the Power must take before engaging in the next skip. Thus, a 10-foot skip at the end of 30 seconds cannot be followed by a 10-foot skip at the beginning of the next 30 seconds. Skips cannot be saved up for longer skips--if a person does not skip for six hours, the next skip is still a maximum of 10 feet with a 30 second recovery period.

Emergency/uncontrolled skipping

Uncontrolled skipping, sometimes called "emergency skipping," occurs randomly and only when Power is not paying attention. It does not occur when skip has high probability of resulting in harm if travel Power is consciously or subconsciously aware of the danger. This means a travel Power might fall off a very low bed in the middle of the night, resulting in at most a bruise, but not the top bunk, which could result in serious injuries.

Uncontrolled skipping is most likely to occur when danger is approaching that the travel Power subconsciously notices, such as a beach ball flying at them from the corner of the eye, or when a danger unexpectedly occurs, such as if the travel Power begins to fall into a hidden hole in the ground.

When no danger has occurred in the period of a week, the built-up travel magic will cause a random skip with interference approximately once a week. To help avoid skipping at inappropriate times, it is common for a designated family member or friend to take to throwing soft objects at the travel Power's head once a week (or more, depending on temperament of helper).

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow, Ice and Geekery

 You may have heard NC had an ice storm last week. You would be correct. Here's what we woke up to Thursday morning:

Who's up for a swim?
Yep. That's a good 1/2 inch of solid ice. It was a great day to work from home, except for the occasional power outages due to the new snow falling on top of the solid ice. But power was back by the next day, and with warmer temperatures, the ice and snow are already three-quarters gone. It was sunny and pleasant on Sunday!

And now for your enjoyment (just because it's cool, and this is a cold-themed post)...

Disney Princesses as Final Fantasy Classes

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Publishing Industry News (Part 2)

The second half of Publishing Industry news--The major news portion, covering 1/25-2/14.

Publishing News

ReDigi gets a patent to sell used e-books, audiobooks, music, and other content. When an item is sold, it is deleted off the original owner's devices and uploaded to the new owner's.

Hugh Howey puts together an interesting report on author earnings. We all know he's in favor of self-publishing, but now he offers some numbers to back it up.

OverDrive, a company that works with libraries to enable e-lending, makes a deal with HarperCollins and acquires their books in the UK (under the same terms as they use for the US). Another publisher, Abrams, also makes its books available to library e-lending programs.

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has done a study on how to approach libraries and e-content (whether to regulate publishers or not with new legislation to ensure and broaden library access to e-content), and decided to take the "wait and see how it develops on its own" approach.

A new group, ReadersFirst, aims to make library e-lending easier and more accessible to all customers, hoping to standardize it and make the experience easy, intuitive, and efficient.

And the Digital Content Working Group addressed libraries at their winter conference, encouraging them to think about the future of e-lending when making decisions, and giving them various suggestions on what to look for.

Sony's leaving the North American e-book business (still around for countries) and giving its customers to Kobo.

Want to sell fanfiction? If your fanfic is written in one of the licensed Kindle Worlds, you may be able to--and Amazon's just added 7 new worlds.

In the ruling of the consumers vs Apple class action suit, Apple lost. Now the damages trial is set for May. Plaintiffs are aiming for $840 million. Meanwhile, the Second Circuit denies Apple's appeal at getting its monitor ousted.

In Canada, the government signs an e-book agreement with 4 major publishers, which adopts many of the same provisions as the US DoJ settlements in exchange for the publishers not being sued for price-fixing: booksellers may set their own prices, etc.

Although "Fair use" clauses in copyright law are well-established in America, the inclusion of them in Australian law would be new, and the International Publishers Association and Australian Publishers Association protest adding the "fair use" language based on the courts' inexperience with the law, pointing to the sheer amount of effort and lawsuits it took Americans to define exactly what fair use constitutes.

DreamWorks Animation is opening an in-house book publisher called DreamWorks Press, which will publish books based on its works.

Barnes and Noble may have made a few cuts to its Nook program, but it is not abandoning it.

If you're in the UK, you can now get a Masters degree in self-publishing.
Who wants to go for a swim?

Simon and Schuster gives a new fantasy imprint a name and logo. Saga press (separate from Simon451) will begin putting out books in 2015. S&S is also releasing a marketing website called 250 Words, devoted to business books, that it dubs "publisher-agnostic," meaning it accepts contributions from authors regardless of which major publisher puts them out.

If you're on the East coast, it will come as no surprise that winter weather has disrupted Valentine's week book sales.

And what goes into a good book? HipType creates an infographic on what's in a best-selling book.

What other publishing news have you encountered in the past 3 weeks?
And as I get back on schedule, would you prefer to have a short post next week, or a long post in another 3 weeks?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Publishing Industry News (Part 1)

Publishing industry news for 1/25-2/13/14. 3 weeks this time, due to vacation! Broken into two parts, because it'll be long--part 2, news, tomorrow; today will focus on industry blogs.

Industry Blogs:

QueryTracker's Publishing Pulse for 1/31, 2/7, and 2/14.

Nathan Bransford's The Past Few Weeks in Books for 2/7.

On QueryTracker, Sarah Pinneo explains the contemporary Young Adult genre--what the POV usually is, who the narrators usually are, and other major genre identifies. Ash Krafton talks about the self-publishing or legacy publishing debate and her take on it. Angela Ackerman talks about the Do's and Don'ts of Twitter DMing (hint: don't spam). Rosie Genova offers advice in advance of conference season on what to do and not to do at writers' conferences.

On Writer Beware, we discover that scandal-ridden WinePress Publishing has closed its doors. And remember vanity publisher Publish America? It's now name-hopped to America Star Books. And speaking of name-hopping, Albee Agency PR/Sandpiper Publicity adds Magnus Publicity to its names--all of which you should be wary of, as Strauss points out various instances of dubious claims and spam-style tactics. She also begins a series of posts about author information databases, aimed at helping prevent books from being labeled orphan works by connecting books with author names.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her discoverability series: Part Between 7 and 8: Understanding types of readers; Part Eight: Passive marketing; Part Nine: blogs and guest blogging.

Agent Kristen Nelson suggests that UK contracts are as important as US contracts for US authors. Be careful to read the fine print.

Agent Rachelle Gardner offers advice. Are you worried about someone stealing your ideas? If so, be vague when describing them; but really it's not worth the blood pressure to worry in the first place. Two writers with the same idea will make two very, very different books. She also advises on how to treat your muse like a puppy to max out your creativity and avoid writers' block.

And Agent Janet Reid answers questions. An agent assured me all agents wanted all writers to hire editors before ever querying and provided me a contact for her own editing group; is this correct/ethical? (No. You may choose to hire an editor after rejections, but it's not step one of querying. Agents should definitely not refer you to editors, especially those giving them kickbacks, before accepting you. Plus more issues here...) If my protagonist doesn't have a name, how do I handle it to avoid first-person queries? (Give them a name for the query, or look at how some other authors with nameless narrators handled the problem.) What's the line between promotion and spam on Twitter? (One promo for every 10 tweets, no more, or you're edging towards spam.)

More questions answered by Reid: Can I upload my book to Kindle while I'm querying? (Uploading to Kindle is by definition publishing your book. If you're not trying to self-publish, don't upload to Kindle. If you're querying agents, you shouldn't have already published the book. Therefore, no.) Is it okay to tweet your agent/any agent with questions? (No. Twitter is a public discourse. Don't have a private conversation in public.) Should I create a web page for my unpublished book with its cover, etc, while I'm querying, or should I wait for the publisher to announce my book? (If it's unpublished, it doesn't have a cover. The publisher doesn't "announce" your book. If you design a web page now, it should not be about an unpublished book.) How do I handle revise & resubmit queries after it's been revised? (Reid explains.) An agent requested my book based on two different pitches in unrelated pitch events. What do I do? (Mention it in the query, and congrats on interesting her twice.) If I want to be an intern at a literary agency, can I send my resume to those that haven't posted job openings? (Sure, but it's not likely to get you a job.)

Writers Write offers some current news: Want to buy audio books? Overdrive (partnering with libraries) will only be lending audiobooks in MP3 DRM-free format, ditching the old WMA (Windows Media Autio) option that was locked with DRM. And JK Rowling is suing the Daily Mail for libel after they ran a story saying she accused a church group of harassing behavior, when the article she published that was referenced in the Daily Mail's story actually praised the group for their help and support.

The second half of the post, Publishing News, will be up later! Until then, happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Jet Lag and Snow Delays

Perhaps you noticed I wasn't here on Monday, as I'd originally planned.

The foot of a giant
laughing Buddha

Turns out, it snowed in my layover, delaying flights and pushing back my return to the States! But no worries, I made it home in one piece.

Adventures in Taiwan--quite fantastic!

It's a lovely place, and I had a great time. I don't recommend being snowed in during the flight back, and the jet lag is interesting, but if you're like me and picked up a nice collection of tea while you're there, you'll have the caffeine to help you transition back.

Here's a little collection of pictures on why you might want to visit one day. Not too many, of course; just a teaser for your own trips...

What are some of the most interesting places you've been?
Beautiful parks
Just an ordinary
suspension bridge.

Flower clocks, too.
Lovely hiking paths.

A view of one of the cities
nestled in a tropical valley.
The sunset, enjoyed whilst
being stuck in Japan.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Faye Valentine, Butt Kicker Extraordinaire

Author Kianna Alexander drops by with a guest post while I'm on vacation. She's another lady geek in addition to a fantastic writer, so I've asked her to share one of her favorite fandoms with us.

Hey There!

I write romance, in various subgenres, from sweet to erotic, and from historical to paranormal. But there is something not a lot of folks know about me: I enjoy anime. Yes, Japanese animation. And yes, I'm aware that I'm not a fifteen year old boy.
Faye Valentine

I never paid much attention to this type of show save for the few episodes of Sailor Moon I watched in the 90s. In my defense, I had no idea it was anime--I just thought the idea of butt-kicking yet beautiful heroines was pretty darn appealing. This is something I hope comes through in my books.

So, in talking about anime, I must mention one of my favorites, the classic Cowboy Bebop. It's a space opera anime, in that the story is futuristic, and takes place aboard a spaceship (named Bebop), floating through the endless sky. Like a lot of the animes of this genre, it works on the premise that Earth has been abandoned, and humans have colonized space. The crew of the ship includes the wild-haired male lead, Spike, along with his balding buddy, Jet, and a Welsh Corgi named Ein. There were two female characters--one is a prepubescent hacker who goes by Ed, but I'll focus on the stronger one--Faye Valentine.

In the series, Faye, Spike, and Jet are all bounty hunters. Faye is the epitome of butt-kicking female. She is shown throughout the series firing weapons, using her cunning feminine wiles to get out of tight spots, and kicking major ass at every turn. She does all this without a single hair falling out of place, and without ruining her perfect lipstick. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

As an aside, Cowboy Bebop boasts one of the most rocking intros any cartoon has ever had. Even if you don't like anime, just watch the opening sequence on YouTube. The track is called Tank! and is performed by The Seatbelts. Check it out when you get the chance.

If you're not sucked in by the visual and auditory pleasures of this quality anime offering, why not get lost in a book? Check out my recent release, Write The Damn Book! It's a just the facts, ma'am look at the five most important things you need to know to get your book written. It's available in print and in PDF.

Until Next Time,

You can also find Kianna at her website.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Into the Tides Book Bonus: Flight Power

I'm off on vacation this week, but that doesn't mean no posts! Friday's publishing news post will be moved back a Friday, so keep an eye out then.

Today is a little book-bonus! In posts such as these, I'll give you extra information from my novel that you won't find in the book itself.

In Into the Tides, people who have magic are called "Powers." Each type of magic has a different set of capabilities, which is based on genetics. And for each Power type, there are 6 different levels of ability, called classes, with 6th class being the weakest and 1st class having the most magic. How a person's class is determined is based on what they can do.

I've been working on creating descriptions that explain what each Power type can do, by class. (Okay, yes, I've probably been having too much fun with this... ;) If you're reading the book and wondering what the characters are capable of, and what they would be capable of if they were higher in class, you can find out!

Here's more about flight  Powers, who make a brief appearance in the book:

Magic Types

Flight 6
  • Passive: Weight reduction (20% variance; flight Power does not cause loss of mass; nor is anything worn or carried by the flight Power affected). Happens randomly when not concentrating.
  • Active: Fall more slowly*** (acceleration speed 20 ft/s/s; compare to standard acceleration 32.2 ft/s/s); reduce weight up to 30% (without mass loss); jump 1.15x normal height; hover 1.5 seconds
  • Passive: Weight reduction (40% variance) at will (does not happen without concentrating)
  • Active: Fall more slowly (acceleration speed 10 ft/s/s); reduce weight up to 75%; jump 3x normal height; hover 2 minutes (no maneuverability)
  • Passive: Weight reduction (100% variance) at will; fall more slowly (acc. speed 15 ft/s/s)
  • Active: Fall more slowly (speed determined at will, but no less than 5 mi/hr; average 4th class flight power can manage 20 seconds); reduce weight up to 100%; fly up to 20 feet vertical; hover 20 minutes
  • Passive: Weight reduction (100% variance at will); fall slowly (acc. speed as low as 1 ft/s/s)
  • Active: Fall (speed determined at will; average 1 minute); reduce weight up to 100%; fly 30 minutes (any direction; max speed 20 mi/hr)
  • Passive: Weight reduction (100% variance at will); fall slowly (acc. speed as low as 1 ft/s/s)
  • Active: Fall (speed determined at will; average 5 minutes); reduce weight up to 100%; fly 2 hrs (max speed 60 mph [eye protection needed])
  • Passive: Weight reduction (100% variance at will); fall slowly (acc. speed as low as 1 ft/s/s); hover at will; often hover randomly when not paying attention
  • Active: Fall (speed determined at will; average 5 minutes); reduce weight up to 100%; fly 8 hrs (max speed 80 mph [no eye protection needed with speeds up to 50 mph]); cold/low oxygen tolerance (may survive in lower than normal levels of oxygen or at lower temperatures--up to 1.5x normal)


When flight Powers reach the limits of their endurance to fly or hover, or cease to channel magic as required to continue to fly or hover, they begin to fall. Slowed acceleration when falling is a subconscious ability, does not take concentration, and will occur as long as Power is conscious (or in normal sleep; that is, not knocked out through physical force, injury, illness, or chemicals) and not affected by substantial chemical mental alteration (drugged or inebriated).

An unconscious or drugged flight Power will fall at a normal acceleration (32 ft/s/s).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rose Care

I'm on vacation this week, but that doesn't mean no blog posts! Here's a just-in-time for Valentines' reminder on how to get the most out of your roses, first published in February 2012. Don't worry; unlike the publishing industry, not much has changed about rose care in the last couple of years. 

Lipstick roses
February: The month in which the rose attempts to take over the world through mass mind control and a little bit of marketing. Alternatively, the month of love. Got roses? Here's how to care for them.

Roses are not the longest-lived of flowers, but proper care can help them reach their maximum life span. When first putting roses in a vase, make sure to fill the vase with cool water and add flower food. If your flowers did not come with flower food, ½ teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon bleach will do the trick for most standard-sized vases. This helps kill bacteria and feeds the roses.

Mini rose that bloomed after main
stem of roses died... yes, the buds
keep growing if you keep caring!
With your roses, decide what length you desire them. Then strip off any leaves that will fall beneath the water line. This leaves fewer places for bacteria to grow. Bacteria can make the water harder for the flowers to absorb, infect the flowers, or clog the stems, all of which will shorten the lives of your flowers. As a general rule, the cleaner the water is, the longer the flowers will last. You can remove the thorns or not; these won’t make a large difference either way, so follow your choice of aesthetics.

Sweetness roses and pink tulips
Look for any greenery, filler flowers such as baby’s breath, or other flowers. Remove any foliage or flowers that would sit beneath the waterline. Cut the stems at an angle, removing at least ½ cm, and put them into the vase before you add your roses. This will help form a network to support the roses and make them more likely to stay in place.

Next, cut the roses under water at a 45-degree angle and put them immediately into your vase. If the cut stems dry out, the flowers' ability to drink is impaired. Air bubbles can also get into the stem, which will cause the stem to droop and result in a floppy rose. Trimming ½ cm off the ends of the roses when you first put them in water usually removes any air bubbles that have already formed.

Orange Milva roses with
gerbera daisies
Your roses will need fresh water and re-trimming every day to reach their maximum lifespan. One way to do this is to wrap your off-hand around the base of the entire arrangement and lift it out in a single piece. Your dominant hand is then free to dump the water, pour a new batch, and add new flower food. After the water is ready, re-trim the stems under water to refresh their drinking surfaces, and place them back in the water. This is a process that requires some planning, since you’ll be doing it all with exactly one hand as your other holds the flowers. I do recommend removing the thorns for this technique!

When your flowers begin to droop, it doesn’t have to be the end of them. You can remove the petals for any number of purposes. I’m a fan of a nice rose-petal bath, myself. Or spread the petals out on a flat surface and let them dry, then use the dried petals in potpourri or other decorating accents. Another option is to dry the whole bouquet. Tie a string around the stems and hang the bouquet upside down for two to three days, or until completely dry. For more humid areas, hang each flower separately. Watch out for signs of mold, and discard any moldy flowers immediately.