Thursday, August 28, 2014

No More Ugly Soap?

Who needs it, eh? I've decided not to use the ugly Drunken Lout & Nettles Soap as-is, and have chopped the bars into tiny little pieces to add to other batches of Drunken Lout & Nettles Soap, for a little extra punch. I watched those bars as the days rolled by and saw how they became less and less attractive, not that they were cute to begin with, and realized, ugh! Can't do it! I reiterate my initial pledge -- I will NEVER make hot process soap again. Now that that's out of the way, I must admit it's been a pretty stressful week for me. The changing seasons always bring with it joy and expectation and hope, but also hay fever and sinus goop and headaches. This time it brought bronchitis, though somewhere along the line I must have picked up a virus because it's my understanding that's how bronchitis begins. It must have been that day back in June when I noticed my throat felt a little scratchy and I chalked it up to all the traveling between home and the valley. I'm not contagious or anything, and when I was, by my best recollections, I wasn't even home. I left the virus in Fresno, along with the dust and heat and salt-sweat crystals in the eyebrows and vacant eyes and anger. The longer I'm away, the more I realize what a cesspool it is. Don't get me wrong, I love my home town, but compared to other places less wracked with poverty and homelessness and screwed up local government and the extreme haves and the extreme have nots, gangs and addicts and urban sprawl, loss of identity and loss of hope, it looks pretty darned bad. And I'm going back over there tonight, prepping for my Kyphi class on Saturday. I keep having dreams that I'm there and ready for the class to begin and realize I didn't bring any of the supplies! The equivalent of those junior high dreams where you go to school without pants or a shirt -- it's just jitters.

Just a bit of wailing here -- last month, or was it July? -- anyway, I got a semi-poor review of my book, Working the Bench. Basically, it's one of only two reviews, so no pressure guys, but if you bought my book, liked the CONTENT, please speak up! I could use a good word here and there. So, I got this poor review that basically said the formatting was bad and that would be a reason to return the book. I fixed the formatting issue (I think I wrote about this in an earlier post here), but since that review, my book sales have been poor. I've temporarily reduced the price on all the books I sell at Amazon trying to encourage potential readers to buy. The price goes back up in October, so if you're interested even a teeny bit, I fixed the problems, AND the books are cheaper! I've friended and liked a lot of authors on Facebook over the years, and one of their biggest complaints (from the self-published authors) is that once a bad review hits the stands, sales tank drastically. What people don't understand is that a review is just one person's opinion (even the good reviews), or in the case of something so specialized as soap making or perfume making, it could be someone intentionally setting up the writer to deliberately tank their sales -- like a competitor or a jealous colleague or just a nasty human being. Not only is what they write just an opinion (like those movie reviewers who consistently get it wrong), a lot of writers and authors rely on the sales of those self-published books to live. On the other hand, I've been tempted to leave poor ratings for some of the Nook books I've read from the ninety-nine cent bin . . . it's a conundrum. There have also been several times I've based a book purchase on good reviews only to find later, after reading the book, that it just wasn't my cup of tea, or it was plain bad. So it does go both ways.

The Kyphi perfume oil is coming along beautifully. All the players are present and accounted for -- there's frankincense, myrrh, orris, santal, galbanum, and a host of other Kyphi-like elements. I'm using a gorgeously deep and sexy smelling passionflower extract as the raisin/fruit element, and a little beeswax and cappings infusion for the honey. I do have a little honey absolute but it smells strange to me. Too good to be true strange, so I'm leaving it off and going a more natural route. I've also simultaneously begun one of the non-Kyphi perfumes, a patchouli and jasmine number that's so intense I've twice considered diluting it, but have resisted. This is what I want to be known for -- deeply rich and intense smelling perfume oils. Oh, and Kyphi. Soap. Soap too. And perfume. Regular alcohol-based perfume.

The Kyphi class I'm teaching is this Saturday, August 30th, from 1 to 3 PM. The address is Seasons of Spirit, 60 Academy, Sanger, CA 93657, phone number (559) 284-6213.

The Natural Perfume Academy is beginning its fall course September 22, where I teach perfumery. We're recently opened a payment option that includes a monthly payment for the entirety of the six-month intensive. In other words, you don't need to come up with the bulk of the course costs up front.


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