Guard duty (heh-heh, I said "duty")

The time has come for another out-of-kingdom SCA event, and as part of the Queen’s Guard (and one of only three Guard members attending said event) I had to pick out my shifts for guarding Her Majesty.
It’s interesting being on Guard for events. Normally at events I like to wing it and maybe plan to be at one or two things (besides rapier tournaments–whenever possible, I try to make the tournaments), but now that I’m on the Guard I have to decide what classes/things at the event I might want to do before I go raising my hand to volunteer for a shift at Guard.
The nice thing is that Her Majesty likes for her Guards/attendants/Court members to be busy with arts and crafts work as opposed to just standing around. So I get to embroider while I’m guarding, provided I’m not standing Court or some other such thing where it’s more formal. Still, that will go a long way in helping me to get my Outlands arts exchange project worked on. Of course, I’ll have to be more careful in who I let see said project, because the event is in Outlands and I don’t want the recipient to see my work before it’s done. I’ve gotten one piece done, but I plan on at least … four or five more pieces. There’s a $35 limit on materials cost, but with embroidery the cost isn’t as much in materials as it is in time, so I can make more items (provided I can find the time). I’m super excited to see how the recipient likes the stuff I make, even though they won’t get it until September.
Well, it’s about time to help a friend move. More on the Outlands event later!

Whatever happened to the girl who could stab people for hours?

Man, the first time I put a rapier in my hand that was it. Game over, man. I was hooked.
So what happened?
Let me backtrack a bit: I started out super gung-ho about rapier fighting and fencing. I wanted to learn All The Things, and I would get uber frustrated if I didn’t get something right. I went to every practice I could, and I joined a local fencing school to get even more practice in. I did tournaments at events (even though I’m not the greatest at it)–once with a broken foot–, and I even tried melee fighting (which I am even less the greatest at).
Lately, though, and I mean for a good few months now, I haven’t been at it as much. I’ve been withdrawing from the rapier fighting and even exercise days with my rapier friends. Why? What’s got me shying away from the one sport that ever got me excited, that ever made me feel like I could be good at a sport?
Part of it, I think, is that I got burned out after Estrella War. I practiced so much that I just got practiced out. Another part might be that, for whatever reason, my performance in tournaments has dropped significantly. Not that I was ever even close to winning–I wasn’t–but I feel like I’m just flailing around, whereas before I was more focused and driven.
Another part, and it’s not necessarily his fault mind you, but another part is my husband. Due to some … we’ll say “unsportsmanly behavior” … from some more experienced, respected rapier fighters, my husband withdrew from rapier first, before I did. He didn’t want to go to the regular practices, and more recently he stopped going to the rapier academy practices as well. It’s largely a personality clash issue. Not to say that either personality is “wrong,” just that they don’t jive together well. He doesn’t want to go back, but I do…don’t I?
We’ve also been super busy; we go to more out-of-Barony events than we did at this time last year, so Sundays we’re either exhausted from traveling or still heading back from wherever we traveled when it’s time to practice.
I’m still gung ho about trying to get a rapier practice area set up on our land. I’m still plotting that out in my head. But I don’t go and actually practice anymore.
Is it because I live further away now? Well, that would explain the SCA practices, but I’m a tad closer to the rapier academy practices now, so that’s no excuse. I still love my friends and love fighting them and learning from them, so that’s not an issue. So what is it?
Last night I went to a different Barony’s rapier practice. I got to fight a couple of people that I don’t usually fight, and that may have helped a bit to motivate me to do better. I need something more though, some extra push, to get me back in the rapier game. Maybe if I ask my White Scarf for a set day during the week to practice I will get back into things. I mean, I can’t use traveling as an excuse if it’s a work day–I’ll theoretically already be in town.
Regardless of the hows or whys, something’s gotta change. I have to get back at the stabby-stab so I can improve, learn, and excel.
I just gotta figure out tho hows of that bit.

I got it covered

I’d thought I had lost my Arts and Sciences project–the only one I’ve gotten finished so far–until yesterday. I gave the craft room one last sweep before I left to go visiting my potential-future-Laurel, and lo! and behold, there it was. On the floor. In a place I’d looked at least three times previously. Right between a couple of boxes. Thanks to that discovery I don’t have to redo the whole damn thing, and I was able to finish the beading on it. Next up (sometime in the next three weeks): the documentation paper to go with it. Easy peasy. Right? Well, maybe not so much, but I’ll get it done.
I got another project–well, the first part of another project–done as well. Introducing my fourth embroidered cup cover:
Done for an arts exchange project with another kingdom, but it’s not the only thing I’m doing; I’m also going to make some matching napkins, a feast gear utensil holder, and, time permitting, some coasters. Yeah, ambitious, I know, but I have a couple of months on those. The cup cover, btw, is 100% handsewn and hand beaded. No sewing machines were harmed in the making of that cover.
Yeah, it’s not perfect. I pulled the stitches too tight and crowded them too much on the white embroidery filling in the device. I eyeballed the circular edge when I was sewing the back onto the front, so yeah, not the evenest. Still, it’s pretty, and it’s I hope something the recipient will love.
I’m wondering something though…would people want to pay for cup covers like the ones I’ve made? One of them was a commission, but there were … issues with payment. Was it because the person thought I was charging too much? I don’t know, but I enjoy doing these kind of short embroidery projects, things that take a couple of weeks of stolen moments before or after work or during lunch, little snippets of creativity snuck in when possible. What am I getting at, anyway? Basically, I’m looking for something I can do that can hone my embroidery craft while still making creative things for other people. I’m just not sure there’s enough of a demand for it to make any kind of effort to advertise what I do worth it.
Here are some pictures of the others I’ve done (one wasn’t beaded because the person who commissioned it wanted to put the beads on herself):

Considering my previous failed attempts at creative entrepreneurship, I probably should just let word of mouth do its thing and if I get asked to make some, I make some; if I don’t, I don’t. I can make them for gifts or something and stoke my creative fires that way.
Who knows. Maybe this post will generate some interest? Maybe so, maybe no. I think I’m going to stop overthinking and just go do some laundry or something.

Speed bumper cars

I got back into Book 2 today (which may have a new working title), and though I got a revival of inspiration I also ended up with a new issue… I can get some forward momentum, but I have to create more conflict to keep the pace good and keep it from getting boring.
But how?
I’ve got a few things in mind for speed bumps on Clare’s story, but I have several things to consider. Is it going to work for the overall arc of the series? Is it going to muck things up? Am I going to be getting in too deep?
Only time will tell. Time and beta readers lol

Stuck between a wall and a soft place

Can’t seem to make up my mind as to what activity I want to do before work this morning… I mean, I’ve been kicking ass on the embroidery project I’m currently working on, but I also have hit a mild brick wall in the writing of Book 2, and that really needs to be addressed. Then there’s the Viking hood I promised my husband I’d make for him (shouldn’t take too long, but I have less than an hour before I have to get ready for work right now) as well as Arts & Sciences stuff to work on. Oh, and there’s the tiny little detail of my first A&S project disappearing sometime in the last couple of weeks.
Yeah, I hid it in a “safe place” for the SCA party so it wouldn’t get stolen or messed up.
A very safe place.
So safe I can’t for the life of me find the fucking thing.
It’s not like I can’t redo it, or even that I can’t redo it in the time I have left before A&S. I can, if I push myself, but do I really want to have to do that? No. I also don’t want to have to tear apart the craft room (the last place I have to search) to find it. Decisions, decisions.
I suppose I should just work on writing. It keeps my eyes focused on the computer screen, so I can see the time and theoretically not lose track of how much time is left before I have to get ready.
In Boot News, I am free of the boot on my left foot, provided it doesn’t start hurting too much again. I guess I sprained a ligament in the middle toe, but at my two-weeks-and-one-day follow up (I went back in earlier than three weeks because of how my work schedule is) the doc said I was doing better at 2+ weeks than most people do at 3 weeks. So I did something right, at least.
Well, off I go to, y’know, do things and stuff.

Mind Meld

As I work to salvage some of what’s left Book 2’s first draft, I find myself coming to a sort of “meeting of the minds.” My minds, that is.
Bits and pieces of the original Book 2 draft are, in fact, salvageable. What’s interesting is that some of the new bits and pieces fit right in with the old bits and pieces–with a little strategic revision, of course.
^^ Ah, so that’s where I fell asleep ^^
Continuing where I dozed off, I’ll have to add a considerable amount of work to make this a full book. Because of my fondness for chapters with different POVs (hey, it worked in Whispers of Death! Lol), half of what I wrote for the first draft is not usable in this draft. Oh, I can use the info, sure, provided I can weave it in right, but I can’t actually use what I’ve previously written. No chapters from Eli or Harper’s POV if I can avoid it.
That makes the upcoming part tricky. Things have happened and will happen that will cut my MC, Clare, off from pretty much everyone. How do I show what Eli and Harper are doing without the POV chapters?
I’ll figure it out. I had to do it for Abnormal, when I put in a bunch of extraneous chapters that turned out to be unnecessary, and like now I worried about my ability to convey the information without those secondary POV chapters. So I should stop worrying and get to writing.

Rained out

Well that was a wash…
… I learned this weekend that outdoors + stupid boot on my foot + rain + arthritis does not in any way equal fun. I was cold, damp, and miserable. Every time I tried to roll over or shift on my cot during the night I cried out in pain a little bit.
The event got cancelled, but not before we abandoned most of our stuff on the mountain. We’ll go back for it tomorrow, but it was just too hard to try breaking down camp in the rain at the time.
I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to a cooking event. I don’t cook. Like, unless it comes out of a box or bag, forget it. But I told my husband I’d go, so despite dreading the event I went. A bit of precognition, perhaps? Probably not, but regardless it was a hot mess.
We ended up going to our friends’ house, where we’ll stay the night before reclaiming our belongings. There are a bunch of people over as we ended up having an impromptu party. So not a total bust, but I kinda wish I’d brought my laptop. Clare and her story are calling out to me.
After obsessing over the changes I had to make to accommodate the new ending to Abnormal, I’ve finally figured out how to work it in. I just need my computer. And time. I need time.
Book 2’s first draft reboot will be done, hopefully by the end of the year, but I’ve got to buckle down and focus.


Well, it’s official–

I’m going to exhibit at Tucson Comic Con!!!! Finally managed to pay the table fee this afternoon. I am going to be a sci-fi author with a table at a comic convention.
It doesn’t even feel real yet. I think I’m partly spamming my social media sites with this photo because I’m trying to convince myself that it’s real.
It’s. Effing. Real.
I think I’m going to go fangirl over myself for a bit. Lol


Victory! I’ve nearly doubled my word count in just a couple of hours, and it’s all thanks to having enough of a salvageable first draft to cut and paste into the rewrite.
Granted, I still have a long way to go to tell the story I need to tell. I used multiple POVs in both books, and I had to cut the secondary POVs from the first book. Though think it still works for Book 2, I know my publishers won’t want to put out a sequel that differs that far in format from the first book. It’s going to be tricky telling the story I need to tell through only one character’s eyes, but hey, that’s what telepathy’s for right? 😉
I’m feeling more confident that I’ll have a workable draft in the next couple of months, despite having a lot of other work to do. I’ve got work-work, SCA-work, and some personal projects like gifts and such as well. Still, my mornings are my own for a while, so I have time. I don’t have a specific deadline for the Book 2 draft yet, but I should still keep pushing myself so I have something for betas to read soonish. Not necessarily by the fall, but by the end of the year for sure. And I think that’s a reasonable self-deadline.
I’m stoked for Tucson Comic Con, but I have work to do to prep for that as well. I’ll have to purchase books to sell at con, and I’ll have to get promotional materials printed and ready (once the publisher has sent the files to me). Still, I’ve been making little graphics of quotes from ABNORMAL and posting them on Instagram about once a week or so. I’m trying not to do too many, because I don’t want to give away too much, but a few here and there to get attention and garner interest.
I found an app that lets me do cool stuff like that. It’s called CTDesigns, and though it has annoying ads immediately following any saving of an image, it’s pretty cool. I can use my own photos, too, which turned out pretty cool in this one:
Not bad for a cell phone image of a full moon, huh? I need to take more pics that I can use, because then the images are my own. I’ve got more, but I want to release them on Instagram/Twitter first. If I don’t, I won’t be able to keep track of what I’ve posted and what I haven’t. Lol
Things are all moving along. I just need to keep on trucking.

A second time around for the second time

In the midst of house party prep, work, sleep, crafting, and never-ending laundry, I somehow managed to get a start on the rewrites for Book 2. I haven’t counted how many new words I’ve written, but between cutting and pasting the usable stuff from the first draft, rejiggering it to fit with the new ending of Abnormal, and fresh writing, I’ve gotten about 2.5k words in about three or four hours of work.
It’s not much, but it’s the start I’ve been trying to achieve. Well, the restart.
The bad guy’s even more of an asshole than he originally was, but I know something he doesn’t know. 😉 The little surprise from a minor character I mentioned when I first wrote the draft is still good to be left in, and they may even have more up their sleeve than even I knew.
It’s not going to be easy, but now that I’ve got a start I feel much less anxious about the work I have ahead of me.
Tomorrow marks the first official housewarming party, though, and it’s the SCAdian one at that. I should be focused on not losing my shit with so many people there. Lol It’s not exactly a small get-together, and my social anxiety wears me out at times. I can’t escape from this party. I have to suck it up and pretend to be sociable no matter how freaked out I am inside.