War is coming, but I’m not ready

Next week is Estrella War, the biggest SCA war in this area of the country, and I have a lot to do still before we leave on Wednesday.

I have to repair a couple pieces of garb. I have to keep working on the embroidery for the King and Queen. I have to mentally prepare for the embroidery classes I’m going to teach (the actual physical prep is pretty much done). I have to do laundry. I have to pack my garb and any mundane clothes I want to bring. I have to pick up the Viking coat that my fencing teacher made for me.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can think of right now. So despite the fact that after today I’m off work until the War is over, I’m still going to be quite busy.

I’m hoping to get a good start on the hem embroidery for Their Majesties by the end of the weekend. It should go quicker than the cuffs did, despite the additional details. I’m hoping. Fingers crossed. Lol

Even with War going on, I’ll have the good ol’ laptop handy to tap-tap-tap away whenever I have some free time. I’m not going to let my early a.m. insomnia go to waste just because I’m at an event! No, I’m going to keep busy with writing and editing in the wee hours while there’s not enough light to embroider by. Y’all can’t get rid of me that easily. ūüėČ

I’ve added a subscription option to this page, as well as a newsletter that will be going out on a semi-regular basis. I’ll have tidbits about the projects I’m working on, links to blog posts, and other fun stuff. Keeping up with that should prove interesting, but I think if I set myself reminders on my Google calendar or something I’ll be okay.

Well, off to do war-like stuff now. Or embroidery. Or loading the dishwasher. Whatever my happy little butt decides to do. Lol

Sew obsessed (or, a weekend alone)

I know, I know, I’ve been a bad blogger. A bad author, even. I took a whole weekend off to myself, and I spent absolutely none of it writing. No blog posts, no Twitter hashtag games, no new progress on my WIP. I basically spent the weekend embroidering, with bits of eating and napping thrown in. I was a lump.

Today I’m back to the “real” world, the world of work and deadlines and what have you. So I’m back, for good or bad, until the next rare weekend off. Today I plan on doing the #amwriting hashtags, I plan on getting ready for work and going in and doing my job. I plan on adulting.

Not much adulting was achieved this weekend. I took some of the trash over to my parents’ house, emptied the dishwasher, put away the laundry….all at the last minute. Oh, and I ate a salad. One salad.

On the plus side, I’ve hardly thought about work at all. This is a good thing, because work is one of the main stressors in my life, and one that I can only do so much about. It’s not like I can take time off of work just to decompress (like I have been with the SCA). I have to go. That’s just all there is to it. Which sucks, because the stress in my life is showing, and one supervisor and an administrator both took me aside at separate times Friday to discuss how stressed I’ve been and how they can help. Fuck. I hate when the bipolar seeps out to where it’s visible. That’s no good.

I did some reading this weekend as well. 1,4,3 by Alicia Sophia, a fellow Askew author. It’s good so far, but I think I’ve come close to figuring out the ending, which sucks because I’m only halfway in. But who knows? Maybe she wrote it that way on purpose as a ruse. I could be surprised after all once I finish.

Lots of rest did my soul good, but I need to put back on the jet pack and hit the ground running today. Gotta work, gotta come home and write or embroider, gotta work on a lesson plan for the embroidery classes I’m going to teach at Estrella, etc etc etc. Got a lot to do, and less and less time in which to do it. Why do I do this to myself again?

I’ve also got the embroidery for Their Royal Majesties to finish before Estrella is over. I kinda was working on my own stuff mostly this weekend. Bad me. Stupid flighty brain. But again, it did me some good. Focus on me, have some “me time” where I’m doing things for myself.

I hope I don’t seem as stressed at work today. I don’t need another supervisor taking me aside and chatting with me about how stressed/distracted I am.

Soon I’ll be back to writing. After Estrella, maybe. Get serious about cranking out Book 3 and that fun collaboration with my Askew author friend Angelique Jordonna. Her book, Dani (which I’ve had the pleasure of reading ahead of release), is amazing, and I know our book will be amazing as well. Just gotta get that first draft out. Lol

Oh! One more thing: I found out that a Laurel was looking at the embroidery I did on my husband’s Viking hood and, from what he says, she seemed impressed, enough so that she said she wanted to talk to me about it. That makes me feel good, because while I did slack a bit on the timing of finishing it, I worked hard on that hood. Plus, it’s a good ego boost when a Laurel is impressed with your work. Here’s a look:

Guess that’s all the update I have. Time to get ready for the ol’ day job. Shower, get dressed, put on some semblance of makeup to pretty-fy myself. That kind of thing.

Oh, wait! I did a live streaming interview/roundtable with some other authors! That was cool af! Here’s the link to the YouTube recording (it’s an hour long, but it’s a fun watch).

Until the morrow, good readers!

Bound and determined

My newest project starts with a hunt…. the Laurel Hunt for the SCA, that is.

No, we’re not supposed to literally hunt down Laurels; the goal is to meet/talk with/obtain signatures from fifty Laurels this year. Even though I know a lot of Laurels and seem to be comfortable talking to them, I’m going to participate just to see how quickly I can obtain fifty signatures.

Okay, backstory told, now to the meat of this post: where to store/collect these signatures?

The Facebook group dedicated to the Hunt suggests obtaining a notebook for this. Well, not to be a snob, but I wasn’t about to go pick up the latest Lisa Frank journal for this modern medieval quest.

Nope. I decided I had to teach myself how to make and bind a small book.

I had some leather left over from the mask I made a couple of years ago for my steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay (quite a decent amount of suede, actually), so I decided that would be my cover. I debated on teaching myself to make the paper for the notebook as well, but nixed that idea when I started down the Pinterest rabbit hole and saw how involved paper making can be.

Yeah. I was on Pinterest again. I’m actually quite interested in the different methods of book binding, so once I get the hang of it I might try bigger, “better” books.

Anywho, at around three thirty in the morning I decided it would be a great time to make the booklet. (Because what else is one to do at three thirty in the morning but start a brand new project?)

I found a small template on–you guessed it–Pinterest and printed it out. A few snips later and I had the cover of my book ready to start adding pages.

This is where it got tricky: most (hell, almost all) of the tutorials mentioned using an awl to punch holes in the leather and paper.

I could not find my awl at three forty five this morning… so I improvised.

The suede I have is fairly lightweight and thin, so thankfully an embroidery needle did the trick to get the holes started. I couldn’t seem to get them big enough to allow me to use the waxed thread for the leather, but silk embroidery thread slid through just fine. A couple of snips in the flap and the front cover and a little piece of leather lacing and boom! Booklet.

It’s small enough to fit in my belt pouch yet has enough pages for all fifty signatures.

See? Kinda cute, isn’t it?

I can see myself making more of these for largesse or even as giveaways at online book events (or maybe selling them at book signings??….), but I need to refine the process first…. and I need to find my awl.

Sicko’s Log: 24 Hours Alone

It’s been about a day since I got home from the pharmacy after spending almost four hours at the doc-in-the-box. What has a day alone been like? Let’s see…

I slept off and on quite a bit. I got a lot of progress made on my royal embroidery project. I wrote a chapter in one book and tweaked another chapter in a different book. I ate–a LOT. (Apparently bronchitis is not having an adverse effect on my appetite.) I watched several movies on Netflix. I listened to music. Somewhere in there, I had brief human contact when a friend came by to pick up my car to take it to my husband, who is out of town. Oh, and I’ve nearly completed a new Viking tunic for myself to wear at Estrella War.

I’m kinda proud of myself for that last one. Eyeballed the whole thing (I know, there are garb makers out there cringing), and only really had to make one small adjustment… more for comfort than anything, really, as it still would have fit, just been really big on me. I plan on adding trim woven by my husband (hint, hint honey) later on, as well as some embroidery done by yours truly.

Sure, if I wasn’t manic with pent-up energy from being confined to the house for over 24 hours, I might have stopped and done the embroidery prior to assembling the tunic. But no, I had it in my head that I was going to make a tunic, and that’s just what I’m doing.

I’ve got color blocking and front and back facing and top stitching and a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve never done without a pattern before. That, of course, has not deterred me. I took the fabric I had, looked at what it could become, and went with it.

I’ve still got to stitch on the sleeves and side gores, but it’s almost done. All in all, not bad for twenty four hours of mind-numbing solitude.

I’ve got maybe another day or so before my husband gets home. I’ve got some cleaning up to do around the house, but I’m wondering if I can swing an underdress before he’s back…..

Follow me on Instagram to see how the tunic turned out!

Stir crazy

It’s not even 24 hours since I got back from urgent care–hell, not even 12 hours–and I’m already going mad puttering around the house.

The first few hours were okay. I sat in the dark and coughed until my throat was raw. Then I coughed some more. I stayed up until my friend came to pick up the car to take to my husband in Tucson (he’d gotten a ride up there, and until the doc-in-the-box diagnosed me with the bronchitis I already knew I had, I was going to be his ride home), and then I slept for a few hours. Woke up at my usual nothing-in-the-morning, and surprisingly felt a lot better. Cough isn’t as prolific. Sinuses aren’t draining. I can breathe better. It’s amazing what a little antibiotic pill will do, given time to work.

Speaking of work, the next couple of months are going to suck. I’ve got to use all my PTO to fill up as much of the past two weeks as I can, so when Estrella War comes I won’t have as much available to use. It’s gonna be tight money-wise until I catch up from this mess. I missed two and a half days this week from sickness, and a full day from the holiday. Add in the fact that I had very few hours last week because of the holidays, and it equals a crap paycheck.

Even though I kind of feel a bit better now, I don’t want to risk making things worse by doing too much. There’s a lot of cleaning to do around the house, but I have to remind myself that I am still sick and I shouldn’t be overdoing things. Still, I’ll try to get the house straightened up as well as I can before my husband comes home.

I’d say that this is good for my writing, but I can’t focus very long at a time to be able to compose things. I’ve got a bit of attention deficit right now, whether brought on by the NyQuil or the sickness or who knows what. I’ll embroider for like twenty minutes, write for twenty or thirty, stare at the screen daydreaming for an hour, and repeat the cycle. Now I’m cruising Netflix in search of mindless fluff to watch. The first show I picked–Diabolo–was too full of cheese. I couldn’t finish even one episode, let alone binge a season. So I’m on to Coraline now. Never seen that one through to the end, and a movie’s easier on the attention span. Don’t have to remember what happened in the last episode.

I feel bad that I’m missing my husband’s second time being feast steward for an SCA event. I wanted to be there to support him, but I need this time at home to recoup.

Maybe later today I’ll have a story to give you. I might drudge up some prompt or other, either a stock photo or a Pinterest prompt to get the creative juices flowing.

Pan’s¬†Labyrinth! That’s the ticket. I can listen to the Spanish while I do other stuff and let the visuals seep into my subconscious. Then, when I’m in the proper mindset, I can drum up some new writing.

The persistent plague

Took yesterday off work. Took today off too. I’m still pretty sick, and nothing seems to help for very long.

Our roommate finished the Persian garb for me, bless her heart, and she even adjusted my husband’s coat when it turned out that the one I made was too big. I’m really grateful… I need to think up something nice to do for her.

I’ll have most of the day to myself today. Hubby works a couple of hours, but then he and our roommate are going to Tucson for the weekend’s event. He’s organizing a huge Middle Eastern feast, so he’s got a lot to do. Me? I’m going to show up at the event and wear my garb and maybe make a last-minute scarf to cover my mouth when I’m not eating, because I don’t really want to get anyone else sick.

Normally right now I’m on the couch, writing or something, but this morning I’m back in bed after reading the most current chapter in the collaboration I’m working on. I’ll write my chapter later today. Now I rest.

The cough is dry yet not. I still can’t catch my breath, and my sinuses are a hot mess. I’ve got a vaporizer going above me on the headboard (courtesy of the roommate–I really need to get her something nice), and I’ve got NyQuil freshly on board.

Tomorrow I’ll be better. (I’m mostly trying to convince myself here.) The cough won’t give me a headache any more, and I’ll be able to breathe.

I’m not sure I’ve convinced myself yet. But one thing I know for sure: I’ll get my chapter done, plus some work on Book 3. Gotta keep working on at least one front, even if it’s not by-the-hour work.

I realize that I’m rambling. Sorry. Guess the NyQuil is taking effect. Good. More sleep. That’s what I need.

Goal!

It’s that time of year again–time to set the new year’s goals/”resolutions” and reflect on where the old year took me.

Let’s start with 2018. 2018 was a long, full year of firsts and new triumphs. I went to my first Estrella War, moved into my first house, published my first novel, submitted my first sequel…. Sure, there were moments when I wanted to rip my hair out, but overall it hasn’t been too bad.

What do I need to do for this year? Let’s take a look (in no particular order):

-Get Book 2 in the bag and on the shelves. Yeah, I’ve got the first draft submitted and the first round of revisions (in before the new year!), but, as I’ve learned, there’s so much more to getting a novel published than simply writing it. Lol

-Take it easy on the SCA events so I can have time for other projects–to include my writing. I’ve been overdoing it entirely too much, and I need to pull back and reevaluate where I’m going in the SCA and how fast I want to get there.

-Finish the draft for Book 3 and polish it for submission. This is kind of a given. I have to keep them rolling while I still have story to tell, and the further ahead I get the easier it will be to stay on top of the writing game.

-Remember to keep marketing Abnormal. I can’t stop just because the book’s been out a few months now.

-Start a collaboration project. Because yeah. I need more on my plate. Lol

-Get more organized at work and get ahead of that game as well. I’ve got charts piled up, and they won’t stop coming any time soon.

-Focus on health. I need to zero in on what I should prioritize health-wise to take care of myself. Walk more? Eat less? Sure, but what then? I’m the biggest I’ve ever been, and at this rate it’ll be hell to try to fit into all of my garb for this year’s Estrella War. As it is, I’ve got all of a month and a half to drop a few pounds and squeeze into the garb I have–or to alter the garb I have/make new garb. Either way, I’d better get on the ball.

-Be more assertive with my needs. I can’t keep trying to please other people. I have things I need to be physically and mentally sound, and setting those things to the side so other people aren’t disappointed won’t do me any good in the long run.

That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure I’ll come up with more. Right now, I’m trying to focus after a three-hour night’s sleep…and right now, my brain has fewer tabs functioning than my web browser.

Oh, and one more thing about 2019–it’s gonna bring me the big 4-0! That’s right, I’ll be 40 this summer. Will I have a midlife crisis? Will I sail through? Who knows? The fun’s in finding out!

Here’s to making 2019 my bitch!

It’s all in the bag

Well, I’ve done it. For better or for worse, I’ve sent in the first round of revisions on my sequel novel.

Is it better? I think so–but then I’m a tad biased. Some scenes that I spent hours writing are gone, and new scenes are in their places. Some scenes are just plain new. But it flows, it reads well, it’s done…for now.

Now I wait on the edits.

Not sure which is worse: knowing that the book is in someone else’s hands, or the wait to see what they say. I’m not so cocky as to think that I learned all the lessons I needed to from the feedback and edits on Abnormal, but I know I learned a lot, and I’m hoping that means there’s less work for the poor publishers to do. Fingers crossed for a clean, tidy draft that they only have to make minor suggestions and adjustments to.

I’ve been working on SCA garb this weekend as well. I feel better having told my husband that I need to slow down on the activities, and this weekend has actually been quite nice. Would I rather have spent it at home? Yeah, but I’m making do. I got my Persian coat almost finished (my eyes went wonky with the button sewing, so I am taking a break from that until the dizziness passes), and it’s looking pretty sharp. Here it is (pre-buttons):

Screenshot taken from a video my husband took as I modeled the pirihan and coat. No, that fabric isn’t stamped; it was purchased from JoAnn’s just like that. On clearance. The last they had. It was barely enough for me to make the coat. Lol I was originally going to make longer coat sleeves, but I had to shorten them to make all the pattern pieces fit on the fabric I had.

I still need to make the pants, which will be a nice golden-yellow linen, my husband’s entire outfit to make, and, if there’s linen left over when I’m done with those, a sash or two for cinching the waist(s). I’m really,¬†really hoping that our friend who has been helping us with patterning got the time to cut pattern pieces out for my husband’s garb. I don’t think I can do it on my own; when she made my pattern pieces she went so fast I didn’t retain everything she said. If push comes to shove, I can try to fudge it, but time is rapidly passing me by. I probably shouldn’t be typing this post right now, actually.

Once I have my coat finished (after finishing this post, of course), I’ll start on Book 3, I think. I know I kindasorta started it already, but I’m dissatisfied with the timing on the opening scenes. I need to start it closer to the end of Book 2, but not too close. So yeah, today is: coat, rest eyes (if need be), Book 3 opening scenes, and another party at the end of the day…probably a more crowded party than last night, but at least I know there’s an end to the partying in sight.

Post-Christmas funk

It happens. Christmas comes and goes and you’re left with a void that you don’t quite know what to do about. You may have to go back to work, or do chores, or return something that someone got you, but after that, what is there?

For me, I’m thankful that I have my sequel to work on. Sure, I’ve got other projects aplenty, but this morning, at oh-dark-thirty, I cranked out almost two thousand words… And that’s not taking into account the words I deleted. I was on a roll!

Of course right before I got to the good part, I had to leave for work. The office beckons, and I must answer. At least until, say, three o’clock or so. Then it’s off to the household twelfth night party. Tomorrow’s a full day of lasers, Friday through Sunday I’m off, and next week, aside from having New Year’s Day off, it’s back to life as usual.

So I’m excited over the progress in my next book, not so much over the working. And yes, I am aware that I have nearly two full Persian outfits to make and a set of cuffs to embroider and two hems and….

Ugh. Can another holiday be added in here?

Aww, who am I kidding? I need the money from the day job, need the sanity from the writing, and need the sewing projects for when the words fail me.

It’s all over when the fat man sings

So maybe it’s not “over” quite yet. I mean, it’s barely 2:00 PM. But the presents have been presented, the family ate breakfast with us, and all-in-all, aside from Christmas dinner at my parents’ house, Christmas is pretty much over. I haven’t even had a full day off from sewing and stuff–my husband just asked how far along I am on the Persian garb. I need to stop being so wicked; no rest, man, no rest at all.

I keep trying to tell myself that after Estrella things will calm down. I’ll have fewer sewing projects, I’ll be able to back away and take a break from SCA events, and I’ll have (theoretically) more time to write. That’s still two months away, though, and I have a crapton of things to do in those two months.

Did I enjoy my Christmas morning? Sure. It was nice having the family over, everyone seemed to love their gifts, and breakfast was tasty. But now, it seems, I don’t know what to do with myself. I could write, sure, but that’s work. So is sewing. And embroidery. I wanted a day¬†off…but it’s not gonna happen. I can see that now.

I’ve been doing a lot of whining as of late. I need to quit that…along with quitting junk food and overeating, and quitting volunteering for all¬†the¬†things, and quitting not going to exercise (though that one will perhaps be the toughest, because I hate exercising in public and the group of friends I work out with now goes to a public gym).

Maybe I can be lazy for another week and save the above paragraph for New Year’s resolutions. Have a big ol’ list of stuff that I’m going to quit or give up or start or start back up. Who knows. I kinda hate resolutions, too. I tend to not get them done if they’re anything associated with me losing weight or getting healthier. The writing ones? Yeah, I can do those. Cosplay goals? If I can lose the weight, I can usually manage. It’s kind of a matter of how hard I want it, or how hard Thing X is. If Thing X is writing, I got this. If Thing X is getting on a treadmill to have half the town watch my fat jiggle, well, Thing X might not be a resolution I’d keep.

What will 2019 bring me? It’ll bring me age 40, hopefully around the time Escaping¬†the¬†Light hits shelves. That would be an awesome birthday present. Forty years old and a three-time published novelist, with two of them traditionally/indie published and one self-published. Yeah. A published sequel will be great for the midlife crisis. Maybe I can become a shut-in when I’m not at work and just churn out novels for the next, say, twenty to twenty-five years. Hit the Golden Years with a bunch of series and standalones.

It’s nice to dream, anyway…