Writing–Hatchets and Hearts

Hatchets and Hearts

My latest novella, Hatchets and Hearts, is now available for purchase!

You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.

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Megalomania–You Can Sew Make Pajama Pants Into a Skirt

Pajama skirtsNope, haven’t run out of sew puns yet.

When I went through my sewing drawer and bin, trying to assess what projects I needed to do this year so I could make some progress in clearing out my sewing drawer and bin, I came across two pairs of pajama pants. One was ripped up in the thigh area (friction is a science-based bitch) and the other pair was stretched out (there was a time when they fit a lot more loosely than they did when I tried them on to assess their worth, I won’t lie). And while it was rather easy for me to see which t-shirts would be good candidates for tote bags, I was a little stumped as to what to do with the pants. At first I thought I should just keep them for fabric scraps.

And then it hit me.

Why couldn’t I just make skirts out of them like I’d done to my jeans? The fabric and designs would make for cute skirts and I already had experience since I’d done a couple of skirts, so this wouldn’t be too difficult.

The plaid skirt wasn’t and I was pretty straight forward with it. I just cut off the legs at the desired length, cut open the legs, sewed everything together leaving a small back vent (the thigh holes weren’t any trouble), and then used hem tape to give the bottom him some weight. Ta Da! Skirt!

The star skirt was a little more involved because in order for this to work I’d have to take in the waist. The elastic was old and stretched out. Taking it in was the most obvious choice and I didn’t let never having done that before stop me. I did the same thing with the star skirt as I did with the plaid skirt, except I cut up the back seam as well. I cut the band, resized it, and then sewed everything back together. I decided that I liked the way the front looked with that open part and just did a small hem on it so it would keep that ripple effect but not fray. Then I used hem tape on the bottom hem and done! A second skirt.

It’s been too cold lately for me to test drive either of them. Maybe this weekend. I admit that since they’re old pajama pants, the material is pretty thin, but I think they’ll be really nice for late spring/summer/early fall when the temps are warmer.

And, of course, I did both of them by hand.

I’m still waiting for the day I learn to work a sewing machine.

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Writing–February Projects

roseThere is no love here.

Well, maybe a little.

The (Vampires) Made in America saga continues. I will continue to assess this disaster area and attempt to rebuild.

However, in decidedly more productive ambitions, I’m going to put The Odd Section of Town and Fire Bugs and Other Insects through their first revisions. I’ve already given The Timeless Man it’s final polish (see, some good things did come out of that (Vampires) debacle last month), so working on the other two Ivy Russell novellas makes sense. I’m fairly optimistic that these revisions will not cause me any eye twitches, but I don’t want to get my hopes too high. I’ve got a great ability to jinx myself.

I’m also planning on writing a new short story called “A Ride in the Country”. Don’t panic! This story will be for one of the in-progress anthologies, so it totally counts towards my objective of getting all of the old projects completed.

And, of course, I’ll be publishing something this month.

Look for it around Valentine’s Day.

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Megalomania–The Great Purge of 2015

dresserOne of my half-assed New Year’s Resolutions was to get rid of some of my stuff and if I got rid of one thing, that would be a success.

Yeah, I’ll be getting rid of more than one thing, I’m sure.

2015 has become The Year of the Purge.

Just in the first few weeks of the new year, I’ve been thinking about things I could get rid of, that I should get rid of, and I’ve gotten rid of a few things (old socks mostly). But it goes beyond the material and physical. I’ve already cleaned out emails, gotten rid of some sites I don’t really use anymore, and I’m looking to delete pictures from my phone and get rid of a bunch of links that I don’t need anymore in my bookmarks folder.

Back to the physical.

I’ve got a tub and a drawer full of fabric and t-shirts and other clothes designated for sewing projects. I’ve made a list of some sewing projects to get me started. The goal is to complete these projects and then either keep, sell, or give away the results, therefore clearing out my tub and drawer of some of the material I’ve accumulated.

I’ve boxes of things in the basement from an unsuccessful garage sale attempt a couple of years ago. I’m thinking another attempt needs to be made. Or I’m going to start listing things on eBay.

And, no, my writing hasn’t been spared from this need to lighten the load. My goal is to have all of the projects in various stages currently on my To Do List of Doom finished completely by the time NaNoWriMo gets here in November. My discipline has been sorely lacking when it comes to getting projects completed in a timely manner. This year, it changes. Nothing new until one novel, two anthologies, three novellas, and three outlines are done.

I need to be rid of these things, whether in my head or on my laptop or in my house.

This year, I’m all about losing weight.

Just not the kind that shows up on the scale.

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Writing–I Think This Manuscript Is a Disaster

flame box elder penThe revisions on (Vampires) Made in a America continue to drag on, mostly because the more I work on it, the worse it seems to get. Like a knot in my sewing thread. The more I fuss with it, the tighter and more impossible it gets.

I thought I had it figured out in December. I thought I knew what I was doing and what needed to be done. And then I got a third of the way through the manuscript and went, “This is utter shit and it’s a total mess and this fix don’t fix it, son.”

And that’s how several other smaller writing things got done. Because I was needing to work on something while I tried to figure out how to salvage this manuscript. It’s not the story that’s bad. It’s the execution of the story that’s god-awful.

After a few days of thought, I realized that my biggest problem was that I needed to see the forest and at the moment I was looking at nothing but trees. I needed to get a sort of aerial view of the forest of this story to see if I can’t figure out where all the dead wood is and how best to rearrange the trees before this whole grove burns in a tragic wildfire of my own frustration.

So, I’ve been going through chapter by chapter, writing down a summary of each. Sort of like a map I guess. I’ve only been doing a chapter a day, though, because I’m pretty frustrated with this story and to do any more reminds me of what a disaster this manuscript is and makes me more likely to throw it all out. And I don’t want to do that. I want to keep a level, logical, objective, non-burny approach here. I’ll let you know if doing this helps because MY WAY is always the HARD WAY.

Thankfully, I have so many other writing projects that need attention so I don’t feel guilty about not doing enough during my day. I just do a quick chapter summary and then move on to something else that has the potential to piss me off.

I like to keep that writing frustration moving, kids.

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Megalomania–Being Fat on Twitter

Full fat aviThe past couple of weeks, I started getting a lot of friendly interaction from guys on Twitter. Friendly to the point of being straight up creeper. In one case I was pretty sure I was being measured for a skin suit and the guy doing it was kind of underwhelming and I was seriously bummed by the anti-climax there.

But, I digress, as I so often do.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why I was getting all of this attention. I wasn’t tweeting anything differently than I normally did. If anything, I’d been tweeting less than usual.

And then it hit me.

I had put up a new avi a few days after New Year’s Eve. A head and shoulders selfie of me wearing a white cami (that’s a kind of tank top, fellas) that I’d tinted to blue to give it a wintry look. I liked it. I thought it fit the January feel and I was looking for something I could have for a while before I got bored and decided to change it. Sounds pretty legit right? Nothing weird. Nothing overtly sexy. Nothing overtly anything, I thought.

Except the angle, the framing of the picture, well, you couldn’t tell that I’m fat.

January aviAhh! That’s it!

Guys think the “fat girl belly dancing” line in my bio is some sort of self-deprecation thing when they see that pic. I actually had one guy tell me that I’m “not that big”. Thanks, dude. Didn’t ask for your pitiful reassurance, but okay then.

As soon as I figured this out, I changed my avi to the full-figured shot at the top of the post. And I made a vow. Only full-fat avis (avies? avi’s? I still don’t know how to spell that) from now on.

First of all, that does cut down on some of the questionable attention, except for the odd chubby chaser.

Second of all, I don’t want the people that follow me, that read my tweets to forget that I’m legit fat and not “OMG I’M SO FAT!!!” fat. That when I talk about my weight, even when I joke about it, I’m talking about my actual state of existence. I’m not fishing for a compliment. This is my actual being, kids. I am fat. Legit fat. For real. And I’m going to comment upon it from time to time.

I don’t want guys to be misled because I put up a picture of my pretty face and they miss out on the rolls in the bakery and cottage cheese in the dairy section. I want them to know that I am more than likely a girl they wouldn’t give the time of day to on the street because she’s a “fatty”.

This is a public service, my friends.

I just can’t be responsible for anymore broken hearts.

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Funtimes–I Had a Weekend

Cubs Con haul 2015And really, that’s the best way to say it. This past weekend was just so bizarrely jinxed that it was both frustrating and great at the same time.

The main event of my weekend was Cubs Con 2015, which was to begin Friday evening and conclude at noon on Sunday. As such, I booked my hotel room at the con hotel for Friday and Saturday night and booked my train tickets for Friday morning and Sunday afternoon.

Friday morning I awoke to an email at 5 AM because I was a chump and forgot to mute my phone before going to bed. Before hitting the mute button, I saw the email is from Amtrak concerning my train. Glorious. I’ll deal with this when I decide to be awake.  When that time came, I saw that I also missed a call from Amtrak around 6 AM (I’m glad I muted my phone at 5). Both of these things pertain to the fact that the train is late and I may want to consider other options.

This all makes me cranky, but once I drink some coffee and see how late the train is running, I find my center. So I get to stay home an extra hour. Time for a second cup of coffee. No big deal.

Long story short, the train ended up being over two hours late (we left about the same time we should have been arriving in Chicago), it was delayed twice on the tracks (once for at least half an hour while we waited for another train to pass us), and I finally get to Union Station after 5 o’clock, where my favorite Cubs friend Harry is waiting. We took a cab over to the hotel, got me all checked in, ditched our stuff in my room, rode down in the elevator with a guy that said he was Jorge Soler’s agent, and only missed the first few minutes of the opening ceremonies of the con.

After participating in the autograph hunt (we got C.J. Edwards, who is a nice young man), we went upstairs to grab our coats and ended up riding back down in the elevator with Kyle Hendricks and his lady. They are also nice  young people.

We went to dinner at Big Bowl, which is one our favorites, and thus began our interesting service experiences. This time we had to request proper silverware and napkins, which of course is no big deal. We didn’t realize it would be a sign of things to come.

After dinner, we met up with some of the Cubs fans of Twitter, which was a good time. I got to meet some new folks that I didn’t follow and put the faces to the names of some that I did. Once the initial awkwardness is out of the way, everything just rolls, ya know.

The next day, Harry and I got autographs: Justin Grimm, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Sweeney, and the illustrious Jim Deshaies. All very nice people. I told Ryan Sweeney no injuries this year.

We took a break for lunch and ended up eating at the bistro in the hotel. The food was good, but the service was awful. Our waiter couldn’t have openly despised us more. It took him forever to bring Harry a simple glass of water and when he brought him mayonnaise, it was one of the little jars you get if you order room service and it had already been used. Like, there was a glob of ketchup in it. And the waiter was really unimpressed when Harry asked him for a new, unused one. Needless to say, that guy didn’t get much of a tip.

Mystery Ball 2015While getting our afternoon autographs, Harry was in need of a second wind in the form of coffee. The line at the coffee place in the hotel was crazy, so we ended up going back later. When Harry finally did get his coffee, there was no half and half and he had to wait to get more. At this point it was becoming clear that liquids would not come easily to my friend.

However, Harry did get to ride in the elevator with Addison Russell and C.J. Edwards, so his elevator luck was way better than mine.

We went to dinner that night at Eataly. It was an hour wait, so we went for an appetizer and a drink at the pub they have there. Again Harry asked for a water. Again he had to remind our server to get it for him (but this guy didn’t despise us, he was just really busy). But! When we had dinner, Harry had no drink trouble. So that was a nice surprise.

Sunday, I was on my own. I went down to the con, bought a cube for the mystery ball I’d gotten the afternoon before (I ended up getting James Russell, of course) and bought some Cubs socks as well. Then I prepared to leave.

I should have known that I was in for it when my cab driver managed to hit most of the red lights. But I was optimistic. The trains leaving Chicago are more likely to leave on-time. It’d be fine. I had a nice lunch at Union Station and then I went down to the waiting area.

My train was scheduled to leave at 1:45. At 1:15 it was announced that it was delayed because they had to repair something and it could be forty-five minutes to an hour.

Pigeons WaitingAnd I laughed a madman’s laugh.

Luckily for me, a couple of pigeons had gotten into the waiting area and when they weren’t waddling about, looking for food, they were buzzing people’s heads as they flew around, so I was at least entertained.

After three other trains scheduled after mine had left and they announced they were waiting on the conductor because he had apparently wandered off for coffee and a smoke and we stood waiting to board because they announced that we were boarding, but took it back, we finally got on the train. And then the train started to move!

And then the train stopped in the yard while they fixed something else.

To make a long story short (too late), three crying babies, a guy with a Budweiser wondering out loud if he could find his seat, and many atrocious cell phone ringtones later, we arrived at the station, a good two and a half hours after we should have.

One car ride later, I arrived home with my convention swag and this tale.

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