Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Project Update 11/14/18

It feels like it's been a while since I posted an update. Here's a quick rundown of what I've been up to (besides the usual work and family stuff):

Writing: I'm closing in on 50,000 words for Dryads to Discover, but since I started it last year, it definitely doesn't count for NaNoWriMo. I've temporarily set it aside to work on a short story for an anthology. By the time this post goes live, I should be over 2,500 words on that. The submission period for this anthology opens 1/1/19, which is hopefully enough time for even this slow writer to finish the story. However, there's a second anthology that opens around that time that I also want to write for. I have an idea for that story, but I need to do more research before I can crystallize my idea into words. After that, there's just more projects all the way down.

Sewing: I finally managed to finish the holiday Jawa costume for a special parade Thanksgiving Day weekend. Sorry, no pictures until after the parade. I may try making a dress out of the leftover material, but it would have to be a simple one. I also need to make a second set of normal Jawa robe and hood to replace the one I've used for over three years. At least after that's done I should be able to start the Jedi costume. It would be nice to have that for Celebration.

Crochet: I still have a few projects that I need to finish, including a custom Wookie, Spiderman, and a poodle. I did make a green Porg to help celebrate the holidays:

I guess by now you shouldn't be surprised that I have yet another long list of things to crochet once I finish with my current ones. At least I manage to keep myself occupied!

I have a three-day weekend coming up since my son has Friday off, so hopefully I can make progress on a couple of things. I'll let you know more next week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

IWSG: Writing, Creativity, and Life

Welcome to another blog post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. You can learn more about the IWSG on their website, Facebook group, or Twitter feed.

Our hosts this month are Ellen at The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman.

This month, we've been asked to answer the following question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

My life has definitely changed a lot since I began writing over twenty years ago, but I'd say other factors besides writing have definitely influenced my creativity. One major life event that increased my creativity was becoming a mother. Although motherhood takes up a lot of free time, it also exposes me to different interests and activities that I wouldn't have discovered on my own. For instance, after taking my son to bouncy houses when he was younger, I used one at the setting in my short story "The Mommy Clone." When he became interested in Star Wars, our whole family got into Star Wars costuming, which has led to me learning to sew.

Other creative hobbies have come and gone over the years. I taught myself how to crochet in my twenties; among other things, I made a ring bearer's pillow and a baby outfit. Then I forgot about crochet for a while until the end of 2016. I found a pattern to crochet a "pussy hat" for the Women's March and ended up making two. From there I just kept on going. I currently found a niche  in making geeky amigurmi with Star Wars characters, though I'm expanding into other fandoms and other crochet projects. Most of my crochet is done using patterns someone else designs, though sometimes I modify the pattern. Eventually, I want to create my own designs, possibly to sell.

How has your creativity changed with your writing? Feel free to share in the comments.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Favorite Halloween Books

Happy Halloween! To celebrate, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite books about the season--or, at least, about witches. It's The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes. It's about two little girls (almost seven) and their adventures with the Witch Family. There's Old Witch, who is head of all the witches yet still subject to banishment by human children; Little Witch Girl; Weeny Witch (a baby witch); Malachi the Spelling Bee, and several other characters who live on the barren glass hill with Old Witch. It's a charming story that I remember from my childhood and rediscovered in Kindle format many years later. Obviously, I'm too old to identify with the girls, and it's not the kind of story my son would have found interesting at seven. It was still fun to reread it.

Do you have any favorite books about Halloween, either from your childhood or more current ones? Feel free to share them in the comments. And if you're starting NaNoWriMo tomorrow, good luck! I'm over 44,000 words into Dryads to Discover, and at the rate I'm writing, I'll be lucky to finish the first draft by the end of the year. Whether you finish your story in November or not, the writing is still worth it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Project Update 10/24/18

I figure if I'm going to reduce my blogging to once a week, I should use the time to let people know how my myriad projects are doing.

Writing: I have four (yes, four!) projects in rough draft. Dryads to Discover, my urban fantasy novel, is the farthest along at about 41,000 words. I started this one last year, but I took breaks from it to work on some short stories. I also have another novel in the works, this one tentatively called Medium's Quest. I'm about 11,000 words into it. I have a few hundred words on each of two short stories, one targeted for a solarpunk anthology that opens next year and one I might submit to pro markets--assuming I ever get them done.

These projects are all new worlds for me. I've decided I'm going to trunk "The Unnumbered World," a short story in the Catalyst Chronicles universe. This story was going to be set after Twinned Universes and follow one of the minor characters from that book. The plot isn't working out, at least for now; maybe someday I'll go back to it and figure out what to do. In the meantime, that clears the way for Catalyst in the Crucible, the next novel in that series. But before I can go back to that one, I'd better finish some of the other stories I currently have drafting.

Publishing: I wrote a short story about Robbie, one of the minor characters in the Season Avatars series, but I'm still not satisfied with the title or the blurb. It can be harder to blurb short stories than novels, at least for me. Once I manage to work that out, I'll have Maria create a cover for it. I'd like to publish it this year if possible. I also have a completed short story prequel to Dryads to Discover, but I'm going to hold that one until DtD is ready to publish and put them out close together.

Crochet: I'm currently finishing up a poodle, and then I want to make an infinity gauntlet. (Click the link for the Etsy store with the pattern.). The first gauntlet will probably be for my son, and then I may make a couple to sell. I still have to finish up a couple of other amigurumi that I started a while back.

Costuming: I really need to replace my Jawa robe, which has gotten a lot of wear in three years of trooping. I have one mostly sewn; I just need to finish some seams and weather it. I may need to make another hood to match the dye lot. Once I finish that, then I'd better make my Santa Jawa robe. The holiday parade I plan to wear it in is only a few weeks away!

So, are you working on any interesting projects? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Blogging Schedule Update

After thinking about this for a while, I've decided I need to cut back on blogging for several reasons:

1. It seems like my posts aren't getting as many views as they used to. (I'm basing this on what Blogger reports.) Something may have changed in an online algorithm somewhere. There might be a decline in blogging in general (I see this mentioned in other places, though usually without sources). It might be more effective for me to put more marketing effort into other social media outlets or my newsletter. Reason #3 may be a factor too.

2. With all the other daily responsibilities and projects I constantly juggle, I feel really time-pressed for writing. Cutting back on my posts, at least temporarily, should help.

3. I'll be honest--lately, I've been having difficulty coming up with topics. I started this blog over a decade ago (I think it was shortly after I got married), so that's a lot of posts! I've written over 2,200 of them, and sometimes I wonder if I'm repeating topics. Maybe slowing things down for a while will give me a fresh perspective.

I'm not planning to give up blogging completely. For now, I think I might cut back to once a week on Wednesdays, so I can continue to participate in the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group posts. This means that unfortunately I'll be giving up on the Science of the Week posts on Fridays. I enjoy researching those posts, but they do take up most of my blogging time. I have to read the science news articles daily (or read a lot at once) and decide which ones to link. If I have news, I might create an extra post for it.

Since it's late October, I'll try this schedule for the rest of the year and see how it works, both for me and for you, my readers. After that, I'll decide if I want to change my frequency. I hope no one's too disappointed by this announcement, but maybe I'll be able to engage more with comments. Feel free to leave one below.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Science of the Week, 10/19/18

Here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

A cure for Alzheimer's? Yes, a cure for Alzheimer's!
(It's actually more like customized treatments for each patient, and while it sounds promising, results can also vary.)

Survey shows widespread skepticism of flu shot

Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form

A step toward personalized, automated smart homes

Have a good weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

More Crochet Photos

Although I keep coming up with more writing projects than I have time for, I keep on crocheting as well--and coming up with more projects that I want to do. As long as I do a little both of both every day, I make some progress. I don't like sharing my writing projects when they're still in the rough draft stage, but the smaller crochet projects work up quickly. Here are some of my recently completed ones:

I started this pterodactyl right before the comic con at the end of September. I think it took about a week or so to finish. He's actually a darker purple in person.

 These are Halloween-inspired porg. From left to right, they are a jack-o-lantern porg (though my family thinks he looks like Deadpool, so maybe the next one won't have black eye patches), a vampire porg, a black cat porg, and a ghost porg. If I can figure out how to make a turkey tail, I might make some turkey porg next month. And yes, I have some ideas for Christmas....

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Now to decide which writing project to tackle next.

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