So obviously I’ve been rather silent here over the last month.
Yes, it’s due to politics – mostly because I still can’t wrap my head around everything that’s happening, but I am still here. Making donations, sending emails. Small steps because that’s all I can handle right now. Quietly raging, I suppose.
I have culled a number of people off of social media, mostly Facebook. And it’s not that I’ve removed everyone who doesn’t agree with me – I’m all about different viewpoints and conversations, but I also have decided that I don’t need to be in such a toxic environment. (And sadly, some people I once considered actual friends have shown themselves to be hard core racists. No thanks. We can talk political ups and downs all day long, but once your argument falls back on the color of someone’s skin – or religion – or gender, etc – as a reason for/against something, I’m done. )
I’m off on holiday soon for a family vacation and though I’ve been feeling slightly guilty about going, it’s become pretty clear to me that I need to consciously disconnect for a while, so with the exception of maybe uploading some pictures, I’ll be off social media entirely.
In the meanwhile, this week was rather odd in general – and this is going to be pretty vague because it has to be since I don’t know what will come out of it. But it’s that odd place where something you’ve really wanted for a while, but realized/decided it wasn’t going to happen at this time and have moved on and made adjustments accordingly…suddenly is back on the table. Maybe. And then you’re trying to figure out if you really still want it or if you’re going to continue on this new path you’re forging.
Like I said, that’s pretty vague. But I’ll know more in a few days and then I’ll probably have a few decisions to make. (Or not, as the case may be…I’ll probably write about it either way, once I know.)
All that being said, with additional distractions being required, I did have a bit of fun last week doing some live tweeting with fellow authors Piper Drake and Ann Aguirre on the 1st episode of Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, which is this beautiful and tragically romantic K-Drama about a guy cursed with immortality until he falls in love with the woman who can remove the curse. And then he’ll die.
(Seriously, I’ve never seen anything quite like it – everything about it is top notch. I actually liked it so much I went and bought a subscription to Drama Fever, because I *had* to watch the rest of it. And all the soundtrack music I could find. Does it press all my Solas/Dragon Age buttons? Uh. Yeah. Yeah it does. *ahem*)
We’re going to be doing an episode a week (Sundays at 9, EDT, I think) so come follow along under #Goblin if you’re interested. (I’ll be there this Sunday for Episode 2, but out of town for Episode 3, so I’ll have to skip that.) There are 16 episodes in all, so this it will be running for a few months.
Also, romance and drama and the most beautiful crying ever known to man aside, it’s also really freaking funny and tongue-in-cheek in a number of places, and that’s pretty refreshing as well. (GIF courtesy of @KatCho)
Also, everyone wears really nice coats. Terrible sweaters, but nice coats.
Project Round Up
Just doing a little end of year post – obviously it’s not a real retrospective. Much of the year got derailed by needing that third back surgery, so there was a lot of time for introspection. I have a tendency to shut-in when I’m in that much pain – not sure if that’s good or bad, but usually long periods of radio silence from me are due to that, though I’m working my way back into the sunlight, as they say.
In the meantime, I spent a fair amount of time sewing – it was one of the few distractions I could do from the only chair that *didn’t* make me want to throw myself out the window.
Pain being what it is, I stitched a number of subversive patterns…and then gave them all away. I didn’t sew a single thing for myself at all – I suspect that’s because making them for other people allowed me to do it guilt free. And it’s not that sewing is a guilty pleasure exactly, it’s just that I tend to come down on myself pretty hard when I’m not doing something productive, whatever that is.
On the other hand, sewing is one of those things that really does help when I’m trying to plot a bit simply because it keeps my hands occupied but allows my brain to wander. Once I’ve got a rhythm going, it can be hours before I really notice just how long I’ve been working. (Which has lead to a slightly numb hand for a while, but whatevs.)
Some of these pictures are really bad, btw and I apologize, but I’ll leave links at the bottom to where you can actually buy the patterns.
I made four of these bitch unicorns – they’re fast and fun. I would have liked to made a few more but I ran out of the specialty tie-dye/sparkle aida I ordered for it. I’ve got additional cloth on the way, because I really do want to make a few more of them, just not sure about my time this year.
My first real attempt on linen – I actually started this while *at* the hospital during my last surgery.
I’ve avoided linen like crazy in the past, but I really liked this pattern and all the funky stitches and beading and it was fairly small so I figured I’d give it a shot.
(Turns out I actually need spectacles on top of my contacts to actually make it work since I’m old or something.)
It’s been attached to a sachet full of dried lavender and amethyst crystals.
But, hey, doing a little project like that led me straight into a bigger linen project…
Technically it’s evenweave but same thing really. Tiny ass holes.
Obviously it’s a Star Wars reference, but made it for a friend who finally got a real place of her own after many years, and I figured it was well worth the extra effort to do it on the evenweave.
(I can see the appeal behind using linen/evenweave – it has a more professional feel to it, I guess – but I suspect aida is still going to be my go-to, since it takes me 3 times as long to do a project on the linen…)
Another housewarming gift of sorts. Not much else to really say about this one except it was a lot larger than I anticipated, ( 11 x 7 I think…) but there is something so MUCH FUN about sewing Cthulu.
I kinda want to just make a bunch of small pieces with only Cthulu – they might make for cute bookmarks or something…
(I dunno – maybe I should start a side business sewing this kind of stuff for authors or readers or something – if I had time I’d make my own designs, but at this point, I really don’t.)
And another piece – this was a straight 5 x 7, so not massive, but very, very dense as far as the stitching goes. No real white space, just some half stitches in the upper part and I cheated a bit on some of the embroidery because I ran out of steam toward the end.
Plus anything with gradients of similar colors can be a bit fatiguing to the eyes – lots of browns and oranges and grey in here – looks absolutely stunning in person though.
Overall it was a super productive year in terms of crafting – I also discovered those Q-snap frames which were a complete lifesaver when it came to just having to deal the with the weight of holding something for 2 – 4 hours at a time. (I have a ton of wooden scroll wheels, but I can’t use them anymore, thanks Fibro.) The Q-snaps were light, which is nice, but I have a bit of hesitation when it comes to using them on larger projects as they seem to have a tendency to bleach out the cloth and that could be troublesome if I can’t cut it away. We’ll see.
At any rate, here are the links to the above projects should you wish to try them out yourself:
Fresh Out of Fucks
Whatever Bitch Unicorn
Scum and Villainy
Except for maybe a few smaller projects this year, I’ve sorta blown my load when it comes to the cross stitch at this point – I haven’t sewn like this in YEARS – but now that I’m starting to feel better post op and all that, I’ve got to buckle down and focus on my own work for a bit. (Even my own myriad sewing projects – I always pick the giant complicated patterns that would take years even I wasn’t doing ten other things.)
So here’s to a Happy New Year and all that jazz and let’s hope things are better for everyone, all the way around, in 2017.
…and all that jazz.
I had a few other things to say today in this post, but I’ve been feeling a little down – I went to see Rogue One last night and it was a bit disheartening to get the AP notification that Carrie Fisher had had a heart attack *while* I was mid-movie.
(And the movie was pretty good – as a transitional piece, I liked it – I don’t know if it would stand on its own so much, but as a piece of the overall Star Wars lore it works.)
But as far as years go, 2016 has been a bit of a shitfest, particularly when it comes to celebrities. Fingers crossed that Carrie pulls through.
All that aside, I’m expecting today to be rather smooth – presents are wrapped, dinner is planned, there’s cookies to be made and all that other fun stuff. I spent a lot of time this year making things for other people – I’ll throw those up in a separate post later since not everyone has gotten them yet and I don’t want to spoil anything. There are still a few to make, but after staying up multiple nights very late to work on stitching, I’m basically out of spoons and my arm/wrist needs a bit of a break. Hopefully I will be able to get through those in another week or so.
On an exciting note, I’ve finally got a cover artist booked for one of my indie-pubbed books coming out later this year. (Title and info to come!) Edits should be arriving shortly and I’ll start posting about that more in the next month or so. I’ve been rather absent from the writing scene for the last few years – but I’m looking forward to dipping my toes back into it – and hopefully my fans will enjoy this new series.
That being said, I hope everyone has a good holiday (whatever holiday you celebrate) and I’ll leave you with this lovely Yuuri on Ice AMV. YOI has been an utter source of happiness the last few months for me and I’m sad to see it leave (for now, ha ha). Spoilers abound below so fair warning…
There’s a so-called ancient Chinese curse out there that goes something like “may you live in interesting times.”
It’s neither Chinese nor particularly ancient, but it sounds cool, and I suppose no one can deny the last few months have at least been…interesting.
Interesting enough that my attempt at NaNoWriMo this year got completely derailed by the second week. Which is really a shame since I’d already managed to crank out a relatively easy 25k on it by that point. New for me, to have a daily word count of 2k or more, but it was nice to see it happen.
That being said, I’m not a huge fan of NaNo – in this case it was less about trying to write a book as much as me trying to press through a bit of writer’s block. Which it did. Don’t get me wrong, most of the writing is pure garbage, but even as much as I *tried* to plot in the days beforehand, I’m still and will probably forever be a panster. Most of what I’d plotted didn’t happen and it took most of those 25k (on top of the 15k I’d already had) to start really learning who my characters are.
And I’ve got some more digging to do on that, but I feel a bit more comfortable overall on how I’m going to go back and restructure it.
Of course, it’s elves. And it’s not that elves by themselves are necessarily difficult, but…like vampires, they’ve been done. To death. Before the NaNo writing, I’d been second guessing myself on nearly everything – I mean, I know there’s no real original story ideas – almost everything is based on a trope of some sort, but in this case, I was getting caught up in the minutia.
Is it too much like Dragon Age? Is it too much like Tolkien? It is too much like a certain elf prince I’ve already written?
A certain elf prince who was already *reallllllly* loosely based on a Dalish I was role-playing? (holy crap I’d forgotten how sexy Talivar was…I think he needs to make another appearance some time…they all do, really. Hmmm.)
Yeah. It’s hard when your real-life distractions end up becoming a problem in the writing world too.
But in this case, the NaNo bits allowed me to push past that some – for me, the stories tend to be more character driven than world-driven. And so I really needed to get a chance to figure out who they were. The rest is details – most can be changed as needed, but I’m at least satisfied that I’m heading in the right direction.
In other writing news, I’ve got a few shorts I’m working on (I never know if they’re going to go anywhere, but it’s still nice to get some of those smaller ideas down.) And I’m waiting on edits for the self-pub in a new series – expect the first book of that to be out some time in 2017, so yay me.
Maybe even the second book if I can get edits on that turned around fast enough. And you know. An actual title. Cover art. And everything else. Ha ha. Drowning.
Fox & Willow edits are starting to happen as well – I’ve got a few lovely volunteers trolling the pages for suggestions and errors and with any luck we’ll see a hard copy of Came a Harper in 2017 also, though that is a bit more complicated.
At any rate, I wish there was a way to box time up so I could manage more, but here we are. I’ve been taking an online time management course, which has been helping a bit, but like most things it’s had to take a back seat to some other priorities.
Speaking of which, one tool I *did* find recently is brain.fm – if you haven’t checked out this app yet, you really need to – I’m not sure how it really works, but it’s really trippy, and I’ve had a lot of success with it when it comes to tasks where I really need to buckle down and work. (And. Yeah. Turning off the god damned internet.)
And maybe not playing so much Mystic Messenger.
I blame Aimo for this one. Like seriously. I don’t even like Otame games that much, but here I am.
On my second play through.
(At least it’s timed – I’m too cheap to actually spend any real money on it to speed it up, so if it only distracts me for a few minutes every couple of hours that’s not so bad, right? Right.)
Back to work.
I’ve actually been struggling to write this particular blog post for weeks. But I’ve been scrapping it and rewriting it because I keep stopping part way through and getting severely depressed.
And I’m scrapping it again and simply leaving it with this quote, because in the end, I have to believe that we are better than this – and I need a break from the unrelenting political bullshit that just seems to go from bad to worse by the minute.
That being said, I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving has a peaceful holiday.
For myself, it will be kept fairly simple, with homemade Chinese food (no turkey this year, sorry!) and limited family.
Otherwise, this weekend will involve heavy bouts of Dishonored 2 (at least in *that* dystopian society I can actually make some sort of difference), sewing, writing and probably a repeat binge watch of Yuri on Ice as I wait for next week’s episode.
Seriously. Go watch it. Gorgeous animation, lovely story and some incredible music. (And bishonen. Because everything is better with bishies. Everything.)