Covering all the bases

It’s gotten to that time in the publishing process: meeting with the cover designer and discussing concepts.

It’s tough as an artist to let someone else take the wheel when it comes to designing the cover for my book. I hand-painted the cover for WHISPERS OF DEATH and then scanned and tweaked it in Photoshop myself. Did all the formatting for the Createspace printing and the Kindle cover. Did the same thing for Kamikaze Butterflies (only that one was all digital). I even made my own “covers” for the ebook/Kindle only stories and compilations. But now? Now I have to put my labor of love into someone else’s hands.

Not that I’m having problems…. the crew at Rhetoric Askew is great, and they listen to their authors. I don’t just get whatever cover they want; I get to have input and convey my opinions. It’s cool, but yeah, I guess I’m more of a control freak than I realized.

Time is ticking towards the release date. So. Damn. Close. I can’t tell you how close yet, but it’s soon.

Getting published before 40 when I just started writing novels a few years ago is a pretty exciting thing. I hope that Book 2 and the subsequent books in the series are just as good as Abnormal is going to be.

Don’t worry. You’ll get to see it in due time. 😉

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Salvage

victory

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.

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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:

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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.

Pot calling the kettle argent

So after finishing my first Arts & Sciences project (or at least the physical part–not the documentation yet), my husband decided he wanted a similar thing for himself, which means more embroidery. I’m cool with that and all, but I have to find a design for what he wants…and there aren’t too many period-esque cooking pot drawings.

My hubby is definitely the cook in the family. I can manage mac and cheese, ramen, and some salads/sandwiches. That’s the majority of my cooking “skill.” And I’m talking box mac and cheese, not scratch. So for his SCA device, he chose a couple fleshpots (an oldschool type of cooking pot) as part of it, and since I used part of my device (a swan) on my piece, he wants a cooking pot on his. I can do it, but we were hoping to find a Viking-type or knotwork design, and Google is not providing any such thing. So together we’re working on a compromise in the form of a period-style circle around whatever design of pot I choose. Or he chooses. I don’t know; as far as I know he hasn’t found what he wants yet.

I was going to start the embroidery this weekend, but unfortunately we didn’t have the pot design picked out before we left for our weekend trip. I could freehand something, but I want this to be neater and more precise than what I can sketch. I might have to wing it, though, if I want to start today. I might just read instead. I have a book that I’m reading for my research paper portion of my A&S entries, and I plan on bringing that to the SCA thing today as well. Give myself options. Or something.

Well, almost time to go. Gotta get my stuff together and get cracking. Embroidery or research…what will it be?

The great debate

I want to branch out, but am I diving in too deep?

Let me explain:

There’s this thing in the medieval reenactment group that’s called “Arts and Sciences,” which is basically focusing on medieval and Renaissance period art and, well, science. As science-y as they got back then, anyway. There are also annual competitions on a baronial and kingdom level. I was considering entering my latest embroidery project as an arts project in the next competition (which is in July). The problem? I found out today that I have to enter in three different categories in order to compete.

Okay, there’s the embroidery, sure, but what else can I do? Garb? Yeah, I can probably make some garment(s) for a secondary entry, but the third thing? Maybe … illumination? I could try that, but my drawing/painting style isn’t really up to even medieval par yet. I can make pretty scrolls, but it’s nothing that could be considered a medieval style. And as far as calligraphy goes, I can trace the letters fine and mimic the strokes, but I’m not actually doing true calligraphy … yet. Can I get there by July? Eh, maybe. Maybe.

Decisions, decisions. I really want to enter. Like, really. I haven’t entered an art competition, seriously entered something, since I was a kid … and that was, like, when they kind of made the whole class enter. I just never had the confidence. Now I want to, though. I want to make myself break out of that comfort zone. It’s just–what will my third thing be?

I have a few months, but the clock is ticking. I know there’s some kind of deadline for entry, and there are research papers involved, not to mention the second and third projects to make.

As if I needed more on my plate lately. *Sigh*

EDIT: I have been told that the three-entry thing is for Champion, not just for regular entry. I have the option of entering one or two pieces as a novice, so that takes a little stress off…but now I want to try just to see if I can. Plus, I learned that there are other categories that I didn’t even know existed, like poetry/prose, drawing, painting (not illumination), and leatherwork. So I have options, and ones that I’m more comfortable with. So “the great debate” is still on, but it’s a slightly different debate now…

Shuffleboard

Life is definitely a strange game lately. As if things weren’t hectic enough, I am having to cover for a co-worker who had surgery last week. It’s only for a few more days, but it has been enough of a kick in the ass that I had to finally admit defeat and give up a job that I once really enjoyed. As of this morning, I no longer am working for Talk Nerdy With Us, either as a contributor or as an editor. It was a hard decision, but I just don’t have the time anymore.

There’s the paying work. There’s the volunteer work for the SCA. There’s the writing. There’s the sewing for the SCA. There’s the holiday season coming up. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the drift. I’m exhausted, and right now I can’t afford the kind of effort it takes for what, in the end, is a nonpaying job. I’ve got enough of those, thank you very much, and the ones I’m “keeping” are more satisfying at this point in time.

Now I have a few moments of break left before I’m back into the fray. I’m hoping to get a sewing project done by tomorrow morning and then I can start knocking out this mile high list of things to do.

Under Construction

I have no idea why I thought I’d start up my Etsy shop again at this time of year.

I thought it would be fun: creating new stuff, possibly selling a few things, having a blast with it all… Then yesterday I realized that I have quite a few personal projects to get done before I can get to creating stuff to sell. There’s the bento box, the Italian Renaissance garb for Yule (that I accidentally forgot about until now), the masks for the Yule event, and oh yeah, I suppose I should start thinking about Christmas gifts for all my friends and family. Mania, why you no pick a better time for this?
I guess the Etsy shop will have to be put on hold for a while again. I can keep the current listings active, but realistically I should be focusing on the more pressing items on the menu. *Sigh*

Good thing I have lots of materials and patterns that I can use for the above-mentioned projects. It takes a bit of a load off stress-wise, but I still wish I could work on the crafting ideas I have. Oh well. Friends and family take priority. And being clothed for Yule. Those are important things.

Full Plate, Table 3

It’s going to be one of those weeks.

Yesterday started off with someone at work needing surgery, and, being the only other person there trained in her job, it was up to me to come to the rescue. I still had to do the position I was already scheduled for, of course, so that left me running back and forth across the office most of the day. Today I cover for my recovering coworker, and then as soon as I’m off work its up to Phoenix for my husband’s birthday weekend celebrations. On the way back Sunday we have an event, and there’s still laundry and whatnot to do at my parents’ house before I dive back into my temporary position next week.

Next week brings more work, and for some reason I am feeling like there’s something I’m forgetting when it comes to planned activities. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and it’s getting out of hand. I forget what weekend has what plans, what weekdays have what going on, and even the things that are part of my “regularly-scheduled programming” slip my mind. It’s a lot to keep up with.

It’s almost starting to concern me. I used to keep track of dates and events without any issue; now I forget that I should be packing for a weekend trip that I mentioned two paragraphs ago. Things are muddy and sluggish, and I’m forgetting important stuff. Not 100% forgetting–I know that it’s my husband’s birthday Saturday–but more like the fact that the important event is impending slips my mind. I know that X activity is planned for Y day, but when Y day rolls around I forget that Y is the day when X occurs. This leaves me completely unprepared for X, both physically and mentally. I’ll come home from work exhausted, ready to just chill in bed (or maybe go hang out in the craft room), and my husband will remind me of the thing we’re doing that day.

I think that might be the most exhausting part of it all: not the sheer number of plans and events, but the “surprise” of learning that there’s yet another thing planned on a day when I’d thought I was otherwise free. I make my own little piddly plans for crafting or writing or lazing about and those plans get crushed by the plans that were already in place.

Will things cool down any time soon? With the holidays fast approaching, I doubt it. I have to start thinking about Christmas gifts. And some birthday gifts. All that in addition to the aforementioned plans and events. And the house prep. And…damn. I was sure there was something else…

Oh yeah. The novel. I have stuff to do for that still, too. Gotta finish the most current wave of revisions, plus write up an outline and some character bios. So that, too.

Oh, and did I mention that, during this crazy time, I decided to reopen my Etsy shop this week? Yeah. In the midst of all this madness, I thought it would be a good idea to start creating more things to sell. I plan on making fabric bento boxes (after I get my own made and perfected–I always end up tweaking the pattern), stuffed animals, more clay sculptures, clay ornaments, bags/purses, and more. Yeah. With all that imaginary free time I have lately. That should go over well.

I’ll get the hang of all this eventually. Maybe. I should bust out the calendar on my phone and set reminders for every day that something’s going on. That should be fun, with alerts and notifications going off every day.

*Sigh* Whatever happened to my quiet, unassuming life?