Draw Nigh

Someone I knew not nearly as well as I should have passed away yesterday, and I’ve been trying to take time to process my thoughts and feelings on the tragedy.

I should’ve talked with him more. I should’ve engaged and not shrunk into my shell when he said “Hi” to me at SCA events and meetings. I should’ve … Well, I could fill the whole Internet with shoulda/coulda/wouldas here. Suffice it to say, a great man died, and rather than using my words to console friends and chosen family–other than to send my condolences in a private message to his wife–I spent my day reading how he touched others’ lives and wondering why I wasn’t touched the same way.

In the end, I determined it was my fault. My shyness and social anxiety kept me from knowing this man as well as everyone else did. Sure, I said “Hi” back, and I hugged back, and I answered any questions he asked about how I was doing and such, but I didn’t force myself to really listen and ask questions of my own. The last thing I said to him was something along the lines of “Oh, gallbladder surgery is a piece of cake.”

His gallbladder, it turned out, was not the problem.

So why didn’t I send a Facebook message to him when his wife, who I know a little better, sent out requests for kind words, silly memes, and comfort? I certainly had been Facebook friends with him long enough that I should’ve been able to send a meme to cheer him up in the hospital, right?

There’s that shoulda again.

Maybe it was guilt. I mean, he was already in the early stages of whatever-it-was that killed him, and I brushed it off as a piece of cake. I’d had my gallbladder out over ten years ago with no complications whatsoever; surely this tall man with the booming voice and ever-present smile would make it through something like that just as easily.

There it is. There are the tears that wouldn’t come yesterday. But am I crying for the loss or crying for myself?

I don’t really know for sure, but considering it was seeing “booming voice” that set me off, I’d like to think there’s enough humanity inside me to be sad at something other than my own inadequacies.

I think I’ll miss that booming voice most of all. Of all the heralds I’ve met in my short time so far in the SCA, his was the loudest, the clearest, the strongest. Even in his day-to-day conversations, he sounded like a radio announcer or movie voiceover actor. There was depth to that voice. Confidence. Strength.

“Draw nigh for court” will never sound quite the same. A great voice has been silenced, and it’s going to be a while before any of us are really okay again.

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Backlog

Why do I take on so many projects at once? Oh yeah, because I enjoy the outcome.

So here’s the deal: in addition to the book promotional stuff and prepping for release, the promotion at work that I need to train for, and the SCA arts and sciences stuff, I’ve taken on three more embroidery projects. All three are pretty important: some small embroidery for an elevation garment, a patch for our household for a banner that gets displayed every year, and some high-profile embroidery for the current King and Queen to wear to an out-of-kingdom event. Yeah. All that.

It’s something that I can do in my spare time, but more importantly it makes me feel good when people like my embroidery. My husband got me a new book on embroidery that has really good photos of how to do different stitches, so I can build my stitch repertoire. I’m excited to get started on the embroidery that I have to do, despite the chunk of time it will all take.

I might have to do what my husband does for his tablet weaving, which is setting up a spreadsheet or something like that to keep track of what I’m doing and when it’s due.

I may have to table the embroidery I wanted to do for Kingdom A&S, but that’s okay. I wasn’t planning on entering for Champion anyway, so it’s not a huge loss. Better to get the commission work done first. Gotta prioritize.

Book promotion is slowly chugging along. I tweet, I Instagram, I update the countdown (20 days now), I have been contacting local bookstores to try to get events set up…. It’s a lot, but every step forward makes me feel good.

Speaking of work, I should really get back to the elevation embroidery. That’s the next one due. Until the morrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

Advanced notice

It’s getting closer and closer to Release Day, and in the hopes of getting some blurbs for the cover ofย Abnormal I’ve started sending out emails to other authors to see if they’d be interested in and Advanced Reader Copy to read and comment on. It’ll be interesting to see who bites and reads it.

I’m also doing an advanced read on another Askew author’s book (in exchange for her AR of mine), so of course I’m piling more work on top of the work I already have to do. Glutton for punishment, anyone? ‘Cause that’s me.

I had my interview for the promotion yesterday, but since there’s at least one other applicant that I know of (who is as qualified as I am, if not more so), it’s going to be the waiting game for a while. The owner of the practice has to review our resumes and questionnaires with my supervisor before making a determination. Good thing I clip my nails, because otherwise I’d be biting them in anticipation. As it is, my lip is chewed to pieces almost. Lol

SCA life is quiet for a couple of weeks, which means I get to game with friends this Saturday (better brush up on the system, because I’ve played all of one game way back in the fall) and the following Saturday is my birthday. The big 3-9, the beginning of the last year in my thirties. I’m not as freaked out about forty as I was about thirty, which seems weird, but I guess you get to a point in your life where you’re like “Whatever.” Some of my friends are taking me out for a dinner/cider tasting, which sounds like a lot of fun.

Other than that, my time is kinda my own for a couple of weeks. Yeah, I have the AR to do. Yeah, I have embroidery/sewing to work on. Yeah, I have work-work to do. Yeah, I have to finish remaking my Dark Phoenix corset for Tucson Comic Con. Yeah, I have marketing footwork to do. Still, it’s nice to not be running around crazy trying to catch up for a little bit.

(And yeah, all that and then some is me “relaxing” for a couple of weeks. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Arts and Sciences revisited

So… I haven’t really gone into extensive detail on my experience last week at our local Baronial Arts and Sciences competition. I won’t. It’s done, and I’m done. Not with Arts and Sciences in general, but with the subject of last week. That’s done. This week, however, went well, and even though I didn’t win anything personally (the household I entered with won for Household Champion) I learned a lot from the experience.

I got stern but helpful critique, and I had a much better time than last week. I think I might have made one judge feel bad about herself when I told her I have only been embroidering since December. I got the Look of Death from her, as if she was thinking “I spent X amount of time learning this shit and this bitch has been doing it for like 8 months and she’s sitting here all smug with her A&S entry….” Oops. Good thing I didn’t mention anything about being self taught from Pinterest tutorials.

My research paper got picked the fuck apart… which I have to admit, I deserved. I kinda crammed for that one for the most part. I mean, I did some of the reading ahead of time… and most of it as I was writing the paper. Oops again. But hey, now I know how to improve on my cramming, and I will have a much improved paper for Kingdom.

I’ll also have a better embroidery project. I have to get some more materials for it (and find the original piece I started), but it’s going to be more refined and more period in style than my little cup cover sampler. I might have another piece to judge if I can come up with documentation for both the embroidery and the item that will be embroidered. I think I can do that, but I’ll have to check.

Arts and Sciences will continue to be in my future in the SCA. I won’t let one bad experience ruin the arts for me.

Stuck in the past, no time for the future

So with one Arts & Sciences competition behind me and another one looming this weekend, plus the interkingdom arts exchange project I’ve been working on, plus another period craft I plan on doing, plus the Kingdom A&S competition in the fall, I find myself with little time for mundane sewing. This poses a slight problem, because I have to completely remake my Dark Phoenix corset before Tucson Comic Con in November.

Yeah, November’s a ways away, and I’ve made corsets before with much more of a time crunch, but I want to do this right. I want to look nice for my “fans” (okay, for random congoers who happen to stop by my table) at the con, but the previous corset I made was entirely too big. This time I’m going to go strictly by the pattern and not try to alter it to make it bigger. A corset’s supposed to be tight anyway, right? Sure. That’s the excuse I’ll give myself when I’m muffintopping out of it. Good thing I made a shirt to wear under it.

I need to get a few new materials, too. I have the basic top fabrics, but even with some careful seam ripping I’ll need new canvas for the inner layers and some new bias binding. Oh yeah, and new grommets. Maybe new lacing. *Sigh* So there’s the money aspect I need to take into consideration.

I also have to find the time to make the corset in the midst of weekends of SCA events, gaming, birthday (less than 2 1/2 weeks to go ’til 39!), etc. Then there’s the book marketing that I’ll have to do, with potentially time taken away for interviews and in-store events, and the Advanced Read Copy of another book from my publisher that I need to read and comment on. And I applied for a promotion at work that will take up considerably more of my time than I’m currently spending on the clock. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment.

Once the corset is made, I need to try on all my costumes again to make sure everything still semi-fits. I’ve gained entirely too much weight in recent months, and I’d rather not have a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the con. That means I might potentially have to alter or remake other small pieces (but not another corset–if I have to do that I’ll probably cry lol) so I can comfortably sit at the con. Yay for skirts with elastic waistbands and Spandex pants! Lol

I’m trying to also factor in for potential embroidery commissions/requests in the interim. Right now, I just have the arts exchange project and the one craft project for myself, and one little bit of “tiny embroidery.” Basically, embroidering someone’s arms in miniature, so a max of 1.5 inches wide, maybe thinner.

The future is fast approaching, but I think if I buckle down and focus I can make it there with a corset to wear. I mean, how many times now have I had the Cosplay Con Crunch to deal with?

Yeah. I got this.

 

Conceptualism

Today I “met” with the book cover designer officially for the first time and got to give him my thoughts on the cover of Abnormal. Every time something new happens in the process it revs up my excitement. So close, yet so far. I want to tell you all the release date, but I still have to keep mum. But soon. Soon.

I am a few chapters in on revisions on Book 2, but I stopped for the A&S crunch and can’t remember what I was going to say next. Lol

Book 3 is tickling the back of my mind, but I have to tell it to wait its turn. If I dive into that now, I’ll squirrel and never make any progress.

Next on my list of things to do is get home from rapier fighting, shower, and eat. Then I need to use the feedback I got from my A&S judges to improve my research paper a bit. I won’t discuss the actual competition here. I won with both my entries, but my overall experience with the event was… let’s just say… disappointing. We’ll go with that. Hopefully next week in our neighboring Barony it will be better.

An art and a science

Well, today’s the day! My first Arts and Sciences competition for the SCA. Despite all the nerves and anxiety about finishing my papers, they were both finished and printed last night. (They actually were “finished” earlier, but I forgot to put “Novice” on them so I had to reprint. Lol)

I’m feeling good about the paper on tattoos in history, the embroidery documentation not so much. I got a lot of very good but very vague advice on what was expected of me as far as documentation goes, but I followed the who/what/when/where/how/etc that I’m supposed to include, so we’ll see how I do.

Dressed in my Italian Renaissance today, because why not be fancy? (Also, hubby wanted to wear our Italian Ren outfits.) I don’t wear it often because my persona is Viking, but I gotta say, it makes my bewbs look good. Lol

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I also did up my eyes real purdy for today. They’re going to be burning like hell by the end of the day between the dry eye, makeup, and contacts, but fuck it. I wanted to lookย good.

I’m going to try to get some embroidery done while I sit with my projects and talk to judges and onlookers, but my stupid self lost track of where my wash-away stabilizer is at the moment, so I have to try to get some from someone else, because I’ll be at the competition all day pretty much. No time to run to JoAnn’s for more.

Tomorrow I discuss book cover concepts with Rhetoric Askew’s cover designer. ๐Ÿ™‚ Super excited to get that process going. Things are coming together!

Book 2 is moving along as well. Not at my ideal word count yet, but I’m only three and a half chapters in as far as revisions go. Ideas for Book 3 are swirling around in the background, but I need to slow my roll and do things right. Evernote the important parts, and get Book 2 polished for submission first. Well, polished and edited for Betas. Then revised and edited and polished for submission.

Soon we leave for A&S. Wish me luck!