Quilt Runs: A different kind of crazy.

The past two weekends, dozens of quilt shops ranging from southern San Diego all the way up to Ventura County participated in the annual Southern California Quilters Run. If you don’t know what a quilt run is, it’s a bunch of shops getting together, and offering sales and raffle prizes  (and free block patterns, snacks/drinks) so that quilters can run around and see what shops are available, and check out new shops they’ve never seen before.

You get a passport and get stamped off for each shop you go to. For this quilt run, each shop has a $300 value prize basket, and each AREA (there were four… um… “Southern California” covers a lot of space—if you don’t believe me, google the distance between Chula Vista and Lancaster, the southmost and northmost shops participating) had another big prize. I think in the San Diego area it was a $100 gift certificate to each participating shop. There’s another prize if you get to ALL of the shops, but I didn’t make it halfway.

Why was I there at all? Well, my mother is a quilter. So, I’m used to this sort of craziness. For me the weekend consisted of a lot of driving, and then stopping to take pictures of fun things, and snack on cookies and mini cupcakes. Some shops even had hot dogs—these shops were the treasures of the run for me.

I do like looking at pretty fabrics, though…

Like this. Big old kits full of coordinated batiks. Batiks are about my favorite fabrics, full or rich vibrant colors. (The basket I wanted the most was from this shop, and had one of these batik beauties in it).

A…hem. Anyhow. A quilt run means a LOT of quilting ladies. And occasionally husbands being dragged around to collect goodies (like mine… sorry hun).  (He enjoyed the hot dogs too, though.) Me? I enjoyed myself a lot. Quilting is something I’ve only been marginally involved with—but I’ve been marginally involved in it my entire life, and use the basics all the time in my Etsy shop. It’s a whole different type of creativity than writing, and something that can be quite satisfying so far as finished products go.

The other great thing about quilt stores that you might not know?

They have cats. Well, some of them. That’s an incentive to go in and of itself. Or maybe that’s just me. 🙂

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2K a day?

Let me start out by saying I’ve never finished NaNoWriMo. I’ve attempted it a good four or five times, too. I’ve never successfully gone a whole week making the daily word count—which in case you’re wondering, is 1667 words per day.

Recently, though, I’ve decided that my biggest goal for writing right now is to get through a first draft, remembering that it’s the second and third drafts that’ll make things pretty and nice. I mentioned this to my husband and said that the thing I had to do was set a word goal per day and stick to it. He asked me how many words I would write per day.

“Um… I don’t know.”

This was not the right answer to give him.

“I was thinking probably a thousand.”

He then challenged me to write two thousand words per day. I tried to explain to him that this would be impossible, and possibly make me cry.

But he asked me to try it… just try it.  I was unsure to say the least, but I agreed.

How is it going so far? Well I’m really only a couple of days into the challenge. Two thousand words, every Monday through Friday, at least until my first draft is done. I started last Wednesday. My first day it took me almost twelve hours, but I hit my goal. The next day I started a little earlier, but it still took me just about all day. Still, I had a very good idea of where my story was going—including a checklist of scenes I needed to write.

Friday I went on a quilt run with my mom. (Well, we dragged the husband along—you know, for extra goodies). A whole day of writing was gone. Saturday was part of the quilt run too. (If you don’t know what a quilt run is, google it. Then imagine it full of crazy old ladies.)

So… now I was 2000 words behind. I was worried this would throw off my momentum, and it’d be a challenge to get started again on Monday—today. Well, it was a challenge to get started today, but not really because I couldn’t find momentum—I just couldn’t find a chance to sit down at first.

I’m happy to say that when I did get to the sitting down, with some persistence I got even more written in a shorter time than I had the other two days—I wrote 3024 words today, and broke 48K in my WIP. This isn’t the most I’ve written of an original piece of fiction, but it is by far the most consecutive writing of an original piece I’ve done. I have one at 56K, but it’s all scattered in scenes, with big gaping holes in between. With the WIP I’m working on now, 95% of it was written consecutively.

Basically, I’m feeling good today. I even made up a good amount of the 2000 words I missed on Friday, so that I’m only a little over 600 words behind now, and now 600 words seems like a piece of cake. Even 2000 words doesn’t seem like a whole lot. After all, I can write 500 words in an hour, if I’m in the right zone. 2000 only takes four of those. That’s totally doable.

Well, right now, when I don’t have a job. I’m sure that has something to do with it. But at the same time, that’s exactly why I need to keep the fire burning.

So whatever your goal is, even if it scares you a little, believe in it. You’re capable. And if you need some support or a cheering section, hit me up. I’m good at that. 😉

This house is full of food.

I’m not exaggerating.

I’m staying at a friend of my dad’s right now… kind of a long story…  This house is nice. Nicer than the house you’re imagining. Nicer than I know what to do with. This is the kind of house most people dream of. It’s in a gated community that’s similarly dream-worthy. The ironic part is that a lot of the houses in this community are empty 95% of the time, but bygones.

Right now it’s even nicer because we’re staying here alone, pretty much. This house sees a lot of guests all the time, though, so I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s full of food. Kitchen, pantry, fridge downstairs… etc. There is a lot of food everywhere. And I am doing a very bad job of being good and not eating it. My willpower is being tested here and failing utterly.

Utterly.

I’ve been stuck in the house a lot, which doesn’t help, and working on edits and formatting and tasks that involve a lot of sitting and inspire a lot of snacking. In a house FULL of snacks.

This is not a good thing.

I’ve been trying to spend time working it off with swimming and even a bout or two with racquetball (which I’m very bad at, but enjoy a lot—though I spend a lot of time with my arms up over my head) but I’m still worried I’ll be leaving this house with a few extra pounds… which is so far from what I need.

Got to get back on the wagon here… I’m foreseeing a drastic cut down on carbs in my future.

In other news… I’m in between editing projects right now, so hopefully I’ll get a new story up on Tales from the Hollow Tree by next week.

I’m working on Jethro, and I actually have a checklist detailing exactly what needs to happen to finish the story. There’ll be a lot of rewriting going on after that, I’m sure, but I’m looking forward to finally being done with a first draft of something. I’ve started to feel like a faker once in a while, when I look at how long I’ve been writing and how long I’ve been wanting to be published—but not been able to finish something. I’ve felt like one of those millions of people who say they want to write a book, but never do a thing about it.

The thing is, though, I’ve also always known that I wasn’t one of those people. Because I know this is the thing I’ve always wanted to do, and that eventually I’d be able to do it. Really it all comes down to that determination thing. Besides scrambling with day jobs (when they come) to try and keep money coming in, at the end of the day it’s the writing that keeps me going.

I think what’s really kicking me into gear right now is editing. Editing is fun and work that I really love, not to mention extremely gratifying when something you’ve worked on is released for publication. It’s still someone else’s book, though. And I want it to be my book. I just want my book to be ready when the time comes.

Brand new at Drollerie Press: Middlewitch Mayhem

Just because Alicia Meldrew is a witch doesn’t mean that everything in her life is double, double, toil and trouble. Then again, trouble does have a way of finding her over and over again, even in the cozy little town of Middlewitch.

Alicia is starting to settle down with her new husband and a baby on the way, but little things like demon possession and mis-cast time spells keep getting in the way. Still, lake monsters, vampires (the bad kind, because you can’t generalize, you know), and vengeful enemies are no match for her, especially with the support of family and friends. 

With the community coming together to help her, her cats Domino and Tango dispensing wisdom each in their own way, and her husband James even doing a little bit of magic himself, Alicia can manage just about anything. Except possibly getting along with her mother-in-law…
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Middlewitch Mayhem, the fun sequel to Middlewitch, follows Alicia, a “white witch” and her friends and family through a rompy set of adventures. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to have read Middlewitch for this to be a great read!)
What I really love about this book is the strong sense of community in this novel. Whenever something threatens to overwhelm Alicia, someone is there to lend a helping hand and help her save the day. Middlewitch is one of those places you read about that you wish you could sneak into, because it just seems like such a cozy place to be. Sure there are lake monsters and the occasional spectral goat, but little inconveniences like that are worthwhile when you have the right people to help you out of them.
Alicia herself is a strong, spunky character, too. Part of what makes this book un-miss-able, though, is Domino and Tango. I don’t know if
you’re a fan of talking animals or not, but Domino’s wit and Tango’s sweet temper are impossible to dislike, either way. The whole book has a strong message of acceptance, too, which I really like.
If you’re interested in checking the book out, you can read the first chapter on the Drollerie Press website, here.
Enjoy!