Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Procrastination is My Sworn Enemy

targetsOh yeah! I’ve got it lined up in my sights and with just one little squeeze of the trigger…

Every morning I have a routine. I check my email, turn on my cell phone, review and revise my WIP, and the list goes on. But lately I’ve been putting off one thing after another. That ends here! I will hunt procrastination down with extreme prejudice.

Today I am making a list of all of the things I need to get done in a timely manner. Here we go.

1.  Write –work on sequel and short stories.

2.  Continue to walk through the NP ms to ready it for formatting

3. Work on breastplate – this really should be number 1, but it really doesn’t matter what order I list it so long as I get it done.

4.  Write posts for this blog.

5.  Exercise

6.  Everything else.

So now that I’ve written it down, I had better go do it. By the way, two things, 1) the next post will be on Friday, so look for something fun and 2) I’ve put a new story up on my website.

See you Friday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lost in the Forest

familiar forestThis is a picture of how I’m feeling right about now. I can see the forest and the trees. There are so many things that I need to be doing. It is difficult for me to prioritize. I’m over-thinking everything.

I try to plan and write my next short story, but my brain circles larger, more complex plots. There’s no way they can be written in under two thousand words. I keep at it, but I just get frustrated. So I think, if my brain only wants to focus on the more complex, then switch gears and work on one of my longer works.

That shouldn’t be a problem. I open the file on my next story in Nubia, but I get stalled. I can’t keep my mind focused. I keep thinking about working on the breastplate and which is the next step in that process.

Fine, I tell myself. That’s both constructive and productive. I walk to my  craft room and stare at the thing. Mind you, I don’t pick up a single tool or material to work with. All I can think about is, I need to work on my website. So I go back to the computer and open to the page that needs work…nothing comes.

It boils down to having so many things to do that I can’t get focused. It has all but paralyzed me. The best thing to do is get back to the basics. Take it all out of my head and write everything down. Once I make a list, it will be much easier to see.

When I get it done, I’ll show you what it looks like.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fridays R 4 Fun

Dragon Cake 
Whimsy and quirkiness, that’s what the world needs more of! I was reading Kristen Lamb’s blog post, Give a Dry Blog New Life - The Power of Themes and realized I could be having a lot more fun. So starting now every Friday I will blog about something that I think is fun, like cakes that make me smile.
purse cakeWho ever would have thought to have a cake that matches your shoes. This one is definitely for the fashionista in all of us. And if you’re going out, you don’t want to forget you make-up bag.

Makke up Cake
baked potato cakeWhat about a cake that looks like a baked potato. 

hot dog cake
A cake that looks like a hot dog.

 Here’s my favorite food, popcorn. I never thought it would come as a cake.
     pop corn cakeThis has to be better than pop corn flavored jelly beans.
wild thing cakeHow about this, a cake of Max and his friends.

                                  cake and cupcakesAnd finally, the cake that looks like cake…well almost.

This was a hoot. I hope it made you smile, too. We’ll see what I find next Friday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Making of a Breastplate

Under construction yellow 
A few posts ago, I introduced you to the model of my book cover, Makeda. You saw a picture of me wrapping her in duct tape. In a later post I told you I got an idea about making the breastplate in leather. Here is the picture of the raw leather.

038     I put a pair of my reading glasses on it to give you a gauge  for the size. This is one full calf’s hide. I know, it sounds awful. Rest assured, I had nothing to do with taking the life of the animal unless you count the hamburger I ate.

027Remember the picture of me wrapping Makeda in duct tape. Here is the shell it produced.

CIMG1057I taped that to the side of a bucket for two purposes 1) to hold it’s shape while I 2) lengthened it and covered it with plaster cloth wrap. As you can see, it was a very messy process. After it dried, I removed it from the bucket and this is what I got . 034The next step is to fill it with a slurry of plaster that I’ll make from the  powder in the container on the left. Once it dries and hardens, it will become the mold for the leather. But that’s different post.

Now you're caught up with where I am in the process. It’s work, but lots of fun.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

So Much to Do

I feel like this tree, snowed under and completely buried. Getting this book ready has been a blast. There are so many things involved in launching it that sometimes I can’t see my way through.

It’s not just making sure that the ms is of the highest quality, nor is it getting things put together for the cover. And to be honest, it’s not even the formatting and getting it uploaded that have got me going nuts. It’s everything else.

It’s what Elizabeth Law of Egmont Publishing said, “For the new author, whether print or electronic, success is based on the platform the debut author builds.” I have to plan for the promotion of the book, get people interested in it, and get them interested in me and what I do. That’s the hard part. And there’s another thing, I have to be really creative in how I arrange ‘book signings’. It’s an eBook!

I doubt that people will want me to sign their Nooks, Kindles, Kobos, or iPads. So I’m brain-storming every moment I can to come up with new and innovative alternatives. One idea is creating mini-posters of the book cover. I’ve even thought of having a rubber stamp that is a caricature of the cover design.

On top of all of this I have to maintain my writing schedule, post on this blog, update Facebook and Twitter, and create new stories for my website. And that’s just the writing part of my life!

It really is a good thing I’m enjoying myself.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Second Option

LA FreewayI have so many ideas running through my head, I imagine the neural pathways in my brain must look something like this. Oops, a bit of the psychologist just broke through. Sorry.

Yesterday I went to the local leather and saddle shop and spoke with one of the owners. I live in Arizona now and there are such things here. Really cool stuff.

I described to him what I was attempting to do for the breastplate and why. He got so excited that we must have spent at least an hour talking about the possibilities. He’s reading a book series that takes place around the same time period as my novel. He asked detailed questions about what I wanted the finished product to look like.

He pulled out his supply catalogs and explained the pros and cons of the different types of hides available and what I could expect the end products to look like. What a great guy! Then he walked me through the construction process and explained what to expect at the different stages. We talked about colorings and fasteners and methods of finishing!

I had a blast! I can’t wait for the material to come in so I can get started. It should be here next week. I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Cover Process

book coverAs promised here are some pictures of me with the model for my book cover. Her name is Makeda which is a wonderful tie in to my eBook. Makeda is the name that is believed to belong to the Queen of Sheba.

Makeda, my model, is extremely intelligent, beautiful, and reads a mountain of books every week. She is one of my Beta readers and she doesn’t hold back. If she doesn’t like it or something in the book doesn’t work, she has no problem telling me. In fact, her complaint about this book is that she wanted it to be longer. What I love about kids, especially Teens. They tell you the truth. But I digress.

Together, Makeda and I, are making the pattern for Kandake’s breastplate. It all started with a roll of duct tape and a tee shirt.
Wrapping Makeda IMG_1789
Then I wrapped her in the tape, with several layers, in the areas the breastplate would cover. And here we are at the end.Wrapping Makeda IMG_1792

PS Makeda's mother, Vicki, took the pictures.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I’ve Been Tagged! Now Guess Who’s It?

play tagI’ve been tagged! Here’s the line I had to complete. Writing is like…

Writing is like having the windows of imagination wide open and the passing breeze sweeps my ideas across the printed page, or computer screen. Honestly. When I write, images just pour out into words. Most of the time I have no idea where they come from, but I think it is the coolest thing. I watch the storyline develop on the page in front o me.

When I write, something physical happens in my brain that feels really good. I love it. So now you must tell me what the experience is like for you. Here are the writers I’m choosing to tag, but the line is open for anyone to complete.

Smells Like Library Tommy is an awesome writer and artist. He’s also a school librarian who works hard to make the world of books interesting. He even creates displays that are works of interactive art.

The Bookshelf Muse This blog by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman is for all aspiring writers. One of the things I like best on this blog is the emotional thesaurus.

The Happy Nappy Bookseller Doret’s blog  reviews books. She exposes us to books that generally wouldn’t get the attention they deserve. There are so many books that don’t meet mainstream press. Doret gets them out there!

So, Tommy, Becca and Angela, and Doret this tag is for you. Tell us all what you think...Writing is like

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

We’re Getting There

Progress barProgress is being made! All of you have been very helpful and supportive. The poll for suggesting book titles is going well. You have given me some great ideas. Please keep those coming. Think of the title you believe would make you want to read the book and write that suggestion in the comments.

Today, I take the breastplate prototype to the model to try on. I will make the necessary adjustments and markings for the final shape and placement of the straps. I am super excited! It is all coming together.

Even though it’s a lot of work, I’m having a blast. I’ll be posting pictures of the process within a couple of days. Thanks for walking with me through all of this.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Great Input!

fireworksI am so excited! There are so many wonderful title suggestions already. Most of them are titles I never even thought of. What is really interesting are the reasons for the titles people suggested.

I have my cell phone set to alert me to every new title that you leave in the comments. I find myself staring at the phone waiting for the next idea.

Your suggestions amaze me. They are all so inventive and perfectly represent the story of Kandake or Nubia. Keep them coming. Even if you’ve already left a suggestion and you think of another title, send me that one, too. And please, be sure to tell me your reason for it.
I can’t wait to hear more!