Mewto & Super Bowl cooking frenzy


After waiting months, we FINALLY got a M2 raid in Cumberland, Md and all 4 of us got the ex pass invite. Sadly only 3 of us caught him so we’ll still be hitting the gyms in Constitution Park hard in hopes of triggering another ex raid, besides which another regular player in our local group didn’t get an invite to this one for reasons no one understands either. On top of finally catching an unown earlier this week, PoGo has been stellar for me lately.

I take it from my Facebook feed that Trumpkins are boycotting the Super Bowl this year. Whatever, dudes. I personally do not give a single fruity shit about football, but the Super Bowl has always been an excuse for a cooking frenzy at my house. This year, we’re having ham and cheese quesadillas, bacon bombs, and sushi.

I have been on a tear since the Nunes memo. This is IRL. I don’t bother much as the writerly me since it seems, at least to me, most in the niche are left, extreme left, and/or progressives. That’s preaching to the choir. Meanwhile, I live in a ruby red state, in an area that doubtlessly went for Trump in a big, big way. So much so, I assume pretty much everyone I talk to is a Trump supporter or a Trumpkin. (I differentiate that, btw. Trumpkins will support Trump no matter what he does and rationalize away literally anything. Trump supporters, OTOH, voted for Trump but aren’t willing to pish-posh away everything he does. Trumpkins gulp down the koolaid on a daily. Trump supporters, not so much.) I post about politics IRL on an almost daily basis because that field is more fertile for change. Pity the fool who has the temerity to argue with me about politics too because hell yes, I will argue right back, thank you very much. Anyone who thinks the little woman should just sit down and shut up has been schooled otherwise.

Living in a Trump-heavy area can be super infuriating. Not because of the arguing. I have people on my fb feed who regularly post tea party nutter bullshit and honestly, you can only take so much of that before you explode. I’m not talking about republican stuff. I’m an independent. Frankly, some republican platform issues I agree with. When I refer to tea party nutter bullshit, I mean trotting out the cra-cra. If you devoutly believe Trump saved us from the imposition of Sharia Law, you are fucking crazy. Just an example. I occasionally have to give myself a mental health time-out from my real life peeps because of it.

Artsy craftsy wise, I’m still cro-knitting my Caron Cakes blanket and playing with kumihimo disks I ordered from the Zon. I’ve almost finished my own DIY version of this from embroidery floss I already had and once I get the hang of braiding thread, I’ll experiment with beading. Right now, I’m working with 8 thread patterns. Once I finish my star-spangled bracelet, I’ll try a 16 thread pattern. Pretty cool. I haven’t received my bobbins yet, but the disks are less than ten bucks. I’m using threads and yarns I already own too so…cheap craft.

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Undoing (by a lot) and Patreon

Writing: I ultimately decided the novella idea isn’t ready — the magic mythos in it is too similar to Heart Stone and I wouldn’t want to repeat myself. I have moved on to a changeling novella two-fer project that’s been on my hard drive a good couple years now. Maybe longer, honestly. I kept putting off doing the changelings because shifters were always my strongest sellers and with the Bust, working on what’s most commercially popular was the smart move. I also felt, at least during the early stages of the Bust, that writing inside the price point sweet spot of $2.99-$3.99 was a definite must. Readers balk at paying more than that so I made sure the length I wrote stuck inside that price pointing. Granted, a pair of novellas, both of which can very easily be priced at $2.99, stayed in the sweet spot, but my original idea was always to release the two novellas bundled together (for a total novel-length of 60K-ish) priced at $4.99. The Last Emperor showed me that readers are still willing to buy at that price point and taking a break from shifters to avoid readers pigeonholing me as only a shifter author & alleviate the danger of reader fatigue is still a good move. So. Historia Regum Fae it is.

A hot trend in author land over the past year or so has been patreon accounts. The idea is asking readers (patrons) to donate as little as a dollar/month on upward to support your art instead of relying solely on royalties (or sales, for other types of artists) to keep your career going. So far, I’ve resisted setting up my own patreon for many reasons. Firstly, curating a patreon account seems to me like a shit ton of work. To keep your subscriber patrons active and interested, the artist needs to be hands-on involved. You’ll be writing a lot of blog posts, sharing monthly new content, things of that sort. I’m not very active on my writerly social media so basically this sounds like a fresh level of Hell to me. Regularly generating fresh content is a big commitment — one that could divert time and attention away from producing new books. I work so slow already. Anything that risks making me even slower doesn’t strike me as wise. I can’t imagine many of my core readers would genuinely care to rub shoulders with me on a more intimate basis either. For free, here? Maybe. But paying for it, I sincerely doubt that, even if the extra access included patreon-only content, behind the scenes sorts of stuff, and etc. I never say never. Who knows, I may decided to give patreon a try at some point. But for now, it’s not for me. Not knocking others who give it a try. For me, I just don’t think it’d be a good fit.

Anyhoo, I frogged my cocoon sweater. Once it was done, I didn’t love it. It was all right, but hey, I can do way better than all right. Also, I adored that yarn (blackberry mousse colorway in Caron Cakes) and I can definitely do better by it. I think I might use it and the black I used for edging & contrast on the cocoon sweater to do the spinning top lapghan. We shall see. For the time being, rather than starting a 3rd in-progress project, I’m concentrating on the cro-knit blanket which is growing pretty ginormous at this point. It’s at the awkward stage, when handling it grows increasingly difficult, but that’s a fun stage too because you get a better idea of what the finished product will be like. I’m loving it so far, think it’s going to be gorgeous. And super warm.

Daughter is here again for the weekend. Her car needs work on her brakes and our local mechanic is better than what she has in Morgantown so she’s staying over an extra day to get that done…and finally replacing her phone so she’ll be able to play PoGo! I think we’re shopping for her phone this morning. As soon as she has it, we’ll be out PoGo’ing to move her up the early levels as quickly as possible. I’m excited because, once we get her to raiding level, our family will be a four-man raid group. Whoa. Plus, K can get to know some of the regular players of our local PoGo group a little better. Nice people. PoGo can be a great way to meet new people. I think it’ll be good for her.

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Walking Tour of Cumberland, Maryland

After treatment for breast cancer, I took up walking (and Pokemon Go) to get more active because being active improves your odds against recurrence/spread. I’m a transplant to the area, though we’ve lived here over twenty years now. I didn’t grow up here, which made it more fun to treat our walks as though I were a tourist. In many ways, I was.

Anyway, I started taking snapshots with my phone of neat things I’d find while we were walking around and that’s when my Walking Tour of Cumberland project was born.

If you’re ever in town, I highly recommend buying the tickets to hop one of the excursion trains, hiking the C&O Canal (please do visit the museum!), and either hiking or biking the Great Allegheny Passage. Best time to come is the start of summer during Heritage Days when you can tour the tunnels beneath the church going up Washington Street which name I can’t remember at the moment, LOL. All the local kids go to the church to have pictures taken for formal dances, is like a rite of passage, so definitely gorgeous. The tunnels beneath the church are what’s left of Washington’s Fort and also very cool. You do NOT want to miss Coney Island Hotdogs on Liberty Street for cheap eats and Crabby Pig if you’ve got a little extra $ to spend. Check to see if the Gordon-Roberts House and the Allegany Arts Council are having any workshops or events — many are free. In fact, my husband and I took a chain mail class a few months ago at the Gordon Roberts House, free, which was extremely cool.

If you’re a PoGo player, look around the square at Washington Street, where the library is. A very popular PoGo spot. You’ll likely find at least one other player knocking around and who knows, you might even manage to run into me.

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Something Witchy This Way Comes?

Writing: Brainstorming 3TL away from shifters and for now, the basic plot seems to be adapting very well to a witch framework. Not Harry Potter style witchcraft, I should say. Yes, I enjoyed those books too, but not my thing, sorry. When it comes to all things witchy, I’m more of a pagan kind of girl. Book of Shadows, omens, charms, crystals, so many elements that fascinate me. I wrote quite a few into the Heart Stone books and if I ever catch up, I intend to complete that series. In the meantime…This may work for 3TL.

I am determined to finish my cocoon sweater today. I crocheted the body in a horizontal rib of half-doubles with 3 Caron Cakes in Blackberry Mousse, which is almost done, and I plan to edge with a black rib too. I’m winging it, figured cocoon sweaters are basically just rectangles, how difficult would coming up with my own be? We shall see. If I finish it, though, I can start another project and that’s what is pushing me on. I’d also kind of like to finally finish a pair of fingerless mitts I took a knitting class for sometime last year. I haven’t finished those because I skipped the 2nd part of the 2-part class so I’ll have to youtube some of the techniques — I’m not a strong needle knitter. Looms, yes. Needles, not so much. Such a waste to pay for the class as well as the not inexpensive wool and then not finish the stupid project, though. When I get the sweater done, I should definitely wrap that up next.

Adventures in plumbing still ongoing and having to stick near home for work to be done on that is killing my kyogre raiding. I’m 0/10 on it now. What the hell? I also can’t really use the kitchen until the plumbing is fixed which makes cooking rather problematic, to say the least. Pizza won’t require a lot of dirty dishes so I’ll probably do that this evening. Not frozen or carryout. I do my own with prepackages pizza shells so I can customize, so not a big deal.

Posted in crochet, PoGo, sweaters, Writing | Leave a comment


Writing: Sadly, I’ve decided the 3TL premise needs a smidge more work so fresh pages are tabled until I get that premise right…or more right, I should say. People think all you do to write is open a Word file and go. Nah, man. Well, certainly some writers may do just that and if it works, hey, more power to them. Not me, though. My first idea is never extraordinary and if it isn’t extraordinary, why do it? Readers don’t come to me for trite and ordinary. They read me because I take the time and make the effort to grow and develop an idea into something different. Distinct. Right now, 3TL isn’t your average bear of a story. That’s true. Readers won’t find a dozen or more other stories on the market just like it. But I can do better. So I will.

Anyhoo…I’ve been crocheting for about 30 years. My mother or an aunt might have taught me to chain and double crochet at the very start, who knows, but basically, I’m self-taught. I bought a needlework encyclopedia as a newlywed at 21 and followed that. I guess people would just go to youtube now, but that’s how I did it back in the day — from a book. I’ve shown my daughter how to chain and double crochet before. I’ve shown her how to use knitting looms too. But really, very limited. Well, next time she comes in for a weekend, I’ve resolved to show her a bit more. Maybe guide her along on how to make a simple project. She wants to. It’s just that I’ve been doing it so long, she sees what I do as intimidating, I think. Just takes a lot of practice and building on skills a little at a time. I’m looking at a few simple/basic one-skein wonder small projects for her. A dishcloth (although I’ve personally never understood why that is a thing), ear warmer, maybe a cowl or perhaps a stitch sampler scarf.

I’ve also dug up a basic sponge so I might start the magic book acrylic painting I linked to previously.

Cooking tip: last night, I put a ham bone in my crock pot with 2 cartons of chicken broth, a diced onion, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and a bag of dry bean soup mix (minus the flavor packet). Set it on low. When I rolled out of bed, all I had to do was turn the crock pot down to warm, fish out the bone, strip it of meat, and return the meat to the crock pot, adding the flavor packet from the soup mix + a can of diced tomatoes + 2 tablespoons lemon juice here at the end. Voila, dinner is done. I almost always make refried beans overnight in the crock pot too, but you can cook any kind of dry beans that way. Just doesn’t get easier than overnighting in a crock pot. Sure, I’ll dump my ham & bean soup into containers and reheat when it’s dinner time (leaving food on warm in a crock pot isn’t wise, unless you’re a fan of food poisoning), but…makes dinner one less thing to worry over.

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PoGo Community Day!

Writing: My (adult) daughter is here for the weekend, which means no work. Yeah, I know. My author bio says three kids at  home (or at least implies it), but K has lived in Morgantown for five years now. When I wrote the bio eight years ago, she was still living with us, though. The truth is — I don’t have three kids. I have four. One is my (also adult) stepdaughter who lives near Charleston, WV. My husband was the non-custodial parent so it felt disingenuous to claim four in my author bio. Plus, I suspect the hub’s ex would’ve lost her shit spectacularly so… The point is my daughter’s here, hooray! My attention span isn’t the greatest under the best of circumstances to start with (lingering chemobrain issues) so when she’s here, I don’t even try to work. Is just an exercise in frustration.

Eight years? Have I really been in the game for EIGHT years? That can’t be right, can it? When I think about who was slogging their guts out in the newbie trenches alongside me when I got my start…There aren’t many of us left, honestly. Some are still hanging around social media, but aren’t producing new work. The authors who were BNAs (Big Name Authors) when I started have winnowed down too. It’s a part of the business we authors don’t talk about. Colleagues quit all the time, move on to something else as interests & incomes change. In this Bust market, that is especially true because per book earnings aren’t stellar and every time a colleague leaves, it breaks my heart. You really have to love this business to stay in the game. That’s the key to career longevity, people. It isn’t talent. It’s perseverance. It’s loving the business even when the business doesn’t love you. It’s never giving up. When reviews are lousy, when volume sales are down, when your own freaking mental function betrays you on a daily (chemobrain!), keep going. No special trick to it. Just keep going.

Anyhoo…adventures in plumbing today. Our dishwasher started backing up and all manner of WTFery is now going on in my kitchen. The hubs tried, but no hope for it. We had to call a plumber. I’m already developing a disturbing facial tic at how much that’s going to cost. In the meantime, I predict Chinese takeout in my immediate future because no way I can cook in that mess.

Pokemon Go’s first Community Day is today. My local group is rather large, around 250 players, but I don’t think we’re planning any formal meet-ups. Hubs and I will hit Constitution Park in search of the surf move Pikachu and we’ve both saved evolutions for the double xp window. Probably spend a little time on Washington St, which is a square where the courthouse is in Cumberland that has 4 pokestops close enough to hit sitting in one spot, plus a gym on the corner (plus 3 more other gyms nearby) if you want to stretch your legs. 3 hour lures on all 4 pokestops should wipe out the rest of the balls I stockpiled in Baltimore during my check-in with my breast surgeon a few days ago quite nicely. I’m a level 39 in PoGo, btw. Hubs is level 32 and my older son is level 35. Hoping for a raid or two on kyogre — I’m 0/6 on that bastard so far. Dammit.

Still cro-knitting. I also have a Tunisian entrelac baby afghan in progress and a cocoon sweater too, but I’m mostly cro-knitting/hooking the blanket. Isn’t this painting fabulous? I should definitely try it. Yes, I paint. Poorly, LOL, but I do paint. Poor you if I ever share pics because I’m not joking about how bad I am. I enjoy it, though and that’s a life lesson for you from a woman who faces potential recurrence/spread of breast cancer every stinking day — do what you love. Whether or not you’re good at it is immaterial if you’re having a good time. Truly. You know what’s more powerful than cancer? Regrets. My mission in life, no matter how long or short mine is, is to not have any.

Posted in family, Painting, PoGo, Writing | Leave a comment

Third Time Lucky and cro-hooking

Writing: I started the UFD (Ugly First Draft) of my next project yesterday, although I’m not entirely sure this idea is genuinely ready to strut. No point in steering now, let’s find out! My working title so far is Third Time Lucky because the story revolves around Hero1, Mark, mating for the third time. I’m leaning away from plotty with this one or challenging myself craft-wise. I’m joyfully embracing smoking hot smut instead. (Anyone who thinks I’d be above PWP doesn’t me know me at all, LOL.) Anyway, 3TL is very early in the process so the title, character names, basically everything can change. Right now, it’s shifters again, but I’d kind of like to swerve away from shifters so that could definitely change. I just want to start the damn thing, get a better feel for my characters and premise. Hey, I started Pretty Poison three times before I finally got that idea heading where I wanted it to go. Who knows if this will stick, but I’m liking where I’m going so far.

I’m heading to Martins today. Starbucks singles are a gas points deal. If I buy 4 at $2.39 each for a total of $9.56, I earn .40/gallon off gas or $10 worth of gas. So…better than free. I’m doing the deal the maximum of 5 times, thereby earning $2/gallon off my next 25 gallons of gas. I already have .40/gallon off gas so I’ll be close to my next free tank and my son & daughter will enjoy a treat for a while. Pity I can’t afford the sugar. I miss Starbucks desperately, but I’d miss breathing more so them’s the breaks.

I’m also working on a new skill called by various names including cro-hooking, cro-knitting, or crooking. I ordered a pair of interchangeable crochet hooks from the Knitters Pride Dreamz collection from Amazon, 2 size L/8mm hooks, which I attached to knitting cables already in my tool kit. If you know the Tunisian simple stitch (TSS), this is a very similar concept except you are working with 2 yarns on each side of the fabric. You TSS across and back with one yarn and then turn the work to TSS across and back with the other yarn. Rinse & repeat. This is the video I used to learn the how of it. I chained 201 to start me off, yielding about 50 inches across, because I wanted a substantial sized blanket. My colorways are Caron Big Cakes Cornacopia (on clearance for $5.59 per cake — if you like these colors, buy while you still can!) and Caron One Pound in Cream. I expect to use 4 of each. I really like the double-sided effect of this technique and cro-knitting does a fantastic job of softening the hard breaks of color changes in Caron Cakes, which drives me a little batty.

The only real hiccup for me is how or even if I’ll be able to enter this project into my county fair. I’m using crochet hooks, but it’s not really crochet. Will they accept it as a crochet afghan? A knit afghan? A Tunisian afghan? Who knows, not me. I guess I’ll find out come summer.

Anyhoo, I’m one color strip shy of finishing off my first Caron Cake and the piece measures around 15 inches from the bottom. I expect to get another 1.50 inches out of this cake so each cake should do about 16.5 inches. 4 cakes should yield a blanket with dimensions around 50 inches by 66 inches or thereabouts. I don’t always or even usually, but I’ll likely keep this one.



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