Sunday, October 22, 2017

What a busy week!

On Thursday, I shared the link and cover to our newest Happy Homicides anthology, Cookin' Up Crime. The price is only 99 cents until Nov. 5, and gosh, I guess readers are "hungry" for books that combine crime and cooking because we made it to #1 in two Amazon categories. Here's the link:
Our biggest anthology yet! Three hundred- plus pages! Comes with a huge bonus file of recipes and craft projects.
At the same time, I released Killer, Paper, Cut: Book #9 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series, with its new cover and edits. Here's the link:
And wow! It became #1 in two Amazon categories, too!
Now I'm going crazy doing the edits on Handmade, Holiday, Homicide: Book #10 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series while working on Fatal, Family, Album: Book #13 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series.
I can only sit in one place for so long at a time, so I try to take regular breaks for...crafting. Right now I'm working on a miniature room box that's intended to mimic an ad that Steinway Pianos has for the new Spirio, the hottest thing to hit the piano market in, well, decades. It's the world's most advanced high-resolution player piano. They can even "reverse engineer" performances to recreate on any Spirio a concert played and recorded in the past.
A room box is like a dollhouse, only as the name implies there's just one room. This particular project has been given me lots of trouble. I didn't have the proper equipment to cut the wood accurately. The archway that I bought came back with slightly wonky "legs." The panels needed to be ripped down and done over. There's still a lot to do, but it's getting there. The chair and the piano still need legs. A big screen TV will go over the mantle. I'm building a chandelier that will actually light up. I want to put a "throw" over the chair, and I need to add trim to the zebra rug. I want to put a palm in the pot, which I made by quilling.
The curtains are real silk. I made the cornice from a box and added papier mache to strengthen it. For the curtains themselves, I painted aluminum foil with white gesso. Then I glued on the silk. That allows me to arrange the folds as I wish.
To the right is a "marble" fireplace. I ordered it. It came unpainted. To get the marble look, I squirted my base color (acrylic paint) on a big piece of wax paper. Then I squirted on the accent colors. Using a piece of plastic wrap that I'd crumpled up, I dotted the plastic in the mixture and dotted it onto the surface of the fireplace. When that was dry, I used Mod Podge in gloss to get the shine. The interior o the fireplace (the firebox) is of recycled foam trays from the grocery store. It will light up when I'm done.
What else would you add to this scene?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Rocky Copy Edits

I had to put writing YARN IT on hold while I work on the copy edit of ON THE HOOK. This is my last time to go over the manuscript and make any changes. Reading it over is also setting me up to write the next one. The plot is already forming in my head.

So far this week, I have been able to keep to the schedule of pages I intended to get through each day, but it all got messed up today.

My plan was to do some errands and at least stop in and see my friends in my knit and crochet group. We have been meeting every Thursday for years and at various locations. My attendance has gotten very spotty. When we have seminars that night, it is hard for me to get there.

I did my errands and did get to spend some time with my friends. I was so happy to see them all and catch up on what everybody is making and doing.

I intended to switch gears when I got home and get back to the copy edit, but then I couldn’t find our cat Rocky. Normally, I wouldn’t have even been looking around the house for him, but he didn’t eat the other day and was making some weird meows. I probably would have let it go, but my husband seemed concerned about the cat this morning before I left. Then I began to think maybe there was something wrong with him.

We adopted Rocky from the SPCA in 2009 and they said he was 7 at the time, which makes him 15 now. That makes him a senior cat, though cats can live into their 20s. I searched the house for him getting nervous because when cats don’t feel well they hide. When I was making my second trip around the house, I heard some meows and found him walking across the living room.

I was still in the wait and see mode, but my husband, who wasn’t home, wanted me to take Rocky to the vet.. He suggested I offer Rocky some canned cat food and if he didn’t eat that would be a sure sign something was wrong and I should take him to the vet. I tried to the food and Rocky looked at it and walked away. So, I dragged out the carrier and drove to the vet. I have been going to this vet for over 40 years even though the pet hospital is about 7 miles away. Traffic in L.A. is never light, and the local high school had just let out snarling traffic even more. Rocky wasn’t happy about the ride and let me know with sad sounding loud meows.

We were seen shortly after we got there. They checked Rocky all over, including his teeth and how well he walked. And there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with him. The vet suggested not doing any tests unless Rocky starts hiding all the time or has some other severe behavior changes. Personally, I was thrilled. I think Rocky was too, because there were no plaintiff meows on the way home.

As soon as he jumped out of the cat carrier, he ate the wet food he’d ignored before. He is still meowing in sort of a cantankerous tone, which I think might have to do with Fake Julius, the cat down the street who hangs out in our yard and taunts Rocky. And we have a lot of squirrels, too. They tend to go in a tree and make a lot of noise when I take Rocky out into the yard.

I am relieved that all seems to have ended well, but its dark out now and I have still pages to go before I sleep.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Stalled by Craft Chaos

I had planned to show everyone everyone my process for my making page kits for a crop. I wasn't as productive (completed layouts wise) at the last crop I attended and the biggest difference was I hadn't preplanned any of the pages. With another crop coming up in November, I wanted to get some page kits together so I completed more layouts and I also didn't have to bring so much stuff it looked like I was moving in.

I gathered up all cruise/vacation/25th anniversary themed paper, embellishments, and cardstock in blues, silver, white, and Caribbean colors. Printed out all my pictures. Found my vacation themed stamps and ink colors that complement the papers. I cleared off my large crafting and got ready to work. Oops, forgot one thing. My stash of Ziploc bags. The central  component of my kit making.

So off I went to find them--and spent 2 hours looking for the safe place I put them so I didn't lose them during the craft room move of 2017. No luck. I now have come to the conclusion that the only way to locate the wayward bags is to finish the job of moving all my craft supplies upstairs...and purging some of them. This is the task I've been avoiding for the last six weeks. I can't believe how much stuff I've accumulated over the years, and the fact is I'll never be able to use it all and some of the items no longer speak to me as my scrapbooking style has changed, and to be honest I either bought on a whim or because it was a really great sale price.

Now the easiest thing to do would be buy more Ziploc bags. It would definitely had taken me less time, but I really don't want to go buy more as I know there are 25+ bags just waiting for me to discover them among the craft chaos. But I do need to get the items sorted out and put my new craft space and office together.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Cari!

Time passes quickly these days, and one event in particular made that most apparent this week: yesterday was my puppy Cari's first birthday!

She is a member of our family, of course, and has been for about ten months now.  Though we've taken her to classes, she continues our family tradition of having our dogs train us more than the other way around. She's bigger than her stepsister Mystie, who will be 10 in December.  She's the cuddliest Cavalier we've had, and Cavaliers tend to be cuddly dogs.

One of the many cute things about Cari is that she is getting into the habit of insisting on some cuddle time on my lap while I'm at the computer--which is, of course, most of the day.  It's not easy to type around her, so it's easier to edit than to write, but I manage both.

I still miss Lexie, Cari's predecessor tricolor Cavalier, whom we lost almost exactly a year ago. She was special in other ways.  It's fun that, even having the same breed so there's a physical resemblance and general behavioral similarities, none of them have exactly the same personality.

Anyway... writing, and Cari isn't on my lap at the moment.  My latest--my last--Nocturne is moving along.  And this is actually a month that a new--sort of--Nocturne of mine is available.  That's PROTECTOR WOLF, which was actually published by itself in June, but it came out again this month in a 2-in-1 version along with Linda Thomas-Sundstrom's DESERT WOLF.  I've never seen a 2-in-1 in stores here in California, but I know they're available in some stores farther east of here--including in Indiana.

So--time to get back to our elongated birthday celebration.  Happy Day-After-Your-Birthday, Cari!