Sanity-Saving Lifeline

knitting-facts

I’ve only been knitting about a month. I’ve made a bunch of practice swatches, a dog dishcloth, a scarf, and am working on a second scarf. Thank goodness for Facebook, because my crafty friends have been giving me helpful tips, including using a lifeline.

As much as it offends my over-achiever personality, mistakes happen. Stupid, soul-sucking, project-tainting mistakes. In crochet, since you work one loop or stitch at a time, it’s easy to rip out the work back to the mistake, even if it feels like a rusty ice pick to the heart to destroy hours’ worth of yarny goodness.

With knitting, though, it’s much harder. Some of this is because I’m still new. I’m at about a second-grade level when it comes to knitting, while I have a metaphorical PhD in crochet. But with knitting, you work with a full row of stitches on the needle. If you discover a mistake while on the same row, like if your stitch count is off at the end, you can usually figure out where the mistake is and un-work the stitches back to that point. Still tricky for me, as I can still lose a loop that way, but it’s possible.

If you don’t realize your mistake until several rows later, the expletives begin to fly. If you simply start pulling out rows to get back to where you can fix it, you then have to try to identify one complete row of loops and get each one back on the needle without losing a single one. Tough enough in a 35-stitch-per-row scarf. Much harder for a wider shawl or blanket.

I’ve learned knitters call ripping out stitches “frogging.” (“rip-it, rip-it, rip-it,” ha.)

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Which brings us to Monday night and the lifeline.

I’m doing a zigzag scarf. It has a left-slanted segment, then a right-slanted one, ten rows each. Each consists of a pattern row and a purl row, repeated five times for ten rows. Late Monday, I discovered my mind had wandered and I had repeated the left leaning segment, meaning I had a long, 20-row left chunk, totally breaking the symmetry. Can’t fix that by throwing in an increase or decrease in the next row.

Motherfluffer.

No choice. I had to go back to the end of the previous segment and re-work the ten offending rows. Thankfully, I’d listened to Jody and had been putting a lifeline through rows 10 and 20 each round. This is a purl row, so no worries about getting it through a K2tog or YO.

In theory, this was all hunky-dory. In reality, not so much, and I almost got a nosebleed thinking about it. But a-frogging I did go, with a churning stomach and nervous sweat upon my brow.

When I got to the lifeline, I handled the scarf like it was made of nitroglycerin, tissue-thin crystal, and bunny-fluff. I carefully and meticulously inserted the needle through each stitch that had the lifeline…and we all survived.

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This is how I placed the line. I use crochet cotton and a tapestry needle and work it carefully through each loop, being sure to get all strands of the yarn in each stitch. I do this in row 10 and 20, and when I get to 10 again, I pull out the first line and use that, so I always have two.

This is what it looks like.

I almost didn’t bother with lifelines, because I’m pathologically lazy, and taking time out from knitting to do something so dull and utilitarian makes my teeth itch. But lifelines are like insurance. A nuisance to obtain and pay for, until you need it. The claims are a pain to deal with, and the item in question might not ever be as pristine and perfect as it once was, but in the end, you’re glad you had that security.

Bottom line, I’m still alive, my scarf is still alive, and my house isn’t full of broken objects hurled about in a flurry of frustrated anguish. I’ll have to be a much, much more experienced knitter before I consider “working without a net.”

Release Day Festivities

Some of you know I’m the Managing Editor for Limitless Publishing and our imprint, Crave Publishing. It truly is the best job in the world. We have so many amazing authors in a variety of genres, and a tight-knit publishing family.

Tuesdays are release day, and I have hot new books to share by two of our bestselling authors, H.J. Bellus and Skyla Madi.

First up, Death & Dust, by Skyla Madi and Limitless Publishing…

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Jai Stone…

I met him in the shadows first. He was tall and broad-shouldered, a man full of heat, passion, and unconditional love meant only for me. 

He was my perfect counterpart, my best friend, and the only spark of light in an otherwise cold, dark hell.

But it was never meant to be.

Together, we fought hard in a war that sought only to destroy us, and the casualties are worse than I ever imagined. 

Because of Skull…
I lost the closest thing I had to family.

Because of Skull…
I’ll never get the chance to atone for my mistakes. 

Because of Skull…
I was no longer Jai’s kitten.

ONE CLICK HERE on Amazon, and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

And now, check out the first in a brand new series, a spin-off of the bestselling Southern Boys series, Whiskey & You by H.J. Bellus and Crave Publishing…

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Sometimes it’s the hero who ends up needing a lifeline…

Jack Jarvis York is a ruthless and vindictive oil tycoon who knows no boundaries when he’s been double-crossed. Debtors beware. He’ll slit your throat for a nickel. And make no mistake, he will collect.

You never screw with a man’s pride, money, or oil. It’s Texas Law. Unwritten, yet gospel. They don’t call him the king of Texas for nothing.

When a debtor can’t come up with his money, JJ takes his wife as collateral…

What starts out as a trade-off between bitter men turns into an emotional collision of desire and forbidden love so dangerous, it threatens to destroy even the strongest of empires. 

No amount of money will ever rebuild everything that’s been shattered. Jack is left standing in the middle of his own chaos.

Greed and power are the least of his worries now. Death is knocking on his front door, wanting to collect. 

The woman he’s given his heart to just might become his collateral this time around. Past sins may trump everything…

ONE CLICK HERE on Amazon, and FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Be sure to visit the Limitless and Crave Facebook pages, because we have Amazon gift card giveaways running right now for these hot new releases! And for even more fun and games and goodies, Crave has a readers’ group, “What Are You Craving?” in which the authors host great events and games and giveaways every week. Visit the group and join so you don’t miss out.

On my to-do list today is to continue work on editing an upcoming Crave release, Mafia Princess by Bella J, first in her new Royal Mafia series and due out on May 8.

Nope, my job does not suck, not even a little bit!

Pups Grow Up

I absolutely, positively did not want a puppy. In November 2016, when Brody died and we’d already lost Darwin to cancer in June, I desperately needed a dog. I hadn’t been dogless in my life. I’m not cut out to not have a dog. But I didn’t want a puppy. I’m too old to be dealing with puppy shenanigans.

Then I found Mozzie, and two months later, Oliver.

Yesterday, Mozzie turned 19 months old, and Oliver turned 17 months.

Here they were a year ago, at 7 and 5 months.

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Mozzie, top; Oliver, bottom

Now they’re so grown up. They might grow a little more, and fill out, but Mozzie was 62 pounds at his vet check last month, and Oliver was 57, and I don’t think either of them will gain much more than maybe five pounds. Just look at these faces!

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Oliver, left; Mozzie, right

They wake me up early, follow me everywhere, observe my every move, destroy the yard, bark and tear for the front window at every sound, terrorize squirrels, drag their toys all over the house, and generally behave like hyperactive heathens.

But they play and run and snuggle and make me laugh and keep me company. I didn’t want a puppy–much less two–but it turns out they were exactly what I needed.

Just Look At The Flowers…

Last spring, I still had five rose bushes. I also had two puppies, who are 17 months (Oliver) and 19 months (Mozzie) today. By last fall, I had one rose bush, and it’s definitely the worse for wear. The other four are…gone. Not destroyed or torn up. Obliterated. The three-tier raised garden beds weren’t planted last year, because I’m not a total imbecile. The Direwolves decided the gardens were puppy jungle gyms, so I’ll be scavenging the boards for parts.

At any rate, I’m sticking to my deck rail planters and some large pots on the deck. And as it’s getting springy in eastern North Carolina, we made an outing to get some flowers today. It will be a while before they fill out, but it feels good to be doing something summery.

There are four of the rectangular rail planters and two of the round pots.

We also went to the craft store because the tiny row counter I had has decided to play hide and seek way too often, last night somehow getting completely under the recliner by my couch, way in the middle of the square wooden frame beneath it. I’d just about decided Oliver had eaten it. But I got a bigger one, the red object I sort of chopped out in the image below.

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The yarn is nothing special; I just liked the colors. I wish the one indie yarn shop in town hadn’t closed last year. Now that I’m knitting, I’d love some boutique and specialty yarns. With crochet, my projects tended to be larger scale, making fancy yarn cost-prohibitive.

With the plants planted, it’s time to work on my Rolling Meadows scarf. It’s about 10″ long so far. These images aren’t the best, because this scarf will need a good bit of blocking when done to show off the shape and pattern, so I just stretched it out so you could get an idea.

Information on the pattern and yarn used can be found HERE on yesterday’s post.

Thank goodness I don’t have to cook today! We have guests this weekend, and we went  out to lunch, and have a fridge full of leftover pizza from last night.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be butt-planted on the couch now, knitting and watching Doctor Who, until 9:00 when tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead starts. I host a live chat in a private Facebook group, so if you’re interested, send me a message on Facebook and ask me to add you!

New Project Time

I finally finished my first official knitted project, a fan and feather pattern scarf. It still needs to be blocked, which I’ll do in the next couple of days.

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Here it was as it was nearing completion. Definitely has mistakes in it, but I’m pretty happy with it.

And all you crafty types know what that means. A new project! I’m still a beginner, and while I want to do a lot of complex Celtic knot style cables, I’m not there yet.

I started work on a zigzag scarf, but it had a long repeat with complicated rows, nothing I couldn’t do, but we’re having company this weekend and I should try to be able to follow a conversation instead of laser-focusing on the pattern, so I chose the Rolling Meadows scarf, HERE.

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I’m using Chroma worsted yarn from Knit Picks, in “Drawing Room,” and I absolutely love the soft colors in this yarn.

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And here we go, the very beginning!

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In the past, I just did the easy, basic thumb cast-on, but yesterday I learned to do the long tail cast on, which I think will give me a nicer starting edge. It’s curling here, but that should smooth out when I eventually block it. I can’t wait to get to work on it today and get to where I can see the beautiful color blend begin to unfold.

I love to learn at least one new skill with each project, and in addition to the long tail cast on, for this one I also learned ssk (slip, slip, knit), which is a decrease stitch that leans the opposite way of k2tog. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. 🙂

What are you working on this weekend? You can share photos with me on the Furwood Forest Facebook page. I’d love to see your current projects!

Grumpypants

Did you know if you do an image search for “grumpy golden retriever” or “golden retriever in a bad mood” you won’t find much? This shouldn’t surprise me. Goldens are almost pathologically cheerful. They can pull off sad, or disappointed, or bored, or play-snarling, but it’s not easy to find a grouchy golden.

Why was I looking for a picture of a grouchy-golden? Because I’m in a vile mood today and wanted a photo representation, preferably in dog form. After extensive research (three or four minutes trying various combinations of bad/vile/grouchy dog in a Google image search), this guy is the clear winner and accurately depicts my current outlook.

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“Whatever you’re thinking of saying or doing…don’t. Just. Don’t.”

But why? Nothing really unusual here at Furwood Forest today. Awoke to customary puppy-snuggles, it’s not raining, internet is working. Some non-standard and disturbing stuff in the work inbox, I guess, and routine tasks that have a few extra-fun complications involved.

Mainly this, though:

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My to-do list is significantly heftier than my motivation, which does present a problem. I find that on days like this, it’s best to unplug, disengage, and do something mindless. Sadly, this is not an option today.

The only plan I can devise is to fire up the brain-focus and get work done so I can then shift into mindless mode and work on my scarf, which is growing quite a bit. It needs to be at least a foot longer, because I want to wrap it around and still have lots of knitted goodness draped down over my front when I wear it.

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A better solution would be to follow the dream I had last night–no, not that kind of dream, so get your mind out of the gutter–and go to England to visit my longtime author friend, where we will go shopping and buy pear vodka (which it turns out is really a thing) while I try to figure out if dollars work in the UK.

That sounds like a lot more fun than what I need to do. But alas, England is far-far away across a vast ocean, and a check of air fares for flights leaving today tells me it would cost about $3,000 to hop a plane to London, and that’s before I factor in the price of the pear vodka, which I can assume would be substantial, because I feel like I want a lot of it.

And this concludes the whining portion of the day, or the whinging portion, as they say in the UK–a word I love for some reason, and also I’m working on my British English so I’m prepared when I finally decide to get a passport and go there.

Actually, there’s likely to be a lot more whinging (see what I did there?) but the only ones who will hear it are Mozzie and Oliver, and when they get sick of listening to me, I might finally get a photo of a grumpy golden, and also a standard poodle, filling a definite void in the meme universe.

Classic: Brody The Mouse-Barker

Some of you might remember Brody, our dearly departed Great Pyrenees, patroller of the yard and guardian of all the things. These classic posts took place ten years ago at our house in Minnesota.

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Rodent Rescue Part One:

I’m not at my most mentally acute at 5:25 a.m. Or at 6:25. Or, truthfully, 7:25. This morning at 5:25 I was in the shower when I heard Brody barking outside. Admittedly, Brody does bark outside a lot. Every day. Until I go outside and chase his fluffy Pyr-butt into the house before the neighbors call Animal Control.

But this was not his usual guardian-type “Brrrrrrrr-ROO-ROO-ROO!” It was a constant series of short, staccato, emphatic yips, and he sounded a bit agitated. The last I’d seen him, he was near the pool, an area in which he doesn’t tend to spend a lot of time due to the risk of accidentally dampening his paws. Brody isn’t a fan of anything moist, unless it is frozen and piled in drifts in the yard.

I told myself I’d just quickly finish my shower, and then go see what his problem was. Then I got thinking, “What if the big idiot fell in the pool?” He’s never been in there, so he isn’t aware of the stairs at the shallow end as a means of exiting the dreaded aquatic death trap. I began picturing a 100-pound, soaking wet, massively furry, coat-blowing, freaked-out, pissed-off Great Pyrenees who would take until September to dry and decided I’d better get out of the shower and see what was going on.

I wrapped a towel around myself and ventured out to the sliding glass doors, where I observed Brody lying by the pool, front paws draped over the edge, staring intently at something in the water, and barking like a broken record. Clearly, further investigation was in order. I hopped back in the shower to rinse off, then threw on some clothes and headed outside.

It wasn’t hard to figure out what was inspiring Brody’s bark-fest. There was a mouse (or possibly a vole; I don’t really know the difference) swimming in the pool. Actually, he was drowning in the pool. He’d paddle frantically for a few seconds, slip beneath the surface, then fight his way back up. I had to help him!

I’m an animal-lover, obviously. I go out of my way not to kill things, at least as long as they stay in the Great Outdoors where they belong. If this mouse (or possibly vole) were pooping in my silverware drawer, I would immediately set a death-inducing trap to put an end to his intrusion once and for all.

I looked around for the pool net and didn’t see it. I did see the pole on which the net belongs, but the net was nowhere to be found. I stuck the pole in the water, and Mr. Mouse tried to climb up on it, but it was too narrow and slippery, and he kept falling off.

Next, I grabbed a beach towel that was lying near one of the Adirondack chairs, and tossed that onto the surface of the water, thinking he could scurry up onto that and I could pull him out, without having to risk actual hand-to-mouse contact. He did not see the carefully thought-out logic and refused to approach the floating towel.

Finally, I picked up a stainless steel bowl, waited for drowny-mouse to get close to the side, and scooped him to safety. I deposited him in the mulch near the fence, hoping Brody didn’t pounce and eat him. That would have been bitterly ironic after my heroic efforts to keep the little rodent alive. Brody continued to monitor the pool for wildlife, and I watched the mouse (or vole) huddle by the fence and begin to groom himself back into composure.

This was a lot for me to accomplish by just after 5:30 in the morning! Plus, it totally blew my morning routine, and we all know how I thrive on routine, especially in the early morning hours when independent thought is far more difficult than it is later in the day.

I hope Mr. Mouse (or Vole) returns my good deed by staying out of my pantry and silverware drawer. If he is foolish enough to pack up his entire rodent family and move in, I will have no qualms about smushing all their little heads in my decidedly not humane mousetraps. I have rules. Just stay out of my house, and we’ll get along fine.

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Rodent Rescue Repeat:

Something suspicious is going on in the rodent world. Once again, before 5:30 a.m., Brody discovered a mouse swimming in the pool. I’m pretty sure it’s a mouse now, because I think voles have shorter tails. I probably need to research that. But if these guys would just stay the hell out of my pool, I’d be spared the necessity of answering this crucial question, which would be fantastic because I really don’t have the time.

This mouse was in much better shape than the one yesterday (if, in fact, it is a different mouse at all), apparently having gone into the drink not too long before he was discovered. Tom had returned the pool net to the patio area, since yesterday it had been downstairs somewhere so he could repair some tears in it.

I scooped mousey-boy into the net and began raising him out of the water. You’d think he’d be grateful, but was he? No, he leaped out of the net and back into the water (which made Brody eight different kinds of crazy) several times before I basically dipped and flung him in the general direction of the fence, where he rustled through the grape vines.

Now I have serious questions. What is going on with these mice? I haven’t fished a mouse out of the pool all summer, and now I’ve done so two days in a row. I have several theories.

  1. This was the same mouse, and he either has suicidal tendencies or was brain damaged in his near-drowning yesterday and returned to the pool as the result of a post-traumatic episode.
  2. These mice were contestants in some kind of rodent reality show, the object of which is to last the longest in the giant, chlorinated ocean. 5:00-5:30 a.m. is prime time for mouse television viewing.
  3. These are teenage male mice, and this is their version of Jackass.

Butch: Hey, Ralphie, bet you can’t swim across that pool, bite the dog on the nose, and then swim back.

Ralphie: Sure I can, Butch, just watch me!

(Splash, paddle-paddle-paddle, gasp, sputter, glug)

Ralphie: Hey, Butch, little help here?

Butch: (Coming from the bushes) Snicker, snort. What a moron.

  1. For some reason, Brody has become the nemesis of all the neighborhood mice, and this is an assassination attempt. They are trying to lure him to a watery death, and the Suicide Swimmer is bait.
  2. They are not mice at all. They are lemmings.

I suppose it could also be a well-planned diversionary tactic, keeping me focused on the back yard while hordes of mice are moving into our laundry room. I hope that’s not it, because I really don’t enjoy tracking mouse-trap casualties on the whiteboard in the kitchen (much). At one point a few years ago it read: “Lori, 11: Mice, 0.”

Ultimately, I just hope Brody’s bladder doesn’t explode. He’s so focused on patrolling the pool for mice that I think he’s forgetting to go out in the yard to take care of necessities. Which, of course, could also be part of the mice’s global dog-destruction plan.

I would feel a lot better if I could decide if these mice are really smart or really dumb. That would help me narrow down the possibilities.

 

 

 

 

Knitting Right Along

I’m making significant progress on my first knitted scarf. I feel a little less like I need a couple of extra hands, or additional fingers on my original equipment hands, or that my existing ten fingers each need a few fingers of their own. I still have a long way to go before knitting is as natural to me as crocheting, but I have 40 years’ experience with crochet and only a few weeks knitting. The over-achieving perfectionist in me weeps at this realization.

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Getting long, but I want to be able to wrap it, so I have a way to go. I imagine I’ll see where I am when I finish this ball of yarn, then decide if it’s done.

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In this close-up, you can see the white crochet thread “lifeline.” One of my Facebook friends clued me in to this trick when I had a near-disaster. I’d finished a row and had a disturbingly wrong number of stitches, so I started working back to where I thought the error was, but bungled it to the point I didn’t know which stitches were really stitches and I thought I’d ruined the whole thing.

Fearing the worst, I went all last-ditch-effort and just pulled out a few rows, until I came to a spot where I thought I could see all the loops and meticulously, painfully, anxiously slipped each one onto the needle. Amazingly, it worked.

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Good thing, too, because my knit-picky nature will not accept the above as a valid belief system.

Now I’m using lifelines. When I complete a Row 1 in the pattern, I use a blunt needle and some crochet thread and slip it through each loop on the needle. Theoretically, if I screw up again and can’t fix it just by un-working a few stitches, I can pull out everything back to the lifeline, which since it goes through each stitch in the row, will keep me from losing the stitches, allowing me to slip them back on the needle and go from there.

The thought of having to do this makes me hyperventilate a little, but the first time it happens, I’m sure I’ll be glad I have this back-up plan in place.

It sure will save a lot of wailing and swearing and throwing of objects and stabbing-of-things-with-knitting-needles, which is a “win” in my book.

A Day In The Life

It’s Monday again. Back to work for most, but some of us never really stopped.

When I tell people I’m the Managing Editor for a publisher, it’s hard to define what that means, so I thought I’d give it a shot here. I’m kind of exhausted just thinking about it, so let’s see how I do.

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The “editor” part is easy enough to understand. I edit books, working with the authors to get them all bright and shiny and ready for publication, both for my Limitless/Crave authors, and a select group of indie authors.

The “managing” part is much harder to describe. In short, I coordinate with a team of authors, editors, proofreaders, formatters, cover designers, marketing professionals, and the publisher’s executives to move a book through every step in the process, from submission to release.

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Honestly, I wear so many hats that most days I am technically nine feet tall. 

My first step every morning is checking email, and what I find there sets the tone for the rest  of the day. Email might include:

  • Receipt of a manuscript I was expecting for my editing schedule
  • Lack of receipt of said manuscript, or an email explaining why I don’t have it and begging for “one more day”
  • An author with a happy announcement
  • An author upset about something
  • An author upset about everything
  • Other team members being upset about the upset author
  • A long email exchange brainstorming new title ideas for a book or series because the original one sucked
  • A completed edit from one of my editors to be sent along to the proofreader
  • People inquiring about openings in my editing department…often misspelled and poorly punctuated
  • Drafts of cover blurbs to be reviewed/revised, and sent to upper management for approval or rejection
  • Exchanges with authors about release dates
  • Someone asking the same question I’ve already answered six times, as well as posting the information in one of our author groups
  • Messages from the cover artists asking where the hell the blurb is for the current project
  • An author announcing they have a great idea for a new series, and should they write it now, before they complete the series in progress? (No.)
  • Discovery that a newly-signed manuscript is 340,000 words, roughly four times longer than we’d prefer, followed by convincing an editor to tackle working with the author to divide it into palatable bits

And that’s just for starters.

I check the contract status report. If new books are on there, I have to log them all and start planning their edits, proofs, and creation of their book cover art and blurbs. If the author is new to us, I have to email them a welcome, list of instructions, and an overview of our editing process. I also have to check the budget, because none of this stuff is free.

I check the cover design status sheet. Once a book has a release date set, it needs to go on this sheet, and I send the assignments to the artists, giving them ample time to complete  the project.

I cross-check all my spreadsheets. Book log (which has columns for every step in the 13348883_10208326038441047_398668350_nprocess), blurb sheet (which shows release date and where we are on the writing of the blurb for the online listings and cover), contract sheet, cover design sheet, budget, release calendar, and my personal calendar. Doing this helps me spot inconsistencies or places I dropped a step along the way.

We have Facebook groups for our authors, promotion, a separate group for the authors with our Crave imprint, a readers’ group for Crave books, a group for the authors in our 13 and Carnival horror anthologies, and a readers’ group for them as well. I need to monitor all these, answer questions, cheer-lead a bit, and occasionally smooth ruffled feathers.

Our anthologies are almost a separate process, and somehow I ended up being primarily in charge of coordinating them. I work with the authors of previous anthologies, our marketing team, and the executive team to decide on a theme for the collection, work out submission, editing, proofing, and release dates, write the call for submissions, receive the submissions as they come in, work with submissions to determine which to include in the anthology, notify the authors (chosen and rejected), add newcomers to the relevant Facebook groups, assemble everything and send to the editor…

Are you tired yet? I am.

I love email and Facebook messages. I’d far rather do all business this way, but our CEO often prefers to call and run through a list of things rather than try to sort through email. Her brain works on approximately 48 tracks at a time at 9000 miles per hour, and shifts direction so suddenly and frequently I have permanent whiplash. There are also a few authors who require lengthy discussions or who comprehend complex conversations better by phone. I do it, but every phone call leaves me dying for a very large adult beverage. (I’m not a phone person. I literally only talk to the husband by phone, and that’s extremely rare, as we usually text.)

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Once I’m sure no part of this house of cards is in danger of immediate collapse, I can tackle my own daily editing project. Yes, it’s rare for me not to have an edit on deck. Right now, my first truly open date is in September. I figure out where I need to be in the current edit to remain on track to complete by deadline–because I DO NOT miss deadlines.

While editing, I have to keep an eye on email, because it never, ever stops. With authors all around the world, time zones mean nothing. I used to keep email open all the time, but for my own sanity, I had to start logging out in the evenings, being sure authors know they can reach me by Facebook messages if I’m awake, in case of emergency.

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Editorial Assistants Oliver and Mozzie

Don’t forget I work at home, which means occasionally breaking for laundry, unloading the dishwasher, a snack, a shower, letting the dogs in and out and in and out and inandout, feeding the dogs, making dinner, telling the dogs for the billionth time to shut the hell up because the neighbors are actually allowed to enter and leave their own homes, sit on the porch, or drive their vehicles, though they would not be if I had any say in the matter.

 

Only when email is relatively quiet and I’ve met my editing goal for the day and no dumpster fires are currently in progress can I ease back a bit and do what I do in my off time, which right now is knitting and Netflix. Still, I have to be available for time-sensitive author-wrangling and question-answering, so I use the pause button and stitch markers a lot.

While it can be a bit overwhelming at times, and there’s never a dull moment, I can’t imagine having any other job, unless maybe professional beverage-tester at a beach bar somewhere is an option.

With all this going on, you can probably figure out why I’m unofficially retired from the Author gig and focusing on blogging, though I’m writing a lot more in the blog than I have on novels over the last few years. Which, I think, is how it’s meant to be.

Yarn Stash Busted

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Either this is not true, or I’m not a lady. One of those.

As all yarnoholics know, parting with a single skein is akin to giving up a semi-major internal organ, and there’s always so much glorious new yarn to “adopt.” Lace weight, chunky, variegated, wool, bamboo, crochet thread, cotton, alpaca in all the colors of the rainbow.

First it’s a basket. Then a storage container. Then more storage containers and other random receptacles…until it’s out of control.

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been married for almost 35 years, and crocheted for62e1f42d3f808a79d7283d6a480605d5 around ten years before that. Lately, the stash had exploded from the walk-in closet in my office and begun to infiltrate every corner of the house. The couch in the office could barely be seen, there were baskets and bins on the floor, the breakfast bar looked like the discount table at the yarn shop, yarn was spilling off the end table in the family room, and I couldn’t close the lid of my storage ottoman.

I had four storage bins, two laundry baskets, a small wicker basket, a duffel bag, a few boxes, and the storage ottoman bursting with yarn.

Step One, get Handsome Husband to help me haul all the storage containers to the living  room.

Step Two, dump all yarn on the floor. This is reminiscent of what happened in fifth grade when a student’s desk was chronically messy. You’d come to school and discover Miss Vidas had dumped your desk contents on the floor, leaving you no option but to clean it up.

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This is after I filled a trash bag with odds and ends that were too small, tangled, or ratty even to donate to the thrift shop.

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Hello, Mount Yarn.

Step Three, commence to sortin’.

I started various piles. Cotton, lace/sock weight, worsted, crochet thread, chunky, sport weight…you yarnsters know the drill. This was especially necessary because I had partial balls or skeins of some yarns strewn throughout various locations, and I wanted to match them up so I knew if I had enough of a particular yarn to actually make anything.

Anything I didn’t totally love, or bought for things I never made, or didn’t have in enough quantity for a decent project went in the donation pile. I know people go to thrift shops for remnants or discarded yarn, either to make stashbuster projects, other small items, or to donate to charity.

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Big ol’ bag of donations. Included are two partial afghans which could be bound off where they are or finished.

Lots of yellow and orange. I hate yellow and orange. I bought multiple skeins, though, for some project or other that never got made.

Mozzie bolted at the rustle of the first plastic bag, because plastic bags are terrifying. He stayed in the bedroom throughout the process. Oliver, being a poodle, wasn’t about to miss a second, because poodles must observe, evaluate, consider, and process every single thing. Thankfully, he didn’t decide to help.

I applied the rule I give all my authors when I’m ordering them to drastically edit down their word count. Be ruthless. Be objective. You won’t even miss it once it’s gone. Great advice, but hard to follow.

Also, not great on my back, sitting hunched on the floor, crawling around from basket to basket, digging through the mound of assorted yarn. But that’s what ibuprofen is for.

Finally, after sorting through it all and encountering some projects I’d started–no lie–at least 25 years ago and putting sentimentality and unnecessary yarn aside, I reached Step Four, organization. This is what I had…

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Behold! A mere two storage bins! The top one has worsted weight and cotton. The bottom has fine and sport weight, crochet cotton, and a bag of assorted Caron Simply Soft. The storage ottoman, which lives in the family room where I spend 95% of my waking hours, has the favorites, new purchases like the glorious mandala yarn, my knit-kit and crochet gear, and the yarns I’m currently using. The two small boxes are the beautiful Chroma yarn I just bought for my first knitting projects.

And now I realize I have room for more yarn…and a coupon for 20% off from JoAnn’s.