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The Fat Lady Has Sung

The Fat Lady has sung!

Just over two years have been given over to my latest project—a fictional piece I wrote….

If you’ve been a faithful reader of my blog (you HAVEN’T?? for SHAME!!!) then you know I enjoy writing something called Fan Fiction. A few years back I started writing a story because I was frustrated at having to wait almost a year to find out what Janet Evanovich was going to do with her characters in the Stephanie Plum series. Turns out it was a wise move on my part; I’m not at all fond of the direction she’s gone.

In any event, I enjoyed the experience. The working out a plot, developing characters over and above the ones she provided, and even giving more history to her characters themselves.

It also has provided me the opportunity to write fiction, with the small crutch of a map, if you will. Starting from scratch, staring at the blank page (screen) is scary enough even when you know the names and histories of some of the characters. I found that having that road map gave me the ability to meander, wander if you will, look for alternate paths. I discovered new characters waiting to join the story; I discovered that the characters I thought I knew had far more layers than we had been permitted to see.

After the first story, Geometry Lessons, I was crowned Queen of Angst by the readers of the various sites I post on. I don’t write like Janet Evanovich. I got deep into the nitty-gritty, and my characters had flaws. They had real-life adult experiences; and they had potty mouths.

I hadn’t planned on continuing. But, another story developed in my head, with nary the smallest permission from me. It was a CD I listened to, The Big Chill soundtrack. I kept hearing in the lyrics the three main characters of the Plum books.

I decided to go with it. I would write a short story for each song that worked. Ignore the songs that didn’t work. It would be a lark. They didn’t have to become one story- it would be more of an anthology. That idea lasted for a short time. The songs wove themselves together, and the story The Big Chill is long, complex, and FINISHED now. (It was interrupted midway through by a throwaway line I heard one of the characters mutter. It didn’t fit in the story I was writing, but it pestered me till I gave it its own story, Why So Twitchy, Babe?)

I would love it if you read some of my work. If you do, remember two things….One, I don’t mince words, thoughts or actions. Two, REVIEW!!! Let me know what you think!

The next step I suppose, is to start out fresh, with only my imagination as a guide, and create an entirely new world.

Yikes. Maybe Janet Evanovich will provide more fodder for me in June!

Fearless Fourteen

My little vent….

 

(….in the real world, it doesn’t make an iota of difference, really. So, ignore me if you want. No solving world hunger, or saving lives or deciding on future world leaders)

 

But it’s bugging me, nonetheless. The other day, I was able to read an ARC. An Advanced Readers Copy of a new novel, the 14th in the series. (Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Novels, for those who care) It’s unpublished till next month; there will possibly be only some modest changes between now and then, based solely on the fact that it’s due to hit the stores on June 17th.

 

Suffice it to say, with much certainty, I read the book as it will be published. And honestly? It stank. I wanted to like it. I love the characters, and have invested much of my free time writing about them, giving them my own endings, in something called Fan Fiction. It’s been an amazing opportunity for me to hone my writing skills, learn about developing characters, creating plots—all that fun literary stuff.

 

Yet this book fell short on just in just about every category. I’ve written a letter and sent it to the publisher and the author, so it’s not like I’m making you have to listen to me whine ineffectually. But what is bothering me is this. I and a number of others who have read the advanced copy of the book have posted reviews on the book selling sites, as they allow and ask. And after a short time, the book went from 5 stars, with peoples’ reviews being along the lines of—“I love this series and can’t wait to read the newest installment”—- (Not by any stretch a REVIEW, by the way) to— “Fell asleep trying to make it through. Not the author’s best work, sloppily written…..etc.”

 

In other words, poor reviews by people who have READ the book. It seems however, that Barnes and Nobles.com isn’t really interested in REVIEWS. The third day after the ARC was available the book went from 5 stars to 2.5 stars.

 

And then something miraculous happened. All the bad reviews DISAPPEARED. There are currently about a dozen ‘reviews’…all singing the praises of PAST books.

 

And you know what, it just agrravates me.

INFO dumping…

I have about a half dozen thoughts, that could be posted tonight, but I don’t know if I’m really in the mood to flesh any one of them out at the moment, so I think just a random sampling of what’s rolling around in my head would be enough (or possibly WAY too much for some)

So, without further ado and with absolutely no order to the listing….

1-flowers/animals…

2-writing

3-quilting

4-joy?

5-anniversary

6-computer

Last week Timmy and I went to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and I had a blast taking some lovely floral shots. That you can’t see. Because of(let me see) # 6. The computer. Right, recall that computer I got from Joe for my birthday? It’s great. Wonderful (no, Really Joe, i MEAN IT, Thanks!!!) However, it and I have had a difference of opinion on where I store software, whether I wanted all 110,000 messages sent to my new OUTLOOK, etc.

But now, basically, I am good to go. Except for the monitor which is small (I didn’t think it was, I thought it the size of a house, but the SCREEN part of the monitor is SMALL!!!) and the fact that my Photoshop Elements claims a file is missing and won’t upload. So, I just ordered myself Elements 6.0 and when it arrives, I will be able to share images (I mean, I COULD…but I shot in RAW, and they are HUGE…..)

Ok, that was the flowers, part one. Part two is that I planted seeds on Saturday last, and so of course the deluge came. I am relatively certain that most of my seeds were washed away, and I will see them in the gully (sorry Timmy) or in some unsuspecting neighbors yard. I am talking something like 4 inches of rain on Sunday, ok?? A little tiny seed probably didn’t have a chance. 

In any event, it was all part of my annual effort to prove I AM NOT A PESSIMIST!!! I insist on planting, I am sure success will be mine, this time. I forget, except intellectually, what it feels like in the summer, at 103 in the front southern facing yard. I forget that the weeds are barely capable of surviving the voles/moles that are tunnelling through our entire front yard. ( I know there is a difference between the two creatures, but if I google them I will have to look at some icky creature. Its ok, thanks)

I determined after 4 years ( I AM teachable) not to spend too much money on plants, because it seems they just cant make it. I bought seeds. Except for two plants. One of which was stolen. Yep, yanked up right out of the garden a gaping hole left. It was either a vole/mole or a squirrel because they left the name tag.

 Speaking of squirrels. I am thinking of opening a spa for them, right here in my back yard. Location, location, location!  I watched a squirrel yesterday collecting seeds from the scene of the crime the day before, when he or his cohorts were caught hanging by their rear legs, and swinging their bodies up at an unnatural angle in order to stick their head into the bird feeder. The cheap bird feeder I bought when I decided we would see how the birds liked our yard, which they have promptly broken by all their acrobatics.  Well, the jury is out on the birds, but the squirrels are guilty!!! 

After said squirrel gorged himself on stolen seed, he pranced into my screened in gazebo, stood on the adirondak chair and stopped for a drink of water that had pooled on the side table. Then he proceeded to climb up onto the corner shelves of the gazebo, and stretch out for a nap under the shade of the roof.

 Ok, so WRITING. I finally have completed an outline for The Big Chill,  my fan fic in progress for over a year. It’s down to 6 songs. I know (kind of) whats going to happen in each of them!! hooray!! ( wow, I finished a thought in 3 sentences!!)

Onto quilting. Ah, quilting. My other love. I have started three (shush, you DID NOT hear that) projects. And have made headway on a fourth. I am working currently on a Wild Goose Chase made entirely of batiks and black. I have one-third of the blocks finished.

I started (although I swore I would wait)  on my Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler quilt. Two blocks so far. But there are 140. So I have some time yet to go. Eithne and Robin think they will join me on this journey.

And of course I FINALLY started on the challenge quilt Eithne proposed. I have 1 of four named blocks completed. Waiting on receipt of the other 5 block names.

And then there is the TQP challenge, 2008. Which as a challenge goes is easy. Using your initials, choose three colors and make a quilt. Wonderful. Easy-peasy. Except I designed the quilt. And then messed up the measurements and cut and stitched 24 nine patch blocks too small.  No, not really too small, just too small for me to do do the alternating block as a paper pieced block. I am ready to shoot myself after the first 2/3 of one block!!! So I re-drafted the pattern to enlarge that block to 10 inches from 6 so that I would still have hair left when I was finished.  I do have to master Paper Piecing if I expect to get through Sylvia. But — easy steps.

Joy?– Or control? What causes, in this day and age, with all of the incredibly serious, earth changing events currently at play,…. what causes someone to lose their minds over the minutiae of life? Is it because they truly DON’T have any worries?? They know of no-one suffering a great illness, or worrying whether their job is secure, or has family in Iraq, or, or, or…..

Today, a customer called me. (I custom frame art) She had brought her art BACK to me to re-paper, because the BACK of the frame was wavy, bubbly, whatever. I agreed it didn’t look awesome as far as that all went, and  was flummoxed by the adhesive not sticking. I re-did them myself this time, so I KNOW what they looked like. Mind you, the frame was great, the stitching, etc, not a single complaint on any of the 5 pieces. But she swore the ‘only’ thing she could see whenever she walked by them was the gap between the paper and the frame. (I know, WHERE are they hanging anyway?? AT what angle is she viewing them?)

Her husband picked them up the other day. We looked them over and found them acceptable. Today she got home from her vacation and called me, yelling at me, wanting to know what I could do to fix them, what kind of a guarantee did we have, what kind of materials am I using? You get the picture, right? Remember, from the front they are PERFECT. It’s not as if scraps of backing paper are sticking randomly out. It is the back. The side that faces the WALL. 

So, the question I leave you with…. is this person truly that Anal? Does she really think this is an IMPORTANT issue?  Or is her world spinning so fast off of its axis that THIS is the only thing she thinks is within her control?

Anniversary… SIX, yep count’em, SIX years ago Sunday  we got married. And we agree we are so well suited. Indeed I went out yesterday and bought Timmy a gift. You see he has recently taken up Golf.

And today, I watched as he emptied out his trunk when he got home. Yep, I stood there and watched him pull out of his trunk a golf bag. And not ANY OLD golf bag, but indeed the exact one whose twin is currently hiding in the guest room, now apparently awaiting return…

Yep, we belong together!

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