Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Slave To Her Muse (a short story)

Debbie Newton slept but not peacefully. One minute she lay on her stomach, the next she flipped like a pancake on her back. She kicked at the blankets, mashed her head into the pillow. Longing for a soothing island oasis, she found a violent storm. The wind raged--tossing her like a kite. A rope. Yes, that's what I need. In her hands, a thick rock climber's rope appeared. She looped it around a tree and then around herself. There, she thought--confident she'd won. Red handled scissors materialized. One cut and she sailed into the air.
"No fair!" she screamed, pounding her mattress.
Soaring over rooftops, she looked down and saw in bold black lettering on a green metal roof, 'W-R-I-T-E'. She gave up, woke up, turned on her bedside lamp, grabbed a pen and was a slave to her muse.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preparing for a craft show

WinterCraft is an art/craft show that is held on Salt Spring Island. The show runs from Friday, December 2nd to Sunday, December 18th. Here's my inventory.

Children's holiday hats...

 Children's vest (size 12)
 Children's sweater set (size 12)

 Fingerless gloves

 Women's cardigan
I'm also taking three cowls, three scraves and another cardigan similar to the one pictured above only in a larger size and knit in a pretty mint green.
Wish me luck
Next post:  A Slave to Her Muse (a short story)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Please welcome Author Jenny Milchman

How/why did you start to write?

Legend has it (well, OK, family lore J ) that I was writing stories before I knew how to write. I dictated bedtime tales to my mom when I was two years old.

How did you become an author?

My short story “The Very Old Man”, which was published by a new e press, made me an author. I was paid $30 for it—the first ever money I earned as a writer. It didn’t matter that this was the price of dinner and a movie—and only my own dinner and movie at that. It was money for something I wrote. But selling my debut novel might count towards this transition even more. COVER OF SNOW is a literary thriller, coming out in Jan/Feb 2013, and finding just the right editor at just the right house was a dream maybe 37 years in the making.

What was your first published piece?

The Very Old Man”, a story about a new mother who has a random encounter in the supermarket, and afterwards finds life beginning to spiral out of control.

Where was it published?

In an anthology called Lunch Reads 1 that pairs two short stories to read over a meal J

How long ago?

About a year.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

Yes. Definitely. I always wanted to write, and I studied poetry and short fiction seriously throughout high school and college. But it wasn’t until I went to graduate school in clinical psychology, and was faced with the challenge of understanding and helping people who were different from anyone I’d ever known—as well as a few out and out dangerous situations—that I found my writer’s voice in suspense fiction. Writing was always my way to find respite and cope with whatever was happening in real life. Once real life took a threatening direction, so did my work.

What inspires you?

The thin line we all walk between before and after. How life can turn on a dime. The there-but-for-the-grace situations. A hope that my stories can provide places of respite for others.

Please share one of your successful marketing techniques

Don’t market.
I don’t mean to be snarky.
But I really do feel that trying to keep your book in the forefront of everyone’s mind is a) a losing battle—people have plenty of other things in the forefronts of their minds and b) not the best way to draw attention to your work.
Instead figure out a way you can provide great content, value add, enrich each person’s life in a meaningful way. Maybe that’s because your book has a catchy title like Pam DuMond’s CUPCAKES, LIES & DEAD GUYS and people like cupcakes and you post updates about this national trend or recipes or gift certificates to bakeries. Or maybe you have become a huge success like MJ Rose and you know how to offer this as a service to others (AuthorBuzz). Perhaps you’re an expert on WWII and your book takes place in 1941 and history buffs love learning about life back then through your eyes. If you have something valuable—truly valuable—to offer, people are going to want it. And then they’re going to find out about your book.

Parting words

Writing is a passion and publishing is a dream. Today there are more ways than ever to do it. Support the people who support you—bookstores and readers and other authors. And then keep at it and never give up. You book will be born, and there is little better (some, but not a whole lot J ) that is better than that.

Author links

Jenny's blog
Suspense Your Disbelief:  A Place for authors, readers, and everyone

Jenny's website
Take Your Child to a Bookstore

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Mid-summer Night Dream

Mayne Island Little Theatre presents:  A Midsummer Night's Dream

Matinees:  Thursday, November 24 and December 1 at the Agricultrual Hall. Doors open at 1 PM Performance starts at 1:30 PM

Evening performances: Friday, November 25, Saturday, November 26 , Friday, December 2, Saturday, December 3. Doors open at 7:30 PM Performance starts at 8:00 PM

Tickets available at The Trading Post and Home Hardware

For further information contact Sam (250) 539-3574

Personal note:  Although it is too early to comment on the entire play, I would like call attention to the music. It was specially arranged for the play and, as per the director's instructions,  is a modern take on Greek and Elizabethan music. It's so cool you'll want a CD.

Picturing Autumn's beauty

I started this season with a mission. Each year, I have a problem transitioning from Summer to Autumn. This is year I was determined to find the beauty in the now. Here is more of what I've found...

Today at 6 PM:  "The play's the thing..." Shakespeare on Mayne Island
Friday's post:  Please welcome Author Jenny Milchman

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why write short stories

As a teenager I wrote endless stories all with no final scene. Fearful of this outcome, as an aspiring author I reduced the word count. Instead of novels, I wrote articles for craft magazines, flash fiction for literary journals and creative non-fiction for magazines. Currently as an emerging author I write novels as well as continuing to write short stories. My most recently completed short is entitled Liquefied. Inspiration for this story was the Canada Writes contest. I entered for a chance to win $1, 000.

Why write short stories?

-To find an end
-To sharpen your writing tools
-To have an opportunity to work with an editor
-To gain a readership
-To gain validation (i.e. "Yes, I am a writer--my article appeared in this magazine.")
-To build your author platform. Many book publishers advise aspiring and emerging authors to submit to literary journals
-To win a prize

Remember, everyone wins when she continues to work toward her goal.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Technique: Fold up pocket

Monday, May 23rd's blog topic was:  Knitting:  proper pocket placement At the end of the post I wrote: I have other pocket tricks. My wish is show another to you soon. Let's hope that I will reach this goal.
Well, it wasn't soon, but it is today.

The fold up pocket is achieved by knitting the front longer than the back.

 And then by folding up the front to form a pocket.

How much longer should you knit?
Any where from four to six inches--depending on how deep you want the pocket to be.
This technique works best on hip length sweaters.
Next pocket:  Why write short stories

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Artisan Tour pictorial

 Photographer:  Toby Snelgrove
I was so intimidated taking his picture.
Visit his web site and then you tell me why.

Native carver:  John Aitken
Do you remember when I featured Mayne Island's Honouring figure?
Well, John created it.
I know he's very talented--and nice. Okay, I'll stop there with the attributes or we'll be here all day.
I wish I could remember everyone's name.
Did I tell you I just had a birthday--and people tell me that it will get even harder to remember these important details. And so...now you know...why
That, however, doesn't stop us from enjoying their creations.

Amber's colourful, one-of-a-kind hats--sure to chase away the winter blahs.
 Author:  Amber Harvey
Amber had a sale on her books--3 for $30
Disappointed you missed it.
No worries. She told me that she's going to continue the sale at the Craft show in Agricultural Society Hall on December 11th. Mark your calender.

 Wool producer:  Joyce Kallweit. Yup, I did say the magic word--wool. And her sheep make the good stuff. You better believe I have at least two skeins in my stash.
 Fibre artist:  Celia Leaman.
This is one of the times when I say "should". As in, I should have taken more pictures of Celia's table. She makes the most adorable felted seals and cowboy snowmen and... Well, you'll just have to see for yourself. She'll be at the Craft show on December 11th.
Where is that show again?
In the Ag Hall.
Yup, I know that's where you'll be.
Artist:  Debbie Boules
Yup, yeah, Christmas card--duh. I knew I need to buy something. I really hope she's at the craft show on December 11th.
Debbie? Do you hear me, Debbie?
 Barbara who makes the most delicious muffins
Colleen makes such beautiful earrings--especially this one pair. They are sparkly, white snowflakes. I'm still dreaming about them.
Colleen, are you doing anything on December 11th. Because if not you could...

Artist:  Terrill Welch
Whose new book I want to buy as a Christmas present.
Who am I going to give it to?
I'm not telling. It's a Christmas secret.
Hey, Terrill, do you have some for sale at your house or where can I buy a copy?
Do you think if I visited her website I'd find out?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Books, Authors on TV

The Scotiobank Giller Prize was aired on CBC TV was my favourite TV show.
Well, let me tell you. Finally, Canadian authors--my heroes, mentors, icons--received the attention they deserve. They talked about how they write--and not in a long winded way. Oh, no, they spoke with insight and with a sense of fun. It was a party--for them.
This year there were six authors nominated for the $50, 000 prize--one more than usual. I sat captivated.
My only complaints--it wasn't long enough and it's not a series.
Did you miss here?
Fret not, here's a link to more info and a video
Next post:  reading The Sweater Curse chapter 1, page 4

Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing contests

I received these two anouncements in my email inbox...

This from the Writer's Digest...

Wanted to share a couple of  "competition" updates with you:
* The 81st Annual Writing Competition is now accepting entries at: www.writersdigest.com/competitions/writers-digest-annual-competition
* Show Us Your Shorts! The deadline is tomorrow for the Writer's Digest Short Short Competition - for fiction 1500 words or less. Visit www.writersdigest.com/competitions/short-story
Prizes include:  
First Place: $3,000 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
Second Place: $1,500
Third Place: $500
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $100
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer’s Digest Books


This from Canada Writes

Looking for your True Winter Tales

Can you smell it in the air? Before long, winter will be here… As delighted – or dejected – as you may be by that statement, you must admit that Canadians feel passionately about the season. You either love it, or you hate it. And whether you were born in the snowy depths of a Manitoba blizzard, or immigrated to Toronto and saw your first snowfall only as an adult, everyone in this country has a personal story to share about winter.

And we want yours!

This November, Canada Writes is hosting a Winter Tales Writing Challenge (in association with the Canada Council for the Arts and The Massey Lectures). And we’ve got $1,000 to give away!

The challenge

We are looking for you to send us your true winter stories. Did something special happen to you on that last day of school before Christmas break? Did you find yourself oddly missing the cold that one year you lived abroad? How about any peculiar events that transpired during the great Quebec ice storm of 1998?

The details

We will be accepting your stories between November 2nd and 20th. All submissions must be between 400 and 500 words, and sent electronically through our contact form. There is no fee to participate. And only one entry per person is permitted.

The judge

The Winter Tales Writing Challenge will be judged by author and essayist Adam Gopnik. As this year’s Massey Lecturer on the subject of winter, Adam’s already in the “winter zone” and ready to read your best cold-weather tales.

The prize

The winner of our Winter Tales Writing Challenge will receive a $1,000 cash prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. The winning story will also be prominently featured on the Canada Writes site.


Get in touch with us at canadawrites@cbc.ca

CBC Radio
P.O. Box 6000
Montreal, QC, H3C 3A8


Islandia Hood pattern shared

This blog has transitioned from a knitting/writing blog to a writing blog.
Read this post to discover the answer to that question.

Skill level:  beginner

Knitting needles:  6.00mm/US 10 or size to obtain tension, plus two double pointed needles to same size.
Yarn:  worsted weight (approximately 850 yards or 500 grams)

Tension:  4 stitches x 7 rows = one inch worked over Stockinette stitch
(If you can't achieve this tension with 6.00mm/US 10 then you need to use a different needle size. If you get six or more stitches in your sample swatch then you must use a larger size of needle. If you get four or fewer stitches to the inch, then you must use a smaller size of needle.)

Seed stitch (over even number of stitches)
Row 1:  knit one, purl one--continue to end of row
Row 2:  purl one, knit one--continue to end of row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern

Note:  collar and hood are worked in two parts--front and back

Back collar
Cast on 60 stitches
Work in seed stitch for 10 inches
Cast off 10 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows
Back Hood
Work (40 stitches) in seed stitch for 14 inches

Front collar
Cast on 60 stitches
Work in seed stitch for 10 inches
Cast off 10 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows
Front hood
Work (40 stitches) in seed stitch for 3 inches

Note:  This section of the hood is worked simultaneously from two balls of yarn.

Work stitches (20 stitches from each yarn ball) in seed stitch for 11 inches
Cast off using the three-needle bind off technique

Sew hood and shoulder seams. Weave in ends.

How to make I-cord
How to make fringe
Video of me reading Islandia Hood scene from The Sweater Curse

Next post:  Books, Authors on TV