Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The new edits are in on the novel, ladies and gents, and no, I'm officially not done with it yet. Which I'm coming to terms with. There's a fine line between revision and over-revision and I'm hoping I see that line before it's crossed.

So one more revision. And while I revise, I need to be thinking whole-heartedly about my theme, which I have given a lot of thought already, so... yeah. I'm discovering, as I go through this process of trying to get a first novel published, is that about 60% of the process is about facing disappointment. It is definitely not for the meek. I figure sharing this process with you can only help to prepare you, because this part is not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be mostly waiting on editors to respond, but I'm not even there yet.

Be warned. The process of getting a novel published (to my knowledge so far) is this:
1. You write a novel.
2. You revise the heck out of that novel until you feel like it's ready to be published.
3. You submit to agents.
4. You wait.
5. You hear back and hopefully, they like it and want to help get it published.
6. You get edits back from your chosen agent.
7. You re-revise based on those edits.
8. Repeat 6 and 7 repeatedly.
9. I'm not sure what 9 is yet but I'm hoping it's that the book gets shopped to editors.

This process is long and it's tedious, but I'm hanging in there. Time to give this one more go.

While I'm doing that, on this nice New Year's Eve, note that, starting now,  January 2014, my story "the Godmother" will be available for purchase in the 12th issue of Midwestern Gothic. Go buy yourself a copy, either in a print or ebook version.

And speaking of theme, my son's big Christmas present this year was a steampunk-themed bedroom (or the start of one anyway), with bright orange paint, black curtains, furniture re-painted in a paint color called "Tuxedo Tie," maps, brass, copper, cast iron, cogs, a green steamer trunk, and what will become a model airship once we get it put together.

Revision comes in many forms.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Year-Long Blanket Slog, C'est Fini

It took months of planning, math skills I had forgotten about entirely, two excel spreadsheets, over 2 pounds of yarn, and a year of knitting, but it's finally done. May I present to you, the Maize and Blue Stained Glass Blanket:

It's 74 inches long, 53 inches wide, and very very warm. I developed the pattern using the long cabin knitting technique popularized by the Mason Dixon Knitting duo Kay Gardiner and Anne Shayne. If you too would like to knit one of your very own, I'm hoping to have a functioning pattern up for sale on Ravelry in the near future.

Last Christmas, my little brother got a bag of yarn and a promise, and this year, after buying yet more yarn because that bag was just not enough, I came through on that promise. The sketch I showed him last year has become a blanket. A big blanket, every stitch infused with team spirit.

Since finishing this giant time-suck of a blanket, I have already finished three hats (one for my husband, one for my son, and one for my brother-in-law) and am in mid-completion of a fourth (requested by my boss). Think of how many hats I could have if I had made hats instead of a blanket. It boggles the mind, really.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ramen Reimagined

The holidays are upon us and while I struggle to get All The Things done in time for the big event, there just isn't room for a whole lot of anything else. I am working on a lot, but as they are Christmas presents, I can't talk about any of them until after December 25th. Rest assured, there are interesting blogs ahead. This just isn't one of them.
In the meantime, due to a month-long cold epidemic in my household, I have been in a ramen noodles kind of mood. As a veggie, the only kind I can consume is the Asian flavor. The other night, I made ramen for supper for myself, while the boys both enjoyed their leftover ham dinners. Of course, ramen is somewhat lacking in nutritional value, so to make it a little more health-conscious, I added some peas and carrots from a frozen veggies mix into the boiling water with the noodles. Then, after adding the little packet of MSG.... I mean, flavoring... I emptied the contents of the pan into a bowl and then fried an egg to plop in for some protein. The end result looked (and tasted) a lot better than just-plain-old ramen.
I'm sure poor dorm-bound college students learned this particular lesson long before I stumbled across it, but as I was never lived in a dorm, I take delight in the discovery now that I'm six months away from 30.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Here's how it goes...

Here's how it goes: you write like mad. You write because you can't seem to stop yourself from writing and really, you have so much to say. People notice. Someone recommends you go to grad school. You start filling out applications, but picking literature apart doesn't hold the same value for you. You keep writing, writing for class and then writing what you need to write. You graduate and apply for an MFA.

Stuff happens and life feels hard for a while, but you keep writing through it and for once, what you're writing is the same as what you have to get done for class. You write your way through that MFA with a novel at the end. You submit it to an agent, get accepted, find gainful employment writing, and somewhere along the line, you stop writing in the same way. Writing becomes a forced thing, a job. You second guess yourself. You struggle. The agent comes back with edits, then more edits, so you edit. You stop writing. You forget how to create a new character. You forget how to write that first sentence on a blank page. Sometimes you write a poem and this makes you feel like maybe you aren't quite a fraud.

One year passes this way, then another six months. You edit old stories. You edit your novel once, twice, three times. You re-alphabetize your book collection. Then, you decide: enough. You submit to journals and accumulate rejections. You start a writing group. Then, one day, one of your stories gets accepted. You know that if one story can get an audience, another one can too. You stare at that blank page and you stare it down. You start writing. Six pages later, you look up. It's not the best thing and it's rough, but it's yours and it's new. You know now that you can start again.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tofu Noodles

The husband bought Shirataki Tofu spaghetti noodles on sale. Just to try.

They were delicious with a spaghetti noodle shape and a consistency that reminded me of lo mein. What's more, they are low-calorie, vegan, and gluten-free. One package seemed to come out to about half a box of normal pasta, so obviously, even on sale, they are a bit more money. Then again, they count as protein, not carbs, so they might be on the less-pricey side, all things considered. How much is chicken breast these days? I know tofu isn't cheap.

All and all, you get tofu without having to fix tofu. It's the ease of a pasta dinner with the health benefits of a vegetarian stir-fry. I, for one, am sold.