Studio Musings

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo T Minus One and Counting

Gentle (and not so gentle) writers, rev your engines: NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. NaNoWriMo challenges you, me and everyone crazy enough to take part to write a 50,000 word novel in the space of 30 days. That breaks down to a 'measly' 1,667 words per day.

Last year, I topped out at around 60,000 words. My half-finished novel boasted a plot that was slipperier than a greased pig with holes the size of Lake Michigan. It was an ugly, deformed little baby. But it was my baby. And I did it. Just by the act of writing, I learned a lot.

Last year's participation in NaNoWriMo led almost directly to this year's published book. While I didn't start work on Freeform Peyote Beading until January of 2010, NaNoWriMo is how I first learned of and their printing options, including full-color interiors. And it's where I developed the confidence to tackle the challenge of producing a full-length book. It may be a while before my novel-writing skills are up to the task, but a technical book was just the right speed.

Last year I attempted a fantasy adventure with world-building and the works. This year, I'm going for something different. Like many authors these days, I've decided to try my hand at retelling a classic fairy tale with a twist. I've settled on Beauty and the Beast, and my question is what would happen to the story if the roles were reversed? If the Beast were a woman, and 'Beauty' a man?

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Hate to Broach the Subject or Mispellings Happen

They say it's almost impossible to proof your own work. I hate to admit it, but whomever 'they' are, I fear they're right. When rereading my work, I see what I expect, instead of what is actually there.

Thankfully, I roped several good friends and family into helping me proof what I thought was the final edit of my book. Their comments and corrections instigated a substantial reworking, including nine additional pages extending the last chapter.

However, in my rush to get the book to print the additions were denied an external proofing. And hence, I cringe every time I open the book to page 64, where instead of a brooch (a pin-on piece of jewelry) I have a broach. Little did I know I'd created a beaded tool used to cut, puncture or pierce - guess I was going for form over function. Sigh....

Createspace wouldn't be happy with me if I sent them an updated interior just to fix the spelling error. Guess I'll have to wait for my next edition.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Next Up....

With inspiration slow to strike this month, I'm working on a companion piece to my Leopard Jasper bracelet. When finished, the new piece should be a choker. It may not be my choker (despite careful measurements I fear it will be too loose), but it will be _someone's_ choker. And it will be beautiful.

That last line is my mantra while working on a freeform peyote piece, because they never start out beautiful. If I'm lucky, there might be brief hints of beauty every now and then during stitching. Maybe.

After several rows of stitching, it looks more like a bumpy worm than a necklace. If I were a standard bead stringer, I'd likely give it up as a lost cause. At this point, it's all about faith and perseverance. And the finished bracelet sitting on my worktable cheering me on.

But I love the leopard jasper focal bead. Purchased as a set of three, the stones in both the bracelet and my latest project set the tone. Aren't the colors and striations gorgeous? This one is more striped where the bracelet's stone has very leopard-like spots.

(The third in the set looks nothing like its siblings - I think the milkman brought it.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've Got Sales!

Okay, this could become addictive.

In the process of trying to put together publicity materials for my book, I logged into my account. There, I was waylayed by a single line of text - "October Earned Royalties".

Unlike September, this headline was followed by a number greater than zero - five to be exact. I stared at that number, grinning like a lunatic. Five copies of my book, FreeForm Peyote Beading, had sold online. And then, as I fiddled around, trying to see what additional sales information I could track down (they were all sold via Amazon - the first on October 1st), the number suddenly switched from five to six!

In truth, I thought I'd receive monthly sales reports. This is far more dangerous - being able to check on sales whenever I want. I almost wish I hadn't discovered that!

On a related topic, I have to admit I'm curious how the purchasers found my book. Were they friends or family who've heard about my project for the past ten months? Or was it purely through search? Inquiring minds would love to know....

p.s. Yes, I know that the title of this post is grammatically incorrect - blame that on AOL

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Embarrassment of Riches

My Moms conspired (with Dad's help of course), to deliver what I sincerely hope is a good portion of Lynnie's bead stash when Dad & Mom drove out to Seattle for the cruise. (I have heard rumors that this may just be the tip of the iceberg).

Somehow it doesn't look quite so impressive in this picture, with all the baggies of beads spread across my cutting table. But trust me, they were plenty! It took most of my limited time in the studio the later half of September to get them sorted into my stash, while trying not to drool over all the wonderful colors. Yummy!

Sorted into - who am I kidding - the additions very nearly doubled my stash. And I've never considered myself to be lacking in supplies.

And to top it all, despite my fondness for bead shopping, much of my 'pre-September' stash also had Lynnie's stamp on it. She introduced me to beading on our first meeting - and not too much later, she gave me a tray of beads, which seemed like untold riches, and which I still have.

Originally, I used the beads simply to decorate my art quilts & fabric embroideries, but slowly I began making more and more complex jewelry. Twenty years later, I swear this tray is like the fishes and loaves - I've used the beads for so many different projects, and yet I'd say most of the containers are still well over half full. They're all Japanese seed beads, with a nice rounded shape and huge thread holes, so they're a dream to use.

Thank you Lynnie, for my extravagance of riches! And for introducing me to beading in the first place.