Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Tab- Child Life Feb. 1927, Your Suit and Dolly's

Oops- I forgot what day it was. This is another pattern ad disguised as a paper doll. It was drawn by Chiquet, and it appeared in the February 1927 issue of Child Life.

Less traumatic stuff

I have to stick around this morning, because my replacement Kindle will arrive (I know this because FedEx called yesterday, to make sure I would be here to sign for it). I don't know for sure what time they'll get here, so I just have to wait. On the other hand, except for swimming, there is not a single thing that I plan to do outside today anyway. I got up at 5:30 to run before it got hot, but it was already too late: 75 degrees and 94% humidity. I treadmilled instead. This is the only currently scheduled Heart Attack Day (our heat index is predicted to hit 110 this afternoon), and then a cool front will come through and dry things out a bit. It'll still be warm, but with much lower humidity.

Anyway, I'm making good progress on the never-ending wedding shawl.
The beads don't show up well in most of my photos, so I took it outside and tried there. They sparkle beautifully in the sunlight.

 I have about 11' left to knit. After I finish the knitting, it'll take an evening to Kitchener the blasted thing together (well, the *thing* is not blasted, but I would happily blast old Kitchener), and then another evening to block it. Did I mention that we're leaving July 12? If all goes well, I'll be done early. Keep your fingers crossed.

You might notice the new link on the upper right of the blog page- my amazing and talented son has listed lots of cool items with the new Tory Bauer eBook covers for sale through CafePress. Full disclosure here- I do not profit from the sale of these items. Curt did the designs, and he owns the copyright to the covers, and I didn't pay him for them (plus, he agreed to design all six of them for me- he's A Good Boy), so I'm more than happy to let him keep whatever profit there is from sales. Chances are, I'm the only one who really wants a Sex and Salmonella apron (which I ordered the minute it was available- the pic is from the website, but I'll post one of mine when it arrives), but just in case: the store is open. Tee shirts, aprons, cups, tote bags, note cards and other hilarious things are available (if you have a hankering for a doggie tee shirt with the Funeral Food cover, you got it). I seriously need a set of beer glasses with my covers on them, but the pint glasses are on back order. As soon as they're in stock, I'm ordering some.

And speaking of Sex and Salmonella- the Kindle files are done and sent off. The book could be available for download as early as next week, with Nook and other formats to follow immediately. Woohoo!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

YIKES!, and other things that are much more pleasant

I finished proofing the Sex and Salmonella Kindle files on Monday evening. Tuesday, I worked all day, getting a lot of things crossed off my To-Do list. After I swam laps yesterday afternoon, I sat on the back deck swing and opened up the Kindle case (I have a snazzy little leather folding cover for it), to read (for fun, not for work), and this is what greeted me:
And no amount of plugging and unplugging, or turning on/off changed the screen. In fact it looks like that this morning still. After feeling sick for a moment or two, I followed Amazon's process for calling Kindle tech support (which involves putting your phone number into their system and they call you), and within 2 minutes I was talking with a first level tech person, and within another 3 minutes, I was talking with the next level tech person, and less than 3 minutes after that, my replacement Kindle was on the way. It should arrive tomorrow. That was the fastest and smoothest customer support resolution I've ever experienced. I was surprised how bereft I felt, even though I could still read the current Kindle book (Connie Willis's All Clear) on my phone, or on the computer (and, you know, there are a few thousand paper books still in the house...).
In better news, however, Curt (my son, who designed the eBook covers for Funeral Food and Sex and Salmonella, and will also do the other four) sent me 12" x 18" poster printouts of the covers. They look fantastic! I do believe that I will have them framed.

Curt also has a CafePress shop for merchandise from his HopHeadSaid beer blog. I ordered a tee shirt and a mug (and a hoodie, which should arrive in a day or so). They're great items, high quality. And of course, I like the artwork just fine.

Speaking of which, I think Curt is also going to add the new book covers to his other CafePress shop. I feel the need for a Sex and Salmonella beer glass...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crossing things off the list

Finishing V3.0 of the MG Fantasy? check
Reading entire manuscript out loud? check
Finding mistakes that I really should have caught earlier, including an oversaved blank chapter? check
Retyping blank chapter from printed copy (which is why I ALWAYS print out too)? check
Sending V3.1 to Agent? check
Collapsing? check
Finishing the proofing of Sex and Salmonella files for Kindle? check
Getting the corrections and cover sent to Ryan, whose class did the formatting? check
Leaving for a dentist appointment that involves needles and Novocaine? In a minute...

Slowly but surely, the list of thngs I must do before July 12 is getting shorter.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Water everywhere

We are not dealing with Minot-style flooding, nor are we downriver from the Oahe Dam, where things are really dicey, and are apt to remain so for a long time. But even so, we're experiencing water levels that are unheard of at this time of the year.

 This is the city park, where I run every day. I ran there on Friday. I took this picture on Saturday morning. See that green thing sticking out of the water? That's the top of a bench. The bench is on the far side of the running path. Which is not exactly usable at the moment. See the white foamy stuff in the distance? That's where the creek is supposed to be, and the foam indicates the ferocious current.

I also ran here on Friday. The running path follows those bushes back there... the ones that are under water. The sandy bit in the front of the shot is the volleyball court. When the water recedes, I'll take a pic to show you just how far away from the creek it ought to be.

Every day last week, I said to myself that I should risk ticks and thistles and wade through the high grass to take a picture of Turtle Creek, and show you all how the water level had dropped. It was still higher than normal (by a good 8'), but it was much lower than our high-water-thaw levels. I waited one day too long. This is what the creek looked like yesterday- the waters are almost as high as they were in April, which is astonishing. You can see that the rows of corn disappear into the water, which means that the creek is back up on the peninsula again.

I've never seen anything like this.
(and we're safe, our house is still far above the water levels).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This 'n that

I took yesterday afternoon off for a Girlie Day with the local Grands. We had a lovely time at the water park.
All three of them are under the cascade somewhere. Then we ate supper at Pizza Hut- their choice, but I must admit that the Honey BBQ wings and cheese bread, not to mention the Chocolate Dessert Bread, were all yummy. Then we sang Robots together on the way home, at the top of our lungs. Good times.

They stayed the night, but went home early, so the house is quiet again. I might finish the V3.0 revision of the MG Fantasy today (or tomorrow at the latest), and then I will go over the entire thing one more time, looking for little errors, and then it's off to my agent, to see what she thinks. Maybe it's ready to ship out, or maybe it needs V4.0. My brain is mush so I have no idea what the verdict will be.

I'm almost done proofing the Sex and Salmonella files, so it'll probably be available from Kindle (first, and then the other formats following soon thereafter) in a couple of weeks. This book was less well anchored in my head, so outside of a few scenes and lines, it's very much like reading a book written by someone else, which is pretty cool. I am actually almost enjoying reading it.

The death of Peter Falk got me to thinking about this scene from my favorite Peter Falk movie (well, also Princess Bride), which got me to thinking about Alan Arkin, which got me to thinking about The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, which is one of the funniest movies of all time. And it still works, beautifully. I continue to be amazed that it was ever made, given the political climate of the time (I'm not sure it would be made, even now). Only watch this clip if you have seen the movie, to remind you of some of the great bits. If you have not seen the movie, skip the clip, and go rent it. Now. You won't be sorry.

Emairgancee... everybody to get from street...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Tab- Your Dress and Dolly's, Child Life August 1925

This little paper doll is by Chiquet, and she appeared in the August 1925 issue of Child Life. It seems to be a precursor to Betsy McCall- a magazine paper doll whose real purpose is to sell sewing patterns. She's pretty cute, just the same.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding Shawl Progress

Woohoo! We're back in business.
Anyway- first half is 37" long, and I've started the second half. We'll meet in the middle with the dreaded Kitchener Stitch (which I hate). 

 You can see the beads along the outside edge, and in two lines on the borders. There are no beads in the body of the shawl (thank goodness, it takes long enough to add 6 of them every 4 rows as it is.)
The edge will look good after blocking, I think.

Wedding Shawl Progress...

Well, I would show you the Wedding Shawl progress, but Blogger won't let me upload any pictures. Rest assured, there has been progress, which I will display as soon as Blogger behaves itself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From notion to cover art, and Funeral Food at Smashwords

Check out the journey that the Sex and Salmonella cover took from idea, to finished piece (the only tweak I know of right now is possibly darkening the ink on the ticket, so that it reads clearly in b/w, since the Kindle doesn't have color). My kid, he's a genius.

Click here.

p.s. I read the first chapter of S&S last night (I have to proof the entire book before it can be uploaded anywhere), and was shocked: I liked it, and only wanted to change about four words (all adverbs). Go figure.

p.s.s. (or is it p.p.s.?) Funeral Food is now available from Smashwords!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Sex and Salmonella ebook cover!

Ta da!!!!!

I am more excited about the ebook release of Sex and Salmonella than any of the other Tory Bauer mysteries because it was the first one to come out nationally (though it's the 2nd mystery in the series- long story). It only had one printing, and it's the rarest of the titles. For awhile, back in the 90's, used paperback copies of the book were selling for over $100. Don't worry, the ebook price will be $2.99, just like Funeral Food. I think there are a lot of people who never got to read this book, and soon (like, within a couple of weeks), it'll be available again!

And yes, there is a carnival in the story.

Many thousands of thanks to my son Curtis, who is doing the covers for me, even though he has plenty of his own work to do.


Not only do I want to finish the revision of the MG Fantasy before we leave for The Wedding, I now have the first Kindle file for Sex and Salmonella, which needs proofing before it can be uploaded for sale. Curt is finishing up the cover, and I anticipate that the book will be available for Kindle and Nook in a couple of weeks.
And, of course, there's that Wedding Shawl that I must finish (that deadline is set in stonier stone than the book revision). I've completed 31", so I'm about halfway done (I anticipate that it will block out about 10" longer than the unwashed length. Wish me luck.

In the evenings, after my fingers have cramped and my brain shatters, I read. I finished the first four books of the George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, and man oh man, what a saga. I read them on my Kindle, and I'm sorry that I didn't notice that the books were available as an e-book set. I bought them separately and spent about $10 more that way. Ah well, the story is worth every penny. And you can bet that I'll be downloading A Dance with Dragons the moment it's available in July.

I don't remember how Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children came to my attention, but I read the Kindle sample, and then bought the book (that Instant Gratification Thing is dangerous indeed). The book is pretty hard to describe- think Holden Caulfield meets Percy Jackson, with some pictures (which were a little hard to see on the Kindle, though they're just an addition, not necessary to the story). Click on the link, and then watch the book trailer, and see if it doesn't grab you too.

Okay, enough of this. Back to work.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Checking in's been one of those days... no, not one of those days... one of those beautiful early summer days where I weeded the garden instead of running, and then swam laps, and then the Grandgirls came out for a morning swim (what good is it for Gma to have a pool and for it to be summer, if you can't swim in the morning?), and then I worked on the MG Fantasy (revised 3 chapters so far today), and then girls and their father came out and swam some more, and I kept working... and the doors and windows are open because it's warm without being either hot or sticky, and my world looks almost exactly like the picture at the top of the page, and I may just swim again after I finish revising the next chapter.

Anyway, it's been good but busy. And I've made progress on the wedding shawl (which is my evening activity, every evening, until this thing is done):
Okay, back to work. Catch all y'all on the flip

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Tab- Babs & Billy, Nov 1932

From the Canadian Home Journal, November 1932- another wonderful Lydia Fraser paper doll.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drum Roll Please- Funeral Food is now a Kindle Book!

Check it out here.

We'll get the typo in the character name fixed asap (she's Tory Bauer). In the meantime, I'm going to do the Happy Writer's Dance for a little while! (and the Proud Mother Dance, since my son designed the cover!)

Sex and Salmonella and The Hotel South Dakota should be available within a month!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shawl Progress

I do wish lace looked pretty as it's being knit, rather than looking like some wrinkly, bias-shaped lumpus. It is going to be okay after blocking, I promise.

It takes about 20  minutes to knit 4 rows (beads are added every 4th row), and about 2 hours to finish two repeats, which is all I can do in a single evening before my eyes cross and I start making really stupid mistakes. This is going to be an interesting race against the calendar (it has to be finished, blocked and dry by July 12).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Morning Mystery

On Sundays, we walk. A long ways... from our house, up through the State School (as it used to be called), down through the park (where I run every day), up into town, down to Casey's where we buy a Sunday paper, and then back home along the highway. It's about a 4.5 mile trek.

This morning, we spotted this on the side of the road...

I'll bet there's a good story in there.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Super 8

Okay, so Super 8 might not be The Best Summer Movie of All Time (as some reviewers are gushing), but it's pretty damn good. I won't spoil the plot except to say that it's set in the summer of 1979 when a group of middle school boys, and one very pretty girl, witness something amazing as they're filming a home-made zombie movie to enter in a Super 8 film contest. I will say that the cast is wonderful- the kids are all excellent actors (not that we expected anything else from a Fanning) and Kyle Chandler is perfect as the bereaved husband trying to cope with his grief, his son, his job, and this *thing* that is happening in his town. The production values (the young director's favorite term) are amazing- this movie is beautifully shot. The action sequences are beyond exciting, the tension is constant, and the late 70's are brought back in all of their ugly, polyester glory. Oh yeah, and it's heart-achingly sweet. The movie is a sort of blend of Goonies, ET, and Close Encounters- and I'd add a smidge of Monster House (the animated movie) and maybe even a bit of American Graffitti. I'd take the PG 13 warning seriously- there are a couple of minor drug references, and a few swear words (including The Big One), but mostly, I think it's just too intense for anyone under 10 or so.

Is it over the top? Yep. After you think on it a bit, does it make a whole lot of sense? Not really. Does it matter? Nope.

Except that the theater is a 100 mile round trip, and movies are expensive, and I have work to do, I'd go see it again today.

Maybe it is the best summer movie of all time.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cassy's Wedding- Shawl Progress

I'm leaving in a few minutes, going to Aberdeen to see Super 8. I rarely go to movies, and even rarer still, go on an opening day, but this movie has ingtrigued me for a long time, and the early reviews are wowsers. So I'm taking the afternoon off to see if it lives up to the hype.

In the meantime, I've made some progress on Cassy's Wedding Shawl. I finished the saw-tooth ends, and have picked up the body, and am working on it. It's a really simple design, and the beads show up nicely. Of course, it looks all weird and rumply now, but it'll block out all smooth and even.
If you're knitting along, here's the chart. I did make one small adjustment on the actual shawl- on the final outside border repeat, I'm adding the bead on the final stitch, rather than the 2nd to the last.

We're leaving on July 12- do you think  I'll have it done on time?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Tab- Sue Goes South, January 1933

I believe that I am falling in love with Lydia Fraser's work. Sue appeared in the Canadian Home Journal in January, 1933. Isn't she beautiful?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I'm sorry that I've been quiet lately. In addition to coping with a really miserable heat wave (we've had temps in the high 90's, with matching humidity- we're talking middle of July heart attack weather, not the first warm days of summer ), I've been finishing up work on the Kindle formatting of Funeral Food.

Non-writers probably don't realize that writers have to read their books at least a dozen times before publication. By the time a book hits the stands, nothing seems fresh, or funny, or readable. Long before actual publication, I never want to see the book again (well, unless I am gazing proudly at it on bookstore shelves, or on bestseller lists)(HAH!). Except for carefully selected excerpts that I would trot out at appearances, I have managed not to re-read any of my mysteries.

Until now.

The first version of Funeral Food was published as The Missionary Position in 1993, in a limited trade paperback edition. The revision came out as a mass market paperback in 1998. Since then, I had not so much as peeked at the pages, until the Kindle file for the book arrived. But a new version demands a new reading, even though I am the world's worst proofreader. And this book had to be read, not only to check for errors, but to make sure that the Kindle formatting was correct. (Speaking of Kindle- hearing my book read out loud by the computer voice was worth the price of admission all by itself.)

I expected to cringe at every word. And you know what? I did cringe a little bit (my first editor was right- I needed an adverbectomy), but I also chuckled once in a while. I had forgotten major plot points and whole characters, so though it was not exactly like reading a new book, it wasn't exactly like reading my own book either. I still wish I could revise the whole thing (and take out a passel of adverbs), but on the whole, it's.... okay. (Side note- the book went into 4 printings- check Amazon for reviews from people who didn't write it. Most of them liked it).

So today I have to write the book description (which is, in some ways, harder than writing the book itself- how do you condense a year of work into two paragraphs that will entice someone to part with hard-earned cash?), and then the files will go to my agent, who will get this thing moving. I think that the book will be available in all e-book formats, not just Kindle.

In the meantime, the Sex and Salmonella files will be ready for proofing very soon, and Curt is nearly done with the cover (I don't know what he's going to put in the middle of the frame, but I know it'll be cool). S&S only had one paperback printing so it's the rarest of the titles, and it's pretty hard to find. I'm glad it'll be available again.

And when I'm not working on old books, I've been moving ahead slowly with the revision of the new book. And working on Cassy's Wedding Shawl (the wedding is barely a month from now... Yikes!)... and okay, I confess... I've been reading a little bit (I'm on the 3rd book of the Game of Thrones series... wowsers... it pulls you in and doesn't let go).

Anyway, I'll try to post more often.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Display at The Depot

The folks at the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Depot here in Redfield, asked to display some of my knitted items and books during the month of June. The Depot is an amazing old building, built in 1914 when railroads were King, and restored in 2002 by The Hub and The Younger Son. It's a wonderful old building with a roster of permanent displays of Redfield and railroad history, and monthly special exhibits.

You can't tell from this distance, but there are gargoyles on the gutters.

I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the interior shots. The Hub had the camera, so I took these with my phone. The lighting was not propitious. There is lots of wonderful quarter-sawn oak woodwork throughout.

The Ladies Bathroom has special meaning for me. That marble sink-top used to be in my house.

This was the former depot dining room.

and the kitchen.

The Dispatch Room is especially cool. I'm sorry that the photo of the working telegraph machine didn't turn out.

This hand-made miniature steam train actually works.

I'm going to buy this tee shirt.

This shelf has projects from Yarns to Dye For (which didn't get into the shot for some reason). I have no projects left from Knit One, Felt Too. The other books are all compilations that I contributed to.

Projects from I Heart Felt.

The Big Book  of Socks

And finally, Fearless Fair Isle Knitting.

If you're anywhere near Redfield, stop in at the Depot and look around. It's an amazing place.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday Tab- Mary Lou

This scan isn't dated, but she's the same Mary Lou doll from last week, and she was also drawn by Lydia Fraser, so I would guess that she appeared in the Ontario Farmer magazine. I would also guess that this was published in 1932, and probably in January or February.

Thanks again, Paper Doll Friend Whose E-Mail I have Lost

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Workshop Listings for SAFF, Oct 21-23 in Asheville, NC now open for SAFF members

The workshop registration for 2011, for SAFF members is now open. Registration for the public opens June 15. Click from this page for the workshop listings. Click on Workshops, and then on Schedule. And if you'd like to become a member, click here.

As always, there are many classes that I would love to take, but I'm teaching all 3 days. Here are my classes (you can find the class descriptions and requirements in the link above). Note that the Writing Patterns for Publication class will be held twice:

Friday 10-21:
Mitered Square Cuffs: 11:30am-3:30pm

Writing Patterns for Publication: 4:00pm-6:00pm

Saturday 10-22:
Fair Isle Design: 8:30am-12:30pm

Knitting Tips and Tricks: 1:30pm-3:30pm (note: there is a typo in the listing right now that says that this class starts at 10:30am, but it's an afternoon class).

Sunday 10-23:
Nordic Christmas Stocking: 9:00am-4:pm

Writing Patterns for Publication: 4:00pm-6:00pm

I hope to see many of you there!