Sunday, October 31, 2010

week 564 Woodoworking

year 10, Week 42, Day One (week 564)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-30-10 Saturday

82 degrees at nine, 88 at two o'clock. Mostly blue sky with nice soft puffs slipping across the sky. Only rarely did one cloud decide to block the sun from me. Nice breeze made it quite comfortable all day long. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

During the week, I tested the Tunisian hook I made last week. I found a couple problems with the design. I then took one of my older hooks a small one made of Orange and drilled the end and tested with that and it worked nicely. I saw several errors in the hook I had created for the project. I took a hand sander and tapered the end almost to a point. I then tapered the hook end so it would fit through the wood a bit better.
After hand sanding the two ends a little, I drilled the tail end and added a cord. I cut the end of a large paint brush off for the stop on the end of the cord. The brush handle was plastic, but that worked anyway.
The corrected needle is working better than I ever expected. I went on to correct the hook end of one of my other hooks as this new design was much better.

front and back of the Tunisian crochet.

single crochet I am doing in my truck at stop lights.

At work, a catalog for a company that personalizes all sorts of items came in and I got my hands on it. Right on the inside cover were some snow people sitting down. I liked them so much I decided I should try to copy them.

The catalog pictures I am copying for my snow people.

When I arrived and got my stuff spread out, My first project, after petting the cat, was to explore my design for the snow people. I had worked out the basics of making them. My wood, which was reclaimed from something, is very slightly rectangular, 4.2 cm and 4.4 cm. It makes a very slight, but useful difference. I use centimeters only because it is easier to use on small works like I am doing right now than fractions of inches. I located the center, then placed my center point for the lathe 1.5cm from the center of the edge. This gave me some extra distance for the feet to stick out since they are seated.
I turned the body until it was round, then touched the feet so the soles were a smooth radius. I under cut the feet on top and bottom so the toes stick up and the heals are slightly lower than the legs. I also rounded the bottom slightly. With a tiny bit more planning, I could assist in my shaping a little bit more.

Snow people blanks on the lathe.

These snow people have stocking caps with wide brims where the company put the names. They are tipped, higher in front than in back. If one is going to turn this rim, one should make it wide enough to handle both extremes and then carve the angle later. Also one can delineate the bottom of the head.
These have a scarf around the neck and going down in front. I lightly carved them in slight relief after I shaped the balls of the body. Looking at the picture, I now see they also have hands in their laps, which mine don't have. They could use that to look better. More carving to be done.
I also left a slightly raised nose, but their nose are pointed for a carrot.
I have painted my three, including the faces, and the one with the broader head looks better. They do need hands in mittens so I will add that to my next design.

First three finished snow people

I would say that these are a very good start on Christmas ornaments. I now have cats and snow people. I have to come up with two more, and make a dozen of each.

Tomorrow, I will make more snow people and maybe a couple more cats. I have other ornaments that need to be finished such as my swans, and I need to make some Christmas trees and regular snow men as I am out of them.

I will see what I really do tomorrow.

year 10, Week 42, Day Two (week 564)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-31-10 Sunday

85 degrees, very light breeze, mostly blue sky over me with some clouds to the south and west. There were wet roads in other parts of the county and once or twice a cloud got in the way of the sun.
This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of tourism.

My computer was acting up this morning and that really messed me up to start with. Later in the day, I broke one of my digital cameras. the old adage, DON'T FORCE IT, has a reason to exist.

I petted and fed both cats, Scarface and Beggar. I gave Scarface attention until he had enough, then turned to Beggar, who simply wants company at first, then attention after he has eaten a little.
The beast was so sweet later in the day. He laid down and slept at my feet twice when I was carving. One he leaped into hiding when my brother came out of the house, and the second time he leaped into hiding when a strange noise sounded out front. He was a bit disappointed when I started cleaning up after that second time rather than sitting back down and calling him back.

I first made three new snow people blanks and then started carving them. I added arms and they might be a bit better.
I figured out that they might be better if they were shorter. I use a piece of wood nearly twelve inches long and divided it into three for my first six snow people. I then made another set of blanks and got four out of the same length wood rather than three. I did not take the time to start carving on them but they are ready to be worked.

It has been a while since I have done extensive carving, so I developed a blister on my right hand on the middle finger because of the rubbing and pressure from the knife. I tore it open. A bandage works well to protect that and I should wear one when carving anyway to avoid that blister. I do wear a cheap leather gardening glove on the hand that holds the wood and during the past two days, It has saved me from half a dozen little nicks. They would have been bothersome little lines in the skin. The glove really does not help a whole lot for a serious cut but for the little things, it is well worth getting used to.

I mentioned yesterday that I was using metric for my measurements on my ornaments. I decided I should explain a little more on that. I am not actually measuring. I am dividing a distance by a number of spaces. I could be using English inches, decimal feet, meters, crinkles in corrugated metal. All that is needed is for them to be even. for the small work I am mostly doing right now, metrics tend to come out even or close to it since they are small.
Yesterday I said it was like 4.4 cm wide and I was doing 3cm from the edge for making the body of the snow people. I was working in the proportion of the body to the legs sticking out. The actual numbers were meaningless.
The length of the wood I am using for these ornaments is limited to what can fit on the inside throat of the band saw. It is close to twelve inches. I then divide the resulting stick by how many pieces I need. Nothing I am doing right now is critical in measurements. When I am done carving, they end up being slightly different anyway.

Friday, I will check in on the antique shop and the water gardens. It has been two months since I had been down there. I am curious as to how my wooden flowers had done, along with anything else I have down there. I will have a few more items to bring down with me, but nothing spectacular.

Next weekend, I will finish the snow peoples I have made blanks for, finish the two cat blanks I have, and make some more cat blanks until I have a dozen. I have plans for some major projects, but will have to see what comes up by then.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Did You Write? 10-25-10

Did You Write? 10-25-10

Many among us write every day or every week without prompting. There are those of us who might not write for several months were it not be for someone reminding us we should write.
This note is to remind us slackers to write, to open our works in progress, even if it is something new, sometime during the week. The hope is that writing will become a habit rather than an interest.

We don't care how much you write. If you write the RIGHT WORD, then you wrote. When editing, the word count might actually go down.
We don't care what it is you write. The rule of thumb is that, IF YOU HAVE TO ASK, THE ANSWER IS YES.
For example, all new writing is writing. All editing is writing, even if it is the work of others. Critiquing is also writing. Blogging, poetry, writing assignments, articles, technical writing, world and character creation are all also writing. Even E-mails can be writing if they are wordy and pertain to story or writing. The answer is yes it is.

As for me, I worked on my second Waxy story all week. I made great headway and got through some difficult scenes. I am thinking I will have to go back through it and cut down the word count, but it is reading a whole lot better than any other version.
I got permission to return to my first story, and go through the suggested edits. I am about half way through that now. I am at a bothersome scene that I need to fix. I now know how that fix will go.
Because of the changes I am doing, my word count is going down as I remove old scenes after I replaced them or made them unimportant. Half the story is still in a wandering ending. I would remove it but there might be some jewels I can gleam from it for my final story. The final work will be a whole lot shorter when done.

On the story idea front, I have 48 story ideas in my compost pile, including what I am posting tonight. Last month I ended one story idea short, so to make sure I have enough this month, I have posted story idea 27, for the 25 days so far of the month.

I explored some ornament designs based on cat posts I saw in a store. What I came up with for my cat ornaments look nothing like the cat posts, but they came out pretty good. Each time I made some, I changed the design based on what I learned from the last ones. during the week, I painted faces on the cat ornaments and was stunned at how good even the bad ones came out. While my newest ones look great, the old ones are quite presentable, nothing as bad as I thought. Sometimes a bad attempt on a good idea comes out great.

As to the question of the day,
I am happy to admit



Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 563 Woodworking

year 10, Week 41, Day One (week 563)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-23-10 Saturday

90 degrees, good breeze, fast moving small puffs, some were thick. mostly sunny. This weather report is brought to you by the Fort Lauderdale department of Tourism.

During the week, I dug out all my cat ornaments and my paint and painted faces on them. The two cats, the first I made, that were painted red, I painted them brown. I need to paint them with a lighter brown, at least on the front. the rest just had their faces painted and a big white spot on their chest. I found I like the older cats as much as I like the new ones.


I had my two bowls and my cat ornaments with me at work since I was going to the turning club meeting. One of the guys had lost a cat recently and one of my newest cats had a resemblance to the cat he lost. He has that one now.

At the turning club meeting, they liked my results on my cats. I asked about the design of my bowls, both of which stated out as something else, and I have just a little bit of design change for next time. One had a slight change in the radius half way down and it should be continuous. the rim needed just a slight adjustment. On the second, just the rim needed a slight correction. Good to know that I had the basic design right.

The demonstration was having four lathes showing how to make things to hang on the tree. One demonstrated how to properly hollow small ornaments. Another made finials to fit into sea urchin ornaments. A fourth showed how to make bracelets which would also be good ring ornaments, and the fourth showed how to make balls that are hollow inside. He also had ornaments where you turn a cove in the middle, then turn it inside out as four glued up pieces and turn down the ends. It becomes like a cage.
I spent most of my time at the sea urchin station and learned a lot, but should have studied more at the others. It is hard. To much is going on at once.

A creation by the 18 year old daughter of one of our members
I had to show this, it is so fantastic.

My litter of kittens I will repaint the two dark ones on the left.


I had a dozen projects I wanted to work on today, but a family gathering took place. We went out for breakfast at a time I normally am showing up in the back to do wood working. Since I was riding with Mom, we stopped several places on the way home. It was noon by the time we got back. We viewed each other's pictures and that killed any possible working time I had left.

I tended the backyard beast and Scarface early morning. The beast tends to be 'don't touch me' when he first starts eating, then wants attention after he gets some food. He does want you there, nearby, though, and will follow you until you come back to watch him eat. I solve this by giving scarface a lot of attention until he showed me he had enough. The beast then was about ready for some.
When we got back, I went out and gave the beast some more food and a lot of attention.
Before I left, I went out and all the beast really wanted was attention, and would have loved if I just stayed there for several hours.

I had hoped to start a couple projects today, possibly finishing one tomorrow. Because I did not get a chance to work, I doubt I will finish anything tomorrow.
I have a special crochet hook I want to make. I have a piece of wood that is begging to become a platter. I have a piece of Norfolk that is begging to be another face vase. I have a bunch of sticks for making more flowers. I have cat blanks, swan blanks, more crochet hooks, That is just the list of the most important projects. I have several dozen more to work on.

I will see what happens tomorrow.

year 10, Week 41, Day two (week 563)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-24-10 Sunday

85 degrees, mostly fast moving clouds, some blue skies in the afternoon. Showers of liquid sunshine hit several times in the morning, three times I had to pull the lathe inside and wait it out, which the longest one was about half an hour before there was no question that nothing else was coming down. None of it was hard or long. The worst of what came down was to the south in Fort Lauderdale. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

I dug out the wood for the face vase and the piece of wood given to me. There are two sets of knots in the wood and I was not sure how I wanted to cut it for the next face vase. I returned it to the shed.

The piece of wood I was given, was a chain sawed slab from the tree. I measured out the largest circle I could make and then cut that out. I then measured out three small circles in what was left and cut them out.
I used the disk sander to smooth out one side of the circle and then measured to find the center again. Always good to check it after bandsawing as I tried to stay proud of my lines by quite a bit. I used a wood face plate and double sided tape and mounted it on the lathe.
I was cutting end grain, which is not easy. this is dry wood which makes powder rather than slicing nicely. I ended up with a very nice bowl. I made a simple cup out of one piece of the wood. I am now thinking I should make goblets out of the other two pieces. I will use them to make the bowl and then use some other wood for the stem and base.

I took some bamboo dowels and made two Tunisian style crochet hooks. I added cords to the end and a cap at the other end of the cord. This is a style of crochet where one leaves loops on the hook for as wide as th piece you are making, and then remove the loops while hooking, back off. The cord is to allow one to make work longer than the hooks, and the cap on the end of the cord is to hold the loops on the cord until they are needed. It sounded like an interesting method of crochet so I decided to make hooks.

I carved two more cats. They have to be varnished and the faces have to be put on, but they look good. I also fixed the bottoms of the existing cats so they are flat and clean. They will get some varnish and then be signed and varnished again.
My first two cats are painted a dark brown. some of the painted on detail disappeared. I tried painting it a different color and I did not like the effect so I washed it off. I will try again later in the week. They need to be lightly colored for the detail to show.

The bowl and cup, and two newly carved cats

Tunisian crochet hooks
The cords are to hold extra stitches.

For next week, I will reconsider my face vase again. I will do the two goblet bowls. I have two more cat blanks to carve. I should make a few more. I also need to come up with my next ornaments to do. There are several kinds of ornaments from previous years that I need to make more copies of. I have other wood that needs to be used up. I also want to make some more crochet hooks.

I will see what I actually do next week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

10-18-10 Did You Write?

10-18-10 Did You Write?

Another week has arrived to brag about your accomplishments, cry about your failures, and otherwise tell what is going on in your life.
The idea of this note is for you to hold your feet to the fire and actually write SOMETHING sometime each week. It can amount to a lot of writing over a given period of time.
We are not picky as to what is writing. If you have to ask, the answer is yes. We are not picky about the word count as editing can cut down the word count drastically.
The key is to at least open something.

On my work in progress, I realized my character simply walked through a dangerous scene, then it dawned on me on how to make it dangerous. I am drastically revising a scene, and it is still not good enough, but at least it starts dangerously. My main concern at this second is to get rid of errors that have cropped up by having things happen earlier than before.
I also worked my way to another scene where my character gets into trouble. There, I was interweaving between views from different characters. the timing of what was going on was all wrong. Reading through it, it dawned on me that if I remove one scene, about a third of a page long, the timing would fall together. it is still not right, but now can be made to work.
I have a problem where I am not cruel. I cannot do some very nasty things to my characters. I do know how to make a later scene better.
I have some wolf like creatures that are tailing my main character, intent on capturing him. either to control or more likely kill him. He has a magical scent that drives them crazy. What I have to do is make him escape them just in the nick of time.
I am disappointed, with all the work I have done, that I only added 2454 words. But, when you consider how much I zapped in the process of the changes, I did well with that total count. I will be doing some wholesale zapping of scenes pretty soon since they are no longer needed, replaced by stuff earlier
I am working in WORDPERFECT and am saving in MS WORD. I ran across a code in the text that I never heard of before. it is DELAY CODE. I've been getting page counts that were always going up and I had no idea why. It got up to 127 pages, but when brought into notepad and then brought in, it was only 54 pages. I had not looked deep into my text. I found that the pages only had half the text in them. I located the code and zapped it and now have real page counts.

I am keeping up on the story idea front. I am writing them small so the word and page counts will not be big. I don't have time to give a compost pile word count.

I finally came up with my first carved Christmas ornament for this year. I try to come up with four types each year, and make a dozen of them, plus extras of ones from previous years that I am low on.
I now have to come up with three other ornaments that might be of interest to others. I have to get all of them done by the end of November. My problem is that I have other projects I am also working on. cannot do them at the same time.

I have a story idea in my compost pile that I have no concept of what to do with it. It simply is,
You are going somewhere, like in space or being beamed somewhere. You can only take one thing. I mean one thing. Not an entire computer system with disks and stuff. One laptop, but one might not be able to take the cords, just the laptop. One nick knack. One book. My thought was to have all my data, including books, converted and take them, but again one thing would not be a laptop bag. I know whatever you choose, will be wrong.
My thought is that one does not know where you are going or what you will do. You might be converted into a different creature entirely. You may or may not be with others. that eliminates the idea that a couple hundred of you bring one component of a system and have like several computers with backup hard drives.
The rules could be changed to make it easier, such as one suit case, but one item would be more a character building question.

As to the question of the day,
I can honestly say,



Week 562 Woodworking

year 10, Week 40, Day One (week 562)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-16-10 Saturday

86 degrees as a high, 65 degrees early morning, nice breeze, blue sky with wiry puffs everywhere. Good sleeping weather.
Being used to it getting into the 90s, night temps in the mid 80s, the temps below 70 had a momentary chill to it. We were used to it almost immediately, but it was a bit of a surprise.
This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

Someone has been taking care of Scarface. His fur is in much better condition and he looks much less like the scarred cat he once was when he first showed up. He has not been in any recent fights either. I should start calling him TOM as my mom does. He will still be Scarface to me.

Our favorite restaurant was closed this morning, police cars all around, the staff sitting outside, waiting. someone broke into a check cashing store three doors down, by breaking into a next door store first. We went some place else for breakfast.

We hit a bunch of yard sales. I saw some wonderful stuff, but nothing I wanted enough to be worth asking the price for.

After petting and feeding the cats, I got my equipment out. I now have things where I can grab everything within a few minutes.

My first project was to get to the back of the shed and see what I had in two by two lumber for ornaments. It was rather quick. I did find several sticks of wood that will do fine. I got them to the front.
I saw a piece of oak I took off a pallet and decided to get the nails out of it. The nails were embedded into the wood and refused to come out. On the mate to this one, after killing a bandsaw blade, I figured out a way to get the nails out. It helps that this piece is a three by four, rather than square, and that the nails were on the three inch side rather than the four inch side, and that they are all on one side of the wood.
I marked it so it will end up being square wood with the nail heads in the waste wood. I also found the center of those squares. I drew marker lines across the board right across the nail heads. I mounted the wood on the lathe based on my center marks on the end. When I spun the wood, you can see lines where the nails are.
I turned the wood fast and used my parting tool to cut down the wood on each side of the nail. Try not to hit the nail like I did. It chips up the tip nicely. I had to sharpen the parting tool a couple times because it slipped on me.
I cut grooves on both sides of the nail and generally stopped when I could hear the back corners touch, a four corner tap. After they were all grooved like that, I took it over to the workbench and pried or knocked off the wood beside the nails so they were fully exposed on all sides. Now if you have a nail puller, great. Vice grips would have worked great too. I did not have either. What worked best for me was a pair of plyers. I would grip it, then bend the nail down and press on the handle. The force between the wood it was laying on and my pressure down, helped keep them closed. I had to work each nail side to side, using the bend against itself. It was some work but the nails came out.
after I was done, I drew a line down the sides of the board in line with the squares and bandsawed the damaged wood off. The corners are nicked, but I usually round the wood anyway.

One of the undamaged piece of oak was long enough for crochet hooks, so I made two attempts at making hooks. The point of my center split the wood on the end I had narrowed down, and turned the piece around to finish up. I was sanding the far end of the second piece and the strip of sandpaper got wound around the wood and it got bent, unusable. both got tossed. I still have two pieces to play with.

The oak board with gouges cut out to get the nails, and then after it was sliced

Some crochet done the past week. The second picture of the ball and ribbon looks something like a walrus with glasses. That is giving me some ideas.

I have a wood turning club meeting on Thursday so I decided to get some projects finished up. I sanded and varnished on some bowls I made last month, some pencil cups, and a plate I made months ago. I have to get more varnish to finish them up. They will also need more sanding.

The sanding and the oak took up most of my work time.

I finally located the pictures of the post cats I was trying to make. I E-mailed it to mom and she was having problems printing them. Late morning, I checked on what she was doing. She accidentally was trying to make a PDF of the picture, rather than printing them. When she was showing me the problem, she figured it out.
I see that what I created last week, had nothing to do with what I thought I was making. I will give them a try tomorrow now that I know I have the wood and pictures together. there is carving to them so that works out. It is all a matter of proportion. will see how they come out.

tomorrow, I want to make some shaving flowers, some crochet hooks, some post cat ornaments, and may make another pencil cup. what I actually do, may well be different, but that is my plan.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

year 10, Week 40, Day two (week 562)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-17-10 Sunday

67 as a low, 76 when I arrived at Mom's house, It got up into the 80s in the afternoon. The morning started out with slightly broken clouds, many with grey bottoms. I thought I saw a few misty drips on my windshield on the way up but saw or felt little or nothing else. the clouds started breaking up and more and more sun was seen until it seamed like in spite all the clouds, it was always sunny. This Weather Report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

After petting and feeding the cat, I got out my equipment.

My first project was to try out my plans for the cat ornaments. I cut wood to length, and marked the centers on each end. This pine has dark heart wood that is full of pitch. One corner is sap wood and is white.
I made two first, to test my concepts. I set the wood off center, measured along the corner to corner line. so the heart wood stuck out farther. I decided half a centimeter was a good distance. It was easy to see compared to the fraction of inch markings and it looked like it was about the right distance.
Much of my measurements have nothing to do with the actual numbers. Much is 'how many spaces needed across the piece, or where is the center' The numbers are unimportant. Just the even spacing of the markings. Whatever is closest works.
I mounted the wood on my off-center mark and turned the wood to my decided shape. I cut in at the neck, then tapered out as I went to the feet. I jogged out slightly where the legs were. Being off center, the chest and front of the legs were turned while the back corner, where the tail was, was only slightly touched by the tools.

I used the band saw to cut the Vee between the ears, and cut straight down the front of the ears and partially shape the front of the face. I used the knife at first, but found that the dremmel worked better for my carving and shaping.
Fairly satisfied with my results, I made four more blanks for the cat ornaments. They are not like the picture, but quite passable anyway. I made design changes to make it easier to do.
I gave them a coat of sanding sealer, and then painted eyes nose, mouth, whiskers and a chest spot on the two I had already carved.
They do look good. Not perfect, but they do look good. I will add several coats of varnish and with an eye hook and signature, will call them done.

I did two shaving flowers but did not add stems to them.

The work I did on the cats took most of the day. There was a lot of exploring the design and the techniques. for carving them. The dremmel made it quick work compared to the knife and I had to use the dremmel to clean it up anyway.
Turning, bandsawing several angles and directions also took time.

I am happy that now I have started my ornaments. I have some swan blanks to carve that I made last year, and now have to come up with three other ornaments to do.

First picture is my blanks and undecorated carved cats.
The second picture is the finished cats.

With my Christmas ornaments, I have several rules. My official ornaments are carved, preferably with a knife, but not necessarily. I will use a bandsaw and lathe to remove excess wood. they are made from two by twos to limit the size. I try to do a dozen of four kinds of ornaments each year, though don't always succeed on that. I get them done for display and sales starting the first of December.

Thursday, I will have a turning club meeting. I have my two finished cats to show. I might paint some others I made just so they can be called done and show them off as mistakes.

I will see what I do next week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Remember me?

Yeah, I'm the crazy lady that started this blog, and I've been away for months. Good to see Roger at least still posting here.

So where have I been? Been writing like a fiend, and now editing some too, for a start up company called Pro Se Productions, which is based in Arkansas. My good friend and longtime writing partner Lee Houston Jr. is responsible for getting me involved—thanks Lee! Anyway, right now Pro Se is putting out monthly magazines in the tradition of old time pulps, with lots of brand new stories and writers that are new talent alongside others that are well-known veterans published in that part of the speculative fiction field. There are plenty of other plans being kicked around the backroom too, as this is an ambitious and adventuresome group of folks who want to make pulpy goodness available to the reading public again on a regular basis. I've met some amazingly talented and creative people this year, and I feel privileged to have become part of the team. Writing is one of my passions and you cannot imagine the rush you get from seeing your ideas come to life on a printed page with artwork based on the concept, and know that somewhere, someone is reading and (hopefully) enjoying it too. It gives me a good reason to be up this late at night pounding the keys to get the word out. This is a start-up venture, directly from us to you folks, so please come take a look. We've all worked awfully hard to bring this thing to life.

You gotta check these folks out, their website is here: with the mags available in both an affordable E-format (downloadable PDF) on site as well as a big and impressive looking, glossy covered beauty for sale on (you have to register to buy, but that's free) Right now we have 3 imprints, each with its own special focus. Masked Gun Mystery is all the detective/PI/police-type stories. Fantasy & Fear is mostly heroic, epic, monsters and horror as well as anything you can imagine in between. Peculiar Adventures has much of the super hero, sci fi and other things that don't fit easily in the other formats. We even have an ongoing comic included, and every story has a couple of pieces of artwork. Very few ads too, mostly in-house stuff, so you are getting 80-140 some odd pages of reading on nice thick paper. A quality mag and worth the price, believe me.

BTW, four of my characters and two of Lee's are in the ad below, including a certain baby dragon know as Lazlo! Yep, at some point, my little guy will have his own series going, and I suspect he will be joined by friends along the way.

It's been a whirlwind 6 months or so with me going from knocking on the door with my hat in hand looking for an audition to having my first two submissions accepted and being asked to do series writing for them. I am currently rotating 4-5 story lines as well as some standalone work, AND I was tapped to edit Peculiar Adventures starting with the September issue (#2). Lee is currently doing two series for Pro Se, and he is the editor of Fantasy & Fear. A well-known and published pulp author named Barry Reese edits Masked Gun Mystery. You will find plenty of contributors with pulp-styled books for sale on Amazon and elsewhere amongst us emerging talents, so check that out too. We put out the first three issues in the first month of publication, but have since gone to a single issue 3 month rotation, with more pages of pulpy goodness in each issue. October's mag is going to be Fantasy & Fear #2, November has Masked Gun Mystery #2, and December will feature Peculiar Adventures #3. So you get the idea. ;)

Tommy Hancock, our intrepid editor-in-chief and guy of a hundred hats and no sleep, has also collaborated with some very interested and talented friends to create a pulp themed news site called All Pulp where you can find all sorts of interesting stuff about things pertaining to people like us and the things we do. The response to that site, they tell me, has been overwhelming; and it has almost become a full time job itself for the Spectacled Seven, the great bunch of guys who man the helm and bail the bilges over there. Go take a look see!

Oh, and most of us have a presence on Facebook now, including Your's Truly, so come on over and say hi. Some of the others are on Twitter too, not sure about My Space or anywhere else, but a lot of the authors do have websites. Come look for me on FB and I'll be happy to friend you. I'll be back linking the blog at some point, when I get time and have some new pics up.

Speaking of pictures, I have been so doggoned busy the summer just flew by. The garden started out great and then went downhill after mid-July when writing took over my life for good (and it IS good). I have been out thrifting and doing a little crafting and crocheting, and I have the pictures to prove it too, but it will be a while before I get to sort, resize and post many of them. We had Roger up here for a week vacation not long ago, and there are pics of that too, so I'd love to get some of those up as well. Yep, life has become interesting this year for sure!

And that's why you're just hearing from me now, at least most of the reason for it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Did You Write? 10-11-10

Did You Write? 10-11-10

It is that time of the week again, the time to examine yourself, your life and your writing, and answer the question posed by the note. Tell us about your successes, tell us about your failures, and tell us about what else is going on in your life.
Many among us write every day with no problem. There are those who write one month, go several months without writing. The rest of us might be a bit sporadic, writing each month, but not every week.
The concept of this note is to entice all here to open some work in progress at least once every week. Just a little work every week adds up to a lot of writing over a year.
We are not picky about what is writing. If you even have to question whether it is writing, the answer will be yes. New writing, editing, critiquing, blogging, writing assignments, technical writing, poetry, world or character development. E-mail can even be called writing if they pertain to writing or stories and are wordy. Just about anything will do if you even question whether it is.
We are not concerned about word count. When writing new, big word counts are quite desirable. With editing, word counts are known to go down.

I am working on story number two of my Waxy dragon stories. I need to cut down the word count but also raise the level to near to what is required for publication. Right now, I am at a point where a major plot change is needed. The order things happen are swapped all around. It will be a tighter, more exciting story, hopefully, when done. If not, I will rewrite portions of it until it is.
As I am writing, I am also deleting. I have written a whole lot of words, but have removed a lot too. I can zap the entire two ending sequences and cut the story in half. As it is, it is 32000 words and needs to be 15000 words.
At this moment, I have a word count of adding around one thousand two hundred words. I added 3 pages. In actual writing, I likely wrote ten thousand words. My zapping sections hides the word count. I expect the word count to go down over the next week.

My story ideas are as short as possible, telling what the concept is about, but not really showing it. I used to aim for four pages and usually hit three. Now I am aiming at one page and sometimes getting onto the second page.
During my vacation, I wrote down my concepts, but did not even bother writing any. This month I am writing extra whenever I can. I want to end the month with at least one extra idea to make up for last month's one short.

As to the question of the week,

I can honestly say,



Week 561, Wood Working

year 10, Week 39, Day One (week 561)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 10-09-10 Saturday

85 degrees, blue sky, some puffs on the horizon over the Everglades. Light breeze that got a little stronger as the day went on. This weather report was brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of tourism.

The past two weekends, I was up in Connecticut. I did no wood working at all. I did see some wonderful things, though. We went to their Renaissance-Festival and had fun. I drooled over all sorts of crafts items.
We went to a Salvation Army store that had a whole shelf of household and kitchen items made of wood. There was a wooden nut dish that had like ten leaves as the nut dishes themselves, chiseled out, and connected only by vines. It was all one piece. there was a matching bowl too.
Later in the week, we went to their regional fair at the Big E fair grounds. They had some craft people working, pottery, black smith, a woodworker with his display set up. Lots of crafts worth drooling over. It was fun.

I crocheted quite a bit during the time off. I learned how to do the granny square and the pieces I did came out pretty good. It really helped at the air ports and on the plane. I was too pre-occupied to get bored. It was a lot more enjoyable than reading or playing video games.

The crochet I did while on vacation. The round multi colored thing was done on the trip up. The rest are granny squares. The upper left roundish one was done with longer stitches than I was supposed to do.

Yesterday and today, I started my very first three dimensional piece. it is simply a ball. It worked. I still have to fill it, but that will come a bit later. No rush. I have several ideas of how to use this ball. I could make it into an acorn, a Christmas ball with a ribbon on top, something like a pie. There are others I have considered. Will see what it becomes when I finish it up.
One thought for this crochet is to make wooden dolls and then make clothing for them. Carving the hands, feet and head would be all that was necessary, make the rest out of cloth.

This is the first attempt at three dimensional crochet.


After some yard sailing, I got my equipment out and decided to try an idea for a Christmas ornament. At the antique shop I have my stuff in, they have some what I call POST CATS. They are made from four inch stock, stand between two, and three and a half feet tall. I decided to try to copy them in two inch by two inch wood.
carved one, and Mom was not quite satisfied with it, so I made a second one. This is out of some really old weathered wood.
I first carved them with the knife, then used the dremmel to fix them up even better. Because of the weathering, I painted them orange to see what they looked like with out the darkness of the weathering. They are not horrible.
Something said they were not right. It dawned on me later that they were not what I was trying to copy. The post cats are mostly rounded with very little shaping to them. Mine are heavily shaped.
I will try them again, this time use the lathe to rough them out and see how that works.

First post cat ornaments. I was working with weathered wood so I painted them red to see the form.

I made another pencil cup. It was quick and easy. I have to make a bunch more of them. I likely will stop when I run out of wood.

My truck has had a problem starting. I have had to work the key a bunch of times to get it to decide to start. Today, it decided not to start at all. We ended up getting a new battery and it started first time. I will know tomorrow if that was the problem. If it starts perfectly first time, then I had a dying battery for several months now.

Tomorrow I plan to try another post cat, I will make another pencil cup. I do want to make more shaving flowers so I need to cut some more sticks for that. Once cut, I can fit in making them at any time. I have some swan blanks from last year that I need to finish carving. I have some half finished turning projects to do. I also want to make some baby duckling bowls.
If I worked every day for several weeks, I could make headway on all the projects planned.

I will see what actually happens tomorrow.

year 10, Week 39, Day two (week 561)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-10-10 Sunday

78 degrees in the morning, 86 degrees as a high. Mostly blue skies, some puffs here and there, but sunny all day long. There was little breeze early morning but it picked up in the afternoon enough to move some sawdust around. Almost no humidity. It was quite comfortable all day long. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

My first project was to cut a three quarter inch piece of basswood into two sheets, then cut a bunch of sticks for shaving flowers.
I then made seven flowers. While drilling the hole in the base of one, it slipped in my hand and the dremmel spun it fast. The petals went flying and what was left was useless. I tossed it. I painted the remaining six in red and blue. they look good.

My flowers and pencil cup. I did not take pictures of Saturday's cup

I then started on a cat ornament. I turned it on the lathe first, to get the basic design. I then carved it with the knife, then with the dremmel with several bits. They are not exactly what I imagined, but they came out pretty good. I won't complain too hard. I need to get out the pictures I took of what I was basing it on to see how they were done. I know most of it is paint, but beyond that, I know I am wrong. I have too much carving in these.

I made another pencil cup. Quick and easy. I remember I fought hard with the very first one I made. I guess I am developing a system on making them. I know what tools do what and know how to get them to do the job fast.

Scarface was out there when I went out to feed the beast of the backyard. Scarface must be fed by someone else as he is not scrawny and his pelt is nice and soft now. I petted him while he ate. when he had enough, he left. The beast of the back yard acted like a cat, except for that period where he just wanted company and did not want to be touched, and I did not have a clue until about the fifth time... Later he laid down and wanted more attention than I had time to give him.

New attempt at Cat ornaments. Yellow one was painted to see the form.

During the week, I have some sanding and varnishing to do. I have a number of projects to work on next wee, but it will much depend on what has the biggest excitement factor.

Will see what I do next weekend.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 3, 2019 Did You Write?

October 3, 2019 Did You Write?

While many here will write every day without a prompt, some of us have difficulty finding time to write every month, let alone every week or every day. the concept of this note is to get people to announce their writing production, even if it is none, so that they might see over time how little they are writing, and try to open something, anything, during the week so they can report that they actually wrote. Over time it is supposed to be easier to open a piece of work each week, and it becomes a regular habit to write. One eventually finishes something.
As to what writing is, We leave that pretty much up to you. If you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is yes. How much does not matter either. If one is editing, the objective might be to reduce the word count. General editing might involve ten thousand words and end up with adding a hundred words.
Because few of us write perfectly the first time, we all end up having to edit. Editing is writing, even if it is someone else's work. Critiquing is writing also as it is a form of editing.
Some other suggestions of what is writing, beside new writing, is poetry, blogging, technical writing, writing assignments, world and character creation, and plotting a story. Even E-mails can be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to story or writing. Of course not everybody will agree with this list, or will add others. What is more important is your decision that it is writing.

I was gone a week to sit with my two writing partners and blast through some stories. I read portions of one story, then all of another story I had reached the end of. they each read one of theirs. Along with loads of running around, we finally went over and edited two of my stories sentence by sentence, changing punctuation and solving some minor problems. It made a big difference in making both stories publishable. I cannot put either in until I have one or more stories finished.
I had one big fear, where I did not have really good action in one of them. It turned out to have less changes than I ever expected. It was actually quite good.
In our writing sessions, we came up with my next three stories in the series that I have to get written and quick. I think I can do it, but it will require a lot of other things not happening.

I had ended last month a story idea behind I could have written one last story idea, but decided finishing the work in progress was far more important. I have a whole month to catch up this month.
As it was, I wrote 29 Story ideas, ending on Page 36, with a total of 20696 words. The story ideas will remain short and to the point for at least the next few months.

For a story idea, consider a person, possibly a minor deity, who lives in a place where time there has basically stopped. he lives there without there ever being an interruption.
Periodically, the person goes out into the real world to see what is going on, sort of a vacation. the world changes over time and the character has difficulty getting into the groove of the changes. the story would be of someone who might have visited in the past, who appears in our time and tries to make heads or tails of what is around them.
An alternative is that He lives years in his place, but when he steps out, he had been gone for about five or ten minutes, depending on how many years he has been gone. here, his problem is that he forgets who people and things are. His very best friend, who he just said goodbye to, has now become a total stranger when he returns. His friend thinks he has lost his mind or something. He remembers almost nothing of what happened when he was there last.

AS to the question of the week,
I can say,