Posts Tagged ‘The Chenille Ultimatum’

Chenille Is Coming

December 13, 2017

Thanks to the gentle prodding of my friend Paula Chinick of Russian Hill Press, The Chenille Ultimatum is one step closer to publication.

Coming soon!

The proof copy arrived this week. There is still one more round of revisions before we can hit the print button (and you can read about our heroines saving the space aliens from civil war). Given that Ann Anastasio and I had intended for this next novel in our series to be published last spring, we’re happy. There’s nothing like having someone keep you accountable to get your projects done.

Another friend, Julaina Kleist-Corwin, helped with the first bit of pre-publication publicity. Julaina interviewed me for her Facebook group for writers and entrepreneurs. She is letting me post that interview here: https://vimeo.com/243987862.

As well as the last round of revisions, I’m also working on projects. This is another in my silk ribbon experiments.

Here’s hoping all your projects come together!

Happy birthday, Mom!

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Of Reindeer and Chenille

December 28, 2016

Despite the approach of 2017, or perhaps because of it, I’m starting this post off with something cheerful and cute:

Lani Longshore reindeer

This is a Christmas present from my son. The kids sometimes tease me about my odd collections, but they know how to make me smile. Having something to smile about will be important in the coming weeks, because my Christmas present to myself was permission to ignore the projects in the sewing room.

I did manage to start one project, turning chenille into products that might be marketed with The Chenille Ultimatum. My co-author Ann Anastasio saw a tote bag with raw seams that we thought would work well for chenille.

Lani Longshore chenille tote bag

The bag is made from one long strip of fabric and two small rectangles for side panels. I added the pocket. The raw edges are ideal for chenille, since managing those thick seams isn’t fun at all. Here is the reason I know that:

Lani Longshore chenille pillow

Turning the pillow corners took nearly as long as sewing the entire envelope. I’m not sure if it would be easier to make a round pillow or to try inserting tassels in the corners to hide any irregularities.

Those are questions for another day, however. Today, I’m going to admire my new reindeer, and ignore my projects as my New Year’s gift to myself.

Luck and wisdom!

The Apple Tree and Sergeant Brice

September 14, 2016

We decided to cut down the apple tree this year. Processing fruit was becoming a burden and my husband has different plans for the back yard, so it had to go. It deserved better, but there it is. That got me thinking about people who deserved better, which led me to Lee Miller, an actor who never quite got his place in the sun (although he was in the movie by that name).

The remains of the tree

The remains of the tree

Lee Miller was in a boatload of movies, mostly uncredited. He also played Sergeant Brice on Perry Mason. He did receive credit for that, but his name was mostly last on the list. Even if it did move up a notch, it was generally behind such vital characters as “policeman #3” or “attendant.” It just doesn’t seem fair. Like my apple tree, Miller produced good work.

Part of the produce, dried and ready to eat

Part of the produce, dried and ready to eat

There are lots of Lee Millers in the world. I know many art quilters and writers who probably won’t get the recognition they deserve. Shameless self-promotion alert: my friend Ann Anastasio and I have published two delightful sci fi novels (Death By Chenille and When Chenille Is Not Enough) that would make excellent SyFy original movies, but have they come calling? Of course not. They’ll probably ignore our next one, too (The Chenille Ultimatum, coming soon).

But that is the way of life. To mangle Gilbert and Sullivan, there are many “wretched, meritorious B” folks out there. So, for all those who labor on, creating and producing and generally making life worth living – good on you, mate.

Luck and wisdom!

Design by the Seat of Your Pants

June 15, 2016

In the writing world, there are plotters and pantsers. Plotters know where they’re going at every step of the way. Sometimes their plot outlines are so detailed they basically just have to add a few “ands” and “buts” and the story is done. Pantsers, not so much. They start writing and see where the words take them. I am a pantser, not only in my writing but also in my quilting.

A footed flower vase and falling petals

A footed flower vase and falling petals

The gray top is one that the Progressive Party made for me to embellish. The rose petals and leaves were made by someone else, too – Bella Nonna. They’re silk, but feel like a thick, handmade paper. I won the package at a silent auction (don’t ask why I put a bid on them, I’ve long since forgotten). The bag with the rose petals was on the ironing board, which reminded me of my collection of red beads, and then I started working.

Without a plan.

That happens a lot in my studio. There’s no better feeling in the world when things go well and the project tells me what it wants. Nevertheless, to make a quilt one actually has to sew the top to a batting and backing, and that’s when things get dicey.

Handquilting with beads

Handquilting with beads

Forget the trouble with sewing the quilting lines after you’ve done the embellishment. Just marking those lines is a pain in the . . . pants. You’d think I would learn my lesson and consider the end at the beginning, but it doesn’t always work. In my writing, sometimes the end is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers – so also in my quilting.

The good news is, my idea for quilting continues to develop. I decided to start with diagonal lines and scattered beads. I like the look, but will have horizontal lines along the bottom and vertical lines on the remaining side. Today I thought, “Self, bind it in red and add more rose petals to extend the flowers beyond the edge.” We’ll see what ideas I have tomorrow.

Beaded centers

Beaded centers

The beading may evolve, too. I thought adding a few beads to the flower centers would look nice. It does. I may add beads to all the petals. Heaven knows I have enough to encrust those things.

With any luck, the creativity inspired by this project will spill over to The Chenille Ultimatum. I’m working on the last chapters now, and the characters have been better at telling me what they want. Every so often, however, one of them throws a tantrum and decides something else is needed. Just like my quilts.

By the way, today is a palindrome for those of us who write the date month-day-year – 6/15/16. Sounds like a reason for a cake.

Luck and wisdom!

The Year In Review – Take One

December 17, 2014

This is the time of year for reviewing the balance sheet of projects completed versus projects attempted. I expect that I will reframe my achievements and shortcomings more than once before the end of the year, so here is The Year In Review – Take One.

Not quite clear enough for dancing, but I can get to my fabric

Not quite clear enough for dancing, but I can get to my fabric

The sewing room isn’t entirely organized. I’m beginning to think the universe will end if I ever get everything under control, or maybe that’s just the excuse I use to justify the continued chaos. Still and all, the floor in front of my fabric drawers is navigable, and has been for nearly two months. This is a major victory.

Yes, that is the diary of River Song - holding my space Viking notes

Yes, that is the diary of River Song – holding my space Viking notes

The third installment in The Chenille Series – The Chenille Ultimatum – isn’t done, nor is my planned novel about space Vikings. I have, however, been organizing my notes, making better scene outlines, filling in holes in my character profiles – all things that will make for better writing. This may not be a victory, but it is progress.

Not a partridge, not a pear tree, still fun

Not a partridge, not a pear tree, still fun

We have a decorated Christmas tree. There was a question about whether we would have one, since our daughter is the one who does the bulk of the decorating and she won’t be home this year. The joy of the season won out over my natural laziness, and I brought out the decorations. In the process, I also found the box for the Easter decorations. After I finished trimming the tree, I put away the Easter eggs that had been on display for the past two years. This is also a victory, although if I had any sense I wouldn’t admit to it.

Luck and wisdom!

Luck and Wisdom

February 26, 2014

There are times when I write myself into a corner. I found myself trapped in a chapter of the next book in the Chenille series – The Chenille Ultimatum – and despaired. When I despair, I talk to myself. When I talk to myself, I ask questions like, “Self, what do you need?”

 

Turned out what I needed was luck and wisdom. So I had one of the characters comment on how the universe occasionally rewards our perseverance with luck and wisdom. A few hours later, I finished the chapter.

 

When I rewarded myself with some time in the sewing room, it occurred to me that I was very lucky to have a huge stash of embellishments, a lovely glass bottle, and an open tube of glass bead glue. I’m not always the cleverest person in the room, but I decided I was wise enough to seize the moment.

 

Shiny things!

Shiny things!

 

There is still room for more embellishments, and I’m just the gal to glue them.

 

As an added reward, I found this lovely, gutsy flower shoving through the cracked ground in our back yard after our first rain in months.

 

Growing in spite of it all

Growing in spite of it all

 

May we all be blessed with luck, wisdom and perseverance.

 

Valentine’s Gifts For The Artist

February 12, 2014

My husband will give me flowers and a funny card for Valentine’s Day, unless this is a mushy-card year, in which case he will give me a blank card with an interesting picture. Probably of a dog. I like flowers and funny cards, and neither of us needs a box of chocolates, so I’m happy as a clam at high tide with those gifts – from him.

 

Lani Longshore heart box

 

I’m asking for a better gift to me from me this year.

 

I won a consultation with Beth Barany, a writer, writing coach, and marketing consultant. We used the session to brainstorm about marketing my two novels, Death By Chenille and When Chenille Is Not Enough. It was a fabulous experience, and I’m going to put aside some money to work with her again when Ann Anastasio and I finish The Chenille Ultimatum. That is my first Valentine’s gift to myself.

 

The second gift is to treat myself to as many classes as I can afford. I’ve already signed up for two quilting workshops through Amador Valley Quilters, and I’ll take whatever workshops Tri-Valley Writers offers, but that isn’t enough. One of the ways an artist can grow is to explore other arts. I find a lot of cross-over in my writing and quilting. I’ve also found some cross-over with my martial arts training, and even my (minimal) musical training. Themes that appear in one discipline have a way of working into another.

 

My third gift to myself is my own box-o’-art-quilt-prompts.

 

My art quilt bag and fabric prompts

My art quilt bag and fabric prompts

 

I have a couple of writing and art prompt card boxes with suggested projects and inspirational thoughts. They’re great, but it occurred to me to I could make my own and clean another tiny space in the sewing room at the same time. I packaged up some of the inspirational fabrics that I bought for projects I can no longer remember. There are three projects I need to get finished for deadlines, but after those are done I can take out a bag and use those fabrics for an art journaling project, or a gift, or an experiment that I’ve already given myself permission to throw away if it takes a turn for the worse. My hope is that when another deadline looms while I’m working from the box-o’-prompts fabric, I will find it easier to get started since I’m already priming my brain to be creative.

 

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift this year, the gift of permission to get your hands dirty with whatever art you choose. You’ll thank me later.

 

Speaking of thanking me later, here are the links that I embedded above, just in case:

 

Beth Barany –www.bethbarany.com

 

 

Death By Chenille – on Smashwords

 

When Chenille Is Not Enough – on Smashwords or Amazon or B&N.com

 

Amador Valley Quilters – www.amadorvalleyquilters.org

 

California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch – www.trivalleywriters.org