Posts Tagged ‘When Chenille Is Not Enough’

An Extra Blog For Shameless Self-Promotion

December 12, 2016

 

Ann Anastasio and I entered our second novel, When Chenille Is Not Enough, into a contest on Inkitt.com. You can read it for free, and if you are so inclined you can leave a review. If we get enough people thinking our book is a ripping good yarn, we win. Thanks to the help of Ed at Tech Support, I can now share that link with you: click on link

when-chenille-is-not-enough-2500

When Chenille Is Not Enough is the continuing saga of quilters saving the world from shape-shifting aliens. In the first novel, the aliens assumed the form of bolts of beige fabric. Now they can look like humans, and one is coming after our heroine, Susan. She and her friends still use chenille to save the day, but ice cream figures prominently as well.

Even if you don’t want to read our story, check out InKitt.com. There are tons of books in a variety of genres, and some are free. The people who run the site are trying to find the next big literary thing through crowd-sourcing. Given the state of the publishing industry, this is good for readers and better for writers.

That’s the end of the shameless self-promotion. I’ll be back on Wednesday with my regular reports.

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!

Chenille, Dragons and Licorice Herring

May 14, 2014

 

My friend Jordan Bernal (1dragonwriter.wordpress.com) asked me to be part of a blog tour. I’m supposed to talk about my writing process, but since I found these cool licorice herrings and won a bid for two yards of green chenille I’ll write about that, too.

Jordan writes about dragons. She loves dragons, always has. She also loves all things Celtic, so her first book is set in Ireland and her second in Scotland.

 

Jordan Bernal - photo by Patrick Coyle

Jordan Bernal – photo by Patrick Coyle

 

You can find The Keepers of Eire on Amazon, but you’ll have to wait for The Keepers of Caledonia.

I write about what I love, like science fiction and candy and odd connections. My fiber art incorporates things I love, too – like science fiction and candy and odd connections.

cover Death By Chenille

cover When Chenille Is Not Enough

The books that Ann Anastasio and I wrote, are writing, and plan to write are about quilters who save the world from alien invasion. We like to think we invented the genre of quilting science fiction. We also claim to have invented quilting vaudeville since we sing and dance about quilts as Broken Dishes Repertory Theatre. Shameless self-promotion – you can find Death By Chenille as an e-book on Smashwords.com (click here). When Chenille Is Not Enough is also an e-book on Smashwords.com (click here) or a paperback at Amazon (click here).

I think most of us create what we do because it seems like a good idea at the time. The concept of quilters saving the world from alien invasion by smacking them with chenille pillows wriggled into our brains like an ear worm, so we ran with it. It’s lasted through two books, one more in progress and a title for a fourth. Ideas are out there, floating on the breeze, waiting for someone to reel them in for fun and profit.

So I’ll be making something out of the chenille I bought to inspire me while writing the third book in our series, The Chenille Ultimatum. I don’t know what I’ll make – perhaps my own chenille pillow.

green chenille

Two yards of green chenille

 

I probably won’t include dragons in my stories, but I’ve got one on my shelf.

blue soft toy dragon

My dragon

 

Heaven knows where the licorice herrings will take me, but they’re very tasty.

licorice herring

Licorice herring – who knew?

 

If you want to be part of this blog tour and write about your creative impulses, send me a link to your blog and a photo (of you would be nice, of your quilt would work, too). I’ll list those in future posts.

Luck and wisdom!

 

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

 

 

 

Background Material

January 22, 2014

The nurse who drew my blood at my last donation gave me a gift. She made a different mark for the insertion site.

 

Let me explain. I have teeny-tiny veins, and they’re hidden deep in my arm. When I donate blood, the nurse first has to pump up the pressure cuff to find a vein, then mark it carefully before swabbing down that patch of skin. All the other people have drawn four arrows pointing in one spot. This time, the nurse drew a rectangle with lines on opposite ends marking the line of insertion for the needle. It was so cool, I knew it would make a great block.

 

Looks like chain links, right?

Looks like chain links, right?

 

As I considered the block, I remembered an article I read about medical tattoos – temporary patches made from nanotubes to deliver medication. That brought to mind a scene in a medical bay I had written in The Chenille Ultimatum (part of the series with Ann AnastasioDeath By Chenille and When Chenille Is Not Enough). Although the heroine in that scene was being treated for minor bumps and bruises, I know there will be a bigger battle scene later in the book, and I could use medical tattoos that look like quilt blocks for the wounded.

 

That brought to mind a project I have put aside temporarily about space Vikings. I could have permanent tattoos for those soldiers.

 

Places for soldiers' medical tattoos

Places for soldiers’ medical tattoos

 

When my soldiers are picked up after a battle, I could have the medics wrap them in quilts with matching patches that quickly diagnose the injuries and start repair work while the transport pods bring them to the medical ships.

 

That brought me to my scrap bin to experiment with leftovers for a background for this quilt.

 

A background for embroidery, applique, LEDs

A background for embroidery, applique, LEDs

 

Once I figure out what I want the patch to look like, I can embroider and quilt it sashiko style on the background, then insert some LED lights to make it really fancy. If there’s a chance to add some glitz to my life, I’m there.

 

A glitzy flower makes me smile

A glitzy flower makes me smile

 

All of this background material for various projects, just because a clever nurse drew a different box on my skin.

 

 

Sick Leave

November 20, 2013

There are times when the universe brings you all the gifts you could ever wish. There are times when the universe decides you need to be taken down a peg or two. This week was both of those times.

 

First, the take down. I planned to spend the last few days writing and quilting, maybe baking, maybe even organizing. My schedule was clear, my deadlines met, and I was feeling good. For awhile.

 

My new best friend

My new best friend

 

For two days I insisted that my tight throat and stuffy nose were allergy symptoms. I muscled through the mornings, fell apart in the afternoons, but rallied in the evenings. It wasn’t until my daughter said she also had a tight throat and stuffy nose (and chided me for passing my cold on to her) that I had to admit the truth. I was not well, and worse, I was not creative. Worse still, my symptoms were mild enough that I imagined I could be creative if only I would tough it out.

 

Oh, stop laughing.

 

The illusion of competence finally died when I unloaded the clothes from the dryer and put them in a basket with dirty clothes instead of the basket for clean clothes. I bowed to reality, and parked myself on the couch with tissues and buckets of hot tea.

 

On the plus side, I did manage to finish beading and embroidering a small piece for me before the cold virus made my brain fuzzy.

 

Another in my tree series

Another in my tree series

 

This piece is made from leftover strips, orphan beads, and the remaining three strands of embroidery floss from a workshop project. I have no idea what I’ll do with it and I don’t care because it is for me. The proper finishing technique will reveal itself in its own time.

 

The best gift the universe gave me this week, however, came in the December/January 2014 issue of Quilters Newsletter. Gigi Khalsa wrote a terrific article about quilting in fiction, and included me and my co-author, Ann Anastasio. Writers and artists are advised to tell anyone who will listen about their work, and I certainly take every opportunity to promote Death By Chenille and When Chenille Is Not Enough, so to have someone ask me about my books is a rare joy. To find my picture and book covers along side those of the biggest names in quilting fiction – priceless. Worth a cold any day.

 

Death by Chenille - 600 x 900

 

WHEN CHENILLE IS NOT ENOUGH - 2000

 

Spumoni Day

August 21, 2013

On my calendar of made-up food holidays, today is Spumoni Day.

 

My lunch!

My lunch!

 

Currently, this is my favorite ice cream. It’s a combination of chocolate, cherry and pistachio so really, what’s not to love? There were years when I preferred mint chip, and before that butter pecan. I have no idea why my ice cream tastes change, but there it is.

 

Spumoni features prominently in my latest novel (with Ann Anastasio), When Chenille Is Not Enough.

 

WHEN CHENILLE IS NOT ENOUGH - 2000

 

Authors are told to write what we know – or love – and we were already writing about quilting so Ann and I included ice cream. We have our space aliens adore ice cream. Our quilting heroines bond with them over the special flavor of their clan, which happens to be butter pecan. Then one of the quilters brings out spumoni, only to discover it is the flavor of the emperors. That gets the quilters invited to the alien planet, where one of them is crowned ruler and they sort of start a war.

 

As you might guess, I am using Spumoni Day to treat myself on many levels, including not starting the next project in the sewing room. Now it is time for lunch. Yes, I’m going to have dessert first.

 

Stuff With Deadlines

July 10, 2013

On winter evenings, when I’ve run out of energy and ideas, I serve the family stuff on rice for dinner. Whatever is left in the fridge goes over rice – sometimes with a sauce, sometimes not. This week, as I prepared to fly out to visit my mom, my studio presented me with stuff with deadlines (no sauce).

 

Actually, it was only one deadline and I could have dealt with it after my trip but getting those quilts finished for my great-nephews inspired me to submit to the Quilting Arts challenge before the very last moment. The theme is hands.

 

hands-Lani-Longshore-7-10-13

 

My hands are human and alien. Look closely and you’ll see two of the hands have only three fingers. I included a quote from my book (with Ann Anastasio), When Chenille Is Not Enough.

 

hands-detail-Lani-Longshore-7-10-13

 

Since I hadn’t worked with sheer fabrics before, I did a “practice” project. It turned out so well it became my August block for the Progressive Party calendar project.

 

Lani Longshore Progressive Party August

 

August represents apple harvest time to me. We have a Granny Smith apple tree in the back yard that produces enough fruit for a freezer full of apple sauce, several apple cobblers and more than a few pies.

 

The Progressive Party calendar project begins this month. I leave you with my July block, which celebrates the 4th of July, Bastille Day, and Canada Day.

 

July-Lani

 

Starting Stories

June 19, 2013

It’s been a busy week, even in the sewing room, but nothing to photograph. My quilting efforts resulted in getting three quilt tops basted. One is the next Challenge project, two are baby quilts. With any luck (and a little work), I’ll have them ready to share next week. So this week I thought I would talk about beginnings.

My first finished quilt

My first finished quilt

This is the first quilt I finished. The label says it is my second project, but since I can’t remember what the first was I’m guessing it was a potholder, or something that would only require one block. Ann Anastasio was my first quilt teacher. She had been teaching long enough that she thought she had seen it all. She hadn’t, and she’ll still tell you stories about my ugly fabric collection. That didn’t stop us from collaborating on quilts, novels (Death by Chenille, When Chenille Is Not Enough), entertainment (Broken Dishes Repertory Theatre), and non-profits. Ann and I served together on the boards of several non-profits, including Amador Valley Quilters (AVQ).

AVQ sponsors a number of outreach programs, including the quilting class I teach at the nearby federal prison for women. The class was originally taught by Thea McCurry. I inherited the class when she moved, and have kept with it for nearly twenty years. Over that time it has transformed as the policies, budgets and demographics at the prison have changed. When I turn over the reins to new teachers later this year, some of the students will have progressed to the point where they can teach their own quilting classes.

The moral of the story is you never know what a beginning will bring. Ann could have thrown up her hands with my lack of skills (ask her about teaching me to iron properly) and fondness for odd color schemes. She didn’t, and we went on to be invited to Road to California, the annual Tennessee quilters conference, the recent SAQA conference – and we’re working on our third novel. I could have dropped the FCI quilting class when the prison made changes. I didn’t, and the program was featured on Alex Anderson‘s HGTV show Simply Quilts, has inspired other quilters to start their own outreach classes, and offers a unique opportunity for AVQ members. So – what are you going to start today?

When Chenille Is Not Enough

May 2, 2013

I’m in Santa Fe right now, first for the Studio Art Quilt Association conference and then for the third Art Quilt Santa Fe. I don’t usually do the conference circuit, but this year I have something to promote:

Our new book!

Our new book!

Yes, the sequel to Deathy By Chenille is now available! When Chenille Is Not Enough can be found as an ebook on Smashwords.com, and is also available in paperback from B&N.com and Amazon.com.

Ann and I are over the moon about getting this book finished, especially since the first book took us fifteen years to write, and this one only took fifteen months. The final book in the series, The Chenille Ultimatum, will be available soon(ish).

When Chenille Is Not Enough is another sci fi adventure of quilters saving the world from space aliens. This time, Susan and her family and friends have to make an alliance with the cousin of the shape-shifting creatures they defeated in Death By Chenille. By a delicious happenstance, they discover they can bond over ice cream. Need I say more?