A Review of “Knit, Purl, Pray”

Knit, Purl, Pray: 52 Devotions for the Creative SoulKnit, Purl, Pray: 52 Devotions for the Creative Soul by Lisa Bogart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My sister – who is not a knitter, but does crochet – read this book and then lent it to me to read. I do both knitting and crochet. There are certain things in this book that speak directly to any creative person, whether you knit or not. There are a couple of little typos scatter through the book. If you’re the sort of person to be bothered/distracted by that, there’s your warning.

There were so many times over the last two months where the devotion just worked out perfectly for that particular day. My favorite was from May 30th. The reading related to 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” It was just what I needed to read on that particular day.

There are also so many ideas for how to share your gift of crafting with others. I don’t just mean by making presents either. Some of them were ones I’d already heard of – making blankets or winter woolens for people in need, tiny hats for premies, etc. I loved the idea of making little cat blankets, though. That’s something I’m going to contact my local shelters about – just to see if there’s a need there that I can fulfill.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book and would totally recommend it to anyone who does fiber crafts (either knitting or crochet). There are a few knitting patterns at the end (one for a beehive slouchy beanie and three for cabled cup cozies) that I’m really looking forward to trying out. I have the perfect yarn for the beanie!

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A Review of “The Shining Ones”

The Shining Ones (The Tamuli, #2)The Shining Ones by David Eddings

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a long time to read this one – just over four months. Some of that is simply that I’ve been really busy and haven’t had a lot of time to devote to reading. Some of that is the fact that my copy is serious damaged – pages are falling out of it – so I couldn’t bring it anywhere. Some of it is… my favorite characters were not seen as much in this book. Talen’s role in this sequence is much reduced and, while I like Stragen… he’s just not the same. Tynian (my favorite of the Elene knights) was nearly absent. That, coupled with how annoyed I was with Sephrenia just… wow! I had to fight to get through the book.

That said: this book has the same wit and action as the other books in the series. For people who aren’t quite such fans of Talen and Tynian, it will be a much more enjoyable read than it was for me. Tyhian makes a reappearance towards the end (and that’s when it picked up for me). There are some really good points that fans of this writer will enjoy. I was a little… frustrated at the ending of the book. Without spoiling the book for someone who hasn’t read it: it’s a little contrived that a certain someone leaves just before the final scene.

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Planning July Camp NaNo

Camp NaNoWriMo is a challenge that was created by the same people who created National Novel Writing Month.  The difference is, rather than giving you a hard and fixed goal (50K words of a single piece of fiction), they give you a flexible goal – one that you have the opportunity to choose to suit your needs or desires or lifestyle.

I’ve been doing Camp NaNo from its inception.  In past years, I’ve typically done a simple writing challenge – writing a short story/novella length piece that is somewhere between 25K to 35K words.  However, this year they introduced other ways of counting and tracking your progress.  You can track your progress based on page count or time spent, rather than simply words written.  This opens the door to things like editing, script writing and comics – which have always been accepted for Camp NaNo, but weren’t really counted in words.

Because this simple change, I decided that I would do something different with my July Camp NaNo experience.  I’m going to commit to spending two hours (120 minutes) each day on world building with my sister.  By the end of the month of July we are going to know everything we need to know about our shared world, Alterra.  We have quite a number of stories written in this world – characters and countries created, different eras in the history of the place, organizations and all manner of other things.  However, we’ve never sat down and organized it.  Some things in our stories contradict each other or simply don’t fit together.  So… yes, world building.

Because we aren’t going by page or word count, we can even work cooperatively on the project!  It won’t be a matter of asking who wrote a section of the story or script.  We can work separately or together and just count the minutes.  Even if all we do is talk and only get one or two small things decided, that is time spent world building and will count towards our goal!

Needless to say, because I love working on writing projects with my sister, I’m really looking forward to July.

What about you?  Would you like to try your hand at this fun, really open writing challenge?

Putting it Out There

This month’s topic: Publishing: Is it something you aim for? Why or why not?

 

Publishing seems to be the goal that most writers have.  They dream of becoming famous authors, of having people worldwide reading their stories.  For some people, that’s the whole point of writing.  If you’ve got no intention of ever publishing, why would you devote all that time and effort to the task?

I’ve thought about this topic a lot over the years.  I could try to get a story published, either through the traditional manner or through self-publishing.  People who have read my stories enjoy them and I’ve been told that some are at least as good as published pieces.

At the same time… that’s not why I write.  I don’t want fame or money.  I don’t have any dreams about having fans across the globe.  I write for my own pleasure, mostly.  I write because it’s something I can share with my sister.  Writing, like crocheting, is my hobby.  If I tried to make a living at it, I think it would suck the fun out of it.

If you publish in the traditional way, or so I’ve heard, you don’t get much control of the final product.  The publisher decides what the cover art will be – based on what will sell the most copies.  They can even decide on the title!  They determine the genre and, if you don’t follow the conventions of that genre, they can “ask” you to change things.

If I go the non-traditional route and self-publish… then, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.  I would have to do everything that a publishing house would do.  I would have to get my name out there.  I would have to push copies of my book on bookstores and libraries.  I’d have to try to get people reading it, so that it would be worth my time and effort.

Quite honestly, either route looks like it’s designed to suck all the fun out of one of my favorite hobbies.  So… yeah, I really don’t have big dreams of getting published.  I do wish all the luck to people who want that in life.  I just don’t feel like it’s for me.

 

Bonus:

Which route would you choose, self-publishing or traditional publishing?

 

I have a single book that I finished last year that… I’ve seriously considered publishing, if only so that I can have a print copy of it to share with my mother.  If I did that, I would self-publish it, so that I would keep it under my control.  Then, it would become a print on demand type of book.  I’d get one for myself and my mother and… if a friend asked me for a copy, I’d get one for them.

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event that takes place on April 22.  It’s actually celebrated worldwide, with more than 193 countries coordinating events for it, according to Wikipedia.  I never realized how far-reaching the celebration was – although I knew it had extended beyond the United States.

For me, it’s basically a day to think about this wonderful world we live in – beyond the people that I interact with every day.  It’s a time to focus on the natural world: the environment.  My sister and I plan to go on a nature hike and do a sort of photographic scavenger hunt.  It’ll be fun and challenging but, most of all, it will get us out there to really look at the beauty of nature.

What are your plans for Earth Day 2017?

Digital Camera

My fun socks for this Earth Day (little bees on my toes)

The Write Stuff

Blog Circle time again!  This month’s topic: Why did you start writing?

 

On one hand, this is a really simple question to answer.  On the other hand… most of the answers I come up with make me sound a bit insane.

In all honesty, I never imagined that I would be the sort that would write and I certainly never imagined that I’d write so much.  When I was in high school, I was convinced that I was no good at writing.  Years of schooling had taught me about this lack of skill.  Years of doing well in English class because I could remember things and because I enjoyed reading enough to get through the required reading.

That changed when I was asked to do certain assignments in my tenth-grade English class.  One was a creative writing assignment and the other was a term paper.  For the creative writing assignment, I wrote a play and… the teacher loved it.  That was something I’d never had happen.  Teachers never liked what I wrote (at least not in my estimation).  I also got the highest grade in the class – the highest grade that teacher had ever given – on my term paper.

That taught me two things: I could write, when I worked at it.  I could write things that people would enjoy reading.

Now, we get to the insane sounding part… I’ve always had ideas for stories and characters.  They invade my brain and drive me distraction at times.  I used to roleplay with my sister.  That was where I used my characters and my story ideas: for roleplaying games.

After tenth grade, I started writing things down.  It was like opening a floodgate.  Suddenly, I had all these ideas for stories and characters that were just begging to be written down.  I write because those ideas get awful distracting if I don’t write.  I’ll watch a television program – even something on the Science channel – and get all manner of plot or character ideas.

That’s not to say that there isn’t work involved.  Just as with my school play and term paper, I have to work on it every day.  I have to do research and I have to spend the time working on plot and the mechanics of actually writing out an idea.  However, it’s really not like work… because it’s something that I enjoy and something that, on some level, I really need to do.

 

Bonus:
How has your writing improved since you first started?

 

I feel like my writing has improved in the same way that it would for anyone who works at writing.  I make fewer of the mistakes that used to plague me – spelling errors, grammar errors, etc.  It’s easier for me to build suspense or keep the reader’s attention on the story.  I know that there are things that I still need to work at – fight scenes, character and scene descriptions being the ones that stick out to me.  However, considering that I’ve only been at it for… twenty-odd years (and really only been focused on it for half that time), I feel like I’ve improved greatly.

Not Truly Dead

We’re supposed to be creating an image of resurrection and life this week as part of our Lenten Journey.  My poem from last week sort of touched on resurrection and life, because I can’t think of death without thinking of the other side.  However, this week… my image is focused more on the idea that death isn’t final – because of the resurrection.

Seeds, cocoons, eggs…
They’re on our minds right now
Once, I wondered at the reason.

Well… look at each one.
They appear to dead as stone
But there’s more than what we’re seeing.

A promise waits deep within.
In time, they will break open.
Giving us new life this season.

When we think of new life
Like what we have in Jesus,
That gives them deeper meaning.