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Showing posts from May, 2013

First Saturday Book Review - June

All right - I realize that today is neither the first Saturday of the month nor is it June even ... somewhere in this great big world, it is. (Japan/Australia maybe?) Tomorrow, I'll be at an Artisan Market in Batavia NY (10-4) so I won't be home until later. Because of this, I decided to post the review early.

Mary Meigs Atwater is often considered the woman who reclaimed the weaving history of America. What she did was not so much create new weaving styles, but preserve what was in danger of being lost. The Shuttle-craft Book of American Hand-weaving is one of the earliest books written about American Weaving History and focuses a good portion of the text on coverlets. There are other books out there that you can purchase written in the Early American time period, but I'll review them later.

The Shuttle-craft Book of American Hand-weaving offers a good overview of American weaving history as well as the renewed interest in the craft. It was first published in 1928, but my…

Black Iris Bag - Part Twp

Back in March, I created my Little Purple Iris Bag for a trip to Maryland/Pennsylvania area. I had my material created, but had not finished the bag. For the process click here.  I finally finished the bag.

On the side is woven: Black Iris. This was the first time, and so far only time that I wove words into a bag. It takes practice and I haven't had a band warped up for words recently.

An up-close shot of the button and loop.

 This photo shows the interior of the bag. The front of the bag (right side) has a zippered closure with a quilted padding. Ideally, it will fit a tablet or e-reader then protect it from unintentional bangs.

All in all I think it turned out well. What do you think?

Upcoming Events

The summer season begins with fairs. I've signed up for two fairs already in the Western NY region, plus I have an author talk next week. Also, beginning in June, Azure Lights begins the production process with first editing, design covers and everything else. If you're in the Western NY area, come by and visit me at any of the following events:

1 June 2013

Harvester Artisan Market (56 Harvester Ave, Batavia NY) the market opens at 10 and goes until 4. There will be several other items there as well, so it should prove to be interesting.

4 June 2013

Author Talk(Wyoming Free Library, Wyoming NY) from 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm I'll be talking about the writing business then having a book signing afterward.

11 June 2013

Used Curriculum Sale (Family Life Network, Bath NY) 6 pm - 9pm. At this event, I'll be selling and signing copies of Azure Maris plus talking about my upcoming books.

Visions of Arts

How do you catch a vision for the arts? How should Christians be involved with the arts - should they? Obviously, for me, I believe that the answer is not a quiet, probably, but a resounding YES! How do we discover this passion for the arts? What do we constitute as art? All these questions I ponder partly because art is my chosen field - writing and weaving. These topics I research because these are the ones that I find intriguing. In most of my series, the arts and sciences play a large part of the story. I see the two working in tandem quite honestly: the science of pottery and dyeing as well the beauty in science: images from space and fractals. While there are many believers in both fields, the Church as a whole can do more in supporting those within the fields. Over the course of the summer, I'm going to explore some of these portions of art: what is it? How should Christians respond? Great artists past and present and types of art. Within the Christian community Christia…

Happy Memorial Day

In the United States, today is Memorial Day. I want to say thank you to all those who have fought to defend our freedoms. I've been blessed in that I've not lost a family member because of war, though most American wars have included a family member. My grandpa was in World War 2; Dad and my uncles were in the military during Vietnam but remained stateside; I had a cousin in the First Iraq conflict and my younger sister is currently in the military.

Farther back, I have an ancestor who fought for the Americans during the American Revolution, and others who fought for the Confederacy some eighty years later. We believe that my grandma might have Loyalist heritage in her Canadian roots, but have yet to learn if any of her family fought during the War of 1812 or another war.

For those here in the States, take the time to think about the freedoms that we have; for those who live elsewhere, I would suggest you do the same. Though today might be an American holiday, each country ha…

Book Development - Genre

One of the hardest things to do, sometimes, is deciding what genre the book should be. Sometimes this is difficult because two plotlines are equally powerful - think romantic suspense type books: is the romance the primary plotline, making it a romance, or is the mystery the primary plotline making it a mystery?

Other times, the storyline can follow even more paths. For instance, the book I'm editing at the moment, Bloodroot is a fantasy (the main character is an elf) set in the year before Edward IV becomes king. The Earl of Warwick, Duke of York, King Henry VI and others make their appearances, though the main plotlines revolve around Mederei merc Cynwal Gwion and her family. Originally, the story was going to be historical with no fantasy ... that didn't work. Second choice: fantasy set in fantastical world ... that didn't work. Third choice: fantasy set in historical world. It's worked. (Finally!!)

Azure Maris is in another murky area which is why I originally set …

The Antagonist - Mano Leo-mana

I wish I could draw people just to give you my attempt of what Mano Leo-mana looks like in my mind. One of benefits of writing is that each reader can pull the pieces of his description together to form their image of attractive evil.

Every story needs an antagonist - it's the nature of storytelling. Without that antagonist, the protagonist has nothing to fight against - there is no tension. For some stories, the antagonist is the protagonist (man vs self) - The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe is an example. In other stories, the elements are against the protagonist (man vs nature) such as The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. In other stories it's culture or a culture that is against the protagonist (man vs world) such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Another antagonist is God and other deity (man vs God) which includes many epic stories and mythology. The most common of antagonist is one person who opposes the protagonist (man vs man).

With main characters in pla…

Supporting Cast: Love interests

Each of my books has a normal set-up in characters: main character (usually female) with three to five supporting main secondary characters (best friend, one or two love interests, and family). The secondary characters act as foils, support and petty antagonists to the main character (petty in this case simply meaning that they have minor squabbles like friends, family and lovers usually have). In a series, these characters remain predominate in each book as well.

In the case of Azure Maris the supporting cast is large: two families in the Frankels and MacMichaels as well as Mitch and Akua. For this post, I'll focus on Eliam and Mitch - Azure's two primary love interests in the book.

Eliam came first since I usually develop only one love interest in a book. Sometimes, I have two, but those are quite rare. I knew roughly who Eliam was: age, intelligence, appearance, passions. I knew that he would feel out-of-place in his world, and I knew that he wanted more out of life then …

Developing Azure Maris - Where the idea came from

One of my earliest posts discussed where to gather ideas here, but I haven't discussed where I came up with Azure's concept. In fact, yesterday, that was question that Deb had in the comments.

I gave a short answer, but I'll expand it today as well as focus on some of the characters throughout the week.

Sometimes ideas come from photographs - the one above crosses the Shannon River in Athlone, Ireland. Sometimes ideas come from other books or conversations or personal experience.

Azure Maris came from a little bit of everything. First, I had been diving into the concept of royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:9-10). What does it mean to be royalty and a priest? The royal priesthood did not exist in ancient Israel since the priesthood was the line of one family while the royalty was another family. In ancient Egypt, there was a royal priesthood to some extent, but not like Azure's world. In Egypt, the pharaoh would have offered sacrifices in part of his royal duties, while late…

Pre-Order Azure Lights

Sorry, no photo of the book since it's in the editing process; however, beginning today, you can pre-order a signed copy of Azure Lights through here. It's on the right side underneath my photo. The book should be out sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2013.

Beginning in two weeks, the actual full editing process begins, so I'll be working with designers and editors to make Azure Lights a better book. I'm already working on back cover information as well as the elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is usually 15  seconds - though a great deal can be said in fifteen seconds. While learning all I could about writing novels, one of the continued pieces of advice revolved around this idea: If you cannot describe your book in two or three sentences, it's not fully developed.

It is hard to boil stories down, but it is worthwhile if only to help in the editing process to decide what remains and what is cut. I'm actually dealing with this problem in another book …

Because you never know

I like weird little bits of history for example: Lancaster PA (near where I grew up) was for a little while the capital of the United States while the British occupied Philadelphia. When it appeared that the British would march on Lancaster, the Continental Congress moved across the Susquehanna into York, Pennsylvania to be safer. About a century later, Lancaster County PA had a thriving silk industry - who knew.

Little known facts like those sometimes are the beginnings of great stories. Other little known concepts might include: how to wash a handwoven wedding gown. I throw my handwoven items into the washing machine and let them spin, but older handwoven items are an entirely different monster much like most antique garments.

One of my favorite family photographs is this wedding photo of my dad's parents (1946). Grandma not only sewed her wedding dress, but she wove the material for the dress as well which we still have. Today I went to talk to someone who might know somethin…

Win Some; Lose Some

Well,  the first monthly Ides Giveaway was not as much of a success as I would have preferred: no one entered. I posted on the Facebook page some questions: what sort of items would you like to have as a giveaway?


Or something else?
Any suggestions are welcomed ... within reason, of course. Unfortunately, I cannot give directions to Deep Waters.

Ides of May Giveaway

Today is the Ides of May giveaway. Click here to visit the Facebook fan page for your chance to win a signed copy of Azure Maris.

I'll announce the winner tomorrow at 9 AM both here on the website and on the Facebook page.

Sari Ribbon Update

Last week, I received the sari ribbon that I purchased and this weekend, I wove it. For the warp I wound, I did not have enough sari ribbon so I used two other fabrics to finish the warp. From left to right: cotton fabric, sari ribbon and synthetic silk.
The sari ribbon came in the skein with the ends of the strips sewn together. I wove three purses from the ribbon. Two smaller purses not unlike the Little Black Iris Bag and a larger one that will have a flap over it. All in all, I rather enjoyed weaving with the ribbon. With the warp, the colors worked well together for an ocean feel. Here are two up-close shots of the sari ribbon fabric.
 The cotton fabric that I chose worked well as well. In the first photo it is on the left. Here are two photos of the cotton fabric bag:
The colors were variegated since the material had a large floral print on the fabric. The fabric itself is leftovers from a quilt that I made two years ago. The fabric has teal, chocolate and sparkles on it, thou…

Ides of May Giveaway

Giving everyone a heads-up for the first Ides Giveaway. On May 15th go visit my Facebook page: to enter the contest for a signed copy of Azure Maris.

The contest will be a random drawing. Once all the entries are in, I'll announce the winner on Thursday then mail out the signed copy.

Spring Craft Fair - Tomorrow

I'll be signing copies of Azure Maris and selling bags, furoshikis and journals connected to the series. Hope to see you there!

New Fabric - Sari Ribbon

I don't remember the first time that I heard about using sari fabric to weave, but I have wanted to use it in a project for some time. Last week, I finally purchased some to play with:

And another up-close shot of the sari ribbon:

I purchased it from Flea's Fibers in Los Alamos NM. The particular color that I have is periwinkle. The attempt is to make bags out of the ribbon and to see how the fabric ribbon works. Since I've used cotton fabric weft on most of my bags, I'm not too worried, but I have heard that others had troubles with it. Some of the sari ribbon I have seen on the internet has had major color shifts such as primary colors or even some contrasting color such as blue and yellow. Variegated yarns work well in some projects, but not all projects. For this first attempt with sari ribbon, I chose a solid color.

The other aspect, since I put most of my items up for sale, is the economic viability of the fabric: is the price and effort going to be recovered in…

Crabapple Blossom

For those who like Azure Maris here are some photographs of the Crabapple Blossoms which are blooming in the backyard.

It would be about the time for the Crabapple Harbor Blossom Festival in Azure Maris. I went looking for a Crabapple Blossom Festival and I found one in Turners Falls which is a village in the town of Montague MA. If any of you are in New England, go take a look at the Crabapple Blossom Festival - it's going on now until May 16 2013.

A Bit of Encouragement

Sometimes we have those weeks that overwhelm - opportunities abound, but the troubles are there as well. I want to encourage you to go for whatever it is that the Lord has placed in your life. Cast off the bowlines and take the wind. I have learned in my life that the thing that scares me the most is typically when I grow the most.

If it is writing a novel - discipline yourself to write that novel.
If it is taking a job someplace else - take it, and see what opportunities abound.
If it is quitting a job to start a business - start that business.
If it is only taking an opportunity that comes across your path - take it.

In college, one of my professors likened our ideas to a Greek creature who could only be caught by his forelock. To catch him, one must see him coming and take the opportunity to catch him because after he passed, he was impossible to catch again. Inspiration and opportunity are often like this creature - fleeting and quick.

Summer's coming, so take this summer a…

1st Saturday Book Review: May

If you have followed the blog for any length of time, you should know that I have a love affair with textiles and history. This month's book is called World Textiles: A Concise History by Mary Schoeser.

It is part of Thames and Hudson's world of art series which includes several books on my to read list. World Textiles does not cover the minutia of detail that other textile books cover; think of this book more along the idea of Oxford University Press' series: A Very Short Introduction.

The book follows a chronological layout beginning with the earliest known textiles (Chapter One) and progresses through the development of dyes and looms (Chapter two) finally ending with trades and trends (Chapter Three). From Chapter Four through the end of the book (Chapter Ten), she develops international themes: church and state, Western and Oriental influences on textiles, design and materials, Modern textiles and the Art of Textiles.

All in all, I recommend this book to those wa…

Cliches, Proverbs and Other Worlds

One of the first things that every writer learns: limit the clichés - unless needed. Clichés such as: A picture is worth a thousand words; Straight from the horse's mouth; On Cloud Nine; There's an exception to every rule or It's Greek to me. Proverbs are pithy sayings that express a general truth. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush - Ben Franklin. One of my personal favorites is: Certain elements remain the same no matter the culture or time period. These universal truths, to some extent, make classic literature classic - that ability for someone to read a book, watch a play or listen to a song and relate no matter the time period the piece was created.  Now, creators of worlds, there is a problem. How do you translate a universal truth into another world's concept. If your world has no concept of photography how do you translate a picture is worth a thousand words - must it be a photograph or just an image? I came across this problem while writing…

Azure Maris E-book Sale

Azure Maris e-book only $2.99

From May 1 through May 15, you can purchase an e-book copy of Azure Maris on Amazon for $2.99.  Click here or on the smaller photograph on the right to purchase your Kindle copy of Azure Maris.