Thursday, June 29, 2017

3 Anthology stories, and how they grew!

Hello lovely peoples!
  I've been pretty busy this whole spring, but managed to write 3 stories for the VintageJane Austen story anthology, which released just shortly ago.
 I have also been maintaining my monthly goals, (20k base goal, with Camp NaNos of 30k and Nov. at 50)  in spite of a lot of stress in real life, so I've been feeling good about that.

 One of the reasons I wrote 3 tales to submit for the anthology was I felt stuck on the WIPs I *should* be working on, and so found the idea of hopping though genres with an Austen template a fun one. ;-)

    I started out to set a P&P in the 50's, but that turned into a different Austen, and I was fine with that. The switch-a-roo added a little flair to it, and I think it turned out cute.

Female Cardinal on Pinterest: This it what she looked like! SO Cute!
  Then the problem loomed large in my mind... how to set an Austen in space? Sci-fi is greatly under represented in Austen retellings! J 
   After cogitating on that for a bit an answer leapt to mind, and I had a great fun time slapping that one down. (I was a bit under the gun with the last 2 tales, to finish in time and add their word count to my monthly goal!)

  Thirdly, I looked out the window of the new build and noted a bird perched rather un-movingly on the edge of the dog's water trough, so I went out to investigate. It turned out to be a female cardinal, who acted alarmingly unresponsive to approach.
Since the dog's water trough is a highly unsafe place for a bird of that size to hang out unresponsively, I carefully scooped her up and walked away back into the pasture, where there is a massive brush pile where dozer-work cleared the overgrown brush and trees to get it back to growing grass.

Anyway, on the walk up there I admired the remarkable little lady, and feel quite enchanted of her perfect turn of feather, the way her muted tones looked like burning flames of orange and red were glowing through the brown of her more subtle coat. (Compared to her flamboyant male counterpart.) Since we'd lived in the west where cardinals never seemed to be, I have been very excited to spot the red males flashing about... but I'd never given the girls their due respect.
 That walk made an indelible impression on me, and when I carefully set her on the highest gnarled root I could reach in the brush pile, she flitted calmly even further up, and I knew she was safe. But I was forever changed.
  I wanted to write something with a cardinal in it, and I wanted the cardinal to be a pet.
  I know real wild cardinals make terrible pets because they're simply not wired that way, and to try to force them into that would just be cruel. But in my imagination... how much fun would that be???

  Oodles of fun, and the only place something can happen that can't happen in RL... is my favorite place; fantasy worlds!!!
    The idea seeped in my head, I turned it over and over like rubbing a creek pebble between your fingers... and then the time had come to writ. I painted it vividly, creating a sort of technicolor bright, classic fantasy setting, wherein the cardinal got to be our heroine's pet and companion, as the characters went about their Austen-inspired tale.

   This story turned out the longest by far, and ended up being placed near the end of the anthology; so if you pick it up and read through be sure NOT to quit before you get there, because I want to hear what you thought of the incorporated lady cardinal!!! :-)

   (My only regret is I did not have enough time to work up a cute little sketch of the cardinal for inclusion in the anthology. I'd have loved to share the understated elegance she embodied.)

  So!!! Have you read it? What did you think of all the stories... And what did you think about mine? (You know I want to hear it!!!! :-) )

  And what did you think about the cardinal??

We Want To Read The Rest Of It!

Hello. I'm E. Kaiser Writes, and I have a troubling incapability to write a short story that stays a short story... or at least, the readers think ought to remain one.
  Even on my greatest triumphs... I emerge dusty and victorious from the writing lair, gripping tightly to a short work of fiction that truly is short, and holding it aloft with the pride of a jungle warrior brandishing proof of bravery and competence amongst the tribe...


  I give it to readers... and they A) tell me "this is not a short story, this is clearly an exert." (Crumpling defeat, I retreat to my lair and glare at offending short, which is not somehow "completely
short" enough...)
Sci-fi on Pinterest

...or... B) "I loved it! Where's the rest of it? I want it to go on!!!"


 The truth is, I sometimes feel a little trapped by long fiction. I write long all the time, it's in my blood and bones, (it would seem) and I can't escape it.

 But sometimes I just want to dabble a little in a brand new sparkly world, and I want that dabble to last no longer than perhaps a day or two.
 And then I want to return to the lengthy behemoths that are consuming my weeks, months and years.

 (Because I truly do want to finish them!!!!)

So I dash off a small handful of scenes that illustrate a glimpse of a scene or a plot-line, a pivotal moment in a character arc, or a unique event. And then readers go "We Want To Read More About This!!!"

    And I feel a little trapped by that! Because I want readers to be happy, I want to let their feedback guide me toward my best work that will resonate on a deep level..
 and yet, I can't go in all the directions I feel I'm being pulled.

 Absolutely honestly, if enough readers clamored for a certain story to be developed more and explored... I would probably do it.
 Because I want to resonate with people!!! That is why I write! :-)

    But sometimes I'm not sure how to respond when people say things like that... should I ignore the urge to open those boxes back up? I'd dipped in already, and been happy to shut the lid again... but does that mean that I'm consigning  a brilliant-potential-series back into the dust and cobwebs of never existing?
 Am I denying the bright light reflected back from reading eyes, which is supposed to lead me on to my greatest summits of authorly creation?
 And if I turn away from this sort of feedback, am I being a "selfish, self-absorbed author" who only "writes for themselves?"

   (P.S. I'm not earning NEARLY enough to be writing for anyone else, at this point, but still... ;-) )

  So, tell me what you think!!!

   Also, if you read the Second Impressions anthology, part of the Vintage Jane Austen, let me know what you think of the story "The Mansfield"?  I've had reports that story deserves to be expanded.... the idea is tantalizing, but what do you think?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Procrastination Help... ;-)

Fairytale plot generator! This is so much fun... be warned, if you think you don't have enough stories in progress, this might very well fix that for you!!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

When Not Writing: 100 Things Quilt List

  They say you should have 3 hobbies that don't include a screen... and I think that's good advice in general!
 I've got lots of diverse interests (could count in the place of hobbies!) that are off-screen, so to speak, but one of those is quilting.

 I don't adore the piecing process... it's tricky and finicky, and my in-exactitude shows in small ways, which causes my sister to point them out and weep in despair.

 But I DO adore the actual quilting, putting the three layers of top, batting and backing together with stitches... hand stitches especially.
 And I love drawing picture designs with those stitches, which makes it just that much more fun!!!

  I like to create something as a project for gifts to give to special people, instead of giving something less personal. (Of course, I'm aware that not everyone prefers to receive something like this, so I only do this for those who I'm sure would feel special from it! :-) )

  So, with that in mind, I was intrigued when I ran across a list of

100 Things Every Quilter Should Do Before She Dies

over on the blogs.

 So, I thought "Hm, how do I score?"
  I have no intention of passing on, but I like to feel like I'm an over-achiever in any place I possibly can without incurring much extra effort.
 (Oh, come on! You know you've fallen for that, too!!!)

 So here's the list, and I've bolded everything that I have done sometime in my short years so far.
 And if you want to check your own score, leave me a link so I can take a look!!! :-)

  1. Visit a quilt shop.
  2. Make a Nine Patch.  (My first block was a nine patch! Mom was fresh off of quilting classes,
    Our first "big quilt" ended up with quite a few nine-patches.
    and set nine-year-old me up with hand stitching a nine patch. Still have that patch... it never made it into anything!)
  3. Make a Log Cabin.
  4. Label a quilt.
  5. Figure yardage for a quilt.
  6. Learn about warp and weft.
  7. Use a rotary cutter.
  8. Use templates.
  9. Paper piece a quilt block.
  10. Hand applique a quilt block.
  11. Make a yo-yo.
  12. Embellish a quilt.
  13. Try free motion quilting.
  14. Stitch in the ditch.
  15. Try hand quilting.
  16. Bind a quilt.
  17. Miter the corners of quilt binding.
  18. Join the ends of quilt binding.
  19. Sew diagonal seams.
  20. Use a walking foot.
  21. Attend a guild meeting.
  22. Visit Houston for International Quilt Festival(Probably never.)
  23. Have a quilt appraised.
  24. Visit a quilt museum.
  25. Go on a quilt retreat.  (Probably never.)
  26. Try curved piecing( I am leery of this one... but probably something I'll have to try eventually!)
  27. Miter the borders.  (My sister instigated doing this "shadowbox style" for one we were
    Mitered corners, "shadow box" effect.
    making for another sister... I still have the heeby-jeebies from the experience, but she fell madly in love with mitering!!)
  28. Learn to do blanket stitch by hand.
  29. See a local quilt show. 
  30. Put your quilt in a local quilt show.  (I hope to do this one sometime soon, though!)
  31. Sell raffle tickets on a quilt.
  32. Take a road trip with quilt friends.
  33. Create a Pinterest board with quilts.   (Are you Kidding Me? Of Course I've done this!!!)
  34. Make a 3-D quilt block.
  35. Donate a quilt to a good cause.
  36. Make a sampler quilt.
  37. Make an art quilt.
  38. Try bobbin work.
  39. Learn to maintain your sewing machine. (Yes, I've recently learned to clean and oil, and I love my lovely vintage Singer! She sings like a lark, and makes such perfectly pretty stitches.)
  40. Add rickrack to a quilt.  (Probably never. I don't like rick-rack, though Mom loves it...)
  41. Design a quilt. (Remember, you don’t necessarily have to make the quilt!)    (Yep! ;-) Scrap quilter here...)
    Anniversary quilt, friendship style.
  42. Change/tweak/alter a pattern to make it your own.    (Yep.)
  43. Make a color wheel with fabric swatches.
  44. Chat about quilting with a stranger.                           (Yep.)
  45. Go on a blog tour.   
  46. Give a quilt as a wedding/graduation/retirement gift.    (Yep! ;-) See right! -> )
  47. Visit Paducah during the AQS Show.               (Probably never.)
  48. Take a class with a nationally known teacher.              (Probably never.)
  49. Use some fabric you dislike.   (I have often done this! ;-) A lot of my projects borrow heavily from Mom's stash, since she's a fabric-aholic and has no hope of actually using it all. So I try to help her by using some of it up, but our tastes differ... it's a different experience from picking fabric out at the store! ;-) )
  50. Participate in Show & Tell.
  51. Volunteer for a job in a quilt group.
  52. Use a color you detest.
  53. Make a quilt inspired by nature.
  54. Get up early to quilt or stay up late to quilt.      (Ha!!! Are you Kidding Me? Midnight, two o'clock... it's happened.)
  55. Make a scrap quilt.  (Every single one! I generally end up incorporating some new fabric, but I always start out trying to use scraps from other places!)
  56. Make a tote bag.                                        (Probably never.)
  57. Make a postcard quilt.                               (Probably never.)
  58. Make a baby quilt and gift it to a newborn.
  59. Understand the basics of caring for quilts.
  60. Borrow a quilting book from the public library.
  61. Teach someone else to quilt.
  62. Creatively piece a backing for one of your quilts.  (I am definitely going to have to do this... backing is such a great swath of fabric, and as stated earlier, I'm a "use scraps up" type quilter.)
  63. Apply a piped binding, or some variation of it.
  64. Post quilt pics to Facebook.
  65. Install quilty wallpaper on your computer.                 (Probably never.)
  66. Put a quilty bumper sticker on your car.                     (Probably never.)
  67. Cuss mildly -Be exasperated- when you realize you’ve been sewing air (because you ran out of bobbin thread)
  68. Read your sewing machine manual cover to cover.
  69. Learn to thread baste.
  70. Learn to pin baste.
  71. Use basting spray.
  72. Help a friend make a quilt.
  73. Make a quilt for a special child.
  74. Make a quilt for a spouse or partner.
  75. Make a quilt for a friend.
  76. Include your quilts in your will (i.e. who gets them).
  77. Determine your favorite thread for piecing.
  78. Understand the concept of value.
  79. Understand the mathematics of quilt blocks.
  80. Apply a bias binding.
  81. Take a guild speaker to dinner.
  82. Comment on a quilt-related blog post. 
  83. Make a mystery quilt.
  84. Take part in a block exchange.
  85. Write how-to instructions for making a quilt block.
  86. Watch a quilting video.
  87. Know the difference between lengthwise and crosswise grain.
  88. Know the parts of a sewing machine needle and why they matter.
  89. Organize your stash.
  90. Know the names of hand sewing needles used for different tasks.
  91. Finish a UFO.
  92. Purchase fabric on impulse.
  93. Try sewing with precuts.
  94. Trade fabrics with quilt friends.
  95. Identify your ancestors who quilted.
  96. Visit a quilt shop while on vacation.
  97. Sew on a treadle for old time’s sake. (I learned on a treadle! The house we lived at the time had no electricity, so....)
  98. Subscribe to a quilting magazine.
  99. Become a regular reader of a quilting blog.
  100. Go on a Shop Hop.

 Final score: 57, with 10 Probably Nevers that I don't foresee ever doing.
 So that leaves me with a lot of ones I may yet explore!

  How about you? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Food, Family and Guilt? Guest post with Joel Canfield!

Hey! It is my honor today to host Joel D Canfield on his blog tour for his new book, A Still, Small Voice.
 It's always been fun to see what Joel has to say online, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to introduce him to some of you who perhaps haven't run across him yet!
    So without further ado, here's Joel and he can speak for himself...

 Everybody, here's Joooe-l D Canfield!!!

A Still, Small Voice in the Back of Your Head

JDC: The title of my latest book, A Still, Small Voice (Phil Brennan Mystery #2) is from something I heard as a kid: your conscience is a still, small voice that makes you feel still smaller.
I was raised on guilt, served both with meals and between them.

EKW: Phrased like a poet, Mr. Canfield! It's interesting, though how closely all that really is wrapped up in each other... we think of guilt as a bad thing, but without it completely there would be no conscience, and without that the world would be a terrible place indeed.
  I guess it takes a lifetime to wrestle with those dichotomies!

JDC: As I approach 60, it's far too late to blame my books on my childhood...

EKW: Oh... go ahead. What's the writer's prerogative for, if not that?

JDC:  ...okay, I'm going to give it a try. Before a certain age our experiences land straight in our unconscious mind, unfiltered and unfettered, and our interpretations are sometimes (often?) skewed. Most of us, whatever our age, carry a dozen misbeliefs we formed in early childhood. We don't see them that way, though, as misbeliefs.
We think they're superpowers.
The things we "know" without logic (because we believed them so young) feel truer than many things we actually do know based on logic and reason. As a result they can feel magical, as if we have information others don't. It's not a conscious thought, but an unconscious feeling.
It's also the source of most of our really dumb decisions.

EKW:  I'm going to have to play witness for the prosecution here a bit, because yes, we can get hung up on childhood lessons that set up misbeliefs... but childhood is also where it is possible to learn the best true beliefs, too. Depends on what source our teaching came from... and of course there's an element of luck there, or if you prefer, guidance.
  (Which I am extremely grateful for, in the end, the Lord has always turned things toward good for me, and I an very aware how easily I could be an entirely different person without His intervention in my formative years.)
  But back to the subject, I definitely get what you're saying!

JDC: When others make choices we don't understand, it's easy to think they don't have all the information (or aren't very bright.) Usually, though, it's because their prefilter childhood beliefs are different from ours.

EKW:  True, that's our own human/natural instinct, because so often a person is inclined to just react without really thinking the big picture through.

JDC: And yes, that means everyone, all the time. Welcome to humanity.

EKW: I think that's definitely something that comes into play a lot in all the deepest sort of stories... whatever the genre. (Also a very INFJ thing to think about! All the deep things!)

JDC: It's also, according to writing teacher Lisa Cron in Story Genius, the source of the hero's actions in a good story. Every step of the way, they make choices based on their misbelief (which they still think is a superpower) until in the end they're forced, painfully, to confront it

 EKW: Hmm... interesting theory. I hadn't heard that...

JDC:  Since those misbeliefs are born early, usually before school age, they're almost always grown in the soil of family life.
In A Still, Small Voice you'll see Phil Brennan bumble his way through a non-mystery based almost entirely on his feelings about his father.
Why no, I'm not writing about myself. Not at all.

 EKW: Haha!!! I think that's one of the scariest things, as a introspective writer who may be aware of the source we all pull our stories from... to show our fiction to the world definitely feels so scary because we fear the world will see us too clearly in that mirror. In actuality, I think most readers see less of the author and more of their own faces when they read... so authors can feel somewhat safer.
   After all, a piece that really resonates is tapping into a universal (or close to it!) theme that most everyone finds a piece of themselves inside it.
  Where can folks access to your versions of the universal theme, Joel?

JDC:  Folks who sign up for my newsletter get all my novels free, including A Still, Small Voice. Sign up. Download. Read. Quick and painless.
Before you go do that, though, why not grab a snack? Bake a pie, maybe. Or if that takes too long, make a sandwich. This one, perhaps.

Joel's Meatless BLT

I am a meat-eater. I'm also overweight (thank you, childhood stress) so I'm always looking for delicious food that's less bulky. This takes the gold in that category.
The first time I bit into this sandwich, I kid you not, I opened it back up to see if someone had put bacon on it while I had my back turned. Sometimes it's more a hint than overt flavor, but if you like a BLT, this does a great job of giving you the taste without the bacon. Of course, those of us who love bacon and aren't watching our weight should, in fact, pile on the bacon. I'm all for bacon. But this sandwich offers an alternative, because, y'know, choices.


Don't substitute. It won't work.
  • Whole wheat bread, lightly toasted.
  • One side, olive oil black pepper mayo, spread thin. It's just a moisture barrier, not to add moisture. The veg will do that.
  • Other side yellow mustard, spread thin. I know it comes out of a squirt bottle, but it needs to protect the bread from sog. Spread it.
  • Zucchini planks, about 1/8"-1/4" thick. Use the smallest zuke you can find. Small = sweet and flavorful, large = dry and woody.
  • Roma tomatoes, halved and cored. No, you do not want the wet mass of seeds and white nonsense on your sandwich. Slice each half from the top and bottom so you can press it flat sort of like those accurate maps which no one uses even though we all know that, no, Greenland isn't as big as South America.
  • Alfalfa sprouts and radish sprouts, pressed in a paper towel to dry them. The other veg is wet. Sprouts shouldn't be.
  • Fresh spinach.


  • Put the tomatoes on the mayo side.

  • Put the spinach on the mustard side.
  • Pile the zucchini on the spinach, the sprouts on the tomatoes.
  • Spritz it all with fresh lemon juice.
  • Lightly salt with sea salt, not table salt eww that stuff is horrible.

  • Make two and have lunch with someone you love.

    EKW:   Well, That's an interesting recipe, Joel. I think we all have a "perfect figure" in mind that we like to wish we were... though I've made peace with my inner critic (most of the time) and figure if I'm able to get through the day without too much pain than I'm luckier than a lot of folks, and should shut up and be grateful!!!
       Of course, eating healthy should always be a priority, which for me actually means trying to make sure I get some meat in my diet, because I naturally prefer sweets and starches to proteins... pretty much all the time. ๐Ÿ˜‰
       Which isn't ideal, because ... Balance!

     (Post Scriptus: when it comes to sandwiches, I love my bread soggy! The more mayonnaise that can soak in the better, and tomato juice draining into the bread is just delicious!!!
      Living in a wheat-free house for the past 15 years (for family members who have Celiac) makes me very appreciative of bread, and dreamy-eyed at the thought of tomato sandwiches!!! ๐Ÿ˜Š )

       And the topic of maps and Greenland was just being discussed around the house the other day! So perfect timing on that subject!
       Like I said, wheat-free house here, so that means slapping together some of my favorite things can be a challenge. Luckily for me, I found a recipe that combines sweets and starches into a creation that even gluten free can't pester, and it's a snap to concoct. Came upon it among Mom's exhaustive collection of gathered recipes, which I'd never seen used, and I've since kept it near and dear to my heart!

      So! Taking all that into consideration, Impossible Pie is a great favorite with me.
     Everything goes into a blender:
    1 3/4 c. Cooked pumpkin (/squash/yams/carrots anything soft enough to squish to nothing in a blender.)
    1 1/2 c. milk (of cream/ half and half/ whatever... you get the idea.)  {Somewhere in here I sometimes add up to two eggs, but I think I dock the milk back to 1 cup when I do that.}
    1 Tb. oil/butter (or 2 Tb. because, guys, this is butter we're talking about!)
    1/2 c. sugar  (this is probably a lot less sweet than a lot of people are used to, but for us, it's just nicely sweetened with very little guilt factor.)
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. ginger      (really, folks, just toss some pumpkin-y spices in, don't fret it. I like to throw Allspice in, 'cause it's basically an herb, and is good for you. When I do I leave the nutmeg out, because this isn't supposed to be a Pumpkin Pie SPICE pie.)
    and last but not least, added after the others are all blended nicely,
     1/2 c. flour with a dollop of
    1/2 tsp. baking powder on top. Then hit that button again, on high, till smooth

      You've greased the pan, and pre-heated the oven, so pour it in, bake @350 for 30-45 minutes and presto! you've got a pie.
    (You're also outta there equally fast...)

    And if I set a timer, I can generally get it back out of the oven before it gets too "browned"... though no one seems to complain about a black edge on a pie, anyway. They're so glad to see it in any condition!!!

       What I love about this is it's so fluid. Don't have canned pumpkin on hand? Use something else that is remotely similar. It'll work out.
        And yes, I suppose someone could argue that a recipe isn't supposed to be fluid... but, hey. I'm a creative. I like things that work out even when I swap things around.

    Never mind, I googled it for you!
     Impossible Coconut Cream Pie is good too, but is a little more strict. You simply must have coconut, or it's not the same. (Google it! See if it's up your alley!!!)

      Anyway, if you're not hungry by now, nothing can help you! Go get Joel's books and read until you feel ready to eat!!!

       Thanks for being here, Mr. Canfield, and here's hoping you shed that pesky pound that's bothering you. ๐Ÿ˜‰
     As always, keep writing! (It's good mental therapy!)

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    2017... Oh, My!

    Hey Guys!  It feels like I've just barely managed to stagger out of 2016, with my tattered writing goals
    held under one arm, intact but still confuszled. ;-)

      That is to say, I feel like the dazed survivor of some disaster zone, I'm still not sure my brain is remembering what I want it to... but we're on the other side of the Momentous Move now, so things should get easier in 2017!

       ...And that I did meet all my writing goals in spite of, and during, the Momentous Move, though I have yet to sit down and sort through and discover what that actually means in terms of releases going forward. I need a long, long meeting with my Abi-sis, partner-in-schemes, and... And I'll also need a clearer head than the one I've been functioning with these past six months!!! ;-)

      Again, the MM really took it out of me.

        That being said, we are moving forward (possibly I should say "creeping forward") with the Space Kitties 2 print release... I have completed formats and a proof is even now under the same roof, and so far no one has been able to find anything that needs changing. So it's practically ready to go to the official presses...
       Though it'd be sort of nice to have a semi-festive thing to give the announcement a little boost, and I'm so brain-exhausted I can't even seem to get anywhere with basic decision-making where a FB party is concerned. Or a Blog tour, or... any decisions seem to be beyond me at the moment.

      We have got some great volunteers, but if there are more out there wondering if there's room for them to join the Space Kitties Team... wonder no more!! There's so totally room, just give me a ping. :-)

       All right, I can't think of anything else that needs said! Like I mentioned, I have been hard at work on various projects, so those people waiting for sequels; hang in there! Those books are coming!!!

     Aaaaand... with that, I shall bid thee all adieu once more, and take myself off to bed before my eyes start burning any worse!!! Better get these little peepers shut.
          Take care!