Friday, January 25, 2013

Strange comments

It's been almost three months since I lasted posted here. In the meantime I've been getting some very amusing spam comments on my last post about not voting for Romney. This one came today.

I am sure this post has touched all the internet visitors, its really really fastidious
piece of writing on building up new website.

Hmm. And here I thought I'd been talking about why I was voting the way I voted. Good to know I was really talking about building new websites.

Which, coincidentally, is what I've been doing lately. Or rather, about a month ago. I think. Something like that. Readers may or may not remember that for the last eight months I haven't been writing historical romance. My Pinterest fashion collection has been sorely neglected, but I've been too busy writing to really care.

I mentioned I submitted the space opera to Harlequin and Harper Voyager. Harlequin said no, which I totally expected since it's largely from his POV. With the two secondary POV characters also being men it's heavily skewed away from her. Harper, however, has not rejected it. They sent out two emails a couple weeks ago. Straight up rejections and "We're still considering your submission". I got the latter!!

After submitting both of those I realized I needed to get serious about building my SFR presence as a separate entity from this one. I'm going after two totally different readerships. My SFR endeavors are not Christian and are not targeted at CBA publishers, while my historical romance is. I finally decided on how to use my real name as my SFR author name, started a Twitter account and a blog.

So that's where I am most of the time. Still madly writing away on the space opera and days from finishing the second one. As of right now I've no idea when or if I'll go back to historical romance any time soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why I'm not voting for Romney

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.-- Ephesians 6:12

I don't usually do political posts on my blog. In today's climate it can be very divisive. And honestly, I enjoy it way too much and it would be too easy to let it take over.

I've paid attention to politics since I was five and asked my dad in October, 1988, if he was voting for Bush or Dukakis. I've been a National Review reader for years, enjoy the occasional diatribe from Rush and don't mind listening to Huckabee on the radio or TV.

Back in March I was all excited about the presidential race and totally on board with Rick Perry for President. I was less than enthusiastic about Romney last time, and less so this time. I did all the reading and looking at his record and listening to what he had to say, and thought I could vote for him. I was very pleased when he named Paul Ryan as his VP. If Ryan was atop this ticket, I'd be pushing the Republican button tomorrow morning.

For the record, I did not vote for McCain in 2008. I couldn't. His stance on the issues that mattered to me was the polar opposite of what I could vote for. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill was the last straw.

I went through most of the summer half-convinced I could vote for Romney, because this is most likely the most important election of my life. Then my pastor began to talk about the duty of a Christian voter on Wednesday nights and began to share the signs he sees in our culture. I have a great deal of respect for my pastor. He's been at our church for 37 years, was born right after World War Two and has seen many circumstances and presidents come and go. He has a doctorate in evangelizing Muslims, and a great deal of wisdom to share.

I then listened to my dad's input on these Wednesday night lessons. I also have a great deal of respect for my father, and he is my spiritual head. I choose to live at home under his protection, even though I'm almost 30. One thing he kept saying has stuck with me.

As a Christian, when I vote, I am giving the person I vote for authority to act on my behalf. I've always known this, but never has it been more important, to me, that this be the determining factor in who I vote for. I know without doubt I can't do that for Obama. Everything the man stands for repulses me. It came down to can I do this with Mitt Romney?

I've heard and seen all the arguments that exist. My decision has nothing to do with his record, his platform, his stance on issues, his tax plan, the Ryan budget, whether or not he'll repeal Obamacare. The only thing that matters is this: Can I stand before God and take responsibility for the actions of a man who denies Christ?

I ask the question this way because the truth of the matter is Mitt Romney denies Christ. Mormonism denies the divinity of Christ. They believe God the Father came to earth as fully human, had sex with Mary and conceived Jesus. They believe Jesus was just a man, one of God the Father's many spirit children, and that we as human beings are equal to Jesus. And one day we'll be gods of our own worlds. It's a radically polytheistic religion.

It's been interesting to me to watch some of the most respected Christians in this country go to great lengths to justify voting for a man, who at his core, denies the one thing that makes me a Christian. I cannot stand before God and say I take responsibility for the actions of a man who denies Christ, who I authorize with my vote to act on my behalf. That's what it all comes down to for me.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.-- Colossians 1:16

God ordains our rulers and sets them in place. Whether we like it or not, He ordained Obama to be our president right now. He may very well have ordained that Obama win reelection. If that happens, my task is to do what I believe God is telling me to do.

Mitt Romney cannot save this country. I happen to think we're screwed no matter what happens tomorrow. We're the Titanic, and we've already hit the iceberg. The nation God ordained in 1776 ceased to exist a long time ago. One man isn't going to change it. The only hope we have is revival. Which is more likely to happen under Obama than Romney. It's when things get really bad for the church that God makes His biggest moves.

But above all, this is a spiritual battle. The battle we're embroiled in is not one we will win in the ballot box, or by changing the man in the White House. It's one we can win only on our knees, as we cry out to God to save us. Our hope is not to be placed in men, specifically the man in the White House. Our hope is to be placed in God and God alone.

Paul wrote this to the Corinthians, but it's just as applicable to us as it was to them. Especially the last verse.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.-- 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Our faith must not rest in the wisdom of men. I see far too many people putting their faith in the wisdom of men right now. Our faith rests in the power of God. Whatever happens tomorrow is what He has ordained to happen. My job, as a child of the King, is to make sure nothing comes between me and Him.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This writer's life

After three years of what felt like nothing but curve balls, since May things have been pretty fantastic. (in my head, fantastic is said a la Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor)

First the whole space opera thing, which I'm still blowing full speed ahead on and having so much fun it oughta be illegal. Added some character images to its Pinterest board the other day. Also discovered a new plot twist in volume two a couple weeks ago. Very excited about it.

Everyone who's read it keeps going on about how amazing it is and I can't let it sit on my hard drive. It needs to be out there looking for a home. Despite the potential challenges of being a two-genre writer in two genres that don't usually meet, I'm embracing the challenge. The space opera has been submitted to the open calls at Harper Voyager and Harlequin, for their new direct to digital lines.

All things historical have been on hold for close to six months now. Even to the point where I've done very little fashion pinning and have been on Tumblr twice in the last six weeks. But lo and behold, it must not be the right track to set it aside completely for now. One of my crit partners told me Zondervan is doing an open call for their new digital line. Out came the finished historical so I can finish the character edit and submit it.

Speaking of the character edit, I really think it's the missing piece of the conflict. Everything is so much stronger now and I'm in love with the story all over again. Always a good sign.

Then yesterday, Rachelle Gardner had a very timely post about blogging. I've always struggled with the idea of being a regular blogger. It's not a shoe that fits me well, so to speak. I'm glad to see the "conventional wisdom" changing, and it takes away some of the pressure I've felt about building a blog. I'm not going to get rid of it, because I still want to do fashion stuff with it and the occasional post about whatever strikes my fancy. Like this one. And of course use it to share all the research I have to leave out while writing. But those posts will come when I have a sale and the book is on the horizon.

But as far as building a blog platform, I'm putting it to rest. My energy will go into Facebook, where I'm at all the time anyway, along with Goodreads and Pinterest. I have 140 followers, and I haven't sought out a single one. They've all found me. Most of them are not writers, and most of them are people I don't know. Pretty good return for zero recruiting work. What little I've done at Goodreads suits me, because it's more of a message board type thing. Which I'm way comfortable with.

So there it is. A peek into this writer's life right now.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wonders of the Met Museum

The Met Museum website is a treasure trove for costume fanatics. Though finding what you want can be a real pain, it's worth the effort.

Last week I found out the Met has digitized many of their exhibition catalogs. Of course I had to head over there and see what treasures could be found.

They did not disappoint. The Korean Renaissance (didn't know there was such a thing), Napoleon, posters, British fashion, samurais, a bunch of artists, Dior. Then the jackpot.

From Queen to Empress: Victorian Dress, 1837–1877
Of course I have to have it. For so many reasons.

But then I kept looking, going through the pages, and found another gem.

The Imperial Style: Fashions of the Hapsburg Era

I haven't looked through it yet, but it should be another treasure trove because it covers a wider era than the Victorian catalog.

I love the Met!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The finished product

Yeah, I know, it's been a week since I got back. Turns out attending conference can cause a fibro flare. Who knew? Anywho, back to normal, fully recovered.

Me and Roseanna M. White. Author pal, fellow fashion nerd, and a midget.

This actually turned out to be the best picture. Randy Ingermanson took one with me too, but he didn't put it on Facebook. :(

I was quite popular Saturday night. I don't remember ever having that many pictures taken of me. Me and Roseanna as a pair were also quite popular.

Also, purple mashed potatoes!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A hearse! My kingdom for a hearse!

I'm going to do my best to be a regular blogger again. But only two days a week. Three is just too much for me, with as much as I'm writing. And honestly, the writing of actual novels is more important.

The plan is to resume doing dresses, on Thursdays this time. On Mondays or Tuesdays there'll be something else. Like today. Next week it's going to be about cotton, because cotton harvest is in full swing around here.

The title of this post is not a typo. I really mean a hearse. As in a horse-drawn hearse from around 1900. I heartily approve of the City of Grapevine, Texas, because they had a hearse on display in a glass carriage house.

How cool is this? The placard said it dates to around 1900. Back then it would have been painted black. The name of the funeral home is on the window of the hearse and through the window you can see a coffin. It's draped in the Confederate battle flag, which of course pleased me to no end.

There were also some coffins on display, but for some reason I didn't take pictures of them. Should have. Not everybody knows what 19th century coffins looked like. The wicker thing under the hearse appears to be a coffin, but there was no sign to go with it so I'm not sure. Doesn't seem very smart to have a wicker coffin.

Why am I posting pictures of a hearse? Partly because it's cool, partly because it was in the middle of downtown Grapevine, and partly because 19th century mourning fascinates me. Goes back to when I worked at Kent House. For the month of October the house is draped in mourning. When I first started working there it was a generic thing. But once I took over preparing the tours and doing research, I revamped it.

As it turned out one of the builder's sons had the decency to die in October. How nice of him! In 1853. Perfect. Of yellow fever. Which, coincidentally, is the theme of tours in August and September. Match made in heaven. Kent House is currently draped in mourning for Sosthene Baillio.

Also, I was in the middle of writing an 1860 funeral scene and couldn't figure out what I was missing to bring it to life. A description of the hearse fixed the problem.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting ready for the ACFW Awards Banquet

When you read this I'll be at my sixth ACFW conference. For years I've wanted to attend in full 1860's costume, but packing a hoop skirt into a carry-on suitcase is not something I want to say I've done.

So when I found out this year's conference would be in Dallas, and since I only live five hours away, this is the year I attend in a hoop skirt. I went to my costume closet in July to decide what to wear. My gorgeous lavender and white dress won out.

Slight problem though. Too small. The dress was made for me in 2006, and I've gained weight since then. The seamstress included all the fabric scraps with the dress and it became an easy fix. For the skirt anyway. Fitting the bodice to me required taking half of it apart, and I didn't want to spend the time doing it just to wear it for three hours. Oh, I forgot to mention. It's polished cotton. Polished cotton does not breathe. It's like wearing Saran Wrap.

Out came the trusty seam ripper. I let out the gathers, extended the waistband and sewed it back together. Took me about thirty minutes. All fixed!

So, what to do about a bodice? I hit the costume closet again and found an appropriate white blouse. More than a little plain though, so I took the crocheted collar off my lavender bodice and attached it to the blouse. Instantly dressed up!

But wait! There's more. My hair. I keep it short and layered. Not exactly period appropriate for 1860. When I was reeneacting all the time I did my hair in snoods. Period appropriate, no bobby pins to fall out. Except I didn't have a white one, and currently have no idea where they are. So what did I do? I made one. With #3 thread and a crochet hook.

Looks ridiculous draped over my hand, but awesome when it's on my head. It'll be trimmed with skirt-matching ribbon.

Still not done though. Accessories. I'm wearing polished cotton. In Dallas, Texas. In a room with 800 other people. I'm probably going to get hot. What did every Southern belle in the 19th century carry? A fan. I have a gorgeous Battenburg lace fan I've never had the chance to use. Matches the outfit to perfection. Also, I have a shawl. Purple silk with embroidered flowers and butterflies. A gift from a dear friend and fellow writer.

Still not done. The modern woman has to hide things when she's posing as an antebellum belle. Enter the reticule. It'll hide my cell phone, room key and banquet ticket, while completing the look of a genteel lady out for an afternoon stroll.

To see the complete ensemble on me, you'll have to come back next week.