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.