65 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, March 13, 2019

  1. Hi Jenny, I’ve just come across details of “Lavender’s Blue”, which seems to be an audio-only book. Are there any plans to release an e-version? I’d be first in line if so…
    Also, thanks for all the blogs on how you structure your writing – really helpful (if awe-inspiring).

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    1. Hi, Sarah, welcome to Argh.
      Lavender’s Blue isn’t finished. (But close, 75,000 words done.). There is no audio book; the listing is a mistake.
      The Devil in Nita Dodd, however, should be finished by the end of the month (please, God) and then I can get back to Lavender.

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  2. I’m editing an interesting book (yay!) in the mornings, and meant to be unpacking in the afternoons. But I’m just starting with a cold, and plan to coddle myself to the max in the hope it won’t hang around. Off to buy more lemons and honey. Will unpack if I feel like it, but it’s sunny in the front of the house, so I’m tempted to stay here rather than brave the chilly kitchen.

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      1. It’s good. Will be really good once I’m unpacked and the pictures are up. Then there’s the garden. I’m going to sow some tomato seeds soon.

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  3. Back on my side hustle working with a troubled teen. I like said TT (troubled teen), and it’s fun to work with her, so it’s a good side hustle. We’re currently examining climate change and story structure. Also what it’s like to live on minimum wage.

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    1. Did you see the tweet yesterday that caused a kerfuffle — a reporter wanted to know if people living on minimum wage sometimes had to “dip into savings,” and got an earful about how people on minimum wage didn’t have savings to dip into.

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      1. Back when I was at uni there was a radio phone-in talking about the cost of living. One of my friends phoned in and told them how much, as a student, she had to live on each week, and they hung up on her because “nobody could really live on that amount” and she had to be lying to them.

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        1. People are so silly. The director of my library, in the last staff meeting was addressing our concerns and said, “If you are believe that the people you work with are x, y, and z, then why do you work here?” I really wanted to raise my hand and say, “Because I like to eat?” Argh. This is also a person the front line staff only sees during the day on her way to and from eating out for lunch.

          3+
  4. I spent several hours last week doing the quilting on four quilts, and the weekend putting the binding on three of them. The two star quilts were a quick challenge to use more of my stash – I think I like the red one best, but the blue is nice too. The woodland creatures – also from the stash – is earmarked as a shower gift for a co-worker. It started off as a kit, so a little less work that you might think to throw it together.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu2c9Twhi9b/

    Next is to get the binding on the big Mexican star quilt I showed a few weeks back. It’s back from the longarmer and looks fabulous. Just need to get it bound before I visit my sister-in-law, the intended recipient.

    In other news, the couple who had been trying to adopt twins had that fall out from under them the week before the birth. In picking up the pieces, they were able to meet and adopt their new daughter. We had a shower for them yesterday, so I have a picture up of the quilts and baby blankets I made for the twins (to go with a black/white color scheme for the nursery).

    9+
    1. Probably you already know this but just in case none of your recipients has managed to articulate it – quilts are really meaningful gifts.

      When I got squished and for a couple of big surgeries afterwards one of my mom’s friends gave me smallish quilts, which were the perfect weight and could be washed in ways that complied with what the hospital wanted and now make up a cosy nesting timeline of people loving me and pushing and pulling me back into the world.

      It is all gold star bonus when they are so beautiful and beautifully made as yours are. Thank you for sharing them.

      9+
      1. I greased the pan lightly with sunflower oil and then dusted it with flour using a tea strainer, like a mini sieve. This cake mix needs eggs, oil, and hot milk. I think the oil makes it less likely to stick.

        This was half of the mix. The other half I’d used to make a small loaf cake.

        4+
        1. My kids need wrapper free lunches, so I butter and flour too – but I just dump a bit of flour in each muffin hole (like, half a teaspoon ish) and then tilt the tray in all directions, before inverting over the sink. Makes a mess, but is fast and effective.

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  5. I’m not working on a book in ten thousand pieces but did buy a jigsaw puzzle. It’s set up on the end of the dining room table. The border is completed, plus bits and pieces of the middle, and it gets worked on for an hour or two each day. I’d forgotten how much I love doing these.

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    1. We do puzzles once we’ve set up our Christmas decorations at the end of November and then always give each other new ones as gifts, that we then do until the end of January. It’s our winter thing. 🙂

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  6. My Mom does 1,000 piece puzzles on her kitchen table. She’s got a big seat of stiff-ish plastic that she tapes to the table to cover the puzzle when she’s not working on it. When my siblings and I come over, we lift it up and start working on it. Even the grandkids get into the act. 🙂

    I’m working on getting the calendar on my phone current with dates for assorted stuff. And signing my kids up for summer ‘camps’ that are a couple hours a day for a week or so.

    I’m also being kinda selfish and planning the vacation I want to have. I found a really good rate for Great Wolf Lodge in the Dells for 2 nights in April, when the kids are off of school. My husband is coming but to be honest, I’m doing this for me. I want to go there. We really can’t afford to do it. I know that. But our last waterpark (last month) was horrible for a variety of reasons. I need something good before I start dealing with camping this summer. And I’m trying to respect the budget. I didn’t book the fun rooms with the bunkbeds in dens. I didn’t book meals (we’ll bring breakfast and lunch stuff) and I didn’t book the kid activities that cost money. I may add those on once we get there though. If the kids are interested and committed, I’ll do it. If they want the free activities and the waterparks only; I won’t.

    6+
      1. I laughed, picturing your mom taping herself (on a hard plastic pad) to the table top, then at the subsequent image of family members picking her up so they could work on the puzzle.

        4+
  7. Oh and tomorrow is pi day. So I’m trying to be prepared and make apple pi pie with my daughter tonight. It’s apple pie with the apples cut into numbers instead of whatever random cuts I make to them. We’ve got number cookie cutters and everything.

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    1. OMG Pi day! I am not prepared… Need to email DH and the neighbors we always celebrate with stat.
      And buy pineapple for the obligatory veggie/fruit.

      3+
    2. Pi day! Hmm, except I guess here it would be 31 April, as we go dd/mm/yy. Except there is no 31 April. I do however have apples falling off the tree, so let’s go with it. Hooray!

      1+
  8. As a non-writer, I’m not sure how this works or if it would even be ethical…but when you sent your MS to your editor and her press decided not to buy it, did she provide any feedback for you with regards to the writing/story other than it wasn’t right for them for this particular sales moment? I know you respect her and have sung her praises in terms of the insights she’s been able to give, so I was wondering if she was able to give you any initial impressions/suggestions if they don’t buy it or if she wouldn’t be able to do that for a story they aren’t buying.

    2+
    1. It’s basically a brand thing. It’s been ten years since they put out a Crusie, and she thinks that the general Crusie reader (which isn’t anybody here) won’t want anything but a contemporary romance. I can’t write contemporary romance, I’m not contemporary any more. My agent says that with my dialogue, I don’t have to be contemporary, but I think the fact that I have no idea how people mate these days (I’ve been a hermit for years) is probably a sign that I should not be writing modern romance. Also, I have these books with ghosts and magic in them that I want to write.

      It’s okay. Change is good.

      12+
      1. In that case, you could come up with a pen name that reflects the new you. The image of contemporary romance that is held by Crusie would not be attached to the new nom de plume.

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        1. Start an entirely new career now? No.
          It’s incredibly difficult to get your name known in publishing. I’d rather have people say, “That’s not my idea of a Crusie” than “Who?” The book has my style and a dog in it. That’s a Crusie.

          13+
          1. Besides, a bunch of your recent books have blasted beyond simply contemporary romance: Maybe This Time, Wild Ride, Agnes & the Hitman, Bet Me, Faking It, and Welcome to Temptation are examples.

            Why turn back now?

            Okay, because SMP wants you to, but I think you’re right to go with your style and a dog.

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          2. I am not LOLing. I am not ROFLing. I am giggling maniacally. I had this image, you see…

            Jenny: “Madame editor, the book is about a disaster on the way to pandemonium. And there’s a bit with a dog. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”
            Editor: “How?”
            Jenny: “I don’t know. It’s a Crusie.”

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      2. I was asking because as you’ve got the thing in pieces all around you, I was just wondering if Jen could/would/did offer any high level editing comments/suggestions in terms of her overall sense of what she liked/where she thought you could cut based on her initial reading or if that wouldn’t be helpful/ethical since she’s not going to ultimately be the editor.

        I was just thinking when I’m working on a big thing and I have to pull it all apart and reexamine the pieces, it’s always helpful for me to hear a trusted colleague’s impressions – even if they’re just high level impressions and not in the weed detailed thoughts – and that you must miss getting input from a trusted source like that.

        Since I know she’s been a long time editor of yours, I wondered if she might share quick impressions or if you already had or were likely to get any feedback from her on her initial sense of the story or if the way it works is that once SMP decides to pass, she couldn’t tell you or wouldn’t feel right telling you what she thinks beyond “it’s not for us”.

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        1. No point, really. Since she’s not going to publish it, she wouldn’t waste time editing it, and it wouldn’t be helpful since I’ll be working with somebody else anyway.

          Also, that’s what beta readers are for (g).

          2+
  9. I’m working on keeping my head from exploding.

    We’ve had 2 big weather fronts move in yesterday and today, so the pressure is wreaking havoc with my head. And there’s not a place in the house I can go to get away from the wind howling by. Boo.

    But on the plus side, I’ve been able to play in my sewing room, making stuff on the embroidery machine and the sewing machine. So yay for that!

    6+
    1. I read in the newspaper the other day that a neighboring town is lending out craft and outdoorsy stuff like a sewing machine, a cricut machine, yarn winder and for campers a tent also a record player and so on. Their theory is a library is community based and if you have a card you can borrow these items for two weeks at a time. Sounds good to me as I bought a sewing machine when I retired with the intent to do a lot of sewing but only made curtains – oh, wait my granddaughter and I made a mermaid costume with it.

      4+
      1. Okay, that’s pretty great. I have lived near yarn shops where you could go in and use their winders and swifts without charge whenever and a couple of fabric stores that you “joined” by filling out a form and got free scheduled access to a back room of both basic and more specialized machines, but being able to check something out free from the library is really thoughtful and and a kind of inclusive genius.

        3+
      2. Sounds great, there are many youtube videos teaching people how to make clothes and in the comments, various younger viewers wishing they had access to a sewing machine. It would be a nice way to try a new interest

        0
  10. We are having weather (!!!) and so school and appointments were all canceled and I have unscheduled toddler company, and we are 1. making popovers 2. reading (and discussing in great detail) the entire beloved works of ant & bee 3. doing crafts. The dog is scowling ragefully out the window at the weather.

    5+
  11. My classes continue so just more safety diagrams for the ranges. I’m doing pretty well so far, so I am feeling smart in an academic sort of way. Which is a nice bonus.

    4+
  12. I’ve been getting my art room storage system organized. It was installed last week.

    It’s getting there. I’m making changes as I use the space. It’s so much easier to focus on what I’m making now that I’ve got everything in view and a long desk to work at.

    Plus, I’d been holding off on ordering a bunch of expensive supplies that I thought I had run out of. And I found them in the jam packed closet when I was transferring everything to the new system.

    I’m so glad I spent the money. I’m working on a paper sunflower. There’s a place to put all the current projects away all tidy when I’m not working on them.

    9+
  13. I’m to the lace section of Color 3 on my Find Your Fade shawl (should take a picture and post to Insta – perhaps next week?). I’m feeling more competent with my knitting, and I adore my color transitions thus far!

    5+
  14. I’m waiting and hoping my house will sell soon, and that I’ll officially be single again not long after. Otherwise, I’m working on a new story idea, and thought I’d try crafting the synopsis and blurb before getting into writing it. It’s a method that’s been suggested, and I want to give it a try to see if it works for me. Right now, I’m just asking “what?” and “why?” a lot, and jotting down whatever comes to mind. We’ll see where it takes me. At least I finally feel like I’m creating something instead of tearing things apart.

    7+
  15. I have the Winter Novel almost entirely finished. One more polish, I think, and get the formatting cleaned up for e-book publication.

    Companion novella is almost entirely finished as well, same tasks remain.

    Other novella that happened Jan/Feb is definitely finished.

    New edition of a previously-published novel is also finished.

    Need cover art for all four, and then I can launch e-books, and then get to work creating the paperbacks.

    A related novella has been revised, need a new cover for that too. My cover creator is up to her ears in real work right now and I am trying not to nag. Will shoot her an email with the titles that are high priority, then go about my business and let her go about hers.

    4+
  16. I made a drawing of my foot. I’ve spent my whole life telling myself I can’t draw, but I haven’t actually tried since I was a kid. Last week I was on holiday with my feet up and nothing else to do, so I tried drawing my foot, and my drawing’s pretty good! I was totally stunned and now I’m completely rewriting the stories I’ve told myself about my artistic abilities.

    9+
  17. My Mom died Saturday night and I and my siblings have spent all the time since arranging the funeral, cleaning out her apartment, cleaning out her room at the nursing home and trying to notify everyone she knew who is still living. She was such a loving person that the testimonials at the funeral and at the shiva afterwards were very touching. But, since she was the last one living of her original group of friends, I kept missing having someone who had experienced the communal memories to reminisce with.

    I am still friends with one of the daughters of “The Group”. At her mother’s funeral, somebody asked us how long we had known each other and we both answered, “Since birth.” I feel sad that Julie is the only one about which I can say that. Our parents had a remarkable network of love, laughter and support and I don’t know anyone of my generation who has that. Maybe because they grew up during the depression and started their adult lives during wartime, they forged stronger bonds.

    15+
    1. All condolences. Your mother lived in a valuable made community. Love the way you memorialized the group here, both in itself and as a reflection of your mother’s life.

      6+
    2. I am so sorry for your loss. It is sad when there are no friends left to pass on those types of memories. In the early 2000s my grandmother lost her two best friends in the same week, one just moments after they had spoken to arrange a coffee date. The three of them had been friends since their early girlhoods.

      2+
    3. I’m sending good thoughts towards you. It is a weird emptiness to get used to.
      I’ve tried to understand the history in my parents life; WWII, the depression, indoor plumbing and electricity. I wonder how my kids will think about my life, between baby boomers and gen x. All I have is bad fashion and avocado appliances.

      4+
  18. I’m so sorry for your loss. And yes, it’s difficult when our parents outlive their siblings and friends. My mother is ninety six this year and all six of her siblings have passed, as have the majority of her friends.

    7+
  19. We took up bowling last year and Monday, I got my highest score ever, a 151. It is 30 points above my previous high score and 60 points above my average.

    7+
  20. Not working today. Met my childhood friend at the art gallery. Saw the impressionists from the Brooklyn Museum. Also included Canadian impressionists. We had a yummy lunch and I bought a wrinkle resistant shirt on sale. Tomorrow is a full on work day.

    5+
  21. My new job requires a security clearance and a ton of paperwork, so I’m wending my way through that, while simultaneously prepping for business trips for two separate consulting clients. So no fun work though I did make banana bread!

    After dealing with all that, I took part of the day to go see the Apollo 11 documentary in imax. I highly recommend it!

    4+

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