This started out as a test post to see if some maintenance I've done here on the page is working, but then I decided why not do a quick catch up? At the beginning of the New Year, I decided I wanted to get out at least once a month and go somewhere within day-driving distance for a hike. Oregon has some amazing scenery, but over the last few years my long hours and seven-day work weeks haven't been exactly accommodating for real-life adventure. Hubby agreed he'd like to do some day hikes, and so we've headed out, one day each month, to go see what we can see. Last weekend hubby, sister, brother-in-law, and I hiked Abiqua Falls for the first time. This 92 foot falls is less than an hour's drive from my house and is stunning. The trail is a little muddy, steep, and rocky, but the surrounding forest is beautiful. And the destination? Worth it.
I want to write a post about the terrific time I had at the Rainforest Writer's Retreat last week--and I will. I promise! But first, the Octopus. So, when Patrick Swenson invited me to the Rainforest Writer's Retreat, my email was added to the group's loop. A few people started talking about the mysterious--and endangered--Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus whose major predator is Sasquatch. At the same time, I was asked if I might want to donate a prize to the raffle. Right then and there, I knew I'd have to knit a Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus as a giveaway prize. But how to do it? I'd never knitted one of the rare beasties before, and they are notoriously shy creatures. Luckily, I found this adorable Knitting Octopus pattern by Max Alexander. I was tempted to give him a fancy top hat, but this was an Octopus from the forests of the Pacific Northwest. He needed a beanie and a big cup of coffee. Since he was going to be found at a writer's retreat, I thought he might also have his laptop and editing pencil handy. Thus began the knitting. Our friendly little octopus wasn't always so friendly looking. Brace yourself for some disturbing photos: Here is his eye, strung out between metal needles! Here is his boneless body, hanging out with the tiny anarchy chicken with a sword. Spooky, right? But I knew I could knit the spook out of him. I knitted some accessories. First, a pencil: Then a wee little laptop: Then a cup of coffee: After a hat, some eyes, and some TLC, he finally came together. And here he is, Gallelego Pete, the first Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus in captivity: He has fully poseable tentacles and all of his accessories can be removed. He lived on my cabin mantel at the retreat, waiting for someone to pick him as their prize. I am SO pleased to say he was snatched up by fellow writer Maggie Croft, who also wrote more words than any of the rest of us during our session. I have been assured he will be in good company with other writerly-crafted creatures that currently abide in her home. Happily ever after.
Delicious FailureToday is not Tuesday. It is Wednesday. I am blogging, which means I broke my blog-every-Tuesday streak. Why did I break the streak? Well, instead of blogging, I baked pies for our watch party of the season finale of Supernatural. Here are the pies: That's chocolate cream, cherry, pumpkin, blackberry/raspberry crumble and rum caramel banana cream. Since I am a bit deadline foggy-brained, I was a little distracted when I was baking. Did you know that chili powder sprinkled in a pumpkin pie instead of cinnamon adds a bit of zip to the pie, and can be totally drowned out by whipped cream? Not that I would, you know, accidentally pour chili powder in the pie instead of cinnamon. *cough-totallydid-cough* We had a great time watching the season ender of the show despite the pies of doom. I've enjoyed Supernatural this year and am looking forward to what they'll do next year for their tenth (wow!) season.
GiveawayTIN SWIFT (book #2 in the Age of Steam series) is being released June 3rd in the smaller (cheaper!) mass market paperback format. I am so excited! To celebrate, I'm giving away ten (10) signed copies! Just leave a comment here on the blog and I will choose ten winners on Tuesday, May 27th. Winners will have one week (until June 3rd) to contact me via the little email button on my blog with their mailing address. If winners don't contact me, I will do a speed giveaway first-comments-first-wins of the remaining books Tuesday June 3rd, probably in the late afternoon PST. I will mail international. So, how about you? Have you seen any good season enders this year?
Writing: If you've been following along, you know that copy edits for HOUSE IMMORTAL were due last Wednesday. I tore through the entire book in Word, marking and changing as I went, and then I printed the book out and read through it a second time, hand-marking changes, which I then input into the document. I am happy to say that I turned the copy edits in on time! Yay! This is the book that will come out in September. Since it is the start of a new series, I am both excited and nervous about it. HOUSE IMMORTAL is lighter in tone than the Broken Magic series. I think it leans closer to the tone of the Allie Beckstrom books, but with a quirky sort of slant to it. It's been great fun to write, and I sure hope readers will enjoy it. I am currently outlining/scene sketching book #3 in the trilogy. Tomorrow, I'll dive in and start writing even if I'm unsure of exactly where I'm headed. Deadlines, people. Deadlines. Other stuff: The garden is in, although I had to replant zucchini and carrots. I still need to put in garlic and potatoes, and probably spinach, but there's still time for that. I have also sprayed ten gallons of weed killer around the edges of the yard to combat the ivy and blackberries. Not sure that it did much good...I see another round of poison and a machete in my future. We're doing a home-improvement project that has me sorting through a lot of junk and clutter in the basement. I love having a cleaner more organized space, but man, it takes some time and effort to get through all the sorting, throwing, and recycling. By the end of the project (which will likely take months) we're hoping for a fully organized, functional basement. Random Crafting: Speaking of organizing...Sunday, I threw together a jewelry holder in about an hour using the old frame from our bathroom vanity, a spare lace curtain, some paint, string and a staple gun. Really easy, pretty cute, and a good way to keep the tangles outta my bangles. Plus it turned out to be a fine little organization project using the things we already had on hand. *win*
This is going to be another one of those quick catch up posts, which means I've been pretty busy lately. But in case you're curious about what's been happening in Devon land, I shall sum up: