Reviews, Revisions and RSI

The coveted snippets

The coveted snippets

Septembers are shaping up to be crazy months for me. It doesn’t help that this is the second year in a row that hubbie has been between contracts in September, so added to the usual mayhem I have an extra child at home to feed and worry about 🙂

September marks the return to routine, but is exacerbated by a new school year – new lessons, homework, after school clubs, teachers, expectations – and the fact that my son’s birthday is three weeks in. Even though we opted for the easiest party ever this year, at a soft play centre, so no food prep, no painting giant sharks or making decorations, we still had invites, party bags and presents to sort, and sibling grief “when is it MY birthday?” to contend with.

I buy for all the family, as I know my son’s various requests best, so I have the added stress of sourcing gifts for grandparents and aunties. The party was a blast though – the first I’ve actually been able to enjoy – and he’s as happy with his toys as a four-year-old who watches too many TV adverts can ever be.

Cheeky monkey

Cheeky monkey

September is also my chance to return to writing. As I discussed in my previous post, that wasn’t as straight-forward as I’d hoped, after discovering my old manuscript was dire. I decided to stick with it but I’m more re-writing than revising, and the going is slow. Thankfully the story is coming together, with some help from my shelf of craft books. I don’t think it will hit my Christmas deadline but, as I’m hoping it will form part one of a trilogy, it’s more important to get it right than get it out.

That’s particularly the case after Class Act’s rubbish launch (I struggle to give it away!) To boost morale (and in the vain hope it might help Class Act sales) I ran a free promo for Baby Blues a couple of weeks ago. I had a whopping 8,000 downloads, mostly in the US. And while it didn’t result in as many residual sales as I’d hoped, It has led to some lovely reviews. I finally have enough reviews in the US to get the little snippets next to my rankings. I was disproportionately chuffed!

The final thing that’s made September crazy is my knitting obsession. I’ve moved on from cats to monkeys, at my son’s request. I can’t read patterns so I’m making things up as I go. It’s extremely liberating, after all that loom-banding when one tiny mistake resulted in a pile of bands instead of an amazing creation. The downside is, apparently, knitting gives me shocking RSI. My hands are numb, my wrists swollen and my arms sore. Gutted. To find a satisfying hobby away from the iPad, and then to have to keep stopping from pain is so frustrating. But I daren’t risk not being able to type!

Anyway, a rather prosaic update. I just wanted to say I’m still here, still alive, still plugging away, and shocked that September’s nearly over already. At least I’m never bored!

Art in August Swansong: Crazy Cat Lady

Mummy and kitten

Mummy and kitten

I know art in August is over, but I found a great tutorial for knitting easy cats and have gone a bit cat crazy. Well, I’m a writer so it’s allowed, especially as hubbie won’t let me get a real cat.

This is the link to the tutorial. I knitted mine flat on 4.5 needles with a random guestimate at rows. They’re rather cute. Might have to let my hands recover now, though, that fluffy wool (especially the black, after I ran out of the beautiful red) is a horrid nightmare to knit, particularly for a newbie.

Back to work on Friday hopefully, although have picked a cold so maybe a day in bed with lemsip and a Harry Potter book might be in order!

 

First cat from the tutorial

First cat from the tutorial

Gorgeous soft kitten close up

Gorgeous soft kitten close up

 

Art in August #31 – Knitted Cat

Knitted Cat

Knitted Cat

And so August comes to an end. My eternal thanks to Laptop on the Ironing Board for coming up with the Art in August challenge; I credit it with enabling me to survive the school holidays with some of my sanity intact (although, now the end is in sight, I seem to have entirely run out of patience!)

I thought I would end with another knitted toy, this time one of my own design (translation: I made it up.) Stuffed with the proper hollow-fibre filling (from a sacrificed pillow) it’s quite soft and cuddly, even if it does look a bit miserable (maybe because it doesn’t have any whiskers, as my daughter pointed out.)

It’s been nice to blog daily again, too, although it has made me wonder how I managed to write and blog every single day last year. I must have had a screw loose! 😉

Hopefully I’ll be back to writing in a week or so, after I’ve reclaimed my house from the marauding invaders (we have extra next week, as people with jobs go back to work and need childcare. I must be crazy!)

I will be working on my fifth novel, Finding Lucy. I’d love to finish it by Christmas, but I haven’t looked at it since I went into labour with my son, nearly four years ago, (where did those years go?!) so it might be Christmas 2015. I’ll keep you posted.

Art in August #30 – Knitted Bunny

Wonky Brown Bunny

Wonky Brown Bunny

My summer obsession with loom-bands leant itself to me trying knitting again. I tried ‘knitting’ using the Rainbow Loom but just ended up with a hot mess, so I convinced my daughter she wanted to learn, so I could get some needles and wool. Five quid later, hubbie reminded me we have buckets of wool and dozens of needles in the loft that used to belong to his Mum. Doh!

I have done basic knitting before – wobbly, colourful scarfs mostly – when hubbie went through his Man Knitting phase (his knitting ended up six foot wide, because he didn’t know the stitches spread after you cast them on). But knitting has never really appealed because it takes soooooooo long.

The thing about making things from loom bands is that nothing I created took more than a couple of hours. I have the attention span of a small child. Novel-writing aside, none of my creative endeavours take more than an hour or two. Some abstracts I’ve added to, spending hours on them in total, but each time I stopped it ‘looked’ finished. Knitting, not so much.

(Wo)man Knitting

(Wo)man Knitting

When my loomband creations started crumbling though (and I’d made as many dragons as I could cope with) I decided to look for knitting tutorials. I came across this ‘simple’ bunny tutorial, made from ‘just’ a square.

It took about four hours and terrible hand cramp to have something vaguely resembling a square (I didn’t have the same amount of stitches as I started with!)

My bunny doesn’t look much like the video (it’s stuffed with cotton wool sheets rather than stuffing, so I couldn’t sew on the arms), but I can see me trying again. I love cuddly toys so I’m more likely to persevere with a toy than a jumper. Besides, then I can use all the funky wool I used in my petite version of Man’s Knitting (hubbie’s looks like this but ten times the size).

I’d like to try crochet, too, but all the loom-banding seems to have given me RSI in my right hand, so I don’t think that’s a good idea. Besides, in a week I’ll need to get back to writing novels so, unless I have a protagonist who likes knitting, my new hobby will have to wait.