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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

As the peasant said in that famous Monty Python skit, “I’m not dead yet!” However, as another deep-thinking pundit (OK, I said it, but I am not the only one) said, “2016 can suck it.”

I am indeed alive, but I have had a tumultuous (i.e., sucky) year with major losses already. I’ve done some minor bits of knitting and sewing. Life has gone on (for some of us, not so much for some others, such as my mom, one of my aunts, and one of my cousins), and I’ve taken great solace in my dear friends and close family.

One thing has continued: my sister wenches and I are still performing as Just Desserts, with me writing the occasional new song. In fact, we’re debuting one next Wednesday night, April 20th, when we perform our monthly Wenchy Wenchday show at Market Street Pub & Cabaret. I’d had the chorus in my head for months and months… and the first verse for just months. Finally, earlier this year I gave myself the brain space to write the rest of the song. And here are the lyrics, cross-posted from my other rarely updated blog, It’s not gonna write itself.

 

Where’s the Rum?

 

When I was a wee lass

Me father said to me,

“Me darlin’ girl, this pub be yours

When all grown up you be.”

He taught me about business

And how to guard me bum,

And told me not to trust the men

Demanding shots of rum.

 

Where’s the rum? Where’s the rum?

Dear lord, please tell me, where’s the rum?

I thought me heart was breakin’,

But it’s just me head that’s achin’,

So someone tell me, where’s the rum?

Ach, please just pour some bloody rum.

 

He warned me about salty men

Who sailed upon the sea.

They’d come with tales of derring-do,

Just hoping to woo me.

They’d smile and try to kiss me

And tell me I’m the one,

When all the while their deepest wish:

To drink up all me rum.

 

(chorus)

 

The devil rum can turn your head

While dancin’ on your tongue.

Its promises of happiness

Are lies from songs long sung.

For if it could deliver

A life of endless fun,

Then why are all the sailin’ lads

In need of yet more rum?

 

(chorus)

 

Of all the things me father said

To help me grow up strong,

His wisdom on this subject here

Has never been proved wrong.

For a man home from the islands

Who’s felt the southern sun

Will never cease to crave the taste

Of good Jamaican rum.

 

(chorus)

© 2016 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

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I haven’t knit a thing in the last couple of months, although I carry yarn and needles with me virtually everywhere. I have, however, kept quite busy. Mostly reading and working and hanging out with the family and kitties.

I’ve also had a wench rehearsal or two, and in fact we have a performance scheduled for tonight at a local downtown bar/eatery*. I am so excited! I love performing so much, especially with my wench troupe. We have the most fun!

Not sure if I mentioned it here in an earlier post, but I’ve decided that the troupe needs its own songs. Originals. Written for us, to suit our act and to expand our repertoire. That way, if and when we record a second album, it will have some really new material interspersed with traditional wench/pub songs. Fun, right? Right!

Alas, none of the other wenches feels she has the requisite skills to undertake songwriting… not even the group’s twice-published novelist.

After a bit of discussion, we decided that I should do it. After all, I’m the one who really wants it done. I’m the one who suggested it. And I’m the one who’s written a song for us before, albeit only one (i.e., the Men’s Birthday Ditty)… a year and a half ago. Never mind that the women’s version has been unfinished since that time, that I haven’t been quite able to get it right.

Anyhoo, I was pressed (by our first album‘s producer) to declare how many songs I intended to write for the group this year, which sent me into spasms of frightened laughter, as “intend to” seems entirely the wrong term. “Hope to” seems far more appropriate. And I do hope to write a total of six songs for us to incorporate into our act… and into our next album, should we record one. So I said that, or something similar, laughed at my presumption and pooh-poohed the compliments and assurances of my sister wenches and our producer, who all declared their faith in my talent and ability to do this thing.

Yeah, right.

And that same night, not an hour later, as I was driving home from rehearsal, the germ of a song came to me, a lyric line, complete with its melody. By the time I went to bed, I had a chorus and the structure for the rest of the song laid out in my mind.

The next morning, in a little over an hour, I had the first song written, and with some technical help from BC17, I recorded a stripped-down version and sent it off to the group for input.

To a woman, they loved it! We’re going to work out parts, etc., at our pre-show rehearsal this evening, and it will be a real song!

Wanna see the lyrics?

Sure, you do!

Check it out:

A Man Like That

I want a man who knows my hills and dales,

One who’ll keep my garden wet,

Who’ll chase the wolves and never fail

To give me puss a pet.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

Who’ll plow your fields both day and night?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

I want a man who sets my soul on fire,

A man with heaven’s keys,

Who gives new meaning to “oh, god!”

And who brings me to my knees.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that,

A man who’s made like that?

With an angel’s smile and a devil’s touch?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

I want a man to tower over me,

Who is masterfully built.

A solid man who’ll stand the test of time,

With calves to rock a kilt.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

With shoulders you can prop your feet up on?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

I want a man who can take the heat

Who will stoke my forge and fire,

Who pounds my metal hot and sweet,

And shapes my heart’s desire.

 

(chorus)

Have you ever met a man like that?

A man who’s made like that?

A man who knows just when to strike?

Have you ever met a man like that?

 

You can spend your life in drudgery

Feeling lonely, sad or fat.

But you’ll never see who’s right in front of you.

No, you’ll never meet a man like that.

 

(final chorus)

So lift your head and fluff your girls,

Sing and dance and laugh.

Give the game of life a loving whirl.

Don’t you know a man likes that?

Don’t you know we all like that?

© 2014 Toni Finley All Rights Reserved

I know it loses quite a bit in the translation to words on a screen. If I could figure out how to embed my little recording of it, I would. Sadly, I do not. **

On that same fateful drive home from rehearsal, I also had the idea for second song! It plays with and  off of the idea of the wenches being the musical instruments a minstrel group might play… And it’s nearly finished, too. In fact, I thought it was a fait accompli, but I’ve decided I want it to end differently, so I shall be tweaking it further after I finish this long-overdue post.

And I think I’ve worked out the wenches’ birthday thing, too… although what I’ve come up with may be too short and simple. We shall see.

Still, I feel so productive! And only mildly guilty that I’ve nothing on the needles. Still, with WWKIP week coming up in only one short week,*** I feel a growing compunction to get back to the ol’ KPKP, if you know what I mean. The urge has been building, and I can resist anything but temptation.

I am, after all, a wench. 😉

* It’s called The Midnight. We go on at 9:30, probably doing two sets. We’re headlining, which sounds very fancy, but really means a couple of guys we don’t know and didn’t pick are gonna play guitar and sing before us. Still, headlining has a nice delusion of grandeur ring to it. Come on down and hang out with us, if you can and are so inclined. We’d love to see you.

** Oh. Apparently, I have to pay for a “space upgrade” to post sound files. Grrrr. I think, instead, I’ll post a link to a Youtube recording of it later, once we’ve made one and published it.

*** June 14-21, according to this FB page someone set up. And who am I to argue with a FB page someone set up? Hey, it’s on the internet, so it must be true, right? Riiiiiight.

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… a very slow pace, but regular progress is regular progress, and I refuse to judge myself harshly.

In truth, I’ve set a truly amazingly low goal for my knitting on the purple socks for me: one round a day on each sock. And I’ve kept to it for the last week or so, including today.

The resulting socks-in-progress now measure 10 inches long, knit from the tip of the toe upward. If I get my legs shaved motivated properly later today, I’ll slip one on and take a photo to post. ‘Cause I know how you all like that photo-documentation stuff.

In non-knitting news, I’ve been working less regularly but still surely on my novel-in-progress. I’d set a goal of writing 350 words/day, but only 5 days a week. And my average word-counts on the days I do write don’t suck at all, but I can’t seem to get the “write 5 out of 7 days” thing done. Instead, when I do sit down at the keyboard, I write more words per session.

Again, that means my averages aren’t bad, but the point of the exercise is to get in the habit of writing almost every day.

So there is frustration.

On the other hand, the words I am writing? I like them very much. I’ve heard that first drafts are supposed to suck and therefore require much work to make them readable, but I don’t find my first draft to be high in the suckage area… not yet, anyway. Perhaps as I get into the finer points of pacing and plot (you know, the dreaded middle section of the book), I will change my tune.

I look forward to seeing.

Next non-word-adding goals: split the main doc into chapter docs, then do a cursory outline of the story so far… oh, and a cheat sheet list of characters and their main characteristics. ‘Cause I’m at almost 9000 words, and details are already becoming hazy. (e.g., The main character’s eyes are what color? Sigh.)

I’m off for the next two nights, so I hope to make some real progress on both my works in progress. Wish me luck? Thanks!

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As I said in my last post (two weeks ago – yikes!), I got the socks back on one needle. I knit about 10 rounds on the pair over the next few days, and on May 6th, I took a few pictures of them while the hubs and I were having breakfast at Steak ‘N Shake.

Here’s the best of the bunch:

Looking rather more socklike than before, don't ya think?

Looking rather more socklike than before, don’t ya think?

It’s taken me this long to get my camera, cord and computer in close enough proximity to download the pictures and post this for you here. You’ve all known me long enough that I’m sure you weren’t holding your breath in the interim. And I’ve knit only a few more rounds since, after establishing a k1p1 pattern all ’round. That meant increasing a couple of stitches, and the socks fit better as a result.

The urge to knit has been intermittent these last two weeks, so I’ve been carrying these around everywhere and knitting a round here or there whenever I feel motivated. As they’re for me and I don’t have a project waiting in the wings (pestering me for a chance to take center stage), I’ll just let myself toodle along on these oh-so-pretty purple socks. Eventually, I’ll finish them. I always do.

On the writing front, I’ve decided it’s time to, um, write again.

More specifically, last night I took up the romance novel I abandoned at 5400 words about 6 years ago. I’m planning to post my progress on my writing-specific blog, but only as word counts. I’m not brave enough going to post the fiction itself as I write it, as first drafts have a tendency to, um, suck, and none of us needs that all over the interwebs!

My first night’s progress: 442 more words! (The writing plan I’m following was suggested by Chuck Wendig, my unofficial online writing guru. It involves writing 350 words/day, 5 days/week.) After a year, that would add up to about 91,000 words and 260 days of writing.)

Wish me luck!

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Fantasy author Nicole Peeler celebrated an author friend of hers, Juliet Blackwell, on December 2nd. The cause for the celebration: Juliet had a book (Dead Bolt) coming out and Nicole wanted to let us all know about it. Juliet writes “cozies,” those mysteries with the sometimes painfully punny titles that let you know the book may have murder in its pages, but it also has pathos and humor and likeable characters. Cozies are often set in parts of our world that we don’t normally associate with murder, and there are usually multiple titles in that same setting ( i.e., a yarn store, a bakery, a restaurant, and – in this case – a home-renovation site).

What you don’t normally find there is much sex. Romance, yes. But the erotic? Not so much.

So Juliet and Nicole decided to run a contest in the comments section of that post, soliciting hypothetical titles and an equally hypothetical sales pitch for a new genre: erotic cozy mysteries.

Four people were chosen to receive prizes: 3 honorable mentions and one winner.

And, yep, I was the first honorable mention!

Here is my prize-winning submission:

Rub One Out: A Massage-Parlor Mystery (A mafioso’s feckless nephew is found dead, but smiling, in a massage parlor run by a competitor… and new masseuse Touchée Yourbum has oil on her hands. It’s up to her fellow masseuse, amateur detective Happy Ending, to prove there’s no blood on those delicate-but-strong digits, too.)

I can’t wait to see what the prize is! I’m hoping for a copy of one of Juliet’s books.

I came up with a second entry in my massage-parlor mystery series, but it didn’t win a prize. Wanna see it?

Sure you do!

So here’s the non-prize-winning entry:

Unhappy Ending: Another Massage-Parlor Mystery (Happy and Touchée team up to find out who tainted a batch of erotic oils with LSD, after a pair of tripping and very naked frat boys run out of the parlor, screaming about evil succubi… and right into the path of a city bus. The bad publicity – who said there’s no such thing? – threatens to close the parlor permanently and seriously shrink the girls’ income stream, unless they can solve the case pronto.)

It was a lot of fun coming up with these concepts and, who knows, I may have to undertake one or both of these naughty tales one day. Do ya think there’s a market for them? (Massage-parlor lobbies probably don’t have a lot of non-picture books in them, so that’s one place I wouldn’t think to find them.)

On the knitting front, I’m 16.75″ done with a 24″ project. It’s red and lovely, knit from JaggerSpun Zephyr. Pictures when it’s done, I promise. Till then, shhhhh! It’s a Christmas surprise for someone special.

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So I’ve read quite a bit these last couple of weeks, while you haven’t heard from me. And I’ve even taken the time to write a little. (And of course, there’s way too much working, but that’s not what this blog is about, so we’ll just let that go, ‘kay? Thanks.)

I’ve been guilty of slackenbloggen here and for that, I apologize. (I know, I know: bloggers aren’t supposed to apologize for not posting, but I’m always disappointed when the blogs I check daily regularly appear to have been abandoned go without regular updates, so I feel guilty for doing the same thing to y’all. Really. Forgive me? Thanks.)

Oh, I did finally see a picture of the preemie baby boy for whom I made the little green stockinette cap last month, as the hubs took a couple of photos of baby Sebastian in his bassinette last week, but until said hubs gets off his keister and sends is finally able to send me a copy of it… or figures out a way for me to copy/paste the picture from FB… I cannot share it with you. Alas.

Instead, I can only tease you with mention of a picture that exists on a computer in another room in the very same house where I sit and write this mini-post… so close and yet so far.

I’m off to bed now. I hope to get myself out of the doldrums soon and get back on track with my knitting and my blog-posting, ’cause I’m truly starting to miss it… as is perhaps obvious from the mere fact that I have posted this pitiful excuse for an update. Now, to find my knitting mojo again… Oh, yeah, there it is, in my knitting bag, right where I left it. Cool! Maybe it will still be there tomorrow morning, when I’m off work again.

Send yarny thoughts my way, ‘kay, folks? Thanks!

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I made a baby sweater for a coworker whose premature labor (at 30 weeks) put her on bedrest. Our entire shift gathered baby stuff and collected money to buy more baby stuff for the mom and dad, who really had nothing in that department. And with the mom hospitalized for the first week-plus of the bedrest, and the baby girl potentially popping out at any time, and a toddler son at home, the dad had his hands full.

I got solicited for a baby sweater, as it’s kinda my thing for coworkers who reproduce, and here’s the result:

Soft focus or blurry? I'll take the 5th on that one!

This picture taken by the BC15 on his new-ish camera. I took a couple of shots too, on my camera, but haven’t downloaded them yet. No excuse, just pure laziness, enabled by the BC15’s willingness to download his shots immediately.

The pattern is the Arcadia Knitting baby sweater, a version of which I made for la petite princesse in February 2010. I found the pattern as a free online download on the Arcadia Knitting website. I don’t know (and am too lazy to check now) if it’s still available, but it’s basically a version of the 5-hour baby sweater, although it took me much longer than that to knit. (Possibly because I had to rip out a quarter of it at one point, then ladder back to fix the buttonhole side of the buttonbands for more than 15 rows… You’d think I’d pay better attention sooner, wouldn’t you? Sigh.)

I still have 25-33% of the yarn left, so a hat will be forthcoming, and possibly some booties. As the baby is still in utero, I have a little time. And the mom already has the in-lieu-of-a-baby-shower gifts, including the sweater, so I’m considering the addenda to be welcome-to-Terra gifts. (Excuse to procrastinate? Yup.)

Also, I’m feeling the urge to make a baby-boy sweater to match the green preemie hat, so I’ll probably be knitting that next. After all, baby Sebastian is already here and will be moving to Colorado as soon as he’s cleared to leave the hospital and travel (probably a couple more months), so he’ll need a sweater before the unborn baby girl will need a hat and booties, right? Right.

I’ve started a blog for posting short original fiction. So far, there’s only one post, a story I wrote about a decade ago. I considered posting this kind of thing here, as the name of the blog does include the word “write,” but that didn’t feel like a good fit. So I may post here about writing (as I’m doing now), but the actual fiction will be on the other blog. Feel free to subscribe there, so you can get an email notice when I post a new story. I can’t say with any certainty how frequently that will happen, but I’m hoping the pressure of that blog’s existence will provide a much-needed kick in my oh-so-lazyprone-to-procrastination ass.

For years, I’ve been saying I was going to start writing again – heck, that was the original idea behind me starting this blog – but the stories (such as they are) are still in my cranium, where exactly no one will ever read them.

Why am I going to write this fiction? The blog title says it all: It’s not gonna write itself.

If you leave me a comment there (and I do hope you will), I may have to approve it before it appears, even if you’re approved here. Or maybe not. The ways of the WordPress are mysterious and strange, so we’ll find out together as soon as one of you comments there. (Hint, hint!)

Notice a theme there?

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