A Ren Faire We Will Go…

So the girls hit me up this summer with a request to go to a Renaissance Faire. We’d been once quite a few years ago, so they kind of knew the deal and informed me they would have to go in costume. Egads! Now I’m a kind-of sewer. I can make flannel PJ pants. I can make Halloween costumes out of felt (no hems and lots of forgiveness). Bridget's base dress

But I can’t make a major costume without a little help. I knew I’d have to start with a base of some sort. For B., we found it at a local bridal shop on the $10 clearance rack of bridesmaid dresses.

Ren Faire base dressM.’s $25 wedding dress came from Mel Trotter.

B.’s dress required no alterations, which made me very happy. M.’s was a different story. I needed to let out the waist, take in the chest, lose the rosette and bustle and hem it. A lot. She’s not very tall after all. Not wanting to cut the train off, the hem job was a real undertaking.

After that I proceeded to do the additions. For B., I did an off-the-shoulder Bridget in costumechemise-type shirt and an overskirt. I bought one pattern for both of those. Unfortunately, the shirt was a complete bust. I ended up winging it completely. I cut 2 squares and 2 rectangles, threw in some elastic, and called it good. The overskirt was a success. Here’s what she looked like when all of it came together. I know I should have altered the vest to put the lacing up the front, but I just wasn’t up to that.

M. wanted more of a noblewoman appearance, so we went with a fancy gold fabric for an Meg's dressoverskirt. Bad choice. It frayed and puckered. Then it would fray a little more. Did I mention it frayed? By the end I just hoped it would last the day. Throw in a tiara (because she wanted one, people!) and we called her good. Admire that hem job on the wedding dress as you go by, folks. I actually ended up shoving a needle under my fingernail while doing it!

In the past, this particular Ren Faire was always held in October, and it was darn chilly. So in preparation, I made each of the girls a cloak. Again, it was hem hell. But they turned out quite nicely.

 

Bridget's cloakphoto-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only issue? The Faire got moved up to September and it was 78 degrees out. The cloaks got taken back to the van shortly after we arrived. photo-6

So how was the Faire? We had a tremendous time! Here are the girls with a friend from school and The Doctor. Which Doctor? Doctor Who! Because he was there and he looked fabulous. He even had a sonic screwdriver.

By the end, we were all sunburned and exhausted!

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photo-8

Hand’s on at the Ren Faire.

 

 

 

 

photo-10It was clearly a success. I will admit there were times during the process that we all felt a bit like this. But it was worth it!

At this time, I need to send major thanks out to the Doctor of Phabric who walked me through the choice of the base dresses, Joselyn Vaughn who interpreted patterns for me by text, and Christine Allen-Riley who traded encouragement texts at midnight the night before between seams. Thanks to all of you, I did it!

So…maybe next year I’ll actually try making photo-11 myself a costume. Bridget has already chosen this pattern for next year. Egads! Here we go again.

 

How about your fall projects? Going well?

THE END!!! which is really only the beginning…

photo (6)

Today after 4 hours of writing, I wrote some words on my work in progress that have been very elusive…The End. It was an amazing feeling. This WIP has been difficult for me, compounded by numerous factors. I wrote the first chapter back in 2011, then worked on it off and on up until the last year when I finally worked on it exclusively. It’s a bit thin at 52,000 words (I was shooting for 80K), but it’s been a far bigger undertaking than anything else I’ve done in terms of both plot and research.

Reservoir

Reservoir

Now comes the revisions (rubs hands together). Normally I’m not a big fan of the process. I like to tweak and tinker as I go, so that when I’m done I’m very close to the final product. But Reservoir (yes, that’s its name) is a whole different ballgame. I can’t wait to dive into revisions. I have great faith in this story and I know that the edits will only bring it closer to the vision I have for it.

Thanks to all of you who have hung with me through this project, especially DH and the girls! It’s so good to take a step forward.

How about you? Are you moving forward with your goals?

Cover Reveal with Cassandra Page!!

Oooh, cover reveals! I love them. Waiting for a cover is like waiting for Christmas…everything wrapped up with a bright and sparkly bow. Tonight I want to share Aussie Cassandra Page’s new cover. Let’s show her some love.

Without further ado, I give you Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page.

IslasInheritance-CPage-MD

Isla’s Inheritance by Cassandra Page

Genre: Young adult urban fantasy

Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press

Release date: 9 October 2014

 

Summary from Goodreads:

Isla was content to let her father keep his secrets, but now she can’t stand the touch of iron and her dreams are developing a life of their own. She must discover the truth — before it’s too late.

Seventeen-year-old Isla Blackman only agrees to participate in a Halloween party séance because Dominic, an old crush, wants to. She is sure nothing will happen when they try to contact the spirit of her mother. But the séance receives a chilling reply.

SHE IS NOT DEAD.

Isla doesn’t want to upset her father by prying into the family history he never discusses. When the mysterious and unearthly Jack offers to help her discover the truth, Isla must master her new abilities to protect her loved ones from enemies she never knew existed.

Goodreads page

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card (winner’s choice)

https://gleam.io/WCX1U/islas-inheritance-cover-reveal-celebration

Author bioCassPage

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — which is ironic, as she’s allergic to cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

Author links

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

Cover Reveal with Christine Allen-Riley!!

I’m so excited about this cover reveal. Christine Allen-Riley is not only a talented author, she’s a good friend. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at this story; it rocks. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the chance to share this…without further ado, here it is!!

EVENTIDE (Iron Falls, Book One) - smaller size-1Eventide (Iron Falls, #1)

by Christine Allen-Riley

Release Date: 10/2014

 

Summary from Goodreads:

The driver in a tragic car accident that killed her best friend, Devon Greer is consumed by guilt. When powerful hallucinations convince her that she’s seeing Rachael everywhere, Devon thinks she’s going crazy. But her friend isn’t truly gone.

To save Rachael from the faeries who stole her, Devon must pit herself against the Court of the Sidhe. Once she witnesses the true form of the fey, Devon’s life is in danger—and so are the lives of everyone she loves.

Now, Devon must not only protect herself, but also Jonah Seafort, Rachael’s cousin and the only person Devon can trust to help her. While the Sidhe walk among them, no one is safe…

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22734917-eventide

 

About the Authorchristine allen riley
Lover of books, nature, cats and shiny things. Active disliker of cooking, cleaning and stress. Mom, freelance editor & YA author – also a bit of a nerd.

 

Author Links:

http://chrisallenriley.blogspot.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8389838.Christine_Allen_Riley

http://www.twitter.com/ChrisAllenRiley

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Allen-Riley/484216054955321?ref=ts&fref=ts

 

Cover Reveal Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

YA Bound Tour Button

 

 

 

 

Motivation. Or The OCT is Strong with this One.

It’s Wednesday, you lucky people, and that means it’s time for Wednesday Ramblings. This week, the gang (Bronwyn Green, Kris Norris, Jess Jarman, Jenny Trout, Gwendolyn Cease, Kelly St. James, and Leigh Jones) and I take a look at what motivates us to write.

Remember that scene in Star Wars when Darth Vader is chasing Luke down the trench in the Death Star? Ol’ Darth says, “The Force is strong with this one.” I have a motivating force too. OCT. I hesitate to go so far as to call it OCD…it’s not really obsessive compulsive DISEASE; it’s more like obsessive compulsive TENDENCY.

I like numbers. I like to watch them grow. Watching the word count on a manuscript get larger and larger is a huge motivator for me. It frustrated me to no end when I was having issues with my Scrivener writing program. No matter how much I wrote, it continued to list my word count as 21K. Yes, I got so bad that late at night when everyone else was in bed, I was going through and compiling my word count by hand. By hand! With a calculator and a chewed-on pencil. That’s just not right, people. Just today I figured out my problem; a couple of my sections were being treated as if they were manuscripts, not sub-sections of the actual manuscript. With a few right clicks, my word count soared to over 48K. Motivation!

I like to-do lists. I like to watch the scratch marks cut it down one chore at a time. photo-3This is my current one. You’ll notice “blog post” is still on there. Any minute now, I’ll be able to scratch it off. Ahh, the satisfaction. I even admit to being one of those people who, if I do something not on my list, I add it just so I can scratch it off. What can I say? It’s motivation. I always put my current writing goal on my to-do list too. You’ll see this one says “finish chapter.” Kind of vague but it works for me.

The other thing I like to use is minutes spent writing. I set the timer, most often for an hour. If I get up to get a drink a water, I note the minutes left so that I can crank it back up to that time when I’m done.

See my issue? Some might say I’m motivated by results, and although that sounds nice, I’m not sure that’s true. I’m pretty sure it’s OCT pure and simple, and it’s strong with this one. On the plus side, my OCT is a huge motivator for me. And what motivates me, only makes me stronger. Or something like that.

I have to go scratch off “blog post” on my to-do list. What about you? What’s your  motivator?

 

 

Hot News: Appearances Update

Hot News!

Hot News!

Yes, I finally did it! I updated my Appearances page. Since my last update, I have added ten appearances to my page. However, since I’m still slightly behind the curve, all but one of them have already gone by. :(

In my defense, I did tweet and (gasp!) Facebook about said appearances. (Yes, I am now Tess Granton Facebook…barely. I will be working with a Facebook expert–a 15-year-old friend of my daughters–to expand my author page soon.)

I’ve had some great times talking about the science and history behind the paranormal, specifically werewolves, for the Teen Summer Reading Program at Kent District Library (KDL). The library system  runs really fun summer programs for their younger patrons. I’ve learned something new from participants at most presentations and incorporated it, so

In which I talk about the dangers of using non-silver utensils to make silver bullets.

In which I talk about the dangers of using non-silver utensils to make silver bullets.

the presentations are never quite the same twice (just like my homemade salsa).

I’ve also done several Books and Bones presentations, which are talks combined with a book signing, and even a general author’s panel.

 

Werewolf Cupcakes

Werewolf Cupcakes

 

 

 

Sometimes when I get really lucky, cupcakes are involved. Check out these babies!

So…if you are free August 7th at 2 p.m., I’d love to have you join me for my last appearance of the summer. I’ll be at the Kentwood Branch of the KDL.

Hopefully, more news will be coming soon. In particular, I’m finally ready to introduce my WIP to the world or at least give him his own section on my What I Write pages. The first draft is so, so, so close to being done.

What’s new with you this summer?

Music to Write By…

It’s Wednesday, you lucky people, and that means it’s time for Wednesday Ramblings. This week, the gang (Bronwyn Green, Kris Norris, Jess JarmanJenny Trout, Gwendolyn Cease, and Kelly St. James) and I take a look at the music that we write by.

Music is a big inspiration for me. It’s almost Pavlovian…turn on the tunes and out come theWhat I need to write... words (a lot faster than when I have nothing but silence, that’s for sure). I will admit that, on occasion, the music flavors the words (in one memorable instance, an angry song on a playlist gave me a very angry protagonist), so I have learned that my soundtracks need to be fluid. If the songs I chose the first time around don’t work, I’ve learned to move ‘em out and try again.

My current WIP deals with a boy, a deadly virus, and a very nasty military man who would like to have said virus for his very own. With the home stretch in view (final ten chapters or so), I’m in the process of tweaking my musical inspiration just this week. Sometimes a single line can make or break a song’s spot on the list. Without further ado, I give you the current Reservoir playlist. The songs below are not listed by preference. It’s more of a historical timeline.

First up, the Jake Lonergan theme from Cowboys & Aliens. Nicely Western with some fine electric guitar, this theme matches my setting, which is the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana.

Extreme Ways by Moby is in the #2 slot. Its other name is the Bourne Theme, and you’d know it immediately if you heard it. It plays at the end of each of the four Jason Bourne movies (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum, and Bourne Legacy). It’s catchy.

Nickelback puts in two appearances with If Today Was Your Last Day and This is How You Remind Me. When I say deadly virus, think Lassa Fever. Hence, If Today Was Your Last Day.

Weathered by Creed is next. ‘Cause we are rusted and weathered, barely holding together. That line and a little guitar work brings this one into play.

U2 shows up with Red Hill Mining Town. One spoiler of a line puts this song on the list. Ask me after Reservoir is published what it is. :)

Ed Sheeran is a big winner in musical inspiration this time around. Both Lego House and I See Fire from the second Hobbit soundtrack shape this manuscript. The theme from the first Hobbit (Song of the Lonely Mountain) also makes the list. It’s the whole mountain/fire theme that speaks to the plot of this WIP.

I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme) from Treasure Planet shows up. Slacker teen makes good? I’m so there.

Burn it Down by Linkin Park. Heat destroys viruses, folks. Easy peasy.

My ’80s is showing…Cry Little Sister by G Tom Mac and Africa by Toto come in toward the end of the list. What can I say? They just speak to me.

Light Up the Sky by the Afters is contemporary Christian. After you read Reservoir, listen to the song. One whole chapter is inspired by this song alone.

That’s about it for this playlist. There used to be 16 songs, but the current tweaked list comes in at a fighting weight of 13. When the computer comes out, these are the songs that come on. I listen to lots of other music that I find helpful (Skillet, Luminate and One Republic come to mind), but when actually writing, this is the soundtrack.

I will admit to this one guilty pleasure, however. It doesn’t show up on the playlist, but it’s close enough at hand that I can get when I need it for dance breaks with the girls. Weird Al…Party in the CIA. Just. Because.

What music is your inspiration? and for what kind of projects?