Random (and how!) Excerpt from My Work in Progress


Sitting back in the dentist’s chair, Caitlyn tried to relax as the sharp pinch of the needle went through her jaw.  “You’re handling this really well,” Dr. Goodwin said approvingly.  I’ve seen grown men jump out of the chair from this shot.  You didn’t even wince.”  Caitlyn tried to smile up at him but wasn’t sure whether she managed to or not, as her lips were quite numb.  “Fanks,” she mumbled.

“We’ll be back in 15 minutes, to give the painkiller time to work.  This is a quick procedure, and we’ll have you out of here in about an hour.”

Caitlyn leaned back and flipped through a magazine, trying not to feel nervous.  Soon, she found she couldn’t focus on the magazine.  She put it down and turned on the TV.  Superfreak was playing in the background of a popular sitcom.  “She’s a very kinky girl… the kind you don’t take home to Mother.”  She found herself singing along, giggling at the audacity of the song.

A few minutes later, the dentist and his two assistants returned into the room.  Their mouths dropped.  “Er, Caitlyn, would you please have a seat so we can begin the procedure?”

Caitlyn was very surprised.  “I’m not sitting?” she slurred.

“No, Caitlyn,” said the dentist, trying unsuccessfully not to laugh.  “In fact, you are standing on the chair, dancing.  Please get down; it’s dangerous.”

“I’m dancing?”  Caitlyn looked down.  Sure enough, she was standing on the chair, arms swaying, knees bouncing.  “Oh.  I’m sorry.  I can’t get Superfreak out of my head.”  She began giggling uncontrollably.  “It’s such a bad song.  I should have a good song in my head.”  She concentrated, trying to think of a less offensive song.  One from church camp popped into her mind.  “This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine!”

“That’s really nice, Caitlyn, but we need you to sit down now.  Are you feeling all right?  It’s a bit unusual for this medication to have such strong side effects.”  The assistants helped her down from the chair and gently pushed her into a sitting position.

“I feel great,” slurred Caitlyn.  “Really great.  My mouth is numb now.  Let’s get this over with.”

“Okay….” said the dentist.

Caitlyn only had very hazy recollections of the oral surgery.  She remembered clapping her hands and cheering for the dental team each time a tooth came out.  She remembered the warm and salty taste of blood in her mouth.  After all four wisdom teeth were removed, the dentist stuffed the corners of her mouth with gauze and went to check on another patient.  Caitlyn looked at the tray next to her.  There, amid bloody instruments, were her teeth.  She picked them up, one by one, and looked at them proudly.  How large they were!  The cavities in each were really very slight.  If she washed the blood off, they would be quite presentable.

20,000 Words

Yes, I’ve made it to writing 20,000 words (approximately 60 pages) of my novel. I have decided to write at least a paragraph every day, and I’ve stuck with it for over a week. In fact, once I get my paragraph checked off, I feel so good, I go on to write a whole page or two! This is so much fun, and frustrating at the same time. I can feel lost in the story all day, darting away from my children to type out a few sentences on my laptop, before the ideas are forgotten. I can spend an hour writing what feels like the best scene in the world, go to bed triumphantly, and feel absolutely crestfallen when I re-read it in the morning. I often end up re-writing it. I should note, right here and now, that I expend a lot more energy writing this book than I do working on my blog. I love blogging, but am trying to be less of a perfectionist about it, so I pretty much type away without expending hours thinking of ways to say things better, or what is the correct grammatical phrasing. I’m probably breaking grammar rules right and left here.

Sometimes I read what I’ve written so far, and start planning how I am going to spend the enormous royalty checks I’m sure to receive. Other times, I sigh and think: Well, if all else fails, I can always self-publish. Maybe somebody will like it. Sometimes I feel quite proud of my work, and imagine being asked for my autograph at writing conventions. Other times, I try to pick out a good nom de plume, so that no-one will know I write this drivel. It isn’t really drivel, though–at least not in the traditional romantic novel sense. I’m no Jane Austen, but I may be her literary second cousin, once removed. At any rate, I haven’t written anything I wouldn’t have wanted my late grandmother to read. My late maternal grandmother, that is. She introduced me to shows like The Golden Girls and Days of Our Lives. I’m not absolutely certain my late paternal grandmother, a pastor’s wife, would quite approve of my heroine’s sarcastic thought life, and the hero’s occasional potty-mouth.

So, there you go. I’m working on a novel, and I’ve written 20,000 words. The heroine’s name is Caitlyn, the hero’s name is Nick, and the whole point of the book is to get them to overcome enormous obstacles before finding relationship bliss. It is predictable. It is full of stereotypes. It is tremendously fun to write.

The Gabriella Fae and Other Cute Patterns

Gabriella Fae Since I discovered Sis Boom and Scientific Seamstress patterns over two years ago, I almost haven’t given any other pattern designers a chance. I just love that their directions are so clear, and I can print a pattern up in just the size and style I want. I hate dealing with the thin, easily torn tissue paper patterns. I inevitably slip with the scissors or cut the wrong size. Not to mention, I can never get them back in the envelope without crumpling them up. With Sis Boom and S.S. PDF patterns, designed by Carla Hegeman Crim (and Jennifer Paganelli, in the case of the Sis Boom patterns), I can just print them out on whatever thickness paper I like. I usually store them flat on a shelf. If I lose a piece, I just print it up again. Also, the directions are incredibly detailed and clear. I have gotten to do a little pattern testing for Sis Boom/S.S., and I really appreciate the work that goes into each pattern. Carla Hegeman Crim doesn’t just churn these babies out–the sizing process takes weeks, perhaps months. For the adult sizes, most (if not all) patterns range from size XXS to 3X. They flatter pretty much every size. I’ve been able to feel as good in tops I’ve made for myself in a 1X, before losing the baby weight, as I do in my current size Large. I’ve adapted the same pattern to fit a petite person as I have to fit a long-torsoed person, and they both looked great. Anyway, housework and a screaming almost 3-year-old are calling me, so I will just post a few pics of the Sis Boom/Scientific Seamstress projects I’ve made in the past couple of years. It goes without saying that I’m a huge fan.

I need to edit this post one more time! A Facebook friend of mine, Debbie Boren, has given me a coupon code to share with my subscribers.She sells amazing Riley Blake and Michael Miller prints. Here’s the code: 2015RBH She sells on her Facebook page and has a great selection and great prices! Message her the code for 20% off or free shipping. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sew-Me-a-Memory-Fabric-Buy-in-De-Stash/610637885712141 Also, if you want to check out more Sis Boom/SS patterns, you can find them here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/scientificseamstress?ref=l2-shopheader-name  I tried to include the link in the comments, but it isn’t showing up for some odd reason.

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16,000 Words

I’ve written 16,000 words so far on this first novel of mine. That’s 50 pages. Most publishers don’t accept a novel that is less than 50,000 words, so I have a ways to go, but I have to say, I’m impressed with me. I hadn’t written more than a sentence here and there–mostly editing–for the past few weeks. I became stuck when I lost all interest in the male romantic lead. He was boring! The heroine was becoming more and more fascinating, and he just seemed to be getting stiffer and more obtuse. But I fixed him! I just chipped away at him every night, one sentence at a time. Then last week, something miraculous happened: I got a haircut. The ends of my hair had been subjected to a harsh highlighting treatment months ago, and they just needed to be chopped off. So, I walked into a hair salon, saw a bob on the hairdresser that I loved, and asked if she could give me her haircut. She did, and I loved it! I bought some new make-up, dressed up a little, and suddenly felt very creative. I sat down and wrote two pages. I’ve been writing a page every night since then, and am brimming full of ideas for adventures and misadventures for my heroine. My hero still needs a little work. I need to figure out how he can be charming, kind, and intelligent, yet still be attracted to Caitlyn’s catty arch-nemesis instead of the vivid, brilliant Caitlyn. Last night, my husband suggested: “Well, can’t he just be a little shallow? Make his girlfriend really pretty.” I had higher hopes for Nick, but… “shallow” might just have to do. Sorry, Nick.

So, We Got a Puppy…

So, we got a puppy. Her name is “Mookie”. She is a two month old miniature “butterscotch” poodle, and she is absolutely adorable. I must have been out of my flippin’ mind to have encouraged this. While Mookie is a smart little thing who has, with minimal effort on our end, become housebroken in less than a week, she is still extra work.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA She chases my feet unceasingly. At first it was cute, but now I can’t take a step without kicking or stepping on her. My children, who are almost 3 and 5, want to love her to death. I thought they would be so gentle, but all they want to do is pick her up and run with her or squeeze her throat. I’m glad we got her, and I’m quite fond of her, but…where was my brain?

I’m glad we could find an affordable puppy that I am not allergic to. Mookie is pretty easygoing for a miniature poodle, and she has a way of falling asleep in my lap that is makes me want to swear allegiance and undying love to her. I feel like I shouldn’t be whining because I got what I wanted. She is a good thing. It’s just that I’m overwhelmed with good things, which is the best sort of problem to have, I suppose.

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Sewing for Myself

Hello, folks! It has been four months since I’ve posted anything. I’m sorry it’s taken so long. I got caught up with other things and sometimes find it difficult to sit down and write something, though I am always thinking of it. I think my main problem is that I am a perfectionist. I can write something perfectly beautiful in my head, but when I sit down to type, my mind draws a blank, or comes up with something sub-par. It’s very frustrating.

Anyway, I thought I’d jump back in by posting some projects I’ve been working on. I made myself a cute top from Sis Boom’s Carolina Mae pattern, and am really happy with the results. I had my husband take pictures of me in the snow (he stood inside our kitchen door), because taking a picture in the snow was easier than cleaning my house so children’s toys and piles of unfolded laundry would not appear in the photo. So without further ado, here is my cute new top. It was a pretty easy sew, despite having a zipper. Carla Hegeman Crim gives great directions for putting zippers in with a glue stick, of all things. I have never put in a zipper perfectly, but with her method, I get pretty close to it sometimes. The fabric is from Jennifer Paganelli’s “Circa” line, which I love. I never thought I’d use this fabric for clothing for myself, because I tend to look frightful in green, but there are just enough little blue and pink flowers in here to keep me from looking seasick.

There are several style options for this pattern. The bodice can be ruched or plain, with a higher or lower neckline. I’m modeling the lower neckline. It can be a dress or a top. It can have cap sleeves, full-length sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, or none at all. There is even a pattern included for a very cute little bow.

I was delighted to finally have something casual that worked with the pearls my husband got me for my first Mother’s Day. Or was it another holiday? I don’t remember. I do remember it made me feel absolutely wonderful. I seriously have the most thoughtful husband in the world. And now, I have a child to pick up from preschool! I hope I’m not late!