Book Review – “Lost and Forgotten: Discovery” by Maurice Barkley

*This review might contain spoilers*

This was an interesting novel. I actually didn’t realize at first that it was the first book of a series called “Lost and Forgotten”, this first novel called “Discovery”. It takes place in present day, but deals with a mystery from WWII. James Cagney (no, not that one; he’s a retired Army Ranger) gets involved by luck or chance with the FBI in helping them solve this mystery that takes them from the US to South America, to Germany, and finally to Egypt. The team makes some shocking discoveries along the way about long-hidden Nazi secrets, like an enormous mountain-filled hanger with a huge train, planes, and dozens of rooms with important papers and objects from Nazi Germany.

The novel started off a little slow, but then suddenly became so fast-paced I almost couldn’t keep up with everything the team discovered, things Mr. Cagney remembered or figured out from his time in the military that helped the FBI figure out where their quarry – who had stolen a GPR (global positioning radar, I think) unit – was going and why. Everything seemed to happen so quick that it almost seemed unbelievable that such puzzles could be solved that fast by such a small team. Maybe that does happen in real life, after all. I don’t know.

All the same, it did leave me curious to see where this team would go next. I’ll have to take a look at the next book and find out!

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WIP Wednesday – October 3

Still working on the Warmth Stole that I started a few months ago, but I’ve made good progress. The color changes seem subtle until all of a sudden it’s a new color. How neat!

I’ve also started a pair of crocheted socks. I never liked how crocheted socks looked in the past–always seemed too bulky–but this time I decided to try, and found a basic crochet pattern. And really, I knew I needed to try. When I designed my hat pattern, someone suggested using the same chevron design on the cuffs of socks. So, I need to know how to crochet socks. Which means you might see a matching Gothic Arches sock pattern in the coming months.

FO Friday – Sept 28, 2018

Only one item to share for this week’s Finished Object Friday, but it’s one that has me excited because…

…it’s also my first pattern! The Arkansas Yarn Crawl 2018 is coming up in just one week, and I wanted to design a crochet pattern for it. It will be available exclusively at The Twisted Purl during the crawl itself, but once that’s over, I will post it on Ravelry and link it here. (October 16 update: It’s up on Ravelry!)

WIP Wednesday – Sept 19, 2018

I’ve come to realize that I need to change up the frequency of my WIP and FO posts. The original plan was to post both in the same week, but since I haven’t posted about either in months (oops), I’ve decided I’m going to do each one every other week.

For this week, then:

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The “Comfort Fade Cardi” by Andrea Mowry. My local yarn shop has had copies of this pattern for months and I had fallen in love. But I just didn’t know the right yarn to make it with. Then one day in June, I’d taken my siblings with me into town for my sister’s birthday; I’d needed to stop by The Twisted Purl for some needles for a project (which I can’t recall, but is probably finished by now). My sister wandered around the shop and found the orange and yellow yarns, remarking that they reminded her of the marigolds in the Disney-Pixar film “Coco”. Knowing how much she loved the film, I started browsing Ravelry for some pattern ideas. Upon asking, Katie said she wanted something she could wear at church for when it got too cold. When this pattern appeared in the feed, I knew it was perfect. So we found more matching colors and I got to work. (Note: the body of the cardigan is still on the needles in this photo. I’ve since bound off and have nearly finished the first sleeve.)

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The “Warmth Stole” by Universal Yarns. I’m knitting it up as a shop model to display the Revolutions line of yarn, a blend of acrylic, nylon, wool, alpaca, and mohair. I don’t really like working with it, but it’s turning out pretty. It has been a lesson in using lifelines, though. I had to unravel a couple of rows this afternoon after I discovered a mistake (some stitches had mysteriously disappeared), and now I have no idea which row I need to start… oops… hopefully I’ll figure it out before I have to rip it out completely. That’s not fun with this yarn…

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This beauty is the beginning of the “Emiliana” shawl. It’s knit in Impish DK from Brew City Yarns in the colorways “Rowena’s Diadem” and “Luna’s Spectrespecs” (haven’t reached the part in the pattern where I need to add the Luna yarn, yet). I’ve loved making shawls for years, and these are such gorgeous colors, not to mention my Hogwarts house colors (Ravenclaw).

Characters coming to life!

*This post contains an affiliate link. In plain English, that means that I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the link provided.*

September is here! At long last! We’re coming on to my favorite time of year – autumn. Well, technically from autumn to the end of the year, but this is where it begins. I love the colors, the crisp air that invigorates as it fills your lungs, the hoodies and jeans, hot chocolate… it’s all so wonderful!

For many of us writers, September also brings the “official” NaNoWriMo prep season.

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In the twelve years I’ve participated in this mad adventure to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days, I’ve only ever “won” once. This year feels somehow different for me. I’m more excited about my novel than in years past; I’ve dreamed of publishing a novel, but haven’t made much effort. But this year it feels possible. I just have to keep preparing and plotting and building.

Fleshing out characters has always been a big weakness of mine. In years past, a good chunk of my writing was fan fiction, where I dealt with characters that already existed; so I never worried about it.

But then one day, while browsing through the “Adopt a [x]” forums on the NaNoWriMo website back in February or March, I came across a series of titles up for “adoption” (meaning that someone else had shared title suggestions, probably because they weren’t going to use the titles themselves): If the Shoe Fits, If the Dress Fits, and If the Crown Fits. I fell in love with those titles and knew I had to write the stories! But I didn’t want to take the fantasy route. Instead, my mind went toward YA sci-fi. I also wanted them loosely inspired by the Cinderella story (after all, isn’t that where the phrase itself was inspired? Wait… is it? I don’t actually know…) and to follow the girl as she learns certain royal duties she didn’t expect to have to learn while protecting the real princess. She also has a genetically-inherited energy power that she tries to keep hidden because of something that happened several generations ago.

But I didn’t know anything else about her beyond that. I’d tried to fill out one of those thousands of character charts that exist on the internet for my first attempt at writing her story during Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Big fail there. Sure, a few details got filled in, but that just didn’t make her real to me.

Then I (re)discovered the Shadow Room exercise in Holly Lisle’s Create A Character Clinic and sat down to work on it. I’d expected to work on this character, whoever she is, but that is not who appeared first. A man showed up, a soldier, with a big secret and a betrayal weighing him down. Now where do I go with that? But after (I’ll admit) months of doing nothing with him, I decided to set him aside and try to see where I could go with the girl.

When she showed up and talked with me, I realized that this version of her had already gone through most of whatever I was going to put her through in this first book and I was interviewing her near what will probably be the climax of the book. (The soldier, on the other hand, I believe comes in much earlier.) Another thing that surprised me was that she named the princess–Allie (which I later discovered was short for Alexandrina)–when I hadn’t even tried to come up with a name yet–and I love browsing baby name websites for just the right name.

Well, after that, I had to find out who this princess Allie was. She showed up for the interview even further along the story than the main character (who still doesn’t have a name herself) where there’s even more of a hurry for things to happen. Actually, as I type this, I wonder if what she told me might be happening in book 2. And Allie gave me two more names to discover–Rand and Roxie. Now Rand could possibly be the soldier (it could be short for Randall, which means “shield wolf”), but Roxie… It’s not my main character’s name, so she might be another gifted girl that’s in the guard protecting Allie.

My first three characters (R to L): the soldier, the FMC, and the princess

Though I’m not very far along in the creation process, I highly recommend taking this class. (You can click on the link above, or the one in the sidebar.) I can’t wait to see where these characters lead me, especially as I continue preparations for NaNoWriMo 2018. I’m preparing a little differently than I have in years past, so I feel so much more confident that I just might hit that 50,000-word mark this year!

Reblogged: This Might Be the Real Reason You Keep Procrastinating

Hmm… This is some good food for thought. I *always* procrastinate in writing projects, whether school assignments, talks for church, even NaNoWriMo. It might just be why I wrote 8k words and doubled my word count during last year’s Write-a-thon in my region. But this year I’m going to be traveling during part of NaNoWriMo, so I’ll *need* to get lots of writing done beforehand. No procrastination for that!

Novelty Revisions

It took me years to learn that procrastination isn’t something you have to stop doing.

But it took me even longer to figure out WHY I couldn’t get my destructive habit under better control.

Constant flare-ups of anxiety and panic could have been avoided if I’d just start things earlier, instead of waiting until the last minute.

Why was that so hard?

It turns out there’s a reason I still struggle. And it might be the reason you’re struggling, too.

I can’t break up big projects into small pieces. At least, not very well.

It’s one of my top writing productivity tips, yet I still struggle with it almost daily.

If I’m going to sit down to work on a 10-page story, for example, I want to sit down, write those 10 pages in one sitting or one day, and be done with it. I don’t want to keep…

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“Shades of Fae” Release Blitz

Hello again all! Welcome to Day 1 of the “Shades of Fae” Release Blitz. I have a couple of author friends with novels in this e-book anthology and I can’t wait to see what’s in these pages.
Title: Shades of Fae
Genre: Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: July 10th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Not every fairytale has a happily ever after.
We only know three things about the Fae: They don’t lie, they cheat. What they aren’t given, they take. And if they can’t rule…they conquer. Now the fate of humanity lies in a battle between good and evil where lines are not easily drawn.
Time travel to 19th century France, brave the gritty streets of New York City, or enter the realm of the Fae itself in this darkly enchanting collection from today’s hottest USA Today, award-winning, and international bestselling paranormal and fantasy authors.
Shades of Fae is your ticket to a mystical realm where Sinister Sidhe and Dark Elves manipulate mortals, vengeful fae warriors battle nefarious vampire lords, and an apocalypse rife with werewolves, dragons, nymphs, banshees, shifters, and supernatural hunters brings unparalleled danger.
In 2018… The Fae are Coming…
Find out who survives and who dies when you order Shades of Fae TODAY!

Participating Authors:
USA Today bestselling author CK Dawn
USA Today bestselling author Shawnee Small
USA Today bestselling authors Cheri Schmidt & Tristan Hunt
Elle Boon
USA Today bestselling author Pauline Creeden
Award-winning author Tameri Etherton
Award-winning author Cyndi Faria
USA Today bestselling author Isadora Brown
USA Today bestselling author Amy L. Gale
USA Today bestselling author Charlene A. Wilson
USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
USA Today bestselling author J.A. Armitage
USA Today bestselling authors Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers
Lynda Kaye Frazier
Kim Carmichael
Colleen Halverson
Danielle Rose
Lynda Haviland
Dyan Chick
Award-winning author Cate Rowan
Award-winning author JB Michaels
R.S. Broadhead
Jen L. Grey writing with Heather Renee
Buy Links:

 

Shades of Fae Pre-Order Blitz & Giveaways

Hi all! I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now, and I finally get to share! An author or two I know have stories in this collection. Check it out!!!
Title: Shades of Fae
Genre: Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: July 10th, 2018
Blurb:
Not every fairytale has a happily ever after.
We only know three things about the Fae: They don’t lie, they cheat. What they aren’t given, they take. And if they can’t rule…they conquer. Now the fate of humanity lies in a battle between good and evil where lines are not easily drawn.
Time travel to 19th century France, brave the gritty streets of New York City, or enter the realm of the Fae itself in this darkly enchanting collection from today’s hottest USA Today, award-winning, and international bestselling paranormal and fantasy authors.
Shades of Fae is your ticket to a mystical realm where Sinister Sidhe and Dark Elves manipulate mortals, vengeful fae warriors battle nefarious vampire lords, and an apocalypse rife with werewolves, dragons, nymphs, banshees, shifters, and supernatural hunters brings unparalleled danger.
In 2018… The Fae are Coming…
Find out who survives and who dies when you order Shades of Fae TODAY!

USA Today bestselling author CK Dawn
USA Today bestselling author Shawnee Small
USA Today bestselling authors Cheri Schmidt & Tristan Hunt
Elle Boon
Award-winning author Tameri Etherton
Award-winning author Cyndi Faria
USA Today bestselling author Rue Volley
USA Today bestselling author SJ Davis
USA Today bestselling author Amy L. Gale
USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
USA Today bestselling author J.A. Armitage
USA Today bestselling authors Megan J. Parker & Nathan Squiers
Lynda Kaye Frazier
Kim Carmichael
Colleen Halverson
Danielle Rose
Lynda Havilan
Dyan Chick
Award-winning author Cate Rowan
Award-winning author JB Michaels
R.S. Broadhead
Jen L. Grey and Heather Renee
Buy Links:

 

WIP Wednesday (and update) – May 30

It’s been a while… sorry. I had a medical emergency at the beginning of May that kept me from knitting for a while, and last week I just plumb forgot (oops!).

When I was able to knit and spin again, I promptly got busy.

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I picked up a mixed bag of fiber and had it made into a batt at The Twisted Purl, then got to work spinning it into this gorgeous yarn that I’m calling Ocean Summer. Finally finished spinning and plying it this past week – got two hanks only because my drop spindle ran out of room – and it’s now in my Etsy shop.

Remember the cami sweater thing I posted about at the beginning of the month that I’m knitting for The Twisted Purl? I finally finished the front piece and am now halfway through the back.

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Once that’s done, I’ll have to block and sew the two pieces together before finally knitting the straps on it. It’s knit up in an interesting yarn – a blend of linen, wool, and alpaca. What’s interesting about this yarn is that while it feels a little rough as I knit with it, it’s much softer both in the ball and in the knitted product. I can’t wait to see it finished.

I’ve also been test knitting and crocheting some patterns for designers on Ravelry, including this lovely shawlette:

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It’s a pattern by Emily O’Brien, called Ambrosian Shawl. (7/2 Update: The pattern is now available on Ravelry.) It was designed to show off that skein of hand painted yarn in your stash, and I just happened to have a skein that I had dyed at a yarn-dying class a couple weekends ago. So, what perfect timing!

WIP Wednesday – May 2

I’ve only made a little progress in my Reyna shawl this week. (But I’ve definitely reached the point where I need a longer circular needle. )

I never did get a picture of the project I’m knitting for The Twisted Purl last week. I’m still on the front piece of the bodice, but I imagine I’ll be done with that one by next week. The yarn is really nice to work with, too.

And like I mentioned last year, I participate in a worldwide Christmas stocking swap every year. Even though sign ups haven’t opened yet (and they won’t till June), I’m already getting a head start on a stocking! After all, it’s May. Time to start your Christmas knitting.

This one may or may not go to my swap partner… Oh wait, we’re not supposed to post pictures of our swap stockings till our partners have received them… Oops… 🤣 Guess I’m making something else for whoever it is.