Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #100

Please see below for My "What I've Been Up To" post, which explains why I haven't written an original DIY post on this blog for a long time.

It's time for Wicked Awesome Wednesday #100  Seems like I started this link party just yesterday... I'm amazed at all the projects you ladies (and gents!) do.  Thank you for coming back every week.


Emily from Nap Time Creations made over a child's chair.

Connie from Family Home and Life made a peanut butter and jelly game.

Laura Beth from A Step in the Journey made a K cup display for only $2.

Rebekah from Accidentally Wonderful made some pizza bites.

Reeves at The Weathered Door made over an old office chair.

Grace from Butter and Jam made some chewy chocolate chip cookies.

Annabelle from Handmade by Annabelle showed us how to make an easy crochet backpack.

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The Big "What I've Been Up To" Post

Last week, I said I’d write a post to let you know what I’ve been up to, and why you haven’t seen any original posts here for ages.

I wrote a book!

From July 2011 through November 2011, I wrote a 500 page (double spaced), contemporary romance.  
Not just a stack of paper.  I swear!

I worked my hiney off for several hours per day for four months.  I wore myself down, and in November I got a cold...and then strep.  Then, during Christmas week of 2011, I got food poisoning, or some kind of grody stomach virus and ended up in the hospital with an IV on Christmas night.  The only time I've been in more pain was when I was in labor.
Cell phone picture. Don't know why I was smiling, I was in pain.  Handy Man took it, saying "For the blog."  Good boy.
January 2012, I took some time to recover, and started studying: writing books, online writing classes.  I read, and I read, and I read some more.

February 2012 Found the New England chapter of the Romance Writers of America, signed up for their April Conference.  Also signed up for a ten page critique from an editor or agent.

March 2012: Rewrote my first ten pages. Found out I had to submit a one page query letter that "pitches" the book.  Also found out the critique was really an appointment: I'd be meeting with an agent or editor, she'd pass back my ten pages with comments, and I had to verbally pitch my book to her.

April 2012: Panic ensues.  Thought I was just getting a critique.  Book was finished, but I wasn't ready to "present" my book for sale. 

Late April, 2012.  I went to the writing conference for the weekend.  I don't know anyone.  It was held in Salem, Massachussets.  So. Much. Fun!
  • Attended several workshops and learned how much I don't know about writing.
  • Had an appointment with a psychic, who told me really specific things about my past.  Very interesting.
  • Had my eight minute appointment with an editor.  She gave me great feedback, and asked to see the full manuscript. :-O
  • Won two prizes, and I never win prizes.
  • Met some great writers in all stages of a writing career: Writers who hadn't finished their first book; writers who win contests; writers who speak at conferences and get on national best seller lists.
  • Came home with loads of free books, including several signed books. 
  • Met some best selling romance authors in person, and I had no idea who they were before that weekend.
  • Went on a ghost hunt on Saturday night around Salem.
  • Had a thirty minute session with Michael Hauge, a story and script consultant, who works with writers and filmmakers.  He diagnosed problems with my book and gave some suggestions.
  • Came home, took three hours to recount the experience to Handy Man, put on my jammies, slept really hard that night, and walked around in a daze for the next two weeks.
Jammie time after one of the most surreal weekends of my life.
Some other things that happened in 2012:
  • Dove back into into reading. I read 58 books in 2012.  Most were fiction, some were writing books.
  • Learned just how much grammar I've forgotten over the years.
  • Found out that blog writing and novel writing does not = the same thing.
  • Emailed, Tweeted and Facebook'd (are those verbs now?) with other writers I met at the conference.  Met some great people, formed relationships with them online.  At this year's conference, I'll know some people!
  • Entered a writing contest, received great feedback.
  •  Changed my occupation to “writer” on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Guess it's official now. 
  • Watched people sneer when I mention my book is a romance.  I've read different statistics, but over 60% of books sold are romance, so someone's reading these books...
  • Listened to people snicker and ask if my book is "like Fifty Shades of Grey?" No.  It's not.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I'm not kidding, people ask that all the time.
  • Found out that people have very strange ideas about writers.  Especially romance writers. 
  • Continued to learn about the business of book publishing.  It’s tough out there. REAL tough.  I wasn't prepared for the pitch meeting, or for the request for my full manuscript. 
  • Studied, studied, and studied some more: online classes and writing books.
  • Started to rewrite the book.  From the beginning.
  • Tried not to give a smart-ass remark when people asked me “Is it finished yet?”  This is going to take some time.  A long time. And that's okay.  One page at a time.  One paragraph at a time. 
  • I now live in constant fear of typos and poor grammar on social media. 
  • People ask all the time if they can read my book.  The answer is...no.  Handy Man hasn't even read the whole thing.  Here's the thing: It's a mess.  When I say this, people say "Pshaw.  I'm sure it's great! I still want to read it!"
  • I know people are excited for me, and I love that.  I know they're interested; if a friend told me she wrote a book, I'd want to see it, too.  But many first novels never see the light of day.  It's practice, and it really shows.  I polished and polished the first ten pages, but it's just not ready for public consumption.  It may never be ready.  Remember, I had no idea what I was doing.
  • I'm so overwhelmed that sometimes I don't know what to do next.  But I do something with my book every day. 
If any of you want to write a book, DO IT!  I have the attention span of a gnat, and I did it.  Give it a try.  Is it going to suck? Probably. But write it anyway.  You don't have to show it to anyone, no matter how much they ask, lol!  Rewrite it, or stick it in a drawer and write another one. 
  
Handy Man has been so supportive.  When I called him from the conference and said "ohmygod she asked for the whole thing...AND I won two prizes!", there was silence on the line.  I made my chatty husband speechless.  Calling Handy Man, then my brother and parents with the news was the best feeling ever.  I should probably be more descriptive about my call to Handy Man, but I'm tired and of course I'm editing this past midnight... 

Things have been so busy over the past year.  I've thought about writing this blog post for all of you, my blog readers, so many times.  Thought this would be a fun post for our 100th link party. 
   
I've really enjoyed writing DIY posts for this blog, and I thought I could write one original post a week in addition to the blog party.  However, I couldn't keep up.  But I kept up with the blog party, and lots of you kept coming to submit projects, look at projects, and leave comments.

Thank you for coming back for our party each week.  And, thanks for reading!

See you soon for our 100th Wicked Awesome Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #99

It's time for Wicked Awesome Wednesday #99.  Our readers linked up over 100 projects last week.

But first:
I'm writing a post that explains What I've Been Up To.  I'll share the reason I've switched to an all-blog-party format, and why you haven't seen any DIY or miscellaneous posts here in ages.

Don't you just just hate it when bloggers say "I have a big announcement" and then they leave you hanging?  Me too.  But this post has been brewing in my head for a while, and, like the procrastinator I am, it's not finished.  I planned to have it written by my 100th blog party post, and... that's next week.  I know I say this all the time, but how did that happen?

So for now:
- I've been working on a wicked big project that has nothing to do with DIY stuff.  I'm working on a post about it,
and
Wicked Awesome Wednesday will continue every week, so please don't worry about that. 

I'll get the post up as soon as I can.  For now, it's time to par-tay.   


Heather from Tallgrass Design took out some solid doors and installed French doors.

Kim from Made in a Day has a great tutorial on how to make a vintage sign.

Hollie from The Seven Year Cottage shared a recipe for Black Forest Hot Cocoa.

Becky at From Generation to Generation painted an old armoire using Country Living paint.

Stephanie from The Turners made over her daughter's room, turning it into a big girl's room.

Lauren from The Thinking Closet shared a tutorial for a burlap banner. She used a Silhouette machine for this.

Shanna from Restoration Redoux made over an old side table.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #98

It's time for Wicked Awesome Wednesday #98.  Our readers linked up over 100 projects last week.



Tina from a few pretty things made a bracelet with vintage buttons.

Lizbeth from Just Dip it in Chocolate shared a recipe for Tres Leches.

Katherine from Irish Italian Blessings showed us how to add text to shapes in Word.  Great decorating idea!
  
Catherine from Freddy & Petunia used vintage globes to make a light fixture.

Carissa from Carissa Miss showed us how to refinish a table she made for less than $100.

Debbie from Our Old Homestead shared a recipe for a new kind of banana bread.

Heather from Very Extra Ordinary made some heart-shaped hand warmers.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wicked Awesome Wednesday #97

It's time for Wicked Awesome Wednesday #97.  Our readers linked up 117 projects last week.

Can you believe we'll hit 100 link parties soon?
Neither can I! 



Fonda from Southern Scraps made some mini Valentine's mailboxes.


Lizbeth from Just Dip it in Chocolate shared a recipe for all natural chocolate pudding.

Kendra from Pots and Paintbrushes shared her living room before and after.
 
Mary Anne from Purposely Reinvented shared a tutorial on how to make a lamp shade jacket. 

Olga from Stardust-Decor & Style shared a recipe for an easy yogurt treat.

Amy at A New Old House put up a new light with a ceiling medallion.  We've added ceiling medallions to cover up holes when adding new light fixtures.

Danielle from 2littlesuperheroes came up with a storage solution for her paint supplies.  She refinishes furniture.
 

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