Saturday, December 31, 2022

Kicking off the year with a new short story

It's been a while for me - a lot of knitting patterns between my first round of published short stories and this new one - but I feel like I'm back in the game and it's very exciting!

ENTERTAINMENT TO DIE FOR, available from Amazon, is the latest anthology from the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime, which promotes the work of women in the field of crime and mystery writing. 

It's such a great organization and, for me, it's only gotten better since the pandemic - with so many meetings shifting online, I've been able to join more chapters across the States and connect with more writers. But since my longtime writing buddy Wrona is in the LA chapter, I put the most energy there. We're now running the Speaker's Bureau together and already it's been a great learning experience. Plus, we're getting to know some super nice people.

Many of whom contributed to this anthology! If you enjoy crime writing, I hope you'll check it out.

My story is "He's No Gary Cooper", a noir adventure set in the 1930s, in which a new arrival to a Hollywood studio typing pool is caught between her favourite movie star and her self-appointed chaperone. 

And if you click the 'Look Inside' tab, you can read Diana Gould's opening story and the first half of mine.


In other news, I've been knitting a hat - you read that right, not socks, though I knit a pair of those for a friend's Christmas present, as well - and I should have pictures to show you next time. They may not be of it complete and keeping my head warm, but it's in hand-dyed yarn from Viola so let's face it, even if it's still on the needles it'll be gorgeous. Emily works magic with yarn dye like nobody else I know.

I expect to be back a LOT more regularly for Hugs in 2023 but let me just leave you, on this last day of 2022, with all my good wishes for a wonderful year to come! And I look forward to seeing you here again soon.

Friday, December 9, 2022

December tea is better than any other

Time to break out the winter mugs!

holiday mugs with a blue-grey-green snowy day print
Houses and trees: two of my favourite things

I picked these two because I loved the theme and artwork, but when the second arrived I was amazed by how similar they are, right down to the colours. I really have a type, don't I. I bought the one with the cheery Joy to the World message from Anthropologie last year, and the attachment is real. The glaze, which is glossy and smooth, covers clay with little indentations pressed all over it - no matter how you hold it, your fingers fit into a perfect spot, and it just feels so, so nice. I was able to get another from Anthropologie later, in a summery floral, with a similar texture. The one in the rear is from Rifle Paper Co. It holds more liquid, and the handle is big enough for my whole hand! I can warm my palm and fingers and feel that reassuring embrace from the handle as I drink.

Mugs are the sort of thing that multiply in a cupboard, aren't they. You have to be selective about which ones you're willing to provide with real estate. Still, ugly or cute, it's tough to pass up the ones that nestle into your grip or are the exact right size for your steaming beverage of choice. Treating myself to seasonal mugs makes every tea or coffee break feel that little bit more special. 

I will keep drinking from both of these clear through to March, because why limit trees and snow to the holidays? That said, they will be getting a very serious workout right now, as I take a break for tea and knitting after all the hard work I put in this year. And when I say hard work, I'm obviously not talking about Hugs because my goodness when I popped in here today it was tumbleweeds. The pattern files are busy all the time, even in the off-season for knitting, but I have seriously neglected this little corner.

You should be grateful really. This year I focused on writing like it was a 10-hour a day job, so my quietness has spared you my struggles with plots and character arc, heh. And I have almost enough to show for it all not to regret the sorry state the house got into while I ignored it. 

To whit: a complete revision to one novel, and a second novel written and polished. Five short stories, one of which was accepted for publication (it'll be out in spring 2023). Finalist slots for one of the novels in two different writing competitions. So many writing courses I can't remember them all, and loads of new friends and acquaintances in the writing community, some of them in my new critique group no less. The other writers there are absolutely lovely and it is such a pleasure to meet with them every month - I'm hugely grateful for my good fortune. I'm even on the Board to run the Speaker's Bureau with Wrona, who enticed me to join the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime, an organization promoting women in crime writing. My little taste of warmth and sunshine from my cosy house in Canada!

Now I'm taking a breather from everything, to frantically knit a pair of Christmas gift socks.

handknit sock with embroidered knitting bag in front of vintage mystery novels

I've had a collection of these bags,
embroidered by Melissa Wastney, for years now
and they still make me smile

I should have the socks done and blocked by Sunday night, in time to start the gift baking, if I can find a few more movies to keep me stationary long enough. I have enough audiobooks to take me clear through to New Year's but sometimes it's nice to have the visual, isn't it.

If you're looking for some quick knit gifts to pull together yourself, a tiny storage pouch or a cosy unisex cowl might be just the thing. Take a browse through the pattern page and see if anything suits - and bear in mind, the specific yarn I used might be discontinued, but yarn weight and gauge are forever.


Either way, I hope you have a wonderful December, and that you'll check back again soon. My goal for next year is to weave regular Hugs back in amongst the other writing projects. I'd love to have you with me!