Whispers from a little bird

So you’re on the fence about ordering my book Literary Yarns. You like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby looks fashionably fabulous in yarn form, and Napoleon from Animal Farm looks terrifyingly squishy. But it’s still missing something for you. Where’s the darker stuff? The kind of stuff that drives madness into your soul by repeatedly reminding of your past and implying that there’s no hope for your future? Fear not, if that’s what’s holding you back then we’ve got you covered.

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“Nevermore.”

For once upon a midnight dreary, a little birdy from the folks at Quirk Books told me that the pattern for this little chubster will be given for free to anyone who pre-orders my book, from any retailer! Just email a photo or a screenshot of your receipt to marketing@quirkbooks.com with the subject line “LITERARY YARNS PRE-ORDER” to snag your free pattern! Click here for full details. Get your free pattern and you’ll have this broody little dude to stalk you from your shelf in no time.

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Like books? Like hooks? I’ve got just the thing for you!

Remember that book deal I talked about last spring? LOOK. LOOK!!!

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I got my advance copy of my book Literary Yarns in the mail and holy crap, I’VE GOT AN ACTUAL BOOK OH MY GOD. Months of making new critters from scratch (all characters except for Hester Prynne & Julius Caesar are brand-new, and even those two had to be reworked), writing up patterns, getting those patterns hacked and slashed by an editor (which was VERY much needed), excitedly getting updates from the photography & design team on how the photoshoots were coming along…all of that has amounted to 112 pages with 22 patterns covering 16 works of literature. Whew. It didn’t really sink in until I finally had a hard copy in my hands. And what a feeling it is. I hope it’ll do well. And if it doesn’t, this has been one hell of a fun learning experience. AND I HAVE A BOOK. I still can’t quite believe it.

It’s up for pre-order (official release date is May 2nd 2017) on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but if you order through Amazon, might I suggest that you do it through AmazonSmile? That way you get to do some shopping and give to a charity of your choice at the same time. Literary Yarns is up and ready to go!

Reading ≠ Writing

It sounds obvious, but writing patterns is a lot tougher when it’s meant for other people to read. When I write things down for myself I’ll scribble some notes for reference in case I screw up, but it’s a bunch of nonsense shorthand that would only make sense to me. Writing a pattern for the general public is a different ballpark. I forget that every step needs to be accounted for. That every piece of material needs to be documented. Things that are habits for me aren’t going to be habits for everyone else. Things that seem common sense to me aren’t going to be common sense for everyone else. Will these instructions be clear? Will these materials be accessible to most people? I’ve already had to take a character apart entirely multiple times and remake it. I’ve looked through Amazon reviews for other crochet books to see what people liked and didn’t like about certain patterns, but I know I can’t please everyone. I’m just hoping it doesn’t end up like this:

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This whole book-writing thing is a lot of work, but it’s been fun so far. The most frustrating part is that I can’t show what I’ve been doing yet! I’ve been crocheting more than ever to meet my deadlines (to the point where I’ve had to intensify my old woman status) and researching more into works of classic literature than I ever did when I was ASSIGNED to be reading some of these works back in high school. Hopefully lit geeks (and people in general!) will be happy with the characters I’ve made, but I can’t say which characters will be in the book yet because I honestly don’t know who will make the cut and who won’t. Hopefully I can crank out an extra character or two for Comic-Con drops if I get some time in between the book-work, but my final deadline is RIGHT before SDCC, so  if my hands are still intact I might try to squeeze a few out just a week before heading out to San Diego. CROCHETING OVERLOAD HALP.

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TL;DR: Shit’s hard, yo. Hopefully the results will be good. Hard work, but fun work.

Feeling a bit illiterate

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Since my upcoming book is covering characters from classic literature, I’ve had to go back and remember what I read in high school and what I actually remember from all those books. I feel like my English teachers did pretty well in giving me a good range of reading assignments (except for a few duds here and there), but there’s still SO MUCH that I haven’t read. Among a few surprise “never-read” books on my list:

  • Pride & Prejudice: On top of that, I’ve never read ANY Jane Austen. AT ALL. And Jane Austen was one of the few authors that I remember my peers actually liking at that time. That’s a huge deal when it comes to moody teenagers being TOLD to read a book. How??
  • 1984: I could have sworn that I’d read this one, but apparently not.
  • The Catcher in the Rye: Another one that I remember my peers actually liking, although I’m not sure if I’d find the same appeal if I were to read it now.
  • Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath: Steinbeck in general sounds likes a writer I would like.

As for the ones that I HAVE read, putting together this book has also let me remember all of the books I enjoyed reading for school:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird: My favorite. Easy to read, easy to understand, lots of southern charm packed in, and it teaches so much about life and being a good person. It’s the only book I read in school that I voluntarily re-read as an adult.
  • Bless Me, Ultima: I’m not sure how widespread this one is as school reading? It’s similar to To Kill a Mockingbird in that it’s also a coming-of-age story told from the child’s point of view with lots of lessons about life and humans in general, but with much darker themes and lots of rich cultural imagery.
  • Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451: I’ve listed these two together because they made me feel the same way while I was reading them. When I read them in high school they already seemed a little too close for comfort. I’d imagine if I were to re-read them now they’d be even more uncomfortably close to our current society.
  • Picture of Dorian Gray: A guy is so vain that he sells his soul to have a painting do all of his aging for him, while he goes on a hedonistic rampage. What could go wrong?
  • The Awakening: Okay, so I actually didn’t like this book at the time that I read it. I plodded through it only because it was assigned reading, but I grew to appreciate this one so much later on in life. This is definitely one where if you don’t read it as a teenager, you should DEFINITELY read it as an adult to pick up on all of its social commentary.

And then I’ve got the KILL IT category:

  • Anything by Charles Dickens. I DON’T NEED SIX PAGES TO TELL ME THE SUN IS SHINING JUST STOP. Sorry to all the Dickens fans out there, the man’s got great stories, but DAMMIT GET TO THE POINT, CHARLIE.

Maybe I’ll have to try to make up for some lost time when I’m done with this book of my own! So to all of you awesome people out there: what are your favorite books, what are books you haven’t read but feel like you would enjoy, and what books are in your DIE DIE DIE category?

BIG NEWS: THE HOOKER IS COMING TO SHELVES

If someone had told me 10 years ago that I was going to learn to crochet out of boredom, I would’ve said “Yeah, okay, that sounds likely.” If someone had told me five years ago that my crocheting was going to go viral on the internet, I would’ve said “Meh, anyone can get their 15 minutes on the internet these days.” If someone told me one year ago that I’d be signing a publishing contract to make a crochet book, I would’ve said “LOL stop trolling GTFO.” Except there was no trolling. You guys, it’s real. I’m making a book. I’M MAKING A FREAKING BOOK OH MY GOD.

It’s going to be a pattern book for characters from classic literature, I’ll be working with Quirk Books, and it’s scheduled for spring 2017. SOMEONE PINCH ME.

Needless to say I’m incredibly excited about this. I’m also incredibly nervous and overwhelmed, but excited nonetheless. I’m hoping folks will like it. I’m hoping it won’t bomb. And even if it does, it’ll be a great learning experience and I’ve just gotten started.

On the other hand this means that there’s going to be fewer critters up for grabs at San Diego Comic-Con this year as I work on the book, but I still plan on cranking those little guys out as much as I can in between. This goofy little hobby of mine has just grown a little bigger, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. To the shelves, and beyond!

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Zombie, the brain food isn’t quite the same as eating brains.

Credit: pattern for business zombie is from the cyber zombie pattern in Creepy Cute