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The Writer Writes...Yes, I Like Dolls...


I have been doing a lot of doll crafting things.  Sewing and knitting mostly because it is too cold to paint faces on the newer members of my doll court.

I recently purchased a doll from a fellow doll lover, making it my first "second hand" bjd.  Most of the second hand dolls I own are Monster High dolls I use for practicing the art of Dollystein (or Frankendolly, if that be your preference), which is basically the art of taking two dolls and making a new doll.

Hey, parts is parts as someone once said.

Now at the moment, I am doing a test.  I am trying to insert a picture via copy/paste, so here goes nothing.




Well, what do you know.  It seems to work.  This is Joey, in case you are curious.  He is a ResinSoul Yu.

Of course, it remains to be seen if this picture appears after I save and post this entry.

This is another picture.  My second hand girl.  Her name is now Fiona.




And yes, it worked again.  Fiona is faceless at the moment.  She is a ResinSoul Li immature body with a ResinSoul Qing head.

Another new kid in my collection is Legacy Day Cerise Hood.




So I like dolls.  I will continue to buy them and show them off because they are like potato chips to me...

No one can have Just One.  ;-)

Mine, actually.  On this day in 1954, I was born, and if you do the math, it will tell you I have seen 60 years of existence in this world.

I remember when I was little, my dad used to tell me that when the year 2000 rolled around, I would be 46.  I remember thinking That is SO OLD!!!

Of course, it is not.  Now that I have attained the big Six-O, I am not as convinced of the ancientness of that age.

I will say that as time passes, birthdays sort of mean less and less, and yet they also mean more.  They mean less because I really don't care how old I am.  They mean more because you would think individuals would honor and venerate you for having attained that age.

Some people get parties and tons of presents...

They get taken out to dinner, or have a bunch of friends who get together and surprise them with something Very Special.

Me...I get to work.  I spent the morning in the doctor's office with my mother who was getting some followup testing, then I went to work where I will be until well after dark.

Presents?  I bought myself a couple of new dolls.  No one else is going to get them for me, so why not.

Parties--I am not that much of a party person, but no one ever throws me a surprise party anyway.

Now, I am not complaining.  My mother gave me cards (one has a cat flushing a toilet that makes the sound of a cat meowing while flusing the toilet).  She also paid for a nice dinner at Red Lobster (yes, I like their specials).  She got me lunch at Taco Bell (though I am inclined to call it Taco Hell because I *know* what the after effect of eating there will be in a few hours).

And a number of my Facebook Friends have wished me the proper sentiments online.

Birthdays are just another day to me.  I think I stopped expecting them to be special when I turned 50 and no one even noticed.

So don't feel sad for me.

I am having a nice day.  I am not having to deal with some of our more troublesome individuals, so no big deal.

You can wish me a Happy Birthday if you want, and I will be content.

The Writer Writes...New Story Up


Sorcerous Signals latest issue is on the web.  I have a story in that issue titled "Bear Hunt" which is one of my Hammer Maid tales.

http://www.sorceroussignals.com/BearHunt.html

The last time I had a Hammer Maid story out was in RevolutionSF some years ago.  In fact, the story is still available in their archives, and you can read it here:

http://www.revolutionsf.com/fiction/blackhammer/index.html

I give you these links so you can enjoy these stories for free.

I like being able to offer these things to my fans.  If you want a permanent copy, you can purchase a copy (with a discount of 25% good until November 30th) by going here: https://www.createspace.com/5096318 and using this code: 9HW5GHYR.

That's right.  You can get a discount between now and the end of November, and get a copy you can keep.

Enjoy...

It gets very annoying to go out on google, search your name, and find a link you never saw before.  You think, "Oh, maybe it is a review or something."

But no.

It is another darn book thief.  Someone who thinks nothing of taking your work and posting a free download on the web.

Many of these companies are foreign owned.  A few say they are nothing more than places where readers can "link" to copies of your books and not responsible for the fact that some of the links might lead to illegal copies.

It is very disheartening for an author to find that copies of their books are being shared on the web freely without their knowledge.  Especially since this means they are not getting paid.

It is stealing.  Bottom line is I do not write what I write so someone can post a free copy on the web and give it to others who are too damned chintzy to pay for a copy.

Now admittedly, there are times I give stuff away for promotional purposes.  But a web site that shares illegal downloads is nothing more than a thief in my opinion.

You have NO right to give my work away to others.  I am happy when readers want to tell others about my work.  I am happy if that telling leads to another person picking up and purchasing a copy of my book to read.  Word of mouth is still the most powerful tool out there, and we writers depend on fans with good intentions who respect our ownership of the material.

We do not like people who think nothing of giving our stuff away because in in their mind, everything on the web should be free.

I deserve to be paid for my work.  It is my work.

So please, if you see a site that is offering free downloads of my work, don't fall victim to the temptation.  For one thing, a lot of these sites contain malware that will eat you and your computer alive.  In fact, when you see someone giving away an author's work, let that author's publisher know.

If it is an indie author, let THEM know.

It is not fair to the person who took so much time to create the work when they have to spend a lot of time surfing the web seeking the illegal copies of their work, writing said offenders and trying to maintain their rights.

Theft is theft.  Remember that.  Be it altering someone else's photos or giving someone else's work away, it is wrong.

The Writer Writes...Or Does She???


So sorry for my long absence from this place.  Life as it is has been hectic.

First there was the trip to Disney with my mother and sister.

Then there was my mother's surgery.

It is the latter that has kept me out of touch, I fear.  My mother had a skin cancer that started out as a sore.  She had to have a vulvectomy in order to rid herself of the cancer.  To make matters worse, she came back from Disney World with a bad cold, and I caught it right after she did, and we had to put off the surgery for about ten days.

The surgery was a success and she is cancer free.

The problem, however, was that she got pneumonia in the hospital, and it got pretty tense for a bit.  I was at her side the whole time, taking time off from work when I could and basically getting only 2-3 hours of interrupted sleep a night for nearly 12 nights in a row.  There were times I wondered if we should have waited more than ten days because I am certain the bad cold we got weakened her immune system enough that she was susceptible to pneumonia.

The lack of sleep, however, plays Old Hairy with your brain.  Sleep deprivation turns you into a living zombie.  You mutter a lot. You get lost easily.  You drive like an automaton.

And yet, I managed to pretend to be human enough to interact, but I am certain somewhere I said or did something that is going to be remembered for the wrong reasons... ;-)

I had to take care of all the household bills.  I had to keep encouraging my mother to live.  There were a couple of times she thought she was leaving this world.

And she is still alive.  Weak from the experience, but growing stronger daily.  She is in rehab at this time, and turning into her old cocky self.  She plots silliness.  She and I sit and laugh, much to the chagrin of her roomie, who apparently pretends to be weak and helpless when her family or the nurses are present, but turns into a little hell raiser when they leave.  And keeps trying to escape the alarm they put on her.  In fact, the roomie figured out if she stripped naked, she could get away without setting off the alarm, but Mom let the nurses know she was running around in her birthday suit and they started keeping a closer eye on the old dear.

For me, this has been a lost month or two.  I have done nothing as a writer (well, not entirely, I did sell a story that should soon be available on the web).  I am looking at ways to take my career in a new direction because frankly, my sales are at an all time low, and I get the impression no one likes good fantasy anymore.

Doesn't stop me from wanting to keep writing.  Just leaves me wondering why I bother.

That said, I am slowly trying to get back on the high horse of literature and charge back into the fray.

Bear with me.

It might take a while.

And thank you to all those who continue to believe in me and my writing.

Dragon's Tongue, Book 1 of The Demon-Bound Duology is about to go on special.  On September 11th, you will be able to pick up a copy of the Kindle Edition for only .99 cents.

On September 12th, the e-book will retail at $1.99.  After that, it returns to its regular price of $2.99.

So if you have not read Dragon's Tongue, here is the perfect opportunity to get a copy at a bargain.

If you have read it, tell your friends.  Share this info.


http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Tongue-Demon-Bound-Book-ebook/dp/B00658MMVG/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410203993&sr=1-8&keywords=Laura+J.+Underwood

Remember, this is a two day deal.

And if you like Dragon's Tongue, you might want to hop over to www.yarddogpress.com and pick up a copy of the sequel Wandering Lark.

Enjoy

The Writer Writes...Time is Passing


And it seems like this year just started a month or so back. ;-)

I am preparing for a big journey south in a few weeks.  My mother and I and my youngest sister are going to Disney.  It is going to be different because Mom and I have our way of doing stuff, and the sister is going to have to learn to play along.

My ResinSoul Yu that was stolen off the porch has never shown up.  Sad that someone is so desperate for drugs, they would steal a doll.  Sad that they would steal a package without at least looking to see where it came from.  Of course, the doll was not your ordinary sort, and I am tempted to visit local pawn shops.

So I have been consoling myself by messing around with Monster High dolls I had plans to mod and repaint.  So far, I have done well.

First off, there was a much damaged Spectra Vondegeist that I got off ebay.  Poor dear was missing some parts (easily found), but she has also been "made up" with Sharpie's (tm), and no matter what you do, they do not come off vinyl easily.

So I just painted her over...  Gave her a face that covered the garish pink and blue.  Worked out better than I hoped.


MH2

Am still working on her costume.

The other doll was cobbled from bits.  She was a MH Create A Monster design kit head attached to a Draculara body.  These dolls don't have mouths and you usually put decals on their faces to make faces.  I chose to go one step more.  I decided to give her acrylic eyes by cutting holes in her head and painting on the rest of the face.  Even made the wig she is wearing from scrap yarn...


MH1

Not a bad look for her.

So yes, I am still playing with dolls.  I am writing too, working on stories that have been languishing incomplete on my computer.

But now and again, I must play.

It is what I do best.

The Writer Writes...Is It Worth It???


In this day and age when everyone and his brother can be a "writer" thanks to innovations in self publishing from companies like Amazon, one wonders why in the heck the more traditional writers like myself even bother to keep writing at all.

I started writing a long time ago.  I was just a child when I decided I enjoyed putting words on paper so I could relive my own imaginings.  I was a teenager when I discovered there were people out there who would give me money to write.

Seriously.  I was born in that era of typewritten script, where a writer sent queries for nonfiction and typed up manuscripts for fiction and mailed them to editors who would look at them, and either send them back and encourage me to keep trying, or send me a note saying they liked it enough to want to buy it.  Computers, in those days, were monster machines that filled warehouses and took ages to figure things out for people.

In my day, a writer worked at their craft.  They practiced writing daily.  They wrote and rewrote and got criticism from their peers.  They sent their stuff to editors with fingers crossed, and when they did manage to sell their work, they knew that was only a part of what needed to be done.  There was a copy edit to go through (in those days, publishers of magazines and books had copy editors whose job was to check grammar and continuity).  You saw galleys and proofs, and you had a time frame to work on each one.

And then you waited for your book to see print (or your article, short story, poem).

Yes, it taught you a lot about patience.

In this day and age, there is no patience.  There are writers who growl because, to quote a movie, "Instant gratification isn't fast enough."  Writers who fight for the position of top dog because the industry has suddenly become a place where numbers (yes, remember editors--they do not make decisions any more--bean counters decide what makes or breaks a book) are all that matter, so the impatient ones go and publish their own work, talking about how much control they have, never stopping and thinking that they might have control, but do they really have a decent product?

In my other profession (librarian) I look at product.  What I see is a lot of crap.  Now and again, there are gems among the self published.  I know several of them and they have taken the time to hire editors and proper cover artists and make sure their books sparkle.

But alas, the gems disappear among the sea of sludge.  And those who read the sludge and think it is magnificent, I am finding don't really have a clue.  Most of them have not lived long enough to have a clue.

Very annoying and very discouraging to a writer like myself.

Now I may not be the greatest.  There are writers who write circles around me.  But there are writers who cannot hold a candle to my work too.  And when I see those writers getting pats and lauds for doing nothing worthy of being called "craft" I catch myself wondering if I should just stop writing and let my career fall into the ditch.

A hard decision to make.

Though I doubt I will actually stop writing.  It is ingrained in me.  It is in my blood.

And I still have that "Never give up, never surrender" attitude.

There are just times like this that I wonder why I keep doing what I do.  And then one person writes me a small note, telling me how much they loved a story of mine, and I know that I cannot stop.

The Writer Writes...Bats and Boxes...


Well, it turns out the box was indeed stolen from my porch.  I was able to talk to the postal courier, and he is NOT the one I thought he was.  He is a nice man, and he assures me he put the box on my porch.

Suffice to say, I am now the loser of $100 worth of merchandise and postage.  I am chalking it up as an expensive lesson, and in the future will ask for signature on all things I buy that are doll related.

But I am so disappointed that someone was evil enough to steal my doll.  She was a ResinSoul Yu, a tiny thin little girl with elf ears.  No more than 16 cm in height, and I am going to miss her even though I never saw her in person.  ;-)

As for other things, my family issues are dwindling.  Things are getting back on an even keel, so to speak.

And then there are bats.  Yes, just last week, I had to play Bat Catcher once more, as one managed to find its way in, terrifying my mother.  I called animal control once I had it cornered in a room, and their dispatcher insisted I had to call pest control, until I pointed out that they had come to collect the last bat that got loose in our house.  The dispatcher didn't sound pleased, but an officer did arrive.

Of course, I did all the work, because the bat was too small for his cage and escaped under the bed, and I had to crawl under and capture it.  In the end, we put it in a bag before putting it in a cage, and it went off to be tested for rabies and white nose syndrome.

The funniest part was when I was trying to capture it under the bed (the officer was too tall and large to get under there) it started hissing and snarling at me in a high-pitched way, and I SO wished I had a camera so I could snap a shot or two and a video because the noises were So Cute...

Yeah, I know, it is a bat.

There was also one thought that struck me after the officer left.  I wondered if he noticed the basket hanging in the hall corner full of stuffed bats...

Yeah, we like bats.  Just not in the house.

The Writer Writes...This and That


Seems like about the time I start thinking life is getting simple again, fate laughs and pulls a "let's see what THIS button does..."

Suffice to say, I have spent the last month after going to SoonerCon dealing with Many Family Issues, and am just now starting to see the light again.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that all the Mercury Retrograde is finally calming down and I can breathe again.

We shall see.

But there are still issues to deal with.  The post office has apparently "misplaced" an order of mine.  They "claim" to have delivered the package to my doorstep on the 1st of August.  No, they did not.  I was home.  I was there with the door open.  No postal person showed up at my door at the time listed on the web.  In fact, I went shopping with my mother, and getting her out of the house is always a slow process because she finds reasons to fiddle-fart as we say, and a simple walk out and get in the car turns into an exploration of the garden, a pulling of weeds, I noticing of things that are not where they should be...

Not that I mind.  My mother has a mind of her own, and will do what she wants, and I am just the driver on these occasions.

But at any rate, we both agreed that we were home and the postal service is mistaken about the delivery time.  Leading me to believe that the new postal worker was not paying attention when he dropped off my package.

That does annoy me on some levels.  The last delivery person was efficient.  She checked on deliveries of special things, made sure meds we get for my stepfather were in out hands, returned on occasion to make sure packages got found...

The new guy works two routes and spends more time on his cell phone than looking at where he is going.

But I digress...

It it frustrating when you are expecting a package and a postal worker is not on the ball.

At any rate, it has caused me to sink back into sullen despair as to what has happened to my new doll.

Like I need another one, you say.

I do.

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