2 Short Stories Published!

Blogged under Publications from Moi,writing by Tammy on Sunday 21 January 2018 at 11:01 am

I have been focusing on creative writing lately versus craft how-to writing or blogging. It’s very different than the idea of writing something that I might get paid for. Instead, I write because I simply want to and then, hopefully, find a place that will accept it for publication with little to no intention of payment. Yes, writing for free, a very weird concept for anyone who has spent so many years freelance writing. However, the publishing world has really changed. Many craft companies prefer to have in-house (as in not freelance) content writers and designers. Craft book publishers have gotten lean and mean in order to survive. There is also a ton of free content on the Web, so the need to pay someone to write it is not really there like it was back in the day when I freelanced for a number Web networks and wrote books about how to make jewelry.

With this in mind and the fact that I’m not getting any younger, I realized how much I missed the creative writing I used to do when I was in my teens and twenties, so for the past few years I’ve been writing fiction for (gasp) pleasure and no real thought about making money from my efforts. However, I still want validation, which requires sending out my work and dealing with rejection (and more rejection). I was just about to the point of thinking I would never get anything published when within days of each other two short stories of mine were accepted for publication. Yippy!

My first story is called “Potluck Party” and is published in issue 7 of Constellations. This is a print journal that is published out of the Boston area. My story is a little PG-rated, but it fit in well with this issue’s theme of “transgression.”

Soon after this first story was accepted,  a second story of mine called “In Search of the Yoga Master” was accepted by a literary magazine called Typehouse (volume 5, no. 1, issue 13). This story was one that I really hadn’t sent to too many publishers, so I was surprised that it was accepted relatively quickly.

In a few more days, Typehouse will be out and in my hands. I look forward to reading the other works in it as well as the issue of Constellation I recently received. And, of course, I’m still writing away. I have a few more stories in the works, one of which has been rejected by dozens of journals, but I did a major rewrite on it, so I’m feeling pretty good about it. There is also the doll doctor novel I’ve written (which I’ve mentioned in videos on Youtube as well as here on my blog before). I plan to take a carving knife to it this summer and get the word count down to something that might be more appealing to publishers. Plus, tightening up a work of writing is always a good thing to do.

2018, Back to Reading for Pleasure

Blogged under writing,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Sunday 7 January 2018 at 9:34 am

A love for reading was the original impetus for my writing. As a child, probably around five or six years old, I distinctly remember having a moment of clarity when I realized that people wrote all of the wonderful stories I enjoyed reading, and thus, this meant that I would also be able to write them. I was hooked!

This past year, I’ve become cognizant of  how much I miss this, reading for pleasure, just sitting myself down in a chair or on a couch and reading (a book or story of my choice) for an entire day. Instead, with the exception of an occasional short story from a literary journal here and there, I was reading students’ essays and research papers, dozens upon dozens, which meant reading a lot of writing by authors who don’t want to write, who are being forced to squeeze out words and splatter them on a page to earn some kind of reward in the form of a grade. There are some writing students who shine when they are writing, but there are many more who find it drudgery, and this is very evident. It wasn’t a pleasure for them to write it, and thus, it’s not a pleasure for me to read it.

To help redirect myself back to my love of reading, I’m going to treat reading for pleasure similar to my daily yoga routine: it maybe hard to find the time, but I’m going to do it. And, once I’ve done it, I always feel so much better afterwards.

I’m not going to be overly ambitious and have created a short stack of “to be read” books and short stories (from One Story). I have no particular order I plan to read them in. So far, I’ve started with On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft. While Stephen King doesn’t normally write work that I enjoy reading (I’m too much of a chicken), I’ve heard good reviews from writers about this book where he discusses his personal approach to writing, and there’s no denying the man can write.

So far, I’ve enjoyed the little bits of time I’ve carved out to get a page read here and there and look forward to my year of learning to love reading again.

Looking Forward to Summer Caribbean Cruise

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Thursday 4 January 2018 at 4:48 pm

I’m planning on another Caribbean cruise this summer, and as I have in the past, I plan to do some video podcasts on the trip. While I’m not a world traveler, I have started a small collection of cruise videos on my YouTube site. If you have cruised before or are thinking about taking a cruise, head over to my Cruise Reviews & Info YouTube playlist. You’ll learn the good, the bad, and of course, the ugly about past trips I’ve been on. Stay tuned for more videos popping up this summer.

Yarn & Dollies: Acquisitions

Blogged under crochet and knitting,Doll Crafting,dolls art/collecting,Yarn and Dollies by Tammy on Thursday 4 January 2018 at 10:12 am

It has been awhile since I filmed a Yarn and Dollies video on my YouTube channel. Since the holidays have just finished, this episode is all about acquisitions. 

Blythe Doll Christmas Diorama

Blogged under Doll Crafting,dolls art/collecting by Tammy on Sunday 24 December 2017 at 4:14 pm

Merry Christmas!

Sewing Blythe Doll Christmas Dresses

Blogged under Doll Crafting,Sew Simple by Tammy on Sunday 24 December 2017 at 4:12 pm

Yoga Everyday, Or Just About

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada,Yoga by Tammy on Friday 22 December 2017 at 11:07 am

After getting very sick last spring, I decided that once I got over a nasty bug that did not want to go away that I would start taking better care of myself. I don’t really eat a lot of junk food, and I’ve never really liked eating much meat. My main issue with food was just eating too much. Even if the food you eat is healthy food, you can eat too much of it. However, another big issue concerning my health was my lack of activity. I was a sloth. I did almost zero exercise. I had lots and lots of reasons why this happened, but rather than talk about reasons why I didn’t exercise, this post is about why and how I started to exercise just about daily. Even if it was five minutes, my goal was to start moving, and yoga was my choice of exercise.

As a tween, then teenager, and then young adult, I was very active when it came to dance. I took ballet, jazz, and tap for many years. Mixed in here and there with dance classes was the occasional exposure to yoga, usually on PBS television. There are many similarities to dance and yoga, especially alignment and stretching.

As I got older, I would often come and go to various yoga classes, but I never had the discipline to keep at it. Then I joined Gaia online. You’ve probably seen those ads on Facebook about doing yoga at home. Well, I checked into a number of similar programs online, and I decided on Gaia because I was familiar with them (and Rodney Yee too), and the price was right (about $10 a month for unlimited access).

With the new year on the way, many of us start a new program of some kind, so full disclosure, I’m offering my affiliate link to join Gaia. From now until the end of January 2018, I’ll receive some freebies if anyone joins through me. I suggesting trying it out with the 99 cent offer for one month (which is what I did). Then you can see if it really works for you. There are thousands of videos available, and I like that you can find anything from a quick 7 minute workout to a longer and more intense hour plus workout. There are also all levels, but I have to admit, I stick mainly with the beginners to level 2-3 still. Some of my fav instructors over there are Rodney Yee, Clara Roberts-Oss, and Colleen Saidman. Another reason this program works for me is that I can use my ipad or even phone and do it anywhere in the house. With that said, my yoga mat is calling me.

Sewing Princess Dresses!

Blogged under Sew Simple by Tammy on Saturday 16 December 2017 at 12:21 pm

I got the urge to sew for live dollies for a change (don’t tell the Blythe dolls) and made a cute dress and simple elastic waist skirt for tow of my grand nieces. The oldest of the two is a big Disney Frozen fan, so I found some cute Elsa fabric to use.

Disney Princess Felt Princess Kit

Blogged under Crafty Products,Doll Crafting,Sew Simple by Tammy on Saturday 16 December 2017 at 12:18 pm

Ultra cute, I show off the contents of this fun felt kit from Thunder Bay Press. It’s available on Amazon as well as many retail bookstores:

Blythe Customizing Attempt

Blogged under Doll Crafting by Tammy on Saturday 28 October 2017 at 2:50 pm

I’m finally attempting to do some real Blythe doll customization this weekend, starting with this doll. In fact, I have two fakie Blythe dolls I’ve purchased just for this. I have bought dolls in the past thinking I would customize them, but then I chicken out, telling myself they are too cute to change, but this time I’m doing it starting with the eyes. I’m not ready to carve the faceplates and do face ups, but at the very least, I can decorate the eyelids and give them sleepy eyes with new beaded pull cords. Baby steps, right?

Below is a “before” video where I show both dolls before I start working on them:

I’m now waiting for sealant to dry on the eyelids as well has the first doll’s hair to dry (because she needed her hair washed, yes, washing doll hair, LOL!). Once everything is dry, I will (fingers crossed) put her back together. I will post a video on my YouTube channel at some point when I have her at least semi-finished, along with occasional photos posted on IG and Facebook if you want to follow my progress.

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