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.

My One Story Writing Class Experience

Blogged under writing by Tammy on Wednesday 8 February 2017 at 11:32 am

Recently, I participated in a week-long online class called “Write with One Story.” It cost $60US for non-members and $50US for members and is run through a platform called Haiku Learning. I was hesitant to take the class because I’m so, so busy now with work (teaching college English), and of course, there is my fun time for making jewelry and knitting and doll crafts, that seems almost non-existent these days. But, I figured for the price I’d give it a shot.

My overall take on the class was that I got a lot out of it, and given different circumstances in my life, I definitely plan to take more online offerings from One Story. However, I thought it might be helpful to anyone thinking of taking one of their courses if I offered my personal and subjective pros and cons, in no particular order:

Pros:

  • I learned a lot and came away with functional writing exercises that I am sure I will find useful if I ever need some writing inspiration or a kick start to my creative writing efforts in the future.
  • I met so many cool and talented writers. All but a few were very kind and generous with their feedback.
  • I now have connected out of class with some of my fellow writing students, and we have formed a loose group to help each other with our writing work outside of class now.
  • Online convenience can’t be beat. While there are writing conferences and even a few groups I could go to that aren’t super far away, I don’t have the time or energy to do that most of the time.
  • The instructors were top-notch, not enough words to praise them.
  • It was challenging, a good way. It made me work at my writing.

Cons:

  • I felt rushed. While supposedly the assignments aren’t suppose to take more than an hour, I am just not a fast writer.
  • If you want feedback from your fellow students, obviously, you must offer feedback as well. This meant not only did I have one day to quickly get my writing assignment done, I had to also read loads of other work by students in my class and provide feedback. I actually started to like that part of the class experience more than I thought I would, but it was a lot to do in one day.
  • Some of the exercises I had issues connecting to, so again, given that I had one day to write, I felt like I needed more time to think.
  • Okay, yes, a few comments did hurt my tender, precious, snowflake feelings, but I know I have to put my big girl panties on when I do something like this.
  • The platform (Haiku Learning) could be less wonky. For example, you can make your settings so you are notified when someone comments on something you wrote or commented on, but then when you click on the email link, you are just sent to a general discussion page and have to sort through posts to find what you are looking for.

 

Crafty Princess on Sabbatical?

Blogged under writing,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Sunday 18 September 2016 at 9:39 am

Hi Blog Readers! I though I’d pop over here as I try to get through today’s very long “to do” list and check in and tell you that all is good with me, and I apologize for not coming by and blogging like I usually do. I haven’t even had time to do any videos for my Youtube channel lately either. My only excuse is that I’ve been very, very busy with work, writing, and life. It has been busy in a good sense, but that still means it limits my time.

As far as work goes, my real job is teaching college English, mostly writing classes, and that started up late last month and continues to increase as far as my workload. Of course, I love my job, but it can be “all consuming” sometimes and , obviously, has to be a priority. Anyone who knows a smidgen of what a teacher does knows that it is not a nine to five job, so often we teachers work nights and weekends.

For the writing, I am coordinating a number of projects right now. I’m working a few hours a week writing blog posts (about one or two a week) as well as managing the Facebook page for beadshop.com. I’m very excited about joining up with Janice Parsons and beadshop since I have known her from my very early days online when I worked for About dot com. In addition to this little writing gig, I’ve been focused on a personal writing project that I have mentioned briefly in some of my Blythe doll and other doll collecting videos. It is another novel and the protagonist is involved in the dolly world. I’ve made a lot of progress on it over the past few months, so I am starting to see the end in sight. Once it’s done, I will go back for a massive rewrite, but I’m just trying to get that first draft out, and this is a book-length fictional piece, so yup, that means lots of words.

Life is good otherwise. My husband is supportive of all my craziness. I guess after almost thirty years you could say we are each others’ BFFs still. And the pets are happy and healthy and demanding and spoiled.

I’m not sure when I will get caught up on blogging here and other activities that are normally part of my life, but I will try  to squeeze out a post now and then. I hope I don’t lose anyone along the way. I’m still a little addicted to Facebook, so if you don’t follow me and want to, you’ll find me over there.

Crafting Memories!

Blogged under Good Books,My Crafty News,writing by Tammy on Monday 3 August 2015 at 8:16 am

Woot! I have been mentioning this through all my social media outlets and through my video podcast, but just in case you missed it, my new novel is out and available through Kindle download on Amazon. It is called Crafting Memories, and below is a brief description:

Tess Dudley Forrester finds herself forty, unemployed, and wondering: Had it been a mistake for her to leave her secure job as a craft book editor so many years ago to pursue a career as a teacher? How long will her husband’s good nature last as she navigates depression and tries to reconfigure her career goals? While Tess tries to understand the fickle nature of fate, along the way she discovers a distant family relative’s journal and letters that open up a tragic chapter from her ancestors’ lives, a mother/daughter suicide. At first, this discovery is just a distraction from her own troubles, but eventually, as she digs into her family’s past, she also takes a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she reconnects with her knitting and crochet friends, is tempted by a man who may be the answer to her future in more ways than one, and remembers how much she enjoys the art of crafting, both with her hands and her words.

You can read the preface and first chapter for free if you go over to the listing (here) on Amazon and click on the “Look Inside” option.

My Book of Essays Published!

Blogged under writing by Tammy on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 6:19 pm

Look what showed up at my front door (in a box with other copies)!

I have had kind of an off day, working on some not-so-fun school stuff and feeling generally icky, may be fighting off a cold. When I heard the door bell ring, I had just managed to take a short nap with the hope I would gain some energy, so I was a little irritated that I had to get up and lug a box inside. I had completely forgotten about this. I expected it to be published after the first of the year. So, yeah, me! It’s done! Two years of my life wrapped up between a softback cover….


It is also listed on Amazon.com already: Women of Florida Fiction: Essays on 12 Sunshine State Writers

Index, Joy, Joy

Blogged under writing by Tammy on Sunday 2 November 2014 at 12:49 pm

This is why you have not seen much crafting on my weblog lately…..My latest book is “this close” to publication. While I have had a number of academic articles published, this is my first venture into publishing an academic book. My co-author and I have had this in the works for about two plus years, and we are now at the fun part of doing tasks like proofing and compiling an index. Maybe you have been under the impression that creating book parts like an index is not that fun to do. Well, you are totally right! It is like watching paint dry, but it is one of the non-glamorous parts of writing, one of the “you go to do what you got to do” chores that is an important part of the finished project. I’m going to allow myself a little yarn time today, and then I’m back at indexing…search, type a number, comma, search, type a number, comma….Joy Joy!

Ola! My 1st Dummies Book in Spanish!

Blogged under My Crafty News,writing by Tammy on Saturday 18 October 2014 at 1:01 pm

I received a nice little surprise in the mail the other day, three copies of Beading for Dummies in Spanish! You won’t see my name on the cover because I worked as the “creative consultant” on it. This was the first Dummies book I worked on, and later came Jewelry Making & Beading For Dummies, which I did co-author.

Free Wire Wrap Tutorial from My Book

Blogged under Free Craft Projects,My Crafty News,writing by Tammy on Thursday 3 July 2014 at 1:03 pm



The second edition of my book The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making is hitting the shelves (virtual and otherwise) this month. To get a look at some of the new additions to this book as well as a free wire wrapping tutorial, head over the the Craftside blog.

Jewelry Book on the Horizon!

Blogged under Publications from Moi,writing by Tammy on Sunday 16 February 2014 at 6:10 pm



I got the laser copy (aka galleys) of the new edition of The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making. This was sort of my weekend project in between feeling sick and also getting other crafting done as well as a little housework.

This is a step in the publishing process that is kind of interesting but also very tedious too. The interesting part is that you get to finally see it all put together after sending parts and pieces of documents, images, and finished jewelry to the publisher for months. The tedious part is that you have to go through and review/edit/proof everything! This is my one chance before it hits the printer to make sure everything is right, and of course, that is not really possible. I try. I am actually known as being very detail oriented. (Any place I ever have worked I used to drive people crazy with this in fact. Don’t ask me to read over something unless you really want to know what I think, LOL!) But, of course, I’m not perfect.

That said, it looks pretty dang good! There are a ton of new projects and a whole new gallery section. This is the largest book I’ve ever worked on. It’ us HUGE! It is packed with loads of techniques and projects. If I’m counting correctly, this has 49 projects.

I’m not 100% sure when this will be out. Possibly we will see it on bookstores this April, but as soon as I do know, I will be telling everyone. I actually have not worked on any jewelry books in awhile and thought I needed a break from them, but I am now thinking otherwise. Wheels are turning.

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