It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought I would drop by to let you all know what has kept me so distracted.
After years of lamenting how much we didn't like the colors in our house and a recent upturn in our financial situation thanks to a new job on C. L.'s part, we decided to spend a few months and a little bit on a very budget makeover of our home. Of course, budget means DIY, so I've been rather busy spending what time I have outside of homeschooling the girls and running the soap business to work on the house little by little.
Here are a couple progress photos on the master bath. The one on the left is the latest, when we're close to finishing the frame on the mirror. We were just waiting to borrow a router saw to cut out enough of a divot in the frame piece to allow it to be glued over the clips holding it to the wall.
Believe it or not, all we did was paint, change the hardware and artwork, and get a few new accessories. The countertop paint kit's protective topcoat does take a full two weeks to cure, and the cabinet paint needs at least three full days. So it was a time consuming process, but the whole thing cost about what it would have cost us to just change the countertops out for both bathrooms. And we have enough paint left over to paint the counters in the girls' bathroom as well as the cabinets in both the other bathroom and kitchen.
I'm also in the middle of designing and making all the new soaps for Contented Comfort this year since Con Kasterborous is in a matter of weeks. If you're interested in that, make sure to stop by the Contented Comfort blog every Wednesday between now and June 9 to see the fragrance introductions.
I have a lot more work to do throughout the house with a goal date to finish of July 31. Updates here may be spotty at best until then.
All this winter, there's been one thing that's caught my eye every time I take Lily out for a walk. Trees bare of their summer leaves stand out in stark contrast with the clear blue of winter skies. The appearance of one covered root to crown in ivy is even more striking, but there's been something "off" in the appearance of the tree in our backyard.
What might be wrong with it has been bugging me for months, and I got the answer the other day.
C. L. and I have been talking about making some big changes to our home for years now. We were dreaming of things we never expected to really be able to do with me just writing and soaping part time while I schooled the kids and him working as a teacher. But then last year happened, and he came out of it with a much better job.
We began thinking about actually making steps toward our dream happen. The only issue was having to wait a year or two for C. L. to have enough time on the job to get a loan for such a thing, based on everything we'd heard in the past. We said as much to his grandmother on a call last week, and she encouraged us to go ahead and try before we write off the possibility for a year or more. She's a rather savvy woman when it comes to such things, so we took her advice.
While trying my hand at teaching high school back in the fall, I spent so long away from my current rough draft, I forgot half of what I'd written. So I've been going back to read through it. In doing so, several issues with the rough have been jumping out at me, but they all stem from one factor common in rough drafts, lacking conflict.
Readers have their favorites, and they don't enjoy seeing them put through the wringer, but at the same time, what are the chances they would be so fond of those characters if they never struggled? No matter if your story is plot driven or character driven, without conflict, there is no story.
Have you heard all the hoopla surrounding Star Wars being bought out by Disney and all the new movies? Some are all for it, but others, including Mark Hamill have some... issues... with the new storylines. Why though?
Well, to get at the answer, you have to understand a few things about the Star Wars fandom and the franchise itself over the past thirty years or so.
I think we've all seen or heard the "tortured" artist trope at one time or another. It's no secret a high percentage of notable artists, be they writers, poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, or any other kind of artist, have or do suffer from a range of mental health problems. Because of this correlation between mental health problems and creative success, popular notions of creativity have come to romanticize them as part and parcel to creative genius.
I hate this notion so much! Even if there's some truth to it, it's a dangerous and irresponsible idea in so many ways.
I know today's post is supposed to be another Back to Basics article, but as stated Friday, all of here at the England household are sick. I'm doing better than I was Friday. I can breathe most of the time now at least, but I'm in that stage of a sinus infection, with accompanying ear infection, where all the bones in one side of my face hurt. An it feels like I got smashed in the side of the head with a 2 x 6 kind of hurting that makes concentrating next to impossible. So instead of posting a grammar article that might be full of mistakes or where I forget half of what is needed, I decided to bump this week's article to next week, so you'll get January's Back to Basics articles back to back.
Since I can no longer take NSAIDs without hours of feeling ill, the only thing I've found that's really effective combating this pain is humidity and warmth. So I spent a good part of yesterday with this rather sad looking DIY rice hot or cold pack wrapped around my head with a smaller one laying over one cheek and eye.
Although I've dealt with quite a few ear infections in my life, it's never before dawned on my to try using heat to soothe the ache. So I guess it's not that surprising then that this time, being so different, the sensory input of having a heating device soothing an ear ache triggered a memory forgotten for years and the earliest one I've had sparked.
I wanted to take a few moments to explain why I've more or less disappeared online the past month or so.
Part of it has been working on the grammar and creative writing text books I talked about last month. The rest, I haven't been able to talk about before now. You see, beyond working on textbooks, I've been hired on by Foster Academy to teach English and Science for the high school students. Having learned from past experience, as soon as the text books arrived, I started working on preparing lessons, assignments, and the like between teacher work days spent helping set up the building.
Remember how I said Icarus was going on the back burner for a while? Well, I still can't tell all the details about the massive project mostly responsible for the delay. Sorry. However, I've been asked to turn the back to basics grammar and composition course and the creative writing course into full workbooks for a local school.
Considering I've yet to finish writing the back to basics course and need to add lots of exercises, more in depth information, and additional articles to the creative writing workbook, you can imagine how much work this is. That's on its own without this other, larger, project I can't speak about at the moment. So I just plain don't have time to work on drafting Icarus right now, and I won't until these workbooks are finished and off to the printers.
Have you noticed the slow down on writing Icarus that's happened lately? There are a few different reasons for that. I can't get into all of them, but here's what I can tell you about the reasons I can discuss right now.
Planning has been more than a little tenuous for the past couple of months for a couple of different reasons. Ill family members, a large project that may or may not happen dependent upon any number of factors, and the usual spring health issues for those of us with allergies meant plans could change any time. Honestly, that's still an issue, although a lesser one now. Because of this, I've been working on what absolutely has to get done on any given day first, projects that are more time sensitive next, and I've been working on longer term projects if there's time left. Obviously, I haven't had a huge amount of time left over for Icarus the past few weeks.
To be quite frank, I've only kept up with regular posting on this blog and the one over at Contented Comfort because I've set aside time on Saturday mornings to write and schedule them for the week. Eng Family Vlogs hasn't been quite as fortunate, although that has as much to do with my phone's camera glitching so much and often we were forced to break down and invest in an actual camera again as it does time management issues.
In addition to working as a freelance writer, A. B. England is a novelist, all around geek, avid crafter, and a homeschooling mother of two.
She is an autistic creator with a love of mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
Yekara Series Book 2
The Icarus Project
Rough Draft Progress
77384 / 75000
Myth & Science Collection
Icarus Series Book 2
Sketched w/ Some Drafting
Yekara Series Book 3
Myth & Science Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Icarus Trilogy Book 3
Supers Collection 2
Intent Only at this Time
Yekara Series Book 4