Category Archives: Writer & Book Reviewer

Reader and writer of short stories and book reviews. Published both online and print.

Setting Goals for 2013

Happy New Year to one and all!

I am not one to make New Years resolutions. Instead I prefer to set goals for myself. These can be lofty, wishful and/or hopeful, but it gives me something to strive for in the upcoming year. This year I have a list of projects I want to complete, some of them are roll overs from last year, these goals are the mean stepsisters of resolutions past.

Since I am sharing them with all of you, any of you, some of you…maybe more of them will be completed this year. I’ll circle back to this post in late December and assess my progress or lack thereof.

I’ll start with my writing goals:

1) Publish at least 4 blog entries each week starting now (I know, already 5 days into the new year) either on this blog or my writing blog (inmywords.wordpress.com) – this will keep me motivated to write, write, write. I write in my head all of the time, getting these words to paper is a long and laborious task.

2) I will get at least one story, book, article or essay published this year. I know one doesn’t sound like a very lofty goal, but if you are a writer, you’ll be shaking your head muttering “Good luck with that, ha ha ha”. Getting published is very, very difficult but wonderful when it happens.

Knitting and Crocheting goals:

1) I will attempt to complete the Knitting Guild of American’s hand knit masters’s program this year. I’ve already downloaded the new instructions (they change slightly each year) and will make Monday’s blog entry an update day. Master’s Mondays will start to appear the first Monday of January.

2) I will complete the Fan Throw I began working on Jan 1 for my girlfriend’s birthday on February 1. Originally I was going to make her a shawl, but decided on a throw instead.  Fan throw first square

3) Left over projects on my 2012 goal list need to be completed. Namely the alpaca hat and buffalo mittens (which may change to a helix scarf because I would wear that way more than mittens). I would be remiss if I left off the third pair of socks that I didn’t complete last year. I have issues making things for myself. They always get pushed to the end of my lists of things to do. All three of these projects are for me, so hopefully I’ll get them done and you won’t see them on my list of goals for 2014.

4) Two baby blankets must be completed by April for the little boy that is due.

5) Assorted Christmas projects. I am not sure yet what Christmas projects I want to tackle. One will most likely be an afghan or throw for my cousin. The problem I see is I have 2 cousins so should make them each one this year. This makes the goal even a bit crazier, but what the heck, this is January and I’ve ordered the yarn for one of them already.

Now that my goals are on cyber paper, it brings life to the list. I’ll keep you all posted which will keep me on task.

Here’s to a great 2013 to all of you. May all of your goals be completed. Reach for them – the whole year is ahead of you. Live it to the fullest and have lots of laughter and fun while enjoying it.

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The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping

Today is the day! I’m happy to tell you that The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping, which by the way, happens to contain my short story Perfect Pumpkin Pie is now available. Check it out, or better yet, purchase and download it instantly from any of the following locations!

The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping

The Untreed Reads Store: http://bit.ly/RwyLY8
Amazon (six countries): http://amzn.to/SPPASD
Barnes and Noble
Lightning Source (a distributor, primarily North America)
OmniLit.com
Scribd.com

While you are on Amazon, check out my author page. It isn’t very long, but you’ll find out a bit about me and if I can find a decent one, see a pic. Perhaps it will be of a younger, thinner me. Most certainly I’ll be able to find a great picture of my dog, and more than likely I will find one of the whole family. As a matter of fact, I am sure I’ll be able to find one of our extended family last summer when we all traveled to Maryland for my son’s wedding. The only ones missing are my daughter-in-law (she stayed home for a day of rest before the wedding) and our new baby cousin who was not born yet.

Soon I hope to add a children’s book to my list of credits. I don’t know if it is a good sign or a bad sign that the publisher that requested the manuscript still hasn’t said anything other than it would take approximately a month. Maybe the longer she has it the better it is? Or maybe it is sitting on someone’s desk? Who knows. But whatever the case may be, I am holding to the old antiage of no news is good news.

I have to thank Jay Hartman (no relation) of Untreed Reads for choosing to add my short story to add to this year’s Thanksgiving anthology. Take a few minutes to look at all of the books and short stories Untreed Reads Publishing has available. http://www.untreedreads.com

If you are an author, look at all of the calls for submission. There are a lot of opportunities in various genres. Something for everyone to read and write about.

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Now for Something Completely Different

And now for something completely different. The challenge of the week is fun. It makes me think and stretch my chops as a writer and blogger.  Check it out here and write along. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-and-now-for-something-completely-different/

I am one of the bloggers that has one foot in the technical, informational posts and one foot in the personal posts. I originally had one blog where I wrote about my fiber arts and my quest as a newbie writer. Then I worried that I was boring the handful of readers I’d collected and decided to split the blogs apart so said handful could decide which interested them, either or both and have the choice.
Both of them have posts that are technical, such as knitting techniques and writing/publishing links and references. And both of them have bits of my personal life woven in. I am always hesitant to post blogs that outline my day or those that give too much of me to the world.

I don’t really post opinions about things I feel strongly about because there are plenty of soap boxes out there with people shouting from them without me adding to the din.

Since this week’s challenge asks for something completely different, soap box it is.

 

Politics. Only second to religion in controversy. (One shaky foot lifting slowly, every so slowly up to the rough pine boards of the box)
I HATE POLITICS. Politicians are a rare breed. They bluster and bore, lie and promise. Who are the real people behind the red, white and blue masks? I don’t know and I don’t care.

One party is as bad as the other. Unless you live in Illinois. Then some of them have dropped to new lows by becoming felons. (Seriously, two of our last three governors are in federal prisons right now!)

I am tired of listening to one candidate trash the other and the second candidate trashing back during every commercial break. The papers are slanted. Television news shows are slanted and there are excuses abounding from both sides.

Some people live for politics. Good for you, grab your own soap box and megaphone and go to town. This is my soap box of political apathy, so listen or walk away. We live in a free country.

 

We are promised change, but the only changes I’ve seen are not good. Unemployment is still rampant. Don’t start shouting back at me that the numbers are down. Of course they are, people have been on it so long they have dropped off because they’ve used up all of their benefits. You say I don’t know what I am talking about? HA. We had a big RIF three years ago at work. Less than half of those workers have found jobs and those that have not are no longer eligible for unemployment.

There there is health care. Don’t get me started (pulling the second foot onto soapbox because now I am getting into this) because I personally know someone was critically ill for over two years after being laid off work because his department was closed. No insurance, 72 days in one hospital, also in 2 other hospitals, literally was given less than 30% chance of making it and didn’t qualify for any government health assistance. Now said government wants to require him to purchase health insurance or face a fine if the new laws got through. He can’t afford his RX, make enough money to live on his own yet and would have starved to death with out help from his family. How are people like him supposed to pay for government mandated insurance???? As a politician. I am sure they have a list of pat answers ready to spout.

Then there is voting. Maybe I can make a difference in a local election. But I seriously doubt my vote for president matters at all. Apathy abounds! But then again, look at the voting record of your state reps and congressmen. Most of them don’t show up to vote either.

Do you think I am anti-American? If so, you haven’t seen the flag waving behind my soap box. I love this country. I love the freedoms and opportunities the USA provides. It is the politics and lobbyists and special interest groups that I abhor.

 

If one politician ran without a huge war chest of money collected from groups and individuals that weren’t expecting something in return I just might put a sign in my front yard. But until then, I am sick and tired of being lied to. Don’t promise me anything you can’t deliver. And quite talking about how much you have done to make life better when it is all smoke and mirrors.

But for now I am carefully stepping off of my soap box, folding up my unpopular opinions and picking up the story I am working on and my knitting needles.

Wow. Being different from my usual me is exhausting.

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Work in Progress_Baby Blanket Update

Happy Sunday night. Here’s my week end (not to be confused with weekend) update regarding my works in progress.

I’ve been focusing on the baby blanket for my new little neighbor. Absolutely no progress on any other project, so I won’t bore you with listing them.

I hoped to have this blanket done by this weekend but it just didn’t happen. We are moving the corporate offices at work and are so busy it is crazy. I’ve missed breaks and have been taking shorter lunches and/or have meetings that have preempted my anticipated progress.

It is over half done though. I’ve got to finish the wide band of blue I am working on, add one more set of yellow, white and yellow, then the final band of blue and border to complete the project. Hopefully that will be sometime this week.

I’ve also received two books to review, so I am splitting my time between reading and crocheting while I am at home. If I could figure out how to knit or crochet while reading, I’d be much more productive.

Off I go to finish the laundry and get ready for the work week.

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Plum Tree Books

Plum Tree Books.

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Dead Duck Part Deux

Dead Duck Part Deux.

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Blog split

After much debate, I’ve split my knitting life and writing life into separate blogs. If you are a fan of my writing angst, check out my writing blog: lauramhartman@wordpress.com.

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World Book Night a Blast!!

I found out the next best thing to reading a good book is giving away a case of good books! I warmed up with people I knew at work. Gave out a few and everyone was excited.

The place where I planned to give them away got changed at the last minute. I have O- blood. As a universal donor, Heartland  Blood Center calls me often, and over the weekend they called with an urgent need for O- so I went right after work on Monday, World Book Night. I figured, what the heck, may as well give blood and books at the same time. Too bad it wasn’t a vampire novel…

I carried in as many as I could and started handing them out right away. The gal behind the desk said she didn’t read much, but it looked really good and she was going to give it a try. YES!!! Everyone was so excited it was really, really fun. Picture me reclining in the donor chair, squeezing the koosh ball to keep my blood flowing out, handing a book to each tech that passed me.

One young woman walked around with it under her arm, stopping every few minutes to read a page. 🙂

After I was finished, the volunteer in the back thanked me again for the book and asked more about World Book Night while I sipped my diet coke. A gentleman and teen started chatting and waited until I was done to go with me to the car to get their free book.

Thanks to World Book Night, Jodi Picoult for  waiving her royalties on the donated books (if you haven’t read My Sister’s Keeper, the book I gave away, you have to!!) , all the book publishers for making this possible And Anderson’s Books in Naperville for being a pick up spot.

Watch for next year’s give away and participate – it was awesome.

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World Book Night

I am so excited to be a book giver tomorrow night for US World Book night! Thanks to all the sponsors and Anderson’s Book Store in Naperville, IL for helping distribute the books. I am giving away My Sister’s Keeper  by Jodi Picoult. It is an awesome book!!

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

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Torn

I am torn. Should I keep mingling and mixing writing and knitting on one blog? As my dear friend Leslie chides me, I don’t post very much as it is!

Are posts about book reviews boring to knitters? Speaking of reviews, I have a new one posted a http://www.thegenreview.com. Ajjiit, Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic by Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik, Illustrated by Andrew Trabbold is an interesting book of short stories based upon Inuit folklore. Check out the review and the book!

Are posts of my efforts to sell my first picture book boring for knitters or those who don’t have or know any kids? On that I can tell you trying to find a home for what you write is much more difficult than actually writing! But I’ll keep the interested parties informed as I work on it.

Lastly, are readers bored with my knitting angst? So far this year I’ve only completed squares for a Christmas afghan,  pair of socks and a baby afghan. Hum, not much needlework for 3 months. Will post pics soon.

 

 

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