Getting Over My Shyness

Since I haven’t been out in public for a long time, it is hard for me to approach someone and ask, do you read?  You do?  Would you like a business card, I am an author and this is my first book.

I had worked retail for ten long years and I retired from it when I met my husband.  It took me ten years before I liked Christmas, again.  Oh, the horrors of retail and Christmas!  I could tell you some serious horror war stories about retail and Christmas.

This is why around Christmas and every other time of the year, I try to be nice to the person behind the register.  I am also nice to pharmacy personnel since I worked for five years in a pharmacy as a tech.  Never going back to that one.  Some of the people were great, they understood that the pharmacists needed time to fill those prescriptions, check for contraindications, and call the doctor when one came up.  Then there were the others….Grrr!

These days, I find myself writing at the weirdest times.  I have to explain to non-writers how this happens.  I mean, an idea pops into my brain at the strangest times.  I have had one pop into my brain at 3 am and I am thinking, I have to get my lap top.  Then I have been driving down the road and I am thinking, I hope I remember it until I get home.  I am not packing a lap top wherever I go.

Writing is something like painting yarns and dyeing yarns, when a color pops into my brain, it would stay and haunt me, I would be in the fabric store and I would start putting those ideas stuck in my brain into fabrics with my sister staring at me like I had lost my mind.  I would turn to her and say, sorry, yarn.

Oh?  Yes, yarn.  Now, since I have started writing full time, I don’t have much time for knitting and I have one sock on the needles that needs to be finished and sent with washing instructions to my oldest brother.  Then I have to research and write the pattern for my sister in law’s socks.  I no longer write patterns for public view because I am of the opinion as a long time sock knitter to try that sock on as you knit it.  Might as well, it is part of the craft.  I like to try them on to see what that pretty lace design looks like on my foot.  So, for everyone who owns a pair of my socks, I have tried that baby on.  I would even write it in the pattern to try that sock on.  Measure on your own foot when to start the toe.  I knit from the cuff down.  I can knit it from toe up but, I prefer to knit it from the cuff down, easier and quicker for me.

I can talk yarn and knitting all day long.  I have to finish crocheting my nieces jacket.  She hasn’t asked for it but, I know she wants the thing.  It is sitting on a box waiting for me to finish it.  I will get to it later.  I have a sock to finish.

Then there is the whole knee thing…I am in agony with it.  Stupid knee.  I had forgotten how horrible my knee brace really is and the pain associated with knee pain.  I have been hobbling around on it and going to the grocery store is out because I can’t stand to hobble around on it for long.  Just short trips.

I am a klutz and I have faced this, I just wish it didn’t take so long to heal.  I have to get my whiny out.  I have done that, and I am moving on.

I will try to approach complete strangers and say, I am not a crazy person, I am an author, and I want the world to know, I have written a book.  I am not sure if you will like it or not but, I wrote one, that is published, and I have four more at home on my computer.  One just came out of beta reading, and is headed to the editor early spring 2018.  One is heading to beta reading soon.  I have to go back through it and fix what I can and then send it out to my beta readers.

If you are on Facebook and you want to be a beta reader, go click on my LL Neal page and that is where I find my beta readers.  I ask if anyone would like to read my new books that are unedited, they might change, after editing, and I go on from there.  I am looking for one more beta reader for my third book.

Now…off to the races, er lunch.

A Sock Is Done, 2nd One on the Needles

I finished one sock for my oldest brother, top photo, cast on for the second sock, bottom photo, and I haven’t written a thing on the fifth book.  Life has been happening, again.

Life likes to intrude into my writing, its called house cleaning and I hate it.  Yep, I hate cleaning but, it is a necessary evil.

Then as I was thinking I was moving on with my cleaning and being good, I was feeding my dogs, and I fell off of my flip flops. I have no idea how I did it.  It just happened and now I am in my giant knee brace, I never thought I would be thankful to see the big ugly thing, knee brace, but this morning I was so happy to see it.  I was in agony for two days and I am still in agony but, it is stabilized agony.  My flip flops are flat, not the stacked ones.  Talent, pure and simple.

It is what it is.  Nothing more.

So, now that I am back to knitting on socks, I find myself bored with plain socks but most men do not like designs on their socks.  I love knitting lace socks and I design them when I have time but, I am stuck with plain boring socks right now.  It is slowly killing me.  Arrgh!  It is so boring.

I am trying to go as fast as I can to finish this sock so, I can knit lace socks.

I know some people think it is strange to have a romance writer who knits socks.  Hey, I knit to relax and I find myself thinking of my characters as I knit.

I am thankful for my darling husband who at times makes me crazier than a opossum in a fig tree but, he is wonderful at other times.  I would be lost without him.  He has been wonderful each time I have been off of my feet, he is really good at triage, he can bandage me up, and get me to the ER when it is needed.  He replaced my crutch tips, and grips when they needed it on my crutches.  By the way, crutches suck.  Hold my purse and I can cruise on my crutches.

Monday, I had to do swimming pool cleaner repair.  I have to say, they just don’t make pool cleaners like they used to.  Ernie, our Polaris 360 ripped a drive band, not a problem, I have parts for my pool cleaner in my parts drawer and I managed to put the drive band on and decided to change both.  I changed his tires, since the old ones were really worn and wearing to one side.  I managed to get him back together and something else broke on it.  Grr.  I had several choice words to say about it and then I broke another item on it.  I managed to get it together minus the two broken pieces.  I get it back into the water after the hubby put it back on the hose and I have to go back and change a setting, he isn’t crawling the walls like he should.  So, when I can hobble outside and get my screwdriver, I have to reset the setting on the thing.

I had to relearn how to upload photos from my camera onto my computer.  I find I am in that category of people, middle age and I need a teenager to help me deal with this thing.  I finally remembered how to do it and did it.  My older sister asks her 14 year old daughter to help her out with her cellphone.  I was hoping I wasn’t going to be one of those people.  I might be.  Scary!



Writer’s Block

Recently, as I was pondering my story for my fifth book, then it hit, writer’s block.  It is a dreaded thing.  I realized that I can’t look at the book, I have to step away and let it go.

I did just that.  I walked away and let the book sit.  I did everything I could to stay away from it.  I knitted a sock, I didn’t think about it.  I read murder mysteries, no romances.

Last night, it hit, inspiration, out of the blue.  I wrote two thousand words in one night.  It was back to pouring out of me.  I couldn’t type fast enough.  I realized when I looked at the time, several hours had passed.

I need to finish knitting the sock, I have to knit the toe section and then I can start the second one.  My heart isn’t into knitting right now.  I have a long list to complete of promised socks.  I am hoping the second pair will go quicker, I have plans to knit lace socks.  I love knitting lace socks.  When I finish that pair of socks, I am waiting to hear about two other pairs, I have promised to knit.  I am knitting myself a new pair, as well.  I knit myself a new pair each year.  I have cold feet in the winter and my feet are sensitive.  Hand knit wool socks are so comfortable and amazingly soft on my feet.

I just want to sit and write on my book but, then nothing gets done and my household falls apart.  I have to take the time to do some much needed cleaning around here.  That is my hardest thing, taking time to do my daily chores and not spending all day at my computer, writing.  I have to learn to balance both out.


Writing a New Series

I found myself thinking of a new series and yep, I started it.  I have my regency historical romances that I am still working on and now, I have started more modern times romances.  It will be a whole new series.

I know, chaos.  I am finding that I am really loving writing both books.  My main character in the start of this series is really down to Earth and she is trying to make her way through life.  She has a series of hurdles and lessons she must learn before she finds her true love.

I will be writing books about her quirky neighbors as well.  There are several characters who remind me of people I have met through the years.  Life down in the South is interesting, we have character abounding and characters.

Hell, some of those characters are family.  They would be pissed off if I wrote about them.  Pure entertainment, though.  They might not see it that way so, I can’t do it.

I hope it will be an interesting read for everyone.

Knitting Socks and Writing a Book…Busy Times

I have a line of people who want hand knit socks from me.  Right now, I have a new pair of socks on my needles for my oldest brother.  I am also trying to write book number 5.

It takes me pretty much two weeks for me to knit a pair of socks.  Then take in that I have household chores to do.  Being an author is great but, trying to find time to do the daily chores cuts into writing time.

I am sure the hubby likes his clean clothes weekly.  I don’t think he will like it if I quit washing clothes and dishes.  I am also the cook at our house during the week, he cooks on the weekend which helps out so much.

I asked for a fold up wagon for my anniversary present.  I love this wagon, I tried it out yesterday by taking it along to the water park.  It worked so well that my sister actually told her husband that she needs one.  I found mine at Academy, near me.  It isn’t the $100+ one, mine is an Academy one.  It works and the price tag was nice.  It carried all of my crap to the table and back to the car with no one sinking from exhaustion from the heat.  My niece, even asked for one.  She thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Hubby cooked a brisket today in his new smoker, I gave him one for his anniversary present.  We had an old electric one that died a horrible death.  He now has a propane one.  He loves it.  I love when he smokes something on the weekends, it works out well for both of us.  We had family over today for the brisket and all the trimmings.  I bought some ice cream and we had the sundae bar, which lets everyone make what they want on their ice cream.

I had crocheted my niece a cardi and after going through the pattern, I had to cut 6 inches off of the bottom, it was too long.  Then the sleeves if I would have followed the directions through, would have been 6 feet long.  Unless you are a chimpanzee, it wouldn’t fit.  So, I tried the thing on and me being larger than my skinny niece, I realized that it wouldn’t work.  The cardi called for size L hook, and the yarn they are using is worsted weight.  There is no damn way that the L hook works with it.  So, I decided to follow their directions and used it.  Never again.  After this cardi, that pattern is out of here.  I am happy that she loves it.  She told me that it is soft.  That is all that matters, she wants to wear it.  Makes my day when someone loves something that I have made for them.

The socks that I am knitting, the yarn is one of my hand painted yarns, it is called Celery and it is a merino/nylon yarn.  The needles I am using are Addi turbo Sock Rockets in US 3.  I chose this specific yarn because it is resistant to carpet better than some of the other yarns I have used.  I love Opal sock yarns for people who have carpet, it resists the carpet eating it better than the bfl/silk yarn I have used before.  I have the holes in the heels of those socks to prove my point.  I love the socks though and I need to darn the heels.

After my list of socks gets knitted up, I am going to knit myself a new pair of socks.  Notice everyone else gets socks before me, the actual knitter.  I was thinking of knitting some gloves in some of the wool I have in my yarn stash.  I have a huge yarn stash.  Doesn’t every knitter, though?

Then there is the fabric stash, I have several quilts that need to be finished.  Yes, I am busy crafting away over here.  I saw the neatest video today on making wire rings out of half hard wire, this wire they were using was a rose gold and they made the most beautiful rose ring out of it.  I saw it and thought, ooh, I can order that and make some of those, then I realized, wait, I have too much on my plate as it is right now.  I would have to give up sleep.  I am not going to do that.

I have even let people know that I am not professionally knitting right now.  I don’t have the time and I really have a problem with someone who demands that I make them something and how much they are willing to pay me.  Uh, no!  That is not how I work.  If you want me to make you something, I will give you my price.  I am not going to be told to knit something.  It is called asking.  Ask me if I will knit you something, and I will consider it.  My going rate for a sweater is $1000.00.   No typo.  I don’t have time to do it but, if someone really wants one, that is my price right now.  It takes a long time to knit a sweater and I hate knitting sleeves.  They suck!  If you want one, then I will send you to my mother in law, she knits the things and she loves to do it.

I generally have time to do some charity knitting but, with writing taking over my time, I don’t even have time to do my usual charity knitting.  I make hats for less fortunate out of wool.  Acrylic sweats and it doesn’t breathe like wool does.  I know so many people tell me that it is too hot here in Texas for wool.  No, it isn’t.  Wool breathes and it will keep a person warm without the nasty feeling of sweat pooling and then getting cold from it.

I wish I had time to sit and spin some fiber but, as you guessed it, no time for that, right now.  I have some primo fibers in a tote from when  I belonged to the fiber of the month club.  If you have the cash and you spin, I highly recommend it.  Paradise Fibers has it.  I had it for a year and then I stopped it since I was cutting expenses.  It gives spinners some really nice fibers, and it will let a person try blending new things and if you really love something, they offer a discount for a bigger batch of the one you love.

I want to do some writing tonight.  Everyone have a beautiful weekend wherever you are.



I am Published!

Here it is, my first book on Kindle and Kindle unlimited on Amazon.

Paperbacks will be following at a later date.

I’m so excited to see my book published and out for people to enjoy.  If you do read it, please leave me a review, reviews help authors sell more books.  It also helps new authors get established.


One of my beta readers came back with a suggestion for one of my chapters.  The headache of it all.  I had to re-write a chapter and then trying to get it to work with what was written before.  That took two days.

I am so glad I am able to write on the fly.  If I had a outline or chart, ay yi yi!

Soon, I am going to have to start my editing pass on my third book.  I am trying to concentrate on book five at the moment.  It is very different than the other four.  I feel I am becoming a better writer with each book.

My hubby is working on getting my first book ready for Kindle Unlimited.  Hopefully, it will be ready, soon.  He is doing an amazing job on my book.

Once it is in Kindle Unlimited, I will release the title to the public.  For now, it is just my first book.


Beta Readers

I am trying to find beta readers for my second book.  I thought it would be easy to find readers for it.  Everyone who I have asked is avoiding me like I have the plague.  Really people?

The book has some steamy action in it and I feel really weird in asking people I know to read it.  One of my many nieces pointed out to me how creepy she feels thinking of me writing sex scenes because I am her aunt.  One of my older sisters told her to gloss over it and not read it.  How is that supposed to help me out?  I want to know.

I am going to ask my best friend to see if she will beta read for me.  I am hoping she has the time, if not, her husband who does read romances.  He reads them to her, which I think is sweet and amazing. Not many men admit they read romance novels and to their wives, no less.

My hubby just groans and he did read one, I asked him to read.  He wasn’t thrilled by it but he did do it.  He is more of a sci-fi and fantasy reader.  Romances aren’t his thing.

I have found I can’t read another romance when I am writing one.  Nope, not going to happen.  I am currently reading a suspense novel.

I am also working on a crocheted cardi for my 14 year old niece, the drama queen.  I positively hate when she tsks at me and gives me my attitude back at me that I had back in the day.  It seems she is more like me and this really irritates my sister to no end.  I think it is funny.  Just wait until 17, she is going to have her hands full.  I was hell on wheels at 17.  It took 30 years to mellow me out some.  I still have my days, though.

I have to finish working on the cardi, and then I have two pairs of socks to knit.  I was looking in my yarn stash for the yarn I want to use and I found one today and I think the pair for my brother, I am going to use some Opal  yarn.  I love this yarn because it is tough, it withstands carpet very well.

For some reason lately, I just don’t even feel like painting any yarn.  My goal, I think is to finish writing book four and then start book five.  New ideas have been bouncing around in my head lately and that tells me, time to get back to writing.

I also want to start on a new quilt.  There is one slightly large problem, time.  I would have to give up on sleep.  No, that isn’t going to happen.  I have several quilts I need to finish.

Procrastination has played a big part in me not finishing those quilts.  I admit it, I do procrastinate and it usually involves knitting the second sock.  It now involves the quilts that need to be finished.

Back to finding my beta readers.

You Want What?

I recently asked a question, it was about the birthday sock.  I owe my oldest brother a pair, he has never had a pair of the things, so, I thought, well, time to offer him his first pair.  Not a problem.

I had to ask the question via one of my sisters who was on the phone speaking with him at the time.  I was asking his shoe size, I get a reply via the family group page on FB.  Then I get another reply from my SIL, she wants a pair of the birthday socks but, she wants hers stretchy.  No problem there at all.  I have just the yarn picked out for her.  I am still trying to decide about my brother’s yarn.  Do I go with a hand painted yarn I created or do I go with commercial yarn out of the stash.  I pulled out several skeins of commercial yarns and I am trying to decide if they are manly enough.  I can pick out yarns for the ladies, no problem.

I am still trying to decide.

We were at a family dinner on Wednesday night and a pair of birthday socks were being handed over to one of my nieces to give to her SIL, who is also a niece, her first pair of the birthday socks.  My hubby remarked I was using the family delivery system.  We employ it every now and then when I don’t feel like making that 100 mile journey to just deliver a pair of socks.  I didn’t want to mail them since I didn’t want to pay for the postage.  Yes, I was being cheap.  I knew someone was going in the direction and would deliver them for me.

As I am thinking of socks, I have my husband asking me to do all of these things associated with getting my first book ready for publishing.  He has to keep reminding me since I forget everything.

I have a dog who seems to love cheap pink yarn, he keeps pulling a skein out of the box sitting on the floor, I am in the middle of crocheting a cardigan for my 14 year old niece who hates scratchy things, so, I am using a nicer acrylic yarn that isn’t scratchy but, soft.  I have a pair of socks on the knitting needles, and I am about crazy from this dog.  I keep telling him no, he just looks at me, wags his tail and ignores me…he’s a terrier.

My husband tells me, that I am no longer allowed to pick out the next dog, I spotted the terrier at the local pet adoption and thought he was the cutest thing I had ever seen.  Yeah, tell me again, why we adopted this terror.  Oh yes, he was cute.  Grrr!  

Now, why is this dog attracted to pink yarn?  I can’t figure it out.  No idea why he likes acrylic yarn.  He doesn’t bother any of the wool in the house.

I am currently writing the fourth book in my series.  I have stopped and I am thinking about how I will go on with the book.  The weird thing is as I sit down to write, it comes pouring out of me.  I am not an outliner, I am what is called a pantser, in other words, I write by the seat of my pants.  I laughed when my husband told me this.  My husband is completely opposite, he has an outline.  I don’t, I have a notebook with my characters and I have them written down as to who they are and what they are like.

This whole endeavor would not have gotten off of the ground without my husband, he is amazing at computer skills.  I am completely awful with a computer.  I know he shakes his head at me when I do something completely wrong.  I am creative, not technical.

A New Chapter Begins

How does a fiber artist become a writer?  A challenge was thrown down and I accepted it.  My older sister, Melinda, challenged me to start writing, again.  I hadn’t written a thing other than e-mails since college.

She noticed I was becoming bored with my current job, it was fun while the ride lasted and I will always fall back to knitting or creating with yarn and fiber when I have the time.  I still knit socks for birthday presents with hand painted yarns but, there was a need to find another outlet for my creativity.

I was bored with the romance books I had been reading and I was finding myself throwing them down in disgust, it was the same old story over and over.  The sad thing is that the characters were blending together from different authors, and it felt like they were all using the same characters.

I found myself picking up my laptop and writing that first sentence.  That first sentence started it all, I found myself sitting up at 3 am and it was pouring out of me.  My first book was written, I was stunned.  Yes, stunned that I had created something for others to read and hopefully, enjoy.