Cedric, the Butler

I recently asked of my Facebook author page who is your favorite character in The Duke’s Dangerous Darling. I stated that my favorite character is Cedric, the London butler.

He is very endearing to the family.  The daughters all love him and he is quite the character.  He comes across as formal until the drinking starts and he is right there with the family.  He laughs with them, he cries with them and he drinks with them.

He can be stiff and formal to strangers and then turn around and be the life of the party the next second.  He is a favorite of Lady Poppy and Sir Henry.

When I wrote his character, I wanted him to be someone that the girls were able to turn to when their parents had other ideas.  He is like that favorite Uncle that a lot of people have.  He is a rascal, too.  I think he is a well rounded character with a sinfully delicious taste in fine brandy.

 

Knitting Socks

The start of Patsy’s socks.

This is the start of another pair of socks.  I finished the celery socks last week and this week is the start of this pair.

Finished Celery socks

The celery socks are in the hands of their new owner, my brother, George.

newly painted yarn

I painted this yarn yesterday, this yarn is going to be a pair of socks for my niece, Maribeth.

hand painted sock yarn.

This yarn, I can’t wait to knit with.  It is a fascinating color mix.  I thought I would see what the three colors would look like and then knit a pair of socks with it.  If nothing else, I will have a neat looking pair of socks.  That happens some times, I try a color combo to paint and then I knit myself a pair of socks.  If I don’t like how it knits up, I will rip it off of the needles and put the yarn aside.

Now, I am taking a break from writing.  I just haven’t had any good ideas pop into my brain.  I am still working on book 6 of the Tumbling Green series and I want to start another series after I finish all 7 books in the Tumbling Green series.  Yes, 7 books, total.  I have had several requests to write a story about Lady Poppy and Sir Henry, how they met and their life story, or the beginning of it.

I am also thinking about sharing one of my sock knitting patterns here for everyone who knits to enjoy.  I am doing a simple sock pattern right now, see first picture.  The yarn is Wintry Kisses, I painted it a couple of years ago.  The yarn is a merino wool/silk blend.  It is one of my favorite yarns to knit with.  The sock is being knit on US 3 addi turbo sock rockets with 24 inch cables.  I have employed 4 stitch markers for this pattern.  I also make those, when I have the time.  I haven’t had time for beading in a while.

My sock list is closed this year.  I usually open the list up at the beginning of the year and family members can put their names on the list to have one pair of custom socks knit for them.  It takes me usually 2 weeks or more to knit one pair of socks.  Nowadays, it is taking longer since I have been writing.

One person asked me to knit something for them but, I said, no.  I am not knitting professionally right now.  I don’t have the time, I am finishing the sock list for the year and then I am taking a much needed break for myself.

 

Starting the Sock Heel

I finally have a sock heel to work on.  I was working on the cuff and took a break to finish book 5 and start writing book 6.  Now, I needed a break from writing for a bit and well, the sock needs to get finished.  I am working on this sock today and I guess I will see how far I can get.

In other news, next year promises to be exciting, I have most of my books scheduled for editing throughout next year.  Thank you to everyone who has taken a chance on a new author and read my book.  I was only able to book my editor for February of 2018 for the second book.  I have since put my down payments in for the rest of them to be edited for next year.  This is a lengthy process.

I hate editing my books. I hate having to go back and fix the problems.  I love writing them, it doesn’t feel like a job.  I realized that the other day, I am happy with what I have chosen to do.  I hope this feeling never ends.  I loved painting yarns and then one day, the love stopped.  I was bored with it.

I still love knitting lace and I find it fascinating, I just don’t think my brother would like wearing lace socks.  I know he would look at me like I had gone round the bend.

So, I sit here, working away on this sock, hoping it will finally be done and I can go on to knitting the next pair in lace for my sister-in-law.

I hope to be able to finish knitting the line of socks I have and then I can go finish several quilts.  I had started them a couple of years ago and honestly, I just haven’t had the time to work on them.  I need to clean off my cutting table and move the projects that are on the table to another area.  I have pillowcases I have sewn for veterans, they need to make their way to the charity of my choice.  I was hoping to get other ladies involved with this and one of the ladies who would have helped, has sadly passed away from cancer.  She was a ray of sunshine in a dark forest, always bubbly, always smiling, loved helping others and I miss her.

What does sock knitting and romance writing have in common?  Not a damn thing.  I just love to knit socks.  I love to write romances.  I have found that plain socks are boring and socks with lace are easy for me and go really fast.  I love that, I think the challenge keeps me going back.

I was telling my sister that I felt guilty, here I am enjoying writing so much that it doesn’t feel like work.  I feel like I should be miserable so, I can say I have a job.  Sounds really weird, doesn’t it?  I have had several jobs and I was miserable with it and I found that I had to struggle some mornings to get out of bed.  Then there were those days that I played hooky.  I didn’t want to go to work so, I didn’t.  Now, I find that I actually love getting out of bed, except on laundry day, Monday, and I find that I love turning on my laptop and falling into the little world that I created.  Yes,  I love my job.

Then one day, I was perusing a knitting catalog, and found the most gorgeous shawl pattern, ooh, I thought, I have the perfect yarn for it.  It screams out for a red merino lace, and guess who has that color?  Me!  I have the yarn for it, and I have to finish the socks and I am going to knit it for me.  Yes, me.  No one else.

I am not going to feel guilty about it, either.  I usually do, don’t ask me why.  Maybe it stems from me being the youngest of 8 and this responsibility I have had to help my family out when I can.  My parents drummed this into me from an early age.  Family comes first, everyone else second.  I am going to change this up for a while, I am going to come first and then my family.  They all have children of their own.  I sadly don’t but, I have accepted this, my temperament wouldn’t allow me to deal with kids, I don’t have patience, ask my hubby, he can attest to this, and I really love the peacefulness of my home.  I am chaos enough, and I really don’t want to share my peacefulness with a child.  Hell, Percy Roy, my terrier, is enough in the way of destruction and wrecking the peace.  Never again will I own a terrier, although he has taught me to find laughter in the most mundane things, like his pronking around the backyard, hopping like a bunny rabbit after a grass hopper, I had to hold onto the sink as I watched him one day, out the window, he had me laughing so hard, I nearly fell over.

Percy finds such joy in the smallest things and he has a one track mind.  He is destructor, and he seems to enjoy that role the most.  My sweetheart is my Corgi, Ody.  He is such a happy doggy.  He is nine and I love petting his squishy booty.  He hates this and growls at me, he will get up and wander off.  He loves his Fat Cat Chicken.  It has one wing right now and we are on our second one.  I have had to embroider the thing together, already.  That chicken has drool all over it, missing the one wing, and teeth marks everywhere.  I have heard stitches pop but, it is intact.  The other one, that died, lost both wings, I couldn’t find them, the stitches popped and I couldn’t sew it back together since the filling was spilling out and it was rotten.  Out it went and in came the new chicken into their toy box.  They don’t care that it is new, it is the chicken.  Oh, and the trout is another favorite of theirs.  It is in one piece but, it is a fish torpedo, and they love the thing.  It still squeaks, which is completely amazing.  I keep telling my family members who have chewers to get the Fat Cat toys.  They last.

In other exciting writing news….

I will be starting a new series of books that are more modern and I will announce when I will be publishing them after my Tumbling Green series are written.  I have one of the books started but, I am thinking I will go back and start a whole new book to announce the series.

I have been thinking of writing a pre-Tumbling Green series about how Lady Poppy and Sir Henry met, and their story.  Not sure when I will write that one but, I have been thinking about it.

Have a wonderful week…..

 

My New Picture

This is me.  My new picture, I took before I headed off to a Mary Kay makeup party for my niece, Kate.  I got all gussied up.  I decided to take a couple of selfies and this is one of them.  The party was fun.

Later that night was one of my sister’s birthday party, that was fun seeing everyone.  We were tired by the time we got home.

Yesterday, I was able to sit down and write a couple of chapters.  This morning, I wrote a couple more after the laundry was taken care of.

My hero is giving me some fits but, I am working him out, slowly.  Some men, just have to push our buttons, I guess.  Not to mention the buttons he is pushing on the lady he is interested in.  Sigh!  I would have beat the man over the head already, then again, I am a modern woman, not a lady stuck in the Victorian age.  She has to do things as Society dictates and then some.

Thank God, I don’t have to date, anymore, it was bad enough when I was still single.  I am so thankful for my husband, he is a great guy.  He can still push my buttons, though.

My niece, Kate was asking how I met my husband and she couldn’t believe my answer.  She was totally shocked.  This was before computer dating so, it makes sense.  I placed an ad in The Houston Press and my husband answered that ad.  We hit it off from the first date.  He makes me laugh like a loon at times and after our first year of Hell, er, marriage, we decided we can stay together, through anything after surviving that.

 

 

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.

Book Promotion

LL Neal’s first book, The Duke’s Dangerous Darling, is currently available for free on Amazon. We’re hoping this will generate some good reviews over the next week.

If you’re interested in reading or reviewing it, click on the cover below and get a copy today.

The Duke's Dangerous DArling

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.