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Hobbies for Writers

Writing and editing, although I love them, are jobs. A writer can’t write all the time, so she needs hobbies. Mine are crocheting and cats! In fact, before I was a published author, I was a world famous website person with the Meankitty Gallery. This was long before social media, back when cats and the internet first started combining forces to take over the world. 1999 or thereabouts.

Since then my Meankitty website–a treasure trove of pictures and stories from real people about their real and often horrible cats–has fallen by the wayside. Nobody visits anymore, nobody sends submissions anymore, and my energy gets directed to other things.

That being said, I STILL love Meankitty and think you will, too! I have worked with my web guru to set up a new design for it and I’m testing it at www.meankitty.net. Would love to hear your thoughts!

Jody W & Meankitty

Crooked Shit

I mean this literally, not that I’m getting hired to work in 2018’s administration at the White House

Clearly in my “inappropriate” category over at Etsy, I’ve added a poopy little offering to my side hustle!

Poop. And not just any poop but some real crooked shit.

Sometimes the poop is even dubious of just how crooked it is — or maybe it’s dubious about you?

Who wants a straight face, anyway?

Anyway. I use my time wisely.

Jody W. & Meankitty

Kindle Worlds

As you may have heard, Kindle Worlds is going kaput in the middle of July. I have two books in the Magic, New Mexico Kindle World owned by author SE Smith — SILVER BOUND and RED AT NIGHT.

Those books are no longer in Kindle Unlimited and will soon be REPUBLISHED in a new, exciting venture I can’t wait to tell you about once the details are final!

You’ll still be seeing this gorgeousness, though…

Jody & Meankitty

Tropey Tropes!

Been a lot of criticism lately of the way genre novels (and others) often employ “tropes” – what MW online calls “a common or overused theme or device.” The assumption, of course, is that the occurrence of a trope in a book means the author is full of cliches, has no imagination, and cannot write their way out of a soggy paper bag. I mean, if you were a REAL writer, you’d come up with stuff that was so unexpected and meaningful that nobody has ever thought of it before!

Except…

We’re humans, and we think up shit constantly. No matter what it is, somebody already thought of that. Tropes are actually, for writers, more of a shorthand way of identifying or including elements in a story that readers are known to seek. Tropes are akin to genre fiction itself, except in more detail — they’re like going to a restaurant that has things on the menu that you recognize. You order spaghetti (or romance books) because you want some damn spaghetti. And you order meatballs on your spaghetti (or a best friends to lovers trope) because you like you some damn meatballs.

The meatballs and spaghetti at this restaurant, and the best friends to lovers story by this author, taste different from other restaurants. And you love them more or less. You might even recommend them to friends. And you love spaghetti and meatballs regardless, even if you just had a plateful last week.

Because spaghetti. And best friends to lovers romances.

Am I right?

Hint: yes, I am right.

ANYWAY, this is all just because I found this list of tropes on author Mindy Klasky’s website and I wanted to share it!

https://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/for-writers/romance-tropes/

I’m also going to start including the tropes I sprinkle into my books at the bottom of the blurb, for those of you looking for spaghetti WITH meatballs.

Jody W.

PS — Best friends to lovers is one of my favorites. My stories that employ this trope are: Kiss the Bride, Liam’s Gold, Holiday on Ice, and Pack and Coven 

 

Thor Helmet for Dolls and Peens

I wrote my first crochet pattern!

Doll-sized Thor Helmet

crochet helmet

© Jody Wallace 2018
www.jodywallace.com

Yarn: Sport weight or worsted. Hook: F.
Stitches: sc, hdc, dc, tc, sl st (American terms)

Crochet a simple sc (single crochet) beanie to fit your small amigurumi until it reaches the eyebrow area. This can approximate whatever pattern you used to shape the head. If you’re making it for a fashion doll or other store-bought item, a basic beanie pattern is:

  1. 6 sc in magic ring, do not join.
    2. 12 sc (2 sc in each around)
    3. 18 sc (2 sc, 1 sc around)
    4. 18 sc so it starts to curve)
    5. 24 sc (2 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc around)
    6. 24 sc so it curves more
    7. If it’s the right circumference now, then 24 sc until the beanie is where you want it. If it’s not, keep adding 6 sc per row (or every other row) until it is wide enough and then sc around until it fits.
    8. You can add a fancier edge on the last row – back or front loop only; sl st; alternate hdc, dc; fpsc; etc.

Note: If you skip the non-increase rows, the resulting hat will be less pointy. Basically do whatever fits your doll. This one is a bit too big for our Lady Thor.

Now for the Wings – Chin Guard

Base:
Ch 11 (or whatever length is needed to go from chin to mid-head), turn, 10 sc, ch 1, turn, 10 sc. This is the base part.

Wings:
Ch 4, turn, tc 2x in same, dc, dc, hdc, hdc, sc, sc, sl st, ch 1, turn. This should leave a couple stitches from the base untouched.

Sl st in first sc (ignoring the sl st from the last row), [ch 3, sl st in first ch (picot)], sl st in next st, picot, 6x total. Once you have 6 picot, the next st is a sc, not a sl st, and the picots are 4 ch, not 3 ch. The two bigger picots should line up with the 2 triple crochet st. To finish off, after you have completed the last picot, sl st in the same st, finish off.

Attach one on each side so they are balanced around the face of whoever is going to wear this hat. If they curl up too much, you can crochet the base part again (without the wings) and sew it to the underside of your chin guards. This will stiffen it up.

Note: If your hat wearer has a smaller head than this, you can condense the wings pattern accordingly. Such as, if the desired length of the base is 7 sc, then for the “wings” row you would do the two tc in the first stitch and then maybe 1 dc, 2 hdc, 1 sc. Experiment and see what has the right proportions for your doll and then duplicate it for the other side. It’s such a short / easy pattern that frogging it and trying again isn’t as painful as it would be with, say, a human hat!

You can crochet the wings in white or add other embellishments – buttons, beads, glitter!

This exists as a printable PDF at Ravelry.

*

Feel free to make this hat for personal use or to sell, but don’t re-sell or claim the original pattern or photos as your own. Please include a link to me if you post your creation/sell these hats! Give credit where credit is due. www.jodywallace.com

Fun Newish Cat Themed Venture

Long before I was a published author, I loved me some kitties. I have maintained the used-to-be-famous website www.meankitty.com since 1999.  Seriously, when the internet was a long younger, I WAS A CONTENDER! I got tons of mail every day, tons of submissions, and I miss the fun of people sending me cat photos and stories constantly.

Now about to be in its fourth incarnation, I’m redesigning and reformatting ALL THE BILLIONS OF KITTIES for everyone’s delectation, adding some human-based genre fiction commentary on some of the images, because why not?

You can check it out at www.meankitty.net! Want to be a part of it? Ask me how!

Jody W & Meankitty

Winter Holiday Story Roundup!

And by “roundup” I mean MY winter holiday stories, because there are ten billion wonderful winter holiday stories by other people and only THREE by me, which means I have a lot less work to do!

You are more than welcome to hook me up with other winter holiday books in the comments! I particularly love winter Regency stories, anything by Carla Kelly (link to search page of deliciousness: http://amzn.to/2BVnuO0)

Story One:

holiday on ice cover HOLIDAY ON ICE: Book 2 of Tallwood Tall Tales, novella length

Darcy’s got some pretty severe claustrophobia, so how is she going to survive being trapped in an ice storm, in the cab of a truck, on a packed interstate, with the hottest guy she’s ever met? And she really needs to pee, man. Just when you thought Christmas couldn’t get any more stressful.

Find out more or buy it for $2.99 at  AmazonSmashwordsB&NKoboiTunes

Story Two:

  Tallwood Tall Tales PREQUEL (short story)

Winifred Sampson can’t believe Peter Duvall ruined her new cashmere sweater at the honor society banquet and her secret crush, quarterback Chase McKnight, saw the whole thing. When an ice and snow storm hits Tallwood, Tennessee, right before the holidays, it looks like it might be a white Christmas for a change. Will Peter somehow ruin her Christmas too? Or is Mother Nature evil enough without Peter’s help?

Buy it FOR NOTHING everywhere but the Zon (99 cents at the stupid Zon): AmazonB&NiTunesKoboSmashwords

STORY THREE:

Short Story PREQUEL to SPELL FOR SUSANNAH

If the King is fated to love thirteen women before he turns fifty, is he still husband material? One cold, snowy Wintertide Eve, Queen Geneva of Foresta tracks her straying spouse in an attempt to discover where it is he goes at night (a motif that may reoccur later in life, when she has twelve dancing princesses on her hands.)

As she labors over the solution to her husband’s curse, King Reginald is attempting to discover a solution for a problem of his own–and for the entire Middle Kingdoms.

GET IT FREE! Even at the Zon – AmazonB&NiTunesKoboSmashwords

If you’re a reviewer, of course, I will hook you up and then will not stalk you or scream cyber imprecations if you don’t like my book(s).

Jody W. & Meankitty

Meankitty Wants to Know: Lea Kirk

Posting a bit late today because the human is irresponsible. Today’s interview subject is author Lea Kirk. Lea has written a book called MADE FOR HER (and probably some other books) and has already warned me, very sassily, that they are a no-cat household. So we’ll start out with a score of negative one.

Meankitty Wants To Know…

1) So you’ve written a book set in SE Smith’s wacky world of Magic, New Mexico. How many cats are in it?

Two. And they were lucky the heroine’s boss wasn’t hungry or they wouldn’t have made it out of the alley.

MK: OH MY DOG what kind of horrible book is this! I mean, there are cats, which is better than average, but…

2) If there are no cats in it, please explain how cats would probably have made the book better (hint: they definitely would have made the book better). If there are cats how would MORE cats have made the book EVEN BETTER?

I like cats just fine, and so does my antagonist–for completely different reasons. He says that one cat for each meal he consumed during the course of the story ought to be enough. I think the heroine’s two cats that she had to leave with her mother when she moved away are the perfect amount. They are good cats and don’t deserve to be eaten. (stares down Meankitty but blinks first.) Damn.

MK: If your heroine’s a cat person, she deserves SOOOOOOOOO much better than this. How dare you, madam! Let’s see. Two cats in an alley plus negative one plus two cats at the heroine’s mom’s house plus a hero who eats cats equals NEGATIVE HAIRBALL.

3) Are there cats in any of your other books?

No, but there are horses, chickens, and a very good dog in various books from my Prophecy series.

4) How about books by other authors with cats? Got any favorites?

Greta van der Rol has a new book out called For the Greater Good: Puss in Space. That sounds good, even though I haven’t bought it yet.

5) If you personally could shift into a cat, please tell us how you would utilize this power?

I’d climb a tree and meow until someone called the firemen to rescue me.

MK: I would give you a few positive points for this if you climbed down just as the harried firemen were taking out their ladders and went and twined around their legs while purring.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough to interview more authors after this kind of disappointment. WHO AM I KIDDING?? Bring it on, writer humans. You know how to find me.

Sincerely,

Meankitty