Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Steampunk Kitty Poem by Mel Dawn

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Writing Wellness

I packed it in and quit my day job! What was once a fantastic job providing support to clients turned into a nightmare. About a year ago, after I wrote my novel for the 3-Day Novel Challenge, I made my decision that I would transition into a full-time writer. I'd give my writing career a chance, or shut up and ship out. 

I meticulously did my monthly budget, cut back on expenses, cancelled all subscriptions, made extra cash when I could.

Unfortunately, life had other plans for me. About halfway through the year, my job turned upside down. The workload quadrupled and my job morphed into something unrecognizable. This was not the career that I had originally been hired to do, nor the one I had accepted when I signed the contract. 

Colleagues become stressed out and people went on sick leave. I had more of a support network at my disposal than they did but I wasn't coping much better.

After the one-hundredth day of coming home in tears, I decided enough was enough. It was time for me to leave and do what I wanted. If I never tried, I would never know. Life is short; my own mother barely lived two decades past the age I am now. Did I want to die being unhappy, or did I want to do what I loved?

If I need to get back to a regular-paying job, than I can take one that supports my first career. 

I haven't been off for a month yet, but have been getting into the writing groove. I have a schedule set up four days a week. I know I cannot work for eight hours solid a day, and I know I need breaks, so those are scheduled in. 

What I didn't realize was that for my four working days, that I wouldn't be writing continuously during my allotted times. 

I've spent a great deal of time searching out new markets to write for. I've had to document submission guidelines and make notes, so I can find a market I wish to submit to in the future. I need to tie together markets with my short stories. Today, I became confused when I had three drafts of different short stories in my folder, but no idea where I had intended to submit them to. I had to make up a submission form to keep track of everything. I have folders on my computer set up with different dates, and more folders coming. 

Editing also takes up the greatest amount of time. I've added edit numbers to all my submissions, so I know if they are draft two or draft seven. 

I remembered short stories I wrote years ago and perhaps could find homes for them. I had to dig to the back of my closet to find the disks as those stories were no longer on my computer. 

Some days it's great doing a little of this and a little of that, but tomorrow I'm gearing up to only write brand new stories. This may give me a sense of accomplishment.

I'm hoping that by the beginning of next week I'll have some of my stories submitted for publication.

I'm sure as the weeks pass by, I'll gain more insights into my writing day, and figure out exactly what works for me. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Is there a Doctor in the Soap, errr TARDIS?

Here's a cute soap bar I made last year. I remember I spent a few hours handcrafting my very own TARDIS, but made out of soap, not wood.

I bought a large block of $16 soap for 50% off, plus blue colouring, and a rectangular mold, which also happened to be blue.

I melted the soap in the microwave, then poured it into the mold.

I let it sit for about an hour then popped it out.

I did one more pouring to a shallow depth and let set.

When I was ready to assemble, I grabbed the toothpicks and sliced, diced and chopped until I had a reasonable assemblage of a time machine.

I melted a bit more soap, added red and cut out a light for the top.

Now that my TARDIS is in the past, I’m not certain I would do the assembly method again. Perhaps I will make my own TARDIS mold and pour directly into it.

See the photo above of my wonderful TARDIS! What ever happened to it? Turns out I needed soap in the bathroom one day so I cut it down into blocks and used it all up. In the future I'll be on the lookout for an actual TARDIS mold that will contain more detail.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How to Follow a Blog

When I first started out blogging and reading blogs, I had no idea how to follow them, other than "Add a Bookmark" on my Bookmarks menu. Since then I must have acquired about 2000 Bookmarks, so now I can't find anything, even with the Search feature.

I've slowly learned to add gadgets to my Royal City Blog, to make it easier for people to follow me.

For some reason Google removed the Follow button at the top left for other Blog members, much to the angst of the entire Blogger community.

Here's a few tips about how to Follow in the new way.

1. On the top left of this page is the Google+ share button. If you haven't already signed up for Google+ it will give you an option to do so. Beside this is the "More" link. It will give you three options, Share by email, Share by Twitter and Share by Facebook. This will take you to either Facebook, where you can share the link, or Twitter, where you can share a Tweet. This is an easy way to find your spot when you wish to return to the post later. We'll talk about sharing by email in a bit.

2. Move to the right of the page and find "Subscribe to". Select either Posts or Comments. There are three options on the list: Netvibes, My Yahoo and Atom. This will add a New Content box to your Newsreader/feeder. Right underneath this is the Google+ icon again, in case you missed it at the top of the page.

3. If you don't wish to sign up on all these sites, an easy option is to subscribe by email. Enter your email address in the box under "Follow by Email". You will receive new posts in your mail box. This is an easy way to keep up, without having to visit your favourite blogs each day. As far as I know this is private, the email addresses are not shared with anyone, including the blogger you are following.

4. Scroll to the end of the post. Right underneath Posted by Mel Dawn are several buttons: Email This, Blog This, Twitter, Facebook and Google +.

5. Depending on whether you are viewing the entire blog or have opened up an individual post, there may be another Google + button or Subscribe to Atom feed button at the very bottom of the page.

Please add a comment to the end of this post if you know of other ways I can add gadgets or show people how to Follow.

I hope to see you "Following" my Blog!

Monday, November 4, 2013

50 Ways to Save Money so You Can Attend the Next Dawn Doll Convention

I've been circulating these tips since I first started collecting Dawn Dolls back in 1997. During an online chat, the collectors helped me to compile this list of tips. Originally it was meant to help collectors save money to buy more Dawn Dolls, but with travel expenses so high now, I'm suggesting that you use these tips to save money so that you can attend the 2014 Dawn Doll Convention!

There're always ways to save money and cut back on expenses so you have more money for your Dawn Doll hobby. Here are some tips and tricks to get you to the 2014 convention.

1. Stop eating.
2. Stop car payments.
3. Stop paying rent/mortgage.
4. Stop paying insurance.
5. There is such a thing as a free lunch - call your friends!
6. Hitchhike to work.
7. Don't go anywhere.
8. Don't answer the phone, it might be creditors.
9. Stop paying Visa/Mastercard bills.
10. Furnish home with castoffs.
11. Eat at soup kitchens.
12. Steal toilet paper from work.
13. Run an extension cord to the outer hallway outlet if you live in an apartment building.
14. Splice into neighbour's cable.
15. Pimp out hubby.
16. Steal stuff like staplers from work and auction off on online auction sites.
17. Eat your co-workers' lunches from the fridge.
18. Call long distance from work.
19. Speak a foreign language when the creditors call again.
20. Take out your neighbour's laundry in the laundry room and put your own in, before they notice!
21. Ask your neighbor for sugar, then go back the next day and ask for flour, the next day ask for potatoes, and the next day ask for hamburger.
22. Butter, the new hand lotion.
23. Grease pans with butter wrappers.
24. Use lard as cold cream.
25. Let dog/cat clean dishes.
26. Let dog clean floor, save on Lysol.
27. Save on dogfood by letting dog clean dishes and floor.
28. Check trash for cans, fight off homeless!
29. Ask homeless for spare change.
30. Top Ramen festive holiday meals.
31. Pick vegetables from your neighbor's yard.
32. Pick your own food from city parks.
33. Grab that croissant off the outdoor table at Starbucks and run!
34. Burn your furniture in the fireplace.
35. Wash dishes with bubblebath.
36. Wash hair with bubblebath.
37. Use coffee filters as baby wipes.
38. Wash floor with balsalmic vinegar if the dog didn't do a good job.
39. Serve balsalmic vinegar in wine glasses to guests if you run out of wine.
40. Coat twigs with spices and serve to guests.
41. Garbage bags, the new kinky bed sheets.
42. Stop wearing underwear, cut laundry in half!
43. Steal paper towels from work.
44. Make your own paper from flyers.
45. Make curtains into a gown for the company Christmas party.
46. Snip up your clothes and make doll clothes to sell on online auction sites.
47. Pay your Mastercard with your Visa and Vice Versa, pay rent with credit cards.
48. Steal your neighbour's newspaper.
49. Sell off everything not directly related to your Dawn doll addiction.
50. Sell off the dolls you are totally bored with. Gasp!

Disclaimer: Please take this tips with a bit of humour. Author assumes no responsibility if you actually manage save enough money to attend the convention next year!