Monday, July 31, 2023
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Now that the launch is done, I'm waiting for the reviews to come. I've had one very lovely review, but it always helps people to decide whether or not to buy a book if they hear other opinions.
I routinely review other people's books because I know that word-of-mouth is the 'best' advertising an author can get.
One of the reasons I did the pre-publication offer was to get the book out into as many hands as possible during what is a very slow time of year. Mid-summer isn't the best time to launch a book! People are taking holidays or busy in their gardens (or, in the case of BC and elsewhere in Canada, casting a wary eye at the sky wondering if they are going to be put on evacuation alert due to a 'too close' wildfire).
If someone has received a copy of Stories from the Matrix and has found it interesting and/or helpful, and they are willing to write a review that I can post here on my blog, please email me. The review can be with or without the person's name included (not everyone wants their name listed), just let me know.
Please and thank you.
laura at laurafry dot com
Friday, July 28, 2023
I mean, I did get some things done, but once again it seems it is curve ball time, lemonade making time.
Sometimes the disrupted plans are not actually negative, like today. Today was supposed to be a weaving day after yesterday disappeared in a wave of side stepping, back tracking and generally mildly frustrating day.
Doug has been spending a lot of time the past few weeks trying to find tradespeople to do small jobs that are needed to be done and generally meeting with delays of one sort or another. But he had been making progress, getting onto lists for call backs, so we were hopeful that the maintenance on the house would get done - at some point.
And then the phone rang late yesterday afternoon. One of the tradespeople had had their job for today cancelled, could he do us?
It just so happens that the smoke level is low and having both doors open isn't going to cause issues, it's not terribly hot, just pleasantly warm, and it isn't supposed to storm. Which makes getting this fiddly painting job the perfect thing to happen today and tomorrow.
But Doug has appointments, and that means I have to stay upstairs, not head for the loom with my hearing protection on.
However, the next writing project is just far enough along that I can sit in my recliner with a highlighter and go through the printed out pages one more time, sifting for typos and grammar issues. And then correct the file on the desktop. And then re-name all the files to reflect the new project title. And then save all those files to a thumb drive so I can find them more easily than the document file on my desktop. (Why yes, I do have hundreds of document files - don't you?)
I'm tired of lemonade, so this time it will be lemon meringue pie. (Virtual)
And I should be able to get to the loom this afternoon when Doug is back again.
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Since I've begun weaving the warp I beamed last week, it is, of course, time to think about the 'next' one.
I had a draft prepared but as I thought through my yarn and colour choices, I decided I wanted to weave off the red on a white warp, not on the dark blue I ordered in (for when I run out of white), then decided I didn't really want to weave that colour combination on the draft that was next in the queue.
What to do?
Generate a new one, of course!
It isn't 'perfect' - I could have fiddled with it some more, especially given that the weave structure at this density will - perhaps - elongate the motif a little bit more. But I decided to go with it.
I could have done a couple of things, but the one I might have done if I had had the spoons, would have been to adjust the threading in the little upright 'petal' so that it became a little bit wider. A little bit 'rounder', more in keeping with the horizontal 'petal'. Who knows I may do that for another iteration. Or not.
That would have meant adjusting the vertical 'stripes' to be narrower, and I kind of like the ratio of the two different elements.
And even if it isn't 'perfect' they will still dry dishes.
My week isn't going 'well' for me. I'm not sleeping well, which means I sleep in, feel groggy, don't get my engine started and then don't get half of what I want done, done.
The days flip by and the thing I ought to be doing (re-doing the workshop handouts) sits on the floor, ignored.
OTOH, I did some major work on the 'new' writing project. I'm going to set it aside for a while so that when I go back to it, it will be with 'fresh' eyes. It's not a 'book' - yet. I don't even know if anyone would be interested in it. Right now it is still a 'pipe' dream, although it appears to be taking on some sort of shape that might be a book. Or not.
Once again I was up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours (don't know why, old age? pain?) and Doug kindly let me sleep in. But it means the morning has disappeared. Time to get dressed, see if I can weave a towel, then head to the post office with the next bin of books to be mailed.
In the meantime, the smoke is somewhat less (we had a bit of rain last night), the smoke is less, and the heat is less. It's grey and dreary, but I'll take that for the benefit of the others.
Monday, July 24, 2023
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Saturday, July 22, 2023
What a busy week it was! Hopefully things will begin to calm down now. I haven't woven since Sunday and I'm missing my time at the loom.
The latest class at School of Sweet Georgia has launched. A deep dive into the three 'major' lace weaves - huck, Swedish and Bronson.
Included in the class is a tutorial on how to do Bronson Lace using pick up so that you are not limited to the number of blocks you can use to create a motif. But first you have to really understand how the weave structure works, so I hope that people take the time to work through the class before they tackle the pick up. Or, if they already understand how Bronson Lace works, they will find the pick up technique intriguing.
Lace weaves are versatile and useful in so many applications. Changing the density and using wool, toasty blankets can be created, while opening the density and using finer, smooth yarn can create a delicate lightweight cloth. And everything in between!
If you have more than four shafts, there is information for 8 shafts as well, and a lesson on profile drafts.
The classes are paced, formatted in 'chapters' so you can go to the section you want to review (if you want to do so) without watching all the rest. And of course I'm on the forums to answer questions if you have any.
Once a member of SOS, you have access to all the course content on the site.
I also have information on lace weaves in The Intentional Weaver (signed copies available at Sweet Georgia Yarns)
Today I'm having a 'catch up' day, trying to tackle the things that got put on hold while I dealt with books. There are four bins of books ready for the post office. They will go, one at a time. But by end of next week, all should be on their way.
In the meantime, am I writing again? Maaayyyybeeeeeeeeee.....
Friday, July 21, 2023
There is an old 'folk' saying (don't know which folk, just aware of the sentiment) to the effect that if you want to make god laugh, make plans.
Well, I'm a master at making god laugh because I always have 'plans'.
My life has been a constant struggle to deal with my plans going awry, sometimes through my own fault (foggy thinking leading to unrealistic expectations of ability to cope or complete); sometimes things happen.
The latest was an example of both. I didn't think through how many padded envelopes I would need to mail those 50 (then 70) books, so was very late in the process ordering them.
And then Staples website ordering system glitched and my order got 'stuck'. When the envelopes didn't arrive when they were supposed to, I stopped in at the local Staples store and asked if someone could check on the status of my order.
They couldn't get very far because it seemed to be something going on with the online ordering system and I was given the 800 number so I could talk to someone.
That person poked and finally dislodged the order from where ever it was stuck and suggested the order would be to me 'very soon'.
Very soon turned into 'soon' as the box finally arrived this morning while I was having coffee.
While I waited I fussed over the delay, but there wasn't much that could be done. I had a few envelopes on hand so I used those to package up a few books and at least get those sent off. (One arrived this morning, so the rest should start landing soon.)
Yesterday I pulled all the orders that consisted of multiple items (some people took the opportunity to order something else with Stories) and those are almost ready to go. Just need to tape them and get them to the post office. Friday is not perhaps the best day to go with a bin of parcels, but needs must.
Given the delay in getting the books into the mail, I extended the pre-pub offer to midnight last night and got a few more orders. The 'late' orders will be processed once the others are done. But I'll work on them all as quickly as I can.
After all of the orders and promotional copies are sent, two will be reserved for the National Library (to 'pay' for the ISBN) and the rest will be listed on my ko-fi shop. If someone wants a signed copy, the only way to get one is to purchase it from me. That means a higher cost because of the postage from me to them - cheaper to purchase from blurb. (Just saying.) All three of my books are available there, each of them available in print or pdf.
Weave a V by Kerstin Fröberg,which I organized to be published in English, here, is still available on my ko-fi shop.
Today I will also package up a copy to be sent to Handwoven in hopes of a book review. For anyone interested in one person's opinion, Michelle Boyd (spinner and weaver) did one for Digits and Threads, an on-line publication. The review is open access so anyone can read it.
Several people have let me know they are sharing the information for Stories with their guilds, and for that I give a heartfelt thanks.
For now, let me see if I can make god laugh. Or at least chuckle. I'm going to go finish getting the multiple orders ready to go to the post office and head to town. And then tackle the rest. I really, really want my work table back!
Wish me luck?
Thursday, July 20, 2023
This week turned into a very special 'roller coaster'. I had plans. Boy, howdy, did I have plans! It almost felt like the 'good old days' when I had deadlines up the yin-yang and energy to burn in order to meet them.
The universe served up a big old plate of 'learn patience'.
It appears the knots have been untied - or cut through a la Gordian knot - and things appear to be getting back on track today. Or at least, by end of day.
Now that the book is written and exists in the 'wild', it's my job to get the news of its existence out into the world. That's one of the things you need to do as a self-published author - get it into the hands of readers!
This morning I woke up with a massive headache (yes, the smoke is less, but there has been far too much of it, and I'm allergic) and while trying to get my morning coffee into me, Digits and Threads sent their newsletter with a nice surprise.
The review by Michelle Boyd is open access, so if you know anyone who might be interested but may not know about Stories from the Matrix yet, here's the link.
The 'extra' books I ordered arrived yesterday and one will be going to Handwoven, potentially (hopefully!) for them to post a review.
The envelopes are supposed to be arriving today at some point, with a nice letter from Staples with an acknowledgment that they dropped the ball and hope I wasn't inconvenienced too much. Well, I was, but I wasn't. My fault for waiting so long to actually look to see how many padded envelopes of the correct size I had. Their website glitching was annoying but all it did was cause me to exercise my little bit of patience while they sorted it out. And I must say, their customer support was pleasant and accommodating.
This week just seemed to keep on giving with the patience lessons, but we are nearly done the week and progress has been made.
Given I'm still waiting on the envelopes, I've decided to continue the pre-publication offer until midnight (Pacific zone) tonight. At midnight tonight the ki-fi listing for the pre-pub offer will poof away, I will fill the orders I have in hand, set aside the copies I need for marketing/promotion/gifts and whatever is left will be listed on ko-fi - signed only. (If you *want* a signed copy, the only place they can be found is directly from me.)
If anyone is interested in buying a signed copy with a free tea towel, to boot, go to my ko-fo shop and use the pre-pub link to purchase before midnight tonight, July 20, 2023.
It will be cheaper for someone to go to blurb and purchase a book there (they have better shipping rates than I can provide) or even cheaper, buy the pdf and get the book instantly.
Next week is supposed to be 'quiet'. We'll see how that turns out.
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Now counting down the minutes until the books arrive. Hopefully the envelopes will arrive today, too, but so far, no news on that.
While I'm waiting I will be marking the latest box of homework from Olds. I can do that upstairs and keep an eye out for the delivery person.
Marketing efforts continue.
When I published Magic and then The Intentional Weaver, each took years to conceive and create. Stories took months, only, and I no longer belong to a lot of weaving groups online. It's going to take more effort on my part to get the word out.
For those people who noticed what I was doing, got a copy and like what I did, you can help by reviewing it for your guild newsletter - if you belong to one and they have a newsletter. Or tell your friends. :) If you belong to an online group, you can share the link with them. The book is available in soft cover or pdf.
The smoke is 'better' today than it has been but it's still not great so I continue to wear a mask when I leave the house. This afternoon I'm booked to meet with the vice-chair and we'll take a look at the big Leclerc loom, see if we can figure out what it will take to get it running again. Plus I'll get her to help me cut the yardage for the loom aprons. Then I can bring them home and get them sewn.
*After* the books are dealt with. Right now my work table is full of books and like I told Doug, I'm not about to move them from table to...where?...and then back again just so I can do a couple of small jobs which can just as easily wait until the books are done. If the envelopes arrive today, that could be as soon as tomorrow. The first 50 mailing labels are already written and it won't take long to do the rest. I just need the space to write them out, sign the books and then package them up.
Right now I seem to have a schedule of one really really busy week, then a quiet one. So far it's working for me and I'm managing - just - to stay on top of things.
This morning the Looking at Lace class at School of Sweet Georgia went 'live'. Click on the link to join us if you aren't already a member. And do ask questions on the forum.
My patience is being tested today, and as usual, found lacking. Time to at least start the marking. Maybe when I'm not looking the delivery person will arrive.
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Right?
Well, I ordered a box of padded envelopes from Staples on July 13, expecting them to arrive today.
They did not.
Instead of filling envelopes and processing the rest of the orders and getting them to the post office as quickly as I can...I cannot.
I tried tracking the order on the Staples website and couldn't get anywhere, so on the way home from an appointment I stopped at the local Staples store and asked for help finding out what was happening.
Had I received the email confirming the order had been shipped?
No, I had not. All I had was the order confirmation I received on the 13th that they had received the order.
A nice young man went into the back room to try and find out what was going on but couldn't find out anything so he gave me the 800 number so I could talk to someone regarding the website order.
When I got home I double checked to see if the billing to my credit card had gone through. It had not. Apparently somehow my order had gotten 'stuck' in their system and it was in limbo.
I waited on hold until someone could talk to me and got another nice young(?) man who took my information, got the details, apologized for putting me on hold again, but was back in very short order to say that the order was logged as still being processed so he had put a request in to fill that order and to expedite it.
He said I should receive a confirmation email, probably tomorrow, and that the order should come very quickly as he'd marked it to be expedited. I thanked him and headed off to the loom to begin threading. If I couldn't pack books, I could at least thread.
At shortly after 5 pm an email dropped into my inbox with the news that the order was shipped. I don't believe that it will arrive on the 18th (because that's nearly over!) but hopefully it will arrive tomorrow at some point.
In the meantime I have a box of homework to mark and that will be my priority tomorrow morning. If I can't package up books, I can mark homework.
Something about lemons and lemonade comes to mind.
Can't think why...
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Yesterday I sorted the book orders into several stacks - the 'official' pre-pub payments, and the 'late' payments, then sorted the 'official' ones into Canada/US. I had just enough envelopes to do the Canadian 'official' ones, so I dealt with those first.
Then I wrote out mailing labels. By the time I finished those, there was a knock at the door and Doug carried the boxes of books down to the studio. I'm glad I went with the more expensive paper - the photographs are crisper and it just looks...nicer.
Each of the books going out got a book plate and I signed it with the person's name to personalize it. Selected a towel, carefully folded it up and slid both book and towel into the envelope. Rinse repeat until the Canadian addresses were done. Well, the 'official' ones, anyway.
Once they were all loaded, I sealed the envelopes and put a piece of packing tape over the mailing label. I've had the labels scrape off in the past, so I always tape them down, now.
It all takes time and I have other obligations plus personal maintenance I need to deal with so I didn't want to wait to get started.
The order of padded envelopes is supposed to arrive Tuesday, so I want to get these first few to the post office on Monday.
Once those were done, I opened the rest of the boxes and affixed the book plates to the rest of the books.
I don't have quite enough books to fill all of the orders, but the additional books should arrive by July 26, they say. The blurb website keeps me advised of the status of my order, lets me know when the courier picks up the boxes, and provides tracking numbers so I can follow the journey as they make their way here. They have generally been either on time or earlier than their shipping estimates so hopefully that will continue.
So far two people who ordered directly from blurb (one from the US, one from Europe) have let me know they have already received their books. One person has read the courtesy pdf and is writing up a review for their guild. And the interview and review appeared in Digits and Threads last week.
There are still two more 'official' pre-pub requests to be paid. Until they do I will be leaving the link on my ko-fi store open. I mean, I do still have 20 more books coming. :D Until the link goes down, I will honour the pre-pub offer (ie, book, signed, with lagniappe of a free tea towel, of my choosing) for $68.00 Canadian.
If you don't care about a signed copy or a tea towel, you can go to blurb and place your order now. The default is for US prices, so if you aren't in the US, choose the appropriate 'flag' (upper right hand corner on my desktop).
If you want the 'extras' go to my ko-fi shop and purchase there.
As for today? We are still under a thick smoke pall and have little desire to leave the house where the air filter has been running on high most of the time for the past week. There is a hint of rain to come on Monday - *after* two days of more t-storms. The situation here is...not good. My plan for today is to weave. I'm very nearly finished the current warp and hope I can get it done before the envelopes arrive on Tuesday. But that will mean that I need to get to the loom for the next three days. The loom may sit empty for a few days while I deal with sending out books and other obligations. Right now the studio is full of books, bins, tea towels and I really need to clear that rubble so that I can beam the next warp.
So that's my coming week. How's yours?
Friday, July 14, 2023
While the beaver is not unique to Canada, it has come to represent Canada in a number of ways.
"Busy as a beaver" is a well known phrase I heard frequently throughout my youth in part because if you know anything about these busy rodents, you know they work steadily to keep their homes secure.
This morning we woke to smoke again (still!), which is slowly getting worse. The desire to hunker down and not leave the house is at odds with the fact I really should go to town and do a few errands. But it's also Friday, the local mall I prefer is currently under siege from a huge flock of gulls as their fledglings learn to fly, but can't quite get off the ground and their parents try to protect their babies from the metal monsters prowling the parking lot.
Trying to decide if I really do need to go there or if I can stay home, inside, with the air filter on high.
And the books. The books are in town. Not sure if they will get delivered today, but they might still make it onto a truck and come this afternoon.
That means I really do need to start writing up the mailing labels. I ordered more padded envelopes last night because it occurred to me I don't have enough! They will arrive Tuesday. I have enough to begin shipping books - just as soon as I can get them signed and packaged up.
There are also things that I've promised to do for the local guild, first and foremost replace the aprons on the rest of the guild floor looms. I expect I will get to those next Wednesday when I meet with the vice-chair about refurbishing the big old Leclerc that sadly needs work to get it back up and running. Once we get the first four shafts weaving, we'll look at installing the other 8 and then the guild will (might?) have a 12 shaft loom for members to use.
I have an eager student wanting to dress her rented guild loom (yay!) but wants some 'adult' supervision while she works through the process after a hiatus.
I have agreed to teach a 'beyond beginner' workshop, called Mug Rugs and More. I'm thinking that since I have to re-edit the drafts for that workshop I should do it with an eye to perhaps publishing the drafts on my ko-fi shop for my subscription members.
And then, who knows, I could maybe build on those?
In the meantime, the yarn I ordered from Brassard should be here in about 10 days, while I still have enough yarn for two more white warps. And right now with the smoke, the heat and the general malaise, I'm lucky if I manage one towel a day. :(
Since I only have so many spoons in a day (and the number is variable, depending on my pain level) I try to use up every spoon available. Because I never know if tomorrow there will be more - or fewer.
When my expectations of productivity are simply unrealistic, I have to learn to adjust my expectation to meet my supply of energy and stay in gratitude for what I *did* do, not beat myself up because of what I *didn't* get done.
A hard lesson, but necessary, in order to keep going.
Thursday, July 13, 2023
Gotta admit, I didn't expect a whole lot of orders for Matrix. I mean, it's summer, I didn't get a lot of chance to do pre-publication promotion so the word hasn't gotten out yet. No reviews had appeared. Very few people have had a chance to read it.
But suddenly, orders have begun coming in and when I added up the 'official' pre-pub requests, my courtesy list, plus the two for the National Library, plus, oh yeah, my own copy...I didn't have enough books coming!
So late last night I ordered 20 more.
Now, books ordered from me are going to be more expensive than ordering directly from blurb because I don't get the kind of shipping discounts blurb does. But if you want a signed copy, you'll have to order it directly from me.
One of the things about using an on-line on demand print service like blurb is that they also act as a retailer for people like me. They accept the orders, process the payments, collect/remit the appropriate taxes, ship the orders out, then pay me my share at the end of the month. Win-win! Plus, they have printing facilities in other countries so people in, say, Europe or Down Under don't have to pay international shipping rates.
Yesterday Digits and Threads published a book review and interview with me by Michelle Boyd. We had had a great time chatting for two hours(!) and she wrote a lovely article and review. Once I have the books in hand, one of the print copies will be sent to Handwoven in hopes of a review (or at least a mention) in their magazine. I'm hoping someone will do a review for the Guild of Canadian Weavers Bulletin (anyone?) and maybe a mention in other publications. (Complex Weavers???)
But marketing is a slow steady repetition of the information sent out, repeatedly, in order to get the word out. Especially for a niche topic for a niche market.
I have not yet taken down the entry in my ko-fi shop for the pre-pub payments. So you know, just in case anyone is interested, they could, like, slide on over to ko-fi and pay for one?
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
This morning FedEx tells me that Stories from the Matrix will be delivered Monday, July 17.
Monday, July 10, 2023
Sunday, July 9, 2023
Poised. Such a small word. So many connotations. Just like with nearly every other English word.
A lot of people would tell me that I was always so 'poised' so 'self contained'. Little did they know that underneath I was usually scrambling, trying to juggle too many sharp knives, or flaming torches.
And so I find myself this Sunday morning (a 'Sunday' child, I was born on a Sunday 73 years ago) 'poised' once again.
Poised, is in standing on the tip of the diving board about to dive off. Plunge in, down into the deep end of the pool. A 'swan dive', perhaps?
Stories from the Matrix came together so very quickly it's almost hard to believe that it is published, ready to be launched out into the wide world. Will it fly? Or flapping it's pages wildly, fall to the ground?
I don't know. I just don't know.
But like my textiles, the job isn't done until I get it (them) sold.
So today, I'm poised. Ready to begin the full on marketing. Truth to tell, I started about two weeks ago, before it was actually complete, actually ready to be uploaded to the website. Because I'm doing it myself, I don't have a marketing department. I'm selling what is a niche topic to a very niche market.
Will the book of essays sell? Or flounder and sink?
I'm not looking for empty praise, here, but if people DO find it interesting or useful, a note in the comments here or a private email will help me know that I did it. I managed to contribute something worthwhile.
I'm not saying this just for myself, but for any writer of any book - if you like it, let the author know. That goes for magazine articles, too. I only know how well my articles have been received because I see comments from time to time on groups that someone is using one of my designs from Handwoven. Sometimes they use it directly as given, sometimes they personalize it to better suit their needs. But they have been kind enough to reference the magazine article and my name.
In one of my essays I made the observation that I have done more things, been more places than I ever dreamed of when I was a kid, even when I was terrified out of my mind - I did it anyway. And here I am today, book #3.
Will there be another? Dunno. I've said twice before that there would not, and look at me! So I'm not saying never. I just have no idea at this point what a #4 would look like. But until December last year I had no concept of Stories, either, until my inner muse tapped me on the shoulder and said - commanded! - WRITE THIS! And I did. Because when you ignore that ethereal command, it will not let you do anything other than what it wants. So I wrote.
And now, here it is, launch date.
Saturday, July 8, 2023