Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blood, Sweat and Tears for little reward

Tate Hallaway/Lyda Morehouse has just made a post on her blog about the near impossibility of making a full time living as a writer.

Reading it, I was inspired to comment, and rereading my comment before hitting submit I decided I wanted to post it here as well, just as a general reflection of life.

Go and read her post, but I think my response just about stands on its own as well.

I fully understand that this is true and I've always been happy to cry "that sucks" on behalf of all and any authors.

I just realised as I read your post that I mean that on a really true, deep and fundamental level as well as on the immediate response one.

After my family and friends, books and the people and stories I find within them are one of my greatest joys. It is totally unfair that the people that sweat blood to give me that joy are so poorly rewarded when others get outrageous amounts of money for seemingly ridiculous things - and certainly ones that don't give such great joy to others.

Yeah, that sucks.

Oh dear

Martina, of Chatelaine Designs, has just announced that the 2008 mystery will have a Celtic theme. I know that's just over a whole year away, but I'm in so much trouble. I love things Celtic.

Maybe I'll actually be well enough to do some stitching by then.


If I'm lucky.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Saw this format on another blog and I'm going to try it to get me back into commenting on books.

Title: The Thirteenth Tale

Author: Diane Setterfield

Author's Website:

Year published: September 2006

Is this book part of a series? If so, which one? What book is this in the series? It's a stand alone novel

My grade: 10/10

Why did you get this book? I don't remember exactly, but I think I saw good things about it on the net. I'm always a bit cautious of well hyped books, but this one sounded rather good.

Do you like the cover? Yes, I do. It works really well for me - but then, it is books, isn't it?

Blurb: Vida Winter, a bestselling yet reclusive novelist, has created many outlandish life histories for herself, all of them invention. Now old and ailing, at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to biographer Margaret Lea - a woman with secrets of her own - is a summons. Vida's tale is one of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family: the beautiful and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline. Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling, but as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction and she doesn't trust Vida's account. As she begins her researches, two parallel stories unfold. Join Margaret as she begins her journey to the truth - hers, as well as Vida's.

Did you enjoy the book? Yes, I did. A lot. This is one of those books that reaches out, grabs you by the throat and won't let go. I started it last night and read a good hour or more later than I intended. I then finished it this morning, mainly through turning on the TV and letting my son watch kids' shows so that I could keep reading. It was one where you aren't quite present in the real world while you're reading it and need to keep going until it is finished to figure out what's going on and get back possession of your own brain.

Anything else? In the hands of a less skilled author, this could have been no more than an overly melodramatic story. Setterfield makes is so very, very much more. Even if you're not sure this would be your kind of book, give it a try. Either it will grab you or it won't. It certainly grabbed me. My only other comment would be that I think the book's website is one of those flashy ones with little or no useful content. Save your time for reading the book instead.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Character Creations November Releases

Dark Angel - Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Daisy Bay, Revisited - Wendy Leach
As always, details on the news page.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christmas 2005

Christmas 2005
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Christmas 2005

Journalling ~
Joy to the World
Christmas Day 2005

Credits ~
Sketch is SketchPLATE01 by Anita Stergiou; everything else is from Celebrate by Tracy Robinson; font is Beautiful ES; gold action from Atomic Cupcake.

Christmas Party 05

Christmas Party 05
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Daycare Christmas Party 2005

Journalling ~
9th December 2005
You loved your very first Christmas Party. Nana Jill, Grandad Ross and Mummy all came to share it with you. You ran and jumped (and did a bit of enthusiastic yelling as well). You sang songs with the other Fantail Room children - and then Father Christmas came to give out presents. You went up happily all on your own when your name was called and got given your present. (I think you would have liked to try again when it was the turn of
other kids as well.) Nana helped you unwrap your gift and inside was a brand new Maisy book just for you.

Based on sketch by Lie Fhung, but altered to suit the layout; everything is from Christmas Time by Karen Hunt; fonts are Pea Lacy and Pea Stacey’s Doodles.

Moa Rider

Moa Rider
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Moa Rider

Journalling ~
Potter Children’s Garden
Auckland Botanical Gardens
Saturday 7th October, 2006

Credits ~
Background and black paper and paua for title from Pacific Paradise by Lauren Bavin; frame and raffia from Pacific Dreams by Lauren Bavin; fonts are Another and Dyer


Originally uploaded by rocalisa.


You had a Brum cake for your second birthday and you loved it. You loved it so much you even cried when the checkout girl at the supermarket put it away in the trolley where you couldn't see it. I put two candles on it and together we blew them out. You helped me cut the cake, even if I wouldn't let you play with the knife like you thought I should. We gave pieces of cake to everyone at your party. I think you liked the lollies around the edge and the picture more than the actual cake, but that's okay. That's how it works when you're two.

Template is from Simple Scraps Vol 7 by Dawn Wilson; all papers are from Meredith Fenwick's new collection Everyday Inspiration; alpha is Funky Basic Black by Gina Miller; font is Century Gothic.

Five Days is Forever

Five Days is Forever
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Five Days is Forever

This is my third layout using a photo from this moment so clearly it had a huge impact on me.

Journalling ~
Five days is forever when waiting to hold your child.
Mummy's first cuddle ~ 3rd February 2004

Credits ~
Background paper and heart doodle from Baby Love by Crazy Universe Kelly; Flower stamp and washer from Quiet Comfort in This Love by Dani Mogstad; Footprints from A Baby Boy Story by Jen Reed; Word art from Word Bits by Trish Jones; font is Adorable

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Ice Cream

Journalling ~
I treasure this
8 October 2006

Background paper and stars on wire from His Nursery in Expecting Sweet Stuff by Christy Lyle and Robin Carleton; Journalling papers from Journalling Pieces by Jen Wilson; ticket from Ticket Tags by Kellie Mize; Date from 110 Years by Anita Stergiou; Tags from Stitched N Squared Tags by Jen Wilson; Clay sun from Sunshine Mix Clay Shapes by Amy Knepper; Heart doodle from Spring Doodle Collection by the DDE Creative Team; Alpha from White Chipboard Alpha by Megan Leeson; Word Art from Art for Asher by the DDE Creative Team.

First Plane Ride

First Plane Ride
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

First Plane Ride

Journalling ~
12th August, 2004
Packing for your first plane ride was rather like trying to provision an army. We had your carseat, our suitcase, Mummy's TARDIS-like nappy bag that had just about everything imaginable in it, and you riding in the Baby Bjorn. I was rather nervous, as it was the first time I had taken you away by myself, but it all went well and we had a lovely time visiting all your grandparents.

Background Paper, plane and arrow cutouts from A is for Airplane Sampler by Jan Hosford; staples by Kim Hill; paint from Brush Strokes by Kim Hill; chipboard action from Atomic Cupcake; font is Accent.

I've made the change

I have, reluctantly, made the change to Beta Blogger. I did it now as otherwise I couldn't get Flickr to post pictures for me. (Of course, it still may not as I haven't tried again yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.)

So here's hoping everything doesn't go totally whacky on me - and you.

Be afraid

Just a warning that I've finally uploaded a whole bunch of recent scrapbooking layouts and they'll start appearing very soon.

You have been warned. :-)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quick note to Erin

Yes, I read fifteen books in October, but I didn't do much else. I certainly didn't stitch much.

I spent most of the month working on decreasing my antidepressant dose so that I could shift to a different drug (started the new one yesterday and so far I've got the queasiness side effect) so reading books was a good way to hide from reality but still pretend I was paying attention.

I suddenly got the urge to go back to stitching Alpine Seasons yesterday and so far I've finished the inner border for part 8 and started on the mountains outside it. If this continues I suspect my reading for November will be severely curtailed.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nut Brown Hares

Nut Brown Hares
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Nut Brown Hares
Art by Anita Jeram
Stitched on 32-ct Glacier Lugana from Countrystitch

I first saw this while I was in delivery at the hospital, in labour with Marcus. One of the midwives (I went through a number as I was there for about 40 hours) was stitching it. I loved it and asked her where she got the pattern. A couple of weeks later it arrived in the post for me.

I initially thought I would stitch it for Marcus, but there was too much going on to take anything else on stitching wise. When I heard my SIL was pregnant, I decided to stitch it for her and my brother's baby.

I finished it about a week after Emma was born, which wasn't too bad considering my health was all over the place at the time.

I still love it and I hope Emma will too when she grows up.

Celtic Horse

Celtic Horse
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

Celtic Horse by Textile Heritage
Stitched on 32-ct Marine Belfast from Silkweaver
A gift from my sister
Completed 6th November, 2006


After nothing all year, I now have two finishes for 2006.

Baby Emma's gift has arrived safely and I just finished off the Celtic Horse. I need to take some pictures of the horse and then process and upload the images for both.

Once that's done, there will be some pictures on my blog for a change.


My October Reads

As always, ratings reflect my enjoyment rather than a carefully thought out analysis of the integral quality of the book.

1. Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey (2/10)
Fantasy. One of her Elemental Masters series and a retelling of
Cinderella. Read it for the Fairy Tales theme and didn't finish it
as I just didn't care about the characters.

2. Webmage by Kelly McCullough (7/10)
SF/Fantasy. Clever idea that the Fates use a computer network to do
their jobs. Protaganist is a descendant and hacker who is trying to
stop the destruction of free will. The execution was solid but not

3. Moon Flash by Patricia A. McKillip (8/10)
YA SF. I've been meaning to reread this since it was rereleased and
finally got around to it. I last read it at 16 and I really liked it
all over again now, although there was one major world building issue
I never saw before that kept bugging me as an adult reader.

4. The Moon and the Face by Patricia A. McKillip (7/10)
YA SF. Sequel to Moon Flash and published as a single edition.
Again I enjoyed the reread, but the world building issue remained and
I think the first book had a stronger story. McKillip's strength
lies in fantasy more than SF I think, although these are still well
worth a read.

5. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale (10/10)
Romance. I tend to read reveiws and commentary *about* romance than
romance itself, and this book is always well received. When a friend
asked me to get it from the library for her because hers didn't have
it, I decided to read it first. I was surprised by just how much I
loved it and found it a really good love story. (That said, the
friend said she ended up skimming it.)

6. Apocalypse Array by Lyda Morehouse (8/10)
SF. Conclusion to Morehouse's AngeLINK series, all of which I've
loved. I thought this was actually the weakest of the lot as the
resolution felt very anticlimatic. That said, I think I can see why
she did it that way, but I'm not convinced she pulled it off. Still
a good book.

7. Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud (8/10)
Fantasy. Solid conclusion to a solid series.

8. Remember When by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Romantic Suspense/Futuristic Suspense. This was the start of some
holiday reading, so I decided to take some of the J. D. Robb books
and a romance series for nice, uncomplicated reading. This one had a
modern first half and a second half with Eve and Roarke. It was a
clever idea and an okay story, but it meant neither story got the
full detail it deserved.

9. Rising Tides by Nora Roberts (8/10)
Romance. I found I really liked this series. This was probably my
least favourite and I'm not sure why as it was still a lovely story.

10. Divided in Death by J. D. Rovb (8/10)
Futuristic Crime/Romance. This was a very solid entry in Robb's
series, with Eve and Roarke facing the most difficult difference of
values yet.

11. Inner Harbour by Nora Roberts (9/10)
Romance. Again, lovely entry in a lovely series.

12. Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs (7/10)
Crime. Good story with solid characters and appropriate rough edges.
A few disturbing moments here and there.

13. Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts (10/10)
Romance. This was my favourite of the whole series. I just wish I
had a more visual imagination so I could picture Seth's paintings.

14. Visions in Death by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Futuristic Crime/Romance. More Eve and Roarke. Yay!

15. Survivor in Death by J. D. Robb (8/10)
Futuristic Crime/Romance. Ditto.