Piles

Right now I deal with piles of things. I’m making piles of puppets. I am revising piles of words. I always have piles of laundry and dishes to deal with. Someday I hope to have the piles of clutter gone, too. 

Such fun! At least I’m busy. 

  

Wild Ride!

Seventeen months ago I moved to Olympia, WA. I’ve lived in the Northwest since I was nine, but nearly all of that was in Snohomish County nearly two hours away from where we are now.

There was a large window of adjustment to the new place because we didn’t know where anything was or have any friends here. What I never expected was that this is where I need to be. 

The opportunities for my writing and puppets have taken off so fast that I never seem to get a chance to catch my breath. While it is daunting, it’s thoroughly exciting. 

I’m running a puppet track for a sci-fi fantasy con. I’m doing piecework for an amazing single mother running her own small business. One of my huge puppets has been in a musical and is being requested for yet another performance in the area. My small puppets are selling and are even in the local mall for the month of December. 

  

The group of writers I’ve met have become such a support for the writing of new works and for the promotion of my existing work. I have a line of Children’s books I’ve started writing under the name Ilona Dunn. Book 2 of Thd GearMaker’s Locket will be published in 2016. 
  

I sit here wondering if I will recognize my life in a year. 

I’m back to writing my blog so you can follow me on my journey. 

Puppets. A Profession and a Passion!

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I’m a puppet artist. They are a life long passion of mine and an adulthood profession. I’ve been making these fun friends since I was three. I remember taking scraps from my mother’s sewing room garbage. I would stitch together marionette birds with a needle I’d found and short pieces of thread. Bits of yarn would be tied to them before I dangled them from sticks. My greatest creation before I was 9 years old was a dinosaur. I never got to finish him because he vanished when we moved two states away. After that my puppets got bigger and better. By the time I was 14 I had an order for a 6 foot dragon who probably still lives in Canada. He was a gorgeous green fellow with a full mouth of long, white teeth.

One way or another I have been a storyteller since I was little. Puppets are one of the oldest styles of storytelling. I wanted to work for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop so I could make movies like The Dark Crystal. If I’d known about Wetta and The Lord of The Rings films when I got out of college I might have hopped a plane for New Zealand without even thinking!

It got harder to make puppets and be involved in theatre after my children were born. I eventually found a way to make simple puppets that I can sell at events. Also the coloring puppets I make are good for children to color themselves with crayons or markers. I do dream of making my big, fancy puppets again some day. In the meantime I write plays, puppet shows and novels. The novels are a challenge. Despite how long they are to write and perfect, I love the work. Most weeks I only get a few hours to write as I run kids around. The rest of the time my mind is roiling with ideas, dialogue, action; all the things I need to write fast in the moments I get… and puppet to go with them! More recently the same thing is happening with ideas and plans for puppet films.

The puppets I make tend to be complete characters with voices and lives that jump back into them when a human helps them. What a union, the puppet and the puppet master! A living moment of creativity! Someday I want to have a puppet theatre where humans and puppets perform together like Jim Henson’s The Frog Prince or Labyrinth for stage.

Ah, the great someday. In the meantime I get to enjoy watching my kids perform such characters as SteamPink, Ambrose (who was only a head for awhile), Seal and Zephyra The Vermillion Assassin.

SteamPink Seal, Me and FiShannon and Vermillian

Fake Fandom Or The-Green-Thing is more interesting than a football

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The Green Thing

I live in the Northwest so you can imagine that there is a lot of green, blue and silver/white everywhere I go. We never watched sports on TV while growing up. In my home as an adult we no longer even have anything other than streaming sources. My only child who is sporty is my adopted son! I’m a geeky, book reading, movie watching, puppet making, cross-stitching, artistic, animal adoring, self sustaining mini-farming, mothering writer.

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Seahawk theme puppet #1

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Seahawk gal puppet

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Seahawk puppet #2

After the Superbowl last year the sense of joy and elation around the entire Puget Sound was so high we kind of felt left out. My daughter had a wonderful idea of making para-cord bracelets in sport team colors. Para-cord bracelets are one of her hobbies though she rarely sells any so we are trying to do better.

I decided I will support her and my own chances of selling things by making some puppets using team colors. I placed three blue puppets and three of other colors on my in-progress rack. I started picking eyes, accessories, features, etc. Now a week later two of the other colors are done and make me smile.

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During the same weekend the Seahawks again won a chance to go the Superbowl, I still feel nothing about the three blue puppets in their varied stages of complete.

Ahhhh! Fake fandom. You can’t fake being a fan. But I don’t have to feel anything for these puppets because someone will still love them.

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I have an event in 30 days. MythicWorlds! I need puppets to sell along side copies of my book. If three puppets get homes because other people are fans then I have succeeded in bringing them joy. Which means no fake fandom for me. I’m a supporter of fans!

I will just keep making fun puppets!

Delay and the Next Generation of Writers

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I am one of a group of writers. We have a special name.

We are slower to publish new material. Our blog posts are less consistent and sometimes go a week or more without anything new. Sleep deprivation is a reasonable excuse for not writing for us. We have to hope our art, our great storytelling, gets through to people even when we have to prioritize fevers and school trips and homework and getting dinner on the table. We are the writers who need your patience because we are raising the next generation of writers. We are mothers.

Sometimes my writers block is because once a week or more for three months I had to drive two hours each way for a half hour appointment at Children’s Hospital (October, November and December of 2014) Or my editing is not up to par because I was running back and forth from one sick kid to another, to the bathroom to clean up and to the laundry room to keep the clean linens and towels moving for days. My book took an extra year to be published because I moved all seven kids, twelve goats, three barn cats, two dogs, and a variety of small caged animals and all our stuff to a new place. Add to that the new baby in 2012 and my book needed an extra year. My next one should come much faster especially as my baby will be three in a few weeks and by the end of 2015 I will have three teenagers, but I won’t be a one-book-a-year writer for at least a decade more.

The blessing is that I get to hear my older children tell me all about the idea for their next story. I get to edit their writing. They always list Writer on their list of career goals. I’m blessed by being a writing mother.

My friend’s daughter asked me to review her short story this last week. Her story was amazing, full of suspense and innovation. I’m first in line for the someday novel it will become. I get to use what I learn to guide these young writers in my care and in my life. My children show me book cover ideas and ask me for title ideas. I’m raising the next generation of writers in all their geekiness. We couldn’t tell you what the colors or mascots are for many sport teams(maybe any sports teams. Blue, green and what?), but we can recite all the Doctors and their Companions. We do marathons of Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Star Wars, Babylon Five and so many other wonderful shows. We discuss the stories on the screen and on the page (paper or digital). These young writers give us insights we didn’t expect from their youthful perspectives in a modern world and they get our experience from writing over time from when it was a very different world not so long ago.

I want to be more attentive to my readers so I need feedback about what is best for you. I honestly don’t know the best ways to reach out to my readers. I hope you enjoy my book and, if so inclined, leave a review on Amazon. It has a really good position for a steampunk book due to the seven good reviews it has. I guess the more reviews the better! I, more than anything, want to get another book out for you. I love to tell stories through puppet performance or words on a page. I hope you enjoy the stories I and other busy mothers find miraculous snippets of time to create them.

So if you find I’m not around on the blog and you miss me leave comments, message me, reach out on my facebook page. I want to know what my readers think, what they want to know. It helps me with my writing and it helps me help other writers.

Happy reading in 2015! Happy writing to you young writers everywhere!

Braveness- Otherwise known as “Will I survive Black Friday?”

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For Black Friday my family has always gone tree hunting. We avoid stores, all stores. Since the invention of online stores I spend any shopping time on that day clicking and waiting for it to arrive in the following week.
This year I have no choice. We need a new dryer to save money on electricity. I’ll have to figure out which place to go that will be likely to have room for me to park my extended bed 15 passenger van. I need to pay as little as possible but still get an energy star dryer. We also have a family of nine so we need to have as big as possible. My life won’t always require so many details to align right, but for now I have to use my ingenuity, do a lot of research and I have to muster a huge dollop of braveness like a glob of thick whipped cream on a pumpkin pie.

I’m just hoping I don’t get eaten alive. “Family, just muster on without me until I escape the black pit of traffic and parking insanity!” Maybe this will be the last time I have to torture myself with Black Friday shopping IN PERSON! You be brave too. We can survive such things. Right?

What do you do for Black Friday?

Just don’t get lost in all that black!