The 500-hour skirt . . . (yes, again!)

NOTE: I’m re-posting this by request because I’m crocheting another skirt just like it, but in chili red.

Yes, I really am crazy. . .

Every time I wear this skirt people want to know more about it and also want to know where I found the pattern. I’ve attached the pattern link below and it’s free!!

If you decide you want to make one and have any questions please feel free to ask me as I see granny squares in my sleep. I’ve also made just about every mistake a person can make–at least when it comes to this pattern. 

This time I will post more pictures as I go along.


Last April I decided I had to have this skirt I saw featured on beautifulcrochetstuff.com

crochet-maxi-skirt-free-pattern

I’m a self-taught knitter and crocheter who knows just enough about both to be dangerous (to myself, mostly). By dangerous I mean I frequently get into projects that are well over my head.

 

If I would have stopped and thought about it for a second (which I didn’t) I would have said, “No way!” to making this skirt.

Instead, I looked online for the yarn (well, thread would be more accurate). The woman who designed the pattern  recommends: Alize Forever cotton. I found the product for sale in Latvia. Seriously. It cost less than $2/skein and only took a few weeks to get all the way to the mountains of Northern New Mexico.

Here is what it looks like when compared to both a spool of sewing thread and serger thread (finer than normal thread):

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Scary, huh?

I began crocheting the granny squares last April. I wish I had taken photos, but it didn’t occur to me what a monumental task this project would be (told you I didn’t think things through…)

All of the squares looked wrinkly and oddly-shaped and . . . weird. But I just kept going. I made about 10 squares and then put the project away until November 2016, when I finished the squares and began to join everything together. Each row took about 2 hours, not counting the time it took me to undo mistakes I made. Since I worked on this while streaming movies with my husband, I frequently crocheted entire rows that were wrong.

It looked like the skirt wasn’t getting any bigger, even after a few months of working on it 4 or 5 evenings a week. But persistence paid off and so did the fact I wanted it finished for my conference in LA this March.

I was crocheting the frill on the bottom and feeling like it would never be quite long enough when I decided to see if I could press it with an iron and maybe “flatten” it out a bit.

Whoops!

Yes, this was exactly what the granny squares needed to become beautiful and flat. In fact, the skirt became plenty long after I pressed it. It was beautiful . I LOVED it. Unfortunately, once the fibers have been ironed it’s almost impossible to weave in all the loose ends on the garment.

So, live and learn. And also live with dozens of loose ends you are too afraid to cut and cannot weave in. . .

Anyhow, here are some pics of the finished product:

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A close up of the bottom:

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One of those pesky granny squares:

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And the waistband, which you crochet with thread and elastic thread:

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So, there is the skirt. I would make one and sell it for about a million dollars…

 

 

Sign up for a FREE copy of DANGEROUS!

It’s time for FREE advance reader copies of DANGEROUS!!!

You can sign up for a copy either on NETGALLEY or GOODREADS. 

dangerous book cover

What sort of lady doesn’t make her debut until the age of thirty-two? A timeless beauty with a mysterious past—and a future she intends to take into her own hands . . .

Lady Euphemia Marlington hasn’t been free in seventeen years—not since she was captured by Corsairs and sold into a harem. Now the sultan is dead and Mia is back in London facing relentless newspapermen, an insatiably curious public, and her first Season. Worst of all is her ashamed father’s ultimatum: marry a man of his choosing or live out her life in seclusion. No doubt her potential groom is a demented octogenarian. Fortunately, Mia is no longer a girl, but a clever woman with a secret—and a plan of her own . . .

 

Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances. Now there isn’t a peer in England willing to let his daughter marry the dangerously handsome man the ton calls The Murderous Marquess. Nobody except Mia’s father, the desperate Duke of Carlisle. Clearly Mia must resemble an aging matron, or worse. However, in need of an heir, Adam will use the arrangement to his advantage . . .

But when the two outcasts finally meet, assumptions will be replaced by surprises, deceit by desire—and a meeting of minds between two schemers may lead to a meeting of hearts—if the secrets of their pasts don’t tear them apart . . . 

“Minerva Spencer’s writing is sophisticated and wickedly witty. Dangerous is a delight from start to finish with swashbuckling action, scorching love scenes, and a coolly arrogant hero to die for. Spencer is my new auto-buy.” 
—New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt
 
“Readers will love this lusty and unusual marriage of convenience story.” 
—New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter
 
“Smart, witty, graceful, sensual, elegant and gritty all at once. It has all of the meticulous attention to detail I love in Georgette Heyer, BUT WITH SEX!” 
RITA-award winning author Jeffe Kennedy

2018 Debut Romance: Check out these exciting and fresh new voices!

From contemporary to historical to time-travel, from sweet to hot and steamy to inspirational… if you’re looking for love stories, Authors18 debut writers have what you need!

Book review of Christina Britton’s debut novel WITH LOVE IN SIGHT

With Love in Sight (Twice Shy, #1)With Love in Sight by Christina Britton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a sucker for historical romance books with chicks who wear specs and With Love in Sight is no exception.

I liked Caleb, but I must admit I was partial to Imogen and enjoyed her inner workings and watching her personal growth over the course of the book.

Britton does an excellent job developing a couple of my favorite tropes: the wallflower/scrappy spinster and the-rake-with-a-heart-of-gold. I thought she deviated enough from the standard treatments to keep the story fresh and interesting.

There were a couple of points where I wanted to bash the characters’ heads together and yell WAKE UP! but that happens in any fulfilling romance at some point novel, historical or contemporary and Britton was careful not to bog down the story with any TSTL characters.

Overall I found her style engaging and the story kept me turning the pages and rooting for love. I’d read another Britton book in a heartbeat.

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Interview with debut author of RAINBIRDS, Clarissa Goenawan

Today I’m talking to Clarissa Goenawan, author of the literary mystery, RAINBIRDS, by Soho Press. RAINBIRDS JUST came out 6 March 2018, so you can snap one up at any of the usual outlets, or check out your local bookstore. 

 RAINBIRDS is a story of a young man who is trying to come to terms with his older sister’s death by finding out the truth behind her murder, but in doing so, he ends up confronting his own dark secret.

MS: Here is a teaser to get you going….


When the car had stopped at the traffic junction, a soft light had fallen onto her pale skin, highlighting her delicate features. My hand was on hers, but she didn’t say a word, nor did she look at me. She didn’t even flinch. Her body was there, but her mind wasn’t.
That night, the two of us were lonely, isolated under Tokyo’s dazzling lights.


MS: Where did you get the idea for your book?


One afternoon, I was just wondering, “What if someone I cared about suddenly passed away, and then, I realized too late that I never actually got to know them?” At first, I wanted to write a short story about a young man who had just lost his older brother, which later on, morphed to an older sister. And then, I realized there were so many things I wanted to explore in their relationship, and that this story has to be a novel.

MS: What’s the story behind the title?

I came up with it! There was actually a really funny story behind it, which you can read at the end of my guest post for Bath Novel Award, “Five Ways to Find The Perfect Title for Your Novel.”
Link: https://bathnovelaward.co.uk/2017/07/26/five-ways-to-find-the-perfect-title-for-your-novel/

MS: No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.


RAINBIRDS is part of a series of interrelated novels. So do keep a lookout at the side characters, because they might be the main characters for the next book.

MS: Tell us about your favourite character.


Rio Nakajima, also known as ‘Seven Stars.’ She’s a seventeen-year-old girl who is bright and bold, unafraid to voice her opinion and relentlessly goes after what she wants. She doesn’t care about conforming to public’s expectation, and I really admire her for that.

MS: If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do? 


There is this young girl who celebrated my main character’s seventeenth birthday in the most bizarre way. I’m not going to give any spoilers, but let’s just say I wish to be part of the party (though that can possibly make me the third wheel… hmmm…)

MS: Are your characters based on real people, or do they come from your imagination?


Most of them came from my imagination, but a few were very loosely based on people I knew in real life. For example, Honda, Ren’s colleague, was inspired by my ex-colleague and lunch buddy who used to drive—yes, you guessed it—a black Honda sedan. All the characters’ personal stories are, of course, fictional.

MS: How long did you take to write this book? 

Almost five years, which at a point of time, does feel ‘forever’ to me. But, in term of traditional publishing, it’s still relatively fast.


The breakdown:
First draft – 1,5 months
Editing – 1,5 years
Submission to agents – about half a year
Submission to publishers – about half a year
From signing of contract to publication date – about two years


MS: What kind of research did you do for this book?


I grew up reading copious amounts of manga (Japanese comic books), and I learnt Japanese language since high school, so that gave me a good starting point. I also consulted a huge number of books, essays, and articles, and asked some friends who’re familiar with Japan to be my beta readers.

MS: What did you remove from this book during the editing process?


A lot of things that don’t really matter, including a scene of Honda teaching Ren the best way to enjoy xiaolongbao, a type of Chinese steamed bun.


MS: Are you a plotter or a pantser?


I tried to plot, but that didn’t work. I normally have a sense of beginning, somewhat of an ending (though, most of the time, it changes), but nothing in between.


MS: What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?


The first draft! I’m always pleasantly surprised by the unexpected places my characters lead me to.

MS: What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?


The last few edits are the hardest for me. By then, I have grown too familiar with my work. It’s hard to discern the trees from the forest.


MS: What are you working on right now?


I’m currently editing my second and third novels, both of them literary mysteries. And just like RAINBIRDS, they’re set in Japan.

MS: What’s your favourite writing advice?


If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. – Stephen King.


MS: Give one or two of your favourite blurbs.

“Luminous, sinister, and page-turning all at once. I loved it.” 
—Kate Hamer, internationally bestselling author of The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral 

“A beautiful mystery setup with a complex, magical love story.” 
—Eka Kurniawan, award-winning author of Beauty Is a Wound and Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash

 

Thanks for joining us, Clarissa! If you want to snag a copy of Clarissa’s book you can use the links below:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1616958553

Barnes & Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rainbirds-clarissa-goenawan/1126551443?ean=9781616958558

BookDepository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Rainbirds-Clariss-Goenawan/9781616958558

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781616958558


Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her debut novel, RAINBIRDS, is the winner of the 2015 Bath Novel Award. Her short stories have won several awards and been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She loves rainy days, pretty books, and hot green tea.

 

 

 

Website: http://www.clarissagoenawan.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarissagoenawan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClaireClaire05

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clarissagoenawan/
Pinterest: N.A.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16100168.Clarissa_Goenawan

The Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels

The Devilish DukeThe Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love a devilish duke? Especially one who has a butt like the guy on the cover of this book!? And there is nothing I like more than a businesslike marriage of convenience that quickly skates over the edge into pleasure.

Anyhow, I hugely enjoyed this Victorian romance and found the mystery that is skillfully woven throughout the story an added bonus. Excellent chemistry between Devlin and Sophie and just enough bickering and tension to keep me turning pages, but not make me want to throttle either of them.

Michaels writes a fast-paced and well-conceived story and I was glad when Devlin and Sophie got their happily ever after, but sorry the story had to end!

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Interview with Maddison Michaels, debut author of THE DEVILISH DUKE

The Devilish Duke

Historical Romantic Suspense

26th February 2018, Entangled Publishing

Minerva Spencer: Today I’m chatting with Maddison Michaels about her new Victorian novel, THE DEVILISH DUKE. Welcome, Maddison! Would you please give my readers a brief description of what the book is about?

Devlin Markham, the notorious “Devil Duke” of Huntington, needs a woman. And not just any woman. If he can’t woo one of the most eccentric bluestockings of the Ton within the month, he can kiss his hard-earned fortune goodbye. But he’s always thought love a wasted emotion and marriage an inconvenience at best. And oddly enough, Lady Sophie Wolcott seems unmoved by his charm…

When Sophie learns her beloved orphanage is in imminent danger, she will do anything to save it. Even marry a ruthless rake who takes what he wants in business and pleasure. A man who’s everything she’s always feared most—but whom she reluctantly begins yearning for.

Then Sophie becomes the target of a killer lurking from the dark shadows of Devlin’s past. And they find not only their lives in jeopardy but their very hearts.

This sounds like fun, Maddison! How about a teaser from your book.

“Hadn’t you heard? I am the Devil Duke, my very existence is blasphemous. Now run along or I will show you just how much of a devil I can be.”


Minerva Spencer: Where did you get the idea for your book?

Maddison Michaels: I think the characters first came to me – and I was watching Julian McMahon in Charmed and I liked the idea of a rake being reformed.


MS: What’s the story behind the title?

Originally the working title was The Rake’s Rules – but then I changed it to The Devil Duke, and then my Publisher changed it to The Devilish Duke.


MS: No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.

Sophie literally falls at the feet of the Devil Duke from the branch of a tree…


MS: Tell us about your favourite character.

I love both Devlin and Sophie… they’re very special to me and I imagine that as the first hero and heroine of my first novel, they always will be.


MS: If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do? 

LOL! Ok well it would be with the hero Devlin, and I would be researching if the descriptions in my book regarding the action scenes, worked…


MS: Are your characters based on real people, or do they come from your imaginations?

Like I mentioned, the inspiration for Devlin was Julian McMahon from Charmed, but apart from that, they sprang from my own imagination.


MS: How long did you take to write this book? (You can share about the timeline from drafting to publication)

It was done in spurts – and because the partial earned me a spot in the RWA Australia 5 day mentor program, I had to finish it quick smart. So I actually wrote about 30,000 words in a weekend to finish it off (of course it needed lots and lots of editing, lol).

MS: What kind of research did you do for this book?

I have a heap of research books (really what writer doesn’t), which I made good use of.

MS: What did you remove from this book during the editing process?

A few scenes from the villains pov were removed, and a couple were shortened.

MS: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Definitely a plotter – if I don’t have a detailed outline I flounder, but when I know where I’m headed (much like a map) the writing flows easily.

MS: What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?

I love the plotting – coming up with the twists and turns, is just so much fun. Plus I get to know my characters really well.

MS: What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

Editing… because it’s editing…


MS: Can you share your writing routine? 

When I’m writing a novel, I spend about an hour per night writing, and then on the weekend I try to have a nice block of 6-8 hours writing.


MS: Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?

Yes, when I don’t have an outline, lol. So when I’m blocked, it’s usually because I haven’t fleshed out the scene beforehand. To overcome this, I just go back and plot the scene out in more detail.


MS: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Just keep going.

 

MS: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have a fair few unfinished ones – in my earlier days when I didn’t plot out the novel, I would write all steam ahead, until I hit around 15,000 to 20,000 words, then I wouldn’t know where to go, and I’d just stop. Thankfully, I’ve worked out what works now for me.


MS: Do you have any writing quirks?

I make up a playlist/soundtrack for my novel, before I even start plotting it out. Then when plotting I listen to the music, and then when I write, it gets me straight back into that headspace. Oh and I also burn some lovely aromatherapy oils while I write too.

 

MS: Tell us about yourself.

I’m a police prosecutor by day and writer by night! I am married to my wonderful husband and have a beautiful (yet rather headstrong) 6 year old daughter.

MS: How did you get into writing?

I caught the writing bug when I was eleven and entered a writing competition. It’s just something that is a part of me.

MS: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Hang out with my family. Read. Go for walks or bike rides.

MS: Apart from novel writing, do you do any other kind(s) of writing?

Nope, not yet anyway.

MS: Share something about you most people probably don’t know.

I hate sharks – probably because I watched JAWS when I was 4 years old…

MS: Which book influenced you the most?

All of Amanda Quick’s novels and Julie Garwood’s – my two fav historical romance writers.

MS: What are you working on right now?

A new three book Victorian series – with some really strong and unusual heroines.

 

Thank you for joining us, Maddison! You can order your copy of Maddison’s new book from the links below. Happy reading!

Book Purchase Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079LF6NTV

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079LF6NTV

Amazon Aus: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079LF6NTV

Amazon Can: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079LF6NTV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-devilish-duke/id1344891465?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-devilish-duke-4

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maddison_Michaels_The_Devilish_Duke?id=k35KDwAAQBAJ

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-devilish-duke-maddison-michaels/1127921821?ean=9781640633438

Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was only 14-years-old, Maddison Michaels is a prolific reader and writer of romantic suspense and historical fiction. She gets her daily dose of suspense from working as a Police officer, prosecuting real life villains in the Local Courts of Sydney, Australia.
A member of the Romance Writers of America and Australia, Maddison is as passionate about her writing as she is about her other two loves; her family and her cups of tea. Maddison’s debut novel ‘the Devil Duke’ is due for publication with Entangled Publishing in February 2018, and her second novel ‘The Fiancé Fiasco’ is due for publication with Entangled Publishing in October 2018.

You can find Maddison online at www.maddisonmichaels.com.au

Website: http://maddisonmichaels.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaddisonMichaelsAuthor/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/mmichaelsauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maddisonmichaelsauthor/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17367583.Maddison_Michaels

Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/Maddison-Michaels/e/B079LXRLQ7

The Marine’s Secret Daughter by Carrie Nichols

The Marine's Secret Daughter (Small-Town Sweethearts #1)The Marine’s Secret Daughter by Carrie Nichols

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is perfect for those times when you are in need of some authentic, uplifting, and rewarding entertainment! Nichols does a great job painting a multi-dimensional picture of small town life. I personally find a romance that centers around ordinary people (rather than billionaires and super models) a refreshing change.

I really liked both Riley and Meg while alternately wanting to grab and shake them both from time to time when they did something stubborn or stupid. I’ve never read a secret baby novel before and found myself thinking about the decision to keep such a monumental secret from the father. I have to admit that colored my perceptions about Meg and I definitely thought Riley had quite a bit to be angry about.

Nichols handles their reconciliation in a way that is both deft and fulfilling. Lots of good humor make this a very fun read!

This is a wonderfully touching and down-to-earth debut and I think Nichols has some serious chops. I’d definitely read a second book by Ms. Nichols.

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Yay! I’ve sold a 4th book to Kensington Zebra!

I’ve known about the sale of my 4th book, NOTORIOUS, for a while but I’ve had to wait until all the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed before I could spread the good word.  My agent Jessica Alvarez just announced the deal in Publishers Weekly so now I can celebrate the good news!!

Here is the PW blurb:

Minerva Spencer’s NOTORIOUS, a Regency Era romance and Book 4 in the Outcasts series, in which one man discovers that a London Season is even more dangerous than being a sultan’s heir, to Alicia Condon at Kensington, in a nice deal, for publication in Late 2019, by Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds (World).

The four books in the series and their publication dates are:

DANGEROUS June 2018

BARBAROUS November 2018

SCANDALOUS 2019

NOTORIOUS 2019

I’ll be posting more information as it becomes available.

Cheers,

Minerva

Review of : And the Next Thing You Know, by Chase Taylor Hackett

And the next Thing You Know . . . (Why You?, #2)And the next Thing You Know . . . by Chase Taylor Hackett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book came at a perfect time! I had just finished back to back weepers (see reviews for Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality and Sugar Money) and I really, really needed something that made me laugh and smile.

I honestly cannot recall reading a more consistently hilarious romance other than The Hating Game.

Chase Taylor Hackett writes laugh-out-loud dialogue. I picked up the book because I was intrigued by Jeffrey, the angry-lawyer-sleeping-his-way-through-NYC. I have to admit that Jeffrey is still my favorite, but I did end up liking Theo a lot, mainly because he is such an impervious, amusing butthead (yes, I have a weakness for that).

Anyhow, the story takes place from the perspective of multiple POVs, but mainly Jeffrey, Theo, and Thomas. The story is fast-paced and you get into the characters heads pretty deeply as the author does a great job of making you root for them. There are some heavy moments and some important themes, but the book is not dark and depressing.

I think good comedy is the hardest thing to write, but Hackett kept me rolling on the floor even though I am most likely not his intended reader (a 50 year-old). And of course the ending was wonderfully fulfilling and romantic…

5 stars!

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