Friday, July 30, 2021

It's my book's birthday!


...and it's TRIPLETS!

Go here to see if  Prophets Tango is your cuppa. Thank all the gods & goddesses that there is something for everyone!

E-books are available here . 

After a little prodding, Amazon bundled the three together for one price!

I'm still fussing with them to do the same for the print version. Jeez, guys, it's a SERIAL.  I'll be selling signed copies as soon as I can get my hands on them.

                                  I woke up from a desperately needed nap for this:

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

I am here now

 Just uploaded the rest of the sets.

Just a quick and dirty shot of the business of Dirty Threads. This part is exceedingly tedious, but I do it while I'm doing other things. My hands have a life of their own.

Lefty is suffering a bit right now. While lifeguarding Charlie yesterday I took a sting to the pad of my thumb from some kind of wasp or hornet as it left no stinger, just a pint of poison.

Long ago I had an allergic reaction to a bee sting that took me to the hospital with breathing difficulties, but never since. The doctor advised me then that staying calm and not adding drama adrenaline to the situation is most effective in keeping sting issues localized if a true allergic reaction has not been previously diagnosed. 

Charlie tends to overreact to drama so I didn't tell him or make him get out of the fun. I sat still and focused on noticing how it all felt. Pain bloomed and subsided. My thumb got numb as it swelled and turned purplish but that was the extent of it. Today it's just sore and ugly. 

Meanwhile, devils (the siding people) continue banging on the walls. They must make sacrifices to the weather gods because five minutes after they left yesterday, the monsoons resumed. It's hot and sunnier today, with showers predicted for after sunset. They might just finish in three days. Pictures when it's over.

Monday, July 26, 2021

just a little madness


Forgive me for not responding to emails and such. 
The ongoing renovation is mind-sapping. 
Everything will fall into place in time. Just what time that might be I don't yet know. 

I'll get back to you.

Friday, July 23, 2021

cloth and words - riding the whirlwind.


I don't know if it's my eyes, the monitor, or the camera in my cell phone but some of these fabrics are impossible to capture digitally.

Grace called them Receiving Cloths - the fabric that I put on the table underneath the skeins of thread when I dye them. This lot, including these silk(?) bloomers from the '40s, came up very Monet Gardens colorwise. I've churned a lot of them into the scrap basket.

The threads - and there are a LOT of them - wait to be put in families of six and have their picture taken. Hope to get some of that done by Monday. If you want a custom set, email me:  deborah at lacativa dot com.

There are three Mystery Bundles left in the store

On the writing front, I'm learning everything the hard way, as usual, but it's getting done. I just ordered copies of the paperbacks that I'm going to sign for friends and family who don't/ or can't use e-readers. I get that entirely.

I'm still futzing with KDP to make all three seasons show up as a series. Anybody buying book one alone is going to be annoyed as hell even though the description clearly states that the book is a serial told in three parts.

for fun and on the side, I'm still working in the whine mine full time, being the GC on the house renovations, and anticipating Charlie's first day of second grade which will be digital. 

Pray that it's safe for them to attend in person, but this is Georgia. I don't feel bad for what I think he's missing. It's a different world these kids live in.

I remember getting in trouble in school because I refused to participate in duck and cover drills.

I had read Hiroshima and knew there was no safety. I remember bringing the slim paperback to the librarian and asking her if it was a true story. She snatched it from my hands and said, "Have you already read it?" I had.
She put it on the shelf behind the desk and said, "I'm sorry to tell you that it is."
I was nine or ten.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

another eye

I miss the sunsets since Colin switched to the overnight shift at the airport but the sunrises have their own magic, as does the dead of the night. He has a great eye. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Dirty Threads

I'm trying to not take too many. Only what I'm lacking for the work in progress.

These have been over-dyed and spent the night outside in a thunderstorm. Still waiting for a good wash. It will be days before they are ready to go. Even inside, it's so humid drying will be slow.

Bailey lending a paw from the bottom shelf of my herb/thread dryer. Right after this picture the rain resumed and I had to bring it inside. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

High Summer Dirty Threads

Even damp, I can tell these dirty threads are going to be riotous.

Got all those green to blues I was looking for and then some.

I speed-dried this pair last night. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

High Summer Thread

 I was in the pool scrubbing algae yesterday and had to get out. Not because it was raining, but I was waving a metal pole around in some fairly emphatic thunder. It's been like that for days. Tropical.

I know I said I'd have a dyefest rain or shine but who wants to deal with that? Something about being outside in the rain always makes me feel rushed. Not how I want to feel facing this many skeins of thread waiting for color.

Today was the day. I mixed colors right after coffee. Check that, I did not mix colors. For the first time in memory, I used colors straight from the cans without blending. A dozen of them.

The mixing came as a matter of eye and hand. So something different this time. Maybe. If the dye gods were properly appeased. I won't know until late tomorrow after everything is washed, rinsed, and dry. 

The High Summer Threads will be in the store by the weekend.

Let's not forget the cleanup crew. 
Two pieces of pretty old cotton sheeting. Not vintage, but well broken in.

Always while looking for something else

This is just the center of it. 24 x 36, I think. Oak tag, we used to call it. India ink and a speedball pen and my beloved Rapidograph. FM radio and pot. On the back "Electric Circus" Aug. 20, 1967. D. Useted. I remember that night in the city and the days making this so clearly.

And this. I was interested in reading palms. I would ask people to let me trace their hand on paper, then I'd duplicate their lines on the drawing. Then trace the drawing onto Shrinky Dink plastic with a black Sharpie, cut out the hands with scissors, and bake them in the oven. I had quite a collection of shrunken hands but never learned to read the lines.
This kid who was hanging around had paws like a mastiff puppy. He grew into them.

Because you asked.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

I feel the need for....


..color and some fun in territory that I know well. 

Between the house stuff and the book marketing that I'm supposed to be learning about, I've been spending a lot of time feeling cornered, which is a bullshit waste of time.

Rain or shine, I'll be dyeing thread and some cloth tomorrow. The whole process may take longer than usual, but the Dirty Thread store will be restocked soon. 

Baby needs eight well-established crape myrtles come fall. I still haven't seen the house from the street, but I have seen the shocked look on Jake and Colin's faces. Two more groves like the one up by the mailbox will be perfect. A tree planted on each point of the compass in a circle about ten feet apart will give us the privacy back. Eventually. 

My thread stash is packed tight, and yet, something is missing. Greens to blues? Somewhere in that neighborhood. I need to weed this box the way I did the River Basket. I feel a giveaway coming on.

In a few, I'll be suiting up to be the waterbird when we pull the tarp off the pool. All the rain is on top of the tarp and will have to be siphoned off. Will the pool water be cold or warm? I'll find out soon.

Friday, July 09, 2021

hands on

 Do I hear myself promising I won't do that again? That sleeve for the tablet was conceived in a frenzy to have anything to do with my hands.  It was a predictably lackluster failure that will get recycled.

Looking through the river basket for inspiration, I see that it's been stocked with some pretty dark pickings for the next project. Something along the lines of Night Gardener I'll take the time to compose with the same compass headings as the book I'm laying out. Dark and scary. I think a title change is in order, too. The Monkeytown Murders feels almost lighthearted. Considering what frightens people most is challenging.

no regrets

Wednesday, July 07, 2021


 You have seen many pictures of House Lacativa over the years. No close-ups ever. This charming misty-eyed view was so photogenic. 

We've been ducking the truth for many years. This little house needs big love now and lots of it.

Step one accomplished, as shocking as it was needful. Several dangerous trees and mountains of out-of-control shrubbery have been removed by an amazing team of professionals. 

For two days, I've been lurking from room to room watching. Every now and then, one of them would give me a wave or a smile. They have to be used to it.

I even have video of them taking down the monster tree that has been looming over my pool for years. Last year a chunk of it fell and damaged the liner. I think that incident was the impetus for all of this. The thought of losing my blue heaven spurred me through the nine circles of hell I had to go through to get the mortgage refinanced and put some of the equity to work.

We are now a clean, if scruffy, slate. The house faces east and I feel like a vampire shrinking from the light blazing in. There are still two great trees out front, just not in this frame. 

I'll be buying new blinds for the kitchen first thing tomorrow. Next, a call to the siding company that came up with the best, if not the lowest bid. Everyone wants to sell us Hardiplank, which is fiendishly expensive. Given that the next owners are most likely to tear this already fifty-year-old house down and build something from scratch on this generous 4/5ths of an acre, I'm not going crazy. Vinyl is final and will do just fine. It will still be House Lacativa for many years to come. I think we'll go with white. 

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Independence Day

First, some music: 

It takes a long song to do a drama justice. And three books to tell the story I wanted to write because I was told that you just can't print an 800-page book and not lose money. 

It's entirely coincidental that Prophets Tango is finally up on Amazon on Independence Day. I won't even muse about that.

 It won't kick live until July 30, but you can preorder ebooks here. Print editions as soon as I can figure that out. 

The KDP interface is unkind to rookies. It took me days to get things right and I have until the 25th to tinker, but for the moment, I'd like to just step away and listen to some music. Be quiet inside, manage expectations, and fortify against reading reviews. I'd like to swear that the only reviews I'll read will have to be telegrams or snail mail. As if. 

I'm frittering, the archaic usage, sort of. An emotional state where you vibrate between feelings so fast that you can't react. Relief, exhilaration, exhaustion, anxiety, and the spiraling twin moths of tristesse and saudade. It figures I'd have to go to languages other than English for those last two. 

I gave in to them, had a good cry, and got on with it. Life.

Charlie and his other Gramma were here for a swim. I'll join them later for burgers and fireworks.



Wednesday, June 30, 2021


I found a nearly ready-to-go sleeve for the new tablet tucked into the top shelf of the little wicker tower beside the stitching chair. I accidentally dyed a cousin of those two bridal envelopes, this one just a bit larger than the tablet. All it needs is a little fitting, some padding and lining, and maybe an embroidered spell or two. Low priority stuff.

Reluctant to start anything as I'm watching over Sweetie to see how breakfast is going to sit (or not) with her today. It's Colin's birthday and I have to wake him after only a few hours of sleep so he can hold Sweetie for a trip to the vet, her first in ten years, I think. 

Editor and mentor Grace tells me that the files for Prophets Tango are ready to go. I can pull the trigger any time to publish electronically. Something this slacker should have been up to speed on by now. It's waited this long, it can wait until after the vet visit when I can give the process the necessary attention. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Nuts and bolts. Nails and screws.


Thunderstorms are lurking outside. Perfect day for settling in and tackling the gritty details of getting the book ready to publish. My task is to review each page of both print and e-versions of all three books. 1600 pages, give or take, make notes on anything in the presentation that looks wrong or awkward. Triple check ISBNs, links, etc. NOT reading it because: 
A. I start wondering who wrote this (good and bad) and get caught up in it, or 
B. God forbid I find something I want to change. Again. That activity could go on forever, so just don't go there.

Simultaneously, I learn to use a Chromebook which folds to become a tablet with a touchscreen. And Kindle and Dropbox technology is exhausting. Thank Prime day and all the 'Zon competitors for making me a deal I couldn't refuse. 

I want to make a padded cloth sleeve for it, but that would be another couple of hours of procrastination that I can't afford. Maybe tomorrow when Charlie Monday resumes.

There was a great meeting with a good friend. For three hours we occupied a booth in an old favorite restaurant- an in-depth pandemic catch up. Talking about Prophets Tango and the other books waiting in the wings sparked something in me that's been on hold for a while. Writing with a purpose. But for now, this stuff. 

My main website needs to be torn down and rebuilt it with the focus being on the book. They say coding is like riding a horse, you don't forget how, but first I have to find the horse.

I also had a great conversation with a potential reader. This self-described Millenial was not who I was thinking about as a target audience, but she had some good news for me. They are rabid readers. "KU hoes" as one Book-tokker put it. Yes, I signed on with TikTok because this young woman advised me that the marketing potential of that app is enormous. People who do nothing but short videos reviewing new books have huge followings of book-hungry readers. 

The rest of TT is pretty repellent. I don't know what drives the content to me but for ten minutes this morning, I rolled through dozens of clips of unattractive people doing mean things for the sake of filming them. The general tone is ugly, mean-spirited, and cruel. 
Glad I don't have to be user to take advantage of it.  

Meanwhile, renovations at Casa Lacativa grind on. One day next week, the landscaping company will be here. I wish I could be elsewhere while it happens, but that's not what a good GC does. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

What Summer is for


We stayed up late. Ate popsicles. Slept in, then waited for the sun, who delivered in spades by noon.

I couldn't cut those vintage linen towels up so they are working for us. As intended.

For the Solstice


Monday, June 21, 2021

Studio cleanup


Valiant effort yesterday. I can even see the navy blue carpet and most of the work table. 

The trouble started when I open the closet and took out the river basket. The intention was to empty my little project bag into the river basket, but both were already overflowing. So I start started weeding both out putting a good portion of each into the basket that I pick Fat Baggies from.

Then I got crazy.

 I made up a bunch of scrap bags each with two random skeins of Dirty Thread. Each mystery bag is $35 including postage in the US. Email me.

All that heavy weight linen I have, acres of it? None of it went into the scrap basket because it's not hand stitch friendly. Even after dyeing. I tested two squares and just gave up hand hemming them into kitchen towels. 

It takes the dye well. Would make good tote bags. But the plan is to break out that heavy duty Singer 99k and make a big deck sail. After the trees that loom over the pool are gone next week, it will hopefully give us some shade. I won't waste dye on it. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

storm season

 Tropical storm Claudette will be on us soon. A week of clouds and rain, some heavy they say. The plants and wildlife around here are grateful. 

From the stitching chair, there was a brief splash of sun before the cloud cover solidified.  I held this piece of cotton up to the light and did my best to capture what my eye was seeing.

Some times there are pieces that you cannot cut, use, give away, or sell. This is one. 

I was folding and putting away all the cloth that's come of the latest dye sessions. Taking some time to make some order here in the studio and life in general. 

The store will be closed for a summer vacation. 

Writing and family stuff taking precedence for a while. One thing I've learned, cloth and thread are patient.