Glass, beads, and books – oh my!

If you have been reading my posts since I started writing ten days ago (minus 2 days for my unplugged weekend), some of what follows may seem familiar to you. And, I admit, some of it is. But the primary reason I started writing this blog was to try to work out my “what’s next” in my head and to, hopefully, have some input from my friends and readers along the way.

I’ll bet some of you are saying why are you bothering us with it? Why can’t you just write it down with pencil and paper or use Word – you know, make one of those pro and con tables – and figure it out on your own?

Well, I tried the pencil and paper method. In fact, there are multiple notebooks lying around with two or three entries and then the next date is months, sometimes a year, later. I’m not good with the paper and pencil thing. And unless someone is snooping around my house, those notebooks are never going to be seen by anyone other than myself.

Then what’s wrong with using Word? That is certainly much easier for me since I am on my laptop every day. But again, no one would see what I write and I would not have anyone to hold me accountable or offer opinions. With either method, if I didn’t make an entry for one, or two, or ten days, who’s to know except me?

So, if you want to keep reading my ramblings (and I hope you do), you’re stuck with me repeating myself and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. If you have some thoughts on the subject, please feel free to chime in!

Fused glass              Featured image    Featured image

Until a couple of years ago, fused glass was my main focus as far as a “hobby” went. For those of you that don’t know the term “fused glass”, it is taking pieces of glass, layering them, and then heating in a kiln until they melt, fully or partly, together. It’s more complicated than that very simple explanation, but basically that’s it. As with my other hobbies, glass is not cheap. And of course I bought not one but two kilns. The majority of that stuff is currently in my garage. When my mom got sick and I was going back and forth to Texas to help care for her, I did not put much time into my glass simply because it was not feasible to transport the raw materials and kiln between Arizona and Texas. I did find a couple of outstanding glass stores in Austin and took classes when I could, but I put my glass work on the back burner during that time and, so far, have not picked it up again.

Beads                   Featured image    Featured image

I don’t remember how I got into beading. I do know that it started simply – stringing larger beads for necklaces and bracelets. It has since progressed to bead weaving using smaller seed beads, still making (mostly) bracelets, but more intricate. I enjoy beading and I’m really good at it, although it is tough on my eyes. It requires a much smaller footprint in the house than the glass. And it is fairly relaxing. I am still confined to a designated area – the dining room table – because of the need for good lighting and a flat surface to keep the beads contained. But at least with my beading I can watch TV at the same time, something not easily doable with the glass.

Books         Featured imageFeatured imageFeatured image

I love books! I have been a prolific reader since I first learned to read many years ago. What I can’t stand are poorly edited books, which as far as I am concerned is the primary negative with e-books which I have been reading almost exclusively since the advent of Kindle.

From my working days, I have a lot of experience writing and maintaining technical documents. And I was often asked by team members to help edit their work. So, I felt confident that I could edit the written word. And I was sure I could do it better than it was being done by whoever was doing it for many of the e-book authors I was reading.

So, I got in touch with my niece Heather who was part of a book club and, as a result, directly involved with a number of authors. I asked if she could put me in touch with someone who might need reading help from a pre-publishing standpoint. (I now know those folks are called “beta readers”. They are unpaid and offer their services/skills simply for the joy of reading.) Heather introduced me to Diana Castilleja who sponsored me to the Facebook group Beta Readers Here. I offered my reading services to the authors on that page, met some wonderful folks, and read some interesting works. I admit beta reading is tougher than I thought it would be. But it felt good catching those misspelled words and offering my suggestions for a different way to word a sentence.

One of the first authors I met in the group was A P von K’Ory (Akinyi) who asked me to beta read the first book of her Bound to Tradition trilogy. Akinyi was born in Luoland Africa, educated in England, and lives in Bavaria. The things and places she writes about are so absolutely foreign to me (pun intended) that I tried to give up at one point. But she talked me into sticking with her and I am glad I did. (The covers of that first trilogy we sweated over together are shown above. They can be found in Amazon.)

We are currently working on our sixth collaboration – she as the author and me as the “editor” and techie. These collaborations are labor intensive and just plain old hard work. I still have to look up way too many words and Google way too many things, but I love it! We have a long way to go to get our formula perfected, but we are getting there. I am learning about so many more things than just looking for errors in grammar and spelling such as the different ways that the same manuscript must be formatted depending upon the type of publication (i.e., print and e-publication); how style sets and sections work in Word; what goes in the front- and back-matter; how to use social media for marketing; and so much more.

The biggest bump in the road we seem to deal with is time differences – Akinyi lives in Bavaria and I live in Arizona, a 9-hour difference. That means we really only get to “talk” to each other once a day – by email – unless one of us is having trouble sleeping and we are both in Facebook at the same time. So, I try my best to include all the questions and concerns for the day in my daily email. It doesn’t always work – yesterday my organization skills were not working at all and I think I sent her seven emails within a one-hour time frame!

What a rush though to see a book for sale on Amazon that I know I had a small hand in getting there!

So, those are the three balls that I am currently juggling – well, maybe not juggling, but certainly toying with, as I move farther into my next life. But wait … there is also printmaking using a Gelli plate! OMG, what fun!! And I already bought all the stuff!! Where in the heck am I going to fit that in?!?

Featured image

Being retired is exhausting!! 😉

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. A P von K'Ory
    Dec 13, 2014 @ 11:40:43

    Lovely stuff. Need at least a bracelet as a keepsake or lucky charm, Betsi. Let me know where to get one. I’m also kindly asking to be notified every time you post or comment, lol!



    • betnew
      Dec 13, 2014 @ 20:47:12

      Thanks for following my blog! I will be happy to send you a bracelet. I need to know what your wrist size is and if there are any colors you don’t like.



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