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kit
16 May 2016 @ 01:39 pm

I cast off on Indy’s scarf-not-a-scarf-way-too-short-totally-a-cowl-that’s-what-i-meant-it-to-be last week and today nerved myself up to try stitching it together to see if it would make a cowl or if I in fact had to tear the whole thing out and do it again. So I stopped halfway up the seam to see if it would fit over Indy’s head, and he loved it that way:

knittingcowl

So I’ve declared it done. O.O :)

I started a scarf for me. (This will actually be a scarf, I have enough yarn.) The point of pride with this was successfully knitting a second color into the scarf so, woo woo, I’m very impressive!

knittingtriumph

I have big ambitious plans to make a matching scarf/hat/mittens set with this sparkly black and blue yarn. :)

My mother-in-law and a friend who knits came to visit for a couple of weeks, and the friend has left me a big pile of yarn that she brought with her but didn’t do anything with while she was here. I have thoughts for a couple of the yarns (at least a couple more scarves; look, I’m not wildly ambitious here right now, okay?) and I’m sorta chuffed to have the stuff to experiment with, so it’ll be fun over the next several months. Or more. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit
11 May 2016 @ 03:52 pm

I’ve released two books back to back so far this year, MAGIC & MANNERS in March, followed by ATLANTIS FALLEN in April.

As an experiment, I priced ATLANTIS FALLEN $2 cheaper than M&M, to see if the number of sales at the lower price point made up for or (hopefully) outstripped the profit I make off the higher purchase price of MAGIC & MANNERS.

It did. Just barely. It took about 28 of its first 30 days to catch up to MAGIC & MANNERS’ first month, and in the last couple days it inched into making slightly more money than M&M had, but we’re talking about…$110 more. Which is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also not a great argument for quantity over…er. Higher price point. Whatever single word we would use to mean that. :)

There are an overwhelming number of unknowns in this variable, making it pretty well impossible to say whether ATLANTIS FALLEN would have done (financially, for me) just as well at $9.99 as it did at $7.99. Just a few of those variables are:

– it was the second book I released in a row; perhaps at $9.99 it would’ve sold fewer copies because of that

– it’s urban fantasy vs historical fantasy, and urban fantasy is kind of what CE Murphy is Known For, so perhaps the price point didn’t matter at all because of Preferred Genre status

– I promoted MAGIC & MANNERS pretty damn relentlessly its first month but was much more lacksadaisical about ATLANTIS FALLEN

All of those and other things could be factors. Absolutely no way of telling.

A thing I’m finding really interesting, though, is that throughout April, and so far in May, MAGIC & MANNERS is only slightly behind ATLANTIS FALLEN in absolute number of sales (and consequently slightly head in actual profit, because of the price point difference).

The wonderful thing about that, from my perspective, is that although I have a perception that readers feel Urban Fantasy is My Thing, it may be really that CE Murphy is My Brand and that’s what people are buying, more than a specific genre. Which is what a writer hopes for, of course, so yay! (Especially yay because whoo boy do I have a wide variety of stuff coming out over the next several months! :))

At any rate, I think I’m going to leave ATLANTIS FALLEN at $7.99 and see how the two books play out over the course of several months or even a year, just out of curiosity. All of this is a long-term game

Oh, and for those who are curious: NO DOMINION, which was released, er, several years ago now, doesn’t seem to be getting any kind of boost from the new books. It’s still selling about what it has been the past couple-three years, which is both interesting and totally fine. If its sales represent the long-term income/sales numbers for any given book then someday that’ll be a modestly decent income to rely on. So that’s cool.

Obligatory link salad:
MAGIC & MANNERS:
Kobo || Kindle || Nook || Amazon || Audible
& at bookstores near you! (ask them to order you a copy!)

ATLANTIS FALLEN:
iBooks || Kindle || Kobo || Nook

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
09 May 2016 @ 11:10 am

“You don’t point very well, do you, Grandpa?” said one of my father’s grandsons, critically, when that child was about aged five.

It’s true, though. Grandpa didn’t point very well, because 15+ years ago my Dad developed what’s called an essential tremor, which is, as I understand it, basically a short in the electrical wiring of the brain that causes (usually) the sufferer’s dominant hand to shake uncontrollably, but which can also affect the other hand, the head, and the gait.

Dad, never one to do things by half measures, got the whole lot. It’s gotten increasingly dramatic, and he hasn’t been able to write with a pen or pencil for well over a decade, or eat without holding nearly everything—cups, utensils, food that can be eaten by hand—in both hands, to render some degree of control over its motion. It’s not much control, though, and it’s exacerbated by the fact that repeating the action makes the shake worse, so it goes from not being able to pick something up steadily to his hand wobbling dramatically off toward the sky when he even tries to reach for something.

It’s a fairly common disability, it turns out, affecting about 1 in 10 people over the age of 60. I didn’t even know it was that common until a few days ago.

It’s also pretty damn debilitating, and for the past couple years Dad’s been in contact with a neurologist in Dublin who ran a bunch of tests, shouting with delight as Dad, attempting to touch his chin or pick up a cup, shook more and more extensively, until the gestures were wholly and completely out of control.

This doesn’t sound like something that you’d be shouting with delight over, but to the neurologist, it was proof positive that Dad was probably a perfect candidate for something called Deep Brain Stimulation, which sounds pretty dramatic but is in fact even more dramatic than it sounds, because it MAKES YOU A CYBORG. Surgeons insert (very slender) wires deep into the brain, reconnecting the part that’s shorting out, then run the wires under the skin to behind the ear, then down behind the ear, along the neck, to a pacemaker inserted under the collarbone.

Dad had DBS surgery Wednesday morning.

The whole exciting story behind the cut!
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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
22 April 2016 @ 07:13 pm

More from the photo archives; a glorious winter day in 2003, where I lay in the snow and took pictures of rimfrosted trees, and of my puppy snoofling me. <3 rimfrost

chantipup02

chantipup01

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
20 April 2016 @ 07:55 pm

I dream of a world in which I have a Look. A Vibe. A Fashion. A Thing of some goddamn kind, anyway. As I’m a fan of the whole multiverse concept, I believe that that world probably exists, but sadly, it’s not this world.

Once in a while, though, I have a day of Aesthetic. Today is 21st Century Gibson Girl, courtesy of twisting my hair up into a bun (which I haven’t done in forever) and my ankle-length, kickpleated-to-the-hip, poofed-shoulder, princess-seamed black velvet-collared coat.

People really give you a long look, when you’re wearing an ankle-length flowing coat.

kit21stgibson

I couldn’t get a good picture of the whole ensemble without going and finding a mirror, which I was too lazy to do, but nothing is perfect. And also I’m quite fond of those sunglasses, even though after two years of having them I’m still not really used to prescription sunglasses and think I’m wearing contacts and am thus confused when I take them off and can’t see clearly. :)

kit2016

We have here proof positive that I redyed my stripe brown and left the temples grey for an Old School Rogue Effect, although honestly, I really miss my stripe. But I like the temples. :)

Honestly, I think my Ideal Aesthetic is sort of Retro Matrix. That could be thing, right?

…right?

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit
19 April 2016 @ 04:16 pm

I was–well, really–trying to bore myself to sleep the other night by seeing how many of the US presidents I could remember. Fewer than 20, reliably, as it turned out. The whole thing went like this:

Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, Bush Sr, Reagan, Carter…wait, uh. Spiro Agnew wasn’t ever actually president, who was it in there…well. nevermind, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, then, uh, Eisenhower probably, Truman, FDR for sure…H…Hoover? No, he was the FBI guy… WILSON DEFINITELY WE GOT WILSON YEAH uh…Teddy Roosevelt…

…GRANT AND LINCOLN FOR SURE but no who are we kidding the 19th century’s basically just a big blank maybe if I come at it from the other end: Washington Jefferson Adams the other Adams uh Hamilton? No, he was never President, thank you Lin-Manuel Miranda for that knowledge I really gotta listen to your musical, um Johnson maybe? The one who was a real son of a bitch? (Jackson, it turns out.)

Nope, nope, can’t think of anybody else, there was that guy after Lincoln who died really fast (Garfield, except it turned out I was actually thinking of William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia after 32 days in office and who preceded Lincoln by Some Time) and there was somebody right after Lincoln who wasn’t Kennedy, Kennedy was his secretary and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln, I wonder if any of that’s true, it could have been another Johnson maybe, it was some kind of really common name like that…

Anyway, I went to sleep. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
18 April 2016 @ 04:51 pm

Picoreview: The Losers: Good fun.

I kept seeing screenshots from The Losers on Tumblr, and commented on some funny bits and got into a discussion with one of my followers there and anyway it ended up with me having a copy of the movie and I finally got a chance to watch it last night.

It’s appallingly dude-heavy (there are, off the top of my head, only 3 speaking roles for females, one of whom is a little girl) but the dudes are very appealing: Idris Elba, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, and two with whom I was not previously familiar, Óscar Jaenada and Columbus Short (Jaenada is v. hot and Short is pleasantly attractive.), so, I mean, yeah, wow, talk about easy on the eyes.

Along with Zoe Saldana as the sole female part worth mentioning, they *do* get points for a main cast that sports four people of color and only two white guys, or an even split between POC and white guys if you include the two main bad guys.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to bring it to the wider attention of viewers, apparently, since it made less than no money. It’s a damn shame the film got made before Elba, Evans or Saldana became bigger names (JDM, much as I love him, is as big as he’s ever gonna get), because it’s actually pretty darn good and probably deserved a broader audience than it got. Chris Evans is very funny in it (and has the show-stealing scenes), and Idris Elba brings the ferocity in a very American accent.

Jason Patric was…deliberately awful as the bad guy. I mean, he went for it, full out evil billionaire, but what it mostly did was serve to highlight how utterly fantastic Holt McCallany was as his Lead Henchman. Which was okay, because McCallany really was wonderful. :)

A thing that I didn’t expect was that although it was violent, nearly all the violence took place between the frames, off screen, or in a deliberately (admirably, even) comic-book style which made it watchable from my perspective. I was relieved, actually, because I’d kind of thought it might be gonna be too bloody for me, but it wasn’t at all.

And there were actually plot twists I didn’t expect! Which was especially fun because I was live-commenting it at the Tumblr friend who brought it all to my attention, and I kept being like O NO THEY DIDN’T! I think she had as much fun as I did. :)

Anyway, yeah, an unexpectedly decent film. Will Watch Again!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
15 April 2016 @ 11:10 am

Sadly, no, I have not been home lately to take these pictures; they’re from 2003, when several of us went out kayaking on Eklutna Lake, outside of Anchorage, on a ridiculously glorious day.

eklutna01

eklutna02

I’m going through my digital photo archives, trying to clean them up and get rid of all the terrible pictures, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for, uh, ever. Mostly it’s not very hard, but these Alaska photos do make me homesick.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
14 April 2016 @ 03:32 pm

Many years ago, presumably before Pop Tarts began to be a thing that occasionally showed up on Irish grocery store shelves, I got the idea into my head that one could, y’know, probably MAKE them. I looked for recipes, but never got around to making them.

A couple weekends ago I was making pot pie anyway and thought I should make up an extra batch of pie crust and try ’em.

oh my flippin’ stars.

kitsnacks_poptarts01

I used my basic pie crust recipe and added about a quarter cup of sugar to it, which I had never in the history of pie-crust-making done before and which rendered a *very* nice sweet crust. I used homemade jam, blackberry in some and strawberry in others, and oh my flippin’ stars. The ones with the blackberry jam were IN. SANE. INSANE. (The strawberry jam ones were merely fantastic.)

Then, because the recipe I wasn’t really following suggested it, and because Pop Tarts Have Frosting, I made (well, Ted made) some icing that was, frankly, *completely* unnecessary. I mean, like, genuinely unnecessary. It made them too sweet, and I generally have a sweet tolerance like nobody’s business.

kitsnacks_poptarts02

I believe that in the future if I want to make them with frosting I’ll probably forego the sugar in the crust, because honestly, I felt that something had to give, there.

Recipe follows!

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
13 April 2016 @ 12:01 pm

I had the opportunity to use my favourite word this morning, and then I thought: favourite words are a thing, right? they’re totally a thing! people have favourite words! RIGHT?!

A brief enquiry on Twitter incidated that yes, other people also have favourite words. “Defenestration” is remarkably popular. I had an “acquiesce” (“Love that triphthong.”) and a “semester” (Swedish for ‘vacation’) and an ‘obstensibly’, which I can also really get behind, because what a great word to say. It’s delicious!

My own favourite word is antepenultimate, which I love not only because I think it’s fun to say but because I’m simply delighted that there’s a word that means “third to last.” I just think that’s lovely.

Do you have a favourite word? If so, what is it, and why do you love it?

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)