Upcoming (Last-Minute!) Events

Boy oh boy, these last five months have been insane, and not just for health reasons. (Yes, I’m still sick. Yes, I did get a diagnosis from the test I mentioned in my last post. Yes, we’ve tried medication. No, we haven’t found one that helps long-term yet.) If it’s not one thing, it’s another–and a lot of what’s happened has been totally unpredictable, like my HVAC system needing to be replaced and then the A/C going out because the inside unit had developed a hole somewhere, or the replacement heating element in my parents’ oven catching fire. (We’re all fine, and nothing was damaged except the stove.)

So it’s only in the last week that we’ve decided that we definitely are going to West Texas Heritage Days at Fort McKavett on May 5-6. And just today I accepted an invitation to participate in a Facebook event celebrating the release of a new children’s book, Francine’s New Name, by my dear friend Caitlin McCulloch. The event runs this Saturday and Sunday at this link, and I’ll be plugging my wares in the 6-7 p.m. CDT slot on Saturday.

Still working on designs for the CafePress shop, by the way, when I have time, and still working on Loyal Valley: Diversion. Hoping to have those out… sometime this summer? Maybe?

Last but not least, I’ve recently set up a profile over on BookBub. As expensive as their Featured Deals are, I doubt I’ll be able to afford one in the foreseeable future, but you can at least follow me there for info on future ebook releases.

Down the Valley of the Shadow

I’m still sick.

You have no idea how much I did not want to have to start this post with that sentence yet again.

I really thought at the beginning of October that I’d have Diversion finished by the end of the month–I even went ahead and commissioned the cover art, which you can see along with a sneak preview of the book if you pledge $5 or more on my Patreon. When a worsening flare meant work took up all my energy for more of last month than expected, I thought I’d be able to set aside the first two weeks of this month to buckle down and get the book done, assuming I could keep on top of grading well enough not to need to spend much time on it each day.

It hasn’t happened.

What has happened? Fever. Fatigue. Brain fog. Pain. Nausea. Upper respiratory crud. Struggling to figure out what I can eat without spending the day in and out of the bathroom. Struggling to do more than veg out with TV and crochet or computer games or wandering in circles on the ‘Net. The last two weeks have been the worst yet out of this year-plus slog. I’ve barely managed a paragraph all month.

A week from today, I go for what ought to be the final round of tests to get this mess diagnosed and get treatment started. But I have essays coming in this weekend, and grading those is likely to use up all the energy I have between now and the deadline for getting books published through the various outlets I use in time for holiday sales.

Barring a miracle, Diversion may not get finished this year at all.

I’m crying as I write this. I know a lot of the pressure I’m feeling in this regard is self-imposed, but I still can’t help thinking I’m letting you all down by not getting a book out this year. And I’m really, deeply sorry.

How can you help?

  • Buy things I’m selling, whether books or items from my CafePress shop.  Christmas is coming, after all.   Surely you know someone who needs a journal or a mug or a T-shirt or who likes good books, right?
  • Support me through Patreon.  Anything, even a dollar a month, will help.  (I still need to get my backer acknowledgment page set up; it’s on my to-do list.)
  • Help me get the word out about my works.  Granted, I’m horribly introverted, but even if I weren’t, I’m just too sick–and broke, frankly–to do any sort of full-court press of marketing on my own.  Here again, anything will help, even if it’s just a short tweet or a Facebook share. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon would help, too.
  • Above all else, pray for me.  His ability is far, far greater than my inability (or disability).

That time of year again…

Work on Loyal Valley: Diversion continues… not apace, exactly, but better than it had been. I think I’m about to the halfway point, if not past it. Unfortunately, that means I’m not going to have it available for this month’s events, but I still intend to have both it and the hardcover omnibus out in time for the holidays and so will be taking pre-orders at those events. More on that as I progress.

Speaking of events, I will definitely be at the Kingsland Library for Breakfast with the Authors on Wednesday morning! About a dozen authors are slated to attend, I’m told, and several of us are planning to give readings as well. (Just FYI, I didn’t discover until Friday that I’m nearly out of copies of Loyal Valley: Captives, and the new batch I ordered won’t arrive by Wednesday, but I’ll take orders at the table and fill them ASAP.) I’m also still planning to have a booth at the Llano Wild West Weekend Oct. 15-16, not only demonstrating calligraphy and selling books but also selling a limited selection of crocheted snoods and reticules.* Unfortunately, between health, finances, and other factors, I’m not going to make it to Fort Croghan or the BCF Holiday Heritage Festival this year, and we’re still not sure about Frontier Days at Fort Martin Scott–the latter will most likely depend on my parents’ schedules and the weather.

Still, as one of my new reproduction copybooks proclaims, “Excelsior is a good motto.” So in the spirit of pressing on: EXCELSIOR!! 😀

* For those who don’t know: a snood is a type of hair net, and a reticule is a purse.

Third Blogaversary!

And I’m still sick, but I’m hoping things will calm down enough once the semester starts that I’ll be able to get Diversion written sooner than later. (This is why I don’t do assetless preorders through Smashwords… life has a tendency to get in my way!)

I’m also making plans for the first Loyal Valley omnibus volume, which–the good Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise–will be out in hardcover in time for the holidays. I intend to launch a GoFundMe to fund both it and Diversion soon, in part because, thanks to the excellent suggestion of a couple of people on the AoSHQ Goodreads group, I’ve been talking with my cover artist about including MAPS with this edition!

Thank you all for your support over the last three years. Here’s hoping for better days, more books, and more content here and at The Frontier Calligrapher in the year ahead!

Announcing a New Venture!

Yessiree, I been an’ gone an’ done it:

shop banner

The Frontier Calligrapher will be an outlet for selling my calligraphy designs and Celtic knotwork art, along with some other fun stuff. I’m starting small with a selection of journals, note cards, postcards, and framed tiles, but I’ve already got a decent buffer of designs ready to add and more in the draft stage, and of course I can add more products like mugs and T-shirts as I go along. Please come see what I have so far, and check back frequently for new designs!

Sermon illustration, free to a good home

We got stuck behind a gravel truck yesterday, and there was a sign on the back that I completely misread. It was a single word above an arrow pointing to the right (no idea exactly what it was indicating). At first glance, I thought the word was “FUTURE”; only when we got closer was I able to see that it actually said “SUICIDE.”

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man….”

The A Word

Some labels are easy to accept, to claim for oneself.

Hi, I’m Dr. Wolfe. I’m an English professor.
I’m a freelance editor.
I’m a translator.
Tolkienist.
Medievalist.
Calligrapher.
I’m an author. I write Westerns.
I’m a singer, when health permits.
I’m an American. I’m a Texan.
I’m a Christian.

Some may not be pleasant, but there’s a degree of power in accepting them.

I have several chronic illnesses. I battle depression and anxiety.

But there’s one label I’ve been reluctant to claim for a host of reasons. People have certain preconceptions about what it means that don’t fit me at all–what one does, how one does it, how such a person acts and dresses, etc. I don’t have credentials or (much) formal training. I’m not as good at it as some people, as I want to be.

Tonight, though, as I’ve been working on pencil drafts for a project I’ll post more about later, it suddenly struck me that none of those objections really matter. I’ve been experimenting–just noodling!–and getting some results that, on the whole, I’ve been quite happy with. So I think I can finally take a deep breath and say it:

Hi, I’m Elisabeth, and I’m an artist.

Worth remembering

There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised–if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate–if we ask contrary to his will, or to the decrees of his providence–if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to his glory, we must not expect that we shall receive. Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. … If he does not give you precisely what you ask for, he will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.

— C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Evening devotion for May 19