We’re happy to have Angelia Sparrow guest blogging here today! Angelia and her co-author, Naomi Brooks, have worked together on numerous projects in the past, including their short story contribution to our Like It or Not anthology! Their latest novel, Barbarossa’s Bitch just released through Storm Moon Press a week ago. The novel is set post-apocalypse and follows a computer geek as he finds himself in league with a rough biker gang led by the notorious Lord Barbarossa! Throughout this blog tour, Angelia has been sharing a lot about herself and her process of getting the words onto the page. There’s more to Angelia than just her prolific writing career, though! Enjoy the following post, and be sure to comment on this post and all the others in the blog tour for multiple chances to win the giveaway prizes! Now, over to Angelia!
I’ve talked a lot about writing this week. I’ve talked about how to do an apocalypse and things to consider with characters and other fun things.
But you’re probably asking, “Does Angelia EVER get off the computer? What does she do when she isn’t writing?”
The short answer is, yes, I am occasionally pried away from the dread machine. I work. I take my daughter to her gay youth group meetings (3 hours in town), and I do laundry. I do the 50 movie and 50 book challenge every year just to make sure I get some time away from the computer. I garden a little, although my ‘lesbian black thumb’ kills everything. I just planted some Blue Girl roses on Valentine’s day.
I am ADHD. I am OCD. I am unmedicated. That particular alphabet soup combination is lethal when I get around yarn or cloth. It also means that if my hands aren’t busy, I will fidget.
I used to sew, when I had a machine. Now, I’m all about the fiber arts. I started by crocheting. My grandmother taught me when I was 9 years old, and then again when I was 12… and 14. It finally took when I was about 17.
When I was younger and very broke, I tended to crochet some of my kids’ nicer clothes. My son needed a light jacket; I made him one. My daughter needed an Easter dress; she got to pick the pattern and color. My baby needed an Easter dress; she had one. It caused a stir among the church women. They were all coming down to the nursery to see her and the dress. We were broke one Christmas, and I made my daughter a sweater that passed down through all four of the kids. I was working for minimum wage, and our group adopted a Christmas child. I made mittens. This year, a friend posted about a friend of hers who needed some help with Christmas. I made scarves and hats for her kids.
But this winter, I took up knitting. A friend asked if I could do socks. She has tiny feet and women’s socks are too big, but kids’ socks are too narrow. So I made my first pair of socks. I had played around with knitting, made a few Jayne hats for geeky friends, and put the needles down. This year, it’s been a lot of fun.
A side benefit is that my hands don’t ache as much. I have arthritis in every joint. Winter is murder. But this year, knitting and hand-warmers have kept my hands mostly pain-free. A little stiff here and there, but not painful.
So what does this have to do with writing, post-apocalyptic things or my new book, Barbarossa’s Bitch?
I use the crafting as a mini-vacation to help with brain hiatuses. I don’t consider it writer’s block. It’s just a hiatus. I nip out, put a couple rows in on a sock, and come back ready to write. There were a great many crochet breaks writing Barbarossa. I made a few kitchen towels while trying to noodle out where to go next.
To get a little more academic about it, skills like knitting and crafting and gardening take on new importance in the post apocalyptic world of Dylan and Barbarossa. While the stores are still there, things will wear out. Eventually, factory made goods will be luxury items and people will be making their own things. The older skills of working with thread and yarn will be handy then.
Barbarossa’s Bitch is currently available from Storm Moon Press in ebook format for $5.99. Here’s a short excerpt to tempt you!
Winter is miserable, diary. We rode all day today in the cold. Even through the leather, I was cold and slow when it was time to pitch camp. The ground was too hard for the tent poles to be really stable, and driving the stakes was harder than it should be.
I fumbled the rope bed. I couldn’t get it strung with my gloves on and my fingers chilled too quickly with them off. Barbarossa didn’t say anything. He sent Vlad to help me.
I blew on my fingers to thaw them and threaded more rope. He held up his hands. “You need a pair of these.” He wore fingerless gloves that covered his palms and wrists.
“Yeah, but it’s my fingers that are cold.”
“Keep the body warm and the arms and legs stay warm. Keep the arms and legs warm and the hands and feet stay warm. Keep the hands warm and the fingers get better circulation and stay warmer. Simple fluid mechanics.” Remember that, diary, fluid mechanics applies to people as well as to the cars.
“Where can I get a pair?” I asked, willing to try anything that didn’t leave me slow and aching with cold.
“A lady in Settlement Two raises sheep, spins, and knits. She charges dearly for her work, but it is worth it.”
He stroked the scars on my face with the glove. It was softer than I expected wool to be.
“We’re headed there next. I’ll be happy to introduce you to her.”
Angelia Sparrow’s work can be found at http://www.brooksandsparrow.com. She can also be found on LiveJournal (valarltd), Facebook (Author Angelia Sparrow), Google+ (Angelia Sparrow), Fetlife (valarltd), Twitter (@asparrow16), and Blogger.
This post is part of the blog tour for Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks’ new book Barbarossa’s Bitch. To celebrate this new release, they’re holding a huge giveaway! You can enter by commenting with your e-mail address on this post or any other on their blog tour throughout this week. Commenting on multiple blogs means multiple entries, so follow along and keep commenting! Entries are open until Midnight EST on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013. There will be three winners. The Grand Prize is Angelia Sparrow’s entire backlist (that’s 12 novels and over 70 short stories). First runner up will get an ebook copy of Barbarossa’s Bitch along with a $10 gift certificate to Angelia’s Etsy shop, and the second runner up will get the ebook alone. Amazing prizes are a great way to sweeten the dark themes of this post-apocalyptic gay novel! Thanks for joining us on the blog tour and remember to comment to enter the giveaway!