What I’m Reading: Unsaid

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I just finished up the audio book Unsaid: A Novel by Neil Abramson.  I had downloaded it some time ago but hadn’t gotten to it.  At any time I typically have 10 books on my MP3 player…this one just got overlooked.

When I first started listening I almost quit.  The story starts with the main character in “heaven” or in “limbo” between earth and heaven.  That type of story didn’t appeal to me..but I listened a little longer and soon I was hooked.  I actually very much enjoyed it.

Here’s what Amazon has to say about the book, “In this explosive debut novel, Neil Abramson explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms.

As a veterinarian, Helena was required to choose when to end the lives of the terminally ill animals in her care. Now that she has died, she is afraid to face them and finally admit to herself that her thirty-seven years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena lingers, a silent observer haunted by the life she left behind-her shattered attorney husband, David; her houseful of damaged but beloved animals; and her final project, Cindy, a chimpanzee trained to use sign language who may be able to unlock the mysteries of animal communication and consciousness.

When Cindy is scheduled for a research experiment that will undoubtedly take her life, David must call upon everything he has learned from Helena to save her. In the explosive courtroom drama that follows, all the threads of Helena’s life entwine and tear as Helena and David confront their mistakes, grief, and loss and discover what it really means to be human.”

If you don’t want to know what happens when an animal is put to sleep or are really sensitive to animal testing you might not like this book.  These topics are addressed throughout the book.  Amazon readers give it 4.6 stars.  I would give it about the same.

A Little Misunderstanding….

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Last week when I said I was going back to childcare and Kelli was going to concentrate on nursing, I think I few people got the wrong impression.

We got some notes from people like this,
“As for the quilt book, at least you can say you tried it and decided it wasn’t for you.”
“Sorry to hear you’re quitting.”
“I guess you won’t be taking on the quilting world.”
“I was going to talk to you about coming to our guild but I guess you’re not doing that anymore.”

People have always appreciated when I’ve been up front and honest so I am going to try that again…

Back in January of last year Kelli and I both had a break in our lives and we decided to give our hobby of quilting a try into making it a business.  We were excited about it and the first things we did was submit a book proposal.  That’s 14 quilts to design, 14 to figure yardage for, 14 to acquisition fabric for, 14 to sew and 14 write the directions for.  It was accepted and we were excited.

In the meantime we also had 3 quilts that we already had accepted into magazines that had to be sewn…that’s 17 quilts that we had to sew from the very end of January to May when the quilts and book copy were all due.  It was stressful especially because Kelli got married in March.

We did it though…was it fun?…not really.  Do we regret it?  NO WAY.  We are proud of our work and proud of our accomplishment.  Will we do it again?…maybe.

We are on a path of learning…we don’t know the consequences of that work.  We know that we’ve heard many different figures on book sales from several different people.  We’ve heard authors that make $10,000 in book sales.  We’ve heard of authors who only sell 1000 copies.  We do know we only make about 80 cents per book on books sold through Amazon, local quilt shops and the like.  If they put our book out in a Kindle version, we make MUCH less per copy.  So to help us out, we’d love it if you’re buy the book from us directly once it comes out.

For the most part, we worked full time on getting that book to the publisher on time.  If we would be lucky enough to get $10,000 it royalties-that’s two people-4 months of work splitting $10,000 as our main source of income…sorry folks.  That is crap for pay.  That’s $7.80 an hour…but will we make $10,000 who knows?!?! Keep in mind this does include any time for rewrites or our trip to Kansas City for the photo shoot or going to Market next spring.

After the book went to the publisher we put together designs for a second book.  We have them all ready to go but after figuring the math and not knowing how much money we’ll make, we don’t know if we want to jump into the fire again…would you? Do you want to work for minimum wage.  We instead decided that we are slowly going to start sewing the quilts.  We’ll stock pile them and set them aside.  If we think we want to make a book again after we learn what the complete process is like..we’ll submit them once we have most of the patterns written and most of the quilts sewn.  That way we loose the deadlines and stress.  If we don’t use them for a book, we’ll submit them to magazines or offer them as free patterns on the blog.

People have said travel and teach.  Me.  No.  That’s not me.  I do the things that I do and live the life I live because my main goal in life is to stay home and provide for my family.  Will I leave occasionally-yes.  But-a life of travel is not for me. It’s not for Kelli either…but we’ll certain consider a trip or two or guild meetings if it works into our schedule.  We won’t be living a life filled with travel though.

People have said well design fabric.  Read this article and see what you think about that.

People have said put quilts in magazines….Honestly, magazines only pay $200 to $600 per quilt.  The 600 quilts are intensely pieced…the $200 more simple.  We still haven’t gotten very far from that minimum wage quilting.

All that is fine…BUT.  This is where I drew the line.  A week ago Kelli was home.  We had a project to do and we were both trying to hurry through it.  It wasn’t working.  Kelli ended up having to rip borders off and we were both feeling a little miserable.  She grabbed a piece of fabric and tied it on her dog and then was going to tie one on mine.  I snapped at Kelli and said – “Really?  We don’t have time for that!!”  What??  What did I say?  That’s not me, that’s not the mom, that’s not the friend, that’s not the business partner I want to be.

This is the mom I want to be.  This goofy picture of us was taken before books and deadlines and quilting being a business.

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Being the mom is the most important.  It always has been the most important part for me.

This picture was taken back when Kelli and I had sewing and goof off days….not deadline days.  We had lots of fun then…and we had variety!

We want to put the fun back in to our projects and go back to loving what we do.

Will we write another book?…maybe.

Will we have more free patterns on the blog?…yes.  Will you get two a month?  doubtful but who knows.

Will we have patterns in magazines?  probably

Will I still blog?…Definitely.  I likely won’t be blogging twice a day…but likely daily.

Will we still come visit your guild?..give us a call and we’ll try to make it work!

What’s going to change then?  We’re doing this on our own time..in our own way and most of all, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE FUN AGAIN!!

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