Archive for the ‘con schedule’ Category

(writing) Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

I’ve been on a poetry kick lately. It’s very odd, since I never considered myself a poet, but there it is – the words are coming, and I’m not going to shut off any of the creative flow that the universe chooses to gift me with. I’m getting more in touch with my spiritual side as well, and I think the poetry is helping with that.

 

I’m also prepping for Balticon, since I’ve got a bunch of panels on writing, and I want to have a handout for the panels, with some of my tried-and-true tricks for novel-writing and some great websites that I use. Anyone have a good website for writing they like? Pimp it in the comments!

(writing/organization) Getting my thoughts in line

I’m in a mood right now. There is so much swirling in my head that all I want to do is take a vacation from everything and just write. Sadly, I’m not independently wealthy, so that’s not happening. However, Balticon is coming up in two weeks, so I’ll get a bit of a break then! A working break, but that’s a good thing.

 

I’m setting up some KanbanFlow boards for myself for projects that I want to get done this year. I’m working on an anthology for Paradise City, as well as the finishing up of last year’s Advent and publishing this year’s Advent. Also, I’m working on writing Resonant Frequencies, so I’ve got a board set up for that. And I’ve got some short stories and poems (I know, weird, right?) that are kicking around in my head too, so I’m going to be working on those.

 

I want to do so many things, and I’m realizing that if I don’t make myself a schedule, I’m going to miss all the deadlines. I’ve already decided that I’m not going to try for Viable Paradise this year, as the book I want to use is not up to my standard. So I’ll keep working on it and try for next year. I’m hoping Kanban will work. If not, I’ll try something else.

 

Advent 2017 is going to be re-released and finished in July of this year (yay, Christmas in July!), so thank you all for being patient. And you don’t need to go back and re-read – I’m going to release all of it each day, just like in December. And I’ll have both Secrets AND Storms, as well as calendars, at Balticon! So cool! Let me know if you want one (I won’t be at a table, but I’ll have stuff). Also, I’ll have copies of the Complete Guide 1 and 2 – I’m out of 3!

 

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms on my blog! And yes, this is from Tayla and Bear, who wish to inform you that I am the meanest mommy ever, because I would not give them treats before I left this morning.

(con/writing life) RavenCon, privilege, and why I think going is a good thing

I spent this past weekend in Williamsburg, VA, attending RavenCon. It’s one of my favorite cons and I love going back there. Cons always recharge my batteries. I’ve got BaltiCon coming up Memorial Day weekend, and then I might not do another con until fall. Or next year, for that matter.

 

Cons are expensive, especially if you are a writer who isn’t JK Rowling or Stephen King status. You pay for your own hotel (unless you are the Guest of Honor, and I’m not at that stage in my career yet), your own travel, and your own food. You usually get comped in for the con itself, but that’s about it. If you’re a published author, you’re usually bringing books, and maybe something for the freebie table, or ribbons, or other swag, and you pay for all of that. It’s not something to do lightly.

 

And yet, if you have the option to go, even just as an attendee, I highly recommend it, and here’s why: you get to hang with your tribe. This is a group of people who are interested in many of the things that you are, who understand things like “My characters won’t talk to me,” or “I need to write and there’s this thing called work that won’t let me,” or “What, doesn’t everyone stay up until 3 am researching black holes for two sentences in a novel?” (I hear you, I hear you, and yes, they do, if they’re writers.) Cons let you come together and hang out and brainstorm and talk shop and, for the most part, they’re awesome. There are downsides, of course. There are people who seem to delight in being superior to anyone who isn’t published by one of the Big 5 publishers, and people who are downright creepy about everything. You find that in any group of people. This is where I find, for the most part, that cons are different.

 

Before I go further, I’m a cis white female, and I’m middle-aged, and not the typical “sexy geek girl” that the jerks seem to prefer to creep on, so I’ve got some more privilege than some of the folks who attend cons. In some ways, that’s why I feel safer going to cons, because I fell in with people who have my back, and I know it. I’ve tried over the years to extend my privilege by letting my friends know that I’m a safe person to go with, and I will absolutely back anyone up if they come over and say, “Hey, I’m feeling uncomfortable because of this guy/girl and can I hang out with you?” Come on over. I’m the one with blue hair, a stuffed cat, a tea cup holster and probably knitting or embroidering. I don’t care if I don’t know you. I’ll pretend we’ve been friends forever. Also, if you need someone to back you up while you tell the creep to go away, I can be backup too. I look soft, but I fight dirty if need be. And if you just need a hug, a cup of tea, or to snuggle with Schrodinger while you calm down, I’m here for that too.

 

This got longer than I meant, and it veered in a direction I wasn’t expecting, but that too is part of the con experience.

(writing) Space opera is surprisingly intricate

 

Art by Deviant Artist sdavis75

 

I’m working on Seeds again today, and I found this lovely piece of art to inspire me. While it’s not precisely what The Frontier looks like, but it’s very close, and I can see this beauty sailing the Cosmic Web. Today was a lot of figuring out the gods and magic and the history of the empire – turns out that they’re refugees from Earth (I know, shocking, right?) but that their gods are the Greek Gods. Who decided after that whole Trojan War debacle that humans really shouldn’t have the gods interfering in anything. But they’ve left Essences behind, and the humans can use that to do all sorts of fascinating things.

 

I’ll have more later, but right now, I’m off to look at some things in the studio. I’m doing my morning pages again, and making all sorts of plans for Ravencon. Will I see you in Richmond in April?

(personal/writing/food/health) Yes, I can eat salads – in short, a month on Whole30 with Crohns

On January 4, 2018, I started my second attempt at a Whole30. I had made it 9 days in September before my guts rebelled, but I was determined this time (and better prepared, to be honest), and I completed the 30 day reset on February 2, 2018. I’m in the re-introduction phase now, to see what foods I’ll be adding back into my regular eating rotation, and what foods will be saved for when it’s really worth it.

 

I have Crohn’s disease, which is typically a disease that restricts your eating to very bland, very easy to digest foods. I personally have lived on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) when I’m having a flare. The Whole30 involves cutting out all grains, all legumes, all dairy, all alcohol, all added sugar for 30 days. Doesn’t really sound like they’d go together, do they? I was skeptical too. Trust me.

 

It’s an honest worry. For the Whole30, your meals consist of protein, vegetables, fruits, and a plated fat. I could still have potatoes, and cauliflower makes yummy rice. I couldn’t put honey in my tea when my throat was sore. I couldn’t use my beloved gingerbread syrup. It wasn’t easy.

 

No, that’s an understatement. It was damn hard, and I almost gave up a couple of times. I was lucky to have K-J, Shannon, Amber, and the rest of my friends in my Food Freedom Group talk me off the ledge a few times, mostly when I was frustrated with life and wanted nothing more than to crawl into a bottle of rum and not come out. They pointed out how far I’d come, how good I was feeling otherwise, and how I would sabotage everything I’d done in one moment of frustration. And they were right.

 

You can’t do Whole30 without a strong support system, in my personal opinion. And not just for the frustrating moments. Your support system is there to suggest new recipes when you would rather spork your eyes out than eat another damn egg, or to help you with ideas for what to eat when you go out. They cheer you on with all the non-scale victories that you see along the way. And they help you soldier on when you feel like you should just give up.

 

The other thing about Whole30 is that it’s NOT a weight loss program. It’s about changing your relationship with food – learning what affects your body in a good way and what doesn’t, and learning not to reward or comfort yourself with food. The weight loss happens, but it’s not the point of the program. You actually are not supposed to weigh yourself at all during the 30 days.

 

So, back to the Crohn’s. I was a little apprehensive, but I decided I was going to do it. All of it. No hedging. At the beginning of my first one, I hadn’t been able to eat many raw veggies or fruits at all in years. Most of my meals were carb-heavy, and I hated the way I felt. As I sit here now, after the reset, I’m eating salads almost every day, with no issues. I have vegetables at every meal. I have discovered my love of coconut butter and I don’t even miss chocolate. And I have kicked my caffeine demon and my sugar dragon into a deep cave, where they are sleeping peacefully.

 

I’m also down 18 pounds, but that’s kind of beside the point. I have energy again. My guts don’t hurt. I sleep better. My mind is clearer. I feel more connected to people, and more compassionate. I have the ability now to stop and think before I say or do something. I don’t use food as a reward.

 

This isn’t over, though. I know this is a journey, and the only “end” is when I take my last breath. I’m not on a diet. I’m changing my relationship with food, and relationships continue to evolve. While I had a very positive experience with it this time, I still take my Crohn’s medication daily. I checked with my GI and my PCP before I started this. I would recommend you do the same.

 

But I would recommend, if you think it would help, and your doctors agree, to give it a try. I’ll be there to cheer you on. I’m already looking forward to this summer, when hopefully my dad will be doing this with me. If you decide to try it, please let me know!

 

In other news, I’ve decided that I need to start writing again. My friend Robert has called this year the Year of Teaching for his embroidery. I think this year for me is the Year of Writing. I have books and stories to tell. And honestly. I just feel better when I write. I did delete my Patreon account (I might set it up again later, but I don’t feel that I can do it now) but I did start a Ko-Fi account. You can donate there if you’d like. The link to buy me a cup of tea or whatever is here. I’ve set it up on the website as well.

 

I’ll be at RavenCon in April, and Balticon in May. I’m not sure what else I’m doing for cons this year, but we’ll see. Want me at your con? Drop me a line and let me know.

(personal/writing/advent) Deep thoughts

Two posts in one week. Wow, I might actually be getting into a groove or something.

 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about writing lately. And streaks. And self-care. Shocking, I know, but bear with me, because it all ties in together. I’m still picking at the Advent story, but I’m paused as I need to figure out some plot things that were just thrown up at me. There weren’t supposed to be more people in this story, and now I need to figure out where they are going. This means stopping writing and actually doing some plotting.

 

I’ve got two books that are now in my calendar to proof-read, but I’ve got room in February and March right now, as well as further out. I’m also starting to plot what else I need to do this year. I’ll be at RavenCon and Balticon with new books (yay, Winter Storms is finally coming out!) and calendars. I have to get stickers done too.

 

In addition to rewriting Molly’s 3rd book (and no, I don’t have a title yet) for publication for December 2018, I need to decide my next book as well. I believe I’m going back to Resonant Frequencies, and there will probably be a ghost story or two as well. The Sapph universe isn’t working the way I want it to, so I’m going to try again. With brand-new characters, and a different kind of feel. There’s too much magic leaking into Sapph and while she’s fun, it’s a little bit of a Mary Sue. So I need to try something else.

 

I also have a project that I can’t talk a lot about here yet (but I will be working on it, and it’s cool! I promise!). In addition, I have some friends with some neat books coming out, and I’m thinking about inviting them to come on over and tell you all about it.

 

Last year was about surviving. This year, I’m looking to step back into the sunlight and try to thrive.

Writing and news

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about story, and life, and how our choices define us lately. I suppose it’s not surprising, given everything that’s happened lately. We’re coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my mother’s death, and I knew that was going to be hard. But I didn’t realize how hard it would be. I wonder now if it would be as hard if Brian was still here with me.

 

I’ve been accepted as an author guest at ConCarolinas in June, and we will be launching Winter’s Storms there. In addition, I have a new project that I need to start outlining this month (a 2-book project that I’m very excited about). I think  the next two months are going to be finishing Storms and then churning out the outlines for the next 4 books I want to write. The 2 book secret project, the next Advent book for December, and the next Sapph book.

 

I need to keep busy. If I don’t, then I start to stew and drop into a depressive spiral and then nothing gets done. Hopefully I can avoid that as I work through the spring.

(personal/writing/advent) New Year brings new opportunities

Happy-new-Year-cool-Clipart-pictures-free-Download2

 

It’s the beginning of a new year, and one I’m hoping is better than last year. No, one I will MAKE better than next year.

 

I’m recommitting to several things – my goal to get healthy; my writing; and myself. Yes, I’m going to be enforcing my time to get better. I can’t take care of others at the expense of myself. I need to remember that.

 

Work is going to be VERY busy in the next month – my day job is in the financial sector, and it’s the tax season. Which means I need to be healthy, so I can work the hours I need to. In addition, I’m getting ready to publish Winter Secrets, which means I’ll be writing a lot, because well, I need to finish the rewrite by January 31. I’m also going to be doing at least weekly updates here (more if I can, but I’m only committing to weekly) so that I can keep all you lovely folks in the loop!

 

I’m not doing resolutions this year, but I have made out my business plan for the year, and I have three books to write:

  • The rewrite of Winter Secrets, which will be published in May
  • The first draft of Deep Waters, the first Pendragon novel
  • The first draft of Resonant Frequencies

I’ll have more on that later. I’m also going to be at ConCarolinas and Balticon in the early summer, and some others maybe later in the year.

(advent) Slight detour

Just to remind you, if you love tea as much as Molly and Schrodinger do, you can buy their favorite teas at Adagio Teas!

Molly’s Christmas Blend

Schrodinger’s Earl Grey

The Snow Queen’s Blend

For the tea lover in your life! And since it’s official that I’ll be at ConCarolinas 2016 (just got my invite today!), I can say safely that I will have tea with me there!

 

 

(personal/writing) Blowing off the winter dust

You know, it’s been a LONG winter.  Maybe not GRRM long, but longer than I wanted.  Much longer than I wanted.

 

But it’s finally warm out.  The snow is gone and there is music in the morning when I go out.  I’m still adjusting to my work schedule, but it’s getting easier.  I’m not fighting it as much.  Now, of course, I have allergies, but I’ll take allergies over snow pants, seriously.

 

I’m still sort of on crutches, although I’m not using them very much.  I go back to the doctor’s on the 30th, and hopefully they’ll finally give me the go-ahead to stop using them fully.  I’m walking on May 5 in a charity walk, for MS research, and I will be damned if I do it on crutches!  But hey, if I have to, I have to.

 

Writing is going good – I’m working on the rough draft for Deep Waters, the 2nd Pendragon Casefiles novella.  The first one, Into Thin Air, is on schedule to be released at Balticon, and I’m hoping to have copies soon for reviewers.  Want to review it?   Drop me a line at val at vg-ford.com and let me know!

 

I’m also working on FaeryTale Princess again.  I’m really liking this story, and my writer’s group is intrigued.  Also, at this point, the hero is kind of an ass.  Which is fun to write.  Don’t worry, he won’t always be.  It’s sort of a romance, after all!

 

I’ll have cards for my proofreading business and swag from Lake Knight Paranormal (the ghost hunting group in Pendragon) at Balticon.  I might even read from the first novella!

 

So yeah, life is looking up.  I find it usually does in the spring.  I just wish it wouldn’t take so darn long to get here.