Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Weekly news round-up, the slightly late edition

So yeah, it’s been a few weeks. First I had an eye infection, complete with an ulcerated cornea, which meant absolutely no screen time. Then I went away to GNEW and was busy taking down my pavilion and driving home, so there was no posting. I meant to do it Monday, but I woke up with a migraine and, well. Yeah. So it’s been a while.

 

Today, I am the only one at Creatives. It’s a rainy day, and I’m enjoying the Acoustic Covers playlist on Sp0tify, and reveling in the fact that I don’t have a migraine. I have a chai latte with almond milk, an iced raspberry green tea, and, for the first time in a LONG time, a workable plot for Advent this year! YAY!

 

You guys, you have no idea how happy I am to have a plot. Carter’s Cove is easily my most popular story, but it’s HARD to write. Plot-wise, anyways. Because see, bodies and violence and save the world are easy to plot. It’s the fluffy, feel-good but not be total sugar because that’s boring stuff that is hard.

 

I’m also going back on a mini-reset this week – doing a Whole10 with my Facebook group. I need to get back on the wagon, and this seems the best way to do it. Also, I’m adding in a fitness goal, because I want to get my stamina up. Also, I need to get more Pokemon. Because, well, Pokemon won’t walk themselves.

 

Since I haven’t been posting, I’m going to just start my goals over.

 

Oh, and I finished Hope Never Dies and I have to write a review. Mini review: I loved it. I also saw Ant Man and the Wasp yesterday. Go see it – it’s fun.

 

Morning Pages: Going for all 7 days, per normal.

Non-writing goals: 1 more coif made for Her Highness for Pennsic. I want to do 2 more if I can, but the goal is 1. Also, 2+ hours on Conri’s trim. I’ve got 1 cuff for that done, and need 1 more cuff, the neckline, 2 sides, and the hem.

Writing goals: Plot out Advent this week. I can do this long-hand.

Fitness goals: Make my step goal (currently 3500 steps per day) all 7 days.

Weekly news roundup

You know, I think one of the things I miss most about Diane Rehm retiring is that now my Fridays do not consist of two hours of the Weekly News Roundup. She used to do an hour of domestic news, and then an hour of international news, and it rounded out my week nicely. NPR, get on that, please. (Granted, I now listen to BBC Worldwide every day, so I get my news fix, but still. I miss the Weekly News Roundup.)

 

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for my personal weekly round-up. Let’s see how I did with those goals!

 

Last Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: I made it 5 of the last 7 days (Sunday to Saturday). Not bad, considering the week. I’ll take it!

Writing Goals: I wanted to have 2 days of Advent 2017 written, finish reading Perils of Prague, and set up the email newsletter. I got part of the first day written, but that’s it. I’ve set up the email list, but haven’t written the first newsletter. And I still haven’t finished Perils. (I didn’t read much this week).

Non-writing Goals: I finished the cardigan! Sadly, it’s a little small for me, but I know what I did wrong, and I’ll make sure it has a new home. I wanted to have 1 queen’s favor finished, but I got a project at work to do instead of embroidering, so I’m still working on that first one.

This Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday).

Writing goals: I have today and Wednesday to write, and I’m going to have 2 days ready to go. The newsletter will wait until I understand MailChimp a bit better. Also, I WILL finish Perils!

Non-writing Goals: 1 favor embroidered, and I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. Also, as I now have the art, I will send in the submission I have been sitting on.

 

As always, you can buy me a cup of Ko-Fi if you want! I’m contemplating another Patreon page, but I’m still working out the details.

 

Have a great week, folks!

 

Life reboot: 2.0.

Life has been weird lately, and I’m not sure why.

Of course, I just got home from Balticon, and I’m sick (again – I swear Maryland is trying to kill me), so that might be part of it. I’m still glad I went -I spent a lot of time going to panels on the business of being an author, which is very different from the art of being an author, and one I’m learning about. I’d love to make a living out of being a writer, if only for the fact that I could share my writing with lots of other folks. I’ll always need a day job, sadly, because of my medical condition. And really, I like having a day job. It means I can pay my bills and not have to stress as much if I go to a con and don’t sell any books.

 

But being an author is expensive, guys. And it’s not just bandwidth for the website, or money for notebooks, or supporting my tea habit (which is not cheap, let me tell you). It’s buying swag to hand out at cons or signings. It’s gas money for conventions. It’s paying my editor, my cover artist and my book designer. It’s paying my artist friend to design the calendar. It all costs, and while I’m lucky that so far, I’ve managed to sort of break even, I really need to start doing things like marketing, which I will admit scares and intimidates me. For all that I’m not a shy person, going out and saying, “I wrote this awesome thing and you should buy it!” scares the snot out of me. Seriously. So I’m going to be very awkward as I figure this out. Consider yourselves warned.

 

I’m starting by getting my email list set up today, and I’ve got a Ko-Fi page, if you want to throw some money my way. I’m going to start blogging once a week (on Sundays, when I know I will be sitting down and have a steady internet connection, if nothing else), and those Sunday posts will include my plans for the upcoming week, and how I did on last’s week’s plans. So let’s get that started now.

 

This week, I’m working the day job on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, because Thursday, I have a colonoscopy scheduled. Yay! (not really) Because of my Crohn’s disease, I get to enjoy one of these every other year. Doesn’t that sound like a blast? Okay, that was an unfortunate turn of phrase. I blame Deadpool.

 

However, because of that, my goals for the week are modest. I’m working on the 2017 Advent story (which will start June 30, just so you know). My goal is to have 2 days written by the time next Sunday rolls around, and to set up my email newsletter. Also, I need to finish the Perils of Prague so I can give you all a review. So that’s in the list.

 

Non-writing goals: well, I’m working on a cardigan for myself, so I’d like to have that finished. For at-work projects, I just got some queen’s favors, so we’ll work on that as well. Time to work on my embroidery stitches! Goal is to have 1 favor embroidered by next Sunday.

 

We’ll see how I do. I’m setting modest goals for the most part, because I’m a great one for making unreasonable goals and then watching them fly by.

 

Also! The next Carter’s Cove book, Winter Storms, is out! I’d love some reviews, if you’ve read it! Let me know!

(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.

(writing/poetry/stuff) All the things swirling in my head, like blood in fog

I’m writing again. I’m also starting to venture slowly into poetry, which is weird, because I never thought of myself as a poet. But Amber introduced me to Rupi Kuhr, and I am in love with words again. She is amazing and wonderful and I highly recommend her to all people. Even if you think you don’t like poetry. This, to me, is more thoughts in motion than anything else.

 

I’m also working on books. I’m getting myself back into Advent, and will be re-releasing last year’s unfinished story in July, along with the ending. So this year you get two Advents! Because Molly and Schrodinger will be back in December as well. I’m also releasing Winter Storms, the second book in the Carter’s Cove series, this year. So much Molly! My mother’s smiling, I know she is.

 

I’m working on a few other things too. I’ve got an odd short story that I’m working on finishing up, about ghost helpers and the little shop they run. And I’ve finally started to work on Resonant Frequencies, which I’m hoping to submit to Viable Paradise in a month. If I don’t get it to the shape I want it to by the deadline, I’ll continue to work on it and go for next year. This year is the year of me doing things to push myself. Reconnect with myself.

 

I’m also still playing with Shanna and Talia but that’s kind of on hold. I’m trying to get my world bibles in order (using Archivos, which is amazing and you should all look into it) and so I’m doing more of worldbuilding than anything else. She will be getting her story. I promise. Just not right now. Both of them. And Faerytale Princess as well. I have so many stories, guys. So very many stories.

 

OH! And I’m going to be doing some book reviews too on here! First up, once I finish it, is Perils of Prague by Doc Coleman. Steampunky goodness. I can’t wait. Yes, I will be doing others, but I’m not sure what ones yet.

 

Finally, I’m starting to do The Artist’s Way again. I’ve decided that I’m not going to be online after 9 pm ET most nights, so I can keep my sleep habits healthy. My evenings are going to be spent writing by hand, since that’s something that feels comfortable to me.  More as I come up with it.

(personal/con/writing) A magical weekend

I just got back from Brigadoon – I mean, Balticon.  (Please don’t tell me that you don’t get the reference, because then I’ll feel REALLY old.  Just go with it.)  The best place in the world to spend Memorial Day weekend is Hunt Valley, Maryland, at the best con in the world.  No matter how down I’m feeling about my writing, Balticon picks me up and infuses me with all sorts of new creative juice.

 

I love the panels, where you can talk with people about all sorts of things writerly, nerdly and/or gamerly.  I love randomly running into people in the hall that I haven’t seen in five or more years, and being able to pick up our conversation right where we left off the last time.  I love the fact that no matter where you go, people are having amazing conversations about all sorts of things.  I love the live podcasts, the readings and the chance to find all sorts of new books (so many new books!) and authors.  Most of all, I love the chance to meet new friends and absorb all of the creative energy that infuses the entire weekend.

 

One of my panels this year was a reading, and I went out on a limb and read a scene from Into Thin Air.  It was really well received, which thrilled me, and I got a lot of questions about when it would be coming out.  I also got some ideas for the new book, and even got some words down!  Yay!

 

I hate it when I don’t write.  I feel stuffed up, like I have a horrible cold that nothing can help, and I get very grumpy.  My cats hide from me.  My husband asks me if I’m going to go up and write.  My work mates throw chocolate and stay out of my way.  It’s ugly.

 

But at the same time, if I’m writing crap, I’m also not happy.  Just throwing words on the page doesn’t work.  I need to be doing something that will be good.  So to have the impetus to write, and to get good content out of it, makes me very happy.

 

I need to keep this blog up.  So much is going on, so much is changing, that I need to keep this up.  A lot of the changes are good.  Most I can’t talk about right now.  But as I’m able to talk about them, I will.

 

And I will be writing.  Always writing.

(books/reading) The importance of reading

I know, second week, and already, I’m not giving you a review.  However, I’m still in the middle of the books (yes, plural) that I’m currently reading, and I don’t want to give you guys a half-assed review.  So instead, I’m going to give you my thoughts on reading.

 

I’ve always been a reader.  Of everything.  I was the kid who would read the back of the cereal box while eating breakfast.  My parents are both avid readers, and all four of us kids grew up with more books than TV shows.  Even to this day, I read every day, and just about everything.

 

And that’s a big part of my philosophy – you cannot be a good writer without being a reader.  Reading teaches you so much more than you realize, even as a child.  It teaches you about how to craft a story, how to draw someone into the worlds in your head, how to breathe life into the ghosts that populate your imagination.  Reading populates the imagination in the first place – it gives you what several of my friends call “plot bunnies” that hop around and spawn stories of their own.  And yes, before you yell at me, you can get plot bunnies from other things, but reading is the holy grail of them all.

 

And it’s not just fiction.  Non-fiction gives you the same kind of plot bunny fodder, because there’s so much that is weird about this world.  I’m addicted to all sorts of non-fiction, although my tastes run currently to quantum physics, astronomy and food.  I also love history.

 

So when I hear folks tell me “I don’t read, because I don’t want to get ideas from others,” it makes me sad.  It makes me wonder what they missed out on, and if they even realize it.  To me, reading is like breathing.  I can go without food.  I can’t go without books, and honestly, I think my writing is the better for it.

 

I’m often asked for my advice to new or aspiring writers, and my best advice (other than sit in the chair and write) is simply “Read.”  Read whatever you can get your hands on, whether it is good or bad or indifferent.  Read everything.  Read anything.

 

Just read.

(personal/writing/health/reading) So many things running through my head…

And yet, I fee very calm.  Not crazy, just in a zen kind of mood.  I DO have a lot to do.  And I’m confident I can do it.

 

I’ve been gluten-free now for almost two months, and I can feel differences that I didn’t realize I would.  Things are clearer –  like a fog has lifted.  I’m not even really missing much, except bread.  I need to find a good bread recipe that doesn’t leave me chewing forever.  But I’m working on it – it’s a work in progress, just like a story.

 

I’m running too – I ran twice last week, and realized that I truly need to lose a bit more weight before I run on the track again.  My knees aren’t hurting, exactly, but I’m not doing them any favors by pounding on them with the track with a 285 lb body.  So for the remainder of this pass through the Couch to 5K program (I’m on Week 2, Day 2 for Monday), I’ll be running on the treadmill, working on dropping some weight.  Once I’m running the full 5K on the treadmill, I’ll switch back to the track.  April 6 is my deadline – that’s the Todd’s Trot 5k run that I’m doing for my birthday.  The goal is to run the entire thing.  Even if I finish 2 hours after everyone else.  I WILL run it!

 

I’m feeling more focused on my writing too.  I’ve shelved my pirate story for a while – it’s not working, and I’m thinking I’m going at it the wrong way.  So it goes back into the treasure chest to marinate, and I’m working on my ghosthunters again.  Although they’ve made a change too, which I like.  And I’m plugging along on my edits – hoping to have them out the door by the end of the month as well.

 

I’m reading again too.  I’m not really going to quantify, but I’m reading two interesting books right now.  One is called The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Dr. Atul Gawande.  It’s about how to use a checklist to make sure you are doing everything you need to.  It’s fascinating – he’s a surgeon, so most of his examples are medical-related, but he relates it to the real world.  I’m engrossed.

 

The other book I’m reading is The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly.  Not normally my type of book, but Mom let me borrow it, and I’m loving how she’s weaving the tale of a modern day woman trying to find her way in life with letters from the characters in Little Women (who are this woman’s ancestors).  It’s a good reminder to read outside my genre.  I’m going to have to find some more like this.

 

This got longer than I thought it would, so I’ll put my to-do list on another page.  I do still have a list, after all!