Archive for March, 2016

(personal/writing) Working through the grief

The family


The picture above is 4 generations of my family, taken four years ago (I believe). Since then, my grandmother (on the left) passed away two months before her 99th birthday, and just this past Tuesday, my mother passed away, barely 2 months past her 65th birthday.


I won’t lie – it’s been a hard week. My mother fought stage 4 endometrial cancer until the end, and she did not go quietly into that good night. She went out on her terms, though, and before she said good night for the last time (not good bye; she hated good byes), she made me promise a few things.


My mother and father have always been my biggest supporters of my writing, along with my husband. I’m so very lucky to have always had that support. When I announced at age 6 that I was going to be a writer, I didn’t get “Oh, that’s nice, but what do you really want to be?” Instead, I got a typewriter, and my parents read everything I wrote. And saved all of it, as I discovered this week. (Wow, my writing at age 7 was horrible, but at least I knew how to use the word “wretched” properly.) So when Mom asked me to not stop writing, but to keep going, I knew I couldn’t say no.


So there will be more Molly. I’ve promised to make sure my nieces have an Advent story every year. And I’ve started working on the details of the Patreon page I’m going to be starting up. And I’m finishing

(writing) I need to write Sapph

Damn, I need to write more ghost stories. Really.


In my spare time.

(writing/health) Depression, and the continuing struggle


I was going through my pictures the other day, and realized just how dark this one is. This is my street, during a snowstorm a few years ago. And it got me to thinking about how dark days, dark winters, really, really affect me. And my writing.


I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that a lot of my Horseman books happen in the dark cold of a New Hampshire winter, or in the Shadow Lands. It’s a dark series, and for me, cold and dark have always gone hand in hand. I vaguely remember enjoying winter once, but now, it seems as soon as the days start getting shorter and it starts getting colder out, I start to shut down. I don’t want to do anything other than sleep. I hate being cold. I hate having to wear coats and gloves and YakTraks. I just don’t like winter.


But this winter seemed especially hard, even though it wasn’t that cold and snowy. My depression whispered to me during these long nights, taunting me, reminding me that I wasn’t writing when everyone around me was, I wasn’t doing much of anything, I was gaining weight and losing time, and didn’t I just feel awful about it? Never mind that pretty much NONE of that (except the feeling awful part) was true. Depression is like that – it’s a snake that whispers where no one else can hear, and it tells lies that sound like the truth, and it’s so hard not to believe it.


I can only imagine what winter was like before electric lights, before heated buildings, before cars to get to work. I luckily don’t lose power that often, so I don’t get to experience that. Even camping now seems less…rustic, and I know it’s because I chose to make it that way. And yet, winter isn’t just a dead time.


It’s a sleeping time. The earth doesn’t die – it sleeps, snug in a winter blanket, dreaming of the longer days and warmer sun that’s coming. Everything needs down time, and perhaps I’ve been looking at winter the wrong way. Perhaps, even though my depression is telling me lies, those lies are rooted in a truth that I’ve been ignoring: that even though technology insists we can go 24-7, all day, every day, that life doesn’t do well at full-throttle. That everything needs a break, a winter’s nap, and that I should see this time as hibernation, my body and my soul recovering from the stresses of life. I’m not hiding away from everyone – I’m recharging, waiting for the cold to roll back, and the soil to warm, so I can spread my leaves out to the sun again.


I’m not denying that I have depression. I will always have depression – there is no cure, at least not yet. But I can learn from it, use it, respect it and what it is trying to tell me. And realize that under the lies is a kernel of truth, and nurturing that truth is what I need to do.

(writing) Thinking about cons and giveaways

moonkittyConventions, not con games, that is. I’m getting things ready for rolling out Winter Secrets at Balticon and ConCarolinas this year, and so I’m thinking about these kind of things, which to be honest, are both fun and annoying to me as a writer.


Fun, because ooh, what can I give away to get people excited in the book? I mean, I love giving things to people. I want to be rich, so I can randomly give stuff to people. I still randomly give stuff to people, even though I’m not rich. And with Molly, since we share a love of tea, I can give away one of my favorite things: TEA. Which everyone should drink, because it is awesome.


At the same time, it’s hard, because a) I’m NOT rich; b) tea is not cheap; c) time spent planning giveaways and putting them together takes away from time I have to write, and that is what I truly love to do. But this world means you have to wear several hats as a writer, and publicist is one of them. So, I’m thinking today about what I’m going to do for my two cons (which are back to back, so yay?)


Molly, as many of my readers know, loves to collect odd tea cups and mugs to use in CrossWinds Books. So what better giveaway than a tea cup/mug and some of her favorite tea? I’ll have at least one set to give away at each con, but how to do it? At Balticon, I’ll have a table, and I think I might offer tickets to anyone who takes a postcard or bookmark about the book. More tickets if you buy it. Then I can draw a ticket and give it away. At ConCarolinas, I won’t have a table, so I’m going to see what I want to do. I might see who’s got a party going, and see if I can give it away there. Or package it with a copy of the book to the charity auction. And then, I have to come up with postcards and bookmarks, maybe tea bags, to give away at the freebies table.


It’s not cheap – either in terms of money or in terms of time. I don’t have a publications department doing this for me, especially with these books, as I’m publishing them myself. It could be a fulltime job on its own, to be honest. But at the same time, it’s kind of fun to see what I can come up with.


What would you like to see on a freebie table? Got any ideas? Let me know!