Weekly news roundup – the Father’s Day edition

Okay, so it’s a day late, but hey, I spent Father’s Day with the best of dads, mine. We went and saw Solo, which was super fun and I highly recommend (as one of my friends said, Oscar-worthy it wasn’t, but it was a good Star Wars movie). So I didn’t get to post this yesterday, but hey, I’m at least admitting it! (and totally, go see Solo)

 

I’ve made the decision to not kill myself and try to write two Advent stories this year. I’m going to count last year as a lost year, and publish the story I’m working on in December as usual. I’m sorry, guys, but between work, TAPS, and writing, something has got to give. I just don’t have the time or the energy to do two of them – not and write anything else.

 

Which leads us to goals!

Last Week’s Goals:

Morning pages: Going for all seven days (Sunday to Saturday). I made it 6 out of 7 – I missed Sunday due to Father’s Day. But that’s it!

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! – I did finish Perils, and I owe you guys a review of it. Here’s my mini review – it’s good. Read it. Go buy it. I also finished Day 0 for Advent (yep, another November 30 start) and started Day 1.

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. – I almost finished the favor (I finished it today, actually), I got the caftan I need to start working on for a friend, and I got the submission mostly done. Brian’s page is still unwritten, because I keep crying. But I’m going to have to buckle down and do it.

 

This Week’s Goals:

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

Writing goals: Writing will happen on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. I need to re-juggle a bit of the Advent calendar, but that shouldn’t take long. I want 2 days written, and some work on a Sapph or Spike short.

Non-writing Goals:  I need to write up Brian’s page for the EK 50 memorial wall. No more delays. Also, now that the caftan’s design has been agreed upon, I need to get the waste canvas on it and decide how I’m going to do this. I might try doing embroidery on the waste canvas and see how that works. Not sure yet.

 

As always, you can buy me a cup of Ko-Fi if you want!

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!

(cons/writing/personal) The best part about going to a con, in my opinion

Is how much it recharges your creative juices. Not just because you see people you haven’t seen in a very long time, or because you connect with fans of your work, or because you can drink at the bar. Those are all valid points of a con (yes, even drinking at the bar, because you can learn a ton of valuable information, and no one will care if you are drinking soda or sparkling water instead of booze. Seriously. And if they do care, then you’re hanging with the wrong people, so come and find me), but to me, the biggest part of being at a con is people-watching. There are amazing people at a con that you may never see anywhere else, and you may not even know them, and that’s okay, because just by walking around, they release creative energy that you as an artist can tap into. And it’s the little things:

  • Making breakfast in your room with your roommates, because you’re all poor and would rather spend money on books or other things rather than the overpriced breakfast in the hotel, and making it in your room means you can eat in your pjs without shoes.
  • Hanging out in the lobby and knitting/crocheting/writing/doing whatever, and talking about the latest movies/books/tv/anime/whatever has caught your enthusiasm.
  • Watching cosplayers go by with their eyes shining, because they are having fun, and realizing that it’s so cool to be able to dress the way you really feel comfortable/

As I sit here in the lobby at Balticon, having just finished my morning pages and deciding to work on some blog posts, I realize how lucky I am that I have the opportunity to come here. I’ve learned so much this time, and it’s only Saturday. Even though I’m a veteran writer (I guess), I can still learn, and it’s a great thing. When you stop learning, you stagnate, and then you die.

 

I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to say here – my eyes are still full of allergies, and I’m having issues seeing the computer screen – but I wanted to share that cons are amazing. Every time I come, I leave with the knowledge that I’ve grown as a writer and an artist. It never fails. So now, I’m going to go back to the con, and learn some more.

 

Go and learn something today. Anything.

(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.

(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.

Whole30 and food news

 

I did a Whole30 in January and February of this year, and it pretty much changed my life. So much so that since then, I’ve listened to the audiobooks at least twice each (no, seriously, I have both It Starts with Food and Food Freedom Forever! on my Audible and I’ve listened to both recently, again), and I’m about to buy The Whole30. It’s amazing how different just eating real food has been. And it’s had an effect on my writing, which is why I feel I might be going overboard a bit in my love for it, but seriously, it has. So much so that I’m starting another round on June 1, not because I feel like I’m slipping (although by then, I might be) but because I want to enjoy all the fresh fruits and vegetables that will start coming in to the farmer’s markets, and because by then, I’ll have done my two cons and will need a bit of a reset.

 

And yes, this is a writing blog, but I wanted to talk about how your health in general affects your writing. While there is a certain weird glamour in being “artistic” and drunk/stoned and generally unhealthy, in the long run, it doesn’t bode well for your creative endeavors. Seriously. Take care of your body, and you’ll be able to be creative for a long time.

 

It doesn’t have to be Whole30, either. Find a lifestyle that works for you, and don’t get caught up in the minutiae of what you “Should” be doing. I know one writer who has a little foot pedal set-up in front of his couch. He bikes while he watches TV. Another writer I know runs (actually, quite a few of them do, now that I think of it). I’m hoping to get my bike going this summer, and getting a pair of roller skates. What about you guys? What are you going to do to get healthy?

(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?