Posts Tagged ‘goals’

(writing/personal) The first blog post of the new year



Happy New Year, everyone!  Sorry I disappeared after the end of Advent – the holidays overwhelmed me, and I just couldn’t bring myself to write, never mind blog.  But I hope everyone enjoyed this year’s Advent, and I promise, it’s not the last.


For those who may not know (I know I have some new readers here), I have an incurable disease – Crohn’s Disease.  It’s stress-aggravated, among other things, and I go once every 8 weeks for an IV treatment to keep it in check.  When I’m on schedule, it’s usually pretty good.  However, this holiday season, my 8 weeks was up on Christmas Eve, when the infusion suite wasn’t open.  So basically, I’m now 2 weeks late for my treatment.  To add to it, I ran out of one of my other meds, and had to go a week before the refill prescription was sent to my pharmacy.  It was NOT a good thing.


So I retreated for a bit, surrounding myself with family and close friends, and didn’t look at my computer very much (except to play Dragon Age Origins once, and getting stuck), and to be honest, it was good.  I did THINK about writing, and how I was going to approach this year, and what I wanted to do with the next 12 months.


This year is going to be a year of writing and publishing.  I have some concrete goals, and a plan of how to accomplish it.  My work schedule has settled into a 4×10 week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, I work 10 hour days), and a lot of it is writing.  That, combined with an hour driving commute each way, means I don’t really want to look at my computer when I get home.  So I’m not going to.  I’m going to be writing on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and setting myself a goal of at least 1k each day.  That’s a minimum of 3k a week, which is fine.  I’m also going to be posting more here, but only on those days.  The other 4, I’m not worrying about writing.  If I do write, that’s awesome.  If not, that’s okay too.


It wouldn’t be a New Year’s post without goals, so here’s what I plan on accomplishing this year, writing-wise:

1. Two Advent stories.  Yes, two.  If you read this year’s Advent, you know that Molly and Drew have finally set a date – July 18, to be exact.  And well, they can’t get married without a story, can they?  So yes, readers, there will be an abbreviated Advent in July (6 days) for the wedding, plus another full Advent in December.  And I plan on having the first Advent story (now tentatively titled Winter’s Secrets) available in e-book and print in July.

2. Five more Pendragon novellas.  The response to Into Thin Air was awesome – I’m glad you guys liked it!  There was a short story in the Tales of the Tesla Ranger anthology as well, and I’m moving forward with the rest of the season.  Once all the novellas have been released as e-books, I’ll do a print omnibus edition as well.

3. A separate novel project.  Even though I’m enjoying working on self-publishing both Advent and Pendragon, I would like to sell a novel to an agent and get a big publishing house deal.  Because I would.  So I’m working on an urban fantasy take on World War 3, sort of.  Involving the United Nations, the Bright and Dark Courts, goblins, and the half-elven daughter of William Shakespeare, who’s currently working as a bartender in Manchester, NH.  As one does.  This rough draft will be done by the end of the year.


So yes, it’s going to be a busy year.  But a good year.  I’m excited.  And I’m dedicating this writing year, and all those to come, to those we lost this last year, especially PG and Nicole, because I’m going to do what I can to live not only for myself, but for them.  Life is too short, and too fragile.


Now, it’s Saturday, and I’ve got a word count to get.

(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.

(writing/cons/personal) Decisions to be made

It’s been a long week.  I seem to be saying that a lot lately.  I think it’s because it’s the end of winter – I’m so tired of the cold, and the snow, and the cold, and did I mention the cold?  I hate being cold.  I’d so much rather be hot than cold.  And I miss the sun.  But it seems like the days are so long, the nights are so short and I’m just not sleeping well.  I’m trying to stay positive, to keep myself looking towards the sun, but it’s hard.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong, per se (although I’m still looking for good job mojo for Hubby, who is still looking); I’m just bummed that winter isn’t over yet.


On a tangent, snow would be awesome if it would come down and be pretty in 60 degree heat.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  I would love it then.


Anyways, I’m looking at time right now.  Specifically, how much time I have to write, and what I have to do in order to get Winter Secrets ready for the world.  And I’m realizing that there is not enough time between now and Balticon to get it ready for the world the way I want it to be, not without taking some time off from work (which I can’t do, sorry).  So Winter Secrets will NOT debut at Balticon, but Into Thin Air will.  Yep, we will have ghosts.  And heiresses.  And a set of cops who are so in over their heads that it isn’t funny.


So for a while, I’ll be doing a few things.  I’ll still be working on Secrets most nights (because I do want to have the rewrite done for a November release of all three books, if I can), but I’m also going to be working on Deep Waters, which is the second Pendragon novella.  Into Thin Air is almost ready to go (it’s written and edited, but I want to do one more proofreading pass before I send out review copies).  I’d like to have both books ready to go by Balticon, with A Mother’s Love (the working title for the third Pendragon novella) in the works.


It’s ambitious.  But I think I can do it.


PS – Don’t worry, Schrodinger will still be at Balticon with me.  He’s very excited, and I’m afraid to see what would happen if I left him behind.

(writing) A new year, and new projects!

New projects and new goodies for my readers!  I unveiled this on Facebook earlier today, but now I’ll share with you guys.  I’ve taken a challenge up to self-publish 12 of my short stories, one each month.  The lovely JA Marlow designed this month’s cover for Convoy, which is a short story set in a world of mine that I’m calling True Souls.  This story was originally published in the 2012 Forward Motion anthology “The Princess, the Boatman and the Lizard,” and is going to be available soon as an ebook.  I’ll definitely let you guys know when that’s available, but I have to share the cover now.

Convoy-VGF-1000H (1)Isn’t it lovely?  I am SO happy with it!

Now, this isn’t the only thing that I’m working on this year.  This year is the year of finishing and submitting things.  Right now, I’m working on the prewriting for my next novel, tentatively titled Faerytale Princess, which is about a female executive who is literally stolen away from her work’s bathroom by a prince of a magic kingdom.  It’s a fun romp, and the plan is to have it finished and out to submission to agents before November.

This month, I’m also starting to revise the very first Advent story, so it can be done as a novel.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to self-publish the Advent stories, or if I’m going to sub them as well.  I figure once I get them revised, I’ll decide.

My goals for this year are pretty lofty.  I plan on subbing at least three projects to agents/editors, writing and/or publishing 12 short stories and writing four new projects.  Those include the next Pendragon novella, and the next Advent story.

2014 is going to be MY year.  Be sure about it.

(personal/writing/resolutions) It’s a new year

And with the new year, I love to do resolutions.  Usually I do wildly optimistic resolutions that fall (mostly) flat after a month.  So this year, I’m going to do what I consider to be realistic resolutions.

1. I resolve to take care of myself.

This sounds like it should be a no-brainer, but it’s something I’m surprisingly bad at.  I love to stay up late, I hate getting up early, I love to read but not to exercise, I suck at taking my medications on time, and quite frankly, I tend to be lazy in terms of cooking good food for myself.  I’m not going to fix this overnight, or even in one year, but I’m going to get better on this, especially on the meds, the exercise and the food front.  With my issues (including Crohn’s Disease, degenerative arthritis and gluten allergies), these are the big ones.

2. I resolve to enjoy life more.

Life is far too short to be unhappy.  I don’t want to be unhappy.  So part of taking care of myself is doing things that I enjoy, that bring me happiness, and that make my life and the life of those around me better.  Which may  mean less going out and more time around the house, but that’s okay.  I want to make my house a place that both hubby and I can love to come home to.

3. I resolve to write more.

This is a definitely.  I’m looking forward to blogging on a regular basis, writing and self-publishing some short stories (12 this year), finishing the first draft of at least 3 novels, and editing and polishing at least 3 more.  I’ll do another blog later that’s just the writing schedule for the year.


Those are my resolutions for 2014.  What about yours?

(health/personal) Not letting the stress get the better of me

Part of the reason I write this page every week is to remind myself of what I’m trying to do.  Yeah, I know, Yoda said to either do, or do not – there is no try, but honestly, I’m human, not a Jedi Master, and I have to try.  Because more often than not lately, my best intentions have gone the way of the dodo (wow, talk about mixing metaphors!).


It’s stress.  I am really lousy about dealing with stress.  I internalize a lot of it, and then I blow my top, and my diet, and everything else.  I don’t take my meds on time all the time.  I don’t eat right.  I end up rushing, and not taking the time to make the foods that will make me feel better, or forgetting them at home, and then I eat fast food, which doesn’t help either.


It’s a journey.  I really need to remind myself that I didn’t gain the weight all at once, and that stressing about it is not healthy either.  I need to set up meals the night before.  I’ve written up a meal plan for the week, and rather than just doing dinners, as I’ve done before, I actually sat down and planned out the entire week of food: breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.  I’m planning on going to the gym and swimming on Tuesday and Thursday (they have new hours for the pool) and I have morning appointments on Monday and Wednesday.  I’ve made allowances for those days, working that into my food plan.  It really is all about the planning, and the follow-up to the planning.  Make the plan easy enough to follow through.


I’ll let you know how I did next Monday!

(health/food/personal) A new week, and more food!

Happy Monday, folks!  I think I’ve FINALLY got this cold on the run – I actually took Saturday off and RESTED.  Well, I wrote, but I could do that from the couch.  Sunday I felt so much better!  Ate real food, did chores, and wrote.


This is going to be a good food week.  I’m finally able to take all my meds and supplements.  I’m able to eat and taste my food (I hate that about being sick).  And I have such good food to eat!


Sunday Mom, Lily and I went to the Nottingham Orchard, where we got a bag of lovely little Cortland apples and a 1/2 gallon of fresh cider.  Then we went to the farmer’s market in Nottingham, where I got hickory-smoked honey, a head of hickory-smoked garlic, fresh dried beans, fresh pears (Seckels, Patterns and Lucious), some heirloom apples to try, another jar of leaf lard (FINALLY!) and a big beef soup bone.  Picked up eggs on the way home, so I can have some baked goods that I can eat.  So here’s the menu for dinner this week:

Monday – homemade baked beans and pork chops

Tuesday – roasted winter squash stuffed with broccoli-cheese sausage stuffing

Wednesday – eggplant pizzas

Thursday – salmon with roasted potatoes and roasted broccoli

Friday – Teriakyi chicken thighs, garlic green beans and sweet potato fries


We’re doing exercise this week too, once again.  Swimming Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  My knees are complaining, because I’m carrying too much weight on them, so I need to start slow.  I’ll be walking every day at work for my lunch break.  I am NOT being this heavy come the spring.  Hell, I’m not being this heavy come Christmas!


Don’t you wish you lived at my house?

(health/personal) Back from vacation!

Yep, I was on vacation for the past week, which is why  I didn’t post.  I was actually planning on posting, but after Harper’s Retreat, I got sick.  I think it was a combination of stress (running an event, even a successful one, is stressful) and the fact that allergies are killing me, and poor Kate was so sick during the event.  I have a very depressed immune system even during the best of times, so it really was the perfect storm.  At least I had plenty of time to sleep (mostly).


However, when I get sick, or stressed, the first thing that goes is my eating habits.  I haven’t been exercising either.  Speaking of a perfect storm.  So this week, since I’m going back to work, it’s time to get back on the horse.  Tuesday is going to be hard – we’re going to the movies for Brian’s birthday, and I LOVE movie-theatre popcorn.  BUT – I’m going to commit to health, and that means no large popcorn.  A SMALL popcorn will be fine.  And a water – not a soda.  I need to do this – for me.  I need to reclaim my health.  So one thing I will do is tomorrow morning, before work – I’m popping some popcorn at home, and I’ll bring it into work.  I’m recommitting to the gluten-free way of life, and I’m going to be eating healthy.


I’m also going to be exercising.  I’m committing to exercising 3 times a week, every week.  I will be reclaiming my fencing lunge.  I’ll be getting healthy, and lifting weights.  I’m done being unhealthy.



(health) Thoughts on stress

I’m under a lot of stress at the moment.  I’ll be honest – it’s mostly self-inflicted.  I’m autocratting (running, for those not familiar with SCA terms) a fairly large event Labor Day weekend called Harper’s Retreat, and the week before the event is always nerve-racking to me.  There’s SO much that needs to be done, and of course, my mind is racing as to what can possibly go wrong.  Weeks like this are when everything healthy I’m trying to do usually breaks down, and I end up eating fast food and barely sleeping.


Not this time.  I know this week is going to be hard, but I’m preparing ahead so that I don’t have to worry about what I’m eating, at least.  There is a beef stew prepped and in the fridge, all ready to be popped into the crockpot this morning.  It’s already in the crock insert, so all I need to do is add water, put it in the outer portion of the pot, and turn it on.  Dinner for Brian and I for the next two days.  We bought a lovely heirloom rye bread at the farmer’s market on Saturday, and some goat cheese with blueberries and pecans.  Yesterday, we bought apples and peppers at the local orchard, and honey ham from the grocery store.   My lunch and snacks are packed into bento boxes and ready to be popped into my lunch box.  All I need to do is make breakfast, and then go.


I’m going to continue to walk on lunch this week – I don’t think I’ll try and squeeze in gym time, because I don’t need one more stressor.  Part of my plan is to make sure I’m moving all week, so that I can work off some of the nervous energy.  And prepping my medications/lunch/dinner the night before (I’m only working Monday through Wednesday, luckily) to make sure that I get everything I need done.  I’ve got a checklist of what needs to be done for Harpers, and I know I’ll get it all done.  It’s just a matter of working through it.  And not losing my mind in the process.


I met with my nutritionist on Saturday, and got some new ideas (like finally using my bentos!) for adding protein to my midday snacks.  I’m falling back to grazing, which isn’t good for my waistline.  So I’ll be doing things like apple slices with peanut butter, lunch meat and fruit or apple sauce, maybe some of the rye bread with the goat cheese.  Cucumbers and pepper slices with cream cheese (although she wants me to cut down on the dairy).  Things like that.


Oh, I put new batteries in my scale.  Expect a weigh-in on Wednesday.


I’m just going to take it one day at a time.  That’s the way to do it.  One day at a time.

(health/eating) Revelations

Not the book from the Bible, but my own personal revelations as I continue to work on my eating and exercise habits.  I’m discovering that left to my own devices, I’ll eat pretty healthy, but there are some major roadblocks I still fall into:

1. Preplanning

I suck at this.  Actually, the part I suck at is translating the paper plans to actual activity.  A big part of both being gluten-free and paleo is the need to really get things done in advance, so you aren’t caught unawares.  Yeah, that’s the part I’m having to work on now, because wow, I tend to just go, and then realize that hey, I haven’t eaten in six hours and my blood sugar is dropping like a rock.  Considering that I was diagnosed with possible diabetes two months ago, this is NOT a good thing.  I really need to get into the whole packing my lunch, making dinner and making sure I have enough snacks along the way.  Especially on weekends.  Because most fast food makes me sick now.

2. Sleep

This is another one that I’m working on.  My relationship with sleep is complicated, not just because of the fibromyalgia but because I’m a night owl living in a morning lark world, and sometimes my brain just refuses to shut up.  The new bed we just got is definitely helping (OMG, going from a 20+-year-old innerspring mattress to a brand new memory foam one is amazing), but I’m still struggling with the “No, we cannot stay up until 3 am and then sleep until 10 am,” because I don’t really get anything DONE after about 11 pm.  So I’m up, watching Criminal Minds.  Or playing Mahjong on the computer.  SO not helpful.  Again, something I need to work on.

3. Sweets

The good news is that as I continue to cut added sugar out of my diet, my sweet tooth is getting less large.  But it’s still there.  Sweet and salty is my doom – give me a bag of potato chips or corn chips and a jar of Nutella, and I’m done.  I love popsicles, and I like ice cream.  I just have to keep reminding myself that in moderation, it’s okay.  Especially if they’re things I make myself.  But damn, sometimes it’s hard….

4. Time

There’s never enough time.  NEVER.  Sunday was awesome, because I sat and sewed and listened to people talk and didn’t need to do anything.  I ignored the dishes in the sink, the food I should have been making, everything.  I didn’t go inside to write.  Still don’t know (as of the time of this writing) if the Red Sox won.  Didn’t do any copyediting or proofreading.  Ignored my phone.  It was lovely.  But I so rarely get that anymore.  I think, after September, I’m taking like a month off from doing stuff for other people.  Maybe.  If I can.


I need to remember that this is a journey.  It’s not a destination.  I won’t wake up one morning and say, “Woohoo, I’m healthy!  Now, next thing!”  It’s a lifestyle change I’m making, and I know it takes a while to work everything into the right spots.  I can only do what I can do.  But darn it all, as a perfectionist, that’s just not good enough for me….