Posts Tagged ‘pendragon’

(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.

(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.

(writing) Thoughts on writing a series

Saturday I finished the plot summary for the second novella in the Pendragon Casefiles season 1, which is tentatively titled Deep Waters.  My goal for April is to get the plot summaries done for the remaining 5 novellas in the first season for the casefiles, so that I can write them and release them every other month, starting with Into Thin Air in May at Balticon.

 

“But Val,” you say.  “You don’t  need to have the entire first season planned out before you start releasing them, you know.  Just have an idea of where you want to go.  Or, even better, let the story just FLOW!”

 

And then you start running, because I pull out my rapier with a snarl…Oh wait, sorry, wrong blog post.

 

Seriously, though, I have written a series without knowing what the heck the next book was going to be.  And for someone who is a plotter, not a pantser, I can tell you that it was horribly painful.  It’s not that Horseman wasn’t a good series – I think it was, but had I planned everything out before I released the first book, I think it would have been easier to write the other two.  So for this series, and for all the series I have planned going forward, I plan on having at least the plot summaries done before I release anything, for several reasons.

 

1. I know what’s going to happen in the series.  This is HUGE for me.  Some writers like waiting to see what the characters will do for them – I don’t.  It makes me very, very nervous.

 

2. It allows me to see the characters’ personal arcs and gives me ideas for how to continue them.  As a lot of my writing is very character-based, this is very important as well, and doing the plot summaries shows me how they interact with each other as well.  Half of my plot summaries are dialogue anyways.

 

3. It also needs to be noted that my plot summaries are guidelines.  This is not to say that things don’t change (because trust me, they do).  But having the guideposts there let me see where I’m heading to.

 

4. Lastly, writing the plot summaries helps me to worldbuild without getting bogged down in just worldbuilding, which I am prone to.  If I don’t have a storyline to wrap my imagination around, my worlds get very involved and convoluted, and I just keep going “Oh, that would COOL!”  without thinking about how practical said cool thing would be.  This is a bad thing, trust me.

 

So these are my thoughts on writing a series.  Remember, I’m a plotter, so YMMV.  But if I had to do Horseman all over again, I would totally have planned it all out before the first book hit the stores.  Which is why, with Pendragon, I’m doing it right.  Well, my version of right.

 

What about you?  Do you write series?  How do you do it?

(writing/personal) A new week, a new season, a new start

Theoretically, it is now spring.  *pauses for a look at the snowbanks outside*  Theoretically, it’s going to start getting warm any day now.  Too bad no one told Mother Nature that.  Apparently, whoever was supposed to get her a calendar for Yule forgot.  All I know is that it wasn’t me this year.

 

I’ve had a week.  I’m learning that every week will have an up and a down, at the very least, especially weeks with a Remicade treatment.  But the downs are getting less down, and the ups are starting to get higher.  Which is a good thing.

 

I’m tired of winter.  I’m tired of white, of sweaters, of cold.  I want it to be warm, to hear the summer birds sing, to smell the sun warming the grass and the flowers.  I want it to be event season.  I want to spend the day in a chair outside, listening to children play and swords clang off armor as I stitch on a new dress or weave trim.  I want it to be summer, but I’ll settle for spring.

 

In writing news, I’m working on the plot summary for Deep Waters, which is the second Pendragon Casefiles.  I also passed Into Thin Air on to a beta-reader who had no information about the story or the world – and she loved it.  Yay!  The plan is to have the first two novellas written and the third in process by Balticon, so I can release the first one right before it.  I’m very excited about that.

 

I’m hoping things start looking up soon.  I need some good news, and a change.  Definitely a change.

(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/personal) Monday, my old enemy, we meet again.

I’m trying really hard to keep updating this blog.  I feel bad that it seems to be only on Mondays – I promise, I will get onto more of a schedule soon.  Life has just been…well, life, lately.

 

Hubby is still job hunting, and any good thoughts (or job prospects!) that you folks can send our way would be awesome.  He’s looking hard, and in the meantime, I get to enjoy things like the house being cleaner than normal, and my laundry being done.  Honestly, if we could afford it, I’d love to keep him as a house husband.  He’d be happier too.  We need to win the lottery or something.

 

I’m still writing (yes, this is totally counting as words today, because it is after 11 pm and I’m brain-dead after a Monday), and I’m up to 23 days, I believe.  Not even hurricanes or hurricane-related hangovers stopped me, so one day of weird chats (and dear lord, were they weird.  Especially the guy who wanted to make sure he was still employed, because he couldn’t change his contributions online.  From his work computer.  While he sat in his office.  I swear, I can’t make this stuff up!) is not going to stop me.  And as my friend LC pointed out last week, the fact that I have a life means I have more inspiration.  And I do!

 

I’m hoping to get Into Thin Air out this week.  It’s on my list, and Wednesday after my PT appointment, I’m planning on heading to the studio and getting it out.  This is a labor of love – I really, really love these characters, and I think the story and the concept are awesome.  It’s a new universe, a new plotline – and I can’t wait to share it with you.  I’m thinking Wednesday I might post a scene for you.

 

Health update!  We think the kidney stone passed while I wasn’t looking (a 4mm stone, or so they thought.  My friend Bob uses pearls smaller that that in his jewelry. O.o) but I go to the urologist on Wednesday to find out.  There’s no pain anymore, which is good, but apparently now I’m prone to them (kidney stones, that is).  Joy.  It’s been stupid cold here, so my knees are not happy.  I think Wednesday might also be swim day, as I have a 3 hour block of time in between urologist and PT.  And the pool is warm.  I just have to find my swim suit.

 

But right now, I’m not going to think about sore knees, or bills, or anything like that. I just wanted to thank you guys.  All of you, who believe in me, who like the stories and the characters that I bring into life.  I want to be thankful that I can continue to write.  And I want to remind myself, and everyone else out there, that I always have my writing, and that’s a very, very cool thing.

 

Even if it is stupid cold out.  (Seriously, it’s -17 degrees F before the wind chill.  WTF?  It’s March!  It’s baseball season!  This is NOT AWESOME!)

(writing) Updates

Wow, I really do suck at this blogging thing, don’t I?  I’m working on getting better, I promise.  Things have been stupid busy over the last two weeks, and some things have had to give.  I’m hoping to get a bunch of stuff up in the next week, though.

 

Here’s what’s been going on.

 

For starters, my new schedule is AWESOME!  I love it.  It’s just what I needed, and if that was the only thing that had changed, I probably wouldn’t have been so quiet here.  Of course, life doesn’t work like that.  There was the snowstorms, for one thing.  For all the poetic beauty of a snowstorm in New Hampshire, I personally hate them.  I hate shoveling, I hate being cold, I hate having to wear coats and shoes.  HATE IT.  I know, I know, I’m living in the wrong area.  Trust me, I know.  Winter and I do not get along.  There was my husband being let go from his job this past week.  That royally sucked.  No fault of his, either – the company was downsizing and sadly, contractors are always the first to go.  So if you are in southern New Hampshire (you know, Concord to Nashua) and you know of a shipper/receiver job, please let me know.  He’s a really good worker!  And then my great-uncle died yesterday.

 

Yeah, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.

 

But there are some good things coming too. I have a cover reveal for an author friend coming on February 17th, and I’m working on a new release of my own.

 

I’ve decided not to query Into Thin Air, but to make it the next release I’m doing.  And so, I had to commission a cover, of course.  There will be more on it later.  But isn’t it pretty?

PC1-ITA-350

So that’s been my last two weeks.  Hope you guys are doing better!

(Personal/writing) Getting to a new normal

Tomorrow starts my new schedule.  For those who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m going to what’s called a 4×10 schedule.  I’ll be working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 8 pm, and have Wednesdays off.  Now, I still have an hour commute each way, but that day off in the middle of the week is huge.  The last time I had a 4×10, I was the healthiest I’ve been in years.  I’m really looking forward to getting back to that state.

 

Part of doing that is getting back to making my own food.  Yes, I talk about cooking all the time (or so it seems) but the truth is, for the past month or so, I’ve gotten away from really cooking.  Most of the stuff has been premade by the grocery store, or (sadly), bought at work.  Now, don’t get me wrong – my work has a lovely cafeteria with an emphasis on natural and locally-sourced foods.  But it’s expensive, and not free from cross-contamination from gluten.  And it’s expensive.  So today, as I take it a bit easy (because I haven’t done a 10-hr day in about 3 years), I’m going to be taking stock of my freezer and fridge and figuring out what to make for the next two days.  Wednesday night is a return to dinner WITH MY HUSBAND!!! So that will be a special one too.

 

I also want to write today, but I’m not going to push it.  250 words would be great.  Just enough to start my streak again.  I need to start brainstorming a February story (I may not do a full publication on it, but if nothing else, it will go out on the blog).  I also need to keep working on FTP’s worldbuilding/plotting and I need to write a plot synopsis for Into Thin Air.  I’d like to get that out the door for queries by the middle of February, so I can start working on other things.  I’m also going to start editing Advent #1, since I’m going to be releasing that at Balticon.  Gotta get moving on that!

 

(Also need to look at other things for Balticon, such as cards for Cassandra and tea blends for Molly.  And cards for Schrodinger!  He wants some.)

 

And no, not watching the Superbowl.  Might watch the Puppy Bowl, though.  Or not.  We’ll see.

(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.

(writing) An update, only a little late

This week has not been good to most of my life, I’ll be honest.  I’m in the last week before my Remicade treatment, the weather is playing havoc with my allergies, and it seems like every one around me is sick at work.  The upshot?  A migraine.  Yeah, a migraine.

 

But despite that, I’m here, at the computer.  My words are nonfiction tonight (yep, I count blog posts as words, because dammit, I had to show up), but they are words, and this will be my 145th day in a row of writing.  Which is pretty damn cool.  Not sure what I’m going to do when I hit 150.  Maybe color my hair?  Something cool.

 

I’m almost done with Into Thin Air; I rewrote the ending to the last chapter last night, and now all I need to do is the epilogue.  Then it goes out to beta readers, and I start work on the next project.  Nope, not taking any time off.  Let’s be honest – I don’t want to break my streak.  And NaNo is fast approaching.

 

Something to keep your eyes open for – if you are heading to CapClave in October, I’ll be there!  Right now, I’m on 4 panels on Saturday and Sunday, but I’ll be around on Friday if anyone wants to meet up.  My schedule now is:

4 pm Saturday – Quoth the Raven

Panelists: Val Griswold-FordJames MaxeyTee MorrisJames Morrow (M), Steven H. Wilson
Forbidden Planet shows some strong similarities to Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Honor Harrington’s historical borrowings are easy to spot. But what if your influences and references are not as well known? How do you connect it for readers? Should you spell it out or hope someone catches your subtle references? What authors do this well?

 

5 pm Saturday – The Evolution of Fantasy

Panelists: Scott H. AndrewsVal Griswold-FordKathryn Morrow (M), Michelle D. SonnierLawrence Watt-Evans
Dark fantasy, Urban fantasy, and Tolkien fantasy are just a few examples of modern genre writing. Trends and tastes change over time. A Song of Ice and Fire brought gritty fantasy to the forefront. Is the reading public ready to move on? And to what?

 

12 pm Sunday – Magic’s Price

Panelists: Iver CooperVal Griswold-FordMichelle D. Sonnier (M), Jim StrattonAllen Wold
How do magic users tap mystical powers, and since there are no free lunches what is the price? What authors create the most interesting magical systems? What do authors do when the magic user becomes too powerful?

 

1 pm Sunday – Devourer of Books

Panelists: Judi FlemingVal Griswold-FordRahul KanakiaLeona Wisoker (M)
The speed reader gets to the end faster and as a reader they can outread every author they follow. They need new books, or old books to explore. Where do they get and keep their choices? General discussion of being a fast reader.