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moonkitty

April 2016

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Apr. 24th, 2016

moonkitty

(writing) The importance of schedules

goal crushedIt’s a Sunday, which means I’m down at Gibson’s Bookstore, writing. It’s a habit we (by we, I mean the other crazies writers that meet with me) started during NaNoWriMo this past November, and we’ve continued to meet every Sunday since then. We started with four of us – now we’re up to eight, and have our own barista. And it’s been a real force in what I’ve been able to get done since then: another book done, a Patreon site launched with the start of the StarChild book, and seven chapters done on a book that I’m hoping to get finished and shopping to an agent by the end of the year. Not to mention that I’m writing regularly, and it’s helped me get through the loss of my mother. Oh yeah, and there’s a book coming in May.

 

It’s the schedule that has allowed me to do this. One of the only pieces of writing advice that has always stuck with me is BICFOK – Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. You can’t write if you don’t make the time to write. You can’t. It’s just a given. And having a regular schedule is what helps you do this.

 

Even when my week has been shit, and I cannot for the life put words down after staring at a screen of emails for 10+ hours, I know that I’ll have Sunday morning to salvage my writing. And I can always count on the tea and the company to keep me going.

 

So now, it’s time for me close this blog post, and get the writing open. I leave you with this bit of advice: Make yourself a schedule, and stick to it.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Apr. 23rd, 2016

moonkitty

(writing/personal) Blog tour! Blog tour! Eek!

positive thinking

 

How do you find time to write? What do you listen to while you write? Where do your ideas come from? Do you have any rituals? What’s your favorite book/author?

 

These are all the things that are swirling through my mind right now, because I’m starting to work on the blog posts for the blog tour for Winter’s Secrets that’s coming out in May (ohgodohgodohgod). I’m also writing other things, because I’ve got a patreon site going now. In short, there are so many words to write, and there seems to be almost no time to write it all. It’s very exciting, and slightly terrifying.

 

Which means I need to write. Eek!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Apr. 20th, 2016

moonkitty

(writing) Taking the leap

writerWell, I’ve been talking about it for a while, and I’ve finally taken the plunge.

 

I’ve signed up for Patreon. You can sign up for my stream here.

 

Now, to allay any fears – I will still be posting here too. And the Advent Story will still be here in December every year. And every so often, I’ll drop story stuff in here. But if you really want to read regular fiction from me, come on over to Patreon. I mean, for $1 a month minimum, you get stories. And the first one is the first book in the Shanna series. (For more money, you get more stuff, of course)

 

I’m also getting ready to do a blog tour! And boy, do we have some interesting folks willing to host me! The tour starts May 16 and goes to June 16, and I’ll have a full list here as soon as I’m able.

 

Now, I gotta get writing!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Apr. 17th, 2016

moonkitty

(writing/personal) Surfacing, with news and new projects

 

I won’t lie – it’s been a rough few weeks. But I did finish Winter’s Secrets, and it’s in the hands of beta readers now. We’re on schedule to release at Balticon and ConCarolinas with ACTUAL BOOKS! And tea. Because, well, you can’t do a book release about Carter’s Cove that doesn’t involve tea. And scones. So hopefully I will see you guys there!

 

In addition, I’m putting together a blog tour for the book release, to happen within the book release time frame. Part of what I’m doing today is setting up the blog tour. If you’d like to be a part of it, drop me a line!

 

There will also be another Carter’s Cove story this year, because there’s still more stories to be told. This one will bring in some new characters, and some old ones, and will involve something that you can follow along with, should you choose. Yeah, I’m a tease. More information later.

 

Now that the current book is done, I’m going back into the Dark Horseman universe to start the Shanna stories. That’s my goal right now – to get the first book done. I’m actually opening with the vomit draft today, as soon as I set up the Google calendar for the tour. So much to do! But it’s good, because it’s what I need to do. And every word I write is one Mom can read, because I know she’s still reading. Heaven for her would be a bookstore, with unlimited amounts of tea and scones.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Mar. 28th, 2016

moonkitty

(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

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Mar. 8th, 2016

moonkitty

(writing) I need to write Sapph

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

 

In my spare time.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Mar. 3rd, 2016

moonkitty

(writing/health) Depression, and the continuing struggle

snowpocalypse.jpg

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.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Mar. 1st, 2016

moonkitty

(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!

 

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Feb. 28th, 2016

moonkitty

(writing) On grooves and getting into them.

writer

It’s Sunday, which has become a writing/editing day for me. There is a wonderful bookstore/cafe in my hometown called Gibson’s Bookstore, that has become one of my favorite places around. I even saw John Scalzi speak here! (It was cool. I was sick, so I stayed away from him, but it was VERY cool. Yes, I’m a bit of a fan girl.)

 

Anyways, they have a great cafe and they LIKE WRITERS! So every Sunday, a group of us have been meeting to drink amazing tea and coffee, and write. Or edit. Or graphic design. Or sewing. We’re an eclectic group, and we love our coffee/tea.

 

Today, it wasn’t even really a thought. It was Sunday. It was time to go to Gibson’s. And now, as I’m sitting here, I’m realizing that this has become a tradition, and how much this has helped me get back into the writing mindset. Writers are very much creatures of habit (I suspect most humans are, but I can only speak for writers), and the more that writing becomes a habit, the more I do it. See this blog, for example. This is my third blog post this week. After what, a month? And I’m seeing this in other ways too.

 

I’m still working on Winter Secrets, but Sapph has been stirring in my brain, offering up snippets that I’m going to be using in the first draft of her next book. She’s got a new playlist too – we’re both hooked on Billy Joel, who I think will be the soundtrack to her book. Because, well, Billy Joel is awesome. (And if you disagree, I don’t care. I saw him twice in concert, and he’s amazing.) I don’t sing well, and I don’t play an instrument, but I do find that I write better when I have a playlist. As if the music teases out the words. So I have been listening to Billy Joel on almost constant playback, and it’s helping me get in that writing mindframe as well.

 

And I’m reading. My last book was Red Hot Steele, by Alex Berg (thank you, Dad, for suggesting it! It was awesome) and there might be a review in my future. Maybe. I’m trying to get back into my reading again, because reading and writing are so intertwined.

 

So yes, writing is happening. So is editing. I might even be getting ready for the leap to Patreon. And I’ll be at Gibson’s every Sunday (except when I’m traveling), if you want to join me.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Feb. 26th, 2016

moonkitty

(health) Making better choices

Waterfall.jpg

I love this picture. I love the feel of the greenery, of the moving water, of the sheer potential it represents. To me, running water and the outdoors is happiness.

 

I haven’t been able to do much in the outdoors over the past couple of years, due to a lot of weight gain, injuries (in large part due to that weight gain) and illness. For someone who grew up outside (and yes, I loved the outside when I was younger, although I admit I usually was curled up someplace in it reading), this has been a hard couple of years, and I’m almost positive that being inside and not able to hike and swim and walk the way I want to has contributed to my depression.

 

In August 2015, I finally admitted I needed real help. Not just nutritionally, but a coach who would administer the tough love and unconditional support I needed to get my life healthy again. I was lucky enough to find that in my friend Shannon, who is a coach for Herbalife. If you’ve ever met me, you know I LOVE food. Like, seriously, LOVE food. The taste, the smell, the mouthfeel – yeah, I’m a bonafide foodie, and for years, I was resistant to having anything to do with meal replacement shakes. Of course, it didn’t help that the ones on the commercial market like Ensure and Boost are full of chemicals and SMELL like chemicals as soon as you open the bottle. So I was skeptical.

 

Trust me, I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. For one thing, I know that my path isn’t everyone’s. We’re all different. But let me tell you, without Shannon, I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am. I’m walking again. I’m down nearly 30 lbs since August. And the shakes – well, to be perfectly honest, they’re amazing. I love them. (And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I can have cookies and cream cheesecake for breakfast. Okay, well, maybe a little.) And the best part? It doesn’t smell chemically. When I open my vanilla protein powder, it smells like vanilla. My hubby and roomie loved the waffles I made with them (reminder to self, make more waffles.).

 

For another thing? It’s not cheap. Now, granted, in the long run, it’s cheaper than eating fast food all the time, and it’s cheaper than medical bills. But it does require some outlay of cash.

 

But for me, it’s been worth it. If you are interested in talking to my coach, you can hit Shannon up – her husband Tom is a coach as well, if you want a guy instead. I can personally vouch for both of them – they’re amazing, and I’m lucky to have them in my life. Because of them, I’m looking forward to hiking this summer, and maybe, just maybe, getting my bike out again.

 

 

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

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