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April 2014

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Apr. 21st, 2014

moonkitty

(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.

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

Mar. 13th, 2014

moonkitty

(food) Bread! Gluten-Free bread, even!

I love bread.  No, trust me, you don’t understand – I REALLY LOVE BREAD.  And now I’m gluten-free.

 

Sadness.

 

Except that I finally found a bread recipe that works and tastes like BREAD.  So here it is.  The original recipe came from Food.com and was done by GlutenFreeGirl in 2006 – I’m giving you my tweaked recipe, which I found works better.

 

Ingredients:

3 tsp ground flax seed

3 cups rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

3 tsp xanthum gum

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

2 tbsp fast rise yeast

2 tbsp melted butter

2 whole eggs

1 tsp vinegar

Olive oil for the top

 

Directions:

1. Proof the yeast with the sugar and warm water for about 5 minutes.

2. Mix together the butter, the eggs, the vinegar and the xanthan gum, then add the yeast mixture.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for about 3 minutes.  It’s a VERY sticky dough.

4. Put on a greased cookie sheet and slash diagonally every few inches, if desired.  Or put in a regular greased bread pan.  Let rise for approximately 20-25 minutes in a warm place.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 40-45 minutes (45-50 for the bread pan option).  If you are doing the French loaves, cover with tin foil after 20 minutes.

 

SO good!

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

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Mar. 3rd, 2014

moonkitty

(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!)

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

Feb. 26th, 2014

moonkitty

(writing) Need for Speed

I’m not a fast writer.  I think my  best day was 8k, and boy, was my brain exhausted after that.  I average 300 words a day, which is a drop in the bucket for some people.  I know writers who routinely do 3-4k a day and consider that a light day.   I used to be jealous of those writers.  I thought if only I could push myself, dedicate myself to just sitting and writing, I could do that too.  Right?

 

Wrong.

 

Oh, I could do it for a while.  I did it through NaNo, and felt my brain turn to mush for most of December and January.   I’m still not sure I’m fully recovered.  It’s been a long, hard slog through the new year, and I don’t know that what I’ve written has been all that good.  Thank goodness I’m writing rough drafts, and I’ll have time to edit it.

 

But what I’ve realized, as I’ve been pushing myself to get more words, to get Secrets done so I can get it out for Balticon, that it’s okay to be a slow writer.  I’m not a fast writer.  I’m a slow, methodical writer.  I’m a writer who is dealing with a full-time job, a stress-aggravated illness (well, let’s be honest, several of them), and I have a life.  I have friends.  I have social commitments.

 

It’s okay if I don’t get 5k a night as well.

 

Just because I know in my head that it’s okay doesn’t mean that my heart understands it, or believes it.  I still feel inadequate when I see the wordcounts others post.  I still feel like I could be doing more.  Like I SHOULD be doing more.

 

I hate that word should.

 

I need to remember that SHOULD doesn’t need to rule my life.  I’m writing every day.  I’m getting words.  Slower than some, but still getting words.  And that’s all that matters.  I’m writing every day.  And that’s the important thing.

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

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Feb. 20th, 2014

moonkitty

(personal) Life: 1, Val: 0

It’s been that kind of week.  Hell, it’s been that kind of couple of weeks.

 

Let’s see.  First of all, my hubby was laid off last week.  Then, my great-uncle died.  That was last week.  I thought, okay, I can handle this.  After all, I’m still employed full-time.  He’ll find another job.  I’m feeling better, so we can handle this.

 

Famous last words.

 

Sunday night, I suddenly got hit with excruciating pain in my left side.  Like, if there had been a knife handy, I would have been stabbing things out of my side.  I hoped it would get better, but at 10:30 pm, I had hubby drive me to the emergency room.  Five hours and a CT scan later, the verdict was a 4mm kidney stone.  OMFG, I never want pain like that again.

 

Well, okay, that sucks, but I have until Wednesday off, so I should be okay.  Just pass the stone (won’t get to my great-uncle’s funeral, but oh, well, they know we’d be there in spirit), and then go to work.  Simple, right?  Yeah, right.  The stone is moving, sort of (as of Wednesday morning, it was close to my bladder, so hopefully its gone by now), but the drugs that have helped move it have given me vertigo.  Serious vertigo.  As in, getting up from the couch makes the room spin.  So no work, again, today.  Call the doctor’s office, and they say “Oh, it might take 1-2 days for that to pass.”  Joy of joys.  So much for work this week.

 

And it’s just now, at 8 pm, that the vertigo has subsided enough for me to look at my computer without puking.  So these words are the only ones I’m getting today.

 

Tomorrow, we’ll hope, things will be better.  Hopefully.  I’m not saying more than that.

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

Feb. 17th, 2014

moonkitty

(books) Cover reveal of Killing Honor by SM Butler

One of the cool things about being an author is getting to know other authors, and getting to help get the word out about their projects.  Last week it was JC Hutchins.  This week, my friend SM Butler is showing off the cover of her newest project, Killing Honor.  It looks awesome, so check it out!

KillingHonor_web

Title: Killing Honor
Series: Lucky Thirteen, #1
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense
Release Date:  March 24, 2014
Length: Novel
eISBN: 978-1-938927-12-6
Print ISBN: 978-1-938927-13-3

 

Killing Honor’s Blurb:

Only she ignites the passion within him…

Navy SEAL Brody Battles’ last mission ended with him shot twice. He’s made enemies he’d like to forget ever existed all over the world. He’s more than ready to go home to the family he left behind, but when he returns, he faces sleepless nights, a possible security breach and the fear that his family has moved on without him.

Only he fills the void left in her heart…

Marrying her childhood sweetheart sounds like a fairy tale dream come true, but not for Devyn. Thanks to his job, her husband has been off on a secret mission for so long, he’s never even seen his daughters in person. But now he’s back, and the fairy tale life is in sight, but Devyn’s not sure the man that returned is the same man who left.

…and only death quenches their enemy’s thirst for revenge.

Stitching their broken family back together proves difficult when nightmares and secrets build a wall between them. And while they’re adjusting to being a family again, an enemy waits in the shadows, salivating for the sweet taste of revenge.

This New Adult title includes adult situations and language and may not be suitable for readers under 18 years.

Add this book on Goodreads

 

Author Bio

S.M. Butler is a new adult romantic suspense and military romance author with a penchant for Dr. Pepper, ice hockey, and world domination, not necessarily in that order. She lives in Texas under a not-so-secret identity (Suzan Butler, who writes adult romance) with two monsters of her own while she works on her next step in her evil plans to take over the world. She loves to hear from readers.

Connect with her online: Website |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

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

Feb. 14th, 2014

moonkitty

(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!

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

Feb. 2nd, 2014

moonkitty

(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.

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

Jan. 10th, 2014

moonkitty

(personal/health) Pain

I’ve been quiet lately, and I’m sorry.  I should have sent out at least one project to a friend (sorry, Sue!), and I really should have been writing.  And editing.  And formatting.

 

I haven’t done anything this week except hunker down and try to ride the pain.

 

Pain is something that I should be used to.  I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1998, and for those who don’t know about this disease, it’s basically pain.  Everywhere.  All the time.  It ebbs and flows, but there is precious little time that I don’t feel some level of pain.  And, as I realized this week, pain is exhausting.  Like, bone-numbing exhausting.  As in, all I feel I’ve been doing is working, eating and sleeping.  Seriously.

 

It’s getting old.

 

I don’t WANT to hurt all the time.  I don’t WANT to be 40 years old and walking with a goddamn cane.  I want to be healthy, as pain-free as I can get, and energetic.

 

I just don’t know how to do that yet.  (This is normally the point where people jump in and tell me what they’ve done.  I actually don’t want that today.  I know it’s done to help, but it’s not what I need right now.)

 

But I’m learning.  A lot of it is learning to accept that there are going to be days where the pain wins.  Where I just can’t do more than get out of bed, drag myself to work, and then home to bed.  Where the writing won’t get done.  And that’s okay.  Those days just need to not be every day.

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

Jan. 6th, 2014

moonkitty

(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.

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

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