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May 2015




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May. 27th, 2015


Back from Balticon – the pollen-filled update.







This is where I wish I was.  Sadly, instead, the pollen is falling like snow outside.  I’m assuming that’s why I feel awful.  I really, really hope it isn’t con crud.  Really.


Balticon was amazing.  It was the first time I’d been a fan, rather than a guest, and because I wasn’t on panels, I had the time to hang out, talk to people, enjoy some other panels that I might not have gotten to, and just soak in the atmosphere.  And there was so much creativity in the atmosphere.


I love Balticon.  I love the fact that it’s four days long, and that it brings together so many people from all over.  Thank you, Paul, Nutty, Viv, Laura, Chooch, Tee, Pip, Scott, Dave, Sue, Dave, and so many more, for just being you.  For being so very amazing.  For being so creative.  For reminding me what a family I’ve found, and how lucky I am to be a part of it.


So now that I have recovered from working the day after we drove back (yeah, that wasn’t smart, Val, seriously), I am recommitting to writing.  Every day.  250 words is my minimum.  I will be heading to the studio to write after work.  I will be putting things out.  I will be sending Winter’s Secrets to my awesome editor Sue and I will be working on some novel pitches to send out.  This weekend reminded me that nothing is promised.  We don’t always get a tomorrow.  We don’t have all the time in the world.


It’s time to start writing.

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

May. 22nd, 2015



Yeah, it’s that time of year again – Balticon!  I’m here, I’m not a guest, which means I have a ton of time to immerse myself in the joy that comes from being with your chosen family.  I’m going to take a ton of pictures, hang out with everyone I can, and spend every waking minute recharging my creative well.  It’s been too long since I’ve felt like this.  I want to hug everyone (that wants to be hugged, that is).  I want to sit and talk to everyone, and listen to people talking.


Tonight is the Meat and Greet, tomorrow night is Balticon Beats, and Sunday night is the Spec Fic Homecoming Dance.  Come and find me, if you’re here.  If you aren’t, let me know and we’ll raise a glass to you.


I’m home.

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


Apr. 21st, 2015


(personal) Grey


I’m getting tired of grey mornings.  Even grey mornings that smell of green and growing things, that are warmer than they were, and full of soft rain.  I used to enjoy grey days, but that was before we had the winter from Game of Thrones that seemed to last forever.  When I wake up to grey light coming into my bedroom, fatigue creeps into my bones, even after a good night’s sleep, and it’s very hard to convince myself to get up and do life.


But I do, every day, because so far, my track record is 100% getting through those days.  Because once I get up, and I step outside, and I smell the growing things wafting on the air, it starts to be less grey depression and more the pearlescent glow of dawn, of a new day coming.  Spring is here, finally.  And the rain, as Eponine told Marius, will make the flowers grow.

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


Apr. 20th, 2015


(writing) Words! And other things!

Quick update, because it’s late and I’m tired. :p  But I’ve been quiet here too long.


I’ve given up for the moment on writing in the mornings – I’m just not a morning person, and there’s not enough tea in the world to change that, sadly.  But I have a studio, and I’ve always been a night person.  So I will write at night.


I’m currently working on the plotting for Deep Waters, which has become a novel, not a novella.  Which is good on one hand – more Sapph!  Yay!  But it’s going to take me longer to write (sorry).  I’m aiming for a minimum of 250 words a day, every day – today I got 935 words on the plotting.  This is a good thing.


I also got the cover for Winter Secrets today, and I’ll be sharing that soon.  It’s really going to happen!  We’re going to have a hardcover Molly and Schrodinger book!  I’m so excited!


More later – I promise.  But I didn’t want to continue to not write here.

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

Mar. 24th, 2015


(health/personal) First goal met!

goal crushed



On March 1, I said I wanted to lose 6 lbs by the end of the month.  In the first week, I went to my Remicade treatment, and the scale read 310 lbs.  So I needed 10 lbs to get under 300, which was my first weight loss goal of the season.


Today, I stepped on the scale and it said 298.8 lbs.  Goal achieved.


Now, time for the next goal.  I’ve decided that I’m doing 10 lbs at a time, and giving myself a month to do so.  So by April 30, 2015, I want to lose 10 more lbs, which would put me under 290 for the first time in a long time.


I can do it.  I WILL do it.

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

Mar. 1st, 2015


(advent) Today’s wordcount!

winter tea




986 words on Secrets, and we’re closing in on the end!  Once I have the rough draft in Scrivener, then I print it out, do my first round of revisions, and then send it off to the editor!


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


(personal/writing/depression) It’s been a long winter.

I know, it’s still a long way until spring, but seriously, I feel like I’m trapped in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones world.  Between the depression and the SAD and the god-awful snow (seriously, there’s been like 60 inches of snow in the past month!), I feel like I’m smothered in cotton.  So what have I done?




I have totally been sleeping when I haven’t been at work, and eating all the foods that aren’t good for me (darn it, gluten!  Why are you in all my comfort foods?) and not writing.  Well, not really writing.  I did get some words in February, but I didn’t finish Secrets, and I haven’t finished the first draft of Deep Waters, both of which I wanted to do.  I haven’t lost any weight.  I didn’t make it to the gym.


But that’s in the past.  And I can’t change the past.


What I can do is focus on the future.  The days are getting longer (finally), and spring is coming.  I now have trackers that work for my sneakers, and I have my FitBit, which lets me see how I’m doing.  I have a new desk at work, and dammit, I have a birthday coming up.  I don’t want to be unhealthy any more.


I know it’s hard.  I know I’ll backslide sometimes (movie theatre popcorn, you are my kryptonite!), but going forward, I’m going to keep myself accountable here on the blog, on Twitter (I’m @vg_ford there), and on Facebook.  I’ve got modest goals for March:

1. 250 words a day

Not just on the blog, but on actual stories.  I need to keep writing every day.


2. 8 hours of sleep

Seriously.  I’m sleeping more, so that on the weekends I don’t spend until noon in bed.  And I’m going to try and stick to my weekday sleep schedule on the weekends, so I don’t screw everything up.  End result: if you see me online after 11 pm and I’m not out somewhere, tell me to go to bed!


3. 6 lbs gone

That’s the physical goal.  6 lbs will bring me under 300 lbs, and that’s my first goal.  I can do this.  No more soda, no more gluten, no more crap.  It’s going to be interesting, as my gut is not happy with raw veggies and fruits right now, but I’m going to try some smoothies, and more steamed/cooked veggies.  And real food, not processed food.  And water.  And tea.  (Glorious tea)


So there’s that.  I’m off now, to get my 250 words (at least), and then over to Mom and Dad’s for a roast lamb dinner.  I’ll see you all tomorrow!

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

Jan. 10th, 2015


(personal/writing) Thinking about time management

In a way, I’m lucky.  My day job doesn’t come home with me.  I go in, I deal with people, and I go home.  It’s not something that I can bring home, nor is it something that I have to really schedule (lucky me, my day is scheduled for me).  So articles about how to “work smarter, not harder” are ones I read with an eye towards my second job – writing.


What brought this up?  I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately.  I belong to several writers groups, and all of them feature folks who write faster than me.  I don’t write fast.  A good day for me is about 2k.  I’m not someone who is going to be regularly pulling a Lowell (10k in a day) or more.  I don’t win NaNo on Day 3.  And sometimes, watching these word counts, I feel (a) jealous; (b) like a fake; (c) like I should be doing more; (d) a total failure.


Now, before everyone rushes in to tell me it’s okay, trust me, I know.  I’m not a failure.  I’ve got a full series published.  I can finish stories.  I know I’m not a fake, and that everyone writes at their own speed.  But it also got me to looking at HOW I write, and what I can do to maximize the writing time I have.


I confess, I’m an internet junkie.  I love to have a writing chat room up while I write, and I’m constantly checking Facebook (I fell off the Twitter wagon when I didn’t have an Android phone for a year, and still haven’t really gotten back into it).  I’ll write with the TV in the background.  I’m a true multitasker – which really isn’t good.  (Case in point – while writing this blog post, I’m eating breakfast.)  And I’m sure it affects my writing.


One of the things I recently read (and of course, now I can’t find the link, oh well) was talking about scheduling rather than making a to-do list.  I don’t do this, because I am terrible at estimating how much time something will take me.  Seriously.  So what do you do when you’re me and terrible at something?  PRACTICE!


Starting tomorrow (because I will be out all day today, hence the blog post while writing breakfast before I run out the door), I’m going to start scheduling my time, and then seeing how close I came to it.  I expect the first few weeks to be hysterically inaccurate, but that’s okay.  That’s how I learn.


How do YOU maximize your writing/crafting time?  Any hints?

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

Dec. 25th, 2014


(advent) December 25

Thursday, December 25

Molly had awoken early, the habit of years, and had slipped from the bed without awakening Drew. Schrodinger was sleeping in a pile with Lily, Zoey and Jack in one of the guest rooms; Molly peeked in the room, but they were all still asleep as well. So she went downstairs, made a cup of tea, and went into the living room.

Their living room was huge, and the coals from the night before were still banked. Molly coaxed them back to life, then plugged in the Christmas tree. With the softly glowing lights making the room sparkle, she curled up in the window seat to watch the sun rise.

There was little to see, though. Clouds had continued to come in, building a thick wall that blotted out the moon and stars. Molly sipped her tea and enjoyed the silence, knowing that soon it would be shattered. There were more presents now under the tree, wrapped in the traditional red and green tissue paper that Santa used, which told her that the jolly elf had come and gone.

She heard a noise, and turned to see Jade coming to join her in the seat. The Snow Queen was dressed, to Molly’s delight, in soft pajamas that were covered fall leaves and holly berries. “May I join you?” she asked, and Molly moved her feet, inviting her in.

“So the Snow Queen wears pajamas to bed, just like a mortal?” Molly teased gently.

Jade laughed. “Of course I do! Mortals have some of the best ideas, after all!” She looked out the window. “Time for one of my Christmas presents for the Cove.”

Molly watched as Jade raised a hand and whispered something under her breath. Silver-white sparkles flowed from her fingertips and out through the glass, swirling up to the clouds. In a few moments, snow started to fall, tiny white flakes that danced on the breeze.

“Now it looks like Christmas,” Molly said, as the snow started to pile up. “Finally.”

“It’s thanks to you that we have a white Christmas,” Jade said, looking over at her friend. “You’ve pulled off a Christmas miracle. You found the good man hiding in Jack’s soul, and gave him back to me.”

Molly flushed a little. “Like I said before, Jade, Jack did all the work. I just showed him how to do it.”

“And you believed in him, when no one else did,” Jade said, leaning over and putting a cool hand on Molly’s. “I’d even given up on him. But you didn’t, and I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t. Thank you.”

“You would have done the same for me,” Molly told her, clasping her hand.

“Absolutely.” Jade nodded. “If you need anything, Molly, please let me know.”

Molly was about to reply when a shriek of absolute joy echoed through the house, followed by the sound of running feet. Lily and Zoey burst into the room, followed closely by Schrodinger and Jack. “Santa came!” Lily shrieked.

“And it’s SNOWING!” Zoey added. “Christmas is perfect!”

Their calls brought everyone else to the living room, yawning and rubbing sleep from their eyes. Molly, Corrine, Donna and Jade brought out tea and coffee cakes, and then the present unwrapping began.

In the middle of the chaos, Old Man Winter showed up with even more presents and, to Lily and Zoey’s delight, Ember. The entire living room was full of chaos, noise and cheer, and Molly loved every minute of it.

At the end, there was only one more box under the tree, and Lily pulled it out. “To Drew and Molly, from Jack and Jade,” she read, then brought the box over to Molly. “Open it, Molly, open it!”

Inside the box was a key. Molly pulled it out and looked quizzically at Jade, who was snuggled in Jack’s arms. “Did I miss something?” she asked.

It was Jack who answered. “No,” he said, chuckling. “That’s actually the key to my log cabin. We thought you might like a honeymoon there.”

“Really?” Molly’s eyes went wide. “Before or after you add the kitchen?”

“After,” he promised. “Just tell us when.”

Molly glanced back at Drew. “Well, I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you all that we’ve set a date,” she said, and Drew nodded. “We’ve decided that Saturday, July 18, 2015, we’re getting married.”

The room erupted into cheers. Molly turned to Schrodinger. “You’ll be our ringbearer, right?” she asked.

Of course! the CrossCat said excitedly.

“And we’d like you two to be our flower girls,” Drew said, looking at Zoey and Lily, who nodded enthusiastically.

“Jack, would you escort them down?” Molly asked the hound, who thumped his tail in agreement.

“Then it’s settled,” Molly said, smiling. “July 18.”

“There’s actually one more gift we have,” Jade said, looking at Jack. “For Schrodinger.”

For me? Schrodinger said. Where?

Everyone looked around. There were no more presents under the tree.

Jade grinned and beckoned the CrossCat over to the window that looked out over the front yard. The sleigh that Drew had painted sat among the snow drifts.

“We couldn’t get a pony,” Jade said. “But we talked to a certain friend of ours, and we hoped this would be acceptable.”

Hitched to the sleigh with a silvery harness covered in bells was a large reindeer, ribbons on his large rack and a Santa hat perched on his head.

Is it…is it…? Schrodinger couldn’t even get the words out.

“It is,” Jade assured him. “You only have him for today, as he has to go back to the North Pole after that, but I think we can manage to get a few flights in today. What do you think?”

It’s the best present EVER! Schrodinger jumped up on Jade, purring ecstatically. Let’s go!


Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope you enjoyed this year’s Advent calendar, and as a special gift, start looking for a new Advent story on July 12, as Molly and Drew get ready to wed!  I hope to see you then!

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


(advent) December 24

Wednesday, December 24

“Drew! Can you get the door, please?” Molly called, slicing up another loaf of homemade bread. The doorbell pealed again, and Molly heard footsteps hurrying to the front door. She wondered again where Schrodinger was – she hadn’t seen the CrossCat in at least an hour, and it wasn’t like him to be absent on Christmas Eve. Especially not this year.

“Molly, Molly, Molly, where’s Schrodinger?” Lily demanded, skidding in to the kitchen, Jack hot on her heels.

“I don’t know,” Molly admitted. “Did you check the barn? He might be there, working on Christmas presents.”

Lily and Jack ran off, nearly knocking over Corrine and Nathan as they came into the kitchen. “Be careful!” Corrine shouted after them, shaking her head.

“At least here they have enough room to run around and burn off some of that excess energy,” Nathan said, chuckling and kissing his sister on the cheek on his way to the large refrigerator. He had a box of bottles in his hand, and Molly’s eyes brightened.

“The cider’s done?” she asked.

He nodded. “I tested a bottle last night. It’s perfect.”

“What, he didn’t share?” Molly teased Corrine, who shook her head and flushed a little.

“No, he couldn’t,” Corrine admitted. “No more alcohol for me until around July.”

Molly looked at her, and then the light went on. “Oh, Corrine!” She hugged her sister-in-law and then her brother, nearly knocking him over. “Do you know yet?”

“No, but we should around February,” Corrine said. “We haven’t told anyone else; you’re the first to know.”

“The first to know what?” Drew asked, and when told the news, he whooped and nearly crushed Nathan’s ribs with a hug. He was more gentle with Corrine, of course, and then Nathan cracked open a bottle of his cider, and the three of them toasted to the newest addition to the Barrett household. Molly, after glancing in her refrigerator to make sure she had enough ginger ale, sent Nathan and Drew to find the kids. Corrine sat at the table and assembled sandwiches for lunch, piling cold cuts, cheese, and veggies high on Molly’s homemade bread. Molly, meanwhile, started working on the stuffing and cranberry relish for Christmas dinner.

“Mom is going to be ecstatic when she hears,” Molly said, zesting an orange into the bubbling relish in front of her. “Do you have a preference?”

“Healthy,” Corrine said, chuckling. “Although Lily wants a little sister desperately.”

Two hours later, everyone gathered in the large living room around the Christmas tree. Molly, Drew and Schrodinger had gotten an eight-foot Christmas tree, which stood in an alcove, surrounded by a wall of presents. The kids were plastered to the front windows, looking anxiously for both Zette and the promised snow. Drew had told them that the weather reports all reported a snow storm headed straight for the Cove. And this one didn’t look like it was going to veer away.

It wouldn’t, Molly knew. Caliban’s spells were gone, banished at the tip of Jack’s sword. The summer spirit had been so sure he’d been victorious as he raised his sword, ready to take Jack’s head off, that he hadn’t seen Schrodinger come barreling in from the sidelines. The CrossCat had hit Caliban broadside, knocking him to the ground and sending his sword flying. Jack had grabbed the sword and, with Schrodinger growling at his side, forced Caliban to surrender. To Molly’s surprise, once Herse had brought the wards down, there had been men waiting outside, led by an older man whom Caliban had shrunk back from.

“King Medron,” Jade had said, hurrying down to greet the older man. “To what do we owe this surprise?”

“You have done me a service, Your Majesty,” Medron had replied, bowing gravely to her. “I have been looking for this criminal for several months now.” He had glared at the quivering Caliban. “My son. I see can finally take you to answer for your crimes.”

The shrieks of the kids broke her out of her reverie. Molly glanced out the window to see Zoey, Donna and Peter Allard climbing out of a car, their arms full of presents. Right behind them was Zette’s mail truck.

Once all the presents had been brought in and the kids sent off to read their letters from Santa, the adults retired back to the living room, where Drew and Nathan had built a warming fire. There was a bite in the air, and Molly could smell snow coming as she opened the front door one more time, to admit her parents and Pavel.

“So, are we the last ones?” Mrs. Barrett asked, kissing Molly on the cheek.

“No, we’re still waiting for Jade and Jack,” Molly said, ushering them in to the living room. She caught a glimpse of something white moving down the end of the driveway. “This should be them, though. Go on. I’ll wait for them here.”

She heard them greeting Nathan and Corrine, and heard her mother exclaim in delight – obviously, the news of a new grandchild in the summer was welcome. Molly stepped out on to the porch as the large white sled ghosted into the front yard, two large white reindeer pulling Jade and Jack’s sled. Jade looked absolutely lovely, wrapped in white fur and snowflakes, her eyes shining. And Jack looked happy as he helped her down from the carriage, for the first time since Molly had known him.

“Welcome to our home,” Molly said. “Merry Christmas.”

Jade all but danced up the steps and hugged her tightly. “Merry Christmas, Molly,” she whispered. “Merry Christmas. And thank you.”

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


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