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June 2015




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Jun. 13th, 2015



This might not be of interest to most people, as I’m using it as kind of a catchall of what’s in my head right now. My brain is responding well to 250 words a day (about to hit Day 4 in a few, and I even managed 250 last night on the tablet, because I didn’t have the energy to make it in to the studio), and that has had one very common side effect – it wants to write ALL THE WORDS, ON EVERYTHING. Which is not conducive to finishing anything. And if I don’t finish things, you guys don’t get to see it. And to be perfectly honest (and probably crass), if you guys don’t get to see it, I don’t get to sell it and make money.


So, brain, you and I have to have a rather firm talk. I totally want to write all the things too, but we need a schedule, and we need to follow it.  You game? Good.


Here are the projects we’ve talked about that need to be written:

-Summer Advent. This is non-negotiable, as we have already promised the fans this as of July 20th. So this is the first priority. And yes, this means we get to subject poor Robert and Lee to Christmas carols in June while we write it.

-Advent 2015. We need to start the outline for this, so we can write it BEFORE December. Because wouldn’t it be nice to have it all ready to go? Of course it would. And we have to do some research on this anyways, because for the first time, it’s NOT going to be in Carter’s Cove. (Yes, it will still be Molly, Drew and Schrodinger. Don’t worry. And Pavel. LOTS of Pavel.)

-Deep Waters. I need to get the next Sapph novel done, and I think the title still works. Because between Patrick, Mac and her own stubbornness, Sapph is totally in deep water. And I think the idea of what is haunting the town is perfect. If I can pull it off.

-Portrait of Abby. I really like this one, and we’ve got the first 3 chapters done. This is non-negotiable as well. It’s a nice palate cleanser from Sapph.

-Treaty of Betrayal. This one is all plotted! Now I just have to write it. Hmm, maybe this one should be pitched too.

-Faery-Tale Princess. Again, I need to write it. It’s going to be fun. Mundane executive, thrust into a fantasy kingdom to save them all. Somehow. With magic she doesn’t believe in.


Stuff to be polished and edited:

-Winter’s Secret goes to the editor in August. I’m very excited about this! Goal is publication in December, for Christmas.


Stuff that is still in the idea/outline phase, to be slated in later:

-Elen. This is an intriguing idea, but I don’t know quite what the story is yet. I have the world, but it has flaws, and I’m not sure who the antagonist is. This needs to marinate (this is the world amnesia story).

-Phases of the Moon. I need to come up with a pitch packet for this one, so I can see if anyone’s interested in it.  Also, a pitch packet will force me to write out the outline and the story idea. This one involves the Goddess of the Moon split into four different souls, and Sun Spiders. Very cool imagery.

-The Heart of the Universe. Another pitch idea. Space opera, involving space galleons (think SpellJammer), intergalactic civil war, and pirates, all looking for the Heart of the Universe. Because whoever gets it, rules everything. Except I think there’s more going on, and I have to figure out what.

-Raindrops. This is a one-shot (really!) but I feel like I need to write it. Twin sisters, one a mage, the other a diplomat, and they’re on the run, trying to figure out how to kill the evil usurper and free the rightful king from the dungeon. High fantasy.

-Plague Mirrors. This is a dystopia that I kind of want to noodle with some more. What if it wasn’t man who killed man – but Plague herself? And how would you defeat her, if she could travel through mirrors to find you? What kills Plague? This is a fantasy dystopia idea, but I need to flesh it out (no pun intended).

-Rose. I might combine this one with Plague Mirrors, or not. I love the idea of True Souls, and I need to figure out how to incorporate them.

-Midsummerland. I have it mostly plotted, but it’s not working, so I need to figure out why. This is the fae/human book, with all sorts of weirdness.


This post might get added to, as I think of things. Good thing I have a lot of ideas. I’d hate to run out.


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

Jun. 10th, 2015


Trials and Tribulations, or why can’t Val update a blog on a regular basis?

Of course, this could be titled “Why can’t Val do anything on a regular basis?” I seem to have issues with regularity, and I wonder why.


It could be that somewhere in my dim, distant past, something linked “a regular routine” with “boring” and I HATE boring with a fiery passion. And yes, I know that routine doesn’t have to be boring. I just don’t seem to be able to stick with it.


However, I am not a quitter, and so I’m trying again. With some differences, of course – if it hasn’t worked before, why would I try the same thing? Also, see boring, above. This time, I’m leaving my laptop at the studio, forcing myself to go in. And I’ll be doing my blog updates at the same time as my writing – they may not be long, but dammit, I’m going to update! Starting today.


I’m on the tail-end of pneumonia (yeah, in the summer. I’m talented, what can I say?), and I’m coming off a low that is partly sickness, partly sadness, and partly frustration. My new goal is 250 words a day. I’m on the Magic Spreadsheet again, and I’ve got a couple of projects that I’m working on. I have an editor for Winter’s Secrets, and one of the projects in the queue is the wedding of the summer – Molly and Drew are getting married on July 25, and they hope you’ll be there for it! There’s a 6-day Summer Advent story that will be going on, and there will be at least one prize (come on, you want one of their wedding favors, don’t you?), so keep a look out for that!


Okay, I’ve got a lot to do today, so off to the word mines!

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

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.

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