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September 2016




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Sep. 11th, 2016


(writing) Working on a real schedule


I’ve been kind of wallowing lately in my own depression. I’m very open with the fact that I have depression, and August was a terrible month. I lost two very dear friends in August two years ago (Jesse L Cairns and PG Holyfield), my grandmother died last August, and my mother’s cancer was diagnosed last August as well. Add in that I suffer from seasonal depression anyways, and, well, yeah. Talk about a perfect storm.

I’m also suffering a bit lately from imposter syndrome, and it seems like every time I opened the computer, it bit me in the face so hard that I usually closed the computer back down, or starting playing World of Warcraft. And it’s time that came to an end.

So yesterday, I wrote 2388 words on Winter’s Storms, and today I am back in my studio, writing again. I’ve agreed to a schedule this week with my good buddy Beard, and so Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I will be in the studio in the morning before work, getting words in. My goal is 500, but I’m hoping for more.

Wednesday is my Remicade treatment, so I will be writing all day (except when I meet my nephew for dinner). This will help set the stage, I hope, to keep myself going.

Look for another chapter today!

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

Aug. 24th, 2016


(guest post) Carrying On

black cats

Please welcome my awesome friend Katie Bryski to the blog! She’s releasing a new podcast that I’m LOVING! The image at the top is how I imagine us together. I’m not saying who the evil one is, though.- Val

Carrying On

Hi everyone! I’m so glad that Val invited me onto her blog today! I’ve just released an audio drama—Six Stories, Told at Night—which is very exciting. But today, I’m here to talk about tenacity in the writing process.

Sometimes writing is hard. Not just the actual, sitting down and writing part. I mean, sure, that can be hard too, but I’m talking about a different kind of hardness—the hardness that comes when you suddenly look up and think, What on Earth am I doing?

Who wants to read this?

Who am I kidding?

Everything I do is awful and I should just stop right now.

Such crises happen to all artists, whether they admit it or not. So what can you do, when such doubts strike?

I’d like to share a story.

Part of my dayjob involves giving brewery tours. Each tour concludes by leading a tasting of three different beers. One night, I was giving a special after-hours tour. The rain was pounding down outside, thunder rumbling on top of us.

Now, the brewery itself is in a basement, and said basement is prone to flooding. I was handing out Sample No. 2 when I glanced towards the back of the brewery. A trickle of water dribbled between two of the panels in our ventilation system. As I watched, the panels gave way completely, and that trickle became Niagara Falls.

Everyone spun around. Water gushed onto the floor, but it was mostly staying on the other side of the room. My brain went into overdrive. Due to licensing issues, we couldn’t drink the beer outside the brewery. We only had one more sample to get through. What to do?

We kept going, gosh darn it.

I’ve given this tour so many times that I have literally done it in my sleep (gotta love work dreams). At this point, it’s practically muscle memory—my mouth knew what to say, and half my brain attended to the tour while the other half monitored the advancing flood.

There’s a lot of reasons that I could give for continuing the tour. But what it comes down to is this: it’s what I’ve been trained to do. When that tour begins, we get through it, come hell or high water…literally, in this case. I kept talking because—well, because I couldn’t not. The instinct is too strong.

That’s an instinct several years in the making. It’s like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. A similar instinct can save us when the vents burst in your writing life, too.

My theory is this. You build your writing muscle. You reinforce that instinct. You lay down a foundation of discipline until you can’t not write. And then—when the crisis of faith hits, when the rejections come, when someone you respect criticizes you harshly—you can have that moment of thinking, “What do I do?” But really, you already know.

You carry on. You keep writing. You do your thing, despite the rising waters. Why? Because this is what you do. This is what you’ve been trained to do, and what you’ve done every day, and what you know so well that you can hear your own words over the storm.


KT Bryski is a Canadian author and podcaster. She has short fiction in Daily Science Fiction, and stories forthcoming from Strange Horizons and Apex. Her audio dramas “Six Stories, Told at Night” and “Coxwood History Fun Park” are available wherever fine podcasts are found, and she is currently at work on her next novel. KT is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing. As you may have guessed, she also has a mild caffeine addiction. Visit her at www.ktbryski.com.

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

Jul. 25th, 2016


I wasn’t going to write

I wasn’t.  I just got home, after a long day at work, and staring at the computer was the last thing I wanted to do. Especially since I would have had to unpack it and then write.


So I went upstairs instead, fully intending to sleep. But that voice in my head, the one that’s been convinced we could make a living writing since I was a child, said, “250 words. You can do that on your phone.”



So I’m writing. True, it’s a blog post and not fiction, but it’s words before I go to bed. It’s a promise to you and to me that I will get up and clean off enough of the dining room tomorrow that I can leave my laptop set up. I need to treat this like the second job it is or I’ll keep making excuses rather than stories.


And that’s not acceptable any more.

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

Jul. 11th, 2016


(writing/personal) Pokemon Go!


Yes, I’ve gotta catch them all too. It’s fun, and I need some fun in my life. Besides, it’s something hubby and I can do together. And it’s good for us. I’m Team Yellow (aka Instinct) and if you want to find me, I’m CassieHobbes.


I’m also recommitting to writing (again). I’ve discovered that it’s just something that I need to regularly recommit to. So I’ll be in my writing studio, and hopefully I won’t get distracted by the Pokemon wandering around outside. (It’s so hard though!)


I’m starting to work on the rewrite of the second Advent story, now titled Winter’s Storm. And I’m outlining the sixth (!) Advent story for this year. This year, it’s going to be pretty interactive, so keep an eye out on the blog! And we’ve got the e-book and audio book of Winter’s Secrets that are coming! So much stuff!


Which is, of course, why my brain is suggesting a bizarre post-apocalyptic story. *headdesk*

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

Jun. 26th, 2016


(writing) Ponderings



I took the first three chapters (okay, two chapters and an interlude, if you want to get picky) of Darkness Falls to my writing group yesterday, and they liked it, for the most part, but they had some interesting ideas, and I’m going to be incorporating them going forward. So not as many split chapters – I’m going to see if I can stick to one viewpoint per chapter, and add in more description. I’m not going to change the chapters that are already up here, but you’ll see that going forward.


I also need to start remembering to post to my blog, so I’ll be cross-posting any non-paying content both here and at the patreon page, so if you’re subscribed to the blog there, I apologize in advance. But hey, you’ll be twice as reminded, right?


Also, it will help me to remember to write. Because apparently I need that reminder.


My new plan is to have a chapter a week up. Probably posted on Sundays. Today, I’m doing some rewrites on the first three chapters, so look for Chapter 3 next Sunday on the patreon (if you are a paying member – it’s only $1 a month to see the new stories!).


Wednesdays are going to be Winter’s Storm rewrites, so I can get that out to my editor by September.


Have a good week, folks!

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

Jun. 7th, 2016


(personal) Home again

black cats


I’m mourning my black kitty today. Sebastian got out Wednesday night, and although Brian found him Saturday night, he was frightening dehydrated and died early Monday morning. Sadly, before I got home from ConCarolinas.


It’s been a pretty sucky year for me in terms of death. My grandmother died in August 2015, my mother died in March 2016, and now Sebastian. I’m done. Seriously.


So I’m taking some time to be by myself. I need to mourn, and I need to get back to remembering the good times. I’ll still be writing, and there are more blog posts coming up, but I might be scarce on social media for a bit.

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


May. 25th, 2016


(blog tour) Rolling on!

2011-01-17 17.34.06

Junebug does not approve of my lack of posts lately. So I’d thought I’d share her disapproval with you. It’s been a bad Crohns’ week.


But there’s more coming! More posts! If you follow me over on Facebook, you can see them as they come up. And you’ll be able to follow mine and Schrodinger’s shenanigans at Balticon and ConCarolinas.

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


(blog tour) Guest Post – Lai Zhao

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Edited to add: This was supposed to go up on May 21, when I was over at her blog. It’s been a rough week. – Val

Today, while I’m over at her blog posting about how my next book wasn’t supposed to be Molly, Lai Zhao is here! Talking about a demon common to a lot of authors and artists I know, sadly: Depression.


Depression’s Creative Power

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hi, Everyone,

Thank you, Val, for letting me contribute a post here! It’s an honour. 🙂

So, while here I am, she’s over at my blog. 🙂

We both deal with an often-debilitating darkness at every moment: Depression. The darkness affects each individual differently, and the way it’s handled varies by person. But the common aspect is its destructiveness. It’s a disorder with no cure, although there are plenty of management tools and skills. And one of those is creativity…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Storm clouds amass overhead and the viscous fog of the encroaching maelstrom closes in. Escape routes sunder the clouds; some too fast for action, others too slowly to believe they are real. And the thundering gyre descends.

All around is grey darkness. It smothers light, obliterates all paths. It whispers and magnifies statements of truth, which you know are true; they are your reality after all. It tallies the points, but you already know the score: You’ve lost. You always lose. This is the fact you must always bow to.

But depression slips up: Facts are not truth; they just are. And because they just exist, they’re a perpetual light in this vortex of dark improbabilities.

Fact is: Depression lies. It designs its exaggerations to worm their way in, then hook and drag you into its oblivion.

But it uses energy you can harness.

You poke awake the fury buried deep within. It wells up, rising in the narrow vertical tunnel you’ve created for it. It gathers momentum, power, as it climbs seeking a way out. It will help you because it wants freedom, and it hates its cage, but despises the suffocating nothingness even more. It surges upwards. You hold on, riding, observing, noting. The height of the channel is negligible. The fury explodes, incinerating the tunnel, sending growls and roars rolling through the chaos.

The grey void shudders, realising its mistake too late.

The fury lunges and slashes and sinks its claws into the unwieldy vacuum. It shreds the depression, rending, destroying, rebuilding.

Atop the rage, you sit and observe, jaw dropping as it annihilates the blackness only to reshape it into energy that accumulates, swirling and bubbling; it’s energy you can use now. And it’s looking for a home. The sliver of an opening winks at you. It’s the door to your creativity, the one thing that always keeps you going.

You yank open the door, grab the reconstructed energy and fling it into the chasm. The abyss hungers for more, driving you to feed it faster and faster. It’s almost full. It needs time to digest. You exploit the lull and tangibly realise thoughts and ideas, working at lightning speed for the gulf now fills as quickly as you empty it.

Some time later, your stamina begins to run low but the once-void is full and simmering. You are both sated. Even the fury has gladly returned to its cage to rest. You nap, too. When you open your eyes again, the storm has passed and calming sunshine gently warms you. You smile. Your victory has brought riches that the darkness cannot touch. They are shiny new facts:

  • New novel drafted

  • Thousands more story ideas and novel plots created and implemented

  • Articles written

  • Plushies designed and made

  • Millions of ideas for more of everything written down; tangible and practicable

  • Patreon page created

  • Facebook community page set up

  • Friendships strengthened


  • Depression beaten once more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

© May 2016 Lai Zhao. Editor by day, writer by free time, and by night, a designer and maker of cute fluffy things.

Cute fluffies play at her Patreon page: Snitchcat’s Tiny Carriers of Light.

Writing travails prefer her blog: Dreams of a Broken Phoenix.

And the shy, fledgling Facebook page resides here: Depression in Hong Kong.

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

May. 18th, 2016


(blog tour) So I’m a little behind…

But in my defense, I was sick. The last week before my Remicade treatment is always rough for me, and since I’m preparing for a con and a book launch at the same time, well…yeah.


But the blog tour marched on without me! Monday, I was over at KT Bryski’s blog talking about music.


 Yesterday, I was at Gypsy Laura’s blog, talking about making time to write.


And today, we have the Gypsy herself, Laura Nicole, interviewing the main character of her new novella Bad Alchemy, Beatrix Stonebriar, CSI.


An Interview with Beatrix Stonebriar CSI

Before I started writing Stonebriar Casefiles, I needed to get to know my subject, Beatrix Stonebriar. She is a three inch tall fae who has distinguished herself as a top investigator and has earn the position of Lead Crime Scene Investigator in her local precinct.

LN: So Magicks have been part of the human world now for a few years. Do you know how the integration started.

SB: Yes, that was my fault. There was an unseasonable October snow storm a few years back. Long story short, I got very confused during said storm and thought what I now know is a flashlight was another fairy, then I got knocked out by a falling tree branch. When I woke up, a couple of humans had rescued me, but not before taking my picture and putting it on the internet.

LN: As a fairy how do you manage being in a world that is so disproportionate to your size?

SB: There’s an adjustment period for sure, but I was working with taller races for hundreds of years before that. The elves and centaurs are the tallest that I’ve worked with personally, but I have always wondered what it would be like to work with giants.

I think it is mostly about the bulk of things. Fae can actually carry more that 300 times their weight, similar to ants. Our magical abilities allow for it. But things that are flimsy like paper, are difficult to manage because they just fold under and around you and you can’t see where you are going.

LN: What about outside of work. What do you do for fun?

SB: Touring breweries is a good time. I’m a bit of a beer snob though. My friend Ehtyk of the Bard’s Rest has been brewing for ages, literally, and knows his craft. Some of his experiments can be a little dangerous, but all and all he is the best around.

Oh, and I love to watch karaoke. My roommate Liza and I go every Thursday. Sometimes she sings, she’s pretty good at it, but the rest of them are mediocre at best and it is fun to see just how bad people can get after a few drinks. But they are having a great time, so I do as well.

LN: What makes you different from the other Fae?

SB: I suppose part of it is my willingness to be among the big folk. I couldn’t grow anything worth a damn like most fae, so I found other ways to be useful. I have the gift of the gab, as they say, and can talk to any species. That ended up making me a negotiator between races, when it was needed. I’ve always loved doing puzzle and solving problems, so working in a crime lab suited me just fine.

Most fae who came with me out of the woods ended up working on farms and the like, replenishing nutrients in the soil in exchange for food and shelter. Seems like a rough gig to most, but for the fae, we don’t have currency in our society. We barter based on good and services, so getting room and board for something that comes naturally to most fae is a real deal for both sides.

Stonebriar Casefiles 182: Bad Alchemy can be found at http://gypsylaura.com/stonebriar/ and additional content is available for our Patreon subscribers.

Thanks to Val Griswold-Ford, our editor and friend for hosting this little chat.

See you on the other side!

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

May. 10th, 2016


(personal) Dealing with grief

moonkittyWe all deal with grief differently. I get that. I’ve been dealing with mine by trying to bury myself in things: getting Winter’s Secrets ready to launch, helping get my mother’s estate in order, helping my dad move into the next stage of his life. Pretty much anything to avoid dealing with the fact that there is a hole in my life, and no matter how much I shove into it, it’s going to be there.


It’s slowly getting better, especially now that Mother’s Day is over. THAT hurt, more than I realized. I even sent my husband over to be with my father, because I knew if I went over to see him, we’d both spend the day in tears. So I wrote instead.


There’s a few books on my Kindle that I’ve bought but haven’t read yet, because they were parts of series we were both reading, and I can’t quite bring myself to go back into that world yet. There are movies that I can’t watch at the moment, because we both enjoyed. I have yet to go back to Midsomer Murders or Inspector Frost, because she first introduced me to them.


But I’ve found another way to connect with Mom – through fibers. Those of you who knew her won’t be surprised. My mother always had yarn or thread or SOMETHING with her that she could work on. Usually knitting, but in later years, she fell in love with kumihimo as well. I’m a crochet person (my knitting is a work in progress) and I’ve discovered that by crocheting, I remember the good times with Mom, talking about yarn and learning how to make things. So I’ve decided that my way to deal with her loss is to take the gift she gave me and turn it into a way to help others.


I’ve sent one box to Hooking for the Homeless, a New Hampshire based group that collects scarves, gloves, and hats to help keep our homeless citizens warm. I love that it’s a NH charity, where the services are given here, in NH, with an eye to help out our most vulnerable. This was something Mom believed in – my last box had the last scarves she was able to knit before the cancer took away her fine  motor control. It’s soothing, too – there’s something about taking yarn and making even a simple scarf, and knowing that there’s a bit of my mom, still helping people.


If you want to donate, I encourage it. If you want to give me yarn instead, that works too. They’re looking for easy to take care of, mostly male/unisex colors.

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


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