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July 2016




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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.


May. 8th, 2016


(Patreon) For my patrons only

This post is password protected. You can read it at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford, where it was originally posted. You can comment here or there.


(writing) Updates and a blog tour

(above image from The Daily Tea)

It’s about two and a half weeks before I leave for Balticon and ConCarolinas, and I’m starting to get a little (okay, a lot) panicky. I’m busy writing blog posts for the upcoming blog tour for Winter’s Secret, which starts on May 16th! Since that’s about a week away, I realized I should probably let you guys know where I’ll be.


The Winter’s Secret Blog Tour

Monday, May 16 – I’ll be at KT Bryski’s blog, talking about music and what I’m currently listening to. Considering how much music is at the heart of Winter’s Secrets, it’s a good post to start off with.


Thursday, May 19th – I’ll be at Laura Nicole’s blog, talking about finding time to write. She’ll be blogging here the same day, but she hasn’t disclosed about what – I’m hoping it’s some about The Stonebriar Casefiles, which is her current podcasting project!


Friday, May 20th – Schrodinger hijacks Necia Phoenix’s blog to answer some interview questions. (Her poor interviewer now needs therapy, really)


Saturday, May 21st – I’m over at Lai Zhao’s blog talking about how I ended up writing an Advent story rather than ghosts. She’ll be over here at the same time, talking about depression and creativity, I think.


Monday, May 23rd – I’m going to be at The Geek Girl Project, talking about growing up a geek girl with a very supportive geek family.


Thursday, May 26th – I’m going to be at Clara Robertson’s blog, talking about inserting science fiction and horror into a fantasy world. If you’re interested about the Gates in the Carter’s Cove world, that’s what this one will be focusing a lot on.


Wednesday, June 1st – Over at Sarah Wagner’s blog, you’ll finally get the story of how Molly and Schrodinger met!


Friday, June 3rd – I’ll be at Angela Meadon’s blog, talking about the importance of darkness, even in a light fantasy world, and how to do it. Meanwhile, she’ll be here, talking about her new book Strong Medicine.


Monday, June 6th – I’ll be at Katharina Bordet’s blog, talking about food and kitchen witches! (Hint: this is the Katharina and Mick from Carter’s Cove’s coffee shop!)


Wednesday, June 8th – I’ll be at LJ Cohen’s blog, talking about evoking emotions in writing, and how much I can’t do poetry.


Thursday, June 9th – I’ll be at Mitchell Plested’s blog, talking about how Carter’s Cove came to be, while he’s going to be over here, talking about his newest release!


Monday, June 13th – I’ll be at Connie Cockerell’s blog, talking about how my love of tea and Christmas ended up producing a minor celebrity. I’m sure Schrodinger will make an appearance!


Whew! That’s quite a bit of travel, and if you follow me and comment on all the blogs, you’ll be entered to win a special prize – a tin of your favorite tea from Adagio Teas, plus a tea cup from Molly’s collection!


Now, I’d best get to writing. I owe my Patreon folk some more Shanna.

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

Apr. 24th, 2016


(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.

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