I’ve been so freaking busy the past three weeks, I don’t know if I’m coming or going.  No time to blog, no time to really write (although I’ve done my morning pages faithfully every day – 53 days in a row and counting!), and no real time to myself.  That needs to change – I’m getting stir-crazy, and not in a good way.  I like commuting in with someone (my friend Carolyn and I have close enough shifts that we can share the hour commute in and out, which saves gas for both of us), but that used to be my “me” time, and so it’s gone.  I need to find another way to get that time in.  It’s only two weeks into this arrangement, so I’ll figure it out.

 

Need to do things today, even after the 5 hour nap I had.  My house is a mess (per usual, I’m afraid – I’m a pretty lousy housekeeper even at the best of times), I need to take stock of laundry, and I need to make food for the week.  I’ve found that doing that on the weekend means I have a bit more time to do things during the week without worrying about food.  And since as of right now, I’m in training mode, food (more exactly: GOOD FOOD) is very important.

 

Yep, training mode.  Argus and I are going to run the Nottingham Old Home Days 5k in September.  Eek!  I’m determined to RUN this one and not walk the majority of it, like the last 5k I was in.  I’ll keep you guys updated on my training.  Starts tomorrow, btw, with running at the gym.  Gotta see if I still have the Couch to 5k app on my iPod later.

 

So, here’s the to-do list for today.  It looks long, but I slept 5 hours, so I have about 5 hours to do things.  Plan is to be in bed by 11:30 pm.

- Daily Pages

- Put away dishes in the rack

- Wash dishes in the sink

- Make Portuguese Stew for dinner tomorrow night (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aida-mollenkamp/portuguese-sausage-and-bean-stew-recipe/index.html)

- Fold laundry and put it away

- Pack lunch for tomorrow

- Finish Spells galleys

- Pack gym bag for tomorrow

 

That’s a good start.  I need to get the dishes going, so I can start the stew.  Hard to cook in a messy kitchen, and mine’s a disaster.

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

I hate Daylight Savings time.  Just sayin’.

 

Also, I can’t update my website from work.  Nor can I look at Pinterest anymore (dammit!) and I can’t read my G+ stream.  I can post from my Google Reader to my G+ stream (don’t ask, our firewall is WEIRD) and I do have my phone, so I might hop on Twitter or Facebook from work on break, but it’s not a lways on.  So please, don’t think I’m ignoring you.  I’m not – I’m just busy.

 

However, I’m finally starting to settle into a routine.  I’m getting ready for Balticon (yay!) – I’ll be helping run the Needleworker’s Tea there again, and we’ll be launching Spells and Swashbucklers – with pirates!  And rum!  I’m also doing a LOT of crocheting – lots of babies coming this spring!  It was a fertile late summer/early fall, apparently.

 

Finally, I’m writing.  I’ve done my daily pages for 44 days straight so far, and I’m working on several projects.  Forgotten, mostly, but some other things as well that I’m pretty stoked about.  More later, as I can.

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

Even when you don’t get home until 3:30 am from a ghost investigation – it’s still a day of rest.  A day to catch up on Once Upon a Time (my new favorite show, next to Castle and Bones), write, do laundry and dishes, and just renew myself.  I really do like this new schedule – I feel more alive.  And the words are coming again.

The words are coming because of a few things: I’m doing the daily pages every day at 750words.com, I’m taking the time to do things like watching TV again (a few selected shows only), and I’m reading again.  I just finished The Between, by LJ Cohen, and now I’m reading Hard Magic, by Laura Anne Gilman.  Because of that, and the fact that I’m on the right schedule, I’m getting words.

Which is good, because I’ve set myself a goal of finishing the first draft of Forgotten, the book I’m currently working on.  I haven’t talked much about it here, and I won’t for a while, but it’s a totally different world than the Horseman books.  Ghost stories, in fact.  I love ghost stories, and now, I’m free to write the books I want to read.  So, first draft of Forgotten is on deadline for May 30th.

I need to post a honey do list for this year, but I’ll do that later.  The big things on it, though, are Forgotten, the first draft of Schrodinger (whatever the title will be) and getting both Spells and Swashbucklers and Last Rites onto the shelves.  And, in non-writing stuff, I need to redesign the website.  Badly.

But today, I have just a few things to do:

- vacuum the living room

- empty the drainboard

- empty the sink

- Daily pages

- 500 words  on Forgotten

- Update the calendar in the living room

 

Lots to do today, and daylight, as they say, is a-burnin’.  Good news is, I don’t have to get up at 6 am tomorrow.

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

I’ve just successfully completed Day 11 of the challenge over at www.750words.com – basically, it’s a month-long challenge of writing 750 words or more.  I use the site for my morning pages – not really to write, but to brain dump for that day, before I actually begin my writing.  It’s a practice that I’ve been trying to make a habit, and I think it’s finally sticking.  That’s not to say I won’t be doing next month’s challenge (heck, I’ll probably do it every month, just to keep my hands in) but I’m truly hoping I’ve made this a habit.  Or that it will be a habit, by the end of the month.

I’ve also signed up for the Antagonist/Protagonist workshop over at Novelists at Work (http://www.novelistsatwork.com/2011/10/3-d-characterization-the-antagonistprotagonist-relationship-revealed/) – today’s the last day to sign up for FREE with the code NEWYEARS2012!  Go and sign up!  I personally can’t wait to start next week!

In other writing news, I’m aiming to finish the first draft of the Christmas story (which STILL needs a title – I can’t just call it the Christmas story forever) for Saturday, so my RL writers group can tackle it.  They’re also getting the first chapters of Disappearance.  I hope the red pens are ready, because both of these stories need to bleed.  A lot.

Finally, I’m wrapping up things with Spells and Swashbucklers, and it is due to the publisher (now that things have been ironed out) on January 31st.  I’m planning on having it turned in far before then.

And I’m still loving Scrivener.

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

I’m always in awe of authors like John Scalzi or Jay Lake who blog every day. I totally want to be like them, except I’m realizing two things (besides the fact that they’re way more popular and successful than I am – I know that already):


1. I don’t know that I have something to say every day.
2. I’m not sure I want to blog every day, if it takes away from my time to write.

Which is okay. I don’t have to blog every day. There’s no rule saying so (and even if there was, who is going to enforce it?). I do, however, want to continue to blog on a regular basis. So from now on, I’ll be blogging on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And I’m actually plotting out blogs, so they’ll be more substantive and more coherent than my posts lately have been. If there is anything you’d LIKE to see me blog about, feel free to drop me a line at val@vg-ford.com. I’m actually *gasp* almost caught up on emails (I know, right?), and I’m settling into a new schedule at work, so I should be able to STAY caught up. I’m certainly going to try.

By setting up a schedule, I’ll also be able to write blog posts in advance, so I’ll always be on time (in theory). I’ve got the next few in mind: next Tuesday will be my “Lessons This Past NaNo has taught me,” and I’m sure I’ll have a post about Snow when I get it up.

The first post of the month will always include my goals for the upcoming month, and the recap of goals from the last month. My goal for November was simply to win NaNoWriMo, which I did! Goals for December are modest, because I’m still recovering from November, it’s the holidays, and I’m settling into a new schedule and new job.

So here are December’s goals:
1. Write every day. (I’m using 750words to get my morning pages/brain dump in)
2. Get Snow out on the various epub platforms. (For those who don’t remember, Snow is the Christmas novella set in the Dark Horseman universe I wrote for Lilley Press, which has since folded, so I’m re-releasing it myself.)
3. Outline the first Sapph Novella
4. Get Spells and Swashbucklers turned in

I’m also looking at next year and goals, but those plans aren’t finalized yet, so I’ll discuss them later. For the first time in six years, I am not under contract to write anything. It’s a very cool but slightly scary place, and the stories in my head are clamoring for their chance in the sun. I’ll be feeling my way through the noise, one step at a time.

So, in short, changes coming. Lots of changes. Good changes, I hope. I’m glad you’re all along with me for the ride.

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

Yes, I’m listening to show tunes today. I’d forgotten how much I love to show tunes.

I’ve been running so much this week that I ended up coming home early from work (a combination of exhaustion and eating something that didn’t agree with my system at the pot luck at work) and I was asleep by 10:30. Slept in until 8:30 am, then took a bath. It’s been a lovely morning so far.

As I’ve been running this week, I’ve been thinking, too. There’s been a lot of driving, and time for me to think. I took a break from writing, because I simply didn’t have the brain cells to put words together. But I could plot, and I could dream.

I could also see what I’ve been doing: putting together massive to-do lists each day, and when I can’t finish even half of them, I lie in bed and beat myself up. Or look at the list and say, “I’ll never be able to finish this,” with the same result. Not conducive to good sleep, never mind good mental health. So I’m going to do something different today.

A short to-do list. The important things that NEED to get done today. I’m not allowed to go over 4 things. And since one of them is a movie with the hubby, it will be easy.

My to-do list for today:
- See Real Steel with Argus
- Finish contract for Spells
- Wash
and put away the dishes in the sink
- Put away laundry

That’s what absolutely needs to be done today. I want to write as well, but those are the four things that I need to get done. That list doesn’t look too bad. I can accomplish that.

But first, tea.

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

I WILL get back into blogging regularly. Although I suppose every Sunday is regular, right? Anyways, I will be posting more, once I get myself back onto an even keel. Things have been progressing, and progressing WELL, for once.

I turned in Last Rites last week. Other than Spells and Swashbucklers, which I’m still working on the rewrite of the contract for, I have NOTHING contracted. NOTHING.

You have no idea how freeing that is.


Seriously. I don’t have an agent, so I don’t have to consult anyone on what to write next. The sky is the absolute limit. I can write whatever the hell I want. Which might be why, in that twilight state between awake and dreaming, my subconscious presented me with a kernel of an idea for the plot for FaeryTale Princess, which is a fantasy romance (kind of) that I have been playing around with writing for a while. It’s the story of a professional woman (she’s a paralegal, I think, or a researcher) who gets snatched by a fantasy Prince Charming from the ladies’ room at her work and taken to his kingdom, where she has to save the entire kingdom. I just didn’t have a plot. Now, I have an idea. And no, not sharing it yet. It’s pretty rough.

That being said, once I write it down, I’m putting it aside. Today is a cooking/cleaning/contract writing day, adding in a jaunt to Mom and Dad’s to get the CSA for the week. Man, that’s going to suck when it goes away. Gotta start putting money aside for next year’s half-share.


Things to do today:
- Put away dishes
- Wash 2nd load of dishes
- Cut coupons
- Make dinner list for the week
- Check out the sales and make shopping list

- Fold and put away laundry
- Clean out the container shelves and toss anything that has no lid or bottom
- Create new contract and send to Gwen
- Vacuum


I’m cooking today too, and making something yummy for tomorrow’s dessert potluck at work, but I’m not sure what yet. I’m contemplating pumpkin something – maybe biscuits? Dunno yet.

And quite possibly there will be writing. Quite possibly.


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

It’s been a good day. I’m tired, but it’s still been a good day.

I didn’t get stuff done in the house (guilt) but I did get stuff down out of the house. Got the shopping for this weekend done, got the Pumpkin’s birthday present, swam a mile and saw my nutritionist. Tonight, since he’s watching the football game downstairs, I’ll stay upstairs and write, listen to the Red Sox and get some stuff done up here.

To do tonight:
- Blurb to Erin
- Column to Sue
- Edit stories for Spells
5 stories edited! Go me!
- Send email to PG
- Put laundry away in living room
- Dishes

That looks good. I’ll go grab a cup of tea during the inning break.

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

Sigh. It’s a sad, sad day, the last day of vacation.

But I’ve had a wonderful vacation. I finished the plot summary for the Sapph novella (which needs a title) and started writing the first draft. I went to Pennsic and relaxed with friends and my wonderful hubby. Now, I’m home, dealing with my CSA haul (and what a haul it is this week!) and cooking for the week, since I dive back into work with a vengeance tomorrow. OT on my first Monday back FTW! (Not.)

I’m not really too worried about tomorrow – we get to wear jeans, and they’re feeding us. So today is cleaning and cooking, getting back into the feel of things, and tonight, some editing and writing. I’m thinking that next Sunday, I’m going to start actually working through The Artist’s Way. I’ve read the book several times, but I’ve never actually done more than morning pages. I think I’m ready to start doing the actual coursework.

But not today. Today is cooking and cleaning:
- Clean kitchen
- Put away CSA haul
- Make shephard’s pie for the week
- Do meal plan for the week
- Set up daily calendar for the week (yes, I’m trying to get more organized)
- Get mail together for tomorrow
- Paint fingernails
- Clean dining room table off
- Make zucchini bread? This is a no right now. I’m getting tired.
- Update Port Strangeways and send out the menu for Harpers
- Ball game at 3 pm

There may be more, but we’ll see. I might not get that all done. :D

Now, more tea and cleaning the kitchen.

Edited to add: Oh yes, there will be writing tonight as well. Just not right now.

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

299 more words on the Advent summary, and the final edits FINALLY started on Spells. It’s about damn time. Oh, and morning pages done too.

Now, bed.

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

So, after breakfast with Maria, Xavier, KJ, Margaret and Laura, Argus and I went to see “Captain America” with KJ and Laura. OMG, fun! I loved it. I’m a huge comic book fan, and they really did Cap right, in my opinion. And yes, I cried. Even though I already knew the story. I cry at movies.

Now, I’m going into full prep mode. I’m currently watching the end of the Red Sox game (12-7 going into the 9th…), working on my new dancing shirt for Pennsic and plotting out food for the week. I’m working OT tomorrow and possibly Wednesday, so today is the day to get stuff cooked. There’s already pickles in the fridge!!! I love pickles.

The list that I need to get done today:
- make french toast casserole
- make zucchini bread

- finish shirt
- make sure everyone who needs to be on the Port Strangeways page is
- Post the list of who is going to Harper’s to the page
- make beef stew
- load of colors for Argus
- wash the new fabric
- 2 hours of editing on Spells tonight
- Morning Pages
- 250 words on Advent summary



I think that’s it.

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

Apparently I need to practice turning the internets off when I write. Got 956 words today on the plot summary for Advent Murders, and we’re almost up to the murder. I’m adding in a LOT to this summary, but that’s okay, it’s stuff I need to know. After I finish the summary, I’ll be doing the major scene outline, which will give me more of the shape of the actual book.

Writing a mystery is interesting. It’s very much a learning experience, but now that I’m getting into the writing, it’s getting interesting. I’m enjoying this world.

Making sure I have everything downloaded I need for Spells, so I can start putting that together this week. And I’m sewing for Pennsic at work. Yeesh! I need some extra time!

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

So, I haven’t really been posting much. Part of it is because I managed to lock myself out of my WordPress account for a week or so, and I couldn’t grab enough time to reset it. (That has been sorted out, and I even managed to update to the latest edition without issue! I’m convinced WordPress is softening me up for something, but hey, I’ll take it.) Another part of it, though, is health issues.

I don’t know if writers are just more sickly than most folks, or if we’re just more open about it. What I know is that since March, I’ve been dealing with hideous migraines that have managed to knock me flat, and since then, my writing has pretty much been hung out to dry. I’ve finished a few things that were in progress, but nothing really huge. All my energy has been funneled into getting through life and trying to figure out what the heck is going wrong with my body.

I’m finally, finally thinking that we might have a handle on what it is. I’m still working through some things with my doctors, specifically my PC, my allergist and my nutritionist, but it looks like what I might be allergic to is food additives. Lovely, huh? Our bodies are genetically very similar to what our ancient ancestors’ were, and mine apparently wants to return back to that simpler time. So, while we wait to see if my insurance company will cover the test that we think will uncover a lot of these intolerances (not allergies, per se, but foods/substances that my body just can’t handle exposure to), I have gone back to a whole food diet. As in, if I can’t pronounce the ingredients in the list (for a lot of them, if there IS a list), I don’t eat it. No more fast food (I’ve been clean on that since Friday last week, and I can already fit easily into a smaller pair of jeans), and no more artificially-sweetened/flavored drinks (the same). It’s been a bit of a change, but I’m hopeful that this is going to finally get me into a healthier weight and just a healthier LIFE. And my hubby is enjoying all the real food. I’m also looking forward to an end to the cravings that come sweeping through sometimes – apparently once you stop eating the foods that your body is intolerant to, the cravings end.

All I can say is, it’s about damn time. I’m tired. I’m tired of being tired. Of being sick, and yet having NOTHING WRONG. Of having my head pounding and my mouth full of cotton wool, and yet having nothing show up on any tests. I mean, they put straight histamine on my arm as part of my allergy testing, and I didn’t even react. But I know something’s wrong.


During the summer, this is easy. There’s so much fresh, local produce that I can glory in it, and I don’t miss it. Now that I know there are issues with preservatives, my canning just became a much larger priority, because anything I can, I know I can eat. So I’ll be getting that cranked up, so I have options this winter. I’m also freezing a bunch of stuff. (Making pesto this weekend, with the tons of garlic scapes I have. NUMMY!) I’ve borrowed a dehydrator from my dad too, and I’ll be drying fruit and things like that as well. The peaches are coming. Winter, well, I have a local co-op and I’ll hopefully have a freezer full of stuff. I need to get filling it.

It also means that I’m expanding my cooking horizons again. It’s shocking to realize how many sauces/spice blends/side dishes that I took for granted have preservatives in them. Even the organic ones. They’re all verboten right now for me.

On the upside, now that my head is starting to clear, I’m also starting to write again. And edit. I went through a brief funk in which I was reading Elizabeth Bear and despairing of ever, ever being a real writer who could write like that. However, I now realize that I won’t ever write like her. I’m not her. I can admire her stuff, but write it? No. That’s not my style.

So, writing. I took the first splat draft of the beginning to Advent Murders to my writing group and they cheerfully ripped it apart, which it desperately needed. They pointed out the logical flaws and issues, and I’ve got some good directions to go in. In addition to cleaning my house this weekend, I’ll also be cleaning up everything on Spells and Swashbucklers, and sending that out to the folks who need to finish some things for it before it goes to bed in August. And I’m still noodling on a novella for my Dreams universe.

So that’s what’s been happening in this corner of the world. I’ve also been gearing up for Pennsic, where I’ll be in August. If you’re going to be at the greatest war on earth, drop me a comment and let me know – I’m thinking we need a writer’s meet-up.

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

Just got words done on Episode 2 of Tales today, because I had to finish the edits for S&S. WHICH ARE FINALLY DONE!!!!!

Starting Count: 5343
Ending Count: 5509
Net Gain: + 166
Current Word MTD count: 2257

Wow, that really sucks as a MTD word count. Seriously. Going to need to get my ass in gear here if I want to hit even 5k by month end.

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

I know, I know. Trust me – I’m pagan, raised Jewish/Christian. I’m one of the ones who KNOWS the Rapture will pass me by. I’m hoping it makes the world a better place if it does, by taking all the rigid thinkers away. Mean, maybe, but I’m being honest.

But, I’m not going to worry about it. Balticon is NEXT WEEK! EEK! I’m so not ready. :p

So today, we work on stuff.

- Morning Pages
- Fold laundry in living room and put it away
- Dinner with [livejournal.com profile] ln_dragonsong
- Zucchini tea breads
- Lemon Thyme tea breads
- Apple tea breads
- English scones
- Make food plan for Balticon
- Edits to last two S&S stories and send
- Finish edits on Ep. 2 and send to Jeff

I want to write a bit more on the novella and/or Molly too, but this is good for right now. I’m crocheting at 7 pm, when the game comes on.

Now, to the kitchen!

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

Wow, I should have snow days more often - I'm getting buttloads done! Among them is being able to release the working cover for Spells and Swashbucklers, which I am happy to announce will be published from Dragon Moon Press in December 2011.

Authors, feel free to snag this and promote it - just be aware that there may be changes to the cover between now and then. Obviously, I'll post updates as I have them.


I am pleased to announce the following line-up for the next pirate anthology from Dragon Moon Press, Spells and Swashbucklers!

In no particular order:

"By Silent Spell" - Danielle Ackley-McPhail
"Tarwell's Last Day as a Pirate" - Stuart Jaffe
"Vapor Rogues Cycle - Cloud Pirates" - MJ Blehart
"The Vengeance Garden" - Laurel Anne Hill
"Window on the Soul" - Gail Martin
"Anne Bonny's Child" - Tera Fulbright
"Death Tide" - Jesse L. Cairns
"Enemy of My Enemy" - Susan Isik
"Facing the Wind" - Bernie Mojzes
"Blood of the Hydra" - Chris A Jackson
"Goddess Clause" - ADR Forte
"William Did" - Erik Amundsen
"Running from the Storm" - Kathryn Scannell
"Pinkbeard" - Danny Birt
"The Sorrow Sea" - Robert Waters
"Masked Panama" - Erin Hartshorn

I am very pleased with this line up and hope you will be too!
This is your reminder post - the open reading period for Spells and Swashbucklers, the sequel to Rum and Runestones, starts on November 1st and runs through November 30th.

As with Rum, the rules are as follows:
- Pirates and Magic MUST be integral parts of the story
- 8k in length

That's it. That's all. Please keep it close to PG-13, although there's a little stretch room available. If you have any questions, or want to submit, email val@vg-ford.com

If you are emailing your submissions, please email them as attachments - I'm using Word, so I'd prefer that.

I look forward to seeing what comes in this time!
.

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