Word Meter for Blue
Lately, grey days have meant headaches and pain meds and bed, since my sinuses hate me. And yet, now that I've been home, the grey days are starting to weave their magic again. Stories come to me as I lie in bed, even if it doesn't rain. Characters are whispering to me again. Even Shanna, who hasn't been talking to me for a while.
It's spring, which I usually love. This year, it's been hard, since I'm mourning for those I've let go. I don't want to say lost - I didn't lose them. They just moved on without me, and although I'll follow, at some point, I'm now finding my way along through the world. It's spring, a new beginning, in more ways than one.
Yes, I mourn. I mourn the time that we won't have, the experiences we won't share, the memories we won't make. But I also turn my face to the warming sun and remember that I still have memories to make, experiences to have, books to write.
I'm on a PD James kick right now, and one of the lines really jumped out at me. They were discussing a writer who may or may not have been murdered (there was hanging involved), and the detective said, "She hadn't finished her book. Do you really know any writer who would kill themselves before finishing their book?"
That got me thinking. I have so many books to finish. But time isn't guaranteed. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. And floating along means I'll never finish, and means I'll leave things undone. I don't want to do that. I will, I'm sure, but until I do pass beyond the Veil, I'm going to start writing as if tomorrow is my last day.
No, really. I do.
I always think that when I don't have to work, then I'll get a ton of writing done. Because dude, I'll have nothing else to do! I can write! And just write! And then...life intervenes.
I sleep late. I see friends. I crochet and knit and putter around my house and play games...and I don't write. This is why I don't think I'll ever make it as a full-time writer with no other job, because well, I can't seem to get my butt in the chair and blog, never mind write.
Then again, it might be that because I have other sources of income, I don't feel the NEED to write. I watch some of my full-time author friends and realize that they put in the time because if they don't, there's no money coming in. If I don't write, well, my next paycheck comes in 2 weeks, and I have savings. But I'm not depending on that writing to pay my rent or put gas in my car or pay for my tea habit.
Which is why anyone who makes the jump to full-time writing has my admiration. It's NOT easy. It's NOT carefree. It's a decision that should be made with open eyes and a clear idea of what is going to be expected of you.
I'll be going back to my day job in two weeks. I have managed to finish Winter's Storms, and have gotten it back from the editor. I'm starting on the SSP (aka the Sooper Sekrit Project) and I'm also starting to work on Sapph and Shanna again. I think there might be some shorter stuff on the Patreon for the next month or so, while I get myself back together. Also, I've discovered Southern Gothic music on Spotify, and I'm kind of in love.
Now, off to write.
Yeah, I know, nothing to write home about yet, but I'm working on it.
So, since I last dusted off my journal, I have had a pitch accepted for two novels that I can't really talk about (but that I'm very excited for) and I'm in the home stretch of Winter's Storms rewrite (the second Advent book). I should have that done (god willing and the sun don't shine, as my great-uncle used to say) by the end of the day tomorrow.
It is still planning on being launched at ConCarolinas in June, and I'll have more information on that when it gets closer.
Time to write.
That, my friends, is a gorgeous cover, and I really, really can’t wait for the book itself. I’ve seen snippets of it, and it’s so good, you guys. Doc Coleman is a good friend, and I’ve watched him work on this book. Here’s the important details:
Actually, I’ll let you judge for yourselves how good this is going to be, since Doc was kind enough to give us a snippet:
Wednesdays are going to be my week in review, moving forward. It’s a good day to stop and take a look at the last week (Sunday through Saturday) and see what I’ve accomplished (or not accomplished).
Last week, I was sick, so this week in review is not going to be as long as some of them. I lost Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday to the ick that I’m suffering from, so there was no writing. However, I did finally figure out how to do the corner-to-corner crochet stitch, so I got three squares done for my first afghan for Hooking for the Homeless, which was good.
Writing-wise, I got … nothing. I wrote blog posts for the week, and that was about it. But that’s okay – sometimes you need to do that in order to recharge.
This week, I’ve got the following planned:
- Pitch a book to a publishing group
- Write blog posts for the upcoming week for both the Patreon and this blog
- More squares for the afghan
- Write the pitch for Well of Dreams
- Start the outline for Well of Dreams
We’ll see how I do in a week.
Wow, that’s a long title, but it’s a true one. I belong to both a serious writing group (where we read each other’s pieces and comment) and a creatives group (where we all just work on our own stuff and BS). I actually cherish both of them, for different reasons.
The critique group has really, really helped me to craft my writing. We have several published authors, and we’re all voracious readers. These guys keep me honest – I have issues with talking heads in my rough drafts, among other things, and they’ve helped talk me down from the ledge when I was ready to chuck the entire writing thing. We’ve been together for over 10 years now, and although we’ve had members come and go, the core group has remained the same. This group is valuable, because our goal is to make the story the best it is. We’ve actually lost members because we won’t sugar-coat things. This is why this group is good, because sugar-coating things doesn’t help the writer. We’re pretty honest – if it doesn’t work for us, we’ll tell you why, and it will be more than “I don’t like it.” It’s okay if you don’t like things – there are plenty of people out there who do like it. But if it’s unclear who’s talking, or your grammar is atrocious, well, you need to know that. A good critique group will point out the bad and the good, and help you make the story the best it can be. Our critique group meets once a month, for several hours, and we generally get through 2-4 pieces (depending on who brings what).
On the other hand, our creatives group meets once a week (mostly) at the studio or at Gibson’s, and we do all sorts of things. I’m writing this blog post during our Creatives meeting, and looking around the table, I see the following: two people stitching, one person working on audio editing, one person working on design work for a book, and two people talking about events for the SCA. There are times when we have people coloring, or reading, or coding. It’s a time dedicated to creating things. It’s valuable because it’s time to do anything, as long as it’s creative. This is a recharging of the well that I can only normally find at cons. There’s something about being with other people who are doing something they are passionate about that really gets me going.
And that’s why you need both. If you can find both, you’re in a very good space.
Are you part of a group? Tell us about it in the comments!
It’s a new year. I’ve already started to do things a little differently – set up a new theme here on the blog, and added a button at the top of the page so you can follow me on Patreon if you’d like. There will be new stuff on the Patreon coming soon, as I’m planning on writing 3 new novels this year: the first Resonant Frequencies book, the first novel-length Pendragon Casefiles book, and the next Advent story for December. In addition, I’m going to start blogging regularly, both there and here, about my writing process, being a writer while having a day job, and anything else that happens to catch my fancy.
The goal is to blog here on Sundays and Wednesdays, and on the Patreon blog Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Patreon blogs will be set to Patrons only, so be aware that if you want to see those, it will cost you a minimum of $1 a month. But hey, that’s not a lot, and if you do, not only will you get the blog posts, but you’ll get new stories once a week! Because on Fridays, Patrons will get the next chapter of my new book.
I’m not abandoning this journal, so don’t worry about that. And the December Advent story will be held here as well. But it’s time for me to start expanding and taking this writing journey a bit more seriously, and that means getting organized. In fact, some of my first blog posts might be about that.
What are your plans for this year? Feel free to share in the comments!
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*
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!
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.
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!
(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.
It’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.
How do you find time to write? What do you listen to while you write? Where do your ideas come from? Do you have any rituals? What’s your favorite book/author?
These are all the things that are swirling through my mind right now, because I’m starting to work on the blog posts for the blog tour for Winter’s Secrets that’s coming out in May (ohgodohgodohgod). I’m also writing other things, because I’ve got a patreon site going now. In short, there are so many words to write, and there seems to be almost no time to write it all. It’s very exciting, and slightly terrifying.
Which means I need to write. Eek!
Now, to allay any fears – I will still be posting here too. And the Advent Story will still be here in December every year. And every so often, I’ll drop story stuff in here. But if you really want to read regular fiction from me, come on over to Patreon. I mean, for $1 a month minimum, you get stories. And the first one is the first book in the Shanna series. (For more money, you get more stuff, of course)
I’m also getting ready to do a blog tour! And boy, do we have some interesting folks willing to host me! The tour starts May 16 and goes to June 16, and I’ll have a full list here as soon as I’m able.
Now, I gotta get writing!
I won’t lie – it’s been a rough few weeks. But I did finish Winter’s Secrets, and it’s in the hands of beta readers now. We’re on schedule to release at Balticon and ConCarolinas with ACTUAL BOOKS! And tea. Because, well, you can’t do a book release about Carter’s Cove that doesn’t involve tea. And scones. So hopefully I will see you guys there!
In addition, I’m putting together a blog tour for the book release, to happen within the book release time frame. Part of what I’m doing today is setting up the blog tour. If you’d like to be a part of it, drop me a line!
There will also be another Carter’s Cove story this year, because there’s still more stories to be told. This one will bring in some new characters, and some old ones, and will involve something that you can follow along with, should you choose. Yeah, I’m a tease. More information later.
Now that the current book is done, I’m going back into the Dark Horseman universe to start the Shanna stories. That’s my goal right now – to get the first book done. I’m actually opening with the vomit draft today, as soon as I set up the Google calendar for the tour. So much to do! But it’s good, because it’s what I need to do. And every word I write is one Mom can read, because I know she’s still reading. Heaven for her would be a bookstore, with unlimited amounts of tea and scones.
The picture above is 4 generations of my family, taken four years ago (I believe). Since then, my grandmother (on the left) passed away two months before her 99th birthday, and just this past Tuesday, my mother passed away, barely 2 months past her 65th birthday.
I won’t lie – it’s been a hard week. My mother fought stage 4 endometrial cancer until the end, and she did not go quietly into that good night. She went out on her terms, though, and before she said good night for the last time (not good bye; she hated good byes), she made me promise a few things.
My mother and father have always been my biggest supporters of my writing, along with my husband. I’m so very lucky to have always had that support. When I announced at age 6 that I was going to be a writer, I didn’t get “Oh, that’s nice, but what do you really want to be?” Instead, I got a typewriter, and my parents read everything I wrote. And saved all of it, as I discovered this week. (Wow, my writing at age 7 was horrible, but at least I knew how to use the word “wretched” properly.) So when Mom asked me to not stop writing, but to keep going, I knew I couldn’t say no.
So there will be more Molly. I’ve promised to make sure my nieces have an Advent story every year. And I’ve started working on the details of the Patreon page I’m going to be starting up. And I’m finishing
I was going through my pictures the other day, and realized just how dark this one is. This is my street, during a snowstorm a few years ago. And it got me to thinking about how dark days, dark winters, really, really affect me. And my writing.
I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that a lot of my Horseman books happen in the dark cold of a New Hampshire winter, or in the Shadow Lands. It’s a dark series, and for me, cold and dark have always gone hand in hand. I vaguely remember enjoying winter once, but now, it seems as soon as the days start getting shorter and it starts getting colder out, I start to shut down. I don’t want to do anything other than sleep. I hate being cold. I hate having to wear coats and gloves and YakTraks. I just don’t like winter.
But this winter seemed especially hard, even though it wasn’t that cold and snowy. My depression whispered to me during these long nights, taunting me, reminding me that I wasn’t writing when everyone around me was, I wasn’t doing much of anything, I was gaining weight and losing time, and didn’t I just feel awful about it? Never mind that pretty much NONE of that (except the feeling awful part) was true. Depression is like that – it’s a snake that whispers where no one else can hear, and it tells lies that sound like the truth, and it’s so hard not to believe it.
I can only imagine what winter was like before electric lights, before heated buildings, before cars to get to work. I luckily don’t lose power that often, so I don’t get to experience that. Even camping now seems less…rustic, and I know it’s because I chose to make it that way. And yet, winter isn’t just a dead time.
It’s a sleeping time. The earth doesn’t die – it sleeps, snug in a winter blanket, dreaming of the longer days and warmer sun that’s coming. Everything needs down time, and perhaps I’ve been looking at winter the wrong way. Perhaps, even though my depression is telling me lies, those lies are rooted in a truth that I’ve been ignoring: that even though technology insists we can go 24-7, all day, every day, that life doesn’t do well at full-throttle. That everything needs a break, a winter’s nap, and that I should see this time as hibernation, my body and my soul recovering from the stresses of life. I’m not hiding away from everyone – I’m recharging, waiting for the cold to roll back, and the soil to warm, so I can spread my leaves out to the sun again.
I’m not denying that I have depression. I will always have depression – there is no cure, at least not yet. But I can learn from it, use it, respect it and what it is trying to tell me. And realize that under the lies is a kernel of truth, and nurturing that truth is what I need to do.