Saturday’s ConFusion Schedule

Hey Everyone! This Weekend, I’m at ConFusion! Here’s my Schedule for Saturday:

Effective Training Sequences in Prose Fiction:

Saturday 1:00PM Interlochen
In movies such as How To Train Your Dragon, the sequence in which our dashing hero bumbles through training and eventually triumphs usually has a stirring score and a lot of quick transitions to back it up. In prose, conveying to the reader that a bunch of training has happened can be a trickier matter. What are some good strategies for convincing the reader that our zero is now a hero without dragging down the story’s pacing? Steve Buchheit (m), Ken Schrader, Jennifer Blackstream, Corry L. Lee

Reading: Ken Schrader, Lucy A. Snyder, Phoebe Barton

Saturday 3:00PM Saugatuck
Ken Schrader, Lucy A. Snyder, Phoebe Barton read from selected works.

Come check out the great discussions and hear some fantastic stories.

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Friday’s ConFusion Schedule!

Hey Everyone! This Weekend, I’m at ConFusion! Here’s my Schedule for Friday:

Managing and Overcoming Professional Burnout:

Friday 1:00PM Charlevoix
The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” It can affect people of all professions, but it presents particular dangers to creatives, whose work is often tied closely to personal identity. Our panel will discuss how to spot the signs of burnout, how to manage it, and how to overcome it. Marissa Lingen (m), Pablo Defendini, Ken Schrader, Kameron Hurley

This is going to be a fantastic discussion. Come check it out!

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Five Thing Thursday: January 16th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: ConFusion is Tomorrow!!! I’ll be there. Will you? Be sure to check out the Events page for all the details! If you’re in the area, come say “Hi!”

Thing #2: Queen’s Will Update: Drafting has paused while I polish up the first 10k words as the writing sample part of my Taos Toolbox application .

Thing #3: Change can be useful. It can also be hard, painful, exhilarating, scary, and any number of that make it hard to embrace. The thing is, while you probably can’t control when change happens, what you can control is your reaction to it.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… The rest of the Aerosmith discography.

Thing #5: If, like me, for whatever reason, you’re feeling the pressure of life, the universe, and everything, I just want you to know that I’m rooting for you. You got this.

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What am  I reading this week?

The Lost World by Michael Crichton

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven Series, Book 1) by Pat Esden

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? Well, today is the unofficial start day for ConFusion. I’ll be checking in, getting settled. Programming starts Friday and it’s going to be a great weekend. Last weekend? Not so much rest, but a bit of Rugby. The Six-Nations Tournament kicks off on Feb 1st and I’m pretty excited for that.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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Quieting the Storm Within

It’s been raining all day.

And not just the cold misty stuff that’s common this time of year either. Outside it’s raining like it means it.

So I’ve been stuck in the house and doing not much of anything this past weekend.

And it’s bothering me.

Maybe, like me, you’ve gotten so used to going, going, going, all the time that when life happens occasionally, and you find yourself with a bunch of nothing to do, it doesn’t sit well.

Don’t get me wrong. I still got my writing done. The idea of putting up a calendar and rewarding myself with little stickers on the days that I got work done seems to be working so far. It’s after the work is done where I need to…work.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to be still. I feel like I should be doing “something” at those times, I mean there’s always something more to do, right?

But being still, refilling the well, is an important task – it’s crucial. The problem is that it doesn’t feel like work – which I suppose is exactly the point.

So one more goal for 2020: Learn to be still. Relax. Quiet the storms within, when the storms outside give me the opportunity.

I’ll see you on Thursday. Be Excellent to each other.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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Five Thing Thursday: January 9th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: Went back to reality – back to the day job this week. Reality is kinda what you make of it or, rather, what you focus on. So focus on the good stuff.

Thing #2: The Mystery of the intermittent truck ailment has been solved! It was the starter, and I don’t understand these new-fangled machines that don’t make proper noises so you can get an idea of what the problem is.

Thing #3: So far, the sticker-per-day-written experiment is going well. I’ve written *Something* every day since the turn of the year! We’ll see how long the trend lasts.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Aerosmith.

Thing #5: I’m going to leave this up again, since there’s only 9 more sleeps until the con: My ConFusion Schedule is now Live! Be sure to check out the Events page for all the details!

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What am  I reading this week?

The Vagrant, by Peter Newman

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven Series, Book 1) by Pat Esden

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? I had a good, long stretch of time off the day-job (today is my first day back) and I’ve spent it well, I think, and now I’m looking forward to see what 2020 has in store.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

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2020: A Look Forward

Welcome, Everyone, to the first Blog Post of the New Year! If you’ve followed me here from 2019, thanks for sticking with me, and, if you’re new to the Blog, Welcome aboard!

This year while, empirically, no different than any other, feels particularly significant.

For starters, 2020 is an election year. I don’t normally get political on the Blog, and I’m not going to now, other than to say: Vote! Get out there, get registered, and make your voice count.

More importantly, on a more personal level, I’m turning 50 this year.

Half. A. Century.

I don’t know if this is a common response to this, but I am coming into this year like it’s offered a challenge. I am picking up that gauntlet, and I am *Pumped* to tackle what waits for me this year.

What’s my plan, you ask? Let’s talk.

Personal:

I am continuing to focus on my health – as I should be. My goal for last year was to lose (and maintain said loss) 10 pounds. I did that, nearly doubled that, in fact, though I confess to a bit of a backslide over the holidays. Not enough to bring me under 10 pounds, but still, not the right direction.

My goal is to double that in 2020. I’m going to get there through a combination of diet (paying attention to and logging what I eat) and exercise (I need to get up and move more).

Additionally, I am going to give sleep a higher priority in 2020. Looking back over the past year, I saw a common theme appearing in my Five Thing Thursday posts where I kept using the weekend to catch up on sleep. I can’t keep doing that.

I did learn, over the past year that, over the course of any give night, I’m usually awake for a total of somewhere close to an hour. That means if I want to get 7 hours of sleep, I need to plan on being in bed for at least 8. That was huge, and I’m planning on using that to build on in 2020.

Professionally:

My goal this year is to get writing done every day. I know that I’ve spoken in the past about how that isn’t strictly necessary , and that it’s the habit that’s more important. I still believe that’s the case but, like I said earlier, I’m stoked to challenge this year, and this is one of the ways I’m doing it.

I’m not going to put any rules on it, though. I will always have something that I’m working on and if, at the end of the day, I’m farther along (Even if it’s by a single word) than I was at the beginning of the day – that’s a win.

I am counting on getting more than that single word once I get started (Which is usually the hardest part).

To help me keep track (though I’m pretty sure I could remember on my own), I’m trying something new. I picked up a calendar and some stickers. Each day that I get some work done, I am putting a sticker on that date.

Honestly, here we are five days in, and I think it’s helping me keep on track. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Socially:

I’ve got to be honest here. This is probably going to be the choke point for me. I want to be more involved in the writing community. I’ll be looking for more critique partners, and I want to interact more online and in face-to-face meetings. I’d like to do more with my Twitter account, re-invigorate my Facebook presence, and I’m also looking into things like Instagram and LinkedIn.

Speaking of Social Media, This year, I am going to seriously curate my social media feeds. There’s too much going on, too much to get upset about, and I need to get it out of my life.

So. Yeah. 2020. Half-a-Century.

I’m ready to get to work. How about you?

I’ll see you on Thursday. Be Excellent to each other.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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Five Thing Thursday: January 2nd.

Welcome, everyone to the First installment of Five Thing Thursday for 2020 and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! This year, I hope you find everything you’re looking for.

Thing #2: Vehicle problems suck. Intermittent vehicle problems do not suck intermittently.

Thing #3: The latest edition of the Sparks from the Forge newsletter went live on January 1st. Start off the year with news about where I’m at and what I’m doing. You can sign up via the finely-crafted link at the top of the page.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Unleash the Archers.

Thing #5: My ConFusion Schedule is now Live! Be sure to check out the Events page for all the details!

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What am  I reading this week?

The Vagrant, by Peter Newman

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax #1) by Ann Aguirre

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? I had a good, long stretch of time off the day-job (today is my first day back) and I’ve spent it well, I think, and now I’m looking forward to see what 2020 has in store.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

2019: A Look Back

Here we are at the final Blog post of 2019 and I’d like to take a moment to look back at the past year, focusing on some memorable moments.

It’s been…Well, maybe it’s just me, but it seems like (for at least the last 4-5 years anyway) right about this time, I keep hearing people mention what a long year it was.

I don’t know about it being long, but it sure has required a bit of effort. I mean they all do – some more than others, to be sure, but here we are at the end of one, and I’d like to think back on what it had waiting for me, so let’s dig in.

I lost Weight!! This is a good thing because I had it to lose. I confess though, at the end of the year, I can tell I’m back-sliding a bit, so there’s more work to be done on that front.

I sold a short story! There were some rough patches along the way, but seeing it come out in 2020 is one of the things I’m looking forward to.

I’m in between agents. Now I know there’s a bit of a contrast here, but listen. Even though this feels like a set back, what it really is, is growth. Relationships change, that’s all. But what is also is, is experience, something I didn’t have before, and I’m taking what I can learn from that and building on it.

I got my first Fountain Pen! I am purely mentioning it because it brings me joy to use it (I’m drafting this post with it even now…).

Rugby has happened this year – a lot of Rugby. I’ve talked before about how much I love the game. It inspires me, and this year was a World Cup year (they only hold it once every four years), and it was amazing!! I am also spending time tracking down (because GEO blocking is utterly archaic and stupid in the 21st-freaking-century) regional, and Women’s rugby and enjoying that as well (Honestly, I’d like to see more Women’s Rugby in 2020).

I’d started off the year with the goal of reading more things that – before – I wouldn’t normally have read. I dipped my toes into Biography, Old-School Private-eye stories, and Romance. After a year of that, let me tell you that the waters were pleasantly warm and inviting.

Musically, I’ve tried to expand my horizons and find new bands to listen to while simultaneously returning to my roots. There were good finds in both directions and…well…not so good finds.

This was a good year for movies! Primarily, it was a good year because I actually got out and saw some – seriously, 2018 was a moviegoing wasteland. Like my musical experience, I returned to old fandoms, and I expanded my horizons into new fandoms – which is always a good thing.

I could go on and on and on, but my fingers have gone numb twice already and are starting to get tingly again.

Suffice it to say that there were heaps of awesome to look back on. Were there down sides? Of course there were, but I’m not going to give them any more power by dwelling on them beyond the lessons that they taught.

In the end, the “Good” outweighed the “Bad” and even when lousiness occurred, it left something behind to build upon.

New Year’s is a few days away yet and I’m going to continue to look back and reflect upon the past, then look forward and plan for the future.

Be safe, Friends. Be Excellent to each other, and I’ll see you in 2020.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

Posted in Inspiration, LIfe | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: December 26th.

Welcome, everyone to another installment of Five Thing Thursday and…

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: I am *So* sleeping in today.

Thing #2: QUEEN’S WILL update: I’m about 6-6.5 thousand words into the first draft. I’m closing in on the magic 10K number which will then become (after polishing and feedback) the written portion of my Taos Toolbox application .

Thing #3: The next edition of the Sparks from the Forge newsletter will be going live on January 1st. Start off the year with news about where I’m at and what I’m doing. You can sign up via the finely-crafted link at the top of the page.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Unleash the Archers.

Thing #5: This coming year (and this thing may have been influenced by the current musical selection as I’m drafting this post) I want you (and, by “You” I mean “Me”) to challenge yourself to to take those things that bring you joy and turn the volume up as loud as you can go, as often as you can.

I realize that you can’t be “Up to 11” all day, every day, but there are those sweet times when you need to crank the volume up and Rock. Out. Loud.

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What am  I reading this week?

The Vagrant, by Peter Newman

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax #1) by Ann Aguirre

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the night it opened. No spoilers, but I really dug it. Outside of that, I’m off work for the remainder of the year – relaxing and thinking ahead to 2020.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe Y’All.

Posted in 5-Thing Thursday | Tagged | Leave a comment

Last-Minute Gifts for Writers

This year, I figured that I’d try my hand at one of the “Gifts-for-your-writer” posts. The idea hit me around July, and…

Well, I won’t get into the details. Suffice it to say that the subject matter for this post is kinda on brand.

Speaking of brands, I am not going to mention any names. Everyone’s mileage is going to vary. I’ll just plant the seeds and we’ll see what grows.

Additionally, I am going to approach this from the position of “Next Day Delivery” might not be in time.

Ready?

Idea #1: Pens and Notebooks. Yes, this sounds kind of pedestrian, but I know of *Very* few writers that will tell you that they have enough good pens, or notebooks. Now, unless you life next to a Fountain Pen store (I know such things exist, and it is probably a blessing that I’ve never stepped into one), you probably won’t be able to pick one of these up without some extra effort. Fortunately, you can get some nice, utility pens from your local office supply store. Go ahead and spy on your writer’s pen collection to get an idea of what they favor.

Notebooks: Here will let you get a bit more creative. Might be that you can find something a bit more personal than a pack of spiral notebooks (The spiral at the top, thanks – not on the side). If you don’t have a place that sells paper nearby (and you might – give it a quick search on the interwebs) consider bookstores, and craft stores – places where they might sell journals.

Idea #2: Noise Canceling earbuds. Whether or not your Writer prefers writing to music, or silence, these will have you covered. Now I am not including actual over-the-ear Headphones here. The idea is for something that is easy to transport and apply at need. For my money, that’s earbuds. And I’ve got a nice set of (Name-Redacted) earbuds that I got from (Superstore-Name Redacted) for under $20 that stop up my ears like cement.

Seriously, I was on a (Self-imposed, to be sure, but one that I *Really* wanted to hit) deadline a few years back and used these things to block out a “Cards Against Humanity” game going on AT THE SAME TABLE.

Idea #3: Gift Cards. I know, I know, they sound impersonal, but stick with me for a minute. First: This is a last minute gift. Second (and most important): Personally, I might not know exactly what I’m in the mood for at any given time, and a gift card gives me the opportunity to be flexible in so many ways.

Idea #4: Something comfortable. I won’t say that having a nice, thick pair of socks made the difference between getting out of bed, in December, to write, but maaaaaaybe…

Idea #5: Get them out of the house. Movie, Dinner, something to get them moving and refill the well.

See you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

Posted in LIfe | Tagged | Leave a comment