Time Off

I’m taking a break from the Work in project. The 2019 Rugby World Cup has kicked off this weekend. I love this sport. If it turns out the way I’m hoping, the final will come down to New Zealand and Wales.

Let this post be a reminder that it’s ok to take some time to indulge yourself and fall into the things that bring you joy.

See you on Thursday.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: September 19th.

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

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: You know those days where all you want to do is sit around and read a book? You shouldn’t ignore those.

Thing #2: Making a “To Do” list doesn’t actually count as getting anything done when you scratch it off the list (Yeah, I found that pretty disappointing too).

Thing #3: Speaking of lists, try not to look at the list as a whole. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Focus on one thing, and do that. You can’t eat an entire pizza in one bite.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Hammerfall and Beast in Black.

Thing #5: The Rugby World Cup is kicking off this weekend in Japan. It’s going to be awesome!

###

What am  I reading this week?

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? Rugby World Cup. There will be much watching, and trying to avoid spoilers, since it’s in Japan and most of my watching will be replays.

###

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

Out of Control?

I don’t mind telling you that this past week has been harder to keep a hold of than a fistful of water. My writing productivity had slagged, and there were a couple of days where I didn’t get up to write in the morning, and I wasn’t in the headspace , or had the time to write in the evening.

I found myself looking ahead to the weekend – it’s always the weekend – for the chance to get life back under control. “Just ride it out, till then,” I’d say. “Then you’ll get back on top of things.”

Some of the folks in my writing group jokingly refer to me as a machine when talking about how much I can get done. I confess that I like that – if only for the outside recognition that I’m really working hard at this.

But I’m not a machine. I’m drafting this by hand, and my fingers are starting to tingle in the early stages of going numb. My knee is bugging me if I sit still for too long – or if I move for too long – can’t get a break there, and my shoulder is giving me grief – I don’t know what I did to cause that. Getting older is a drag sometimes.

What does any of this have to do with Writing? Well the numbing fingers and the aforementioned, grief-giving shoulder are directly connected to the physical act of writing. All of it, I’m willing to bet, has had an impact on the quality of sleep I’ve been getting lately, and that’s had an effect on the writing landscape. But what is this about control?

Naturally, I can’t just switch off the pain. That’s not the kind of control that I’m talking about – and I wouldn’t want it anyway. I’m self aware enough to know that would be pretty bad long term.

What I do have control over allows me to nudge things once in a while. In between the previous paragraph and this one, I set my pen down and shook feeling back into my fingers.

Now some of you may be asking – go ahead, I’m asking it of myself as well – why the heck didn’t I just stop, until I was capable of starting again?

The short answer is that I wanted to keep going. I wanted to push through and get this done. “You’re not the boss of me,” I’m saying to my numbing fingers as I shake feeling back into them. “Get moving.”

I’ve got that kind of control but, if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t want that kind of control either. Not really. The finger thing is probably not getting worse by any significant increments, but I’m probably not doing myself any significant favors either.

The knee thing? That’s been bugging me for weeks. And I have been addressing that. I’m not sitting too long, and I’m not pushing it by moving too long either. That’s the kind of control that I want. The ability to recognize the need to heal (or recover) and adjust.

Why is that so hard when it comes to Writing? It’s not like the warning signs aren’t there. True, those signs aren’t as “To the Point” as physical pain, but you know when you’re feeling them none-the-less. That thing that you were so excited to work on has become a slog. You find yourself needing more “Down Time,” either in the form of sleep, or consuming what others have created, rather than creating on your own.

I think that part of it is that we’re all so connected today and, statistically (heh, look at me using that word, like I could statistics my way out of a wet sack) if you’ve got even 500 people in your social streams that you’re following, the chances that one or more of them having some kind of success to announce is pretty high. So you’re comparing their external situation to your internal one, and that’s not the same thing.

I think another part of it is self-expectation and internal pressure. “I did this yesterday, I should be able to do this today, right?”

Wrong. Even machines need maintenance. So do you. So do I.

And when I fail to recognize that, is when life seems like it’s getting out of control.

But the good news is that it isn’t out of control – and it doesn’t rely on the arrival of the weekend. At any time, I can assess where I’m at, what I need, and make changes accordingly.

And, yes, there may be some residual frustration. I feel that, myself. But that’s short-term thinking. If I don’t take the time to prevent wear out, I’ll have to make the time for repair.

So I am going to encourage you to take a look inward, consider how you’re doing, and do what you need to do for you.

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 Balance, LIfe, Self Care | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: September 12th.



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

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: Right now, at this very moment, you can do *Anything.* Maybe not right away, and certainly not without work, but it’s out there, waiting for you.

Thing #2: Getting up and trying again is a perfectly reasonable response to failure.

Thing #3: Sometimes, you win, even if you stumble. Sometimes, even if you do everything right, you still fail. But you’ll never know until you try.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… A mixture of Amaranthe and Within Temptation.

Thing #5: I know this has already been said, but it bears repeating – gods know I need to hear it:
Do what you can, for as long as you can do it. and that is good enough for that time. There’ll be a next time.

###

What am  I reading this week?

A Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Sterling

A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy by Alex White

The Long Way to a Small, and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? This weekend is pretty much a clear slate. I’m hoping to do a whole lot of nothing, because it’s been a pretty busy week…

###

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

Off the Rails

Every week, I try to type these posts up ahead of time. For a while, I’d been doing it pretty consistently. Last week was a bit hectic, and busy. By the time Friday came around, I was looking forward to this weekend and the opportunity to get “Back on Track.”

That’s when a voice whispered, “What track?”

I didn’t have an answer for that or, more specifically, I had an image in my head of my life as like a kind of train, cruising along on a pair of rails and, every so often, something happens to take me off “track.”

This is, of course, kinda silly, and the metaphor falls apart, especially when you consider what happens when a real train goes off the rails.

So, maybe it’s more like a boat, or a plane, or a space ship… There are no rails. There’s a direction you want to go, and a course you set to get there.

There’s nothing holding you in place. You can go anywhere. The down side is that there’s nothing preventing you from crashing headfirst into a moon (That’s no moon, it’s a space station…). There’s also nothing preventing you from discovering a different path, something you’d never considered, something that might be even better than where you’d originally set out to go.

I tend to think that people are creatures of habit. I know that I sure as hell am. And there’s comfort to be found in routine, doing the same thing over and over, until it becomes habit.

The down side to this is that along with the comfort, there are constraints. Self-imposed, to be sure, but present nonetheless. Going back to the train metaphor, you’re on rails, which speed you along your course, but which won’t allow you to steer.

Now I know that, for most of us, there’s things going on that perpetuate this repetition, and that’s ok. But I submit that, every so often, it’s worth it to take yourself off-course. To steer in a different direction. You never know what you might find – maybe a new course.

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 Inspiration, LIfe | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: September 5th.

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

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: I am always on the lookout for new music. This past week, I stumbled across Alien Weaponry. They’re a band out of New Zealand, and the majority of their lyrics are in their native Te Reo Maori. Go put them in your ears.

Thing #2: Unleash the Archers has a new EP coming in October. You can check out the first single at their website. Good Stuff!

Thing #3: This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the band Sabaton. You can check out their full concert at the thirtieth anniversary of the Wacken Open-Air festival here.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by… Well, take your pick. All three of the above bands have been on heavy rotation this week.

Thing #5: So this – unintentionally – turned into the musical version of Five Thing Thursday. You’ll be happy to note that I didn’t break into song while composing this…well, at least not where anyone could hear me.

###

What am  I reading this week?

A Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Sterling

A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy by Alex White

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? This weekend is pretty much a clear slate. I’m hoping to do a whole lot of nothing, because it’s been a pretty busy week…

###

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

Guest Post: R J Theodore

This week, I’ve got the great pleasure to host my friend, R J Theodore!

If you’ve been following her on Twitter (This is a good idea. You can find her here), then you know that she’s got a new book coming out on September 3rd.

Have a look at this cover:

To help celebrate the launch of Salvage, R J stopped by to answer a few questions. I’m going to step out of the way and let R J take over…

Me: What is the hardest part about writing?

RJT: Staying present in the moment is currently my biggest challenge. Since moving from an aspiring author to a published author, the focus has shifted from writing to finishing.

I catch myself wishing I was done with whatever I’m working on so I can go do that other thing. That feels like wishing away the moments I should find incredibly fulfilling, and it’s something I have to really be mindful of so I can bring myself back to the joy I find in each step.

It’s okay to be excited about the next project, but I find that it’s a cycle thatleads to anxiety unless I’m intentional about stepping out of it.

Me: Where do you derive the most satisfaction from your writing?

RJT: Hmm, that would probably be the dialog. When I read back over a scene, the moments where my characters’ personalities meet in fire bursts or light breezes are where I feel like I really know what I’m doing! Very often, the dialog in a story will survive unchanged from draft one to the finished product and I believe that’s because I’m most present and most engaged in writing in those scenes.

Of course, I’m also hugely interested in world building and take hedonistic pleasure in describing my secondary worlds. I make myself laugh writing ironic observations about my stories’ various groups by contrasting common sense with practice, and I have no plans to stop describing otherworldly things like airships, space whales, cephalopod pilots, and winged cats.

Me: What attracted you to your genre(s)?

RJT: Star Trek: The Next Generation drew me into Science Fiction without my realizing it. Watching the show was a weekly tradition in my family and when I discovered there were also novels in that universe, I knocked over a huge stack of Baby Sitter’s Club books to get to them. I explored the SFF shelves outward from there, eventually landing on Charles deLint and C.J. Cherryh books to satisfy, respectively, my fantasy and science fiction cravings. I also chose genre books from summer reading lists wherever I could (though the pickings were slim among titles like Wuthering Heights and Of Mice and Men and I still haven’t made it through DUNE).

Me: Do you see any issues in your genre and how are you addressing them?

RJT:SFF has a long, unfortunately proud legacy of a myopic world view with white men at the fore and everyone else serving only to make them look good, if they’re present at all.

The amazing thing is that these issues I would identify, reinforced misogyny and racism, including erasure, and a desperate need for diversity, are currently being trampled upon by the genre as a whole. So, while I’m not a stand-out at inclusivity or making a statement about human rights, I’m happy to be among a crowd of incredibly talented and vocal writers who are tackling these things. The John Campbell Award for Best New Writer was just renamed to the Astounding Award for Best New Writer as a response to the awareness raised by Jeannette Ng’s recent acceptance speech. It’s not that the issue hasn’t been raised before, but the discord has moved forward to the point where more people can recognize these issues are important and not to be dismissed, specifically the people who are in the position to make decisions on acquisitions and award names.

I still think there’s room for improvement, of course. We have plenty of work ahead of us. But, if some day, people look back at the writing of this generation and cringe, just as we look back to what are considered ‘classics’ now and see the inherent problems, I think that will be excellent because it means the discussion has only gotten better and diversity and inclusivity is broadening to include more and more voices and experiences.

###

About R J Theodore:

R J Theodore is hell bent on keeping herself busy. No, really, if she has two minutes to rub together at the end of the day, she invents a new project with which to ­occupy them.

She enjoys reading, design, illustration, video games (she will take you down in Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo), binging on movies and streaming series, napping with her cats, and cooking. She is passionate about art and coffee.

R J Theodore lives in New England with her family.

In 2018, Theodore made her publishing debut with her self-published novella THE BANTAM, and her novel FLOTSAM, Book One of the Peridot Shift series, published by Parvus Press.

Read about her writing process, find her on social media, and subscribe to her reader list for updates, announcements, and free short fiction by visiting rjtheodore.com

Huge thanks to R J Theodore for stopping by this week. Salvage releases on September 3rd, and is available for Pre-Order now!

Posted in Blog Tours | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: August 29th.

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

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: Since April, I have lost 32 pounds.

Thing #2: We’ve officially entered that time of year where I’m opening windows during the day, and shutting them at night.

Thing #3: I am both eagerly awaiting, and silently dreading the onset of Autumn. I’m eager for it because it’s a beautiful season, by this time, I’m tired of the heat (and the humidity…particularly the humidity). I’m dreading it because it’s the final rush of allergy season. Spring and fall are the worst of it for me.

Thing #4: This Week’s Audio Landscape has been brought to you by: Nightwish (again). It’s been a while since I’ve listened to this band, in more than a passing way.

Thing #5: Now that you’re close to the end of this post, when you finish reading, go check out the D23 Special look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It looks awesome.

###

What am  I reading this week?

A Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Sterling

A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy by Alex White

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? I can’t say that I’ve been doing much of that this week. I know, I should be, so I will make a real effort to catch up this coming weekend.

###

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

Skill and Talent

This week, I’d like to talk about both Skill and Talent.

I’m sure you’ve heard someone referred to as (and maybe you’ve been called this yourself) Talented.

What is Talent?

Some people don’t believe that such a thing exists. Others seem to think that Talent is all there is.

Beethoven was talented. So is Eddie Van Halen. So is Beauden Barrett (Sidebar: If you don’t know who this amazing Rugby Player is, here’s a sample of what I’m talking about.)

Once you reach a certain level, I think “Talented” tends to become “Gifted.” I think they’re the same thing.

Regardless of what you call it, Talent seems to be something that you just “Have.”

What is Skill?

That seems easy enough. Skill is the result of practice. Hours (often years) of hard work and practice gets you skill. Practice when you feel like doing it, and practice (perhaps especially) practice when you don’t feel like doing it.

over and over, until it becomes second nature. Then do it some more.

It should be clear from the above that Talent, and Skill are not the same thing.

But they work together.

Talent is a baseline aptitude for some task. This baseline will vary from task to task and from person to person. It’s what you start with. Without getting into any kind of theology, Talent is what you’ve been given.

Skill, is something that you develop. Over time. With practice and (often) sacrifice. In short…

Skill is something you have to earn.

Can you have one without the other?

I’ve thought about this for a couple of days. I believe that you can have Talent without Skill.

I don’t think that you can have Skill without Talent.

Here’s why:

Pick a task. I’ll choose something that I have zero experience with: Crocheting.

If I’ve got no experience with it, clearly I don’t have any skill with it. You can’t put the cart before the horse.

But get this…

Until I actually try crocheting…I have no idea if I’ve got a talent for it.

When I do try crocheting, I find out what my baseline talent for crocheting is. That’s my crocheting talent.

So it might be that you’ve heard about the Skill vs. Talent debate, and I hope that you can see that there really isn’t any debate. We’re talking about two different things.

The question, I hear most often during such a debate is this:

Does Skill level the playing field?

It answer is: It can.

Take two people and a given task, let’s say it’s playing a guitar. Person A has a pretty high talent for it. They take to the guitar like a fish to water. As a result, they don’t practice very often.

Person B has a pretty low talent for the guitar. They’re the proverbial Fish out of Water when they first pick up the instrument.

But they want to learn…

They practice for hours a day, every day, seven days a week, for years.

After a couple of years, if you compare the two, I’ll bet that you couldn’t tell between the two skill levels, or (most likely) Person B who has paid for their skill in sweat, and effort, sounds better than Person A who has rested on their talent, but done nothing to develop it.

It’s all about the practice. Now I know that it’s utterly unreasonable to think that you’ve got hours per day, every day, to practice. Life isn’t like that, and that’s not the point anyway. The point is that you shouldn’t ever decide against trying something because you don’t feel like you’re not talented enough.

Practice. Earn the skill. That’s where excellence lives.

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 Challenges, Inspiration, LIfe | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Five Thing Thursday: August 22nd.

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

Here are Five Things I want you to Know:

Thing #1: Human beings are creatures of habit. Most of the time, I think this works in our favor. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Thing #2: Each and every one of us, our situations are the result – for better or for worse – of the choices we make. The thing I forget most often is this: I can choose differently.

Thing #3: There’s a feeling that I get when I’m world building that’s very similar to that feeling prior to opening a gift from someone that really gets me…

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

Thing #5: You never know if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, until you’ve already done it. Don’t let that stop you from tucking in anyway, because you never can tell…

###

What am  I reading this week?

A Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Sterling

A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy by Alex White

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well? I can’t say that I’ve been doing much of that this week. I know, I should be, so I will make a real effort to catch up this coming weekend.

###

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