Magical Moments

That is seriously the corniest title for a blog post ever, but I’m sticking with it. I spent the past weekend at the Create Something Magical Conference in Iselin, NJ, organised by Liberty States Fiction Writers.

Despite having depleted a good deal of my conference mojo at the Dreamspinner Author Workshop in Florida earlier this month, I had a really great time. More importantly, I met a lot of fantastic people, learned some new tricks, added a new story idea to my Big Book of Ideas (thanks, Felice Stevens) and came away freshly inspired to create (something magical). Continue reading

Following Your Heart

following-your-heartIf I had to pick the underlying theme of my many blog posts about writing, it would be me asking: what am I doing this for? The question isn’t unique to my profession, or even to creatives. From time to time, we all take a look at what we’re doing and ask why. Or we should. And it’s not something you can ask once and be done. The answer changes with time.

I set goals at the beginning of this year and felt pretty good about not only the direction I wanted to take my career, but in the number of books I wanted to write. It was a good number. Very doable. Then I got to work and started writing the wrong book. Henry and Marc’s HEA was number three on my list of projects. I went with it, though, and by the time I hit the 6k mark, I’d entered that wonderful phase where the story started to tell itself. I was golden; writing 1500-2000 words every morning, revising a two or three chapters of Irresistible, the novel I drafted last year, every afternoon.

Then I finished drafting this second book and suddenly had two books to revise. Revisions on Irresistible had ground to a halt as Counting on You hit the phase where all I wanted to do was write another chapter so I could see what happened next. This is a good thing, usually. It’s one of my favourite parts of drafting. I rushed past the finish line, took a few days to recharge, and started revising Counting on You.

So I was attacking my To Do list out of order. What did it matter, so long as I got all the books written by the end of the year? Continue reading

One Pizza Box Too Many

One of the worst arguments I’ve had with my husband was about an empty pizza box. Really, I’m not making this up. We yelled. Well, I yelled. I can’t remember what he did. What I do remember is the look on my daughter’s face, and the ducking heads of everyone else at the recycling center.

Oh, yeah. This one happened in public.

Now we like to joke about the fact we nearly divorced over a pizza box. (Not even close, but it makes a good story.) Then, it was very upsetting. How did our discussion become so heated? Read on…
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Looking Ahead

reading-writing-resolving-1Every January I tell myself I’m going to post about my writing goals for the year—and then I don’t. Admittedly, I wondered if anyone would care about what I was up to. Right now, though? This post is for me. My whole blog is pretty much for me. ❤ So here’s a resolution post with an outline for some reading goals, some personal goals and quick ramble about all the books I’d like to write. Continue reading

Letting Go

If there is one thing writing has taught me, it’s how to let go. It’s not an easy lesson, and out of all the lessons of the past few years, it’s the one I struggle with most—probably because it’s just so important. It affects every stage of the writing process and has value in other areas of my life.

I haven’t blogged much this month. I’ve been busy writing a book! It’s nearly done and I’m going to post a teaser for it next week and blog about the process of writing it. The knockdown, drag about fight I had with my copy edits for Block and Strike yesterday prompted this post. I wrote Block and Strike over two years ago. I revised it last year and rewrote a significant portion of it this year. Right now, it’s that book. The one I’ve invested a lot of self into. And yesterday, I finally had to let it go. Continue reading

Walking Fantasy Maps

I’ve hurt my knee. So, in the time honoured tradition of one making an epic journey, I will use my convalescence to catch you up on events so far.

One bright and shiny morning, my fitness group discovered a link to the map of all maps, the spreadsheet of all spreadsheets. Distance plotted, days calculated. We were going to walk to Mordor—taking heed of all warnings, of course.

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It’s 1779 miles from Hobbiton to Mt. Doom. Over the past twelve months, I’ve walked 996. And now my knee is buggered. Thankfully, three days ago my party took to the river and we’re currently drifting toward the flats to the north of the Field of Celebrant. Really, I timed it all rather well. The orcs aren’t due to attack for another five days.

My Fitbit has actually recorded enough lifetime miles for me to have reached Mt. Doom and I really think that should be a badge. The badges they do offer are fun, if rooted in this world. I earned the Great Barrier Reef badge while traversing Sydney airport over the summer. I’ve always been one of those people who like to look between the trees on the side of the road, though, and imagine that I’m running between them, either away from a monster, or toward some important destiny.

Obviously, I’m supposed to be living on another world, or in another time.

So I decided to imagine that instead of walking to end of the neighbourhood—again, and when is number twenty-five going to do something about the swamp that is their front yard?—I could be traversing maps of fantasy. All when my knee is better, of course.

 

Ferelden

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In my role as moderator of the Warden’s Vigil roleplaying community, I created a number of tables and charts covering the distances and travel times between map points in Ferelden. For the uninitiated, Ferelden is the principle territory in the game Dragon Age: Origins. Because I’m a stickler for realism, even when playing make believe, I wanted to know how long it would take my characters to travel from Highever to Denerim. It’s 162 miles. About a week’s travel—if you assume I’m not as fit as a hobbit and can only walk about twenty-four miles a day.

Ferelden isn’t a large country, though. In my eighteen months of walking the mean streets of Middle Smithfield township, I’ve managed to circle Ferelden one and a half times.

 

Faerûn

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Faerûn, on the other hand, is huge. Granted, Ferelden is only a small part of Thedas and if I were to map my journey from Denerim to Val Royeaux, I’d be covering an appreciable distance, about the 800 miles.

The same distance would get me from Neverwinter to Baldur’s Gate.

If I were really keen, I’d map Drizzt’s miles—that elf has traveled. He’s also long-lived and extremely sneaky. I’d probably have died somewhere in Icewind Dale…assuming I made it out of Menzoberranzan alive.

 

Pern

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I lived in Pern for a number of years. Really and truly. I put one book down and picked up another for a long, long time. I knew all the halls and holds—major and minor. I had flown between with dragons, and I had my own horde of fire lizards. Basically, I was Menolly.

When I started roleplaying online, I played in Pern. I never really mapped the distances between points, though. Time sort of adjusted according to the requirements of our adventures. Handy, that.

Taking my current miles, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 800-1000, I could have walked from High Reaches Hold to Benden Weyr. That’s pretty much the breadth of the northern continent.

Alas, alack and all that, I live here on Earth, where my miles are less impressive. In eighteen months, I’ve walked from New York to Abilene, Texas. I’m not sure what my final destination is, but I should have timed it better. August is not the time to be south of anywhere.

Maybe when my knee is better, I’ll veer north a little bit and aim for somewhere pleasant like Santa Barbara. It’s only another 1300 miles.

 

Railroaded by the Railroad

I finally finished Fallout 4. (This write up may contain mild spoilers)

I don’t know if it’s that I enjoy exploring post-apocalyptic worlds, or if Bethesda simply excels at creating compelling environments, but I could (and did) spend hundreds of hours wandering ruined America—and that is perhaps my favourite part of any Fallout game, the time lost to roving.

FoodstuffCuriosity is not always rewarded kindly. Scouring the edges of the map will drop you into obscure quests and hair-raising encounters. Foodstuff machines, a stranded ship crewed by robots, loners who should be left alone, atomic cults, a barely operational nuclear sub, aliens and the mother of all mirelurks. I tripped over a hill into a nest of glowing green radscorpions and died horribly (while running away). I hadn’t saved for a while and lost twenty minutes of game play. I reloaded and ventured into the Glowing Sea again, because what’s twenty minutes when you’re already four hours distant from the quest you were absolutely, positively going to finish today? Continue reading