2022 – On Deck

Well… here we are.

We’ve made it this far.

I don’t even want to guess what this year has in store for us but, if you’ll join me, we’ll begin with a spin: traveling in the worlds of my creation…

Oh, for crying out loud… you’ve been here long enough to know some amazing crazy music’s gonna find its way into the blog post ๐Ÿ˜‰

New Releases

Looking at two (maybe three) new releases this year. I don’t really have a timeline yet but keep an eye out: you never know when one might slip in under the radar.

Also looking at the possibility of some new editions…

And the possibility of some sort of serial is dancing on the wind…

Merch

Plans are still in the early brainstorming stages but I’m hoping to be able to introduce some book-related merchandise this year. This will be an extremely small-scale endeavor but could result in some fun gifts and/or great conversation starters.

Whatever finally makes the cut – you’ll see it here first.

Updates

I’m not going to tease regular updates here because… let’s face it… I do that every time I get my life together enough to post and then…

Well…

We all know how that ends up…

~~~

Until next time, my friends…

Take the time to see the magic and make the time to love yourself.

Out with the old…

525,600 minutes.

How many of those minutes were filled with fear and pain and suffering and loss? How much has this past year cost us?

2021 hit fast and it hit hard.

Friends… if you’re reading this: you’re still here.

We’re still here.

And we’re in this together.

So here’s my wish for you as we say goodbye (good riddance?) to 2021…

My friends…
May we all have the strength to stand back up no matter how many times we’re knocked down…
May we all have the resolve to keep moving forward whether we run, walk, or crawl…
May we all practice kindness so freely that it ruins the economy of hatred that has taken over our society…

New Year's Toast

Happy New Year!

I Write [insert] Not Tragedies

I didn’t want to write this.

I still don’t want to write this.

I am not in a good place with “humanity” or the trappings of our “civilization” right now, so please bear with me.

I would much prefer to write pretty much anything else right now: escape into one of my fantasy worlds… any of them really… but I can’t turn off reality right now and that means you’re stuck with it, too.

I spoke too soon when I said Delta had chosen not to enroll this semester. My team is healthy. My job’s not going anywhere. But what it’s going to look like for the foreseeable future is foggy in its best moments. We have reached the place where mandatory vaccinations have been approved and that policy will impact the Day Job at all sites – hardly unexpected but unwelcome by a loud many. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

I told you last time that my friend S.J. McMillian was facing some hard times. What I didn’t tell you was that her husband has been in the hospital for over a month and that he is now facing the need for a double lung transplant. Being America, the price is exorbitant and the family must be able to prove they can pay their portion before the process will even be fully considered by the power$-that-be.

Here’s the GoFundMe link…

If you can donate, please do.
If you can’t (and I get it – I’ve been there far too often), please share.
And as I asked last time (and will continue to ask as my friend walks through this waking nightmare), please ask the Universe to send a little light in the McMillian family’s direction.

And while you’re sending that light, please have the Universe direct some toward the family of Bessie Walker, as well.

Bessie was a local girl – a classmate of Eldest Spawn in their school days – reported missing by her family early this month. She vanished without a trace and, though her family feared she was in danger, the official search didn’t result in any clues. Her family didn’t stop searching and family members found her body this past weekend.

I know the pain of this runs deep (and that the pain I feel is nothing compared to what her family is facing) and fear there will be much more before any sort of healing can begin.

To find out more about the #MMIW and #NoMoreStolenSisters tags, please start with this Women’s Policy Journal op-ed and, for the love of all that’s Holy, read it completely and let it sink in.

Until next time, friends…
If someone is important to you, tell them.
Show them.
Make sure they know and that you know they know.
Don’t miss that chance.

Brace Yourselves: November is Coming

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worldsโ€”on and off the page.

nanowrimo.org Mission Statement

As NaNoWriMo enters its 20th year (and I prepare for my 12th year of participation), it seemed the perfect time to dig a little deeper into what NaNoWriMo means not only for authors (a topic I’ve addressed fairly regularly), but also what it means for the people around them.

Without further ado:

Here Comes November

A Guide To The Care & Feeding of Your NaNoWriMo Author

What is NaNoWriMo?

According to the NaNoWriMo.org website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

Why do authors do it?

Every author who participates has a different reason for becoming a WriMo. For some, it’s an exercise in discipline. For others, an excuse to shut out the real world in favor of creating their own. For some, like me, it’s a matter of proving to yourself that you can finish the draft.

How do authors approach the challenge?

There’s no single way to approach NaNoWriMo and nothing will ever work for everyone: but there are three basic classes of WriMo you should be familiar with:

Planner:

This is the type of author your Language Arts teacher says you’re supposed to be. Planners have detailed outlines, character sketches, and new languages and creatures already fleshed out long before November 1 comes around. They plan. They are prepared.

Pantser:

Pretty much the opposite of the Planner, a Pantser tends to look at a blank page the morning of November 1 and finally get around to deciding what to write. A pantser’s mind if full of half-baked ideas, numerous plot bunnies, and a couple killer one-liners that someone is going to use this year no matter what!

Plantser:

A newly identified class who, for many years, been confused by Planners as Pantsers and Pantsers as Planners. A Plantser typically greets November with an idea, maybe a few character sketches in skeletal format, and a collection of notes that roughly resmeble an outline.

Your Role As The Keeper of a WriMo

Regardless what class your WriMo falls into, there are certain things that you can do to help make November run just a little more smoothly.

Encourage

November can be overwhelming for your WriMo. Let’s face it: November’s not exactly a quiet month anyway. Tons of holidays are closing in, usually followed by family members & social events. Weather tends to be meh – either cold and gloomy, hot and miserable, or some other combination of factors that basically make you want to crawl into a hole and be left alone for a couple months. Adding the average daily wordcount of 1,667 to the mix is crazy-making.

And yet, WriMos do it… year after year.

There are many ways to encourage your WriMo and help them through the insanity that is November.

Take on additional chores so they don’t have to worry about them.

Screen social engagement requests to help maximize writing time.

Listen when they share their ideas. You are important enough for them to not write while they talk to you – make sure they realize they are equally important and that you appreciate the fact that you are THAT high on their list.

Nourish

Many WriMos, particularly when they are in the zone, forget to address their own basic needs. As the keeper of a WriMo, you should always take care to make sure your WriMo has adequate water in addition to any other beverage of choice they may ingest while working.

Make sure to feed your WriMo regularly, too. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to actually feed your WriMo but placing a meal or snack in easy reach will ensure they are able to maintain their strength without the danger of losing their momentum to go find and/or prepare something to eat.

Get Acquainted With Their Muse

Every WriMo has a muse and repeat WriMos tend to be familiar enough with their muse to be able to introduce you. Getting to know your WriMo’s muse may well be your single most important task as the keeper of a WriMo.

Just as every WriMo is different, every muse is different. Learning about your WriMo’s muse will prepare you to help your WriMo seduce the muse back to the story when she wanders.

To Be Continued…

It’s been a crazy couple months:
My mentor & dear friend retired from the DayJob in June and I have been going slightly mad (just very slightly mad) learning all the things I didn’t know about her job now that it’s my job.

New side projects. Plot bunnies running amok. Human sacrifice. Dogs & cats living together… wait. That’s not it.

Bear with me, folks. I’m still here… at least until November ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until next time…

Take a minute to breathe… to remember… to love.
Smell the roses, pet the dogs, and hug the people who have a place in your heart.

Hmmm…

I promised a writing update, didn’t I?

In the midst of all the other craziness life has in store, I am pretty much always writing something.

My muse, in case you were unaware, is a tad bit mercurial.

She feeds on coffee, chocolate, and booze (and chili-cheese Fritos for fight scenes) and sometimes goes silent for extended periods of time. Those periods, however, seldom coincide with the times Real Life and the Day Job need me the most. Go figure.

Bonus: my self portrait from my photography class.

True to form – since I really have no time – she’s pounding on my skull with alarming variety and frequency. So, with all the changes to the Day Job, my college courses (yes, I am skipping summer vacation in favor of education), and the normal everyday stuff… she has me working on four different projects.

Yes.

Four.

So… maybe mercurial wasn’t a strong enough word ๐Ÿ˜‰

One: Urban Wardens III

No, you didn’t miss Urban Wardens II. Editing is a slow process right now – can’t imagine why ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had quite a bit of this one done but didn’t care for one of the subplots, so I had to go back and make some adjustments.

Two: The Bridesmaids Had Pockets

Not my normal sort of project, but one that’s turning out to be a lot of fun.

When I first started helping Eldest Spawn & The Boy plan their big day we had no time and less money to work with… so, with the insanity of it all still fresh in my mind (along with the Hold My Beer attitude fed by all the Plan Your Wedding in 6 Months for under $6K articles), I started a tongue-in-cheek how-to guide for wedding planning.

And yes, Eldest Spawn’s bridesmaids did, in fact, have pockets.

Three: Title Keeps Changing

Catchy, huh? Seriously, though… I’ve gone through a half dozen working titles and none of them actually work, so… hopefully I figure it out before the book’s done.

If you follow the Facebook page at all, excerpts from this one pop up on occasion: first-person, bad attitude, monster hunter. The one that parties with trolls.

Four: Untitled


This one is still very much in its infancy. It’s one of those projects where someone said something (commented on a photo, actually) and the muse wouldn’t shut up about it.

Here’s the picture.

There’s only a little groundwork on this one, so far, so I’m not going to give much here… but if you’re reading this, you’re probably a little familiar with my style so I’ll let you chew on the possibilities for a while.

There’s your update, friends. Pardon me while I go figure out how to mainline Black Silk.

Until next time:

Never give up. Never surrender.

No, seriously. Never give up.

Changing Seasons

Summer’s coming and the winds of change are actually pretty damned unpleasant this year.

The school year is ending for Youngest Spawn: she is preparing to venture forth on her first ever Music Tour.

For those unfamiliar with the practice, it is (for our school) a 5-day “family road trip” filled with musical performances, team building activities, educational side-trips, and some general fun.

This year’s trip, like everything else related to the Music Department this year, is a bitter-sweet finale to the year as it is the last such trip to be lead by the school’s much-loved music director.

There will be a new director: one who has a background with the unique entity that is our music program… and her selection as his successor brings comfort and hope that the Music Family will continue as the incredible force for good it has been since Eldest Spawn was first handed a recorder.

But wait, there’s more…

Music isn’t the only department saying goodbye at our Jr High/High School.

The lead Visual Art teacher is retiring at the end of this year. A fine, kind man who planted the seed of artistic expression in The Third, nurtured it while she was his student, and continued to nurture it even after she moved to a different school.

And… y’know… since that’s not enough… the Language Arts teacher who has kept the drama program alive is also retiring at the end of this year.

So – in case it’s not clear – our Jr High/High School is saying goodbye to its entire Fine Arts instructional staff.

As you may imagine, this is not a situation that brings me joy.

And… y’know… because being Mom isn’t enough…

Our facilities at the Day Job are being cut basically in half. My employment is not in jeopardy (parents, you can put the brakes on the panic) but the location of my desk is… well… pending.

Should I remain in my position, my desk will be moved elsewhere in the building upon completion of construction, remodeling, and reallocation of space.

But… (you knew there was one, didn’t you?)

My own beloved mentor/office manager/dear friend is retiring, too!

Should all the moving parts of our hiring process align (which is somewhere in the vicinity of if all goes according to plan), I will be taking her place.

I have done her job before (while she was away) and she has been actively training me to take over her position for a couple years. Our boss talks about me moving to that position as if he can circumvent the labyrinthine process by sheer force of will. Every member of our work unit believes I am the best person to step into that role.

But none of that changes the fact that she is retiring and, while I may indeed end up in her position, I can never take her place.

More about writing next time…

For now…

Thank you for helping pick me up after the winds of change knocked me over. As a very wise woman has told me often…

This, too, shall pass.

She’s ba-aa-aa-ack…

Unfortunately, my prediction from late February was accurate.

I had NO time for anything between my last post here and the wedding celebration.

But…

Mr & Mrs Asdell-Baize under the sword arch.
Eldest spawn and The Boy… now Mr & Mrs…

We pulled it all off and it was pretty damned amazing… if I do say so myself.

Now, after a couple weeks of down-time (or what passes for down-time in my life), it’s time to get back to doing all the rest of the things I do.

You know… four different writing projects, a couple college courses, the Day Job, the craft thing… but hey – at least I’m back.

Stay tuned, friends…

For Whom the Bell Tolls…

In case you haven’t heard, Eldest Spawn and her long-time partner in crime are going to go ahead and make it official.

The Boy proposed New Year’s 2018 – right after midnight – and they’ve been hemming and hawing about a date since then.

Now, with an impending 800 mile relocation, they decided it was best to tie the knot before they leave the homeland.

Being a fairly decent event planner, it’s ended up being my job – which is fine. It keeps the budget (super thin shoestring) in check and keeps other local wedding planners from having to deal with me as MotB.

Because seriously, friends… let’s face it… nobody wants to deal with me in full-blown, big budget, MotB mode. That’s a horror novel waiting to happen.

Sadly, this may mean I fall behind here. My plan is not to but my planning skills are being used elsewhere.

I promise not to forget you’re here and I won’t forget to write – trust me, I’m going to need the down-time.

Until next time, friends…

Celebrate love in the ways that fit your life.
The ones who love you won’t mind and the ones that do mind don’t matter.

Happy New Year!

It’s not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year, is it?

I mean…

At least we’re still in January, this year.

It’s a start. ๐Ÿ™‚

Life continues at its apparently normal blinding speed, complete with crazy twists and turns that would make roller coaster designers nauseous.

But I am here.

I haven’t forgotten you.

And, Gods willing, I’ll have more to say next time around ๐Ÿ™‚

Until then, friends, do what you do because it’s right, decent, and kind.
Just that. Just kind.

Black Friday

I wasn’t sure I’d get this post written with the craziness of NaNoWriMo coming to a close and all the cooking involved in our (not necessarily your) traditional Thanksgiving feast.

However, the NaNo spirits blessed me with completion late Wednesday afternoon which, as you might expect, made cooking yesterday a whole lot easier (and less of a mess for my poor abused little laptop).

Giving myself a few days then I’ll go back to the draft and start polishing it up.

I have a few non-writing projects that need my attention, a house that needs decorating, and a cold I need to kick before I have to go back to the Day Job on Monday, so I’m going to go ahead and leave this one short…

Until next time, friends:
Be thankful for what you have andย what you have had…
And, above all, be thankful to the people you have and have had… because their love is worth more than any of the other stuff.