New Year, New Beginning

It’s the Year of the Rooster. A new beginning, a new dawn. After all the Rooster symbolises this and crows at the break of day, aka, daybreak.

So, what’s new? My laptop. Shiny, new, shiny, new. Huggable. What is it? An ASUS ROG. Yes, a gaming laptop. Had been contemplating owning one for years, and just before the Chinese New Year, made it happen. Am using it now to post. And have been slowly putting it through its paces: game downloads, playing two very different games, running web chats, and checking in on a game server, as well as the usual administrative and social media actions. Also testing the wifi daily.

Verdict as of writing? Apart from the heat (‘cos gaming), I love this laptop! 🙂

What’s new for you that makes you happy or, at least, content? 🙂

 

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New Year, New Beginning

Reflecting on the Mundane

It’s been so long since I last updated here. Too much has happened. So…

This the obligatory end-of-year blog post. Supposedly, I’m meant to look back on the year and highlight what I accomplished and note how I will improve starting in the new year.

However, not doing any of that.

Instead, I’m focusing on the mundane. Yes, the boring stuff, the events that weren’t, and the mind-numbing moments that, surprisingly, filled up most of my 2016.

Of course there was plenty of “excitement”. But, right now, I much prefer the times I was bored, or too lazy, or unmotivated to do anything, except exploit the downtime.

But why all the mundane moments? What’s so special about them?

Consider you’re always on the go about something, whether or not you consider them “exciting”. But being “on the go” constantly means using energy (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual). Even if you’re on holiday and doing holiday stuff. Relaxing? Yes. But not fully, perhaps. Even the most egregious of us, needs to slow down or stop occasionally.

Simply, these “dull moments” are the points in life where doing nothing will positively impact your well-being. You can truly relax, let go, and STOP for even a few seconds. And each of those moments count. Oh, so very much.

Think of them not as wasted time, but as preparation time. From another angle. They are the moments you need to build up and reserve or recover energy and spirit for the next climb to the summit, to the next big thing that happens. These are the points where it’s okay to breakdown, to not be “together”.

We need these seconds. And we should appreciate them, because, when you tally everything, they are rarer than the exciting events.

So: Let the ennui begin!

Reflecting on the Mundane

My Time on AW: Looking Back, Looking @ Now, Looking Forward

This isn’t a rant or a vent. It’s a reflection:

I was re-reading some threads that I started in an Absolute Write (AW) subforum. Some of my dark times (not the darkest) I spent on that board; my first vent was way back in 2009 (I feel old remembering that year!). And as life progressed, I had a few more rants appear. Not sure what I expected, if anything, only that I would be able to rant and release a cosmic build up of pressure in safety. Beyond my non-existent expectations, I received far more than a safe place to vent; I got support, advice, encouragement, accounts of others with similar experience. Most of all, I found I wasn’t alone.

Looking back, those threads had one common theme: viewpoint. Forum members who responded to my threads told me as much; I thought I’d solved my viewpoint issue each time I opened a thread. Hah! Ego! What a farce! 😛 Clearly not, but progress was there.

My most recent rant was at the end of 2015. The darkest culmination of two totally craptastic years, where everything was nothingness. Just being able to ask for positive vibes, thoughts and hugs was a huge comfort. And AW responded as it always has: with compassion, support and positivity.

Reviewing two or three of those threads has brought home how much advice I received, how much I’d forgotten, and yet, how much more I’ve implemented. The viewpoint issue persists, but it’s improved a lot since then. And there’s a physical pose that I’ve consciously reinforced the use of. The difference between then and now is stark. Point is, it works.

So some things haven’t changed. Some things have. The pose has defintely become routine (almost second nature), and the viewpoint thing has switched a bit so I can now concentrate on prioritising things and improving my life. Of the things I still despise, not much of the original list remains. Of course, I still detest crowds and the sound of mastication (open- or closed-mouth) still drives me nuts. I still abhor incompetence and lackadaisical attitudes at work. On the other hand, I’m truly grateful to have found AW.

In time, with a little work, the pose will be truly second nature and the viewpoint issue will be no more. Or at least, minimised. And other things and projects I’m working on will bear fruit. In time. Everything turns out, or will turn out, all right in the end. True every time? No. Most of the time? No. In balance? Yes. And that’s my usual mantra: Everything balances out; it always does.

My Time on AW: Looking Back, Looking @ Now, Looking Forward

Bottling All Good Things

To bottle all good things and sell them? That would be incredibly profitable! Alas! That is not what I’m doing.

A while back on Facebook, an idea made the rounds and it stuck with me. Simply: on the first of the year (2016 in this case) start a jar of “Good Things That Happened Today”. Write one good thing to happen during the day and put it in the jar. Do it every time something good occurs and watch the jar fill up.

There was no definition of good. It was up to you.

So, I started a jar. And of course I didn’t stick to the “rules”. Nope. Didn’t matter to me what day it was, I wrote and stored the good events of the day. And I’m still recording.

Progress so far:

jarofgoodthingsprogressosfar20160606_2

Bottling All Good Things

Guest Post: “Winter’s Secrets” by Val Griswold-Ford

Hi, Everyone,

Today, I’m delighted to host my wonderful friend’s post about Winter’s Secrets, her new book that comes out 26 May!

Thanks for writing this post, Val. *Hugs* (^_^)

* * * * * *

13242265_10154150355937731_1643619702_o_Winter's Secrets_Cover for Blog PostI honestly thought my next published book would be about ghosts.

It was supposed to be about ghosts, actually, which would have fit into this blog great, since both Lai and I share a love of writing about things that go bump in the night. But first, I wanted to write an Advent Story, because Christmas is big in my family, and I thought it would be cool.

Ghosts didn’t seem to fit into an Advent sort of story, although I tried. I really wanted to write an Advent story on the blog, and since the Dark Horseman universe didn’t really work either (I tried, trust me – it wasn’t pretty), I fell back on the old Currier and Ives type of village. But with magic, of course, because I’m apparently incapable of writing something that doesn’t have some sort of magic in it. And there was a talking cat, because I go through phases and that was the phase I was in, and, well, the story kind of wrote itself. And it went up on my blog, and I thought that was that.

And then the next year came, and I didn’t write one. And that’s when I found out that the little Advent story I’d written actually had a following, because I got emails. Not just from my mother, either (although she was mad I didn’t write one the next year), but from strangers, who wanted to know if there would be another Molly and Schrodinger story.

Needless to say, it’s five years later, and there are four more Advent stories, and I still haven’t finished the ghost book (although I’m working on it!). What I meant to be a fun month of fluff has become Carter’s Cove, and is the first book I’m putting out that I wrote in about six years. It’s now being called Winter’s Secrets, and will come out in both ebook and trade paperback, because once I finished the second Advent story, people started asking about getting them as books. I hemmed and hawed – I felt they needed a lot of work, and I really wanted to write that ghost book, as well as some others.  And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how many stories I had to tell in Carter’s Cove.

More than I thought. Especially after my editor got a hold of the rough draft and helped me flesh it out. (Note to any would-be self-publishers: DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR EDITING. Seriously.) She helped me find more threads that I could weave in, and the book grew. It’s now much more than just the framework of songs that I hung up on the web – it’s a complete picture, with more to come. And I’ve discovered a world that helps keep the darkness of this one away, at least for a little bit.

Writing Molly and Schrodinger helps me balance the darkness that writing Sapphire (my ghosthunter) and Shanna (my StarChild) bring out. Carter’s Cove is a safe haven, where bad things can happen, but you have good people around you to help you out of them. It’s been a place for me to retreat to when real life got too overwhelming. I could go into Molly’s tea room, and hide from the depressing truth of my mother’s terminal illness.

Mom didn’t get to read the final draft of Winter’s Secrets. Sadly, she passed away on March 22, 2016, while I was still finishing the rewrites. But she read every story up until then, and made me promise that there would be more of them after she was gone. She even helped me with some ideas for the next one, and even though it will be hard to write, I’ll be starting the sixth Carter’s Cove Advent story in about a month.

And I know she’ll be reading it, because she wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Winter’s Secrets will be available on May 26. You can follow Val Griswold-Ford on Twitter at @vg_ford, and on her blog at www.vg-ford.com.

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Blog Tour Starts: Val Griswold-Ford

My wonderful friend, Valerie Griswold-Ford has started her blog tour. And I’m re-blogging from KT Bryski’s blog — the first of the posts. Check out the original here: https://ktbryski.com/2016/05/16/guest-post-valerie-griswold-ford/

KT Bryski

Hi pals!

This week, we have a special guest post from author/editor/my friend Val Griswold-Ford. As her new novel releases, she’s here to chat about music and writing. Enjoy!

– KT

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First, thanks, KT, for letting me hang out here today! Music is a big part of my writing, and in fact, Winter’s Secrets, the book that is coming out now, started as a musical advent calendar. It’s very hard for me to write without music. I have playlists for every novel/project I’m working on.

I’m also fairly musically eclectic. I’ll listen to almost anything. When I write Molly and Schrodinger (the main characters for Winter’s Secrets), I listen to Christmas carols. In fact, Winter’s Secrets was originally based on a musical Advent Calendar, and the only outline I had was a list of my favorite Christmas carols. Which is weird for me, because I’m very much a…

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Blog Tour Starts: Val Griswold-Ford