Finding – and Defending – Balance

This photo is from a few weeks ago, but I think I never posted it. Ice on the rain chain and the fairy sculpture my mom gave me in the background. 

It’s been a busy week for me so far. I’m making excellent progress on THE FIERY CITADEL (sequel to THE ORCHID THRONE). I’ve also been making daily inroads on collecting my income tax information for my CPA. And there’s been a lot going on with Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) – where I serve on the Board as a Director at Large – both the peaking of some planned projects and dealing with some problems. We also have elections going on, so yesterday I took some time to answer the “Questions for Candidates” on the SFWA forums.

One person asked the candidates if we’d to prioritize our SFWA work above everything else in my life. I said no. I added that I’d never expect that of any SFWA volunteer.

Hell, I’d never expect that of anyone, for any activity in life. Not 24/7.

We talk a lot about work/life balance, or work/family balance. For me, my life runs the smoothest when I devote some time each day to my various commitments. I have my To Do List color-coded for various activities (I am the Spreadsheet Queen, after all) with time allotted to each. Getting word count happens first because I write best in the mornings and that’s how I keep the roof over our heads and food in the pantry. I also have categories for blogging or doing my podcast, for updating financials – which includes keeping track of royalties and getting money to authors who participate in anthologies with me – for exercise, for errands and household chores, and an hour a day for SFWA. 

Sometimes it’s more; sometimes it’s less.

But overall, balance for me means making every day reflect the pattern I want my overall life to have – and that means some of everything that’s important to me. 

Chatting with friends and hanging out with the hubs? Those things happen every day, too, but I don’t have to put them on a list. 🙂

Certain Social Standards and Choosing the Happy

My two boys, enjoying the new recliners and the lovely sunlight of a winter afternoon. I feel sure if Jackson could make his recline, too, he would. 

 

The recliners were a Christmas gift for David. The family all pitched in and we replaced the couch with them. There’s the Before and After. We actually ended up keeping the couch and moving it to another room, which entailed moving stuff from THAT room to an entirely different room, which meant moving the dresser into the closet, and the Big Closet Reorganization, that you may have seen me posting about the last few days. (Mostly on Facebook and Instagram, but there’s a pic here, too.) 

It’s funny because, when I saw Megan Mulry Monday night (we saw The Favourite and had dinner after – if you want to hear my thoughts on the movie, you can listen here), I showed her the pics of the rearrangement. She’s house-sat for us before, so she was familiar with the previous set up. She agreed the recliners were a great idea – so much easier to swivel to watch movies, so comfy! – and then asked what I’d do about the fact that I have two other armchairs on the other side of the room. I started laughing and said, “Nothing! I’m leaving it as is, but my mother said the SAME THING.” So Megan starts laughing, too, saying “Omigod, me and your mom.” (Who she’s met and they enjoy each other.) And I said, “Yeah, my mom said, ‘but you can’t have chair, chair, chair, chair.'” Megan is still snorting into her beer, and says, “I know – like a meeting!”

I suppose I could put a conference table in the middle… 

The thing is – and this is part of why Megan was laughing, because our mothers are very much alike, with Certain Social Standards – the reason I “can’t have chair, chair, chair, chair” because “it looks like a meeting,” is a consideration for entertaining. That’s what Certain Social Standards are all about. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m very glad that my mother taught me the social skills she did. I know a lot about entertaining and putting events together, skills that have come in very useful in my corporate work, my career as an author, and in my volunteer work for organizations like SFWA and RWA. Social skills are critical for careers of all kinds, even largely isolated ones like being a writer. My podcast on Friday has engendered a lot of conversation on the etiquette of thanking authors who provide blurbs. 

But in this case, I draw a line, because David and I very rarely entertain. I do not host the Junior League meetings in my house, nor the Bridge Club. We occasionally have parties, though less often than we used to, mostly because it’s so much effort, but even then we have them outside whenever possible. When we do have a dinner party, we move everything around anyway. So why would we arrange our home with an eye toward having OTHER people like it?

I work from home. David is home a great deal, as he has irregular hours. We have a very pretty house with incredible views that we worked hard and dreamed long to acquire. It’s a place of peace and delight to us – so we set up the furniture in a way that adds to our relaxation and pleasure. 

I think this speaks to a larger point of why we make the choices we do. How many of our choices are made to please other people, or to meet their expectations? How often do we make a conscious choice to go against Certain Social Standards and instead do the thing that people might laugh at, but that makes us happy?

Something to ponder. 

 

 

The Godparents: Jeffe’s Top Five Influences as a Writer

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is “The Godparents: Your top five influences as a writer.” Come on over to find out mine!

Also, we’re heading into the last week of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Fantasy Storybundle. The theme is “Kickass Heroines” and this is such a kickass collection. I was one of the first to download it, even though my own book is in it, and I’ve read a couple of others. So many fantastic books for an amazing price. 

Kick-Ass Heroines in the SFWA Fantasy Storybundle! (plus TWO cover reveals!)

Wow – today is a busy day! First off, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has partnered with Storybundle to produce the 2019 Fantasy Story bundle. Our theme is “kick-ass heroines” and there are tons – with all varieties of ass-kicking abilities – for your reading pleasure. It includes my own THE ARROWS OF THE HEART and 15 other books!

Here’s the scoop:

The 2019 SFWA Fantasy Bundle – Curated by Terry Mixon

Welcome to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Fantasy StoryBundle of 2019! We’re pleased to be working with StoryBundle to bring you some amazing stories this year, both from bestselling authors and bright stars on the rise.

It was a real pleasure reading the submissions from SFWA members this year and, as every year, we had a rough time narrowing the selection to just a few books. We think you’ll be delighted as there is something for everyone in this great bundle.

SFWA is over 50 years old and its membership consists of professional writers and publishing professionals from around the globe. It administers the Nebula Awards each year, and so very much more. Check out the SFWA website at sfwa.org for information on genre writing, the field, and other services.

If you want to know more about other SFWA offerings, sign up for our quarterly newsletter, which features new and backlist releases from our members in the area of fiction, games, and other offerings.

Some of the highlights in this bundle are:

The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy. What do you do when your boyfriend is an animal? Really. An animal.

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, Books 1-3 by Annie Bellet. Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer, a mostly-human woman is finally safe – if she can resist using her magic. Or can she?

The Dragon Blood Collection, Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker. A dashing Pilot, a comely Sorcerous and smart mouthed Soulsword all come together in a world intent on killing them.

• Radiance by Grace Draven. A marriage between alien kingdoms – and two “spares” who find beauty in each other, and that heroism comes in many forms.

• Ashwin by Kit Rocha. Can a genetically manipulated soldier be a hero? A healer finds a way to love a man without feelings—and fight for brightness in a dark world.

• The Raven and the Reindeer by Ursula Vernon. An enthralling remix of a classic fairy tale, with a practical heroine who follows her heart to a very different ending.

The SFWA Fantasy bundle only runs for three weeks, so don’t hesitate. It’s a great deal with a ton of terrific fiction just waiting for you click the button. We had a great time reading every book in this bundle. So should you.

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • The Twenty-Sided Sorceress – Books 1-3 by Annie Bellet
  • Ashwin by Kit Rocha
  • Blade & Rose by Miranda Honfleur
  • Amaskan’s Blood by Raven Oak
  • Genrenauts – The Complete Season One by Michael R. Underwood

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular books, plus SEVEN more!

  • Radiance by Grace Draven
  • The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy
  • The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher
  • Blood Dragon – Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker
  • Al-Kabar by Lee French
  • The Glass Gargoyle by Marie Andreas
  • Catching Echoes – Reconstructionist Series Book 1 by Meghan Ciana Doidge

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

Also, if you get my newsletter, you’ve already seen that we revealed the cover of ORIA’S ENCHANTMENT, the long-anticipated (read: took forever for me to get to it) next installment in the Sorcerous Moons series. There’s no preorders for this one, but it should go live by Monday, January 28, 2019. We’ll send a newsletter out as soon as we know at least the Amazon link is live. If you haven’t subscribed, you can here. Or just watch my social media and I’ll try to post those retailer links as I have them.

And now, for the cover, see below!

ORIA’S ENCHANTMENT coming January 28(ish)

Finally, I’ve mentioned elsewhere, but maybe not here, that the Sorcerous Moons books will be translated into French! And today my French Publisher, Alter Real, revealed the cover for the translation of LONEN’S WAR, which has very neatly become LA GUERRE DE LONEN. And the cover is super cool.

Check it out below

Finally, there’s a fab giveaway that Rebel Base Books is running to celebrate the recent release of WARRIOR OF THE WORLD, the third and final book in the Chronicles of Dasnaria trilogy. It includes a fantastic bookend I’d love to have for myself. Check it out here.

Whew!