The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in an Insane World

This week has seen a landslide of member resignations from RWA members. Former presidents Leslie Kelly and Dee Davis, working with acting executive director Leslie Scantlebury – all people I like and respect as effective leaders – offered a plan to help the current skeleton board restore RWA. They were refused and Leslie posted the news and her member resignation on Twitter. Other amazing authors and leaders like Beverly Jenkins and Kristan Higgins have resigned their memberships, too. RWA has posted severely reduced registration rates for the National Conference in July – an event I once built my calendar around – and all I can envision is a ghostly empty hotel with echoing hallways where thousands of my friends once gathered.

It’s all so difficult and heart-breaking, and it feels like a microcosm of the greater political landscape in the U.S. and the world.

At the same time that I’m grieving these losses, I’m preparing a workshop I’ll be giving (remotely) to the New England Chapter of RWA (NECRWA): The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Writing Business. I’ve been making plenty of notes on how to reframe the presentation to include handling the great disappointments RWA national has been handing us.

In fact, I think I should just change the presentation title to “The Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in an Insane World.” Really, that’s what it all comes down to. The avalanche of news can rock our boats to the point where we take on water and capsize. But we do have control of that – something I have to continually remind myself. Even though RWA has felt like a framework that has supported me these last dozen years, and though it’s easy for me to conflate the success of my career with the well-being of RWA, I have to remember those things aren’t true.

I take a moment to gaze out the window at the snow-covered landscape, at the mountains in the distance, always there through storms and the rise and fall of the light. Setting up my good camera on the tripod, I get photos of the moon caught in the bare winter branches of a tree against a peach sky.

My boat stabilized and serene, I sail on.

Dr. Money’s Flu Remedies

It’s Flu Season, so this week at the SFF Seven we’re talking about our favorite tea, soup, or homeopathic feel-better recipe.

As you all may or may not know, I was clever enough to get myself an in-house physician. My hubs, David Money, is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. As part of his schooling, he learned all about nutrition, herbal formulas, and various supplements.

Really, the best flu remedy is not to succumb to it in the first place. So, if I start feeling under the weather, these are my go-to home remedies. Come on over to find out what they are. 

 

pink orchid in pot

Protecting the Writing: a Quick How-To

pink orchid in pot

I’m hard at work writing THE ORCHID THRONE, the first in my new trilogy for St. Martins Press. So, naturally, I had to impulse-buy this gorgeous orchid from Trader Joe’s. It’s my new desk ornament, following the USB-plug in Christmas tree, cherry blossom tree, and foaming cauldron. This one notably does NOT require electricity, which seems appropriate for the world I’m writing. However, it does require attention to be kept alive. So far my record with orchids is pretty abysmal. (Don’t tell this gal!) We shall see. Any tips for keeping orchids alive in a desert climate?

Last week I traveled to Phoenix to give a presentation to the Desert Rose Romance Writers. This one was “A Taoist’s Guide to Staying Sane in the Writing Business.” I talked a whole lot about how the relentless push to get rich can make us crazy, and how to find a peaceful place of sane creativity in the midst of that. But, during the great discussion at the end, one gal asked if I had advice about family who don’t believe in your career, who actively interfere or dis what you’re doing, or who won’t approved of your eventual story.

This is, of course, not an easy question to answer, though several gals in the room had advice for her, too. It’s also our topic at the SFF Seven this week: How much space do you give non-writing emotional labor – or how do you save mental space for the work with a head full of mortgage and other people’s expectations? I’d call this a coincidence, but I’m a Taoist I know it’s not. Come on over to find out more. 

Three Ways I Learn to Be a Better Writer

 

Pretty excited to see the flyer up for my book signing with Minerva Spencer on July 8 at Page 1 Books in Albuquerque. This is her debut, so I expect it to be a fun party!

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is: Who do you learn from? (Teachers, mentors, resources for skilling up.) Come on over for mine!

Of Hamsters, Pantsing and Becoming Creative

COqFN43XAAMDOlhI still get a total thrill when people send me pics of my books on the shelves. Maybe one day I’ll get over it, but not so far. Could be I’m getting tiresome about it because I showed my mom a pic on my phone that someone sent and said, “photos like this make me so happy!” And she said, “I know,” in that *tone* people get, like when you’ve said something too many times.

But, hey. Look! Me and Guy Gavriel Kay!

Hee hee hee.

I’m over at Word Whores today, trying to explain more about my process and why I don’t really care about learning to pre-plot my books.