I’m Back…ish for NaNo 2022

It’s NaNo season, and the draw is strong even when I’m mired. I did NaNo last year (though I didn’t finish the 50k), but surprising myself, I didn’t blog about it once. In fact, I’m here because I came to figure out what I worked on last year and if I want to continue anything this year. Guess I’ll have to do some more digging.

What’s on for 2022?

Writer NaNoWriMo 2022. Wood sorrel for joy.
The 2022 flare design is by Jackie Williams/Attawell Summer Creative with additional support from Alyssa Alarcón Santo. It can be downloaded here.

Well, I know I’m not there yet, and I promised myself I wouldn’t push forward and end up with another editing nightmare. (Yes, Apprentice is still coming, and I think you’ll enjoy the book when it does, but super apologies for the wait.) Instead, I’m taking this year to get closer to ready for the next writing project, whatever that may be. The flexibility required to balance where my head is may mean veering off in another direction for my next writing project. (I’ve already written rough drafts for each of my series, in some cases more than one, so don’t worry.) What I’m doing with NaNo is creating multiple organic outlines (or what some might call a raw draft) so as soon as I feel the writing urge come on, I’ll have a raw draft to work from. This should make the editing stage go much faster.

Okay, that was a lot of parenthetical phrases/sentences. I don’t mean to be vague or discouraging. In fact, I’ve had some improvement in my health recently thanks to new medications, but I’ve come to accept a level of uncertainty that would have been intolerable once. I’ve been exploring my creativity through digital art and writing down more ideas for projects than I could do in a lifetime, as if I hadn’t already exceeded that number. To bring everything round to NaNo again, one of those ideas took first place when I chose what to start with for NaNo 2022.

I’m now 10+ scenes into the organic outline, have a good sense of where the book is leading, and no idea when I’ll write it. There are some 20 or more stories I might work on, including several in the Seeds world and one in the Steamship Chronicles. My goal is to have at least one outline complete and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Ideally, that outline will be the next in the Seeds universe or the next (after the two or three waiting on edits) in the Steamship Chronicles.

So, clear as mud, eh? I mentioned certainty wasn’t where I am right now, didn’t I? But progress is progress of a sort, and that’s enough for me. I’ll try to post an update here once in a while.

I’ve given prints (and/or digital copies) of most of my digital art that I’m satisfied with as gifts, but I have permission to share all but one (keep forgetting to ask). The plan there is to put those up somewhere and link to them here, so you can enjoy the artwork as well. Meanwhile, there’s a backlog of book reviews to write, polish, and/or post here as well. In other words, I have content. I just need the focus to prepare it.

I have not abandoned Tales to Tide You Over, and I’m glad to see you’re still sticking around/checking back, too. I don’t know what I’ll be posting, but I’m going to try to post something at least every other week. I should be able to manage that schedule (fingers crossed).

To good reading, writing, art, and even arithmetic for those so inclined.

See you soon,

Margaret McGaffey Fisk

P.S. Are you doing NaNo this year? Straight writing or as a rebel like me? Or are you undertaking some other creative enterprise…including putting together a fabulous Thanksgiving meal for those of us in the U.S. Drop a note in the comments so I can cheer you on!

Posted in Art, Music, Crafts, etc., Challenges, NaNoWriMo, News, Outlining, Writing Process | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BayCon Is Back in July 2022

My favorite local convention returns on the weekend of July 4th in the Bay Area, California, at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport location. The Guests of Honor are author Steven Barnes, artist Galen Dara, and Jean Batt representing the fan community. Bonnie Gordon is this year’s toastmaster. The convention is requiring full COVID precautions in all public spaces, a mandatory policy that makes it possible for me, and many of you, to attend. I hope you’ll join me for a weekend of fascinating panels, a dealer’s room full of curiosities, wondrous creations in the art show, and more.

I’ve been invited to participate as a panelist. Check out my panel schedule at the end of this post.

I will also be at the Liminal Fiction table in the dealers room on and off during the convention, so if you’re interested in a copy of one or more of my books, please drop by. We’ll have many interesting titles to peruse.

Don’t forget you can add the panels you’re interested in to your profile on Grenadine, the mobile and online con schedule app. You can find more than just those panels I’m on in Grenadine, but to save your choices, I believe you must register for the con here: https://baycon.org/ . Both weekend and day passes are available.

Time Zone: (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Friday 1 July, 2022

The Office Space of the Future is a HoloDeck 

1 hour 15 minutes, 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM in Synergy 4

Panelists: DrWanda Kurtcu, SJSU (Moderator); Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing; and Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, RPG Power Systems

What’s work really going to be like in the future, now that workers have learned the benefits—and disparities—of the work-from-home modality? What does that mean for the workplace of the future, in the stories we read and tell and in the world we’re designing for ourselves? Panelists discuss how changing our perceptions of a “workplace” may affect our culture long term.

Saturday 2 July, 2022

Creative Tools as Lifesavers 

1 hour 15 minutes, 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM in Engage

Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing (Moderator); Colin Fisk; DrWanda Kurtcu, SJSU; and Katharine Kit Kerr (Panelist)

Panelists discuss which of their creative tools helped them survive the pandemic so far. The category includes creative techniques, physical tools, software, and mental tricks using their creativity. Join them to pick up a few tips to help you weather the last few months or years, whatever it turns out to be.

The “Art” of Backstory 

1 hour 15 minutes, 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM in Synergy 1

Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing (Moderator); Fred Wiehe; and Colin Fisk (Panelist)

Panelists will accept suggestions from the audience and craft backstories on the fly, either as a group or taking turns. These will be quick, but telling, elements that demonstrate the value of backstory while offering a chuckle. Bring your best one-sentence character descriptions and see what the skilled hands of the panelists can do.

Monday 4 July, 2022

Technological Solutions Save the Day 

1 hour 15 minutes, 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM in Engage

Panelists: Margaret McGaffey Fisk, TTO Publishing (Moderator); Galen Dara; Kimberly Unger; and Q Fortier

Many options previously declared impossible were implemented when businesses, organizations, and governments had to figure out a way for society to continue during lockdown. We don’t yet know whether they’ll remain available after the pandemic. Panelists discuss various examples, exploring the limitations, benefits, and how this proof of concept might affect the post-pandemic future.

Posted in Appearances/Interviews, News | Leave a comment

The Two of Hearts by Patricia Loofbourrow

(Part 7 of the Red Dog Conspiracy)

The Two of Hearts by Patricia Loofbourrow

The story starts out at a run. It picks up from where Part 6 ends and amps the tension immediately with an attempt on Jacqui’s life. This style is very much a return to the earlier books. There’s a mystery that touches a little too close, intrigue including the revelation of something I’ve suspected for some time, and Jacqui considering her relationships through new perspectives.

Speaking of characters, the series connections showed more clearly here as Jacqui crossed paths with people from other books, especially those where she wasn’t the lead. It strengthens the sense of building to something bigger than Jacqui and yet explicitly bound to her. And if you’ve been following my reviews on the series, it sure looks like the steam generators and the city’s design is in the middle of everything.

This book is not a standalone, and certain events relate closely to what happened in the previous book. I had to shake clear some cobwebs, but the clues are there to remind the attentive reader. Jacqui faces some of her biases she’s been blind to, which only makes me like her more, and yet don’t think she puts aside all her false beliefs. She gains some unexpected answers that throw her whole sense of self in question while she’s not the only character to experience growth when it hadn’t seemed possible. I quite enjoyed the maturation of characters in this book.

Many of Jacqui’s major growth moments involve her connections with others. She still assumes everything happens to torment her but seems surprised when other characters find the same link. Personally, I think it’s a little of both–a bigger picture we can’t see and playing Jacqui like the card she is rather than the one she believes herself to be.

The seeding of events works well, and I had fun building the pieces of the puzzle. The reader’s attention is drawn to things for which the book often provides plausible explanations, but I still had lingering doubts. I found myself growing suspicious of many a mention, probably too many. I’m not sure where everything that happened in this book is headed, if anywhere, but I’m certainly eager to find out.

P.S. I received this Advanced Reader Copy from the author in hopes of a review.

Note: I know I’ve been absent for a while. My father has always been supportive of my creative enterprises and inspired me to become a storyteller long before I could write. His absence weighs on me, but he would want me to keep working on everything. I do plan to get back to where things were. For the time being, though, I have great books to review (including this one) and waiting to be read. I may post more reviews than before, and these may appear where other topics did for a bit. I hope you stick with me and find some Tales to Tide You Over.

Posted in Book Reviews, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Pause

Real life has taken its toll in this moment and I will not be able to keep up my posting schedule. I will be back (and may post haphazardly before then), so don’t take this lull as a deafening silence that will never end.

Hug your loved ones, whether humanoid or other, and remember to treasure each day as it comes to you.

A cat lounging on the sofa.
Who says I need to stand on two legs to be a couch potato?

Posted in Kids and Cats, Life | Leave a comment

Things That Make Me Smile No. 250: Traditional Foods

This short video offers a glimpse of the food enjoyed by indigenous Zapotecs in pre-colonial Mexico thanks to the efforts of world-famous chef Abigail Mendoza. She keeps Zapotec traditions and philosophies alive in her restaurant, which her sisters also staff.

The chef does everything using traditional manual techniques dating from thousands of years ago. The restaurant is a celebration of the Zapotec culture and helps preserve these techniques when cultural education has neglected them.

Posted in Foodie, History, Smiles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment