Friday, October 27, 2017


The end of October... Halloween and Samhain (pronounced "Sa-wane", it's the Pagan New Year) are now almost upon us, and it does not feel like it in my area. We're still getting summer temperatures here. Think in the high teens, low twenties Celsius - that's 60s and 70s for my American readers and friends. I am normally bundled up in sweaters, or at least socks, this time of year, but I'm walking around the house in capris and flip flops - with the windows wide open, and fans going full tilt!!! This is more like late May weather, *not* late October!

No complaints, I'm bragging! It's saving on the heating bill, even if we are still cranking up the bedroom AC at night, but that's negligible compared to having both infared heaters on, as well as the baseboard ones in the bathroom and bedrooms!

I hope it's nice like this for trick or treating Tuesday night. I don't want my son wearing a heavy jacket under his costume. 

Things have improved health wise for me, again. I'm down another three pounds. I'm not walking like I should be either, which is horrible... But, I am eating less carbohydrates again, which is a huge help. My jeans are getting a little looser! I am down a full six pounds since May, and it feels like I've lost more. My doctor is back from her maternity leave - we really, REALLY missed her! - and she's pleased with my progress in that department.

However, my ferratin - iron stores - are low again. Not low enough that I'm anemic, but close. Since I don't think I'm getting enough of certain vitamins like D, B12, and so on, she approved me taking a multi vitamin with iron in it. I found one that's sugar free, which will keep things balanced on that end, thank heavens. I haven't noticed much of a difference for the most part yet, I'm still tired and such, but it's been less than a month since I started taking it. I have noticed a little more mental clarity though. I feel more like writing instead of procrastinating, and I find I'm not seeing as many squirrels as I was even a month ago. 

That's good, right?

Writing news.... 

So I've been looking through the draft of "Dream On" and it's not good. The second half does need work, as all first drafts do, but the first half is filled with repetitive items, passive areas, and a *lot* of bull shit in general. The name wasn't right either, so I've changed it. Just what I renamed it is between me, my beta team, and a few other like minded people. 

I'm still up in the air about a few things with Fourteen, although a lot more is starting to gel with it. I'm hoping to get that one's first draft restarted and well underway before the holidays if I can do it. I haven't had a lot of writing time lately between my son being sick or having a Friday off - he had today off due to an inservice. No worries, I worked yesterday and made a lot of progress even if I didn't actually write anything!

I have also been working on a few promo posters/banners, as well as updating my website. Like here, I updated everything in a black and purple theme, including a new banner. I also added a list of links to where you can purchase Stricken online. That is one long list! (Thank you eXtasy Books!!!) I used white font on the banner because you couldn't see the black much, it blended in with the shadows of the rose. 

Go check out my updated look at V.J. Allison Online.

Have a peek at my latest promo poster. It's a quote from Chapter Five of Stricken.

I'm still not happy with the amount and kinds of fonts I have on the computer, so I'll be digging for more as time goes on. I want some really eye catching promo posters and banners for future books, better than I have for Stricken. I think I have about half the amount on here that I had before the rebuild. I want more, and a lot of script fonts if possible.

Other news... I made my own "ice cream" this week. It's sugar free, low carb, and if you want, dairy free. It's made using coconut cream. I found a recipe for it online, and it's really good. I did add some heavy cream to it, and some aspartame, along with some vanilla extract. I think next time I'll be using vanilla beans, because the extract didn't really mask the coconut flavor. It was still really tasty, and had the right consistency too. I was pleased, and I'll be making it again.

This is what the end product looks like:

It's so good... And best of all, healthy compared to the real thing!

I hope all of you have an amazing weekend, and have a safe and fun Halloween... If you celebrate Samhain, BLESSED BE, and all the best to you in the New Year. 

I leave you with one of my favorite melodic metal songs of all time... "Tears of the Dragon" by Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson. Enjoy!!!!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Afterglow Art Festival 2017 and More

The main part of Afterglow Art Festival happened last night. 

Our friend Kyle O (spray paint artist) wasn't there this year, but we still had a lot of fun. There were a lot of interactive things to do for kids and adults alike, as well as gorgeous art, and shows by various buskers (street performers). 

Son really enjoyed watching the Jugglin' Bubblers, a pair of circus performers who were creating a lot of interesting - think LARGE - bubbles and using the breeze to create a dazzling display of rainbow colored fun for everyone. He loved it so much that we spent most of the night watching their performances, and he even helped them with making some bubbles, like other children and adults. They had a juggling act after the sun set, with flashing pins that really looked cool in the shadows on King Street. They also had a small light show that was beautiful... The girl put on a cape lit with white LED lights and she danced while her partner let loose with some bubbles around her in a chaotic ballet. Talk about amazing!!! I loved everything I saw them do but that was probably my favorite out of their work. They're really nice people too, showing the kids and encouraging them to use certain techniques to get the perfect, HUGE bubble, sometimes with many little ones inside of it.


There was a lot of interesting things there, but my favorite wasn't exactly art related...

While looking at the program, I noted there was something called "Write Now"... An interactive writing and coloring fun area. 

You know I had to go see it. 

I'm so glad I did too. I met another writer, Candice, who is a poet. Although she's not published yet, she hopes to get there sometime. She's really sweet, I liked her a lot.

It was so wonderful to be able to "talk shop" with another writer, face to face. I don't get that too often - I don't socialize much locally due to my anxiety - but it is nice to do it once in a while. We had a great chat and I learned a little more about the local writing scene. It turns out there are a lot more writers in the area than I had thought. I know Laurie Lacey (he writes non fiction, and he's a sweet guy too), and a couple of others, but not as many as I'd like to know.

I think it's time to get out more, and meet like-minded others. I don't care if we write the same genre - or we're in different parts of the writing world (poets, etc, I'm a novelist) - just meeting other writers and authors would be awesome. So I am going to take her up on her invite to join her and a few other local writers for writing sessions at a local hangout. Even if I only go once in a while, it'll be wonderful. (I have to purchase a laptop bag so I can take that thing with me... it's kind of hard to haul my desktop there for only a short while!)

She writes the blog "Hope in a Handbasket".. She shares her poetry there, as well as bits and pieces of her life. Like me, she's a cat lover... Which led to us sharing photos of our cats. I just wish I had photos if Amber with her butt parked on top of the computer monitor, but unfortunately, I had cleaned the photos off my phone recently and forgot to leave a few on just for times like last night. 

Next time. LOL


As for my own work, things are not progressing as fast as I would like them to be... I'm having problems seeing where the leads in Fourteen trip over each other at the start of the story... Even though I have most of the rest of it figured out. I like having the first scene in my brain before I put anything down, for fear of messing things up later on. It's just an odd quirk of mine. 

I'm also deep in the "Dream On" revisions... I see a *lot* of problems with that one, from the town it's set in to various grammatical mistakes, as well as not plausible things happening between the mains. I see myself being buried in that for at least another month or so...Ugh. 

PHOOEY ON EDITING!! (It's a necessary evil in my opinion!)

Finally... My healthier journey continues. I finally got back to the track this week. It was so humid through September that I wanted to do nothing more than nap in front of the bedroom AC, I was so sick from it. 

The ice is in at the LCLC and it was borderline freezing in there, perfect for walking. You don't sweat so much when it's icy and you're not really zipping around too fast. I did a km (2/3 mile) because I was scared of pushing myself again. I'll be back to a mile (or more!) in no time. I'm that stubborn!

I am glad I'm able to do that amount of walking in one session.... We had a LONG walk from where we parked the car to King Street, and a long walk back and UPHILL on the return trip - AFTER we had walked up and down King Street several times! I was ready to drop by the time we got home, but it was worth it.

Let's start the week off right with a song from one of my favorite bands... DISTURBED. "The Night", live from Raleigh. Have a lovely week everyone!