Category Archives: I am

Enigma in Introversion

I’m a bit of an enigma, even to myself.

Here I sit, contemplating the strange contradiction of my mind, while waiting for another hour to pass so we can get this event over with. No, not the contemplation, but the wedding event. I’m in Tampa. It’s raining, thundering too, and that’s today’s saving grace. I love a powerful storm, and I hate weddings.

Yes, the author who writes happily ever after over and over again hates weddings. Maybe hate is too strong of a word you may think, but let’s face it, the bride will never read this, and besides, it’s not her fault. She’s a wonderful girl, and she’s got a great family, both by birth and, soon, by marriage. I’m happy for her — I am — but I’d rather stay in the hotel tonight.

It’s me. It may be the start of their happily ever after, but it’s also a party. A party with a lot of people. A party with a lot of people I don’t know. A party with a lot of people I don’t know being loud and drunk and social. I could keep going but I think you get the idea. It’s all well and good to celebrate a marriage, and it’s a perfect milestone to what should be many years of love and happiness — their own happily ever after — but as a world-class introvert, I dread the celebration.

Maybe I’m not really an enigma, but I like the word. Enigma. It’ll give me something to think about when I retreat from the inundation of stimulation within the wild celebration of romance and happiness. Happily ever after. I wonder if the best man needs one with that twink usher?

I could cut you off with a shoulder of stone
Smoke all night and leave the party alone
Screw myself with an inscrutable pout
But I just want you to come figure me out

I don’t want to be another mystery, oh no
I don’t want to see who’s looking at me, oh no

~Dar Williams, Another Mystery


New Year

(Originally posted at Slash & Burn)

We all have our own ways of celebrating the retiring of one year and the birth of another. Some watched the ball drop on Times Square, others drank until they couldn’t remember last year, still others spent quiet time with family. Regardless of how you rang in the New Year, let’s make it the best one yet.

How? I’m glad you asked. Here are my ideas for 2013:

Look for the happiness and joy in your life every day. Maybe it’s a hug from your child, or and unexpected text from an old friend. Maybe it’s that chocolate bar you’d been saving for a special occasion, or freshly fallen snow painting your yard a pristine white. Look for it, acknowledge it, appreciate it.

Better yourself. No, not resolutions; something you’ll enjoy. Pick an instrument and take some music lessons. Learn how to snowshoe. Study a foreign language. Apply for a better job. Participate in a charity; pick one that means something strong to you.

Lastly, step away. So many of us spend way too much time in front of the computer. Social interaction online is simply not the same as taking a friend out for coffee, or going shopping with your sister. Get away from your computer and get some fresh air, and welcome smiles with friends and family, and do it often. Oh, and don’t check your smart phone while you’re doing it.

In 2013,

May you find what you seek. May you catch the dreams you chase. May you walk the path to your most desired life goals. May the New Year treat you with the same joy and love for life as you give yourself every day.

Happy New Year!

~Pia

PS. Yes, lazy. I’m reposting a blog post I already wrote. That’s how little I’m writing, but I’ll come back. I promise. If not fiction, I will — at the least — write the next Hunger post. Fun stuff, food.


Just for Fun: The Muse vs Warcraft

I’ve been going back and forth between feeling guilty for not writing much and admitting that The Job That Pays The Bills is taking way too much of my mental energy for me to write something actually worth reading after being in the office all day and week.

The guilt jumped tenfold when I resubscribed to World of Warcraft. Chances are you’ve heard of this game. They spend a lot on online ads and TV commercials to drive the membership numbers. It is a fun game – that I won’t deny – but it’s also an addicting game. It has mechanics that appeal to my OCD tendencies, and I’ll find myself saying “I’ll take a break after this quest.” An hour, four quests, and three side tangents later, I may notice that I lied to myself about that break.

What’s a girl to do when she has to pay the bills? I love my day job. I’m good at it. I want to be better and get that next promotion, but I also want writing to be more than a passing fancy. I love to be the storyteller, and it makes my day when someone really, truly gets a character. The people I help during the day don’t need me as much as my boys do. The former have more money than they know what to do with while my boys won’t find their Happily Ever After without the guiding touch of a loving hand.

Regardless of day job versus writing, I need to stop feeling guilty about having fun. We all need to have fun and we need to do it every day. Life has to be enjoyable or it becomes harder and harder to get up every day. Yes, there will be a time when I’ll need to cut back on the Warcraft hours and apply that time to writing, but not until I can come home from the Job That Pays The Bills with the mental energy to crave the written word. Yes, crave. I never want storytelling to become a chore.

I’m still working on Man Whore’s untitled sequel. I’m determined to get that finished, little bit by little bit at a time. I haven’t given up. Nor am I going to feel guilty when this evening consists of no more than a three-mile run through the woods followed by a two-hour crawl through dungeons.

Hey sometimes video games can inspire a new story too!

 


Walking the Tangent

Needing a break, I left for a walk.

Nope, not the blog update I really should be doing, but it’s been “one of those days”. Don’t ask me what “those” days are, because I’d be loath to define them. I have been trying to be more positive, however, because I loathe the constant complainer.

Like that? Loathe… Loath… You can learn more about these often confused words at my new favorite blog: http://www.one-step-forward.net/2008/12/loath-and-loathe.html. Okay, so it’s not my favorite yet, as I’ve only read the one article, but if there are more like this, One Step Forward will become a regular read fairly quickly.

Anyway…

As I was saying, I went for a walk. Initially, I wanted so desperately to escape the noise levels created by one single person who talks on the phone like she’s trying to rally an entire audience without a microphone that I forgot to change into my sneakers.

Let’s face it, ladies, womens’ dress shoes suck. They’re cute, but they rarely fit right, let alone support the foot for a good long walk to blow off steam.

I wasn’t returning to the rock concert of screeching chickens, so I veered into the parking lot. My Vibram Five-Fingers had been in my car for a month as I promised myself over and over to wear them on my next visit to the gym without success.

Oh, no, my reluctance had nothing to do with those being the shoes I was wearing when I broke my foot. I already know that it was likely a combination of low calcium levels, over-training, and craptastic sneakers (a brand not Vibram) that threw off my gait. Still, I’ve been wearing my neon green sneakers with pride.

But, alas, name me tangent…

There is something so beautiful about walking through icy cold mud of snow melt off while a cool, crisp breeze sneaks frigid fingers under the fur lining of my coat, and the sun shines down without offering much warmth. Once upon a time, I’d seek out the elements like that, but I’ve fallen away from the practice. That walk reinspired me. Not just for exercise or fresh air, but for my connection to nature – the sloppy mud of Earth and Water, the sharp caress of Air, and the gentle warm of Fire.

Last month, over at Slash & Burn, I made “resolutions” for January. I succeeded at one, not just submitting the punk rocker story, but signing a contract for it, and the other two were attempted, though I’m still working at making them a true good habit.

For February, I hope to continue to explore the sense of peace and strength I find from my pagan side. I’ll also be working on laying down the scenes to bring the CRANK story to a natural breaking point. There’s a third story to come, but first I need to refocus what is threatening to ramble away. Finally, I will finish my credits to renew my finance licenses. Yes, a boring last one, but I’ve been putting it off, due to work politics. Once completed, I can focus on writing for March, so a worthy February resolution.

Have a great weekend, dear Readers, and stay tuned for more information on A Hound’s Love coming from Loose Id later this year.

Ciao,
Pia Veleno


A Simple Joy

As I worked my way through my strength training routine, watching other gym rats walk or run beyond the TV bank, an epiphany hit. I had actually enjoyed the treadmill. After four months of rest and recovery following a stress fracture in my foot, I managed to run three intervals of five minutes each, and I didn’t hurt. I had that runner’s high back. I felt good. I couldn’t wait to tell my love about that big, huge, exciting five minutes. Almost a half mile at my slow, training from injury pace of a 12-minute mile, but it was almost a half mile!

A year ago, I was running four to six miles at a time and dreading the inevitable return to the gym as the narrow roads were too dark after work to run safely. Soon enough, snow banks would add to that danger. I hated the thought. I hated the treadmill. I needed to be outdoors with the fresh air, beautiful scenery, and random turns through my neighborhood, and several others nearby. I needed to be outdoors like I needed to breathe, eat, and sleep.

And yet, as I swung my arms in a delt fly, I realized I had enjoyed the treadmill like I enjoy running outside. It took eight weeks of crutches and eight more of easing back into things as simple as walking around the grocery store to make me appreciate five straight minutes of running in place staring at TV programs I wouldn’t be caught dead watching if I was anywhere else.

The treadmill is not evil. I will not let myself go back to that loathing. As long as I live inNew England, I will suffer brutal winters that force me to use the gym’s treadmill to run. If I start hating that machine again, I will get lazy again. I love to run too much to let something as unavoidable as winter interfere with the soaring beauty of a great run. In my determination to run faster and longer, I had forgotten the pleasure of simply running. Now I remember.

Now I run.


Setting Goals

Today is the last day of November.

Hey, I’m good. Huh? Yep, last day.

And then I reflected on what I’ve done (or rather, what I haven’t done this month) and I can see why I’m amused at even realizing the month is over.

I’ve done nothing.

Nothing.

So, shut the eff up, and do something about it, Pia.

Yep, I heard you. I intend to. I’ve been intending to… right after I stop berating myself for falling for the annual lure into hibernation.

Each year, as the days become shorter, I give in to an apathetic laziness that I can only blame on lack of sunlight and willpower. This year I tried taking extra Vitamin D to combat it, but it hasn’t helped. Much.

Okay, so it has helped my mood, but not my productivity. I could also blame the productivity levels on the healing foot (I’m still not running more than two or three minutes at a time) or my neck (sitting around, instead of running or other exercise is affecting my entire body,) but when it comes down to it, I go through this every fall.

I’m working on that. Really I am.

Last night I moved three manuscripts to my Kindle so I can read through them, refamiliarize myself with the characters and story, and make a list of notes for the next round of edits. I’m setting a goal of having one of them ready to share with my editor by the end of the year. I’m also setting a goal to have a rough synopsis ready to share with her for a fresh story. The latter is sketched out, but needs some concentration to flesh out details that have been rolling around in my head. Lastly, I need to read through the original CRANK posts so I can take notes on ideas for rewriting it in novel format.

That’s right, dear Readers, for those of you who missed the first year of that online story, I fully intend to release CRANK in ebook format some time next year. Never mind if you’re already reading CRANK as it’s released each Sunday, because this ebook will fill in the background and show you how Crandall and Mike got together and got stuck chasing vampires. It’ll be setting it up to be read either before or after the current installments since there are readers on both sides of the spectrum.

Okay, enough goal setting. Now I need to buckle down and attack those goals. Please excuse the return of Placebo lyrics tweets, as Mr. Molko’s is one of the few triggers that can drag my motivation out of the Winter Blahs and back into the wonderful world of Make Believe.


Slash & Burn day

Today’s my day to chat at Slash & Burn. Drop by and offer a recommendation as I ramble about judging a book by its cover.

(For those of you that follow me on Twitter, I did mention a “girl with the curl” post, but that one has been postponed for another day. Soon. I promise.)

Happy Sunday, dear Readers!

Ciao,
Pia Veleno


Broken

It’s been an interesting month.

To put it mildly.

I haven’t been writing much at all in August, and I’ve mentioned here and there without really telling the story. The thing is, to take the effort to write a blog post about it would have been wasting precious droplets of creativity. I don’t say that because I don’t take this blog seriously – on the contrary, I love chatting with my dear Readers — but because I wanted to save what little energy I had for the commitments I’d already made.

On July 31st, I broke my foot. Now a foot injury, you’d think – and I did too – would make for MORE time to write. The foot had to be propped up constantly, and I certainly couldn’t walk on it, let alone spend hours a week running nowhere for the sake of being healthy. So, perfect for cuddling up with the laptop and a few cute men, right? Alas, no. Without my running catharsis, my mind shut down too.

A physical injury is never just physical. I was (and still am, at times) mentally exhausted. I’m sleeping a lot, and I still struggle to put in a full forty hours a week at the Job That Pays The Bills. That Job is very challenging, so needless to say, I crash hard after work each day.

I’m coming around now. Little by little. I’m moving more, and while I’m still in pain, still healing, I’m inching my way back to my feet. The Doc has cleared me to use a stationary bike, but made me swear on my FiveFingers to not stand on the pedals, and to use my heels, not my midfoot. Yes, yes, I agreed. Anything to MOVE again. Besides, I love running too much to risk slowing the healing, or worse, reinjuring the foot, by pushing too hard too soon.

With this little bit of physical output, I find my Muse wandering by too. I’m playing around with an idea for a sports themed story, and I put on Crank’s playlist to toy with the next few scenes. I suspect it’ll be another two to three weeks before I’m ready to pick CRANK back up because I need that to be right, and I need to be in full creative mind to write more than blog posts. In the meantime, I’m reading through a couple of other projects and making revision notes. Revisions need a different part of my mind – that part between pure creativity of writing from scratch and the pure technical section that helps with line edits and proofreading.

It’s a start, and it’s not a bad way to ease back into things since this is a manuscript I’ve been avoiding to concentrate on getting Make You Sweat ready to read. Now that Sweat is in the readers’ hands, I should be working on another project. Next week I’ll work on a blog post to update you with those projects, and maybe – just maybe, because my memory (and energy) is still faltering – I’ll run a giveaway for Sweat. I’m not sure how or where yet, but I’m considering a GoodReads location since the M/M Romance Group has been such as wonderful place for me as both a writer and a reader.

Keep your eyes out for a post about it. I’ll announce it here (too) regardless of where the entries are requested.

I think that’s enough rambling for one day. I still have a bit of energy, but I’ll put those towards the revisions. Punk rocker anyone?

Ciao,
Pia Veleno


Waiting.

This isn’t really a blog entry.

I’ve been waiting, hoping to share some cover art with you, dear Readers, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I know as soon as I blog about it, the email will pop into my inbox as if it had merely been waiting for me to bemoan the pains of waiting.

So here I am. Bemoaning.

I don’t want to say anything until that final copy arrives. But I will. That’s both difficult and easy. It’s an artist I love, and I’ve seen the rough sketches, so I won’t spoil it for you by saying who or what, but I will say she captured an important scene on the initial proposal, so I’m very excited to see the final copy.

*glances at email app*

Nope. Still not here.

*sigh*

Maybe I’ll distract myself by correcting my comma abuse in that paragraph. Nah… I have to go check my email.


Caterwaul

This morning the cat followed me around, and any time I ditched him, he’d caterwaul through the halls until he found me. Usually his crying is reserved for spotting the neighbor’s tom in our yard, but today, it was all for me. He wanted attention, and as any feline lover will know, it doesn’t matter one bit that I was already running late for The Job That Pays The Bills.

He finally caught me as I stood by the ledge over the stairwell. With the charger plugged into that wall, I stopped there to grab my phone and check my messages. He hopped up on the ledge and headbutted me.

Yes, I talk to my cat, and yes, I rambled away as I scratched his cheeks to prevent another headbutt. I told him he should’ve visited me last night, when I wasn’t doing anything at all, no writing, no reading, just lounging around. Perfect cat cuddling time!

My husband overheard this “conversation” and stopped to look at me like I had four heads. “If you didn’t read and you didn’t write,” he said, “what did you do all night?”

Damn, I guess I’ve been working extra hard lately. He’s right though. The reason I mostly blog about writing is because that’s what I do. Mostly. I’ve been running more lately, working through some muscle issues. I watch a couple of TV programs, but mostly it’s just background noise while he’s watching his favorites. I work at the Job That Pays The Bills forty-ish hours a week, and I certainly don’t intend to talk or blog about that.

What else do I do?

We game once a week. We sometimes share walks. I avoid housework like the plague, so I can’t even say that’s been consuming my time. No, he’s right. I’m writing or reading in most of my free time, and squeezing in a run here and there as my body (or the weather) permits.

I’m boring. I’m not blog material. Now, my characters on the other hand, are much more interesting. Wouldn’t you rather read about the struggles of a man whore when love drags him down kicking and screaming? Wouldn’t it be more fun to read about a young man’s eye opening summer where he learns being twinkish is sexy?

I know I would. Get out of here and go enjoy some fiction, dear readers. I have nothing interesting to say.

Ciao,
Pia Veleno

PS I hope to do a brief blog tour next month to celebrate the release of my first Loose Id story, Make You Sweat. Do you have a topic you’d like to see? Do you want to challenge me with an odd or unusual question? Leave it here, or find my email on this site, and let me know what you want to know. I’ll fit in as many as I can, dear Readers, because I love a good challenge.


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