Woooooooo!!! I have my tentative Dragoncon schedule! AND I’m remembering to share it! Come find me!
Friday, September 1
Title: Populating Your World Description: Great characters (fun, interesting, snarky, whatever) can drive a story to the NYT bestseller list–or to the bottom of the barrel. Developing memorable characters is a talent–and you can learn how during this workshop. Panelists: Venessa Guinta(M), Andrew Aydin, Trisha J. Wooldridge, James J. Butcher, Michael G. Manning, L.H. Nicole Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Anthology: A Buncha Great Writers Got Together… Description: Wondering about anthologies? How to get invited into one? We’re going to lead you down the pathway to writing for anthologies. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Esther Friesner, Jeff Burns, Nancy Knight, Jean Marie Ward, D.B. Jackson Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Saturday, September 2
Title: Editor here, Editor There much Red Ink That it looks like Blood! Description: All the different kinds of Editors but which is right? Editors are a necessary evil, sometimes authors love them, sometimes they kill them in novels. But how do we know which is the right kind of editor? (Yes, there are many kinds of the demon.) Copy, Developmental, and who knows what else. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Steve Saffel, James Minz, James A. Hunter, Lezli Robyn, Jacob Weisman Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Embassy CD Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Hey! Listen to Me Description: Great dialogue is an important part of your story. Don’t just dash off a few lines every now and then. Every “spoken” word in your book or story must work! Panelists: Edward McKeown, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Jeanne C Stein, Ellie Raine, Harmon Cooper, J. P. Valentine Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Sunday, September 3
Title: From Shadows to Screams: Urban Legends’ Influence on Horror Description: This panel delves into the chilling urban legends that haunt our dreams. Our panelists will explore their impact on the horror genre: inspiration, fears, and societal reflection. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Valerie Dawn Hampton, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Erika Lance, Mark Muncy, Bill Bridges Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Peachtree 1-2 Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: That Has Such People in It: the Unwritten Rules of SF Description: What are the unwritten rules of modern science fiction? Are there any? Is it required to follow them, if so? Panelists: James Nettles, Jacob Weisman, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Gray Rinehart, Steve Saffel, Lezli Robyn Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Embassy AB Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: Where do we go from here? The Future of Fantasy Literature Description: Fantasy is expanding it can seem like the world of Fantasy Lit is expanding at an exponential rate, but is it? Here we will discuss current and new trends in Literature. Can they accurately predict what will become the next big Lit thing? Only time will tell. Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Milton J. Davis, K.D. Edwards, Travis Baldree, Ryan DeBruyn, K.T. Hanna Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: Embassy CD Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: RetroFuturism: The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be Description: Over the years we have had certain ideas of how the future was going to be. A look at what we thought it would be and what it actually was/is. Panelists: Edward McKeown, Les Johnson, Patrick Dugan, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Kathleen O’Shea David, David Boop Time: Sun 10:00 pm Location: Embassy AB Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Monday, September 4
Title: Fear Into Fiction: Crafting Heart-Stopping Tales Description: Explore the art of turning fear into captivating stories! This panel delves into the secrets of crafting spine-chilling tales that will leave readers breathless. Unleash your creativity and delve into the world of terrifying narratives at this riveting panel. Panelists: David Boop, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Darrell Z. Grizzle, DL Wainright, Jessica Ann York Time: Mon 10:00 am Location: Peachtree 1-2 Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Title: How to Be a Professional Writer in One Easy Lesson Description: What’s the difference between a professional writer and a hack? Let’s draw some boundaries… Panelists: Trisha J. Wooldridge, Anthony Francis, Mel Todd, Ryan DeBruyn, Richard Lee Byers, Jeffrey L Kohanek Time: Mon 01:00 pm Location: Embassy EF Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Just under two years ago, I wrote a blog post about getting a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy because doctors not taking my period and other health complaints seriously for decades led me to becoming too obese for a hysterectomy. I was hopeful, based on the research I did (much linked in that blog post), that the VSG would be enough of a body reset to fix all the things doctors said it might. Hopeful, but not convinced. I even said that hysterectomy wasn’t off the table if the VSG didn’t fix the hormone issues.
Sometimes it really fucking sucks to be right. It’s time to evict the bitch, yeet that uterus!
For those of you who’ve managed to see me in the safe windows of a pandemic, you’ve seen that I have, in fact, lost a lot of weight. About 100 pounds, give or take.
Give or take being the key phrase.
You see, there’s this thing called “body homeostasis.” In short, the body has natural systems that work to keep it in a standard functioning state even when the world around changes and endangers the body. However, if your body ends up functioning in an unhealthy manner for years and years and years, it can potentially reprogram itself to believe that is the state it is supposed to be its best functionality, even if it’s not. This is one of the many reasons weight loss is so damned difficult: Fat cells hold onto certain hormones, like estrogen, so being fat actually changes how your body releases and uptakes hormones. And the longer you’re fat—and on a constant schedule of weight loss and gain, because what fat person isn’t always under pressure to lose weight?—the more the body starts to normalize its functionality for being fat.
And if you’ve had a hormone imbalance for most of your life too? Or—and, in my case it’s an and—you also have a neurodiverse brain with its own special biochemical cocktail needs?
Your body is pretty fucking certain that your survival depends on a fucked up biochemistry.
That’s why, the older I got, the less helpful any chemical birth control was in period regulation.
We were at the point that any birth control we tried would work fantastic for 6-8 months, and then slowly stop working. Periods would stretch back to eight days, ten days, two weeks, three weeks… And I was back to buying wholesale club-sized pads, pain meds, and whatever herbs and other drugs seemed to cooperate with Adderall for the brain fog, emotional roller coaster, hot-and-cold flashes, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, and so-bad-I’m-in-bed pain.
About a month or so after my VSG, I literally had THE WORST EVER of ALL of the abovementioned symptoms. Yes. ALL. OF. THEM. Oh, and with the tiny tummy, I also got my first-time-ever hypoglycemic episode because, apparently, I’m one of those people whose body doesn’t function in full ketosis. And post-bariatric surgery involves basically a keto diet.
And that’s not even getting into discovering a sensitivity to sugar substitutes and getting seriously sick from that.
It was fucking hell. I was on the phone, in screaming tears with my whole damned medical team. They couldn’t do anything… I had just had serious surgery. All we could do was wait it out. Then, by about the 3-4 month mark, everything started getting better! Periods went away; I was getting more energetic; I WAS NOT IN PAIN!!
There’s a thing about chronic pain people don’t realize unless they’ve had it and then managed to actually get rid of it for a while: You absolutely forget what it’s like to function while not in pain. It’s almost scary. You don’t believe it’s real. You are stunned: “This is what life is like for other people? Other people live like this?! No wonder everyone else gets so much done!”
I mean, we’re still talking about it being 2020, so I was feeling physically awesome while living in Dumpster Fire World, so there’s that.
In any case, there was an absolutely glorious six months where I felt like what I guess a normal, healthy, fucking human being feels like. And despite the world only mildly abating from Massive Dumpster Fire status, it was, in fact, glorious.
And then the bleeding started again.
At first it was spotting for 3-4 days. I told myself, “Well, this is normal-person period stuff. I can totally live with this.” I also told myself, Every other time your birth control started to fail, it started like this. But, like all the other times, I wanted this to be the exception. I wanted this to finally be the thing that worked. I went through heavy-duty surgery, FFS! I supposedly reset my whole gut biome!
Just under a month later, it was just over 5 days of spotting. Not heavy, at least, but enough to be annoying.
Less than three weeks later, it was 7 days, not all spotting.
And so it went.
And then I was bleeding again for 2+ weeks. And worse, my weight was creeping up again.
I had my food and activity journal. I had my Fitbit activity / calorie-burning data all saved and on hand because the logical, OCD part of me had had a feeling this would happen.
I was vindicated; I was furiously crestfallen.
You can’t really gloat about being right all along when the physical pain and misery you’d thought you escaped comes back; you’re too busy remembering all your coping mechanisms to living while in pain and with lower functionality. You still have deadlines and people depending on you; you still have to live.
At this time I met with no argument against the hysterectomy. I even got surgery on my preferred date based on conventions and Scott’s work schedule, so I have the time to recover and Scott is available to take care of me.
After chatting with my doctor, we decided we’d keep one ovary in there as a buffer in case my body decides to seriously flip out after years of functioning on overproduced levels of estrogen.
This all happens in a week!
Intersection of My Health and Women’s Health…
I was all set to post this about two weeks ago. I had contacted most of my clients and / or planned projects with my surgery in mind.
I would have been hit with this emotional storm regardless, but less than a month away from a surgery I have fought years to get—even living in one of the most freaking liberal of states when it comes to women’s reproductive rights—that…that was… A. Lot.
To say the least.
In fact, I do have a lot to say…but I also have A. Lot. to do before my surgery. I also need to look at the emotional energy it takes to talk about this, the potential arguments and having to monitor comments…those are all important considerations when I have limited time and limited energy. I state this, too, because I have friends who feel I should say more.
My short response for this blog:
I respect a woman’s bodily autonomy; there should not be legislation that prevents her from making the best decision for her health and her whole family’s well-being. A woman should not have to fight for access to the best health choices for herself and her situation. Limiting women’s access to health care affects all women’s access to health care. There is SO MUCH INFORMATION showing how the more restrictions we put on women’s healthcare the worse women’s health is. There is a massive, massive, massive correlation to states with stricter laws for women’s reproductive health and higher death rates for women and lower overall health. The fewer restrictions, the better women’s and children’s health is.
Beyond that, I need to respect my own health and body. So please don’t make me moderate comments on this. Be kind to each other. When I’m in a better health situation, perhaps I can put in the emotional and mental work of the post I want to make, along with all the research I’ve collected.
So, with that… I am counting down for my hysterectomy with joy and more hope. I fought hard for this, and I shouldn’t have had to. But the time is finally here!
For those of you with other uterus-owning persons in your life, particularly if they are young, listen to them when they talk about their periods and issues. And help and support them so they don’t have to suffer what I went through.
It is another last minute convention posting for me because: deadlines… and other things.
This will be my first StokerCon and I’m super excited about it, so if you’re going to this amazing horror and literature convention—where they award the prestigious Stoker Awards—come and find me!
I will be splitting my non-panel time between the New England Horror Writers, where I and many other fine writers and friends of mine will be selling fabulous books, and the Broad Universe information table, where members will be signing books after their readings and the awesome Larissa Glasser and I will be there to answer questions about our beloved non-profit supporting women in horror.
Outside of those two places, here’s where I’ll be:
Reading with Cory Cone and Larry Hinkle. There will be chocolate—it is packed. Yes, I’m bribing you. This is the first reading slot of the convention. Please don’t let us be lonely? <3
Saturday, March 3; 2:00 PM; State Suite C – Fairy Tales: A Child’s First Taste of Horror
with Leslie Thomas (M), Edward Ahern, April Grey, Gwendolyn Kiste, and Charie LaMarr
A reader’s first encounter with horror often comes in the guide of fairy tales. Children’s stories and nursery rhymes are full of trolls, evil stepparents, witches, giants, and other terrifying characters. Our panelists will discuss these stories as the roots of horror, the brutality done to children in the tales, and the perpetrators. Where do these tales overlap with folk lore? And what do they say about society?
Saturday, March 3; 3:30…
I have a pitch session that I’m super excited about! Wish me luck!! <3
Saturday, March 3; 7:00 PM; Grand Ballroom – Bram Stoker Awards Banquet and Awards Ceremony
Saturday, March 3; 10:30 PM; L’Apogee – Bram Stoker Awards After Party Cocktail Reception
Sunday, March 4; 11:00 AM; Salon 2 – YA Horror – Something for Everyone
withJG Faherty,Elizabeth Massie, James Moore, and Daniel Waters
Interest in Young Adult horror is growing by leaps and bounds–and it’s not only for teens anymore. Join our panelists in a look at what makes YA horror so popular, why its popularity spans across age groups, and why the lines are so blurry between YA, new adult, and adult-oriented books.
There it is! It’s not as jam-packed as some conventions, but that’s okay because I’m looking forward to thoroughly enjoying myself by attending some panels and catching up with friends!
While October is usually extremely busy for me, being that I tend to write dark fantasy, dark SF, and horror, October 2016 is especially so! I’m back in my blogging saddle, so let me give you a quick round-up of things to expect (some of which do make blogging challenging because I’m not at home much). Here you go:
TOMORROW, October 22: I’ll be at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival! I’m super excited about that, AND I will have a limited (only 18 copies) run of a glossy softcover edition of “Tea with Mr. Fuzzypants” for sale. They’ll be numbered and with some surprise original drawings inside by me! Besides myself, there are about 35 other amazing horror authors who will be signing, a great set of panels, and all sorts of Halloween surprises, so do come and check it out.
On Monday, October 24, I will have a special blog post as part of the #HoldOntoTheLight movement, where over 100 authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror talk about their experiences with bullying, mental illness, and more. Find out more about this important movement on their website, and check out my Monday blog for my experience.
About the campaign:
#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.
Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
On Thursday, October 27, I’ll be running my Group Tarot Workshop at Generations in Oxford, MA. If you are interested in learning Tarot for divination or writing or your own personal interest, come join us! I’ll be looking at the “scariest” cards in the deck, and sharing a little surprise.
And then, Monday, October 31, it’s Halloween, and I plan on snuggling up to the hubby and watching scary movies and getting cheap take-out. Because that’s how you romance this girl, right here. <3 (Also, due to our location, we don’t actually get trick-or-treaters… which is sad.)
What are you folks up to? Hopefully the rest of your Halloween Month is as full of treats as mine has been so far!
I’m sooooo excited to share this cover with y’all! 🙂 First, my author Daisy has been a sweetheart to work with and I just adore this book! Second, the cover is by the super-amazing Slake Saunders!
😀 Now, bask in the wonderful evil cuteness of bad cat, good dog, and squirrel zombie shenanigans!
BEN FOX: SQUIRREL ZOMBIE SPECIALIST AT YOUR SERVICE
By Daisy Whitney
Ten-year-old Ben Fox has good friends, a great dog, and a lightning-fast little sister who drives him a bit batty. The only thing in the fifth grader’s life that’s truly annoying–well, besides having to wear braces on his feet every day–is the family’s wily Siamese cat, Percy. Ben has always suspected something was off about Percy…
But now he’s sure of it—Percy has raised an army of squirrel zombies in the backyard and they’re ready to take on Ben’s beloved dog, Captain Sparkles.
Now Ben must figure out how to stop the dastardly cat, especially since Percy and his newly reanimated squirrel friends are gunning for nothing less than a full-scale Animal Zombie Apocalypse—when all the dogs start to behave like cats!
The battle won’t be easy though, because squirrel zombies are the most dangerous animal zombies of all…
Title: Ben Fox: Squirrel Zombie Specialist At Your Service
Elizabeth Black is a Broad I’ve met more recently than the other women on this tour, but I’m so glad to know her now. And I am such a sucker for haunted house stories! I sooo want to go here!
I Stayed At A Haunted Bed And Breakfast. Twice.
By Elizabeth Black
Yup, I was foolish enough to stay at a haunted bed and breakfast – twice. This B&B dates back to the Revolutionary War, and it sits on a river. I had heard about it from one of my ex’s friends, and after much planning I finally stayed there when I was in town for a theater stage crew convention.
The story behind the haunting is as follows:
British soldiers came up the river and proceeded to set the small town on fire, destroying most of it. Soldiers threw torches on the porch of this B&B, which was originally a brothel. The proprietress swept the torches off the porch with her broom. She made a deal with the soldiers. She would house them, feed them, and allow them to use her services as long as they didn’t burn the place down. They agreed, and this B&B was allowed to stand whilst homes around it burned to the ground. The haunting involves the ghost of the proprietress wandering the halls in the dead of night, checking on her clientele and the women to make sure everyone was comfortable. There have been other sightings as well. The B&B itself is absolutely beautiful, decorated in Victorian splendor. It includes a lovely bar and discounted dinners every Friday night. The rooms are beautiful, spacious, and very homey in that Victorian style I liked very much.
The first time I stayed it was off-season in mid-winter. I was in a room overlooking the river. What a view! I enjoyed a delicious meal and the company of a man I met in the bar. He came to the B&B several times per month to enjoy dinner when in town on business. No, I did not take him to bed, although he was very handsome. We ate dinner together. That night I slept well until about 3 am when I heard a party going on in the room next to me. There was a lot of noise. I managed to go back to sleep. At about 4:30 am I heard heavy footsteps walking up and down the hallway. I immediately thought of the ghost of the proprietress stalking the halls checking on everyone and went back to sleep. I wondered whys she wore combat boots, since her footsteps were very loud and heavy. I felt very safe, secure, and comfortable. Not the least bit scared.
The next day, when I went down for breakfast, I told the clerk about the party and the footsteps. She told me I couldn’t have heard anything because I had been alone in the building all night. Yeeeahhh!!!!! The party! The footsteps! None of it could have happened!!!
Of course, I had to return. 🙂
The second time I stayed I was with my current husband. While we slept, someone turned on the overhead light in the middle of the night. I was a very light sleeper and I snapped awake the moment the light turned on. My husband snored away next to me. I was far too tired to get up and turn off the light, so I went back to sleep. When I woke up shortly before dawn, the light was off. I asked my husband later about the light and he said he had turned it off before going to bed. He didn’t get up during the night at all.
So who turned on the light? And who later turned it off?
I heard those footsteps in the hallway again, and felt as safe as I did the first time. No party this time, though. At least this time there were other guests in the place. I wasn’t alone in the building again.
So there you have it. I had my own ghostly experiences. Granted, I think there were perfectly natural explanations for what I heard. The kitchen was downstairs right off my room and noise from clean-up could have carried up the stairs. I could have mistaken those noises for a party. It’s also likely my husband simply forgot he didn’t turn off the overhead light. But I like to think I had ghostly experiences both times I stayed.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
My stay at the Kitty Knight House influenced my erotic romance novel “An Unexpected Guest”. Here are buy links and an information page.
Here’s where to find me on the web. Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and check out my books! I’ve included my Amazon author pages for both of my pen names, so whether you’re into sexy or spooky, I have stories for you!