Category Archives: Work-Life Balance

Year in Review

Oh boy. Do I really want to go over the entirety of my journey? Can’t I just brush it aside and forget it ever happened?

Well…no. There were some really good things this year. Things like the release of my first novel, getting into the Epic Fantasy Storybundle, my Monster Hunter Files story being well received. There have been a a lot of really great things this year for me as an author. But what I mostly remember about this year was my failure to accomplish my main goal — take better care of myself.

I won’t go into a tale of personal woe. The short of it is that this year did not go as planned and it was all around much harder to find the time and energy to get anything done that I wanted or needed to. I think the only thing that did go as planned was that I learned how to use Dragon and that with my acupuncturist’s help my arthritis pain is the lowest it’s been in years. Too bad the rest of my life isn’t falling into line. But there is still hope for next year. Onward and upward, right?

Digging Out

2017 is coming to a close. Endings always give us a chance for reflection and review.

For me 2017 was a year of regrouping in many areas of my life. I spent a lot of time working on my new house. While I still have a long way to go, I also did complete a lot of major projects. When we moved in at the end of 2016 our basement was completely unfinished. I mean completely. My windows and external doors were installed, but there was no trim, no internal doors, no window sills or framing… It took me a couple months, but I got all that done, and more.

I built a wet bar, using my first fantasy trilogy as the theme. I installed a TV mount, and wired it for internet. Lots of things. The same was true for my job, and both of my children moved out.

It’s been a year for sure.

I know a lot of people are upset about politics. I’ve long ago learned that people are always upset about politics. Sometimes it’s one side, sometimes it’s the other side. When power shifts, attitudes shift to match. I try not to get caught up in all the hysteria of either side.

So why is this titled “Digging Out?”

Because 2016 was a very difficult year for my family. Building a house is stressful. Finishing an epic fantasy series in the middle of that is stressful. Losing a brother is stressful. Although I didn’t fully realize it at the time, I think I reached one of the lowest points in my life personally, professionally, emotionally and physically in January-February of 2017.

Since then it’s been one long effort to dig out of one mess after another. Many, many times I wondered if the effort of digging was worth it. And I’ve got a lot of digging left to do. But things have steadily improved since February, and now I’m about to wrap up my first sci-fi novel. I have high hopes for this book.

So I am going to be optimistic about 2018. And I’m going to just keep digging out.

Meet the Guest Fictorians: Author Tonya L. De Marco

Author, model, and professional cosplayer Tonya L. De Marco contributed several articles for the Fictorians over the years after attending the Superstars Writing Seminars.

Fictorians: What are you drinking today?
Tonya L. De Marco: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

Fictorians: What have you done for the Fictorians?
Tonya L. De Marco: I’ve written 3 articles as a guest poster.

Fictorians: What genres do you prefer?
Tonya L. De Marco: I mostly prefer writing speculative dark fiction. I’m very in touch with my dark side as you can see if you’ve read my other articles and most of my published work so far. Taboo subjects are also very near and dear to my heart and I often incorporate that into my writing, often along with some type of erotic flavor. I’ve struggled to keep to a PG-13 guideline in the past. I also write non-fiction articles which have been published with Fictorians and in magazines.

Fictorians: What’s your current project?
Tonya L. De Marco: I’m currently working on a short story submission with a deadline of November 30th. It’s a little bit steampunk, a little bit science fiction, and the story involves cats.

Fictorians: What can we expect to see from you in 2018?
Tonya L. De Marco: You can expect to see more articles, more short stories, and hopefully a novella or novelette. I’m trying to learn to draw out my muse when I need her and not just when she want to be heard. Another goal for 2018 is to become a member of more professional writing organizations. I’m currently a member of The Horror Writers Association.

Fictorians: Besides writing, you’re also a costume designer and professional cosplayer. What was your last project?
Tonya L. De Marco: My last project was designing a dress for an Elvira-inspired cosplay.The dress was very challenging and I learned so much making it! I did a combination of 2 different patterns and my own design elements in drafting the pattern. For the bodice of the dress, I also did a built-in corset for the first time. I see more cosplays I an use this pattern (or a modification of it) for in the future!

Fictorians: What was the last convention you went to and how did it go?
Tonya L. De Marco: I’ve just returned from a convention in Arkansas. I’m not going to name the convention because there were serious issues and possibly fraud associated with at least the promoter. What was wonderful was how all the volunteers, cosplayers and vendors all rallied around each other for support. I feel like I’ve got a new family from the experience.

Fictorians: Where can we find more about you?
Tonya L. De Marco: Mostly on social media and at plenty of conventions across the country. Make sure to check out the “about” section on my Facebook page which I will be updating again shortly.

Tonya L. De Marco – Published Cosplayer/Model and Author
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VintageSteamtrunk (page name is Cosplay Tonya)
Member: Horror Writers Association
Website: http://tonyaldemarco.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cosplay_tonya/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tonya-L.-De-Marco/e/B00I38RNI8/

Fictorians: Anything else you want to say?

Tonya L. De Marco: Thank you very much for the interview, it’s been an honor. Also, if you’d like to see me at a particular convention as an author, a professional cosplayer, or both, please tell the convention programming staff you would like to see me there as a guest. You can send the above links if they ask for them. Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving

Here we are again, another Thanksgiving holiday that someone tucked into the NaNoWriMo month. Who made this schedule, anyway?

You can be sitting at 2300 words, 49999 words, or 250K, but note that it is a good thing to take a bit of time off to visit with family, watch some sportsball on the telly, and enjoy a nice meal. NaNoWriMo is a “nice to do” thing, not a “must”. So go ahead and take a bit of time off to enjoy yourself if you can.

The Fictorians are thankful for things like family, friends, enjoyable things like writing stories, attending conventions, etc. We’re also aware and have good wishes in our hearts for those who are serving in the military, near or far; those who are alone or are struggling with a mental illness; those who cannot afford to feed themselves beyond simple sustenance; and others who may be in a low point. We ask that you think of others and try to bring some real holiday spirit to boost the end of the year. Volunteer somewhere, pick up an errant tin can and toss it in the trash, be polite to others even though everyone is frustrated from all of the early Christmas shopping deal trips. Reach out to someone you haven’t heard from them in a while.

If everything is prepped and you’re waiting for guests, feel free to jot down a few words towards NaNo. Just understand that there are more important things, so don’t neglect them just to reach an arbitrary goal for something that is transitory.

Peace and health to you and yours from all of us at the Fictorians.