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In an effort to keep better track of the work I do as a writer, reviewer, editor, and publisher, I’m going to try to post regular stats updates. I did this one by creating a post at the beginning of the month, saving it as a draft, and then adding to it whenever I accomplished something. (Much easier than trying to put it together all at once on the day I want it to post.)
In January I …
- “After the Apocalypse”, the last story in the collection of the same name by Maureen F. McHugh. Read my review here.
- The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Brief review on Goodreads.
- The Bleeding Man, and Other Science Fiction Stories, by Craig Strete. Review here.
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, issues 104, 105 & 106. Review of 104 & 105 here.
- Started reading Nobokov’s Pale Fire.
- and some Tony Stark/Captain America slash fic, but I blame Conni for that.
- The book reviews listed above, and this post.
- Two Tech Nerd posts for Functional Nerds, which will go up in February and March.
- SF Signal Outside the Frame comics reviews about My Favorite Comics of 2012, Tale of Sand, Raplh Azham No. 1, and Elmer (will post in Feb).
- Guest posts for:
- First draft (1300 words) of “Darling, Daughter, Dear” which I plan to finish and submit to Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts . They open to subs today – but only for the month of February, so I have a deadline.
- A 990 word lit fiction piece from 2011 called “Skipping Ahead To The End” (see below)
- FISH. (And there was much rejoicing.) This included proofing print and ebooks several times, submitting files to markets, blog posts, a Goodreads giveaway, and so on.
- appeared on two more Functional Nerds podcasts – Episode #133 and Episode #134 (click on the links to listen)
- appeared on an SF Signal podcast (will post in February).
- got my Goodreads account organized, updated my bookshelf, and started using it to keep track of the books I’m reading.
- Updated the Our Staff page on the Dagan Books site; fixed date/link/spelling errors in other places on the site.
- Updated my Non-Fiction page, and my links.
- Chased down and corrected contract issues for two stories I sold back in Spring 2012 (as yet unpublished).
- Critiqued two 4k word stories for a friend.
- Spent some time in the forums at Zoetrope. It’s focused more on literary fiction than genre fiction, and I like getting that perspective on my work.
- Read and critiqued 5 flash-length stories.
- Submitted one of my own (“Skipping Ahead To The End”).
- Put more story ideas into Evernote.
- Interviewed E.C. Meyers (read it here) and Fran Wilde (here).
- And started tracking my fiction submissions in one of these:
That’s about 9,300 new words of non-fiction writing for the month and 1300 of fiction. Read 22 short stories (7 unpublished) and one novel (started a second). Revised and submitted one flash piece to be critiqued & critiqued 7 stories for other writers. Was on 3 podcasts. Got an anthology prepped and published – a year later than I’d originally intended but proof that I am starting to get back on track. Plus a bunch of office work (I am my own middle manager).
I’m planning to write more fiction in February, as well as get at least one more (hopefully two) Dagan Books projects published, and move forward on the other four in-progress titles.
My advice for February:
Do one thing every day. If you can, write. A blog post, or 500 words on your current story. If not, read. A short story, chapter, a couple of articles you need for research, it’s all useful, and often easier than writing when you’ve had a long day. Make a list of the things you’ve been meaning to do and check one off. By focusing on one thing a day, you’ll end up having done 28 things by the end of the month, instead of pushing yourself to do too much and being too burnt out to work for days at a time. That’s reading several magazines, or writing your weekly blog post for the next six months, or 14,000 words on your novel…
One of the best parts of pre-Readercon planning is when the program schedule finally comes online and I get to pick out the panels I hope to attend. Last year I didn’t make to everything I thought I wanted to go to, because either I got a chance to meet someone I’d only known online before, or I got drug along to a different panel with friends, or because I stole an hour to retreat to my room and take a nap. But still, I like plans, and making plans, and having plans, and being prepared …
Let me say right now that there is one place you will absolutely be able to find me this year:
Friday, 7:00 PM (VT room) Reading. Michael J. DeLuca. Michael J. DeLuca reads “Other Palimpsests,” forthcoming in the anthology Bibliotheca Fantastica from Dagan Books, edited by Claude Lalumière and Don Pizarro.
A reading from a book my company is publishing this year? Don’s first title as an editor? A chance to meet one of our authors? Hell. Yes.
But, you know, other stuff is happening too. Here’s a list of more panels I think I’ll be at:
Thursday July 12
8:00 PM G Genrecare. Elizabeth Bear (leader), Kathleen Ann Goonan, Kelly Link, Shira Lipkin, Barry N. Malzberg. In a 2011 review of Harmony by Project Itoh, Adam Roberts suggests that “the concept of ‘healthcare’ in its broadest sense is one of the keys to the modern psyche.” Yet Roberts notes “how poorly genre has tuned in to that particular aspect of contemporary life.” Similarly, in the essay “No Cure for the Future,” Kirk Hampton and Carol MacKay write that “SF is a world almost never concerned with the issues of physical frailty and malfunction.” As writers such as Nalo Hopkinson, Tricia Sullivan, and Kim Stanley Robinson explore the future of the body, how is SF dealing with the concepts of health, medicine, and what it means to be well?
Friday July 13
11:00 AM F Post-Colonial Independence and the Fantastic. Christopher Brown, Bernard Dukas (leader), Walter Hunt, Vandana Singh. Indigenous peoples in post-colonial nations often use speculative and fantastical works to explore concerns raised by colonization, wars for independence, and the colonizers’ departure. Are there commonalities to speculative stories written in immediately post-colonial nations—say, within the first 50 years of independence—around the world, such as Egypt in the early 20th century, India and the Philippines in the late 20th century, and Croatia today? What about 19th-century Haiti and 16th-century Persia? What do these works reveal about the nature of colonization and the ways that narratives are shaped by the authors’ direct personal experiences of the struggle for independence?
Saturday morning was breakfast at Panera, then panels:
11 AM Book Design and Typography in the Digital Era Neil Clarke, Erin Kissane, Ken Liu, David G. Shaw (leader), Alicia Verlager. From this I found out that Ken knows quite a bit about the history of the book and its evolution from scroll to codex to ebook, making him officially one of my favorite people ever. This was one of the most informed panels I attended, and I felt that all of the panelists had useful things to add to the discussion. I only wished it were longer.
12:00 PM Daughters of the Female Man Matthew Cheney, Gwendolyn Clare, Elizabeth Hand (leader), Barbara Krasnoff, Chris Moriarty. I tend to avoid panels on women’s issues in fiction, honestly. I’m of the school that we should promote damn fine writers who happen to be women as opposed to promoting women writers and hoping they’re good. I come from an academic background and am particularly informed by the discussion about women’s place in art history, and the (absurd) question which always gets asked, “Why are there no good women artists?” However this panel was excellent both for it’s suggestions for further reader and for the way it didn’t focus on anything other than good writing by women. Notable for this panel was the absurd statement from the audience about how the panel should have done “a little more work” and created an annotated bibliography to hand out (you know, so we wouldn’t have to read anything on our own).
The drive up to Boston was easy and uneventful save for the sudden realization that I was actually driving through the Bronx. That wasn’t clear from the directions, which essentially said take 95N from NJ to Connecticut, so you can understand why the first time I drove over the George Washington bridge and into the Bronx I was a little surprised. I stopped in Orange, CT, for breakfast at a place called Chip’s Diner, home to some pretty good buttermilk pancakes. That was my halfway point, and the rest of the drive was pretty but boring. I found the hotel with little trouble, got checked into my room, unpacked my suitcase, fell onto the big, fluffy bed, relaxed in the air conditioning, and very nearly fell asleep.
That would have been bad because I was due to pick Don Pizarro up from the airport an hour later. Logan Airport was only 12 miles from the hotel, but I wanted to be early if possible so he didn’t have to wait. Plus, Bart Lieb needed Don to read at the Broken Slate/Crossed Genres reading Friday night, so he insisted that I get up. I shared the elevator back down to the lobby with another woman – we looked at each other, said, “Readercon?” and both nodded. “I’m going to the gym to try to bike off this headache,” she said. “You?” I told her I was off to the airport. “Oh, at this time? I’m sorry,” she said, as the doors opened, and we waved our goodbyes. I wondered at that, got into my car, and for the first few miles I made good time. Switching onto 93 for the other 9 miles of the trip left me in dead-stop traffic. It ultimately took me 50 minutes to travel those 9 miles, by which time, Don’s plane was due to have landed. I finally pulled in, and called – no answer. I got into the terminal, since I had his flight info I knew where I was supposed to be, called again and … no answer. I checked the Starbucks (we’re writers, of course we gravitate toward coffee and wifi) but no luck. Called again and found his plane had arrived late; he was just getting off it now. Perfect! I wasn’t late after all. We found each other easily after that, got back to the hotel faster than I’d made it out to the airport, and after dropping his stuff off, made our way to the hotel bar.
I did mention that we were writers, right?
Now’s your chance to find out. Recently I was interviewed about Cthulhurotica, along with author Don Pizarro (who also has a story in that collection) for the Functional Nerds Podcast, and while I talked too fast and the sound quality – only on my end – wasn’t great, it is a chance to hear me and the others talk about the book, the Mythos, why Lovecraft was a great writer but a poor choice in party guests, and much more. Functional Nerds is Patrick Hester & John Anealio, and if you’re not following their interviews, you’re missing out on conversation and insights from some of science fiction and writing’s greats, along with can’t-miss new talent.