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Mostly I don’t talk about my personal life online, because I want my website and social media to be about my work. Writing, editing, things that inspire me – that I’m comfortable talking about. My personal life has had a lot of ups and downs lately, and I tend to think that no one wants to be bothered with that. Everyone’s life is hard, right?
In some ways I’m blessed to have the life I do. I have love, friends, and an adorable happy child. I have time to work on my writing, my projects for Dagan Books, and after some delays those are rolling out. 2013 is set to be a much better year than 2012, and I’m glad.
In other ways, my life is a bit hard. Being a single mom to a child with a disability – having no family and few friends nearby – means that I can’t work a full-time job. Since the only time I get that isn’t parenting time is when he’s in school, that gives me about 20 hours a week to be outside of the house without him. Except that there are short days and school holidays and meetings I have to attend with his special education team … I’ve been looking for a part-time position but haven’t yet found one which is flexible enough to allow for his schedule. Meanwhile I cut down expenses, moved to a smaller apt, used up my savings and now … I’m out of time. Now I have bills to pay, but no income.
There are three things I can do about this:
1. If you haven’t yet purchased one of the anthologies I’ve edited for Dagan Books, please consider picking up an ebook. Buying directly from us means that more of that money goes to DB, which in turn goes straight to our contributors. Buying our books keeps us going, and means that eventually we’ll grow enough to where I can draw a paycheck (which I haven’t yet).
DRM-free ebooks direct from us:
2. I’m putting together a collection of my short fiction, which I will have up for sale soon. I’m so lucky to have talented friends working with me on cover art and editing; I know it’ll be a great little book. When it’s ready I’ll post it online.
3. Do you have writing or editing work that you need doing? I’m looking for anything with a paycheck attached. I have edited well-respected collections of fantasy, science fiction, even erotica. I write fiction all along the genre spectrum, and non-fiction on a range of topics. Stories, articles, site content – let me know what you need. You can contact me here.
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…
I’ve been guest hosting over at Functional Nerds, with Patrick Hester and John Anealio. Our first episode together was posted online yesterday (you can listen to it here). We talked about a bunch of random topics, including web shows, comics, Duotrope, and Patrick’s interest in my legs. Recorded another one last night (more comics, whether we should change book covers for digital audiences, and only one accidentally unfortunate comment about me from Patrick) which will go live on the 25th. We’re doing two more shows in January too. John and Patrick are great guys to hang out with, and I’m flattered that I was their first choice to be a host after their format change.
My indie comics column at SF Signal is going great. Next Tuesday will be two months that I’ve been writing about one of my favorite storytelling mediums, and the list of titles I get to talk about is just getting longer. Click on the links to read my latest reviews: Richard Sala’s Delphine, Ursula Vernon’s Digger, and Royden Lepp’s Rust. I’ve gotten some very supportive comments:
Thanks for reviewing this wonderful, intoxicating work. Without your review, I never would have fallen for this book. Speculative fiction comics need wider exposure; thank you for providing it in such a delightful way.
Thank you for reviewing this. I don’t often find people talking about Sala’s work and that is a shame.
Keep this stuff coming!
Comics can be amazing. Beautiful art, brilliant writing – I love that readers of speculative fiction novels are finding themes they love in comics too.
I’ve started writing short fiction again. My novel is still progressing slowly, but it’s been months since I spent any time on a short story. I’m a person that needs small goals, short accomplishments, and while I get that from my column, I’ve never had a hard time churning out non-fiction. I like it but I find my opinion of myself as a writer isn’t as wrapped up in non-fic as it is in fiction. That’s where I find challenges and spend time perfecting a style. That’s where I need to do well.
It’s getting harder to write fast, though. I used to be able to do thousands of words in a day. Now if I can write two hundred I’m thrilled, and some days I delete more than I’ve written. It turns out that the better I get as a writer the more I can see my own skills and flaws, and the more I take my time writing. Words have to be perfect. Sentences have to flow, one into the other, and paragraphs are blocks of time that have to express a mood and distinct chunk of information. Writing takes work and time to perfect. I’d rather devote myself to that than churn out a thousand words of average (or worse) prose that I can’t be proud of.
One last thing: food. Eating non-dairy has been great for my son, and eating a lot more fruits and vegetables (whole meals that way, instead of mostly carbs) means I’ve got more energy and am losing weight again. All good things. You know what else is good? A juicy medium-rare burger. A thick cut of steak seared in a cast iron pan… yum. Eating a lot more vegan dishes has been working for me, but I have to admit that am not ready to give up meat entirely. I tried it and what’s right for me is going to be balancing healthy choices with occasionally unhealthy delicious ones.
With food, or writing, or anything else in my life, I have to balance what I love with what I need, what drives me, and what makes me happy. I think that with a little effort I can have everything I want.
There’s a meme going around that I like:
Tell me about a story I haven’t written, and I’ll give you one sentence from that story.
I saw it first from AC Wise, who has good ideas, and so I’m stealing this one too. Leave a comment with a brief description of the story you wish I’d tell, and I’ll reply with a sentence – or five – from that story.