Amid the joyous chaos of our second daughter’s birth in April, two conventions (one while pregnant, one while breastfeeding), and a pile of great books, I’m overjoyed to announce that I’ve sold my novella, Le Jardin Animé (1893) to GigaNotoSaurus! It will release January 1, 2020.
Without giving too much away, I hope, it’s about ballet-dancing automata, an aging thornback inventor, and a female Muslim doctor in an isolated Philadelphia mansion in 1893. I’ve referred to it as my mad-scientist gothic.
I have Codex‘s annual novella contest to thank for its existence, and many friends and colleagues there who read and critiqued it across various stages. Several other good friends read it and offered feedback and cheered me on as I sent it into the world for submission. I might never have attempted this without the safety of my writing community. So thank you.
I also sought sensitivity reads once I was pretty sure I was done. I wanted to be sure (or as sure as one can be) that I’d done right by my doctor and one of two POV characters, Zaynab. Their feedback helped me hone what I’d absorbed through research into my best possible characterization of her individual motivations, faith, and world view. Any blind spots are absolutely my own.
I also want to thank Writing the Other for the lessons in craft and in being a good human. In the cacophony of extreme opinions about how writers should navigate diversity, their classes have been a clear voice advocating for thoughtful inclusivity and careful self-examiniation. I highly recommend them to all writers. I hope I have put those lessons to good in this work.
Most of all, I have to thank GigaNotoSarus’s editor, LaShawn M. Wanak, for buying it. I could not be more thrilled.
So stay tuned for a publication announcement first thing next year! And I’ll have doubled-up book reviews coming this week!
New year, new round-up format!
I spent so much time reading this month! Ten books. TEN. That’s a full third of my goal this year! I’m going to feel so well-read by the time I get to my Boskone panels. This is totally all due to manuscript avoidance, but HEY. I. Read. Good. Books. That’s a win all on its own.
I’ve been enjoying the annual Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. One week of the 5-flashes-in-5-weeks contest. I think two of the ones I’ve written this year are good enough to go somewhere. The others will be great trunked seeds for something later on. Who knows what this (final) weekend will bring!
I wrote a story mid-week and it flew from my fingers fully formed. It was great and I can’t wait to get comments back so I can shine it up pretty and submit it to the market I wrote it for.
WHERE I STRUGGLED
Life. Is life ever not a struggle? I’ve been dealing with existential dread on every level: politics, novel querying, novel drafting, short story submissions, and on and on and on. I’ve got a couple of coping mechanisms that work just enough, but I need to not play manuscript avoidance forever. Time to get the butt in the chair.
Words on the page. I really wanted about double my goal for this month, but I’ll take what I got. It was my most productive month since last May when I was drafting my novella, so frustrated or not, it was an objectively good month. Now I just need to tell my head that.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Words written: 16,167/200,000 (on track!!!)
- New works (goal: 12 new shorter works submitted in 2018):
- Started: 6
- Drafted: 5
- Revised: 0
- Submitted: 0
- Books read: 10/30 (see above)
Happy past and impending holidays! This year has been….Alright it’s only December 1, so I don’t have to write a year-end post yet, right? Good. This won’t be that.
This past month has been a challenge. I struggled with feels after rejections. I fought through more rounds of preschool grunge. I got just enough good news and found time with friends to keep me sane. I may not be on-track to sweep my goals for the year, but HOLY HECK I’ve accomplished a lot.
Two of the things I’ve accomplished include two lovely stories out in the real world. If you’re looking for works to nominate for any of the various writing awards, I’d be honored–of course–to have your consideration. “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” ran in Shimmer‘s July/August Issue 38. “Phalium arium ssp anams” aired as Cast of Wonders‘s episode 256, also in July. This is also my second year of eligibility for the Campbell Award.
With no further ado, here’s how this month stacked up for words.
- Words Written: 10,276 (YTD: 153,199 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
- Works Complete: 0 (YTD: 8 | 2017 Goal: 10)
- Submissions to Paying Markets: 3 (YTD: 79)
- Books Read: 2 (YTD: 26| 2017 Goal: 30)
- Short Story Rejections: 2 (1 personal).
- Two of my stories are officially in editors’ hold piles. Yay!
- Querying agents is hard. There will eventually be a whole post about this.
- I finished Part 1 of my new novel. I like it so far (that’s not always a given).
- I wrote 15 reviews for Publishers Weekly this year and I’m really proud of them.
- I’m on programming for both Arisia and Boskone! More on that soon!
WELL. After almost two years of yammering about my writing goals, I actually forgot to write up my progress against my goals for the year until it was a few days into October. Things have been understandably crazy: my kid started part-time daycare in September; we’ve survived a few rounds of requisite “grunge” and “spikey death” that comes with exposure to bipedal germ factories and fall weather; and I’ve been querying agents with The Botanizer.
Not posting last month’s round-up is a great example of the many, many little things that have gone, are going, and will go wrong in my life. The accumulation of these little failures eats away at me. Add forgetting something like this–that I actually enjoy–to the trickle of rejections for my novel and for my short fiction, to the uphill battle of my immune system, to the ridiculous lack of sleep I’m getting thanks to my FOMO kid, and I start feeling really lost. No wonder my word count has been so low, two months running. I can’t just pass it off to “drafting is hard after revising for so long!” I’ve been in a gross, confusing, frustrating place with myself for two months running. And it’s hard to admit that all of those things piles up and affects my work, but really it does.
But here’s the thing I see as I look back. I kept at it. I sat my butt in the chair and I tried. No, I didn’t draft an entire novel in two months. No I never got to the end of Part 1 much less the rest of it. But I am working. And I like what I’m working on. And I’ve kept my short fiction on submission and I’ve kept at the querying. This is what it takes to be a writer and a mom and a wife and a sane person of my own making.
There’s a lot to celebrate after two months in a mire of life’s making. I can’t say I’m really out of it yet, but I’m going to take my wins anyway.
While I’m not doing #NaNoWriMo–I started this new novel back in September so that technically DQs me–I am definitely going to take part in the cheering and will take heart in all of the encouragement and excitement flowing as part of it. I have numbers in mind, goals I’d like to hit, but what I’ll really be glad of is getting to December and knowing I did my best with the hand I got dealt.
For anyone interested here’s where I stand on my goals for the year.
- Words Written: YTD: 143,419 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+
- Works Complete: YTD: 8 | 2017 Goal: 10
- Short Fiction Submissions to Paying Markets: YTD: 72 | Lifetime: 94
- I’ll probably hit my 100th submission this year; my 100th rejection will probably come through in the new year.
- Note that this does not count querying stats, which I’ll only share after that process has wrapped, whatever the result.
- Books Read: YTD: 24 | 2017 Goal: 30
Hey, guess what. That book I’ve been writing for almost three years? Yeah that one? Yeah I finished it. (Somewhere in the peanut gallery, someone shouts, “Again?!” To which I reply: “ITSTHEFOURTHDRAFTTHISISWRITINGHUSH.”)
It has been a highly consistent month of writing–I was either revising or writing all but four days this month–and it shows. The novel revision is done. The novella revision is so close. I got a new story out this month. And though the wins never come quite often enough to beat the brain weasels back entirely, I’ve been reminded again and again that friends and family help beat back the rest. The successes this month, the ending on a high note: that’s because I put the work in and because when it didn’t make enough of a difference I had good people there to remind me that I put the work in. So if you were one of those people, thank you.
- Words Written: 4,281 (YTD: 116,508 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+) Concerned that this bullet has been low for months? Yeah, me too, but that’s only because I’ve been revising and bumbling about with flash. Just wait till I start the next novel.
- Works Complete: 1 (YTD: 8 | 2017 Goal: 10)
- Submissions to Paying Markets: 6 (YTD: 58)
- Books Read: 3 (YTD: 16 | 2017 Goal: 30)
- My story “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” over at Shimmer has gotten some great reviews (links on my bibliography page!)
- 7 rejections this month, with 2 gut-wrenching, celebrate-the-honorable-loss personals
- This is big so I need to say it again: I FINISHED REVISING THE BOTANZIER!
- I started revising my friendly-contest-among-pros-winning novella and it’s…really guys, it’s good. I can’t wait to share it.
- Still fundraising read a bit more here.
- Days I’ve written/revised this month: 27/31 (Does another victory lap)
- Days written since the inauguration: 150/222
- Longest streak: 31 days (SO CLOSE)
So what’s on the docket for next month? Botanizer-related stuff that I’ll share in one big post (or maybe a series) at some point; sending out the novella to a few sensitivity and beta readers; and starting the next big project. I’ll keep you posted!
Hello 2017 Hump Day! How are we already halfway through this year? Oh, right: we’ve been working our tushes off!
Here’s how things stand with my writing goals:
- Words Written: 2,011 (YTD: 107,810 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
- Works Complete: 1 (YTD: 6 | 2017 Goal: 10)
- Submissions to Paying Markets: 5 (YTD: 42)
- Books Read: 1 (YTD: 12 | 2017 Goal: 30)
- I have a story publishing tomorrow! Shimmer Number 38 will be live by morning and available for purchase. Expect a post with links and the GORGEOUS cover tomorrow.
- 2 new stories submitted, 2 rejections (both forms, #sadtrombone)–including my FIFTIETH REJECTION (#allrejoicing)
- I did not finish Botanizer revisions, but I’m moving along reasonably well. This is all hard, scary stuff at this point but the manuscript will be far better for it. My word-count has been low this month since I’m doing a lot of cutting and re-writing in the next draft and I’m not counting that for/against my goal for the year.
- My novella-in-progress took first place in my division on Codex! Huzzah! It was a big ego boost to hear my peers praise it and raise great concerns with my first draft. Now I’m doing my research so I get everything really, really right when I tackle revisions (after Botanizer, I promise).
- I finished a short story and critiqued it with my writing group! I still need to revise it, but I love it and where it’s going.
- Days I’ve written/revised this month: 13/30
- Days written since the inauguration: 96/160
- Longest streak: 31 days
So here’s some straightforward info about this year to-date:
- 2 short fiction sales
- 6 complete works
- 4 short stories, revised/submitted
- 1 novella
- 1 novel
- 12 books read
- 42 submissions to paying markets
- 2 acceptances
- 34 rejections
- 27 form/lower tier
- 7 personal/higher-tier
- 50th lifetime rejection achieved
- 107, 810 words written.
This all feels really good. As much as I’ve struggled to get my butt in the chair this month for all sorts of absolutely legitimate #life reasons, I’m doing good work. And my productive months really outweigh the months I struggle. So it’s all a matter of getting back to it when I can.
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for links to Shimmer!
Twenty-eight days of work. Twenty-eight days of not taking any downtime for the sake of downtime. This has been a good month.
- Words Written: 33,543 (YTD: 55,981 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
- Works Complete: 1 flash piece finished, revised, and submitted! (YTD: 2 | 2017 Goal: 10)
- Submissions to Paying Markets: 9 (YTD: 22)
- Books Read: 4 (YTD: 7* | 2017 Goal: 30) *I think I missed a book in my January report
- 7 rejections (1 personal)
- Attended Bokone 2017 as a panelist and moderator! Best Boskone yet for me!
- I did take those days and one for prep off of writing, in part because what little down-time I had was given to ELF. But I’m okay with that. That was work, but it wasn’t writing. I’m proud that I got back to it with no hesitation. That’s how it should be.
- I interviewed author Meg Howrey and the Q&A appeared in Publishers Weekly! I’ve got a few more of these in the work beyond the reviews I’ve been doing for them.
- Codex Weekend Warrior 2017 wrapped. I wrote 4/5 stories and have revised and subbed 2 of those 4 already this year. Very pleased with the other 3 ideas that came from the contest, and they’re in my queue. I’ll definitely play again next year, and I’m going to shoot for finishing all 5 stories.
- I’ve entered #PitchMadness! Just a good way to get myself prepped for everything that comes next for Botanizer.
- Speaking of Botanizer, my critique is next Sunday. #dyingofbrainweasels
- I ended January with 13k written in #Brains, my jaunty drivel project that has nothing to do with zombies. This month, that MS us up to 45k and counting!
- Days I’ve written this month: 24/28
- Days written since the inauguration: 34/38
- Longest streak: 31 days
A note for March and April: I’ll be moving away from hard-and-fast metrics as I revise. My big goals: 1) Finish #Brains, 2) Revise Botanizer, 3) get a short story written, revised, and submitted.