March Writing Round-Up

This month’s round-up is the perfect example of why I need these. I had some big wins early on, but a slow week has gotten me into a funk. So let’s review the month and scare off some brain-weasels, shall we?

 

  • STORY SALE: I will write a whole post for this when I know for sure when it will publish, but I sold “The Moon, The Sun, and the Truth” to Shimmer (yes SHIMMER, #squee) this month! I couldn’t be more proud of this little former-flash future-Western-dystopia that I wrote for the Codex Weekend Warrior flash contest in January. If you were at my Boskone reading in February, you heard it. Expect to see it later this year.
  • Words Written: 17,211  (YTD: 74,713 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 novel! #Brains is done and with a few readers! (YTD: 3 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 5 (YTD: 27)
  • Books Read: 0 — but only because I beta-read two novels for friends (YTD: 7 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • 2 rejections (both forms) and 1 SALE
    • Of my 7 active submissions, 4 have been bumped from slush/are in editors’ hold piles
    • Did I mention that I finished #Brains? I’m quite happy with the result, draft though it is.
    • My critique for Botanizer was amazing. Revising has been slow–partly because revising is slow and partly because life.
    • Days I’ve written this month: 13/31
    • Days written since the inauguration: 47/69
    • Longest streak: 31 days

Still wanting to get a short written, revised, and submitted by the end of April, but I’ll be tackling a novella mid-Botanizer revisions so…we’ll see?

February Writing Round-Up

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
  • PLUS
    • 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.

January Writing Round-Up

It’s been an exhausting month. I can’t even do justice to digesting what’s going on politically. These benchmarks don’t mean a lot in the global sense, but they prove that I’m writing and writing means resisting and that’s something.

  • Words Written: 20,077 (2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 flash piece finished, revised, and submitted! (2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 13
  • Books Read: 2 (2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • Attended Arisia 2017 as a panelist and moderated my first-ever panel!
    • 9 rejections (3 personal)
    • Codex Weekend Warrior contest almost finished! For those not in the know: We spend 5 weekends writing a flash story then vote/critique before the next weekend begins. It’s my first year, so there’s been an interesting learning curve. But I’m 1) enjoying myself, 2) producing, and 3) looking forward to doing it again. Of the 4 pieces I’ve written so far, I’ve subbed 1 (see above), need to expand another a little more, and need to expand a third a LOT. The forth is being read this week, so we’ll see!
    • The secret jaunty drivel project known as #Brains is going well. At just under 13k, it’s not as far along as I’d have liked, but HEY it’s progressing and I like it.
    • Days I’ve written this month: 29/31
    • Days written since the inauguration: 11/11
    • Longest streak: 16 days (and counting)

All in all, I’m pretty damn pleased with my progress.

My Boskone 54 Schedule

Sound the trumpets! The Boskone 54 program is out!

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I cannot say enough how much I enjoy this convention every year. It was the very first convention I attended and it spoke to be both in content and in character. They bring in the star-power authors but they also keep local writers at varying career stages in the fold. And this year, I am honored to be included in that number.

If you’re not familiar Boskone is New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention and will be held at the Westin Waterfront on February 17-19, 2017.  It’s going to be a fun weekend filled with discussions of books, film, art, music, gaming, and more. For more information about Boskone by visiting The Boskone Blog, Twitter, and Facebook as well as by going to the Boskone website to register.

As always, there are manifold things to do at any time, but if you’re interested in stopping in to see what I’ve got to say, here’s where I’ll be and when.

(Pocket Program art by Boskone 54 Official Artist Dave Seeley)


Steam’s Rising: A Proliferation of Punks

Friday 14:00 – 15:00, Harbor II (Westin)
We all know and may highly esteem steampunk, but it’s far from the only Victorian-inspired alternate history subgenre on our bookshelves. What about some of those other V-punks out there — dreadpunk, silkpunk, gaslight fantasy, and more … Why so many? Are they really all the same, or are there deeper differences in style, content, and approach? (And is gaslight fantasy actually punky at all?)
James Moore, KT Bryski (M), Victoria Sandbrook, Melanie Meadors 

Katniss, Furiosa, Elsa, and Rey: The New Woman in SF/F Film

Friday 17:00 – 18:00, Harbor III (Westin)
They each made big impressions in big recent genre movies. What do these characters say about the current state of heroic female figures in our cinematic imaginings? What traditions do they uphold or subvert? What promise do they hold for our futures?
Trisha Wooldridge, Vikki Ciaffone, LJ Cohen (M) , Victoria Sandbrook

The Harry Potter Effect

Friday 18:00 – 19:00, Harbor II (Westin)
Twenty years ago, an owl delivered a very special invitation to a boy who lived under the stairs in a small house at 4 Privet Drive. The world has never been the same. Tolkien changed the face of fantasy literature for adults; J.K. Rowling has done the same for children. How has the Harry Potter Effect influenced publishing? What have we learned about fantasy — and ourselves — through Harry’s adventures? Is 20 years of Potterdom enough? Do we need or want more?
20th Anniversary: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone
Emma Caywood, John P. Murphy, Victoria Sandbrook (M), Flourish Klink, Sarah Beth Durst

Writing Stories With Victoria Sandbrook

Saturday 09:00 – 10:00, Galleria – DragonsLair (Westin)
Start a short story — or two! — in this all-ages mini-workshop. Victoria will offer an exercise to get you started, but where you go from there is up to you! Bring your preferred writing implements and paper.
Victoria Sandbrook 

Getting Ready for a Workshop

Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Harbor I – Discussion Group (Westin)
What you should consider, how you should prepare, and what they can and can’t do for you when you attend a writer’s workshop.
Victoria Sandbrook

Reading by Victoria Sandbrook

Sunday 09:30 – 10:00, Independence (Westin)
Victoria Sandbrook

Contracts and Talking Terms

Sunday 10:00 – 11:00, Burroughs (Westin)
Literary contracts can be tricky to navigate. We’ll reveal what’s behind those mysterious clauses and terms hidden in plain sight. When is a deal too good to pass up — or too good to be true? Discover what’s okay to publish, learn to avoid legal landmines, and ask questions about what you most want to know.
Joshua Bilmes, Victoria Sandbrook, Kenneth Schneyer, E. C. Ambrose (M), Michael Stearns

 

My Arisia 2017 Schedule

It’s that time again, folks! I’ll be braving whatever weather comes to make it to the Westin Waterfront in Boston to enjoy the event that kicks off my geek calendar year. If you’re local and not familiar with Arisia, well, come out There is quite literally something for everyone. And, for the first time, I’m on the program!

You’ll find me here:

SAT 10:00 AM
Parents with Infants & Toddlers Meetup – Communities, Meetup – 1hr 15min – Otis (2W)
We have run into each other in panels, in hallways, and in elevators with strollers, but have we really met? Let’s let the kids run around for an hour, catch our breath, bemoan cluster feeding/colic/climbing/teething/growing pains, and celebrate the fact that we’re OUT OF THE HOUSE and among our people.
Aurora Celeste (m), Victoria Sandbrook

SAT 1:00 PM
Mosaic—PoC & Ally Meet Up – Communities, Meetup – 1hr 15min – Paine (2W)
People of Color at the con and allies helping us build a better space for diverse faces in fandom, get together for some social and casual conversation time. Recap the convention with friends and maybe brainstorm a bit on how to up our game for next year. (Deep thinking on social action of the future optional but appropriate to MLK’s birthday observance.)
Mink Rose (m), Victoria Sandbrook, TheoNerd

SUN 10:00 AM
Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make Fantasy – Literature, Panel – 1hr 15min – Marina 2 (2E)
From Susan Pevensie’s lipstick to fan-hate for Sansa Stark, feminine characters often get shortchanged by fantasy authors and fans alike, losing out in comparison with the Strong Female Protagonist archetype. Why does this happen? Which feminine characters manage to succeed against this stereotype? Is the trend changing, and why?
Victoria Sandbrook (m), Randee Dawn, Ariela Housman, Victoria Janssen, Henry M. White

2016 in Review; 2017 in Preview

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading along as I tackle the crazy world of the written word. It’s been a great and happy year and a dark and stormy year. I had some great wins. I had some tough losses. But we all did, and I think it’s important to take a minute to reflect and appreciate what we’ve each accomplished.

Here’s my Year in Words:

  • Words Written: 122,416 (includes fiction, book reviews, blogs, and essays).
  • Works Completed: 5
    • 1 novel
    • 3 short stories
    • 1 esssay
    • plus: book reviews and blog posts
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 19
  • Publications: 1 (my first!)
  • Books Read: 28
  • PLUS
    • Applied to grants and fellowships
    • Got selected for programming for two local cons
    • Got some amazing feedback on my work from fellow writers, editors, and others
    • Attended Paradise Regained, the Viable Paradise reunion, and got some serious recharging done

And here’s what I’m shooting for in 2017:

  • Words to Write: 200,000+
  • Works to Complete: at least 10; there will be short stories aplenty, more novel writing, and hopefully lots of stuff to celebrate
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: As the time it takes markets to review and respond can vary wildly, I can’t really judge how many subs I’ll get in this year, but I hope to keep 3/4 of my revised-and-ready stories on submission for the whole year.
  • Books to Read: 30
  • PLUS
    • Attending two cons as a panelist/moderator
    • Possible travel to an out-of-state con
    • My first novel critique
    • Lots of rejections

 

November Writing Round-Up

Um, wait. It’s December 1?

  • Fifteenth rejection! Such is the business. Also got a rejection for a grant to which I applied, but it included some wonderful positive feedback.
  • Five submissions, three still active.
  • No new short stories. I promised myself I wouldn’t start anything new until after the novel revisions and I stuck with it.
  • NOVEL PROGRESS (everyone’s favorite panic attack) continues well. I made some more great breakthroughs. I’m currently 8 chapters from the end. That could mean a few weeks, a few months, or a few years, depending on how much time I put in.
  • NaNoWriMo went by and I didn’t write a word for it. This is good since I hadn’t finished novel revisions…
  • I went to my writing group’s annual retreat (just for a few hours, really) and it was wonderful as ever. Nothing  like your tribe to keep you sane and productive.
  • I have a tentative schedule for Arisia programming and that makes me very happy. More on that as it happens!
  • I haven’t been reading a lot this month, but I’ve been working, so here’s a STUFF I’VE BEEN DOING segment
    • Calling my Senators/Congressman about issues at the national level. There are, ya know, a few.
    • Calling my state legislators about issues at the state level, from taking a stand against some of the stuff happening at the federal level to bills I’m hoping get reintroduced in the new legislative session. I’ve gotten a really lovely personal call back regarding one issue, and it was great to know that I’d been heard.
    • Calling my city counselors and finding ways to engage with city politics. I live here and I care. Therefore I should be doing more than getting upset when the newspaper reports decisions I don’t like.
    • Donating. To the NoDAPL efforts and in support of the water protectors. To local organizations that matter to my heart. To movements that I believe in.
    • Reading and listening to things that make me mad. I had done this relatively often before, but I think it’s definitely important now. Not knowing another perspective exists excuses nothing.
    • Talking to like-minded friends. Just because there’s an echo doesn’t mean it’s wrong to converse and congregate and share resources.
    • Sending and receiving support from wonderful friends. You guys have helped keep me sane in this crazy time and sending you reassurances has made me stay focused. So thanks.
  • Upcoming Goals
    • Dec 31 Have novel out for critique NO LATER THAN THIS (still doable)
    • Dec 31 Keep at least 3/4 stories on submission at all times
    • Dec 31 Finish 5 pieces (any length) in 2016 (3 down, 2 to go!)