Novella Sale: Le Jardin Animé (1893)

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!

January Writing Round-Up

New year, new round-up format!

WHAT WORKED
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)

 

August Writing Round-Up

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)
  • PLUS
    • 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!

July Writing Round-Up

Where did this month go?! I spend one weekend away and it all disappears out from underneath me.

I feel like I spent all month working on two chapters because, really, that’s what happened. But then I look a everything else I accomplished (*cough* skip to days written *cough*) and I feel a bit better.

  • Words Written: 4,417  (YTD: 112,227 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 (YTD: 7 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 10 (YTD: 52)
  • Books Read: 1 (YTD: 13 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • Two of my stories published this month: one in Shimmer and one on Cast of Wonders.
    • I have not submitted my new thing. I think it’s complete, but we’ll see; I want to sit on it some more. I started two other short stories but they’re definitely not ready to be submitted!
    • 9 rejections this month, all forms.
    • I applied for two grants!
    • Botanizer is more than half-revised. I’m working through the last 50k (or so). I think I’m going to get to the end of this and not know what to do with myself.
    • So that weekend away: I spent it running base camp for an amazing fundraising hike that I’ve participated in for 9 years now. You can read a bit more here.
    • Days I’ve written/revised this month: 27/31 (WOOT! I did my job this month and had my butt in my chair!)
    • Days written since the inauguration: 123/191
    • Longest streak: 31 days (SO CLOSE)

May Writing Round-Up

It’s been a busy but focused month. I feel good about where I am right now even though I’m still scrambling to make up for ground lost in the craziness of the two months before. Most importantly: I like the things I’ve been writing and have all month. And isn’t that one of the hardest things to maintain as a writer? So without further ado, here are the numbers.

  • Words Written: 18,789  (YTD: 105,799 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 2 (YTD: 5 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 5 (YTD: 37)
  • Books Read: 3 (YTD: 11 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • SALE! You may remember this post from earlier this month about my sale to Cast of Wonders. Fun note: the illustration in the post will be used for the episode, too! ❤
    • 6 rejections (all forms, #sadtrombone)
    • Revisions to Botanizer have been happening! I’ve hit the scary part where things will start to change substantially this draft. See this Twitter thread for my visceral reactions to this. Only 22 days to SFFPit!
    • I FINISHED THE NOVELLA and I’m very proud of it. Really, really, really proud. Of course, it’s in draft form and will need be revised. Feedback via the Codex Contest is forthcoming, and I definitely will not put this work ahead of Botanzier.
    • 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 this month: 23/30
    • Days written since the inauguration: 83/130
    • Longest streak: 31 days

Story Sale: Phalium arium ssp. anams

I’m very excited to announce that my flash story “Phalium arium ssp. anams” sold to Cast of Wonders, the excellent YA fiction podcast!

Phalium artwork

I wrote this one after the Viable Paradise reunion in October and must again thank Leigh Wallace/Leigh Five for her excellent illustration, shown here, as well as all who offered feedback on the story when it was done. Your encouragement meant a lot!

One thing quite important to the story of this sale is its main character: I named her after my grandmother-in-law who passed just last week. I will be forever grateful that I read it to her myself. Another character is named for both her husband and my mother’s uncle, both of whom had passed long before I’d written the story. By doing this, I feel as though I had a chance to memorialize two long-lived, deeply loving Irish-American couples in one fell swoop, and I hope that both families smile when they get to listen and read.

I don’t yet know when this one will air, but you bet I’ll make sure you know about it.

And Gram and Grampa Flynn, Aunt Shirley, and Uncle Mike: if you get internet access in heaven, know we love you.

April Writing Round-Up

This month was more than a little crazy. There was a death in the family. I struggled through some tough stretches with my kid. And I got off on the wrong foot with a story that just ate away at me. None of that is good for work ethic. That said, until I got the worst news of the month last week, I was actually on-target for my meager word count goal and had found my footing again. Here’s to getting back on the horse again this week and month!

  • Words Written: 12,297  (YTD: 87,010 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 0 (YTD: 3 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 7 (YTD: 32)
  • Books Read: 1 (YTD: 8 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • 7 rejections (1 personal)
    • Revisions to Botanizer have been slow, but I’ve got a pile of interlibrary loan books to get through and it’s my top priority this month.
    • A major source of words this month was a novella I’m writing for the Codex Novella Contest. I’m really loving what I have, but it’s not a full novella yet and I have (checks calendar) two weeks in which to finish it. Time to bite my nails…
    • Days I’ve written this month: 13/30
    • Days written since the inauguration: 60/100
    • Longest streak: 31 days

May is my refocus month. I want the novella and a short story done. And I want to make measurable headway on Botanizer. There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. We’ll see how it goes…

BUT: Look for more news! And soon!

Story Sale: “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth”

You may have heard this before because I shouted it from rooftops when I signed the contract, but I have enough details that it deserves a short post. ‘The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” will appear in Shimmer‘s Issue 38, which releases in July 2017!

I started writing this story in a friend’s hotel room mid-Arisia 2017 as part of the Codex Weekend Warrior flash contest. After comments came through, it was clear the story needed more space. I gave it another pass or two, and it shaped up into something worthy of the badgery-shimmery-goodness of this amazing magazine. It’s roots are lodged in what I saw as a notable moment in journalism, but the story is set in a wilder sort of West than once was.

I could not be more proud or excited! Can’t wait to share it with you this summer!

 

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.