This month, it feels like I wrote all the words, read all the books, and went to all the conventions. Okay, it’s actually about 32k words, 15 novels, 8 short stories, 3 graphic novels, and 2 conventions. Still a hell of a month.
Obviously, that 32k words means that I did NOT “win” NaNoWriMo. As you can see from the chart, I missed the first few days for World Fantasy, wrote for a bit, stalled out for a week, then went hardcore for a few days until Thanksgiving and ChessieCon. In theory, I could have done another 18k words in the time left. But I’ll refer you to what I said in my con report for ChessieCon:
“During some time spent chatting with friends after the panel, mentally moaning to myself that I should have been working on NaNoWriMo, I had a bit of an epiphany. I didn’t sign up for NaNoWriMo this year to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. That would have been nice, but it wasn’t the main point. The main point was to kick myself in the pants and actually get some words written on my the next book. I started the month with 8 thousand words. I now have 40 thousand. I’m going to call that a win in my book and keep writing at a pace that is comfortable for me.”
In addition, I also found out this month that I’m perfectly capable of writing up to 3,500 words in a day, where before I’d felt like 2,000 was my maximum. So, I didn’t win NaNoWriMo…but I totally accomplished what I needed NaNoWriMo to do for me, which is more of the point.
- See above for NaNoWriMo details.
- I had a fantastic time at both World Fantasy and ChessieCon! The links for each name go to my con reports.
- I still have about 200 pages to go in the last Wrinkle in Time series book, An Acceptable Time. This one is not grabbing me as much as the others, alas.
November Book Reviews
November Speculative Chic Contributions
- Now that I’ve started, I have no excuse not to write another 15k to 20k of Steel Justice!
- Finish An Acceptable Time and review it for Speculative Chic.
- Contribute to four group blog posts for Speculative Chic: my wrap-up of my 2018 resolution, a description of my 2019 resolution (more reading!), my biggest disappointment of 2018, and my most anticipated thing of 2019!
- As is my new tradition since I became obsessed with LEGO, I’ll build one set between Christmas and my birthday (Dec 31).
- And most importantly: VACATION! The husband and I will be on a giant boat in the Caribbean for 7 days. No internet. No writing. Just lots of sun and warm and reading. And maybe a caipirinha or three.
I reorganized my To Be Read shelves after all the free books I got from World Fantasy, and then Nicki-cat told me to get back to writing.
This weekend, I will be recovering from Thanksgiving by hanging out at the Red Lion Hotel Baltimore North for ChessieCon 2018! My schedule is below.
I’m not staying at the convention hotel for this one, so give me a shout if you want to meet up for coffee or a meal. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.
- 9:15 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
- With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Margaret Carter, Roberta Rogow, Michelle D. Sonnier, and Elektra Hammond
- 10:30 PM: Alternate Endings for your Favorite Canceled TV Shows (panel)
- The show was brilliant, but that’s how they ended it?! Firefly, Enterprise, Jericho, Terminator, to name a few, all ended before their time. This panel is a group discussion/impromptu exercise to make our own endings.
- With Elektra Hammond, Jeff Gritman, Timothy Liebe, and Harrison Demchick
- 10 AM: Time Management for the Overachieving Creator (panel)
- Wearing too many hats? Going it indie as an author or publisher can really fragment your time. Panelists discuss ways you can streamline your process to be productive while still getting necessary things done.
- With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Intisar Khanani, Valerie Mikles, and Linda Adams
- 4:15 PM: Young Adult Fiction: Why Then? Why Now? (panel)
- In 1967, highschooler S.E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders, and the YA genre was quickly off and running. Now, over thirty years later, YA is rapidly expanding again. Both adults and teenagers are reading it, and YA books pop up on every bestseller list. What happened then, and what’s happening now that causes YA to grow so wildly?
- With Mary Fan, Tamora Pierce, and Intisar Khanami
- 6:45 PM: Mass Author Signing
When a professional convention in your field is literally in your back yard (or at least 2 blocks away from where you used to work for 12 years), there’s really no excuse not to go. And I’m so glad that I attended World Fantasy 2018 in Baltimore, MD!
I worked from home on Thursday morning, and then my mother-in-law was nice enough to drive me up to the convention hotel, where I stayed for the weekend. I could have commuted, but sharing a room was literally the same cost as I would have paid in parking fees over the course of 4 days.
After checking in, a friend dragged me to a small workshop on using Tarot cards to help prompt story ideas. While I don’t disbelieve in using Tarot for more personal means, I adore the concept as a storytelling exercise.
Following that, my afternoon workshop on Working with Editors went well. Scott H. Andrews, of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, was a great presenter and very knowledgeable about the subject. I was pretty much there to speak from the novel perspective, and help wrangle one of the small Q&A groups we held with other editors — and I am totally okay with that!
I joined the three lovely ladies I shared a hotel room with for dinner at the Irish pub across the street. All of us are former students from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, but the best part of that is how many of those former students are now my friends and colleagues. Continue reading
I’m very excited to attend World Fantasy this year! It’s in Baltimore, so I really have no excuse not to be there. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to start meeting agents BEFORE I have a novel to pitch to them (the UFO book, which gets written in 2020!), so it will be a more relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved.
As an added bonus, I’ll get to see so many writer friends from my grad school tribe and beyond, and I’m even on programming!
- Thursday, 2 PM: Working with Editors
- Workshop with limited space available
- A broad discussion about editor interactions regarding short fiction and novels, including hiring developmental editors, finding sensitivity readers, submitting short fiction to magazines, sending queries for a novel to agents or publishers, and handling rewrites and line-edits. Plus a Q&A session with leading editors in the speculative fiction field today.
- With Scott H. Andrews, Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine
- Friday, 11 AM: Writing as Sanctuary
- Panel: How does the art and/or exercise of writing provide sanctuary from the world. Can writing take you away from the external or is that always carried through to your work? #SanctuaryWriting
- With Jacob Baugher, J.D. Blackrose, J.L. Gribble, Anna La Voie (M), and K. Ceres Wright
- Friday, 8 PM: Mass Author Signing
- Saturday, 10 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
- Sunday, 11:30 AM: Individual Author Reading
I’m staying at the hotel in Baltimore, so I’ll be around all weekend if you want to hang out and chat or grab a meal/coffee/adult beverage. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.
I’m always thrilled to support fellow graduates of the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program, even if I’ve never had the opportunity to meet them in person! Today, I’m happy to host dark fantasy author Allan Cornelius and ask him some questions about his debut novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When you’ve done the unthinkable, what wouldn’t you do to make it right? Lie? Steal? Kill?
For thirteen years, Steven’s mother is all he’s known. Then he plays an unintended part in the resurrection of Ssanek, a long-dead god. Now Steven must decide between abandoning the world to its fate, and risking those he cares for in a hopeless bid to banish the dark god
Meanwhile, half-elven Christabel searches for a way to bring her mother back from the dead while fighting those at the palace who see her human heritage as poison. Her only hope is Ssanek. Will Christabel be willing to give what he asks in return? After all, every wish has a price. And Ssanek’s price is blood.
Separated by thousands of miles, these two strangers must fight an evil that twists the very hearts and flesh of anyone who follows it. But only together will they find the strength to defeat what neither could overcome alone.
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Tell us a bit about what sets Whispers at the Alter apart from other dark fantasy tales!
I would have to say it is the emphasis on the characters themselves. I’ve always been attracted to stories that were about more than just something bad happening to the protagonist and her friends, them struggling, and then just more bad happening to them. The darkness in Whispers at the Altar comes as much from within the protagonists themselves as it does from without. At its heart, it is a story about two vary similar people, who experience similar loss, and their internal struggles to overcome and move past that loss. The internal journey of all of the characters, protagonist and antagonist alike is what has always attracted me to writing. Continue reading
This weekend was amazing, and I’m absolutely exhausted. (I apologize in advance that this con report will not be as in-depth as usual.) I’m very glad that spent the weekend at the hotel, despite Capclave being a “local” convention to where I live (Rockville, Maryland, is a 40-minute drive from my house without traffic). But it meant plenty of social time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, which is really the best part of conventions anyway! Continue reading
This weekend I’ll be attending Capclave, sponsored by the Washington Science Fiction Association, for the first time! Even though it’s a fairly local convention to me, I’ll be staying at the hotel for the full experience, and I’m excited to spend time with everyone who will be there. Below is my schedule for the weekend, but as usual, feel free to PM me on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a coffee, or just a chat!
I will have copies of all of my books available all weekend, including the newly released Steel Time!
- 4 PM: Secret Origins of Writers (panel)
- To MFA or not to MFA. Pros and cons of workshops like Odyssey, Clarion, Taos Toolbox, and MFA programs such as Stonecoast and Iowa Writers Workshop.
- With Scott Edelman, Suzanne Palmer, Jack Stillingstead, and James R. Stratton
- 6 PM: Reading
- 7 PM: Taxonomy of Fantasy (panel)
- Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dark fantasy, high fantasy, epic fantasy, mythic fantasy, etc. How many types of fantasy are there? Reader’s tastes evolve over time. Which types of fantasy are currently the most powerful, which are becoming less popular, where is fantasy headed, and why?
- With Craig L. Gidney and Lawrence Watt-Evans
- 9 PM: How to Self-Edit that Lousy First Draft
- Sometimes a first draft of a story is just not in a state your want to send to an editor or publisher, and yet too promising to simply set aside. What’s a good mindset to identify the pieces that can best be salvaged in revision? How can a first draft go from lousy to respectable with the least amount of exertion that could perhaps be spent on other works?
- With Doc Coleman, Michelle D. Sonnier, and James R. Stratton
- 10 PM: Author Table
- 10 AM: Throw Out the Genre Definitions (panel)
- Intersections of YA, horror, romance, erotica, literary fiction, and SFF and their current successes. Who is doing it well?
- With Jeanne Adams, Kelly Dwyer, and Joan Wendland
- 1 PM: What Makes Alternate History So Compelling? (panel)
- Alternate histories continue to proliferate, though in accordance with Sturgeon’s Law, most fail the plausibility test, the storytelling test, or both. Why do the what-ifs continue to fascinate us, and what makes a power story in this subgenre?
- With Tom Doyle, Bjorn Hasseler, Alan Smale, and Jean Marie Ward
- 5 PM: Writers as Fans: How Fandom Influences Our Writing (panel)
- A panel of writers discusses their favorite fandoms and how their passions have inspired and influenced their writing.
- With Andrew Fox, Victoria Janssen, and Hildy Silverman
- 7:30 PM: Mass Autographing Session
- 10 AM: Ask Me Anything–Author Edition (panel)
- Ask our panel of authors absolutely anything about what they do–writing, getting published, elevator pitches, getting an agent, dealing with writers block, writers workshops, etc. Includes many non-writer-parts-of-being-a-writer, such as being your own boss, setting schedules, and so on
- With Alyssa Wong, Jonathan Brazee, Suzanne Palmer, and Lawrence M. Schoen
- 12 PM: Don’t Go There–Unless You Really Want To (panel)
- Taboo subjects in fantasy and science fiction. Are there any? What lines won’t you cross? What lines should you cross?
- With Sarah Avery, Shahid Mahmud, and Lawrence Watt-Evans