Okay, kids. Something isn’t working, and I’m pretty sure I know what it is. I have reached that point where I have so much to do that I’m getting overwhelmed and not doing any of it (as evidenced by the 11 books I read this month). Time to re-evaluate and change a few tactics. Because the wrap-up below isn’t pretty.
- I did not write 18k words in Steel Justice this month. I wrote 8k, bringing me to about 49k total.
- The weekend at Broadkill Writer’s retreat got cancelled due to inclement weather.
- I barely touched Steel Shadows, though I did review my editor’s notes and clean up any issues she found.
- I did some minor brainstorming on the short story I need to write, but did not write any actual words.
Even my cat is disappointed with me.
January Book Reviews
January Speculative Chic Contributions
- Write the first draft of that short story, get it critiqued, clean it up, and submit it by the February 28 deadline!
- Complete a full editorial pass of Steel Shadows and return it to my editor for layout.
- Attend Farpoint 2019, where I will conduct my alternate history presentation along with readings, signings, and panels.
- Attend a much-needed writer’s retreat at Broadkill Resort.
- Survive a trip to New York City for the day job.
But wait! Where is adding more words to Steel Justice on that list? It’s not, alas. I needed to take one of the big things off my plate, and priority has to go to the two projects with solid (and much closer) deadlines. I’m looking forward to a productive March, especially since I already have another writing retreat planned in that month.
I already feel a huge load lifted from my shoulders. Now, time to get to work.
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.
Another month has flown by in a fun and bewildering blur! I’m writing this post on Halloween, and my biggest dilemma right now is figuring out what to wear while I hand out candy tonight. Oh, and write two thousand words so that I can kick off NaNoWriMo at an even 10k. Yep, you read that right. More details below.
- I finally finished the detailed outline for book 6, tentatively titled Steel Justice and I’m really pleased with it! This will be a fun adventure.
- Like I said above, I’m 8k words into the first draft already! I’m really enjoying writing from the POV of a character who has been around for a bit, but I hadn’t dipped into his head yet.
- I had a blast at a writers retreat on the beach with a bunch of romance writers. Not my usual crowd, but they were all lovely ladies. The second retreat was cancelled last minute, so I spent a quiet weekend at home with the husband instead. No complaints there.
- I started reading the final book of my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project, but then I got distracted by an advanced copy of a fun fantasy novel. I’ll get back to that soon.
October Book Reviews
October Speculative Chic Contributions
- I’m officially a crazy person. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for 2018, to write 50k words of Steel Justice in 30 days. Feel free to follow along and keep track of my word count at my NaNoWriMo page!
- And I’m doing all that writing during a month when I have two conventions! I’ll be at World Fantasy in Baltimore the first weekend of the month and ChessieCon on the last. (At least both of these events have minimal travel time.)
- Finish reading An Acceptable Time and write up the review to finish my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project.
I feel like that’s a short list, but: FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS IN THIRTY DAYS.
I’d better start eating Halloween candy now.
Seven romance writers at the beach plus one tall urban fantasy writer to take the selfie.
How is it almost the end of the year? What happened? Where have I been?
Writing and reading and traveling, for the most part. Oh yeah, and I published my fourth book. Welcome Steel Empires Book 4: Steel Time to the world!
But now October has already started, so there’s no time to waste!
- Hey, something I completed! I built an awesome LEGO set to celebrate turning my fifth book in to my editor. The built report will show up here next week.
- Hey, something I absolutely did not complete! As of the time of this writing, book six is all of eight outlined scenes on the floor of my office. But it has a title — Steel Justice. So, a partial win? Maybe?
- Book 4, Steel Time, did have awesome blog tour. If you missed any of the stops, you can find the full round-up here.
- Two conventions were also attended this month, which probably contributes to my current haze of mild exhaustion. You can find my con reports for both events below:
September Book Reviews
September Speculative Chic Contributions
- Finish the detailed outline of book 6. I have no idea why this book is giving me such a mental block.
- Write at least 10k words of book 6. Maybe once I start, it’ll go a lot easier.
- No conventions this month, but I’m attending two writing retreats over two weekends. The scheduling was unintentional on my part, but I’m looking forward to handing out with writers. Hopefully some of their productivity and enthusiasm for their projects will rub off on me.
- I have one more book to read for my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project, so I’d better add it to the list before 2018 slips away from me completely!
A question for you writers in the audience — what do you do when you’re so intimidated by a project that you’re too terrified to even start it? This isn’t writer’s block, I think. I’d appreciate any advice.
For you non-writers, gentle and not-so-gentle nudges on social media of “You should be writing!” are probably welcome in the coming weeks.
These guys are not helpful:
This whole linear time thing is for the birds. I feel like it was just yesterday that I sat down to write last month’s version of this post. That usually means that I got a lot of work done during the month, or absolutely nothing at all. Let’s see how it all fell out.
Either way, I now have a giant TARDIS of my very own.
- I completed my enormous editing job! The book was amazing, and I can’t wait to share it with the world when my friend releases her debut novel.
- I only managed a bit of work on revisions to Steel Shadows, but my production schedule has shifted this year, so I’m not stressed too much about that.
- I did complete my initial research for the as-yet-untitled book 6 and did some preliminary brainstorming. I’m excited to sink my teeth into that project once Steel Shadows is off to my editor.
- The annual pilgrimage to
Hogwarts In Your Write Mind’s annual writer’s conference was an absolute blast. You can find the full story of the giant TARDIS in my con report.
- Reading advance copies of novels by authors I adore is the best part of my job, and I’m excited to share Sally Malcolm’s Perfect Day with you soon!
June Book Reviews
June Speculative Chic Contributions
- Complete revisions to Steel Shadows and send it off to my editor!
- Complete first draft of book 6 and get it reviewed by other writers/editors. This one is going to get complicated, I think, so I’d rather have my outline solid BEFORE I start writing.
- At the end of this month, I’ll be in Pittsburgh for Confluence 2018 (July 27-29)!
- Even though I’ve held gorgeous copies of Steel Time in my hands, the book isn’t officially out yet. Time to start working on a book launch party for September and additional online promo.
There’s got to be something I’m missing. Luckily, you’re reading this blog post in the present, but I’m writing it in the past, so if I remember something, I’ll just rewind the clock and add it in.
I’m going to need more coffee if I’m going to start courting paradox.
It’s been done before, so I’ll skip the trite comments about “OMG how is June here already??!” Instead, let’s get to the good stuff. After you admire the absolutely adorable dragonling that I bought at Balticon last weekend. Fable has been tasked with protecting my TARDIS die, and if you think he’s amazing, check out Emizart for your own!
Okay, enough squeeing (is there such a thing?). Let’s get to work.
- I had a lovely first visit to Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, Pennsylvania, for their Women Writing Mysterious Worlds booksigning event. I was joined by mystery writers Nancy A. Hughes and Yvonne Schuchart, who you should definitely check out!
- I closed out the month with my return to Balticon, where I participated on multiple panels and gave my alternate history presentation again! Check out my con report for all the details.
- I’m a bit behind on doing some research for the as-yet untitled book 6 of the Steel Empires series, but I did order the books I needed! They’re sitting behind me on my to-be read shelf…watching me…staring at me….
- I did, however, get the final edits for Steel Time (book 4) back to my editor! I’ve also seen the cover, and it’s GORGEOUS. Brad Sharp is my hero.
- I’ve also gotten a start on the revisions that Steel Shadows (book 5) desperately needs. My beta readers are amazing. You can’t have them. They’re mine.
- Beta read and critiques of my own were completed this month! I’m so lucky to have such talented writers I can look up to that I can also call friends.
- And finally, I’m set to begin copy-editing a book I’ve been dying to read for literally years! I worked out a contract and got the text, so that’ll be my top goal for June.
May Book Reviews
May Speculative Chic Contributions
- The top priority this month is my big editing job. I can’t wait to get to work on it!
- Next, I’ll be tackling the major revisions my beta readers have identified for Steel Shadows. Everything is completely doable, and I only have a few scenes that need major rewrites, so I’m looking forward to returning to that story.
- I’m also looking forward to doing some major brainstorming for book 6! The research books that are staring at me will get cracked open. I might have a working outline for book 6 by the end of the month, but I’m not going to kill myself to get there.
- Because I also have a trip to look forward to! The annual pilgrimage to
Hogwarts Seton Hill University takes place later this month, where I’ll be participating in the In Your Write Mind writers retreat.
- In between all that, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving two advance reader copies of novels I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing.
Time to make some coffee, snuggle some kitties, and get to work!
I’m totally having that weird feeling of having accomplished so much in the past month while also doing not much of anything at all. Take a look below and let me know where you think I fall on that spectrum.
Currently reading: A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet #2) by Madeleine L’Engle
Currently watching: Catching up on various DVRed shows and looking for a light-hearted series to watch (give me suggestions in the comments!)
- I’m about 3/4 done with the beta read I’m working on, and very much looking forward to finding out how it ends.
- The future of the Steel Empires series is basically to continue writing more of the series. However, I’m going to be involved in a really cool project to celebrate my publishing company, and I can’t wait to start sharing the details of that.
- Both of my work trips to New York City and Arlington were incredibly educational and awesome. Part of what I love about my day job is that I get to work on topics that I’m passionate about. As an added bonus, I spent last weekend on the beach with some good friends. So, a month heavy with travel, but I enjoyed every moment of it.
April Book Reviews
April Speculative Chic Contributions
- A slightly less busy travel month, and this time it’s all for the fiction writing! First up, I’ll be signing books as part of the Women Writing Mysterious Worlds event at Cupboard Maker Books on Saturday, May 5 from 1 to 3 PM. Come say hi if you’re local to the Enola, Pennsylvania, area!
- At the end of the month, I’ll be returning to Balticon in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor over Memorial Day weekend! I’m not sure what my full schedule is yet, but I’ll definitely be reprising my Alternate History presentation, which you should definitely come check out and see how nerdy I get.
- On the home front, I have some research books to review in preparation to write the as yet untitled sixth book in the Steel Empires series.
- Meanwhile, I have to get the final edits on book 4, Steel Time, back to my editor…
- And make revisions to book 6, Steel Shadows, now that I’ve gotten reviews back from most of my amazing beta readers!
- I also need to finish the book I’m beta reading, and complete a shorter critique for another friend.
- Finally, I’ll be copy-editing a book currently in production that I’ve been dying to read for literally years.
I love my life. Busy as hell, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And on the plus side, the weather is FINALLY getting warmer here in Maryland! Editing is much nicer when completed with windows open, and even sitting outside.