I’m feeling pretty positive about how this month turned out, even if (as usual, these days) I did not accomplish all my goals. I did get to spend lots of time with awesome people and read cool books, which also have to be priorities in life. A person cannot always “exhale” productivity; sometimes you have to breath in life to replenish the reservoir.
- The final copy-edit of Steel Shadows was completed and returned to my editor for layout! I’m so excited about this book. I say this about every project, but this one is completely different from anything I’ve written before.
- I only wrote about 10k words for Steel Justice rather than 20k, but I did get to the scenes for the grand finale and figured out that I need to seriously beef up a subplot.
- I had a great time at Cleveland Concoction at the beginning of the month! You can check out my full con report here.
- I also had a fabulous weekend at Bethany Beach with a bunch of romance writer friends and a successful day job trip to Providence, Rhode Island, for an editing conference. I love how my network of writer friends is so expansive that I got to spend quality time with lovely ladies during each trip: Cara McKinnon and K. Parr.
March Book Reviews
March Speculative Chic Contributions
- Write the back cover blurb for Steel Shadows.
- Make progress on Steel Justice. What does that mean? I don’t even know anymore. We can all be surprised.
- Catch up on book reviews! I’m currently almost 10 reviews behind, because I’ve been reading faster than I spend time at my computer.
- My travel this month includes a quick weekend trip to Atlanta, Georgia, for a good friend’s wedding.
- I’ll also be spending a few days in Washington DC for a very cool healthcare conference on behalf of the day job.
What are you up to this month? I’m definitely excited for warmer weather. I have too many adorable geeky t-shirts to hide them under sweaters.
Ack, where did February go? I guess this is what happens when I try to reduce my workload but still end up ridiculously busy. The good news is that I got a lot of stuff done. The bad news is that I still didn’t manage to complete all my goals. Oh well, March is another month.
- I submitted a short story to an anthology I was invited to participate in! This does not confirm acceptance, but it was fun to play with some secondary characters in my world and *gasp* write in first person. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
- I got about one-third through the editing necessary on Steel Shadows. That’s definitely going to be my priority for March!
- I had a blast at Farpoint 2019! You can read all about it at my full con report.
- My much-needed writer’s retreat to Broadkill Resort was a ton of fun. Everyone got lots of work done, and we thoroughly enjoyed the game Bards Dispense Profanity.
- Finally, I had a great few days in New York City for the day job, and even got to meet my little sister’s significant other! We met at a cool bar called Oscar Wilde, and I got to pose with the
man legend himself.
February Book Reviews
- Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin #2) by Jordan L. Hawk (5 stars)
- Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin #3) by Jordan L. Hawk (5 stars)
- “Remnant” (Caldwell & Feximal short story/Whyborne & Griffin #3.5) by K.J. Charles & Jordan L. Hawk (4 stars)
- Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey (5 stars)
- Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5) by Ilona Andrews (5 stars)
- Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) by James S.A. Corey (5 stars)
- Belle by Night (Dommes by Night #1) by Rachell Nichole (4 stars)
February Speculative Chic Contributions
- Let’s try this again: Complete a full editorial pass of Steel Shadows and return it to my editor for layout. (Seriously, this time.)
- Write 20k words for Steel Justice. This might get me within spitting distance of the ending.
- Attend Cleveland ConCoction 2019! (I will literally be driving there when this blog entry gets posted.)
- Attend another weekend writing retreat! This one is with a lovely group of romance writers who have accepted this speculative fiction writer as one of their own (even if they do keep trying to get me to write erotica).
- Finally, I’ll be in Providence, Rhode Island at the end of the month for a conference for the day job.
I did do one crazy thing this month. Got my hair professionally dyed! This color scheme has been on my mind for ages, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
Will I accomplish all of my goals this month? Will I do anything else ridiculous with my hair? Will I get a tattoo?
WHO KNOWS. This winter has made me a little stir crazy, and I’m anxious for spring.
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.