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.
Happy New Year’s Eve to all of my awesome friends and blog followers, but more importantly — happy birthday to me! I’m planning a lovely low-key evening with a small group of friends to involve pizza, cake, and games. I hope that whatever you plans have, you remain safe and have a blast.
To celebrate today, I’d love to share two short scenes that were removed from Steel Time before publication. Enjoy!
[Please note that both scenes are in very rough draft form, and neither of them have been edited.]
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.
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:
It’s been another whirlwind month at Casa Siamese, filled with lots of reading, blogging, editing, and other such shenanigans. I’ve been doing a lot of working out, and I’m counting down the days until the weather finally gets warm enough for me to walk outside. (Yes, I’m aware that I could walk outside now, but you underestimate my intense dislike of the cold.) Don’t think I’m living too perfect a life, though — the to-be read pile keeps growing out of control!
Currently reading: Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (as part of Comic Book Girl 19‘s online book club)
Currently watching: Jessica Jones season 2, when I’m not catching up on the shows piling up on the DVR
- The SHIELD Helicarrier LEGO set is completed! It was pretty epic, and a lot of fun to build. Keep an eye out for my build report on the blog soon.
- The latest round of copy-edits on book 4, Steel Time, were completed and sent off to my editor!
- My presentation on alternate history at the Uniontown Library as part of their 2018 Author series was a blast. It went so well that I immediately volunteered to do a modified version at a few of my upcoming conventions this summer, and one has already accepted it for programming!
- I also had the expected great time at Cleveland ConCoction, exploding soda bottles aside. (See the full sordid tale at my con report, linked above.)
- And finally, I’m about halfway through a book I’m proofreading for a fellow RDSP author. It’s a total blast, with a great twist on mythology, so I’ll definitely be shouting about it from the rooftops when it launches.
LEGO construction at Casa Siamese requires the proper levels of hydraulic fluid.
March Book Reviews
March Speculative Chic Contributions
- Once I finish proofreading the book I’m working on, I’ve got the first half of another to beta read! Luckily, pretty much all the authors I know are crazy-talented, so this is all more of a privilege than a chore.
- I’ll be meeting with my editor this month to finish up work on Steel Time and discuss the future of the series. Don’t panic! Basically, come June, will I be working on book 6, working on a series of short stories for gradual release, or both?
- No conventions this month, but I will be taking two trips for the day job to New York City and Arlington, VA. The topics for both are fascinating, so I’m happy that so much cool travel is part of BOTH of my jobs.
That’s it! Now, I’ve got a cup of hot coffee, a cat snoring on my lap, and a bunch of emails to catch up on. It was warm enough for a hoodie and no socks today, but the local weather report is threatening mixed snow tonight. You can come anytime now, spring…
A difficult life, I know.
A post-apocalyptic story starring a strong female character and her adorable pet cat? This should have been right up my alley. But despite the art being streamlined and stunning, the story never quite grabbed me.
Though the internal narration conceit was very cool, it seems the author erred on the side of “less is more” when it came to world-building. Unfortunately, that “less” led to a world that didn’t make much sense. I also did not figure out Aria’s place in it soon enough to care, and only finished the story because it was so short. Continue reading
Wow, is the first month of 2018 done already? Seems like it flew by in a whirlwind of writing and reading and LEGO. Oh wait — because that’s basically all I did this month.
- First of all, the good news: The first draft of Steel Empires #5: Steel Shadows is DONE! Final word count clocked in at 85,836 words. You have no idea how happy I am that I don’t have to stress about cutting 15k+ words like last year.
- While letting that first draft simmer a bit, I also finished major edits for book 4, Steel Time, and sent them back to my publisher. In addition, I wrote up my acknowledgements and the back cover text, and the book is on its way to layout!
- Now it’s back to revising Steel Shadows, which I’m about 1/4 done with. I’m enjoying it, so that’s a good sign, right?
- In the midst of all that, I also beta read a novel for a grad school friend. IT WAS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. When it’s a bestseller, I’ll totally get to say that I got to read it first.
January Book Reviews
January Speculative Chic Contributions
- Finish revisions on Steel Shadows and get it out to my beta readers!
- Note to self: Find beta readers…
- I’ve added another convention to my list! The weekend of Feb. 9-11 I’ll be attending Farpoint in Hunt Valley, MD (just north of Baltimore).
- And at some point, I need to start thinking about the presentation I’m giving in March for the Uniontown Public Library’s 2018 Author Series. I’ll be discussing how alternate history can be used to create amazing stories!
How’s 2018 working out for all of you? Have you accomplished any of your New Year’s resolutions? I did mine! (See my Speculative Chic post about reading A Wrinkle in Time.)
Now, time to get back to work on Steel Shadows. I have my biggest LEGO set to date to build once it’s off to the beta readers!
Hard at work on their own New Year’s resolutions.