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.
Going to a convention after a major holiday would be pretty crazy, but luckily this convention is local, chill, and a chance to visit with friends. So it’s easy to treat it as an extension of the holiday, and I had a lovely time at ChessieCon this year.
Friday started with how all days after Thanksgiving should start, with a massive lunch of leftovers. We ate at my mother-in-law’s house, where my parents also dropped by, so by the time I headed home to prepare for the convention, pretty much no NaNoWriMo writing got done. I was not super upset about that. Instead, I made sure my con bags were sorted and that I had questions prepared for the panel I was moderating on Saturday afternoon. Even though my first scheduled event was not until 9:15 that night, I headed up to Baltimore around 5 PM so that I had time to greet friends. Continue reading
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.
For my second annual trip to western Pennsylvania this summer, I’ll be headed for Confluence, the speculative fiction literary convention hosted by Parsec, Pittsburgh’s science-fiction and fantasy society. I have a great time there every year, and I’m excited to head back this upcoming weekend.
Due to miscommunications in a few different fronts, my schedule for the weekend is lighter than normal. That means more time to hang out with people and have fun! Let me know if you’ll be around and want to grab a meal, a drink, or a coffee (I like all of the above).
6:00 PM: Bring On the Bad Guys (panel)
What makes a good villain? What makes great villains so memorable? With R. K. Thorne, Joshua Bellin, Frederic S. Durbin, and Stephen C. Fisher
11:00 AM: Blurring the Lines: Writing Across Genres (panel)
How we blend SF, fantasy, horror, romance, mystery, and other genres. With Brian Koscienski and Larry Ivkovich
12:00 PM: Reading from the Steel Empires series
12:00 PM: Autograph session with S. C. Butler and Barbara Doran
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!