if I were me

Ressurecto Livejourno

Kicking the tires. I think it might be time to come back to the long form.

Step 1: think really long and hard about an entry that would be a worthy restart to your LJ

Step 2: write a Twitter-length announcement of restarting your LJ

Step 3: doctor up the existing announcement with a three-part list because you need time to clear your throat before you dive right back into this whole thing, amirite?
if I were me

Awards... Happen?

I have read not much this year that was not for an awards jury, and it to me seems like spoiling the pool to say what I liked juuuuust yet. Of the things that are unrelated to awards juries, I prooooobably need some recommendations. And also, I don't have time to read much else right now.

SO if you have a short story recommendation--short stories only at this point--here is the place to make it! Please make it?

(I will note for the audience that I have published a whopping 2 things this year which I would like to remind you exist, regardless of awards, because I like my work to be read: Handbook for Dragon Slayers and "Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love" (audio version here).)
if I were me

Writing Year 2013

Published this year:

new fiction:
* "Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love" in Apex (and also in audio reprint with Escape Pod)
* Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Total submissions this year (short stories):
Gosh, I've mostly stopped counting. It can't have been more than 4?

Finished short stories (novellas, novelettes):
...
I started one, does that count? (It does not.) (It will be pretty boss if it ever gets finished, though.)

Finished novels:
The Castle Behind Thorns (hooray!)

Looking back, did you write more than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you'd predicted?
Well, it's always less. I always underestimate how much attention revisions, copyedits, and galleys will take from me.

My favorite story written this year (of my own):
My best story this year:
Most fun story:
Hardest story to write:

Some year, I'll complete enough different things to answer these again.

Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?
Oh yes. Writing The Castle Behind Thorns in THIRD PERSON?!?! OMG. Also? I rewrote the first 10k words that I had been stumbling through for a year, and then boom, laid down the remaining book in about... 2 months. And it was good.

Do you have any goals for the New Year?
Sure. Oh, wait, did you mean this other than as a yes/no?

How did you do on last year's goals?
Poorly. I always think I can write more than I do.

What else?
As ever, I'm astonished by how much work I did this year, and how little I feel I have to show for it.
if I were me

Three quarters of the year

Anyone who has followed this journal (remember when we all used to post multiple times a day!?), you know I am Not Friends with Fall. I'm a spring baby, I grew up in a softer climate than the one I was born and returned to, and it gets darker, and I just, well, NEH. NEH, I DON'T LIKE FALL.

(I don't like winter, either, but that's out of respect for it wanting to kill me. Fall is just a jerky harbinger of the death season, as far as I'm concerned.)

I have duked it out--verbally, textually--many times with the fall and winter lovers, and I am old enough to know it's just how you feel. Just as there are morning people and night people, there are fall people and spring people.

I have started to come to some slightly better terms with fall now that I've realized: the fall equinox is a good time to take stock of the year. I might not love fall, but you can't ignore it; you can't look up and go, "Oh, my, how the fall has passed!" With every shorter day and falling leaf, it ticks down the clock of one's mortality and reminds one of the procrastinations of summer.

So. Let's take stock.

I wrote out some goals -- not ones that made it to the journal, I don't think -- earlier this year.

-find and apply for 3 grants by June 1
-set up 1-2 speaking engagements/workshops/classes/school visits, just to get them under my belt
-write proposals for ten books/projects
-devise, with agent, a strategy for JE
-make sure to at least remind people that one's work exists, come awards season

-find and apply for 3 grants by June 1
...So. Grants for early-career but already published, slightly more commercial than literary, non-MFA holding, genre writers? Hardish to find. I found one and applied for it, and that was by June 1. I have looked since then, and have missed the mark on the criteria in numerous ways. I even broadened my definition of "grant" to "residencies with a stipend" and there are many more of those, but none that didn't cost what I decided was too much money to merely apply to, and also would take too much time away from the dayjob if I did secure them.

So, this won't be making it onto next year's goal list--what will make it on is "quarterly, look for and apply for as many grants as one is eligible for." I'll set aside 4 afternoons a year to do it. That's a better goal.

-set up 1-2 speaking engagements/workshops/classes/school visits, just to get them under my belt
This one sort of just happened. I taught a workshop at Ann Arbor Book Festival, and was the author in residence at a young writers' conference. I consider this goal thoroughly met, and almost through no action of my own other than saying yes when someone asked. Next year's goal? Will probably be something like, "Earn $xxx from speaking engagements." Maybe even $xxxx!

-write proposals for ten books/projects
Um. I'm tardy on this, but that's what this last quarter is for? I've written the most of five? Six? I need to sit down and look. My contract with HarperCollins is winding up with the June 2014 publication of The Castle Behind Thorns, but there's the option clause in my contract, and I am super-happy with my editor, so... But I still want to write 10 proposals because that would be good for me to be thinking that broadly, I think.

-devise, with agent, a strategy for JE
Currently, the strategy is "We don't have time for that one..."

-make sure to at least remind people that one's work exists, come awards season
This had to be a goal because I'm terrible at this game. I did get "Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love" over to Escape Pod, which, as far as I'm concerned, is about the single best thing a gal with no big blog following can do to remind people one exists. I'm the chair of the jury that would have probably been my best bet to remind about Handbook for Dragon Slayers, so that's right out. But mostly, just remembering to cough politely and do my own write-up of my picks for awards season would accomplish this goal.

In an ideal world, I would write another book this year. I have only three months and change to do it, however, but one of those months is NaNoWriMo. But--yes. That would be nice.

But either way, I have to finish my galleys for Castle right now. And that's the goal for today.
if I were me

Sales and Whatnot

I realized I hadn't addressed my short story sales spreadsheet since I sold a book, basically; it came to me as I was working over two story contracts (reprints both).

sales and such

Basically, after a quick perusal of my website and my PayPal account, I got my sheet back in order, completed the first of the above two graphs--and remembered that one of the reasons that I've stopped writing short stories (beyond that they are not my natural length and I find them four to eight times as time-consuming as a comparable length of a novel) is that they are remuneratively poor.

Case in point, I pitted my book incomes versus short story incomes against each other in the second graph as a percentage of total income.  From 2010-2013 you can just barely make out the little shifting line of red.

A good reminder for me not to futz overmuch with short stories. It's one thing to write one if it jumps in and wants to be written in a couple of hours.  It's quite another if I have to agonize over it for three months.
if I were me

Why Impostor Syndrome is a Syndrome and Not a Recognized Disease

Syndrome: A group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.

One does not merely walk into a publishing contract without seeing at least a few of the signs of impostor syndrome in oneself.  I've been declaring many of my symptoms not to be emblematic of the syndrome, because, well, I think one has to have some sort of Emperor's New Clothes feeling about the whole thing in order to get the firm diagnosis on the impostor syndrome.  All things considered, I have largely not felt that anyone was particularly looking at me, nor have I secretly felt that other people could see my clothes while I could not.

If anything, she grumbled to herself on occasion, I felt that people weren't taking me seriously enough: because I write kidlit, because I'm a gurl, because I'm not conventionally attractive, because I still work my dayjob, because whatever.  But they are rarely, if ever, people who actually matter to the course of my career.  Not really.  Does it matter if a mil-SF writer doesn't give me the time of day at a convention? No, it does not. I don't write mil-SF, and I never will.

Plus, at the heart of it, I have all the girls and women who write me the letters and let me know I made their lives better--or that they were at least a little bit in love with Dragos, whatever--and that is enough to keep me going.  (Yes, girls and women. I haven't gotten one fan letter from a boy or man.)  And when I started this endeavor to become a published writer of novels, that was the plan, see? To make people feel as great as my favorite writers made me feel.

So, when impostor syndrome is brought up, I usually go, "Hm, no, I'm fine."

But then I notice something--stuff like what provoked my last entry here, in fact, or finding oneself/one's work in a random list, casually mentioned, as if one had written something that everyone knew about (not the case)--and I blink and go, "Oooooh.  Impostor syndrome."

It's all those little moments working together that make the syndrome for me.  I never have moments of "I shouldn't be here" or "They're all going to find out, soon."  That's not how it works for me.  It never has.

I have the blessing and the curse of being an only child who is both a first-born and last-born grandchild, and I have a full repertoire of coping mechanisms for dealing with the real world not particularly thinking I'm as special as my family always made it out to be--one of those coping mechanisms is never believing that I'm less than anyone else thinks.  Haha, no.


So anyway. Call me a late bloomer.  I finally get why it's a syndrome, because it seeps into the cracks and gets you, rather than throwing you down the rabbit hole with something you could see on an MRI.  I get it now.

Drat it all.
if I were me

Halfway; or, In Which There Are Five Random Things

1) I am NOT halfway, but I FEEL halfway through the crush of events of this summer.  Two down, two to go, except there are really more than two left.  The lies we tell ourselves?  But attending Mythcon won't require any real preparation.

2) Of course, I have copyedits now, so the hustle gets going now for reals, and also I have to weed my garden.

3) My cats are getting old.  The Maine coon clings like a colicky baby sometimes.

4) I worry about how Handbook is selling, because the Bookscan numbers do not look good compared to TPC, which in turn was not in best-seller land.  I try to tell myself Bookscan doesn't actually know anything.  Then I try to stop worrying because, boy, talk about things that are FAR out of my hands.

5) Is Winnie the Pooh a Hufflepuff or a Gryffindor? Discuss.
Princess, Apple

Heave Ho

My second book is out in a week, which kicks off a very busy summer--after Memorial weekend, which I'll spend with my mom.  Then, in order:

  • Stepdaughter's high school graduation weekend

  • A breathing weekend (I think). AKA gardening

  • A week in North Carolina -- for a mini-20 year reunion, a reading at a local bookstore, and assorted fun, PLUS my ten-year anniversary with le husband

  • Ann Arbor Bookfest (where I'm teaching a class)

  • Book launch/reading/signing at the Library

  • The Michigan State Young Author's Conference, where I'm the...  whatsit...  featured presenter?

  • Independence Day weekend

  • An actual breathing weekend, but by then I'll need to see my mom probably. If not, I'm sure my neglected garden will be interested in seeing me.

  • Then the Mythcon 44 weekend, since The Princess Curse is up for a Mythopoeic award

Since I'm coming down with a cold right now, this sounds dreadfully busy.  It also doesn't pack in copyedits for the third book, proposals for my option book, or any other promotional work I should do for the book.  Or anything I might be doing for SFWA in my doughty volunteer roles.

It also doesn't mention the, you know, day job, which is 40-hours-a-weekish per usual, though hey, at least there are 2 paid holidays in there, plus a handful of vacation days.

So, if I don't want to DO anything this summer? Or fall? This eight-week stretch is why.
if I were me

Con or Bust

I have a giveaway package up over at Con or Bust.

Ze package includes: An ARC o Handbook for Dragon Slayers; a hardcover of The Princess Curse; and a goatskin bookmark inscribed with Carolingian Miniscule. 

All as personalized as you'd like.

It's my first real chance to provide something for a fundraiser.  Well, it's the first time I've felt I might have something someone wants, anyway. Same diff! 
if I were me

2013 Goals

I don't have them.  But I think I should make them. In public. And have some accountability, like, for every goal segment not reached I have to donate a dollar to a charity I hate.  The Tea Party?  And what's a hurtful number of goal segments? $100 isn't enough. I'm thinking $250.

More later, as I figure this all out. Suggestions for figuring this out welcome!