Hark! An Eligibility Post!

It’s pretty weird for me to be typing that at all, but it’s true. 2014 was the year of my first awards-eligible publications. Last year, I told other writers hell yes I want you to remind me what you’re eligible forWhich means I have to take my own damned advice, huh?

I will admit, this is way outside of my comfort zone. Impostor Syndrome is super-loud right now, with a heaping, steaming scoop of your stuff’s not good enough on the side. But y’know, this is part of my job, now, as Mary Robinettte Kowal points out in a post of her own. She is a damned smart person, whose short story “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” was at the tippy-top of my Hugo ballot last year. I’m inclined to take her advice.

Thus.

In 2014, I published the following:

“Ex Astris,” Fireside Magazine, January 2014 (short story)
Night OwlsAce Books, February 25, 2014 (novel)

Since both of those were professional sales, and were published last year, I suppose that also makes me eligible for awards for new writers. Do I think I deserve an award?
/snerks
/points at second paragraph, second sentence

That’s not me being humble. That’s me saying I read an atomic truckload of fiction, and I have a list of amazing stuff I’ve read over the past year. At some point I’ll write a roundup of my favorites.

But for now, there you go. My very first eligibility post. It’s one of those odd intangible milestones for me, so, huzzah!

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Hello, 2015!

It’s time for this blog’s very first State of the Things, which is fitting for a new year. I didn’t write this up on January 1st, as resolutions and I don’t go the distance. For reference (and to refresh my own memory) here’s what I was hoping to accomplish in 2014.

Brief recap, GO.

  • My first professional short story sale, “Ex Astris,” appeared in Fireside.
  • Night Owls was published. A thing I wrote! Out there in meatspace!
  • On the RPG side, Green Ronin released Dragon Age Roleplaying: Set 3. I am now playing through Dragn Age: Inquisition and goggling at Orlais, because reasons. Do we get to see Tevinter, too? NO WAIT, DON’T ANSWER THAT. SPOILERS.
  • Pelgrane Press’ Mythos Expeditions contains an adventure I wrote, “A Load of Blarney.”
  • I was a Kickstarter stretch goal! Or, rather, a world I created for Storium was. So excited for people to play in Camden’s Hollow.
  • The Fire Children sold to Ravenstone Press. /gleeeee
  • So much travelling. All the travelling. Forever. Including WorldCon in London, which was amazing.
  • I was on staff at Viable Paradise XVIII*.  Which, by the way, applications for VPXIX are open… now!

And now, onward to 2015.

Books and Writing

Grave Matters, the sequel to Night Owls, hits shelves on February 24th. Preorder links, if you’re so inclined: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

The Fire Children, my first YA fantasy, comes out this summer, on June 30th. More preorder links: Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

I have several irons in several fires. Currently poking at:

  • Adrift – swashbuckling fantasy aboard the Creeping Jenny (aka the Please Don’t Sink)
  • Dead Letters – the third book in the Night Owls series. I’d tell you what it’s about but SPOILERS
  • “Dominion” – a story about Lilith
  • “Blood in the Thread” – I have this thing for birds and wings and stories about them.
  • RPG freelancing. More when I’m allowed to say.

Travel and Appearances

I’m attending both Arisia and Boskone, and will be doing readings at both. The schedules are being finalized, so I’ll post ’em when I’ve got ’em.

Deeper into the year, I’ll be at WorldCon in August. I’m still eyeing GenCon, but there’s stuff (good stuff!) happening at the day job I’ll have to consider when planning out more travel.

Etc.

Looking back at last year’s post, I accomplished a hell of a lot. I still need to be better about the things that get pushed aside for writing: the garden didn’t happen. I was terrible about practicing my guitar. Greg probably cooked more of our meals than I did (he doesn’t mind. He likes to cook. But damn it.) I didn’t get back into running. But, with all those things, like I said in my post-NaNo, uh, post, failing to hit those goals doesn’t mean I have to put them aside and never try again.

*This is where my greatest lament that I fell apart on the “practice my guitar” front kicks in, but my pretty little not-a-Martin was in good hands during the week. This fall I will play something and accompany myself, damn it.

So, that’s the shape of the year. How’s yours looking?

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NaNoWhatNowMo

Okay, ‘fess up. Who among us is bleary-eyed this morning, having raced midnight to eke out those last few words on the way to 50,000, in a breakneck attempt to “win” NaNoWriMo this year?

If you hit that milestone, congratulations!

If the deadline whooshed by and you have a tangle of words that, no matter how you squint, doesn’t make it anywhere near 50K, don’t despair:

YOU ARE NOT DONE.
YOU DID NOT LOSE.

If you’re kicking your own ass this morning because you didn’t hit that goal, I understand. I’ve been there. But here’s the thing: if you’re serious about writing, your output over one 30-day period does not define you. People who hit the goal now need to go back and edit – or even finish – their novels. Their work isn’t done. Neither is yours.

Give yourself a little time to wallow, if you need to. It’s okay. But set a deadline on that: a couple of hours, the morning, maybe even the whole day. Eat some fancy chocolate, goof off on the internet, snuggle your furry animal friends. Fight pixellated dragons. Do things that make you feel better.

Then get right back up on that writing horse.

Were you fired up on November 1st? Ready to tackle the blank page and fill it with your characters, your story, your badass ideas? Go back and read those first few pages. Reread your notes, if you jotted any down in October.

If you feel the need to tinker with what’s there, this might be the time to do it. I say might because no two people have the same writing habits. Sometimes tinkering is a good thing. Others will end up tinkering endlessly, rewording and rearranging the same page over and over and… But if you’re anything like I was, the first few times I NaNo’d, there were absolutely chunks of exposition and backstory and useless junk I wrote in a fit of must get to 1667. Cut these – don’t get rid of them entirely; they might be useful later on. Could be good things for you, the author to know, whether or not your reader ever learns them. Yes, it reduces your wordcount even more, but that’s not a bad thing.

Whether you’ve tinkered or not, take stock of where you are in the story, where you want it to go from here.

Set yourself a new goal. Look at your calendar and be realistic. Did you notice any patterns in your writing in November? Were some days better than others, output-wise, or even brainspace-wise?

I know that, for me, 1667 words every single day isn’t a goal I’m going to hit consistently. I have a day job. I have other responsibilities. Somewhere in there, I need to read books, see friends, have non-writing-related fun. I also have learned that, in general, Monday nights are a wash for me. That first day back at work after the weekend leaves me tired and out of focus. On the other hand, Sundays are my big writing day.

Think about how to word your goal in a way that works best for you. Do you do well with a smaller daily goal, one you can realistically hit and feel good about if you go over? Is it better for you to be able to look back over the month and average out the words at the end? The point here is, set a goal you can hit, and hit consistently. It’s not cheating. You don’t have to stretch for anything. You don’t have to prove you can do more, or do it faster, than your natural writing pace.

Did you have NaNo buddies? Whether you participated in the community or had friends you knew from outside of NaNo cheering you on, keep in touch with them. Ask them to keep writing, too. Having a circle of people who will hold one another accountable – or, y’know, give you a swift kick in the ass to get writing – can be another way to keep the words flowing. Word sprints, bi-weekly critiques, even simply occasional “how’s the writing going” emails. What do you need from them? What do they need from you? Do those things.

Above all, keep writing. You can do this.

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Shiny New Space!

Hello, friends old and new! It’s a bit overdue, but I’ve finally snatched up a bit of internet space with my name on it. Look how shiiiiny it is around here.

/sits on the new furniture
/runs across the hardwood floor in socks
/pushes buttons
/flips switches

This little corner of the web will be dedicated to writerly things, including blatant-but-hopefully-not-obnoxious self-promotion, things I’ve learned while scribbling away at books, and pretty much anything else I feel is writing-related. If you follow me over at falconesse.com, don’t despair! That site’s not going away. While I get a feel for what I’m considering writing-related and, well, not writing-related (spoilers: everything’s comes back to Story for me), I’ll probably do some cross-posting and ICYMI-type threads at both places.

For now, make yourselves at home, check out the new decor, and introduce yourselves!

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