Um, I actually thought this would be a light month for books (oops). I did manage to pick up a few bargains, and two of them (Hear Me Roar) are contributor’s copies, so it’s not that bad. And Afterparty was bought to counteract the “let’s all boycott” Tor day.
Needless to say, I haven’t made that much of a dent in Mount To-Be-Read this month.
I am in serious novel writing mode, and have just cruised past the 40k mark of this draft of Never. My wonderful critique partner has looked over the first 35k or so, and I’m feeling good about this draft. I feel in general like I’ve levelled up with novel writing, but I guess we’ll see once I start shopping it around (after some more editing, of course).
The table of contents of Bloodlines was announced, including my story The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth.
Reading and Reviewing
Hugo reading (pauses to shudder). I made it through the novel category without getting too disheartened – there are three good best novel candidates (The Goblin Emperor just squeaks in above The Three-Body Problem and Ancillary Sword for me, but only just, and I may change my mind before the end of voting). As for the short fiction categories, let’s just say that I have exercised my right to vote No Award a lot. And yes, I read (or attempted to read) everything. Thankfully, the graphic novels were also mostly awesome. I’m trying to psych myself up to read the packet entries for the other categories.
One Netgalley review: Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall (spoiler again: I also loved this).
Healthwise, this has been a month of wins and losses. Win: the new medication I’m on is working with minimal side effects (which never happens) and I’m starting to have more energy. Loss: both my husband and myself have had the head cold from hell, resulting in a lot of sinus headaches. Unfun.
The cat has not tried to escape from the house again. She seems very happy to be back home, and doesn’t even linger at doors much now. I think she learned a big lesson.
School holidays start at the end of this week. I’m looking forward to not having to rush around in the mornings for a few weeks, even if it will probably mean reduced word counts.
This has been a month where it really feels as though I haven’t accomplished much. I’ve been adjusting to a new medication (the joys of chronic illness) and have been dealing with more brain fog than usual as a result. The good news is that that particular side effect has started to ease, so I hope to get back into being more productive again soon.
Not many books this month, mostly because I’ve been trying to limit how many I buy, just to keep the to-be-read mountain from getting even more out of control.
Finally finished the short story that I’ve been working on for far too long, and submitted it yesterday. No idea if it’ll end up fitting the anthology, but I won’t know unless I submit it. This particular story took eight drafts. Yes, you read that right.
I am now turning back to novel writing, namely working on what I hope is going to be submittable draft of Never.
I’ve actually stopped using the Magic Spreadsheet this month, and started keeping a personal spreadsheet instead. I feel like the MS really helped me in developing writing as a daily habit, but it’s not giving me that I want right now, which is to start looking at things in more detail. I don’t plan on giving up my daily habit, though I may ease back a little on what I do on the weekends.
It’s been a generally stressful month around here. Among other things, our cat did a runner from the house and was missing for several days. Intrepid and awesome husband was out for hours searching every night, we posted flyers, and we eventually managed to find her and bring her back home. Not an experience that I want to repeat.
Apart from that, it’s been a quietish month. I celebrated my birthday, and we celebrated Mother’s Day.
This has been an odd month. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much of anything – school holidays ate two weeks of the month, for one thing, and my health has been a bit wobblier than usual, meaning that the fatigue has been extra bad. I’m glad that I’ve started writing this series of posts, since it’ll let me look objectively at what I’ve done.
And yes, there is a shiny stack of books (though I honestly thought I hadn’t bought many until I came to take the photo). I’m especially chuffed with Rupetta, since I managed to chase down a second-hand copy of the lovely signed limited hardback.
This is where I feel like I haven’t accomplished much, mostly because I’ve been bashing my head against the same damn short story all month. I am not a fast writer of short stories – it takes me a few drafts to figure out what the hell the story is about usually, and this one in particular is being quite evasive. I’m having to write to a strict word count, too, which is a learning process in and of itself. No idea if I’m going to have something that’ll sell at the end of it, but we’ll see.
I started listening to a brand new podcast – The Worried Writer, link via Stephanie Burgis (who is also interviewed on the second episode – I really, really enjoyed this interview and can recommend listening to it because Stephanie is gorgeous). Really liking the podcast so far.
Swancon happened! I happily sat on a short story writing panel (seriously, give me a place where I can spruik awesome publishers and writers and I am Happy) and bought some books and only caught up with a few of the people I’d wanted to, but that’s okay.
And here we are, somehow (almost) at the end of March. Where is this year going?
I finished the zero draft of Never. Which is terrible, as all zero drafts ought to be, and littered with notes to myself on the things that I need to fix. I’m aiming to let it rest a little longer before I come back and start the next draft, but we’ll see where my head goes.
I spent some time after that draft meandering about in the between projects abyss, but have just found my way into a short story that I’m writing to submit to an upcoming anthology. It may be one of the most depressing things I’ve ever written.
I also finished editing the novella I’ve been working on for the last *mumblemumble* and have sent it off into the aether. I have no idea what its chances really are, but I have a massive amount of respect for the editor in whose virtual desk it rests.
I got to announce that I’ll be part of the TOC of the upcoming Ticonderoga Press anthology Hear Me Roar with my story Broken Glass. I am so chuffed to be in this anthology, I don’t even have the words.
And Escapement (one of my weird dystopia/steampunk series of stories, and the first to see publication) garnered a Tin Duck nomination in addition to its Ditmar nomination.
A quieter month for me reviewing, since I’ve been devoting a chunk of my reading time to research for the short story I’m working on.
Only one Netgalley review this month (though technically I also originally got an eARC of one of my AWW books from Netgalley, too): Aquila.
I received my lovely hardcover copy of Cranky Ladies of History in the mail, which is on my pile-o-stuff to review soon. It is a truly beautiful book.
I’ve been catching up on a lot of podcasts. Finally started (and finished) listening to Serial and started listening to Alisa Krasnostein’s new podcast Champagne and Socks. Champagne and Socks is really enjoyable – and I don’t even craft (yet!). I have wanted to learn to crochet for ages (though I don’t know how my fingers and wrists would hold up to it) and I should get back into knitting.
And we have been playing a lot of Diablo III. Like, a lot. It’s just fun to play when my brain needs a break.
I have been doing a lot of decluttering, including starting to get ruthless with books. I’ve long since run out of book shelf space (despite having a lot of it) and I have no choice but to get rid of stuff that I know I’ll never read. I also need a proper organisational system, since everything is everywhere. I did have books loosely shelves by genre, but that system broke down as shelves started to explode. I need Compactus shelving. And a librarian.
I’ve decided to start a new blog series this year, just keeping track of everything. Also known as “Oh hell, it’s *insert month here* already???
Somehow, it’s the end of February already. Yeah, I don’t know how that happened, either. My son started full time school this month, which means that I now have more time to work on everything. Which means that this has been one of the most productive months I’ve had in a long time.
I have written 46,687 words on the Zero Draft (of utter crapness) of Never. It is literally the worst draft I have ever written and I do not care. I have a metric tonne of notes to myself scattered through the Scrivener file for things I need to fix on the next draft.
I have managed to work myself up to a minimum of 2k written per day, with some days creeping closer to 3k.
A cycle of edits on a novella based on some beta feedback. It just needs a final going over and I can start trying to find it a home.
Have also been pounced on by two ideas for short works, one of which will probably be a novella, the other a novelette.
There is also good writing news that I am not at liberty to share yet 😉
And Escapement got nominated for a Ditmar! And the anthology it was part of, Kisses by Clockwork, was just nominated for an Aurealis Award.
Reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge (all link to my website reviews, though they’re also mirrored over at Goodreads): These Broken Stars, Avery and In My Mother’s Hands. My commitment was to read 10 and review at least 6, so I’m doing well there I think!
You can see above a photo of the books I physically received this month. I also received a bunch of eARCs from Netgalley.
Also purchased on the kindle: Graced, by Amanda Pillar, Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, Havenstar by Glenda Larke and How to be Both by Ali Smith.
And my ecopy of Cranky Ladies of History also arrived in my inbox (I took part in crowdfunding the anthology, and if I remember correctly, I should also be getting a hard copy. Trusting my memory is rarely a good thing, though).