In a previous post, I said that I’m going to slow down in 2022. I really need to. I ended up taking an unintentional vacation over Christmas week. The words just would not come and I didn’t have the motivation to force them. The last couple years have taken their toll emotionally, physically, and mentally. I’m feeling better now and getting back on the wagon, so to speak.
Here’s what I have planned for 2022, broken up by type of work. Some dates are subject to change due to the vagaries of the publishing industry.
- FiveFold Universe project (Jan, actually quite excited about this project)
- 3 contracted short stories (2 in Feb, 1 in ?)
- Shadowrun YA novella #3: Unrepairable (3rd quarter 2022)
- Shadowrun YA novella #4: The Kilimanjaro Run (Bonus points if I do it at all in 2022)
Editing (This is where I’m going to be resting):
- Shadowrun: Elfin Black (final polish/proof, Jan/Feb?)
- The Reinvented Detective anthology (Jan-Jun)
- Freelance editing (recurring gig, Mar-Aug?)
PR (Social media bits):
Conventions/Events (*Planned for, not yet official):
- Rainforest Writing Retreat (Feb)
- Norwescon (Apr)
- Origins Game Fair* (Jun)
- Gen Con (Aug)
From one point of view, this is still a lot and it doesn’t cover any pop-up requests or the classes I will teach. What is important is that after January, I have no long fiction writing projects planned until the third quarter of the year. The recurring freelance editing gig actually is rest. I’m working, yes, and it is detailed work, but it isn’t hard.
I need these months to not be under contract. I need to rest and refresh the creative well. I need to let my mind wander and gambol and drift. I’ve been telling all my mentees for years to remember to rest. Mentor, listen to thyself. Besides, there’s an unwritten story I’ve been flirting with for years that has become more insistent and I want to think about it. It might be fun to just play for a while.
Of course, if my fabulous agent sells one of my books currently in circulation…all bets are off.
The last Bubble & Squeek for 2021 on the first day of winter!
• Open Call: The Reinvented Detective anthology, edited by me and Cat Rambo. Closes on Jan 15. SF crime and mystery stories set in the future.
• Podcast: I voice one of the characters. The Paperflower Consortium: The Value of Patience. A great little podcast with 20+ episodes. By Elizabeth Guizzetti.
• Published: 99 Tiny Terrors anthology, me as editor. Flash fiction horror from all over the world.
• Published: Me as author: “Seven Steps to Immortality” in Daily Science Fiction! This is one of my favorite little stories in one of my bucket list venues. I’m so pleased with this.
• Review of Me: Publisher’s Weekly Review of Last Cities of Earth anthology edited by me and Jeff Sturgeon. They liked it!
• Writers: Right. So I'm going to take Sandra Wickham's Word Warriors 14 Day Quest in January. Want to join me?
• Support: As always… if you appreciate my work and would like to support me, I love coffee. I am made of caffeine. This is the quickest way to brighten my day.
We have about two weeks left in the year but I already know I’m done editing for 2021 and all the writing I’m doing on the new project won’t be counted until 2022. It’s just how I log my work.
When looking at my scorecard I was vaguely surprised to discover I had only written 2 new short stories, 1 new novella, and 1 new novel. About 110,000 new words. That seemed significantly less than the year felt like. Then I realized that I had also done full edits on 1 novel as an author and 3 anthologies as an editor. Still it felt like I hadn’t done much. (IE: I do this fulltime, what’s my excuse?)
I have a five year paper journal that I’ve kept for almost four years now. I flipped through it to see what I’d missed. What took up my time? Why did I feel so busy? Why didn’t I get more done?
- January: A “simple” house renovation ended up with a hole in my house for 8 days and 3 weeks of renovation work, including people in and out of my house.
- February: Mom went into the hospital on the 14th, came home, returned to the hospital on the 26th and died on the 28th.
- March: Had to write my Mom’s obituary. Flew to NC for Mom’s memorial and spent a week helping my sister with the house. First Covid vaccine when I got home.
- April: Had my credit card stolen. Second Covid vaccine shot.
- May: Had annual exam and found 2 major issues: 2 masses in my breast, several nodules on my thyroid. First breast biopsy. Throat biopsy.
- June: Breast surgery for 2nd mass: Benign. Throat nodules: Benign. Had encroaching trees on the side of the house removed. Ear infection #1.
- July: Traveled for family reunion on the Husband’s side.
- August: Shingle’s shot #1. Best friend dealing with divorce. My favorite keyboard died. 2 year anniversary of my Dad’s death.
- September: Contracted tonsilitis. Went to Gen Con (physically). My doctor of almost 20 years retired.
- October: Went to Origins (physically). Ear infection #2. Isis is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and needs radiation therapy.
- November: Shingle’s shot #2, flu shot, Covid booster shot. Isis gets radiation therapy and there is a two-week recovery period.
- December: Ear infection #3. Had a lot of overgrown trees in the backyard removed. Began search for new primary care doctor. Isis and the one month follow up. (I have a doctor’s appt next week, but I’m hedging my bets and saying nothing major is going to happen during it. I just want to scope her out and get my meds refilled.)
Yeah. So, there was a lot. A lot, a lot. I just skimmed things. I didn’t talk about helping my sister with estate stuff or teaching virtual classes/conventions or mentoring people or losing the Bram Stoker and British Fantasy Awards or…other stuff.
I wrote in my journal: “2020 was like being grounded on prom night. 2021 has been all about being kicked in the shins while I’m down.”
So, when I say I “only” wrote 2 new stories, 1 new novella, and 1 new novel in 2021, I did damn well. I am proud of myself. It was a hard year.
No, 2021 has not been kind. However, through it all, good things have happened. Really good things. I still have the house, the Husband, my career, and my kitties. I still have relative safety and security. I am grateful for it all.
I want to slow down in 2022. For real. I know I’ve said that before. I mean it this time and won’t feel guilty.
(At least I’ll try not to.)
Because I was asked this by a friend and the email turned out to be, basically, a blog post...
Not exact, but a good start on the path if you are Jon Snow and know nothing.
When searching for an agent, do the following:
2. Look for the exact kind of agent you want:
MG, YA, SFF, Fantasy, Romance, etc...
3. Look to see if they are open for submissions.
- Should say on their profile
4. Go to their agency website:
- Make /sure/ they are open for submissions (most up-to-date, hopefully)
- Make /sure/ you understand what their sub guidelines are (IE: first 10 pages, first 3 chapters, etc...)
5. Make some decisions:
- Sub to one agent and wait?
- Sub to multiple agents?
(IE: are simultaneous subs allowed? or is it exclusive?)
6. Submit your query (whatever the guidelines say)
- Follow the guidelines to the letter
- This is the hardest step.
- Write something else while you wait.
8. When you get an answer either:
- Rejection: mourn, repeat the process
- Acceptance: panic, follow what the agent is asking for in a timely manner
- Again, the hardest step.
- Seriously, write something else while you wait.
10. Final answer:
- Rejection, mourn, begin again
- Offer of Representation: panic, realize the agent works for you, have questions ready. If you don't know what questions to ask, consult author friends and social media.
Despite the fact that 2021 was another emotional kick in the shins for me, I did produce a number of works I believe are worthy of notice.
“Seven Steps to Immortality” – Daily Science Fiction
(I am particularly pleased with this one.)
“Unsavory” – Boundaries: All-New Tales of Valdemar anthology, DAW
Shadowrun: See How She Runs, Catalyst Game Labs
YA, SF, Tie-in
BattleTech: Crimson Night, Rogue Academy 3, Catalyst Game Labs
YA, Military SF, Tie-in
99 Tiny Terrors, Pulse Publishing
Flash fiction horror anthology
BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident, Catalyst Game Labs
YA, Military SF, Tie-in
If you are on the jury for anything you believe these works qualify for, contact me and I will send you an electronic version of the work.