Everyone likes metrics for the end of the year. Here’s some of what I did in 2014. This is why I like keeping track of everything I do. It makes me realize that I am productive and that I did accomplish a lot. Sometimes, this is a hard thing for an author to understand.
Number of days worked on freelancer stuff: 361 / 365 (284 days, answered pub industry email.) I really need to change this. Take one full day a week off or something. No wonder I had moments of feeling burned out.
New fiction words written: 230,800 (doesn’t count emails, blogs, etc…) In the form of 12 short stories, 1 novella, 1 RPG sourcebook, 2 novels.
Edited: 3 anthologies, 2 novel, 3 novellas.
Conventions attended: 8
Sold in 2014: 5 short stories, 2 novellas, first 3 books of the Melissa Allen series. (3 short stories still waiting on an answer.)
Published in 2014:
6 short stories, 1 novelette
- “The Bathory Clinic Deal” - The Future Embodied anthology - Simian Publishing, March 2014
- “Ley of the Land” - Time-Traveled Tales 2 anthology - Silence in the Library, April 2014
- “Kelpie Storm” - MONSTERS! Origins Game Fair anthology - Rio Grande Games, June 2014
- “Janera” - Athena's Daugthers anthology - Silence in the Library, June 2014
- “Dreams of a Thousand Young” novelette - Jazz Age Cthulhu anthology - Innsmouth Free Press, November 2014
- “For the Love of a Troll on a Mid-Winter's Night” - Night Terrors III anthology - Blood Bound Books, December 2014
- “Written in the Wind” - No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar anthology - DAW, December 2014
1 RPG supplement
- Colonial Gothic: Lost Colony, Sourcebook - Rogue Games, February 2014
- The Nellus Academy Incident, YA Battletech novel - Catalyst Game Labs, January 2014
- Keystones: Book Three of the Karen Wilson Chronicles, novel - Apocalypse Ink Productions, April 2014
- Bless Your Mechanical Heart anthology - Evil Girlfriend Media, Editor, April 2014
- Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls anthology - Graveside Tales, Editor, October 2014
- Chicks Dig Gaming non-fiction anthology - Mad Norwegian Press, Co-Editor (with Robert Smith? and Lars Pearson), November 2014
- Shattered Shields anthology - Baen Books, Co-Editor (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt), November 2014
(7 of these did happen. 3 did not.)
I may or may not have fangirled at Steve Perry over his Matadora series.
I may or may not have managed to write 3000 words on my WIP.
I may or may not have had a panic attack at my Shattered Shields party.
I may or may not have fought with Timothy W. Long over a hanger.
I may or may not owe the success of the Shattered Shields party to the Husband and Katie Cord of Evil Girlfriend Media.
I may or may not have gone to the wrong Powell’s store for Authorfest SF.
I may or may not have lost a bet while at the convention.
I may or may not have threatened Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s life.
I may or may not have agreed to yet another project while at the convention.
I may or may not have made faces at Diana Pharaoh Francis while on a panel with her.
Also, happy book release day to me! CHICKS DIG GAMING is now on the shelves.
Come say hello to me at OryCon and Sci-fi Authorfest. Here is where you can find me.
FRIDAY Nov 7
4:00pm - 5:00pm, Jefferson: Strong Characters in SF
SATURDAY, Nov 8
1:00pm - 2:00pm, Idaho: Freaking Me Out, Not Grossing Me Out
4:00pm - 5:00pm, Morrison: Fantasy vs. Science Fiction
5:00pm - 6:00pm, Lincoln: Urban Fantasy Made Real
7:00pm - 8:00pm, Hawthorne: Speeding Up Your Output
9:00pm - 1:00am, Suite 1570: Shattered Shields Release Party (You are invited. Yes, you.)
SUNDAY, Nov 9
11:00am - 12:00pm, Lincoln: I'll Be Watching You...
2:00pm - 2:30pm, Grant: Jennifer Brozek Reading
Powell’s Sci-Fi Authorfest 8
4:00pm - 5:30pm
This is my first signing at Powell’s City of Books store! So, if you aren’t coming to OryCon, you can still come see me and a bunch of awesome authors.
I'm back from Context 27 and it was a great time. Steven Saus and Lucy Snyder did an excellent job of Programming and Workshops. My audiences were engaged, inquisitive, and eager to learn. That's ideal for workshops. I'm so pleased that many of my students thanked me after my workshops and panels were done.
Betsy Mitchell was wonderful to talk to and Jonathan Maberry was a joy to meet. He really is that awesome. I finally got to go to an Apex party and taste Jason's "red stuff" and "purple stuff." The Apex parties legend for a reason. Geoffrey Girard was part of it with his Cain's Blood (too tasty for safety for me).
Context 27 really was a good conference. If you are looking for an intimate, informative writing convention, Context is a good choice.
And now for the great, big shock...
I spent a lot of time talking with the convention attendees. One guy, RR, dropped this little factoid on me. He has 6 completed genre novels but he is afraid to send them out because, according to his writing professors at Purdue... “If your first novel is not the 'great American novel' you will never have a writing career.”
When I was told this, and it was confirmed by another student from Purdue, I was aghast and outraged. Every single publishing professional I told about this was just as shocked and angry as I was. “If your first novel isn't a Great American Novel, you will never have a writing career.”? This is so wrong as to be farce. At best, it is pure ignorance. At worst, it is pure maliciousness. Either way, it sounds like the Purdue English department (or some of its professors) are so out of date and out of touch with the publishing industry as to be a detriment to its student body and need a refresher course themselves.
This is one of the most exciting times in the history of publishing. There are so many avenues to take, so many opportunities to be a success as a writer. Your first novel tank? Try again. Use a pseudonym if you need to. Investigate traditional press, small press, self publishing, crowd funding, and anything else that comes up. (Except for vanity presses. Those guys are scammers.)
Good gracious, things are changing so fast and there are so many ways to get your words out there. Don't say a writer will never succeed if they don't succeed with their first novel. That’s just dumb.
You have to get your novels out there. It's the only way to learn and grow as an author. You have to fail, to only partially or fully succeed, to go through the submission process, dealing with contracts, dealing with revision and rewrites, to work to a publishing house schedule. You have to get out there and learn by doing. It is this process that makes you a better writer and a professional. Until you do, you can't understand what is expected.
And another thing, Purdue...
While talking to RR and the other student, I noticed something. Anytime they spoke about themselves or their writing, their shoulders hunched in anticipation of pain. Both of them marveled at just how much the publishing industry professionals, and the other convention members, were positive, helpful, and supportive. How much they worked to help each other to advise, or direct each other to needed resources.
Apparently, at Purdue, the writing students are mentally and emotionally beaten about the head and shoulders and told how much the publishing industry is all about competition. When the idea of being supportive and collaborative is foreign, there is something wrong.
Almost every successful writer got advice as they emerged. They learned, grew, and were support as a writer by other writers. Mentorship is not an extinct concept. Don't teach that it is. One author does not need to fail in order for another to succeed. Publishing does not work like that. And no, it's not all roses and sunshine. For that point of view, read Chuck Wendig's Tough Talk post. But still. Your students shouldn't walk around wincing like a veteran with PTSD.
I just got back from Gen Con. As usual, it was the busiest four days of the year – panels, signings, manning the booth. I got to see old friends and new. I sold a thing. I got offered a gig which I will do. I got to talk to a bunch of fans. I shared my experience and knowledge with those who asked. It was a convention.
We got to have three of AIP’s six authors at the table at one point. Four if you count me. Dylan, Ivan, and new author Wendy. She’s a sweetheart and smart! I’m so happy we’ll be publishing her next year.
I had to take the week of Gen Con off writing for two reasons: 1. Con. That’s a given. Unless under deadline, I shouldn’t do a lot of writing at a convention because I’m so tired by the end of the day. 2. I did something very bad to my shoulder and needed to rest it. It seems to be better now. But no clicky games for the foreseeable future.
Not being allowed to write always makes me want to write more. I love conventions but I’m never happier to get home, back to my routine and to write. I’m almost half-way through Chimera Incarnate and Never Let Me Leave is fully outlined. I’m giving Peter M. Ball’s Flotsam #2 a read through and then it’s onto Dylan’s Sheynan #2 for a full edit.
It’s a busy schedule but I’m looking forward to it.
If I'm not at a panel/signing, I’ll be at my Apocalypse Ink Productions booth in Authors Avenue. Feel free to come by and say hello. Make sure you ask for a Gen Con 2014 author story card!
2pm – Rm243 – Writer’s Craft: Romance and Love Stories
4pm – Dealers – Signing
12pm – Rm244 – Editing: The Writer Editor
11am – Rm244 – Publishing: Small Press
12pm – Rm244 – Publishing: E-Publishing
4pm – Dealers – Signing
Some really awesome things said to me at Origins. I want to remember them. It's quotes like these that make going to conventions and working my butt off worth the sweat and toil.
“I want to be you when I grow up. You are just awesome.”
“Last year, you told me that I should consider writing short stories because they do have a faster turnaround than novels. I did that and I just recently made my first sale. Thank you for that.”
“You may not remember me but last year, you told me that I needed to focus and figure what I really wanted to do… and I did. I decided that I wanted to edit comic anthologies. Here are my first two. So, thank you for that kick in the butt.”
“You are one of my favorite people at Origins. I always have to come see you.”
A conversation with a nine year old budding author that was just too cute for words. “My first story is a mystery and I don’t know if I have enough paper to print it out on but I wanted to know… how big is a chapter?” and “Do you get to draw the pictures, too?”
I will be at Origins Game Fair this next week. I have a no shyness zone around me. Come over and say hello. I have 10 panels or I will be in the Library section (back left) of the Dealers Hall. Make sure you get one of my convention cards. It's a good one!
Thursday, Jun 12, 11am - Writer's Block and You
Thursday, Jun 12, 12pm - Storytelling and Plot
Thursday, Jun 12, 4pm - Women in Fiction
Friday, Jun 13, 12pm - History in Fiction
Saturday, Jun 14, 11am - Writing Tie-In Fiction
Saturday, Jun 14, 12pm - Anthology Creation Workshop
Sunday, Jun 15, 10am - Writing for RPGs
Sunday, Jun 15, 11am - Pitch Session for Small Press
Sunday, Jun 15, 1pm - What's the Next Big Thing?
I’m recovered from Norwescon. It was one heck of a convention. We had very good sales and I really like the new Dealers Room coordinator. She was on-the-ball. My panels went well. Full rooms for most of them. The BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART / KEYSTONES release party was insane. It was standing room only from the doors open until they kicked people out at 1am. I was very happy about that. The Horror Track was very well received.
I have to tell you, though, I was bone deep weary by the end of it. Slept 12 hours Sunday night.
Next up, I have a one-day convention, VikingCon in Bellingham, WA, on May 3. I will be on one panel and will have a dealers table there from 1-5pm. I will be giving out convention cards there. So, if you go to VikingCon, be sure to ask for one.
Then, thanks to the sponsorship of a writer friend, I have a ride and one day badge to World Horror Con in Portland. I will be there on May 10th. No panels. I’ll be wandering around, checking out the dealers room, barcon, and I’ve been offered a banquet ticket for the Bram Stokers Awards. I believe I will attend that as well. If you want to meet up, let me know. I think I’ll have convention cards there, too.
My next convention after that is Origins Game Fair. I’m not going to worry about it until I’m back from World Horror Con.
Convolution was a heck of a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time with Wendy and Richard Pini, Richard Kadrey, Ivan Van Norman, and M. Todd Gallowglas. The Frouds were very busy but I did get to chat with them in passing.
10 Things that may or may not have happened at Convolution. 8 of these are real.
1. Richard Kadrey may or may not have referenced “bad eggs in a trucker’s bordello in Mississippi” during a conversation.
2. I may or may not have missed a couple of my panels.
3. M. Todd Gallowglas may or may not have been drugged to the gills.
4. I may or may not have punched Matt Marovich for making me read that awful book for his podcast “Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks.”
5. Richard Pini may or may not have been walking around with a tabloid newspaper for some serious Sunday morning reading.
6. Multiple Convolution staffers may or may not have forgotten their pants.
7. I may or may not have made the Convolution Chairwoman, Kimmi, cry.
8. Tycho may or may not have told me a secret about his hair.
9. Ivan Van Norman may have convinced me to write a zombie novella even though I hate zombies.
10. I may or may not have made the papers while I was in California.
Next up… OryCon 35. Here’s my schedule as far as I know.
Sat Nov 9 1:00pm-2:00pm
Hybrid Vigor: Choosing Both Traditional and Self-Publishing
Don't believe the True Believers on both sides of this non-existent divide: you can be both a traditional AND a self-published writer. Learn how to let the project choose the path.
(*)Annie Bellet, Phoebe Kitanidis, Tod McCoy, Ken Lizzi, Jennifer Brozek
Sun Nov 10 11:00am-12:00pm
Urban Fantasy made real
Increasingly, stories are being placed in modern times or locales but with fantasy elements to them. Whether it is wesen in Portland or vampires in Washington, how does one effectively blend these very different elements? Alternatively, what are some examples of how NOT to accomplish this?
Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, (*)Devon Monk, Rhiannon Held, Jennifer Brozek
Sun Nov 10 1:00pm-2:00pm
Writing in Other People's Worlds
The fine art of franchise writing: working with established universes like Star Trek, Star Wars and more--including the new Kindle Worlds licensed fan fiction program.
(*)Jess Hartley, SD Perry, Wendy N. Wagner, Jennifer Brozek, Scott Alan Woodard