Photo courtesy of Margaret McGaffey Fisk
Last month, I attended WorldCon in San Jose. I had an amazing time, primarily because of the wonderful people I talked to, both those whom I already knew and those whom I just met. (I wrote all about it in my newsletter last month — consider subscribing if you missed it!) The last thing I did officially at the con was to give a reading on Monday afternoon of a couple scenes from Troll Tunnels.
Lesson 1: All conventions are not created equal. When I did a reading from Ghost Garages last year at Boskone, two people came to listen. This year, the room was crowded, with easily a couple of dozen people. Maybe more? I tried to take a picture but failed to do the panorama properly. But … a crowded room, most of whom had never heard of me or read my writing, seeking to be entertained and decide whether to check out my work.
The reading itself went well, with a couple of people coming up to me afterward to compliment me on my reading skill.
Lesson 2: I can do this! Even if I’m a little unnerved by the number of people in front of me. However …
Lesson 3: I need to be prepared to say more about the book and series to lay the groundwork for the new audience, and
Lesson 4: People actually want swag like bookmarks or other material to help them remember who was reading from what. I’ve seen a lot of people online say that no one cares about bookmarks, they just throw them away or don’t really look at the content, so I’d dismissed this as something to pursue. Evidently, it’s common because it does work.
It is Epiphany, also called Twelfth Night, and there are no more days of Christmas.
I have spent a quiet day inside away from the cold, writing and watching my husband game.
Words written today: 1,343
Words written 2018: 7,877
Average words/day: 1,313
Current temperature with wind chill: –8 F (–22 C)
The first Monday of the week didn’t feel like Monday because it was a holiday. Wednesday was more of a Monday with everyone off to school. Then yesterday, kids home again, making me feel like today was Monday yet again. At least I got things done, starting with lugging the tree out to be picked up with the trash.
The other thing I accomplished was finishing the draft of a short story. Not bad for the first week of the year.
Words written today: 2,224
Words written this year: 6,534
Average words/day: 1,307
Ice bubble photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Where we are, we usually miss the brunt of winter storms. This means that although we’ve had temperatures into the single digits this week (Fahrenheit) and high winds today, we didn’t get half a foot or more of snow, and we’ve mostly stayed out of the negative temperature range. Still, the kids were home from school today (and they only went back yesterday!), with a two-hour delay in the morning.
I didn’t post a wrap-up of my 2017 here yet, so here goes:
Things I wrote, polished, and/or released
- Treachery of Doubt (book 2 of Bodyguard of Lies)
- Ghost Garages (book 1 of Boston Technowitch)
- Siren Circle (book 2 of Boston Technowitch)
- Dreamwalker (tie-in novella for Boston Technowitch, only available to newsletter subscribers)
- Troll Tunnels (book 3 of Boston Technowitch, currently in edits)
Additional things I did
- Wrote most of a second tie-in novella for Boston Technowitch
- Worked on a couple of short stories (neither of which is ready for submission yet)
- Completed a month of ink drawings for Inktober
- Participated in programming for Boskone and for the Nebula Conference
- Served part of the year as a Director-at-Large and the remainder of the year as Vice President for SFWA
- Went to a writing meet-up in Manhattan
- Went on a lovely vacation where I got to visit my mom, my younger brother and his other half, and my in-laws
- Spent lots of family time
- Got the downstairs family room painted and (with the rest of the family) organized and looking comfortable
Words written 2017: 253,721
Average words/day written 2017: 695
Best month for writing: November
Worst month for writing: June
As for 2018, I’m planning to do more of the same — more in every sense: more writing, more books released, more reading, more activity in the organizations I’m part of. I’m doing okay so far, though last year’s January was pretty good, too. It’s the long term where we see how things go.
Words written today: 1,130
Words written this month: 4,310
This morning, I heard quite the fuss outside and had to go out to tell them to quiet down. But then what can you expect from the local murder?
I got a slow start on NaNoWriMo, but I caught up today — today’s count was 3,744, putting me at 5,262 for the month. Yay for being back on track!
Part of what helped (though not all of it) was checking out 4thewords.com — a gamified site where you defeat monsters and gain loot by writing a certain number of words in a given time frame. If I’m still enjoying the site at the end of the month, I might subscribe — $4/month isn’t an unreasonable price. One more tool in the productivity quiver!
This post is late, for which I apologize. I actually did the drawing first thing in the morning after getting the girl on the bus to school. No words today, just outline work.
Prompt was “mask.” This Noh mask is in the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison. Done with brush pen. The face is too elongated, but I’m still pretty happy with it.
I wrote more than 300 words today, adding to the beginning of Troll Tunnels, and I really like the way it’s shaping up. Signed up formally on NaNoWriMo as a NaNo Rebel, too, to finish this up, then maybe start up a novella if there’s time.
If I nap tomorrow to stay up until midnight, however, it’s so I can listen to the final episode of Steal the Stars when it drops, not to get a head start on my writing.
Today’s Inktober prompt was “found.” This tiny white flower was on I found underfoot while at Rocky Mountain National Park, although “discovered” might be a better term.
Temperatures have been in the 60s for a few days, and it’s been raining all day. Very autumnal.
Friday was trick-or-treating, yesterday I took the boy for an eye appointment (new glasses ordered!), and today was hanging out watching my husband game. But I figured out a new opening chapter for Troll Tunnels, which will make the entire book stronger — and wrote 168 words today!
I’m behind on posting my Inktober sketches. Friday’s prompt was “climb,” Saturday’s was “fall,” and today’s was “united.” So my drawings are a pair of ring-tailed lemurs from the Henry Vilas Zoo, some shergottite originally from Mars that fell in Morocco and is currently housed in the geology museum of the Colorado School of Mines, and a mosaic from an Iowa rest stop along I-80.
Tonight was the kickoff party for the local NaNoWriMo region. It’s always amazing to see how it’s grown over the years. Nicki (and Andrew, while he was here) did a great job of breathing life into the region and started awesome traditions, like the motivational beads. Now Roxi and Jamie (and Katie, the new bead goddess) are set to do even more. It was fabulous seeing so many motivated and eager people tonight.
Dress for daughter’s costume is done. Need to tweak the wings in the morning, but she can do the costume parade at school and trick-or-treating in the evening.
No words, but did get some freelance-related stuff done.
Inktober prompt was “squeak.” If I’d had a picture of my mom’s former cat, I’d have drawn her. Alas, no. So I went with prairie dogs at the Henry Bilas Zoo in Madison instead.
Still working on my daughter’s Halloween costume, and the skirt is supposed to flare. So today I learned the difference between godets and gores. Almost done — need to get a zipper and do the hem, but it should be ready for Friday.
Listening to podcasts while I work. Today the penultimate episode of Steal the Stars came out. If you like listening to fiction, I recommend it. If you prefer to read, the novelization comes out next month. Also catching up on Writing Excuses. Lots to listen to there — judging from my saved episodes, I stopped listening sometime in 2015 (thought it was longer than that!), so I’ve still got 25 months’ worth to go.
No words today. But using different forms of creativity refreshes me, and the podcasts let me think about my work in new ways, so I’m anticipating feeling fresh and ready to go next week.
Meanwhile, today’s Inktober prompt was “ship.” I used the brush pen again to try to capture some of the strokes from Piet Mondrian’s “Waals-Eilandgracht with Bridge and Moored Tjalk Barges,” which is in the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison. Perhaps barges aren’t really ships, but close enough for me.