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Wow.

Last time I posted I was in Nano recovery mode. Well, recovery stretched all the way through December and into January. The radio play got finished, more or less, but wasn’t nearly long enough to enter. (Guidelines called for 52 minutes; mine might have run half that.) The wizard thing got abandoned, for now at least. The Way Home got rejected by the Library Writers Project.

The current project is a sequel to Counter Clockwise, which I’ve attempted before. Getting back into the habit of writing has been a challenge. Being in a writers group helps; I feel weird showing up with nothing to read, and I miss it if I stay away too long. But too often I’ve been spending my free time lying on the couch instead of sitting at the computer. I just don’t seem to have the drive.

To that end, I am considering a new project, one that combines couch and computer. As an avowed Doctor Who fan, I’ve seen far too little of the classic series. (There are 26 seasons, so “too little” is still quite a lot.) I shelled out for a Britbox subscription, which streams almost every episode still in existence. My family and friends don’t want to watch as much or as often as I do. So, in order to justify my subscription, make use of the night or two I have home alone every week, and still get my couch time – not to mention indulge in my favorite show – I plan to take on the vastness of the program, from 1963 to today, and write about it on my Doctor Who blog.

What to write about? There are synopses everywhere, of course, and plenty of reviews. I don’t think there’s anything new I can add. But the history and development of the show – its almost-accidental nature – interest me immensely, as does its huge and devoted fan base. I expect my posts will note significant firsts, where-are-they-now, and whatever behind-the-scenes and fan reaction I come across. Not to mention all sorts of things that haven’t occurred to me yet.

All that will happen, when it happens, at Type 40 Travels.

In the meantime, disappointed library members – and any other interested parties – can find The Way Home here at Smashwords – free with coupon code DB73P until Memorial Day.

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Post-Nano wrapup

Well that was a full month.

First, a poetry collection assembled by assorted disparate members of my writers’ group has come out. It contains several pieces previously seen here as well as a range of similar-ish things by other writers. I’ve only flipped through it so far but as poetry goes it stands out for being accessible and straightforward as well as poetic. Also, the cover art is gorgeous.

You can find Over Land and Rising at Amazon.

November is home to literary events Wordstock and Orycon here in my ‘hood – that is, three-plus days packed full of writerly events, panels, workshops, and of course shopping. I discovered the urban fantasy Enter the Janitor, which is just as much fun as it sounds like, and a couple of authors I look forward to getting to know. My to-read pile has grown beyond all reason (not that it was reasonable before) and I also learned a few potentially useful things in terms of writing.

Among those things was some insight into the fun world of submitting. The short fiction panel at Orycon opened up a whole range of markets beyond what I already knew – which is good, because the piece I last mentioned having submitted to Uncanny Magazine has now collected four rejections – one of them personalized, with feedback. One of my upcoming projects is to launch that one into a second round of submissions.

Also in the world of submitting, “The Way Home” is finally finished. This time last year, it wasn’t; this time last month, off it went (just for fun) to F&SF whence it was promptly returned. However, that was not only expected, but perfectly timed. “The Way Home” is now available on Smashwords and has been submitted to the Library Writers’ Project, my community’s annual dose of local library love with which I have twice so far been successful. Wish me luck on this one – “Way” is my heart-piece, a bit odd-sized and weirdly shaped for conventional publishing, and I hope it finds a home here.

Then of course there was Nanowrimo. I really didn’t expect much of this; my last Nano fizzled at 25k, and this month was full of travel and literary weekends and wine. It was somewhat to my own surprise that I managed to write 25 days out of 30, even on airplanes – and at 8pm on the very last of them, verified 50,219 words.

All shitty-first-draft, but that’s the point.

I noticed this round that writing without concern for quality allowed all sorts of ideas to come flying up out of the muck. I went places I might not otherwise have considered, opened new doors, tried out new directions. All of these will help the executed projects in the end. On the down side, it was exhausting. 50k in a month is not a sustainable pace for me, though it’s certainly good for a jolt every now and then. My challenge this month is to work out what IS a sustainable pace. 5k a week? 3k? 500 words a day? (not doing so well so far, this being the 5th, but I think vacation is just about over.)

So what’s next??

Nano encompassed two projects: an idea for the BBC playwriting competition I mentioned last time, and something involving wizards, gender roles, and an unkindness of ravens. Both stories have a rough structure, an arc, a beginning-middle-end. Both need a LOT of work to be readable. The deadline for that competition is Jan 31, and my writers’ group has expressed a desire to perform scenes together, so my next task is to get that script into some sort of functional shape.

Once that’s done, then we’ll see about those wizards.

It’s well past time for an update, isn’t it?

This time last year I posted that I was possibly close to done with a piece that had been on my mind for half a decade. Turns out, I wasn’t: the draft I was finishing then went to a beta reader, got heavily revised, and then went back around my critique group. Now I’m pretty sure it’s almost done. One more read-through, maybe, and it’s off to F&SF.

I also currently have a piece in the queue at Uncanny Magazine. Yes, I finally caught an open window, with a piece of the proper length, a piece that my critique group at least thinks is very strong. It will be at least another couple of weeks before I hear back, and I’m trying not to have any expectations.

Tomorrow, NaNoWriMo begins again. I haven’t participated the last couple of years, and the last time I did participate I only managed about 25k words. Not nothing, but not what I was going for. This year, my projects-in-process are all wrapped up, and I have a number of potential new ones in mind. I’m not sure what I’ll tackle tomorrow: a radio play for the BBC’s International Radio Playwriting Competition, or a sequel to one of my finished works, or maybe a new story that’s been kicking around my brain for a while. Maybe a bit of everything, as none is likely to reach 50k words on its own.

In the meantime, in honor of established tradition, my previous Nano projects will be free on Smashwords with coupon codes below.  Share and enjoy!

Local love

I am very fortunate in my local library.

Last year, Multnomah County Library introduced a program to promote local authors. The program was called the Library Writers Project, and it invited local science fiction and fantasy writers to submit their work for inclusion in the library’s ebook collection. Out of 170 works submitted, The Edge was considered “a standout.” The library purchased 5 copies for their collection. Multnomah County cardholders can find it here.

A hilarious side effect of this process is that I received a 1099 from Smashwords for my roughly $17 of income last year. 😀

This year, the field was flung open to all fiction writers regardless of genre*. Oddly, only 70 works were submitted, but once again, Counter Clockwise was “a standout.” As of March 1, I have two works available digitally at my own public library. My book is listed on the “Best Of” page, featuring librarians’ favorites of the chosen works. 10 copies were made available and 7 of them are already checked out.

It’s fun and flattering to be included, and it’s great to have my work available to local readers. Actually selling a few copies is exciting too. Multnomah County is one of the largest library systems in the country, and its circulation is huge. That’s a lot of chances for people to read my stories – and that’s really the best part.

Check me out at MultCo if you can, or any time at Smashwords. 🙂

 

*Not counting erotica, per the library’s agreement with its ebook provider.

Winter at the bus stop

Distant Venus, ice-

capped Mars, the dead moon above –

warmer than I am.

Thankful

Pretty leaves falling

Sound of rain on a good roof

High quality wine

Nano fail

More than halfway through the month and I haven’t posted about NaNoWriMo!

Obviously I’m not participating this year. Not only has my personal life been hectic (travel, sister’s wedding) but I’m in the midst of editing the latest version of The Way. This story has been in mental residence for close to 5 years now; if there’s a chance I can finish it and get it right, I’m not going to let myself get distracted.

That doesn’t mean you can’t. Prior Nano projects Dreamscapes and His Brother’s Keeper are only $0.99 for the next 30 days – through December 16 – with coupon codes below. And just for fun, Counter Clockwise is free.

Enjoy!

Dreamscapes, 2011 Nano winner: DT42V

His Brother’s Keeper, 2013 Nano participant: CB83L

Counter Clockwise: LF76F