In the shadow of summers now past

Hey everyone! Here’s recent progress on my modern gothic about two lady academics investigating the case of a mystery woman who was murdered and stuffed in a tree forty years ago – with Bonus! lovely ghosts, sinister messages from beyond, creepy small town shenanigans, and a New Southern Weird vibe (as inspired by a true story that happened way the hell elsewhere):


    Project: Cinderwich
    Deadline: None!
    New words written: 5781
    Present total word count: 38,400


    Things accomplished in real life: Walked the dogs; went to the grocery store; did laundry; tidied house.

    Things accomplished in fiction: Met the third and final “sister”; received a dire warning and a promise; snooped and learned something cool, but felt bad about it.

    Other: Although I began writing Cinderwich as a novel, I always knew it’d be a short one…and now I’m reasonably confident that it won’t run any longer than 50k. Fine! It’s a novella, no big deal. I’m very happy with the draft so far, and I hope to finish it before the end of the month. That’s the goal I’m setting for myself, anyway. We’ll see how it goes, and where it goes, and what becomes of it. I’ll keep you posted.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: Gonna say about 9000 and start the count there, because that includes the short I wrote for Apex (the one that lands next month). I realize that sounds low (and it is!) but I’ve been mired in production work (rewrites, edits, proofs, etc.) until literally a week or two ago, and that’s just how it goes sometimes. Realistically, I’ve written more like 30,000 words (I added 12k to one YA project, and another 8-9k to another, plus content to a Wild Cards project and more), but I tend not to track the stuff that happens outside of straight-up drafting. No real reason. Don’t @-me.

Not Dead Yet

I know I have entirely too many blog posts that begin with some variation of, “Gosh it’s been awhile, lol…” but here we are again, oh well. Look, it’s been a busy year. Since 2018 rolled over I’ve wrapped up the following: the final round of rewrites/production on The Agony House; a major round of rewrites on The Toll for Tor; final production on one Wild Cards project; rewrites/production on a second Wild Cards project; a full rewrite of TWO young adult novels that may or may not find homes, but they were both requested by editors so we’ll see; and wrote one short story for Apex Magazine (coming in May).

As a side/bonus note, I’ve also been volunteering for a political campaign via Get Her Elected – a very fine group that aims to help progressive women get into office around the country. On a lark, I threw my hat in the ring to help out with certified awesome badass Dr. Linda Jack and her efforts toward joining the Florida House of Representatives. I lived in her district for years and am acutely aware of the uphill battle she faces, and I’m happy to be even a small part of The Good Fight – even at a distance.

[If you’re interested in participating in the blue wave, I strongly recommend signing up for Get Her Elected. They’re always looking for a broad assortment of volunteers for a vast number of tasks. As for me, I help with Dr. Jack’s website and its content, do a little research here and there, and pull together articles/press releases/whatever she needs that the DNC does not provide for her. It’s not much of a time commitment at all, and the GHE folks let you tailor your commitment levels and all that jazz. Check them out!]

I mean…yeah. I’ve been eyeballs deep these last three months, so my apologies for all the silence. I haven’t been very silent over on Twitter, if that matters to anybody – but it’s almost entirely pet pictures.

Right. So.
What’s next?
I haven’t decided yet.

To make a long story short, I made a deal with my husband when we decided to move back to Seattle. The deal was simple: I’d agree to pack up our lovely Victorian and move…if I could have a year to Get My Shit Together while not worrying about keeping up my end of the household income with new sales/day job/contract work. I’ve been hamster-wheeling it for the better part of a decade and I needed some time to tie off loose ends (see first paragraph) and start developing new things to write and (hopefully) sell.

So 2018 is that year. Just yesterday I handed in the last thing on my catching up list (one of those YA projects) and now I’m…not exactly free and clear? The house is a wreck, the yard is a wreck (and here comes spring!), and my health has not been great. I’ve developed a weird allergy problem unrelated to the regular spring mayhem, but I’ll spare you the details; and I really need to go to the dentist.

And since people have already started asking, I’ve also strongly curbed my travel this year. I’m not even doing DragonCon, though it’s kind of been my Home Event for the last twenty years. I will probably do a little bit of gallivanting around re: The Agony House, including the Children’s Institute event in NOLA (middle of June) – and I always do ConFusion in Michigan, but that’ll be January of next year. I’m trying to give myself all the downtime I can, that’s all.

Anyway. This is me, coming up for air. I will try to be better about routine updates henceforth, and once I get started on my next project (or once I pick a project to finish drafting) I’ll let you know. Over and out for now.

::salutes::

I’ve shed my tears in bitter drops until the thorn trees bloomed

Goodbye, 2017. Don’t let the door hit your ass, etc. etc. etc. My husband and I rang in the new year by drinking and bingeing TV shows. Then we hugged our dogs and gave them cheese, because fireworks are scary. We would’ve hugged the cats, too – but Quinnie was under the bed, and the ElderCat is mostly deaf. ElderCat could not have cared less, and would’ve been annoyed had I awakened her for hugs or anything else that wasn’t a fistful of treats.

* * *

I didn’t get that much more writing done on Cinderwich, what with the holidays and all. I did, however, scare up a proposal for it – and clean up the first five chapters. I sent all that to my agent this afternoon, and we’ll see what she says. I’ve had fun playing with this and I really like it, but I have no idea if it’s the kind of thing anybody will want to publish.

I am literally the worst judge of my own material. Some of the projects I’ve loved the best have been the worst reviewed or least read. I have no idea.

Anyway, here’s recent progress on my modern gothic about two lady academics investigating the case of a mystery woman who was murdered and stuffed in a tree forty years ago – with Bonus! lovely ghosts, sinister messages from beyond, creepy small town shenanigans, and a New Southern Weird vibe (as inspired by a true story that happened way the hell elsewhere):


    Project: Cinderwich
    Deadline: None!
    New words written: 5140
    Present total word count: 32,619


    Number of fiction words so far this year: 96,619


* * *

Right. Well. Here we are in the future, and the year is wide open. I’ve got another couple of projects I’d like to develop, and I will make a concerted effort to do so. Maybe I’ll sell a new book or two for publication this year, maybe I won’t. I’ll definitely have a couple coming out: The Agony House from Scholastic this fall, The Toll from Tor (tbd), and maybe another Wild Cards project, too (also tbd). I keep talking about trying to take a break and get my mojo in order, but apparently I’m kind of shit at that.

Procrastinating, I can do. Taking a break, not so much.

Well, I never promised anybody that the first post of 2018 would make any sense.

In other news,I can’t be bothered to do a 2017 recap. I’d just as soon forget it ever happened, with a few notable exceptions. We’re settling in to our house in Seattle, we’ve got happy animals to love, and the world hasn’t exploded yet. Knock on wood. So here goes nothing, eh? Good luck, everybody. We’re going to need it.