The latest in random happenings

I filled out forms today.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that nothing in modern life can happen without filling out all the proper forms before, during and after EVERYTHING one does.

…or so it often seems to me. Forms hate me. True story.

If you’ve never seen me fuck up a form five times running before getting it right, well, now you know that’s a thing. And I did a ton of everyday form-filling today without a single meltdown.

So, yay?

Confirming con dates, ordering freebies, depositing checks, booking hotels & travel, submitting information here & there, updating spreadsheets…

AGH. SO MANY FORMS TO FILL OUT. ARGH.

But it’s all done, and I’ve survived.

I also made progress & significant decisions on the new beginning for Sharp Edge of Yesterday. It still has a sucky first line, but I am now resigned to “sucky first lines” being my trademark style…and it starts with Jack & Heather snarking on their way to an emergency, so there’s that.

Rewarding myself with popcorn & hot cider now. (see the featured image for the post.)

See ya later, internet.

2018: listing things for fun & focus

I adore lists. They aren’t useful to me in any organizational way. They don’t make me work more efficiently or help my productivity. The opposite, if anything.  I’m always leaving lists behind, or forgetting where I’ve put them, or getting distracted before finishing one and starting a new one instead…the list itself is rarely a helpful tool.

But making lists? That’s a fish of another color. I consider making a list its own reward. I love writing them.  If you think this odd, well, I also consider scrolling through the cable channel menu its own distinct activity rather than a way to find shows to watch.

I put things on list for the sheer joy of checking them off again. True story. Hey, I never said I was normal.

ANYWAY. Still here? Fab. It’s the beginning of the new year and everyone was doing lists at the end of the old year, but I was hibernating, so I’m late with mine.

Here be my list of 2018 accomplishments. I made them all on my own. They’re little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good. (Apologies to Lilo & Stitch for the misquote.)

1. Wrote a book. The Sharp Edge of Yesterday isn’t published yet, but I finished it & it’s finally in post-editorial revisions. (It even kinda has a pitch: Grace Reed is hiding a terrible secret and a more terrible power. that will rip her away from the family she’s sacrificed everything to keep together. )

2. Wrote most of another book. Ghost Town isn’t finished, but it’s well over 50%, and that’s something. All I’ve got for  pitch is the tongue in cheek, “She’s the new sheriff. He’s been dead a hundred years. Together, they fight crime and bicker.”

3. Attended a few too many science fiction conventions as a professional. Pro meaning I had books there to sell, wore a pro badge, and/or participated on panels and such. Woo, this means I get to make a sub-list!

  • Capricon (MY FIRST CAPRICON!)
  • Concoction (MY FIRST CONCOCTION!!)
  • C2E2 (sorta. All I did was chat w/artists & commission art. )
  • Indiana Comic Con
  • 2018 SFWA Nebula Awards Conference
  • Gen Con
  • Michigan Comic Con
  • Dragon Con
  • WindyCon

4. Wrote 2 short stories. Yes, me. Me, the person whose previous four short stories turned into novels. One of these two, Homecoming,  is a slice-of-life piece about a character who’s in Sharp Edge, and it’s a freebie for people who sign up for my mailing list. The other, Mercy Has a Bitter Taste,  I’ve had critiqued & polished & am sending off to be rejected by all the best professional markets. One down,  thirteen more to go before I trunk it.

5. Started regularly attending an incredibly supportive open mic reading group in Chicago.  Gumbo Fiction Salon. I’ve read all of Bitter Gift there, and the reception is what gave me the confidence to start sending it out.

NOTE: GBS isn’t the reading series I first expected to support. There’s another series, held at Volumes Book Cafe, that I attended once and & HIGHLY recommend. I’m v sad about never returning to it, but scheduling conflicts, life detours, and a VERY difficult location have all conspired against me getting back there. (And now I’m too embarrassed to show my face again. Sigh.)

6? I think that’s it for major writerly type achievements from 2018. I mean, yes, I commissioned new covers for books from the fantastic Rhiannon Taylor and the amazing Rachel Bostwick, I signed a contract for line edits from a phenomenal professional editor, I signed up for 2019 conventions, I ran multiple book promotions online, I got my latest novel into the WorldCat library database and on shelves in library systems in Illinois, Ohio, & Kentucky, and maybe Pennsylvania…

…but all that’s just everyday authoring stuff.

So much for 2018. Onward to 2019. Big plans in the making & big doings ahead.

 

WindyCon 45 quick report

I was feeling super-nervy & timid going into WindyCon this year, what with doing panels there for the first time and all, but it turned out totally fab.

So many amazing moments. Shared a dealer table with author friends met at Nebulas and at Gumbo Fiction AND still got to hang out with Rich at Games Plus’s  table and our WindyCon neighbor Richard from Dark River Pottery.

Talked book promotion on a panel with a traditionally published pro and someone who does promotion for a living and didn’t feel (too) overwhelmed.  Swapped stories about my favorite guilty-pleasure reads and watches on an imposing stage with someone rocking a s zebra-stripe mohawk (Kevin Roche, cosplay Guest of Honor, who has MAD costuming skills)  Got to talk about stories by Arthur C Clark, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury, and a bunch of other classic authors I haven’t re-read in years. (all tales that left us teary-eyed.) Got to indulge my passion for end-of-the-world fiction with other like-minded souls.

ANYWAY. I digress. Staying at the con hotel even though the con was under an hour from home made a huge difference.  I had time to catch up with friends met at past cons and time to make new friends too.  Among the many people I met this year, I discovered one who lives nearby.  And I mean, RIGHT nearby. (Barbara Barnett, her book is The Apothecary’s Curse, and it’s super-neat, and she already knows one of my best friends from another walk of life. Such is the small world of synchronicity.)  Aaaand I digress again.

Chatted with readers who bought books in past years, wonderful kind people who let me talk about characters and tell me who they like best and inspire me to Just. Keep. Swimming. (so to speak)  I also gained new readers, AND I found good adoptive homes for the last few copies of my in-need-of-corrections first edition paperback. Huzzah.

So I bought myself bling, because I allow myself to buy shiny things when I send books home with people.

Tear-down with Rich for the Games Plus table went swimmingly (my big capital investment in a folding wagon TOTALLY paid for itself.) The drive home was uneventful, and now I’m cozy-comfy, with fuzzy socks on my feet, wine in a glass, and figure skating on the TV.

…and Spouseman bought me cherry pie for dessert.

:happy sigh:

Have a couple of pics of my new shinies. New book, a tee I can wear to work, gorgeous plates from Dark River, & GLOW IN THE DARK glass sparklies!

And have a few pics of Our Authors Corner of the dealer room too. It was neato-keen.

Toni Johnson, Brendan Detzner, and Alice Liddell

 

LED BUNNY
All the magic fits into these boxes
My little corner of Authorland, next to Toni’s Steampunk Cyborg Zombie series

Okay. That’s it for now.