Me and My Shadow

What I've Been Up To Recently...

I mentioned this in the intro to this week's PodCastle, but I took January off of reading submissions to focus on writing. Hopefully, nobody noticed PodCastle-wise, because my fearless co-editor was on the scene of the crime, taking notes, writing rejections, and being the all-around bad-ass I've come to expect her to be. Also, I continued to perform host duties, so I don't think anyone noticed. (In fact, bogwitch64 sent me a very pleasant email about it a couple days ago saying WHY DIDN'T I KNOW?)

The month off was really interesting. And I don't mean interesting as a negative. I got a ton out of it - but maybe not what I thought I'd get out of it? Suffice to say, I did some writing on a daily basis, and I'm very happy about that. But that's probably another post.

Other things I've been doing:

Emma and I watched Season 1 of Downton Abbey. I liked it a lot. It made me want to revisit Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and it made me hope we'll someday see another Big Novel by Susanna Clarke.

I just finished listening to John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation and enjoyed the hell out of it. It's everything you expect from a Scalzi novel, including bacon! Actually, I was surprised how emotional I got over it in the end.

I just finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon. It's very, very fun. There's quite a bit I like about it, and Anna and I will be talking about it at a PodCastle Spotlight soon!

Also, I've watched the Spider-man preview over and over and over again. (I think it might be the best one yet, but I'm often overly optimistic about these things!)

So...how have you been?
the writer's block

Uncalled For Writing Post From the Godforsaken Hours

I've been getting up at the godforsaken hours to write again - like 4 am-ish. This is because I just can't seem to find any other time to write, and what has ended up happening is that if I don't get up, I don't write at all. 

So I'm trying to get back in the habit, and I'm writing stuff. And OMG it is hard. I've never been a fast writer, but I feel so out of shape right now it's pathetic. The worst part is, I second guess myself all the time about everything from my word choice to whether anything's happening to where is this going to inner-whine is this boring?

So I've developed a plan. 

I've written a bunch of openings for different short stories, and the openings that I like the best are the ones I'm going to keep playing with, one at a time. (Although I'm still giving myself permission to write more openings.) It's kind of liberating to just try and write some good openings and not really worry about what's going to happen next. Well, I'm not sure any of them are good, but I'm having fun with them at least, and that's something.

I'm still second-guessing myself a lot, but I've gotten stuff down this week, and I'm pretty sure on at least a couple stories I'm going to go after. There the ones I keep thinking about.

I just wish Oliver wouldn't get up so early...

Me and My Shadow

My Have Read Pile: 2011 Edition

I want to do a post about resolutions and stuff, but I thought I'd kick the year off by listing everything I read last year. Honestly, I think this is the most I've read (and listened to) novel-wise since my kids were born, in no small part due to Audible and the books on CD at my local library. My TBR pile is still ENORMOUS, but I blame that on reading stories for PodCastle! Anyway, it was a pretty good year for me.

My Have Read Books:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
Stargirl, by Jerri Spinelli 
Water for Elephants, by Sara Guren (Audio)
The Broken Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMasters Bujold (Audio)
Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Audio)
White Cat, by Holly Black (Audio) 
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers (Audio) - 
The Dragon’s Path, by Daniel Abraham
Love Wins, by Rob Bell
Hunter’s Run, by George R.R. Martin, Gardener Dozois, and Daniel Abraham (Audio) - 
A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin (Audio) - I am now a fan
Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach (Audio)
The Body Mod, by Dru Miller
Kraken, by China Mieville
The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury (Audio)
Red Glove, Holly Black (Audio)
Unclean Spirits, by M.L.N. Hanover
The Patriot Witch, by C.C. Finlay
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Swords and Deviltry, by Fritz Leiber (Audio)
Briarpatch, by Tim Pratt
Bone Shop, by T.A. Pratt (Audio)
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl (Audio)
Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury (Audio)
Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout
Fragile Things, by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Ellen Kushner and Holly Black
The Traveling Vampire Show, by Richard Laymon (Audio)
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury (Audio)
Vicious Circles, by Mike Carey (Audio)
Clementine, by Cherie Priest
The House on Haunted Hill, by Shirley Jackson (Audio)
Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire (Audio)
The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell (Audio)
Isle of the Forsaken, by Carolyn Ives Gilman
Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz: Three Adventures, by Garth Nix
Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris (Audio)
Charles Dickens’ Christmas Stories (Audio)
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (Audio)

Comics:

Captain America: Winter Soldier, by Ed Brubaker, various.
Nightwing: Brothers by Blood, by
Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Ex Machina: Term Limits, by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris
Red Robin: Collision, by Chris Yost and Marcus To
Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels, by Mike Mignola and Ben Steinbeck
Batman and Robin, by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Philip Tan

Currently Reading:

Embassytown, by China Mieville
The Stress of Her Regard, by Tim Powers (Audio)
After the Apocalypse, by Maureen F. McHugh
Three Messages and a Warning, edited by Edward Jimenez Maya & Chris N. Brown
Hebrewpunk, by Lavie Tidhar
The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James (Audio)
Death’s Heretic, by James L. Sutter
Black Hills, by Dan Simmons
Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantino
The Best of Gene Wolfe, by Gene Wolfe
Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
Metatropolis, by Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, and Karl Schroeder (Audio)
Ghosts by Gaslight, edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers

the writer's block

My Krampus Story is at Pseudopod!!!

Here's a Christmas present I discovered at the beginning of the year: my Krampus short story "Saint Nicholas' Helper" is at Pseudopod, in time for the holidays! Being as it's at Pseudopod, it is not a nice story. But if you dark fiction to go with the darkest nights of the year, I hope you enjoy it.

There's a storybook my parents had that's disappeared everywhere but in my mind. When I was a kid, I had this book about Christmases around the world, and there was this one story in there about Saint Nicholas and Krampus coming to visit a little girl. HOLY SHIT, I loved that story, and had my parents read it to me over and and over again (probably, it disturbed them a bit - they were extremely conservative and while they somehow tolerated Star Wars, they weren't big fans of sorcery or horror or anything demonic like that). Anyway, in that story, you got the feeling that Saint Nicholas was actually the girl's uncle or neighbor or something dressed up. But Krampus? He was a little demonic elf. I always wondered, who in that story dressed up as him? And this story kind of stems from that, along with some other questions I asked myself later on, like, why would Saint Nicholas need a demon to help him? So for those of you who have been missing my spiritual noir, this might hit some of your squids.

Marie Brennan (aka:swan_tower) gave it an AMAZING read. It's been about a year and a half since I finished writing the story, and so listening to it on my morning commute this morning - well, I got all tense during one of the scenes in the middle. Not because I'd forgotten what happened, but because Marie read it so so perfectly. And Alasdair's comments at the end were, of course, the best icing on the cake.

And I really can't express how nice it is to listen to my story after all that time, and think, you know, I really did okay with it.

Huge thanks to all my friends who beta read this one for me: bogwitch64, avocadovpx, voidmonster, prusik, and Anna Schwind. They definitely made this story so much better than it would've been. 

Anyway, that's probably enough out of me. If you've got half an hour, give it a listen and let me know what you thought of it!
the writer's block

Subbed a Story Today

That's the first time I've subbed an unsolicited story in waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. I liked doing it. I think I will do it again. (On the brightside, I think I won't have too many issues checking Duotrope 10 times a day.)

Also, I am having fun writing about vampire pumpkins. And then I want to finish up a couple of other stories by the end of the year and sub Sub SUB! 
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Me and My Shadow

The WFC Post

Things I loved about going to World Fantasy Con, in no particular order:

1) It’s the first major genre con I’ve ever been too, unless you count ComicCon, which I don’t. That’s more of an amusement park. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)
2) Having dinner that first night with all my VPX pals.
3) Also: getting to see VPX pals I hadn’t seen in 5 years – Terri-Lynne, Barbara, Nikki. Hugs all around!
4) Readers Theatre with 20+ people in CSE Cooney and Tina Connolly’s room. I was the anonymous troll asshole in one of the plays, which was fun. Especially Terri-Lynne as a punk rock freak. 
5) Having a couple of people recognize my voice. MY FREAKING VOICE. That was fucking awesome, and totally flattering, and made my weekend right there.
6) Meeting so many of the cool authors and readers from PodCastle, and getting to talk and hang out with them a bit.
7) The Escape Artists coffee hour with Mur, Hobson, Tina, Caroline, Sam, Bart, Kelly, BlueLu, and Tempest .
8) Kelly taking Bart, Sam, and me off-campus to have dinner at El Zarape, and the subsequent walk and conversations post-dinner. Awesome stuff was talked about, and I apparently only know the half of it. (Or more likely: probably even less.)
9) That Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis were the guests of honor. 
10) Walking into a VP jam session. Awesomely surreal.
11) Talking with Ferrett and Keffy for a couple hours outside of a couple of parties, talking about the hazards of slush, writing, and other   fun things.
12) The ridiculously huge autograph session.
13) Reconnecting and expanding my tribe and feeling generally pretty damn inspired to do some more writing.

In short, if I met you at WFC and got to hang out with you, whether it was for a couple minutes at the bar or the con suite, or at night, or something else, THANK YOU SO MUCH. You inspired me, and you’re awesome. I hope I get to hang out with you again soon!