Looking back on things I’ve read

I’d honestly forgotten about the Hugo nominations until today. My notebook is looking a little sparse; I don’t know if I started forgetting to write things down when they impressed me, or if the end of the year was just so hectic that I fell far, far behind on actually reading and watching new work. It’s probably a combination.

(That said, with having read 105 books (or at least “things with ISBNs”) last year, plus a great number of short fiction magazines, I am pretty sure I can come up with a few nominations.)

Working fulltime (or fulltime-plus) is not making it easy, plus there’s been a little pet trouble so far this year, but overall I’m actually relatively happy with the amount of writing and submitting I’ve gotten done so far. Hoping it continues.

Grey and rainy.

The weather’s gotten properly icy, now; it’s below freezing at night, and winter coats are required. I can still get away without wearing winter boots, though.

I missed Sunday for NaNoWriMo, but I wrote yesterday and today, and I’m still ahead; slightly more than 25% done on the wordcount, although with what I had drafted up already I may hit the end of what I need to have written before I get to 50,000 words. We’ll see.

The usual small flood of magazines came in, and I’m working at getting my owned-and-to-read pile back down to a closer-to-reasonable level. It’s a process. I’m cherry-picking short works and ones that came out in 2017 (Hugos next year, and all).

I bought a sweater quantity of yarn, in a sort of raisin colour, and cast on a pattern tonight. I’m hoping to have a sweater done this month or early December.

Managing the flood of words.

I’ve finished six books so far this month (bringing me to twenty-six for the year), and I may finish another one tonight. That said, March was the month where… hang on, counting up titles and being slightly embarrassed…

March was the month where eight e-magazines dropped into my inbox. Eight. Also two print magazines came by mail, so I’m going to call it… thirty-five stories, probably.

Most months don’t have quite so many magazines, but March was something of a perfect storm. I’m thinking it’s really time to get through some of them. It’s hard, because most of them are e-magazines and I don’t tend to actually parse that those are piling up, so they get out of hand a little more easily.

So I think that, in addition to Camp NaNoWriMo, April is going to be the month where I put down the books and focus on my magazines for a bit. It’ll feel a bit strange because those aren’t tracked in Goodreads, but by the end of April I should still be ahead of the curve (I’m only aiming to read 65 books this year) and the stack of stuff on my ereader and end table will be down a bit.

Dusting off

It’s been a long couple of months. The physiotherapy has helped a lot–in addition to being able to type normally, I’m no longer on 4.5 times the recommended OTC daily dose of naproxen–but things have been piling up a bit and I’m still playing catch-up a little.

I’ve begun knitting again. That’s lovely.

I’ve been reading a fair bit; I’m actually at 23 books for the year so far (although two of those are standalone short stories and five are graphic novels, which are usually pretty quick reads), plus a few magazines.

I’ve gotten a new laptop and a new phone, since the old ones respectively were in the process of slowly failing and died on me completely, and while the new ones are pretty nice I’m still adjusting to the new layouts a bit.

I’ve realized that I have only two stories out, and this means that I actually have eleven works which need to get a quick check to see if it’s been a mistake to be sending them out and then get back out there. Hopefully most of them are in good shape.

There’s more, but I’m trying to focus on the positive, and keep moving.

Taking stock

(This is a very carefully circumscribed post, because that is what I need at the moment.)

Slowed down on getting rid of books. On the other hand, making progress on reading them, which is always nice.

Since it generally leads to a lot of people I know talking about writing and encouraging each other on wordcounts, trying to do NaNoWriMo. The Story Hospital has an excellent post on that.

Worried for people right now, and hoping everyone is doing as well as possible.

Processing.

So I was discussing fantasy novels with a co-worker today, and I mentioned The Last Unicorn, and they asked what that was, and I made a noise which is perhaps best described as “glk”. It looks like they might check it out, though, so that’s probably to the good.

Continuing to make progress on my clearing out of stuff; a couple of boxes of assorted smallthings left out for the CDA, and a bag of clothes. I’ve gotten rid of maybe another foot’s worth of books, and am organizing the remainder a little better now.

I feel older. Does that make sense? Realizing that I am not going to use things seems weirdly tied to realizing that I won’t have the time or energy to use them, and that realization makes me feel slower and more run-down. It’s not a bad end result–I am loving the decreasing of clutter–but it’s a somewhat melancholy feeling.

Books, spaced and sorted.

I’ve gotten a total of 58 inches of shelf space cleared over the last two weekends–and I’ve just realized that while if that was stacked up it would not be quite as tall as I am, it would still be pretty impressive–and I am thinking that I might need to change how I organize my books. Usually I sort fiction into anthologies, collections, and novels[1], but lately I’m thinking it might make more sense to subdivide the anthologies.

I’m starting to feel like the ones I have fall into two general groups; some are reference works (most of the annual “Year’s Best”, for example) and some are themed works (many one-shot anthologies, and my goodness I have a lot of post-apocalyptically themed ones). And organizing them that way–splitting the collections of ones selected for notability away from the ones selected for theme–might start to make it a little easier to get a handle on the… well, the general flood.

(I have over two hundred books that I own and haven’t finished. This doesn’t really make me very happy.)

I have also just realized (because I was updating Goodreads while sorting the culled books out) that I have finished one book this month. One. And it was a fairly slim graphic novel loaned to me by a friend.

(I am, for the record, in the habit of finishing between five and eight books a month. The higher numbers do usually include graphic novels and e-novelettes, both of which are quite fast reads, but still. So I feel a little bit better having evidence that I’ve actually been ridiculously busy, but at the same time I little disconcerted to realize how busy I’ve been.)
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[1] Well, usually I sort them first by hardcover/paperback/mass-market format, and then by anthology/collection/novel within that format, with the caveat that certain authors–Terry Pratchett springs to mind–get their own section by virtue of being who they are. Graphic novels, RPGs, and non-fiction are grouped by subject. The favourites shelf and the Mythos shelf (both of which are expanding past the “single shelf” category) may both ignore all these restrictions.

More air, less pulp

I’ve been cleaning things out lately; not even decluttering (which suggests to me either putting things away or disposing of casually accumulated things), but actually revisiting what I do and don’t want to keep. Things that I decided yes to a couple of years ago have been re-evaluated, and some are being kept, and some are being gotten rid of.

(The paper recycling is going to be heavy as hell this week, for the record. I feel a little bad about that, which is probably not reasonable.)

There are several more square feet of space in the room I am focussing on, and the impromptu cat bed has been replaced by a promptu one (surely not the correct word, surely a comprehensible incorrect one). It really does make a huge difference to how clear I find myself feeling when I’m in the room.

I’m hoping to get a chance to work on my office a little this weekend. At some point, I’ll need to comb through my physical books again, but that’s never an easy step to take. However, we’re at the point where we need another bookshelf to keep all the books we have[1], so something needs to change. I figure I’ll look at it once the rest of the house is better sorted.

[1] We already have thirteen.

Of fine bookery

Orrin Grey’s excellent collection, Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, is coming back into print! There’s a Kickstarter currently running for the new edition, so I am going to have two copies of it, and one of them will come with an extra story and some e-phemera. The stories in this book are lovely; I may have mentioned “The Seventh Picture” before, and I continue to live in the hope that someone will someday make a movie out of that one.

My review of the initial edition is here, but I figured I’d yank a partial paragraph:

There’s horror here, yes, but that’s not all that’s important here; Never Bet the Devil would be an impressive but rather cold book if it was. The infinite strangeness of the supernatural, that was what I was having trouble defining, and a love for the strange and supernatural elements of the genre. The stories, taken together, are stories of horror, and loneliness, and madness, and mystery. And they still manage to convey a sense of wonder. Not overwhelmingly so; I don’t think it’s possible to come away from them thinking cheerful thoughts. But dammit, reading stories like this, stories that have these things in them… this book makes me happy, and the reading has improved my days.

Overall it comes out to less than $2 a story to get a digital copy, and these are some really, really lovely stories, even without the illustrations. Worth checking out.

Magical alphabet noir

I have a short story that’ll be appearing in the No Shit, There I Was… anthology from Alliteration Ink! The anthology theme is pretty straightforward; you could submit any specfic story, as long as it started with those five magic words. It’s currently being funded on Kickstarter; an ecopy of the anthology is $5, although nearly as many people are going for the trade[1].

Alex Acks is doing a daily discussion of the stories over on his blog while the Kickstarter is running, and today he wrote about mine; you can read what he had to say here, and I am sharing this because I am… well, gleeful and flattered and so pleased that apparently my story did what I wanted it to do!

(The discussions are compiled under the no shit anthology tag, and make for excellent reading, joint and severally.)
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[1] Omigod more of my words are going to be in print.