Pleasant fall

I confess to preferring grey weather, but today is cool and pleasant enough that I am not minding the lack of cloud cover. I raked a lot of the back yard (I have no idea what I’m going to do about getting the violets out; they are absolutely brutally stubborn, and I would like a back yard that is not-them), I went out for a walk, and I’m making progress on both my current sweater and my tsundoku pile.

I’ve got *mumble* revisions on the burner and two stories in progress, so that’s going to be keeping me busy probably until the end of the year. I’m trying to make sure that I clear out time to just be not-productive; it seems to help. (Video games and horror TV, yay; I keep getting recommendations for a couple of things, so I’m bumping them up the list.)

Sent a withdrawal to what I’m pretty sure is a dead market this morning, which is never a particularly cheerful event. Still, I got two stories out today, and am going to be aiming for more.

January, in a remarkable year

Sometimes I turn around and it’s odd to be in 2020.

When I was a kid, I had an RPG sourcebook with that year in the title: Cyberpunk 2020. I didn’t have anyone to play with, but that wasn’t a problem; I read RPGs for fun, weird combinations of guidebook and recipe source.

I went years without thinking about that book, but I tripped over the setting again last year–someone’s making a video game–and it’s odd to me how much I still remember of it and how much I still care. My reaction went from “yes, that game looks like it’ll be very glossy” to “that’s Johnny Silverhand? They’ve got Johnny Silverhand? I remember him.” and next thing you know I was snickering over the Holy Fathers of the Perpetual Railgun again.

It’s funny the stuff that sticks with you.

None of the impressions that stuck from the stories that talked about 2020 were anything like this. On a larger level–and there’s a lot going on, on the larger level–I’m going to settle for saying that while there are definitely dystopian elements, the fictional version of them seemed like they were a lot more manageable. On a smaller level… well, I’ve been dealing with vet bills and doing the laundry. I like both my jobs, and periodically get very angry at both my jobs, and these two things are not mutually exclusive. Life goes on, and it feels like a lot of it is a rather tired puttering.

Well. The month is nearly over, and some things are improving. I hope that part of current trends continues.

Counting ink, 2017

I had one story come out this year; “Thou Unnecessary Letter”, which was started in one of Cat Rambo’s classes and published in the Alliteration Ink anthology No Shit, There I Was…. One of the slush jackalopes for the anthology referred to it as “magical alphabet noir”, and I can’t think of a better summary.

I submitted stories 51 times in 2017, and got 46 rejections (43 were from 2017 submissions, and 3 were from submissions made in 2016). I also withdrew two stories (one from a 2017 submission, and one from a 2016 one).

At the end of the year, I had seven stories out. Last year I only managed 36 submissions, and this year I was aiming for 50; next year I’m going to try for 70.

Here’s hoping 2018 is a little gentler all around.

Quick Hallowe’en

Two weeks ago, I was trying to prepare for not having a dog at Hallowe’en.

Now, she is sitting next to the couch, staring happily up at me as I scritch her neck around the Elizabethan collar. (This is the plastic cone of shame a pet gets after surgery, to be clear, not part of a seasonal costume.)

A quiet night before NaNoWriMo starts is in order, and I am glad.

The jack-o-lantern I carved for Hallowe'en.

Counting ink, 2016.

2016 was a year where I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. Still, I did not do nothing, and I did get two short stories published:

“The Gannet Girl”, in the May issue 102 of On Spec magazine; my fairy tale of sea witches and social expectations, and gannets which do not love but may be loyal.

Playing Prometheus“, in the November 18 issue of Persistent Visions; my time travel story. I’m not sure I have it in me to write another, but I am so very pleased I wrote this one.

I have another story which was accepted this year and will be published in 2017; that’s my magical alphabet noir story, which is apparently a pretty nifty concept.

I submitted stories 36 times in 2016, and got 36 rejections (33 were from 2016 submissions, and 3 were from submissions made in 2015). I also got two acceptances.

I’ve got four stories out at the moment. I’m hoping to manage a lot closer to seventy submissions next year; I was aiming for it this year and fell woefully short.

 

Happy New Year! See you on the other side.

Pixel renovation

I’ve reorganized this site a bit. New year, new look, general tidying, and all that.

It kind of looks like a Thomas Kincaide art collection threw up all over the top of the page, but given how little sunlight I’ve seen lately and how much time I’m about to be spending indoors at work, I am actually perfectly okay with this. I may prune down the number of images over the next couple of months, or change the layout, but for now I’m good.

The first weekend of 2016’s been okay. It looks like January will be a lot colder than December, but since I actually now own my first winter coat in about a decade, this is filling me with considerably less trepidation than I might have expected.

Work starts up again tomorrow, and writing has been going well, and I suppose things are generally being fairly unremarkable and pleasant. Going to call it a night, now, I think.

Counting ink, 2015.

Now is the time for minutae-minded individuals to get bogged down in idly typing up details, so I’m posting about my reading and writing this year.

Reading

In 2015, I aimed for 70 books and finished 82, covering a total of 22535 pages.

Four of the books I read I five-starred on Goodreads, which is a rating I reserve for books that I think people should read even if they usually pass over that genre (A Gift Upon the Shore, “Sugar“, After the End, and Feeling Very Strange). The first is a novel, the second is a standalone short story (although it’s set in the Tabat universe, which also contains the really really lovely “Events at Fort Plentitude“), and the other two are anthologies.

Two of the books I read I two-starred, which means I did not hate them but pretty much stopped enjoying them and ground on to see if they would get better. If they had, I would have rated them higher.

And the oldest book I read this year was Fritz Leiber’s Gather, Darkness!, first published in 1943.

Writing

I submitted stories 56 times in 2015. I also got 49 rejections (one shy of a deciBrad, which I have decided is the correct term for ten centiBrads!), but three were from stories submitted before 2015, so you can say I only got 46 2015 rejections. (In 2014, those numbers were 34 submissions, and 31/30 rejections.)

I also got four acceptances, which was four more than last year. Or ever. Three of them have already been published; they’re linked over here.

This means I’ve got six stories out at the moment. I’m hoping to manage seventy submissions next year; will see how it goes.

Happy New Year! See you on the other side.

So many words.

It’s been a long week; heavy on the editing, light on the writing, with Thursday being a sick day.

I’ve started reading The Thousand Names, by Django Wexler. I’ve also started putting more of a dent in my magazine backlog, which is kind of huge. And it’s going to get bigger in the next five days, when September’s issues come in. And I have a copy of Fran Wilde’s Updraft on pre-order.

(…and I look at all this and I think oh, goodness.)

My morning glory has continued growing enthusiastically despite the fact that its stem has been broken clear through. It’s put out six flowers in the last week, and grown at least a foot of vines. I’m somewhat bewildered by this, but really, it can’t keep doing this for much longer, can it?

The flowers are getting smaller, at any rate. And paler. But the stem below the break is putting out new leaves, and I’m hoping that I’ll get some new climbing vines before it stops growing. It’s odd to think that it’s nearly September, and October’s just around the corner. I need to start looking up what to do to take care of the garden plants over the winter. (The foxgloves haven’t flowered this year, but I’m hopeful for 2016.)

I am thinking I might need to add a gardening tag, if I keep struggling with the plants.

Trisennight, short

(Yes, nearly three weeks since I’ve posted. That said, I find sennight to be a rather lovely word.)

A quick roundup, definitely not in order;

  • I finished edits on one of my accepted stories, and it’s currently with the copy-editor.
  • I developed double tennis elbow, which has slowed my typing down quite a lot. It is currently being alleviated by a little nailgun-like object that, instead of nails, fires pulses of pure sound. (Cue another chorus of “I love living in the future.”)
  • The light of my life got me two bottles of wine of a kind I have been trying to get for the better part of a month, and (even better!) a print of the Sockdolager cover in which my story appeared! (The entire magazine is free to read online, but the first link is to the store where you can see the print cover which you may buy. The second link is to my story, and you can find all the rest of the issue there.) I am plotting which wall to put it on. There are many options.
  • I got a small birdcage for my Venus Flytrap at the dollar store. (The cats have a great interest in Venus Flytraps. It’s how the last one died. I am hoping that the birdcage will serve as a protective enclosure for Seymour 2. (It is a spooky birdcage, all in black with “bars” that mimic a spiderweb. (The dollar store is a great proponent of Hallowe’en goods.)))
  • I decided that I am not going to the convention I had earlier planned to attend. I am a little sad, although a lot of that has to do with not getting to go on a trip. Have made plans to attend a different con, though.
  • I watched the Hugo Awards. I do wish I could have made it to WorldCon for many reasons (postapocalyptic smoke being among them), but I am glad for everyone there who had a good time.
  • I have been mildly astounded by the resiliency of the morning glory plant on the balcony. It was wilting and dying, and its stem was broken in half sometime last week, for which I blame a squirrel. Since then, with no connection to its roots and with leaves that resemble peels of green paint, it has put out six blossoms.
  • I got a full centiBrad’s worth of rejections, and submitted the same number of stories.
  • I have turned my sleep schedule into something resembling Swiss cheese.
  • I got close enough to both a young bluejay and a downy woodpecker that I think I could have taken decent pictures of them if I’d had a camera handy (and, you know, all the chops to use it). The bluejay in particular was fun to watch; he was making strident and typical bluejay sounds, and rather confused sounds, and some very brave attempts at raucous noise that trailed off into a hesitant stutter.

So those are all things.

Prompter attempts to update will be forthcoming. The Swiss cheese issue needs addressing first, though.

A disconcerting ping

A couple of months ago, I made an (at the time) sensible decision; I decided to go to the work golfing event. I wasn’t expected to be good, and I thought it’d be a nice thing to try.

A few weeks ago, I did something painful to my elbow. I made another sensible decision, and went to see my chiropractor. And I improved considerably.

(You’re seeing how these two things might interact with each other, aren’t you? Guess what: You’re smarter than I was!)

Golfing was okay – the weather was pleasant, there were robins and red-winged blackbirds and chipmunks and extremely large dragonflies. But my elbow and forearm started sparking off those tingly little ping sensations about halfway through, and they’re not entirely better yet.

I’m going to quietly bond with an icepack for a few hours. Hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow – I want to spend a lot of time on my keyboard this weekend.