Monday, December 29, 2014

Reminiscing on 2014

While time in general always seems to fly by, December, in particular, zips past in a blur. As always, when I reach December, I look back on the year and what I've accomplished. Back in January, I set myself a couple of writing goals. One was to complete two novels. I did that, by the skin of my teeth. The other was to write twelve short stories. Again, skin of teeth. For 2015 I'm not putting a set number on completing stories. Next year will be the year of earnest yet relaxed writing, if that makes any sense.

So here's what all happened this year:

1) I published my first pro-level short story, "Extraction," in Nature Futures.

2) I self published two novels, The Graveyard Girl and the follow up to that, The Necromancer's Return. It was both terrifying and fun, and I learned quite a bit.

3) I ran my first (and second) 5K race. I'm currently training to run a 10K. I'm sort of curious about how far I can run, and how fast I can run. Yes, I know I'm a little crazy.

4) I read 60 books, which doesn't include the handful I began reading and quit, or those I began reading and skimmed to the end because I couldn't get into the story. My favorites of the year included Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato, The Martian by Andy Weir, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, and The Seat of Magic by J. Kathleen Cheney. They're all fabulous, and even if you're not a runner, Born to Run is a great story.

I ended up selling more short stories this year than ever before, and more of my short stories came out than ever before. I already have a short-short slated to come out in January. It's one of my favorites, and I can't wait to see it out in the world. Here's to a prosperous and happy new year for all of us!

Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Report

Despite the wine bottle pictured, I was not baking & boozing
I wasn't sure this year is I would do NaNoWriMo or not. But as the first of November approached, I realized that I had to, yet again, restart my current novel. No matter how much I've written, if there's a huge problem with the beginning, I must go back and restart it. I have to get the beginning right in order for the rest to follow. If I just kept on writing with the idea that I'd fix it later, the rest of the story would turn out awful. So I needed something to motivate me, and keeping apace of the word count during NaNo seemed like the trick.

I told hardly anyone this year that I was doing NaNo because, based on how many times I've started this novel, I wasn't sure I'd reach fifty thousand words, and also, I was pretty frustrated with this novel when I started this draft on November 1. I was angry with it, and angry with myself. The last novel I wrote came out so easily. This one has more than made up for that.

Soon to be individual pie cookies
In past years I've written fifty thousand words of short stories and/or novelettes. That was a fun experience. This year, I had a hard time getting the words down, mostly because I'd written the beginning of this novel so many damn times already. But when I hit the fifty thousand mark with one day to spare, I was at the beginning of the novel final act. Pushing through and finishing should be much easier compared to writing the rest of this beast. The book will still require quite a bit of work when I'm through, but holy cow, at least I'll have a rough draft to work with.

I could hardly wait for them to cool!
To celebrate breaking through with this novel and getting most of it written, I made some apple pie cookies. I heard about these cookies on the online writing forum I belong to, Codex. I've been dying to make them ever since. They just looked so perfect, like you could hold a cookie pie thingie in one hand and a cup of coffee or glass of milk in the other and just shovel it in your mouth. Sweet, delicious pie in the shape of a cookie! What a brilliant idea.

I followed the recipe exactly. I made a thin layer of apple pie filling, but I think in future attempts I'll thin it even more. It was a lot of filling for the poor pie pastry to hold when I lifted a 'cookie.' But oh, so delicious! You can take a bowl of ice cream and sit two warm cookies on top. Or put the warm cookies in the bottom of a bowl and scoop the ice cream on top to melt over them.

I would love to hear how you celebrate your writing victories!