Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

So, 2013. Kind of a year. Recap time!

Writing: I wrote ten short stories this year, which includes three flash-length pieces and one novelette. (This only counts stories that I sent out for submission.) This is three times as many stories as I've written in any other single year dating back to 2005 when I made my first sale, and comes very close to equaling the amount of stories that I have written in all years combined since that time, counting the two or so years I was all "fuck writing" and didn't type a word of fiction. I didn't track word count, I only care about individual stories.

I sold five of these stories, plus two written in previous years. Three are currently out:

...and the remainder will be out sometime next year. I sold a story to a dream market and three to print anthologies. I joined SFWA as an associate member, and then became active a month later. I went to four conventions, and paneled at two of them (although one was a "stealth" paneling, ha!). I did not work on any novels.

But though sales and publications are certainly nice, the most important thing is that I was writing. Even though certain things in my life are less than ideal right now, I kept writing, and I didn't stop. It's like a switch has been flipped, and while I wish this switch-flipping would have happened in the mid-aughts, better it happened now than not at all.

What is this thing?
Non-Writing: Okay, here's the part where I get to talk about Portland. We went to Portland, and it was amazing. We also visited Boston, which was similarly amazing. I've made no bones about the fact that I haven't enjoyed living in Baltimore, where we relocated in 2010 for Rob's Teach for America job. We went to both Portland and Boston partly for a vacation (and in the case of Boston, an excuse to go to Readercon), but also to "audition" these cities as possible places of habitation. Boston, I love you but you're expensive as hell. Portland, however, lives squarely in the center of an imaginary Venn diagram with "affordable" on one side and "spectacular" on the other, and in that space is a one-bedroom apartment for less than a thousand dollars a month with our name on it.

Everyone, or at least a lot of people, love Portland and I didn't expect it to live up to the hype. But it totally did! It reminded me of the best parts of Pittsburgh (which never gets any hype). The weather is beautiful, even the rain. Bike lanes, cheap food carts, and Powell's Books, yay! Also, we already have a lot of friends there, as opposed to Baltimore where we knew nobody before moving here and had to build everything from the ground up. And even though we did manage to do that, it was very hard going there for awhile.

So yep, we're shipping out, hopefully in April. I will dearly miss the friends I've made here in Baltimore, but this is something we have to do (also there's this thing called "the Internet" now, which makes distance easier to take).

What's up for 2014? Well, moving to Portland and acquiring at least one of their notoriously scarce jobs will take up a lot of our time. I still plan to write at least one more short story in 2014 than I did in 2013, and keep on submitting them. I plan to finally, finally, FINALLY get my novel (yes, that one) ready for submission to agents and/or small presses. I want to put out a zine and keep my hand in the zine community, since my fiction writing has essentially put zining on hiatus. That won't be hard in Portland (will you be at the Portland Zine Symposium? I will, for the first time!), but my priority going forward will still likely be fiction. I feel grateful to have my creative life on track

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Randomness

First, a sale: my flash fiction piece "Real Plastic Trees" will be appearing in the upcoming speculative fiction issue of Spark: A Creative Anthology, alongside such writers as Alex Shvartsman, Annie Bellet, Brad R. Torgerson, and more! You can pre-order it here at a discounted price, if you'd like.

I just finished writing a novella, my first stab at long-form writing in over six years. And you guys, I... kinda hate long-form writing. I wrote no short stories while I was in the process of writing the novella, and I really miss the instant (or maybe not so instant) gratification of doing that. Yesterday I had a large chunk of time blocked out to finish two short stories, but I just couldn't work on them. My brain felt completely fried, everything felt hopeless, everything I put down felt stupid and wrong. This is not unlike the problems I had after finishing my novel. Hopefully I don't quit writing for as long this time! I'm not going to unilaterally say that I'm never going to write a piece of long-form fiction again, but it will be awhile before I try it.

Plans for the great Baltimore-to-Portland move continue apace. Nothing new to report, but I have decided to start a new tag, "movelandia," which might give some of yinz a glimpse into the coast-to-coast moving process. I may also then compile the posts into a zine because there is nothing more Portland than writing a zine about moving to Portland and that will help me acculturate into my future home*.

In topical news, Crossed Genres magazine is in need of your help! They need to get 300 more subscriptions before the end of the year or they'll have to close. It's a great magazine that publishes a ton of new writers (at professional rates) and subscriptions are only $15/year for the digital version. In the common exchange rate of the times, that's only four visits to Starbucks, or one semi-fancy dinner out, or one-thousandth of the cost of a new car! (Seriously, don't do this.)

Also, as this is my first year as a SFWA member, I will be voting for the Nebula Awards for the first time ever. If you have a short story or novelette you'd like me to consider, feel free to link it in the comment section, or email a copy to satifka at gmail dot com if it's not available online.

*Real talk: when we were talking about what city to move to, I wondered if I'd fit into Portland because I'm not nearly as involved with zines as I used to be. "Do any fiction writers live in Portland?" Ha-ha. Hahahaha. Ha!