Goodbye 2015, Happy 2016!

2015-2016

In preparation for doing this roundup, I’ve just reviewed my writing achievements for 2014, by way of seeing how I went in 2015 by comparison. It’s brought home to me the truism that you should never compare your writing achievements to anyone else’s – not even your past self’s, apparently.

I made a deliberate decision to focus on a novel projects in 2015, and to try not to be distracted by short stories. I still wrote a couple, bad girl, but made no sales. Two of the stories I sold in 2014 came out in 2015, so it wasn’t a complete wasteland of ignominy. Also, one of my short stories from 2014 was listed on Ellen Datlow’s recommended reading longlist, which is a definite win.

I achieved a fair bit under the heading of “novel projects”. Novels are, of course, more complex beasts than short stories, and my achievements here feel more intangible, but I’m counting them anyway.

I got additional feedback on Novel Project #1, rewrote a chunk of it, got it into submittable form, wrote a synopsis (a proper one) and developed the basis of a pitch and a query letter.

(Most writers I know complain a lot about having to do write synopses and query letters and I am happy to add my own mewling whine to the cacophony. It was horrible. It was hard. It was not about crafting beautiful imagery or sculpting layered, authentic characters or building immersive worlds or choreographing breathtaking action. But it also kind of was, in the most abbreviated, chop-all-its-limbs-off and pull-out-its-beating-heart way possible. In the end, it was, I confess, deeply satisfying. Like the way I imagine it would feel after having run some kind of endurance race. Painful process, fist pump outcome.)

I submitted NP#1 to several agents, got one request for a full MS, many rejections, and one chunk of invaluable feedback. So I’m calling it a win.

I have now submitted it to a couple of publishers, and so we wait…

I did a huge amount of planning and research for Novel Project #4, and also a big chunk of writing. It’s now sitting on just under 60,000 words. I wish it were further along, but the win I’m counting here is in the planning process. I’ve never properly planned a novel before, so this was a first. I’m pretty happy with my novel plan and I feel like I really know where I’m going for with this story (and its sequels). So: yay.

So… in contemplation of the year ahead, what are my plans and goals? Hmm. Finishing the first draft of NP#4 is high on the list, along with getting it beta-read, and beginning the process of getting it into the kind of condition worthy of a publisher/agent’s attention. I definitely want to reacquaint myself with the art of writing short stories and make another couple of sales. I want to do some overseas travel, which might not sound like writing, but it’s definitely research. I’d also like to focus a little bit on developing my craft and perhaps take some time (and spend some money) on doing some courses/workshops.

Here’s to chasing dreams and wrestling them into reality. I wish you all a happy, safe and prosperous 2016.

xox

HNY 2016

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A tweet from a total stranger

The End Has Come
The End Has Come

I’ve had a couple of lovely surprises this week. Firstly, Best SF posted this lovely review of Wandering Star in John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howie’s The End Has Come.

Then, a couple of days later, this arrived in my Twitter feed:

It’s beyond wonderful when a total stranger takes time out of their day to tell you they’ve enjoyed your work. But not only that, when the feedback you get tells you someone got your story & that it affected them the way you hoped it would… That’s completely priceless.

A really quick & wonky Wandering Star block I put together this morning.
A really quick & wonky Wandering Star block I put together this morning.

It’s here! The End Has Come!

The End Has Come
The End Has Come

Whoohoo! It’s wild and free!

Today is the release date for The End Has Come, the last volume in the Apocalypse Triptych edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey, containing my story Wandering Star.

Here’s what it says on the cover:

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH tells their stories.

My story, Wandering Star, is a bit of a funny one, because it’s not strictly about what happens after the apocalypse. It’s built of glimpses from both before and after the apocalypse, and is about loss – loss of the future, but also loss of the past.

The End Has Come contains new stories from the likes of Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Ken Liu, Jonathan Mayberry, Nancy Kress, Charlie Jane Anders, Hugh Howey and loads more. At the moment it’s available in trade paperback and for Kindle from Amazon, with other ebook formats to follow on 1 August.

I hope you enjoy it.

New story: Wandering Star!

I have been sitting on this news for a long time, now, but I’m really thrilled to announce that my story Wandering Star, will be appearing in the third book of The Apocalypse Triptych, The End Has Come, edited by John Joseph Adams of Lightspeed Magazine, and Hugh Howey, author of the New York Times bestselling novels WoolShift, and Dust.

The End Has Come

Quite aside from the editors, there are some stellar names in the table of contents of this anthology, and the previous two Apocalypse anthologies have come out to great reviews.

Out on 1 May!

I really hope you enjoy it.