So, this has been my first week back at my desk since the holidays ended. I intended to get back here sooner, but this year I found I needed a break AFTER the break, to recover some mental energy. The first couple of days in my office, I spent re-setting and organizing, as usual. My yearly process usually looks something like this:
*beginning of the year: set writing and publishing goals, make spreadsheets, update all organization and time-management tools. Make A Plan.
*early months/spring: stay pretty much on track, adjusting goals as things change and keeping just busy/committed enough to avoid falling into Seasonal Affective Disorder.
*mid-year/summer: completely fall off the wagon when warm weather arrives. Work on whatever has a deadline over the summer.
*fall: frantically try to gather dropped projects. Do NaNoWriMo. Accept that goals are in total disarray.
*beginning of the year: repeat
So right now we’re at a high point for organization and productivity. I have a new schedule which actually blocks out dedicated writing time every weekday, and schedules social media/marketing and business segments, too. I’ve stayed generally within the parameters for three days now. (!) I’m walking at my treadmill desk. I’ve sent out some submissions. Things seem to be working relatively well, although I’ve already thought of a couple of things I didn’t work into the schedule. Might need a little tweaking yet.
I do like this deep-breath, regroup, get organized time of the year, though. I just wish it lasted longer.
So, this post will be a little more upbeat than yesterday’s treadmill desk lament. I published things in 2017! And strangely, I realize, they mostly come in twos.
Two short stories in anthologies: I had stories in Where Evil Dwells: The Nova Scotia Anthology of Horror (“The Girl in the Stones”), and the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide (“Station Run”). Two very different anthologies and very different stories! “The Girl in the Stones” is set in Cape Breton, when a couple moves into a house that comes with a strange pile of stones in the yard, menacing dreams, and a frightening history. “Station Run” finds a young girl on a space station discovering that her programming skills have unearthed a secret that will rock the world of the station and those who live there.
Two self-published novelettes, “Waiting to Fly” (set in the Nearspace universe), and “The Goddess Problem” (an Olympia Investigations story). “Waiting to Fly” is set in the early days of Nearspace colonization, when getting to a space station was only the first step, and getting off it again might not be easy-especially if you’re a young woman on your own. “The Goddess Problem” finds our favourite supernaturally-attuned detective, Acacia Sheridan, employed by a Greek goddess on a missing-persons case.
Two books: a new collection of short stories, The Cache and Other Stories, and the third book in the Nearspace series, Beyond the Sentinel Stars. The story collection includes stories published since my last collection in 2011, as well as a couple of bonus stories you won’t find anywhere else. And Beyond the Sentinel Stars finds Luta and her brother Lanar embroiled in a desperate attempt to prevent another Chron war from ravaging Nearspace.
On the editorial side, 2017 saw the publication by Third Person Press of Rise of the Mudmen by James FW Thompson. I’m very pleased to have been involved in the publication of this first novel. The story follows a group of young survivors through a zombie apocalypse in an alternate 1980’s timeline in Cape Breton.
I’m going to be looking at 2017 from a few different perspectives, as I get organized and going in 2018. I thought I’d share some of that process here, starting with my walking-while-working stats for the year. Because yes, I do use a spreadsheet to keep track of such things. #nerd
My treadmill desk use always fluctuates over the course of the year: I use it most in the fall and winter and less in the spring and summer, which makes sense because honestly, I just don’t tend to use it if my office is very warm. In fact, during the summer months I often write outside, so the treadmill option is right out. I get my walking in outdoors, so I stay active, but I can’t multi-task with writing as well. My goal this coming year is to extend the season of use for the treadmill a bit, because it really does help keep my back troubles in check and is just all-around better for me than sitting for extended periods. (I’m walking as I write this, as a matter of fact.)
For 2017, the numbers are…pretty grim. I spent 3,742 minutes walking while I worked, or about 62 and a half hours. That’s only a little over an hour a week on average, which is just abysmal. It equates to almost 51 miles of walking–less than a mile a week! Oh, my. I just glanced at my 2016 stats, which show 8,395 minutes of treadmill walking! Wow, what a slip.
Well. I know what I have to do from here on out. Make sure I get at least one walking session every work day (excluding July and August, because I know that just won’t happen). I guess that’s focus item #1 for 2018. More to come…
I’m super excited to reveal the cover for Beyond the Sentinel Stars, coming in December from Tyche Books! This is the third book in the Nearspace series, and you’ll find all the characters you love onstage again. The art is once again by Ashley Walters, who did a wonderful job of setting the scene for this novel. Luta and Lanar really look like brother and sister to me!
Oh yes, I should probably actually show you? Here you go:
What’s happening in Nearspace now, you ask?
Luta Paixon and the crew of the Tane Ikai have made it back to Nearspace safely, but that safety is short-lived. As if a disastrous diplomatic mission to the crow-like Corvids isn’t enough, Luta’s old enemy Alin Sedmamin is back—and asking Luta to help save his life. In exchange, Sedmamin is offering secrets stretching back more than a century into Nearspace’s past—secrets that could prevent a war.
Meanwhile, Luta’s brother Admiral Lanar Mahane is faced with an awful truth: the Protectorate is spread too thinly across Nearspace to offer adequate protection or defense when the aggressive Chron turn their murderous sights on Nearspace again. They must forge new alliances if Nearspace is to survive, but it’s almost impossible to know who to trust.
As interstellar conflict looms on the horizon and a political plot of tremendous scope and daring threatens to destroy Nearspace from within, Luta and Lanar will test the bonds of family and the strength of hope as they struggle to maintain peace in a world that seems destined for war.
It looks like the official release date will be December 19th, but you can pre-order now at Amazon, Kobo, and Amazon Canada.
This post is for all those who attended my self-editing panel at CaperCon this weekend. I promised to post a .pdf of the presentation, so here it is! You can download it from the link below.
(Psst! Even if you weren’t at my panel but would like some self-editing tips, you can download it, too! My aim with this panel was to help writers learn how to find some basic areas for line-edit improvements in their writing.)
In at least one of my panels, I also mentioned the submission planning spreadsheet I made, which is available for download from this site. You can find that post here.
Finally, we talked a little bit about Scrivener, as well. Here’s a post about setting up a submission tracker as a Scrivener project.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the table, bought a book, chatted, and came to my panels this weekend. You helped make it another wonderful convention experience!