Thursday, February 27, 2014
I then went on fiction hiatus as I pursued my technology and academic careers. I did publish lots of non-fiction during those two decades--articles and four full-length textbooks. When I returned to writing fiction in 2004 I decided my limited time would be spent on novels. That has been worthwhile, in that time I wrote 9 novels. To date five have been published. Three will never be published (I call them my learning novels), and the ninth is coming out soon.
When I became I full time writer a year ago, I also set a goal for returning to short stories and producing a minimum of 6 short stories per year. This month is my first professional publication in short fiction since 1988. And it is fitting that it is again in Science Fiction, and particularly having to do with moons. Here's the blurb for my story.
Carrie James has never fit in on Earth. After killing her husband, she is sentenced to spend the rest of her life in the research of the Plutonian moon, Charon. Isolation is always challenging, but 3 billion miles from Earth is more than a life sentence--it's death to everything she knows. But the payment must be made, not only by Carrie but also by Earth.
I'm truly proud to have a short story in the same anthology with so many great SF writers--especially Annie Reed, Steve Mohan, Scott William Carter, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
Fiction River is an anthology magazine. It is available in ebook and print as single issues or by subscription. If you love SF, I hope you will pick it up. All the stories are good and you are bound to find several that really speak to you. Fiction River produces different genre anthologies throughout the year. In addition to SF, in the past year they've covered Fantasy, Time Travel, and Magic. Planned for this year are Crime, Fantasy, SF, Horror, and others.
Monday, February 24, 2014
So, what happened over the past two months? My well-planned writing schedule was overtaken by two big web redesign projects. I was happy to do both, but (as usual) greatly underestimated the time needed. In January, I redesigned the Windtree Press site. It was in great need of redesign as we switched direct sales providers and added new authors. I'm proud of the redesign but I also didn't have a good idea what it would take to learn the ins and outs of WordPress while implementing the site.
In February, now confident in my WordPress efforts I volunteered (yes, absolutely volunteered) to redesign my church's website. Again, really happy to have done it and it was definitely needed.
What I learned from these two experiences is something I should have known but had never realized before. For me, the skills required for programming, web designing, logic tracking are VERY different from the skills required for creative plotting, writing, world-building. Furthermore, my brain is unable to easily move between the two. Consequently, I didn't get nearly enough writing done in the past two months.
You'd think I would know this as I've had a technical career for more than two decades and always wrote while working full-time. However--and this is a big however--I only scheduled myself to produce two books a year during that time, not the six on my schedule now that I'm a full-time writer.So, lesson learned. If I take on a technical task I have to redistribute my writing tasks or know I have to make up for it.
The good news is that several months ago I anticipated I would be in this dilemma (Yes, I've fallen into similar traps before). So, I scheduled an early March five day writing retreat to make up for my inability to balance things. Writing retreat for me does not mean conference or learning or socializing. It means going away from home, where no one can find me or disturb me (except my husband can call in emergencies), and I write/edit from morning til night without disruption.
This will allow me to do final edits on Heart Strings and still make the production deadline of an end of March release.
As to those other balance things--health, family, friends--umm...I'm working on it. Really I am. Maybe summer?
Anyone else have problems with this balance? Willing to share?
Saturday, January 4, 2014
I'm usually pretty good about transitions, and this year is no exception. In fact, as far as I'm concerned 2013 is already forgotten--mostly. There were some great times and many challenges met. But I'm happy to have it behind me. I've always been a future-thinker instead of falling in love with the past. It's not that my past has been horrible, it's just that I know all about it and it can always be improved. For me the future is unknown, filled with wonder and hope and all kinds of possibilities. I have never feared it. In fact, probably more than most people, I run toward it.
Though I tend to run toward the future, saying goodbye to the last week of the year is always bitter sweet. During the holidays I take time to slow down, to contemplate life, to reconnect with cherished relationships, and to bask in the warmth of love. Like watching an exquisite sunset, I have moments of let's-not-move-or-change-this-moment feelings, and of I-wish-I-could-stay-here-forever feelings every holiday season. It is soothing to live in those moments and not be running anywhere. Alas, that is not possible. The next year always comes anyway, and I have to wake from my dream.
Like many people, we continue to decrease the number of possessions we have so that we can easily move to smaller spaces. In the past, with moves to subsequently smaller houses, we've given away books and toys and furniture. This year it is the Christmas items that are going.
We've each selected two or three special items we will keep for future Christmases. There are a few things that will be given to our sons. Unbelievably, they don't want most of our collected stuff. :) And a few family heirlooms that will be sent to siblings who want them. The majority of the decorations will be donated to our church in a multi-family Christmas decoration sale with all proceeds going to the operating budget. At least donating them to a good cause makes parting with these physical memories a little easier.
Will I miss them? Probably some. But as we've undergone this minimizing several times now, I'm always pleasantly surprised how much I don't miss the things we give away. In many ways having fewer possessions is quite freeing to feel less constrained by having things to carry with me from place to place. Most important it is all part of a grand plan for our future together. A plan that will eventually allow us to move to a smaller, less expensive place. A place that is comfortable and inviting,and is central to most of our community involvement. A place where we can grow old together, but does not represent the entirety of our lives. I'm looking forward to that too, especially if we can easily walk to most places we want to go.
The future is grand! I'm stepping into 2014 with a huge smile. How about you?