Feb. 10 #Writemotivation

1. Keep up the walking/crits/reading.- Walking’s a duh. Crits- Will have more to do on that shortly. Reading- More partials for my internship, so far this month 1 (January ended up at 8). Clearly, my internship is reducing my reading time. I’m ok with this as long as I still get over 100 published books read this year. (Also, I started Lindsey Cumming’s The Murder Complex this weekend. OMFG this is already kicking ass!)
2. Finish the current set of projects for the internship.- ALMOST done with that pile. I have … 1 I sent to bossagentlady with a “read me!” note, one I’m going to tell her “Read but here’s all the problems with it and I mostly want to see if you think it’s worth the effort to fix”, one I’m like, “I see these flaws with it, but I suspect you’ll like it anyway.” and one that I’m probably sending a “No” note on because there are too many eyeroll inducing things involved. And another pile of work landed this weekend (YAY!), mostly partials, one delayed full from that bunch that I’m REALLY excited about and hopeful for. Like… If it lives up to the pitch, I will sing their praises to the rooftops. Ties into last post, somewhat, and I’ll just leave it at that. We’ll see, I’ve only gotten a couple chapters in so far.
3. Write one chapter on a current project.- Pending
4. Write my OWM story for next month and edit this month’s.- Glanced over this month’s tonight, didn’t really see much to change. So letting it stew again a couple days. I’m not happy with the ending yet. It’s missing something, and I’m not sure what. Well, no. I know what. I’m just not sure if I want to spell it out or leave it for the reader to infer. I’m not sure it’s obvious enough that they’ll infer what I want when the standard defaults are different… Playing with tropes and expectations a bit. It’s always fun.
Haven’t had time to work on next month’s yet. Soon.

February 3 #Writemotivation update

1. Keep up the walking/crits/reading.- Worked on crits a bit Saturday, did more Sunday. Reading- Many partials for my internship, I’m behind on my reading of published stuff, need to dedicate more time to that. Walking’s a duh.
2. Finish the current set of projects for the internship.- Made a dent. I hate letting people know bad news, but I know the waiting is harder than no. (This was the majority of what I had to do this weekend, alas. But one is in the middle of being written up in a positive fashion, so there’s that!)
3. Write one chapter on a current project.- Will get to this hopefully next weekend.
4. Write my OWM story for next month and edit this month’s.-Will get to this next weekend whether I want to or not.

Plus I now have more testing at work to do for our in-house software. I enjoy it, I think ultimately I’d rather be on the tech side there than on the phone side. But that also involves me taking enough time to really learn proper coding instead of “Let me google the piece of code I need.”, so we’ll see if that ever actually happens. (Then again, why reinvent the wheel? It’s a dayjob, not my passion.)

I attempted to set aside 20 minutes a day to work on my own projects last month. It didn’t really work. Before work, I’m too busy getting things together for the day. After work, I make dinner, catch up on a few internet things, then spend whatever time’s left working on internship things. Lunch breaks are too distracted with coworkers to be really useful productive time too, and what time there is I tend to snag to read things for my internship. I need to find a happy balance.

Also, still doing my twist on the GLBT* challenge. This month, the discussion there centers around “Things I want to see (or see more of) in YA LGBT fiction.” Oh the rant I could go on for this. See, thing is? I’m not much for navel gazing in my novels, but that’s so often a large facet of GLBT novels. I deliberately, in my internship, have my eyes peeled for GLBT novels with PLOT. They have 50% of their letters in common, after all, they should be able to coexist! I want ones where yes, the characters are GLBTetc, and they act on/react to the attraction(s) they feel. But if they can do it while running from the rebels who are trying to kill them, or while plotting a heist, or while skydiving into a parallel universe or something? THAT I’ll be all over. If it can be integrated into the story in the same way a straight romance would? I’ll be singing the praises of that author right to an editor’s hands. Seriously. It doesn’t need to be a niche market, if it stops going “WAAAH I’M STRUGGLING WITH MY SEXUALITY” constantly.

Malinda Lo is one of the few authors I’ve seen do this and do it well. We need more of this. I buy her books even when I’ve read a library/loaned copy, on the grounds of declaring the market. I deliberately will prod a GLBT novel that looks otherwise less interesting, in hopes it might surprise me. This month’s GLBT read will be (if I get to it) Grasshopper Jungle. We’ll see. 😉

#Writemotivation January 27 update, with a twist

1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!- Walked, except on days when I didn’t go to work. Crits: 1 Books: 2 unpublished, 6 published. 1 GLBT one. Didn’t have as much reading time this month, as I got a BUNCH of work to do for my internship. Mostly because I saw a chance to take initiative and took it. Luckily, this agent was happy I did it. Now I have the resulting work from THAT to get through… Not a bad thing at all, but I definitely made myself a stack!

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!: January’s done, Feb is done, March is semi-started. AND all prompts for the next cycle are picked. Win!

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters. One chapter finished up. Not 2, due to lack of time. Still, I’ll take it.

ALA was an absolute blast! Ended up with a small mountain of books, so as my intern reading allows, I’ll be reading through them. I’ve triaged the top Want to Reads, and I already sorted out a stack or three for you guys!

I see that confused look. Ok, so basically, we ended up picking up a few duplicates by mistake, and didn’t realize it until we were home. We didn’t want to haul them back and be like, “here, have your extra book back”. People were literally piling books in our hands at one point, going, “Oh, you have to read this!”, acting like they’re stray kittens they’re desperate to get rid of. It was all kinds of awesome and ridiculous! Like, I turned down almost as many as I brought home (Because I was trying to only take ones that I or someone in my household would likely read, and a few that KT had asked me to keep an eye out for). So instead, I figured we could have fun with it. I thought about doing a rafflecopter or other contest, but that’s boring.

So instead, if you’d like some ARCs, email me your mailing address and what genres you like best. There’s a lot of dystopian/YA, some more light hearted/contemporary (some border on literary), some mystery, some lighthearted middlegrade (I already have plans for the more action oriented middlegrades), and a few other assorted bits. No promises on how many you’ll get or exactly when (I’m hoping to get the first batch out this week though!), and it’s grab bag. But they’re ARCs, so I doubt you’ve read them already. 😉 (KT, Becca, Jai, you don’t need to because I already have things picked for you specifically.) There are a few that are part of a series, if you’re not okay with getting one of those, let me know and I’ll try to avoid it for you.

Oh, one catch: To avoid a ton of random spammers popping in (and because if there’s no rules, mayhem ensues), you must have participated in #Writemotivation at least once before.

Enjoy the treats, lovelies! I’m going back to reading. (February’s goals will come next week. They’re pretty much the same.)

January 20th #Writemotivation update

1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!- Walked. Crits: 1 Books finished this month so far: 1 unpublished (5 partially read for this. I wonder if I should count 4 partials as 1?), 5 published. Didn’t have much to do for my internship this week, so if this continues, I’ll catch up on the reading. I’m almost done with a GLBT one, Affinity. It’s a little slow, but at least there’s some plot beyond the romance. It’s supposed to be gothic, but I’m not feeling it so much. With any luck, it’ll improve near the end.

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!: January’s done, Feb is started, all prompts for the next cycle are picked.

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters.
Working on that today.

I’m off today, thank you MLK. (I’ll freely admit, I don’t have any authentic “right” to this holiday, but I’ll enjoy it anyway.) This coming weekend, I’m going to ALA under my IRL identity. It should be a blast, I’m hoping to meet a few editors and just politely introduce myself as an agenting intern. I’m going to stop by on Friday after my dayjob to pick up our badges and get a general lay of the land. They’re having a meet/greet kind of setup, so I’ll poke around that and then come home. If I’m MIA next weekend, it’s probably because I’m up at the convention center. (It’s just less than a mile from my place, so I can always pop home for lunch and such, drop off arcs, etc.) No promises, as I’m awful about going to the post office, but anything anyone REALLY wants in arc form? Hmm. Maybe I’ll see what I get and then do rafflecopter giveaways for a few? Ya know, if anyone’s interested. 😉

January 13 #Writemotivation update

1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!- Walked. Crits: 1 Books finished this month so far: 1 unpublished, 2 published. Going to finish another one tomorrow, hopefully a couple more this week. With the dayjob being unusually busy lately, it’s cramped my reading speed.

(Many others started but not finished reading for the internship. Tis the life of slush!).

Loving the internship, thus far. I’m not QUITE busy enough yet with it, though, so if anyone has things they want looked over/critted, especially broad stroke crits, let me know. I can basically stop reading the submissions at any point, if I don’t like them, which is nice. I’ll give every book at least 25%. If it can’t catch my interest in 25%, it’s not well written enough. Frankly, well written trumps basically every other aspect when you’re talking agents. It’s absolutely key to making all the other things work. Bear in mind, an agent wants you for the long haul. They might work with you over 2, 3, even 5 books before you ever GET a book published. They have to feel your writing is worth the effort. There’s a lot of “Not quites” happening. I swear there must be some gems waiting though!

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!: My January story went up Friday. I still need to pick my prompt for the next batch. We’ll see. My offline BFF gave me an idea tonight, but it might be too silly. Which… I might do on purpose, just to see what happens.

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters.
Nope, still.

January 8 #Writemotivation update

We will pretend I have any concept of time this week.
(and that I’d paid attention when posting this and actually given it the title. Fixed!)
1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!- Walked, all month thus far, except last Friday when I called in due to ice. Crits: Done one, and already a bunch of things for the new internship. I’ve started… oh, about 7 books since the new year. Haven’t finished any of them. I blame my internship, except not really. I’m just being a picky reader, so hopefully I’ll have time to really settle into a book this weekend. Books finished this month so far: 0.

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!: I need to polish. Prompt for the next round=Not yet picked, but I’m looking.

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters.
*laughs* No.

So far, this month doesn’t look good goal wise, but it’s been nice in some respects. I’ve started the new internship and I’m really enjoying it. Basically, I’m wading through her slush. She started with a few from a quick “Pitch me” session, and I’m reading the requests right now looking for awesome writing. That’s REALLY the key thing. She likes diverse enough genres and styles that it’s ultimately about the quality of the writing. There’s one I’m currently on the fence about… On one hand, there are glaring flaws, on the other, there’s something that makes me want to read more. So I’m giving it a full read, even though I’ve been given permission to stop wherever I feel like in these. It’s a gut level instinct, but I think 10+ years of writing, and another year involved in publishing, plus ~27 years of reading like a maniac has honed that feeling. I hate sending the rejections, but I’m trying to include some kind of feedback with every single one, so that way at least they gain some insight. Honestly, I’d probably be willing to give much more in detail crits if I had the time right now, but juggling so many things means I focus on the biggest aspects (plot, pacing, style, characters) and don’t really go into any details. I’m half tempted to note on my alternate twitter profile (seriously, if you want to figure out who I am, it’s not really hard. At all), to mention that, but I don’t want to open the door for everyone in their brother to ask for it. But… Let me put it this way. If I HAVE TIME, I will always elaborate if asked kindly. I apologize in advance if ever anyone asks for help and I can’t accommodate it. It’s not you. It’s the sheer volume of work.

Which makes me want to grump about people and timeliness and the crucialness of setting realistic expectations and goals. It’s a joke in publishing, that “4-6 weeks” means about triple that, but it’s a problem. I am making this a commitment, both to anyone out there and to myself. When, someday, I get a real job in publishing, I will do my best to set realistic turnaround times, as far as it’s ever in my control. Realistically, shit happens. But it shouldn’t be a recurring pattern, and I will follow Scotty’s law. Add 30% of the time you expect it will take, and then double it, tell them that.

Anyway, I have submissions to read and an alarm set too early in my morning. Goodnight all. ❤

LGBT* Reading Challenge

So one of my interests (aside from the obvious) is LGBT* fiction. It’s personal and professional both, for me, but I find I don’t really read as much of it as I should. Partly, it’s because I don’t know where to start. So much of it is either depressing contemporary angst, or “Lookie, lesbians!”. There’s a decided lack of bi/trans/queer lit. So much of what I run across is lesbian and gay that I never felt like I belonged reading it. I’m bi. I realized this in college when, chatting in a writers group with a bunch of friends, I found myself staring at one of the girl’s icons (large boobs in a corset top and a come hither look. Anyone who saw that icon agreed with my lusting, as it turned out.). There was no moment of wangst or Oh noes I don’t fit. I very clearly thought, “She’s hot! …Oh. I like girls too. Ok, bi it is then.”.

I never really felt like I was getting discriminated against. I was a late bloomer in ANY interest in sex, much less sexuality. I had other things (like school and friendships and writing) that I didn’t have the brainspace to spare for things like relationships until I was almost done with college. By the time there was any “issue” around my sexuality, I had enough of a sense of who I was and what I wanted out of my personal life that it was just another way to widen the range of my dating experience.

I know I’m incredibly lucky in that. I threw myself into dating with both genders, and I had experiences I don’t know I would have had the courage to dream of doing if anyone’d told me ahead of time what I was getting into. I don’t regret a single moment of it. I learned what I needed out of those failures and those heartbreaks and those awkward moments after a tentative kiss sitting on the couch next to the woman in the icon and going “So what do we do now?” when there turned out to be no spark in person (though she’s a lovely, sweet person and we’re friends to this day).

Most people who realize their sexuality earlier don’t have that luxury. So instead of just reading a few GLBT books, I want to find good BTQI books. I want to find books where love wins, and where sexuality is only a part of who someone is, instead of the whole plot. Recommendations are very much welcomed. (Comments are screened for approval if you’ve never commented here before, the better to keep out riffraff, but I won’t censor you if you disagree with me. Hateful, obscene, or namecalling comments will be consigned to the trash, though.)

If you want to join me, the signup is here.

2013 Wrapup

So another year almost done, and I thought it’d be fun to round up some stats for you guys!

1. I read or critted 19 unpublished novels, some more than once (But they only counted once).
2. I read 156 published novels. That’s an average of 1 book every ~2.34 days.
3. Of those, 141 were traditionally published, 10 were 5 stars, 56 were 4 stars, 66 were 3 stars, and 14 were 2 or less. I also read 16 self-published (Not counting ones that were traditionally published but used kickstarter). 4 of those were 5 stars. The rest were mostly 3 stars, only 1 was a 2 or less. Total for all these books: 49864 pages. Not my highest page count since I’ve started tracking, but not my lowest either.
4. I walked about 720 miles (roughly) to and from the dayjob. That’s far enough to walk to the northernmost tip of Maine from Philly, or down to the Georgia-South Carolina border, or over to the Indiana-Illinois border! To put it in more international terms, that’s longer than the length from north to south of the entire UK! (Ok, not counting those little islands off the north east tip that I couldn’t tell if were ACTUALLY part of it or not) That’s far enough to go from Lisbon, Portugal to Bordeaux, France! Or the majority of the length of New Zealand!
5. I totally just started sticking pins in google maps and making it give me directions from a random place to another place to see how far it was.
6. I then got distracted by researching just how big Mongolia is. The answer? 604,200 square miles. It’s also the least densely populated country in the world.
7. I left one internship for another, and started a new dayjob.
8. I wrote 8 stories for Our Write Mind. I think my favorite was this one, it popped in my head and wouldn’t let go until I wrote it. Well, I REALLY wrote 9, because I already have January’s mostly done, but close enough. 😉
9. I was trying to get to 13 for 2013, but then decided that nothing that interesting happened this year to warrant stretching it that far.
10. But then I decided it’d be fun to try anyway.
11. Except that I’m tired and I need to be up at a decent time Wednesday morning (as I’m writing this Tuesday).
12.And so this is as close as you’re getting.
13. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January Writemotivation Goals

I’m doing limited goals with optional stretch goals.

1. Walk, keep up on crits, read at least 15 books- STRETCH GOAL: 20 books!

2. Finish up January’s OWM story and pick my next prompt. STRETCH GOAL: Work on that prompt too!

3. Get another chapter written or revised in one of my active projects. STRETCH GOAL: 2 chapters.

As far as 2014 as a whole? Again, stretch goals. A lot of factors are in flux right now. I don’t know how large a workload I can get from the new internship yet. Counterintuitively, the more I have to do, the more productive I am. I prioritize better and procrastinate less. So I’m goalsetting with the expectation that I can revise these upward as needed, but this is the MINIMUM I’m allowed to get done this year.

1. Read 150 published books again. Stretch Goal: 200.
2. Read/crit at least 20 unpublished MSs. (I did 19 this year, even without an active internship for 3 months, so 20 is quite reasonable.) Stretch goal: 30.
3. Find more/better tools for my prewriting process and refine this. When I go to start this year’s projects, I want to feel like I have a handle on them to the point where I won’t need to stop and figure out what the hell is going on repeatedly. I need to drive with GPS, not just going “This way looks right, I think” only to find the road twists and turns in completely unexpected directions until I’m lost. Once I have a project developed enough, sit on it for a month. See if it develops more. Repeat as needed until all that’s left to do is fill in the paint.
4. Develop 2 projects this way. Draft at least 1. Stretch goal: Edit that draft completely.
5. Focus on using the OWM stories to improve description and tightness. Carry that over into my own writing.
6. Participate in at least 1 contest, either as part of the judging or submitting. Stretch goal: 2 contests.
7. Keep in touch better, both via blog and on social media. I have a bad habit of going quiet when I’m stressed, or over analyzing anything I want to say and staying quiet for fear of saying the wrong thing. I need to get better about that. There’s a couple friends I don’t feel as close to now as I did at the start of the year, and that’s directly related.
8. Attend at least one conference/retreat/workshop. Stretch goal: As many as I can find a way to do (subject to time, money, and geographical restrictions. This is complicated by the fact that I really don’t like spending nights away from home without Owen.)
9. Pare down the timewasting activities. Replace them with more productive things.
10. Finally meet up with KT. This WILL happen. It’s a matter of when. Stretch goal: Meet up with 5 of the lovely internet folks.

How was 2013?
You’ll find out Wednesday. 😉

Well, that didn’t take long!

In far happier news: Got an email back on Monday that a certain agent would love to have me as one of her interns! I figured that might be her response, as we have a mutual friend who spoke highly of me to her, (over exaggerating my skills, as this friend is prone to doing, but I can see why she perceives me that way.) so my odds were good from the start. I emailed my regrets to my old internship place, of course.

It was interesting to see the two disparate reactions. The intern coordinator person there was apologetic for how things went and understanding, not to mention is encouraging future contact (You know, the professional and kind way to approach things) in such a way that it is VERY likely if I meet up with her at an industry event, I will immediately smile and ask how life is going. The primary editor who was the cause for months of delay replied with excuses and justifications for the delays, all of which are very valid reasons for not onboarding anyone new, but… Had I known them up front, or even along the way as they arose, I wouldn’t have bothered her repeatedly, expecting a response. Would I have waited? I don’t know. Probably not past the new year, anyway. I am patient. I am not, however, willing to put all my long term eggs into a basket that has moss growing on it. Ultimately, I’m going to make the choices that seem best for my long term career plans, and I’m going to have as many contingency plans as I need to get out of my dayjobs and into what I really want to do with my life: Make books. In some way, shape, or form.

One key thing I’d like to point out as a result of all this: Publishing, at all levels, is a communications industry. Give your clients, subordinates, and bosses realistic expectations and explain, even briefly, when you’re going to likely go beyond the range of your normal. You’d be surprised how understanding people can be. Keep them in the loop, and things will go much smoother. I was never more frustrated with OldInternship than when I felt ignored. There were reasons, granted, and I don’t hold any hard feelings, but I can tell for certain which of the two there I’d rather work with in the future on projects… but I think I’ll wait until the other one is not in a position to be a roadblock.

But hooray for a new internship! This one I get to do both, reader reports and slush sifting, which is fantastic! I can’t wait, and I’m already impressed with this agent’s communication style and speed. New internship, almost a new year, and I’m ready to rock it!

(note: Distinguishing details may be invented on this one, or poorly disguised. It’s been a long, slammed week at the dayjob.)

Also? I hit 150 books for the year last night. Not counting the ~20 unpublished MSs I read. Uhm, oops?
Yes, I know there’s still practically half a month left in the year. Time for some Epic Fantasy. 😉 I have some Kate Elliott saved for just such an occasion!

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