Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014: The Year That Will Be

Well here we are, the last day of the year. Yesterday I reflected back over the year that was, today is a time to look forward.

I already have three things that I'm anticipating.

Invisible Champagne
First off, I'm kicking off the new year with a story release - always nice when that happens. My tribute to Anne McCaffrey "The Dragon in the Wardrobe" will be going live in Betwixt Magazine tomorrow. I'll do a Five Questions soon about it.

My other pending story release is my steampunk-animal-magic-ish-thingy novella "Long's Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions", which will appear in the April issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I'm really excited about this novella because it's the longest piece I've penned to date, I love the world and characters, and its my first piece to appear in ASIM, a favourite venue for many New Zealand specfic authors.

It would be nice to best my story release numbers and pro sales, but I'm going to take the year as it comes. I'd ideally like to work on improving my craft, write more to quality than quantity, and crack some tough markets - like Clarkesworld, F&SF, Strange Horizons, Tor, and Daily Science Fiction.

As far as improving myself, that's my third big anticipation. I posted earlier in December that I have applied to Clarion, and at this point I'm pretty chill with the concept (trying not to get myself too fangirl worked up about the idea of Cat Valente and Nora Jemisin as tutors, otherwise I might bust a valve). If I get in, holy cow will this be a Big Thing. If I don't, there's always other years, and I'll just keep plugging away like I do. There will always be other ways into the belly of the beast.

I'm going to continue with my 5000 words a week mandate, because that worked reasonably well, but also be kinder on myself on week nights so I don't burn out my energy/creative reserves. I'm going to attempt a return to regularly reading short fiction, though after burning myself out in the first half of last year I might be more picky.

I know having no set publication plan may be a little wishy-washy, but I'm going to wait to find out whether I get into Clarion before I make firm plans on any Big Project, or whether I will attend the New Zealand convention (might have to save as much money as possible). Right now I have some short fiction venue themes I am working towards, and that will keep my occupied for the first two months at least. Plus, I'll continue to spam slush piles and annoy editors with my submissions.

So, have at ye, 2014! Bring it on!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: The Year That Was

It was the best of years, it was one of the stranger years.

Looking back over 2013 there's a strange dichotomy. On the surface, my work has gone from strength to strength and I've had my best success since I started almost 4 years ago. Below the surface, there has been a lot of gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair, but that is more from expectations I have put upon myself than publishing problems. It's always nice to stop playing turtle and remind myself how things are going.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Favourite Short SFF Fiction of 2013

My reading of short fiction within my genre this year has been in no way reliable or scientifically chosen. I mostly read from accessible (ie: online) sources, or anthologies of themes I liked. There are magazines I didn't read simply because I didn't have a subscription this year - like Asimov's and Analog - and I only stuck to my Story-A-Day resolution for about six months. So a lot of my choices are going to be weighted in the early part of this year. There are also anthologies and certain months of magazines I haven't had the chance to read yet. But here goes, a few of my favourite picks for the year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Five Questions: "Black out the Sun", Innsmouth Magazine #14 "Wings"

Welcome to Five Questions once more, the time where I let my blog narrator PT out of the box so they can run wild, spray paint the walls, and destroy anything that takes their fancy.

Okay, here goes, opening the box...

PT: Ta dahhh!
SFX: crashing noises, yowling cats
AF: Yay.
PT: It's so good to be needed.
AF: If you say so.
PT: You know you love me. Just call me Pandora.
AF: Just ask the questions.

PT: Alrighty then! "Black out the Sun". What came first, the edition theme or the story?