I am sitting in my office with Chinchilla stretched out across my lap, occupying the space atop my left hand, and so I am dictating this blog entry on my phone.
Fiction writing continues to be in revision/wrap-up mode: I have been rereading the last couple novels in the trilogy, just reacquainting myself with every little detail and thinking about where I might insert one more story element into the last book. I am simultaneously trying to trim a novelette down to 7500 words, the better to send it to a specific horror market. (160 words to go!)
Over at UCLA, Novel Writing II opens next week: I will have a dozen writers working on 50 pages apiece, for 10 weeks.
I finished reading Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies on the weekend,and the history book of the moment is A.N. Wilson’s The Victorians. The next novel I will read is for a review, so you’ll hear about it when I’m done.
And television this winter is currently taking the form of re-watching the Laurie/Fry Jeeves and Wooster, watching Marvel’s Agent Carter, and slipping in the occasional episode of Community.
I have not been out to take pictures in a couple weeks, but yesterday on my way to get my glasses adjusted I did get a great look at what was almost certainly a peregrine falcon, fluffed up against the cold as it sat on a branch on D’Arcy Street. I will spare you all the pixelated phone shots. It was, however, miraculous.
I am not someone who sets of a lot of New Year’s resolutions, but I do think of myself as having a sort of writer’s fiscal year, and I do set out goals in January. The biggies for this year are the actual work of getting A Daughter of No Nation ready for its November release, getting the third book in the trilogy (tentatively titled The Nature of A Pirate) well on its way, and finishing up or marketing some short fiction projects I finished last year. Finally, there’s a medium sized teaching-related project – basically, all of my virtual classroom materials for UCLA need sprucing up. The trio of critique posts, the first of which sang the praises of Die Hard was part of this last project.
This is plenty. It means 2015 will be a year of revision, research, and planning of future projects.
I’m sure to write some new stuff, especially since generally speaking I can’t help myself. But this isn’t likely to be one of those years where I write two new novels from scratch. (Though I do already have some stretch goals, and I find it hard to refuse anthology invitations from my friends, and I always enjoy doing NanowriMo when the conditions are right…)
What about all of you? Do you make artistic slash business plans at this time of year, for any or all of your endeavors?
I got a couple of seasonal presents this week: Badass Book Reviews has listed Child of a Hidden Sea as one of their best 2014 fantasy novels in their annual round-up.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Arts Council has, on the excellent advice of ChiZine Publications, given me a grant to work on a horror novel currently titled See How They Run. ChiZine publishes books by so many authors I love–Caitlin Sweet, Gemma Files, David Nickle, Paul Di Filipo, Claude LaLumiere and Derryl Murphy–and by a plethora of other talented folks I hope to come to love as I get acquainted with their works.
I am, of course, delighted and grateful to both the OAC and ChiZine. My understanding of how the Writers Reserve program works is that it exists to allow small press publishers to direct funds to deserving authors. In other words, there’s no financial benefit for the publisher–they read the submissions, of which there must be many–for the good of the writing community.
My point? If you were going to buy a cool weird book this winter anyway, and you want to throw ChiZine some love, I can guarantee you won’t be sorry. I’m halfway through We Will All Go Down Together, by Gemma Files, and it is a freaky good time. Or if you want to see a fictional rendering of Toronto’s recent citypolitik (and other subjects too), give Dave Nickle’s Knife Fight and other Struggles a try. Got teens? The Caitlin Sweet book, The Door in the Mountain, is a YA novel about Ariadne and the Minotaur, with prose so fine it will make you weep. Or, possibly, bleed.
What’s better during the holiday season than tucking in somewhere cozy with a fine book? Nothing, that’s what! I wish you all good reads, good food, and downtime in what’s left of 2014.
As the year wraps up, we tend to start counting our various accomplishments. I’ve got a Books Read list coming your way soon, but in the meantime, here’s all the new Alyx fiction that saw release in 2014.
Naturally, my big publication news this year was the release of Child of a Hidden Sea, the first book in the Hidden Sea Tales trilogy about Sophie Hansa, her brother Bramwell, and the delectable Captain Garland Parrish of the sailing vessel Nightjar. The sequel, Daughter of No Nation, will be out in November of 2015.
I also had three short stories… well, novelettes, actually, published this year:
“Snow Angels,” Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse, edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, September, 2014.
“The Color of Paradox,” TOR.COM, June 2014.
“The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti,” TOR.COM, March 2014. This story is one of two Child of a Hidden Sea prequels currently in print.
I am excited to announce that I am one of a number of local SF authors who will be appearing this weekend in the Hydra’s Hearth Reading Series, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 300 Jarvis Street. I’m closing out the series on Sunday, at 1:00 p.m.
These readings are long–an hour long, in fact. This means that for the first time in ages, you can hear me read a whole story instead of just a tantalizing beginning. The piece I’ve chosen is called “The Boy Who Would Not Be Enchanted.” It’s set on Stormwrack, the same world as Child of a Hidden Sea and “Among the Silvering Herd”; like the latter, it features Gale Feliachild, Garland Parrish of the sailing vessel Nightjar, along with the ship’s starry-eyed first mate, Tonio from Erinth. (Tonio’s first appearance is in “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti”“)
Though this reading series is tied into SFContario 5 and happening under its umbrella, by the grace of the Toronto Arts Council all readings are free and open to the public. So come, hear us! Here’s the whole schedule.
Fri 7 PM David Nickle
Fri 8 PM Douglas Smith
Fri 9 PM Derwin Mak
Sat 11 AM Madeline Ashby
Sat 12 PM Karl Schroeder
Sat 2 PM Hugh Spencer
Sat 3 PM Eric Choi
Sat 4 PM Robert J. Sawyer
Sat 5 PM Peter Watts
Sun 11 AM Michelle Sagara West
Sun 12 PM Lesley Livingstone
Sun 1 PM Me!
And if you’re wondering about my convention schedule and my Toronto Book Fair events, I’ll be posting those soon too.