Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #17

I just got out of a webinar called “How to Survive and Succeed as a Writer”. They talked about goal setting and time management the entire time. Turns out, I might be onto something here, folks.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The Light Brigade

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • Uhhhhh. YEAH! Like, a bit more actually.
  • Finish reading The Light Brigadethe light brigade
    • Yep! Finished it Wednesday night, and started on The Luminous Dead Thursday night. I stayed up late last night to finish it.

Weekly Word Count: 5,436

Um… Yeah. You might say I had a productive week. Every time I sat down to write, words poured out of me. I surpassed my word count goals by Thursday, and came back to the manuscript on Sunday to just add a little icing to the cake.

I was also a reading machine this week, finishing two books and slowly climbing my way back on track for my yearly goal.

Short story submissions continue to wait. I think this is the longest I’ve every waited to hear back on a story, with all of them pending for 50 days or more. It’s exhausting, but also kind of nice. I’m starting to forget about them. I check The Submission Grinder once or twice a day and then move on. It’s sinking in that I’ll find out when I find out and no amount of analyzation will change that. It’s… freeing, really.

Thursday night was the SFWA Reading in Portland, which was amazing. I got to meet Sam J. Miller, Rebecca Roanhorse, Kari Maaren, and Caitlin Starling (who wrote The Luminous Dead). Plus, there was good food and beer!

octopope

Saturday was Independent Bookstore Day and I celebrated with visits to two of the bookstores in town. Ken Scholes, who was the lecturer at the OWC writing conference last year, was at one and we shot the shit for awhile, leading to two introductions to writers in my community. So that was AWESOME! Then I went to Book Bin to attend a couple panels and then celebrate the release of the newest issue of The Audient Void.

It was a very busy, bookish week, which I loved. But I’m tired right now. I want to lock the door to my office and barricade myself in until this book is done. Unfortunately, I have yet another busy week ahead of me.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1000 words/day on Tavi

That’s it. This week and next are about finishing this book. I have just over four chapters left if the story sticks to the outline. It won’t. But I can dream. And this is the dream that’s gonna make sure I buckle down and finish this book. Point is, it’s close. It’ll be done sooner than later at this rate.

But, this week is a busy one. Tonight is the annual Mug Club dinner at Salem Ale Works, then Wednesday night we’re going to see a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the historic theatre in town. And then Saturday is Write Here, Write Now.  At least that’s an entire day devoted to nothing but writing. I’m banking on some serious productivity that day. Between work and social engagements, it’s going to be tough to write as much as I need to to stay on track.

Though it isn’t an official goal this week, I will still be reading. Today I’m starting Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children novella series, and I’ll probably read a Deadpool comic too. Because of all the reading lately there will be a lot of activity on the blog. I’ve got the Monthly Recap this week and The Light Brigade review. The week after that is the Reading Round Up and The Luminous Dead review.

Busy busy busy. Busy B, that’s me!

I’ll be around this week Bloggos, so stay tuned.

 

BZ

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SFWA Reading in Portland!

SFWA reading april 2019.png

Last night’s  reading was wonderful! I always have so much anxiety leading up to any sort of writing event that my brain convinces me that I will have a terrible time. Surely, I will embarrass myself beyond any hope of repair. I will somehow literally drool on someone. I will trip and/or fall, breaking something (inanimate or otherwise) and drawing every eye in the building. I will, once face to face with the author I like, be suddenly incapable of forming a coherent sentence as simple as “Hi, I really like your book. Will you sign it for me?” That, in my nervousness, I will gulp alcohol and get tipsy and then be forever remembered as “That drunk chick at the reading.”

I am proud to report that I did not drool on anyone. I did not get drunk, although I did enjoy three very delicious beers from Lucky Labrador Brewing, where the reading took place. Though my hands were basically made of lava thanks to how anxious I was, I was able to introduce myself to all three readers (and Caitlin Starling who was in attendance as a fan!), and shake their hands. I said my name to all of them, I complimented their readings, spoke about their work and thanked them for coming to see us in Portland.

I had normal human interactions with four writers I respect very much!

SFWA swagAnd, I won a bag of ARCs via the SFWA’s raffle! I maybe hit a pretty high pitch when I raised my hand and said, “That’s ME!” But I NEVER win anything and I’d had such a wonderful time that I was understandably pumped.

Sam J. Miller, author of The Art of Starving and Blackfish City, read first. He read his short story “Kenneth: A User’s Manual” and an excerpt from Blackfish City. He did a wonderful job, and the short story was pretty funny. It was nice to hear one of his stories I hadn’t read yet. I bought a copy of Blackfish City while we were there and got Sam to sign the book! And guys, I’m striving for transparency here, mortifying as it is, and I really love Sam’s writing. So, when he asked my name I told him to just write BZ, and then he looked up at me and said, “do we interact on twitter?”Sam J Miller autograph.jpg

Y’all. I about died. While every cell in my body screamed with joy, I smiled and said, “Yeah!” Cool as as a cucumber you left out on the counter. He shook my hand and said it was nice to meet me, and then finished signing the book. I walked back to my seat ready to just float away. It was such a brief, delightful interaction. AND I WASN’T A WEIRDO!

Kari Maaren went next and she gave an outstanding reading from her YA novel Weave a Circle Round. Her performance was really wonderful, so vibrant and real. I felt those characters, from an entire beer hall away. I made a point to tell her how much I loved her reading, and she confessed she has a background in performance, so that’s why she was so delightful!

Note to self: start practicing reading now! If I wait until I actually have one booked, I’ll be a complete doofus in front of a crowd.

Last came Rebecca Roanhorse. If you don’t know, she wrote Trail of Lightning, which has been nominated for this year’s Hugo for best novela slew of short stories, and her sequel Storm of Locusts just released this week! GO BUY IT! I’d planned to buy her books at the event, but they were already sold out once we got there. Wah-wah.

She read the first half of her story “Harvest” which is in the new anthology New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl, and an excerpt from her multiple award winning story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience”. Her voice is fantastic. I don’t know how to describe it. She speaks with clarity and strength, her voice carried through the room and commanded attention, even when it was soft and whispering of the Deer Woman. She has range when she reads, her voice moving up and down, hitting the beats of her stories with precision.

Contents from my bag of swag! See anything you like?

It was spectacular. Even Trevor, my notoriously non-reader husband was blown away by her reading. He closed his eyes and absorbed her words, let them wash over and through him, and I was blessed with being able to watch him experience her work in a way I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. I maybe teared up a little. Shhhhhusssssh. Don’t tell him. He’ll never go to a reading with me again.

When she was done, he turned to me and said, “we need to buy her books. If we buy them, I’ll read them.” So yeah, I’d say he was impressed.

Next was a Q&A session which I always loathe. I never have a question. I can never think of anything I want to know badly enough to single myself out and ask someone I admire to talk to me. I don’t want the attention. I don’t want the focus of not only the authors, but the whole crowd. So, I sit and I listen and generally smile a lot because I’m happy to be surrounded by book people.

But, last night I asked a question. It was a meaty one, about how to twist and mold existing places into dystopian or post-apocalyptic settings. I apologized afterward because it was a large ask, but they all did such a great job answering! And Sam even said it was a “great question”! So there, self-conscious, anxiety-ridden self! You asked a question and you didn’t die!

After the reading, Trev and I stayed to have dinner with Kat and Obadiah (of The Audient Void) who were also in attendance. It was a really nice evening, one that I’m eager to repeat. Hopefully I won’t be a nervous wreck next time.

Or, at least less of one.

Until Monday, Bloggos!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #16

This last week was a blur. I’m trying to think of what all I did, and honestly I can’t tell you much. The weekend was full with hiking, family get-togethers, and yard work in the decent weather. We also watched a couple movies and spent the holiday relaxing together, a rare occurrence these days.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Including two book reviews.
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • YES! Writing went very very well this week. a-conjuring-of-light
  • Finish reading A Conjuring of Light
    • …yes. I am so sad because of it. What the hell do I do now?

Weekly Word Count: 4,980

I think it’s safe to say that the novel is officially in the third act and things are rolling downhill and gathering steam. Every time I sat down to write I wrote almost double of what I’d hoped to. I’d exceeded my word count goal by one hundred words by Saturday, and so rewarded myself with a writing-free Sunday. I also wrote about 1300 words hammering out a 500 word story for PodCastle’s Flash Fiction Contest. It was a real challenge, which was the point, but I’m pretty proud of what I came up with. I’ll have more details about this over the summer, once voting on the stories begins.

Book reviews for both Trail of Lightning and A Gathering of Shadows are out now, so check those out!

Thursday was a four mile Walk ‘n’ Talk with Madhu, where we mostly commiserated over waiting to hear about submissions. After that, since it was such a lovely day, I found a patio, had a beer and some french fries, and got some good writing time in.

I went on a lovely hike this weekend at Opal Creek, one of Oregon’s most popular hikes. It was a cool and misty morning that broke into a gorgeous day. The water was gushing with fresh snowmelt, the roar of the river never-ending. We packed a lunch of tuna salad, hard-boiled eggs, dolmas, cheesy bread, and dried coconut and apple chips. The picnic at the middle of the hike is always my favorite part.

And then Sunday was a chill day, watching movies, making good food, and enjoying the peace and quiet. I finished reading A Conjuring of Light last night, I cried a good deal, and then moped in bed because what else could I do? I have a serious case of book hangover right now.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Finish reading The Light Brigade

This straightforward approach has worked the rest of the month, so why not keep it going? I’ve got the review for A Conjuring Light to post this week, and will probably have another post later in the week as well. Writing continues to progress at a steady pace, so I’m confident that I’ll make my goal for the week. I’m working a little bit less this week too, so I have more time for writing.

the light brigadeI’ll also have some more time for reading, which is good because I haven’t even started The Light Brigade yet! It’s not too long, and all the press and reviews I’ve seen about it promise a fast-paced and gripping story. So, I should be able to finish it this week. I’m slowly, but surely, catching up to my reading goal.

This week is a busy one otherwise. I’m going to Portland on Thursday for the SFWA’s Reading series, where both Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning) and Sam J. Miller (Blackfish City) will be reading and speaking! I am so stupid excited for this event and Trevor’s even going to come with me!

Then Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day. Each year The Book Bin does a big daylong celebration with panels and authors, and usually ends the day with a release party for the newest issue of The Audient Void. This year is no exception, with issue #7 final proofs returned to Obadiah today. So, if you want to come down, support a local bookstore, and grab your issue, hot off the press! If you don’t live near Salem, you should still visit your local indie Bookstore and give them some love.

No hikes for the next couple of weeks, there’s just too much going on. So I’ll be home or at writing/book events, getting work done. That’s the plan. I’ll see you soon with a review, Bloggos.

Until then,

 

BZ