Now back to my regularly-scheduled blogging. I hope.

Geez, you walk away from your blog for upwards of two months and apparently someone thinks it’s okay to go in and completely change the updating format. Some nerve. I’ll try to adapt. 😉

So, yes, once again I find myself apologizing for a hiatus. I’m sorry. I really am. Maybe in a few years, when both of the kids are in school, I’ll be able to update more regularly. My hope is that the new schedule I’ve set for myself will lead to my wandering onto this site a little more often (I hope). More on that later.

Actually, more on that now. (See? I’m such a pantser I don’t even plan out my blog posts :P) . Part of the reason I’ve been away from the blog for so long is just how many projects I have on the go at the moment. I’m nearly done the long edits on the novel. I’m rewriting a chapter in that novel from another POV. I’ve started the sequel. I’m working on a query and a synopsis. I’m polishing up a short story for submissions. Plus I’m editing, not only my own work, but a novel for a friend and occasional projects for people in my writing group. And on top of all of that, I’ve been very strict with myself about working out, trying to keep the house in some semblance of order (hahaha) and, you know, not ignoring my kids. Up until a  couple of weeks ago, my method had been chip away at everything a little bit every day. A chapter on the novel. 10 pages of editing for my friend. A page of a short story. Etc. Etc. While I thought this meant that everything would get done at roughly the same time, what it actually meant was that I was forcing myself to switch creative gears rather often during my “writing time” segments during the day. And since those segments are only during Baby D’s nap and sometimes an hour or two in the evening, I barely let myself breathe between those switch-overs. And if there happened to be anything that I was less interested in working on – query letters, say – it was very easy to just work a little bit longer on everything else until the baby woke up. Oh darn, guess I’ll have to work on it tomorrow.

This all became very apparent to me while I was on vacation. I managed to escape the Canadian winter for two weeks this February and I had big plans of all of the writing and editing I was going to do while away. And you know what? I didn’t do much of it. A little bit, yes. But not anywhere near as much as I had “scheduled”. And, at a time when I was supposed to be relaxing, I found myself stressing out about everything I wasn’t doing, everything I had to do when I got home. Especially when my husband pointed out that it was probably really time to get started on that damn query letter.

And once I got home, things didn’t get better in that regard. I continued on my every-project-every-day schedule until I realized that all I was left with at the end of the day was a feeling that I’d accomplished pretty much nothing, nothing was completed and I was still completely stressed out. And that was worrisome. I actually have the opportunity to be pursuing my passion and, while I understand that everything is stressful some of the time, it wasn’t a good sign that the thing I most love to do was stressing me out all of the time.

And so I reset my plans. 6 projects, 6 days, one day off. On Monday I work on the novel edits. Tuesday, short stories. Wednesday, query and synopsis (read: housecleaning). Thursday, editing my friend’s MS and any other editing-for-others on my plate. Friday, since it is #writeclub on Twitter, I’ve slotted in chapter rewrite and sequel work. Saturday is social media and blogging, since I’ve also been remiss at actually following the blogs I follow. I’m also using Saturdays to catch up anything I’m feeling especially behind on. And Sunday is my day off. It might not always work out that way, but that is the standard schedule and I’m giving myself permission to mess with it as necessary. Just last week I had to switch two of the days because I was waiting for an edit to come in. And so far the new process is working well.

And how are those many many projects working out, you ask? Pretty well, I’d say. On the novel – and yes, there is a tentative title, but it’s still pretty tentative – I’m nearly done my “long edits”, then I have to comb through for consistency errors. I’m rewriting one chapter from a different POV (on the advice of a CP) to see which I like better. And yes, I actually have started the query letter writing process, as daunting as it seems.

Short story work is going well too, I think. It’s done, the first round of comments are back and it has been sent off to a few other people. Once I hear back from them, I’ll start polishing it up.

I guess the only other real writing-related “news” is that I’m taking my writing class again next semester! We managed to squeeze it into the budget and I am so excited to get back to it! The only drawback is that a lot of the ‘regulars’ aren’t taking it, but one of my closest friends is for the first time. And I’m definitely looking forward to meeting a bunch of new writers too. 🙂

So hey, I managed a blog post (and yes, Baby D is up. Sigh.) With any luck, I’ll have some time to comment on some others and then I’ll see you all again next Saturday. 😉

Oh, but before I go – proof of Reading Night. 🙂

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WFC 2012 Day 2

So okay, maybe it will be (at least) a week between posts. But I do have a ton of other stuff going on right now. So much so, in fact, that I’m barely certain I’ll be able to get this post done today, but we’ll see what happens. (update, took 2 days but hey, it’s done).

Once again, a few things to get out of the way before I jump into my stories from WFC. First, have you bought J. Elizabeth Hill’s book yet? I’m going to keep posting about it until you do.

Okay, next up: The short story that I mentioned last time. There have actually been some interesting twists on that work since then. As I may have mentioned (or maybe not), my crit class is doing a “reading night” next week which I’m absolutely terrified of excited about. I had been told we had about ten minutes to read. I realized I could do slightly less than 2K in that time and picked out two sections, one of which was more than 2K and one of which was less, but would require more explanation since it came later in the piece. Then two things happened:

1. I missed a class for a sinus infection. During that class, several other people climbed on board for reading. Which is fabulous, except that it reduced our reading time to five minutes.

2. A member of my class looked up the average reading rate and it is apparently 150wpm. She reads at 180wpm so there is some leeway. My teacher emailed and told me he didn’t think there was any way I could get through over 2K in less than 10 minutes and have anyone understand me.

Basically this means that I not only have half the time I thought I did, but I have to reduce my word count even more because I must have been reading at an unreasonable rate when I timed myself. This means I have to keep it well under 1K. Probably more like 800.

Of course I got this email at midnight and proceeded to stay up for an hour panicking about it, which was NOT good for said sinus infection.

The next morning I decided on a new game plan. 9K overall was too long as far as I was concerned anyhow, and I really felt it needed tightening up. Very well. I decided I would take it a chunk at a time and see how much I could reduce my word count and still be happy with it.

This has wound up being an absolutely excellent exercise for me. I’m grabbing 500 word sections and trying to knock them down to 400. Usually I miss, though not by a lot. But it is all averaging out so far. I’ve gone through 4662 words and reduced them to 3871. I won’t have time to get through the whole thing before reading night, since I’ll want to give myself some time to edit the reduced version, but I plan to go to the end of the second section I was considering which is just before 7000 words on the original. Anyhow, what this means is that the sections themselves are now shorter, so it should be easier for me to select something that will fit into the new parameters.

Okay, onto WORLD FANTASY CONFERENCE DAY TWO:

When I left off last time, I’d made it to the correct hotel (finally) and was feeling a bit shy about not knowing anyone. Ran into someone I met last year, hit it off with one of her friends. As such, I was feeling a little bit better going into day 2. I wound up showing up a bit later than I’d originally intended because I wasn’t feeling very well. This being “autograph night” I was hauling around a bag of books (though not as many as I’d been given the night before) and in the dealer room I managed to pick up a hardcover of my favourite Charles de Lint books (I’d been unable to find my mass market of the same that morning). I attended a panel on Fantasy Gothic Noir which I planned to leave early in order to grab some lunch, but couldn’t tear myself away because the discussion was so interesting. (the moderator had a PhD in creative writing which still fascinates me). After that, I grabbed and bagel and coffee and then ran to de Lint’s reading which was, as expected, brilliant and inspiring. That man is an incredible writer.

By this point it was 3pm, when I was due to have my coffee date with the lovely Carol Berg. I met her in the lobby and was greeted with a hug worthy of a long-lost friend. Which was wonderful as I’d only met her once but we’d become pretty good friends then and have stayed in touch since. Anyhow, we grabbed some coffee and found a quieter place to chat. I figured that since there was a steampunk panel at 5pm, I’d have somewhere to go once I started wearing out my welcome.

I had a great time reconnecting with her and we talked about pretty much everything that’s happened in the eight or so years since we’d seen each other – families, writing, books, histories. Just everything. I mentioned that I’d seen her the day before but hadn’t wanted to intrude and she told me I should have come over anyhow. At 6pm she stood up and said we should probably find somewhere for dinner. And then took me back to the lobby and introduced me to all of those people I’d missed meeting the day before and then we all went out to dinner together. These people were all fabulous and I’m so grateful to have met all of them!

(slight interjection here: while in the middle of this dinner, one of my readers sent me a tweet to tell me how much she adored the ending to my novel, which she’d just finished. And so I got to show that tweet to my favourite author. At which point I started wondering if the night could possibly get better).

We returned to the Sheraton for the big autograph session. WFC had a much better layout for this than WorldCon, I thought…yes, there was a large line to get in, but once you got in it was just a free for all. I got my new book signed by de Lint, an ARC signed by Guy Gavriel Kay for my husband and, of course, Carol signed her most recent series for me. After that I wandered about for a bit, recognizing more than a few faces but without books for them to sign. That night I went home completely blissed out.

(Spoiler alert – on Day 3 I went home even further blissed out. But you’ll have to wait for the next post to hear about that one).

World Fantasy Convention Day One (also my short and go buy my friend’s book)

I’ve been meaning to post about the World Fantasy Convention for over two weeks now and I just haven’t. I’ve tried. I’ve tried many times even. I think the main problem has been that I wasn’t sure exactly how to post about it. Do I post a day-by-day thing? Do I post a series of out-of-order events that meant something to me? In the end, I think I’ve decided that I will put a separate post about each day. That will stop the posts from running to 3000 words and it means you get more blog posts from me. Exciting, no?

BUT, before I get into that I have two announcements to make. The first is to point you all in the direction of my very good friend and most excellent author Julie Elizabeth Hill. Julie has just launched her first ebook, entitled Bound. I’ve read it, it’s great, go buy it and tell her I sent you. It should soon also be available in print format as well.

The second announcement which is probably far less exciting, but still pretty exciting to me, is that I finished a short story. And I even like it! I managed to keep it under 10K – it’s currently sitting at 9110 and I’m in the midst of trying to tighten it up as much as I can. This is a big deal to me because, as I’ve stated in a previous post (that I have no idea how to link back to) I find short stories to be daunting at best. Anyhow, I’m quite pleased with how this one turned out and – get this – I even like my ending.

Okay, now that that is all out of the way, let me FINALLY tell you all about…

THE WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2012

DAY ONE

Day One did not start off as planned. First of all, I had the wrong hotel. Yep, you read that right. Wrong. Hotel. It was a total genius move too: I saw on the website that it was at the Sheraton, thought I know where that is and didn’t for a moment consider that Toronto, being a fairly large city, might, in fact, have more than one Sheraton Hotel. So I got there, later than I wanted to begin with and there was, of course, no fantasy convention. And then I found out that not only was it not in the downtown Sheraton, it was in a Sheraton that was barely in Toronto at all! Thankfully, I caught my husband before he drove too far off and we took another hour getting me to the right location. I did make it in time for the opening ceremonies, but I missed the first panel I’d been hoping to get to. This also thwarted my various downtown Toronto plans which included having dinner with one of my best friends and having countless options for meals and shopping if there was a lull in the programming.

Upon arrival, I immediately saw my favourite author (Carol Berg) in the lounge, but as she was surrounded by twenty-odd people, I wasn’t exactly comfortable approaching. Anyhow, I had plans to have a drink with her the next day. (more on that in the next post! Oooo…teasers!) So instead I went into the dealer room and wandered about, waiting for the opening ceremonies to start. It was here that I started to really notice that this was the first event of this nature that I’d ever attended entirely by myself. I’m pretty shy and the more I walked around, the more it became clear to me that there were a lot of people here that I didn’t know…but they all seemed to know someone. This made me a little uncomfortable. Anyhow, I watched the very short opening ceremonies and then attended a fascinating panel on Fantasy in the Wilderness. During this panel, I began to come around to an author I’d previously not been terribly fond of (his books, he’s fine). He was very witty and humourous and I decided I’d attend his reading later in the convention just to see if maybe I’d give his books another shot.

I almost forgot to mention that on this day I was also given an 800 pound bag of free books that I had to come back and get at the end because I didn’t have a hotel room to go dump them in. (I should add that this had nothing to do with being at the wrong hotel originally – we live close enough to Toronto that my original plan was to GO train in every day though we wound up driving because of the actual location).

Anyhow, dinnertime was rolling around and I had no one to eat with and no Eaton Centre to provide me with options. I figured I would go to the lounge and see if anyone sat down to chat when I ran into a girl from Algonkian last year. I had dinner with her and her roommates, one of whom I wound up getting along with fabulously. We came back, grabbed some starbucks and attended a final panel (this one on music, featuring the brilliant Charles de Lint), and then went our separate ways, me with an 800 pound bag of books on my shoulder. It was like being back in university. 😉

And that wraps up Day One. I’ve made a promise to myself to update this blog at least once a week, but I’m going to try to get the convention covered this week, so you may even hear from me again sooner!