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[personal|writing] My 2010 Year in Review

2010 has been a very difficult year for me, but it’s also been a very accomplished year. The ironies of this are not lost upon me. And frankly, the leading indicators for 2011 are not much improved. We shall see.


Pinion from Tor Books
The Specific Gravity of Grief from Fairwood Press
The Baby Killers from PS Publishing
The Sky That Wraps from Subterranean Press

Short Fiction

In short fiction, I had about twenty-five appearances, one jointly authored with Ken Scholes, several more with Shannon Page.

Other Activities

I was nominated for an Airship Award for the Mainspring cycle, sold French and German rights to various of my books, and edited METAtropolis: Cascadia,’s followup to the highly successful METAtropolis audiobook.

I attended Rainforest Writers’ Village, Cascade Writers, New Zealand’s National Convention, Worldcon in Australia, Orycon and Steamcon.

Submissions and Sales

43 new fiction submissions in total
    22 sales, several with Shannon Page
    12 rejections

19 reprint submissions in total
    11 reprint sales
    18 reprint rejections

Writing Statistics

226,200 words of first draft (Kalimpura, twelve short stories, outlines to Kalimpura and Sunspin, several nonfiction items)

Revisions to Endurance

Approximately 1,000 blog posts

Personal Life

All of this while recovering from lung surgery, undergoing six months of chemotherapy, experiencing and recovering from liver surgery, holding down a full-time job, parenting, and spending the last three months of the year watching my primary relationship erode and vanish. So while the writing held up remarkably well (I accomplished more in 2010 than in 2009), the rest of the year sucked rocks and is totally fired.

Also, don’t ever talk to me about not finding the time to write.

[personal|cancer] The cost of living, or at least not dying

I want to say a few words about the recent ending of the relationship between me and calendula_witch. We have parted ways for reasons that are highly appropriate to her life needs, and which I understand, regardless of my own feelings on the matter. Our bridges are not burned, and in time as I process my reactions, I fully expect to find a way back to the strong friendship that has always characterized our connection. Anything more than that is not mine to publicly discuss.

What is mine to publicly discuss is how my cancer journey has inflected this process. calendula_witch stood by me steadfastly through every minute of the journey of diagnosis, surgery, chemo and more surgery that consumed us between May of 2009 and my emergence from recovery in October of 2010. Her love and support were profoundly sustaining.

But another cost of the cancer, to me, was that I was largely checked out mentally, emotionally and socially from the relationship between November of 2009 (the lung surgery) and October of 2010 (recovery from the liver surgery), and most especially from February to August of 2010 (as the chemo side effects grew, peaked, then tapered off). There were eleven months of her emotional and life transitions that I was essentially not present for.

I don’t think for a moment that the cancer caused her to break up with me. Her reasons for leaving me aren’t about cancer, or even very much about me at the root. What I do believe, with a sad and enveloping passion, is that had I been mentally and emotionally available over the past year, our relationship might have survived this passage. It might just as well not have, but thanks to cancer and its treatments, we never got the chance to even try to cope or make adjustments until far too late.

In my heart, I will probably always believe that cancer cost me the opportunity to keep this relationship intact. After a year of incredibly high prices paid, deep pain and suffering, losing my connection with calendula_witch is the highest price of all. This is the metastasis of the heart.

Just another damned cost of cancer. I’m still alive, but this outcome is so far from anything I would ever have chosen.

[links] Link salad looks back

The Portal with a review of “From the Countries of Her Dreams” — By me and calendula_witch, in the Green continuity.

Perceptions — A fascinating, difficult blog about being nonneurotypical. (Via SL.)

A Pioneering Interstellar Text — Early, serious thought about interstellar flight, Yesterday’s tomorrows, mmmm.

English Version Manchukuo Temporary Government Official Website — Ah, the things one finds doing research. East Asian monarchical revanchism.

Shocker: Obama to give America back to IndiansA secret U.N. plot revealed: First, they’ll take Manhattan. More intellectual leadership from the American Right. Though the article does make a terrific point about strict Constitutionalism. Also why don’t Scalia-style Constitutional originalists ever insist that America honor its various broken treaties with all the Indians whose lands we stole as we systematically removed and massacred them? I know that would entail giving them back the entirety of Oklahoma, among lots of other amusing things, but the supremacy of treaties is in the damn Constitution! Although I guess Article Six, with its federal supremacy clause and its no religious test talk, has always been the article that right-wingers are not particularly enthusiastic about. Being a Constitutional fundamentalist is a lot like being a Biblical fundamentalist. You justify whatever you want by appeal to the inviolate Revealed Word, and ignore the parts you don’t like. That very inconsistency defeats the philosophical basis of their own position, every single time. (Via Dispatches From the Culture Wars.)

?otD: What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (Sunspin outline development)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.75 hours (solid)
Weight: 248.8
Currently reading: Between books

[links] Link salad wakes up because you just can’t sleep forever

Book Discussion: “Love and Rockets” edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Kerrie Hughes — In which I have a story both solo and with calendula_witch.

The E-Publishing Success Narrative Will Have to Change“I want an article on epublishing to focus on an author with no platform who made it big self-pubbing. Stop regurgitating the same names.” (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Stylelessness — Art guru James Gurney on the art world’s equivalent of what I would call transparent style in the writing world.

Frost Flatiron: 1905Shorpy with a hundred year old look at this past week.

It’s a Dog-nosed World: Accidental Cartography Revisited

?otD: Nothing.

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (Sunspin outline development)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 248.8
Currently reading: Between books

[process] Writing is hard, let’s go shopping

So I’ve been working on an as-yet-untitled novella in the Sunspin continuity. As a practical matter, in terms of story action it’s the prequel to the opening of the novel cycle. Though I don’t anticipate including this wordage in the novel manuscript, I reserve the right to change my mind later on. Necessary off-stage action, as well as plot character development, comprising a story in its own right.

But the is science fiction. With, you know, actual science in the story. Or at least as much sciency-stuff as a middle aged liberal arts fart like me can swing. For example, I’ve had to read up on neutrino effects (and the lack thereof) on ordinary baryonic matter. As I write, I keep needing to stop and spot-check issues which are too important to just [handwave inside a bracket for a fix on revision]. Not to mention referencing back to dozens of pages of continuity notes from the existing short fiction in this setting, as well as the unfinished novel outline.

It’s not that the writing on this project is harder than so much else of what I do. It’s just I need to work more to get some things right. By contrast, I recently drafted Kalimpura, where as a third book in series I know the cosmology, the local area of the world, the physical and societal settings and the characters very well. As a result, the prose tended to flow very quickly. I didn’t have to think those elements through as I went along. And the demands of verisimilitude are different in fantasy than they are in science fiction.

This prose, she is not flowing so quickly. calendula_witch assures me it is reading well. But, yeah, not just a gear shift here. More like a transmission swap.

God, I love this stuff.

And, what, you want a WIP?

[links] Link salad is tired

A reader reacts to Grants Pass — An anthology with stories by both me and calendula_witch in it.

Bold Crossings of the Gender Line — Hmmm.

The “chemical equator” — A couple of years old, but still strange. (Via LEC.)

GOP gets queasy over earmark ban…there is talk about tweaking the very definition of “earmark.” More of that justly famed principled consistency and intellectual honesty from Your Republican Party. Thank god those weasely Democrats aren’t going to be in charge much longer, with their constant moving of goalposts and twisty thinking. As President Bush said, “I don’t do nuance.”

?otD: Do you sleep well?

Writing time yesterday: 3.5 hours (outline and timeline for Sunspin, 500 words on a related novella)
Body movement: n/a (weather too foul)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (extremely interrupted)
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Yesterday’s chemo/post-op stress index: 9/10 (peripheral neuropathy, emotional distress)
Currently reading: The Log of the Flying Fish by Harry Collingwood

[personal] Updates on travel, writing and whatnot

As calendula_witch reports here, we are heading for the coast today for the weekend. Internet access is an unknown quantity at the moment, so if blogging is irregular, fear not. Also, some fun Thanksgiving photos in that post of hers.

In other news, kenscholes and I have learned that our story “The Starship Mechanic” will be included in the forthcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction, Volume 28 edited by the inestimable Gardner Dozois. And there was much rejoicing.

Other than that, I am home for the month (probably) and writing furiously. Giving myself breaks in between efforts, just to keep fresh, but next up is a Sunspin novella.

Finally, I’m doing some miscellaneous reading now, but next serious reading is The Log of the Flying Fish: A Story of Aerial and Submarine Peril and Adventure by Harry Collingwood [ Project Gutenberg ], an adventure book from 1887 that is apparently true Victorian science fiction. My apologies to the gentleman at SteamCon II who recommended this to me — I have mislaid his card and cannot credit him properly.

What are you reading today?

[links] Link salad is the size of the entire universe man

Short Story Giveaway! — Oddly, two books with stories from me and calendula_witch in them.

Offhand Flourishing — Art guru James Gurney on an art form of which I had never heard. I don’t think there’s a writerly equivalent to this one.

Storied American jetliner languishes in obscurity — in South Korea — Sic air transit gloria mundi.

Do We Travel to Get There or Get There to Travel? — Measuring the utility of travel. I’m an outlier on this particular bell curve.

Anonymous Doc with some observations on what it means to die of cancer[T]here are still a lot of diseases that don’t discriminate, that don’t care how good your doctors are and how much money you have. You still lose. Interesting. And, um, yeah.

The Economics of a Space InfrastructureCentauri Dreams on mining the sky.

Everything You Need to Know About WikileaksTwo experts lay out the facts surrounding the controversy.

“Forbidden” Archaeology — Anatomies of scam. As lt260 said, “His subject matter pertains to archaeology but it could easily, and he states this, apply to politics, creationism, tea bagging, [or] economics.” My favorite example of this, by the way, is Formenko’s New Chronology, which, not to put too fine a point on it, is every bit as intellectually and culturally bugfuck as Creationism or Flat Earthism. (Thanks to lt260.)

?otD: Particle man: What’s he like?

Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.00 hours (solid)
This morning’s weigh-in: 250.8
Yesterday’s chemo/post-op stress index: 4/10 (peripheral neuropathy, emotional distress)
Currently reading: Between books

[process] Revising versus editing

No, this is not the post I promised a while back. Not yet. Think of this as a pre-post.

Last night over dinner, calendula_witch and I were comparing notes on current writing projects. “I’ll fix that on revision” is one of our favorite phrases in those conversations. I mentioned that I’d been thinking about making a blog post on the difference between revision and editing. That unfolded into a curious conversation wherein the more granular our discussion became, the more confused I became. That in turn eventually forced me to fall back on three basic concepts, none of which I am very satisfied with.

1) There is often a difference of scale between revision and editing, but that is not the distinguishing feature between the two.

2) There’s a reason we don’t call all those nice people at the publishing houses “Revisers”.1

3) I am sorely tempted by the Potter Stewart test, viz. “I know it when I see it”, which is a bad sign for the clarity of my own thinking.

So let me turn this around and throw the question open. What do you think the difference is between revision and editing? I’m quite curious how this looks to other folks.

1. Granted that editing as done by acquisitions editors, copy editors, production editors, managing editors, etc., is a different-but-related beast from editing done by an author laboring away in their digital garret.