Merry Christmas and a Happy 2015!

29 Dec

For starters: I wish you and yours the very best of the season no matter what you celebrate – a belated Merry Christmas, and also a fantastic new year.

I’ve been real busy (excuses excuses) so mind me while I go on tangents about everything – Nanowrimo, the books I’ve read in 2014, how my writing is coming along, and whatever pops into my head.

For starters, here’s that sketch I mentioned in the C4 post – you can check out the artist’s webpage http://akitron.tumblr.com/.

AuroreFANART

Basically, I told the artist to interpret the prologue of Tower of Obsidian. Looks Brave’s Merida meets Rapunzel, IMO. Come to think of it, Aurore’s problem would be solved rather easily if she got Rasheen to make her some arrows capable of killing Skolvane and she shot him, but that’s not exactly the ending I was going for…

I haven’t been to the NanoWriMo website since before November – and honestly I have no idea how I did because I decided I don’t like taking my laptop to work so I did a lot of shorthand I haven’t transcribed yet, but I’m happy with what I did and I just need to buckle down and write. So no win for me, but I feel like I’ve gotten back into the creative groove.

In terms of how’s my writing/self-pubbing/editing coming along – I admit I feel really stagnant and it’s my own fault because I’m burnt out on stuff that really has nothing to do with writing but still effects it. I won’t go into details, but in a nutshell it’s been a very stressful few years for me – and I think I’m doing what I’m doing, because in the past whenever good things happen and things were starting to look up and I could start to plan, it was usually followed by a giant financial kick in the teeth followed by numerous smaller kicks while down. For once I’m in a good job with coworkers and management who aren’t psychotic inasmuch as I’ve noticed, I have a good place where I can keep my dog and I’m not forced to work and go to school and do the family obligation thing to the point of forgetting my own name. You’d think I’d be pleased, but there’s this fear in the back of my brain where I’m expecting the metaphoric shit to hit the fan and be back at square one again. I haven’t been taking time to rest and it’s showing.

I know I’m not balanced because the dog has been acting up – not in the ‘I’m being a naughty boy hahahah’ way so much as the ‘pay attention to meeee’ way. The little guy has put up with my long days back when I was on call half my life, so this isn’t new to him – but provided he gets his walks and playtime, he’s usually great and puts up with shiftwork no problem. And he’s still getting his walks, but he can tell when I’m going through the motions.

So I guess to sum it up: being a dumbass in real life will not help your artistic side, at least insofar as the final product goes unless you have someone to help you out there. People I know sort of know I finished my first novel at fourteen but still look surprised that I bang on the keyboard and stories appear. There’s a lot to be objectively critical in writing, and that I can do – the subjective stuff – you know, there part where the artist goes, “You don’t understaaaaand my brilliaaaaance!” when someone has a possible bit of criticism. I for one think I’m the least able to call out my own crap when I’m overtired and baby doesn’t get her bottle (Jameson and ginger ale, FYI, but Bailey’s is a nice winter choice), so in terms of self-publishing – which was my new year’s resolution for 2014 – I’m not feeling confident about the book at all right now. It’s not that I’m too scared to make mistakes or that I’m misguided to think that it can be perfect, it’s that I know it’s not as good as it can be, whether I keep sending it to editors or people who want to help me or whatever. Internal bitchy voice takes over.

So I don’t know when. In fact, I’m tempted to send it off to a new local publisher so I can mull it over for a few more months. It’s not like I don’t have five other finished manuscripts I can turn into a vanity project if it bucks the odds and maybe I can learn something. The stigma of self-publishing has really changed over the last few years, and I think it’s a good thing, but I don’t like wasting people’s time with an inferior product. I have no say over the final product if it gets picked up by a publisher, but if I’m doing it, I better be confident.

This year’s new year’s goal has nothing to do with writing. I want to get good at coloring digitally, and drawing horses. And I’d also like to get back to painting – no promises as to when I’m going to post pictures, but you might see something periodically. I’ll draw a picture of a character, and a horse, just so you can compare the suckiness.

In terms of my reading challenge – holy crap, Afro-Futurism is awesome. And I’m not just saying it because the main character of Terran (the book I’m having trouble with, editing phase) is black. I don’t think reading Afro-futurism has helped me write POC characters any better than taking one class on Canadian Aboriginal Literature makes me that much better at writing First Nations characters. (Writing them again and again and again and again does that, IMO). And I know I read a lot of Octavia E. Butler and I probably should have read a few more standalones rather than series, but wow. I mean – wow, I read some amazing books this year. I for one don’t think anyone should read the books I did because of wanting to support authors of color. Read them because they are great books by talented people. If we as a whole ignore all the science part of the science fiction and look at the titles I’ve read just as social commentary, you get something amazing that deserves its own post. (And once again for those just tuning in: I read Octavia E. Butler with very high standards. If this was normal ratings, everything she’d do would be 5, but then I can’t show you I love Wildseed more than I love say, Parable of the Talents. She and a very few amount of authors are on their own scale). So basically, I’m going to keep going into 2015 – more Minister Faust and Nalo Hopkinson to support Canadians, but I feel like I haven’t begun to scratch the surface.

But in terms of actual books read – I’m knocking it down. I read 70 books only because I was really on myself and I made sure I was picking shorter books for the most part. I read doorstoppers, and it also takes me a few weeks to read one House War or Malazan book. I can always cheat by reading old graphic novels I own I suppose, but I’m also not doing three-hour stable transfers regularly, so I’m going to go back to 52 books a year.

So yeah – I’m still wishy-washy about Garnet and Silver, but I got an 8-day off stretch come mid-January, in that time I hope to finish the two projects I have in roughs, and get some editing done (Terran and the other YA book I wrote about two years ago), and take some time off to get back into serious exercising and maybe do some cross-country skiing, as well as break out the oils and water colors. Oooh, and archery. Hopefully after my version of Spring Break, I’ll be a little bit more focused. Until then though, I got a few more ideas for posts in the next few days, so hopefully I’ll be updating this more often as well.

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