Reader, it has been a complicated year. I’ve had my head down working hard, and as is my tendency when I’m overworked I tend to draw in on myself a bit. I might make passing mention, but I keep my cards close and work on what’s in front of me instead of leaning on the outside world. It’s the way my brain is set up. But it’s been a year. Sometimes I feel a bit self-conscious when there’s not a new novel out (as is the case for 2013), I still haven’t quite managed to arrange things to make this happen every year, but there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes.

Writing:

I’ve written a decent amount this year. In the first half of the year I worked hard on the first draft of Hurricane Fever, which will be out in the summer of 2014.

But I’ve also written a fair amount of shorter fiction. I’d beaten myself over missing my goal of writing two novels this year, but I realized I wrote a solid amount of short fiction that equalled the short novel I was planning to fit in the second half of the year, and I worked on the revisions of Hurricane Fever in the last half of the year:

-A draft of a short story that failed in March (that I just figured out how to rewrite from the ground up)
-The novella Tensegrity for Metatropolis: Green Space.
-Another secret novella that should be coming out sometime next year, if all goes well
-A novelette, Pale Blue Memories, which Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin took for their anthology Old Venus
-Ambassador of the Saurapods, a short story which will be in The Book of Silverberg.

All told I wrote 120,000 words of fiction that will be published for sure. I need to bring that number up a bit, but I’m still juggling freelancing and fiction and (five years after being hospitalized) uneven energy levels. I’ve been focused very hard on paying down debt, so I’ve taken on very large levels of freelancing the last 18 months to continue improving my financials, which at times threatens the fiction operation.

While I nailed the first six months of the year, I struggled in the last half to keep my writing prioritized. Comparing the first half of the year with the second, I should have attained more like 160,000 publishable words, but burn out and freelancing hit. Things to ponder for the next year.

What came out:

These stories came out during the year:

-Tensegrity – METAtropolis: Greenspace (October, 2013)
-A Pressure of Shadows – Schemers (November, 2013)
-The Rydr Express – The New Hero II (May, 2013)
-The Seafarer – Subterranean Magazine (Winter, 2013)

If you are a fan of the Xenowealth universe, you’ll want to check out The Rydr Express.

In addition, the UK version of Arctic Rising came out from Del Rey UK.

NewImage

I’m rather proud of the work I did in Tensegrity in particular. It’s strongly influenced by conversations with Karl Schroeder, a genius in my eyes, and ideas I’ve toyed with. I loved writing it. It was nice to create a third chapter in the Reginald Stratton series. At some point I’ll need to sit down and think about what to do with those three novellas for readers.

What I’ve contracted to do:

Well, a lot of things happened.

First of all, I grew apart from my agency of 10 years. It happens, and we’ve had an amazing 10 year run together. Joshua went out and sold a book with all minority characters speaking dialect having over the top adventure, and we fought uphill all the way to make that book happen. Making decisions about change are tough for me.

My new agent was Joe Monti of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency, someone I’ve been conspiring to take the world over with ever since we first met via Paolo Bacigalupi. Joe had been representing my YA interests to the world since 2008. I decided to move everything over to streamline and plot on a bigger canvas. As some of you know, Joe shortly thereafter moved to help helm a new publishing imprint, so my timing couldn’t have been more chaotic! Fortunately Barry Goldblatt, who I’ve gotten to know through Joe, is now my point man. We’ve been getting synched up over the last couple months, moving plans forward. And we’re making world-taking-over plans of our own now.

Things I will be writing:

I’ve signed up to do a lot next year, but in a way that should let me get free of most of my debt, reduce my freelancing, and focus even more on writing. It’ll be tricky, but I’m really optimistic about this transition. But there’s a lot of juggling going on, and I’ll have to very, very disciplined. The first project I’m focusing on for the first half the year is a pseudonymous project, a shorter novel. I know, that’s mysterious, but I’ll be working on Antarctica Ascendent when taking breaks from it.

And I have a couple short things to wrap up before my birthday, short stories I owe. Sadly, once those are turned in, in order to meet the deadlines I have agreed to, I have to turn away from writing short fiction for the next year. I might write some for fun in my spare time, but I can’t be getting freaked by deadlines and hurting the novel writing at all. Saying no for a year will be so tough, but it must happen to get me in a position where I can say yes down the road.

Things you can read in 2014:

Hurricane Fever comes out from both Tor and Del Rey UK in July, 2014.

I have some very cool shorter pieces coming out as well:

-Pale Blue Memories – Old Venus (Oct. 2014)
-Sundown – Dead Man’s Hand (May, 2014)
-Ambassador to the Dinosaurs – The Book of Silverberg (April 2014)

Places I’ll be in 2014:

Here are some of the appearances I’ve agreed to:

-Jan. 17-19: Confusion (Detroit, MI) – a cool convention just around the corner.
-Jan. 24-26: Chattacon (Chattanooga, TN) – I’m the Guest of Honor!!!
-June 26-July 1: ALA (Las Vegas, NV) – (not sure about the details yet)
-July 31-Aug 1: Alpha Workshop (Greensburg, PA) – I’m a Guest Instructor for this workshop for teens

In July I might be around for some signings or appearances related to Hurricane Fever, but I’m not sure of the itinerary just yet. I’m also looking at the budget for going up to Detroit for NASFIC. I’m sure I will do it, I just haven’t committed yet as I want to see how the writing goes for the first couple months of the year still.

Summary:

It has been an amazing year. People have flown me around the country to speak, and it’s been humbling and wild that this is part of my life. I’ve been to California, Barbados and London this year. And I won’t soon forget clambering around Barbados with Karen Lord and Robert Sandiford for research for Hurricane Fever. I watched Big Ben strike six pm in a foggy mist. I saw my novel in the train station on the way to visit relatives in the British countryside. Met with many friends. Wrote things that made me happy, stressed about whether I was good enough, or doing enough, and watched my family grow, paid down debt, fixed the things that needed fixed after too much deferred maintenance, and felt like the ship got moving forward faster this year.

Thank you to all for following along. Thanks for buying the books, support, and general good will.

I hope to do better in 2014.