Filed under: Life
Monday, January 30th, 2012 • No Comments on 2012: The Year of Projects
What sweet things do you have on your plate this year?
I didn’t make any resolutions for this year. I meant to. I always do. I just didn’t this year. And January is nearly over, but I think I have come up with my theme for 2012. It shall be The Year of the Projects. Though perhaps I shouldn’t put it in capital letters like that because it suggests BIG things like building a house or sailing around the world when, really, a project can be any sort of thing. And my projects likely won’t be anything big and earth shattering. But who knows? Maybe I’ll bust out with a major project before the year ends. I don’t have the entire year planned out. I didn’t even really come up with this idea until about a week or so ago when I realized I had sort of started a bunch of things in January and I was mentally shelving them into project categories.
I’ll start a new project when the mood strikes me or when I have finished another project. It’s not really a matter of saying I’ll start projects when I have the time because, honestly, I don’t have the time. In fact, some of my projects will actually strongly resemble stuff that looks like work I’m already doing. But I like that label: Project. Start something, finish something, move on to something else. Yeah.
So here are the projects I’m currently working on and their deadlines:
Two Boys, One Picture: A Photographic Chronicle
Start date: Januaryish
Finish date: December 31
I have started taking daily pictures of the babies. I’m calling it Two Boys, One Picture right now and posting the pictures daily on Facebook. I will likely start posting them onto my mama blog, Writer (With Children), too.
The Month of Letters Challenge
Start date: February 1
Finish date: February 29
I am doing Mary Robinette Kowal’s Month of Letters Challenge. (I blogged about it here.) It’s a wonderful one-month project and I’m looking forward to sending (and receiving) “real” mail for the entire month of February. Please do read my original post about the challenge and send me your address if you’d like to receive something from me.
Good Vibes Sexy Mama blogger
Start date: January 23
Finish date: December 31 (with option to renew in 2013)
One of my projects for 2012 is to do more blogging in a variety of places. I realize not a lot of people find or follow this blog and that’s entirely my fault. So this year I hope to pursue a variety of blogging projects that I can link to from here. One of them is being a Sexy Mama blogger for Good Vibrations Magazine. The motherhood side of my identity is still one that I’m getting used to and making peace with, so my irregular (in timing, not in writing—I hope) blog posts on Good Vibes will address issues of motherhood and sexuality, either personal or societal. My first piece, Ready to Blossom, went up last week. And if you’re a mom, I would love to hear what you would like to read about.
Erotica Readers and Writers Association blogger
Start date: January 28
Finish date: December 31 (with option to renew in 2013)
Another blogging project I’ll be doing is over at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog. I will be blogging there on the 28th of every month, mostly about writing, editing and reading erotica. I’ll direct you to my first post: How It All Started to explain why I’m taking on this monthly project, but to summarize: Adrienne Benedicks and ERWA are responsible for my erotica writing career and I want to give back to this fantastic community.
80,000 Word Book Project
Start date: January 1
Finish date: April 1
I can’t say too much about this project right now, but I do have an official deadline and I am writing, writing, writing…
Best Erotic Romance 2013
Start date: Januaryish
Finish date: June 1
The second edition of Cleis Press’s Best Erotic Romance series and my seventh anthology for Cleis Press. I am absolutely delighted to be editing this series and I cannot wait to start receiving submissions. (Submission deadline is April 15.)
Start date: Last summer
Finish date: March 1
This is a proposal that’s been languishing on my hard drive for months. Other deadlines (and having a baby) threw me seriously off course, but I’m ready to finish it. I think I’m about 75% done with it, so I might be done sooner than March 1. Mostly I just want it resolved, so I’m getting it a deadline. I started it, I need to finish it.
10,000 Word Short Story
Start date: Januaryish
Finish date: February 6
This is another one I just need to be done with. It’s contracted, it’s started, I’ve just gotten sidetracked in the past couple of weeks. It will be done by Monday, one way or another.
And those are the current projects on my plate. There are some other anthologies and whatnot with deadlines, but for the purposes of keeping the list reasonable I’m only cataloging writing deadlines that are contracted. At least for now. My plan is to check in at the end of each month, note my project progress and add and/or close out projects.
My current project list is a little heavy on the writing projects and I would like to add some other things to the list. I welcome your project suggestions, especially if they involve self-improvement, exploration or enlightenment. I’m not artistic at all—and maybe that’s okay?—but this art project sounds interesting: The Sketchbook Project.
So, projects. Start something, finish something. A beginning, a middle, an end. Like that. Deadlines, self-imposed or external, short term or long term. Creative, professional, personal, mental, physical, whatever. The word of the year is project. And the biggest project of all, of course, is me.
Thursday, January 26th, 2012 • No Comments on A Month of Letters Challenge
A small sample of my stationery collection
I love stationery. I mean, I really love it. Pretty sheets of paper with matching envelopes, sentimental cards, funny postcards, fold-and-mail letters with matching seals… sigh. From the time I learned to write, I had pen pals. Cousins in other states, friends who had moved away, the grandchildren of elderly neighbors, high school friends away at college, soldiers in the Army, sailors in the Navy (including my husband)… I wrote to anyone with an address. I miss those days of spending a few minutes, or an hour, writing a letter. I also miss the thrill of opening the mailbox and seeing a hand addressed envelope just for me.
Over the past decade, email has slowly replaced handwritten correspondence. Jay’s grandmother was my last real pen pal and after her death I wrote an essay called “The Last Letter” that appeared in Megan McMorris’s epistolary anthology P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends. It was my goodbye to Julia and a way to honor our very special relationship. It was also a reluctant goodbye to a form of communication that is fading away into history. I still send cards to friends and I love putting something in the mail just to let someone know I’m thinking about them, but I don’t do it nearly as often as I would like.
For the month of February, Mary Robinette Kowal has issued a Month of Letters Challenge. The goal is to send something through the mail every day in February, with the exception of Sundays and holidays (which leaves 24 days). Mary’s Month of Letters Challenge appeals to the lifelong letter writer in me. I can do this. Between babies and books and life (oh my!), I don’t have a lot of time these days to write letters and cards, but I want to do this. I have the stationery (not that I won’t buy more), I have the stamps (because I never sent out holiday cards), I have the motivation. What I don’t have is your address. Yes, you.
It doesn’t matter if you live around the corner or around the world, just send your mailing address to [email protected] and I will send you something in the mail. And if you are so inclined, tell me something about you: do you like cats, dogs, the color pink? Did you just have a baby, get married, move across country? Are you an aspiring writer, a crafty knitter, a football fan? Just something about you. I will be sending cards and letters and postcards, but also a few books and pictures. Maybe a bit of sparkle or a twinkle of magic. A trinket or a nibble. Who knows? February is made of red hots and pink hearts and fuzzy groundhogs and American history and snowy days and warm mittens. And now February is made of special deliveries. Send me your address, won’t you?
If I already have your address, you may very well get something from me whether you request it or not. Also, as part of the Month of Letters Challenge, if you write to me, I will write you back. So if you want my address, just ask. And if you already have it and feel like taking up Mary’s challenge as well, I hope to open my mailbox one fine February morning and see my name written in your handwriting. Anticipation… don’t you love it?
The official website for A Month of Letters Challenge
P.S. This is for you, Julia. I miss your letters.
Friday, December 30th, 2011 • 3 Comments on 2011 in Review
The Wrights on Christmas morning. There are FOUR of us now!
In order to write the year in review, I have to actually slow down and think about it. It’s been a whirlwind year—another one, actually—and there is so much to remember and be grateful for and to move forward from.
This year, I saw the release of three new anthologies. Dream Lover hit the shelves in May, Steamlust in October and Best Erotic Romance in December. This editing gig is awesome, I love it. I love getting to work with authors I’ve long admired, I love getting to tell a new author that I’m buying her first story, I love hearing that readers and reviewers enjoyed the books. It’s a joy and a pleasure to do this job and I’m so grateful to Brenda and Felice and Kat and Kara and the rest of the wonderful team at Cleis Press for being so amazing to work with. I signed contracts for two more anthologies this year, Lustfully Ever After, due out in May and Duty and Desire, due out sometime in the fall. I don’t have a contract for the next edition of Best Erotic Romance yet, but I’m looking forward to discovering new stories and authors.
In other writing news, I was invited to join the group author blog Oh Get a Grip! I’ve followed the blog almost since the beginning, and I was truly honored by the invitation. I think I’ve written some of my most honest and real stuff over there and in some ways I feel like OGG has helped me find my true voice again. And I didn’t even know it was lost.
Thanks to Lisabet Sarai, I’ll not only be continuing my blogging at OGG in 2012, I’ll also be blogging once a month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog. That will be fun—and I’m so delighted to be a part of such a wonderful writing community. I hope to expand my writing circles in 2012, both at conferences and readings and also locally.
I can’t say much about it yet because I’m still waiting on the contract, but I’m working on a new writing project. It’s an exciting opportunity and I’m thrilled about it. The next few months will be intense, writing a lot, promoting my forthcoming anthologies, pitching new ideas, expanding my horizons. But I’m not ready to talk about 2012 yet. I’m still taking a look at 2011.
Editing anthologies ate up a lot of my work time this year, between calls for submissions, choosing stories, writing introductions and my own stories, editing the manuscripts, promoting the books, etc. But I did have a few new writing sales that I’m proud of, including the first story I wrote after Patrick was born. It seemed to take awhile for me to bounce back to my writerly self after Patrick, but with Lucas it felt like I hit the ground running as soon as I was out of the hospital. I turned in Lustfully Ever After two days before he was born and was promoting Steamlust and editing galleys two weeks after he arrived.
The year has been a good one in so many ways. New books, new contracts, new writing and editing opportunities—and a shiny new baby and Jay home for the entire year. Patrick turned two at the beginning of the month and Lucas will be four months old on New Year’s Day. Two babies under two! I used to cringe at the idea and pity the women who were going through it—and now it’s me and yes, it’s challenging and exhausting, but it’s also amazing and fun (most days).
It boggles my mind sometimes that I’ve accomplished anything this year besides keeping the babies alive and healthy—and maintaining the bare minimum of hygiene for myself—even while I find myself wishing I had done more. But that’s the nature of this writer thing, isn’t it? Never being content, always wanting to do more, write more, be better. Or maybe it’s just me.
2011 was a year of personal growth—and I don’t just mean my expanding pregnant belly. I have learned to speak up and ask for what I need instead of worrying about upsetting or inconveniencing others. I am giving up on the notion of being superwoman and now I’m simply trying to do as much as I can and maintain my balance. I have learned that the things that are important will get done and the things that don’t get done probably aren’t all that important. Jay and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. He is an amazing man and supports me in every way, keeping me grounded and also reminding me I have wings. What a ride it has been with him!
I spent time with old friends and I connected with writing friends, both of which fed my soul. I daydreamed about traveling, though I didn’t get farther than Baltimore this year. I watched my babies grow and thrive and marveled that my almost-45 year old body was able to produce such beautiful kiddos.
It’s been a year of change, of exhaustion, of joy, of frustration, of love. Boundless love. I have been more happy than sad. I have been more excited than scared. I have gained more than I have lost. I am stronger and wiser and more at peace with my life than I have been in a long, long time. It’s been a damn good year.
Onward to 2012.