Saturday, January 31st, 2015 • No Comments on January: Month in Review
I don’t get to Starbucks as often as I used to when I had a babysitter and a real work schedule, but they still love me.
January is not my favorite month. The post-holiday letdown is compounded with cold days, long nights, dreary weather (rain, snow or both) and nothing to look forward to. I had my ups and downs this month (with the downs including illness for both kids, stitches in the chin for the youngest kid and the winter blues and a lingering cold for me), but overall it’s been a better month than I could have hoped for.
Professionally, I wrote some words and made some sales. By the numbers:
I had about 26 writing/editing work hours. Those are out-of-the-house-all-alone hours! About 10 hours of that was used on admin– proofreading galleys, emailing acceptances and rejections for two forthcoming anthologies, responding to other work-related emails, researching markets, etc. Considering my typical work week with childcare used to be about 25-30 hours in a week, it’s been quite an adjustment the last few months. But I’m adjusting!
I wrote about 11k (7k of that was a horror story!). Most of that writing was done at Starbucks, but I did spend a few hours writing at home after the boys were in bed or busy playing, and I even managed to write 1k at Starbucks with my youngest in tow (I’m grateful for iPads and Angry Birds). It’s much harder to concentrated when the kids are awake (and the interruptions are frequent), but I can sometimes manage it if I know what I’m going to write.
I submitted 3 essays and 1 short story. I’m happy to have sent some pieces out into the world, but I hope to be working on longer projects in the coming months. Instant gratification is awesome, though, and essays and short stories sustain me during the times when my writing hours are sparse.
I sold 2 essays and cracked two new markets. I’m pleased to say my first essays for Mommyish and On Parenting at The Washington Post will appear soon! I supposed it makes sense that I’m writing parenting pieces now that I’m home full-time and steeped in all things maternal. Links to come.
The rest of my January hours were spent with family and friends– managing children’s schedules and health, catching a couple of movies (Mockingjay Part 1 and Inherent Vice), reading (I enjoyed Easy Death by Daniel Boyd and I’m currently reading Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King), hosting one dinner party and visiting the city parks when the weather permitted. We had one snow day with no accumulation, but the boys enjoyed the less-than-an-inch of white stuff before it melted.
These are days of contemplation and planning– of looking forward but being in no hurry for the months to pass. Spring will be here soon enough. Until then, there is much to look forward to, including our first big family trip next month. We’re going to Walt Disney World and I’m excited about introducing the boys to Mickey Mouse (and finding the WDW Starbucks, of course). So all in all, though I could’ve done without the ER visit for the three-year-old (he’s fine, but sheesh, these kids!) and the colds and viruses that seem to plague us now that big brother is in school part-time, January has been a fine month.
Onward to February…
Friday, January 16th, 2015 • No Comments on Pretty New Books
I sent out acceptance letters today for two anthologies: The One Who Got Away and Pillow Talk. I love writing acceptance letters– it’s such a thrill to be able to tell an author I love her/his work and want to include it in one of my books. The only better feeling is receiving an acceptance letter.
Speaking of– I’ve recently received several contributor copies from editors who’ve bought my work over the last year or so. Isn’t that a pretty picture?? After all these years, I never get tired of seeing my name in a table of contents. I’m very lucky to get to do what I love (the only job I’ve ever wanted to do) and experience it from both sides of the fence, as both author and editor.
Clockwise from the top left, the books above are:
The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica, edited by Rose Caraway for Cleis Press (includes my story “Vivi and the Magic Man”)
The Big Book of Domination, edited by D.L. King for Cleis Press (includes my story “Make Mine Rare”)
The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica Volume 13, edited by Maxim Jakubowski for Running Press (includes my story “The Love We Make”)
As Kinky As You Wanna Be, by Shanna Germain for Cleis Press (includes my story “Knit One and Tie Me Up, Too”)
Friday, January 9th, 2015 • No Comments on The House Where 2015 Lives
Nine days into the new year and I’ve submitted three essays (and already had one rejected). Granted, one of those essays was drafted before January 1, but still. Three essays! No child care! That’s something.
I’m still waiting for 2015 to reveal itself to me. I can see its shape in the distance, like a house seen through a thick veil of fog. I can make out its shape (it’s large and formidable, yet still welcoming), but I can’t see the details. What will this year bring? What is waiting up ahead?
After six solid years of editing eighteen erotica/erotic romance anthologies, I find myself on an unexpected hiatus. I have gotten ahead of myself these past couple of years, curating anthologies at a rate faster than they could be released. So now I have seven books in the queue to be published, three of which don’t even have publication dates yet. And so as I wait for those releases, I’m considering what to work on, what direction to go. There are many paths on the way to that house in the distance, and I’m still feeling my way through the fog.
I’ve been focusing on erotica/erotic romance since 2000, and I find myself casting about for something… different. Something new. Something challenging. Not that the genre where I’ve made my home for the past fourteen years doesn’t still offer challenges. Oh, but it does. And I have ideas for stories and novellas and books floating around in my head (and jotted down on paper and tucked away in files…) But I feel as if 2015 may be the year without erotica. How’s that for a theme?
I can’t say for sure, as I don’t yet know what the year holds, but my interest in essay writing (and the long list of publications I’m interested in) suggests I’ll be taking a break from the sexy stuff for a little while. (In my writing, I mean!) I started writing a horror story over the weekend and felt that slightly terrifying feeling that comes with writing something new and unfamiliar.
I cut my teeth on horror, back in the day (way back in the day), but I didn’t have a talent for writing it. Of course, that was my late teens and early twenties, when I didn’t have a talent for much of any kind of writing. And so now, with twenty-plus years of writing experience, I’m revisiting that old stomping ground. The fear and uncertainty are there, yes, but there’s also a kind of excitement to it. And that’s what keeps me writing after all these years– that giddy feeling of creating something out of nothing, of telling a story that only lives in my head and maybe (hopefully) finding a home for it in the world.
And so, the house where 2015 lives is still hidden in the fog, but there are candles in the windows and smoke puffing in the chimney. And there are stories to tell on the path between here and there.