This article gives you an indepth look at how I run my schedule. My way is not the One True Way but it is the way that works for me.
This article gives you an indepth look at how I run my schedule. My way is not the One True Way but it is the way that works for me.
This is the bane of a freelancer’s existence. The need to constantly having new freelance jobs arrive. And the lack of such really playing havoc with the brain and the emotions. I am slowing down my pace but the rest of me is still running like crazy. I’m not sure what I need to do to convince myself it will be okay. I suspect I will do much better once I have ramped up into serious work on the next novel.
In the meantime, this is what I’m working on:
• YA novel #1. Status: red line edits with intention of getting it out to alpha readers by the end of February.
• Monthly – Gravestone Stories. Status: in progress. Monthly article for the Apex Blog about gravestone symbols.
• Consulting Gig. Fiction book. Status: pending. Should complete my consulting by mid-March
• Industry Talks. Non-fiction writing book. Status: edits back from editor. Next in queue for work. Intentions to get it out the door by late March.
• Untitled Ghost Story. Graphic photo novel. Status: pending. Scene outline needs to be to photographer by end of March. Full outline by end of April. Script by end of June.
• YA Novel #2. Status: pending. Outline by mid-April. Writing as of August.
So, I have plenty to do. In the meantime, I’m turning down contracts… for the most part. I could not resist verbally agreeing to the RPG contract that involved Roanoke Island. That’s the kind of stuff I adore.
10. Dice & Deadlines: Know When To Turn Down A Job
And here are the rest, in order.
1. Dice & Deadlines: The Nitty Gritty on Writing for RPG Companies
2. Dice & Deadlines: Deadlines and Extensions
3. Dice & Deadlines: Rewrites
4. Dice & Deadlines: Multiple Authors, One Product
5. Dice & Deadlines: Convention Networking
6. Dice & Deadlines: Public Relations
7. Dice & Deadlines: Your Internet Presence
8. Dice & Deadlines: Expanding Your Horizons
9. Dice & Deadlines: To Find Jobs, Just Ask and Share the Love
I hope you all have enjoyed my stint on "Dice & Deadlines."
Fuck you. Pay me.
By Mike Montiero
I'm finishing up edits on BEAST WITHIN 2 for Graveside Tales.
I've started my novella THE LADY OF SEEKING IN THE CITY OF WAITING for Dark Quest Books.
I have started a new column on the Apex Blog called "The Making of an Anthology" which debuts on Monday the 28th and goes deep into my personal process on how I create an anthology from invitations all the way through turning in a final manuscript and afterwards.
Still reading slush for The Edge of Propinquity.
And I think I'm just about caught up with things. For now.
In April I will start from the edits on SPACE TRAMPS for Flying Pen Press, finish the rough of the novella, and start a new personal project with an artist friend of mine. Also, the HUMAN TALES anthology is officially out in April from Dark Quest Books.
• Close Encounters of the Urban Kind – Released April 2010
• Beauty Has Her Way – Released December 2010
• Human Tales – Turned in
Solo Works (5)
• Dice & Deadlines – Monthly column
• Shanghai Vampocalypse – Released September 2010 (RPG)
• Covert Ops – Turned in (RPG)
• In a Gilded Light – Released in February 2010 (Horror collection)
• The Little Finance Book That Could – Released in April 2010 (Non-fiction)
• The Ross-Allen Letters – Colonial Gothic Novella, RPG, written with Dylan Birtolo
• Maschine Zeit – RPG, contributor/editor
• Forsaken Chronicler's Guide #1 – RPG, editor
• Year 5 of The Edge of Propinquity
Short Fiction Sold (Original) (10)
• The Prince of Artemis V, Crossed Genres Issue 15 - Crossed Genres, January 2010
• The Cost of Job Security, Masters of Horror anthology - Triskaideka Books, March 2010
• Snipe Hunting, Apex Digest April 2010 - Apex Publications, April 2010
• Eulogy for Muffin, APEXOLOGY:Horror anthology - Apex Publications, August 2010
• Family Duty, Issue 20 - M-Brane SF, September 2010 (print publication to occur in M-Brane SF Quarterly #1, October 2010)
• Swallow It All, Rigor Amortis anthology - Absolute XPress, October 2010
• Seven Little Words, The Little Death of Crossed Genres Issue 1 - Crossed Genres, October 2010
• The Sexual Attraction of the Lovecraft Universe, Cthulhurotica anthology - Dagan Books, December 2010
• The Priest, the Man, the Gun, Tales of the Talisman magazine, volume 7, issue 2 - Hadrosaur Productions, Autumn 2011
• Iron Achilles Heel, New Heroes Rising - Stone Skin Press, TBA 2011
Short Fiction Sold (Reprint) (3)
• The Prince of Artemis V, Stalking the Wild Hare anthology - Walkabout Publishing, August 2010
• A Bite to Remember, The Zombie Feed - Apex Publications, September 2010
• Honoring the Dead, Night-Mantled: The Best of Wily Writers, Volume 1 anthology - Wily Writers, December 2010
Not bad for one year, eh? This doesn't include all of the stuff I've contracted but not yet finished. When I look back on it, I am pretty damn pleased with myself. Here are some more metrics:
• Stories submitted: 27 (goal: 15) = 10 acceptances, 13 rejections, 4 unknown.
• New stories written: 10 (goal: 12)
• RPG projects: 7 (goal: 6)
• Books read: 50 (goal: 50)
You know what's funny? I can't tell if I'm missing anything.
2. There have been a couple of reviews of SHANGHAI VAMPOCALYPSE. Both like it.
* Flames Rising review.
* Most Unread Blogger review.
3. News: I have been hired to edit the WoD Forsaken Chronicler's Guide 1. Editing this book makes me want to play the game. Especially the "Cursed." It really appeals to the old school horror girl in me.
4. Release schedule news for the Dark Quest Books anthologies: BEAUTY HAS HER WAY anthology is due out in December 2010 and HUMAN TALES is scheduled for the 1st Quarter of 2011. I'm figuring March 2011.
5. Speaking of HUMAN TALES, here is the final cover art with a mock up of the cover. This is not the final cover. This was me messing around with photoshop and the wonderful cover art by Alina Pete.
I almost feel like a corporation or something. It's cool and daunting. I want my interns to get something out of being my interns while they work with me. I want this all to work out. Most of all, I want to stop forgetting things.
"Ok. Tomorrow more rewrites on Covert Ops and then proofing Chapters 2-4 of Maschine Zeit for David and then pulling all of the stories for Beauty Has Her Way down from email and starting on doing edits—the authors are waiting. Then review the editing tests for the intern candidates who have returned them and talk to my PA about that Monday meeting. The calendar says she's busy. Sunday or Tuesday? Should I mention I've finally buckled down and gotten myself a personal assistant to help with all those details I've forgotten? Speaking of forgotten, must talk to Neal about that one contract. I still don't have it. Ok. Ok. Too much on my plate for one day. Tomorrow: 2000 rewrite words on Covert Ops and then proofing Chapters 2-4 of Maschine Zeit for sure. Plus pulling the anthology stories into folder and setting up a spreadsheet of edits. That's a good day's work. Oh, wait. #scifichat is tomorrow. Well, we'll just have to see if I have time for it. Rewrites first. Proofing second. Anthology work third."
*pause*review though process*
"No one would believe me if I told them this is how I think. Ah, well. I think I'll blog it anyway."
However, through it all, I kept wondering when she was going see what a fake I was; that I wasn't anything special and certainly not cool enough to receive the admiration she was giving me. It was all a little surreal. I mean, I enjoyed it but at the same time, I felt like I was getting away with something.
I know that a lot of authors have this feeling. It's called the Imposter Syndrome. I briefly talked with Mary Robinette Kowal about it and asked her if the feeling ever went away and, apparently, no, not really. Even Nancy Kress has talked about it. It's not something I like to feel. There are days when I know I'm one of the hardest working authors I know and I deserve the lauding and praise. But some days, I wonder when the world is going to figure out that I'm just a hack.
I suppose a lot of people in different creative professions have bouts of doubt like this from time to time. Maybe it comes from the necessary rejection part of being an author. Every author out there has been rejected in the past and 99% of them will be rejected in the future. It's just part of the business of writing. Maybe that's why, occasionally, we all wonder if we're just faking it.
It is clear that I'm going to have to change my game plan a little.
I am no longer limiting myself to one intern. I am going to choose a small pool of interns to work with me to learn all aspects of anthology creation from concept to publication. I will have one main intern per anthology and this position will switch out by anthology.
I would like to stress that these intern positions will be work. There will be tasks to complete, deadlines to meet and me to deal with. There's a lot of behind the scenes work to do that goes on around the creation and publication of an anthology.
I will let every applicant know one way or another during the first week in June.
The first anthology, Grants Pass, won the AU Shadow Award for edited publication. The second one, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind is getting good press and is now being put up for 2010 awards. The third one, Beauty Has Her Way, has a lot of interest already and I have just barely accepted the stories for that one. I don't even want to talk about the fourth anthology, Human Tales, yet—even though it's got subs already.
I have a couple of people turning to me for advice on what it takes to become a successful anthologist (or editor of anthologies). I would say "channel Ellen Datlow" but I can't and if I could, I wouldn't. Because I like her and I'm selfish. (What? I would kill to be on a project with Ellen.)
In any case, I realize I need a little help. I need a second set of eyes on the third and fourth anthologies, working with me to turn them into the stellar products I know they will be. This means I need an intern.
What do you get out of interning for me? I'm sorry to say there is no cash involved. However, you will get my gratitude, a couple copies of the anthology, acknowledgement in the anthology, an insider's view on how to put together an anthology, what it takes to go from a collection of stories to become a cohesive anthology worth of awards and people's cash and how to deal with authors.
There are more non-tangible benefits to come but there's too many to list. Basically, you will have access to my brain, how I do things, how I make them successful and how I've gone from an idea to a full product.
If this interests you, please email me at email@example.com
So, I went home and chatted with my husband about this self revelation, knowing (hoping) that he would laugh at me about it (but fearing I was somehow correct—I wasn't) and got his explicit permission to write whatever the heck I want to write, when I want to write it, for however long it needs to be, even if it does not pay. Because, as he told me, "Really, hon, it's your personal writing that is going to make it big and turn me into your trophy husband."
That's my love. I'm the luckiest author in the world. He supports me and my writing.
I tell you that to tell you this. Today, we got back from the taxman. This year, we were expecting to have to pay taxes. It wasn't the total gut punch that it was last year. Yep, another 4-digit tax bill despite prepayment of taxes. It still hits you though. My anxiety and freak-a-tude about money is in high gear. But we're covered. Being a fulltime freelancer sucks in the tax department. I swear, the next finance book I write will be "Finance for Freelancers."
In the car on the way home, Jeff said something that basically amounted to, "You've paid your dues this year already. You're covered. You don't have to worry about money until 2011." Essentially, he gave me permission to take the rest of the year off to "just write" if I want to. Seeing as I have a couple of contracts right now and at least one more scheduled for May, that won't happen until after that. But, the very idea that I could decide to work on just my writing for half a year is intoxicating and terrifying.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I doubt I'll take all that time off. But, I might take some time off for all the convention stuff between August and September. I have to think about it. In the meantime, I'm going to shove my emotional turmoil into a bit of retail therapy and buy myself a new purse.
So, this is where I measure my accomplishments against my goals for the year.
2009 Writing Goals
Overall, I count this as a productive year. You'll notice I'm not counting the slush reading or the pays-the-bills writing because those are now just part of me and what I do. On the plus side, the new editor at Amazon loves what I'm doing and is giving me more.
2010 Writing Goals
I'm not doing as much in the way of new writing as compared to last year because I have 3 books and 3 anthologies scheduled to come out in 2010. I will need to manage both the books' releases (and all that goes with that) and the anthologies (creation, editing, releases). That's a lot to do when you think about it. Plus, the new writing and the convention circuit. I'm going to WorldCon 2010 and spending an extra week in Australia. I'm pretty excited about that. 2010 is going to be an excellent year.
Oh yes, not to forget, there is the Edge of Propinquity, year 5 – Endings & New Beginnings. I'm so proud of my little zine. There were times I was going to give up on it but I didn't and it is looking so good.
Since I was asked to do this for the Wily Writers group, I figured it could not hurt to put my 2009 writing industry accomplishments here.
RPG BOOKS PUBLISHED
Colonial Gothic, 2nd Edition - Rogue Games, Contributor, July, 2009
Serenity: The Big Damn Hero's Handbook - Margaret Weis Productions, Contributor, October, 2009
Shadowrun: Seattle 2072, sourcebook - Catalyst Labs, Contributor, August 2009
Proverbial Monsters, PDF book - Storyteller Adventure System, White Wolf, Author, October, 2009
Honoring the Dead - Wily Writers, Author, May 2009
A Bite to Remember, The World is Dead anthology - Permuted Press, Contributor, September 2009
Nothing Left to Salvage - Wily Writers, Author, November 2009
Nothing Left to Salvage - Zombonauts anthology - Library of Living Dead Press, Contributor, December 2009 (Reprint)
The Little Finance Book That Could - Lean Marketing Press, Author, February 2010
Shanghai Vampocalypse - Talisman Studios, Author, February 2010
In a Gilded Light: 105 Tales of the Macabre - Dark Quest Books, Author, June 2010
ANTHOLOGIES SOLD BUT NOT YET PUBLISHED
Close Encounters of the Urban Kind anthology - Apex Book Company, Editor, April 2010
Beauty Has Her Way anthology - Dark Quest Books, Editor, September 2010
Human Tales anthology - Dark Quest Books, Editor, December 2010
Crossed Genres, Issue #8
Anne Wilkes for Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys
I'm exhausted and hopped up on caffiene. I'm hungry and have nothing but cookies to eat unless I want to cook which I don't at 2:15am.
I feel good though. I'm proud of my book. I believe the final hardcopy book comes out in February 2010. I'm looking forward to seeing it in print with Aaron (aaronace) and Sean's (seantaclaus) and artwork and Alan's (izombieyou) crunchy bits and Martin's edits.
But I'm done! This is the third book written this year.
I sold the reprint of "Nothing Left to Salvage" to the Zomobauts anthology by Library of Living Dead Press.
I sold "Eulogy for Muffin" to the Ladies of Horror anthology by Library of Horror Press.
I am almost done with my Savajo Mojo RPG demigod book, Shanghai Vampocalypse. The final draft will be on the editor's desk no later than the 19th of December
I am in the middle of The Ross-Allen Letters, the website fiction serial that will be up on the Colonial Gothic website in 2010. I am writing this fiction series with the fabulous Dylan Birtolo AKA eyezofwolf.
As for Monica's December Marathon, I wrote 12,000 words this week. That puts me up to 19,000 out of 20,000 = 95% complete. I have about another 10,000 words to go to finish out my contracts gigs for December.
As Editor-in-Chief of the Edge of Propinquity, I signed on author Seanan McGuire AKA seanan_mcguire (Rosemary and Rue) as a Universe Author for 2010.
As a Submissions Editor for Apex Publications, I've passed my 300th slush story read for the magazine this year since I started in April 2009.
I am in the final stages of author edits for the "Close Encounters of the Urban Kind" anthology for Apex Publications before I start the anthology's layout.
Remember that a new issue of the Edge of Propinquity is posted on the 15th of every month. This is free fiction for your enjoyment.
In a Gilded Light: 105 Tales of the Macabre, my forthcoming vignette collection just got its first blurb:
"Masterfully crafted, this collection of vignettes by Jennifer Brozek will take you on a spine-tingling rollercoaster ride that shatters any illusion that there is nothing to be afraid of in the dark. These beautifully written stories are a thrill to read, but be warned: enter the darkness of In a Gilded Light and nothing, not even an adorable puppy, will ever look the same again."
-- Lizzy Shannon, author of Time Twist, Dragon Moon Press
So, things I must get done before the end of the year:
Continue: Shanghai Vampocalypse for Talisman Studios. (Actual word count unknown based on how much I'm doing in November. 10,000+ words)
Start: Serial fiction for Colonial Gothic with Dylan Birtolo, 6 months worth (6000 words)
Start: Adventure series for Pathfinder, 3 months worth (7500 words)
Start: Serial fiction for Pathfinder with Filamena Young, 3 months worth (3000 word)
I swear, in January, I'm going to take a bit of a break so I can let my creative well recharge.
Today is a good day. It is like any other day in my current routine: I got up, got my breakfast, and started my internet tour. Answered questions from an editor. Asked questions from the Apex Book Company slush readers. Read Twitter. Remembered to advertize that I have a new PDF setting for Colonial Gothic out: historical horror in 1776 Plymouth. Paused in everything else to discuss archives from the Edge of Propinquity with the author, the editing and the story's future.
Next up, I'm going to settle in to work on an RPG book for Talisman Studios before working on some pays-the-bills writing for Amazon.
But first, I really must sit back and appreciate my life. Three years ago, I leapt off of that cliff and changed my profession from SQA engineer to full-time author, not knowing if it would stick but knowing that I had to try. Had to. I'm so happy I took the chance. I decided that I really needed to see if I could make a go of it as a full-time writer and here I am, three years later doing just that.
I'm not sure what else there is to say about it except that I'm glad I followed my dream and I'm glad that it has worked out so far.
Happy Anniversary to me.
I'm really glad I made this decision. I've recently I read "Dune" by Frank Herbert (an old favorite) and "Old Man's War" by John Scalzi and I enjoyed both more than I expected. I forgot what fun it was to read just for entertainment and enjoyment without having a running editor/reviewer in the back of my head making notes or taking them. I'm all excited about getting my reading list that includes more Scalzi, Anton Strout, Jim Hines and Jeff Carlson. It looks like I'm going to get to them all before the end of the year – despite my crazy writing schedule.
Also, interestingly enough, I'm a lot more relaxed about the writing I'm doing now. I think it's going to show in my work.