Mile Marker 10

Ten years ago today — September 23, 2006 — was my last day at my last desk job. Ten years ago today, I became a full-time freelance editor.

In the last ten years, I’ve:

  • Edited about 80 novels, for at least 5 different publishers, written by new authors, major award winners, and nyt bestsellers
  • Read about 800 novel queries and submissions
  • Published 6 anthologies
  • Read about 3000 short story queries and submissions
  • Sold 14 short stories
  • Sold 2 novels of my own
  • Been a managing editor, a submissions editor, an acquisitions editor, a copyeditor, a proofreader, a special guest, an attending professional, a panelist, a lecturer, an apprentice, and a mentor
  • Been interviewed by 14 magazines and podcasts
  • Attended 5 workshops and retreats
  • Got a wikipedia page
  • Served on award juries 7 times
  • Acquired the first works of about a dozen great new writers
  • Acquired works that have won major awards
  • Met my heroes
  • Made countless deep and precious friendships and connections

Would I take a “desk job” again? Absolutely. I’d take one tomorrow, for the right desk and the right job. Am I supporting myself financially with writing and editing? No. Not really. But when I feel down about that, I look at that list above. No one goes into publishing to get rich quick. We knew ten years ago that getting established would be a long, long tail. I’m immensely grateful that I have the privilege to follow words rather than money. I promise to continue making the most of it.

Zae’s gaze

“Zae’s gaze” is one of those awkward things that you don’t realize is awkward until you read it out loud. Which I’m doing, on this pass of Gears of Faith, to make sure I catch all the little things that fell through the cracks of my big rewrite/revision.

Reading my soon-to-be-a-book out loud to catch typos is mortifying and humbling. I’m catching the unfortunate, the unexpected, and the just plain awkward. Also I’m recording them. Chapter 5, for what it’s worth, has bonus cat.

Revision Purgatory

Revision Purgatory is a much better place than Revision Hell. I’m fortunate to be working with an editor who has a great developmental eye and a lot of patience for “what if we…” emails, so I’m definitely not in hell. If I were in Revision Heaven, I could just wave my hand and say “Let it be done,” and lo, it would be all done. So I’m definitely not there, either. But Purgatory is a good place to be. It’s neutral, it’s not distracting, there are no loud parties. Just a few loud cats, but that’s my own fault.

The down side of working from home is that every afternoon my office mates start yelling at me about how hungry they are, several hours before the cafeteria opens for dinner. They also walk across my keyboard and try to rename my characters with their feet.

Anyway. I’m about two-thirds through the big, substantial edits on my Pathfinder novel. I still have to go back and brush up a few things, but I’m trying to focus on the big picture first. I’m pleased with the shape it’s taking. Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer are a lot of fun to write, and I’ve had enough of a break from this story that I can see it with fresh eyes now. I’ve written a whole separate novel since I turned this one in, and having that extra experience at this is also helping me now.

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This sign (on Route 580 in Oakland), is my measure of how deeply into this novel I am, in my own head. If I read this out of the corner of my eye as “Zae and Coliseum” as I’m driving past, I know I’m thinking about the story.

There’s not much to say from Revision Purgatory. It’s hard to update when my updates would essentially be things like “this scene you know nothing about? it now happens after this other scene you know nothing about, and I have to find another reason for them to be doing the thing I can’t tell you so that this other thing I don’t want to spoil can happen.”

I took yesterday off to visit the SF Maker Faire, which was a lot of fun and a needed break, and was also inspiring on a tinkering / creating / inventing-weird-stuff level, which of course is a perfect thing to get me into Zae’s world.

Zae’s world, as it happens, is an interesting place to visit. Check out some of the other Pathfinder Tales novels while I polish this one up. I’m looking forward to sharing more of her story with you!

Impending Projects

I do plan to gradually reprint some of the content from my previous blog, especially the more popular entries, but it will take a bit for the dust to settle here.

In the meantime, before we get to the old, here’s what’s new:

  • My first novel is complete and turned in. It’s now in Paizo’s skilled hands, and I’ll share a title, some art, and a release date as soon as I can. Yes, it features Zae, Keren, and Appleslayer. If you’re already a fan from the web-fiction (my short story “Inheritance“), the novel will have more of everything you love about them.
  • My second novel is an urban fantasy endeavor, with The Ed Greenwood Group. As I write this, it’s nearly halfway written, and it’s due in November. I’ll make it, really! It’s forthcoming in May 2016, and I can’t wait to tell you more. The veil lifts, at least partway, on October 19.
  • Women in Practical Armor, my next anthology with Ed Greenwood, had an amazing Kickstarter campaign. If you didn’t get in on the action as a backer, you’ll be able to pick up a copy in April, 2016. This one is hopefully the first of several anthologies that Ed and I are doing for Evil Girlfriend Media.
  • I have a very short story called “575” that will be appearing in C is for Chimera, edited by Rhonda Parrish, also in 2016.
  • My story “Descent of the Wayward Sister” from Cthulhurotica has officially become my first reprint sale.
  • Two recent acquisitions for Dragon Moon Press are on their way to the printer, and another is close behind!
  • I’ve had to scale back on editing because of the novel deadline, but there are still two novels in my editorial queue, one for Dragon Moon and one for a freelance client.
  • I will definitely be attending CanCon in Ottawa this October, and I’m confirmed to some degree for Norwescon (Seattle), GenCon (Indianapolis) and DragonCon (Atlanta) next year.
  • Despite the busy, I’m missing my daily slush fix. I’m looking forward to Apex Magazine re-opening for submissions.

Whew. So, that’s me. More details to come, on all of the above. But for now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a manuscript tugging at my sleeve.