Archive for January 1st, 2009

12/31/08: 2008 in review

Count me among those who are more than happy to see the back of 2008. Although most of the year was very good for me, the last month or so has been a real train wreck. Illness and weather conspired to deprive us of both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I’m only now beginning to recover from Post-Travel Stress Disorder brought on by our unplanned week in DC on the way home from Germany. We’ve also had some hassles with health insurance, and the ongoing financial meltdown has taken a psychological toll. I haven’t written a word of fiction since October.

However, when I went to prepare David’s Index, my annual numerical summary of my writing year (which I started doing in 2003 and has since become a meme), I discovered that I’d had a really good writing year up until then. I finished and submitted my second novel, The Dark Behind the Stars. My first short story collection, Space Magic, was published by Wheatland Press. I gave a reading at Powell’s, which was a huge success. And “Titanium Mike Saves the Day” was nominated for a Nebula Award. (It didn’t win, but it will appear in the anthology Nebula Awards Showcase 2009.) I attended the Oregon Coast Novel Weekend, Taos Toolbox, and Launch Pad writers’ workshops, and I was the Short Story Guest of Honor at RadCon.

This year I wrote more stories and sold more stories than in any year since 2003. It was also a better-than-average year for publications, with “Firewall” in Transhuman, “Falling Off the Unicorn” in Space Magic, “Sun Magic, Earth Magic” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and “Joy is the Serious Business of Heaven” in Realms of Fantasy, plus “Charlie the Purple Giraffe Was Acting Strangely” (reprint) in The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy, appearances in two podcasts, and translations of “Titanium Mike” into French and Czech. Six stories are on deck to appear in 2009.

We remodeled the bathroom. It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but the result is gorgeous. We also worked with a professional organizer several times this year, and the house is now much less cluttered. There’s more work to be done, to be sure, but it’s been a great stress reliever and gives a huge sense of accomplishment.

We traveled a lot. I mean a lot. I spent at least one night in: Kennewick (where we were stranded for five days by an ice storm); Washington DC (square dance); Pasco (SF convention); Seattle (SF convention), then Victoria BC, then Seattle again (square dance); Lincoln City (writing workshop); Eugene (wedding); Palm Springs (square dance); Austin (Nebula Awards); Milwaukee and Madison (SF convention); Taos (writing workshop); Cleveland (square dance); Laramie (writing workshop), then Denver (SF convention); Montreal (SF convention); San Francisco (square dance and a reading); Seattle (SF convention); Calgary (SF convention); and finally our vacation in Germany and Austria: Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melz, Vienna, Munich, and Washington DC (where we were stranded for six days by an ice storm). It was fun, but I don’t think we’ll be doing as much travel in 2009, and I certainly hope for better weather.

(We did have a good time in Germany and Austria, honest, though the disasterous trip home does tend to color my memories of the experience. Trip report coming soon.)

My resolution for 2008 was to write a thousand words a day, every day. That lasted about two months, but it did get my novel finished in time for the April workshop.

My resolution for 2009 is inspired by the fact that we did not get to celebrate several major holidays at all in 2008: In 2009, I will celebrate the major holidays. By “celebrate” I mean put up decorations and share a festive meal with friends. By “major holidays” I mean the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving (Vancouver fly-in counts), Winter Solstice, and something in the vicinity of the Spring and Fall Equinoxes (hey, any excuse for a party).

I also intend to write every day, exercise three times a week, watch what I eat, and keep the house clean and decluttered, but those are just goals, not Resolutions.

Happy new year, everyone, and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 2009.