I’ll remember 2013 as a great year.
Although I only had one fiction publication (the small town horror story “The Leaving” in Blood Bound Books’ Blood Rites), I made 25 submissions and had 4 acceptances, all of which will appear next year. In addition, my op-ed on (sub)urban fantasy appeared in the Spring edition of On Spec.
I was also nominated for an Aurora Award in the short story category for “Delta Pi” from Torn Realities (Post Mortem Press).
In April, I launched the Ottawa branch of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, the first off-shoot of the Aurora Award winning professional reading series stared in Toronto. Charles de Lint was my headliner, followed by Tanya Huff in July. Speaking of Toronto, I read at the Toronto ChiSeries in September. (Watch videos of my readings.)
For conventions, I attended and participated in Ad Astra in April, the World Horror Convention in June, Can-Con in October and SFContario in November. I highlight of Can-Can was getting to represent Can-Con and Ottawa in presenting the Aurora Award in the Best Graphic Novel category. Except for World Horror, I did readings at all of these conventions. Plus, I was invited to read with Kate Heartfield and Lydia Peever at an event hosted by Postscripts to Darkness.
I also attended Ottawa Comiccon (May) and Ottawa Pop Expo (December), though I did not do programming there.
And I launched my short story collection Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark.
Looking ahead to 2014
Preparing and promoting both the Ottawa ChiSeries and Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark took a lot of time. I also received some bad news in my personal life in 2013 that zapped a lot of my energy.
To be honest, my writing in 2013 was probably my weakest in years. I did not produce as much as I wanted and it was not at the quality I need to be producing now. All of my sales were of pieces I had written early, they just happend to sell in 2013.
So in 2014, here’s my plans:
- Watch less TV. I don’t watch a lot, but have a habit of turning on the TV when I am folding laundry or eating a meal. I will stop since it sometimes sucks me in or, at the least, distracts me. It’s time for that to stop.
- Get excited about writing again. I think I became a bit burned out by actually writing in 2013. I felt more pressure to revise, submit and promote than actually write. That needs to change. I need to love the stories I am telling more than finally getting them out to market.
- Be more overtly genre. A lot of what I have written in the last two years has been very heavy on character at the expense of the plot one expects in genre fiction. While I strongly believe genre fiction can be literary, a literary story with a barely-there speculative element will have a hard time selling in either genre or literary markets. My thinking had been “I’d rather the horror be subtle and let the character’s story carry you through.” I now see the character’s story can carry the reader, but the horror can also be in your face.
- Run workshops. I ran some workshops two years ago, but have not gotten back to it. I enjoyed the experience of helping other writers and hope I can organize a few this year to support ChiSeries and Can-Con.