Athena’s Daughters 2 is Live!

And as of this writing, already funded. I want to thank everyone who’s backed the kickstarter so far, and also everyone who’s shared it on social media to help spread the word. You’ve all been a part of the success of the anthology.

We are barreling past stretch goals – the first stretch author, JY Yang has already been added, at $5000. At the $6000 mark, my story, “The Maelstrom At The End Of The World” gets added.

It’s a steampunk story about an airship captain and a pair of skywhales in a dying world. And because you all clearly need more enticement, here’s a short excerpt:

#

Out in the fading light, Kelle thought she saw something drifting through the clouds. A faint glow, and a violet coloured wake behind it.

“You see that out there?”

Weston squinted. “Is that a skywhale?”

“You’re seein’ what I’m seein’.”

“Got to be the last one.” Weston stood with his mouth open as Kelle turned the tiller towards the great beast arcing through the sky.

If they could catch it, it would feed the hundred evacuees on their ship for weeks.

“Get the harpoon ready,” Kelle told Weston.

Weston hesitated. Kelle understood why. Skywhales were beautiful creatures, and the sky had been empty of them for so long. Skysailors had told stories ever since the first airhsips, of skywhales guiding them to safe harbour when they were lost in a storm. To see one again was a symbol of hope.

To kill it would break Kelle’s heart as much as it would Weston’s. But his little one’s needed food, and there was none. And this skywhale was headed into the Maelstrom anyway.

The crew around her readied the main harpoon. It was a heavy thing, bolted down to the outer deck. An older model—this wasn’t a whaling vessel, never had been. The harpoon had been added on when things started getting bad, and they needed to take down the whales for food whenever they could. Still, until now, Kelle had never been able to bring herself to do it. If she were alone, or just with the crew, she might still have claimed the whale was too far away, or too close to the Maelstrom.

But for Weston’s little ones she would do it.

“Weston, tell them evacuees in the hold they might be in for a bumpy ride in a bit, but with any luck we’ll have dinner tonight.”

The Skywhale loomed closer. Kelle wondered aloud to Weston, “I never understood, after all the time humans have been hunting and killing them suckers, they’ve never learned to fear us.”

“My father always said they’re wise beyond our comprehension,” Weston replied.

The skywhale disappeared into a rose coloured cloud of aether fleas, opening it’s gaping jaws to suck in a mouthful. When it came cresting out, they were close enough to see clearly. The creature’s skin glowed white and shimmered with colours in the faded light of the sun. It was a cow—a she-whale—and her fins spread out as long as her body, filmy and glistening like the wings of a giant dragonfly. She didn’t flap—no one knew what kept a skywhale afloat, but the fins were merely rudders, the tail much like the front fins.

And she wasn’t alone.

Sailing next to it’s mother’s dorsal fin was her calf. Both glowed against the cloud, and a white and violet shimmer reflected over their bodies as they moved.

“We taking the baby too?” Weston asked, appearing beside her again.

#

So. Yeah. Not even twenty four hours and we’re only about $500 from this story being included in the anthology. I’m really excited to see my work in print, and thank you again for all your support!

Keep your wings level.

Update: And I woke up this morning to see we’re at $6060 – this story will officially be included in the anthology! There are five more stretch author’s though, so if you haven’t backed the Kickstarter yet, we want to get all of them in! Click here to back the Kickstarter and help my fellow writers get included in the anthology: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/103879051/athenas-daughters-volume-2/description

Athena’s Daughters II

Last Dec/Jan, Silence In The Library Publishing did a Kickstarter for their anthology of women authors writing women main characters called Athena’s Daughters. It was the most successful literary anthology ever done on Kickstarter.

This December, they’re Kickstarting Athena’s Daughters II. Why I’m excited about this: I’ve posted this on facebook already, but when the kickstarter goes live, one of the stretch goals will be the inclusion of a story by yours truly.

How stretch goals work: for those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a crowdfunding service. People put forward a proposal, state  how much they need to do what they’re proposing, and offer rewards in return for donations. Stretch goals are for when they pass the amount they are asking for, at which point they can afford to do extra things. Like include more stories. Like mine.

I’ll put out reminders and updates closer to when the Kickstarter goes live, but if you want another fantasy and science fiction anthology full of awesome stories about women, with a story from me about an airship, a skywhale, and the end of the world, here’s your head’s up.

Discarded Passions

I used to draw and paint when I was younger, and have a ton of art supplies that I haven’t touched in years. I spent a lot of money on them, and had them packed away in a tackle box to keep them organized.

I’ve been writing for the last 16 years, and that’s the art that stuck with me. From an early age, even my art was about telling a story, so it makes sense that I eventually found my true passion in writing. Since thn I’ve also become a pilot, which is only the most awesome thing in the world.

So I figured I’d put away my art supplies in a box, and used that lovely tackle box for office supplies.

You know how when you pull out something you once loved, and suddenly you want to get into it again? I was thinking, I’m gona go through this stuff and suddenly I’m gonna want to draw or paint something again.

And I went through my art supplies and thought, “Shit man, I’m never gonna use any of this shit ever again.”

There was a distinct lack of nostalgic feelings. Nothing. Like the art thing was just something to do, something to justify my existence, something I did to please the people around me and get that pat on the head I so desperately needed. The more I think about it, the more I think that’s what it is. I was decently good at it, having practiced, and anything I was decently good at, I’d do it more because it got me positive attention. I don’t think I really differentiated between enjoying an activity and enjoying the attention I got for doing it.

It’s kind of a weird revelation. The stereotype is the young girl passionate about art, chasing her dream of being a professional artist, drawing and painting for the love of art. I was good at drawing, so I embraced the role. That’s a thing about Aspies – they imitate. I can’t even help it. At least now that I’m older, and I know I’m an Aspie and have that tendency, I can consciously pick and choose who to imitate, and what roles to embrace. Like my flight instructor – I can adopt her attitudes towards aviation safety, and aspire to one day fly as well as her.

But painting, it seems maybe there wasn’t the passion there that I thought there was. There was a lot of encouragement – way more than the encouragement I got when I took up flying. But with flying, the passion is there. It’s different. Writing too – I couldn’t stop writing, even if there was no hope of anyone ever wanting to give me money for it.

Anyway, I’m gonna go finish dumping my art supplies into a bin and see if my roomie wants any of it before I see about donating it to a school or something.

Self Publishing As A Religion

And a missionary religion at that.

There’s a phenomenon that I’ve observed. Or maybe I should say “had shoved down my throat.” This is definitely not true of, or directed at *all* self published authors, but there is a subsection of them that are…annoying.

They are the ones that find some way of getting your attention, either by compliment, or otherwise expressing interest in your writing, and then the second thing they say is “Have you considered self publishing?”

Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior, Amazon, and their Great Plan for us, Kindle Direct?

Because if you’re not self publishing, you are obviously unaware of the glorious benefits of being in complete control of the publishing process. Because if you knew, you’d agree with them, right? And no matter how you explain that yes, you’ve considered all your options, and after careful deliberation decided that self publishing was not the best option for you, they  will conclude that you be misinformed in some way – you must be, otherwise you’d agree with them. No other possible explanation.

They will remind you that traditional publishing doesn’t guarantee quality, no matter how many sub-par self published books you tell them you’ve read. They’ll tell you the publishers are just out to screw you out of your money. They’ll explain that a good editor will make sure the book is ready for publication and that it’s just as well edited as any traditionally published books. And publishers don’t even market books these days you know.

And when you tell them, thank-you, but not interested, they get that tone like the Jehova’s Witnesses telling you that they’ll be sad to see you go to hell, and say, too bad, sad to see a book like yours that will be years before it gets into the hands of readers. If it ever gets published at all.

Why do they do this? Is there some pyramid scheme where Amazon gives them a commission for suckering people into KDP? They’re not even trying to sell you *their* book – they’re trying to convince you to self-publish *yours*. They don’t benefit from it at all. There’s only one explanation that I’ve been able to come up with.

They’re insecure. They’re worried they’ve made the wrong decision, so they try to convince others to join them to reassure themselves that they’re okay.

Don’t be that author.

And by “don’t be that author” I don’t mean don’t self publish. I mean, don’t treat it like a religion that you need to convert people to your way of doing things. Don’t self publish your book until you’re so confident that it’s ready for the public that you won’t need validation from fellow authors of your decision.

I’ve put a lot of work into my writing. When I talk to some writers, they’ll say oh, I’ve been working at this so long – it’s been like three years I’ve been writing. Or a year, or five years. So they know they’re ready to be published. They’ve put in their time. I’ve been writing since I was fourteen. That’s about sixteen years of developing my craft. And maybe a year or three years is enough for some people to hone their craft to the equivalent of traditionally published authors. But looking at most of the self published novels I’ve read at this point, more often that they think, it’s not. And people like the aforementioned make me think they know it, and they just desperately don’t want to admit it.

I know self published authors who were ready, and who self published for the right reasons. I’m not going to go into what the right reasons to self publish are – there’s tons of that on other blogs. But look at your work and take a step back and really ask yourself, are you doing it because you’re impatient? Are you doing it because you know it’s not good enough for an agent to say yes, but you’re tired of developing your craft and just want to get to the part where people pat you on the head and tell you it’s wonderful? Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and you won’t sound to others like you regret it.

Post Keycon

Keycon was awesome as always. Met even more of my blog followers, and got to chat more with some of the fellow authors I’d met previously, but didn’t have time to talk to as much previously. And even so, I wish I’d had more time to talk to some of them!

I got out of work early on friday, and made it to con in time to hear Samantha Beiko read from her upcoming novel, and it was creepy and messed up enough to make me pick up her (Aurora award nominated) “The Lake And The Library.” Looking forward to that, as well as finishing Chad Ginther’s second book, “Tombstone Blues.”

My first panel, on engines went swimmingly – the room was full, which, even for the smaller boardroom is pretty impressive for ten PM on Friday evening. The discussion was lively – I geared it toward people who know nothing at all about any sort of engine, but there were a couple of people who were less novice. One who knew engines  quite well, but less about aviation, and he had tons of great questions along the lines of “okay, I know with a car engine, this works this way, is it different with a plane engine?” And the other was Timothy Gwyn, a commercial pilot and writer working on a sci-fi novel, who was a great resource for when other attendees asked questions about larger, more sophisticated aircraft that I’m less familiar with. I’ve been considering what sort of panels I’ll offer to present next year, and I’m thinking I’ll have him as a fellow presenter for one. But along with them, came a number of other attendees with questions, and it made for a lively discussion.

I went to a couple of Karen Dudley’s panels, where she talked about world-building, and food in fantasy, and learned all about bread dildos. Yeah, and I’m not even going to explain that one – if you want to know, you’ll have to pick up her book, “Food For The Gods.” The Sequel, “Kraken Bake” is being launched on June 3rd, at Mcnally Robinson, Grant Park.

Tanya Huff had some good panels too – the one on non-heteronormative characters in fiction I particularly enjoyed, seeing as “Redwing” has a gay viewpoint character. It was good to hear that getting flak for including homosexual characters in fiction has been very rare, and that I’m not likely to be asked to remove it by an agent or editor. In TV and movies, it sounds like a different matter, but at least in literature, writers are free to be liberal.

Another panel I enjoyed was the Marketing and Publicity for Writers panel with Robert J. Sawyer and Samantha Beiko. A lot of it I knew, but I got a chance to ask about suggestions for how to organize a book launch as a debut author. Also, Sawyer said something that I’ve heard a lot of agents complain about, but I like the way Sawyer phrases it. The agents’ complaint is that writers querying their novel claim that their novel will appeal to *everyone*, rather than nailing down their target audience. Sawyer reminds us not just to not make the mistake of doing that with an agent, but not to do it with potential readers either. Nothing is more annoying than an aggressive salesperson, and he gave anecdotes about how he’s often got compliments on his personality just by not being an aggressive salesperson. And the reason, he explained, is that people who aren’t interested in your novel, even if you get them to buy it, and to read it, won’t enjoy it. Your job as a writer marketing your book is to find readers who are going to enjoy what you write. It’s what Holly Lisle calls you one thousand true fans. To build a core audience that really loves what you do and will buy everything you write should be your goal, not getting everyone and their dog to read it and then write nasty one star reviews because it wasn’t their shtick.

I’ve definitely been trying to do that with the blog, and I hope I’m succeeding. A lot of unpublished writers fill their blogs with writing advice and contests geared toward drawing agents and fellow writers to their blogs to build attention. I agree with Sawyer that this is a bad idea, for two reasons. First, it’s a tad pretentious for a writer to publish writing advice on their blog before they’ve proven they know how to write a story by getting their book published by a traditional publisher. But second, fellow writers are not your target audience. I mean, the odd one might be, but for the most part, they’re more likely to buy your book because they feel obligated to support a fellow author, not because they expect to enjoy the book.

On the other panel I was on, the home grown writers one, several authors spoke about one thing I’ve heard said before, but Karen Dudley’s description of the phenomenon made it clear I hadn’t realized how huge it was. That’s the support for the arts we have in Winnipeg. Karen is from Alberta, and she apparently had a hell of a time getting grants and such from the government to get started writing. But when she moved to Manitoba, things were completely different. People showed up to signings, and cons. There are tons of writers based in Winnipeg – Sawyer has said before that’s the reason he visits so often, because he’s made so many friends here in the writing community.

Anyway, Sunday night I had a great time chatting it up with Gerald Brant and Shayla Elizabeth, both writers of sci-fi, talking about the querying process, and critique groups. Also got to chat with Timothy Gwyn a bit more. That’s one I wish I’d had more time to talk shop about the sky with, but I was rushing off to something or other. I’ll have to hunt him down at the dead dog next year, or possibly at Word On The Water in Kenora, if I make it out there this fall.

Anyway, I had a great con, and I’m looking forward to next year. Hope to see you there!

Keycon This Weekend

With Keycon coming up this weekend, I thought I’d better throw up a post letting people know I’ll most definitely be there and what panels I’ll be on.

First, on Friday at 10:00 PM, I’ve got “How a Four Cylinder Carbureted Engine Works” which will be exactly what it sounds like. Steampunks and Dieselpunks are encouraged to come for a primer on the mechanics of internal combustion.

On Saturday, I have two panels – the first is “Locally Grown: Authors and More You Likely Missed”, where I’m appearing with several other local authors including:
Writer Samantha Mary Beiko (The Lake and the Library)
Writer and Illustrator Gmb Chomichuk (The Imagination Manifesto, Raygun Gothic)
Fantasy and Mystery writer Karen Dudley (Food for the Gods)
Historical Fantasy author Leia Getty (Tower of Obsidian)
Novelist Chadwick Ginther (Thunder Road, Tombstone Blues)

 
The second is another of my own panels, titled “Why Thunderstorms Are Shaped Like Anvils.” And it’s not because Thor is making horseshoes. Come learn about weather. It’s sciencey.

 
When I’m not in panels, I’ll be figuring out what all Nnedi Okorafor’s panels are, and going to all of them, (apparently Nnedi cancelled last month sometime and I did not notice, bah!) and hanging out with fellow authors. Last year I met some of my blog followers, which was cool, so if you’re there, feel free to introduce yourselves. I hope to see you there.

Levels Of Validation For An Author

I posted this on facebook, but it was a popular post so I’ll repeat it here.

1: Your mom/friend reads it and says “That was lovely!”

2: Your critique circle says “Definitely a good start.”

3: Best critique partner says “You’ve got a novel here.”

4: Pro author in a blue pencil session reads first 3 pages and says “This is good, send it out to an agent.”

5: Agent reads first 50 pages and offers to look at revisions.

6: Agent reads revisions of first 50 pages, gushes and asks for the full manuscript.

7: Agent has taken the time to read full manuscript, gives feedback, and offers to look at revisions.

My friends and family have mostly encouraged me along the way, but lately I think it’s sinking in to the people around me that I’m not just an aspiring author who’ll get published someday if I work really hard at it. A lot of them have seen how long and hard I’ve worked at it now, and they believe me when I say I’m close to breaking out. I’m at that point where instead of begging people to read my work, people are expressing curiosity and asking to read it. I’ve had people online asking if I needed a beta reader and saying it’s okay if I don’t have time to return the favour. But the reality is, I think the novel’s at the point where a novice author may not have much to offer me that I can’t figure out on my own.

Maybe that’s what’s making my friends realize I’m close to getting published. The fact that I’m not showing my work to anyone who expresses the least bit of interest. When people say, “I’ll wait till it’s published,” I’m not frustrated that they’re not so excited they want to read it now.

And now I’m back to revisions, and I won’t say too much other than if I have anything to announce, don’t worry, I’ll be letting people know. But the feeling an author gets from knowing that an industry professional made it all the way through their manuscript, not just the polished first 5 pages, without throwing it in the garbage… not only that, but thinks it’s close enough to good enough to be worth the time it takes to provide feedback. Knowing they don’t *do* that if they don’t think you’re worth their time.

This is the fuel driving me through revisions 😀

Serving Two Masters: Writing vs Flying

I’ve been a bit torn lately. I get why they say “No man can serve two masters.”

I’ve had my writing for a long time, and that’s been my main focus for the last fifteen years. Then the flying thing came along, and I said okay, I’m going to throw myself at that right now while I have the opportunity, and set writing aside for a bit. It’s not going to kill me to set writing aside. It would if it was for something I didn’t love, but I love flying at least as much as I love writing.

This winter, C-FLUG isn’t allowed out to play if it’s colder than -20 Celsius, so I haven’t been able to fly much. I’ve been writing, and there’s things happening on that front, so it’s encouraging. So at once I’m kind of turning my focus back to writing, while still trying to get in the air every chance I get. I keep feeling guilty about putting one before the other, and vice versa. I feel like I’m doing a terrible job of managing my time, and I get frustrated.

But then I realized that was why I was frustrated – because I had these two things, and I can’t do them both at the same time. I’d have more time for both if I didn’t still have to keep the day job, but as it is, that’s not yet an option. I’m very close to one or the other of them taking off (excuse the pun), one if I could get a break with the weather to get some flying in and finish my commercial license, the other if I could get a break with an agent. And that closeness to making it with both makes it that much more frustrating that I’m dividing my attention between them.

So from there, taking that step back to realize that’s why I’m getting stressed out about it, I think that’s going to make it easier to deal with. Because to hell with anyone who says I have to pick one and give up the other. If anyone tells me no man can serve two masters, here’s what I have to say to that!

My Painfully Shy/Attention Hog Split Personality

Last spring at Keycon, I had people I had never seen before come up to me and say Hi. They knew my name – knew me from my blog. It was a weird experience. I mean, that’s the point of the blog being public – getting attention, and getting attention from people interested in reading what I write when I get my novel published. I know there’s a certain amount of danger – there’s weirdos out there, but I figure if I plan on being a published author, I’m eventually going to have to bite it and have my picture associated with my name in public. I’ve drawn lines of course – I don’t put my home address or phone number out there, or even my email address – the contact me link on my site just has a form, and doesn’t give my email address. I stopped at giving my home city, and the airports I’ve flown out of, and what conventions/conferences I’ll be at. I’m not a paranoid person – I think I’m being reasonable.

It was just kind of different, to be recognized. And now that I think about it, kind of cool to have a male approaching me to say hi with interests other than hitting on me. It wasn’t just the blog at Keycon either, I did a few panels and it seems when you get up in front of a crowd, it changes how people treat you. You’re no longer a random face in the crowd, you’re the woman who discussed Dieselpunk intelligently on the Steampunk/Dieselpunk/Cyberpunk panel, and did the panel on flight, and was the organizer for the short film viewing. And then people talk to you.

I do fine in conversation mostly – when it’s answering questions about things, I’m fine. When I’m put on the spot to come up with something to say, like at the Women In Aviation gathering with the First to Solo award presentation, I freeze up. Deer in the headlights.

I’ve gotten over a lot of being painfully shy. I used to be so much worse. Though, I don’t actually remember being shy, so much as just knowing if I was the centre of attention, it was because I did something wrong, or stupid, or people were just picking on me for no reason at all. I was bullied as a child, and that always leaves scars.  When I’m put on the spot and am not prepared with something to say, then I’m suddenly afraid that whatever comes out of my mouth is going to be stupid, or come across horribly wrong.

Conversation – much easier. It distracts me from the attention and I can focus on the subject matter of the conversation. And yet, I love attention. Just not negative attention. I like having done something well, or made something I can show off, and being praised for it. I might be terribly nervous getting up to perform in front of an audience, but the applause at the end makes it so worth it.

I see-saw between being shy and being an attention whore. It came  on my again when I got to spending more time at Lyncrest, and C-FLUG, and Jill, and the other women involved in C-FLUG. Some of them were at the First to Solo award presentation and knew me from there. Some had seen my picture in articles, but it was again with the people coming up to me that I had never seen before, or if I had they were someone in a crowd, but they knew my name. And one day Jill commented about how wonderful it was that I was getting all my flight training down in my blog. I said I’m never sure if there’s anyone around home who reads it, and she said “Oh, we all do!” And then I was feeling all shy and bashful again.

It does sometimes feel safer to write about things when I’m not likely to ever meet the people who read what I’ve written. I love getting comments on the blog (I have a friend who has promised to troll my site, but has never actually done so. I’m disappointed.) But most comments are from people I haven’t met in person. Then at Keycon I met some of the people who’ve commented on my blog, and it was weird and cool. And now there’s people who know me from an entirely different circle. I don’t think I’m trying to make a point with this post. I’m just rambling an thinking thoughts.

And sometimes I do pour my heart out here, and I’ve never once had anyone leave a comment that made me regret it. I treat the thing like a journal, and the difference between a journal and a diary, is a journal is written for someone else to read at some point. I kept a diary for a few years, but it was hard to motivate myself to write anything that wasn’t intended to be read by someone else, either for entertainment or educational purposes.

But while I feel free to let myself be vulnerable here, there are certain things I hold back. Mainly anything that I think might embarrass people I care about, or who didn’t – you know – ask for it. This isn’t a platform for me to lash out or take revenge. It can sometimes be hard to avoid, because my writing is always influenced by my own experiences, and also, I do want to let others who have gone through the kind of things I have know that they’re not alone. So I’m torn sometimes, on how much to tell. But I’ll deal with those things as they come up. Negativity attracts negativity, and I want this to be a positive place.

New Year’s 2014

The Traditional New Years post. Lets start with last year’s goals and how I did:

– Get a good ways into revisions on another novel. This is going to be either Handless or The Box – I haven’t decided yet, but once I do, it’ll be a shit ton of work. – I did none of this. 

– Win Nano for 5th time running. – nope. 

– Reading goals: mixing it up this year – I want to read at least one debut novel within the year it was published (missed this one, by 8 days – Thunder road was published on sept 4 2012, and I finished reading it on sept 12 2013), at least one aurora eligible novel (Got this one), at least one novel written by an author I know in person (got this one), finish at least one series I started reading (likely the hunger games trilogy, I’m on the last one)(Finished the Hunger Games), and at least one classic novel (I think The Warlord of the Air qualifies.)

– I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. Which is good, because I’m twenty-nine and that time rolls around faster than you know. I’ve never been entirely happy with the tech support job, and there’s obviously a good chance that I may never be able to quit my day job completely. I need a day job that I have some passion for. Towards that, I resolve to start flight school. This will likely start in april, when my hours at work go down, and the integrated courses start at Harv’s Air. – The integrated courses didn’t work out, but that’s not a big deal, and didn’t stop me. Got my private licence in three months and am time building for my commercial. 

That last one is huge and has swallowed up everything else.

Anyway, I also get to give myself kudos for other things I’ve done this year. Mostly flying wise. There’s been a lot of firsts.

I started lessons – that in itself is a big step. Then there was my first solo, and then winning the first solo award. And getting my licence. Taking my first passenger flying, for his first time. Doing short little cross country flights, and building up to longer ones. Getting comfortable with being in Class C airspace. Taildragger checkout. Night rating. Being told I should go practice spins solo.

I became the legal owner of my first car. It’s a 93 Buick Le Sabre, originally owned by my grandfather, inherited by my grandmother, gifted to my father, and then gifted to me. Legally gifted to me. It’s coming out of my inheritance from my grandma, who’s 93 and still kickin’, but she wants to give us grandchildren the help we need when we need it most, and I’m living at the far end of every bus route right now, and there are no buses that will take me to St. Andrews to go flying, so I need a car right now. It gives her a lot of satisfaction to be able to be here to see the things she’s given her grandchildren put to use.

I also got a good ways into a new YA novel, called Skybound, and have ideas for books two and three in the trilogy (The Onesky Trilogy). And titles. Kickass titles, to be revealed as I write them.

My finished novel, recently renamed “Redwing”, is done the most recent round of revisions, and at Keycon an editor invited me to submit it, based on the opening page.

Also at Keycon, did some panels, got some attention, had people chasing me down to ask if I had anything published that they could buy, based on hearing me participate in a panel on dieselpunk.

Wrote a couple of short stories – though still working on selling them.

Overall, I’ve done pretty good, so I’m not going to beat myself up over not getting into revisions or winning Nano.

Also, I have succeeded in not killing myself or anyone else.

It’s been a good year. For a lot of it, I felt like I was running full tilt because if I stopped, the fates would notice I was happy. Because this is me, and Lindsay’s supposed to be happy with simple, small pleasures, and learning to fly is far too big to escape their notice. And as I kept going, I started to think if I just keep running, maybe fate won’t catch me. And eventually I got  to the point where I had it set in my mind that I was stronger than whatever had kept me from chasing my dreams in the past. And I started to realize what had kept me from it in the past was my own belief that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I’d internalized the many times my mother told me, “You don’t always get what you want.” (That line made it into Skybound.)

Every time I’ve ever really wanted something, I’ve had to fight for it. And I think I always knew this one would be a big fight, and maybe I was just waiting until I had the strength for it, because it was a fight that would break my heart to lose.

So this year’s goals (calling them goals, and not resolutions, because that sounds more positive – it’s about accomplishing things, not resolving to stop doing things):

– Reading goals: Read a novel eligible for the auroras and vote in them. Read a debut novel. Read an author I haven’t read before. Read another book in at least one series I started. Read a novel by an author I know in person.

– The usual: Stay happily married and not die.

– Get my commercial pilot’s license.

– Get my multi-IFR rating.

– Finish Skybound.

– Get a solid start on revising another novel.

Humble goals, I know. I think I succeeded in taking 2013, kicking it in the balls and beating it senseless until it cried. In 2014 I hope to start getting some career things straightened out, and of course I’m always hoping to hear back from agents. Wish me luck on soaring through 2014 safely.