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Below are the most recent 25 friends' journal entries.
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|Wednesday, March 12th, 2014|
For those going to Millennicon, here's my schedule:
FYI - copies of IMMORTAL MUSE will be avx. from Larry Smith in the Huckster Room
Saturday, 11AM, McKinley, More than Just Black Hats
Saturday, 5PM, Hotel Lobby, Autographs
Saturday, 7-9PM, Room TBA, a launch party for IMMORTAL MUSE!
Sunday, 10AM, McKinley, Fan Fiction and "Real" Writing
Sunday, 12Noon, Taft, Reading
|RAIN INSTEAD OF SNOW
Rain is falling instead of snow. And if or when the outside temperature drops seventy degrees, all this rain that soaks the ground will turn to ice. So there will be miles and miles of ice, snow replacing Autumn with Winter. I thought that Winter was done for a while and seeing rain fall instead of snow gives credibility to such a thought. The Gentle Reader and I will find out what direction today's weather is going to take. Even if Winter doesn't arrive, it's still too cold outside for Summer to begin. Still, it's better for Columbus, Ohio to exist on the outer edges of the Polar Vortex. Current Mood: contemplative and calm
( Read more...Collapse )
- Tue, 13:15: @KMont @FanLit @RevBobMIB @Nayad Hi! There's a Kickstarter to support the next book in my Jessie Shimmer series: http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 13:20: @readthinkbooks @wdprescott @mybookishways @Keslynn @UndeadRat Hi! Want to see more in the Spellbent series? http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 13:31: @smexybooks @Horror_World @HorrorNewsNet @HaikuFictionDJU Would you share this w/your readers? Thanks in advance: http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 13:40: @Shawntelle @JezzyWolfe @eScottNicholson @NickCato You liked my #urbanfantasy books … there could be more! http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB
- Tue, 16:12: RT @mwlauthor: Kickstarter for @LucyASnyder's excellent UF series. I want to know how it ends, so support https://t.co/TWodqBNth6
- Tue, 17:32: RT @seananmcguire: ZOMG, @LucyASnyder is doing a Kickstarter for a new Jessie Shimmer novel! https://t.co/PSKBDgeZcA
- Tue, 21:08: RT @seananmcguire: Since this Kickstarter is for a book in a series, and has 33 days to run, you could read book #1, SPELLBENT, before deci…
- Tue, 21:08: RT @seananmcguire: Jessie Shimmer is basically one of the funnest, funniest, filthiest heroines in urban fantasy. She's UF by way of early …
- Tue, 21:36: The cover to my novel DEVILS' FIELD, currently being Kickstarted: http://t.co/ZfVwHNq9eB #urbanfantasy #teamjessie http://t.co/we2beN2Fej
- Wed, 01:07: RT @arthurslade: RT @mybookishways: I just backed Devils' Field: @LucyASnyder's New Jessie Shimmer Novel on @kickstarter http://t.co/PaTWis…
|Rome in Washington
Yesterday, I cried. In public.
Yesterday, I went to the National Gallery of Art, to see the statue The Dying Gaul. The Gaul lives in Rome, in the Capitoline Museum, where I saw him about two years ago. We came across him at the end of a long day of sight-seeing, when our backs ached with “museum-ache”, when our knees refused to bend double, when our heads were full of beautiful sights and historical knowledge and countless tourist details.
And I was captivated. I stood in a crowded room, ignoring the people who zoomed in with their cell phones so they could take a picture of the Gaul from all possible angles. I forced my tortured knees to let me squat so I could look up into the Gaul’s face, and I told my back it could stretch out later, thank you very much.
For the second time since it was discovered on the grounds of a Roman villa in the early 1600s, the Gaul has traveled outside of Italy. (The first time was when Napoleon claimed him for France.) He’s displayed (just until this Sunday) in the Rotunda of the National Gallery of Art here in DC. He’s on a plinth that places him waist-high, so that there’s no kneeling necessary. There were a dozen or so people around him, and two security guards, but far fewer viewers than in Rome. (I was told that the crowd becomes ten-deep on weekends.)
And he’s every bit as captivating as he was in Rome.
I don’t know why this work of art speaks to me so much. I’m not an artist — I have no desire to sketch him or paint him in oils or to make my own maquette. I don’t even *like* most sculpture — I know the way to talk about it filling space, and presence and voids, etc., but it almost never interests me.
But this piece does.
I want to tell his story. I want to know who carved him. I want to know what the bronze original looked like. I want him to be real.
What works of art that speak to you, in a loud clear voice?
Mirrored from Mindy Klasky, Author.
|Tuesday, March 11th, 2014|
|WHEN SPRING RETURNS BACK TO WINTER
The citizens of Columbus, Ohio has been enjoying what appears to be Spring for several days. That isn't going to last long. There will be a seventy degree temperature drop sometime tomorrow that will be followed by snow. Yes, it appears as if the Polar Vortex is coming back. Still, it's nice to enjoy Spring while it was still around and I'm sure Spring will get the chance to return again for a much longer span of time---Eventually. Still, Winter needs to complete it's journey in order for Spring to officially get started. So I look outside the window and I enjoy the sight of the bright green grass because it might end up getting covered with snow sometime tomorrow. Ah yes, the weather has it's knack for unpredictability. Current Mood: contemplative and calm
|you are the silence in between what i thought and what i said
I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of how much paid writing I do in a given day. Blogging doesn't count; email doesn't count. Tumblr and twitter and facebook? Don't count.
Only words that pay the bills count.
I don't keep the spreadsheet to guilt trip myself into working, or meeting a daily goal. I keep it because I'm a hyper-self-critical, hyper-self-competitive, workaholic perfectionist, and writing it down gives me something to take to my domineering, overbearing boss (that would be me) to prove to her that really, I have been working hard, and we are getting stuff down, and look, there is measurable forward motion here shut up and have a coffee, lady.
So I happen to know that, with the exception of the hypergraphia year of 2003, when I wrote over 600,000 words in twelve months, over the course of the past thirteen years as a professional writer (some of it full-time, some of it with a day job in tow), I have in different years averaged between 650-1250 words of paying copy a day.
That's somewhere between two and a half and five pages. So far, this year, I'm averaging four pages a day. I'd like to keep that range going.
Now, that's an average. That doesn't mean I write four pages every day. (I know writers who set themselves a goal like that, or--more commonly, two pages a day--and I Know some who write ten pages every day! Or more! and some for whom daily averages are meaningless because they sit down and write every novel and short story in a binge, drunk on their word hoards and reeling. I often finish novels this way, but the bulk of them is written in daily chunks.)
And yet, I have a reputation as a very fast writer.
I'm not. I'm just a writer who shows up (nearly) every day and gets something on paper. Some days I write nothing. Some weeks I write nothing. I take days off. I go on trips and teach workshops. Some days I'm editing or researching, for that matter, and those days have no wordcount attached.
My point is this: Since 2002, when I finished writing the first novel I ever managed to get past the Dreaded 30K Wall, I've written 25 novels (5 of them collaborative) and over a hundred short stories or novellas.
At an average rate of roughly four pages a day.
Up to a certain point, the more you write the faster you learn--productivity breeds practice, after all.
But four pages a day is pretty doable for many people. And one page a day is probably doable for almost anybody.
So if you've been thinking about writing your great book, the story only you can tell... why not write just one page today?
And another page tomorrow?
If you're an artist, draw a thing today, and another thing tomorrow.
(This blog post, by the way, is exactly five hundred words.
...or about two pages.) Current Mood: happy
- Mon, 20:49: Thor 2 was fantastic. Loved it. I forgot I was tired and now my soul feels a little better. Awesome #movie .
|Monday, March 10th, 2014|
|A new Kickstarter to support the next Jessie Shimmer novel
Alliteration Ink is running a Kickstarter to support the next book in my Jessie Shimmer dark urban fantasy series:
http://bit.ly/kickdevils Your support is appreciated. And if you could pass the Kickstarter link along to anyone you know who might be interested, that would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance!
Here's the cover; it was done by artist Leos Ng Okita:
|given half a chance would I take any of it back?
I am done with my graceless heart.
Tonight I'm going to cut it out and then restart.
It is done.
Final wordcount is a little over 106,000 words.
Have some Florence and the Machine to celebrate. Current Mood: anxious
|For the birds
To the birds: Hey, the new restaurant's open. And it's free! All you have to do is amuse the cats who will be watching from the window. And we have quite a varied menu at the moment...
No Squirrels Allowed! No Wings, No Service.
|Tweets for the Week of 03-03-2014
- I'm home! I'm home I'm home I'm home! *flop* I sleep until Monday now. Hospital sleep deprivation is crazy evil. 12:37:08, 2014-03-08
- Just saw doctor. All tests/cultures still negative. They're releasing me, yay! No rush, of course. #StupidHumanSuit #CopingWithCancer 09:54:40, 2014-03-08
- Also, being taken off most of antibiotics I'm on. Should be released tomorrow. Rah! #StupidHumanSuit 20:10:55, 2014-03-07
- ALL cultures & test results came back negative, so diagnosis now is JUST flare-up, with the nodules in lungs being inflammation. 20:10:26, 2014-03-07
- Steroid injection totally did the trick. All my numbers are dramatically better. Don't need a transfusion. Talk of releasing me soon. 10:29:32, 2014-03-07
- Diagnosis is now an opportunistic lung infection AND a flare-up. Got a steroid shot last night and at last, no fever. #NotAnEpisodeOfHouse 07:45:50, 2014-03-07
- We have a preliminary diagnosis. Chest CT & x-ray showed numerous nodules in lungs.Fungal infection likeliest. Targeted treatmnt to commence 15:59:33, 2014-03-06
- My hemoglobin counts are way low. So low I might need a transfusion. They keep drawing HUGE vials of blood for more testing. Anemia paradox! 12:28:03, 2014-03-06
- Fever crested 104F again. Applying ice packs now. Going to be a long night. #CopingWithCancer 23:01:10, 2014-03-05
- Still having terrible fevers. Last night hit over 104F briefly. Chest CT scan done, lotso labs drawn. Waiting for results. #CopingWithCancer 19:06:28, 2014-03-05
- Always find it hard enough sleeping in hospitals but seems like every time I managed to nod off last night, a nurse would come in. 07:27:36, 2014-03-05
- Not neutropenic but doctor doesn't know what's causing the fever spikes, so in case it's an infection, being admitted to the hospital. Again 15:23:14, 2014-03-04
- At Emory with @MatthewMFoster, waiting on lab results to come in. Of course, my fever broke in the car on the way here. #CopingWithCancer 12:15:50, 2014-03-04
- Fever breaking so not heading to the ER. Going to Emory tomorrow to have labs done, means not going in to work, dammit. #CopingWithCancer 01:17:47, 2014-03-04
- Fever spiked to nearly 104F. Shouldn't still be neutropenic so think this round of chemo triggered a flare-up. Talking to on-call doctor now 00:58:36, 2014-03-04
- Crossover day at work. Managed a-ok until fever spiked. Now heading home with @MatthewMFoster all tuckered out and dizzy. #CopingWithCancer 18:37:49, 2014-03-03
Originally published at EugieFoster.com. You can comment here or there.
|Sunday, March 9th, 2014|
- Sat, 15:35: Oddly, it's my A+ students who always worry about their grades. *headshake*
- Sat, 15:46: #my_opinion: I love my dinner taxi. Sure, I got food in the house; for me and my cats. But sometimes some El Jimador salsa and chips call.
|stuff going on with me...
Still no sign of copyedits for THE TIME ROADS. I've been told that, once they get scheduled, I'll hear when to expect them.
Progress on NotSherlock is agonizingly slow. Weekdays are consumed by the dayjob. Weekends are for writing, but other activities and writing obligations eat into that time. However, the central mystery is taking shape rather nicely in my brain, if not on paper. My goal is to finish the synopsis by early April, or if copyedits for THE TIME ROADS show up before then, by early May.
Alas, my Nocturnall story, which I call my coda to Ilse and Raul's trilogy, is currently in limbo. The editor loves it, but thinks it's too soon for the story to appear. I'm thinking I should write a couple more Ilse/Raul stories and publish them along with Nocturnall as a small collection. Once I finish my chapters and synopsis, I'll spend some time story noodling.
Dayjob continues to be absorbing (good) and frustrating (mostly because of our feckless newbie).
What with the snow and the cold weather, the cats are ready to destroy each other, or my new rug. Spring can't come soon enough.
But! We are planning a vacation in London, in early October, with a possible side trip to Bath. Tickets are bought, apartment rented. I'm excited.
|Saturday, March 8th, 2014|
Thanks to everyone who came out to the signing! Your support is much appreciated!
- Sat, 00:42: Report: #furnace fan motor replaced, chip to regulate the auto fan replaced, gas thingy (last week) doing its job. Now awaiting bill. Fun.
- Sat, 00:51: Report: #physical Still ow. This weather. Nice, well, yesterday now, but today temp drops. Aches and ow. #gratitude for topical analgesics.
- Sat, 00:55: #notetoself remember that thing you have to do in the morning!
- Sat, 01:21: #silly: Everytime I see Huffpo, my head actually reads it as Hufflepuff Po.
Busy day today... I'll be at an aikido seminar this morning, then, at 3:00, I'm reading from and signing IMMORTAL MUSE at the Barnes & Noble Fields Ertel store (9891 Waterstone Blvd) -- hey, be there if you can!
But then next week is Spring Break! I can get some serious work done on my own work!
|Friday, March 7th, 2014|
|For The Locals...
Just a reminder (since I hate to be lonely at book signings!): On Saturday, March 8, 3:00 PM, I'll be at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers Fields Ertel store (9891 Waterstone Blvd, just off the Fields Ertel exit on I-71). I'll be signing IMMORTAL MUSE, and I may well read a bit from the book, too, and/or do a bit of Q&A.
|MFA vs NYC vs Sci-Fi*
So, MFA vs NYC
is an interesting book. Sure to be a classic, using the traditional definition of the word classic: an inaccurate work that everyone cites, riffs on, and otherwise tangles with. We'll be talking about MFA vs NYC in the way we talk about McWorld vs Jihad, or red state vs blue state.
The book is an anthology of essays about either MFA programs, or working as a writer or in publishing in New York City, or a few other related topics. Several of the essays are already online—Alexander Chee's and Emily Gould's personal essays are easy to find (the latter was widely linked to because it is about a person who made and then lost a lot of money), and the essay about the CIA's influence on MFA programs everyone was talking about a few weeks ago is also in here. Plus, there are older reprints; you can cobble together around half the book if you're a diligent Googler. There are newer pieces as well, not all of them personal essays. The best piece is probably Frederic Jameson's dismantling of The Program Era
, which was the MFA book everyone was talking about three years ago.
One doesn't review MFA vs NYC
—one reviews one's own life after reading it. I'm NYC. I started publishing with the first dot com boom; I got small pieces in New York-region content plays Feed and Disinfo.com, and parlayed that into writing regularly for the Village Voice
(even getting a personal essay in there my first time out) and various magazines that were popular in the city then: Silicon Alley Reporter
and others I hardly remember. Artsier stuff appeared in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood
, which paid in prestige, and also reprinted in prestige, as I have an essay in Before and After: Stories from New York
in the before section (this will be important later). I also edited books for Soft Skull Press when it was run out of a basement (and into the ground) by Sander Hicks. So, New York. I didn't have a full-time day job in publishing and wasn't making huge bucks; I was a term paper artist
and living in Jersey City, which despite being in the wrong state is closer to Manhattan than most of Brooklyn and Queens.
Then, 9/11. Many magazines died on 9/12, claiming that their incoming checks had been destroyed along with the Post Office near the World Trade Center. The economy had collapsed the previous April, so the writing was already on the wall. The spine of Fast Company
was everyone's barometer as it went from phonebook-sized to a slim pamphlet. But it was 9/11 that ended my NYC play. The sort of politics I wished to write about were destroyed, as I found out when the Voice
killed a piece I was working on about the conflict between the antiwar movement and the pro-war "antiwar" movement. The latter floated as its slogan "Justice, Not Vengeance", which simply ceded the debate to pro-war forces. (PS: so many years later, everything the actual antiwar movement said came to pass, so we were right and you all were wrong.) The dot com money went up in smoke too, and as more people started learning to navigate the Internet, I lost interest in writing about it. Reportage could become service journalism too easily.
I concentrated on fiction, and for a while was all over the place: science fiction and horror, yes, but several of my early stories appeared in men's magazines like Razor
, and in scene-y little zine-ys like Rag Shock
. (Scene-y enough that it is nigh impossible to Google!) I started this blog, and began focusing more on genre publishing since, frankly, it's the sort of fiction one is allowed to publish without a pedigree. I'm not from a wealthy or even middle-class family, and though we're recent immigrants, Greece is without cachet in NYC publishing. Plus, we were poor in Greece too! Anyway, in 2004 I left New York and that DQed me as an NYCer. It really is impossible to keep up with the scene from the outside, even with the Internet.
I eventually got an MFA, after publishing a couple of books and a few dozen stories, but it was with a low-res program with a commercial/professional orientation, and thus doesn't count as "being MFA." It helped primarily in that Japanese firms like advanced degrees, and I got my job at VIZ, my first-ever full-time job, soon after graduating, at a good-for-publishing salary partially because of the degree.
So...the book? Yes, of course, the book! Some good stuff. There aren't two cultures to American fiction, but NYC and MFA are two of
the cultures of American fiction, I am convinced. A third culture would be genre fiction. A fourth, as hinted at in the piece about judging Amazon's Breakthrough Contest, might be self-publishing. I would count prose poetry as a separate culture as well, despite its association with MFAs simply by being a species of poetry. (Prose poetry is like the plain-dressing Mennonites who look like Amish but get to use lightbulbs...of American fiction.) This title does capture the essence of the two cultures, both of which are teleological—they exist for the end of creating writer identities. Books? Ehh. Is there an emoji for waggling a hand as if to say "Maybe, maybe not"?
NYC creates writer identities the threshing floor of shit jobs, the intermittent feedback of windfall freelance paydays, and real estate prices that keep even writers with six-figure advances poor, sometimes desperately so. Partners Emily Gould and Keith Gessen gained first-novel advances of $200,000 and $160,000** within a couple of years of one another, and they ended up together, broke, anyway. Only partially thanks to their sick cat Raffles (RIP). It is not possible to be a starving writer in New York City; you just starve, or you write and make good*** by landing a real job in publishing or periodicals. Or you leave, of course.
MFAs do this via pre-selection—where you go is what's more important than anything else. If you want to teach, you need a book, but you also need to be a graduate from a higher tier school, as you will only be allowed to teach at schools with less renown than the one from which you hold a degree. Get a low-res MFA for the teaching credential, and you had either make a big splash with your novel, or you'll end up a perennial adjunct at even shittier schools or working at a community college. The psychodrama of the workshop is also important, because here is where your writerly identity (not the work itself, not skill) is forged. It's how you develop taste, how you learn to live cheaply in chockful-of-snore college towns, and how you learn to deal with bureaucracies.
The book is full of complaints, which is no surprise since American fiction is in pretty sad shape. One fellow fumes that, at his adjunct gig, he had to talk seriously about orcs with a student. Another, an agent with seventy-five clients, complains that most submissions he receives aren't very good. (Dude, you can stop reading them if you have seventy-five clients already!) MFAs tend to be happier, because they only fall victim to human gurus such as Gordon Lish. Even the most narcissistic man is much more caring than the entirely uncaring, even malefic, island of Manhattan.
A number of the essays could have in fact been blog posts. The pieces are separated by quotes from other writers discussing their own time in NYC or an MFA program. These look like nothing more than frequently reblogged tumblr memes, minus the cat pictures. The Internet has already taken over American non-fiction; the two cultures are Listicle and Long Read, and the writers here are really engaging in that struggle, not in the struggle between the MFA and the NYC.MFA vs NYC
is actually a rearguard action against the Internet, which has radically redistributed the writerly identity. Talk to a kid, and you might get the name of a fanfic writer as his or her favorite. And it's not just kids; a fanfic writer, E. L. James, is the most successful published writer of the last several years. Everyone reads and writes constantly, even if just tweets and tumblrs and YouTube comments. Did you know that you're a fag and you suck, fag? Oh no, is that last sentence snark or smarm? Nobody cares; identity-writers are concerned with that stuff. By pinning a tail on the donkeys of MFA and NYC, the book is asking its readers to chose an army, so that we can have a pretend war and thus be distracted from the fact that there are people putting poorly conceptualized and poorly written serial-killer novels on Kindle for a buck and becoming millionaires with "fans."
Both NYCs and MFAs want readers, not fans. What they get instead, given the dominance and ubiquity of the Internet, is the chance to daydream that they had been solicited for MFA vs NYC
*"Sci-Fi" as a term is both an NYCism and MFAism these days. People inside the genre call it SF, of course. But people outside the genre, especially in San Francisco, see those two letters and think of the city. Thus the reading I attended once where Kim Stanley Robinson was introduced as one of "the most innovative writers of San Francisco novels."
**By way of contrast, my first novel advance was $3000, from an independent press run by two guys in two different apartments in San Francisco and Portland. The highest advance I ever got was $14,000, for an anthology for which I had a co-editor, and that required us to pay our contributors out of our advance. So I got to keep about 25 percent of that $14,000. Ten years after my first novel, subsequent advances have ranged from $500 to $6000, and I'm now writing a novel for one of the co-founders of my first novel's publisher—he's still paying $3000. In my NYC days, there were articles I earned $3000 from writing. Most of the ninety-five or so short stories I've published have paid somewhere between a nickel and a dime a word, or between $100 and $1000 depending on length, with a big cluster at around $250. Occasionally, I've licked $1500-$2000 for short stories, but only after multiple reprints or when cracking one of the rare markets that pays very well: a men's magazine, a Best American
volume, Tor.com. For NYCs and MFAs, most short fiction is just a favor you do for someone you hope will be in a position to help you one day.
***You know you've made good when you eat at the same good restaurant, at the same table, every day. Dinner is better than lunch, but with the collapse of publishing as we know it, lunch will do.
|Thursday, March 6th, 2014|
|IT'S DARK OUTSIDE ONCE AGAIN
It's dark outside once again. Night has covered the land. Daytime will return. However, daytime is still a few hours away and night has only just started. So sit back and enjoy the night for a while. The night will be here for a few more hours still to come. Most of the town will spend the coming hours asleep. Few people are willing to face the night awake. For most, night is the time to sleep. There's not much going on at night. Not much on television. And if there is something on television late at night, how will the Gentle Reader watch it without waking somebody up? The world is quiet at night. And with a flashlight, I shall illuminate the night---Only for a few minutes. Current Mood: contemplative and calm
|six times underneath the knife.
It's that time. I've started the final revision pass on Karen Memory. So far, I'm working through the bits that only need tweaks, because the earlier chapters have already had several editing passes, after all. (One of the many ways all that Useful Writing Advice doesn't work for me--several times over the course of any given book, I have to go back and restructure the early bits and add things and move stuff around, or the book doesn't go forward. I can't always just make notes and keep going.) Current Mood: content
Soon, my pretties. Soon. Soon.
But for the meantime, we're in Earbrass Country. ("We can't stop here!")
I spent the last four days shoveling out from under a bucket of post-novel ennui after finishing a short story tentatively called "No Place to Dream, but a Place to Die." There were a lot of movies and a certain number of books and even more Bejeweled, I'm afraid.
In other news, it's coming up on a month to publication for Steles of the Sky, and I am psyched! Tor.com has the first chunk up as an excerpt if you just can't wait to get started.