November Out, December In.

Today’s blog post is a stock-take, a brief pause between two incredibly busy months. November was not just an amazing month writing wise — I also had my second American Thanksgiving! And that experience turned my thoughts towards spending time with friends. I’m planning two Christmas dinners for friends here in Japan before I disappear back to New Zealand for Christmas with my family and my mother’s wedding (!!!) Speaking of, if you have any good festive recipes for pescatarian friends, please let me know!

Before I recap my achievements in November and my plans for December, I want to mention one of my highlights of November — Jeff and Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast!  Jeff and Will have a conversational vibe that pretty much had me hooked from the first episode I heard. Listening to them talk about writing, movies and anything else that comes up is like hanging out with friends, which is a welcome boost when you’re doing something as solitary as writing! I sent them an e-mail letting me know I enjoyed their show and they actually answered my question in the show, which was incredibly awesome! Jeff and Will have introduced a question of the week with their latest episode. This week the question is ‘Do you like to give and/or receive books as holiday gifts?’

This is actually a loaded question for me. Sitting not a metre away from me are two books a friend sent me years ago (and postage to Japan is not pretty) and they have been sitting on my shelf for years because I am afraid I won’t like them. Yeah. I find taste in books a really personal thing, and I don’t want to disappoint my friend by not liking the books. However,  I have decided that this is me being ridiculous and I need to embrace these books! I’ve heard good things about this series (Rivers of London, for anyone curious). Not only that, but engaging with a wider group of cool reading type people on Goodreads has really made me realise that no two people read a book the same way, so that I don’t need to feel guilty about loving or not loving any particular book. Basically, I don’t enjoy receiving books because I immediately feel pressure to like the book, but I am working on getting over that (if you want to help me by giving me books …)

Giving books is equally complicated! I feel I am a terrible gift giver. I wait, hoping to find something meaningful that really speaks to me as right for a particular person, with the result that I might end up with two or three good gifts, and no time to shop for everyone else. One of the few gifts I have sorted is actually a book poking fun at British people for my British brother-in-law. I’m also thinking of an adult colouring book for my sister and a kid colouring book for my niece. Everyone else though … I don’t prefer to give books more than any other gift, but if the books speaks to me for a person then yes.

I’ve also just written a short Christmas story, that is going to be published mid-December. Instant gift solution, right? Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that everyone I wanted to gift this story to already pre-ordered it. Which is actually a very lovely Christmas present for me — I cannot believe how many people have added it to their to-read lists. ♥ The support means a lot, and I really hope you enjoy The Ugliest Sweater!

That was a lot of words! In an effort to curb this post, November Update:

  1. NaNoWriMo. This was the big one. I didn’t just finish NaNo, I finished a novel — Banging the Supernatural and Other Questionable Life Choices is a complete first draft! I feel really pleased with it. I don’t know if writing it in such a short period of time kept it steamlined and me on plot, or if I am getting better at writing, but I feel like this is a really strong first draft. Whether I feel the same way after re-reading it is another thing, but right now, I’m feeling good.
  2. Til Death Do Us Part by Addison Albright. I beta-read this for Addison, and enjoyed it a lot. Not only was it an engaging story, but it took me back to the time my family spent in the Pacific.
  3. Thorns and Fangs update! I got the proofed edits on Thursday and sent them back Saturday morning. It’s starting to feel very real.
  4. I am self-editing The Dead Living (the second Thorns and Fangs book) ahead of sending it out to be beta-read. My goal was to have that done today, but between finding a lot more things to fix than anticipated and my school finding a lot more work to give me, that is not going to happen! I am not beating myself up over this. It’s a learning experience, and hopefully the fact that I found so many things to fix all on my own means that I am developing a better editorial sense for my writing!

December Goals:

  1. Finish The Dead Living and get it off to be beta-read!
  2. The Ugliest Sweater comes out on December 14th. I have to think of something special to do to celebrate!
  3. Pack for New Zealand!
  4. Get apartment fit for company!
  5. Christmas shopping!
  6. I think Achim and Arielle would be disappointed if I didn’t add finishing Over Familiar to this list — and I’ll be honest, I miss Midas and Grim!
  7. Newsletter. I have started an e-mail newsletter to build a list of subscribers. I want to write a short story as a gift to people who join up, but I am having trouble deciding on what that should be.
  8. I’m also toying with the idea of writing something for A Certain Persuasion, an anthology Manifold Press is putting out of GLBTQIA fiction set in the Austenverse.

I am going to stop here because I am sure that with The Ugliest Sweater coming out, I will find myself unexpectedly busy. There is a lot about launching a book that I just don’t know yet and although The Ugliest Sweater is a short story, seeing how many people are anticipating it makes me determined to make it special. I’m also going to be making the long trip home and spending time with my family (some of whom are getting married!). Between the wedding, Christmas, getting to meet my niece and spoilingIMG_1258 my dog (she is incredibly cute! There will probably be a lot of dog photos on this blog!), December is going to be even busier than November. And that is really saying something!

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