things I’m working on.

A quick update, because maybe I should use my writing blog as a blog more often!

things out in the world, awaiting their fates: flayed god story, second-person nanite revolution story, space gnostics flash (as of today, heh. I don’t usually write flash? This mugged me and now I’ve spent all of my Sunday on it.)

things in progress: The Novel (mindsharing space empire politics) — slowly but surely more of it emerges; cyberpunk film connoisseur story (requires me to come up with a heist plot); shattered clone hive mind story (needs to be reworked for maximal weird); perfume wizard story (needs something to link together all these vignettes about perfume); angel-insect erotica (does what it says on the tin)

things stalled until I solve them: possessed radio and formerly evil sorceress deal with consequences of a) possession; b) evil

things I am writing for no one’s benefit but mine and a tiny audience: suspense thriller AU fanfic about very bad demons becoming slightly less bad due to precisely-placed hammerstrikes of emotional trauma (going to be a novella, help me god)

things I am writing for work: translation and commentary of some 11th-century Byzantine letters; fixing up an article on mediated experiences of warfare; maybe doing some Armenian translation so that I have a new text to go along with this proto-article on philhellenism? maybe. I need to learn to write faster.


hello from Uppsala

New country. New town. New job (on Monday). New, exciting, hilarious failures of internet access! (I’m not really here. Or, I’m here because I took a walk until I got mildly lost, and then found a cafe with wifi and cappuchinos.) Good morning. So far I’ve found an English-language bookshop with a SFF book club prominently flyer’d in the windows, a river with picturesque bridges, and the grocery. Further goals for today involve locating the rock-climbing gym and somewhere to sell me a Swedish textbook, and having dinner with my new boss.

I am having so much fun. Leavened with language-shock (the sooner I get competent in Swedish the better) and vile terror of having landed in a completely new place alone, but hey. Mostly I am having a fantastic time. I love this sort of thing: picking up my whole life and reinventing it again, for good reasons.

April writing roundup: Not as much as I’d like. Moving from Canada to the US to Sweden will do that to a girl. Rewrote a short story (“All The Colors You Thought Were Kings”), at 6000 words — a fairly major rewrite, so I’m calling it a completely new story and counting it as part of my short-story quota for the year, which puts me at 2/12. Noodled at some other shorts (a couple hundred words each on “The Hydraulic Emperor” and “Dawn Machine” and The Untitled Clone Hive Mind Story and Perfume Wizards), but didn’t finish any of them. Avoided the novel (need to stop doing that). Wrote some fanfic. May will be better!

May goals: 5000 novel words; finish “The Hydraulic Emperor”; finish at least one other story; write enough of the fanfic thing to stop obsessing at the fanfic thing (it’s idfic of a very particular school, a “turn-left” AU which allows for productive emotional trauma in a character who doesn’t usually experience trauma actively. It has very little redeeming value aside from making my brainsquids happy, and entertaining one of my dearest friends.)

There is so much light here. I may object to this later in the year, but right now? Goddamn. It’s lovely.

so when I said ‘peripatetic’…

… I meant it.

I’m moving to Sweden. Sometime during the last week of April. For at least two years — I’ve won a postdoctoral position, which means I get to spend real time doing research again, which I am profoundly grateful for; I’m an academic because I genuinely enjoy spending ten hours in the library with three different language dictionaries and a bunch of offprints. I haven’t been able to do that this year — where I am simply isn’t set up for it, not to mention teaching a 3-3 courseload, all five of which were new course preparations. I absolutely can’t wait to be able to sink into what I feel like is my real work again.

Also, Sweden. I have never been! It’s going to be great! I get to have an adventure! I have so much missed adventures. Small city maritime Canada hasn’t got many if you aren’t into outdoor sport, which I’m — not. Much to my continued surprise, I am very into athletic activity lately — let me tell you about rock climbing! — but I continue to want my athletics to take place in warm, well-lit environments, preferably inside. So my adventures this year have mostly involved … well. Okay. I did go to Troy and Iznik. That counts. But it was only once!

Essentially, I am very excited, incredibly eager to go, and a bit terrified about some of the logistical hurdles.

I have less writing news this month (I sold a reprint! I went to Boskone! I still hate writing this novel!), but that should change very shortly. Next Monday, in fact — when I will have a story in Strange Horizons. More on that when it is posted.

new things! Uncanny! academia! trying to hit three end-of-September submission deadlines!

Exciting news! I have become a Slush Unicorn! i.e. I am a Submissions Editor for Uncanny Magazine (send us your stories!). I am very excited about getting to work on this project, and am eagerly awaiting my first batch of slush. I think I’m going to learn a lot (about editing! and about writing!), and I can’t wait basically.

In terms of my own work, currently I’m kit-bashing a new story together; this one is not behaving itself, and I have reworked the opening four times now, switching POVs each time. I think I may have settled now. Maybe. I might hate it again tomorrow. (You’d think a weird semi-plotless vignette about interstellar poetry and distributed intelligences would be something I’d knock out in a day, but no, apparently not.)

Writing is Not Being Easy right now. That might be because of the New Job, which has commenced in earnest now that the semester is actually a thing that is happening. My, having a real job takes up a lot of time. I am both really enjoying myself — I am working damn hard at learning how to teach about history to university students in better, cleverer, more engaging ways, and I like what I’m teaching a great deal (medieval history! the early Islamic world! the first half of Intro World History!) — and am completely exhausted all the time. I have not settled into this kind of sustained effort yet. I have been getting home and quite literally falling down on the couch and sleeping for two hours before I can get up and do basic tasks, like ‘feed myself’ and ‘write the next day’s lectures’. I have somehow managed to keep up a little bit with my own work during this — the EU grant is finished and sent off (fingers crossed for next year in Denmark), the book proposal for the Book Of The Dissertation is also finished and sent off, to wait in an editorial mailbox until the editor comes back from vacation. Next I really ought to punch out a couple of articles.

But I want to be doing more fiction, and in light of that, I’m going to try a truly pathetically small version of the Writing Streak Task: write every day; a day in which you hit 50 words counts; fanfic counts if you show it to someone else. If I can do this for two weeks that’d be really, really nice. I might actually manage to hit these call-for-stories deadlines if I do.

The problem with saying that you will write a blog post when you finish the story…

… is that you have to finish the story before you write the blog post. That took at least two weeks longer than I meant it to. (Extenuating circumstances include a deeply complex fight with Canadian immigration authorities, culminating in me citing NAFTA. I am a free trade good, it turns out. Also I’m moving this weekend. Forward momentum, etc etc.)

However: City of Salt, complete at 3750 words. High fantasy is a weird genre for me to work in. But I think I’m pleased with how it turned out. Next, a revision pass, annoying at least one friend for critique, and sending the thing out posthaste, since …

… I sold two pieces last week and need to fill out the rota again!

This is delightfully exciting. A poem to Strange Horizons (… first time’s the charm, apparently. Haven’t written poetry since I was a teenager, sent this one to¬†one market, and they took it straight off; this might go to my head) and a short story to Ideomancer. Links when they’re actually out, naturally.

These are my first sales since Viable Paradise. I’m so pleased. And kind of encouraged.

Now I need to sell something to a SFWA-qualifying market. And figure out enough about the novel to keep writing it.

And, y’know, be a professor for the first time in my life. This year is rather exciting.

sudden employment.

So I got slightly distracted this week by suddenly becoming Employed In My Field Of Choice. This was extremely unlikely; I had a fun (definitions of ‘fun’ may vary) first year on the academic job market, in which I got five interviews — one which involved international travel — and zero resultant jobs. I was preparing to spend a year writing in New York City. Then one of my last-ditch stabs at not being vigorously broke decided to not only interview but actually hire me, and barring misadventures with the Canadian immigration authorities, I am moving to the province of New Brunswick for a year. You can now call me Visiting Assistant Professor Other Name.

This is extremely cool.

This has also not been that conducive to getting a lot of writing done. (Neither has reaching the point on the Slightly Less Hypothetical Than Before Novel where I have to sit down and worldbuild strenuously, because otherwise my politics are going to fall very flat.)

Nevertheless, weekly metrics.

novelthing, or MAHIT & THE CITY: 640 words, a bunch of scenery-related exposition, secondary lead being annoying even while (also because) he’s dead, realization that I have to define a whole bunch of secondary characters and find out who my antagonist is, and immediate subsequent backing off to write —

short stories: “City of Salt”, outlined, 400 words; “All The Colors”, revision started, which is closer to a full rewrite since there is no good reason for this to be in second person. I wrote it in second person to see if I could. I can. It doesn’t actually help the story much. I’m trying incredibly-tight-third instead, to try to preserve the intensely unreliable narrator and the linguistic register; “Ruin Marble”, stuck like being stuck is what I do for a living, took the ending I thought I had and turned it into

a poem: “Cloud Wall”, the first actual poem I’ve written since university.

okay, not horrible for a week in which I am doing an intensive language course, in an inhospitable climate (don’t live in Arizona, kids), and Suddenly Employed.