2018 In Review

Wow, I sure didn’t plan to literally not blog at all this year, nor did I plan to nope out of Twitter or fade off Facebook and Instagram. I feel like saying this has become an annual tradition, but it’s been a crazy year.

Have I mentioned that I have a rare disease? Yeah, it’s called acute intermittent porphyria. The short, not-a-doctor explaination is that certain stimuli make my blood cells stop carrying oxygen. Starting mid-2017, there was a lot of certain stimuli. So this Janury, I started a 3-times-a-week infusion regimen. That pretty much consumed my life for the first half of the year.

By summer, I was improving, so I was able to taper down to twice a week, then once a week by fall. Time to do SO MUCH WRITING now, right? Lolnope, time to catch up on all the everyday stuff that had fallen by the wayside.

While all this was going on, I did manage to start querying the YA fantasy novel I finished drafting last year. Part of that was participating in a Twitter pitch event called #DVPit, which exists to help marginalized authors get their work noticed. I still don’t have an agent, but it was encouraging to have several agents actually request my query!

The #DVPit coordinators are a fantastic, supportive group of industry professionals. If you’re a marginalized writer seeking representation, I encourage you to check it out. And if Twitter pitch events aren’t your thing, still check out the #DViants community that grew from writers who connected through #DVPit.

Believe it or not, with all of that going on, I’ve still been working on the final Thalia’s Musings book. I promise I’m not going to pull a George R. R. Martin on y’all. I have a complete, chapter-by-chapter outline, and the manuscript is about around a third of the way done. And since you’ve been so patient and so encouraging, here’s a tiny SPOILER: The book opens with a wedding!

Signing off with any kind of hopeful, proactive declaration about 2019 feels like challenging the Fates, so by way of New Year’s resolutions, I’ll leave you with this.

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Update on Baroness

You may have noticed that my blog posts have been kind of lazy lately, and that last week there wasn’t one at all. That’s because Baroness, my YA steampunk dystopian work-in-progress, has been taking most of my energy. And, for a while there, it really was taking my energy. Draining it. Like some kind of possessed evil fey tome.

Usually when a writing project is doing this to me, there is something wrong with it. And usually it takes me about 10,000 words too long to acknowledge this because I don’t want to scrap the thousands of words that came before them. This time was no exception.

But I finally came to my senses and deconstructed my manuscript so I could rebuild it…better…faster…stronger.

So this week the rough draft of Baroness went from nearly 25,000 words to a little over 3,000 words. They’re better words. Words I look forward to building upon instead of dreading. Words that I will probably not complete by the end of the year like I’d hoped, but that I’ll be much happier with when they are completed.

Okay, enough. Back to writing moar words!

How soon should you blog about a work in progress?

Believe it or not, Google did not give me any answers to that question. I have no idea whether¬†I’m telling you this way too soon or not soon enough. But I’m¬†too excited to¬†wait, so here it is…

Image via Wiki Commons

I’m working on a new novel¬†unrelated to Thalia’s Musings. It’s a young adult steampunk dystopia inspired by the 19th century American “robber baron” industrialists, tentatively titled Baroness. Absolutely everything in the previous¬†sentence is subject to change at this point. I’m 10,000 words in, which is about 1/8th of its projected length.

The plan for this one is to query the manuscript as soon as it’s finished, find an agent, and get the book¬†published by a major publishing house. Don’t worry,¬†I have no intention of abandoning Thalia’s Musings. But Thalia’s Musings 4 will conclude the series, so I have to start thinking beyond it now.¬†I hope my readers will follow me to whatever projects come next (hopefully there’ll be many, many more). I’m looking forward to bringing you more updates about¬†this one!

Light at the end of the tunnel

I didn’t get a blog post written for this week, because the rough draft of Thalia’s Musings 3 has been taking all my writerly energy. I’ve finished 13 of a proposed 16 chapters. The¬†book may actually be readable sometime this decade! So if you haven’t read volumes 1 and 2 in awhile, or at all, now’s a good time to catch up. Click here to read both volumes online for free, or here to purchase either volume for Kindle or NOOK. And now, back to writing!

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Random Musings on Thalia’s Musings

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~ I drafted a full chapter for Thalia’s Musings 3 last week. Ten down, six to go!

~ The Pirates of the Caribbean movie soundtracks can be great writing inspiration.

~ My Thalia’s Musings logo tests well in the three-year-old female demographic. Maybe I should use the blurb “I weally like dis ding!” on my next book cover.

~ I’m always impressed by particularly well-written action scenes in books, because I feel like film/tv is generally a more suitable medium for that kind of thing. In related news, I’m currently hating myself for plotting a novel that requires action scenes.

~ Aphrodite and Adonis had a daughter together in classical mythology. This is canon. One would think the daughter of the Ultimate Forces of Divine Hawtness would be a common subject for artists. Numerous searches on deviantART, Tumblr, Pinterest, and good old Google Images have indicated that this is not the case.

~ One thing I regret about my earlier volumes is putting Echo and Pan together. I did it for very personal reasons as a form of wish fulfillment. They would probably need therapy in real life. Echo should’ve ended up with Eustychus.

~ Not really.

Is “Princess” a Career?

Last week I blogged about my take on princess culture and why I don’t hate it. Apparently Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor saw my post and thought, “Hey, this sounds like a timely topic! I think I’ll go on national television and address the nation about it.” (A blogger can dream, right?)

Judge Sotomayor comes to Sesame Street to explain the word “career.” She describes “career” as “a job that you train for and prepare for and plan on doing for a long time.” Muppet child Abby Cadabby immediately says she wants a career as a princess. Judge Sotomayor gently breaks it to Abby that “pretending to be a princess is fun, but it is definitely not a career.” She tells Abby that real careers that a girl like Abby can train for in real life include “a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, and even a scientist.” In the end, Abby decides that when she grows up, she wants to follow Judge Sotomayor’s footsteps and earn a career as a judge.

So, what did a self-described lover of all things pink and purple and princessy think of this little PSA?

I loved it.

I loved the fact that Judge Sotomayor did affirm that pretending to be a princess is fun. It is fun (if you like that kind of thing), and it is just pretend. That’s why I don’t think it’s all that big of a deal for little girls to play princess any more than it is to play knights or dragons or zombies or space aliens or whatever. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that hard for kids to learn the difference between make-believe and reality. You can encourage imaginative play and still make sure children understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

Which is and isn’t what Judge Sotomayor did on Sesame Street. How many little girls or little boys are really going to grow up to become Supreme Court justices? You can only have nine at any given time, ¬†and one of them has to die or voluntarily resign for a spot to open up. So, in a way, Judge Sotomayor just replaced Abby’s completely unattainable fantasy with an almost completely unattainable fantasy.

And I love that.

A kid who’s capable of imagining herself as a fairy tale princess, something that’s not even real, is also a kid who’s capable of imagining herself as an engineer, a scientist, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, or a judge. Sure, her imaginings are probably as close to the real thing as her princess fantasies are to the life of The Lady Louise Windsor. But maybe as she grows up and she learns more things about the realities of those careers, she’ll keep the ability to imagine herself in them. The vision will change, but the power to believe it won’t.

When I was young enough for Sesame Street, I loved imagining I was a princess. And a dinosaur. And an alien. And a cowgirl. And a mermaid. And a fairy. And a Bedouin warrior. And a centaur. And an officer on the USS Enterprise. And Laura Ingalls Wilder. And¬†Sacajawea. But most of all, I loved imagining that when I grew up, I’d be able to take all of my imaginings and show them to the world.

Hey, what do you know? Playing pretend did turn into a career.