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Let It Be Resolved
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Now, as I do each year, I'll look back on this past year's resolutions, and see what I accomplished.

  • Be nicer to my body. [I lost about fifteen pounds this year, and seem to be on track to keeping it off. I'm also starting to exercise regularly, but more about that later. This one needs more work, as always.]

  • Keep in better touch with my family. [I visited my relatives this year, which helped a lot. I feel pretty good about family stuff this year, actually."]

  • Write better stories. [This year I wrote "Komodo" and "Dream Engine", two of my best stories, which are still looking for a home. I did a collab with Greg and Mike, "Gillian Underground," which turned out quite well, and is still circulating. I wrote and sold "Life in Stone", which a lot of people seem to think is one of the best things I've done. I finally wrote my alternate video-store story, and am on track to finish the Rangergirl spin-off story tonight. Yeah, I did well on this resolution, but it's one I make each year all the same.]

  • Sell more stories. [Nope! Sold fewer stories this year than last year, by a long way. But I think this is, in hindsight, rather a stupid resolution, and I'll be dropping it next year. At this point I'd rather sell two great stories to excellent markets than ten mediocre stories to mediocre markets.]

  • Take my poetry more seriously. [I created a book of poetry, and submitted to the Yale Younger Poets contest, which is a step in the right direction.]

  • Put out two issues of Flytrap. [Did it! And on time!]

  • Sell Rangergirl. [Yes, thanks to the efforts of my agent Ginger and the good taste of my editor Juliet, Rangergirl found a home.]

  • Become a more versatile cook, and cook more often. [I made some chili! I did cook more, but we still eat out too often. We'd save a lot of money if we cooked more, so this one needs work.]

  • Finish unpacking the millions of boxes in our house, and organize things in general. [Much to my astonisment and dismay, we still have unpacked boxes, but we're farther along than we were last year]

  • Write a story a month. [Ha! It is to laugh. I spent a lot of time revising Rangergirl and working on the Frog novel, though.]

  • Write joyfully. [Yes.]

  • Finish the draft of the Frog novel, get some critiques, and show it to my agent. [Done! And early in 2005 I expect to revise it.]

  • Become less haphazard in the management of my money. [I paid off one credit card, though the other will take some doing to pay off. I'm better off financially, but only because my income increased by about a third, not because I'm much more responsible. I was better about keeping receipts and such this year]

To do in 2005 (not counting resolutions above that require ongoing effort):

  • Get married!

  • Start running in the mornings. (I've already started this. I used to run in the mornings, and it worked well for me. Now I live in a neighborhood that's nice enough to run in, so I decided to take it up anew.)

  • Sell another novel.

  • Write the Bridge novel.

That'll do!

***

Now, a look back.

Writingwise: I sold and revised my first novel; finished writing novel Blood Engines; sold "In a Glass Casket", "Hart and Boot", "Bottom Feeding" (my first sale to Asimov's!), and collaboration "Blind Date"; sold poems "Intermittence", "Diminishing", and "Other Altars of the Heart"; wrote and sold poems "Soul Searching" and "Making Monsters"; wrote and sold an erotica story (pseudonymously, many months ago, and no, I won't tell you what or where or under what name); wrote and sold stories "Life in Stone" and "Eros and Thanatos"; wrote "Komodo", "Impossible Dreams", "Dream Engine", "Bluebeard and the White Buffalo", and co-wrote "Gillian Underground" (haven't sold any of them yet); had a story reprinted in The Year's Best Fantasy and another in a Mammoth Book anthology; compiled a poetry collection, Other Altars of the Heart, and submitted it; wrote an essay about Dean Koontz for pretty good money; wrote some reviews and lots of obits and news stories for A Certain Magazine. No idea how many words I wrote this year. Didn't keep track at all. Decided keeping track of raw word count was kind of silly, though as you can see, I still obsessively keep track of other things.

***

Various milestones and notable events, in no particular order: I had my first book signing; quit editing Star*Line; suffered a catastrophic computer crash; published two issues of Flytrap and a holiday chapbook; my ferret died; my preying mantis died; I went to Hidden City; visited North Carolina; joined a writing group; got a haircut, an iPod, and an Xbox; made it onto the Campbell ballot; got shortlisted for a Spectrum award; got third place in both the review and story categories of the Strange Horizons reader survey; helped throw a bachelor party; read poetry at my best friend's wedding; got a film agent; was promoted to associate editor at A Certain Magazine; ate Carolina barbecue for the first time in years; lost our dreadful landlord; got a new good landlord; met many many cool writers; met my agent and editor in person; babysat my nephew; started planning our wedding; went to Boston for the first time; got stories reprinted on Fictionwise.com; visited Santa Cruz (though not often enough); spent many a wonderful evening with my wonderful fiancée, Heather.

***

I kept (somewhat haphazard) track of the books I read this year, and here they are, again in no particular order. Not sure why I'm listing this, but I find it interesting when other people list the books they've read in a year, so why not? No foul for skipping this if you find it tedious!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

A Hat Full of Sky and Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (both among his best)

Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow

Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost

In the Night Room by Peter Straub (brilliant)

Kingdom Come by Alex Ross

many issues of Y: The Last Man, Lucifer, Optic Nerve, Fables, Global Frequency, Tom Strong, and the last issues of Transmetropolitan, by various authors

Lunatics by Bradley Denton (good, but no Blackburn)

Iron Council by China Miéville

Perfect Circle by Sean Stewart (one of my favorites all year)

Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower by Stephen King (uneven climax to a great series)

Glass Soup by Jonathan Carroll

The Fourth Circle by Zoran Živković (great first novel)

Use Once, then Destroy by Conrad Williams

Songs of Leaving by Peter Crowther

The Briar King and The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes (great series)

The Light Ages by Ian MacLeod

Accelerando by Charles Stross

Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Trash Sex Magic by Jennifer Stevenson

One King, One Soldier by Alex Irvine

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke (beautiful)

Broken Angels by Richard Morgan

Set this House in Order by Matt Ruff (best book I read all year)

Phases of the Moon by Robert Silverberg

The Speed of the Dark by Elizabeth Moon (a triumph of point-of-view)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Murder of Angels by Caitlín R. Kiernan

McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, edited by Michael Chabon (uneven, but worthwhile)

The Faery Reel, edited by Datlow and Windling (best anthology of the year)

Lies and Ugliness by Brian Hodge

Ghosts of Yesterday by Jack Cady

The Course of the Heart by M. John Harrison (big influence on the Bridge novel I'm about to dive back into)

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (wonderful!)

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Highsmith

Maul by Tricia Sullivan

The Year's Best Fantasy, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Year's Best Science Fiction, and Science Fiction: The Best of 2003 by various editors

The Cat's Pajamas by James Morrow

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (great point-of-view)

Polyphony 4 edited by Layne & Lake

The Rose in Twelve Petals by Theodora Goss

Limekiller by Avram Davidson

Quin's Shanghai Circus by Edward Whittemore (great characters)

Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer

Mortal Love by Elizabeth Hand

Abarat II by Clive Barker (better than the first one)

Triads by Brite & Faust

Anagrams by Lorrie Moore

Naked, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

The Knight by Gene Wolfe

The Complete Far Side by Gary Larson

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Many many books by P.G. Wodehouse.

That's all the titles I wrote down, and doesn't include various chapbooks (like the latest Ratbastards chapbook, Richard Butner's collection, etc.), 'zines, magazines, stories online, the magazines, etc., which I also read, but which I wasn't quite obsessive enough to track. I also read Sonya Taaffe's upcoming collection Singing Innocence and Experience, Chris Barzak's awesome novel, and Greg van Eekhout's awesome novel. I probably forgot to write down some books I read, and I re-read a few old favorites this year, but this is a reasonably complete list.

***

That's enough self-indulgence. At least until I do the next Tropism Awards in a week or so...



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