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2003: The Year in Review

I'm mostly glad this year is almost over!

2003 was a year of hard work and transitions. Lots of transitions, from me being unemployed to employed back to being unemployed again, and for Elizabeth, finishing school and fieldwork and moving from one job to another, and trying to figure out where to go next. There was also some talk about babies, coming (somewhat, maybe) soon to a household near you.

The events of the past year have been hectic and hard on our nerves -- especially the world news, with the war, the crappy economy, the shuttle explosion, and other harsh stories -- but still, in retrospect, 2003 was still a fairly good year.

Elizabeth worked her butt off early in the year, finishing up her last year of grad school, resulting in her getting the Marlys Mitchell Pioneer award, one of only two awards given out at her graduation. Yeah, buddy, I am extremely proud of her, and she deserved the recognition. She's had some rough times since graduation with various jobs and simply adjusting to not working 24-7 on papers and research.

We've both had to adjust to having lives again, and it really hasn't been until the past few weeks (she took the last week and a half off from work) that I feel like we've really gotten to know each other again.

For me, I feel like I've spent most of the year with my head in the sand, working hard on my own writing. I've finally realized, at year's end, that there's more to life than writing non-stop, and I'm adjusting to that new perspective. At the same time, I also got to go to World Fantasy in DC and meet lots of cool folks and hang out with some of my favorite fellow writers. We also got to take some nice trips to the beach and had a great week in the mountains and fun week at the beach over Thanksgiving, so it wasn't all about writing writing writing this year.

And now, I'm actually looking forward to my new job (I have two very strong prospects, and will be starting soon) and being a productive member of society again.

I'll continue writing, of course, but I don't want it to consume so much of my time as it did this past year. I've pretty much taken the last month and a half off, and it's taken that long for me to realize this. And I think my writing will improve, as a result.

I did a so-so job of accomplishing my extremely unrealistic Goals for 2003 -- I didn't get into shape, though I did workout more; I fell WAY short of my 250,000 words for the year (did I say unrealistic?); I did work on novel revising a lot; I have a lead or two on agents; I didn't draft novel sequels or do research on other novels; didn't read the monthly magazines every month (unrealistic!); I DID write 12 stories (okay, some were short-shorts!); we did do lots of work on our yard; and I did sign up for a guitar class (next year)! Sheesh. My goals for 2004 will be much more realistic. I hope...

In any case, here's what I've accomplishd, writing-wise, this past year:
  • Drafted the final 1/2 of The Wannoshay Cycle, an SF novel.
  • Drafted Heart's Revenge, a paranormal romance novel.
  • Rewrote the final 1/3 of The Wannoshay Cycle.
  • Wrote 12 new stories:
    • "My People's Bugs"
    • "Helljack" with Tim Pratt
    • "California King" with Greg van Eekhout
    • "Shadow Wolf" with Derek James
    • "Ladies in Waiting"
    • "The Last Jack" (a screenplay) with Aaron Vanek
    • "My Son the Orc"
    • "A Game of Contact"
    • "54th Cabinet" (for the House with 87 Cabinets project)
    • "Devil on the Wind" with Jay Lake
    • "Just Another Scrag"
    • "72nd Cabinet"
  • Saw "Gunning for the Buddha," "The Deck," "The Disillusionist," "Riverrun Alley," "Helljack," and "Never, Incorporated" get published. (I also saw "Coal Ash and Sparrows" in Asimov's, but it's cover-dated 2004, so that goes on next year's list.)
  • Received 3 Honorable Mentions from Gardner Dozois in his Year's Best SF anthology and 3 Honorable Mentions for three other stories from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling in their Year's Best Fantasy and Horror anthology.
  • Edited and published the 'zine anthology Intracities, which includes some of my favorite short stories of the year, by some talented writers (also available through Project Pulp and soon from Clarkesworld Books).
  • Wrote 156,000 words (topping my 150,000 in '02)
  • Sold a short story collection, Gunning for the Buddha, to Prime Books!

Overall, quite a busy year. Next year, the focus is on novels.

So tell me, how was your year???

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