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The Year That Was
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2008. It had some rough patches. The single worst week of my life to date took place this past March, when I found out our son had glaucoma, and that he needed surgery immediately -- specifically, on the same day we were moving all our possessions to a new apartment. The same week the starter in one of our cars died. The same week Heather got in a fender bender with a Frenchman. Etc. The kid has undergone multiple surgeries, and we've taken a financial hit from the attendant medical bills.

Other lowlights: our car was stolen (though we did get it back, only somewhat the worse for wear); my editor was laid off, which sucks both because it's bad news for a dear friend and colleague and because it puts the future of my fantasy series in doubt; and the publishing industry underwent severe upheavals as part of a larger economic meltdown that bodes rather ill. Even Wiscon, which is usually a source of great joy, was marred by the horrendous plague that had half the convention puking. I've probably had more anxiety, stress, and worry this year than in the past several years combined, and a lot of that anxiety is ongoing.

But, oh, the good things. Our son is healthy, glaucoma (and maybe asthma) aside, and is a source of constant ongoing joy. I had a couple of novels come out to generally good reviews. Sold some surprise audiobook rights, which paid enough for us to take a fiscally irresponsible but much-needed vacation to Maui. Somebody did fan art for one of my novels! We got to go to Santa Cruz to visit our friends a few times, most recently to meet their new baby. We went wine-tasting with some other dear friends (who have sadly moved away), and got gloriously drunk. A production company optioned my novel series, which led to some great meals with my producer (and more free money). Our baby mostly sleeps through the night. We had an awesome birthday party for Heather. I sold a bunch of stories, emptying my inventory (except for one story I wrote relatively recently). I wrote a couple books. I've gotten much better at cooking, and we're generally eating a lot healthier (partly because we're poor and can't afford as many meals out, of course). I had three different stories reprinted in year's best anthologies. I was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and a Seiun award. Wrote and sold a couple of cool essays, which is different for me, as I seldom write non-fiction for fun. Did a couple of pretty good readings, at SF in SF and Borderlands. Saw some of my books go back for multiple printings (first time that's ever happened). We did the final two issues of Flytrap (and ended the magazine on a high note, I think). We have a balcony, and a view of a lake. I have a great wife, and a life that revolves around love and art.

And now I keep thinking of more good things, but not that many more bad things -- not important ones at least. On measure, the good far outweighs the bad. And I'm heartened that even the hardest year of my life is still pretty good.

Enough reminiscence. Some 2008 stats:

Number of words written: 256,842. About 100,000 words of that is non-fiction freelancing. The rest is novels or stories. I don't count e-mails, blog posts, etc, just work that is (theoretically) going to be sold. It's about as many words as I wrote last year, and the year before, which is amazing, as this is my first full year with a baby.

Stories written: 5, though one was a short-short fundraiser prize: "On a Blade of Grass" (sold to Subterranean), "Unexpected Outcomes" (sold to Interzone), "A Steadfast Tin Soldier" (sold to Tumbarumba), "Rational Actors" (fundraiser prize); and "Origin Story" (still in circulation). I'm 6500 words into a story tentatively called "Troublesolving" but expect I'll be too drunk to finish it before the New Year turns.

Novels written: The last 60,000 words of Spell Games, and the entirety of The Nex.

Books read: Only 39. Really dismal compared to past years -- less than half as many as I read in 2006, and only two-thirds of what I read in 2007. Being a dad meant time had to come from somewhere, and since I can't afford for it to come out of writing, it came out of reading. I hope to do better next year.

And that's it! May this year be better than the last.

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