What I’m up to - December 2021
Well, that was a hell of a month (and year).
This is a cross-post from my current Now page.
As promised, I added a recurring task for doing this to my todo list and here we are! Systems work! Also, there’s… quite a lot to report since the last update.
- When I wrote last month’s update, I was reasonably sure the biggest writing thing I’d have for my next update would be that my short story Vegvísir was going to be published in Clarkesworld (It’s out now! Please read and listen).
- However, two days after that all happened, I got an email from one of the literary agents I have been querying and about a week and a half later, became an agented author. This has been an incredible few weeks as a result. It’s been amazing to become a small part of the wider publishing world, meet a tonne of new authors through Twitter and become a client of DHH Literary. My head is still spinning to be quite honest.
- It does mean my plan to write a bunch of short stories and outline the next novel have fallen slightly by the wayside, as now I’m preparing my novel to ‘go on sub’ - where my agent Harry Illingworth will send it out to editors. Harry gave me some great feedback on how the book could be made even better and I’ve spent the last three weeks or so working on that feedback, as well as incorporating feedback from beta readers and critique partners.
- It’s quite a different experience to work on a book when you know someone is waiting for it - the stakes have changed and, for me at least, I’ve found it has really reignited my excitement for it. The long break I had from reading The Burning Line while I was sending it out on query has also really helped me to re-read it somewhat objectively. And I’m very happy to find that I’m kind of enjoying it?
- Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer - I’m still working on this - it’s a big, dense book and I’m finding I need to be in the right mood to read it.
- Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey - The final book in the Expanse series and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ve been reading these books for ten years now and I’m very glad that they seem to be coming in hot for an excellent and satisfying conclusion. I’m a little sad that the book versions of the characters have mostly been supplanted in my head by the actors from the TV show, but I really enjoy how the two versions of the same story interact with one another. They’re both wonderful ‘mid-future’ SF for me and I can enjoy them as separate entities and as a wider cohesive universe.
- We’ve just had our second Christmas in the house in East Lothian and we got boostered two days before Christmas. With lateral flow tests before and after, that meant we were able to get together as a family for Christmas for the first time since 2019. It was really lovely. And I managed to get through my booster without the intense after-effects I got from the second dose.
- December is always a strange month for me - energy is at a low ebb, the working year is running down and I’m looking forward both to some time off, time with family and some rest. With working from home, I do feel a little less rundown than I normally would by this point in the year. It has been a real relief not to be cramming onto buses or trains, getting ill and walking to and from work in darkness. But I’m still tired.
- My writing routine means I get up pretty early and I’m not as good as I should be at going to bed early as well. Here in Scotland, it’s dark by about quarter to four in the afternoon at the moment. The shortest day is on Tuesday, so after that the days will gradually begin lengthening again, but January and February are still pretty cold and dark. However, I have fortified myself against the dark and cold with plenty of turkey, mince pies and ginger ale. And now we’re past the shortest day of the year.
- With what’s left of the year, it’s going to be all about finishing my edits and final pass on The Burning Line before I send it off to Harry early in the New Year, eating leftovers and taking lateral flow tests. You know, pandemic times.
- Aside from that I am engaging in some unstructured time - an opportunity to catch up on sleep, read some of my stacked-up books and articles and do a little writing.