So it begins…

Summer! It’s here at last. The semester is over. My Cold of Doom is finally gone. And I’m back from what was meant to be my summer kick-off, a writing retreat in the Colorado Rockies.

So far, the summer’s been a little inauspicious. I was sick for most of the writing retreat (which didn’t prevent me from enjoying myself, but which was kind of a bummer). We’re facing down a long weekend of rain, rain, and more rain here in Brooklyn. And, as per usual, I seem to have packed the next few months so full of travel that I’ll probably have less time to write than I did during the semester. Silly me.

Next week a good friend of ours will be visiting us from Germany. Then it’s down to Philadelphia to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary (yay!). Then I go to Kansas City to spend some time doing work with my archaeology colleague at his campus. Then my mother-in-law is here for a week. Then we’re in Seattle for two. Whew. I’m getting tired just thinking about it! At the same time, I know it’ll be fun. I always ask, ‘why do I do this to myself’ and then I remember the answer (‘oh, right, I can’t help it!’). Plus, as of now, we’re not going anywhere for the whole of August. Which will be weird. And wonderful.

Anyway, if I can get writing done during the rush of the semester, I can squeeze some in during summer craziness too. I’m currently on the last editing pass for ABSENT, and have started drafting my query letter. That will be out the door very soon, happily. I got a lot of good worldbuilding and plot arc notes on my newest novel idea at the Colorado retreat, as well as some great discussions to resolve a few issues that have cropped up in PROJECT AWESOME. There is no shortage of work to be done. I’m feeling optimistic, though. As I prepare to send ABSENT out to agents, I can really see the improvements in my writing since the last novel I subbed. They are substantial and bridge everything from prose to structure to general confidence in my craft.

Maybe this will be the one.

Wait, who’s driving this thing?!

…oh, yeah, that’s me. Whoops. Sorry the bus exited the freeway, took the back roads, and ended up in a ditch with its wheels in the air. My bad.

Driver’s back now, though. Never fear.

I’ve been busy in my absence from the blog. In the category of YES FINALLY, I wrapped up edits on the latest (and hopefully last) major rewrite of my archaeological time travel novel, ABSENT, and shipped it off to my faithful and deeply awesome readers. That’s a huge burden lifted and frees me up to work on new projects. Yay! New projects 🙂

I have two short stories drafted that I’ve really been wanting to get back to and clean up. I’ve also got a lot of wonderful feedback on PROJECT AWESOME from PLIII that I want to incorporate so I can carry on with drafting.

Fortunately, my schedule is about to open up. This last Wednesday was my final day of classes and next Wednesday is the big day for final exams. Right now I’m buried under a pile of research papers and exams so deep I can’t see daylight. But a red pen and a bottle of wine should see me through. And then, soon, I will be released into that magical land known as Summer. I’ll eat mint gelato every day and dance in the park under a big moon and swim like a fish. Well, maybe not. Probably I’ll do a shitload of traveling, write as much as I possibly can, and try to re-acclimatize myself to NYC’s patented summer scent – the aroma of hot garbage.

Also on the horizon is a writing retreat with new friends and old in Colorado. I’m really looking forward to this one. We’ll be flying into Denver and taking a train deep into the mountains to some crazy little town with hot springs. Our hotel looks like it’s straight out of The Shining. Nine writers at a historic hotel in a backwoods town in the Colorado Rockies…what could possibly go wrong? 😉

Ha – that’s a good short story in the making!

Everybody says…

…that chocolate is the best cure for the blues.  Everybody knows, though, that the real answer is exercise.  I woke up in a remarkably black mood this morning, so I’m trying both.  I flung myself around on the treadmill at the YMCA until I was too tired to maintain a crabby attitude.  Now I’m sitting at my favorite neighborhood cafe with a steamy, frothy mug of hot chocolate.  The special alchemy of endorphins + chocolate + Friday seems to be working.

So, on to some writerly updates.

I’ve punched out about 7K this week on the second draft of my archaeological time travel novel ABSENT.  For me, this is heavy-duty progress and I feel about 80% confident I can make my self-imposed deadline of April 1st to finish the damn thing and send it off to my writing group.

I submitted a few short stories that had been on the back burner to various markets, which felt good.  I’ve really stopped writing short fiction lately (the two novels I’m cooking up are more than enough to be getting on with), but it’s nice to have the shorter-term gratification that comes with knowing you’ve got a few things out to market.

The other big project on the docket is plowing through approximately 80K of submissions for the writer’s retreat I’m attending in Dallas at the end of next week.  I’ve skimmed over almost everything and started in on a more thorough read-through of two of the subs.  There’s a wide range of material and it’s nice to get out of my own head for awhile and see what other people have been working on.  Still, it is a lot of words, so I’d better get serious…and soon.

In non-writerly news, “the upheaval” continues (and will no doubt do so for quite a while).  My attitude on the whole thing changes with the wind, but right now I’m hopeful some hail Mary passes sprinkled liberally with fairy dust may bring the whole situation to a happy conclusion.  More to follow.

On a more cheerful note, our downstairs neighbors finally moved in yesterday. We are no longer the sole occupants of the 4 unit Brownstone in which we live!  The new neighbors seem nice — charming even.  They appear to have sufficient fingers and toes about them and no sign of horns.  All in all, a very positive development.

Well, there’s lots of reading and writing to be done and my hot chocolate is getting cold.  If you feel so inclined, please share your recent writing goals, accomplishments, and plans in the comments.  It’s always nice to know what everyone else is up to — makes you feel less alone, you know?