345,028 is the pin code for a post office in Askandra, Jaisalmer District, Rajasthan, India. #345028 is also the hexadecimal color for a lovely shade of evergreen. US345028 is the patent number for Thaddeus Cahill’s keyed organ. And 345,028 is the number of words I wrote in 2015, fictionwise, not counting blog posts, Cooking the Books, a certain cookbook, and other writing.
I’ve been chronicling my wordcount using an excel sheet developed by Christie Yant. Last year, my goal was to write better words, and to learn more about my craft. That’s absolutely happened. Other things have happened too – here are a few of them, compiled in quasi-quantitative fashion, to try and get a grip on the year that was 2015.
I published my shortest story and my longest this year. The shortest was the 250-word retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice via GPS directions, “You Are Two Point Three Meters from Your Destination,“ in Uncanny Magazine. “How to Walk Through Historic Graveyards in the Digital Age,” in Asimov’s, “The Ghost Tide Chantey” at Tor.com, and “Bent the Wing, Dark the Cloud,” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies round out the year.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing editors this year, including Michael & Lynne Thomas, Sheila Williams, Scott Andrews, Miriam Weinberg, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
Cat Rambo and I co-edited Ad Astra: the 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook, which is still going strong in support of the SFWA Legal Fund. Also, the contents are delicious. Except for the Elf BBQ. I have questions about that one… though it might be great for Kansas City’s Worldcon next year. hmmm.
I served on the SFWA elections committee, and have agreed to continue working with the elections committee in the coming year.
I also participated in the first Uncanny Cabin kickstarter retreat and debacle. Which was awesome.
Updraft was published on September 1, 2015. I keep trying to write words to summarize this part of my year, and I can’t, so I’m simply going to say thank you. Thank you for reading, supporting, reviewing, sharing, hosting, drawing, cooking, and being on this road with me.
And keep an eye out for my novella The Jewel and Her Lapidary, coming from Tor.com publishing in late May.
A fair few articles and posts related to Updraft are here. Meantime, I also wrote critical pieces, cultural pieces, and interviewed other authors throughout the year. Among my favorite nonfiction pieces are this Washington Post essay and this Tor.com crossed-universe piece. Among the latter are my interview with Elizabeth Bear for SF Signal, an interview I did with Ann Leckie for GeekMom, and the entirety of the 2015 Cooking the Books Season. (Much of which is now subscribable on iTunes!) And the new Book Bites!
I gave readings and spoke on panels at conferences and events throughout 2015, read at KGB Fantastic Fiction in New York (scroll down for audio), and I also lectured at University of Delaware and The Library of Congress. I’ll continue this in 2016 with a guest writer lecture at University of Richmond, staffing the Paradise Lost workshop, and being an invited guest at Vericon 2016.
I had the honor of defacing the covers of several amazing books out in 2015, or coming in 2016 & 2017. These include Matt Kressel’s King of Shards; Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night; Emily Foster’s The Drowning Eyes (2016); Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning (2016); and Lara Elena Donnelley’s Amberlough (2017).
Most importantly, I’ve met so many people I am delighted to know and call friends; I’ve had amazing meals and conversations; I’ve begun and continued correspondences with so many people who make me think, and who support others in vibrant ways.
And in the meantime, I’ve tried to keep my promises, make my words and my actions match, and stay true to the friendships and connections I’ve made over the years. This is a long journey, and I’m learning so much. I don’t ever want to stop learning.
For 2016, I want to finish some things I’ve started, and to begin other things. I want to write harder and better. And I want to keep my eyes on the horizon.
What about you?