362,654 – for some reason, there seems to be no US patent for this number that I can find. Maybe it’s pending. (In past years, I’ve done a patent search on my word count because sometimes it’s really cool what comes up.) If you can find me a good replacement, send me a link and I’ll do a random draw for a book-related-thing.
Still! #362,654 is the hexadecimal color for a fine shade of purple.
It may also be the number of things that went wrong this year, but I’m scared to count.
And is the number of words I wrote in 2016, fictionwise, not counting blog posts, Cooking the Books (a whole lot of podcasts, and more to come this year after a short OMGWTF2016 hiatus), Book Bites, and nonfiction essays for Clarkesworld and the Washington Post.
The Locus interview happened when they gave me a ton of coffee and turned the tape recorder on, so that doesn’t really count either (seriously that I generated a lot of words out of my mouth because of that.)
I’ve been chronicling my wordcount using a google writers’ tools xls sheet developed by Christie Yant. Last year, my goal was to write better words, and to learn more about my craft, the year before too. 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 mess that was 2016.
I was a featured guest at Harvard’s Vericon, which was excellent, a Writer in Residence at University of Richmond, and the Compton Crook Guest of Honor at Balticon50, which was incredible. I taught at Paradise Lost, along with the marvelous Walter Jon Williams, Jaye Wells, and Ken Scholes. I was also a guest reader and panelist at Boskone, ICFA, Nebula Weekend, Readercon, Worldcon, Dragoncon and World Fantasy Columbus. I had a great singing at NYCC. Visited bookstores including Barnes & Noble Rittenhouse, Volumes Bookcafe, Books of Wonder, and Pandemonium Books. That’s a lot of traveling but it’s always worth it because I get to reconnect with friends and colleagues. Some dear friends got married in there too and I was honored to be there and sing at them.
Updraft won The Andre Norton Award and the Compton Crook Award and was nominated for a Nebula and a Dragon. That was really cool. I totally didn’t have a speech. John Scalzi took some badass photos.
I began working with a new agent – Barry Goldblatt – and it feels really right, you guys. I’ll probably write more about that at some point.
Cloudbound and “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” both came out (that was awesome), as well as two other short stories – “The Thousandth Cycle,” in After the Fall, and “Only their Shining Beauty Was Left,” in Shimmer. Lightspeed reprinted “A Moment of Gravity Circumscribed.” Rich Horton recommended “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” in Locus (my first!), and it was named an LA Public Library best book of 2016. “Only their Shining Beauty was Left” was picked up for Paula Guran’s 2016 Years’ Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. (And these reviews, especially from Locus, Library Journal, and especially especially Lightspeed for Cloudbound are <3)
I made some cupcakes. Some had Chuck Wendig’s face on them.
Maia wore this amazing Cloudbound themed outfit to my reading at Volumes in Chicago. (And Lauren brought me a crocheted littlemouth!)
My friend Raq made an amazing game to go with Cloudbound and Updraft – we playtested it at Pandemonium Games in October.
I sold a new story to Tor.com, called “An Explorer’s Cartography of Already Settled Lands,” and wrote a couple of anthology stories that will be revealed soon. And I got to work with the amazing Serial Box team for The Witch Who Came In From The Cold on a guest episode for Season Two.
Most and best, I finished Horizon, the final book in the Bone Universe trilogy [YES you can preorder!]. That’s making its way to you for September 2017! (I’ve also finished or near-finished two other things shhhh.)
But this was a very tough year too, for lots of reasons, and I spent a lot of time finding my way, holding on, learning a lot about my own strengths in the process, writing poems — shockingly– and connecting with my local community regarding ways to strengthen and move forward.
In the coming year, I’m going to be teaching a lot more, mentoring debut authors, traveling some, reaching out politically, and writing a lot. I’m also collaborating with Mighty Writers – on workshops and book clubs. Here’s the Mighty Writers mission statement:
The mission of Mighty Writers (MW) is to teach Philadelphia kids ages 7 to 17 to think and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work and in life.
I love this. You’ll be hearing more from me about that too!
So, that’s the rundown. I know I forgot a lot of things. At the end of the day, words matter and I need to go make some new ones. Sending you strength and fierce hugs for the year ahead.
What about you? What will you make?