December 29th, 2006

A Year in Summary

The speculative industry is great.  I love it.  But it's also a harsh mistress.  Trying to climb the ladder of the speculative world is like climbing a mountain.  It can be exhilerating, but more often it's downright frustrating, exhausting, and on occasion it's even depressing.  But I stick with it, as do many.  Why?  When you consider the odds we're up against insanity certainly factors into the equation.  But mostly we keep fighting because of the love.  Love knows no percentages.  Right?

Right.  But love can certainly use a little reinforcement every so often.  So I'm doing a Year's Summary for me to provide a little fuel for next year's fire.  So let's have at it.

This was actually my most successful year to date in terms of speculative accomplishments.  On the editorial front, I saw stories I fished out of the slush reach print for the first time, 9 of them all told.  A lot of these stories went on to receive praise or notice, and one of them, Sarah Totton's "A Fish Story," was purchased for Rich Horton's FANTASY: BEST OF THE YEAR anthology for 2006.  The year 2006 also saw me fish out 5 stories from our slush piles (although I started working at Realms of Fantasy in May 05, so I'll be more curious to see how many stories I discover between June 06-May 07, another full calendar year if you will).  This year also saw me discover two stories by two previously unpublished writers, David Pinault & Elizabeth Glover.  In addition to my duties as assistant editor with the magazine, I also snagged a promotion of sorts as one of the magazine's web editors for our web site (and stay tuned for more news regarding this position in 2007!)

On the convention front, I went to five conventions this year, a personal record, and sat on panels for the first time.  I also taught at a writer's workshop for the first time and on a separate occasion I lectured on the craft of writing to a college class with a couple of my fellow editors.  I also did my first appearance on a speculative radio station, host Jim Freund's "Hour of the Wolf," where, with John Joseph Adams, I discussed my work as an editor.  All this has been great for networking purposes and just plain getting my name out there.  Blogs are good for this too, and I also started my blog this year, which tends to focus on my speculative wheelings and dealings.  Quite honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I started blogging.  It's great having you guys tune in and read my ramblings.  I plan to keep this up for a while yet.

Then we come to the writing.  Not much to write about, but the good news is that there is something to write about.  In the non-fiction department, I wrote my first review of a fantasy novel and saw it published in Paradox Magazine, run by Publisher/Editor, Christopher Cevasco.  I also had my first story accepted for publication this year, a dark fantasy novelette called "Feelings of the Flesh."  Not only is it gratifying to know my work will be printed (yup, still waiting at this point), but it's a great feeling to know my first sale is coming with Interzone Magazine, which is a very respectable venue.  Nice way to break in.  Short term, this is the most gratifying accomplishment of 2006.  Long term, however, I anticipate my most gratifying accomplishment being that I landed myself an agent, one Jenny Rappaport of the L. Perkins Agency.  Considering that my credentials aren't quite impressive as some (although the editorial accomplishments certainly help), I consider this a testament to networking and hard work.  Also doesn't hurt that Jenny likes my writing. ;)

So that's pretty much it.  There's other stuff that I'm still waiting to learn about--some of it potentially big stuff--but if it hasn't happened yet then it doesn't count.  Same thing goes for rewrite requests, etc.  All well and good, but I just wanted to focus on real tangible progress, stuff I could point to and say, "I did this and here are the results." 

And you know what?  There may be a lot of mountain left to climb, but 2006 wasn't half bad.  Onward to 2007.  I hope everyone else had a productive 2006, writing, editing, and otherwise.

Happy New Year guys.