Monthly Archives: December 2018

2018 reading: some thoughts

I’m finishing up The Golden Compass tonight, and I doubt I’ll get through another book before Jan 1, so it’s time to look back on the year’s reading.

Overall, it was a good year. A very good year. 43 books (with a target of 40, but some of these are pretty short, so I consider it a wash).

According to Goodreads, I awarded 5 stars to 29 books, and 4 stars to another 13. Only one novel, Very Hard Choices, was something of a disappointment and earned 3 stars.

I read from a number of series. Some of my favorites:

  • The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne) Cole, Myke
  • Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire) Lee, Yoon Ha
  • The Collapsing Empire  (The Interdependency) Scalzi, John
  • Foundryside (Founders) Bennett, Robert Jackson
  • The Moons of Barsk (Barsk) Schoen, Lawrence M.
  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars (Lady Astronaut series) Kowal, Mary Robinette
  • Revenger (Revenger) Reynolds, Alastair
  • Annihilation (Southern Reach) VanderMeer, Jeff
  • The Night Masquerade (Binti) Okorafor, Nnedi
  • All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries) – Wells, Martha
  • Hymn: The Final Volume of the Psalms of Isaak – Scholes, Ken
  • The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) Pullman, Philip

For beautiful prose, check out:

  • In the Vanishers’ Palace – Bodard, Aliette de
  • Forest of Memory  – Kowal, Mary Robinette

Noteworthy standalones:

  • Sea of Rust – Cargill, C. Robert
  • The Prey of Gods – Drayden, Nicky

Weird and wonderful!

  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach – Robson, Kelly
  • Blackfish City – Miller, Sam J.
  • Space Opera – Valente, Catherynne

Craft & miscellany:

  • Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative – Wendig, Chuck
  • Roger Zelazny – Krulik, Theodore
  • The Ides of Octember: A Pictorial Bibliography of Roger Zelazny – Kovacs, Christopher

My TBR shelf is still — unsurprisingly – full, and many delights await on my Kindle library as well. I have no doubt next year will be a bounty of favorite authors and new voices.

Looking forward to it.

Winter Solstice 2018 – Writing numbers

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

— Thomas Mann, novelist, Nobel laureate (1875-1955)

The calendar year is almost over, so I’m pretty confident there won’t be any last-minute submission, rejections, or sales. (If a seasonal miracle occurs, I’ll be sure to update this.)

This was a slower year for me, writing-wise. I was very focused on getting a new job (which happened), helping my spouse with her business, and dealing with family drama and new kittens.

Since I sold a decent number of stories last year, the available pool was greatly reduced, and my usual writing getaway didn’t come together. That resulted in fewer new stories seeking their fortunes.

2018 Submission Grinder stats:

New things

  • “The Last Feast of Silas the Wizard” (short)
  • “The Last Good Shoppe” (short)
  • “Jazmin’s Diary” (micro fiction)
  • “Burial Detail” (flash)
  • “Seven Cups of Landfall” (poem!)

Total number of submissions: 18


  • “Just Another Night on Telegraph” – Factor Four Magazine
  • “Supply and Demand Among the Sidhe” –  Strange Economics
  • “The Carpetbaggers Ball” – Stupefying Stories

Pending response: 5 (1 in second review)

Works in progress:

  • Short stories: N + 3
  • Novella: 1