Monday, December 29, 2014

Year-End Survey for 2014

Here's my year-end survey to sum up a successful but exhausting year.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
  • Sold a short story (two, actually).
  • Got paid for nonfiction writing for the first time (sold a short piece to The Toast and got my advance for my book).
  • Saw my first book come out in hardcover, audio, and eBook. Wow!
  • Went to Canada.
  • Worked with an editor to prepare a book of mine for publication.
  • Was on live international television. Twice.
  • Spoke at three major universities, including Princeton, University of Virginia, and Ryerson.
  • Got a book release party.
  • Went on a road trip with my BFF to celebrate 20 years of friendship.
  • Participated on an author panel with two other authors.
  • Met two Internet writer friends in person--Jay and Ryan!
  • Went to Free Comic Book Day with Victor.
  • Joined a book club.
  • Made a piece of writing--gasp--LONGER at the request of an editor.
  • When I visited my grandparents with my sister and Ash in May, it was my first time participating in a gathering of four generations of my family.
  • Had my first "book event" with advance reading copies of my book, involving raffling off a few copies.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yes and yes. Last year I made a vague resolution to "read more and write more." I definitely read more! Last year I only finished 10 books. This year I read 40. (41 if you count the one I wrote. More than that if you count the stuff I beta-read.) And last year I only wrote one short story and completed writing no novels. I wrote about 40,000 words of my next book this year, wrote four short stories this year, and have written a ton of essays and articles and reviews and feedback for others.

I figure I will make my resolutions a little more specific for this year:

  1. I will finish writing two novels in 2015. Bad Fairy 2 will be first and my YA contemporary will be next.
  2. I will aim to sell at least two short stories in 2015.
  3. I will prioritize writing instead of putting it on the back burner behind pretty much literally everything else.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not really, but my two high school friends Aaron and Bryan had their sons Simon and Logan. They apparently enjoy being guys with ending-in-N names enough to do it to their kids. My old college pal Scott is a new daddy to daughter Mackenzie. Several acquaintances had babies too--Jessica welcomed baby Pandora, Kari welcomed baby Porter, and Sarah welcomed baby August.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. My sister's dog Pork Chop died if that counts.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

How about a three-book deal from a major publisher? ;)

I would also like more serious dedication to my writing, because even with everything I got done, I felt like I slacked. I need to be more proactive in scheduling my time and quit living my life like I'm putting out fires.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

  • April 4: Daddy's sixtieth birthday.
  • May 5: Began writing Bad Fairy's sequel.
  • May 19: Sold my short story "Your Terms."
  • May 24: Sold my short story "Her Mother's Child."
  • May 30: My baby sister Lindsay got married. I was a bridesmaid.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Riding the wave of getting published on top of Pitch Wars without going under. I cranked out 60,000 words of feedback to the Pitch Wars entrants and critiqued two sets of query letters, pitches, and novel material. And I completed my edits for the published book pretty much like a boss, thank you, and got it reviewed/featured in some sort of terrifyingly big publications (the New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, Library Journal, Salon, and Marie Claire come to mind). I'm really proud of having continued to churn out content for everything, too--running four blogs with up-to-date content, making new YouTube videos for both my channels once a month, reviewing a book almost every week, and keeping up to date with my weekly webcomic and my monthly webcomic without missing any updates.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Flailing a lot during the second half of 2014. I couldn't handle things that I usually can handle, like planning/executing a Halloween party or attending events I otherwise would have attended. I didn't want to plan anything for my release (so my release party was a surprise party planned by others), and I didn't write on my long fiction project during this time. Free-floating anxiety isn't a nice thing.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

If you count being sick all year with the same thing and I still don't know what it is! I might have made some progress in figuring out it's some kind of inflammation because anti-inflammatory medicine makes it go away, but after two X-rays, two ultrasounds, and a CT scan led to no diagnosis at all, I am not really sure what to do next.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My new video camera. It makes the process of uploading and preparing videos SO much nicer and simpler.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

  • Mandy, for being so amazing with her Community CafĂ©.
  • Jay, for pulling the trigger on his decision to self-publish and coming up with a truly worthwhile product.
  • Victor, for having the courage to go forward in his relationship and move in with his girlfriend.
  • Patricia and Yusuke, whose first year of parenthood has required massive upheavals that they have handled with incredible grace.
  • Whitney, who signed with an agent this year.
  • Lindsay and Mike, who pulled off a pretty excellent Star Wars wedding and have now entered the world of married life.
  • Heather, who sent her first query letters this year and is deep in the trenches looking for her perfect match agent match for a fantastic YA sci-fi.
  • My dear old college roommate John, who won another Tony this year.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I won't name specific people, but . . .

  • Frigging upstairs neighbors who can't be considerate of who lives below them.
  • Disgusting, horrible racists whose attitudes have led directly to loss of life and perpetuate a system that blames victims without punishing aggressors.
  • People who limited the rights of LGBT people and caused violence against them.
  • All the people who reacted to my asexuality activism with threats of violence and condescending lectures about my obligation to try to change my orientation.
  • Selfish people whose fixation on their own worlds limited their ability to see the big picture.
  • People who claim to support freedom of speech if a speaker echoes their beliefs, but support censorship if the speaker says something they disagree with.
  • Rapists and rape apologists who think they're being reasonable and logical when they harass, bully, attack, and shame victims of assault.
14. Where did most of your money go?

Most of my money went where it always goes: rent. Besides that and my other bills, my big expenses were traveling to Toronto (though bro-in-law Yusuke let me use his frequent flyer miles for the airline ticket!), lending other people money, vacationing with Meghan twice (road trip and Disney), paying the fees on the book contests I entered, gifts for others, and, you know, books.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Full manuscript requests from several dream publishers. Receiving sensitive, gently critical reviews from clued-up people in my community. All my publishing milestones (getting an advance check, seeing the cover, receiving ARCs, opening my box of hardbacks, finding out I'm going to paperback next year, finding out I hit reprints). Manuscript requests for my critique partners. Selling short stories. Incredible compassion in queer activism. Cuddling my nephew. Celebrating 20 years of friendship with Meg. Victor deciding to date Tia.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

"All of Me" by John Legend.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?

A little sadder.

ii. thinner or fatter?

Pretty sure I'm way fatter. But I seem to say that every year and I haven't had to buy new clothes yet.

iii. richer or poorer?


18. What do you wish you'd done more of?


19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Reading inconsequential things online while procrastinating. And getting rejected by magazines.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I went to my mom's for a super excellent breakfast-for-dinner. I brought Jeaux, and besides my mom, my sisters and their husbands were there, plus little baby Ash. We ate the food and shared fun drinks, and had a fire in the fireplace, and exchanged gifts.

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?

More than likely it will be at my mom's playing games and eating ice cream with my family.

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?

I fell in love with a few books.

23. How many one-night stands?

Who asks that? Furthermore, who asks ME that?

24. What was your favorite TV program?

The Legend of Korra, no contest.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Hate isn't the word I'd use. I'm afraid there are a few people I had to stop engaging to preserve my mental health, though, and their behavior was very disappointing.

26. What was the best book you read this year?

Oh God, tough call--might be a tie between Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park, Jaclyn Moriarty's The Ghosts of Ashbury High, and Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas. If I had to pick just one, I'm going with Rainbow.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Rachael Leahcar.

28. What did you want and get?

Published. Nahaha. Was pleasantly surprised to sell two short stories as well.

29. What did you want and not get?

Obviously . . . a book deal for fiction. And I didn't get to go to a writing conference. :(

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Pacific Rim. I didn't see it when it came out, but Victor and I watched it earlier this year and it was about what I'd hoped for.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 36 while on the world's most amazing road trip with Meghan. We drove up to freaking Charleston and ate cake at an Olive Garden sometime after 10 PM.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Writing a book, selling a book, and not being sick. Also, lots of people not being dead.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Sweatpants o'clock.

34. What kept you sane?

My communities (the writing community, the asexual community) supporting me when I felt crappy and rewarding me every time I excelled.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don't "fancy" people, but I did squee a little when Janet Varney tweeted at me and Andrew Smith followed me on Twitter. (Janet does Korra's voice. She said she might have me on her podcast sometime but it hasn't happened and maybe she forgot. Andrew writes books I like. He followed me after I made a reference to his books on my feed.)

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

I probably became the most emotional over #blacklivesmatter, but was also very invested in trans rights, asexual visibility, and the various terrible displays of bullcrap put forth by promiscuity shamers, rape apologists, and sexists.

37. Who did you miss?

A few of my pals whom I really haven't seen this year because I was busy and so were they. If I had to name names I think I'd be here all night.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Pitch Wars pals, both mentees and other mentors.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Everyone being impressed by how prolific I am isn't the same as actually being satisfied with my output. I need to focus on what matters most to me.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

"When I close my eyes, I am at the center of the sun, and I cannot be hurt by anything this wicked world has done."


  1. Wowww. What a busy year O.O And I love your resolution of writing two books in 2015 :D partially because it'd be cool if I could beta read them, and partially because it reminded me of my own 2015 resolution. I'm gonna try to revise two novels since editing is the hardest thing for me. I wish us both luck ^^

    1. Yes, super busy year! Yes, I'd be glad to let you beta read. I think we talked about your interest in Bad Fairy 2, and the next one, well, who knows what direction it will take, but it's a YA contemporary with an asexual protagonist. :) Good luck revising those novels! It's a rough road.