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"Something is wrong," Snoopy said to Woodstock as he sat at his typewriter one day. "I've been writing for such a long time, and I'm not famous yet. I think it's time to write something really important. I just wish I could think of something really important."
- Mood: artistic
So, Mom and I have been planning on getting Harry a brother or sister from the same litter, and we put a deposit down for a puppy from a litter that's to be born later this month. Well, the breeder called yesterday and she has an 8 week old male from a litter that's going home today. The original buyers couldn't take him anymore, so he's available again. Since we're the next people on her list, that means he's ours if we want him! Of course we do!
We can't take him home today because 1) the house isn't puppy ready and 2) Mom is leaving for Chicago next week, and with my crazy work schedule I can't look after a puppy alone (too many long hours until this job ends). So we're going to take him home in two weeks. But today we're going out to see him! And Harry gets to come and see his family!
While we would've been the first people to pick from the upcoming litter, and that would've been cool, it doesn't matter as much as the fact that we're getting a new puppy this month! We got Harry in a similar way- the original buyers could no longer take him - so maybe it's just meant to be that we're getting this little fuzzball.
And, better yet, culf and her sister are visiting me right now, so they get to go see puppies, too! Yay puppies!
So, on the job-front, things are alright, which is good because I got two more short story rejections this month, both from paying markets. Sigh. I got really close to selling the one story. It made it to the final 70 stories from the several hundred they got, and in the end wasn't rejected on quality (according to them) but the available space they had in the anthology. I really liked that press, though, and they had a really great, open submission process, so I'll be submitting to them again whenever they are accepting submissions, again. I resubmitted both anthologies to other paying markets already, so now I have four short stories total out there.
I'm debating what I want to do about finding representation or publication for the completed novel. What I'd really like to do is wait until I sell one of my horror short stories so that I can become an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association and be able to state that in my query letters. But, on the other hand, I don't know how long it will take to sell one of my short stories and, once I do and can join the HWA, that opens me up to their directory and mentorship program, so why not query some agents now and then have access to other connections once I am a HWA member? I'm thinking I'm going to wait and see if either of my two horror stories sell to the publications their with now. If one of them does, great. If not, I'll add querying agents back into my routine even without the HWA membership.
In other life planning plans, I've decided my focus for the next year (or so) will be moving back to NYC. Alas, moving back to London within the next couple of years, isn't realistic because I'm not in banking and jobs in my field are so competitive and I need to get more experience (especially for academic postings).
But New York doesn't require me to get a visa. I have friends there, I know the city, and I have family in relatively close distance, so the support network is there. What I need is the right job. I've been looking at job postings, and in a year I'll have enough experience to apply for jobs as assistant director for writing centers or learning centers, or other academic jobs in my area. Since I can support myself as long as I need to with the community college job, ghostwriting and this summer teaching job (which I can keep doing every summer if I want to), there's no rush for me to find a job in NYC (even if I really want to move back there as soon as possible.)
So, that's life. Still working on the next novel (just over 40K words in the first draft), and I'm working on two new short stories. Now if only I could sell some of the that writing...
- Mood: hopeful
Jobs - I have them! Now, I haven't gotten any work for the tutoring company that hired me as an independent contractor, but that's what I expected since most people now are looking for test prep tutors, which I am not. When college admissions essay time rolls around this fall, that's when I should get some people. If I don't then, I may consider this a bust.
This isn't too much of a worry because I have a full time job for the summer! A real, proper job sort of in my area. I'll be teaching reading for all age levels including adults. So my official title is actually teacher and I get to run classes by myself like a proper grown up. My training is fully paid, and I'll even get paid for my daily travel expenses. So, I'm set for the summer.
And I've got a job for the fall. It's only part-time and the hourly salary isn't the greatest, but it's as a writing tutor at a local community college, which is the kind of job I've been hoping to get since I got back. In addition to tutoring, I'll be able to lead my workshops, participate in online writing services, and work with professors and their classes. They seem really nice and happy to work for and are looking for people that like to take their own initiative and get really involved. So it's not just showing up, tutoring some, and leaving. They've even had many of their tutors become adjunct professors and asked me if that's something I'd be interested in and I had to restrain myself from shouting, "Hell, yes!" and reply with a more composed, "Absolutely."
So that'll overlap with the summer job a little. I'm hoping the independent contractor tutoring will pick up about the same time, which would make up for the part-time hours. But even so, the job will get me excellent experience for a full-time position somewhere.
And there's one more thing - I'm getting paid to ghostwrite. Actually hired for writing, which is exciting. I know some writers shun ghostwriting like its the plague, but there can be good money in it and it's legitimate experience for teaching jobs. I'm helping some people with their autobiographies for their own personal use, is all, and it's really interesting.
So, that's the job news. I know I'll have work for the rest of the year. I don't know how exactly the fall will go, if I'll need to look for more work to supplement the part-time job, but for now, I don't need to job search, which is a really strange feeling.
In other writing news, I'm going to be in another print anthology! The publisher that printed my last story wants two of my stories for a new anthology coming out later this year. And for this one, I'm actually going to get royalties. Not a lot because it's a small, independent press that doesn't make a lot themselves, but I'll get something, if people buy. It'll probably work out to about $2 every six months, but hey, it'll be money for my own work. That counts!
I got two other rejections for two different stories which I've since resubmitted elsewhere, and am working on a new story for a specific anthology I want to submit to. No word from the two agents who have the novel, but I know they'll respond to the producer who gave it to them whether it's a no or not. So right now I'm just going by the ol' no news is good news.
I think that's all the news. Life is still going uphill since February, so I'm working hard and hoping it continues this trend. London, I miss you!
- Mood: accomplished
And a phone interview I had today for a full time summer job went well, I think. I'll hear in 1-2 weeks if they want to schedule me for a second/final phone interview or if they don't want me at all. So here's hoping.
And still applying for more stuff. Trying to get myself so busy that maybe I'll have to turn down work. Ha. That'd be fun.
- Mood: peaceful
Some of you know and some of you don't, but ten days after I moved back, my father passed away. This was both expected and unexpected. Expected because he's had a progressive neurological disorder for the past 20 years and treading the line between life and death as been pretty much the norm for him. We always knew he wouldn't be around into his 70s or 80s (he was early 60s), and the fact that he did live as long as he did is pretty much a miracle.
But, it was also unexpected because people with his condition tend to die from the results of accidental falls or contract pneumonia. Something will happen that will cause a rapid deterioration in their condition and usually spend the last few days or weeks in the hospital before passing away. My dad was stable, for him, with no changes. We had even been to the doctor's a few days before for his monthly checkup and everything was normal (for him). He passed away quietly in his sleep, something we never expected. There weren't any warning signs. So that was what shocked us.
So, yes, life's been a little more odd than I expected, but we're all coping well here in my family. As I said, he was ill for 20 years, so all of us had prepared ourselves emotionally over that time that he could go at any moment. We're grateful that we had the time with him that we did and that he's no longer suffering.
Life's gotten back into a routine since the funeral. There's still paperwork and stuff to all sort out, but my mom is handling most of that. Both of us are still looking for jobs. And there is positive news on that front. I have four interviews lined up for part-time or temp work, all related to writing and/or tutoring. I have an interview Sunday for an at-home tutoring company, a phone interview Monday for a full-time summer job teaching, an interview in April for working at a community college writing tutoring center which would start this fall, and I was contacted today about setting up an interview for a ghostwriting job. So there are things. None of it would break the bank, but it would all be great experience that would hopefully lead to other jobs.
Also, the anthology that features my very first published in print short story is released in April. I got my copies of the book yesterday and it looks fantastic. Seeing my name printed in an actual book (with an ISBN number and everything!) makes me feel like a real, proper writer. I'm doing a special writing shoot out competition with that same publisher and group of writers right now, and it's a lot of fun. I have two other short stories still out that I'm waiting to hear on, and I'm finishing up another one that I'm hoping to start submitting to places next week. And still haven't heard anything from the two agents who still have my novel, so there's always hope there. I did buy the latest issue of Writers Market and am going through and finding other agents, publishers and lit mags I can submit to, so that I always have the novel with someone until *fingers crossed* someone likes it enough to take it/me.
So, things are things. March is turning out to be a much, much better month than February. In fact, February can kiss my ass because it was pretty much the worst month I've ever had in my whole life. But it also showed me that I have the most awesome friends in the world because culf, the most incredible best friend in the entire world, lets me talk to her for hours on the phone even when it's the middle of the night in London and sends me amazing care packages, the Korean sends me a bottle of vodka and a special whiskey, and various other actions of the people close to me have reminded me that I know awesome, caring people. I hope I can return the favors one day.
So, that's all for now. And I'll see about being a little more regular from now on.
- Mood: grateful
It feels like every time I have the packing under control, I find more stuff. What is this stuff? Where did it come from? How will I make it fit?? (I blame culf, who I believe is still in denial about me leaving...) My mom took back one suitcase full of my stuff, most of her own suitcase filled my stuff and her carry-ons mostly filled with my stuff. I have four suitcases, a carry-on and my laptop bag and I'm still trying to figure out how to fit it all in.
Emotionally, I'd say I'm doing okay. I had an awesome day with mountland yesterday which encouraged my belief that I will be back some day at some point in the not too distant future. I have my family and Harry to look forward to at home, and my NYC friends to catch up with. Job wise, I'm hoping I'll get enough tutoring work to cover my expenses while I write. Yeah, I'll be living with my parents but that's mostly to help take care of my dad and give my mom a break. In return, I won't have to pay rent or buy food. Still, it'll be nice when I have some consistent work.
Trying to keep moving forward with the writing. Today, I sent the novel to a UK sci-fi, fantasy, and horror imprint that has decided to open up for unsolicited submissions for the first time. Best thing is, I won't get a rejection email! They can't respond to unsuccessful queries, so if I don't hear from them in 12 weeks, I can just assume I've been rejected without having to hear them say it. Also, the publisher who's doing the anthology invited me to participate in a short story prompt-based shoot-out contest, so I'm going to do it. If anything, it will push me to do more short stories.
Needed to take a break on the draft of the new novel. I was writing so much that I wasn't giving my brain time enough to develop the story and was writing myself into corners all over the place. Have gone back to a horror short story I'm trying to edit into something publishable.
Alright, think I've taken a long enough packing enough. Time to delve back into the fray and figure out where to put the last of this stuff...
- Mood: busy
I've had one short story published online, but this will be my first appearance in a print anthology! (This doesn't include The Science of Deduction Sherlock fanfic anthology that came out last year, as I published that under my screen name and am keeping separate from my RL writing.)
It's a small press and there's no payment, but my name will be in print! I'm afraid to tell my RL friends in case the editor made a mistake and doesn't want to publish it after all, even though he did send the contract with my name on it. Now I need to write a short bio and find a decent photograph to send in. Decent photograph...oh dear...
- Mood: accomplished
The full MS is being read by a few agents in the US right now, so I still have that to hope for. In the meantime just going to keep working on the new novel. Just broke 20,000 words on the first draft today, so about 75K to go before I'll have the complete draft. Wrote over 2k the last three days in a row. Amazing what you can accomplish when you don't have a job to go to!
- Mood: okay
- Mood: hyper
So far this morning I've proofread and submitted a short story to a literary magazine, prepped another short story for another print literary magazine (chose the story I wanted, printed it off for a massive edit; limit is 20pp for this one so I have a lot more flexibility with what I can do), and submitted an application for unpaid fiction editor position for another literary magazine. Figured if I did get it, the experience I could gain would be fantastic.
In other writing news, the agent who's reading my full MS responded to my follow up email saying she hasn't looked at my book properly yet but will get back to me as soon as she can. It was a very nice email and gave me renewed hope as it means I haven't been rejected yet. Also, just yesterday, got something started on the US literary front with an email from an old work colleague that was very positive and hope-inducing. Very early days there, as in basically still in the womb (figuratively, speaking, no one's pregnant or anything like that) but still has filled up the ol' internal hope reserves for a little.
Have to do some grocery shopping, then heading out to Starbucks to do some writing/editing/reading before I meet culf after she's done with school for some fancy waffles and gelatto.
Oh, and I'm officially returning to the US for an indefinite period of time on February 9. Trying to stay positive by working on this whole writing as a career thing. Have applied for three jobs, researched some part-time tutoring opportunities and adjunct faculty positions I can apply to once I am back, and have some old co-workers/friends keeping an eye out for jobs. Need to keep paying off those student loans and, as I'm not trying to sell thinly veiled Twilight fanfic, don't think I'll be getting a massive, six-figure book deal anytime soon.
- Mood: energetic
- Mood: optimistic
Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas, if that's what you're celebrating today. :)
Been super-antisocial lately, so must keep reminding self of fun aspect. Tomorrow, brain, you can stay home after work and not interact with other people. Tonight, brain, you are going to a friend's birthday and you are going to enjoy yourself.
- Mood: determined
Anyway, we've been in the wonderful new place for a few weeks and I'm finally starting to feel settled.
In other news, I haven't found a job that's willing to sponsor me (my current managers keep fighting head office for me, but it seems to be a lost cause), so I'll be out of the UK end of Jan/early Feb, back in the States and jobless.
Haven't heard from the agent yet, but it hasn't been two months yet, so that's okay. I'm going to send a follow up email before Christmas. Still am hopeful if doubtful.
And, yeah, life's been a bit crazed lately, so apologies if I haven't replied to all comments/messages. My brain hasn't been in its right place.
So now at least I know they do have it and are not ignoring it. Still could most likely all come to nothing, of course, and I'm not getting my hopes up. Just carrying on and trying to switch my brain from horror/drama/historical novel writing to comedy/TV pilot screenwriting so that I can get back to work on our second TV show.
And moving. Culf and I are moving by next weekend. Where, not totally sure. Could likely be the budget hotel if the solicitor doesn't get their ass in gear, but there is plenty of packing to keep me busy. Though I woke up this morning with no idea what to do before work as I had no novel to work on. So I read for two hours then did some more packing as I try to get back inside the heads of the TV pilot characters. Work this evening will also keep me occupied.
Next month I go to Edinburgh for 5 days for vacation as a graduation/Christmas present from my parents, so I should plan what I'm going to do there.
Must find plenty of things to think about other than the novel. It's finished now, brain. Let it go!
- Mood: busy
- Mood: energetic
Student Loan Company: Uhm...yeah...no. See...well...all the new laws made a lot of benefits for...well...federal loans but not private loans. They said we were putting too much debt on people...so...we don't have any options.
Me: So, if you don't have any options, how does that help with having too much debt?
Student Loan Company: ...*silence*...
I accept that I have student loan debt that it is my responsibility to repay, but in this economic climate, wouldn't it be nice if there was some way the company could help restructure my payments to a more reasonable amount so that I can start to pay down my loan and not default or go into bankruptcy while I work on finding a full time job? Yes/no? No?
Okay then. I'm just going to angrily write in the corner the best damn novel ever that will sell a bazillion copies, make all the best seller lists, get me a huge book deal which will leave me financially secure. Totally realistic debt repayment plan, I think.
- Mood: stressed
Now to finish the last third of the novel by my self-imposed sometime-in-October deadline.
- Mood: determined