It's that time of year, friends. As this neverending year winds down and the nights become long and cold, I like to turn inward to take stock of where I've been and where I'm going.
This is not an awards eligibility post; more a summary of all the things I've done this year, so I can remind myself that it was more than Witcher 3 and K-drama. Technically this is my second year of eligibility for the Campbell Award. But I firmly believe that ship has sailed for me, and I urge you to look elsewhere. I'll have more to say on that when awards season begins in earnest.
So here's what I did in the Year of the Trashfire, 2016. First: releases! I didn't write all of this this year, but this is the year in which these things were launched into the world.
These are all novelette-length, but they're each episodes of longer serials published by Serial Box, which I co-author with two incredible teams of other writers.
Bookburners Season 2
Shock and Awe
ReMade Season 1
Memories of Arcadia
Season passes and individual Serial Box episodes are also available in audio and ebook format on their website and in the iOS app.
This Lucy Smokeheart tie-in is a choose-your-own-adventure style romp published and distributed by Choice of Games.
The Daring Mermaid Expedition (Google Play, iOS, Kindle, Steam)
The long-awaited interactive book for ages 8-12 where the reader is a part of the story, saving a magical circus from doom.
Circus of Mirrors
This year saw the start of my Metagames column at Strange Horizons, and stellar human Chuck Wendig kindly gave me his keys to talk about some things, too.
Video Games are the Best Art
Playing at Good and Evil
Discord in the Symphony
Pokémon Go and Staying Power
Conflict and Consensus
Throw Everything at the Wall
The High Goddamn Responsibility of Fiction
Podcasts and Speaking
The Cultures (co-hosted 52 weekly episodes, on LibSyn and iTunes)
StoryForward Podcast: Ethics and Immersion
StoryForward Panel: Storytelling for Social Good (video)
I was also on programming at Confusion, Readercon, and Worldcon in Kansas City. I met Tim Powers, co-paneled with David Brin, and established myself as a person with many, many, MANY opinions about self-driving cars.
I'm very proud of the work I did for a little activation for Handmaid's Tale at NYCC, and another thing that is... still pending.
This year has been a trashfire for national political reasons, and I lost easily weeks of my life to paralysis as I watched it burn. But my personal life has also been, ah, somewhat complex.
The year began and is now ending with drawn-out child health concerns—the kind that end up requiring multiple rounds of scans and IVs and ER visits. It turns out that dealing with a potentially serious health issue your child is having is even more stressful than having such a problem yourself. Who knew?
I had a young adult novel go on sub, and when it didn't get picked up, we decided to sit on the manuscript for now. Sad, but them's the breaks. It's a persistence game. Worse, though: the long-term project I'd been working on ran out of funding and shut down without shipping anything, which has been disappointing on many levels. In the aftermath, I went after a job I was really excited about and landed it but ultimately declined, with regrets, because it wouldn't have paid enough to live on.
It wasn't all bad. My older child entered high school. We went on a cruise to the Bahamas and it was utterly glorious! We did some massive improvements to our house, refinanced our mortgage, and wound up much better off for it. I spent some time with some amazing people in person and in private chat.
I also wrote some short fiction. And I wrote a little bit of two different novels, but didn't finish any. I've been feeling really terrible that I didn't manage to write a novel of my own this year. That's my baseline goal in every year: write a book. But looking over this post in draft, everything I've done and everything that's happened to me, I'm starting to remember why that didn't happen. It really hasn't been all Witcher 3 and K-drama, has it?
What's in 2017?
I like to end these things on a positive note. And positive always means: the future! So what do I have cooking for 2017? First off, there are new seasons of Bookburners and ReMade to look forward to. I'm also writing a little more short fiction and I'm confident some of it will be published next year, even if it means sending it up my own self.
I've done a little games writing that you'll get to see in 2017, too. I have a nonfiction proposal out; I'm thinking about Kickstarting a new season of Lucy Smokeheart. Oh, and maybe I'll write a novel for real this time. Or the other novel. Or both novels!
And I'm volunteering for the NYCLU. Because, while this isn't a political post, politics have indelibly shaped this year. And if I want future years to look even better, I'm going to have to work for it. Same as it ever was, right?