beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Default)
As the subject line says, stuff. All kinds of good stuff.

Many epiphanies with therapy. Yes, it's painful, but there have also been some moments of pure amazement and joy. I am finding pieces of myself that I had locked away, because the memories were too painful.

Query letters for my pirate novel sent out to bunches of agents. Four full requests so far, plus a few "we've passed this up to the senior agent" responses.

Copyedits for Not!Sherlock done and handed back to my editor.

Two chapters/12K words completed for Not!Sherlock2. I used to have titles for both books, but marketing thinks we need something that is less genre-specific. I am down with that. Once I hear back about titles, I will let you all know.
beth_bernobich: balloon heart (balloon heart)
Two+ months into therapy and proper medication, and I feel...whole. Hopeful. A number of positive emotions that I never realized I was missing before.

I've also parted ways with my agent. While there were several reasons, they all came down to 'not a good fit.' I think the therapy helped me realize that it's okay to say no, this isn't working. And no, it's not me being weird. Luckily, I have a new ms ready to query. I just need to make a list of agents and polish up the query itself.

Meanwhile, copyedits for Other than Honorable should land in my inbox in two or three weeks, and I'm making splendid progress on the second book.

readercon!

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:35 am
beth_bernobich: petal twigs (petal twigs)
I forgot to mention this before, but I will be at Readercon this year. I don't do panels any more—I don't enjoy it—but I love to catch up with old friends, and make new ones.

See you there!
beth_bernobich: Crab (Crab)
It's hard to believe I haven't posted here in two months. A lot has happened since then.

The D&A check for Not!Sherlock (aka, Other than Honorable) arrived. Claire O'Dell and her novel now have placeholder pages on the Harper Voyager website. I did some brainstorming for a few major plot points for the sequel, and the plot now feels stronger and more compelling.

Vacation also arrived, and oh my, it was lovely. We rented a house by Lake Michigan, and spent a week hiking, eating delicious food, and swimming. We also did some serious relaxing.

And something else happened. It took a small crisis, but I am finally seeing a therapist, and getting medication for my depression. I've tried therapy before, but now I have someone who specializes in trauma, and who just makes sense with what he says, and what he asks. It's painful, but the medication also helps with that. I feel....as though I have a long road ahead of me, but I'm better able to deal with it.
beth_bernobich: cat on wire (cat on wire)
My second round edits for Other Than Honorable arrived late this past Friday. And early this morning...I'm done and the new version is on its way to my editor. (There were no structural edits for this round, and the line edits were very light.) Copyedits won't show up for a few months, so...

It's time to start writing book #2. I already have notes for an end-to-end plot, some of them detailed, and some of them very vague. I have an opening scene in mind, and I have several images for the end moment. Once I have a few chapters written, and more of the plot ironed out, I'll get my editor's opinion.

Meanwhile, my house and garden need attention, not to mention my family.
beth_bernobich: Lilith (Lilith)
Dear Men,

When women tell you we are being held to higher standards than you, when we tell you that women are being silenced and ignored, when we point out that women's words are only heard when a man repeats them, listen.

LISTEN, goddammit.

Because we are telling you the fucking truth.

Love,
Even So,
Me

and....

Apr. 14th, 2017 10:47 am
beth_bernobich: balloon girl (balloon girl)
...the signing check for Not!Sherlock just arrived on my editor's desk.

*happy dance*

*makes plans to buy that new laptop*
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (ballet dancers)
I am delighted to report that my novel OTHER THAN HONORABLE, aka Not!Sherlock, has sold to Harper Voyager in a two-book deal. The tentative release date is Summer 2018, with the sequel coming out the following year. Here is the announcement in Publishers Marketplace:

Claire O'Dell's OTHER THAN HONORABLE, in which Dr. Janet Watson and FBI Agent Sara Holmes, two black and LGBTQA women, must discover who is murdering veterans from America's New Civil War using espionage, advanced technology, and deduction, to Amber Oliver at Harper Voyager, for publication in Summer 2018, by Amanda Rutter (World Rights).

The novel first went out on submission at the end of February last year. After one rewrite request, two phone calls with two different editors, and a lot of anxious waiting, the offer came through last week. (But I had to wait for the go-ahead before I said anything in public.)

And now I have deadlines. Edits are due in May. An outline for the sequel, which I've tenatively named Separation from Service, is due September. And given recent horrible events, I need to rework the political backstory.

I am both excited and daunted.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
Last year, I set only three writing goals for myself. One the one hand, I only accomplished two of them. On the other hand, I really like what I did accomplish:

  • There's the new version of the pirate novel, which I had to rewrite from the ground up. Several chapters proved to be very thorny (I'm looking at you, chapter 10), several new chapters showed up, and the entire second half needed rethinking.

  • Then there's Not!Sherlock, which went out on submission in February, got a revise and resubmit from an amazing publisher in May, and is now awaiting final word from that same publisher.

There was more, but those are the highlights. There were also two fabulous vacations, one medical curveball, my first tattoo, and a promotion at the dayjob.

Here is where I usually list my goals for the New Year. And usually life hands me a plot twist that upends those goals. This year? Even more uncertain than ever. Everthing depends on whether Not!Sherlock sells. Or the pirate novel. (Or both!) But if I had to pick a few goals, I'd choose:

  • Write at least one chapter of Not!Mansfield Park

  • Write one novella in my River of Souls world

  • Release new editions of Passion Play and Fox & Phoenix, print and e-book, with new covers and lower prices for the e-books

Low key goals, but goals that are important to me. Let's see how it goes...
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
Shortly after my last post, I got the results for my biopsy. It was positive, alas, so what followed was a rapid series of appointments before and after our trip to Italy. (Because we were not going to be denied this trip**.)

Surgical consult. Pre-surgery physical. The surgery itself. Lots of paperwork filled out before and after. More medical appointments, including a follow-up with the surgeon, an appointment with the medical oncologist, and another with the radiation oncologist.

But right now, between the surgery and the many medical appointments to follow, I have a week with no obligations other than to rest and recover. And if I can get through a day without needing naps, I might be able to squeeze in a writing session or two.

** Photos to come, as soon as we sort through them all.
beth_bernobich: obsessing (obsessing)
I'm working through several health issues these days. There's the stress fracture in my foot, which is healing, thanks to a wonderful podiatrist. I should be in good shape for our vacation in a couple weeks. There's also the matter of a biopsy next week for possible breast cancer. I'll know by Thursday what the results are, and I'll deal with things as necessary.

Work is going quite well. We launched a new version of our financial tracking system. (Which involved tossing the old and horrible version and redesigning/rewriting from scratch.) I'm now overhauling our staffing planning application based on feedback from the department admins and the finance director.

And the novel in progress... There is progress, even though I still have four chapters left to write. The middle chapters, however, just went through another editing pass, with lots of words added, and lots more replaced. (Chapter 10, in particular, has been especially thorny.) I plan to making a polishing pass through this middle section before I tackle the final section.

And in two weeks, Rome. *bliss*
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (mad scribe)
Alas, I didn't finish the draft by the end of July, and alas, I won't finish by the end of August. One reason is that I worked several weeks of overtime at the dayjob, which left me mentally exhausted. The other reason was the troublesome middle section. Four chapters turned into three, but those three still didn't work. So I rewrote them a *second* time, along with a new chapter and...well, you see why I'm not done yet.

Four chapters left. Followed by an editing/polishing pass for the second half. New deadline is...I don't know. I would love to get a finished draft to my agent before October, which is when we go to Rome for our vacation, but we'll see. New deadlines at the dayjob are looming.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (goat)
...or rather brick walls.

I returned to the pirate novel last month, and for a while I was making good progress. But with each chapter, I found myself getting more and more dissatisfied. (Productivity, meet brick wall.) So I took a step back—several, in fact— and spent a few weeks poking and prodding and reworking the plot for the second half of the book. Mind you, I'm still quite happy where the book ends, and the key milestones for the plot still work, but the details of how my characters get from Point A to Point B needed to change.

So I might not finish this draft by the end of July, but what I do finish will be stronger. And that's what really matters.
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
...the more they change. When it comes to writing and revisions, that is.

Not long after my last post, my agent sent me feedback from an editor for Not!Sherlock. The kind of feedback that makes you go,"Oh, of course!" Which led to three weeks of reading and marking up a ms., identifying which chapters needed what kind of surgery, then making those changes, then reviewing them again. The major edits are done. I'm now in the final pass for the final section. The goal is to have this new version to my agent by next week.

After that? It's back to the pirate novel. (And trying to remember exactly where I was with that.)
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (tea cup)
Chapters 10 and 11 have been spliced and edited into what is now chapter 9. Whew! I am pretty sure I replaced nearly every word. But I am sooooo much happier with this version.

This week, the old chapter 12 is on the revision block. This one is another slash and cut and rewrite exercise. After that, I need to mark up the next five chapters to evaluate how much they work they need. (My impression was "not much," but so much has changed with this draft, I'm no longer sure.)

In between my lovely writing sessions and the dayjob, I have an extra wonderful treat. I'm reading an ARC of Stephanie Burgis's historical fantasy Congress of Secrets. And what a treat this is. I feel as though I am drinking a cup of gourmet hot chocolate, frothy and sweet and delicious, but with an edge of dark.

You can read more about Steph's wonderful book here. Check it out!
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (doggie)
This past month has been extra busy, between novel revisions and the dayjob. In early April, I asked my manager if I could temporarily shift my workday to come in two hours later. I'd say this means my workday ends two hours later, but in reality, I was already leaving later, so what this really does is ensure I'm not working overtime.

There's also the matter of those two hours of writing every morning. What a lovely, lovely treat for me. So far, I've polished the first six chapters of the pirate novel into a submission-ready state, I've ripped apart the next three chapters and rewritten them into two, and I've made a dent in rewriting the two chapters after that. I won't have the new draft done by the end of May, but I will have the major surgery completed.

I'm tempted to ask my manager to extend my shifted hours another month, but I'll wait until the end of May to take stock of my progress.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Painter Flower)
Not!Sherlock is out on submission. *makes excited noises*

I'm back to editing the pirate novel, with its themes of agency and friendship and sexual healing. (Also, goats.) I sent a synopsis, proposal, and three chapters to my agent for her opinion, while I continue to revise the rest.

After that? It depends on what or whether these projects sell. If not, I will fall back to writing my NotMansfieldPark novel.
beth_bernobich: Beak Bird (Beak Bird)
Last year, the snow piled higher and higher, so that we had to dig narrow pathways from our door to the driveway. We still had patches of snow until April, and it took even longer for the pond to melt. When the daffodils finally bloomed, my spouse said that March had clearly arrived in April.

This year, we've had some snow, yes. And several bitterly cold days. But we've also had days where the temps rose to 60F, and while the pond did freeze over, it was only for a few days here and there. So, as the title of this post says, we've had a reverse and now April has arrived in February.

I've been so busy with writing and the dayjob, I might not have noticed, except I do work at a University, so whenever I want a cup of coffee, or I need to get lunch, I walk to the next building over, or maybe to the Student Union. Enforced breaks, they are good for me.

As for the writing... I spent a couple weekends addressing some concerns that my new agent pointed out. Those chapters are now stronger and more emotionally charged. Agent has approved the new version, and the book is now out on submission. Luckily I'm so busy, I don't have time to fret. Mostly. :)
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (ballet dancers)
...I have a new agent! Amanda Rutter at the Red Sofa Literary Agency.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Fractal Star)
This last year set a record for changes, most of them good ones, several daunting, and all of them necessary.

For the first half of 2015, I switched to part-time status at the dayjob so I could finish my Not!Sherlock novel. We had to juggle the budget a bit, but the result was definitely worth it. Those two extra days each week gave me the space and quiet to finish this novel, with characters I love to pieces, and with time left over for my family.

The first half of the year, I also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Nocturnall, the coda story to my River of Souls books. My goal was to raise enough money to create a professional publication, including custom artwork, a professionally designed cover and interior, and a special print edition for my supporters. I am deeply satisfied with the results, especially that readers can now see Ilse and Raul as they were meant to be.

There were some major changes, as well. I quit my job at the contract firm and started a new one at the University of Connecticut. I'm still a web developer, but now I have minions. (Plus real benefits!) I also parted ways with my agent. She's done many wonderful things for me over the years, but as time passed, we no longer meshed in several key ways.

All those changes—the new job with new responsibilities, the various self-publishing experiments—took up much of my writing time, but I still managed to accomplish a few things:

  • My Not!Sherlock novel complete and ready for the world (plus notes for two sequels)

  • My coda story, Nocturnall, released into the world as an e-book in December

  • My LGBTQA geek girl story, The Ghost Dragon's Daughter, expanded by several thousand words and released as an e-book in October with its own custom cover

  • Seven chapters of The Edge of the Empire ripped to pieces and put back together with one new character and a strong voice for my main character
So what about 2016?

I've learned not to overplan, but I have two goals I want to accomplish. The first is to finish revising The Edge of the Empire. I'm on target to accomplish that by late March/early April. The second is to write a first draft of my Not-Mansfield-Park novel, the one with magic and polyamory. After that? It all depends on the wild and wooly world of publishing.

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