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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Posts Tagged ‘end of year’

The Shape of 2013 (how it was)

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

I wasn’t going to do one of these this year. 2013 has been a bit of a crazy, scattered blur in many ways. But then I read my 2012 post and was so pleased I had noted things down for future reference. And then I remembered that I won a Hugo which is, you know, quite extraordinary and belies my general impression that I spent most of this year chasing a 4 year old and recording podcasts.

I did totally spend most of this year chasing a 4 year old and recording podcasts. It was a family and friends sort of year, occasionally punctuated by books, short stories and a whole lot of Doctor Who. There were hospitalisations and dramas, all of which are (KNOCK FREAKING WOOD) behind us now. ( I still don’t feel I’ve properly caught up after my pneumonia bout back in September! If I owe you an email, please remind me) It was a tough year in many ways, and a stupidly slack year in others.

Mostly, we came through it intact.

Here are some good things that happened to me:

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2013: A Year in Reading

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

A strange reading year for me – after reaching new heights of reading the previous year, getting the closest to my pre-motherhood numbers of books read than ever before, I put my feet up and took it all VERY casually this year. Not as much actual reading as I would like – as has been the case a lot lately, my reading desires have been rather stomped on by my love of listening to audio books and plays – but the books I have read have been decadently unstructured. Once I made my way through Parade’s End by Ford Maddox Ford and the entire Song of Ice and Fire thus far, I kind of felt like I didn’t owe the household library gods ANYTHING ELSE for the year.

It’s been mostly classic literature, re-reading and Doctor Who tie-ins. Which also, actually, means a much more gender-balanced year instead of my usual 80% female authors. I’ve read whatever the hell I felt like this year, and mostly it has not been science fiction and fantasy at all – or published this year.

I even stopped keeping track of titles read in my log. Sooooo slack.

Here’s an equally slack and slapdash rundown of it all:

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Looking Towards 2013

Monday, December 31st, 2012

I’m still getting the hang of what I want my writing/professional goals to be this coming year. I’m pretty sure I need some because 2012 was such a scattered year for me, but I want to keep that flexibility that I had to respond to new projects, and I also don’t want to heap too much pressure on myself instead of enjoying the last year with Jem properly at home – she starts kindergarten three days a week in 2014 and while that isn’t going to make a massive difference to now when she has 2 full daycare days a week, it means a lot psychologically. She will be a SCHOOL GIRL.

So, what does 2013 hold?

At least one novel deadline, which is good. I need to get the revised manuscript of Drowned Vanilla, the second Livia Day novel, to Twelfth Planet Press by May. Have I mentioned how much I adore having deadlines?

I also have one for a solicited short story, which always makes me happy. But apart from that…

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The Shape of 2012 (how it was)

Monday, December 31st, 2012

It’s been an odd sort of year, and one in which I have tended to forget to stop and count my successes. I planned for many things in my writing career, few of which came to fruition, and I ended up with a bunch of words written, but nothing (major) new and finished, for the first time in several years.

On the other hand, some massive personal achievements surely help to balance that out. In particular I have seen Raeli grow from being very timid and panicky child into a far more relaxed, confident and brave young person. She has conquered her terror (and I don’t use the word lightly) of cats, managed her even more extreme fear of dogs, as well as getting over the hurdles of learning to swim and to turn somersaults. It’s been a big year!

Jem meanwhile has stopped being the baby (she is a BIG GIRL), and it’s quite extraordinary to see our three-year-old become herself, taking on an at times stroppy but quite original personality. (she can be a thug but she’s cute with it) And boy, can she talk. You may all pause your reading to faint from surprise.

They’re really good at being sisters, which makes me very happy. And we’re only a year away from Jem starting school now which feels… exciting and terrible, all at once. But by gods, it’s going to be cheaper. And those tiny windows of writing time are shrinking and shrinking between then and now. Somehow, she manages to fill every available space, which is what children are best at.

What other milestones did I/we manage to clear this year? Well, there’s that little thing of Galactic Suburbia getting its first Hugo nomination, which was extraordinary, and means that we will always look upon the Best Fancast category with great fondness. Galactic Suburbia also received the Peter McNamara Convenor’s Award for Excellence at the Aurealis Awards this year which was an amazing honour and really made us feel like we have made a mark in the Australian SF community. And of course we produced 23 new episodes, bringing us up to 73. We’ll be soooo close to 100 by the end of next year!

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2012: A Year in Reading

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Trying something a bit different for my reading round up this year – I found this Annual End Of Year Book survey and decided to try out the questions for myself. Note I’ve already done a Pleasures of Reading etc. post over at Ambling Along the Aqueduct, and covered my experience with the AWW reading challenge. I talk about books a lot, all right?

At 175 titles, including graphic novels, audio books, ebooks etc, I’ve come the closest to my pre-motherhood reading levels than ever before! If nothing else, my ‘don’t buy without shifting books from To Read Shelf’ system seems to be guilting me into finding more reading time, which I am happy about.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Best Fantasy Novel: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Best Science Fiction Novel: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Best Collection: Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan
Best Anthology: Under My Hat, edited by Jonathan Strahan
Best Young Adult Novel: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, only just edging out The Diviners by Libba Bray and Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.
Best General Fiction: Last Chance Cafe by Liz Byrski
Best Comic: Hawkeye & Captain Marvel
Best Graphic Novels: Astonishing X-Men #1-5 by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday
Best Doctor Who Book: Chicks Unravel Time! Yes, I’m in it. I still love it BEST!

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2011 A Year in Reading (actual novels edition)

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

As I mentioned in my Graphic Novels edition of the 2011 Year in Reading posts, I read 143 books this year, 60 or so of which had a lot of pictures in them.

Others were mostly made up of words, hoorah! I don’t want this to be the neglected younger sister of the graphic novels post, but I’m really not going to write reviews of these at length. Consider it a list of the best, absolute bestiest prose novels I consumed this year. Chances are, if you want to hear more about why I liked them, you can find me raving on a Galactic Suburbia podcast. Or you could just ask in the comments! I have been rather lazy about written reviews this year, but you can’t do everything.

Here we go…

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2011: A Year in Reading (Graphic Novels Edition)

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m curled up with my family watching the animated adventures of Batman. As you do. It seems oddly appropriate considering how my year in reading ended up!

In September, it looked unlikely that I’d even hit 100 books read this year, let alone equal the 120 books I read in 2010. But then I took an interest in the DC Reboot, and one of my best friends rediscovered comics and started raving about the Ultimate Spiderman, and one thing led to another, and my house spontaneously filled with graphic novels.

So, yes. My total books read for the year is 143. Of which 61 are graphic novels/manga, all but one of which were consumed in the last three months. YEAH BABY.

Let’s talk about those first. I’ll do a separate post about the actual prose books, for those people (cough, Alisa) who aren’t interested in comic books.

My stand out graphic novels/trade paperbacks for the year were:

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The Shape of 2011 (how it was)

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Wow, I’ve been all gung ho and planningy in previous years, haven’t I! Maybe I’ve mellowed. Last year I made a stab at what the shape of 2011 would look like. Presented here with comments as to how it actually was.

1. Page proofs and copy edits to be done for Shattered City and Reign of Beasts
Done and done! Quite early, really, because the date was pushed back for scheduling reasons and yet the book itself was pretty much ready months ago.

2. Write a first draft of Fury, before ROR in September.
We moved ROR to January 2012, but I finished the draft of Fury before Nanowrimo, so that was on schedule.

3. Send in proposal for Fury to my agent to sell before it’s finished.
I did this, but we (my agent & publisher) agreed it would be best to take it back and only formally submit when there was a full manuscript, because let’s face it, it wasn’t a happy year for book sales in Australia.

4. Volunteer regularly at Raeli’s school
Fell down completely on this one, at least as far as helping her class goes! I felt bad about it, but I had so little Jem-free time to work, and it didn’t happen at all. Still, I felt I had a much better relationship to her teacher this year after the calamity of the previous year, and I did sign up to join the School Association, so have been volunteering in that way. It feels like cheating because it’s half a dozen evening meetings a year rather than regularly turning up in Little Miss’s classroom to practice reading with them, but it’s a job that has to be done and being the nosy person that I am, I do rather like being in on some of the school’s admin decisions.

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Peering at 2012

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Well, obviously it’s going to be a brilliant year!

Our January is packed already, and I’m determined to make the most of my last long summer with my daughters (Tasmania is going to 4 terms next year, so the summer holiday will be more of a punctuation point and less of a long, lazy sprawl). Raeli turns seven (SEVEN) and my godson Felix turns four (SERIOUSLY, FOUR?) before the end of the month. There will be parties.

Then there is ROR, a week of critiquing and industry chatter with some of my favourite writing people, right at the end of January, culminating in The Very Much Launch of Reign of Beasts Book Three of the Creature Court on the 2nd February.

The book I’m taking to ROR is Fury, book one of a proposed Nancy Napoleon series. I’m allowing myself 1-2 months afterwards to knock the book into post-ROR extra shiny shape, and then sending it off to my publisher to see if they’re interested in taking another twirl around the dance floor with me.

And then… well, then I wait. Because after a year of grants and publishing deadlines, I’m fancy free for the rest of the year. It’s… exciting and alarming. Given that I’m not going to start work on Nancy #2 until I have a publisher secured for her, I can write anything I want.

So there are plans, but they are nebulous, and multiple-layered, so I can bend to the wind. Anything I work on has to be dropped like a hot potato if Nancy comes up trumps, and if she doesn’t… well, I need to have the next thing up and running, and if that doesn’t work, the next thing…

I’d like to produce at least one publishable full length manuscript (not counting Fury) and one publishable children’s chapter book this year. That’s my plan. But I’m not 100% sure which books those will be.

And I have to do it without exterior deadlines. So deep breaths and inspiration at the ready. GO!

In the rest of my life… well, I still have a few more months to serve on the Tiptree jury, and we’re getting to the crunchy end of that, so more reading for me. I am planning to have a good go at the Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge 2012. And Last Short Story, of course.

But apart from those things (heh, I KNOW) I want my reading to be fairly loose and unstructured, and my main reading goal for the year is to focus on reducing my criminally enormous To Read Shelf to something a little less likely to collapse on visitors. Which probably means reading & seeking out a lot less in the way of the New Cool. So don’t publish any awesome books this year, okay, guys?

Travel-wise my honey and I are keen to make it to the Natcon in Melbourne, because my Mum thinks she is up to taking BOTH GIRLS for a long weekend (or that she will be by the middle of June) which means we could be out on our own for the first time in, well, seven years, basically. We haven’t broken it to Raeli yet, though, who had a lovely time at Worldcon and has mythologised Melbourne in her head to an alarming degree.

And apart from that our important job for the year is to keep to a budget, something we’ve been shocking about in previous years. But if we’re going to make it to World Fantasy in Brighton 2013, that means being sensible about money now. Especially if I want to keep my second daycare day for the next two years, before Jem starts kinder. Eek.

So… I don’t really know what the majority of this year will bring. But I’m hoping for shiny wonders and domestic calmness.

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