Dec. 29th, 2016

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2016 actually started out pretty strong – I got to try lots of new things and life wasn't too bad, overall. The personalized part of the Festival of Death and Destruction didn’t really start for me until late October, for which I count myself and mine fortunate.

Some things I did in 2016, writing and otherwise:
  • 2 presentations on what it’s like to be an older woman working In IT, one at the Google DevFest MN and the other at AlterConf Minneapolis. First tech convention presentations ever!
  • Did a presentation on representation and aging in speculative fiction to a class at the University Of MN (first one of these too!)
  • Submitted and got accepted for a literary fiction magazine. First issue of Callisto: A Queer Fiction Journal from Sibling Rivalry Press.
  • Saw my first gaming-related fiction published - The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Dark Ages Anthology
  • Went to New Zealand! And it was lovely and we hung out with fabulous people and went to Hobbiton and the Weta workshop and learned a bit about Maori culture and had a fabulous time.
  • Went to my first international science fiction convention and appeared on a panel that got recorded for the Wellington Access radio show Writers Island.
  • Started my first big freelance editing/mentoring project with a writer who was able to hire me on a grant
  • Learned the rudiments of a bunch of new software for the press as well as other stuff (current tally: WordPress, Tableau, QuickBooks, Vellum and Scrivener)
  • Got to be on and/or moderate some high profile panels at MidAmericon II (World Con 74), including one on cyberpunk with Pat Cadigan and other lovely folks and one on YA with Mark Oshiro and a talented and lively crew of other authors.
  • Got breast reduction surgery, which will be awesome in the long run, if still a bit ouchy and oozy.
  • Returned to teaching at the Loft Literary Center. I hadn’t stormed off in a huff or anything, but a previous accepted class proposal didn’t carry and I didn’t get around to submitting anything new for a while.
  • Got into my first Year’s Best Lesbian Erotica anthology as my alter ego, Emily Byrne
  • Had one of my books make it onto the Sirens: A Conference of Women and the Fantastic reading challenge list (so pleased!).
  • Did panels at 5 science fiction and fantasy conventions, presentations at 2 tech conferences and one university, taught 1 writing class, did 2 readings and 1 guest post.
  • Saw 3 new stories published, wrote a bunch of words and am about two day’s worth of work on book formatting and submissions from seeing a new collection out the door. Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories, coming soon from Queen of Swords Press.

Less jolly things about my 2016:
  • 2 people dear to me died this year: my family of choice aunt Patricia Myers and poet John Calvin Rezmerski, our friend and our wedding officiant. I miss them both tremendously.
  • Saw a lot of other people die, including someone from my graduate program, several acquaintances and an enormous number of cultural figures that I admired.
  • Lots of family stress and job stress.  
  • Breast cancer scare, which fortunately turned out okay and prompted my decision to have reduction surgery, but made for an unpleasant 10 days.
  • Started out the year with the tail end of a dental infection, which did clear up after about 4 months, including the tail end of 2015. But nothing fatal or even life threatening.
  • The ramp up to the U.S. election, when I got a glorious front row seat on misogyny and how it continues to be a thing. This was not new information, mind you. Nor were the accompanying updates on racism, homophobia and other b.s., but I had occasionally hoped that things might get better.
  • The results of said election which are pretty much guaranteed to destroy a lot of life as we know it, many of our cultural institutions and the existing, already porous, social safety net, not to mention the environmental damage and so forth. Sorry, but there it is. Want to stop any or all of that? That requires fighting back, on any level you’ve got. Do what you can, support other folk’s efforts, focus on making the world better in big and small ways. Hang in there.
 
So what’s on tap for 2017?
  • Getting Queen of Swords Press off the ground with more new titles. Hopefully open up to submissions by other writers by the end of the year, depending on how things go. I want to make sure that I have a better understanding of distribution and monthly press income and marketing, amongst other things, before I bring in other folks. So we'll see how things go.
  • Planned conventions: WisCon, GCLS, Diversicon, Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Sirens: A Conference on Women in the Fantastic and World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio.
  • Applied to volunteer at PFund, the foundation that funds most of the LGBTQ+ organizations and events in the upper Midwest
  • Job hunt kick off, since my job is slated for elimination by 2018
  • Rewrite novels, finish at least one of the ones in progress
  • Spend time with friends, do good and useful things and fight back.
   
Wishing all of you a better-than-any-of-us-fear 2017, health, love from loved ones and all good things!

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