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Well, 2018 was a year...and so very much of one. It's difficult to disconnect my personal life from the national and global trainwreck, but I'll do my best. It was still a hard year: bad health news for close friends, bad financial and other news for others, the unexpected ending of a long-term friendship, my mother's increasing dementia, the sudden and abrupt news that I wasn't going to be laid off after all (bear in mind that I had three years to plan and prep for a nice break and down time, which I'm not getting), other sundry things. On the other hand, there was a lot of good stuff, too. Queen of Swords Press grew, I went to a lot of great events and met nice people, I'm ending the year with almost all the same people in my life that I hoped would still be there, I had some interesting new experiences and have been learning a lot, I don't have to go job hunting at the moment and I'm a lot healthier than I was this time last year (Norovirus recovery takes longer than you would think).

Starting with the events and experiences part of things, I was interviewed on North Manchester FM's radio show "Hannah's BookShelf" by the amazing Hannah Kate herself, then appeared a few weeks later on the Cocktail Hour Podcast. I did a reading at the University of Minnesota's Tretter Collection in March for the annual Quatrefoil Library's Women's Reading, went to ClexaCon in Las Vegas as a vendor with my pals from Blind Eye Books and hosted a Queen of Swords Press party at WisCon. I got interviewed at Shelfies by Bill Kieffer,  got interviewed with author Rachel Gold in the St. Cloud Times (best headline ever!), interviewed by Paul Weimer at the Skiffy and Fanty Blog and answered 5 Questions for author Loren Rhodes. As Emily L. Byrne, I did the WLW Blog Hop, and had guest posts up at I Heart Lesfic, Women & Words and on Sacchi Green's blog, Reaching Out. In addition to ClexaCon and WisCon, I did readings and panels at Outwrite in Washington, D.C., DreamHaven Books and Eat My Words Books and WordBrew 6 in Minneapolis. Queen of Swords Press had tables at St. Cloud Pride, the Twin Cities Book Festival, the Minnesota Women's Art Festival, 2 instances of the Books and Beer Pop-up Store, the Queer Author Holiday Fair and probably something I'm forgetting.

Writing and editing
. Queen of Swords Press/me and company put out three books this year: Catherine had 6 stories published this year:
  • “A Winter’s Tale” in A Few More Winter Tales edited by Matthew Bright. December, 2018 (Fantasy).
  • “A Cry in the Night,” forthcoming TBD. World of Darkness: Ghosthunters (final title TBD).
  • “The Letter of Marque” reprinted on Curious Fictions. August, 2018. (Historical)
  • “Faceless” and “Firebird” reprinted in the OutWrite 2018 Journal, Issue 1. August, 2018 (Fantasy).
  • “The Mask and the Amontillado,” Tales of the Unanticipated #32, edited by Eric Heideman, July, 2018. (Horror)
  • “One Night in Saint Martin,” March, 2018. Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast, edited by Heather Rose Jones. (Historical)
  • And had an excerpt from Silver Moon in D.C.'s Metro Weekly

Emily (Other Me) had 4 stories published this year -
I also helped raise money for Rainbow Railroad, The Aliveness Project and SAGE: Advocating for LGBT Seniors, donated book packages to Con or Bust and Sirens, and volunteered for my second year in a row as a member of the Community Review Board at PFund Foundation. Wow! I did more than I thought I had! Plus more fun stuff in progress, of course. Big shoutout to all the venues that hosted me, the Press and colleagues, all the other writers who tabled with or did appearances with me, to my wife Jana for helping out and splitting a table at the MN Women's Festival, to my authors, cover artists, copy editor, book designer, videographer and web guru (not all the same person!), to the folks who interviewed me, bought books, reviewed my work, the folks who boosted the signal and recommended books to others, folks who helped with marketing and to my friends who were there for me this year - thank you all very much!

Now for a brief respite, then on to 2019!

catherineldf: (Default)
To which my first thought is, "No, no, no. Let's not relive it." But there were high points and good things and I always do a year in review post, so here we are.

Let's start with the good stuff, shall we?
  • So I decided it was now or never and I started my own small publishing company, a dream I've been noodling on for a couple of years now. Queen of Swords Press has a monthly newsletter (sign up at the website), a functioning website and four titles available on all major ebook platforms and in print. The new edition of my novel  Silver Moon did well at the Rainbow Awards, Out of This World is up for a Lambda Award and both Knife's Edge and Desire are up for Goldie Awards. There have been some nice reviews too! Plans for 2018 books are somewhat in flux right now, but definitely include Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Tales by Alex Acks.
  • I went to my second international con and got to visit Reykjavik, Helsinki and Stockholm, do fun panels at Worldcon 75, meet lovely people and have a generally interesting time. I also went to WisCon, Sirens and Diversicon, to round out my conventions for the year.
  • Other events that I participated in included: an episode of the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast; two readings at the Quatrefoil Library; a ghost stories reading at Bingley's Teas;  a Books and Beer Popup Store at a local brewery; possibly the last Queer Voices Reading at the Central Library?; two episodes of the Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast; a reading with Rachel Gold at Boneshaker Books; WomenVenture's Women Mean Business Fair and Luncheon; the Twin Cities Book Festival; Lounge Books Virtual Horror Festival; and a talk at DreamHaven Books about starting a small press.
  • I helped raise $1100 in donations for Rainbow Railroad through a StoryBundle I participated in, as well as raising nearly $300 through my Patreon for groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP and Ultraviolet.
  • I wrote a second gaming tie-in story for a World of Darkness game (release date is TBD) and had a travel essay accepted for a women and travel anthology (2018 release). Emily L. Byrne had a good year too, with stories appearing in Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms and Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Vol. 2. I got "unstuck" on Blood Moon, the sequel to Silver Moon and wrote several new stories or fragments of stories that I hope to get polished up and out soon.
  • I went to a lot of good theater, a couple of good benefits and a lot of interesting events. I also met a bunch of cool people.
And then the nonpolitical portions of the shitshow year:
  • Had several friends and acquaintances die on me. I miss them and my pseudo aunt, who died at the end of last year, an enormous amount.
  • Financial problems of the irritating, but not dire, variety.
  • I had annoying health problems, culminating with a painful torn shoulder tendon followed by contracting norovirus. 2017 has been all about the pain, on multiple levels. Sleeping, also not so great.
  • My mother went into memory care on Friday of Christmas weekend because, hey, why not? 2017 must suck as much as possible. It's a rule. :-(
  • Day job slowly collapsing in stressful ways.
So yeah, definitely a mixed bag. But here's hoping for better things in 2018, especially for those who have been hit hardest under the current regime. Make good art when you can and keep resisting!
catherineldf: (Default)
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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