My short story, "Of Blood and Brass," is out today as part of the Gears and Levers anthology. It tells the story of a geisha in an alternate Japan. Here is the basic description of the anthology:
A Quest for the Mind and Soul
Come, my friends, adventure and romance awaits in worlds that never were but should have been. Magic and science blend together as Gears and Levers explores the quest for all that makes up humanity. Battle pirates, travel back in time, fly in dirigibles, explore the wonders of the Orient, and walk with automatons in twenty amazing tales set in Steampunk lands by masterful storytellers such as David D. Levine, Brenda Clough, Mark Ferrari, Irene Radford, K.L. Townsend, David Lee Summers, Shannon Page, Bruce Taylor, among others.
At the start of every year, many of us dream big. We have these lofty goals and high expectations whether in the form of resolutions to eat better, get to the gym, or stop worrying so much. For writers, maybe a goal is to write so many words, land an agent, finish a book.
I love having these goals. Every year I get fired up and ready to tackle the impossible. In those moments, nothing seems so impossible anymore.
The reality is that most of the time life happens. We fall behind. We don't meet those insanely high expectations. Then it's easy to give up. Why bother? Something else is going to happen anyway.
I'm urging you to keep pushing even if everything in you wants to quit.
The end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 have been hard for me. A relatively healthy person, I came down with a serious infection at the end of November, then caught pneumonia, and had a relapse of the infection after. By the time I finished healing up, one of my dogs became ill. We learned he had some tumors and scheduled surgery right away since the tumors could have burst at any time and killed him. They had an 80% chance of being the worst possible kind of cancer to boot. He was 12, but in good overall health, and high in spirit. He came out of the surgery and was recovering at a rate that impressed and pleased the vets. The tumors ended up being benign. Then, unexpectedly, he died of septic shock as a complication from surgery. As we mourned the loss of a dog we'd had for 12 years, I started to deal with residual issues from having pneumonia. Next our other dog fell ill. A pipe blew in our bathroom and our dryer quit working.
That is where I am at now.
Despite being tired and having days where I don't know why I get out of bed anymore, I had to stop and think, why quit? Why give in and take away one of the things in life that makes me happy, that helps balance out the good and the bad?
So maybe I can't write 1000 words one day. That's okay. I can write it the next day. Or the next. I can squeeze in 500 words on a bad day, and have a great day where I am on fire. Maybe I work slower. The important part is I'm not quitting.
If you feel like you want to quit, for whatever reason, please don't. Hold onto what you love and just readjust your goals. It will pay off in the future.
I may never meet my lofty goals this year, but I'm writing. That's what matters.
Song of the Swallow, my historical female-centered novella about concubines in the Song Dynasty is now out onKindleandNook for the holiday price of $2.99. Print versions will also be available soon.
It was both exciting and challenging to work on this novella. My usual genre is fantasy. While there are some minor speculative elements to this story, it still remains a historical with extensive research done both independently and drawn from my graduate research in anthropology and history. In the coming weeks, I will finally be posting some of my research and a behind the scenes look at what went into recreating the cloistered world of women in the Imperial Court.
I enjoyed the journey and hopefully so will you.
Don't miss out on the ebook sale happening at Hadley Rille Books for prices ranging from $.99 to $2.99!
I've decided it's about time I make better use of my blog and my livejournal account. To that end, you'll be finding the following happening here and on blogger:
I'm going to be devoting livejournal to writing and the writing process. This would include word counts, structure, edits, and the like. Other topics might pop up from time to time, but I think it would be helpful to myself to keep my posting here focused. Anything to do with upcoming publications would be announced here and my blog.
Mondays - Writing
On Mondays, I'll discuss a writing topic. It could be about the writing process, genre, style, voice, characters, plot, etc., etc.
Wednesdays - Myth/Research
I've been struggling over just what to talk about on my blog. There are many things I love, but I didn't want to be completely random. At the same time, it's important to me to keep my topics somewhat related to writing. I am disorganized as it is!
So why not a topic near and dear to my heart? I love mythology, folklore, and culture. This is the day I'll pick a creature, a culture, history, a myth and discuss it. Feel fee to use it as a springboard to help you with your research.
Fridays - Miscellaneous/Grab Bag
We all need time to talk about whatever. There may be times when I just want to talk about a favorite recipe, how the exercise routine is going, the pups, or my fave TV show. (Supernatural, why are you not back yet?!)
Of course, other topics might show up from time to time, and I will cross-post anything to do with my upcoming published words both here and on my blog.
I can't believe that we're nearly 1/2 way through 2011. That is crazy.
How is everyone's 2011 goals going? Both writing and non-writing?
I've written, but I'm not anywhere near where I'd like to be. I also haven't kept to my commitment to eat better. Oops.
Since we're about at that halfway point, I've given myself a new goal. Feel free to join me.
June is going to be the month to get things done. I have some novellas I started that I would like to finish. I'm close enough to be able to do it if I commit some time to it. So if you have any short stories, novellas, or any unfinished WIPs sitting there, starved for attention and affection, this is the time to give it some love. Hopefully, you haven't been as negligent as I have.
July: Revisions. I plan on rewriting and revising my novel during this month. There are a lot of significant changes that need to be done, and I'm already excited/frustrated with the list I've made. July will be for tackling this beast and pushing it one more step toward future publication. The changes will make it better - stronger - but I know it won't be easy. If you have anything to rewrite or revise, please feel free to join me.
I'll be posting my progress throughout the two months and checking in here as well as Facebook and Twitter.
I'm not finished yet, but my livejournal is going through some changes in tone and structure. This is the temporary look until I find the exact style I am seeking.
I've written some fantasy and historical fiction so far, but my main genre/subgenre is urban/contemporary fantasy. I'd eventually like my LJ to reflect it. I'm just undecided how I am going to represent it.
Final edits and copies of Song of the Swallow are just about finished. Yay! Nice way to end the year.
In terms of other projects, I've been up and down. I managed to write 2 short stories, but have been unable to find suitable homes for them. One is a lighter type of story which is even more difficult to place, while the other has received a lot of positive personal rejections. I'll continue to try to find homes for them.
I also managed to complete NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, which gave me a really horrible first draft of my novel. The horribleness is a gift in disguise. The changes I need to make are sending it in a different direction and making the overall story make more sense. I'm pleased with that.
I'm also working on two novellas while the novel stews for a bit.
All in all, a productive year even if I wasn't able to place anything.
Sick with sinus problems which is slowing me down, but full speed ahead for the end of 2010!
I am going to try it again this year. I am not so concerned as to finish a novel. I want to train myself to write every day no matter what. If I can get close to 50k done then that is 50k words I didn't have before.
So if you all are doing NaNo, feel free to add me. I'm K.L. Townsend over there.
Also can you believe that Back to the Future is 25 years old? Crazy. I want to play the new game coming out...
Does the time fly...life's been busy in good ways and bad ways, but it's given me a lot of time to think.
I kind of like what Stephen King had to say about his younger writing self. His early writing was larger shaped by writing seminars he had gone to which promoted "that one is writing for other people rather than one's self; that language is more important than story; that ambiguity is to be preferred over clarity and simplicity, which are usually signs of a thick and literal mind."
In other words, he found his original version of The Dark Tower to be filled with "pretension."
Now, maybe it's easy for King to talk about this as a best-seller who can do whatever he wants, but I feel there is a lot of truth to what he writes. I don't think we should ever forget our audience or work to improve our prose, but we can't forget the heart and soul of writing, of creating a story we love, for something for ourselves.
I'm trying to keep that in mind as I transition more away from short story telling, which I don't find to be my strength, and into more novel writing.