michaeldthomas: (Cait)
How the hell is it 2011 already?!?! Seriously, it feels like we just did that whole Millennium thing. I am not a fan of this whole time-moving-quicker-as-I-get-older thing.

We had a quiet evening last night. Caitlin spent most of the morning crying every 20 minutes due to cramping and soreness. Thankfully, she felt better by the afternoon. Lynne and I "celebrated" New Year's Eve with Chinese food and awful television. At least we were together and not in a hospital. We should have friends stopping by today and tomorrow. That will be nice.

2010 was a phenomenal year for us. Like any year, it had highs and lows.

The bad:

1- My grandfather passed away.
2- Caitlin's hip surgery.
3- My big nonfiction commission was put on indefinite hiatus.
4- I didn't write anything good enough for publication.

The wonderful:

1- Caitlin stayed healthy and had a successful surgery.
2- We continued to have amazing friendships and met some new wonderful people.
3- Chicks Dig Time Lords was a major success for Lynne and Tara, leading to book signings, our first Gallifrey One convention, fanart, fanvids, interviews, convention guest invitations, and fantastic reviews. We even impressed a few famous people who worked on the show. It's been an phenomenal ride.
4- I met all of my writing goals and completed another novel.
5- Lynne and Deb finished Whedonistas.
6- The NIU SF collection grew and Lynne was even interviewed for Locus.
7- Caitlin rocked her communication device and had a smooth transition to a new school.
8- We went on an amazing Make-A-Wish trip.
9- Lynne started two SEEKRIT PROJECTS that will be big deals in the next couple of months.

2010 was a magical year for us. Let's hope 2011 continues this trend.

We couldn't have done it without all of you. Thank you for your love and support last year. You made us feel like the richest people in Bedford Falls. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Not much going on around here. Caitlin and I are hanging out watching Christmas specials on PBS while Lynne braves the latest snowfall in order to procure some things for baking.

This holiday feels like a mixed bag. Cait feels great, but she still can't travel. This means that the first Christmas since my grandfather's passing will also be without the rest of my family. If the weather behaves, my mom might be coming out for Christmas day.

In Thomas family periodical news, Lynne is featured in an article about happiness in the current Smith Alumnae Quarterly. Her department is also featured in the NIU Alumni Magazine this month in an article about their pop-up book collection.

I sneaked into [livejournal.com profile] shsilver's Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus for the fourth time. He asked me for a short article since he had some extra space next to a short piece by Connie Willis. I turned it in at 3 pm on the 22nd and the 'zine appeared 4 hours later. We live in the future. :-)

Argentus #10 features articles and art by James Bacon, Sheryl Birkhead, Michael A. Burstein, John DeNardo, Alex Eisenstein, Rhonda Eudaly, Alexis Gilliland, Anne Gray, Brian Gray, Steve Green, Mark Herrup, Rich Horton, Dan Kimmel, Mark Leeper, Rich Lynch, Jim Mann, Pierre Pettinger, Robert Rede, Mike Resnick, William Rotsler, Marah Searle-Kovacevic, Steven H Silver, Steve Stiles, Michael D. Thomas, Connie Willis, delphyne wood, and Leah Zeldes.

You can find it here.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
This post is mostly for my own benefit. In July 2007, I decided to focus on becoming a writer. I first tried to become a writer between the ages of 16-24. I was pretty half-assed at the time, completing only a handful of poems, stories, and scripts. For the next eight years, life took over. I worked and cared for Caitlin and threw myself into my advocacy work. By 2007, I was burning out. Also, Lynne and I were attending SF conventions for her Rare Books' job. After meeting some writers and going to numerous writing panels, I realized that I wanted to write again.

The seeds were especially planted during a Worldbuilding panel at Odd Con. After hearing Joan Vinge, Pat Rothfuss, E.E. Knight, and Sarah Monette talk about their processes, I resurrected some old ideas of my own. Three months later, I started writing a novel.

So, what have I accomplished in the last 40 months?

1 post-apocalyptic coming-of-age fantasy novel (100,000 words, 2 revisions)
1 mid-grade fantasy novel (50,000 words)
9 short stories (40,000 words, numerous revisions)
Abandoned starts (10,000 words)

Total- about 200,000 words of fiction. That's an average of 5000 words a month.

As you can see, I'm not a very fast writer. Still, not too shabby considering I'm still Cailin's full-time caregiver and I lost both of my grandparents during that time period. Plus, I'm not including all of my nonfiction work. That's easily another 100,000 words of writing and 1,000,000 words of editing.

Here's some other writing business notes:

Short Story Submissions (since 2/2009): 41
Rejections- 39 (13 personalized)
Anthology Invites- 1

Workshops- 1
Writers' Group- 1 (I made it to 2 meetings)
Critiques for Others- 29

Overall, I'm proud of what I've accomplished. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Finished. 49,600 words later, I have a first draft of my mid-grade fantasy novel, The Scarlet Queen.

It needs major rewrites, but I made it over the first big hurdle.

WindyCon

Nov. 9th, 2010 09:42 am
michaeldthomas: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and I will be at WindyCon this Saturday and Sunday. I'm not on any panels. Here's Lynne's schedule:

Chicks Dig Time Lords
Sunday, Noon
Lynne M. Thomas, Jody Lynn Nye, Jennifer Adams Kelley

Since we're basically free all weekend, feel free to come find us in the halls or lobby. We'll have Caitlin with us, so we should be easy to locate. :-)
michaeldthomas: (WTF)
Internet kerfuffles sometimes meld with other ideas in my brain. I really don’t have much of an opinion about Steampunk as a sub-genre of literary SF/F. I haven’t read enough Steampunk lit in order to make any sweeping statements. Based on spending a few minutes at TeslaCon this weekend and last year’s WindyCon, I know lots of people are enjoying it. One question raised during the whole discussion, though, stuck with me. Why do people passionately embrace Steampunk in 2010?

The more I pondered it, the more I thought about my family’s trip to Epcot a few weeks ago. My last visit had been in 1989. Back then, the front half of Epcot was designed to act like a never-ending World’s Fair called Future World. Corporate sponsors helped create pavilions that showcased future possibilities, usually with films and audio-animatronic characters. By 2010, most of those optimistic ventures have been replaced with typical Disney theme rides. What happened?

The future died.
Read more )

November?

Nov. 4th, 2010 10:07 am
michaeldthomas: (WTF)
I was warned by my mother that time passes quicker as you get older. How is 2010 almost over? Didn't I just write my goals for the year?

My brain is currently fried from the final push on my mid-grade Fantasy novel, The Scarlet Queen. If I still used a word meter, it would show I'm at 44,000 of about 50,000 words. I should meet my goal of finishing the first draft by Caitlin's hip surgery on December 7th.

Other than that, I'm doing lots of little things for my glamorous wife. This month is packed with conventions and meetings. This weekend, we're having dinner with a SUPER AWESOME AUTHOR and friends. The next weekend is WindyCon, and of course Thanksgiving weekend is Chicago TARDIS where Lynne will do her Guest thing. Add that to a few Seekrit Projects, and I'm spending lots a time organizing all of the things.

Instead of going to WFC (stupid budget cuts), we spent last weekend at home. We ended up taking Caitlin to Brookfield Zoo for her birthday. Her aunt and cousin joined us (hooray!), and we had a very good time once Caitlin stopped moaning about the wind in her face.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
It just keeps on growing. For those of you keeping score at home, here is the current list of SF/F Professionals archiving with [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne at Northern Illinois University:

Jack McDevitt
Carol Emshwiller
Tamora Pierce
Eric Flint
David Weber
Kage Baker
Patricia Wrede
Pamela Dean
Sharon Shinn
Elizabeth Bear
Pat Murphy
Robert Asprin
Jody Lynn Nye
Caroline Stevermer
Will Shetterly
E.E. Knight
Catherynne M. Valente
Tobias Buckell
Sarah Monette
Kristine Smith
Tim Pratt
Nnedi Okorafor
Jim C. Hines
Sarah Prineas
L. Timmel Duchamp
Nisi Shawl
Alma Alexander
Kelly McCullough
Naomi Kritzer
Lyda Morehouse/Tate Hallaway
Alex Bledsoe
Mary Robinette Kowal
Rebecca Ore
Jennifer Stevenson
Cat Rambo
Ted Kosmatka
Richard Chwedyk
Steven H Silver
Lori Devoti
Mark Rich
Donald Bingle
Elise Matheson
Catherine Lundoff
Jaime Lee Moyer
Heather Shaw
Sean M. Murphy

There are over 30 more authors who have said yes but haven't sent anything in yet.
michaeldthomas: (Argghh!)
Since I'm an aspiring author, I want to get this future post out of the way.

I hate the state of the publishing industry in the 2020s. That new, successful sub-genre sure does suck. I mean, come on! Who reads that stuff? The stuff I write is much more serious. My fans are smart. The fans of that new, successful sub-genre are soooo stupid. I'm writing this post because I really care about the quality of the industry. This has nothing to do with the fact that the new, hot sub-genre outsells my books by a lot. No sirree, no sour grapes here...

There. Now I don't have to write that BS later. :P
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
Remember how we were worried about her making new friends at school? Twice this week, Caitlin came home with artwork from a new friend in her 2nd Grade class. Cait's friend decided to draw pictures of Caitlin's Make-A-Wish trip. The first one showed Belle at Cinderella's Castle and the second one showed Harry Potter at Hogwarts. Both were welcoming Caitlin with a wave and a smile. :-)

Last Sunday, we took Caitlin to meet another celebrity. This time it was legendary wrestler Mick Foley. Also known as The Hardcore Legend, Mick wrestled as Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind. He still occasionally wrestles, but now he's better known as a bestselling author. You might also know him as the Senior Asskicker on The Daily Show.
Read more )
michaeldthomas: (Argghh!)
Now that the Make-A-Wish trip and recovery are over, the calender tells [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and me that it's time to finish some projects.

For Lynne, her partner-in-crime Deb Stanish, and their plucky Associate Editor (me), this means polishing the manuscript of Whedonistas by the end of the week for the Mad Norwegian. That's more work than you might think. We have over thirty pieces from as many contributors that need to be placed into a single manuscript and cleaned up so that they all share the same formatting and style. Considering how many different writing styles (AP, Chicago, MLA, etc.) are out there, this takes some effort. It's also not very sexy.

The sexy part is figuring out the essay order. It reminds me a lot of my youth when I used to make mix tapes (yes, I'm in my mid-thirties). This is one of those vital components of an anthology that your reader doesn't necessarily think much about if you do it right. If you do it wrong, however, you can screw up the tone of the whole book. The sequence matters.

Once that's behind us, I need to finish the first draft of my mid-grade fantasy novel, The Scarlet Queen. I'm in the final quarter of the manuscript. My goal is to finish this draft before Caitlin's surgery in December.

Wish me luck. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
My brain is fried from last night's insomnia. Racing thoughts suck. The worst part of it is that I'm now thinking about writing a long post about the latest SF blogosphere kerfuffle. I'll wait until tomorrow to see if I still want to touch the shiny blades at the bottom of that blender.

Here are some news and notes:

1- Lynne and I will be at MadCon in Madison on Sunday on a Chicks Dig Time Lords panel at 1:00 PM with Sophie Aldred, Carole Barrowman, Kathryn Sullivan, and Jennifer Adams Kelley. Sadly, Harlan Ellison will not be joining us on the panel.

My brain has yet to process the fact that I'm going to be on a panel with Sophie Aldred.

2- The next installment of Cait's Make-A-Wish trip is up on [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne's journal.

3- L. Timmel Duchamp officially joined the NIU SF Archives. There will be another announcement any day now of another author joining with some major WisCon ties. At this rate, Lynne will be archiving the Madison Concourse housekeeping staff by 2012. ;-)
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 09)
I don't have much to say right now. We had a phenomenal time in Orlando. If you want to read about the details, [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne is writing it up on her LJ with me looking over her shoulder.

The big news around here is that Lynne was nominated for a Last Drink Bird Head Award for Promotion of Reading due to her archiving the works and papers of SF/F authors. I'm very proud of her. Feel free to congratulate her over at her LJ.

Caitlin is happy to see her friends at school. I'm back to work on The Scarlet Queen. I had an epiphany that trashed the next part of my outline. It will make a better book, but it does involve new research. Oh, well. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Lots of little things happening around here.

1- Caitlin had a great first couple of weeks of Second Grade. She's making friends and staying out of trouble.

Cait is very excited about her Make-A-Wish trip. We watched the Disney World vacation planning DVD on Monday night and she was unable to fall asleep until midnight. We'll be gone in 8 days!

2- Lynne rulz the Internets. This week saw the announcement of Whedonistas, the Seekrit Project that [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and Deborah Stanish have been editing for some time. I'm glad we can finally talk about it. :-)

In other cool book news, the giant SF/F website io9 ran an excerpt from Chicks Dig Time Lords-- specifically, Carole Barrowman's essay. To say we are giddy about this is an understatement.

3- I'm at the 3/5 mark (more or less) on The Scarlet Queen. I'm feeling more and more confident about finishing it this year.
michaeldthomas: (Me!)
Now that Caitlin's back in school, I can start throwing myself back into my fledgling writing career. I'm hoping to make some major progress on a few projects before Caitlin's hip surgery. Here's my housekeeping list: Read more... )
Geronimo!
michaeldthomas: (WTF)
There's been some talk around the SFnal blogosphere this week about mid-career writing advice in blogs. The gist is that once a writer is mid-career, there are less truisms about writing out there. I obviously have no advice to a mid-career writer other than they should talk to [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne about archiving. There was something mentioned by [livejournal.com profile] sartorias, though, that made me think about an unwritten rule that every aspiring writer should know. [livejournal.com profile] sartorias said this about the posts by Jay Lake and Tobias Buckell:

Both guys point out that "advice" is actually pretty hard to give, outside of some insider specifics about which houses to avoid if you can, which agents are hot and which are not, royalty and foreign sales difficulties, problems with copy-editors, and so forth. Mentioning some of this in public can get a writer into trouble if it's "interesting" (i.e. rants, or outing facts that are supposed to stay behind closed doors) and they are boring to non-writers if they aren't.

So where are these closed-door discussions? Some happen in emails and private Internet groups. Many of these discussions, though, happen at the bar during conventions. Writers are a solitary group of introverts. Bring them together and add liquor, however, and you will see authors, editors, and agents transform into the town ladies of River City singing ""Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little." The gossip flows like cheap gin. If you're an aspiring writer at a con, there's a decent chance you will overhear conversations about which small press is run by incompetent crooks, which editor will take a thousand years to edit a manuscript, and which agent has sex with sheep in Scottish castle moats during his or her vacations.

Here's the BIG unwritten rule for aspiring writers:
Keep your fucking mouth shut.

If you want to have a happy career, don't repeat what you hear on the Internet. Things said in the bar stay in the bar. Writers need this safe space to vent. They might say awful things about a press one year, and publish with it the next. This is a small community. If you spread the gossip on Twitter or in your blog, it will get traced back to you.

This unwritten rule applies to other aspects of a writers' life. An early-career writer recently wrote a public blog about a bad critique session they had at a prominent writers' workshop. The details of their manuscript were fairly upsetting, but that wasn't why some other writers were pissed off about the blog post. This writer had broken the unwritten rule. Like the bar, a critique session is supposed to be a safe place. What happens in the conference room needs to stay there. The privacy of a critique session leads to more risk taking and honesty. If people start blogging about how awful so-and-so's story was or how this person is a fool who doesn't understand genius writing, that will be the end of productive workshops.

If you need to gossip, develop friendships with people you can trust. Then you can send an email or pick up a phone. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.
michaeldthomas: (content)
A bundle of links about my AWESOME wife...

1- There's a great review of Chicks Dig Time Lords in the latest issue of the Doctor Who fanzine The Terrible Zodin. I love the reviews that get what we were trying to do with the book.

2- There's a wonderful picture of Sophie Aldred (Ace) wearing a Chicks Dig Time Lords t-shirt while standing next to Karen Gillan (Amy) in the latest issue of Vortex: The Big Finish Magazine.

3- Speaking of Sophie, there's going to be a Chicks Dig Time Lords panel at MadCon in Madison on September 26. Panelists will include Editors Lynne Thomas & Tara O'Shea, Associate Editor Michael D. Thomas, and contributors Sophie Aldred, Carole Barrowman, Kathryn Sullivan, Jennifer Adams Kelley, and Christa Dickson.

4- Pamela Dean joined the NIU SF Archives! For those of you keeping score at home, she joins an all-star author list that includes Jack McDevitt, Carol Emshwiller, Tamora Pierce, Eric Flint, David Weber, Kage Baker, Patricia Wrede, Sharon Shinn, Pamela Dean, Elizabeth Bear, Robert Asprin, Jody Lynn Nye, Caroline Stevermer, Will Shetterly, E.E. Knight, Catherynne M. Valente, Tobias Buckell, Sarah Monette, Kristine Smith, Tim Pratt, Nnedi Okorafor, Jim C. Hines, Sarah Prineas, Alma Alexander, Kelly McCullough, Naomi Kritzer, Lyda Morehouse, Alex Bledsoe, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jennifer Stevenson, Nisi Shawl, Cat Rambo, Ted Kosmatka, Richard Chwedyk, Steven H Silver, Lori Devoti, Mark Rich, Donald Bingle, Elise Matheson, Catherine Lundoff, Jaime Lee Moyer, Heather Shaw, and Sean M. Murphy. There are another 30 or so authors on their way. :-)

5- Paul Cornell quotes [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne in his con report about CONvergence 2010. If you're thinking about going to CONvergence, this is an excellent primer/endorsement.

6- Finally, the CONvergence website has been updated for the 2011 convention. MY WIFE IS ONE OF THE FREAKIN' GUESTS OF HONOR with Catherynne M. Valente and Brian Keene!!! How freakin' awesome is that?

Phew. There are other amazing things going on with Lynne, but most of them are seekrit. I am very proud of my phenomenal wife. :D
michaeldthomas: (Default)
We're off to Milwaukee for a reading/signing of Chicks Dig Time Lords with [livejournal.com profile] taraoshea, Carole Barrowman, Kathy Sullivan, and Jody Lynn Nye at Boswell's Books. This means most of my day will be spent in cars.

Not too much else going on around here. I submitted a story to an editor who intimidates the hell out of me (though she's a friend), and I started a rewrite on another short story. I think it's in good shape. I can't decide if I'm telling the reader enough about what's going on-- so pretty much business as usual. :-P

Caitlin is off from school next week. That pretty much kills any fiction writing. We also have a trip to Children's Memorial Hospital on Wednesday. Hopefully, those appointments will be dull. We really don't need any bad surprises.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
We're back home after a phenomenal WisCon. As usual, I can't write much of a con report without it looking like a Bush-era terror document with 3/4 of the words blacked out. Suffice to say there was plenty of booze, business, and gossip. Repeatable highlights include [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne singing "Black Velvet" at the Karaoke Party, Lynne getting to wear [livejournal.com profile] maryrobinette's extra Regency dress for the Sunday night parties (they looked like the freakin' Bennet sisters!), my first taste of good Scotch, a total lack of drama, lots of good conversation and jokes, and many, many fine meals.

For me, this really was the first con that I felt like a writer. I found myself talking process with some authors who I really admire. Amazingly, they didn't try to talk me out of this writing malarkey. ;-)

I also spent a lot of time just hanging out with other people at the beginning of their careers. I feel like I'm finding my peer group.

I miss you all.

Thanks to all of the support, encouragement, and good feedback from this weekend, I think I'm about to kick some ass with my current WIPs.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Where does the time go? I swear it was just yesterday I was in the WisCon bar goofing around with friends.

Here's one of those "five thing" posts the kids all love.

1- Caitlin's Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World is coming together. We will be staying at Cait's first choice, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. This hotel is a pint of awesomesauce covered in unicorns and rainbows. It's on a 43-acre wildlife preserve. You can look out your window and see "Ankole Cattle, Bontebok, Eland, Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Okapi, Red River Hog, Nyala, Reticulated Giraffe, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Thompson's Gazelle, Waterbuck, White-Bearded Wildebeest, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Greater Flamingo, Marabou Stork, Ostrich, Pink-Backed Pelican, Spur Winged Geese, Guinea Fowl, and Ruppel's Griffon Vulture!" I told Caitlin she could ride a giraffe. She's really excited about this trip.

2- [livejournal.com profile] jimhines posted about the Marion Zimmer Bradley fanfic kerfuffle and linked to my earlier post on the subject. Jim says smart things. :-)

3- I'm working again on Fluid Links for Mad Norwegian Press after a long hiatus (this happens when one of the co-writers is also the publisher). Right now I'm trying to rediscover my groove for this project. Since I finished my research for this Doctor Who novel guide series, I've written a novel, 10 short stories, and a 1/3 of a middle-grade novel. It feels like Fluid Links belongs to a different Michael D. Thomas. The good news is that I've nearly completed my part of the first volume.

4- [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne is running around like a crazy woman. WisCon is a major event for her as SF Archivist to the Stars (As seen in Locus!). There are 17 authors attending who are already archiving at NIU. Another 11 will be there who have already said yes. Lynne is meeting a bunch more to discuss their papers. We're also picking up archival materials from about 8 authors. All of this action will be occurring while Lynne is also promoting Chicks Dig Time Lords and working on her next seekrit project. If we look exhausted at the parties, now you know why. :-)

5- We have new haircuts for WisCon. I expect that the next two days will be devoted to figuring out what we're wearing.

Bonus- Our good friends Sarah and David adopted a baby last week! She is beautiful. We're so happy for them!

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