It's that time of year again when authors remind the reading world what they've published in that year. In the SFF world, it started as part of the annual awards season--reminding potential nominators of works they may have forgotten they enjoyed. But it's also a self-affirmation. A way of saying, "Yes, I've been productive this year. Look what I've accomplished."
Well, ok. Look what I've accomplished.
I'm not going to lie; that feels a bit pathetic for a year's output. When Mother of Souls came out in November 2016, it was clear I wouldn't be getting a novel out in 2017. Even without the depressive effect of the 2016 election results, I'd been wrung out by the deadlines I'd set for delivering Mother of Souls and hadn't started immediately in on Floodtide. And Floodtide is a different enough book in the context of the series that I knew it would need more care in the writing. What's more, it's different enough that I feel the need to set myself up with a clear Plan B, and that takes more thought.
So when 2017 started, there was no guarantee that I'd have anything to show for this year. I was only able to submit "Hyddwen" to Podcastle because I gave up on waiting for it to be rejected by the market where it had languished for over a year. So the self-affirmation purpose of "look what I've published this year" is a bit weak. And the nomination-reminder purpose is non-existent. "Hyddwen" got a few lovely comments and then disappeared into the mists of the otherworld. It isn't that sweet, positive fairy-tale stories never get award nominations, but they generally only get them if the author has enough juice that a substantial number of people read/listen to the story in the first place.
At least I already know that I'll have at least one publication in 2018. There's that.
It's been a year of being reminded that I live in that liminal space between worlds--between genres and readerships. It's a place I chose, but not one I find comfortable. Like Serafina in Mother of Souls, sometimes I want desperately to belong somewhere, to be comfortable. But--just like Serafina--even more than that, I want to be true to my talent, to my creative vision. And that will never be a comfortable thing. My stories will always cross genres and dodge in unexpected directions. They will always be too complex to fall neatly into favorite tropes. They will never be a "best example of X" that anyone pulls out and recommends reflexively. And I suppose I'm ok with that. But I'm allowed to dream. And I'm allowed to be uncomfortable.
I'll be doing a separate year-end post on my non-fiction and projects closer to the actual end of the year. Last year it was a refreshing reminder of how productive I've actually been. I'm not sure it will be quite so comforting this year, but I won't know until I put it together.