Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

My NaNoWriMo Retrospective continues with a look back at 2003. I came, I wrote, I bought the t-shirt. And I wrote “THE END.”

nanoretro2003This was my second year of NaNoWriMo, and the year I wrote the first draft of One’s Aspect to the Sun. I learned a lot about novel-writing that year, including the fact that sometimes characters you intend to kill off in the second chapter just keep hanging around until you realize they’re not ready to die after all. I also found out how fulfilling it is to reach some semblance of an ending and type those two wonderful words.

I wasn’t certain if this was the year I became a Municipal Liaison, but I’ve just gone and checked my email (yes, I’m an email hoarder, I confess), and this was the year I started. So I’m glad to have that figured out, because I’m never sure when filling out the ML form each year. It didn’t occur to me before this to just go and check those old emails, for which I really have no excuse. As I recall, we were a pretty small group that year, and far-flung across the Island, as we still are, although there are definitely more of us participating now. I remember mailing out pins and possibly stickers to a few participants.

Anyway, this is a big year in the retrospective, because the draft I wrote this year became my first published novel (from Tyche Books) in…wait for it…2013. In November, even! Yes, ten whole years after I wrote that first draft. Now, I wasn’t working on it constantly during those ten years (I wrote a lot of other stuff in there, too), but I did write several drafts. I submitted it to the Atlantic Writing Competition (now Nova Writes) and took second place (which one of the organizers assured me meant that the novel was “publishable”), and rewrote it using the feedback I received from the judges. After a couple more rewrites and submissions, it found its home at Tyche. The beautiful cover art is by the talented Ashley Walters. The book was named “Speculative Fiction Book of the Year” by the Book Publishers of Alberta.

Here’s the blurb, which remained pretty much the same from the time I first wrote it in 2003 until the book came out:

When Luta Paixon, captain of the merchant trader Tane Ikai, looked in the mirror, she saw a woman in her thirties–even though she was actually eighty-two. Luta’s only explanation might lie with the mother who had disappeared over sixty years ago. But even if her mother were still alive, it would be no small task to track her down in the vast, wormhole-ridden expanse of Nearspace. With the ruthless PrimeCorp bent on obtaining Luta’s DNA at any cost, her ninety-year-old husband asking for one last favor, and her estranged daughter locking horns with her at every turn, Luta’s search for answers will take her to the farthest reaches of space–and deep inside her own heart.

Looking back at my spreadsheet from this year, I see that I finished November with a word count of 50,715. On the second day, my note says, “A little worried that I don’t know where I’m going,” but by the end of the first week I seem to have settled into a groove and flown straight on till morning. I actually finished on the 27th, averaging 1878 words per day.

Which year will we visit next? Stay tuned!

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

loudspeaker-1370588-m

Crank it up!

This morning I sent out a tweet about the fact that my novel, One’s Aspect to the Sun, is on the eligibility list for novels for this year’s Prix Aurora Awards. This–the tweeting, that is–should not be a big deal. (Being eligible is absolutely a big deal, for me! It’s my first novel, after all.)

And yet, mentioning it was not the easiest thing to do. I’ve actually never encountered any blowback for promoting my self or my writing (or publishing with Third Person Press), but I’ve read several articles online by writers (women in particular) who have drawn negative and accusatory comments for doing such a thing. I hesitated a day or two before I said anything about it online.

I, like these women and many other folks, am uncertain why this should be. (And I’m not even going to get into the reasons why women seem to suffer the slings and arrows more than men; that’s been addressed far more eloquently than I probably could, like here.) So while it’s not easy for me to self-promote, I guess because I’m simply of a modest personality, there’s no getting around the fact that I want folks to read (and hopefully enjoy) my work. Almost any writer will admit to this desire, and those who won’t–well, I don’t buy it. Unless you’re writing solely in journals that never see the light of day, or in files that never go further than your hard drive, you’re writing to share something with…um…readers.

So, yes, I hope that people will be entertained by what I write. And to do that, most of them will have to buy it. And to do that, they’ll have to know it exists.

Awards and accolades are certainly nice to get, although the entire idea of awards these days seems to stir up a lot of disagreement and accusation and really a lot more negative energy than I think they are worth. But the plain fact of it is that being nominated for, or winning, awards, brings a work to the attention of more people. Who might then buy it. Who will hopefully then enjoy it. You see how we’ve come full circle here?

So yes, despite the fact that someone may react negatively to it, I’m talking about the fact that my novel is eligible to be nominated for an Aurora Award. I’m even going to tell you how you could go about that, in case you don’t know. The awards are administered by The Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association, and the website for the awards is here: http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/. To participate in the awards process, you must be a member of CSFFA–you can join online, but to nominate and vote you pay $10 per year in dues. Nominations are currently open and will remain open until April 12th. The nomination form is on the website.

As people are wont to say, it would be an honour just to be nominated. For me, just seeing my name on the eligibility list has been a thrill! But if you’ve read and enjoyed the book, you might consider submitting a nomination. And if you’ve read and enjoyed other Canadian works on the eligibility lists, then please consider giving them a nod too. This type of award depends entirely on the public’s participation, so if you’re a reader, get in there and participate!

Photo credit: Acuzio

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