Monthly Report – March 2013

Looks like I just might be getting the new report out almost on time! Three cheers for me! Well, sorta, but its the effort that counts, right?

March has been one of my busiest months of late, probably because a lot was happening throughout, and things are still extremely busy in light of some recent news that’s come my way with regards the publishing and comics industries. So expect to see a lot of content from me in April.

At least, that’s the plan!

So, this is how the writing and reading went down last month, and you can find the February Report here.

2013 Writing Challenge

1. Dharmayoddha: Warrior of Faith

Plans, first contact, etc. The second-pass edits didn’t happen. I’m really struggling with proper writing discipline right now, mostly to do with motivation to write in the first place. I kept putting off the edits day after day and then before I knew it, the entire month was gone. Le sigh.

But, I hit the sweet spot yesterday, and began planning the short story below, as well as jotting down things for the novel later this year. Getting my head back in the game with world-building seems to be my last-ditch effort process that always works, so I’m all cool with that. I’m busy this entire weekend since I’m going to a local con tomorrow, and then on Sunday have some work-related things to do all day.

I fully expect to be back on-track for this by Monday. Hell or high water, I’m going to finish those second-pass edits by the next Sunday.

2. Dharmasankat: Crisis of Faith

Whether or not the second-pass edits be completed by the next Sunday, I will begin writing this short story by next Wednesday at the latest. The deadline for the short story submission is fast approaching, and I’ve been lax on this project for far too long. Slacking off is bad, bad, bad!

3. Ragnarok Chronicles #1: Cloak of Secrecy

I wasn’t really planning to do anything for this, but I surprised myself by writing pages upon pages of scene details for chapters that I only have vague notes for so far. It all started off as a simple exercise in world-building, identifying all my major factions and characters and their moral alignments, but then deviated into working out scenes in enough detail that I could use them as a springboard to write the actual scenes.

Now, as it happens, these are all hand-written notes in a notebook, so I don’t have the exact word-count to hand, but suffice to say that I wrote a fair bit. I think it was the fact that I was writing in long-hand that must have done the trick. Well, I’m certainly not complaining. A simple approximation says that I wrote about ~1,600 words which doesn’t sound all that much, but then I wasn’t really expecting to do any writing now!

4. Black Library

Again, no news of any windows coming up, and no word on the last year’s window either. Quite disheartening.

5. Sons of Corax FanFic

No progress made on this as yet. To be honest, I’m too busy with everything else to give this any thought. But, I have some other fanfic ideas in mind, particularly some collaborations with a few friends. So those might get worked on this month if I’m so lucky.

6. The Blog

More goodness for “Names: A New Pespective” last month – Joseph D’Lacey, Emma Newman, Martha Wells, James K. Decker, Wesley Chu, Marie BrennanEric Brown. As far as I’m concerned, this was a great turnout from new and established authors alike. No favourites among them, but I will say that I’m really excited to read the latest from some of these authors!

I also mentioned here that the March/April issue of IndianSF was finally out and that my review for Selso Xisto’s 2012 debut, Particle Horizon, was quoted in it. Hoping for more such opportunities in the future!

I did the first ever cover reveal on the blog, for Wesley Chu’s debut, The Lives of Tao, one of the new and upcoming books from Angry Robot, which I will hopefully be reading later this month. To reiterate, I love the cover, and I love the premise, two reasons why this book is on my “51 Most Anticipated Releases of 2013” list.

Early in March, I posted my thoughts about doing a semi-regular column about marketing and publishing, something that had been on my mind for a while, and which I wanted to explore through the blog. I got some good feedback on that, and eventually I wrote up my first installment for the column, Publisher Communication. It proved to be quite a hit with readers and I got a LOT of feedback about this one, especially in relation to final third of that editorial. It allowed me to get something really frustrating off my chest, and I’m really glad that I did.

Finally, I also wrote some unrestrained commentary on the media handling of the Steubenville debacle. This was something else that I’d wanted to get off my chest for a while, but lacked a proper medium to do so. In a sort of cathartic attempt at resolution, I finally wrote it. Its kinda funny how things work out, you know. Even though the incident itself happened much earlier in the year 2012, I only recently became aware of it, and it helped me to put the December incidents in India into sharp focus and perspective. Once again, I’m really glad that I wrote it, because these were words that needed to be said, words that should be said by each and every one of us.Personal blogging-wise, it was kind of a rough month, as you can no doubt see from the two editorials. But, good and positive things kept me going, which is ultimately what matters.

In my humble opinion, I’m continuing to bring more great content to all of you, and am starting to blog more about things in the publishing and comics industry that I feel I have a reasonably informed (at least) opinion on. Often times, I come across some kind of incident or news that I’d love to talk about on the blog, but time commitments prevent me doing so. Going to try and be much more forceful with myself on that issue.

Finally, as regards NANP, I was supposed to send out a few emails yesterday night, but that didn’t work out. Could have done that today as well, but again, lack of time prevented me. And tomorrow all day I’m at a con so I don’t know how things will work out. But the emails should be out by Monday night. I already have three authors lined up for later this month, starting on the 15th, so I’m covered on that for a while.

More great content coming right up!

7. The Founding Fields

March proved to be an extremely busy month as far as TFF is concerned. Several reviews and articles got posted, the most in a month so far for the year 2013, and it all had me running ragged if I’m honest. And I still fell behind with reviewing and news coverage alike, barely able to cover a small fraction of the latter as it turned out.Regardless, things are going excellente there.

My demands of reviewing guest post series is going really well, and I posted contributions from four of my reviewer friends – David Ledeboer, Ken Wong, Paul Weimer, and, Sarah Chorn. I’m thinking of expanding the number of invitees for this. I have three already committed, and more certainly wouldn’t hurt, except when I try and come up with those titles! Full steam ahead it is.

14 reviews in all (one was a guest review for the SF Signal – Batgirl Vol.2 by Gail Simone), and 9 articles on various topics. I’m on a roll!

8. Just Beyond Infinity

No reviews this month, although I saw a few good movies – Mere Dad Ki Maruti, and Jolly LLB – and a bad one – G.I.Joe 2: Retaliation. The latter I shall be writing most definitely, so keep an eye out for that one.

9. NaNoWriMo

Nothing new with regards to this. I was too busy with existing projects and other commitments to come up with new ideas, which is a blessing sine it prevents me going off-track. Not really bothering too much with the actual NaNo stuff anyway since its later in the year and I have other things to worry about. Just as withCloak of Secrecy above, I did some freehand writing for the untitled fantasy project, working out the world-building stuff, and I’m slowly getting to grips with what I want to do for this setting, and how to go about doing it. I don’t want to go in this one completely cold, and the world-building stuff is going to help me keep on track with the larger idea.

  1. Cloak of Secrecy~1,600 words
  2. Dharamayoddha0 words
  3. Starfighter/Shadowblade Mash-up0 words
  4. Untitled Fantasy Project ~950 words
  5. Founding Fields
    1. Reviews26,287 words
    2. Articles4,266 words
  6. Blog 10,576 words
  7. JBI – 0 words

Total: ~43,679 words, which is an almost 47% increase from last month’s writing. Wow, I’m stunned. But my main weakness still remains – writing more proper fiction! I won’t have the exact numbers for the month until I type up my hand-written stuff into Word, but this seems to be a rough estimate.

Yearly total: ~118,163 words, out of a total target of 450,000 words. Looks like I’m roughly on track and slightly ahead even, which is good to know!

2013 Reading Challenge

Some progress on my “mini” reading challenges:

  • Top 25 Series I Want To Read In 20136/25. Good progress on this, having read Spiritwalker #1: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott and Theirs Not To Reason Why #1: A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson. While I’m mostly on target with this, I do need to read more than just 2 novels a month from the list. Otherwise, I can’t make the final goal. So, will see how that works out.
  • Most Anticipated Releases of 201312/51. I’m still racing to catch up to this. Read seven books on the list last month — Split Worlds #1: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, Emilie and The Hollow World by Martha Wells, Warhammer Heroes: Van Horstmann by Ben Counter, Shattered Kingdoms #1: Blood’s Pride by Evie Manieri, The Kassa Gambit by M. C. Planck, The Holders by Julianna Scott, and Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins. With the exception of the Wolfhound Century, all the books were great and I’ve reviewed most of them already. Just head over to my “Book Reviews” page to check them out. Will be reading five more books (again!) from this list for this month, and in fact have already read one of them, The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez, which was one of the quirkiest SFF novels I’ve read ever!
  • March Comics Poll11/20. I read a ton of graphic novels last month, and managed to read a fair few of them from list list, as you can see. Some like Matt Fraction’s The Mighty Thor Vol.1 proved to be duds, some like Justin Gray/Jimmy Palmiotti’s Power Girl: A New Beginning proved to be average, and others like Fred van Lente’s Archer & Armstrong Vol.1 were just plain excellent. One of these, I’ve already reviewed, Jim Starlin’s Batman: A Death In The Family, and I have several more coming up soon.

All in all, the meta-challenge counter was 117/250 by midnight March 31st. I continue to read in different genres, with different styles all over, and I have to say that I’m really enjoying the variety, even when I don’t like the books themselves.

As ever, you can follow the progress on my reading for the year here.

Picking my favourites from the graphic novels was a tough task, and while I did make my picks, I went ahead and picked four items for each of the two comics sections. This was because I read a TON of graphic novels and a few single issues as well, which I wanted to represent on the final list. So, here are my top recommendations from last month’s reading list (with linked reviews).

Top 3: Theirs Not To Reason Why #1: A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson, Emilie and The Hollow World by Martha Wells, and, Warhammer Heroes: Van Horstmann by Ben Counter.

Honourable Mention: Split Worlds #1: Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, The Kassa Gambit by M. C. Planck, Shotguns & Sorcery #2: Bad Times In Dragon City by Matt Forbeck.

Top 3 [Comics]Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns, Fables Vol.2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham, Captain America: Winter Soldier Vol.1 by Ed Brubaker, and, TMNT: The Secret History of the Foot Clan #4 by Mateus Santolouco.

Honourable Mention [Comics]: Archer & Armstrong Vol.1 by Fred van Lente, Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol.1 by J. Michael Straczynski, Locke & Key Vol.1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, and, Marvel Now: Thor, God of Thunder #5 by Jason Aaron.

You can find the full list here.

Some new acquisitions

  • Dragonlance Chronicles #1: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – This is for my 25 Series reading challenge, and one of my favourite books of all time. Really looking forward to reading it this month!
  • Shadows of the Apt #1: The Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky – This too is for my reading challenge. Been hearing lots of praise about Adrian’s work recently, and I love those covers too, so this should be fun!
  • G.I.Joe Vol.1 andby Chuck Dixon – I was meant to be reading Mike Costa’s concurrent second volume for Cobra, but started with Dixon’s work first, and I’m mightily impressed. Should have the second volume read soon!
  • Batman: Knightfall Vol.2 – This one continues on from The Broken Bat and I’m really interested to see how things progress. Batman is now suffering from a broken spine, his future is uncertain, and Bane is now on the loose.
  • Magdalena Vol.1 by Ron Marz and Epoch Vol.1 by Kevin McCarthy – I was unable to attend Comic Con India 2013 in February, since I had no idea there was such an event and I came back to Dubai the weekend before. But I had a cousin pick me up these two books, signed by Top Cow top-man Matt Hawkins. Fun stuff!

Posted on April 7, 2013, in 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, 24FPS, Editorial, Guest Posts, Monthly Reports, Original Work, The Founding Fields, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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