Monthly Report: August and September 2013
Posted by AJ
So once again, these monthly reports are delayed big time. They are just so onerous to write that sometimes I just don’t care really. But I do them regardless because they happen to serve as a good check on my writing, especially when I lose track of things, as I am often wont to do, for no reason really.
I still can’t seem to find the right frame of mind to work on anything fictional, while my non-fiction work and my editorials continue apace. Its really weird. You can find the June/July Report here.
2013 Writing Challenge
1. Dharmayoddha: Warrior of Faith
I have teased out a couple places that might be a good fit for this and so I’ll be working on that for the foreseeable future since the novella needs to be edited and lengthened as appropriate for these two markets. Hoping that something works out with this!
2. Dharmasankat: Crisis of Faith
The anthology has finally been published, as you can see here. Some feedback has definitely been trickling in and the story has been praised for its setting most of all. However, the reviews that mention my story have all pretty much come from reviewers and authors I’m familiar with and by dint of that association they’ve taken the time to mention Dharmasankat. All other reviews make no mention of my story and that is slightly disheartening but certainly not bad, per se. People seem to be liking the anthology as a whole and ultimately that is what matters.
Remember, if you read the anthology and my story in particular, do drop me a message. In the meantime, do me a small favour and add the book to your Goodreads shelves here in the meantime. Would be much appreciated!
3. Ragnarok Chronicles #1: Cloak of Secrecy
My lack of any real progress on this project is really bothering me. So much so that I just want to rewrite the whole damn thing. I can’t make any headway and I’m just stuck. Part of the reason could be because I’ve written myself into a corner with some really silly sequence of events and thus my creativity is taking a hit since I can’t figure out what to do. I wrote almost six thousand words in August, but I’m not really happy with them, not at all. I just can’t seem to progress the story properly.
Having read some SF novels recently, I have a mind to go more military SF on this story than the espionage thriller space opera I was writing it as. Since I’m extremely comfortable with MSF, having read and written it quite a bit, I think that just might be the right approach for me. As with Dharmayoddha above, will see how things work out. I plan on doing some stuff for the novel this month and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
4. The Blog
“Names: A New Pespective” finally came to an end in August with guest posts by Bryony Pearce and M. L. Brennan. Its been a ton of great fun to get all these authors together for almost 11 months worth of guest posts and its certainly been instructive in a lot of ways as well. For the moment, I’m planning out how to put together the next phase of these guest posts. Invites will probably go out no later than two weeks from now, and I expect to get the first post up no later than the second week of November.
As I mentioned in the last report, once NANP was done I wanted to take time off and take the blog itself in a different direction. I started posting some comics reviews in August, which continued at one hell of a pace last month in September and is still ongoing. I’ve been writing a lot of comics reviews of late and its helped me get into that headspace better. Still working out the kinks though, mostly to do with avoiding the same phrases over and again. But, still going good. I did 10 reviews for the blog in August and another 25 in September, which really is a hell of a lot. And I don’t see that kind of a pace dropping down anytime soon. Nope!
Another thing I’ve added to the blog recently are TV Show reviews. I started posting some anime stuff a while back and now I’ve added in animated stuff and live-action stuff. Doing TV Show reviews is quite different than doing movie reviews and I’m kind of enjoying experimenting with this style. Its quite a lot of fun actually, when I am relatively sober that is and not feeling tired with my brain all mushy from that tiredness. Keep an eye out for more because there definitely will be more!
As with the last reporting cycle, I’ve continued to do more editorials and most of them have been fun to write, and a few have been slightly painful. Just that slightest little bit.
The first editorial in August was about DC taking the time to fix its line of younger superhero comics, i.e. comics like Teen Titans, Superboy, Supergirl, etc, which you can read here. Things haven’t improved any since I wrote the article, not that I expected it to, and in some cases they’ve gotten worse, which is a really sad state of affairs. Given everything I’m reading of late in terms of news and solicits, it doesn’t look like its going to improve either, which is a real shame.
In a bit of a departure from the usual, I reviewed a movie and a comic together in the same post: The Wolverine vs Wolverine. Having watched the new Wolverine recently and read the comic that it was inspired from/based on, I decided to talk about both in the same post. It made for a fun style and I definitely enjoyed it. Might do it again at some point in the future!
Then there was the post in which I expressed some concerns about DC’s movies universe, which you can read here. While I’m excited about getting news about forthcoming movies based on DC heroes, I’m not terribly excited because DC/WB just seem to be wanting to go for the same old, same old. How is one supposed to get excited like that?
There was also a piece I did as part of a larger blog effort, on a reviewer’s subjectivity, which you can read here. Now that was a massively fun post that got me to really think more critically about all the fiction I read, watch, etc.
Following soon after was a post I did about the Mako Mori Test for movies (and by extension other media), in which I talked about how that test fares up against the traditional Bechdel Test as a measure of how a particular movie (or any other media form) treats its female characters. I’m in the camp of using both together as evaluation tools, not ones of judgement. You can read that post here.
And just to top things off, I started another new feature, Comics Picks of The Week, in which I list all the comics I’ve read for that comics release week and which six comics made it to the top of my list from all those comics. Its been a bit of a tedium to get these posts done, but done them I have and will continue to do so.
Finally, there was my fifth Publishing & Marketing post, where I talked about some of the hurdles facing reviewers, whether from other reviewers or readers or fans or whatever else term you want to use. That too was a response to a blogpost I had seen elsewhere. You can read this one here.
September proved to be a far busier month on the editorials front. And by busy I do mean busy, since I had also started reviewing comics on a weekly basis a hell of a lot more.
Based on another blogpost that was going around the blogosphere, I did three surveys last month: the A-to-Z Author Survey, A-to-Z Book Survey, and the A-to-Z Comics Survey. All three editorials were really intensive stuff, both in terms of time and content. And exhausting as well. I have an idea for a fourth such survey, but I might not get around to it any time soon. That one is going to take a hell of a lot of planning
In a complete departure from any previous month this year, last month I did three Publishing & Marketing posts. The first one was a second piece for this year on reviewing etiquette, particularly behaviour and attitude, and I also touched on how certain reviewers deliberately go out of their way to keep authors away. You can read it here. The second was another follow-up piece and which I sort of dissected the “need” for certain reviewers to use extremely sensational content in their reviews. It wasn’t just a commentary, but also a self-reflection and you can read it here.
The third and final post was a long commentary on how Black Library has been screwing up its marketing of late, specifically, in the last year or so. They seem to be bumbling on about, doing whatever they want with little thought to how it is going to end up having any kind of results, or what results for that matter. You can read that post here.
I also invited my friend Nick Sharps, a fellow reviewer and writer who had an excellent story in Manifesto: UF that has been received extremely well by readers, to talk about the Kickstarter for his Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters anthology, which is being put out by Ragnarok Publications, owned and operated by author friends Tim Marquitz and Joe Martin. You can read that post here. As of right now, the project has been fully funded (it closed just a few minutes ago). In fact, they did so well that they secured $18,562 in funding, more than 185% of what they aimed for and smashed past all their stretch goals, the final level of which was $15,500. As someone who had a small contribution in helping put together the anthology, it makes me proud to see the project succeed so well. Now, I can’t wait to see what the stories are going to be like. Should be extreme fun!
I also posted some book reviews in September. There was a review for a trio of linked short stories about the Eldar from Black Library, The Carnac Campaign. And there was a review for a trilogy from Paul S. Kemp, The Twilight War. Of course, there was also the review for Jaye Wells’ first Sabina Kane UF novel, The Red-Headed Stepchild.
All in all some really fun times. And they are going to continue, of that you can be assured.
7. The Founding Fields
I’ve generally been of little mind to do much in the way of book reviews of late. Mostly because I’ve been getting burnt out on the stuff. Where before I could do three, maybe even four, reviews a week, I’m down to just one or two now. Just taking a break is all, I hope. And I’ve been focusing on comics much more anyway, as my reviews for DC’s Trinity War event and the first part of Marvel’s X-Men: Battle of the Atom event will attest. Look out for more such reviews in the future.
In total, with about 34 reviews and articles, it wasn’t all that bad really. Certainly far better than how much I used to do when I started out. I just don’t bring out the heavy guns every time, so to speak. Its nice to switch gears and focus on different things.
I’ve been dilly-dallying with lots of different projects and my writing brain is very restless. I just can’t seem to focus on one project at a time unfortunately. Just in September, I’ve started work on two separate projects, both intended to be short fiction. Its really frustrating that I can’t focus on any one in particular. And its certainly not for lack of trying. I started one particular project, rewrote about 800 words on three separate occasions and then just binned it all in the end.
But, all the same, these last two projects seem to finally get me interested in writing again, so that’s a small comfort. And there is still my superhero project, which I’ve been working on with the planning for, so that might be the project I work on for NaNo. And I hope dearly that I don’t lose steam on it as I have with my last two NaNo projects, which is rather despiriting at the best of times.
For both April and March:
- Cloak of Secrecy – 5,941 words
- Dharmayoddha – 0 words
- Dharmasankat – 0 words
- Starfighter/Shadowblade Mash-up – 0 words
- Untitled Fantasy Project – 0 words
- Untitled Fantasy Project 2 – 1,533 words
- Kaiju Project – 2,974 words
- Founding Fields
- Reviews – 43,440 words
- Articles – 12,626 words
- Blog – 88,790 words
- Superhero Project – 0 words
Total: ~155,300 words for two months (average: just a little higher than ~77,650 words) which is quite a bit better than the previous two months. Those big editorials and reviews seem to have done the “trick” so to speak. Mom’s chemotherapy still takes a chunk of time every week, particularly her recovery in between her treatments, so I’m still struggling with doing any fictional writing. Reviews and editorials are a hell of a lot easier to do than any fictional writing. Such is the way of things.
Yearly total: 431,718 words, out of a total target of 450,000 words. As you can see, I’m pretty much close to hitting my target and I still have three months to go. But, like I said, a HUGE chunk of this is non-fiction writing. Which just won’t do. All the same, I’m increasing my target goal to 550,000 words. Let’s see how that works out!
2013 Reading Challenge
Some progress on my “mini” reading challenges:
- Top 25 Series I Want To Read In 2013 – 16/25. Decent enough progress on this, but it can be a lot better. I really would like to clear this reading challenge before the year ends. In these past two months I’ve read Sabina Kane #1: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells, EarthSea #1: A Wizard of EarthSea by Ursula K. LeGuin, and The Hunger Games #1: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’m not as behind on this as I could have been. I just need to move through three books a month from here on out to complete this challenge, and I think that’s doable. Not easy, since most of the books left to read now are all BIG FAT BOOKS, but definitely doable.
- Most Anticipated Releases of 2013 – 30/50. I read only four books on this list in August and September – Riyria Chronicles #1: The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan, Playing Tyler by T. L. Costa, Earth Thirst by Mark Teppo and Moon Saga #2: Binding by Carol Wolf. I’m seriously behind on this challenge. There’s no way that I can complete this, even if I read only the books left on the reading challenge for the next three months since I also have to consider the above challenge, not to mention all the ARCs I have to go through. At this point, I’ll definitely admit that I bit off more than I can chew on with this challenge and that I really should have known initially that this was way too ambitious. All the same, not too bad really. I read lots of new stuff this year and caught up on a lot of trilogies and such. Good times. I’m reading a few of the books from this challenge this month so we’ll see how it all goes. I think I’ll be able to hit 40 for sure.
- March Comics Poll – 20/20. I’m done with this, finally. The reading part at least. That’s saying something I suppose. Still procrastinating like hell on getting those reviews done, but I read them all. Phew.
In the final tally for these two months, the meta-challenge counter for the year now reads 424/500 by midnight September 30th. As expected since last time, I had to bump up the number a few times from the 350 it used to be, and if things keep going as they have been of late, I may need to bump it again at least once. I look forward to that. Lots of fun reading of late, and a few duds as well, so business as usual.
As ever, you can follow the progress on my reading for the year here.
And of course, here are my best of the month selections for both June and July.
Top 5 [Comics]: New 52: Batgirl #23 by Gail Simone, Red Sonja v2 #2 by Gail Simone, New 52: Detective Comics #23 by John Layman, Marvel Now: X-Men v2 #4 by Brian Wood, and, New 52: Flash Annual #2 by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato.
Honourable Mention [Comics]: New 52: Phantom Stranger #11 by J. M. DeMatteis, Star Wars: Legacy #3 by Corinna Bechho and Gabriel Hardman, New 52: Supergirl #23 by Michael Alan Nelson, Sheltered #1 by Ed Brisson and, New 52: Justice League Dark #23 by Jeff Lemire.
Top 4: Carnac Campaign Chapter 3: Spirit War by Rob Sanders, Star Wars: The Empire and The Rebellion #1 – Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells, Erevis Cale: The Twilight War #3 – Shadowrealm by Paul S. Kemp, and, Angels of Death #10: The Judges, In Their Hunger by David Annandale.
Honourable Mention: Dangerous Games #3: How To Win by Matt Forbeck, Angels of Death #4: Final Journey by Guy Haley, Erevis Cale: The Twilight War #2 – Shadowstorm by Paul S. Kemp, and, The Hunger Games #1: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Top 5 [Comics]: Red Sonja v2 #3 by Gail Simone, Aphrodite IX #5 by Matt Hawkins, New 52: Wonder Woman #23.1 by John Ostrander, Wolverine and The X-Men #36 by Jason Aaron, and, New 52: Flash #23.2 by Brian Buccellato.
Honourable Mention [Comics]: Trillium #2 by Jeff Lemire, New 52: Justice League of America #7.4 by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates, New 52: Detective Comics #23.4 by Frank Tieri, Conan the Barbarian #2 by Brian Wood, and, New 52: Action Comics #23.1 by Michael Alan Nelson.
As you can no doubt see, thanks to my due diligence with doing more comics reviews, there are a lot more links here for you to enjoy.
Some new acquisitions –
- Conan The Barbarian Vol. 13 by Brian Wood. I’ve already read and reviewed the first three issues of this and I’ll be reading the second set of issues soon. Pretty good read so far and I expect it stay that way at the very least, if not improve.
- All-New X-Men Vol.1 by Brian Michael Bendis. Given my interest in the Battle of the Atom crossover, I’ve decided to get this trade collection. I enjoyed the first of the event tie-in issues and I’m hoping that the series starts off with the same bang, even though when I read the first issue last year I wasn’t too taken with it. But we’ll see.
- The Flash Vol.1-3 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul. Given how much I’ve been enjoying the current arc on the series, and how good all three of this title’s Villain’s Month issues were, I finally caved in and bought all the back issues. Really looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in the series so I am all caught up with events.
- The Fall #1: Revelation and Dust by David R. George and The Fall #2: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack. I covered the second novel in a cover art post a which back and since it was released a few days ago, I went and bought it. Then I got the preceding book as well since it turns out that the books are very much linked. So in a way this is like The Sundering event in Wizards of the Coast’s Forgotten Realms sitting. Should be good times!
- Gentleman Bastard #2: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. I read the first novel last month and while I’m certainly not in any rush to read this book since I didn’t like the first novel all that much, I’m still interested in seeing how it all goes from here. Its an interesting setting with some interesting characters.
- Sabina Kane #2: The Mage In Black by Jaye Wells. I enjoyed the first novel when I read it back in August and I can’t wait to get into this book, though that won’t be until January next year at the least, given how many other books are higher up in the priority queue. All the same, I’m excited!
Posted on October 6, 2013, in 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, Book Reviews, Challenges, Comics Picks of the Week, Comics Reviews, Editorial, Guest Posts, Monthly Reports, Original Work, Review Central, Submissions, The Founding Fields, Writing and tagged 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, 25-in-13, 51-for13, Akira, Bechdel Test, Black Library Marketing, Book Reviews, Book Surveys, Comics News, Comics Picks of the Week, Comics Reviews, DC Movies, Debut Authors Guest Series, Dharmasankat, Dharmayoddha, Editorials, General, Getting Published, Guest Posts, Mako Mori Test, Manifesto UF, Monthly Reports, Movie Reviews, Names A New Perspective, NaNoWriMo, New Acquisitions, Original Work, Publishing & Marketing, Ragnarok: Cloak of Secrecy, RED 2, Reviewing Etiquette, Short Story Reviews, Submissions, The Founding Fields. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.