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A September 2019 Update

I’m an editor! I was previously a Junior Editor, and my boss has agreed that I have now learned enough to be allowed to advance to editor. It doesn’t absolve me of the responsibility of tempering the Commissioning Editors’ wild flights of fancy, though – usually involving dinosaurs, Romans or pirates… so if you see a theme in the next couple of years, you know what happened! I still feel pretty weird about it (imposter syndrome mixed with “I don’t deserve this” mixed with “I’m not doing well enough”) but… I’ll get used to it, I guess.

DIY! We built a shed and a garden picnic table cat seat, and put up shelves/more shelves/hanging rails/a mirror/different shelves, and put a whole bunch of stuff away… and I’m officially moved in with my partner now, as all my stuff* is over in another house! Still working on it feeling like my place, though. I think that’ll come with more time.**

Cats sitting on a picnic table

I’ve been challenged to step up my editorial game. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking when someone says “how can I improve?” and I have to find the answer, but this is improving on something that’s already good. So that’s going to be hard work, and tough because there’s no definite way to improve your editing game, but I want to do it.

I’m still feeling a bit grey, but doing better than I was. As my colleague put it, “you’ve got a bit more light in your eyes.” Plus I can pick stuff up (I get very tired when I’m not feeling well) and get out of bed, eat without feeling sick and actually feel again, so it’s still in that strange “wait, I have emotions?! And I can ENJOY food?” period. Hopefully I’ll carry on up for a bit.

On a cooking note, I made soup (I know, I know… but SOUP) and so it’s officially Autumn. It was some weird squash soup too, but it worked. (Butter. That’s the key.)

And something I’ve been listening to:

*books

** And books.

2 People + 1 House = Not Enough Bookshelves

I mean, there are NEVER enough bookshelves. We all know this.

But this is a bit more of a specific “not enough bookshelves”, because my partner invited me to move in with them (EEEEEEEH *Kermit flail*), and their second question (after “really? You really want to?” with a huge smile) was “are we going to have enough shelf space?”

And, uh…no.

It’s a small flat. There’s limited wall space. Other things have to go on those walls (pianos, guitars, desks, paintings, a kitchen. Y’know, minor stuff.) There are a lot of shelves for such a small flat, yes, but…

Not enough.

Or at least, not enough for a pair of people who, between then, work in publishing AND love books AND hoard books AND have had sixty years to collect A LOT OF BOOKS.

Tsundoku - "buying books and not reading them"

I actually lucked out at this stage. I’ve had three house moves in five years, and each time, my book collection has been slowly whittled down – books that I’ve read and don’t want to read again; books that I hated; books that I once loved and now don’t feel I need to keep; books that I picked up and never will get round to reading. (I’m horribly realistic when it comes to my time.)

Basically, I now keep books with two criteria:

  • will I NEED it again? And this is from the classical studies scholar in me; I do pick up books for reference.
  • do I LOVE it? Do I want to keep reading and re-reading and have it because I will take it off the shelf again?

I have no time for “but I should have a copy.” I have no time for “but it’s a classic!” I have no time for “someone gave it to me and I feel guilty…”

Nope. If I don’t value it, then it’s gone.

(That’s not to say I don’t have a TBR pile and a pile of “ok, I’d like to read these” and a pile of “I have read this and enjoyed it but haven’t yet got round to making a decision on keeping it” but if someone gives me War And Peace (Extended Edition With Extra Notes) I will smile politely and thank them and give it to charity, because ain’t nobody got time for that.)

And that means that my books only fill one-and-a-half bookcases, unlike my partner’s, which fill most of the flat – and they haven’t quite finished bringing all their books from storage yet.

So… something gotta give. And it ain’t my books.

(Mutual decision, thankfully. I don’t want a relationship to end on THAT argument!)

Grant Sneider: my bookshelf

My partner has never had to be ruthless with their collection. It’s actually a heart-breaking process to see someone have to learn how to choose: to decide what to keep, and realise that they physically can’t keep all the books they’d like to. But it’s also freeing – to realise that even if a book came with obligation and guilt and anxiety, to be able to say, “I don’t want this book on my shelf” or “not today” or “I’d love to, but I don’t have time” – it’s a curious kind of liberty.

To have to say to non-fiction: “If I need this subject again, will I come here? Or will I go on the internet/talk to someone/go to the library if, for whatever unexpected reason, I do need this topic?”

To have to say to fiction: “Am I seriously, honestly, going to prioritise this over the hundred other books that I actually WANT to read? Am I really going to pick this up over the one next to it? And if, at whatever future point I do decide I actually want to read it, could I just go to a bookshop/charity shop/the library for it?”

And it’s working! It’s been tough, but slowly – surely – the book collection is being whittled down to books that really need to stay; books that are loved, and wanted, and needed.

And the others: pre-loved, but they’re now off to better homes.

(P.s. if anyone wants some books… Oxford’s charity shops might have additions to their shelves soon!)

(P.p.s If anyone needs my new address, ping me a message on the usual channels – I can still get mail from my old address, so no worries if you’ve sent me anything. And Peter is staying with Jodie; I couldn’t split those two troublemakers up! My housemate is taking good care of them, by which I mean “catering to their every whim, as is proper when you are owned by two cats.”)

WorldCon! Dublin 2019

I’m going to WorldCon 2019! I’m terribly disorganised with it (I’m tagging along with work, although I am technically there on my own, so David’s been doing most of the organisation) and I’m not on any panels, but I’m going to be there!

The schedule is also available now – and runs to a silly number of pages. I’m quite glad I’m not involved, but at the same time, I want to do EVERYTHING.

ARGH.

I think I’m officially booked for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; I’ve got a few people I want to meet (some face-to-face for the first time, which is going to be exciting!) but beyond that, I am FREEEEE!

Space fabric

So if any of you lovely folk (ok, any of my authors/agents/random people I know on Twitter) want to actually meet me, ping me an email 🙂

Also, I’m going to try to get my Space Skirts finished. It’s either that or I’ll be wandering around in a foxy one for some of the time!

(I’m also going between “this is going to be so fun!” and “ohFUCK I have to talk to people?!” so I’m a bit nervous about it… but it’ll be fine.)

MAP MAP update MAP

More map!

Detailed map of fantasy land, showing a city with huge towers

So Tom’s comment when he sent it was “Is Meton ludicrous?”

Which…yes, it is! I adore it. I squeaked. And then I had to write a very sad email going “But it’s just…not right for what’s described. Sad Face.”

I love that castle. I want to live there. I want to climb the towers and walk through the tunnel and isn’t it so much fun?! I might have to write another story just set in that castle.

But… it’s jarring enough that it made me – and Otter, who was peering over my shoulder and has just returned from the depths of Grey Stone & Steel – pause. It’s not on the end of a cliff; it’s not a more medieval-style castle; the towers are proper towers. I just…

Bah.

For most of the map, I’m more than happy for things to not ‘match’ – I don’t have a visual imagination, and so if something’s not as described – what the hell! I don’t care. There’s so many versions and visions that I honestly don’t mind. But Meton is the centre of the books, and the thing I’ve spent so much time with, and I found I had a slightly better imagination for it. So… slightly less ludicrous we go.

But hey, at least I have a setting for my next story!

(And isn’t the rest of the map AMAZING? I am loving this so much!)

MAP map map map MAP!!

The world of Green Sky is getting a MAP! I am so ridiculously excited right now.

The amazing Tom Parker Illustration has been working on it for the past few weeks, and we’ve got to the inking stage…

So, this was the first inked sketch I had:

Part-inked Greensky Map

I have just been…WHEEEEE and there has been SO MUCH SQUEE. And, yes, a bit of grumbling, because I had to go and do my research again! I did start trying to get a map done a couple of years back, but unfortunately due to various things it didn’t work out. I did pull together some notes for that, but of course thought “Oh, I won’t need those…” and now have to remember exactly how many islands there are in Tao and ohcrap I forgot to put Torth on my terrible sketch and what even is in the desert?

Tom, bless him, took it absolutely on the chin and sent me a very rough sketch (thank goodness) with a huge bunch of questions and a very large amount of enthusiasm at getting to draw flying machines and machinery! And now we’ve got to inking and I am just blown away. It’s not Accurate because none of my world is – it’s all in my head and was never intended to have a Right Way, and I am absolutely loving Tom’s interpretation of it all.

And this is the latest one!

More detailed map

It’s going to go into Book 7 (as that’s pretty much about mapping) and Otter’s currently trying to convince me that I should put it into the previous books, too – so that’s something I’m going to look into. Also, Tom’s going to colour it so I can print one for my wall!!

It’s going to look SO GOOD!