December 24-December 31, 2011:

The last part of December whizzed by in a farrago of parties, family visits, some writing, some book news. Perhaps not so different from the rest of the year except for the number of parties, so I will begin with them.

Parties:

There were family parties–dinners at the house, at restaurants, presents from beneath the tree, the menorah lit and blessed. (Christmakah or Chanukahmass, take your pick. we don’t do Kwanza.) There was a housewarming party for Rebcca Guay and Matt Mitchell, a costum New Year’s party at Theo and Holly Black’s, a New Year’s soup with outdoor marshmallow roast party (it was 46 degrees in January in New England, folks!) at Cheryl and Mo Willem’s. Too much eating. The strict diet so thrown out that it mouldered in the grass. Yes grass. There was no snow.

Writing:

I continued to the very end writing my poem a day. Didn’t miss one and in a few instances got two poems done. Probably two dozen of the poems written this year have or will be published–some in books (such as my upcoming Ekaterinislav book (Holy Cow!), my Thunder Underground book (Boyds Mills), possibly a book of Holocaust poems. Some have been taken by online and print journals already, including Asimov’s, Pirene’s Fountain, etc. I enjoyed the experience so much, the rigor of the exercise, that am extending into 2012.

By year’s end, Adam and I had 25,000 plus words on the first book of our Seelie Wars trilogy (Viking) and the possible outline for four more chapters. As of now, the first book is called Snail and the Prince but may change. It could be called The Hostage Prince I suppose. Or perhaps The Border Lords’ War. I think the 3-4 chapters we worked on the days he was here with his family are solid. We did some good planning and solving of major problems. And now we are over half done. The book is due in May. Should be no problem. We have reached the galloping-along momentum time in the book. There may be scenes ahead with carnivorous mermen, a troll birth scene, a Sticksman poling a ferry across a river. Or not.

I also worked on the short story “The Jewel in the Toad Queen’s Head,” a Disraeli/Queen Victoria/Kabbalistic magic story. Reached an impasse by the time Adam and crew arrived. Bulled through it the day they went to Boston. Then all those dang parties intervened. Am hoping to get the rest done in the coming week.

Started to write a cow/zombie picture book but no matter the intent, it remained. . .well. . .stupid, so have put it aside.

The books news includes:

*Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers (the life of Chagall in verse, from Creative Editions) which J. Patrick Lewis and I wrote together being a finalist for the Cybils Award.

*The contract for the Seelie Wars arriving Christmas Eve day. Happy holiday!

*The contract for House of Candy (Philomel Books) arriving the day after Christmas.Happier holiday.

*The full illustrations in jpegs for Curses Foiled Again (First/Second Books) which are amazing. Mike Cavallero outdid himself on this.

* jpeg of a full dummy from Tara Chang for our (as yet unsold) picture book called The Trouble With Taking Trolls To Tea and it is truly delightful.

*jpeg of the cover for my novel, Curse of the Thirteenth Fey (Philomel) which is stunning. The cover, that is. Whether the novel is as well will be up to readers to judge.

And:

All this is to say how grateful I am to still be writing well, and enjoying it. Whether I continue to enjoy the swamp that publishing has become is not–alas–entirely in my own hands. But I think I must focus on the writing and let the other stuff go. Process, not product.

I wish all my journal readers a healthy, sane, and progressive new year. I hope that our political lives are not continued to be ruled by the seven dwarfs who, these days, seem to be of the Sleazy, Silly, Stupid, and Dopey variety. Narcissim R Us. But instead may we treat our neighbors as we would be treated ourselves, stop worrying about who may or may not marry someone they love, and let us all resolve to leave the planet a better place than we found it in 2011.

And with that–on to 2012!

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