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ursulav

2014 in Review

Well, another year going by, and since I am unlikely to do anything dramatic in the next day, it's time for the post-mortem on 2014.

I think we can probably all agree that on the world stage, this was a rough one. And...yeah. That was a thing. Indeed. Let's hope next year does not reach such heights of suck.

More personally, let's see what I accomplished this year, as I attempt to convince myself that Yes, It Was Totally Productive, No, Really.

Well, I travelled a lot. I went birdwatching a whole bunch, racking up a good number of life birds, and I took Kevin to England/Germany, which I am very happy about. Went to a lot of great conventions and had a blast. I definitely burned out on travel, though, and although 2015 is already filled up, I swear that 2016 will be the Year I Barely Go Anywhere. I need to stay at home in my garden for awhile. I love the cons when I'm there and the trips when I'm on them--mostly--but I am starting to wear thin and starting to really notice myself wearing thin, alas.

Professionally, I had no trade published kid's books out this year (but four slated for next year!) although an anthology I was in came out, Comics Squad: Recess, so I wasn't completely devoid of credits. But I had two short stories--"Jackalope Wives," in Apex, and "The Dryad's Shoe" in Women Destroy Fantasy, and I sold another forthcoming in January from Apex, "Pocosin." I contributed to the Storium project, and wrote a couple of pieces of flash fiction that I am proud of.

T. Kingfisher, my pen-name, knocked out two books, the anthology Toad Words and the novel The Seventh Bride, both of which I'm proud of. Doing that required finishing some stuff that had been lying around for awhile--I started Bride in 2006 and the novella Boar & Apples, which makes up the bulk of Toad Words, is at least two or three years old. (I have three more retellings in various stages of progress, and a finished book that should be out next May-ish. Also this year I started one set in the desert that I think will someday have legs.)

Self-published sales are very promising, though not yet enough to live on, but I hold out hope that someday Kingfisher will pay the bills and the kid books will all just be gravy that I can dump into my kid brother's college fund or travel or whatver. The world of self-pub has certainly changed dramatically in just a few years, though, and while it's now something I'm glad to be part of, I won't swear that it won't change again dramatically in another few. Lots of eggs, lots of baskets...

I wrote two kid books this year--Dragonbreath 11, Hamster Princess 2--and illustrated Castle Hangnail and two Hamster Princess books. (I also edited a couple of books, although I don't know if that counts.) When I start feeling like I didn't get any art done this year, I can remind myself that there were upwards of three hundred illustrations in that pile, plus cover illustrations, and a normal human would not consider a year where they did 300+ illos a year of slacking.

I didn't get much "real" art done this year (by which I mean non-comic art, not done for some other project.) A few pieces for conventions, an art doll I was very happy with, but generally I've been too busy to do much, so I've been limited to weird little doodles, and of course--THE HONEY BADGERS!

Which were...a thing. Whoa.

(Seriously, one of the great joys of this year for me was getting to know MCA Hogarth, and drawing honey badgers at each other. Go figure.)

We add another category to the wrap-up this year--games! We had the beta might-as-well-release-this version of Cryptic Stitching come out early in the year, and I spent the rest of the year fooling with various game engines trying to find one that will do the things I want, because damnit, it turns out I enjoy making weird little games. Like any new project, though, I'm doing a lot of flailing and false starts and I don't have anything ready for release to anyone. (Papercut Forest is half done as a Twine game, and then I discovered Ren'Py at few days ago, and that may do what I want more attractively...) I have to remind myself that playing with an engine for a week or a month, even if I don't ultimately use it, is not time wasted.

Podcast-wise, we kept up with Hidden Almanac, which kind of blows my mind. I did not really expect to still be doing a thrice-weekly podcast a full year later, but we have and we haven't missed any days. Poor Reverend Mord endured great trials, including the buyout of his station and the summoning of Corvus-Wrax.

In the garden, I laid a LOT of stone pavers, and by "a lot" I mean "upwards of a thousand, probably close to two." (I am still nowhere near done.) I slung some mulch, but not as much--it's mostly stone this year. And we put up a pergola and then Kevin's folks gave us an elderly soft-sided hot-tub and it's kinda redneck but it's a working hot tub and it does not suck to sit in it and listen to whippoorwills. (And it was free!)

I also set a goal last New Year's, to bring the total of Species Spotted In My Garden up to 300. And I did that easily, and I kept going and...well...

Grand Total: 406

(5 of those are invasives, but still!)

200 of those are moth species, and honestly, very few are things that I am directly responsible for bringing in, but I am still pretty proud that my garden is that hospitable and diverse.

Personally...well, still in love, still married, still deleriously happy with Kevin. Ate some great meals and a lot of terrible ones for the podcast KUEC. Bought a truck. (Yesterday, in fact. It is so weird. No one stopped me. You'd think someone would, somehow, but no, they will sell trucks to people like me and not be like "Sorry, ma'am, you are a middle-aged proto-hippie and must limit yourself to the following car types.") Made friends, hung out with existing friends, managed another orbit around the sun without anything breaking or falling off.

All in all, it was a solid year. No extraordinary highs or lows personally, even if the broader world would crush anyone who paid close attention. But stuff got done. I can look back and say "Yep, I accomplished things."

And that's about what I ask for in a year, these days, so here's to 2015 being solid and productive and hopefully a little less dismal for the wide world.

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This was the year I FINALLY got to meet you at a con, after sooooo many years of following you on LJ, so that's definitely a highlight for 2014. :)

I'd almost say that parser IF (essentially text adventures a la Zork) would be the best kind of "engine" to show off the wonderful worlds and characters you create, especially now that there's so much more support for responsive (though still non-central) graphics -- but it requires a lot fiddlier coding in one format or another, which is learnable but likely to induce frustration.

Might I request an illuminated "Troyzantium Book of Days", written by Reverend Mord? Though that might have to wait a year or so such that every date will have been given a saint, rather than just MWF of a year and a half.

I have Smug Bird! It hangs in my daughter's room!
This was the year I bought original Ursula art! I am very happy to be reminded of that!

Yay for 2014!

Here's to 2015, which will be the year of Goth Bat!


Yea for you!
Here's to accomplishment!

You and haikujaguar doing Honey Badgers was one of the high points of my year, too. O:> Y'all spread some happiness that way.

Seconding this. Having the Honey Badgers pop up periodically on my Twitter timeline improved everything, immensely.

Writing four books and illustrating another two are pretty good on the 'highs' department, along with a thrice-weekly podcast. Now that's awesome effort.

Coolness, especially about the 406; you need a 'Spartaca'-themed t-shirt that reads 406 instead of 300. 406 is freaking amazing! Please pardon me, am just a touch stoned on cold-meds, I think. The truck thing made me giggle far too much; I bought a Dodge last year and defiantly stuck hippie dragonfly-stickers, fully expecting my more conservative relatives to show up all the way from Florida en masse to denounce me (I really wish people who think that dragonflies are cutesy delicate friendly darlings would look up what they eat and how they get their food.....)

I am, btw, halfway through Seventh Bride and loving it, but I've reread Toad Words no less than nine times so far-- I have this theory that the boars are all decended from a secret liaison between Hegdis-Noon and the Transcendental Pig.

Okay, coughing fit; urgh. Carry on, and many happy returns!

Dragonflies are beautiful and awesome predators. I always get a little thrill when one hovers nearby and checks me out. I can see the "Can I eat this?" running through the ganglia.

Yup-- tiny, flying critters from the Age of Dinosaurs who remember with their bodies when they were big enough to snatch protobirds out of the air. My brother taught me when I was about 5 years old that, if you find one perched on the tip of a twig (not sideways but right on an upright tip) and you hum a single note at it steadily for a minute or so and move really, really slowly, you can sometimes slip a fingertip under their legs and pick them right up. Whether or not it works depends, I think, on how fascinated (or scared, or aroused, or whatever-- who knows?) they are by the note which you have to keep on humming, btw, and probably at least a dozen other factors; I've tried it several dozen times, had it work maybe eight times. But it *can* work. They have very scratchy feet.

Edited at 2015-01-01 03:06 am (UTC)

Sounds like a great, solid and really productive year! Here's to another one like it :)

Sounds like a good year to me. But what is this "middle-aged" stuff? If you're middle-aged I'm elderly, and - no. Just - no.


Yay! Happy new year!

And that sounds like a very nice year (and it was lovely to hang out with you at Mythcon, and, in passing, Loncon!)

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