seanan_mcguire: (Default)


Sometime in the past few days–between the end of June and the start of July, between the anniversary of my return from New York and the anniversary of my betraying my cats utterly by shoving them into a carrier and heading for the horizon–we quietly passed the one-year anniversary of my move to the Seattle area.


I will be honest: I was nervous as all hell when the time came for moving.  I had been looking forward to this move for years, ever since the Christmas I’d spent squirreled away in Vixy’s dining room trying to reconstruct my heart from the echoes of a very bad breakup.  Seattle is where I keep the bulk of my physical friends, where I know I can find someone to hold onto if I need them.  But there are things about the Bay Area I love too, things I knew I would miss, some moveable and some not.  Kate and Chris could come and visit me when I was gone.  My comic book store and my dentist could not.


(Borderlands Books, one of my heart’s homes, sort of falls between the two.  Alan and Jude could come visit if they had time, and I have a guest room now if they’re ever in the area.  The store itself, not so much.)


But I missed rain, and frogs, and having a social life that included more than two people.  I was no longer in a stable local living situation, and I couldn’t afford a house large enough for me and my mother in the Bay Area real estate market.  I wanted to go.  I needed to go.


I went.


I am so happy I did.


My house–my house, no one else’s, which I bought using money I made from telling stories, which is all I’ve ever wanted to do–is my home now.  My bedroom walls are orange.  My cats are happy.  My housemates, who live with me because they want to, who help keep the lights on, are pleasant and fun and have lives of their own, allowing me to travel and retreat as I need to.  My mother is thriving.  I am thriving.  I go back to the Bay Area to do appearances at Borderlands and to see my dentist, and I love where I live now.


One year in Seattle.  No regrets.

seanan_mcguire: (knives)
I have a move date now. Actually, I have a stacked succession of move dates, all of them coming one right after the other, like evil demon ducklings on their way to nibble me to death. And to make things SO MUCH MORE FUN, literally all but one of them happen while I am traveling for work. Seriously. Truck arrives in the Bay Area to get all my stuff loaded into it? New York. Cats are transferred to Kate's so they don't escape during the packing process? New York. Truck leaves for the Pacific Northwest? New York.

I get home, I go to where my cats are, I surrender my keys to the California house (my housemate, who is staying in the area, will be handling the sale with the help of a realtor we both trust), and then Kate drives me to my new home.

The day the truck arrives to be unloaded, I am, in order, heading for the airport, on a plane, and flying to San Diego to launch my combo book tour with Sarah Kuhn and Amber Benson. BECAUSE THIS ISN'T STRESSFUL AT ALL. (I am lying. I am lying through my teeth. This whole process feels like a huge psych test to see how much pressure I, as a person with OCD, can take before I snap and hide under my bed for the duration of, oh, forever.) All the unloading, all the checking that things aren't broken, is going to happen before I get home.

Vixy is organizing the helpers on the Seattle end of things, and if you're someone I know well enough to be all "hi, want to come and empty a truck that contains all my earthly belongings while I'm, you know, not there, also there will be pizza," you'll probably be receiving an email from me soonish.

I do have a short-term Patreon set up to help with moving costs, located here: https://www.patreon.com/seananmcguire?ty=h

I'll be honest: I would feel guilty about reminding people that the Patreon exists, given how high pledges already are (thank you, thank you, thank you), but moving turns out to be really, really, really, horrifyingly expensive, and all figures are actually 1/3rd lower, due to taxes. So every little bit helps (and our June story, "Stage of Fools," will be a return to the Londinium-era Tybalt--one of my favorite subjects!).

Please expect me to be scattered and a little twitchy for the next few months, while I survive this process. Thank you all so much for being here.
seanan_mcguire: (midway)
Well, here we go.

As many of you have no doubt heard, through one channel or another, I'm getting ready to move to the Seattle area. The move is becoming increasingly, terrifyingly real, and at this point, I'm not sure I could slow down the process if I tried. (Which is probably a good thing, because let's be honest here: if I thought I could slow down something this stressful, I very well might.)

As part of my prep, I am opening a short-term Patreon called The Toaster Project, which you can read about here. The formal launch will happen in late May/early June, but as physical rewards are limited, I wanted to give all y'all the first crack at claiming them. A banner image and welcome video and all that good stuff will be forthcoming. In the meantime, Tara made me some snazzy welcome images, and also there are cat pictures.

Hooray for cat pictures.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
Today is January 15th, 2016. My last day of full-time employment for someone other than myself was January 15th, 2014. The last time I set an alarm for anything other than a trip to the airport or a convention was two years ago.

Two years. Where does the time go?

Two years ago today, I came home from work and crawled pretty much directly into bed. I wanted to be overjoyed. I wanted to be elated. I wanted to feel like I was free at last, finally free to write all the books I wanted to write and see all the places I wanted to see. Instead, I went straight to bed. I stayed there for about three weeks.

That sort of marathon of sleep usually indicates depression, at least for me. Not then. That was the sleep of being broken, of trying to fix myself. This last weekend Brooke said to me, sincerely, that my job--which had been a reasonable desk job, with reasonable people--had been killing me, and she wasn't wrong. I needed to either stop writing or stop working, and since there was no chance I was going to stop writing, I needed to stop working for someone other than myself. Or I was going to die.

(This is not hyperbole. I was sick constantly. I was stressed to the point of panic constantly, trying to figure out how to get enough money to let me quit so I could stop working all the time and actually get some sleep. I was miserable constantly. If my body hadn't broken and killed me, the thin line in my brain over which I usually manage not to step would have shifted, and I would have done something stupid.)

It's been two years of self-employment. I'm still learning. Budgets aren't easy, either of time or money. I'm still figuring things out. But I'm still moving, and I'm still not bored.

Saying "I quit" was the smartest thing I ever did.
seanan_mcguire: (me)
It's the end of year review! (This is not the same as my awards eligibility post, which will come later.)

Short stories...so many short stories. Like, I am actually not sure how many short stories, because there are the ones that were written in 2014 and came out in 2015, and so are firmly fixed in my head as "2015 stories," and then there are the ones that were written in 2015 and haven't come out yet, and anyway. Short stories. So many, many short stories. My head hurts if I think too hard about the short stories.

Novellas, only really six to speak of. "Every Heart a Doorway" was written in 2015, as was "Dawn or Dusk or Dark or Day," my first two Tor.com novellas. I wrote a Limbus, Inc. novella. I wrote the last two novellas that will be included in Rise. I also wrote an unannounced October Daye-universe novella, which I am listing here for the sake ofcompleteness, but please do not ask me about it or comment saying how you can't wait. You'll get more details when I can give them, and anything before that will just make me feel bad.

Novels! This is where I get a little head-cocked-and-contemplative, because, well. On the one hand, I think I only wrote four novels this year: Once Broken Faith, Magic For Nothing, The Nativity of Chance, and a fourth, as yet unannounced Mira Grant novel (I finished it yesterday, so I'm still feeling all fancy about it). On the other hand, two of those books (Nativty and the new Mira Grant project) were in excess of 150,000 words. That's their "I have written a book, look at it, look at how shiny it is" length, not their "put this baby in the printer machine, it's gonna be a book now" length. I have no idea how publication-long they're actually going to wind up being.

So that's six novellas, or roughly a book and a half's-worth of words, and four novels, two of which were a book and a half long. Which gives me, sans short stories, roughly the number of words that you would find in seven and a half books of average (101,000 to 120,000 words) length. If I look at it this way, I feel less like I spent 2015 slacking off.

This is why I sometimes need a nap.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
So I have just finished my guest editor slot with Queers Destroy Science Fiction!, the latest special issue from Lightspeed Magazine. It's a follow-up to last year's Women Destroy Science Fiction!, and I am so excited for all of you to read it. So very, very excited.

I am going to have a longer post about the experience of editing and the things I observed (with no "and then this person did this thing," because that is not helpful), but this is a distinct thing, and so I wanted to talk about it first, in isolation. And here it is:

The other night I was out at dinner with a bunch of friends and friends-of-friends, which meant that some of the people there didn't know who I was. Arley, who was one of my editorial assistants on the issue, was there, and he and I started chatting a little about QDSF. At which point someone else at the table, who didn't realize I had been the editor, said, "Oh, I was told not to bother submitting unless I knew the editor."

Someone told her, straight up, that she would not make it into the issue if she didn't know the editor—which is to say, me—personally.

Um.

I did not burst into tears or throw a chair, but I thought of both things. I thought it loudly enough that any local telepaths were probably frightened.

There are eleven stories in this special issue, selected from more than four hundred submissions. Of those eleven, two were solicited, because you need "marquee names" before you can expect people to support a Kickstarter. One, Amal, was (and is) a friend of mine. The other, John, is someone I know in passing and am professionally friendly toward, but he's not a friend. Of the remaining nine stories, one was written by a friend of mine. Before I was willing to accept it, I asked both my editorial assistants and one slush reader to read it, to make sure that I was not unduly favoring someone with whom I had a social relationship. The other eight stories were by people I don't know. People I've never met. Some were by people who have never had a sale before. I was able to help people accomplish their first sales, and that's something that I'm really, really proud of.

John Joseph Adams, who is the publisher and editor of Lightspeed, knows me. He considers me, so far as I know, a friend. He buys my shit all the time. You know why? Because it's good, and because my name sells magazines. Not because he is my friend. When he first started buying my shit, it didn't necessarily sell magazines, but it was good (she said, modestly). He has refused to buy some of my shit. Why? Because it was not good enough, or because it didn't fit the guidelines, or because he needed something different to fill that space. Because despite being my friend, he is also a professional.

No one got into Queers Destroy Science Fiction! with a story that was not good, or did not fit the guidelines, just because they were my friend. No one got in just because they were my friend, period. Because I am a professional, and I wanted to put together the best issue possible. That was my job.

Telling people "oh, you've got to know the editor" is completely counter to the purpose of the Destroy projects, which are all about throwing the doors open and encouraging the underrepresented group in the title (first women, now QUILTBAG individuals) to come in, since so often it's felt like the door said "keep out." That would be completely undermined by a policy that required the writer to know the editor in order to make a sale. That sort of policy would break my heart, and would definitely have kept me from accepting the position.

The submissions periods for Queers Destroy Horror! will end May 1st; the submissions period for Queers Destroy Fantasy! will open May 1st. Both will be edited by professionals (Wendy Wagner for QDH; Christopher Barzak for QDF). Anyone who makes it into those issues will be there because they wrote good stories that fit the needs of the issue, not because they have an "in." There is no one with a secret "in."

I can't help but be somewhat hurt by the idea that writers may have thought this was the case, or have been telling people that it was. I've been struggling to think of what I could have done to give this impression, and I've come up with nothing. I can promise you that the doors were wide open for QDSF, and that anyone queer-identifying was welcome. The same is true for QDH and QDF. If you fall within the QUILTBAG and you have a story for them to consider, please submit. Do it whether you know anyone at the magazine or not.

We need your stories.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
Shirt update.

Mailing continues! I would estimate that I have three trips to the post office left to go, one domestic, two international (since I am only allowed to bring so many international shirts to the post office at one time). This has taken so very, very long, and for that I am genuinely sorry. This batch was more than twice the size of the last, with the associated administrative headaches (people asking for color/size/cut combinations that didn't exist, shirts not included in the batch from the printer, people not paying when prompted, which meant that we couldn't send the order to the printer in the first place, etc.), and as a consequence, it ran headlong into my convention season, which slowed me down like whoa.

There are a lot of reasons we're never going to do this again—this batch was the last, or at least the last "bespoke"—but the biggest is the scale. When I did the first T-shirt run, I was still a relatively new author, and so there were fewer people who cared enough to want to wear me on their chests, so to speak. The number of interested parties has increased with each run, and it's just become unmanageable. Thank you all for your patience. For the most part, you have all been incredibly kind.

The missing shirts have finally arrived, and are in their nicely sealed box, waiting for me to finish getting the first batch out the door. I will not open this box until I have cleared the space for immediate packing and shipping, to prevent excessive cat hair (or possibly a cat) from accompanying the shirts to their final destination.

Shirts!

The point of apparently vital clarification.

This past week, someone who knows me well enough to know my overall living situation, asked if something could be sent priority. I said that wasn't going to be possible, as I wasn't going to be able to get to the post office immediately, and would be putting stamps on the item and shoving it in my mailbox. My friend responded with, essentially, "Have your PA do it."

Y'all, there is no PA for this sort of thing. There is only me.

I have two functional PAs: Kate and Vixy. On a day to day level, this means they go through my website email before I see it, so that we don't have to deal with me going into a tailspin the next time someone decides to tell me that they're going to kill my cats. (A real thing, that people have really emailed me about, because humans are sometimes awful.) Vixy has a good grasp of my schedule, and while she cannot accept convention invitations for me, she can usually say whether or not a thing is likely. Kate knows when I am over-committing myself, and will smack me with a rolled-up newspaper. Kate is local enough that I see her about once a week (roughly). Vixy lives two states away from me.

When I talk about mailing things, I am talking about me, just me, going to the small, rural post office near my house, and mailing them. When I talk about doing inventory, or packing things, or sending CD reships, I am saying "these are all things I do personally, after I have finished making my word count for the day." And this is why sometimes CDs go out of stock, or it takes a long time for me to carry a large shipping batch, ten or twenty items at once, down to the post office.

I don't want sympathy, and I don't mind doing what I do; I wouldn't volunteer if I minded. But I would like people to keep in mind, when their giveaway prizes take a while or their customs forms are filled out sort of sloppily, or when I say "this is not open to international winners, I am so sorry, I just can't handle the customs forms right now," that it's just me, and I am just one person, with two hands, trying to climb an avalanche.

Thank you.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
Today is January 15th, 2015. My last day of full-time employment for someone other than myself was January 15th, 2014. The last time I set an alarm for anything other than a trip to the airport or a convention was a year ago.

A year ago today, I started sleeping.

It's sort of remarkable: I hadn't realized how much of myself I had sold for health insurance and a desk with my name tacked to the wall next to it until I started to sleep again, and started to wake up. Because seriously, that's what sleep allowed me to do. I slept ten, eleven, twelve hours a night, with two-hour naps every day, for three weeks. Not out of depression; out of the sheer joy of sleeping, the restorative delight of starting to feel like myself again. The sleeping tapered off. These days, I go to bed at 11:00, go to sleep at 11:30 (slow sleep insomnia), and wake up between 7:00 and 7:30. Naps are rare.

I have had two major illnesses in the past year, versus ten to fifteen a year for the last several. One was a twenty-four hour stomach bug that could have hit anyone, regardless of how rested they were; the other was a cold brought home by my housemate and incubated on my flight to London. I have slept through the night almost every night. I have become happier, more stable, and more productive.

(The more productive has actually been a problem, as I'm flooding my poor proofreaders with material. I was always fast. Now I'm working at more what I consider my "normal" speed, and it's terrifying.)

A lot of people asked how I was going to stave off boredom. The answer was, and remains, that I will let them know when I actually get bored.

It hasn't happened yet.

I am...

Oct. 7th, 2014 07:47 pm
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
...home.
...safe.
...covered in cats.

Goodnight, moon.
seanan_mcguire: (rose marshall)
Well, here we are: in twenty-four hours I will be at the airport, going through security, getting ready to board a big metal sky-bird that will carry me away to England. Most people know this, since the Great Pumpkin knows, I've been talking about it a lot. What many people do not seem to have put together is that I will not be flying back until October 7th. Yup. October.

(Why am I doing this? Well, because I am Guest of Honor at Filk Continental in Germany the first weekend in October, and staying in Europe made more sense than flying home, financially, time-wise, and seeing my friends who I never get to see-wise. I will still be working essentially every day, since deadlines budge for no one, but I will also be seeing people, enjoying things, and eating cheese. Mmm, cheese.)

What does this mean for you?

Well, for one thing, nothing's getting mailed until I get back. I have tried my best to clear all pending mailing before I left; whatever hasn't been sent out is going to have to wait until such time as I am back where the things live. Fun for the whole family!

Because we are still verifying T-shirt payments and orders, we will not be shipping shirts until after I get back.

I will have internet access, but it's not going to be completely dependable from day to day; there may be a longer than usual delay in replying to messages. Also, messages may have random cat pictures attached, as I start to go into serious withdrawal.

It's going to be an adventure!

I will miss you all.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
As of today, it has been six months since I quit my day job to become a full-time writer.

In those six months, I have traveled all over the country; I have seen and spent time with friends I hadn't really spent time with in years; I have finished writing multiple books; I have made word count more days than not; and I have slept. I have actually slept. It's hard to make people understand how important that is. I really had not been sleeping for several years. Slow sleep insomnia + things I had to do in the evening if they were ever going to happen + a 5am alarm all combined to = half my sick days were literally "I have pushed myself to the point where my body will not allow me to get out of bed." And now I am sleeping.

In the past six months, I have been seriously ill once, and that was a twelve-hour stomach bug that came on like a wrecking ball, and had me throwing up so hard and so consistently that I actually pulled muscles on both sides of my ribs. That may not sound like a good thing, but it was the sort of illness that fells whom it will, and doesn't care about your overall health. It wasn't brought on my exhaustion. Prior to quitting my job, I was literally coming down with a cold, flu, or other illness once a month. I am no longer losing my health to exhaustion.

I have to be a little more fiscally careful now, just because my income isn't as certain. I have to learn not to overcommit myself (I traveled a wee bit too much in the first part of the year, just out of the joy of freedom). I need to get better about finding anthologies, rather than waiting for them to come to me every single time, just to keep my finances moving in the right direction. But.

I am not sorry.

This was the smartest choice I ever made.

I can sleep, and that is worth everything that is more complicated than it used to be.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
I spent much of the weekend looking in horror at the news, and at Twitter, and at everything else. A man murdered seven people and injured thirteen others before killing himself, explicitly because he couldn't get women to have sex with him. That's horrifying. That's upsetting and disgusting and wrong.

And then the people started saying "we'll never know why he did it," and I sort of lost my shit and had to go away for a few days.

He actually SAYS, IN SO MANY WORDS, that this is because he hates women. Because women will not give him the sex he so clearly deserves. Because "inferior men" are getting the women he should have. Because women have too much control (IE, the ability to say "no, I do not want to have sex with you"), and so the appropriate response is killing them to death.

But we'll never know why he did it.

A lot of people have said very good, sensible, logical things. Things that point out the power imbalance and the assumptions based on his apparent whiteness (he was half-Malaysian and half-Caucasian) and the fact that if someone shoots basically any other group of people on the planet, we're damn fast to accept that they did it because of hatred, but that when a man shoots a bunch of women, we'll look for any excuse but misogyny. I have not been able to say anything good, or sensible, or logical. Maybe I'll be able to in a week or two. But right now...

Right now, I look at the mounting number of incidents where "she wouldn't have the sex with me" has been used as an excuse for murder, and I'm just tired. That's all. I'm tired of the entitlement, and I'm tired of the assumptions, and I'm tired of the "not ALL men" response whenever someone says "misogyny kills."

I'm tired. No cookies today.
seanan_mcguire: (ashes2)
Tip jar results.

All things have been totaled (at long last), and the results of the latest tip jar are in, coming to a princely $1,187. I am still awed and amazed by the generosity of my readers. You've allowed me to prioritize finishing three InCryptid stories over the next three months:

"IM"
"Oh Pretty Bird"
"Bury Me In Satin"

These will be going up around the start of June, July, and August, respectively; "IM" focuses on Artie, while "Oh Pretty Bird" and "Bury Me In Satin" are both from the Johnny and Fran era. (That era is sadly coming to a close very soon: there are only three stories remaining to be written. I'm going to miss her. The first of those stories, "Snakes and Ladders," has also been prioritized.)

Upcoming appearances.

The book release party for Sparrow Hill Road will be taking place at Borderlands Books on Saturday, May 10th, starting at 5:00pm. There will be cupcakes! I'm actually planning to do a reading! Truly, it is a time of wonders. If you're unable to attend, remember that Borderlands takes orders both via the Internet and over the phone, and would be happy to hook you up with a signed and personalized book.

(If you're not attending and are planning to have me sign a book for you, please, please contact the store before the event date. I realized recently that some of y'all may not realize that I actually live an hour's drive from San Francisco, which means that—now that I don't have a day job—I can't just nip in to sign a few things before I head home. I don't want you to have to wait for your books because you called after I had already left the city!)

Cats.

They are. So mad.

Seriously, you have not seen anger like the anger of cats who are being left on the regular because their human needs to travel. I've managed to have at least a week at home every month so far this year, but they're pissed off, and I can't blame them. Poor babies. Also, it's summer, and if there's one thing Maine Coons hate, it's the coming of the summer. (Lilly and Lizzy don't mind as much. Ah, the joy of not being longhairs.)

More to come soon, and happy May!
seanan_mcguire: (indexing)
Well, here I am updating again to say that I'm leaving. This is becoming something of a habit. (I know exactly why. I didn't travel much for like, four years, so this year has become a whirlwind of going everywhere and seeing everything and trying to do it all without losing my grip on things like deadlines and word counts and TV schedules. It'll settle down soon enough. But right now, it seems like I only update this blog when I'm about to hit the ground running.)

And what a run it's going to be! I'm Guest of Honor at Norwescon next weekend, and will be spending the next week in Seattle rehearsing, writing up, and getting ready. This is a working trip, not a pleasure trip, so if I don't reach out to you going "hey let's hang," please don't take it personally; I need to get my balance before I have to be awesome for a paying audience. But I promise lots of awesome on the other end, even if I'll be wracked with guilt over leaving my cats for this long.

(Alice and Thomas continue well, and exceedingly fluffy. Lilly is getting a bad case of the Olds, and is not doing as great, but she endures, transitioning into that stage of life known as "fueled by hate" among Siamese lovers everywhere.)

I have not been seriously ill since leaving my day job, even though I have seriously exhausted myself several times. I'm not saying that correlation is causation in this case, but I think I can make a good case for the two being connected. Hooray for being out of the plague pit!

More to come.
seanan_mcguire: (barbie)
So last weekend was Emerald City Comic Con. Lots of fun stuff there, lots of big things coming from some of our favorite creators, and lots and lots and lots and lots of walking. Ugh. I spent the weekend in the walking boot, and I still felt like someone had been beating my left foot and ankle with iron bars by the time it was all over. I had a great time; I can't wait for next year; I got home in dire need of a nap. That has basically been my week: "Seanan is in dire need of a nap."

As always happens when I'm sleep-deprived, pretty much anything that wasn't word count or absolutely essential business has fallen by the wayside. I'm behind on email, LJ comments, various accounting bits...everything. I managed to book my tickets to Europe (I'm going to DISNEYLAND PARIS!) and continue dealing with my taxes, but everything else? Hoo nelly, no. It's all been put off until I could say, with sincerity, "I am awake, and will not accidentally slice my fingers off."

On the plus side, I'm staying current with word count, and I'm on track to finish A Red-Rose Chain (aka "Toby book nine") this month, allowing me to get it off to the Machete Squad and move on to the next items on my list. I will never finish the list. The list is an endless road stretching off into the ever-moving future. But the list is a guide and a map and a benediction, and nothing makes me happier than knowing that it's always growing. I'll reach the end when I die.

Also on the plus side, I have finished copies of Sparrow Hill Road and Robot Uprisings, and they're both gorgeous. I have now filled two long shelves just with books I've written, and I'm about to have to rearrange my shelves again. So I'm doing okay at my job.

How's everybody else?

(Comment amnesty is on. I genuinely want to know how you are, but I don't want to put myself any further behind than I already am.)
seanan_mcguire: (barbie)
So I've been in New Jersey/Boston/New York for the last two weeks. (No, those cities are not all smack-dab next to each other on the map; I flew into New York, was driven to New Jersey, was driven from there to Boston for a convention, returned to New Jersey, and have spent the time since commuting between New Jersey and New York for publisher meetings, dinners, lunches, more publisher meetings, and Pippin on Broadway.) According to the Virgin America website, my flight home is still scheduled to depart on-time, and I should be back in California by this afternoon.

I am really, really ready to be home.

I get twitchy and overly tired when I'm traveling for too long, and this is the longest trip I've taken in quite a while—longest in around ten years that hasn't involved a Disney Park in some way. I've been sleeping, but not enough; the sun comes up when I'm not expecting it, and smacks me back into the real world before I'm finished restoring myself to normal operating conditions. Sometimes I've been able to nap, but mostly not, since I've been running myself ragged dealing with the business side of publishing. Well, and seeing Pippin, which I managed to do twice.

This was in some ways a test run for my trip to Europe this fall, and I'm coming away from it very, very glad that I have people who are willing to let me be a bear in their guest rooms for a day or two. While it's going to be a longer time away from home, it should go better, because outside of conventions, I'm going to have less that I must do. Worldcon, Eurocon, Disneyland Paris, and Filk Continental are the only unmovable objects, and they're spaced out enough that I'll be able to move through them with relative ease. I'll just need to hibernate periodically.

I am tired. I miss my cats dreadfully. I need to restore my equilibrium, and that means going back into my hole.

I am going home.
seanan_mcguire: (cam)
Today was my first day as a full-time author.

Yesterday afternoon, I turned in my badge and left my day job for what will hopefully be the last time. I am finally in a position (thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act) to make a go of it. This means I'll have more time for work, more time to have a social life, and best of all, more time for glorious napping. I had a nap this afternoon. It was the best thing.

It also means that I'm going to be even more conservative, financially speaking. I regularly have to turn down conventions and speaking events that don't come with compensation for travel/lodging. I've been doing it up until now because it was a way to winnow things down to something I could handle with my available vacation time. Now...I can't afford it. I mean, right now, right this second, maybe I could, but in six months? In a year? I need to be careful, because I want to be able to do this, just this, the thing that I love, for as long as humanly possible.

Thank you all so much for supporting me as much as you have. You are why this can happen, and I am more grateful than I can express in words. I will do my very best to be worthy of your faith in me.

Because I know some of you will ask what you can do to help (and I am grateful for that, too), this is what you can do: buy my books. Buy my albums. When I say "here is a poster," or "here is a print," buy those, or point them out to people who will. Mostly, buy my books. That's what leads to royalty checks and more contracts, and wow are those going to be necessary going forward.

Again, thank you all, so much. I am so excited, and so relieved, and so looking forward to getting some actual sleep.

Comment amnesty is declared for this post! Because I want to spend that time napping.
seanan_mcguire: (midway)
...although I suppose that since these days my hair is dyed in a lovely "sunset over the cornfield" ombre, I should probably consider changing that title, huh? Nah. Shan't. I am who I am, and even if I dye my hair black and start being Mira full-time, I'll always be a blonde girl. So! Statuses and such.

Shipping.

I am in the process of packing prizes and purchases and presents to go into the mail. I had a rough couple of weeks, and didn't do the mail when I was supposed to, which means I have a truly daunting amount of mailing to do. I shall persevere, have no worries on that front! It helps that I just got a brand new Ikea shelf for the front room, to act as a shipping supplies/office supplies storage area. I am much more likely to actually cram things into envelopes and send them out in a timely manner if I have easy access to envelopes, rather than needing to rummage through half the back room to find the damn things. (This is part of the overall "declutter the house and make it more easily livable" plan that has been in process for the last month or two.)

Post-Hogswatch cleanup.

So quite a few people who are not regulars around here added me to their LJ friend lists during the Hogswatch festivities, which makes total sense, since who doesn't love a daily giveaway? And now they're subtracting me, sometimes with apologetic little notes, because the giveaways have ended. I just want to remind y'all that doing this is totally cool. I am a voluntary follow zone! Please un-friend me at will, and don't worry that you're going to hurt my feelings. Unless you belong to a very short list of people, all of whom are dear friends who have known me for ages, I will not be upset. I'd be more upset if I learned that you had forced yourself to stick around out of obligation, and consequentially become sad.

Prepping for Boskone!

My first official appearance of the new year will be at Boskone, a Boston-based science fiction convention where I will be appearing as the author Guest of Honor, and more, where my first ever collection of essays and poetry, Letters to the Pumpkin King, will be released. I haven't seen the cover yet, but I'm sure it's going to be gorgeous. More, it's an opportunity to own the contents of my first two (severely out of print) chapbooks. So that's cool. Boskone will be held over Valentine's Day weekend in Boston, Massachusetts, and I hugely recommend swinging by if you're in the area and want to hear me blather about whatever the con winds up telling me to blather on about.

My icon.

Something new is coming in 2014. Step right up and try your luck; a dollar and a quarter buys an all-night pass. Details to come: watch this space for news (but don't bother asking me now, for I won't answer, no, not at all).

Cats.

Mom ran the shop vac on Saturday, to prep for the new Ikea cabinet I mentioned before, and the cats flipped their shit as only cats can do. Two days later, we still feel the echoes of the epic shit-flip. Thomas has been doing sock slides in the hall, Alice is a ball of bale, and Lilly keeps getting confused by the way things have moved, sitting down in the middle of the floor, and keening.

Cats are complicated, and I can't find the reset switch, is what I'm saying here.

Do you wanna build a snowman?

Or ride our bikes around the hall?
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
(Note: The following post discusses depression and suicide, quite frankly. If you want to skip it, I will understand. Also, I am calling a preemptive comment amnesty, because I don't know that I can get through whatever comments may be left. Thank you.)

***

I have a pretty good life.

That's not bragging, really. I mean, my life has its problems—it's stressful, I'm tired a lot, I'm a woman in the age of the Internet (which is unfortunately code for "I get some really disturbing hate sent my way for the crime of being outspoken and visible while existing as a non-male"), my foot hurts almost all the time, I worry about my friends—but there's no measuring stick that doesn't put me at "pretty good." I am financially secure enough to do things like take off for Disneyland at a moment's notice, to hug a woman standing as avatar for my favorite cartoon character. I have amazing friends who love me despite myself, and I struggle every day to be worthy of them. I have incredible cats. I sleep in an orange bedroom packed with dolls and books and Disney memorabilia.

I get to write books. I get to tell stories, for a living, and have people read and enjoy them. It's everything I ever wanted my life to be...

...and I spent more than half of 2013 wanting my life to stop.

I have been suicidal, off and on, since I was nine years old. I made multiple suicide attempts when I was a pre-teen and teenager; some came closer to success than others. I have my scars. My last active attempt was made when I was in my mid-twenties, and the friend who drove me to the train station has never forgiven me for making him complicit, in any way, in the attempt to take my life. I do not blame him for this, even as I know that I didn't mean to involve him; I just needed to get to the beach, and thought "hey, I can get a ride," and never stopped to consider what that might mean when he'd found out what I'd done, or worse, if he'd found out that I had succeeded. I couldn't see that far ahead. All I could see was the need to stop, to be over, to not need to do this anymore. Any of it.

A very dear friend of mine described suicidal urges and ideations as a narrowing, and she's exactly right, at least for me. It's not selfishness, not at its heart, because when things get that bad, it's virtually impossible to see continuing as an option. It's like climbing a very high mountain, and then running out of trail. You can't fly. It's not selfish to refuse to sprout wings and try. It would be selfish to stay where you are, to block the trail, to prevent others from climbing on without you.

It seems so much easier to just jump, and get out of everybody's way. It seems like the only logical choice. Selfishness doesn't really enter into it. I sort of wish it did. It would be easier to argue with the little voices, or at least it seems like it would be easier; we're all trained from childhood not to be selfish, and that makes selfishness easier to refute than narrowness. "I won't be selfish" is an easier statement than "I will continue to exist, even though there are no options, even though it will never get better, even though I am a burden to all those around me, even though I am unworthy of love, even though I do not deserve this skin, this sky, this space that I inhabit." And easy is...easy is easy. We want easy. When everything is hard, easy becomes incredibly tempting.

Writing this down is hard.

I didn't tell most people how depressed I was, because I didn't think I deserved my own depression. I have a pretty good life! I have all the things I listed, and more, and saying "I want to die" when I have a pretty good life felt like bragging; it felt like trying to claim a sorrow I had no right to. But depression doesn't give a fuck how good your life is. Depression is a function of fucked-up brain chemistry, and brain chemistry doesn't say "Oh, hey, you made the New York Times, that's cool, I better straighten out and fly right from now on." You can be depressed no matter what is happening around you, rags or riches, perfection or putridity. That does not make you wrong. Depression is a sickness. You can catch the flu at Disney World, and you can be depressed on your wedding day. No matter how good your life is, no matter how much people say they wish they had your problems, you are allowed to be unhappy. You are allowed to seek help. You are allowed to express your needs.

I did not actively attempt suicide in 2013, but that was only because I have had a lifetime of learning how to trick myself. I begged my agent to get me new book contracts. See? Can't die! I have deadlines! I cajoled my best friend into going to Disneyland with me. See? Can't die! I have to make faces with pixies! I accepted anthology invitations and convention invitations and let a lot of television build up on my DVR. Anything to create obligations that I would feel compelled to meet, but which weren't the kind that can overwhelm me. I made a lot of lists. I check-marked and itemized myself through the worst of it, and it worked, but it...it wasn't easy. I don't think it's ever going to be easy.

I am telling you this because I want you all to understand, at least on some level, that depression is not a thing you have to earn: it is not justified by tragedy, it is not created by grief. It can happen to anyone, and everyone has a right to seek help. Everyone has a right to be cared for, and to find a way to widen their options back into something that they can live with. Everyone. Even me; even you.

I would be very sad if I were not here to share 2014 with all of you. I hope—I really, truly do—that all of you will be here to share this beautiful year with me. Even if I don't know you, even if I've never met you or never will, I hope. Selfishness is easier to refute than narrowness, and we need to be here for each other, or those walls will crush the life from us.

I hope none of you have to deal with what I dealt with this past year. If you do, please, remember that you can seek help. You deserve help.

We all do.
seanan_mcguire: (knives)
So it's about six hours to midnight where I am, and I just woke up from a necessary and restorative nap; I think about half the last week has been spent in similar circumstances. I'm starting to take shorter naps, however, and I'm actually beginning to feel halfway rested, which is of deep importance to me.

2013. Well, that happened. In 2013, I made the New York Times List twice, and didn't make it once; I wrote more books than I really care to think about; I wrote more words than I can possibly count. I became the first person to ever receive five Hugo nominations in the same year, and learned how much hate mail that achievement generates (a lot), but didn't so much care when I got my five little silver rocket pins and my one big brass one. I won my second Hugo.

I nearly lost the ability to walk. I'm still getting it back a tiny bit at a time, and the whole process has been painful and upsetting in the extreme. For those of you who have never spent time with me in person, I love to walk. It's my primary exercise, and it's something that I usually do when I need to focus. Having it taken away from me has been horrible and upsetting. Here's hoping 2014 sees me finishing my recovery.

There were no major medical crises in either my family or my home. The cats are doing well, and apart from my foot and one bout of flu in January, this year has been one of my physically healthiest in a long time. I guess that's balanced by mental health; I spent much of 2013 incredibly depressed, and around six months actively wanting to die. Please don't respond to this post with "I'm so sorry" or "oh honey," because I know; there's a reason I didn't talk about it while it was going on. I'm doing better now, for the most part. So, you know. Yay recovery.

In 2013 I released four books: Midnight Blue-Light Special, Chimes at Midnight, Parasite, and Velveteen vs. The Multiverse. I released nineteen short stories, some through anthologies, others via my website. I got self-published fiction onto the Hugo ballot. I started writing poetry again. I didn't write enough fanfic.

I went to Disneyland. I went to Disney World. I hugged my cats. A lot.

So that was the year; it was productive but hard, and I'm ready to be done with it. Roll on 2014, if you would be so kind. I hope you all have the sort of night you dream of, and please, if you do anything, remember to be kind.

We're all we've got.

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