ashnistrike: (lightning)
"Try to go to a lot of cons," my editor says. "Twist my arm," I say. In 2017, you can probably find me at:

Arisia (1/13-1/16, Boston) - In college, this was the one we saved up for all year. Now they have child care. The general rule is that I will go to any con that has child care and is compatible with my schedule/budget, even if co-parents are actually watching the kids. Because that is a thing that should be encouraged. In this case, the kids are in fact coming along, because the entire household is coming along, because this is the one we used to save up for all year in college.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference (2/8-2/11, DC) - Because I got invited to pinch-hit on "The Infinite in the Finite: One Hundred Years of H.P. Lovecraft's Legacy." The programming looks awesome. Among other things, this is the one where Daniel Jose Older is doing the "Writing White Characters" panel.

Fogcon (3/10-3/12, San Francisco) - Tentative, because budget. But I've been hearing awesome things about this con for years, and they have child care.

April book launch mysteries - Tentative because we're still trying to make all the puzzle pieces fit together. There will almost certainly be a launch party in DC. There may be something at Lunacon (4/7-4/9, Westchester NY). If Lunacon happens, there may be an appending event in New York. The universe is inherently chaotic and unpredictable.

Wiscon (5/26-5/29, Madison) - I haven't been back to my home con in three years--way too long! They have child care! A Lovecraftian Girl Cooties party, featuring me and best co-blogger Anne M. Pillsworth, and anyone else we can dragoon all our wonderful co-conspirators, is in the works.

Readercon (7/13-7/16, Boston) - I've been hearing so many good things about this one, too.

Necronomicon (8/17-8/20, Providence) - Because of course.


Nothing planned past August, so far. The universe is inherently chaotic and unpredictable.
ashnistrike: (lightning)
The first year of one's child's life is expected to be both exciting and stressful (it was).  One isn't expected to get much done other than take care of the child, and go to one's day job if one has one (I didn't).  In our case, the major reason for not getting much done was that M--while quite good at everything else--totally failed to learn to go to sleep on her own or sleep through the night. So for the past year we've had an unpredictable 1-4-hour intensive process involved in putting the baby to bed, and most nights gotten woken up by her crying 1-3 times. S, bless her, did most of the getting up and getting her back to bed, but it was still no fun for anyone.  At one point we tried the standard ferberization technique that's "supposed to" work for everyone, leaving her alone in her crib and coming in at slightly increasing intervals to check on her, which resulted in her not sleeping and being phobic of her crib for a week.

Also this year, I sold a book. This was awesome, and among other things eventually resulted in the arrival of a book advance. Part of which we spent on a sleep coach. This is possibly the best decision I've ever made short of getting married to my wife.  For the last couple of days M has fallen asleep downstairs in her own space, needing one of us in the room for less than half an hour, and slept for 11-12 hours. And taken a 2-3-hour nap in the afternoon. (Did I mention that she rarely napped, previously?) And we're less than halfway through the process that is supposed to result in a nice, easy bedtime routine and a child who can fall asleep without adult supervision.  All of a sudden, I have back 3-4 hours every evening. I can talk with my wife and read and catch up on chores and correspondence and write or edit, without feeling like every second spent on one of those is stolen from the others.

Probably someone wants to know what a sleep coach does.  About half of it is taking textbook behaviorist stuff that I could lecture on in my sleep, and explaining how to turn it into an on-the-ground intervention that I would not have been able to intuit correctly even without the sleep deprivation. Basically we're doing a variation on habit deconditioning or phobia fading--sitting a little farther away from the crib each night and providing a little less scaffolding for her falling asleep. The other half is family-specific--she talked to us about everything from when M gets fussy during the day to the fact that she may have a predisposition to anxiety, and helped us adapt techniques and figure out when in the day to apply them based on that input. If we'd known the technique, we probably could have figured everything out eventually, but it made the whole process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.

The other other half is coaching--reassurance and on-cheering and a heads-up on what pitfalls and patterns to expect. After the fubar with the ferberization, it helped tremendously to know that we had expert back-up if something went drastically wrong again.

All of which is to say--if I've barely spoken to you for the past year, or always been rushing off somewhere when we have a moment to talk, or neglected e-mails or posts, I hope and expect that my time and energy will be much less constrained in 2016.  Ditto if I, um, owe you novel edits. Just as a hypothetical example.

But for now, I'm going to go to bed, and very likely stay there for a few hours. Best Christmas present ever!
ashnistrike: (lightning)
Things I've done over the past two days:

  • Bounced a lot

  • Gotten congratulated a lot, and been pleased by the number of people who seem to think this is good news for them rather than for me

  • Been pleased and a little worried by the various prayers to Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu, and Mother Hydra for the book's success. I'm pretty sure that's not the scale these guys work on...

  • Been terribly distracted by Miriam learning to wave

  • Jotted down ideas, way too far in advance, for publicity swag (Esoteric Order of Dagon Temple Fund cookbook outtakes; flyers for events at Miskatonic...)

  • Jotted down ideas, way too far in advance, for a post-launch party at Wiscon 2017 (salted chocolate and caramel, tome exchange, probably can't afford to feed everyone sushi...)

  • Been terribly distracted by the possibility of alien megastructures 1500 light years away. Tried to convince myself that weird comets and dust-free planetary collisions would also be awesome. Tried to figure out whether 1500 years is long enough to finish building a Dyson cloud.

  • Been very grateful that I ended up with a publisher who works ridiculously quickly.  Twenty-seventeen is a long way away, and to imagine my state of mind with the usual time frame of novel sales and publication is not to be borne.  I know a lot of people who've managed it; I remain deeply grateful that Carl is as impatient and deadline-driven as I am.

  • Found out which characters my editor ships.

  • Repeated to myself: "Before novel acquisition, carry water, chop wood; after novel acquisition, carry water, chop wood" as I wash dishes, feed the baby, and clean wildly in preparation for this weekend's visit from my in-laws.

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