Happy 2013, everyone!
From the comments I read on Facebook today, it’s clear that not everybody loved last year, and certainly it had its share of national and international strife. On the personal level, though, I had a great year!
On the travel side, I went to Las Vegas with a friend to hike and see some shows, to Hawaii with my family to celebrate my nephew’s high-school graduation, to Cuba with colleagues from my university, and to Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Tibet — the first two countries on my own and the last two on an Overseas Adventure Travel group — during my sabbatical. Some of the more memorable moments included puffing a Cuban cigar in Havana and chewing betel nut in Bhutan (neither of them are vices I plan to pursue!), hanging prayer flags at the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan and Karula Pass in Tibet, and seeing a wild tiger while riding through the jungle on elephant-back in Nepal.
On the writing side, one of my steampunk romance short stories, “Ghost in the Machine,” was published in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, and a much darker steampunk story, “The Manufactory,” was reprinted in Ceaseless Steam: Steampunk Stories from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I also saw my scholarly paper “Love and the Machine: Technology and Human Relationships in Steampunk Romance and Erotica” published in Steaming into a Victorian Future: A Steampunk Anthology. Last but definitely not least, I signed the contracts (on the floor of a hotel in Miami, en route to Cuba!) for the Clockwork Heart trilogy coming from EDGE and finished the first draft of the third novel in the trilogy.
On the editing side, Kfir and I at The Harrow Press put out Mortis Operandi, an anthology of supernatural crime stories, and I began working as the co-editor on a special yaoi issue of The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.
In addition, I earned my green belt in kempo and got called for my next belt test (though my travel plans made me postpone it from November to this January), started learning escrima, saw a watercolor portrait of myself in steampunk costume displayed in a university art show, went to RenFaire in costume on its steampunk day, participated in costume on a few panels at Conjecture/Conchord in San Diego, joined the editorial board of the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies, got to play and run tabletop RPGs with friends, finally rotated off the university’s faculty executive committee (whew!), and of course fully enjoyed the fall semester of sabbatical that allowed me to do that writing, editing, and traveling.
It’s hard to picture 2013 getting much better than that, but I have some things to look forward to already. The first two volumes of the Clockwork Heart trilogy are scheduled to come out this year — the revised and reprinted Clockwork Heart in March, and its sequel in September. I’m also headed back to Venice with my colleague and 15 students in May for our travel-study course Imagining Venice, which will include a little post-student vacation time in Cinqueterre.
This year, however, my new year’s resolution is to do less. In 2012 I was blessed with the opportunity to do lots of really exciting things, but I had to work them around a lot of less-exciting other commitments. So now, as I face my return to teaching with an overload schedule at the same time that I’m tackling the drafting, rewriting, and editing demands for the CH trilogy, I’ve decided that I need to pare back on my excess projects. As a minimalist, I try to keep nothing in my apartment that I don’t need or love, and this year I’m going to do the same with my time: keep nothing in my schedule that I don’t need or love.
The problem will be figuring out which is which. Some are obvious. Others … well, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Here’s to a happy, healthful, and hopefully more relaxed 2013!