April/May Catching Up

I’ve been meaning to post more here, but it’s been tough recently. Being sick in April completely undermined my schedule. New issues to prep, ebooks to design for other publishers, slush to catch up on, an anthology to wrap contracts and deliver to the publisher, a trip to Chicago to talk with the Myth-Ink writers group, a family get-away, and prepping for the SFWA Nebula Awards Weekend… so a quick catch-up post feels necessary.

I’m a Hugo Nominee Finalist for Best Editor Short Form for the fifth time. The award ceremony will be held at Worldcon in Finland. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend. My travel budget is significantly restricted now that I’m self-employed and that trip turns out to be considerably more expensive than I was told it would be. Will miss attending in person, but Ann VanderMeer has agreed to accept on my behalf should I win, so I will be well-represented. 🙂 A big thank you to everyone that saw fit to nominate me again this year.

Story selections for my next anthology, More Human Than Human, are now complete. I will be announcing the table of contents and revealing the cover (an original by Donato Giancola) sometime in the next week or two. This was the one project most disrupted by that illness as it collided with previously scheduled travel and events.

I went to Chicago last month to talk with the Myth-Ink student writer’s group at Columbia College in Chicago. I enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with students and hope I was able to share some useful knowledge with them. Have to find a way to do more of this sort of thing. It was one of the things I enjoyed most about my old career and a nice way to keep that part of my life. Weather was perfect, so I had some time to wander around Chicago with some of the students beforehand. (There’s a story there about our collective sense of direction.)

Obviously, the May issues of Clarkesworld and Forever came out. I’ve been trying to do some marketing work on this side of things. I’m currently trying to make a push for the Patreon page so I can cover my healthcare expenses. It’s a considerable cost and like many others, I’m seriously concerned about what happens to me if the various healthcare changes go through. I have more than a couple of pre-existing conditions and need to maintain the level of plan I have.

Most recently, the Locus Awards announced their finalists. Clarkesworld is once again a finalist for Best Magazine, “Afrofuturist 419” is up for Best Short Story, and for the first time, I’m on the list for Best Editor. Normally, I’d be thrilled by this, but they also increased the list of finalists from five to ten and if that’s why, it’s bittersweet. It’s silly, but it wouldn’t feel earned.

Amusingly, I’ll be a short distance away from the Locus Awards this year. I’ve agreed to be a workshop leader for the Cascade Writers June workshop in Tacoma.

Before that, however, I have the Nebula Awards Weekend (the mass signing there is always something else and I’ll be participating this time), wrapping up work on Clarkesworld: Year Nine, and the June issues of Clarkesworld and Forever. Before you know it, Readercon will be upon us and the fifth anniversary of my heart attack there. Time is flying by!

Two and a half months in

I’m now just a bit over two and a half months into my new life as a full-time editor. Aside from a couple of knock-down colds, things have been moving along rather nicely. One of the big worries I had in going full-time was healthcare. Nearly five years ago, I suffered a major heart attack and the fallout from that continues to require a bunch of prescriptions and regular visits. In short, I require a better-than-average healthcare plan.

I had been on the upgraded plan my former employer offered as an option, but when I resigned, COBRA, financially, was not an option. (Seriously, who can afford those insane rates?) I did a lot of research and ended up with a decent silver plan via the ACA, but the costs are still significant and all on me. (My wife’s employer does offer a plan, but it’s the worst one I’ve ever seen.)

To cover these new expenses, I’ve been taking on short-term projects–ebook design, consulting–but that’s not stable income and it makes me nervous. Having a reliable source of income for this has been on my to-do list, but now it’s moved to the top.

Over the last ten years, I’ve directed money from new Clarkesworld or Forever subscriptions or Patreon pledges towards different projects that have ranged from adding more stories to creating an equipment budget for the podcast. Now I’m targeting healthcare.

As a funding goal, healthcare is anything but sexy. It’s not something I expect to see people rally around or get excited about. Adding new content? Sure, that gives a pretty tangible and easy-to-sell consequence. Insurance, well, you know… Still, it has to be done if I want to continue down this path.

At present, I’m sending a target of reaching this goal of July 12, 2017–the fifth anniversary of my heart attack. It’s an ambitious deadline, but one worth going for.

If you aren’t already a subscriber or Patreon supporter, here are the links I hope you’ll be interested in:

If you’re already a subscriber or supporter, thank you! You’ve made it possible to get this far. If you want to help further, share the above links or leave a review on our Amazon subscription page–good reviews there help encourage new subscribers. You’d be surprised by how much of an impact it has.

Take care,

-Neil

Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 2: Recommended Reading List

The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 2 was published earlier this month in trade paperback and ebook. Each year, there are more good stories than I can fit in the book, so I include a recommended reading list at the back of the book to give them the recognition they deserve. That list is duplicated here:

2016 Recommended Reading List

  • “The Art of Space Travel” by Nina Allen, Tor.com, July 2016
  • “Mika Model” by Paolo Bacigalupi, Slate, April 2016
  • “Fifty Shades of Grays” by Steven Barnes, Lightspeed, June 2016
  • “A Fair War” by Taiyo Fuji, Saiensu Fikushon 2016, edited by Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington
  • “The Mutants Men Don”t See” by James Alan Gardner, Asimov’s, September 2016
  • “My Generations Will Praise” by Samantha Henderson, Interzone, November/December 2016
  • “Origins” by Carlos Hernandez, The Grim Future, edited by Erin Underwood
  • “Stories of the Trees, Stories of the Birds, Stories of the Bones” by Kat Howard, The Grim Future, edited by Erin Underwood
  • “One Sister, Two Sisters, Three” by James Patrick Kelly, Clarkesworld, October 2016
  • “Kit: Some Assembly Required” by Kathe Koja, Asimov’s, September 2016
  • “The One Who Isn”t” by Ted Kosmatka, Lightspeed, July 2016
  • “Sleep Factory” by Rich Larson, Analog, October/November 2016
  • “Innumerable Glimmering Lights” by Rich Larson, Clockwork Phoenix 5,
  • “Seven Birthdays” by Ken Liu, Bridging Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • “Elves of Antarctica” by Paul McAuley, Drowned Worlds, edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • “Not Quite Taterona Kempi” by Ryan W. Norris, Analog, May 2016
  • “Travelling into Nothing” by An Owomoyela, Bridging Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan
  • “Unauthorized Access” by An Owomoyela, Lightspeed, September 2016
  • “A Song Transmuted” by Sarah Pinsker, Cyber World, edited by Jason Heller and Joshua Viola
  • “Red in Tooth and Cog” by Cat Rambo, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2016
  • “Passelande” by Robert Reed, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November/December 2016
  • “Those Shadows Laugh” by Geoff Ryman, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2016
  • “Firstborn, Lastborn” by Melissa Scott, To Shape the Dark, edited by Athena Andreadis
  • “The Whole Mess” by Jack Skillingstead, Asimov’s, September 2016
  • “Licorice” by Jack Skillingstead, Now We Are Ten, edited by Ian Whates
  • “Everybody from Themis Sends Letters Home” by Genevieve Valentine, Clarkesworld, October 2016
  • “La beauté sans vertu” by Genevieve Valentine, Tor.com, April 2016
  • “The Mind Is Its Own Place” by Carrie Vaughn, Asimov’s, September 2016
  • “That Game We Played During the War” by Carrie Vaughn, Tor.com, March 2016
  • “First Light at Mistaken Point” by Kali Wallace, Clarkesworld, August 2016
  • “Passion Summer” by Nick Wolven, Asimov’s, February 2016
  • “Painter of Stars” by Wang Yuan, Clarkesworld, December 2016

Still Recovering (again)

I thought I’d be better by now, but it’s looking like my prior health issues are impacting my recovery from this cold. It’s become fairly easy to draw lines from my heart issues and a prior case of pneumonia to the lingering cough and fatigue, so I’ve been taking it easy. At least I can look at a screen again without the letters beginning to move. I did get out for a bit this weekend, but even just standing around talking wiped me out.

Today I managed to get some work on my pending mountain of email and slush. I know I owe more than a few people responses, but it’s going to take a bit of time with my current energy levels. I’ll get to the rest as I can, but I know not to push myself or I’ll just make things worse.

Radio Silence

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our house. A mean little bug has been taking us out one-by-one. Fortunately, it waits until the previous host is better before striking the next. It came home with my oldest and by the time it moved onto his brother, I knew the right medications to bring it to its knees. Unfortunately, it jumped to me next and none of those medications are on my “allowed” list. I’ve had to take the scenic route through death slime valley.

The worst appears to be over, but with pieces still sitting in my chest, it could be a few days before I’m back to 100%. This was probably the worst cold I’ve had since my heart attack and the only one that has really triggered any real concern on my part. It’s serving as a reminder that my life isn’t as it was before. Just trying to do some simple tasks yesterday quickly tossed me back on the couch, exhausted. Reminds me a lot of those first days out of the hospital. Just need to take it easy. Nothing needs to be done today.