Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Look Back

A summary of my year in writing and publishing, events, audio, video, and more of life...

1. Writing/Publishing

This year has seen a mixture of submitting, self-publishing, and engaging in exploratory and collaborative projects.

As planned, I released two Deviations volumes this year: Bloodlines in June and TelZodo in December, both as free e-book downloads. Next year I'll release the series conclusion, Second Covenant. If you've been following the series (thank you, readers!), I've got the final installment's blurb and preview here.

I had hoped to start producing audiobooks this year, but that's taking longer than expected. The folks at Podiobooks have given me some great pointers. I've recorded a read-through of Covenant, but the real work comes in the editing, which I hope to devote time to in 2011. I've also gotten some requests to produce paperback versions, so am considering my options there as well. Thanks to everyone who's gotten in touch!

This year also marked the first time I've produced chapbooks: 30 Science Sonnets for April 2010 and Divinations: writing by the throw of the dice. (I've also submitted the sonnets to Open Laboratory, an annual anthology of science blogs. Click here for links to everyone's submissions.) Divinations is an outgrowth of my participation in Folded Word's "24/7" project in August. My website has info on the chapbooks and on my publications in general.

Also for the first time, I entered (and won!) a song-writing contest, sponsored by Woodview Coffee House. Details here.

My novelette "Flotsam" (Asimov's, Oct./Nov. 2009) made the recommended reading list in The Year's Best Science Fiction, 27th Annual Collection. That's the second consecutive year I've made the list.

I've been named to the Broad Universe Motherboard, and am the new chair for the adult contests of the Florida State Poets Association. I also have a guest-editing stint coming up -- stay tuned!

In addition to participating in Post A Story For Haiti, I this year joined Shadow Forest Authors as a book donor. (I also marked my one-year anniversary of being a book donor for Operation E-Book Drop and Books For Soldiers.)

Additional publications in 2010 include:

Fiction and micro-fiction:
"Judgment at Naioth" in She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror (Dybbuk Press, October).
"Icarus Redux" in Niteblade, June.
Micro-fiction "Heisenberg's Metamorphosis," "Bittersweet," and "Fierce Harvest" in PicFic, Sept. 6.
Micro-fiction "Empty Nest" in PicFic, May 18.
Micro-fiction in Thaumatrope, Feb. 12.

"Duet Singularity" and "Ciliate Sestina" in Star*Line 33(5/6). "Ciliate Sestina" was named Editor's Choice.
"Far From Free Association" in the open-mic section of Poets for Living Waters, a poetry action in response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Evolutionary Variants on a Russian Proverb" in Star*Line 33(4), along with my write-up of the speculative poetry workshop I gave at Ancient City Con IV (and Edward Cox's review of my 30 Science Sonnets).
"Pele's Wandering Fire" in Of Poets And Poetry, June. This poem also received second prize in the Spring Fling contest, Florida State Poets Association.
microcosms on May 17, August 12, and November 22.
"Nor'easter Requiem" in unFold, April 23.
"Total Lunar Eclipse" in Astropoetica, Spring (reprint).
"Butterfly Woman" (text and audio) in Goblin Fruit, Winter.
Thanks also to artist Paul Vincenti, who posted my sonnet "A Meeting of the Arts" to go with his painting "Ballerina."

Print: "Downrange: Elissa Malcohn" appears in the inaugural issue of Valent Range, Summer.
Online: I was interviewed by Trisha Wooldridge (Jul. 31; to benefit the Bay State Equine Rescue); Tracy S. Morris (Sept. 15); and Jane Hunter (Nov. 7).
Podcast: Conversations Live! on March 3; That Sci-Fi Show on Oct. 9 (my segment begins about 20 minutes in).

More Audio
You can hear me reading an excerpt from Appetite in the Broadpod (Episode 2: Women's History) and my poems "Neighbors" and "Eye of the Beholder" in Episode 5: Humor. I reprise "Neighbors" in the Science Fiction Poetry Association Halloween Reading.

More Online Writing
This year I began writing book reviews for Psych Central. Two have been posted so far, for Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers (Karyl McBride, Ph.D.) and The Use of Technology in Mental Health: Applications, Ethics and Practice (Kate Anthony et al.). Two more reviews are currently in submission.

"Visitations" in Jack-o'-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy, Raven Electrick Ink.

"Shrine to the Disconnected" in Dreams and Nightmares #90.
"The Last Dragon Slayer" in Mythic Delirium #24.
"Far From the Pleasure Garden" in A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock, Dark Scribe Press.

My events this year were all Florida-based and included the Florida State Poets Association Spring Fling (Hernando), Oasis 23 (Orlando), Ancient City Con IV (Jacksonville), Deep Carnivale (Tampa), Spooky Empire (Orlando), and Necronomicon 29 (St. Petersburg), along with author fairs at the Land O'Lakes Library and the Hudson Regional Library. As in past years, I was a panelist in the three-part NaNoWriMo series at the Citrus County Library, which also held its inaugural author fair this year. Online, I participated in Coyote Con. Click here to get more details about past events and here for more info on what's coming up. Thanks to all the volunteers and staff who made these events possible and to everyone who stopped by my panels, workshops, and tables!

I've been trying to hammer a gaggle of ideas into shape that include a couple of nonfiction projects. To prepare for one of them, I've begun to transcribe dozens of tapes of conversation. I've transferred the audio from cassette to digital and am using the awesome freeware Express Scribe. I make part of my living from transcribing and have done so for decades, so this kind of activity comes naturally.

2. Visual
Thanks to the Marine Society of Australasia for using my photo of a crab spider (taken in 2005) in their publication The World of Crabs.

Here are links to my Top 10 favorite shots/videos of 2010:

10. Moon Over St. Petersburg (Oct. 25). I spotted this sight as I walked from a parking garage to the Bayside Hilton, where I was attending Necronomicon. I had taken this shot freehand at night, using a 1/40-second exposure at f4.
9. Passionflower (Oct. 5). An unusual and stunning flower native to the Southeastern U.S., seen in my neighborhood.
8. Great Egret 5 (June 10). I snapped this shot just as the egret was taking off from a retention pond about a mile from my home. New construction subsequently placed a fence around the pond, which was dredged and rebuilt. I'll miss taking my camera down to the water's edge.
7. Persephone's Dream (Dec. 28), a photo collage I made using a couple of pomegranate shots.
6. Lycosid With Spiderlings 4 (Nov. 3), taken inside my garage. Female Wolf Spiders (Family Lycosidae) carry their young on their back. Unless you feel as I do about spiders, you won't find this a pretty picture. I was fascinated by the sight -- and enchanted.
5. Mating Dragonflies (Nov. 24). Catching this pair was a case of sheer luck that consisted of looking up at the right moment and having my camera strapped to me. I had just stepped out of Mary's Ranger and into the parking lot at the mall.
4. Male Luna Moth, series 1 (Sept. 9). I had never seen a Luna Moth in person until this day and had been aching to encounter one. This one made its appearance at a strip mall.
3. Southern Black Racer (Aug. 10). This photo just edges out my Luna Moth series for the #3 spot. For years I had wanted to photograph both these creatures. I had seen black racers before, but they'd always been too fast for me, until this shot taken at the same retention pond where I'd photographed the egret.
2. The Pane of Separation (Sept. 13), a could'a-been-close encounter between an anole and a fly, with a window between them. I took this shot at a McDonald's in the same strip mall where I'd seen the luna moth.
1. Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse, December 21, 2010 (video). As I spent the night taking these 89 photos from my driveway, I thought it a propos that my poem "Total Lunar Eclipse" had been reprinted this year (see above). The eclipse of the poem had occurred on July 6, 1982, eight days before my mother's death. I was living in New York at the time, but had come down here and had spent the night watching the eclipse from this same house.

3. Etc.

Various challenges marked 2010, but the hardest emotionally for Mary and me was the death of our 18-year-old cat, Daisy, from kidney failure in April. Daisy joined her buddy Red, who had passed two years earlier at 16.

We raised the roof in March -- and lowered a new one into place, which got rid of our pesky ceiling-spotting problem.

In May, following the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I joined others in Citrus County participating in the Matter of Trust Hair for Oil Spills Program. My own hair donation marked the first time I'd had a haircut since the 1970s (I've enjoyed the cut so much I've kept it). In addition to collecting and shipping hair and fur, I traveled to Tampa to participate in a "BoomBQ" to make the hair booms themselves.

In September I added my video to the It Gets Better Project, started by Dan Savage in response to LGBT teen suicides. This year, Mary and I also became involved with our local Gay-Straight Alliance.

This has been a good year for me health-wise. In 2010 I dropped 20+ pounds, with concurrent decreases in my blood glucose and cholesterol. My main tool was keeping a food journal. The most influential change in my diet was eating less cheese. I plan to continue the trend in 2011.

May the New Year bring blessings for all. Stay safe and warm out there.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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Vol. 1, Deviations: Covenant (2nd Ed.), Vol. 2, Deviations: Appetite, Vol. 3, Deviations: Destiny, Vol. 4, Deviations: Bloodlines, Vol. 5, Deviations: TelZodo
Free downloads at the Deviations website, Smashwords, and Manybooks.

Proud participant, Operation E-Book Drop (provides free e-books to personnel serving overseas. Logo from the imagination and graphic artistry of K.A. M'Lady & P.M. Dittman); Books For Soldiers (ships books and more to deployed military members of the U.. armed forces); and Shadow Forest Authors (a fellowship of authors and supporters for charity, with a focus on literacy).
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