My New Math

There are inflection points in life. The variables shift, and the comfortable plateau becomes something else. My graph is no longer a steady line, but a hyperbola, a sine curve, a Lissajous figure expanding and tightening its figure-eight of me-then/me-now.

Life on a wave is different than life on a line. I wake up excited and energized by the changes. I am a more fearless version of myself; my hair is cut short as a warrior queen’s, I wear chunky bracelets that clang as I journey to the living, beating heart of my city, my self. All of my electrons make the jump to the next level. I feel like a bright filament, a reactor of potential. Time runs faster, and there is an intensity to the even the still moments. I wish I could hold your hand, transmit this to you, but my words will have to suffice.

Aurora potentialis.In the onrush of nownownow I stopped blogging, but I kept writing. I put another revision on my second novel, DEAD BREATH, and have just received the last of my beta reader comments for a final pass. I revisited the decisions of my plateau-self and decided that I want to submit this book to traditional publishers. I love the freedom of indie publishing, the ultimate control – but I falter in post-production. I never found my audience with STOLEN CLIMATES, and all those people who are looking for small town horror with a soupçon of  THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL are still looking because I never made it possible for them to find it. If one function of life is to keep each other company, and a function of writing is to extend that company beyond time, space, and even death – isn’t it very sad indeed that books get lost?

I don’t want that to happen with DEAD BREATH, my second novel. DEAD BREATH is dark science fiction driven by the strong-arm elements of a thriller. Traditional sci-fi publishing houses accept unagented, unsolicited manuscripts. I know the arguments against traditional publishing. They remain valid. However, good stories don’t find their way to an audience on their own. They need advocates. What is a publisher, if not a long-standing advocate for stories? I want that big, purple-ape of an advocate. I’ve picked five markets to submit to, and given that the average time for response seems to be three months, it will take me over a year from Day One Submit to get to the end of my list. By then, my third book will be finished. If there are no takers on DEAD BREATH, then I will send the next book. If I get to the end of the series, and no purple apes shout my books’ praise from the towers of advocacy, I’ll go indie – but I’ll do it right, with a plan and with the budget to back it up. No matter what happens, the wait until my next book is published will be measured in years. In the interim, I’m toying with dabbling in Wattpad and Booksie to share out some of my odd little stories. I will keep you company here, too, checking in throughout the submission process, and you can friend me on Facebook, GoodReads and Twitter.

In other writing plans, I want to go on a writer’s residency next year. Nova Ren Suma, whom I’ve never met outside the pages of her books, inspired me with her diary post from her residency at Hambidge. The idea of a space to myself and time dedicated only to my writing titillates. I love it that there are writers residencies. I really love it that they feed you. Looking at MacDowell Colony and the like made me realize that although I love the idea, I don’t have to wait for acceptance to a residency to carve that time and space for my craft. I don’t know if any of you have every visited HomeAway, but beware! – it’s addictive. My ideal “residency” is a week of rural rental via HomeAway. I picture buying my provisions; there’s a blue ice cooler involved, a rented car, and the thrill of being somewhere new. I’ll drink hot black coffee, eat crusty French bread, and spend my days writing. There will be no dogs to walk, no job, no obligations, and no internet. It will be my residency, and I’ll write the first draft of a horror novel that begs to be birthed in a strange, isolated place.  I’m going to take advantage of this surge of creative energy – can you feel it?


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14 thoughts on “My New Math

  1. WooHoo! Love the bold fearlessness in this post my dear friend!
    I am so pleased that you have accomplished so much. Sometimes blogging needs to be on the back burner because writing and life need to take priority. Once again we seem to mirroring our lives again. I also just – yesterday – cut my hair into an even shorter bob also to get my warrior on. I too would love a residency. Mine is already chosen: the mountains of France. I just need to find the time and money 😉
    I am also really happy for you that you have completed a second novel – um I know you are beta’d out but you know if you need one more beta look my way (read: I am dying to read this next novel of your’s 🙂 ) – that is a huge achievement! I also totally support your hunt for the right traditional publisher.
    Loved this post! Missed hearing from your blog. Welcome back!!
    – KimK x


    • Kim, hi!

      A writing residency in France sounds wonderful. I’m thinking of Minnesota, Tennessee or Kentucky – not quite the glamour of France, but places that call to me. Let’s agree to share pictures and experience notes from our residencies, okay? 🙂

      I’ve missed you, too, Kim. I’m keeping an eye out for your novellas. I hope you are having fun with them!

      Thanks for the offer to beta read! I’m pretty set with input right now, and need to just stop tinkering (I’m prone to repeated re-tooling, often to little or deleterious effect!). No matter which route to publication I take, I will put you at the top of the list for advanced reader copy.

      -aniko xoxo


  2. Aniko! I’ve missed reading your blog, but of course social networking always comes second to writing, doesn’t it? I’m glad that you’re at a good point in your life, and wish you all the best with finding a publisher. I’m looking forward to reading DEAD BREATH whenever and however it is published!


  3. I am privileged: I’ve had the opportunity to smell, as well as read, DEAD BREATH. It takes you to places you never have imagined, and well may not want to visit, but you’ll never forget.


    • Thank you for reading both books. I daresay you’re my biggest fan. I guess that makes us even, though, as I’m one of your biggest fans, too!

      I’m still turning the crank on the third book, and will be able to concentrate on it for the next couple of months while DEAD BREATH is out on its first submission. Then it will be time to prep my next DEAD BREATH submission pack. Everyone has slightly to wildly varying submission guidelines!


  4. Ooohh, I like it. I know we’ve talked about much of this already, but I hadn’t heard the name of novel #2 yet. Great title. And we hadn’t talked about writing residencies, either. I’ve also thought about them, but what a great idea to just go someplace different for a week just to write. That sounds much more realistic to me than taking on a whole residency, having to apply, etc…


    • Paul, hi!

      I struggled with the name. It is a phrase from a line in Sylvia Plath’s poem, A Birthday Present. There is a thematic sisterliness between the two works, and given that my novel deals with an immortality machine, there is a very real chance that a character might end up breathing her own “dead breath.”

      As for the residencies, doesn’t it sound like fun to make a DIY Writers Residency? The tough part is realizing that I can’t take Mr. Aniko along with me – he’s my favorite distraction!!

      Thanks for stopping by!!



  5. I love the way you think…and write. I agree that you need an established publisher to be your advocate and help share your voice with the world. You deserve it. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!



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