|Hayden Trenholm Writer||
I never thought I'd say it -- but I really miss editing. Working with other writers fuels my own creative engine. So, if you think I might be the editor for you, check out my editing services page for details on rates and process.
I read 65 books last year -- though many of them were very short so that's a bit of a cheat, I suppose. There were a lot of mysteries (25) and science fiction (18), not surprising since that is what I write and, as well, what I fall back on when I want release from the troubles of the day. I also read 11 mainstream novels, 7 books of poetry but only 4 non-fiction, which is quite low for me. With two novels to research next year I suspect that last figure will go up a lot in 2023 (2 of the 3 books I am currently reading are non-fiction)
I am very selective when it comes to literary fiction, so it may not be too surprising that some of the best books I read last year were in that category. Judith and Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell tops the list. It follows the family life of a certain (unnamed) Elizabethan playwright and is intelligent, funny, moving and beautifully revisionist. Close behind is No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, a novel of social media and real life, quite brilliant, at times hilarious but also melancholy and hopeful, Also worthy of note was John Bainville's The Sea, a lyrical story of memory and remorse.
Poetry provided delightful language and strong emotion in the form of Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz and Nuclear Family by Ottawa's own Jean Van Loon.
Although my ventures into non-fiction were few, far between and mostly brief, they did include two real gems. Helgoland by Italian physicist, Carlo Rovelli, is a wonderful unpacking of the origins of quantum theory. The science is excellent but so are the biographical notes and the often poetic language. I love everything Rovelli writes and this was no exception.
Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was an extended essay on the death of her father but also reveals much about the contrast between her homeland of Nigeria and her adopted country, the USA. Her fiction is lovely, powerful and insightful and so is this.
As mentioned I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction though I don't always choose particularly challenging work. Still, the three-book Welsh Guard Mysteries by Sarah Woodbury were standouts with strong characters, interesting history and good solid plots. In science fiction, I read Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky, a novella that has tempted me to tackle his longer and more complex work in the new year.
I hope some of these brief descriptions tempt you and that you find some new favorite authors as a result.
Time to celebrate the accomplishments of the old year and proclaim the achievements of the year yet to come. Happy New Year and all that stuff.
For the last few years, most people have happily kicked the old year to the curb and embraced the New Year with hope and optimism (though this year, it seems, with more hope than actual optimism). Still, one can dream that this is the year that the old paradigms will fail, the system will be transformed, that good will triumph over ill.
And we will all be more productive, thinner, fitter, younger (I said it was a dream) and kinder human beings. Of course, we will, it’s all those other people who will fail to make the change. Oh, well.
I don’t believe that history repeats itself but human behavior certainly does. The sad thing is not that we will make mistakes in the coming year but they will likely be the same mistakes we promised ourselves to learn from. The triumphs of the coming year are not likely to be something completely new either (unless we are in that magic age between 15 and 25 when everything we do is completely new—to us at least) but rather will be a better version of past success. The next novel will be better than the one before; the next vacation will be exactly as planned and so on.
I did say that actual optimism is hard to find.
It is hard sometimes to believe in the future, especially when the future seems likely to be much shorter than the past. Based on my family history, my life is already 85% over. Even with the benefits of modern medicine and a middle-class lifestyle, I might ratchet that down to 75%, but let’s face it, those last few years are not likely to be stellar. On the bright side, my chances of dying in a major storm, or a nuclear attack, have seldom been better.
Nonetheless, I do believe in the future even if I won’t get to experience it. I know the world will not end with me, even I won’t end with me, as the planet re-cycles my constituent parts and distributes them randomly around the globe. A thousand years from now, parts of me might drift in the deep ocean, reside in a leaf and the insect sitting on it or, even, as part of the little finger or frontal cortex of the first person to leave the solar system. What wonders my elements will see!
I sometimes find it odd that so many people deny the reality of the future—and their role in and responsibility for future events—even while they cling to the dead beliefs and systems of the past. They dismiss their power to reshape the future into their better nature while trying to re-write the past to suit their darkest prejudices. The past is nothing but competing myths, the present is over before you notice it is there, but the future is a land of endless possibility.
The world will go on and maybe even go on as a place fit for human life only if we, collectively, do things that make it so. No better world except we make it. It has become a popular mantra to say the individual has no power; it’s all been concentrated in the hands of the few. Those on the right embrace this idea, depending on the Übermensch to save the day. (Elon Musk is not going to save either the world or humanity; it’s not clear he can even save Twitter.) Those on the left, having lost their class consciousness, are too busy fighting over nomenclature to actually make a difference. Those in the middle are going “la la la” and fiddling while Rome burns (Surely there is something on Amazon I can order to soothe my nerves).
Oh well, I’ll be dead soon so what do I care? Hmm, I think my first resolution for 2023 is to stop saying “oh, well.”
Back to the original intent of this little missive. 2022 was like most years—it had its ups and its downs, though at the time the peaks and valleys seemed more extreme. My wife, Liz, suffered through the deterioration and eventual replacement of her hip. It was horrible to see her pain and the muting of her spirit that this affliction entailed. Yet, at the same time, I felt uplifted by being her caregiver, fulfilling the vow of “for better or for worse.” While it seemed that I was working all the time, the responsibility of doing something to make life better for someone gave me the energy to be productive. Now that she’s fully recovered, I don’t seem to have any energy. Hmm. Maybe I should push… no, no, I guess I’ll try to get more sleep instead.
And then there was the convoy… We survived both personally and as a city and a country, but if they come back, I’m dropping flowerpots on their heads.
On the other hand, I sold my first science fiction novel in nearly a decade, just shortly after I was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association Hall of Fame. I have another (mystery) novel drafted and well-developed ideas for two more books (one of each genre) to work on for next year. I sold some stories and helped my condo board solve some problems. I made some money editing and ghost-writing, which means the current inflation and interest rate rise doesn’t hurt quite so much. My own health was generally good other than the aches and miseries that come from the winding down of the entropy clock. I was able to travel a little, see friends and do things that I didn’t even know I missed so much.
For 2023, I feel as energetic as one can, looking forward to writing and reading new books and new ideas. Travel will be back on the agenda (with vaccine boosters as required) with visits to old favorites and new vistas. By this time next year, I hope to have polished my completed mystery novel and written another book or two and sold a few short stories, too. Plus, I will be thinner, fitter, kinder and more productive but, sadly, not younger.
I did read 65 books last year but a lot of them were short. I will write a separate blog about my favorites soon.
I hope your 2023 will bring you everything you desire and none of what you fear. Be well. Be strong. Be happy.
Meanwhile, here’s a few pictures to cheer you along.
In August 2022, I was inducted into the CSFFA Hall of Fame. Here is my acceptance speech.
Thanks. I’d like to start by thanking the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association for inducting me into the Hall of Fame. It is a great honour. I’d also congratulate my fellow inductees, Julie Czernada and Ed Greenwood. Great company to keep.
The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said: The only constant is change.
I feel seen.
I have lived in eight communities in six provinces and territories. I have degrees in two completely different fields. I have had at least five distinct careers and something like fifty different employers, including myself. I was the worst boss. I’ve even been married four times—though I seem to have finally got that right.
Through all this, there have only been two constants: my love of and engagement in science fiction and my belief in the power of progressive politics. I’ve always felt the two things were connected though I may be biased.
I can’t remember precisely the first science fiction novel I read – it may have been Robert Heinlein or Isaac Asimov but there is a good chance it was Andre Norton; she was certainly one of my early favorites and I still have a first edition copy of Witch World. I was about ten in any case because I was getting most of books from the Lay Library in Amherst, Nova Scotia, which was replaced by a new modern facility before I turned 12.
I remember climbing the stairs and browsing the stacks and seeing a whole row of books with little pink stickers of rocket ships on the spine. It was my first experience with the genre ghetto (though I certainly didn’t think of it that way). The librarian and my parents were just happy I was a voracious reader, not just of science fiction, but of any other book I could get my hands.
Science Fiction was my first and deepest love and I read everything from Mary Shelley to HG Wells to the pulps of the 30s, the Golden Age of the 50s and the New Wave of the 60s – Harlen Ellison, Ursula LeGuin, Phillip Jose Farmer, Samuel Delaney, Octavia Butler, Michael Moorcock and a host of others, influenced my taste and stimulated my thinking about the future.
As a teenager, science fiction and its relatives, fantasy and comic books, drove a lot of my decisions, not all of them good ones.
My lust for more and more books made me into an entrepreneur – I picked and sold berries, mowed lawns, shovelled snow, anything to get money. By fourteen, I was selling greeting cards and novelties door to door and probably knocked on half the doors in my town of 10,000. And almost all of it went into books and comics (well, and chemistry sets and telescopes). By 16, I had a regular part-time job working at the best of all possible places – the public library.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have done any of it if it weren’t for science fiction, because, if truth be told, I am an incredibly lazy person by nature. But human nature can’t defeat science or, it appears, science fiction.
Science fiction also drove me, at the age of 13 to regularly hitchhike 50km (keeping it a close secret from my parents) to visit the United Book Store in Moncton to buy used paperbacks and search through the stacks of old comics for gems at a nickel a piece. I actually bought Journey into Mystery #83, the first appearance of Thor, which, apparently, is now worth about $200,000. I wish I still had it but… well, I mentioned the previous marriages, right?
It also led me into my only criminal act. I was in a bookstore and there were 3 SF books I absolutely had to have, but I only had money for two. So, I bought two and stole the other one. It was so easy I did it again, but then my conscience got the better of me. Sort of. I wanted to go back and pay for them but was too embarrassed. It is a stain I shall carry to my grave.
On the brighter side, science fiction stimulated my interest in science. As a kid, I had several increasingly complex chemistry sets, a microscope, two telescopes, electronics kits and stacks of science books. Many were presents from my working-class parents; the rest I bought myself. My father would also use his pocket knife to donate blood and skin cells for me to examine with my microscope and make crude drawings.
I excelled in school, especially in the maths and science, and went on to take a B.Sc. in Chemistry, under full scholarship. That led to my very first publication—not a science fiction short story but a co-authored paper in the Canadian Journal of Chemistry. A career in chemistry seemed on the horizon but it was not to be.
I mentioned my belief in the power of progressive politics, quite a leap of faith growing up in the most conservative place in Nova Scotia. I served on my first NDP constituency executive at 14, helped organize a student strike at seventeen and attended my first provincial convention later the same year. I took political science and sociology courses as my “arts” electives and in my fourth year I switched from Chemistry (though I did finish my BSc) to Social and Political Thought and then went on to do my Master’s in the same area. I was accepted to do a Ph.D but change, change, change.
Instead of studying politics, I ran for office – twice – which started a decade of involvement in electoral politics, unionism, and a wide range of social causes.
But even though I spent my twenties enmeshed in politics and public service, I didn’t forget my first love. In 1979, I attended my first science fiction convention in Halifax where I met Spider and Jeanne Robinson and Theodore Sturgeon. My first Worldcon was in Baltimore in 1983 where I had a brief encounter with Isaac Asimov. Since then, I’ve attended dozens of conventions across Canada and the USA and nine WorldCons as well. I started as a fan and con volunteer and organizer but, as I started writing my own stories in the early 90s, I graduated to panelist and, even Guest of Honour at a couple of smaller conventions. Along the way I met mentors who became friends, indeed some of my closest friends came to me through science fiction, including Rob Sawyer, Derek Kunsken, Matt Moore and of course, my wife and sometimes writing collaborator, Liz Westbrook Trenholm.
It somehow seems inevitable that I would take one more step in my ever-changing relationship with science fiction. When the opportunity came to buy the publishing house that had nurtured my first novels, I seized it and spent 8 years as publisher and managing editor running, with Liz and Mike Rimar, Bundoran Press. I did that while still working on Parliament Hill for 15 years, advising an indigenous Senator from the Northwest Territories.
But what does it all mean? All this change; all this constant engagement in science fiction and progressive politics. I said I think they are connected. The connection is the future. Science Fiction at its best, like politics at its best is always about the possibility of a better world. Even when science fiction delves into dystopia and the real world seems to be following its lead, there is always light somewhere, a belief that people of good will and determination can find a way through, the crisis can be solved and the disaster averted.
Maybe that seems jejune. Maybe I only have hope and faith because I’ve lived a charmed life. My father died when I was 24; my mother fell into dementia. I participated in the wreck of three marriages. I have twice been so broke, I didn’t know where next weeks meals were coming from. I was an eye witness to the murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo at the War Memorial in Ottawa. I have fought for causes that failed. I have lost family and friends to death and dispute.
But I still believe that tomorrow can be better than today. I still believe that I can write a story or a polemic that will make a positive difference to someone somewhere. I still support causes, even seemingly lost ones, with my voice, my vote and my money.
I still believe and do those things because science fiction told me that that is the way the world can work.
To finish with a quote from another philosopher. The future’s so bright, I have to wear shades.
Well, that was the year that wasn't.
Actually, looking back it wasn't a total loss. I polished up and published two mystery novels and have been making slow progress on a third. I also put together a bunch of my blog posts and published a book of observations and opinions -- as if anyone cared. I wrote a couple of stories and sold one of them (so far).
Although I decided to wrap up my editing services this year, I still managed to provide edits to 4 clients and just before the year wrapped up took on a ghost writing job that will keep me busy until June.
While 2020 was the year of local travel and trip cancellations, in 2021, during the lulls between waves we made brief jaunts to both coasts to a cottage in Nova Scotia to see family and to Vancouver Island to visit old friends and walk by the Pacific Ocean. While Europe did not pan out, we did make a quick Christmas trip to Hamilton to visit grand children before the gates came clanging shut again. COVID did interfere with our life at home though as our local New Year's plans ended when the host tested positive and had to stay in Florida.
Current plans call for a trip to the UK in June but Omicron may have other ideas. Or maybe we'll just say la la la, don't look up, hold our noses (to keep out the testing swabs) and make one last mad dash into the world, trailing viral loads like over laden suitcases. OK, the isolation is starting to get to me.
Obi ZOOM Kenobi -- you are our only hope!
I did read a lot this year -- 66 books in total -- a mix of mystery, science fiction, literary fiction, science, history, poetry and writing books. The highlights (in no particular order were: The Reckless Oaths We Made by Bryn Greenwood, Mythos by Stephen Fry, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donahue, The House of Styx by Derek Kunsken, Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy edited by Neil Astley and The Ode Less Travelled also by Stephen Fry.
Beyond that, I put in about 200 hours as a member of my condo Board, walked over 2200 kilometers without really going anywhere, played a lot of board games and yes, ate a lot of takeout food (and discovered dozens of new recipes in my own kitchen).
And took some pictures.
I sometimes think I lack sticktoitiveness (a real word I made up). I started university studying chemistry, going so far as to get a degree and a publication in the Canadian Journal of Chemistry before switching to Social and Political Thought. Instead of doing aPh.D. (I had a four year scholarship), I ran for political office. After twelve years in the public service, I worked in arts for eleven years -- six as a writer/actor and five as an arts in education administrator. Then, I moved to the Senate to work as a policy advisor to a Senator for 15 years. Half way through that I bought a publishing company and ran it for eight years. Now I'm retired from everything but writing.
My writing career has shown the same tendency to shift and shimmy like a jalopy with transmission problems. My first serious writing was for the stage, starting in Yellowknife with Hemingway Crosses the Mackenzie. After moving to Calgary, I had a number of plays produced in local theatres and on CBC radio. I won a few contests and almost made the big time before switching to writing science fiction in the mid-90s. I stuck with that for the next twenty years (and am still writing 3-5 short stories a year but once again my interests have started to change.
This year I published the first two novels in the Max Anderson mysteries, set in Paris between the Wars. The first is called In the Shadow of Versailles and is, for the month of October on sale as an ebook. It is also available in print. The second, By Dawn's Early Light is only available in digital form though a print book is coming soon. I'm about a third of the way through the third book, working title: The Glare of Truth.
But wait, there's more. I've started making notes for a mystery set in Rome in the time of Sulla the Dictator (roughly 100-80 BC). No title yet, or even an outline, but it's percolating away in my hindbrain. I plan to have the first one (it's a series) sometime in 2022.
Now, if I can just resist the lure of poetry (for the art) or screenwriting (for the money), I should be fine.
When one door closes, sometimes you should simply let it shut and walk away.
Recently I announced I was quitting freelance editing and would not take new clients after the end of September. I called it the next step in my long retirement that began four years ago when I left my job at the Senate of Canada. Last year brought the end to Bundoran Press and this year I say goodbye to my freelance gig. It's been great helping good books get better and working with a wide range of authors, but it's time to move on and focus on the writing of one author -- me!
My science fiction writing has slowed somewhat though I continue to finish two or four stories a year while my last novel makes the rounds of publishers and agents but I've kept busy with other non-SF projects, notably a series of mystery novels set in Paris between the wars. The first is finished and ready to go while a second drafted and going through final edits. A third is well underway and I already have the central ideas for two more. Plenty to keep me busy until I finally call it quits or head for the retirement home in the sky, whichever comes first.
While I am still pursuing traditional publishing routes for my science fiction, I've decided to take a different route for my mystery series. Indie publishing is tough road but it's one I've decided to go down. If I sell a lot of books, that's fine, but if I don't, that's normal. Hopefully, I'll find a few readers and in the meantime, I'm really enjoying the process of researching and writing the books. Once we are travelling again, a return trip to Paris (my fourth) may be essential to get the details right.
Some of you may have heard that I've also started studying the craft of poetry--but don't worry, I won't be inflicting the public with those efforts anytime soon. Still, it's a lot of fun, almost as much fun as my daily struggles with learning Spanish and my work on the condo board (okay, that one's only fun for weird definitions of fun).
Gosh, who knew retirement could be so busy?
New Year’s Day again! Each year I determine I will begin blogging again on a regular basis and each year I fail. So, let’s just treat this as my somewhat tardy Christmas letter.
What a year it wasn’t! Many things were planned; most of them were cancelled. Other things came as a surprise or, sometimes, even a shock. I’m sure you experienced much the same. Or maybe, I’m the only one living in this alternate universe.
The first plans cancelled proved fortuitous. Last November we were starting to put together the pieces of a trip to Ecuador and Peru. We would have left around mid-February and returned at the end of March. But we also wanted to visit friends and family across Canada and when we examined the budget, we decided we couldn’t do both. South America would have to wait.
Canadians in Peru in March didn’t get home, in a lot of cases, until June. That was probably the luckiest thing that happened to us this past year.
Come January, we were well into the booking process for trips to BC (May), Nova Scotia (July) and Alberta (August) plus there was a big wedding to go to in early August. Not to mention visits to Toronto and Montreal for getaway weekends. It was going to be a great year! Then COVID-19 struck.
No great gnashing of teeth though a little grinding of gears. Long story short, everything got refunded except one night’s hotel deposit in Vancouver. They did give us a credit – though I suspect I’ll never use it. Eventually we decided we could tough it out until things got under control. We just didn’t think it would last so long!
Then an unexpected construction project on the exterior of our building kicked us off our balcony for five weeks in August and September. Fortunately, by then we were in the great hiatus (which of course led to the second and third lockdowns) and could travel locally at least. Three-day trips ensued to Perth, Wakefield and Almonte. Nice little towns all with pleasant country walks nearby. But it wasn’t exactly Machu Pichu.
The rest of the year consisted of occasional day trips, including a ride in a 1937 bi-plane (like a motorcycle in the sky) and walks in previously unexplored regions of Ottawa. We watched a lot of TV and spent an inordinate amount of time in video calls to friends and family across Canada and in England. We grew closer to some people while we found the distance widening with others. Family become more central to both of us while work—such as it is for the retirement set—faded in importance.
Now the vaccine is on the horizon and we have become ever more careful. As Liz says, no one wants to be the last soldier killed before VE day (VE = Vaccines Everywhere). Sadly, for all our hopes and desires, the first third or half of 2021 will be a lot like the last 10 months gone by.
It was tough year, tougher for others than it was for us. We lost a few acquaintances to the plague and a few friends lost those much closer than that – fathers and mothers and brothers and cousins. Two of our family members did get the disease, both with moderate to bad symptoms but thankfully not sick enough to need hospital care. It was scary enough as it was and we can only imagine how tough it was for others.
Other than that and Liz’s broken toe, our health was as good as can be expected.
Well, that is certainly enough about that!
On a lighter note, my publishing business, Bundoran Press, went out of business in October. I had hoped to carry on for another year or two but all the cancelled cons put an end to that. I think my partners and I closed it off in style, with everyone paid and as much notice and assistance to authors as it was possible to give. I may not still have a company but I have a lot of friends as result of the 8 years I did run it. And that’s more valuable than gold. And I did publish one book in 2020: Ryan McFadden’s Corona Burning. (The title never fails to trigger my sense of irony.) He now is publishing it himself and maybe you could check all of Ryan’s books on Amazon.
I continue to write and one of the highlights of the year was my first appearance in Analog (of a story sold in 2019), one of 3 stories that appeared in 2020. I wrote six new stories and worked in a desultory fashion on a number of longer projects. I even tried my hand at poetry though that is certainly not ready for public viewing. I already have one story coming out in 2021 and I remain hopeful for more though I have to admit I now write mostly for myself. The pleasure of writing a satisfying sentence now outweighs that of a cheque in the mail (though I don’t mind getting those at all).
Editing, too, is more interesting as well and I worked with four clients during the year, one of whom just had his book published a few weeks ago. That made me happy. You can check it our here.
What else did I do this year that made life worth living? I found great comfort in the deepening of my marriage to Liz. It seems all we really need is each other (though I love all your guys too!)
I studied Spanish, using the Rosetta Stone computer program and I’ve now reached the stage where some of dreams are partly in Spanish – and I mostly know what the dream figures are saying. By October (when we are going to Spain!!!), I hope to be able to function with reasonable skill.
And I read books – 61 one all told. For those interested in statistics, this included 25 mysteries, 13 SF, 11 mainstream fiction, 3 books of poetry, six of science and 3 other non-fiction. Top few of my list in most categories:
Mystery: Bruno, Chief of Police (Martin Walker)
SF: The Oppenheimer Alternative (Robert J. Sawyer), Binti (Nnedi Okorofor)
Lit Fiction: Indian Horse (Richard Wagamese), The Wonder (Emma Donahue), The Shepard’s Hut (Tim Winton)
Poetry: Averno (Louise Gluck)
Science: Inferior (Angela Saini), The Order of Time (Carlo Rovelli)
And that as they say, is that. See you next week. Or month. Or year.
When asked if she enjoyed writing, Dorothy Parker famously quipped: I enjoy having written. In a similar vein, Ernest Hemingway said: writing is easy; you sit at a typewriter and bleed. I'm sure I could find a few other pithy remarks on the so-called joys of writing but I trust, dear reader, that you get the gist.
Writing can seem a grind at times. Whether a short short or a magnus opus, at some point you are bound to think: will this damn thing ever be finished? For every time the words seem to flow there are two others when is seems you are grinding it out one rotten word or phrase at a time. Meanwhile, your internal editor is constantly bleating that you are writing is pedestrian, cliched or flabby or, at the very least, not enough.
And if that nagging voice ever does shut up, you can always count on a writing friend to exhort you to set goals, to write more and more often, to learn this structure or that method of characterization or to develop better story hooks.
As an old pal of mine once remarked: goals are for hockey players. Better yet, from a new pal who has sold over 150 stories and two novels before his 27th birthday: "I try to write things that entertain me and hope to find an editor who is similarly entertained." So far, so good, I would say. Of course, he is living a sort of student life -- not quite starving in a garret, but not middle-class yet. Still, he sells as many stories in two years as I have in my whole damn career.
Ah, talent! Me, I pretty much have to make do with the other two components of a successful writing life -- determination and luck.
Have I discouraged you from writing yet? Because that was pretty much my goal. I really don't need the competition.
Many of you might ask why -- if it's so hard and the rewards so limited, why do so many people want to be writers? Well, of course, we all want to be the next J.K. Rowling or George R.R. Martin, or perhaps the best paid writer of them all, James Patterson. Surely we think, my writing is as good as theirs. If I just work hard and have a little luck -- it could be me! Just like every guy who plays semi-pro ball thinks he might make it to the big leagues.
Good luck with that. The reality is, if you are reasonably talented, quite determined and hard working and have a smidgen of luck (most of which you make for your self), you can make a living of sorts. Some will actually do quite well.
Which is sort of true for lawyers and pipe-fitters, too. Except a person with a law degree or a journeyman's certificate is seldom faced with the possibility they will suddenly make no money at all -- which can happen to a formerly successful writer at any given moment.
Most writers and other artists, too, wind up like that semi-pro ball player, making a little cash from time to time, just enough to keep trying to hit the change-up (sorry for all the baseball metaphors--I've been watching the Blue Jays lose). Like rats who need only an occasional reward to keep playing the game, we live for those sales or that fan we meet who actually reads our work and wants to know when the next book is coming out. If we're lucky, we make enough to quit the day job (or go part-time) and keep trying to write that one story that everyone will like and buy (well, until it gets pirated and you are back in the dumpster again).
Because that's where the joy lies -- in the doing. All the things I've mentioned in passing while you thought I was complaining are why I keep doing it:
But most of all, it the joy of writing one good sentence -- one that makes you stop and say (maybe to yourself or to your ever-supportive partner): Wow, I did that.
So that's my little self-indulgent cathartic rant for the day. I'm one of those writers who is always about to quit, but despite that I have written six stories so far this year. And it is only the joy of writing (or the joy of writing about writing) that makes me un-quit and tackle that next story.
Which I will do tomorrow.
Wearing my other hat (don't even ask to look at my hat-rack) as managing editor of Bundoran Press, I got to curate a bundle of ebooks including six novels from Bundoran authors and six books by some great writers who have befriended us over the years.
You can take a look over at Story Bundle but let me give you a preview.
The bundle includes novels by Robert J. Sawyer (my personal favorite of his: Frameshift) and Ramez Naam (the first book in his award winning trilogy from Angry Robot). Also on offer is the first book in the Valor series from Tanya Huff, Template by Matthew Hughes and the fabulous vN from Canada Reads finalist, Madeline Ashby. I'm particularly happy to present Organisms, a collection of stories from multi-award winning author, James Alan Gardner, which is exclusive to Story Bundle.
The Bundoran books that round out the bundle are pretty spectacular in their own right. Breakpoint: Nereis from Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist, Alison Sinclair, has been described as House meets Star Trek and Aurora Award winning author Edward Willett showcases his space opera skills with Right to Know. I could go on about but you might think I have a vested interest.
There's a lot more info over at the Story Bundle site, so why not give it a try, then give it a buy. 12 great books for only $15US.
Hayden Trenholm is a playwright and novelist who lives in Ottawa, ON