Daily leeway

I really love my job. A lot. I’ve been really busy at it for the last month or so, working toward getting Fall books out the door and working on acquiring/editing the books I’ve acquired for the next couple seasons. But what about outside of work? I’ve been thinking lately that part of my life isn’t so interesting.

Today I was hanging out with a friend and he asked me—my memory is fuzzy, but I believe in the context of me talking about yet another TV show I’ve watched—just what do I do after work. Maybe it’s because I was feeling like I don’t have much of a life—I’m still looking for my niche here in this city in many ways—I was a little embarrassed to admit that if I don’t have somewhere to be, I just go home and veg, watching a lot of TV. The answer would have involved WoW if I remembered to play anymore. I’ve gotten out of the habit these last few months.

But I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t know that I have much to be embarrassed about. Here’s my day: Out the door to work at 8:30, or even earlier if I have trash to carry down with me on my way out.

An hour commute; at work by 9:30. Work all day, yadda yadda. I officially get off at 5:30, but I generally don’t leave right away unless I have somewhere to go in the early evening. I usually end up working till at least 6, if not 7, because I’ve just got so much to do. A week ago Friday, I was at work till 10 pm because I had a project I was trying to finish (and ended up having to finish it Monday because I made myself go home at 10 with just 2 or 3 things left to finish).

But on a normal night I might get home, after errands/taking a walk/ etc., at 9 or 10 pm most weeknights! And it really IS okay to watch a little TV at ten o’clock at night. Or eight or nine.

That’s only one kind of weekday evening. Other nights I might leave early from work to attend a book event of some sort—a signing or reading or something. I’ll still get home just as late, but at least I’ve been out real-life socializing in the meantime. Or hang out with friends feeling guilty about how much TV I watch (not what the friend said—just my own thoughts in relation to the conversation).

Weekends are more varied. Some weekends I might stay in and marathon Doctor Who. Some I might be out on a bike ride in the afternoon and watching a movie with friends or playing WoW in the evening (that’s the plan for this weekend, only the video games will be on one of my friend’s consoles, not a MMORPG). Some I might be gathering for Korean barbecue or a movie. I’d like to start getting out with my camera in the late afternoons to practice my photography (I’m getting rusty) but haven’t really done it enough yet. Then there are the weekends that are consumed with mundanities like errands at Target and laundry.

So perhaps my life isn’t so boring as I think it is (except for the errands at Target and laundry). It’s just that I am busy enough in the weekdays that I have to remember to allow myself leeway in the evenings. So if you see me tweeting about yet another TV show, now you know why I do it.

Announcement: Now closed for critiques

Given the demands on my time from a number of directions, I am now closing for new critiques indefinitely. I still have several critiques I’m working on that I need to get back to the authors on; if you’re one of those people, I apologize for the wait. You will be hearing from me soon. For anyone with whom I haven’t made a payment arrangement or agreed to do a critique, I apologize that I won’t be able to assist you.

To be able to have the time I need outside of my day job to start Tu Publishing, I need to reserve my evenings after the day job for that, once I finish the critiques that are in the current queue.

If you are local to me in Utah, I plan to recontinue the seminars on writing and publishing that I have done in the past. I’ve meant to schedule another one soon, but I’ve been swamped, and haven’t been able to do so. Seminars use much less of my time than one-on-one critiques, and so I’ll be able to schedule those much more freely in the future.

If you aren’t in Utah and would like me to come to your area for a seminar on writing and publishing, please contact me at stacylwhitman AT gmail.com, and we can discuss the particulars. Generally, you’ll need at least 20-30 people for a general seminar, and 10-15 people for an in-depth seminar.

My sincere thanks to all those authors with whom I’ve had the chance to work one-on-one this last year. I enjoyed reading your work, and I hope that my feedback was useful as you work toward publication.

*big sigh*

All I want to do right now is just play World of Warcraft and watch movies and pig out on food that’s really bad for me, but I’m actually going to go home and get critiques done. This week at work has been pretty scatterbrained. Weird problems kept coming up. Several things keep getting delayed because of weird errors that aren’t the norm. I kept thinking there had to be some easy explanation, some stupid mistake I was making–because it had already happened a couple times, when I would put http:// on an address that didn’t need it and didn’t work because I was doing a secure FTP instead, that kind of thing. Not realizing that I had the disc for the Norton problem I was having, and the associate editor having to ask me where the disc was when he was trying to troubleshoot the problem. Um, whoops. You know how a new job can be a little overwhelming at times!

But it turned out that the other problems that I was running into were actually real problems that the associate editor (who is our really smart all-things-computer guy to ask when it’s not a *huge* computer problem, for which we ask the actual computer guy) couldn’t solve either. I don’t know whether I feel bad about needing his time or justified that the problem was real.

At any rate, it’s been the kind of week that I just want to heave a big sigh that it’s done. Now, on to catching up on critiques for my “other life.” I really need to finish these up–some people have been waiting on me for months, which I feel awful about. Again, thanks for your patience, and I’m going home now, so at least 2 more people should hear from me tonight or tomorrow!

Announcing Tu Publishing, and a video challenge

I’m cross-posting this from the Tu Publishing website, the website of my small press. I promised you the announcement of a project, and I’ve finally finished it at 3:15 a.m. I’m going to go ahead and share it everyone despite the video needing a little fine-tuning still. (I seem to have a different resolution camera than Christine Taylor-Butler, who helped me out by providing an educator’s and parent’s perspective on multicultural fantasy and science fiction.) The Tu Publishing site is a work in progress–I didn’t have time last night to completely update it when I posted the video, but it will be changing and getting more informative soon.

Just a reminder (though I iterate it below, too) that those who have used the “donate” button here on this blog are on the list to receive the same incentives put in place in the Kickstarter project. You’ve been very helpful as we’ve gotten through the red tape to start a company, and I want to reciprocate, even if it’s a pretty small gesture comparitively.

Tu Publishing is a woman-owned small press startup that believes in the power of books to change lives. Children’s books, especially, have the ability to inform, inspire, and entertain in a way that few mediums can.

The word “tu” means “you” in many languages, and in Ainu (the language of Japan’s native people), it means “many.” Tu Publishing is dedicated to publishing fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and historical fiction for children and young adults inspired by many cultures from around the world, to reach the “you” in each reader.

Kids who love to read do better in school. One way to encourage that love of reading is to provide stories that readers can identify with. By increasing the number of books that feature multicultural character and settings, we can influence the multicultural world of tomorrow.

Fantasy and science fiction, mystery and historical fiction–these genres draw in readers like no other. Yet it is in these genres that readers of color might feel most like an outsider, given that such a large percentage features white characters (when they feature human characters). It is the goal of Tu Publishing to publish genre books for children and young adults that fills this gap in the market–and more importantly, this gap in serving our readers.

As author Mitali Perkins and many others have pointed out, books can be both a mirror and a window to other worlds for readers. Tu Publishing hopes that by publishing books that feature multicultural characters and settings and books with worlds inspired by all the many non-Western cultures in the world, we might shine a mirror on you and open a window to many.

To be able to achieve that goal, we need to raise enough money to fund the acquisition, production, marketing, and distribution of our first two books, for which we hope–with your help–to begin acquiring in January 2010. With your help, we can make this happen.

We have officially started our fund-raising project at Kickstarter.com and invite anyone interested in being a part of making Tu Publishing a reality to check out the project.

What is Kickstarter.com? If you know Cheryl Klein, you might have seen her project to publish a book of her essays on writing there. This project is similar, except that it’s a bit more than Cheryl needed because we also need to pay a modest advance to the authors and publicize and market the books we acquire. It takes a lot of money to get a publishing company started, and we thought that this would be a nice, secure way for anyone interested to get involved, and to get something back for it. Kickstarter runs their payments through Amazon payments, and the project is only funded if the full goal amount is reached by the deadline. If it isn’t reached, no harm, no foul, and no payments go through, with the idea being that it would be worse to have a project be underfunded than not funded at all.

For those who have already donated before we started the Kickstarter project, you are on our list already of people to receive the same incentives here. Thank you for your support.

ETA: Yay! I’ve figured out how to fix the video. I had to completely upload a new one to replace the one that squished Christine, so I ended up adding music and making it shorter, too. If you’ve been sharing it, please note the new location.

The challenge portion of this

Whether or not you can donate, I’d love to see people, especially teen readers/nonreaders, share their own video or blog responses to this video, discussing whether you identify with the characters in the books you read and whether it matters to you. Mitali Perkins got this ball rolling separately as a part of the larger conversation about race in children’s and YA in her blog post asking “are books windows or mirrors?” I found her use of the mirror/window analogy very important–books can be a window to other worlds, but they also need to be mirrors in some ways, especially for young readers. The more “mirror” books we have for every child, the more “windows” there are for everyone. What do you think?

Day job, change in critiques

Just to let you all know: I have found a day job. Yay for paying the bills! Freelancing is great for many things, especially the flexible schedule, but regular work is hard to come by these days.

It’s not a job with a trade publisher (I’m not going to announce here what it is, to keep those things separate), so it won’t conflict with what I’m doing in my freelance life, but what it does mean for you, however, is that I’ll be much, much slower on critiques. I’m suspending any new critiques for now so that I can catch up on the critiques I already have in the queue. I don’t think I’ll be able to take any new critiques until at least October.

I will also want to keep room open in my schedule for working on the small press (another reason this day job is a godsend–once I start taking submissions for the small press, I will be ethically obligated to discontinue paid critiques, and honestly, I’d rather move forward on having the ability to publish people, rather than just give them advice on how to get other people to publish them! 🙂 ). It’s moving forward–I’m still very much in the pre-startup phase, but I should have something to announce next week, so stay tuned.

For those of you waiting on critiques, as always, thanks for your patience. I’m getting them back to people one by one, and if you haven’t yet heard from me you should soon.

Happy inauguration day!

I have to run down to UPS to send a package, then I will be spending the day in the library working with no internet access, so as to get myself away from the TV and the temptation to watch it all day now that the Inauguration itself is over. Much as it interests me, I have work to do!
Though maybe not until after the president speaks at the Inauguration luncheon.