The Year of the Consulting Writer


Well, the world didn't end. Again. You'd think after the first five delayed apocalypses, we'd have learned about the perils of such rhetoric, but no...

Another year has gone by without seeing my fiction published, but a lot of things have happened, or are happening, as I write this. I now have an American agent, and I spent the past six months revising Icarus Down. Now I'm in the waiting game. I also wrote eight non-fiction for children commissions between August and November. I continue to have a productive relationship writing marketing copy for a real estate broker, and I continue my regular gig with the Kitchener Post, providing a 600 word column on just about anything every Wednesday.

But the biggest change came in September when Nora went to junior kindergarten in the same school and at the same times as Vivian (who is now in grade two French immersion). For the first time since 2005, there are now six hours out of every day when the house is quiet. And, honestly, I didn't know what to do with myself at first. But I soon figured some things out.

It was just before my thirtieth birthday that I realized that writing was what I wanted to do professionally. Since then, I've had three young adult fantasy novels published, and three more novels written. But it was only in the last year or so that I've felt that I'm actually making a living at this thing. This past year, I won no grants (nor did I apply for any), but we've managed to keep our heads above water. And though I don't want to jinx it, but things look good for 2013. 

Earlier this year, I started to call myself a Consulting Writer. When people asked me what I did for a living, I'd say "write", but that seemed too generic an answer. It inevitably led people to ask "well, what do you write?". The Consulting Writer sounds distinctive, and it seems to channel the questions towards my freelance work. I was also inspired to it after Sherlock Holmes called himself a "consulting detective". Maybe it's a bit of hubris to take on this title, but it turned a head or two at the TD Childrens Literature Awards dinner this past October. If other writers out there want to use this title, please feel free. I can't copyright something like this.

Erin continues to work and find fulfillment at a half-time job at the Perimeter Institute, and she has spent this past year revising Sorrow's Knot and preparing The Children of Peace -- the first book of a trilogy -- for submission. Fingers crossed, Sorrow's Knot will be released this fall, and I hope we'll have good news on Children of Peace later this year. Perhaps we'll be active this summer promoting Erin's upcoming book. Keep your fingers crossed on all fronts. Similarly, I'm keeping my fingers crossed on Icarus Down, and maybe we'll also have good news on The Night Girl and The Dream King's Daughter soon after.

Elvis Lives!This past year, Erin and I took a train trip from Toronto to Vancouver, having an unforgettable experience. And we were blessed with visits by and to Grandparents Rosemarie, Michael, Wendell and Judy. I added two states and three provinces to my list of places I've been. We got to see the real Pacific (albeit with some hiccups) and built sandcastles on a California beach. I rode a San Francisco cable car. And we took part in regular and new traditions, from visiting the Paris fair (Paris, Ontario, that is), heading into Toronto on Family Day, taking in the Royal Ontario Museum. We visited the Iowa State Fair and caught a concert by Elvis. I also got to say goodbye to the Northlander, sadly.

And Erin and I both took steps to make sure that we could have more years like this, with our children. Over the summer, Erin started running, using a "Couch-to-5K" app to start from scratch. Within three months, she was able to finish the 5K run to beat breast cancer in under 45 minutes. I joined a gym, taking advantage of the newfound time on my hands to make the time to get fit. Erin joined with me as the winter months closed in, and we're seeing results. My weight has started to drop, and I am getting stronger. A big difference is that I'm able to sit with my legs crossed for a lot longer before my leg falls asleep. I wasn't able to say that earlier this year.

Overall, 2012 was a good year, and I have a fair amount of hope for 2013. I said that 2011 was the Year of Anticipation. That anticipation continued in 2012. But it takes a lot of hard work and anticipation before things pay off. Fingers crossed, we'll have some of that payoff this year. And this couldn't have been done without a lot of help and support, from family and friends alike. So I'd like to thank all sets of grandparents for being there when we needed them, our extended family for making us feeling welcome, and our friends (and family) for giving us a year full of good times and good memories.

I hope that this past year has been good for you all. I wish all the best of times, and I hope you all have good things to look forward to in 2013.

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