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Clarion SD

It used to be called Clarion East, but got moved to San Diego, so yeah, I’m going with Clarion SD for now (or UCSD? Maybe?).  Anyway, I got accepted.  I’m crazy excited.  This is especially amusing considering my agony over whether to even apply or not and the fallout from that and then finally my decision to apply to Clarion SD.

Frankly, I didn’t think I’d get in.  Not because my writing sucks (it doesn’t) but because “not sucking” is not enough.  Hundreds if not more people apply each year and they only take 18. The math just wasn’t in my favor.  But with the instructor list I couldn’t resist applying.  I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t try.

I tried. I succeeded. Crazy.  I’m still reeling. For the first couple days I figured it was a mistake, they’d mixed me up with someone else.  But that seems to have not been the case.  It seems even in success the self-doubts that plague me still stick around, heh.

I don’t know about scholarship money yet. I’m only panicking a little.  My husband and I talked it over and we’re going to do whatever we have to.  I want this. This is the point in my career that Clarion will likely be of most value for me.  I am big on continuing education and this is a huge opportunity to further my writing and my network of writer friends.

So yeah. I’m going to go dance or something and then go write like crazy because I need to sell some more stories. Meanwhile, if you want to help… I do have some e-books for sale.  The links are in the “read my fiction” sidebar.  Every penny helps and will go toward Clarion at this point.  Thank you to those who have already bought (I crossed the 100 e-books sold mark at some point early this month) and to those while will in the future.  It really does help.

Ok. Time to put on some Amanda Palmer and dance around a little. And then I’m going to work.

I Really Should Post…

I keep staring at the blog, knowing I should post *something* new because it has been over a week.  But what I really really really want to post about, I’m not allowed to talk about yet.  This is one of the downsides to being a writer, I guess.  Sometimes really cool things are going on and you just can’t say a word about it until you have someone else’s okay.  Grr.  So yeah, how’s that for a tease? I have pretty BIG news (at least, I think it is a pretty big thing) and I can’t share it.  Yet.  I will as soon as I can.

So… what to talk about? Mostly life lately has been finishing up Avarice (also known as the Law & Order with swordfights book 1) and outlining a few other projects (a series of eight romance novellas I’m writing).  Hopefully, Avarice will be off to an editor and my first readers at the end of next week.  This weekend I’m going to write my Q2 entry for WotF.  Next weekend I’m going to write a steampunk short story to submit to the Mammoth Book of Steampunk and finish doing research for another project I probably shouldn’t talk about yet.

Because of that other thing I can’t talk about (the BIG thing), I’m probably going to rearrange my novel schedule for this year as well.  And I’ve been looking into things like Kickstarter and debating doing a project for that and seeing if I could fund it that way.  The Casimir trilogy might work for it, now that I’ve solved the POV issues in the first book and can write it in a way that makes sense.  If it didn’t get funded I could always serialize it here on my blog and then do an ebook/POD version later.  I think the trilogy has great potential, so we’ll see.

So yeah, crappy little update, sorry.  I’ll be getting another interview or two up in the next few weeks.  I’ll also post the new project schedule once I’ve got it hammered out.  But hey, update!

Now I better go write…

February Wrap-up

Short month, went quickly.

I started, deleted, started again, and didn’t finish a novel this month. But I’ve solved how to finish it and now need to start over one final time. This annoying process underlined how important having the right point of view in a book really is (the POV issues were what was stalling me out in the middle, thankfully I figured that out before giving up forever).

Words written this month: approximately 72,000
Words discarded/deleted this month: about 34,000 (this number will GO AWAY next month. Seriously going to stop doing that. Seriously)
Ebook earnings: 22.75 (just slightly less than last month, yay!)

For March, I’ve got two novels to go up as e-pub. I need to get on the POD/Createspace thing and learn how to do that and get print copies out. I’m also going to start the sequel to a book while working on the SF novel (now that POV issues are solved). I’m behind on the Write one/Sub one challenge, so I’m going to try to get seven or eight stories done this month as well to catch up. And I’d like to finish one of the romance novellas. I’m debating on waiting until all eight are done to start putting them up, but we’ll see. I might wait until I have three or four, then start putting them up every couple weeks.

Meanwhile, today I’m going to be approving copy edits and generally taking it easy. Just got back from an amazing week of workshops and really need a little brain break before I start writing for the week.

Gotta Know When to Fold’em

To date this month, I’ve written just under 60,000 words.  Most of that was on my SF novel project.  However, nothing seemed to be coming together with the novel and I kept throwing out whole scenes and chapters and starting again and again trying to make the plot gel.  I kept doing this until the fun was gone and all I could do is sit and write and then delete and try again and hate every second of it.

So I’m sort of quitting that novel for now.  Not forever.  Just for now.  It’s a complex plot, more involved with more POVs and more threads than I’ve ever tried to write before.  Which is a good thing, since I think it’s healthy to stretch my writing muscles and make myself deal with something I’m weaker on like complicated plotting.  But beating myself up about it not coming together wasn’t helping anything.

It’s really hard for me to admit I need to take a step back from this project.  I follow Heinlein’s Rules, after all.  Rule 2 is “finish what you write”.  When stepping away from this, I had to ask myself honestly if I wanted to put it down for now because that’s the healthy thing to do? Or am I just walking away because this is difficult?  It’s one thing to set something down and let it percolate a little more.  It’s another to start forming a habit of dropping a project the moment it gets rocky.  I don’t want to form a habit of not finishing things, because nothing will kill a writing career faster than not finishing, except maybe not starting.  (If I don’t start, I can’t finish, if I don’t finish, I can’t submit, if I don’t submit, I can’t sell…see?)

So I’m making a compromise with myself.  I’m stepping back from this novel.  I’m still going to keep up my writing streak and go for my necessary 3,000 words a day and a short story on weekends (the numbers I need to hit my annual goals).  And I’m designating Mondays as the day to work on this novel (minimum one page/250 words).  If I have to just write it scene by scene and take 40 weeks to finish, I’ll finish.  Meanwhile, the rest of the days will be devoted to other projects that I feel more comfortable with.  I figure that this is a good compromise.  I’m not quitting this novel entirely, but I’m giving myself breathing room on it while hopefully continuing to develop my skills enough that the sort of complicated plot I want to construct here will become an easier thing for me.  I’m tired of second guessing myself and deleting words and basically letting my critical voice eat away at me.  I’m a better writer than that and I should know better.

So that’s what’s up with me right now.  I’m turning to short stories while I get a couple of novels formatted for e-publishing and then I’ll be back to novel writing in March (working on a fantasy novel with a nice straightforward quest/romance plot and only one or two POVs, thank god).

I’ve fallen behind on the Write 1/Sub 1 challenge by 3 short stories, so I intend to catch up this week and next.  Also next week I have two workshops back to back, so I think that will help recharge my batteries and be really interesting and amazing as always (but especially with the changes in the industry right now… being around multiple professional writers for an entire week is going to be very, very educational).

Neo-Pro Spotlight Interview #1

The Interview!

This is going to be the first in a hopefully long-running series of interviews with neo-professional writers. What’s a neo-pro? Someone who has started writing seriously, submitting seriously, and has a goal of making some or all of their living at writing, ie intends to be and/or has taken the first steps down the road to being a career writer.

It’s tough being a neo-pro. We might have a few sales under our belts, are likely getting more “nice” rejections than form letters, but we haven’t quite been here long enough to have the shine rubbed off. We’re past the “use correct submission format, follow guidelines, put ass in chair and write” kind of advice and into the deep end where there are only hints and no real, clear path, just hard work ahead. So I wanted to interview and spotlight some of the neo-pros I interact with (and hopefully I’ll meet more of us as I do this). While our paths may all look a little different, we’re all in this together.

And hey, this way I can say… “I knew that writer back when…”
So here’s my first victim writer interview.  Let me know in the comments if I missed a cool and/or obvious question that you’d like me to ask in the future.  Thanks!

Who are you?  What’s your genre/history/etc?
Tom:  My name is Tom Carpenter.  I have and will write just about anything I’m interested in, but I think my sweet spot will probably be fantasy and science-fiction since those forms suit me best (and it’s what I’ve most written so far.)  My day job is a Production Manager at Toyota which has kept me quite busy over the years.  Thankfully, I really picked up the old steam shovel and started working on my first novel when I was still in college.  I finished it a few years later but then got side-tracked by a few poor choices, kids, and insane amounts of work.  It wasn’t until I finished my MBA about four years ago that I realized I really do have time for writing…well actually, my lovely wife reminded me of that and I’m sure she’s regretted that decision a few times since (just kidding!  she’s amazingly supportive!)

What’s your Race score?
Tom: I’m currently at 48 which boggles my mind.  I was at zero about 1.5 years ago.  Granted, I had three novels I’d finished and was starting to write shorts, but it seemed daunting to make that score grow.  I started sending out the second and third novels (the first is not good enough by a long shot) and have been steadily increasing my score.  It’s strange to think that professionals are usually above the fifty level (though probably closer to one-hundred) and that I’ll hit that level soon.  Granted, I haven’t sold anything yet, but I feel like it’s coming.

When did you “get serious” about being a writer?
Tom: After the MBA.  I also gave up my World of Warcraft addiction.  It’s amazing how much time there is to write when you’re not obsessively playing games.

What are your goals with your writing?
Tom: I’d love to say getting published, but I can’t control that.  So I’ll stick to my 2011 targets: above 50 on race score (close!), 300,000 words written, over 100 rejections (close!), and over a 20 on eRace.  I’m also planning on editing and producing a yearly anthology about augmented reality (more details in a few months!)  The world of epublishing feels so amazingly freeing.

Where do you see your career in 5 years?
Tom:  I’m sure I’ll still be working for Toyota at least until the kids are in college.  If at that time, I’m making enough to safely leave?  Then I would take that chance, but until then I’ve got two jobs.

Do you have a particular story or idea you are dying to write? Or, if you could write a tie-in to any established universe/franchise, what would it be?
Tom:  Oh jeez.  I have so many ideas for novels that it’s hard to pin that one down.  Every project I start seems like the greatest thing ever when I’m writing it.  So really I’m always dying to write, what I’m currently writing.  I would love to work with other authors on some projects though.  Either ones of my devising, or maybe something like George RR Martin’s Wild Cards series.

What are your hobbies outside writing?
Tom: We’re allowed other hobbies?  Seriously, if I had time, I would still play computer games.  I do occasionally get together with friends and play cards or other nerdy games, but it’s too far and few between.

What’s your writing process like?
Tom: I have weekly goals for word count that I expect myself to meet.  If I’m ahead on other weeks, I will allow myself a little slack, if for a good reason, but otherwise I’m a slave to the targets.  I always write on Sat and Sun morns, but try to fit in one or two nights during the week.  I also do a lot of thinking during the work drive, or when I go running with the dog on the weekends.  Overall, I’m extremely taxing on my muse, expecting her to perform whenever I demand (read my post about creativity to understand that statement: http://thomaskcarpenter.com/2010/12/05/the-myth-of-creativity/)

What’s been toughest about your journey so far as a writer?  How do you keep yourself going?
Tom: When I finished my first novel I got an agent and she scammed me out of $300.  I was devistated at the time, but now I consider that money well spent, because that small amount (compared to what some authors lose) opened my eyes to the unregulated world of agents.  As for keeping going now?  I was an undisciplined youngster when I wrote my first novel.  I actually think my time in Toyota has helped me become more focused and capable of meeting difficult targets.  It has felt like a long strange trip though, and while that first big sale (magazine or novel) will be exciting, I think I’ve also reached the point that I know its just another step on a long and daunting staircase.

Any tips or tricks you’ve figured out for improving your writing?
Tom:  Listen to people with more experience than me (I recommend Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch).  Otherwise, I’d just parrot the usual advice you get from pros: read a lot, write a lot, write even more, send that stuff out and go back to writing.

And finally, got anything you want to pimp?
Tom: I jumped on the self-pub bandwagon and recently put out a novel I’m very proud of: The Digital Sea.  I also write for a tech blog about augmented reality called Games Alfresco (www.gamesalfresco.com) and I have my author website where I talk about augmented reality, writing, tech stuff and the robot apocolypse.
It’s an exciting time to be a writer!  Thanks for sharing me with your readers.

*Big thanks to Tom!*


The Streak Begins

So the writing in shifts thing has been working out pretty good except for one tiny issue.  I keep working on one thing.  Despite my brain being fully capable and willing to write two (or ten) things, apparently once I get into my groove, it wants to finally settle down.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  I am learning my limitations, however.  Like that it takes me realistically six weeks instead of four to write a novel because I like to goof off and procrastinate and do all manner of things that aren’t writing.  Or that I don’t really like working more than 4 hours a day (some days, I do.  Some days the words and flowing and I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop, so I don’t).  Four hours (broken up into a couple shifts) of writing brand new fiction feels pretty good.  I usually get 3-5k words done in those four hours, which is a totally acceptable pace for my goals.

So I’ve decided to start a streak, a writing streak.  I’m going to write every day for at least 20 minutes.  I find writing is like exercise, I don’t necessarily feel up to it instantly, but usually once I’m doing it I feel pretty good and want to keep going.  I’m usually less focused and more distracted on weekends (weekends being when my husband and cat and stuff want my attention most).  But I’m going to keep my streak up.  Every day. Every. Day. 20 minutes minimum.

I’ve also decided what I’m going to do during my streak.  I’m going to focus my efforts this year on the various novel series I already have going.  I’ve set up a calendar of novels and deadlines because I work best to deadlines.  Most of these books are already outlined.  I intend to use weekends for short story writing so that my short story submissions don’t fall behind and because shorts are awesome.  One and done.  One day (sometimes two) and I’m finished.  They are very satisfying.  When stuck in the middle of a novel, it is nice to remember what finishing something feels like, so I like to do short stories to mix things up.

So here’s the rough deadline schedule:

Wrath (Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division Book 2): March 19th

The Raven King (Cymru that Could Be: Book 2): April 29th

Delilah in Paradise: June 10th

Beyond Casimir (Lorian Archive: Book 2): July 22nd

Casimir Rising (Lorian Archive: Book 3): September 2nd

Hunger (Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division Book 3): September 23rd

The City is Still Hungry (A Remy Pigeon mystery): November 4th

Vainglory (Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division Book 4): November 25th

Delilah in Hell: December 30th

The Slow Beat Down (A Remy Pigeon mystery): February 10th, 2012

Sindra’s Storm (possibly a duology): March 23rd, 2012

So that’s the schedule.  Unless, of course, a giant wrench gets thrown in it due to either success (like a contract or two) or disaster (but hey, I could still type in a hospital bed, so I’m good, right?).  And of course keep the streak up and hopefully get 52 stories written and submitted.  I’ve done two shorts so far this year.  I’m a little behind.

Go go gadget streak writer *grin*

E-book Pricing

All right.  I’m going to take a stab at this issue.  But first, a lot of caveats.

1) I don’t think that price, once under a certain threshold, matters as much as a lot of “indie” authors think it does.  My personal feeling is that time is better spent writing more books and doing some targeted marketing (like sending out review copies) than messing around with price on books.

2) My personal threshold for ebooks is that the price be below the available paper version’s cost (ie if the book is out in hardback for 27, the ebook should be less than that (I prefer under 10 bucks, but I’ll pay up to 15 for an ebook I really, really want if the paper version costs more).  If the book is out as a paperback for 7.99, the ebook should be less than that, say 6.99 or something).  I am perhaps still clinging to my love of paper books on this, however.  Personally, as someone who buys a good amount of books, that’s my threshold.  If I want a book RIGHT NOW but it is two bucks more for the Kindle version than the paper one, well, I generally hold off and either order the book or go to a bookstore.

3) All that said, when you become a publisher, which is what putting your own books out yourself or with the help of a start-up small publisher (ie a conglomerate of your friends, which is what mine is), you do have to price your books somewhere and decide on a range and general guidelines so that you look consistent and your readers know what to expect.  You have to pick a price with each new title and it helps, I think anyway, to have a basic idea of where you are pricing things.

4) Basically what I found is that ebook pricing varies a great deal and it varies a lot by genre (not as much by length, once you get away from short stories.  I found plenty of novellas priced more or less the same as novels, for example).  In an ink and paper bookstore, books are priced (unless on sale or sold used) by the format.  A hardcover will always be in the 24.99-28.99 range no matter the genre.  If I walk to the Mystery section and pick up a mass market paperback, it will likely be 7.99 (sometimes 6.99, but usually these days 7.99).  I can then walk over to Science Fiction and pick up a mass market paperback and it will also be 7.99.  Ebooks are different and I find that very interesting.  I don’t know what it means yet, if anything, but I do think that I’ll be looking at pricing more by genre than any other factor.

So for my totally unscientific study, I decided to look at the genres I’m planning to put out books and stories in and see what the pricing looked like.  First I checked the top 100 bestsellers in each category and marked down where the prices fell for those.  Then I did a very, very rough general price look-up to see where the numbers of books in each price range fell in each genre.  Again, these numbers were as of yesterday and are not exact.  This is just a rough overview, not a deeply scientific study.  All of these are Amazon.com only.  I haven’t looked at B&N pricing, though I might, nor have I looked too much at Smashwords yet.  So far all but one of my sales on my tester short stories have been through Amazon (Amazon.uk accounts for most of them, strangely. I guess they like literary short fiction?), so that’s what I studied first since for the moment, they still have a large portion of the ebook market.

Here’s what the rough breakdowns looked like:

Romance top 100:  43 books priced between .89 and 2.99, 27 books between 3.00 and 5.99, 19 priced between 6.00 and 7.99, 8 books priced between 8.00 and 9.99, and the remaining three priced over 10.00.  The rough pricing distribution among all Kindle books in the Romance category was about 3,250 in the .99 to 2.99 range, 3500 in the 3-4.99 range, 4050 in the 5-9.99 range, and 1200 priced over 10.00.    So the bestselling books are definitely weighted to the lower end of that, for whatever it means (correlation is not causation, after all).

Romance novellas (what I plan on writing, so I did this sub-category even though it isn’t really one even on Amazon) broke down roughly like this (I only looked at top 100 for this category):  There were 18 novellas priced at .99, 7 novellas priced 1-1.99, 31 novellas priced 2-2.99, 17 priced 3-3.99, 11 priced 4-4.99, 7 priced 5-5.99, and the other nine were price over 6.00.  These are of course a self-selecting category since if the publisher didn’t identify the book length as novella, it wouldn’t have shown up using the search parameters I used.

Mystery top 100:  36 books priced between .89 and 2.99, 6 books priced between 3.00 and 4.99, 22 priced between 5.00 and 6.99, 25 priced between 7.00 and 8.99, 8 priced between 9 and 9.99, and the remaining three priced over 10.00.  The rough pricing distribution among all Mystery books on Kindle (and it is by far the biggest genre category I looked at) broke down roughly like this:  7,050 books priced .99 to 2.99, 6,400 priced 3-4.99, 7,100 priced 5-8.99, 4,700 priced 9-9.99, and 3,400 priced over 10.00 (the bulk of that priced between 10 and 20 dollars).

Police Procedural subgenre of Mystery top 100:  25 books priced between .89 and 2.99, 8 priced 3-4.99, 49 priced 5-7.99, 15 priced 8-9.99, and the remaining three over 10.  The general pricing breakdown for all books listed under Police Procedurals was 546 priced between .89 and 2.99, 264 priced between 3 and 4.99, and the bulk of the rest priced in the 5-7.99 range.  I wasn’t able to get good numbers on this due to the way I was searching (Amazon kept mixing in prices that weren’t in my search designation, probably due to their discounting? I’m not sure).  My rough look though showed a great deal of the books in this category listed at 6.99 and 7.99.

Science Fiction top 100: 39 books priced between .89 and 2.99, 10 priced between 3-4.99, 29 priced 5-6.99, 19 priced 7-9.99, and three over 10.  The overall breakdown was approximately 1,600 books between .99 and 2.99, 700 priced 3-4.99, 290 priced 5-6.99, 550 priced 7-9.99, and about 300 over 10.00.

Fantasy top 100: 29 books priced .89-2.99, 8 priced 3-4.99, 43 priced 5-7.99, 11 priced 8-9.99, and the remaining nine priced over 10.00.  The overall pricing looked like this: 1,500 books priced .99 to 2.99, 1300 priced 3-4.99, 2,200 priced 5-9.99, 300 priced between 10 and 20.

So that’s the basic data I collected.  My searches, other than the novella one, did not weed out short stories or take length into consideration at all.  I looked at genre numbers and pricing and at the top 100 bestseller lists at the moment of the search.  That allows for a lot of variance and other factors in this, but I just wanted a rough overview of pricing on ebooks.

What have I learned and/or decided?  Genre does seem to matter.  Science Fiction and Romance both had lower trending prices than the other genres I looked at.  There also seems to be a strange “deadzone” in the 3-4.99 range on a lot of those top 100 lists that isn’t always reflected in the number of books priced there.  Are readers avoiding books priced in that range?  Could the .99-2.99 book buyers be a whole different set of buyers than the 5.00 and up crowd?  I’ve noticed from looking at Amazon’s “customers who bought this also bought” sections that people who’ve bought .99 books tend to buy a lot of other .99 books.  I’m not sure what that means, if anything, but I think it is interesting to think about.  When I’m selling my books, who are my targeted customers?  I joke with my friends that the only thing I look for in a reader is recidivism.

I think when I put books up for my small press, I’ll definitely be pricing by genre and using what I’ve found in this data to decide.  For Romance, and specifically Romance novellas, it seems as long as I stay in the 2-4 dollar range, I’m right in the expected price range given the pricing of books on the bestseller list.  For the Fantasy Police Procedural books (yeah, that’s crossing genres, yay ebooks and being able to put things under more than one category), I think I’ll aim for the 5-6.99 range.  For straight mystery, probably aim at the same range.  For Science Fiction the price trend seems lower, but I don’t want to be in the 3-4.99 deadzone either.  More books in Sci/fi were priced in the 5-9.99 range than below 2.99 (48 vs 39), so I’ll probably take a chance and position the books on the lower end of the higher range.  Short story collections seem like an all over the place no-man’s land and I wasn’t even able to get good data on them, so I’ll probably go with genre pricing on those.

Again, no one really knows how ebook pricing will shake out or where the various prices will settle.  Length might become more of a factor, but it is difficult to see how long a book is on the Kindle. File sizes and location numbers can be way off based on things other than book length.  I’m going to make sure that if a book is less than 45k words or so that the descriptions reflect this so a reader knows they are buying a novella or short stories, etc.

But in the end, the price matters a lot less than other things.  If the books I publish aren’t any good and aren’t packaged well (good covers, good descriptions, good samples), they won’t sell at any price.  That’s what I’m going to focus my energies on.  More books, better books, great packaging.

Show Me the Money 2010

So in my first official “writing as career” year (2009 for those following along), I made exactly 0 dollars. So I didn’t do a post about it because, well, that’s a pretty short post.

2010 went better, though not “making a living” level better.  But hey, that’ll come.

So here’s the money.

Money earned on novels: 0

Money earned with poetry: 48

Money earned on short stories: 411.76

Money earned from self-published stories: 9.10

Total: 468.86

Hey, way better than 2009, right? Hopefully the trend continues.  Funny though, how it almost works out to one dollar per 1000 words written.  It’s like earning a dollar an hour.

I’m not worried.  I’m just getting warmed up.  Every word I write is practice, ever sale I make is bonus.  As I get better at the one, I figure I’ll earn more bonuses.

Nom Nom Nom

Technically, I have a couple stories eligible for award nominations. I had a long debate with myself about even writing this post, but decided, hey, first year I’ve got things eligible, I should at least write a subtle “zomg sold stuffz!” post pointing this out.

So here goes…subtle. Yeah.

“Some Like it Hot” (AlienSkin Feb/March 2010 issue) is eligible as a short story.
No Spaceships Go” (Daily Science Fiction, Dec. 17th, 2010) is also eligible as a short story.

So if you for some reason loved either of those and are in a position to do some nom-ing, there you go. That’s my list.  (My third story published this year doesn’t, I think anyway, fall into the speculative fiction category enough to be relevant.  However, if you feel like reading it and don’t mind dropping .99 on it, it is now available as an ebook with another short story here or for free on Contrary’s website here)

Happy New Year

Here on the West Coast of the US, it’s about 2 hours til the new year. I accomplished a lot this year, though I fell short of some of my goals. But overall, I’m happy.

My New Year’s Eve present was four more rejections. I think my 2010 total is now about 158. Oh well, champagne is made for drowning rejections, right? (I don’t normally drink much, so it’s easy to drown me).

I managed to slip over the 400k words mark with a lot of work in the last few days, coming it at 406,127 words for the year. Not 450,000 but over 90% there, so I’m not going to be sorry about it.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that 2011 is a great year for all of us!