From Phyllida's Desk

What I did on my Christmas vacation

January 9, 2010

What vacation? Christmas? What year is this anyway?

In case you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from me, it’s simple: I’ve been working. Yes, at the day job, but also writing. No, not “real” writing (fiction), but real stuff that had to be done. I had four “assignments” with deadlines at the end of the holidays or earlier, which meant that each weekend in December, including the one that went into January, was spent chained to my desk. I realize that many of you youngsters can knock off stuff like this before breakfast and then enjoy a day of leisure. Not me. I don’t get up in time for breakfast.

If you’re curious, and even if you’re not, here’s what I was working on:

1. A “holiday blog” piece for bookreporter.com, in which writers talk about getting or giving books for Christmas. Mine ran on Dec. 17.

http://www.bookreporter.com/blog/blog/labels/Ann%20Herendeen.asp

2. The “Author Spotlight” for Jessica Freely’s blog, Friskbiskit. This will run on January 27, the day after Pride/Prejudice is released.

3. A detailed proposal or abstract for my contribution to the papers inspired by the conference I spoke at back in April, “Love As the Practice of Freedom.” They’re not publishing a standard “proceedings” of the conference, unfortunately, since too many people presented topics or papers that had already been published elsewhere, or were going to be. So I had to take the long version of my 15-minute presentation, pare it down to a manageable length, and then rework it to discuss one or two of the proposed topics in the CfP (Call for Papers).

4. A two- or three-part essay series that might possibly run in the Huffington Post. I’m afraid even to talk about this for fear of jinxing it. Hillary Rettig, “The Lifelong Activist,” whom I met at the conference and who sometimes writes for HuffPo, suggested that readers might be interested in how I went from POD to published; or maybe about being a woman writing about bisexual men; or maybe… This was the hardest of the four assignments and the one I spent most time working at. I don’t know if it will even happen. But obviously I had to try.

Yes, I did manage to observe the Christmas holiday. And I went to a terrific New Year’s Eve bash at a friend’s house, with a live band and probably the world’s best collection of jazz 45s. (That’s vinyl, baby).

And what else is new? Oh yes, Pride/Prejudice has a new subtitle: A Novel of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet and Their Forbidden Lovers. (Used to be “other loves”.) Authors are always the last to know, so I only found out about this on Tuesday when the press release was being written. I think “forbidden” is a vast improvement. And the cover is still the same gorgeous thing it’s always been.

And it’s still being released on Jan. 26. And I still have lots more “work” to do. But I’ll try to get out more until then—although I can’t promise to become a morning person.

Selected Works

Fantasy, Women's Fiction (e-books)
Book Six in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Five in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Four in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Three in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Two in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book One in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Short Story
A queered version of the Cinderella story in the 4th Gay City anthology, "At Second Glance."
Newsletter article
Describes the typical upbringing of middle- and upper-class children in Austen's time.
Romantic Comedy, M/M/F Menage
A breezy tale of love, lust and secrets set against the backdrop of Regency England.