I Apologize For Last Year's Clarion Blog-A-Thon

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

2012 was the Summer of Failure.
Long-term readers will know that every summer, I blog to raise funds for the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop – the workshop that literally rebirthed me as a writer.  It’s no exaggeration to say that I owe my entire career to the fine people at Clarion, and so come late June I put some effort into payback.  And 2012 was poised to be my greatest fundraiser yet – for the first time, I’d talked to ten fabulous writers, who had generously offered raffle prizes to help me.
Two weeks in, my mother told me she might have cancer.  Bone cancer.  The vicious  kind that kills you in six months.
She wouldn’t know for two weeks, until the tests came in, and I was completely unable to concentrate, as there was a very real chance I’d spend the next year of my life living in another state, giving hospice care to my Mom.  Eventually I flew out to California to hold her hand as she received the test results…. Which came back negative, thank God.  But by then, I was already behind on my commitments to Clarion (which involved live-writing a novel that would ultimately fall apart on me, too) – so I said, “All right.  Technically, the blog-a-thon ends in August, but I’ll just blog an extra three weeks to make up for it.”
Aaaaand that’s when the Clarion donations page crashed.
I was unaware of this for a week; I was directing people to donate, but the page was broken for a significant subset of donators.  Some people kindly sent donations in manually, but the end result was that I don’t have any way of assembling a coherent record of who sent what to whom.  And so, unable to consistently get donations, I stopped offering prizes, even though some authors had so very kindly offered to donate.
It was a shameful fiasco.  And I planned to repair this fiasco – you can see me promising to “unfuck this project by February 1st, 2013” in New Year’s Resolution #5, “Fix My Secret Shame” – but then I had a heart attack in early January.  Followed by a triple-bypass surgery, and months of recovery.
None of these reasons are meant to comprise an excuse, of course.  I could have, and should have, done better by Clarion. And so I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to the wonderful authors who agreed to donate to my cause – Ellen Kushner, Seanan McGuire, Holly Black, Kat Howard and Megan Kurashige, Erin Cashier, Monica Byrne, Catherynne M. Valente, Mary Robinette Kowal, Myke Cole, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tobias Buckell – who were ready and willing to donate prizes. Some of them didn’t even get called on-deck thanks to all the delays and issues.
Unfortunately, thanks to the technical snafus at the end with prize donations, I don’t have a firm record of who donated, and certainly not enough to hold what was already going to be a very complex raffle in good faith.
As such, if you donated in the hopes of a prize, please contact me at theferrett@theferrett.com and I’ll not only refund your money out of my own pocket, I will offer you a deeply personal apology.  Clarion should not suffer for my poor acts, nor should you.
I will be doing the Clarion Blog-A-Thon this year, of course; I know most of you didn’t donate for the prizes, but to help a good cause, for which I thank you.  This year’s Clarion Blog-A-Thon will consist entirely of the usual things I know I can offer – story critiques, my usual live-writing and live-revising of fiction so you can see how a professional author writers, and a lot of helpful words.
But for now? You can see how an author offers an apology.  I’m sorry.  And if I make a promise for a future Clarion Blog-A-Thon – or any charity project, really – you can bet your butt I’ll come through, regardless of cancer, heart failure, or novel failure.

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