LABYRINTHIAN giveaway – ebook and trade paperback!

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OKAY SO

I love giving shit away. Let’s give some shit away

Between now and February 10, you can enter to win one of three copies of the Labyrinthian trade paperback over here. WHICH IS AWESOME

BUT I’M NOT DONE

Between now and February 10 you can ALSO enter to win one of three copies of the ebook in your choice of format right HERE:

And of course I won’t spam you unless you want me to and even then it’ll just be pictures of my cats. And if I sell your info to anyone else it’ll just be my cats, and they won’t do anything with it because they’re cats.

FREE BOOKS YAY

LABYRINTHIAN: here is a FAQ

I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT ON THE 20TH

14794919024_73b09979e4_cI haven’t been talking about it as much as I would prefer for reasons of workload, but I figure it might be good to post some info on it given that it’s like ten days away. It’s a book I’m really proud of. There are some things you may wish to know about it, so here are some answers to some questions you may have. You’re welcome.

  1. Q: What the hell is it? A: It’s a book. It’s a book about mythic science fiction and spaceships and bounty hunters and shooting and more spaceships and genetically engineered supersoldiers with anxiety about social situations and family-related angst and the bounty hunter who might eventually figure out how he feels about him. It’s about facing death gracefully and the long journey toward self-acceptance. It’s about faith and confronting the loss of it. It’s about learning to love someone. There are more spaceships also. And dudes making out.
  2. Q: When is it out? A: I told you. The 20th. Pay attention.
  3. Q: Okay, don’t get snippy. What formats? A: Ebook in all the flavors of the rainbow and trade paperback both.
  4. Q: Can I preorder it? A: FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK also if you do you get a nifty discount
  5. Q: Are you going to be giving away any copies? A: Yep! Two copies of the paperback via Goodreads, starting tomorrow. Concurrently I’ll be giving away three copies of the ebook via my site. I’ll post the link when it’s up.
  6. Q: How long did it take you to write it? A: A month. It was extraordinarily fast for me. Ironically I started it in mid-October and finished in the middle of November so it would have counted as winning NaNoWriMo if I had just timed it right.
  7. Q: Is it good? A: I like to think so.
  8. Q: Is there sex in it? A: Quite a lot.
  9. Q: Is there plot? A: Quite a lot.
  10. Q: Are there feelings? A: A tremendous amount.
  11. Q: Is it actually romance? A: I’d say absolutely so, though it’s romance with the SFnal parts equally important and deeply interwoven. It does not work at all without the science fiction. I hate genre finickiness but if that’s a thing you wonder about there’s the answer.
  12. Q: I notice it’s in the same universe as this other Line and Orbit book. Do I need to read that too in order to get what’s going on? A: Nope. This is fully a standalone. That said, reading Line and Orbit will give you a heftier dose of worldbuilding and probably allow you to get a little more out of it. Also I like when people buy my books. Buy my books.
  13. Q: I love you and I want you to have money. Where will buying it give you the most money? A: Buying it anywhere at all is awesome but if you want me to have slightly more money buy directly from Samhain. I get a higher royalty rate there.
  14. Q: Will you sign my copy? A: If you track me down in meatspace, sure.
  15. Q: Will you be my friend? A: I will be your bestest best friend.

I think I’ve covered everything. But shoot me a line if I haven’t addressed your question here.

What are my social medias and how do I use them: general information

It occurs to me that I’ve been using Tumblr in a really different way lately, as well as getting some new followers, so I figure – if anyone cares – it might be useful to summarize how I use each social media thing and what you can expect if you follow me at any of them or if you want to or if you do after you read this.

  • Twitter (@dynamicsymmetry). Day to day minute to minute shit. Screaming about emotions, links, talking about writing and politics and random opinions. Retweets that are either odd or obnoxiously political or both. I’m very, very active here.
  • Tumblr (dynamicsymmetry). These days, mostly fandom, specifically The Walking Dead (tv). Meta of same. Yelling about same. Gifsets, of that and other things. Fashion. Fantasy art (not mine). Occasional Social Justice Warrioring. Music. Fanfiction. These days I’m very active here as well.
  • Facebook (Sunny Moraine). Kind of a mishmash of the above, with more links and less fandom. I tend to use this one the least.
  • Instagram (sunnymoraine). Makeup selfies. Among other things. This usually crossposts to all of the above.

So yeah. To anyone who already follows me at one or all of those, thank you and/or I’m sorry.

2014 in Writing

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So it was a year.

It was a tough year, and that affected my writing a good bit. Last spring I found out that I was going to lose my doctoral funding – which for a variety of reasons was not handled particularly well, by them or by me. It was just… it was a sad time, guys, and it made my already-difficult relationship with my program considerably more fraught. It led to my decision to go on leave next semester and the one following. It also resulted in me being unemployed, which has been more depressing – in a clinical sense – than I expected. Especially since it’s been months and I still don’t have a job.

I find that in times like that, writing can either be a wonderful escape – in which case I’m tremendously, unusually productive – or it can suffer along with everything else, in which case being productive at all is a struggle. Except for some very up periods in terms of my cyclothymia, that’s what happened. There have been significant stretches this past year where it’s been very, very hard to write anything and where I’ve been terrified that I just can’t anymore, that I’ve done everything I can do and I’ve plateaued in terms of skill and now I’ll languish in mediocrity for the rest of what remains of my career.

Yet on paper, it was a pretty great year. And I guess I have to take paper into account in any kind of estimation I’m going to make. So here are some stats.

In 2014 I published:

  • Six short stories. A full list of these can be found here. The number kicks up to eight if you count the stories I had reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction 31 and Best Dark Fantasy and Horror of the Year – 2014.
  • One novel. Ravenfall, book 2 in the Casting the Bones trilogy. It was going to be two but Rookwar’s release has been delayed slightly. Along those lines:
  • I finished a trilogy – Casting the Bones. First trilogy I’ve ever completed. So that happened.
  • A book of essays. It’s self-published and I worked hard on it and it makes me happy when people buy it hint hint

I have no idea how many short stories I wrote – I can never keep track of that kind of thing. Nor am I sure how many I sold. Going by my “coming soon” page, it was a few. I do know that I completed three novels, one of them crashing across the finish line yesterday afternoon.

In terms of non-statistical things, in a lot of other respects it was a great year – this was my year for meeting people and making friends. In part because I did a lot of cons, at least by my standards up until now. I did MystiCon, I did WisCon, I did Readercon, I did Capclave, and then I did BarCon at World Fantasy. All of those were just so damn fun, and to everyone I met there and now consider a friend: ayyyy.

In terms of fiction I technically can’t get paid for: I crashed back into fandom in a huge way, specifically the fandom for the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead. This resulted in me writing a flurry of fanfiction in the last couple of months, all of which can be found here. I’m proud of all of it, and in fact it’s been a really interesting experience, getting back into something I mostly left behind some time ago. It’s just a very different kind of writing in a lot of ways, and in many of those ways it’s a more relaxing kind of writing, which I’ve needed very badly.

I also recorded readings of a couple of those fics, which was a lot of fun and which I’ll probably do more in the future. The two I did are here. I’m also very proud of those.

My Yuletide fic this year was “To Take Away What I Know is Mine”. It’s a piece of Uncharted fluff, post Drake’s Deception. My gift was “singularity”, a fic set in the ‘verse of the film Event Horizon and told from the perspective of the ship. I’m very pleased.

So yeah. Again, not a bad year all told. A rundown of what’s coming up – so far – in 2015 is here. In the meantime I leave you with what’s become my favorite song lately, which contains what I think is a good mood with which to look forward.

On tap in 2015

Need to do one of those yearly round-up things, which I will probably actually do on New Year’s Day since I decided to try to finish a novel before then. But now, while I have my coffee, here are some of the things you can expect to see from me in the next year:

  • Labyrinthian (January 20, preorder the ebook and/or trade paperback here)
  • Two novels I can’t talk about yet. Guys, I can’t wait until I can. It’s so goddamn awesome.
  • “Love Letters to Things Lost and Gained”, which will be in the January issue of Uncanny Magazine
  • “A Shadow on the Sky” in the February issue of Mythic Delirum
  • “Come My Love and I’ll Tell You a Tale” in the March issue of Shimmer
  • “The Horse Latitudes”, which originally appeared in Ideomancer and is being reprinted in The Humanity of Monsters which will get a November release from ChiZine. Check out the full table of contents here, there are some incredible names attached to this.
  • “It is Healing, It is Never Whole” in a future issue of Apex Magazine. The date on this one is very, very up in the air but I believe it’ll be at some point in 2015.

And those are the things that are confirmed or semi-confirmed. There are other things that are so up in the air that I can’t say anything, but I’m hoping to be able to do so soon. And of course a lot can happen between now and 2016. Looks like a pretty decent year.

LABYRINTHIAN STUFF (omg)

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I’ve been completely neglecting this book because a lot of other projects have been heating up – some of them super-secret as yet but I can’t wait to talk about them so STAY TUNED – but there’s news about my big gay mythic-SF novel: IT IS NOW UP FOR PREORDER ON SAMHAIN’S SITE.

And here’s the other thing that’s really cool about that.

When Line and Orbit was released, there was a year’s gap between the ebook and the paperback. As of the new year, Samhain is no longer doing that, so you’ll be able to buy the trade paperback at the same time as the ebook.

Which is good because I know a lot of people still prefer print. SO YOU CAN GET THAT.

Big gay mythic-SF novels make excellent last-minute seasonal presents. Just sayin’.

A light in dark places when all other lights go out

image courtesy of Mike McCune

image courtesy of Mike McCune

Any unfortunate person who follows me on Tumblr has noticed that it’s lately become the repository for all my feelings about The Walking Dead (and for that I sincerely apologize to them). Most of it has been silly and more than a little odd, but one thing it’s been doing for me – and the games have done this as well – is get me thinking a bit more about storytelling and how it’s done and what it means.

This is something I wrote and originally posted on Tumblr, and primarily it’s about what I perceive as showrunner Scott Gimple’s missteps in the matter of how the mid-season finale went down. But it’s also about my understanding of storytelling and the obligations of anyone who wishes to undertake it in a serious fashion, so I’m reposting it here. There are, naturally, spoilers below, so take care.

Okay, I need to say something about this that has nothing to do with theories or analysis or flailing or Daryl’s arms or the brilliant perfect sunbeam that is Beth Greene. And it’s gonna get long, so get comfy.

I need to say something about storytelling.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my own feelings and my own reaction to this, as I’ve said in other posts. I’ve been thinking about the nature of the hurt I’m feeling and about the fact that technically it’s about something that didn’t “happen” (it did) and that wasn’t “real” (it was). I’ve been thinking about the pain I’ve seen in other people, about how – regardless of whether or not you think it’s stupid to get so worked up over a zombie TV show and whether or not you think everyone who’s worked up is messed up in the head or heart or something (like it’s your business, you judgmental prick) – if the show isn’t “real” that pain sure as hell is, and about the context of this particular character being taken away and in the way in which she was.

And here’s what I think right now: it’s cruel.

Doesn’t matter if she’s alive. Doesn’t matter if she comes back and she’s brilliant and glorious and amazing and single-handedly cures the zombie disease and ushers in a new era of peace and joy and prosperity and she and Daryl get married in a big frilly wedding and have a hundred adorable babies. It’s still cruel.

I’m a storyteller, and I’m one professionally, which means nothing more than that for me it’s a job so I spend a fuck of a lot of time thinking about and doing it. I spend a fuck of a lot of time thinking about what it means. What stories are and what they do. And the thing about stories is that they are real. Maybe not to everyone, because not everyone experiences the world in the same way or reacts the same way to powerful emotion, but for some of us, the line between fiction and nonfiction is rather arbitrary, and we feel fictional things very deeply. When fictional characters die, we mourn. When they experience joy, we experience joy with them. When they become wiser, we learn with and from them. For some of us – strange kids, queer kids, bullied kids, abused kids, kids who have mental illnesses, kids who are dealing with whatever shit they’re dealing with and the adults they and we become – these “unreal” things and people have literally saved some of our lives.

Stories have guided faiths, birthed religions, raised and destroyed and altered cultures, saved and killed, given and taken, strengthened and weakened, pushed the world forward and held it back.

Do not tell me that stories are just stories. Do not fucking ever tell me that.

The conclusion I’ve come to, as a storyteller and as someone who loves stories, is that storytellers need to understand that – if the stories they tell are wonderful and sharp and resonant and engaging – they hold the hearts of their audience in their hands. They carry those hearts with them, take them on journeys. Some of those journeys are perilous, some of them are painful, some of them are full of joy, some of them are full of suffering, some of them are full of love, some of them are brutal and lonely and sad. Many of them are all of those things, because life is all of those things, and the best stories are true stories. True fiction. True dreams.

As a storyteller, you can bring your audience through suffering and pain. You can take them into dark places. You can take them into the core of hopelessness. You can take them into the fucking void.

But you can’t forget that you’re carrying their hearts in your hands. You can’t forget that you have to be careful. You can’t forget that, in the end, you have to be kind.

Not merciful. Not comfortable. Kind.

I think Gimple, in how he did this, forgot that. I think, at the very least, he underestimated the power of the story he was telling, and that – for a storyteller – is a failure. Regardless of what happens next, this was needlessly, pointlessly cruel, and real people really got hurt. And as a storyteller, I’m not okay with that.

Maybe I’m making too much out of this. But they’re my feelings and I have them, and here they are.

Storytellers: Be careful. Be kind. Don’t forget what you carry.