and now my tale is told

So Sword and Star – the final book in the Root Code trilogy (by the way, it honestly continues to be somewhat frustrating to have a trilogy split between two different publishers) – has been out for a month now, and it’s kind of interesting to look back at its trajectory and its placswordandstar_1200x1800hre in my head now.

Some of you might recall that this book wasn’t even supposed to happen. Neither it nor book two – Fall and Rising – was supposed to happen. Or at least for a long time the odds did not look good. F&R was already written when I had to start shopping it around to other publishers, but that’s a far cry from a book “happening” as far as I’m concerned, because an MS sitting on your hard drive is not on the same level as something that people can actually exchange for-real money for. I had one book in limbo, one book only existent in rough form in my head, and for a while I was pretty certain nothing would ever come of both unless I caved and self-published. Which, for a variety of reasons, I didn’t want to do.

Then they both happened, and that was frankly a little difficult to deal with, even with the relief and the excitement. Because I had become so sure I was never going back to that part of that universe. Then very FallAndRising_500x750suddenly I was tossed back in and immersed in it for months.

Now it’s all done. It’s over. I might return to that universe in another book, but it won’t be the same, and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever deal with these protagonists again (and my villain(s) won’t be dealt with either, because… Well, if you read the dang thing you’ll see).

Something that did happen after the immersion and the editing was over – which has happened to me more than once but which remains profoundly strange and will probably always remain so – is that my brain completely decoupled. Abruptly it was like the book wasn’t mine anymore. It felt like it had been written by someone else. I look back over it – which I frankly have not done for a bit (IT’S NOT THAT IT ISN’T GOOD, I THINK IT’S VERY GOOD) – and I can barely remember writing any of it. Talking about it feels like talking about something largely unconnected from me.

8870200266_3104ed4d7f_o-220x330This also happened with my Casting the Bones trilogy. To be honest, I don’t even recall a lot of the second two books right now, like a language you haven’t spoken in years.


Interestingly, I’ve noticed that this happens way less with my fanfiction. I still experience that odd disconnection, where it feels like someone else wrote it and I don’t remember a fair amount of the production process – though some parts of it I remember very vividly – but the story itself remains much fresher and more immediate in my mind (this remains especially true with my ginormous ridiculous Walking Dead AU magnum opus, I’ll Be Yours For a Song, which I am still not over). The decoupling process is not as complete. Since returning to writing fanfiction, it’s been fascinating to contrast my very different writerly relationship with it versus my “original” stuff (I dislike the fanfiction/original dichotomy just about as much as I dislike the virtual/real one, and for similar reasons). Again, I think it has nothing to do with quality. It’s about how the work is produced and what parts of Writer Brain are engaged.

I guess what I’m saying here – among other half-coherent things – is that there is a particular feeling of Overness that I seem to experience with the final endings of books that I don’t experience with anything else. In a way it’s uncomfortable, because I feel like I should feel more of a deep connection to something I wrote. But on the other hand I think it makes sense. Working on a book is draining; working on a series is even more so. I think that on a very deep level, my Writer Brain needed to be well and truly done with that story. It couldn’t leave the universe in half-measures. It had to let go completely.

Which I guess is healthy? I hope so, anyway.

Regardless, now I need to figure out what’s next.

Singing With All My Skin and Bone: it’s heeeeeeeere


“Sex, oddity, horror, transfiguration: Sunny Moraine’s stories cut straight through to the heart of even the most complicated concepts, turning words inside out with truly offensive skill, wringing them for every last scrap of beautiful terror. They will make readers want to write and writers want to stop writing, on the grounds that any idea they might have has demonstrably been done before, and far better.”

Gemma Files (author of Experimental Film and the Hexslinger series)

Though I’ve been yelling about this already, here’s the Official Announcement: Singing With All My Skin and Bone, my debut short fiction collection, has been properly loosed upon an unsuspecting world!

I mean, a lot of you were suspecting. Because like I said, I was talking about it. Still.

You can purchase it in both ebook and trade paperback formats from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, and from the publisher itself. Here’s what’s in it:

  1. Come My Love and I’ll Tell You a Tale
  2. Singing With All My Skin and Bone
  3. A Perdition of Salt (new)
  4. Cold as the Moon
  5. I Tell Thee All, I Can No More
  6. Across the Seam
  7. Dispatches From a Hole in the World
  8. Event Horizon
  9. The Horse Latitudes
  10. All the Literati Keep An Imaginary Friend
  11. Love Letters to Things Lost and Gained
  12. Memento Mori
  13. The Cold Death of Papa November
  14. So Sharp That Blood Must Flow
  15. Tell Me How All This (And Love Too) Will Ruin Us
  16. Love in the Time of Vivisection
  17. A Shadow on the Sky
  18. It is Healing, It is Never Whole
  19. The Throat is Deep and the Mouth is Wide (new)

If you like it, the best thing you can possibly do is review it and/or recommend it. When you’re a smaller name like myself, word of mouth is obviously FUCKING EVERYTHING.

I’ve been hoping that I would be able to do this for a long time now, and it means so much to me that I’ve finally amassed a body of work that a publisher this great thought was worthy of collection and publication. Undertow has done such an amazing job and I’m so grateful to them. They put out incredible books in general, so if you have a thing for the beautifully strange and the strangely beautiful and the gorgeously horrifying and the horrifyingly gorgeous, check out their full catalog.

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of it soon, plus possibly additional goodies, so watch for that.

SWORD AND STAR – preorder and excerpt!


Been spreading the word just about everywhere else and neglecting my actual website as usual, but here: SWORD AND STAR, the final book in the Root Code trilogy, is available for preorder.

And will be out on the 23rd, so that is soon.

If you preorder, you get 20% off the retail print price, and 30% off if you order print and ebook together. So that’s a pretty sweet deal. You can also read an excerpt at the link above, and I’ll be posting more goodies here coming up. Watch for stuff, including a blog tour, which will feature me throwing free things at you. Throwing them really damn hard.


This has been a very long time coming, guys. Amazing to finally be done.

Old story makes new cool appearance!

Ohhhhhhh my God it’s been A Month.

cw_116_700News is piling up and I’ll try to convey some of it soon. For now, want to note that my short story “A Heap of Broken Images” is reprinted in this month’s issue of Clarkesworld, which is neat because a) Clarkesworld, and b) it’s one of my faves of my own stuff.

I do not know if this is dishonor or a fulfilling of my raising. I am pulled between what I have been taught and what I have been taught; again I think I could fall to pieces, and then I think that maybe I have always been in pieces, broken apart from myself, and so there is no more damage to be done.

I look into the flowing black water and I think of empty eyes and outstretched hands reaching up from those depths and beckoning me. There were many bodies that were swept away by the river in the growing-season flood that year and many were never found. They are all still there in the life of the river. There are other people strolling, idling along the bank in the cool of the evening; I could call, Don’t you see them? Don’t you hear? How can we deny our own spilled blood, whatever price has been paid?

My mouth is full of ghosts. I place my hand against it and hold them in until they are silent again, and the ones in the water fall silent as well.

I am in pieces but I am alive. Tell me how this is a reasonable thing.

I wrote it after thinking a lot about genocide and guilt and memory. I don’t recall exactly why I was thinking so much about those things, but I know that’s where the story came from.

By the way, fun fact that’s also possibly useful: This story got a bunch of rejections (including Clarkesworld, actually) until a slightly tweaked version of it ended up in We See a Different Frontier. After which it ended up in The Year’s Best Science Fiction 31.

So don’t give up on stories, basically. At least some of the time.

tell me, what else should I have done?


(Please note: there’s some mildly NSFW stuff in here. Not images, just words.)

I think should is a bad word.

My previous therapist and I talked a lot about should. It’s a word I overused and still do. It’s a word I used and use to beat myself up, to make myself feel guilty for not performing to my own standards and frankly to give the perceived standards of others way too much importance in terms of how I live my life. One of the worst things about that last is that often I’m not giving other people enough credit – they aren’t holding me to standards, at least not those. They’re not nearly as hard on me as I am on myself.

Very often the only person making me unhappy is me.

But should won’t go away. And it serves to drive me away from things that I enjoy, that I and other people find fulfilling, that I’m good at. Should tells me that doing those things is worthless and I should be ashamed of doing them, and I should keep it to myself regardless of how much they matter to me.

2015 was an especially bad year for me and should. All kinds of things happened that year that gave me wonderful new opportunities to be an asshole to myself. Probably the most perverse of these is that in 2015, I had the most remarkable writing experience of my life, and while I’ve stumblingly gone into it with individual people, I’ve been too frightened to talk in any seriously public way about it.

Because it’s not what I should write.

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Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

image by Rob Wanenchak

image by Rob Wanenchak

People love you. You need them. You can’t live without them. They help you. But in the end the only person who can make you well is you. – I’ll Be Yours For a Song

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but what kicked me into it now was two things. The death of David Bowie turned out to be a big one, and it was primarily sparked by what people were saying regarding what he personally meant to them: That he stood for the idea that it was okay to be weird and awkward and vulnerable, that outcasts have worth and value. That if you love what you do, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. And so many of my friends – and acquaintances/colleagues/whatever – are creative people and also people who have felt weird and ill-fitting for most of their lives.

Though I think a huge majority of people feel that way. I think some people are just better at faking that they don’t.

And the other thing was this post by Chuck Wendig on self-care for writers, specifically the part regarding shame.

I want to write about shame more some other time, because it’s something that I’ve been struggling with on a number of levels, and it’s been enormously difficult. But what I’ve especially been wanting to talk about is vulnerability, and being open, and not pretending to be okay.

Which I think too many of us feel like we have to do.

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thoughts on The Big Space Movie


Yeah, hi. So you know how I consistently do that thing where I say I’m going to write here more? And then I don’t? And then primarily I pop in to deliver news bits and I pop out again and I don’t reappear for a couple weeks at least?

Really not gonna do that anymore.

This used to be at least semi-personal as well as professional. Then for a variety of reasons I moved a lot of stuff onto Tumblr. But Tumblr is, uh, not a good place for me professionally. It’s my place where I get to be and pretty much always am at my least professional. I need to come back here a bit, and I think I might be able to do that by making this more personal than it’s been. Not everything needs to be about books or whatever short story I have out there this month.



Anyway, I saw Star Wars last Thursday night, like apparently literally everyone else I know except the people who already saw it. My spoiler-free review is that it’s good and you should see it (and if possible see it in laser-projected 3D IMAX, which we did because we’re fortunate to live near the Udvar-Hazy annex of the Air & Space Museum which you really must visit if you never have, they have an SR-71 and the Discovery space shuttle among like a hundred billion other things).

My spoilertastic thoughts are under the cut.

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