More specifically, I finished writing Rookwar, which also means I’m done with Casting the Bones. This is the first trilogy I’ve ever completed. It’s also the tenth book I’ve written, and it will be my fourth published (since Labyrinthian doesn’t come out until January). At the moment it’s a little over 110,000 words long. That’s hefty. It’s about 20,000 words longer than I expected it to be, but none of it feels like filler. I think it’s about as long as it should be.
It feels very strange to finish a trilogy. I’m not sure exactly how it’s different from finishing a book, or finishing the second book in a series. But it’s different. I suppose part of it is that – although there will be editing and such – I’m truly saying goodbye to these characters and this world. I probably won’t see them again, at least not for a long time. There are a lot of other places to go and a lot of other books to be written, and for now we’re parting ways.
So goodbye, Mica and Mori and Yavon and Sene. Goodbye, Ava and goodbye, Turn. Thank you for letting me spend some time with you, and thank you for letting me tell your stories. This feels like a good ending. Which is about the best you can ever hope for.
For those who care about such things, I was listening to this on repeat for the last few hundred words, and it is the perfect piece of music for the end of the book. Eerily so.
Welcome to September, everyone. I’m pretty much entirely losing my cool over the last few thousand (PLEASE ONLY A FEW THOUSAND, I CAN’T TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS OH GOD) words of Rookwar, so let’s take a break from that and from my broken sobbing on Twitter and instead look forward to January, which will bring Labyrinthian.
I’ve already talked about it a little, just in terms of its outline and general elements, and I’ve posted the first chapter here, but there’s obviously more to it, and I figure a little bit of a FAQ probably wouldn’t be out of line. So here it is.
- It’s a queer retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in spaaaaaaaaaace. Because why the hell not. Myths are cool, space is cool, queer fiction is cool, stick ’em all in a blender and hit puree.
- I had the idea years ago. Actually right around the time Lisa and I finished up Line and Orbit, I think. It was only the vaguest of concepts – myth in space, dudes kissing – but it grabbed me. The timing wasn’t right, however, so it got shelved until this past fall, when it grabbed me with a vengeance. I had just finished a couple of very, very difficult novels and I wanted to do something fun. Then things got a little out of hand and:
- I wrote the first draft in less than a month. That’s not to brag – okay, maybe a little to brag – but to indicate how hard this idea took hold of my brain. For a while it was actually very difficult to stop working on it. The resulting draft was quite complete and not a whole lot has substantially changed between it and the final product, but I don’t think I’ll write a book at that speed again. In retrospect it was pretty draining. Like more than usual.
- It’s set in the Line and Orbit universe. I didn’t actually intend it to be when I first had the idea, but that ‘verse has a way of pulling me back into itself, and once I started actually teasing out some details, it seemed like a natural fit just in terms of the feel of the thing. It’s a somewhat goofy space adventure-type deal with a more serious underside, which is pretty much exactly what Line and Orbit was.
- It does not feature any of the same characters as Line and Orbit, nor is it a sequel. It does, however, take place somewhat concurrently with the end of Line and Orbit and the beginning of its vaporware sequel Fall and Rising. So reading L&O first, while not at all necessary, will add some depth to some aspects of the worldbuilding. If you care about that kind of thing
also buy my books.
- It takes place on the frontier of human-explored space. Unlike most of the locations in Line and Orbit, in Labyrinthian the Terran Protectorate has a very limited presence – more symbolic than anything – and the part of space in which the book happens is somewhat chaotic. The humans there are either essentially nomadic or confined to small colonies. There’s no central authority, and nothing much in the way of law or policing. Bounty hunters and mercenaries like Theseus fill the gap in that they provide an incentive for people to deal fairly with one another – step out of line or screw someone in a deal and you can expect a hunter to come after you – and the hunters maintain a loose, unofficial guild that also keeps a kind of order. That context of chaos was a lot of fun to write within, because it allowed for a background of political dynamics that’s very different from what we did in Line and Orbit.
- It’s totally romance, but the romantic plotline is not the only one or even the central one. Theseus and Taur’s weird, uncomfortable journey toward each other coincides with another much more dangerous journey, and the fundamental story is how those two journeys intertwine and give each other meaning.
- It’s got a lot of sex. Very explicit sex. It’s the most smut-heavy thing I’ve written that isn’t actually erotica. If that’s not your thing, I think you can skip those scenes for the most part and still have no trouble getting into the larger plot. There’s a lot of character building in my porn, though, so it’s not just there for the sake of porn.
- It’s quite violent. Again, be aware. It’s a good bit more violent than Line and Orbit was, though the body count is lower. There’s a fair amount of gore.
- But it’s fun. Or that’s my opinion. Writing it, it had a very Firefly feel to me, so if you like that kind of SF I’d imagine you’d enjoy this. Hope so, anyway.
Not sure when it’ll go up for pre-sale, but you can add it to your Goodreads shelves here. And of course I’ll be giving stuff away. Yay stuff.