Monthly Archives: December 2014

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.

A happy TWD fandom thing by me

So I wrote this a while ago, but I don’t think I ever posted about it here, and hey, for other fans of The Walking Dead and Beth Greene in these dark times, it might be a balm.

It’s also one of the things I’m most proud of that I’ve recently written, and part of me that wants to be a Serious Author is like THAT’S RIDICULOUS and the part of me that has a soul and enjoys fun is like whatever shut up.

Fic: If the Stars Are Eternal So Are You and I (Beth/Daryl, the funeral home and if things had gone differently).

They still sleep in shifts. When she’s taking hers he roams the house, quiet as he can, and he lingers when he comes back to her, watches her side and back and chest rise and fall with her breathing. Feels creepy. Can’t really help it. This is confusing and a little alarming. Even if he knew what to do about it he’s not sure he would be able to do anything at all.

It’s been a month.

Oh.

You’d think at some point she would have finished that conversation.

And because I love reading aloud, I recorded a downloadable audio version.

 

ROOKWAR cover: revealed!

So here it is, the final cover of the final book in the Casting the Bones trilogy:

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PRETTY.

The book itself will be released in the next few weeks. As I’ve said before, it’s by far the longest, biggest, and most complex of the three books and of them, it’s the one I’m most proud of. Hoping people enjoy it.

Watch this space for further news.

Good Endings and Bad Deaths – on The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale and writing in general

[Hey, guys – meant to edit this earlier, but this is just to say… I no longer believe all of this. In part because of the very things I’m talking about here, which I frankly find unbelievable. Possibly just in the denial phase, but come February, well, we’ll see if there’s actually another writerly analysis post to write. Because I think there might be, and that might be really cool for a number of reasons.

Scott Gimple would still be an asshole.

Carry on.]

Okay.

This is going to be sort of a weird hybrid dinosaur-unicorn of a post – except way less cool than such a thing would ever be – wherein I’m half sobbing tantrumy 14-year-old and half Author Who Has Opinions About Writing. I’ll try to make it more the latter than the former but no promises.

Massive, massive spoilers to follow.

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