Category Archives: Line and Orbit

THE THING I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO ANNOUNCE: IT IS HERE

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Let me tell you a story.

Over half a decade ago I and a friend of mine wrote a book. It was half a lark, something to do while we were both being tormented by our respective PhD programs, but it became something quite serious, and then it became Line and Orbit, which was our co-debut novel. We loved it. Critics loved it. Readers seemed to mostly love it. Love love love.

We didn’t explicitly plan for a sequel, but we left the ending very much open for one. Because hey: characters we adored, world we adored, and the story didn’t feel like it was necessarily done. So after a while we started writing one.

And this was when the snags began.

Snags happen when you’re writing a book. Sometimes lots of snags. Life is sort of a thing. My co-author eventually needed to leave to spend more time with her dissertation (and she graduated and is sort of fucking amazing). I scrapped almost everything and started again from scratch. Then there were additional issues of a variety of kinds, and I ended up having to scrap that (complete) draft and write another (complete) one. Which also hit a wall. Lots of shuffling around. Lots of scrambling and throwing of chalk and erasers and turning over of tables. And at the end of it, when the dust settled, I had a sequel to Line and Orbit and no home for it.

This was, to say the least, troubling. Because it’s very hard to sell the sequel to a book absent the first one, if the sequel can’t stand pretty much entirely on its own, and even then. I thought I might have to self-publish, which I badly didn’t want to do – nothing at all against self-publishing, it’s something I’ve done, but I just didn’t have the time or the capital to do it the way I wanted. I shopped the book around a bit. No takers. I began to wonder if this story would ever see the light of day unless I did it all myself, and who knew when I would be ready to do that.

Well.

I can now announce that an angel has arrived in the form of Riptide Publishing.  The Line and Orbit sequel is happening.

It’s in the editing phase right now and will be published at the end of the summer. The final book in the trilogy – yes, it’s one of those – will be published in the fall. A third book – a sort of prequel – will see a release this coming winter, hopefully just in time for the holidays.

That’s three books from me, all in the next few months. I have a lot of work ahead of me. But it’s work I’ve been waiting a long time to be to do. I’m so, so grateful to Riptide for stepping up and being there when I really needed someone to save me and these books, and I can’t wait to do this work with them.

Adam and Lochlan also have a lot of work to do. They have a world to save. Many of them, actually. You’ll see them again soon.

In the meantime: Dance party.

News and an excerpt from a novel-in-progress

I haven’t posted in a bit. Nothing major to announce at the moment, except that I sold a short story – “A Shadow on the Sky”, a tale of a drone queen because of course drones would need one – to Mythic Delirium.

AND here’s a novel update: I’m currently working on two concurrently, because I’m out of my mind. The first is Rookwar, the final installment in the Casting the Bones trilogy – which I am very behind on and need to push hard at this month – and also an as-yet untitled one that I began on a whim. You know how I seem to keep coming back to the Line and Orbit universe? Well, this is the story of Kae, how he met his wife Leila, and how – together – they saved the entire convoy from starvation, managed a conflict between a lost human colony and a sentient biosphere, dealt with Relationship Feelings, and somehow didn’t murder Lochlan.

I’m not very far into it, and like any baby novel its future is uncertain, but I’m feeling pretty good about it and so far it feels like it’s coming relatively smoothly. If you like, here – with the usual caveats about a work-in-progress (rough draft, may not make it into the final product if there is one, etc.) – is an excerpt.

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Yet another LINE AND ORBIT sequel update, and sadly the news is less than great

Basically as of right now it’s in limbo.

I’ve been talking about it like it was a certain thing, but in this business very little is actually certain, and currently the book has no publisher. Self-publishing  is really not all that feasible right now for a number of reasons, nor is it at all ideal. I’m exploring some other possibilities, but selling a sequel absent the first book seems to be very difficult, so… While I hope it happens, it may very well not.

It makes me sad to think that Line and Orbit was the last we’ll see of Adam and Lochlan. Hopefully it won’t be.

When there’s news, you’ll hear it here first. And in the meantime, there’s Labyrinthian, so be looking for that.

Here is the long-promised good news post

Let’s have some happy things.

  • Line and Orbit is finally out in print. I have waited a very long time for this day, that was actually last week but I had a lot going on. It can still be purchased at a very nice discount here and at a slightly less nice discount but a discount nevertheless here.
  • RT Magazine has a very cool interview with me and my co-author up on their site, wherein we talk about writing the book and space travel and other cool stuff.
  • Winners of both giveaways have been notified and copies either have been mailed or will be mailed very soon. I threw in some temporary tattoos. RAINBOW temporary tattoos. Because who wouldn’t want those. People who hate JOY, that’s who.
  • The current issue of Lightspeed, which includes a thing by me, is available for purchase here. My story, which is a MISANDRIST retelling of The Little Mermaid, will go live tomorrow.

Aren’t those happy things? Yes, they are. Now I have to go prep for class. Yay.

LINE AND ORBIT giveaway update

Just a heads up: IF BY ANY CHANCE YOU WANTED TO GET A FREE PAPERBACK COPY OF LINE AND ORBIT that just so happens to be a thing you can now do in not one but TWO(!!) places. They are as follows:

  • HERE. This copy happens to also be signed by both me and my co-author.
  • GOODREADS. (sadly closed to anyone outside of Canada and the US)

Both end on February 4th, which is the date of the book’s release. And I suppose no law necessarily prohibits you from signing up in both places. Except maybe South Dakota. Might be illegal in South Dakota.

LINE AND ORBIT ~*~*paperback*~*~ giveaway!

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This time next month, the trade paperback edition of Line and Orbit will be available to purchase. Isn’t that exciting? But wait!! YOU DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR OWN COPY. Because I’m giving one away, you see (one of those pictured up there, oh they are so pretty). And even BETTER: it will be signed by me and my lovely co-author.

Want to enter? Simply fill out this handy form. I promise to guard with my very life, and completely forget, via extensive sessions of hypnosis, all of your personal information as soon as the contest is over. At midnight on February 4th, the contest will end, and I will select one lucky person.

ENTER HERE

I got an early Christmas present

Yesterday I received an unexpected package.

BcMg46DIEAAAsBE.jpg largeYes, that is what it looks like. I didn’t honestly expect to get my contributor copies until mid-January at the earliest, so this is fantastic. Just in time for gifting.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be giving away one of these babies, signed. Stay tuned.

Sunday Linkdump: A smile I’ve learned to fear

He's watching.

He’s watching.

So it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Stuffing some news in with the links.

To my immense chuffedness, Line and Orbit took silver in the Best Gay SF and bronze in the Best Gay Debut categories in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Many, many congrats to all the winners and finalists.

Linky links.

  • “Michigan passes ‘rape insurance’ bill”. The Republican governor actually opposed it. Michigan, I cannot even with you.
  • “The Return of the Welfare Queen”. Which does not actually exist, naturally.

    The facts defy the stereotypes. The largest group of food-stamp recipients is white; 45 percent of all beneficiaries are children; and most people eligible for Medicaid are families with children in which at least one person in the household has a job.

  • “David Cronenberg Wants to Be Inside You.” On the Cronenberg exhibition currently making the rounds and Cronenberg’s overall oeuvre.
  • “Friday the 13th: A Ghost Story”. This past Friday was the 13th. So someone had a surprising and unwelcome visitor.
  • “Five Stages of Reading the Novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.

    The book starts with a special preface by Admiral Kirk. He introduces himself by talking about his name. Kirk, because he’s a traditionalist, Tiberius because of his grandfather’s fascination with the classics, and James after his uncle and his mother’s first love instructor.

    Yeah. That’s what it said. That’s page one.

  • Over at Cyborgology, David Banks has the first part of a post series we’re doing, of our own personal history with devices and digital technology. As I said on Twitter, it’s funny, insightful, and rather sweet.
  • And I have the first part of a two-part essay on sex and drones and how they go together.

    Drones have become a symbol of contemporary surveillance, a thing that’s always there and always watching and always potentially capable of doing harm. Sometimes this harm is through direct violence, and sometimes it’s merely the delivery of data to people who can use it against you. But either way, there are two aspects to the erotic power of drones, and they’re interrelated: Being known, and being controlled.

This has become my theme/end titles music for Labyrinthian, the SF novel I just finished writing, so enjoy.

Line and Orbit sequel news!

The news is that I’m rewriting it. Almost completely. Not going back through and changing some scenes around, not making some major adjustments. I mean I’m scrapping what I have and starting almost entirely from scratch. With the exception LineandOrbitof one subplot, and a few characters, it’s going to be a totally different book.

There are a number of reasons why I’m doing this. Some of it is that, on further consideration, there are  a number of aspects of Fall and Rising as the current version stands that simply don’t work as well as they could. I took on a lot in that book, and I’m not confident that I pulled all of it off as well as I might have. I’m not averse to failure, even in public, but it’s something that I also see no reason not to avoid if at all possible. A lot of Fall and Rising is uncomfortable, and I’m not convinced that all of it is uncomfortable in a good way.

Another reason is money. I want to sell this book and I want to get paid.

I haven’t had any luck finding a publisher for it as it is. This is a problem, and the problem is compounded by the fact that it’s a sequel, not a standalone novel. It’s also much bleaker than Line and Orbit, and while I love and value my bleak writing – my short fiction can be just brutal a lot of the time – I’m not sure that bleak is the right tone for this series. I don’t believe that sequels have to perfectly match their predecessors in tone, but I also don’t believe that they should be vastly different.

So while I dearly love Fall and Rising and while I’ve very proud of huge chunks of it, it’s going into the proverbial drawer and something else is happening. I view this as a learning experience. I don’t think it was a mistake, and I don’t think the effort I put into it was wasted. It just isn’t going to be what I thought it was.

The takeaway is that this never stops being an educational process.

So, as of right now, here are the things (I think) I know about this new version of the next chapter of Line and Orbit:

  • The focus is back on Adam and Lochlan. I love Eva and Kyle, and I think they’ll be showing up in a major way, but Adam and Lochlan were among the primary things that people seemed to fall in love with in the first book, and I think it makes sense to stick with them. That means that this is back to being primarily “M/M” (scare quotes because I am still not 100% comfortable with that categorical marker). There are a number of reasons why I think this is a Good Thing on the whole.
  • It’s not going to be as goddamn bleak. I think a lot of bad things will still happen, but not nearly to the degree that they were happening in the first version of the book.
  • Spoiler alert: For those of you who’ve read my story in Hellebore and Rue, you may see some familiar faces. I’m really pleased about this, and I’m happy that I’m doing this rewrite if only because I get to circle back around in that way.
  • Nkiruka, the would-be replacement for Ixchel, is still in the game.
  • The villain remains the same guy with  the same characterization. Because I love his perfect face.
  • It does essentially the same job as the first version. That is, setting up the third and final book in the series, in essentially the same way. We end at basically the same place, we’re just getting there by a very different route.

So that’s where things currently stand. I’ve started work on it and I don’t expect to blast through it nearly as fast as Labyrinthian (which takes place in the same ‘verse so will hopefully act as an appetite whettener), so we’re ideally talking a finished MS by the end of January at the latest. I’m also supposed to be writing Rookwar, the third book in the Casting the Bones trilogy, so Fall and Rising may get pushed back depending on what my priorities end up being. Oh, yeah, I’m also theoretically writing a doctoral dissertation. So there’s that.

Anyway, for those who are interested, them’s the haps.

In which I’m seriously dorky about music and my writing

Okay, so while I procrastinate re: the Line and Orbit sequel (I should just really start calling it Fall and Rising, except I feel like L&O has more name recognition right now) I thought I’d post a couple songs that have been serving as mood-setters for a while now.

One of the dorky (see above) things I do when I’m writing something huge that I love is to find songs that could sort of serve as the “end titles” if what I were working on was a movie. I’ve had one for Line and Orbit for a while that I’ve been referring back to, and now I have one for Fall and Rising as well.

So, Line and Orbit:

M83 ft. Susanne Sundfor – Oblivion

This song is effing perfect, at least in my mind. I didn’t see the film and after reading the general review consensus I don’t much want to, but this song has it all: epic scope, soaring chorus, lyrics about night and stars, and this heartbreakingly lovely little solo piano coda. I can’t imagine any other piece of music serving as well.

Fall and Rising:

Young Beautiful in a Hurry and Bear McCreary – I Forever

Whereas Oblivion is sweeping and epic, this song is smaller and more intimate, which I feel like actually fits the book better. In many ways it’s a smaller, more intensely intimate book, though epic aspects are certainly still there. And I think those aspects are wonderfully captured by the elegant piano and strings, while the vocal pulls you in much closer. It’s also a love song that isn’t necessarily about romantic love, which I think serves to accommodate the range of different relationships I’m working with here.

So that’s it. I’m sure by the time the third as-yet-untitled book rolls around I’ll have something ready for it as well, and I’m sure I’ll be dorky when that happens too.