Category Archives: News

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.

Writerly updates

I’m planning to actually do a Sunday linkdump later this evening – shock! – but for the moment here’s a roundup of some stuff that’s been going on in the writing area of my life recently:

  • I’m writing yet another novel. More specifically, I’m over 45k words into another novel after less than two weeks of working on it. I have never worked this fast on anything except maybe my comprehensive exams. I’ve been yelling about it a lot on Twitter, and I worry that it comes off as bragging, and maybe it is a tiny bit, but my primary reasons are two-fold:

    A) I HAVE NEVER WRITTEN ANYTHING THIS FAST BEFORE WHAT IS HAPPENING
    B) I REALLY REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK

    It is, essentially, a book I decided I wanted to write in between the completing the second book in the Casting the Bones trilogy and beginning work on the third. I didn’t even originally intend for it to be novel-length; I thought it might be a novella, something easy and light and vaguely trashy based on an idea I had years ago and put aside until I could figure out how to approach it, namely: A (very) loose retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, only gay, and in space. Where Theseus is a bounty hunter and the Minotaur is the genetically engineered rogue supersoldier that he’s hired to hunt down. Working title is Labyrinthian.

    Having written three novels in very rapid succession that ended up having Serious Points, I wanted to write something for therapy, something fun and silly that might also, frankly, move some inventory. But it’s become a lot more than that. Honestly, I’m working so fast because it’s very hard right now to not work on it. I’m enjoying it that much. I aim to be done sometime in the next two weeks.

  • I had a story come out in Strange Horizons, “Event Horizon.” So far the critical response has been pretty great. Tangent sez: “This is a very self-aware piece, asking why people do awful things even as it tells a gripping story…the subtext is powerful and shocking.” Lois Tilton at Locus gave it a coveted “recommended”: “Of all the horror stories I’ve read this season, this one evokes the strongest sense of malevolence.”
  • “Across the Seam”, a story I wrote – in large part inspired by Rob’s own family history – about a Rusyn immigrant coal miner caught up in both gender troubles and a (true life) massacre of striking workers will be appearing in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History in early 2014. I’m beyond excited about this.

Think that’s everything.

It’s been a majorly chaotic October and a lot about it has been difficult, but I realized a while ago that while I might get frustrated about things (agent-hunting has so far turned up nothing) and while I might experience doubt regarding specific projects, on the whole I don’t worry about whether I’m a good writer anymore. I know, objectively, that I’m good. Whatever else is going on, it feels pretty wonderful to finally be sure of that much.

News and updates: I sold a bunch of stuff.

By “a bunch” I mean “three”. Three recent story sales, all of which I’m extremely pleased about. Here they are:

  • “The Horse Latitudes” to Ideomancer (which I have been trying to crack forever so yaaaaaay (I think I might have mentioned this here before? Oh, well)
  • “Love in the Time of Vivisection” to Shimmer, which is sort of slipstream/horror and which is one of my favorite stories I’ve written in a while (and the title for which started out as a joke, no kidding)
  • “A Heap of Broken Images” to the colonial/post-colonial-themed anthology We See a Different Frontier. I’m especially excited about this last one, because a) it’s a terrific project concept, and b) LOOK AT THE TOC. You guys. You guys. asdfghjkl

“The Horse Latitudes” should be out in a couple of months. “Love in the Time of Vivisection” will be out this summer, as will We See a Different Frontier. I am excite.

Capclave 2012 Recap

As I’m sure you guessed from the post title, this is my Capclave 2012 recap. It was my first Capclave, and it’s left me pretty goddamn wiped, so instead of writing something narratively coherent and richly descriptive I’m going to just vomit up a bunch of bullet points. If that’s okay.

  • The panels were great. I went to a bunch on e-publishing and reading in the context of a lot of changing technology (Neil Clarke was on most of these and I wonder if he thinks I was stalking him or something). Also a panel on the autobiography of Cthulhu, which was both interesting and really funny, as well as confirming for me that I haven’t spent all these years entirely mispronouncing the dread name of the great tentacled horror from beyond the stars. Also a fun talk by John Ashmead on quantum mechanics that featured all the requisite bad Schrodinger’s Cat jokes. Also I’d seriously watch a TV show that was just a series of conversations between Nick Mamatas and John Scalzi.
  • The people were great. I finally got to meet Neil Clarke (see above) and he was intensely nice, and I was also relieved to see that he’s looking quite well, health-wise. He confirmed that Clarkesworld is going to be picking back up with its print issues, and also its annual anthologies, which is very happy-making. I also got to meet John Scalzi briefly, and he was incredibly gracious while I was awkward and blushing fiercely, and he signed a copy of Old Man’s War as a Christmas present for my dad (who introduced me to Robert Heinlein, so it seems like an appropriate gift). Also I ended up explaining Twitter backchannels to programming director Bill Lawhorn, which was also sort of awkward but quite fun.
  • Something I would like to do next time: Get on the program. I wasn’t in time to do that this go-round, but given how fun the panels were to attend, I’d like to try to be on some. I remember that went a long way toward helping me feel more at home when I went to Wiscon. Also, I need to work on being more social in general. I’m violently introverted (there was actually a panel on dealing with this, incidentally) and it’s really hard for me to approach people I don’t know. But given that I still don’t know most people at these things, I better suck it up and start doing some approaching.
  • Something I would like to see more of next time: A more vibrant Twitter backchannel. This is something I think Wiscon does really well, I think it’s  a really useful tool for introverts like myself in making connections with people that can translate over into physical space, and it also just generates good discussion. I feel like it’s mostly a cultural thing for it to be less present, and I’m not sure how to help foster it in this case. But I’d love to see it.

Thanks so much to everyone involved for making it such a good time.

It’s looking 99.99% likely that I’ll be at Philcon in a few weeks. RavenCon and MystiCon are also now on the table. The updated list of probables is here. It’s a bit odd to go from doing maybe one con a year to attempting to do six, but I’m looking forward to it.

WIP Wednesday (sort of) – Harbinger: no longer a WIP

An earlier version of this post appeared on my Dreamwidth

So I finished Harbinger yesterday, or at least a draft of it. It clocks in at about 79k words, which is respectable. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it, but it feels good to be done.

I suppose. It honestly doesn’t feel like much of a big deal. Which is weird. It should. I’ve been working on it for nine months now. You guys it has literally been like I’ve been pregnant with a book.

And now it’s done–or at least a draft of it is–and I just feel tired. And disconnected from it. I wrote -end- at the bottom of the page around 1:30 and then went to eat lunch and didn’t really think about it all that much for the rest of the afternoon. Granted, I had the first lecture of the semester to deal with yesterday evening and that always makes me nervous and preoccupied but still. I realize that it’s kind of the height of callous assholery to be all like oh yawn I finished another novel but I honestly do feel a little like that.

And I look back on the other two books I wrote/co-wrote–Line and Orbit and Communion–and I think about the differences in the two. At the end of L&O I was fucking elated. I was almost dizzy with joy. I had also written about 10k words in a single day so I was just dizzy, period. And then at the end of Communion I was considerably less excited but it still felt like kind of a Thing. And now… yeah.

Maybe some of it is just that I have more visceral sense of how far from done a draft actually means–from being in publishable shape and then actually being published. It took us about two years to sell L&O, from completion to signing the contracts, and this was after it took a good year or so to write. And then there’s been the edits, which were extensive, and it still won’t even come out for another few months. And I still haven’t sold Communion. I’m sure I will but it might take a while longer.

And now there’s Harbinger. My third baby. I love it but it’s got some defects that need fixing, and that’s work that has to be done before I can send it anywhere–and even then the work won’t be done.

That’s the thing about writing books: You’re never done. Not really. You take a breath and then you’re shoved back into it again. One of the reasons why I was so set on finishing Harbinger this week is because I want to start the next thing (which I’m very excited about but am not ready to talk about yet). And there are other things after that–I have a wonderful/awful feeling that the next thing is actually the first of three things, and there are another couple of things that might come after L&O… and I guess finishing just isn’t enough for me anymore. Which feels kind of sad, even though I guess I should be mostly pleased about what it means.

So. On to the next one.

Monday news and linkage

I definitely want to pick up the Muse Monday thing I used to do wherein I would write about writing, but I’m not quite there in my head yet, and I have a feeling I’ll have a chance to do a lot more of that as promo for Line and Orbit heats up. So for now have some delicious treats.

  • This is seriously the month of Publisher’s Weekly for me; three anthologies that I’ve had the privilege to be involved with have garnered positive reviews (one starred!):
  • Author Nathan Bransford with the publishing process depicted in gifs. To it I say: accurate. Much. Except I can’t even speak with firsthand experience about the agent thing (hopefully only yet). That’s the thing: what Bransford is showing is the best case scenario.
    Line and Orbit is getting a happy ending and it’s still taken two years and change and a shit-ton of angst from the date of completion to get it published.
  • Harbinger is still not finished. It’s close. I have an awful feeling that it might remain “close” for a couple more weeks. At least.
  • I’m teaching Introduction to Sociology this semester with a heavy SFnal component. For those interested in one person’s take on this, I offer my syllabus.

Line and Orbit: Ten things to know about it. With cover art!

We got the final cover art for Line and Orbit. FEAST YOUR EYES

Now that I have imagery to work with, I’m starting Big Gay Space Opera Promofest 2012. Yeah, I’m going to be annoying about this. It’s my precious baby and I’m one of those irritating Facebook moms. Sorry I’m not sorry.

To that end, let me kick things off with some info.

Continue reading

Updates, for lack of much else

So that reemergence of which I spoke in the last post was kind of a lie. Still not much in the way of regular blogging from me. But! Don’t think for a moment that I haven’t been busy anyway.

Line and Orbit is in its final editing stages, and we have preliminary cover art. It’s delicious and filling but I unfortunately can’t share it until it’s for-real finalized, which should hopefully be soon. It’s been great going through this process and watching my Big Gay Space Opera becoming an actual book that people will actually be able to buy.

I’m going to be doing a variety of promotional activities once I have cover art to promote it with and finalized text, but here’s a sneak peek at one of the things I’m planning on:

Image

I make jewelry in my spare time sometimes – nothing that can hold a candle to the output of a lot of people I know, but I enjoy it – and I’ve made eight bracelets inspired by eight of the characters in the book. I’ll be giving them away in the weeks leading up to the release date, so watch for info on how you can enter in the upcoming months.

As for other work, the cyborg angel novel – now called Harbinger – is in the closing stretch. I’ll be posting a taste of it next week. I have no idea what I think of it at this point; I’m in the middle of Novel Fatigue and it’s a bad idea to make any quality judgments in that space. Right now I’m just focused on keeping my head down and finishing the thing. And trying desperately to not become too distracted by the idea I’ve been mulling over for the next big project (ooh cryptic).

Finally, let me point you toward a post my alter ego has done over at Cyborgology on writing about technology in both SF and contemporary fiction. Normally I don’t cross the streams, but this seemed relevant.

And I’m off to Denver for ASA tomorrow. Woo.

No, seriously, not dead yet.

Hi.

Yeah, it’s been a while. And while I really enjoyed the audio posts I was doing, I think I need to call a hiatus on them for the time being; some of it is hosting issues and a lot of it is just that lately I haven’t felt much motivation to sit down in front of my dinky little mic and ramble at you. So if you were enjoying those, thanks so much for listening, and this is me telling you that I really hope that they’ll return at some point soon. Possibly when I’m in a better place, mental health-wise.

There’s something about spring semesters, I swear.

There is news, though.

  • First and foremost, I’m very late announcing this here given that I’ve been talking about it a lot of other places on the internets, but I’ve sold what I’ve affectionately taken to calling The Big Gay Space Opera – what I co-wrote with a BFF of mine – to Samhain Publishing, under the title Line & Orbit (previously Rosetta). Right now the release date is slated for sometime in early 2013. It will be out in both ebook formats and trade paperback. I’m really, really excited about it, you guys, I can’t even tell you. It’s been a long, strange road with this book and I’m really happy it’s finally found a good home. Right now we’re just in the early editing phase but watch this space for much more about it once I have more to give. I’m hoping to throw together some contests and freebies and whatnot.
  • I’ve sold a slipstreamy piece of something called “The Scarred Utopian Takes a Wife” to Jabberwocky, for release this fall. I love Jabberwocky, so that’s awesome.
  • My story “The Thick Night”, which originally appeared in Strange Horizons, will be reprinted in the 2012 edition of Lethe Press’s Heiresses of Russ: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, due out this winter. Also very awesome, especially given the company it looks like I’ll be in.

That’s pretty much it for the moment. Given that the audio thing is on hiatus I’ll be trying to post here more regularly, though. Who knows: I might even try my hand at actually writing things about things again. Shock and awe.

Podcasty Thing (wow, it’s been a while) plus stuff

Yes, I’ve finally done another one of these. Yay. In here I talk about Scheherazade’s Facade, its path to publication, and the very awesome message that I think has been sent by the fact that it is fully funded and in fact was funded way, way before the deadline. Which? By the way? Thank you. Very, very happy.

Additionally, if we hit $10k in the remaining time, the editor is putting those funds toward a science fiction edition of the anthology, which would be awesome. So this is not over yet.

I also read a bit of my story, “The Cloak of Isis”, as well as wax slightly neurotic about it. Which is always fun. My neurosis is at least somewhat related to a post I made in my Dreamwidth recently on representation in fiction and the issues inherent in trying to write about a marginalized person’s experience when it’s not an experience that you technically share (basically I feel like it’s something that people should try, provided that they’re willing to learn from fuck-ups).

I want to keep doing these – not sure if anyone is really listening or not but I enjoy it – but I think I may need to investigate other hosting options, since my Soundcloud minutes are running out. Hm.

In the meantime, I have other really really awesome news to report but I can’t until things are more official, so in the meantime I’m just going to be obnoxiously cryptic about it. Oooh.