There are two places you can find me shortly — I’ll be at Emerald City Comicon which runs March 2nd through 5th at the Seattle Convention Center. You can find me on Sunday for sure, when I’ll be moderating a panel on science fiction: predicting the future. Books should be available at the University Bookstore booth there. I’m also hoping to get there part of Saturday, life allowing.
Not long after, I’ll be at Norwescon. I just got my programming, which is great. I have some good panels, a reading, a Kaffeeklatch, and I’ll be teaching a one-hour hands-on workshop about description on Saturday at 2:00. You can sign up now, and if you’re interested, that’s probably a good idea. Participation is limited.
The holidays are coming and we are giving away books!
Want to know how to win? The official rules are listed below, but read on for the highlights.
If you have signed up for my newsletter you are already entered to win. If you are not signed up for the newsletter, you can sign up right on the front page of my site. The newsletter comes out no more than once a month, and contains information about upcoming releases, personal notes from me, and sometimes recommendations about other things. Or even unexpected treats (for example, someone already on the list could win a book!). Riley, who won last round, wrote me a note and said, “Edge of Dark is one of the best books I have read this year.” There is a link to his review of the book in the December newsletter.
The contest ends on December 14th.
OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES (BECAUSE THEY ARE REQUIRED)
This is a sweepstakes — that’s what they call it anyway, upon some research.
This is my brief Orycon report. Orycon is held once each year in November, in Portland, Oregon.
I always enjoy this convention, and this year was no different. I had many great conversations with friends. Most, of course, were about politics. So I’ll let you imagine those for now, since we’re all talking politics this month. There will be a lot for all of us writers to say in the next year, hopefully with our pens and not just on social media.
The big news, of course, is that Edge of Dark (Pyr) won the Endeavour Award, which is given for a “distinguished SCIENCE FICTION or FANTASY BOOK written by a Pacific Northwest author or authors and published in the previous year.” I’m truly honored by the award, especially given the strength of the competition. Pictured is Laura Anne Gilman, who was also a finalist for the award for Silver on the Road, Jim Fiscus, who does a lot of work to make this award work every year (he also has a team), and me.
At my reading, most of the audience had read Edge of Dark, so I read from POST (eSpec Books) for the first time. It went well, and I’ve already gotten some great feedback from readers who picked it up there are started it. The Goodreads giveaway for POST runs through November 30th if you want to enter. POST is a near-future post-apocalypse story that explores the early parts of recovery after a complex set of disasters driven by climate change, economic stress, and illness.
I spent some time in the bar getting feedback from my official first readers for the first draft of Wilders. That’s the next book from Pyr, which will be out in June of 2017. I was a little worried, but while there’s a lot to do to improve it and fix challenges, everyone who’s read it so far likes it. So now the trick will be finding time to finish it and improve it! That will start after Thanksgiving.
I enjoyed the ride to and from Orycon, in spite of driving rain and big trucks throwing spray all over our windshield during our late-night sprint home on Saturday. I’ve known Laura Anne Gilman for some time, but hadn’t had the pleasure of long conversations with her (I love her writing – I haven’t caught up, but her Vineart fantasy series is fabulous, and her Silver on the Road was a finalist for the Endeavour). Since we rode together to and from Portland, we talked, some of our conversation tired and silly as we struggled to get home safely. Which we succeeded at, in spite of being tired-out writers post-convention.
Please consider signing up for my newsletter. It comes out once a month, and its a great way to keep up with me. More news on that front soon, but of note, there just might be a giveaway that ALL members of the mailing list get to participate in soon. Consider that a hint.
News on my next Pyr book — Wilders!
My editor, Rene Sears, mentioned Wilders in a PW article on post-apocalyptic fiction. I can’t link to the article since it’s behind a paywall, but here’s what Rene said in the article:
“The fear of climate-related disaster, particularly disaster in which humankind has played a terrible role, is prevalent right now—as is a desire to amend it,” says Rene Sears, editorial director at Pyr, which is publishing Wilders by Brenda Cooper in June 2017. The book launches a duology set in a future megacity called Seacouver, at a time when the planet’s wilderness has been devastated due, in part, to climate change.
I’ve just finished the first good draft of this book. while hiding all by myself in a house in Sedona, Arizona. Which, by the way, is a lovely place to hide and finish a book. Here is a picture to prove it:
This could have been in a scene from the book. So could really, really fantastical cities. 🙂 Wilders can be pre-ordered now. Note the Amazon description is from before my characters and I agreed on different names. 🙂
I’ll be at Orycon 38 in Portland, Oregon from November 18th and 19th. Here’s my schedule:
Friday from 5:00 – 6:00
Minor Characters (Moderator)
Friday from 6:30 – 7:00
Endeavour Awards (Edge of Dark is a finalist!)
Saturday from 10:00 – 11:00
Hybrid Vigor: Choosing both traditional and self-publishing
Saturday from 12:00 – 1:00
Science Fiction as Tool for Social Change (Moderator)
Saturday from 1:00 -1:30
Saturday from 2:00 – 3:00
The Usefulness of Productivity
Saturday from 5:00 – 6:00
Science is not boring
Hopefully I’ll see some of you there! Note I will probably NOT be around Sunday – I will have spent much of October traveling and I’ll probably jet home Sunday morning around dawn.
This is the seventh post in my POST series of postings. 🙂 We’re funded, but not yet finished. We’re at $3,967 out of $3,500 and there are 45 hours to go. This, of course, is great news. It means POST will be read — we have 143 backers (collectively – for the two books – it could be split down the middle or in any other way). It will also be available for many to see. I do want to thank Danielle for all of her hard work right now, even before we really finish. So, thanks Danielle the indefatigable!
In the meantime, there are a few days to go and some excellent stories to unlock. I doubt we’ll hit all of our stretch goals, but I’m going to take a few moments and say nice things about three of those writers up the stretch goal chain. After all, anything can go viral on the Internet….If you want to help — here’s the link. Please consider dropping it anywhere you like on social media. 🙂
So I wrote about John A. Pitts and Ken Scholes already and their stories are now available to all backers. Backers for the win! After you read Ken’s story you may go out and buy Lamentation – the first book his fabulous fantasy series. After you read John’s story, you might end up curious enough to grab a copy of Black Blade Blues.
Three other friends also helped me out by providing stories for stretch goals, and I want to mention them here….
Nancy Kress has been one of my idols for a long time. I used to haunt bookstores looking for her next work. Now we play Words with Friends, get together for meals, see movies, and share the same science book club where we do experiments together. But the old me that haunted bookstores would never have imagined that. Nancy has a heart of gold, and she writes awesome science fiction stories. If there is any reason you’ve missed her work, you should fix that! She has almost as many awards as Connie Willis. Maybe she has more. I can never quite keep track. One of my favorite recent works is After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall.
Nancy moved out here (and thus helped create the science book group) so that she could marry Seattle writer Jack Skillingstead. Jack is a brilliant writer, and a sweet, thoughtful man. He’s also got a wry sense of humor. Try Are you There? for a great short story collection or Life on the Preservation for an award-nominated novel.
Darragh Metzger is another of my very best first readers, and she was in the same writing group that John Pitts and I were in, lo those many years ago when none of use were published. Darragh is one of the best character writers I know – her fantasy is absolutely fabulous. Start with Ironwolfe and you’ll fall into yet another completed and fabulous fantasy series by a truly character-driven writer. She donated a long story to this Kickstarter, and if we get to it, you’ll be lucky.
This is the seventh, and probably next to last, of my posts about POST. We’re funded, which is great news. $3778 out of $3500. Now every new backer helps make the Kickstarter an even better deal. We have four days left. Three of my friends put in stories that are in the stretch goals, and I know you want those tales – by Darragh Metzger, Nancy Kress, and Jack Skillingstead. They are great writers, and I’ll tell you more about them in my next post. Please back or repost or post or tweet or whatever. Thanks!
Every bit of help is appreciated.
I wanted to return to talking about the story….or more accurately, the setting. POST is set in a post-devastation Pacific Northwest. Other places have been hit harder, but this place – my home – has been through a lot in the story. Devastation in the Northwest is a fiction, but there is devastation now in many places. The devastation is Syria is far worse than I am depicting; refugees are struggling for a safer place in droves, and dying for it. Pacific Islands are becoming uninhabitable as sea levels rise. Haiti has just been scoured by a large storm, merely 6 years after it was devastated by a major earthquake. The list could go on. We live in a charmed place in a charmed moment, and I tend to be an optimist. But sometimes you write your fears and you write about overcoming them. POST is fiction, but at least some of the setting — with its crumbling infrastructure and climate-ravaged natural places – could be pulled from real locations. I’ve probably depicted my home as far less destroyed than parts of the world are now.
That this could be us bears remembering.
Once more, thanks for all of your help.
This is the sixth entry in my series about POST, the novel that eSpecBooks is crowdfunding via Kickstarter. For reference, we’re at $2796 out of $3500 at this moment, which is Friday morning. 18 days to go. I’m telling stories about POST….and this is a story about old and valued friendships.
One of the advantages of crowdfunding is that it’s often a great deal for the backers. I support one or two Kickstarters a month, sometimes publishing Kickstarter like ours, sometimes a new tech toy. Note that the books are reliable – only a few of the publishing projects I’ve funded have even been late! Ours won’t be – the books are written and copyedited and the covers designed. Only about half of the tech toys actually seem to show up in a useful way and on time.
This Kickstarter is already a great deal. The price for a single ebook is reasonable at $5.00. If you back at $5 or more, and we hit $3,000, you’ll get five great stories included, each of which is worth at least $1 all on it’s own…..and of course I think the two stories that are by my friends John and Ken are worth a million dollars each.
Let me explain….
As we were putting the campaign together, Danielle asked if I knew of any great writers we could get stories from. I immediately asked a few friends, and five said yes. Pretty cool. I hope I get to write about all five of them. Let me tell you about two of them, Ken Scholes and John Pitts.
Isn’t that a lovely title? If you haven’t discovered Ken’s work yet, you want to. He generously asked me which story I wanted to use, and I chose this one on purpose. It’s a seed story for one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read. It’s a long series – five books, and the last of them is done, but not out yet. Still, you know it won’t be left half-done and finished by someone else…
I personally can’t wait to binge read them all – the first three will be re-reads and then the last two will be fresh for me. As soon as I finish my MFA….
Ken is one of the finest writers (and humans) I know. His work drips with authority and magic and creativity. If you back or have backed us, and we get to $3,000 (almost certain), you’ll get the story. Then you’ll want to buy the series. Consider that warning — you’ll need to set aside some time to be enchanted. You’ll also want all of Ken’s other short fiction. He’s up to three collections, and I had a really hard time choosing between this story and his Edward Bear story.
I’ve known Ken since before he started selling novels, maybe even since before he started writing novels. He sings at conventions. He has a huge, funny, loving heart. He’s overcome much and worked incredibly hard to become the brilliant being that he is.
John and I were in the same writing group years ago, before either of us were published (with another friend who’s story might appear here). We’ve stayed friends ever since. He’s one of my best first readers, the guy who catches the plot problems and is always brave enough to tell me when something doesn’t work. He’s also a brilliant writer. I love Towfish Blues, which you’ll get to read if you back or have backed us. It’s a dirigible story, and an adventure. I also love his novel series that starts with Black Blade Blues. Warning – both titles have “Blues” in them. Different worlds entirely. John just likes the word blues. His short story collection is Bravado’s House of Blues.
He’s currently serializing a set of novels as he writes it. It’s called “Dear Father Mulcahey” and it’s pretty darned awesome. You can find it for free online.
In addition to being a fine writer and delivering great critique, John and his wife Kathy are two of the most fabulous people I know. They’re better humans than I am (and I think I’m a good human – I just think they are stellar role models for the rest of us. They have this intense and rare unselfish generosity).
Hopefully I’ll get to tell my stories about the next three — that will require funding and hitting stretch goals. So help us out if you have a moment.
This is the fifth entry in my series about POST, the novel that eSpecBooks is crowdfunding via Kickstarter. For reference, we’re at $2240 out of $3500 at this moment, which is Saturday morning. I’m telling stories about the book….and this is the promised story of why it’s coming out via a Kickstarter. It’s more than a story about crowdfunding – it’s also a story about new friendships.
POST was written a few years ago. The New York houses chose not to buy it. This is not unusual. Books from Harry Potter to Dune have been rejected over and over; publishing is hard. Publishers want safe bets. Authors want readers, and for their work to live. I like this story a lot, and I think there are people out there in the world who would enjoy meeting Sage and Monday and seeing their adventures. I like the topics it talks about – destruction and recovery, love and hope, a frisson of tragedy. But what’s an author to do once a book fails in its first run through New York? Well, there are choices.
All of those seemed overwhelming….I still have my day job, and it’s a busy, big, meaningful job. So POST rested while I worked on Edge of Dark and Spear of Light. They succeeded, which made marketing POST in New York even less likely (it is quite different from my hard SF for adults, and different is scary for publishers). Now, before anyone thinks I’m dissing New York, not at all. I LOVE working with the whole team at Pyr. My books there are doing well, and my editor, Renee Sears, bought two more. I hope that I have at least one book through a bigger publisher every year.
I also like smaller presses, such as Patrick Swenson’s Fairwood Press, which put out my collection Cracking the Sky. The author generally gets more say in the book design, and books stay in print far longer. I’m reissuing my Silver Ship series via Wordfire Press, and I’m really looking forward to that.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Mike McPhail appeared in my life when I was writing my first series, which started with The Silver Ship and the Sea. They liked – and reviewed – the books and helped them out (reviews matter!). They invited me to write stories in their military SF series, Defending the Future. I did. I had fun, and some of the people who reviewed Cracking the Sky really liked those stories. Yes, I’m a pacifist. Isn’t that who you want to write your military stories? Danielle and Mike and I live on different coasts and generally don’t cross paths, but once upon a time Danielle and I were at the same convention. She mentioned she was starting eSpecBooks and asked if I had any books she could Kickstart. “Well,” I said, “I have this YAish story I love called POST….”
I don’t like marketing. I’m spending a lot of time working alongside Danielle to get this funded, which is marketing. I cringe when I see posts about the Kickstarter in my feeds. But what doesn’t kill you….Really, I need to get better at marketing. I’ve had three reviewers this year wondering why more people don’t read my books. Well, maybe I don’t market enough. So I’ve got the bit in my gritted teeth and I’m going to work to get this done. The good news is I have a lot of help from my friends, which is the next story I’ll tell. We have to fund before that matters – the help they gave starts after we fund. There is some very cool fiction in the stretch goals…
eSpecBooks has a related blog post about their view of crowdfunding.
The Geek Girl Project interviewed me.
The same campaign is crowdfunding The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell, so here’s his website.
And now that I’ve finished dinking with this post, we’re at $2,347. Most of a weekend to inch up $107 dollars. Crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart.
I’ve already told a few stories about POST – how I finally got use Cynthia Radthorne’s art, how the story started, and how it’s partly a conversation with another author’s work. I’m telling these stories because eSpecBooks is currently crowdfunding POST and another novel by Jack Campbell (The Sister Paradox) on Kickstarter. More about that choice later, but in the meantime, if you haven’t backed us yet, I’d appreciate your support.
POST feels different than my other books – its set in a closer time, and it’s lower tech. There’s not a robot in sight, and no AI. There’s even very little cell phone coverage. For those of you who have been reading me religiously, you’ll know this is a pretty big departure from the books I have been writing (although…as a hint…if you took POST and mashed it up with Edge of Dark and set it on Earth, you’d have something like the next book I’m writing. The characters and the situation are different, and the world building is drastically different, but the time frame is the same).
I’m generally an optimist. Most of my books are pretty much about technical optimism. In some ways, POST is more about what might happen if the pessimists are right, and if really bad things happen. How do you get optimistic after a time when many people dir, when storms and disease ravage the economy, etc?
It’s the optimist in me that got me started AFTER the worst is over.
POST is about restoring civil society if our economies get brought down by climate change. The story begins just as the curve turns up from the bottom, as survival has happened (or not), and people are rebuilding. That rebuilding, of course, doesn’t go evenly. The world is not safe. But there are friends along the way, and there are heroes, and there are saviors who were once needed, and who probably need to move on. Note that it is not graphically brutal or sexual, but its probably not for your seven year old. I think of it for teen readers through ninety-year olds. My protagonists are female, but some of my heroes are men.
POST is not hopeless. It’s set “Post” the really bad times, after “Before” and after “During.”
Like much of the good science fiction about the coming years on Earth, it shows our peril, and it also shows that we might get out of it. I hope you back the book, and that you enjoy reading it.
I am a writer, public speaker, and a futurist. I’m interested in how new technologies might change us and our world, particularly for the better.
I’m excited about my most recent book series, a duology called “The Glittering” which includes the books Edge of Dark and Spear of Light, both published by Pyr.