Happy July, everybody! Year’s halfway over! Brace for incoming second half of 2020!

A couple of things to tell you about:

A new series of anthologies:  THE DYSTOPIAN TRIPTYCH is now available! Three anthologies, with each author writing three different stories. The first, the slide into dystopia. The second, in the middle of dystopia. The third, the crawl out of dystopia. It’s a cool idea and a challenging writing project.

My trio of stories are collectively titled “We Take Care of Everything.” And I think they’re good. I think they’re horrifying. . . because they are barely, barely science fiction at all. I’m really excited to hear what people think of them.

(I swear to you, when we planned these anthologies out over a year ago we had no idea the current events situation would be so…. *waves arms wildly*. Timing is a hell of a thing.)

And next thing to tell you about:

The ebook of Kitty and The Midnight Hour is on sale right now! And it’s doing really well! So well, in fact, that on June 30, it made it to the top of one of Amazon’s Bestseller lists:  #1 in “American Horror.” This is 15 years after the novel’s original release. This makes me chortle. As we say in the bookselling business. . . this one’s got legs!

 

Have I mentioned that “The Ghosts of Sherwood” is available on audio? Well now I have.

I’m a bit quiet at the moment because I did that thing where I scheduled everything for the same week. I taught a (virtual) workshop on Saturday, and I spent yesterday afternoon at the (virtual) Odyssey Writing Workshop. Tomorrow, I’ll be doing an AMA at the r/books subreddit. And book release!

I know I do this because it just looks better all clustered on the calendar, like I can get all these things done at once. But I always forget that it means I spend the week being exhausted and don’t get anything else done. I just want to. . .not make any decisions for a couple of days, you know?

Anyway.

Hope you all are staying safe. Please continue to do so.

 

The Ghosts of Sherwood has been racking up some pretty cool accolades:

PW has it as a Pick of the Week for June 8

On Amazon, it’s a Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Book of the Month

And it’s an Apple Books Best Book for June, including this really excellent review:  “Carrie Vaughn’s swashbuckling novella is an absolute delight. She takes time to flesh out each character even as she keeps the adventures coming. We particularly adored 10-year-old Eleanor Locksley, a quiet but endlessly resourceful heroine—a righteous antidote to the damsel in distress. Robin Hood has been depicted as everything from a mustachioed archer to a cartoon fox, but there’s something endearing about seeing him as a devoted fortysomething husband and father.”

I’m fanning myself, this is so encouraging. I seriously didn’t know if anyone would like my lighthearted adventuring medieval family sitcom, but maybe that was a niche that needed filling.

And based on reviews, Eleanor is clearly going to need to star in her own story. I have some ideas…

 

First off, here’s a link to the Colorado Freedom Fund, which works to provide bail money so that people aren’t wrongfully incarcerated just because they can’t afford bail. I’ve donated, and maybe you would like to. Your state probably has a Freedom Fund, too.

Actually, now that I think about it, Freedom Funds are *entirely absolutely 100%* in keeping with the spirit of Robin Hood.

And now, this:

As you can see, I was destined to write a Robin Hood story from an early age. Whatever Prince John is selling here, I don’t think Tiny Carrie is buying. This was at Disneyworld in late 1976, which would make me just shy of 4 years old here. I think I still make that exact face when someone says something dodgy.

The Ghosts of Sherwood is out next week, and a thing I’d like you to know about it:  it’s fun. It’s light. Robin and Marian get to keep their happy ending, they love and support their children. It’s about friends and family and standing together against the world.

If you need a distraction, this might be it.  I’ve realized over the last little while that I could never write anything as dark as what’s in the world, so I’ve embraced the full escapist potential of fiction. One of the reasons The Adventures of Robin Hood is still considered the best Robin Hood is because of its joy. No matter how dark things get, Robin still has hope and still fights.

I hope I can bring some of that back to the character.

 

TV watching update

May 25, 2020

The Ghosts of Sherwood is out in about two weeks. Well, that snuck up on me. Watch this space for more info! (And yes, there will be an audio edition!) For now, here’s a video of me reading the start of the story.

Pandemic TV viewing continues. I finished The Last Kingdom season 4, and it continues to deliver what it’s always delivered. The first couple of episodes don’t seem to match up with the end of the previous season, but the story sucked me in soon enough. I had a delightful moment I need to tell you about:  Since last year I’ve been listening to The History of England podcast, which is narrated in a comforting British accent, told with humor and insight, and really digs into the historiography — what historians have said about the history over time. I started so I could get more background about the reigns of King John and King Henry III for my Robin Hood stories. And then I just kept going, jumping back to the Norman conquest for another story I want to write, and then even further back… which led me listening to all about how King Edward (heir to Alfred the Great) and his sister Aethelflaed, the Lady of Mercia, consolidated power. And that’s exactly what The Last Kingdom season 4 is all about, and it confirmed what I’ve suspected all along, that the story — the show and Bernard Cornwall’s books — are something of a sideways history. If historians don’t know exactly how something happened. . .it’s Uhtred! Uhtred did it! So it is here. The podcast tells me that historians aren’t exactly sure how Edward and Aethelflaed convinced the ealdorman of Mercia to put Aethelflaed in charge of an exclusively male position. Well — it’s Uhtred! So that’s fun.

On another level the show is a catalog of early medieval combat and battle strategy, and it’s kind of brilliant. I think it should be required viewing for SCA fighters. This season, we got a siege of a walled town. Gah….

I watched Picard. Much like ST: Discovery, it has some moments of brilliance — and some of the dumbest, most bone-headed plotting I’ve ever seen, along with (what I think is) unnecessary grimdark. The Romulan baddies were laughable cliches. I was so interested in Hugh and the Borg rehabilitation project — and the show just flushed it. I dunno. I keep saying I’m going to stop watching and then Trek keeps pulling me back in…

I’ve been watching and enjoying the National Theatre productions on YouTube. Right now it’s Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster in A Streecar Named Desire. Both fantastic actors in a very well written play about people being horrible to each other.  In a couple of weeks they’re posting Tom Hiddleston’s Coriolanus, which I’m really looking forward to.

Onward…

 

I’m teaching my online workshop on How to Write Superhero Fiction again this year! It’ll be June 13, two hours of commentary, tips, and exercises on building your own superhero world and characters!

Here’s the link for more info and how to sign up!

 

The pandemic, when so many of us are getting self-taught crash courses in video production…

Here’s a quick clip of me reading from THE GHOSTS OF SHERWOOD!

This is due out in early June, and will be available in paperback, e-book, and audio!

In other news…

The weather is FINALLY warming up. Spring seems to have come very slowly to my neck of the woods. But it’s here.

This Saturday is the Global Big Day, which I’ve been happily participating in for the last few years. Things are a little different this year, and I was worried that my usual favorite birding spots would be crowded and that I shouldn’t go. But I’ve got my eye on an isolated chunk of private land — the farm where I’ve been riding horses has a great stretch of cottonwoods along an irrigation ditch. Great bird habitat, and I’ve been wanting to get out there to see what I could find anyway. So that’s my spot this year.

I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. It’s really nice being excited about something right now.

 

Monday update

May 4, 2020

I just realized I haven’t updated any of my websites to reflect that everything has been cancelled. I should probably do that.

Trying not to feel like I’m dropping balls. I mean, it’s not like things are “business as usual” at all. But every week there’s a few things on the “to do” list that haven’t gotten done and it’s hard not to beat myself up, at least a little.

That said, the writing seems to be going well so far. I wrapped up the editorial revision of what’s going to be my next published novel. Right now we’re calling it QUESTLAND, and I hope that’s the title we go with. It’s about a high-tech fantasy gaming resort that goes horribly awry. . .and it’s up to the bard to save the day.

I also finished the first draft of the Neolithic fantasy novel and sent it off to my beta reader. That felt good, let me tell you.

And I’ve started something new. Stay tuned…

 

I’ve been nattering on about Robin Hood for over a year now, and I’m happy to say that it’s all been to good purpose:

The Ghosts of Sherwood has a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Pull quote:  “Vaughn’s masterful worldbuilding and lovable cast promise more good things to come in future adventures.”

This is a really big deal and has made me very happy. Like, maybe I wasn’t nuts in tackling this whole project in the first place?

Like, maybe the timing is exactly right for a story about a family who loves each other and supports each other, with characters who are fun to spend time with?

The release date is still a month and a half off, which in these harried times seems like a really long time.

Soon, soon…

 

pandemic sitrep

April 7, 2020

We are all going to be agoraphobes and germaphobes when this is over.

Actually, I’m doing okay. I need to go to the store, partly to assure myself that I still CAN go to the store, if that makes sense. I’m finally able to settle in to this “new normal” of self-isolating and going around masked and so on, because I’m no longer dealing with the decidedly not-normal of my grandfather’s last couple of weeks.

And… I will likely finish one novel revision this week, and hopefully get started on another.

I’m lucky that work usually makes me feel better.