upcoming appearances!

January 13, 2022

Y’all, I’m so out of practice in posting about news and stuff that people would actually like to hear about… But here we go, let’s do it!

February 18-20: I’ll be participating virtually in Boskone. Log on to see my smiling face, and a bunch of other programming besides!

March 16-20: I’ll be IN PERSON at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. This is the one I had to cancel out of two years ago when everything fell apart. Let’s see if I can actually get to Florida this time! Is it weird that I’m really looking forward to doing some birdwatching while I’m in Orlando?

Uncanny Magazine is having a poll to vote on the best stories of the year! My short story, “The Book of the Kraken,” about a girl and her squid is among the candidates, if you’re so inclined to tick the box!

Into the Future…

January 10, 2022

I have an announcement.

Short version:  I’m moving this blog over to Patreon, a crowdfunding platform where audiences can directly support creators. There’ll be at least a couple of free posts every month, so some version of this blogging experience will continue. BUT…  I’ll also be creating what I’m calling a Writing Symposium:   a living, evolving document with info about the craft and business of writing, and my own process and how it functions in the real world. Like a “how to write” book but more interesting. Also, this will give me some much-needed structure and motivation, which has been lacking this past year. Link forthcoming.

Long explanation:

I mentioned a couple months ago that blogging has been difficult for me. I’ve been writing this blog for about 15 years. When I started it, blogging was still cool. The Kitty series was just getting going. I had a lot to say and I was going to a lot of movies and figuring out a lot of stuff on the fly. Well, after almost two years of pandemic, of struggling with broken novels, and a year of an ongoing coup being perpetrated by former and current elected officials who, in denying the results of the 2020 election, are in violation of their oaths of office and probably guilty of actual crimes, and so on and so forth… I’m really tired.  I still like the idea of a blog, of having a place to put big thoughts and movie reviews and the like. But the actual necessity of finding subjects to write about, then writing them, on a schedule, is a struggle.

Throughout all this I’ve also been toying with the idea of putting together a “how to write” book.

I’ve been writing professionally for more than 20 years, teaching workshops and critiquing for much of that time. I have a lot of thoughts about this gig. But I have to be honest, the idea of writing a book on the subject doesn’t really appeal to me. There are thousands of books on writing out there. Does the world really need another?

Then I got an idea.

I’m starting a Patreon. A lot of fiction writers have started Patreons, and most of them are using the platform to post fiction. I won’t be doing that. I’m going to use the platform to talk about writing. A Writing Symposium. And not just writing, but creativity in general, and everything that goes into building a creative life. I’ve spent a lot of the pandemic thinking about life, and how “a life” isn’t something you build and then you’re finished. It’s an ongoing process, in pretty much constant flux. Building a creative life – one in which you have space to think, dream, write, paint, sing, and make – even more so, since those are often activities that the wider world doesn’t value or take seriously. But they’re really important and it’s all a process that takes attention.

In much the same way, I don’t want to put together a “how to write” book and have it be a static thing, because I’m still learning and growing. A book would be a snapshot of my thoughts at one point in time. With this platform, I’m hoping to create an evolving, interactive document about writing and creativity. This will also give me a regular schedule and structure for posting.

And maybe a little cash, that never hurts.  Because something else I’ve learned is that all this knowledge I’ve scraped together over the years is valuable. Instead of trying to sell a book, I’m putting out a tip jar, basically.

Many of you have been with me from the start, commenting and supporting me, and I’m so very grateful to you for that. So now I have some questions for you… What would you like to see me do in this new format? 

–What do you like in this blog as it is now?  What keeps you coming back?

–What levels of support would you like to see? I’ll definitely have free posts that will very much resemble what I do here, but I’m also considering $1, $5, and $25 per month  levels of support.  These would unlock more in-depth posts on writing in general, and my process in particular.

–If you support other Patreons, what do you like about them? What do you not like? Any advice?

I’m excited about starting up a whole new project. I’m also a little daunted, but I’m taking that as a good sign – challenges are good, and clearly I need something to get me going. So here we go…

Of course I’ll post the link when this goes live!

I decided to not wait for the new year and am trying to be a little bit productive this week. Build up some momentum, right? I haven’t felt like myself for a few weeks now — traveling through the fall, Worldcon, then worries about omicron dropping on everything like a ton of bricks. Much of the socializing that normally happens this time of year hasn’t happened and it’s made me sad.

So, work it is. This month I sold a short story, submitted another one, am wrapping up a draft of a thing that’s kind of an experiment and I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, and lined up the next couple of projects after that. Sometimes the hardest part of this gig is figuring out what to work on next.

We still haven’t had any appreciable snowfall in my part of Colorado. My friend in Crested Butte sent pictures of the three feet of snow they got last week. I’m a little miffed. In all my years in Colorado I’ve never gone all the way through December without needing to shovel the drive at least once.

I did get a lifer bird on this week’s bird walk:  a canvasback. Three of them, actually. This was a bird I thought I’d checked off already, but it turns out I haven’t. That was a nice end-of-year birding bonus!

Mostly I think I need to spend this week wrapping my brain around the fact that this time next week will be 2022. Happy New Year, friends! Brace for impact…

Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2021

I have done it again, told myself I would write a blog post tomorrow, or maybe the next day, soon…and let the time get away from me. But you know what? That’s okay. It’s the holidays. I bought books on my trip to D.C. and I really want to spend the next few days reading them and drinking wine. Let’s do it!

Worldcon was good, if strange. I loved doing something different and seeing people I don’t see often. I was a Hugo finalist’s “designated acceptor” and so got to do all the fun Hugo stuff with none of the anxiety. (My friend did not win, alas.) But with omicron, things got stressful. I didn’t do as much as I normally do at a con.

I did spend quite a bit of time playing tourist in D.C. because the weather was great and there’s so much to see. The National Zoo was within walking distance of the hotel, and with no crowds I got to spend as much time as I wanted watching the baby panda. So beautifully adorable! Walking around I saw cardinals and some other east coast birds that I don’t get to see in Colorado. It was so good for my soul.

I’ve had both a PCR and rapid test since returning, and both are negative, so I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, and that is good.

Now if we could just get some snow…

year in review 2021

December 13, 2021

It’s time for the annual review of what I published this year. Had a little trouble trying to remember everything. If last year was battling a chicken the size of a T-Rex, this year has been battling a hundred T-Rexes the size of chickens. I’ve spent a lot the year being angry and tired, and angry and tired about being angry and tired. It’s a terrible feedback loop.

But I think I’m writing some of the best stories I’ve done in my whole career. I’m really proud of this group of publications, and most of it was done during the pandemic. So, I just need to keep going, I guess.

Novel

Questland. About gaming and pop culture and real-world violence vs. made-up violence and what stories mean and lots more. In some ways it still doesn’t feel real that this book is out in the world. Part of the strangeness of this year.

Novella

“Age of Wonders,” in Wild Cards Deuces Down. This was an impossible task: take a 20-year old anthology and write an interstitial that ties together a group of completely unrelated stories. And I did it. And I think I did a good job.

Fatal Storm and Charmed Waters. The two new Cormac and Amelia stories. And I absolutely love the novella format that lets me do these and have fun without knocking myself out the way novel writing sometimes does.

Novelette

“The Burning Girl” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. The Norman Conquest with superheroes, and I think we need a lot more historical fiction with superheroes.

Short Stories

“The Book of the Kraken” in Uncanny Magazine. A girl and her squid. ‘Nuff said.

“An Easy Job” at Tor.com. The second Graff story. I have so much I want to do with Graff, he’s been spending a lot of time in my brain lately.

“Entanglement: Or How I Failed to Knit a Sweater for My Boyfriend” in Lightspeed, out just this month. I think this is a light little story about knitting, then I go back and look at it again and… well, I just really like this story.

And that’s my year in publications.

new story!

December 9, 2021

I have a new short story out today! Lightspeed Magazine has published “Entanglement, or How I Failed to Knit a Sweater for My Boyfriend.”

Maybe not my longest title, but close. I’m really proud of this one (I mean, I’m proud of most of my writing, but some stories stand out, you know?) because the idea hit me all at once and bubbled up and turned into a real story much quicker than usual, and it’s always nice when that happens. It was fun to write. I hope it’s fun to read.

Just FYI, I’ve never knitted a full-on sweater.

If you’re still looking for holiday gifts, may I make a recommendation, perhaps if you have a gamer in your life who has everything? My latest novel QUESTLAND might be just the thing.

working working…

November 19, 2021

So I have a NASA ball cap that my Mom gave me that I wear everywhere. Well, I wear it when I go hiking/birding, because I’m blond enough that my scalp burns if I don’t wear a hat. And just about every time I do, someone looks at it and says, “Oh, do you work for NASA?” To which I always say, “No, I’m just a fan.”

This question confuses me. Ball caps are for fans, right? I mean, I absolutely guarantee that most people wearing a Broncos cap or any sports team cap or whatever don’t get asked, “Oh, do you work for the Broncos?” No—they’re fans. Like I’m a fan. I don’t know why NASA would be different.

Anyway.

I have a rough draft of a new short story. This is huge, because I haven’t really finished anything since the summer. (I’m working on a novel, which never gets finished right away, but there’s a point where I get super cranky and just want to finish something, and this week I did, which felt great.)

I made a list of ten writing projects I’d like to get done by the end of the year. Spoiler:  they’re not all going to get done by the end of the year. I think I might get four done by the end of the year. But you know, I thrive on lists, so this feels like progress.

old habits and new

November 5, 2021

You might have noticed that blogging has become harder and harder for me this past year. Two years ago I was on a pretty regular schedule of posting three times a week . It dropped to two, and now I’m managing about one. I think a big part of that is the pandemic, having not much going on, all the old patterns disrupted, and as a result feeling like there’s just nothing much to write about. Feeling caught in a rut is making it hard to get motivated. Writing fiction is always my first priority, which probably won’t come as a surprise. If it’s a choice between writing fiction or the blog, fiction wins every time. (The result of this choice is new novellas like FATAL STORM and CHARMED WATERS, and a slew of short stories on the horizon. Hooray!)

I know I’m not the only one who’s realizing I’ve developed a new set of habits during the pandemic, and am now thinking about how to get out of them. Or, better — what new habits to develop to replace them. Big thoughts, there.

This is just to say I’m working on some plans and ideas, and blogging is going to be a part of that but it’s probably going to look different than this. I’ve been blogging here, like this, for about 15 years now, so it’s high time for a change. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Thank you for sticking with me. I really appreciate it.

Autumn again

October 12, 2021

It’s that time of year, the annual Colorado ritual of bracing for the first real freeze and battening down the hatches.

It’s the time of year to review, reassess, look at the what the year has been so far, and look at what lies ahead. Fourth quarter is upon us. I’m okay. I’m trying to take things slow and not beat myself up, but time seems to be accelerating around me, inspiring just a bit of panic.

Breathe deep. It’s gonna be okay.

What I’m doing:

My niece’s Halloween costume went into the mail today, and that’s a big accomplishment. She picked something relatively simple this year, thank goodness. Pics when I have them.

A reminder that two new Cormac and Amelia novellas, FATAL STORM and CHARMED WATERS, will be out in a couple months. Click here to find preorder links. These will also be available on Apple Books and in audiobook versions.

And I feel like it’s about time for a new short story. Is it time for a new short story? Heck yeah! This week, Beneath Ceaseless Skies is publishing my story “The Burning Girl.” For those of you who were at the Alternate History panel at MileHi Con, this is the “Norman Conquest but with superheroes” story I was talking about. It’s a little more complicated than that. But, well, you’ll just have to read it…

And that’s what’s going on in my world.

MileHi Con this week!

September 28, 2021

MileHi Con is this week! This is going to be my first local/Colorado in-person event since…well, the last MileHi Con in 2019.

It’s gonna be weird. It’s going to be just fine, but, you know. I’m taking some extra care trying to get everything in order, and reminding myself it’s at a different hotel. Doing some mindful prep to make sure this goes well.

Also, remember my sudden realization that after 25 years I know exactly how to make this Nomi Sunrider cosplay?

I did it. She’s done, all ready to go, and I’ll be wearing her when I judge the masquerade on Saturday. I cannot wait to get some good pictures to show you.

Another thing about knowing how to do a costume like this is that it isn’t just my skills that have developed: I also have a whole bunch of friends and contacts who’ve also developed their skills. I reached out for help with a couple of pieces. My brother, the professional scenic designer and builder I might add, made a custom original lightsaber hilt for me, and it’s amazing. My friend Wendy, the professional jeweler and metalsmith, made a custom cloak clasp for me. Also amazing. (Check out her “Cake or Death” rune ring!)

Argh you guys I’m so lucky! And excited!