it’s a draft!

May 1, 2017

It’s a draft! The rough draft of Bannerless #2 is off to a first reader. I’m already making notes for the next revision, so it’s not technically finished yet. But it’s a coherent entity now, which is a big step.

This is one where I changed a bunch of names after I had finished writing. And it’s weird, because I think I knew the whole time the names weren’t working, but I didn’t want to take the time to think of new ones. Once it was finished, I could. So I changed them. (Thank goodness for search and replace.)

Like Bannerless, this is a murder mystery. Initially, I named the murder victim Hope. This led to a book full of phrases like “Hope is dead.” “Who killed Hope?” “What happened to Hope?” “Hope is gone.” And so on. I’m sure it has nothing to do with recent current events. At any rate, that name absolutely had to change.



Reminder:  It’s Independent Bookstore Day tomorrow, and I’ll be at Old Firehouse Books in Ft. Collins around 12-1 to celebrate as a “guest bookseller!” I worked at an independent bookstore (McKinzey-White in Colorado Springs) back in the day, and I try to support independents whenever I can and encourage everyone to do so as well! I always find treasures there.

Have a great weekend!


10 years

April 19, 2017

I don’t remember the exact day, but right around now is the 10th anniversary of getting my first book royalty check and immediately quitting my day job at a standardized test grading mill.

I’ve been a full-time writer for 10 years.

I checked back in the archives of this blog, because I couldn’t remember when I started it. Turns out, that was in June 2007.  So the blog is almost ten years old, too.  (Funny, what you suddenly have time for after quitting your day job.)  What’s interesting to me is I never made any online announcement about the start date of writing full time when it happened — because I had no online presence outside my website. Social media wasn’t a thing.

So it seems like a good time to mark the event now.



April 14, 2017

Just a reminder, tonight I’ll be at the Colorado Book Award readings at the BookBar in Denver! 7 pm!

And next Sunday I’ll be at Starfest.

Things are getting busy again. The Tax March is tomorrow, the Science March is next week. And I’m maybe two weeks out from having draft zero of the new novel. Hoping to finish by the end of the month. It’s at the stage where I think I have all the pieces, I just need to get them all put together. And change a couple of names. Thank goodness for search and replace.

One step at a time…

BONUS UPDATE:  My latest short story, “I Have Been Drowned in Rain,” is now live at Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  True story:  this is basically my first novel. Like, I borrowed the characters and situation and changed it up some and condensed it into one scene. But yeah, this is a version of a thing I wrote 22 years ago that didn’t sell because I wasn’t good enough then.



Hugo finalist!

April 5, 2017

So this happened.

My story, “That Game We Played During the War,” is a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Short Story.

I’m really excited.  This kind of recognition feels amazing. Especially for what I think is one of the best stories I’ve ever written. (I’m closing in on 100 published short stories, so that’s saying something.)

It’s a really good Hugo ballot overall, I think. And not just because a bunch of real-life friends are also nominated. Marjorie Liu’s Monstress in the Graphic Novel category. Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence and The Expanse are up for Best Series, and the Expanse TV show is up for a Best Dramatic – Short award.  It’s going to be a hell of a party in Helsinki, and I’m so glad I get to be there.

And Carrie Fisher’s memoir The Princess Diarist is up for Best Related Work. This makes me so, so happy, and so, so sad at the same time. But now I can always say that I was a Hugo finalist the same year as Carrie Fisher.


first draft lessons

March 31, 2017

This week I worked on a really important scene in the new book. The denouement of the mystery, where all is revealed, to astonishment and horror. I laid it all out.

And it was all wrong.

But see, it’s actually really good that it was all wrong. Until I’d actually written it down, until it was on the page staring back at me, I didn’t realize that the scene wasn’t dynamic, that it was mostly talking heads, that it wasn’t realistic to how people would behave in that situation. It’s the old problem:  I have to get this information to the reader somehow. So how do I do that in a way that’s exciting and engaging?

By writing out the wrong version, I saw exactly what it was missing and how I needed to fix it. I hadn’t, before.

I think sometimes writers get stuck because we’re afraid of being wrong, of writing scenes that don’t work. It would be wonderful to write everything perfect the first time, wouldn’t it? If you know something isn’t right, why write it wrong the first time?

Because being wrong can maybe show you what “right” looks like, if you didn’t quite know before.

So yeah, I spent this week completely re-writing scenes I’d already written. And it was great.


Wednesday update

March 22, 2017

Once again, REFUGE OF DRAGONS is finally off my desk and out in the world. This pleases me so greatly. Thanks again for your patience on it.

Otherwise, I am being nibbled to death by ducks.

This has been going on for a couple of weeks now, and in my line of work it’s definitely better to be too busy than not busy enough. But for every task I finish, two more seem to be waiting. It’s a lot of juggling. Thank goodness I’m not also in the middle of traveling.

And the weather. Argh. We had a week of unseasonably warm weather last week. So this week’s perfectly normal chilly spring weather feels way too cold. And yet, I’m hoping for snow soon, because March has been snow-free so far. We never have snow-free Marches.  It’s worrying.

So. I’m going to get back to it. A lot of cool stuff coming soon.  The busy-ness will pay off shortly.