The Year of Stalled Projects

December 30, 2016

At the end of 2016, I’m still thinking about 2015.  I didn’t have a novel release in 2016, and this was because of stuff that happened in 2015.  Which, basically, was a lot of nothing.  (Thank goodness for Amaryllis and Other Stories, it gave me something to talk about.)  At the end of 2015 I got a new agent and spun up some new projects.  This meant letting go of some of the old projects, at least for now.  Looking ahead, I’m still coming to terms with what I thought was going to happen and ended up not, and what actually is happening.

2015 is going down in my personal history as The Year of Stalled Projects.  Reading over some of that year’s blog entries, I had so many things I was excited about.  All these writing projects I wanted to talk about but didn’t because I didn’t know what was going to happen to them.  Projects that it turned out never went under contract, never sold, and are still sitting on my hard drive, unfinished.  One entire novel written, two more 3/4 written, a couple of novellas, a screenplay.  All moved to the back burner right now.

It’s really depressing when I write it out like that.

The good news is, I made the changes I needed to and things are a lot, a lot different this year.  (Thanks, Seth!)  Two new novels with actual release dates, covers, and everything.  (Martians Abroad due out in just a couple of weeks, read the first chapter here!  And Bannerless due out in July!)  Cool writing stuff I can actually talk about.

Now that I’ve got some momentum back on the business/career side, I’m digging out.  Doing some triage of those projects, figuring out what I can do to get some of that 2015 work out there.  My current contract is one book a year, after years of being on the two book a year grind.  This gives me some breathing room.  We’ll see what I can do with it.

My writer friend Daniel likes to say this business is all about gambling.  If you want to win, you have to put your chips on the table.  Not all of those chips are going to work out.  But some of them will.  If you keep making your bets.

I’ve got a lot of bets left to make.

Onward and upward!  Here’s to a happy 2017.



Carrie Fisher is gone.

And yes, we’ve lost so many good and genius people this year.  But we have so many more to lose.  I don’t even want to whisper their names, in case I really might draw the wrong attention to them.  We don’t know how bad it can be, how bad it’s going to be.

Rather than focus on the loss, I’m trying to focus on how lucky we are to have had any of these people at all.  To have their work — which will be with us always — and their examples and and their inspirations.

Again, I’m reflecting on how odd it is to grieve for someone I never met.  It seems a bit presumptuous, especially next to how much her family, friends, and people she worked with must be hurting.  But Carrie Fisher has been a presence and an inspiration through my whole life.  And I’ll miss that.

Meanwhile, I’ll be celebrating her life by reading her books.


Happy Holidays

December 23, 2016

Behold, this year’s tree and all its bounty:


Have a safe and peaceful holiday season, everyone.


lots of Wild Cards news

December 21, 2016

I have a new Wild Cards story up at  “The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown” is essentially a YA story, which I’m not sure has been done before in Wild Cards.  I hope it’s a fun read for people.

Lots more ahead for Wild Cards.  Over on his Not a Blog, George has announced what we’re calling the American Triad, exploring parts of the Wild Cards world outside of New York City.  First up there will be Mississippi Roll, in which I have a story.

And did I mention there’s a brand-new official Wild Cards website?  This will be the place to go for news and awesome content, like the comic strip I did to commemorate writing my first Wild Cards story.





some holiday cheer

December 19, 2016

Less than a week to go until my family does the holiday thing.  I’m caught in that moment between zen and panic.  I’ve finished most of the gifts, I’ve made some cookies, I did cards last night.  I start to relax — and then I think of one more thing and wonder if I’ll have time.  But I think it’s going to be okay.  I think I can sit back and enjoy things a bit.

In the meantime, here’s some holiday cheer for you.

From the 80’s alternative vault, this is a new one to me but it’s definitely going into the rotation:

My favorite, the one that never gets old:

Pop/jazz excellence:

And Cyndi (not great quality. but it is Cyndi singing, which is always cool.):



Star Wars: Rogue One

December 16, 2016

First, some shameless self promotion:  the first chapter of Martians Abroad is up at  Less than a month to go till release day!

And now, to a brief-ish review of Star Wars: Rogue One, the movie I have been waiting for for 25 years.

First off, I’m really annoyed at a handful of people who are insisting that spoilers don’t matter on this because we know what happens because Episode IV, yadda yadda.  That’s not the point, and they know that’s not the point.  Yes, we know how it turns out, much the same way we know how Titanic  or Henry V are going to turn out.  But this is also a story about individual people and their arcs and what they do, and those are the details we don’t want spoiled.  I’m annoyed that I have to explain this to some people.


Oh yes.  I REALLY LIKED IT.  I’m still processing.  As you’ll recall, my rubric was “a rollicking adventure espousing the heroic ideals of Star Wars,” and I got that.  And I also got what I’ve been wanting for since I started reading Rogue Squadron and playing the RPG, and that’s a Star Wars movie that breaks out of the strictures of the main saga and shows us some new characters and new corners of the universe and so on, and even uses a slightly different filmic language to do so.  YES.  This really opens up the world for even more storytelling possibilities.

So much more I could say.  I will refrain.

And I really want to talk about the part that kicked my teeth in. (In a good way.  A brilliant way, even.) But I won’t.  Not yet.


movies and sundry

December 14, 2016

My long review of Arrival is up at Lightspeed.  I’ll say again, I really liked this and want to see it again to catch what I missed the first time.  I hope between this, The Martian, Interstellar, and so on, we’re looking at a growing trend of smart, high-concept, problem-solving science fiction in the movies.  It’s like I’ve always said:  these stories don’t need monsters or explosions to make them riveting.

Yes, I have my Rogue One tickets for tomorrow night.  I’ll report in, without spoilers, on Friday.  I’m on review and spoiler lockdown myself right now.  I have no idea what to expect.  What I want is a rollicking adventure espousing the heroic ideals of Star Wars.  Fingers crossed.

The annual viewing of White Christmas has happened.  The annual viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol is still on deck.  And I may or may not have added Hogfather to the annual holiday movie viewing roster… This year may clinch it.

Holiday countdown continues.  Packages arriving, presents coming together, decorations still going up.  Maybe not as much to do as I feared.  Maybe I can sit back and relax a little.  Enjoy things.  Except I haven’t started any baking yet…