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.

Halloween 2021

December 6, 2021

This post is waaaay late (it’s December now, right? Yeah…), but what can I say, it’s been a year.

Nevertheless, behold: my niece’s Halloween costume! If the Ewok doesn’t totally give it away, Emery decided to be Endor Leia this year. And can I just say, I was a bit relieved to get a project that was relatively simple. It’s a dress. A simple dress! I bet it was comfortable, too.

I’m pleased with how it turned out — getting the details right is the challenge on something like this.

My latest novella, Charmed Waters, released as an e-book yesterday. Hurrah!

Cormac and Amelia meet a mermaid in landlocked Colorado. Now, they need to get her home.

Kindle

Nook

Apple

An an audiobook will be out soon!

Reminder: the new Cormac and Amelia novella, CHARMED WATERS, is out tomorrow!

I’ve been traveling again. Jumping in with both feet, and it’s been strange. Like, 85% normal and the last 15% is masks and atrocious bureaucratic hoops and paranoia. I’m really out of practice at this under the best circumstances. But I’m also glad to be doing it, not because it’s getting back to normal, but because it’s an attempt to approach the world on the terms of this new normal.

My next trip is going to be to Washington D.C. for Worldcon. Which is not usually in December, mind you, but is an attempt at scheduling around everything. Hey, you remember back last spring when we thought everything was going to settle down by now? Yeah, good times.

And a quick TV update. Only Murders in the Building was fun, a bit of a contemporary comedy intersecting with the obsession over true crime stories. Mostly it was really lovely seeing Steve Martin do his thing in something new.

Foundation. Oof. Y’all, I really wanted to like this. It’s awfully pretty. It’s been so long since I read the books I don’t really care about how good of an adaptation it is, I just wanted the show to be intriguing and interesting…and watchable. It is none of these. Disjointed, repetitive, and mostly going for sensationalism rather than a coherent story. I made it through episode 5, then bailed, and I’m sorry for that.

Next up: Hawkeye and the live-action Cowboy Bebop.

new Wild Cards reprints!

November 23, 2021

Tor Books is steadily working on reprinting all the Wild Cards substantial backlist, with fantastic character-centric artwork. Some of these books have been out of print for decades, so this is a cool and good thing.

The latest are two of the solo novels: Turn of the Cards by the great Vic Milán, who unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. He would have loved this cover of Jumpin’ Jack Flash. And Death Draws Five, by John Jos. Miller. The links go to Bookshop .org. Please support indie bookstores whenever you can.

Here’s a story: The company that originally published Death Draws Five went under right around the time of its publication date. (This was before I joined the Consortium, so I learned about all this later.) As a result, the warehouse and all the stock got caught up in bankruptcy proceedings, and only a few hundred copies ever made it out into the world. The original edition of this book is rare.

You want to know how big a fan of Wild Cards I was back in the day?  I have a copy of that first-edition of Death Draws Five. I think I picked it up at a Barnes and Noble right when it came out and had no idea there were any problems. Lucky me! But yeah. I have all the rarities. I’m pretty pleased about that.

And of course I’m getting the new editions. Of course I am!

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.

I didn’t make it to the theater for this one, which is a bummer. I’m still deeply out of the habit of going to movies. I’ve missed so many, including the latest Bond. I’ve now missed two MCU films on the big screen. Still not sure I’m going to make it to Eternals, but I think I want to try. Ugh, things still feel so weird.

I have a very obnoxious one-line review for Shang-Chi: In a reversal of the usual pattern, an Asian hero who is the rightful heir to a mystical legacy travels to the West to learn the ancient art of… sarcasm.

Anyway. This movie is just fine. It’s really pretty. Great cast. Fantastic fight scenes. Chock full of Chinese lore that brought to mind the research I did for Kitty’s Big Trouble. (I’ll pass along one of my biggest sources because I suspect it was also a source for this, which is the Classic of Mountain and Seas. The secret village seems very much like something that would have been described in that work.) Yet another dead mother. *shrug*

I’m a little confused about the Ten Rings as a terrorist organization now, and how what we’ve learned about it here connects up with what we know from the Iron Man films. Because I gotta say I was really super into the idea that the Mandarin was invented to stereotypically conform to western fears about foreign threats—specifically designed to be a deconstruction of Orientalism, which was freaking brilliant. I think I conflated the Mandarin with the Ten Rings, while it’s more accurate to say the powers behind the Mandarin appropriated the Ten Rings, which it turns out is a real terrorist organization that’s been around for a thousand years? *recalculating, recalculating*

I’m not saying this is a bad thing, Just a bit confusing. Ultimately, it works because Shang-Chi really bought in to its own story. But I also get the feeling that the MCU kind of doesn’t really know what to do next, and is going to end up retconning a lot of what came before. And on that note we come to Eternals, a group of super-powerful people that we just never heard of until now?

Meanwhile, between this and Snake-Eyes, I propose we are entering an 80’s Ninja Aesthetic Revival that is long overdue.

Once again, I’ve thought of a whole list of really great DIY gifts I can make for the holidays, and I’ve done this in (checks calendar) November.

I don’t know why I never think of this in August. It’s a cosmic mystery.

But, well, after a big sort through my craft stash and an epic trip to Michaels, I think I have what I need. Let’s see how far I can get.

*rolls up sleeves*