state of the desk

August 17, 2020

This is what 5 rough drafts look like. A novel, a novella, a screenplay, and two short stories. I’m hoping to add another short story to the pile by next week.

I really need to do some revising. So much easier right now to just pile on the fresh word count. But I gotta get some of this stuff out the door…

new author pic!

August 12, 2020

My next novel, QUESTLAND, will be out June 2021. We’ll be doing a big cover reveal at some point soon, and it’s a gorgeous cover. I’m excited. I decided I wanted a new author picture to go with the new cover and new book. We did the shoot responsibly, outdoors and appropriately distanced.

I’m pleased with the result.

Lily

August 8, 2020

Lily is gone.

We said goodbye Friday morning. Her body just wasn’t working anymore. She was with me for over fifteen years, and life feels different today than it did a couple of days ago. The house feels empty.

This pic is from a couple months back. She had just fallen down the stairs with no ill effects and couldn’t understand why I was freaking out.

She kept her floof right to the end.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here! Let’s see what we’ve got:

The August issue of Lightspeed includes my review of the Amazon Prime show Upload.  And also a reprint of my gender-flipped fairy tale retelling, “The Huntsman and the Beast.”  My pieces go live later in the month, or you can buy the whole issue right now.

I had a conversation with the Writers Drinking Coffee podcast.

And here’s a written interview with the Los Angeles Public Library.

Virtual Worldcon went well, I think. Technical glitches were to be expected, and I think I should probably get myself a new webcam. But each of my panels had 100+ virtual attendees, which seems huge to me! The convention also had a Discord channel, where people could go after each panel to chat, and where we could pop in on virtual bars and consuites. I got to video chat with some of the folks I’d normally see at a convention, and that was really nice. I came out of it with the same to-be-read list I usually leave a convention with.

An online convention is better than no convention at all, and the current video chat and webinar technology makes it all surprisingly doable. Which is good, because I have two more virtual conventions this year — MileHi Con and Capclave have both moved online.

Maybe I’ll “see” you there!

 

 

The Heirs of Locksley

August 3, 2020

The Heirs of Locksley, the second of my novellas about Robin Hood and Lady Marian’s children, is due out tomorrow. I did a reading!

Available in print and ebook from Tor.com, and also on audio!

 

 

I’m being really good and drinking tea during programming, rather than the Old Fashioned I was thinking about. No booze until after I finish programming. I don’t normally have to make these decisions when I’m at a convention and don’t have the kitchen literally ten feet away.

I’m enjoying Worldcon so far, even though I’ve only dipped my toes in. But it’s also a bit strange. Conventions are usually literally a different world — I’ve traveled, I’m in a hotel, I’m in a strange place, it’s an adventure!

At Virtual Worldcon, I have to remember to take the trash out because it’s trash night and make sure I walk the dog before my programming item starts and maybe no one will notice if I’m eating a cheese snack off camera. And while I’m not going No Pants, I’m definitely not wearing my usual convention polish.

Not good or bad, just an observation.

One thing that I’m not sure I mentioned:  I entered the masquerade. We all know I love costuming, but I’ve never entered a Worldcon masquerade because, well… no time. Transporting costumes takes more energy than I usually have, and managing a masquerade on top of my other programming is a bit much.

Well, this year it’s all via video. No transporting costumes required. I submitted the material last week, and I can do all my regular programming without worrying about showing up all dolled up in person. The masquerade is tonight, AND I’M VERY EXCITED. I might have to sneak an Old Fashioned in for this one.

Eeeek!

 

I’m busy this week getting ready for Worldcon, and also for the release of The Heirs of Locksley next week, and also doing the “OMG it’s the last week of July I need to do all the things I said I was going to get done by the end of the month” thing. You think I’d learn.

I actually had a Worldcon dream last night. We were all there in person, but we were also doing everything virtually, so, like, we were sitting around a table but we all had our computers and were talking to each other via Zoom? Yeah, so that’s where I’m at.

If you have a membership to the convention and want to know where to (virtually) find me, my schedule is posted here. I somehow ended up on both Star Wars and MCU fan panels which is fabulous. No complaints here.

Okay, let’s do this!

 

Capclave goes virtual

July 23, 2020

And that’s it, the last of my conventions for the year has cancelled in-person events and gone virtual.

Capclave 2020 will now be online. They’ve got some good membership deals, both for attending the online version and package deals for this year and next year. Check it out! Seeing my convention peeps online is better than not seeing you at all, I think.

The silver lining to this is I’m hoping that some folks who’ve never been able to attend in-person conventions, for whatever reason, might be able to try out these virtual conventions and get a taste of the experience.

More updates as I have them. I’m determined to make the best of things.

Stay safe. Wear your masks.

 

The Old Guard

July 20, 2020

Netflix seems to be becoming the go-to place for fantasy these days. Just watched The Old Guard — I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a theatrical release that got shifted to streaming, but I actually would have liked this one on the big screen. Charlize Theron cements her place as action heroine extraordinaire as Andy, an immortal who leads a team of other immortals who hire out as mercenaries who are trying to make the world a better place. Andy has been doing this for thousands of years. She’s tired, and she’s finally decided she isn’t doing any good at all. She’s wrong, of course, but that comes late. Enter:  Nile, an American Marine killed in action in Afghanistan, except not really, because she’s the first new immortal to appear in 200 years, and Andy adopts her, however reluctant Nile is to be adopted.

I’m always pleased to see something like this that feels like a really classic urban fantasy series in the making. Kick-ass characters with a big supernatural element battling through the world with over-the-top action featuring massive firepower. It passes the Bechdel test handily, in multiple cases. Evil corporate antagonist. This is super, super predictable. Like, every double cross is instantly apparent as a double cross, but somehow I didn’t mind so much that the characters never see it coming. The characters are pleasant enough that I enjoyed the time I spent with them. Count me among those thoroughly intrigued by Joe and Nicky and I’d like a movie about their entire history right now please.

Comparisons to Highlander, which is also about mysterious immortals moving through the world, are easy to do, but it’s the differences that interest me. In Highlander, the immortals are loners. They are destined to do battle, and can’t really afford to be friends because of the fear that they’ll have to kill each other. There’s tension in those rare friendships.  In The Old Guard, the immortals are connected. They dream about each other. They come together because they’re the only family they’ll ever have. They can support each other. I’m fascinated at this difference between a story that came out in the “greed is good” 80’s and one that came out, well, now. Over the last few years I’ve talked about how much I appreciate stories about people who care about each other coming together, versus nihilistic stories of people being horrible to each other. This is another data point on that.

This is based on a comic, which I haven’t read. Yet.

 

Virtual Worldcon!

July 17, 2020

I’m going to be participating in this year’s virtual Worldcon:  CoNZealand. I’m still incredibly sad I won’t be going to New Zealand this year. I had just made all my reservations when the lockdown hit. Argh. Wear your masks so we can maybe get this under control so I can maybe make the trip next year, just for fun.

In the meantime:  NO PANTS WORLDCON. We’ll all be online. Are we wearing pants? WHO KNOWS.

I’ve just gotten my schedule — I’m on a number of panels, and I have a reading and kaffeeklatsch as well. Yes, you have to have a Worldcon membership to take part. The con starts in two weeks.

But I’m posting about it this week because I’m part of pre-convention programming, a kind of dry-run to practice how it’s all going to work. Today, in fact (tomorrow New Zealand time… gah, this is going to get weird), I’m on a Wild Cards panel:  Wild Cards as Alternate History. Let’s do this thing!