this book argh!

June 4, 2018

I had a moment this weekend. I’m revising this thing, turning this stalled novel into a novella, and it’s totally the right thing to do. And, wow. I had the moment this weekend. That moment. Where it all comes together and I figured out what was wrong and all the pieces line up and BOOM it’s a story.

That never happened when I was trying to make it a novel. In fact, I appeared to be literally writing in circles, characters going back and forth between a couple of locations, continually asking, “What’s going on? What’s happening?”

In hindsight, I was writing this during The Year of Stalled Projects, and I think I must have known deep down this wasn’t going anywhere as a novel. I stopped working on it entirely when I left my old agent and got my new agent. It’s really frustrating and illuminating looking back on that time through the lens of this mess of a manuscript. I knew, but kept charging ahead anyway.

Guys, I cut over 20,000 words from this in basically one pass. 20k useless words of me spinning my wheels. I’m so, so, so glad this never saw the light of day back when I was working on it before. It was so broken.

And now it’s not. Fingers crossed.



Vaughn-ParanormalBromance - Copy

My novella about the foibles of Gen-X vampire roommates (written well before What We Do in the Shadows I might add!) now has an audiobook version!  Here’s the page at audio publisher Tantor, and here’s the Audible link.

Publishers Weekly has reviewed THE WILD DEAD, which will be out in just over a month.

SoonerCon is June 22-24, and they’ve just posted my schedule on the site.

Things are settling down a bit, which is good, because I was going a little crazy there. Don’t worry, the crazy will start back up soon!


I really, really liked it. Probably unreasonably and inordinately. But it made me really happy and was fully in the spirit of all the books and novels and games and fanfic and spinoffs and everything that has kept Star Wars alive for the last forty years. I never thought I would hear the words “Corellian YT1300 freighter” spoken in a line of dialog in a Star Wars movie and yet here we are. There’s a point in the big second-act action set piece, Han is piloting the Falcon for the first time, and the soundtrack has the Death Star escape battle music from A New Hope that rolls straight into the Asteroid Field music from Empire, which are two of my favorite bits from all the movie soundtracks, and it was totally manipulative and I loved it and I knew I was the ideal, perfect audience for this movie. So much fan service — a lot of it more subtle than you’d think. There’s a single throwaway line of dialog in Empire that gets set up in this film.

It’s a classic heist film, and it’s also a character study of this kid who grew up in really terrible circumstances but he’s got some really big plans. The plans always go awry, but that’s okay — he’ll just make bigger plans next time. He’s learning along the way. When to run. When to shoot. Who to trust. Han’s intentions are always bigger than his abilities. This film shows him learning not to adjust his intentions, but rather to bluff harder, talk faster, and force his abilities to catch up. It’s great.

The trailers won me over with the moment Qi’ra tells Han “I may be the only person in the galaxy who knows what you really are,” and Han gets that flicker of doubt in his expression. That flash of uncertainty, when he’s trying to be cool but he realizes he isn’t sure what she’s going to say — he isn’t sure what he really is by this point. Nailed the character in one scene, so I thought the movie knew what it was doing.

In the film, Qi’ra actually follows up with what she thinks Han really is. And it’s the right answer, the one that means that in ten years or so he will end up at the Battle of Yavin, trying to decide what to do.


quick update

May 28, 2018

I’m catching up after a week away at a writing workshop. I had a good time, but it was interrupted by a sudden appearance of norovirus. I’m fine, but it made for an exciting week filled with Clorox wipes. It’s good to be home. Excited to finally be going to see Star Wars: Solo tonight.

The week was made stranger by the news that Gardner Dozois, editor and writer and a giant in the SF&F field for the last 40 years, passed away yesterday. I’m grateful I got to work with him on various anthologies, but I’m most grateful for how welcoming he was to newcomers like me, and all the times I got to sit around over meals and at gatherings and listen to all his stories and jokes and insights. He’ll be missed.



Deadpool 2

May 23, 2018

Deadpool 2 is exactly what it says on the tin. If it seems a little less shocking and surprising than the first one, it’s because it isn’t the first one and we know what to expect now. So it was never going to have the same jolt, I think.

It even does that thing the first one did where it’s essentially a basic, conventional superhero story:  our previously lone-wolf hero has to learn to work with a team and become a mentor to a semi-cloying moppet. I’m not really being fair here, Russell is much more than a moppet, I actually like the character. But still, this is a Trope, and now both Deadpool movies have hung their cosmetic subversiveness on really familiar formulae. It’s a bit jarring, at least to me. I’m still grappling with what’s basically a kid-centric story told through this incredibly violent, raunchy, foul-mouthed filter. The more I think of it the weirder it gets.

Oh, and this one thing: BIG SPOILER HERE:




So the movie fridged Vanessa in the first scene and that made me so angry. Because this wasn’t “we’ve killed off beloved characters because we’re telling a good story and we’re setting up something big we promise” of Infinity War.  This was “we can’t figure out how to tell stories about people in stable, happy relationships so we need to kill off the love interest to give the hero angst.”

Except, you know, time travel and they undid it at the end, I guess.

But I still spent a big chunk of the movie being disappointed and frustrated.


I didn’t get up in time to watch the royal wedding but I caught up online. Everything was just so pretty. You know what I kept thinking of? Gregor and Laisa from the Vorkosigan books. Not their appearance (which isn’t anything like in the books) but in the way Harry and Meghan act with each other, all happy and a little bit clingy, and the way Meghan’s been thrown into this very weird and public culture and is doing just great with it, and the feeling you get that they’d run away if they could but they’re too aware of the propriety of it all to actually do it. So that’s in my head now and it made me happy.

Remember the year of stalled projects? I took one of those 3/4 finished novels and decided to turn it into a novella.  Good news:  I think it was meant to be a novella all along. (Seriously, at the moment I’m very, very, very happy it didn’t see the light of day in its previous state. It was an unholy mess.) I’ve cut 20k words from it and am turning the whole thing into a tightly plotted streamlined machine. I’m happy. Here’s hoping I can get this one out in the world.

Deadpool 2 review on Wednesday.

Have a good week, peeps.


The ebook of Bannerless is going to be on sale for $2.99 one day, Sunday. So if you’ve been waiting for a sale… this is it! Go go go!  Here’s a link to editor John Joseph Adams’ page for the book, which has links to all the ebook retailers of your choosing.

My reviews of Annihilation and A Wrinkle in Time are up on Lightspeed.

In other news, Amazon is shutting down Kindle Worlds, their licensed fanfic arm, surprising pretty much no one. They never really promoted the platform to readers. Ultimately, I think there are too many established fanfic platforms out there, getting people onto this one was a struggle. Amazon failed to monopolize something, y’all.

But I do have two G.I. Joe stories up there, and if you’ve thought about trying them out, now’s your chance because they’ll be gone soon.

“That Famous Silent Issue” features Scarlett and Snake Eyes rescuing a diplomat without ever speaking a word.

“Luck Be a Lady” features Lady Jaye and Cover Girl battling Baroness on the streets of Las Vegas. And a cameo by a ridiculous scummy casino mogul named Eugene Tramp who it turns out is a shill for Cobra! Like that could ever happen in real life…