This is what I’ve published in 2019:
I received the sad news, a month or so ago, that the Book Smugglers, my lovely publishers for A Glimmer Of Silver, my YA SF novella about second contact and choosing your responsibilities, would be moving away from for-sale publishing. As such, they planned to take all their short stories, novellas, and novels off sale at the end of the year.
But the good news is that they’ve been super helpful in handing me back the rights and helping me with self-publishing, so A Glimmer Of Silver is now available again from all the usual places where e-books are sold. The paperback is also forthcoming in the next couple of days, via Amazon.
So if you haven’t yet read A Glimmer Of Silver, now might be a good time to fix that.
So, it’s been a busy few weeks. Last month my novel The Deep And Shining Dark was released. This month, my novella A Glimmer Of Silver came out from The Book Smugglers. It’s available from Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. It has been getting good reviews, too, which is awesome.
My novel The Deep And Shining Dark (Book One of the Marek Series) was released last Friday! It’s currently available as an ebook from various retailers; the print version will be out in September.
The thing I find hardest about writing is plot (or possibly structure, or possibly both); so this year my main aim is to get better at constructing a story which hangs together well, especially at novel length.
Historically I’ve tended to just get on and write, and then fix everything in editing; but that means that editing can wind up looking like a full rewrite, by the time I’ve corrected the structural issues that result (for me) from writing that way, and fixed up all the gaping plot holes. I do really love the thing that happens when I’m getting words down onto the screen at speed and letting my brain carry me away; but I’m also fed up with a first draft that looks quite so unformed.
So I’ve been reading a lot about plot and story structure (best book so far: John Yorke’s Into The Woods, though ‘best’ here may just mean ‘fits best with my brain’, and trying to use all of it to write an outline for my next project, which involves London and dragons and too many secrets. After an initial flaily period it’s starting to come together, and I’m looking forward to getting cracking on the writing. But I’m determined to sort out the holes I can still see first, this time, rather than putting them out of mind and ‘just writing’. So it might be another few days yet.
Eastercon was fabulous, and I may yet do a writeup post, but for now, I have many recs to extract from my scribbled notes. (NB I have not yet read any of these; things I had already read I didn’t generally write down.)
LGBT to QUILTBAG panel:
- “Not Your Sidekick” — C. B. Lee
- “A Rational Arrangement” — L. Rowyn
- “Hunger Makes the Wolf” — Alex Wells (cyberpunk)
- The Raven Cycle — Maggie Stiefvater (YA, queer relationships)
- “The House of Shattered Wings” — Aliette de Bodard
- General recs: Uncanny Magazine, Tor.com, Lethe Press
Women of Star Wars panel:
- “The Things I Would Tell You” — Muslim women anthology
- Ham4Ham with The Ladies (1/3/2016) on YouTube (this is awesome!)
- If/Then — bisexual musical
- In Da Homey — 1903 musical
Romance, Mystery, and Fantasy panel
(plus some recs from the bar afterwards. Some of these are non-SFF romance.)
- Obsidian and Blood series — think this may have meant “Ivory and Bone” and “Obsidian and Stars” — Julie Eshbough
- “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” — Laini Taylor
- “Behind Her Eyes” — Sarah Pinborough
- “Hold Me” — Courtney Milan
- “Hold” — Rachel Davidson Lee
- Cosy witch mysteries!
- Heather Rose Jones (published by Bella Books)
- “Don’t Feed The Trolls” — Erica Kudisch
- “Rollergirl” — Vanessa North
- “The Art Of Three” — Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae
- “Storm Season” — Pene Henson
- “The Ultra-Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves The World” — A. C. Wise
- “Hurricane Heels” — Isabel Yap
- Neville/Hermione/Luna fic generally (must check AO3 tag 🙂 )
Fandom and Theatre panel
- Team Starkid — on YouTube
- Smash — TV show about backstage
- Slings and Arrows — TV show about actors
Misc other recs
- “At The End Of The Day” — Claire North
- “The End of Days” — Jenny Erpenbeck
- “Cities in Flight” — James Blish
- “Meg and Linus” — Hanna Nowinski
- “Every Heart A Doorway” — Seanan McGuire
So, uh, that should keep me going.
Tales of the Civil War, another City of the Saved anthology, is available to buy now and shipping in physical form now-or-very-shortly! It’s edited by Philip Purser-Hallard and contains stories by Kara Dennison, Kelly Hale, Louise Dennis, Helen Angove, Selina Lock, and me.
For a taster, try Kara Dennison reading part of her story, ‘The Tale of Sir Hedwyn’.
My copy hasn’t come through yet but I am greatly looking forward to everyone’s stories.
I spent the weekend at Mancunicon, this year’s Eastercon, a gathering of UK (and a few international) SFF fans. And lo! I had a splendid time. I caught up with old friends and met new ones; I acquired half a suitcase full of dead tree and a vast recommended books list; I went to some panels; I took part in two panels for the first time; and I got three full nights of uninterrupted sleep PLUS several naps in my lovely quiet hotel room*.
A great start to the weekend was Friday afternoon’s panel on coping with anxiety at cons. I particularly liked the snowball theory, where meeting one person leads to meeting more people; and it is indeed true that fans are, in general, friendly. Volunteering is also a good way to engage with people if you’re a bit anxious. Having a job to do can be calming, and you’ll automatically meet more people. Many thanks to the panel for being honest about their own stuff and encouraging to the rest of us.
‘A Feminist Fantasy Canon’ on Saturday dispensed immediately with the notion of a “canon” as something of a patriarchal construct, but were happily still prepared to provide recommendations instead. There was a fair bit of discussion of the role of the “kick-ass chick”/woman with a sword, alongside the ways in which feminist fantasy can tackle “women’s work”, women’s interests and domestic fantasy. They’re both valid narratives (as are a whole host of narratives in the middle) ; the problem comes when kick-ass chick is the only narrative, and we’re simply transplanting women into very masculine swords-and-power stories.
Fantasy can also, the panel agreed, be insufficiently imaginative about what is and isn’t possible; the mindset in which dragons and telepathy are fine, but women in roles of power are “historically inaccurate”. Not to mention the fact that, as per Kate Elliot’s recent column, our view of ‘historical accuracy’ is woefully distorted when it comes to what women actually did and did not do. (See also, of course, ‘We Have Always Fought’ by Kameron Hurley.)
My first panel, Saturday lunchtime, was ‘Balancing the Creative Life’, where we talked about how to wrangle day job/family/writing/creating/anything else you might be trying to squeeze into your time. It was lovely to hear from the other panellists about how they wrangle their very different creative and work lives, as well as to be able to talk about my own problems and solutions. (Noise-cancelling headphones are my top tip to anyone trying to work in a noisy household, especially if the noise includes small children.) In other news, I am still looking for successful solutions to that time-sink of all time-sinks, the Internet.
Sunday lunchtime saw me and awesome co-panelists talking about ‘Supporting the Short Stuff’. We agreed that the short story market for SFF as a whole actually looks pretty healthy; venues opening and venues closing again is simply pretty much par for the course with any sort of small business. Which still means: if you want to read short fiction, support the publications and websites that you read, whether that’s through subscriptions or Patreon or Kickstarter or just linking to stories you like. There was some discussion about expanding the ‘bubble’ of those who read speculative short fiction, how people are already trying to do that, and how else it might be done — podcasts, anthologies, crowdfunding, link-sharing…
‘All Roads Lead to Kings Landing’ had a fascinating array of writers of epic fantasy talking about their various approaches to plotting, fights and battle scenes, conflicts, and world-building. ‘Steampunk as a Force for Good’ on Sunday evening sadly didn’t tackle the diversity and colonialism issues of steampunk as much as I would have liked it to; nor did it quite live up to the ‘radical potential of steampunk’ tag in the programme description. I did however discover that someone has recently run a Harry Potter activism workshop, which sounds amazing.
As I had a train to catch first thing Monday, my con finished up on Sunday evening with some bar time and then half of sing-a-long Rocky Horror before midnight approached and I ran out of steam. Next year I will try to stay a bit longer as some of the Monday panels sounded awesome. I’m looking forward to Birmingham / Innominate 2017 already.
Books rec round-up
to follow here…
* I gather that treating cons as “catching up on sleep” time is not entirely usual, but apparently that is what parenting has done to me.
Look what arrived in the post for me!
Stories by some splendid writers including me:
I haven’t read it yet as it only arrived yesterday, but am greatly looking forward to it. Some of the titles look especially interesting, but I may have to start with Helen Angove’s story.