Friday, November 16, 2018

2018 Whitney Award Nomination

Some good news: Blood Requiem was recently nominated for a Whitney Award!

It always makes me happy to hear one of my books is up for an award, and this is no exception. Also, because this award is given by a committee, there's no need for me to campaign for it, which sounds rather relaxing tbh. I can just sit back and cross my fingers.

In other news, I'm making some significant progress on prewriting for my next project. I won't say too much about it right now, but I should be able to move into writing the first draft very soon. My goal is to finish at least a draft of the first book in the new trilogy by early next year. Right now that's certainly looking possible, and another reason to cross my fingers!


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BLOOD REQUIEM Part 1 Now Available on Graphic Audio

I'm very pleased with Graphic Audio's adaptations of my books. Their cast and crew do a wonderful job, producing high quality audio stuff with a full cast, soundtrack, and sound effects. It's a very different experience from a regular audiobook, but one I highly recommend. Check it out! Follow the link above to listen to an audio sample if you're not yet convinced.

AND it looks like they're running an early Black Friday deal--it's plastered across the top of their website, but you can get 25% off by entering the code!

And, of course, check out their adaptations of the previous books in the Chaos Queen Quintet:

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Dawn of Artificial Superintelligence (YouTube series)

As I've mentioned earlier this year, one of my big research topics lately--as I gear up to start writing a brand new trilogy--has been Artificial Superintelligence. I've been reading books, following AI research institutions, watching documentaries, and generally absorbing anything on the topic I can.

A few months ago I came across this YouTube series, which explains the topic pretty well--and relatively concisely. Check it out if you're interested in a crash course on ASI. There is supposedly a fourth part in the pipeline, and I'll post that here as well as soon as it pops up.

Also, as far as my brand new trilogy goes, I'm almost done with the pre-writing and should be moving on to start the first novel in the trilogy just in time for a slightly belated NaNoWriMo. So, that's exciting :-).

A lot of other things have been going on for me in the past month or so, which I will likely post about in the future, but for now, life is good, and I'm excited about my next project.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

World Fantasy 2018

Hey folks! It's been a busy October--more on that later, perhaps--but I'm actually at an airport right now waiting for my flight to Baltimore, MD for the 2018 World Fantasy Convention. I'll be participating formally in two panel items, both on Friday:

Noon (Maryland Ballroom): Mary Shelley, Genius
In which, I assume, the fellow panelists and I will discuss the greatness that is Mary Shelley! Easy peasy, that.

8-10PM(ish) (Maryland Ballroom): Mass Autograph Reception/Signing Thingy
In which I join dozens (hundreds?) of other authors as we all gather to sign books and have conversations with fans and any random passerby who dares pass by, so to speak.

Otherwise I'll be writing in various places (working on a new project), hovering around the bar, and generally hanging out for the weekend. If you'll be there, come converse with me!

Monday, October 15, 2018

2 Mello, "Magic Ruins Everything Around Me," and "Masamune Problems"

Just a friendly reminder that 2 Mello exists and he once mashed up the FFVI soundtrack with a Wu-Tang Clan album. My favorite track below.

Also, he's mixed the Chrono Trigger soundtrack with some Jay-Z lyrics, and that is awesome as well. My favorite track from that is "Masamune Problems" if you want to give it a listen.

There's cool stuff in this world!

Wednesday, October 03, 2018


A screenshot, as void of spoilers as possible, of my Scrivener file for Fear the Stars. You will notice, however, the section titles and the interlude title, if that interests you. And, if you're in a really speculative mood, you can try to guess which colors represent which POV characters in my color-coded binder to the left ;-).
Yesterday I finished book Four of the Chaos Queen Quintet, Fear the Stars, and turned it in to my editor.

*Cue gargantuan sigh of relief*

My main goal was to finish this book before our second daughter was born. Well, she hasn't arrived yet, and is due in mid-October, so I'm on track there, at least! (Most of the above sigh of relief comes from the fact that I can now take some time off when the baby is born to spend time with new baby, little B, and Rachel with a clear conscience and nothing burning a hole in my plate, as it were.) That said, this book took longer than I'd anticipated, and I did have to extend my deadline by about a month (typically my Chaos Queen books are due in August the year prior to their release). Fortunately my publisher and editor were very understanding, and graciously gave me that leeway.*

This book was a blast to write, and for a few reasons. One, while many of the characters have been spread out geographically over the past few books, almost all of them converge into more or less the same space in Fear the Stars, and it's been a lot of fun to write those interactions. Also, I got to write two major sequences that I've been looking forward to writing since Duskfall--in the case of one of the sequences, since long before Duskfall. These two scenes, in part, inspired the Chaos Queen Quintet itself, and it was a really gratifying, cathartic experience to finally actually write them.

Also...this is a really good book, I think. Probably the best one yet. Which makes sense, because I hope I'm getting better with each book I write, but still. I think this will be a really good one.

I always like to provide a few details when finishing a book, partially for transparency's sake but mostly I just find the info and stats interesting. Admittedly I haven't been super consistent with which draft I've provided this information for--for Duskfall it was the very first finished draft of the book, for Dark Immolation it was a revised draft, for Blood Requiem the very first finished draft again, and now for Fear the Stars it's back to another revised draft. Part the reason behind this inconsistency lies in the fact that my first drafts are usually...very rough. I often skip a few scenes while writing that first draft, knowing I'll add them in with the first revision; the ending is sometimes barely more than a skeleton of what it will eventually become; characters are added and deleted; etc. So in most cases, I don't feel the very first draft I finish even represents a full book (although the first drafts of Duskfall and Blood Requiem, at least, were much closer than those of Dark Immolation and Fear the Stars!).

Anyway, all that is to say: on to the details for Fear the Stars!

  • Title: Fear the Stars. I'll be honest, the titles of the middle three books of the Chaos Queen Quintet are perhaps just a little more abstract than I'd like my titles to be, mainly for accessibility (re: marketing). I mean, who am I kidding, Duskfall and Dawnrise, the titles of books 1 and 5 are a little abstract as well, but at least they have some symmetry. So I guess the abstruse titles are sort of a theme in and of themselves, now? Basically: in retrospect I don't think the Chaos Queen titles, especially the middle three titles, do a lot for the books from a marketing perspective. That said, I like them, and I suppose that counts for something, yeah?
  • Version: 2.2 - I kind of covered this a few paragraphs ago, but this means it's a revised version of the book. 2.0 denotes a full revision, and any ticks in that first decimal place indicate minor changes made after or in supplement to that full revision. I will say, however, that I am very happy with this version of the book. I haven't been this pleased with a draft I've placed in my editor's hands since Duskfall; while I am very happy with the published versions of books two and three, the versions I first handed in to my editor still had some significant work to be done on them. I think this one will probably go through some changes as well, but it is very solid.
  • Total Word Count:187,625. That's a lot, and technically the longest draft I've ever turned in to my editor (Duskfall was at 162,000, Dark Immolation at 177,200, and Blood Requiem at a measly 131,600. There's actually funny story about the lengths of the final versions of those books, but this post is already getting long so I'll save it for another time). But a lot is happening in this book, so I think it'll probably end up being the largest of the Quintet, unless something really surprises me in book 5.
  • Chapters: 48, not including an Epilogue and an Interlude. (So 50 total, I guess.)
  • Viewpoint Characters: Yikes...we're at 10, cont 'em, ten viewpoint characters now, not including 2-3 minor viewpoints that recur throughout the book. That's a lot, but then again I'm also on book 4 of a 5-book dark fantasy epic, so it makes sense.
  • Start Date: Sometime in November or December of last year, I think? I really need to remember to mark the date I actually START novels.
  • End Date: 2 October 2018. Fugging nailed it, ya'll.
So, Fear the Stars. It's gonna be big, ya'll.

On a side note, I think in part I'm granted that leeway because, when I have gone over deadline, I've tried to anticipate it, alert my editor beforehand, and then give them a solid date for a new deadline and stick to it, which so far has never been more than 6-8 weeks out from the original deadline. The more professional thing, of course, would be to stick to the deadlines in the first place, and typically I try to do that, but on occasion life does get in the way, and I consider this way of going about extending a deadline much more professional than just watching the deadline pass me by, putting the onus on my editor to follow up and bug me about it, and then  either letting the same thing happen with the next deadline, or not giving them a projected new deadline at all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Captain Marvel

As far as I'm concerned, the MCU has been on fire lately--and definitely the good kind of fire. 🔥 
Things really took a turn for the better with Thor: Ragnarok, which is probably my favorite MCU film to date. Black Panther continued that trend, and is right up there in my top 3, if not directly in the #2 spot. Avengers: Infinity War, while flawed, did a phenomenal job combining dozens of headlining characters into a single story, mostly by focusing on the villain as the protagonist--and Thanos is a truly creepy villain, and a delight to watch in that film. Ant Man & the Wasp did exactly what it set out to do, which I think, in addition to telling a fun story, was to lighten the mood jut a tad after the incredibly bleak ending of A:IW.

And now, the next Marvel film on the docket is Captain Marvel--see the recently released trailer above.

Ya'll, I simply cannot express to you how excited I am for this film.

I've been excited to see Captain Marvel on the big screen since the day it was announced. For one, it's basically Marvel's first attempt at a female-led MCU film. I think that is awesome. But, far beyond that, I find Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers a fascinating superhero. Add to that the stinger at the end of A:IW, and, well, I LITERALLY CANNOT WAIT ZOMG.

Honestly, I'm so excited, I'm actually terrified--mainly that the film will be bad in one or more major ways. The only thing DC seems to have done right recently is the Wonder Woman film, and that definitely set the bar high. Don't get me wrong; I loved WW, and I'm happy the film did so well, and was made with such quality in just about every aspect. I want the bar to be high for Captain Marvel.
But damn do I hope Captain Marvel just blows WW out of the water--or, at least, was as awesome, emotionally engaging, and entertaining to watch as WW.

Yeah, I have high hopes for this one. And try as I might, I can't lower them. But, you know what? I don't think I should have to. Give us a stellar Captain Marvel film, Marvel. You've shown us you can do it. You're already on a roll. Keep that going.

And, if the Captain Marvel film crushes it the way I'm hoping, it'll make the next Avengers film that much better.

I can't wait until 2019--even if I'm terrified.