Tuesday, October 22, 2019


I don't know what you were up to last week, but I finished the final volume of a five-book dark epic fantasy series.

Perhaps I'll do a longer post about the process of writing book 5 at a later date, but for now let me just say that it was, in a word, tough. Dawnrise is right up there with Dark Immolation as far as the difficulty of the process goes, and perhaps even more difficult, although for different reasons.

However, it is now DONE. Or, at least, a revised-ish draft is done; as usual, I'll do another big revision and edits early next year. But the bones are there, and despite how much I hated myself as a writer and how much I hated this book as I was writing it, I (again, as usual) was pleasantly surprised by most of the book in the quick pass I did before sending it to my editor. That first-draft insecurity is pretty typical for most writers, it seems, including myself, but I was really feeling it with this book.

I am really glad it's done.

Also, I think you'll really like the ending.

Anyway, let's get some of the details out, as I do:

  • Title: Dawnrise. This title has pretty much been written in stone since I titled the first novel of the series Duskfall. I'm a sucker for symmetry, so...yep :-).
  • Version: 2.2.
  • Total Word Count: 141,051. That's on the lower end of the other books in the series; the first-draft lengths of each of the previous novels were 162,000 (DF); 177,200 (DI); 131,600 (BR); and 187,000 (FtS).
  • Chapters: 41, not including a prologue and an epilogue.
  • Viewpoint Characters: Yeesh...let's see. All told, I'm looking at about 10 viewpoint characters. Some of them have smaller parts than others, but they're all pretty significant to the story.
  • Start Date: January 2019
  • End Date: 17 October 2019
And there you have it. If you're curious about some of the stats of the previous books in the series, here are some links:

DUSKFALL (also, incidentally, the first-ever post on this blog!)

And, for now, I've got a few other projects calling my name that I've been really looking forward to tackling, so, if you'll excuse me...!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019


Title says it all! Get your hands on this bestselling short story anthology today!

Okay, fine, I'll tell you a little bit more. I have a story in this awesome anthology available TODAY, along with some other awesome and bestselling authors, including but not limited to Jim Butcher, Jody Lynn Nye, Dave Butler, LJ Hachmeister, Christopher Ruocchio, and others! Seriously, there are a lot of fantastic stories in this one, so if you have a chance, you should check it out. It's available electronically now, and print should be available soon.

(My story is an original, non-Chaos Queen thing, presented as the blog of a young woman trying to survive in a zombie-ish apocalypse. I like it a lot.)

So check it out now!

Friday, September 06, 2019

PARALLEL WORLDS Anthology giveaway!

In case you haven't heard, a story of mine is featured in the upcoming--bestselling!--Parallel Worlds: The Heroes Within short story anthology!

The anthology contains other stories from such awesome authors as Jim Butcher, Dave Butler, Christopher Ruocchio, Jody Lynn Nye, and LJ Hachmeister. It's going to be a phenomenal collection of tales, and you should totes check it out.

Incidentally, Dave Butler is hosting a giveaway for 11 pdf copies of the book and 1 hard copy, signed by Jim Butcher! If that sort of thing interests you, get on over to his website and sign up! (Bonus: you don't even have to get added to a mailing list to do it!)

What are you waiting for?? Get on it!

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

CHAOS QUEEN books 1-4 on sale at Graphic Audio!

The audio adaptations of my books are on sale at Graphic Audio! Use the SET30 discount code to get 30% off your purchase of the entire set! Sale ends on 8 September! Here's the link for the page to purchase the full set.
(Alternatively, if you'd rather just check out the Graphic Audio version of the first book, go here and use discount code FALL25 for a 25% discount until the end of September!)
Note that these are the audio adaptations--slightly different from the regular audiobooks. These have a full cast, soundtrack, and sound effects. More along the lines of a radio play than an audiobook. For what it's worth, I think they are AWESOME. I love these adaptations of my books, and I think they've portrayed almost every single one of the characters very accurately.
The set for sale right now includes:
FEAR THE STARS Part 2 (not out yet but will be soon)
So it doesn't include the forthcoming DAWNRISE adaptations, which aren't scheduled for release until late 2020.
Check them out!

The WK/FtS/HD West Coast Book Tour!

Dave Butler and I are once again heading out on a west coast book tour--and this time we're going international! The awesome sci-fi author Christopher Ruocchio will also be joining us for the duration of the tour, and we'll have a few special guests in various cities as well. It's shaping up to be an awesome tour, and it starts NEXT WEEK!

Here's the official schedule--see below for more info on the authors and their books!

Sunday 8 September 6:00 pm (PDT) - Space Cowboy Books
Joshua Tree, CA

Monday 9 September 7:00 pm (PDT) - Mysterious Galaxy Books
(Featuring Luke Tarzian!)
San Diego, CA

Tuesday 10 September 5:30 pm (PDT) - Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeeshop
(Featuring Luke Tarzian!)
La Cañada/Flintridge, CA

Wednesday 11 September 7:00 pm (PDT) - Concord Barnes & Noble
(Featuring Griffin Barber!)
Concord, CA

Thursday 12 September 6:00 pm (PDT) - Borderlands Books
San Francisco, CA

Friday 13 September 7:00 pm (PDT) - Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
Portland, OR

Saturday 14 September 11:00 am (PDT) - Vancouver Indigo
Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Sunday 15 September 3:30 pm (PDT) - University Bookstore
Seattle, WA

Monday 16 September 7:00 pm (MDT) - Rediscovered Bookshop
(Without, regrettably, Christopher Ruocchio)
Boise, ID

Dave is promoting the third book in his American alternate history fantasy series, Witchy Kingdom:

An encounter with her father’s goddess has not turned out to be the end for Sarah Elytharias Penn. Now, with the Imperial fist tightened around her city of Cahokia and the beastkind of the Heron King ravaging across the river, she must find a way to access the power of the Serpent Throne itself—a feat, she has learned, that her father never accomplished. To complicate her efforts, Cahokia’s Metropolitan, a beloved and charismatic priest who despises the goddess as a demon, returns from a long pilgrimage and attempts to finalize the Wisdom-eradicating reform that dogged Sarah’s father when he was king.

Meanwhile, Sarah’s brother Nathaniel and her brilliant but erratic servant Jacob Hop find their steps dogged by the Emperor’s Machiavel, Temple Franklin, as they hunt in New Amsterdam for the third Elytharias sibling. As Simon Sword’s destroying storm threatens from the south and west, and New Orleans is thrown into deadly turmoil when a vodoun priest and mameluke assassins contend for ultimate power and control of the Mississippi, the chance for a unified New World teeters on the brink. Sarah Penn understands she may face a hard fate in the final reckoning. But she also knows that only she can access the power of the Throne—if she can find the Wisdom inside to unlock it.
Christopher is promoting the second book in his epic sci-fi space opera, Howling Dark:
Hadrian Marlowe is lost. 

For half a century, he has searched the farther suns for the lost planet of Vorgossos, hoping to find a way to contact the elusive alien Cielcin. He has not succeeded, and for years has wandered among the barbarian Normans as captain of a band of mercenaries.

Determined to make peace and bring an end to nearly four hundred years of war, Hadrian must venture beyond the security of the Sollan Empire and among the Extrasolarians who dwell between the stars. There, he will face not only the aliens he has come to offer peace, but contend with creatures that once were human, with traitors in his midst, and with a meeting that will bring him face to face with no less than the oldest enemy of mankind.

If he succeeds, he will usher in a peace unlike any in recorded history. If he fails...the galaxy will burn.
And, of course, I'm promoting the fourth book in the Chaos Queen Quintet, Fear the Stars!

All parties converge on the capital city, Triah - Cinzia and the Odenites to establish their new religion and appeal against a charge of heresy; Knot and Astrid to find answers in the vampire girl's past; and Winter has come to conquer the city, at the head of a tiellan army. But Winter is still struggling with her addictions and anger; Knot's efforts to be reunited with her can only lead to disappointment. Cinzia cannot free herself from a terrible bargain. And as the battle lines are drawn, the true nature of the goddess Canta, and the Odenites' final purpose, will soon be revealed...
Luke Tarzian, author of the awesome dark fantasy novel Vultures, will be joining us in San Diego and LA!

And Griffin Barber will join us for our event in the new Barnes & Noble in Concord, CA!

It's going to be an awesome tour!

Monday, September 02, 2019

Salt Lake FanX 2019

I'll be at Salt Lake FanX this weekend! Here's my schedule! In between these panels I'll actually be working hard on Dawnrise, but in general I'll be at or near the con on all three days. See you there!


4:00 pm (151A) Fractal Narrative: Why You need Story Structure
Story structure is important for ALL writers—outliners, discovery writers, and everything in between. Come learn about a few specific methods of structuring and dissecting stories, and then apply them to your own process!

6:00 pm (150G) "Can't We Just Have Pizza?": The Warring Dualities in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is not for the feint of heart. The series embraces the darkness of black magic and worshipping the Dark Lord, but juxtaposes that darkness with everyday teenage life—and, at the best times, bright rays of hope. Come explore with us this fascinating dichotomy, and how it demonstrates incredible worldbuilding and character growth.


5:00 pm (255A) A Beginner's Guide to Esports and Pro Gaming
Your mom used to yell at you for playing Call Of Duty for 6 hours straight, saying something on the lines of waiting your time and rotting your brain. Now more people than ever are calling gaming a profession. From the comfort of their homes or flying to international competitions, gaming in North America is starting to become a viable career. We will specifically be talking about North America’s growing visibility in the competitive scenes, the formation of the National Association of Collegiate Esports, advertising gaming for a female gaze to grow the fan base, and the inevitable rise of professional gaming in North America.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Worldcon 77!

I've spent the last few days roaming Northern Ireland waiting for Worldcon 77 to start. It's been cool. Evidence:

Tollymore Forest Park: an old-timey forest with loads of ruins and stuff. Very cool. Also apparently the filming location for many GoT scenes.

Ballygalley Castle Hotel. An old castle that has been converted into a hotel. Also, it's haunted, and I got to stay in one of the tower rooms RIGHT NEXT TO THE GHOST ROOM OMG. But, alas, I experienced no hauntings.

The North-east tower of Dunluce Castle. (Also, apparently, often the filming location for Winterfell in Got?)

Giant's Causeway. SO awesome. Finn McCool is cool, yo.

The Dark Hedges, aka the King's Road (apparently like all of GoT was filmed in Ireland...).

Had to pick me up one of these. If you don't know its significance, why do we even speak to one another?
Now, I'm headed south to Dublin for Worldcon! Friends, if you'll be there, let's hang out. My official schedule:


12:00 (Wicklow Hall - 1) - "Writing Robot & Non-Human Intelligences"

19:00 (Liffey Room - 1) - "Building an Intelligent World"


16:30 (Odeon 5) - "Riverdale and Sabrina: Small Town Gothic"


13:00 (Wicklow Hall - 1) - "Wands at the Ready! Magical Worldbuilding in SFF"

Unofficially, I'll be hanging out at various parties in the evenings and hanging out with other folks, all when I'm not making progress on Dawnrise.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dark Fantasy

I usually classify my writing as Dark Fantasy, and people often ask me what exactly that term means. If you're one of those curious folk, check out this Uproxx article on "The Difference Between Dark Fantasy and Horror (And Why It Matters)"--it's pretty spot on as far as my own definition of the label is concerned!

Here's a great snippet:
"If horror is about people trying to escape monsters (both human and supernatural), dark fantasy is about people accepting that the monster may be within and deciding how to live in a world filled with wonder and peril despite that revelation."

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Gen Con Next Week!

Next week I'll once again make the trek to Indianapolis, IN for Gen Con! Gen Con is one of the premier tabletop gaming conventions out there, but they also happen to have a superb writing track in the shape of their Writer's Symposium. Most of the Writer's Symposium events will take place at the Downtown Marriott, near the Indianapolis Convention Center, and that's where all of my panels will be. (My signings, on the other hand, will be in the massive dealer's room of the Convention Center.)

Check out my schedule, (mostly) complete with provided panel descriptions!

Thu 1 Aug

1:00 PM (Ballroom 3): What Are You Reading?
This one didn't have a description, but I assume it is The Panel in which we talk about what we're reading at the moment, and what we've read recently that is awesome!

4:00 PM (Ballroom 2): Who Said What? Clarifying Dialog
"He said, she said...does dialog always need tags? How can you keep readers from getting confused?"

Fri 2 Aug (Which is turning out to be an incredibly busy day for me)

10:00 AM (Ballroom 4): Scrivener Demystified
"So you've decided to ditch the notebook or Word to give this whole Scrivener program a whirl. Can this program make your process better? Come learn from LaShawn Wanak, A.E. Greenwood, Christopher Husberg, and more."

11:00 AM (Ballroom 1): Capturing the Creepy: Getting the Details Right
"Horror and suspense writers want to captivate their readers without grossing them out, or worse, boring them. Lucy Snyder, Richard Byers, Christopher Husberg, and others discuss how much detail is necessary."

12:00 PM (Ballroom 1): Business Plans for Writers
"Writing is a creative endeavor, but it's also a business. Which means...you need a business plan. Shanna Germain, Matt Forbeck, Christopher Husberg, and Keith Law discuss making one."

1:00 PM (Austin/Boston): Fractal Narrative: Understanding Story Structure
"Are you an outliner? then you need to understand story structure. A discovery writer? You need it, too. Archetypal structure is for everyone, and Christopher Husberg will tell you the basics." (This one's all me! It's also incidentally an adaptation of the presentation I gave in Brandon Sanderson's creative writing class earlier this year :-D.)

2:00 PM (Ballroom 4): Character Relationships in Stories
"Relationships are the backbone of your story. Our panelists Kristin McFarland and Christopher Husberg discuss writing realistic friendships, romantic partners, frenemies, and more."

3:00 PM (Atlanta): Midpoint: How to Get This Pivotal Moment Right
"Midpoint is considered one of the most important moments for character development in a story. Christopher Husberg, Kristen Britain, Bill Fawcett, and Elizabeth Vaughan tell you how to get it right."

5:00 PM (Vendor Hall): Signing

Sat 3 Aug

2:00 PM (Vendor Hall): Signing

Friday, July 12, 2019

Surprise! PARALLEL WORLDS Anthology!

If you thought Fear the Stars was the only Christopher Husberg release this year, think again!

I've also got a short story coming out in the Parallel Worlds: The Heroes Within anthology!

Parallel Worlds is an awesome collection put together by the phenomenal writers L.J. Hachmeister and R.R. Virdi, and as you can see from the cover, it includes stories from a number of exceptional authors, including Jody Lynn Nye, Christopher Rucchio, D.J. Butler, and a new,  never-before-seen Dresden Files story from Jim Butcher.

It's going to be awesome.

I'm excited about my entry into the anthology. It is NOT a Chaos Queen story (or a story related to any of the other projects I've been teasing--this is something completely different and new), but sort of an epistolary post-apocalyptic existential crisis story with monsters. So, if that sounds up your alley, or any of the above authors strike your fancy, pre-order the anthology (it'll be officially available 8 October of this year).

Pre-orders are actually going quite well so far--we're already at #1 for Fantasy and SF Anthologies, and #541 of all books sold on Amazon. So, that's neat. (Also, right now it's only available in ebook format, but we're working on a print version if that's what you'd prefer. Stay tuned for more news on that.)

Anyway, cool news! Order the anthology!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

FEAR THE STARS is available NOW!

Fear the Stars, book four in the Chaos Queen Quintet, is available in the US today!

It already came out a couple weeks ago in the UK, so it's now available in most English-speaking areas.

Order it from Amazon, order it or buy it from your local B&N, or get it from a variety of other places (namely Powell's!).

I'm hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) over at the r/fantasy subreddit all day today, so if you have any burning questions for me (Who is the Chaos Queen? Why do I like Taylor Swift so much? Whose blood did I drink to become so awesome? etc.!), head on over and ask them! Also upvote the post, if you don't mind, so more people can see it :-D.

And, of course, we've got the release day event tonight at Weller Book Works in Salt Lake City! If you're in the Utah area, come on by! Starting at 6:30 PM we'll do a reading, a Q&A, and a signing. There will probably be official Fear the Stars t-shirts and other swag. It'll be fun time.

I'm very excited for Fear the Stars to reach the public. I love this book, it's my favorite I've written so far, and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

FEAR THE STARS available in the UK!

If you're in the UK, you can pick up Fear the Stars, book 4 in the Chaos Queen Quintet, TODAY! What are you waiting for?!

If you're in the US, you'll unfortunately have to wait until the 18th. But that's still soon! REJOICE!

The UK blurb is even better than the US blurb imo:
Many forces converge on the great city of Triah, bent on its destruction. By sea, Empress Cova of Roden sails with her armada, determined to bring the rival nation under her yoke. From land, Winter, the Chaos Queen, brings her tiellan army, set on revenge. And their advance brings a yet more terrible army still: awoken by the Chaos Queen’s powers, daemons mass on the border between worlds, waiting for a way in.
Caught between the encroaching foes, a small group holds the key to saving the Sfaera from destruction: Knot, the former assassin; Cinzia, the exiled priestess; and Astrid, the vampire-child. But the only way to do so is to step into the Void beyond worlds—from which no one can return unchanged.
You can check out Fear the Stars on Amazon UK here.

Or you can pre-order the US version here.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

FEAR THE STARS Book Launch in Two Weeks!

This is, first of all, a reminder that the US release date for Fear the Stars has been pushed back until Tuesday 18 June! That's two weeks later than the originally planned release date (which was actually today). My publisher pushed back the release date this time around just slightly because last year there were a few issues getting copies of Blood Requiem out to bookstores on time. Hopefully, that will be remedied this year, and all of your local bookstores will have plenty of copies.

Incidentally, the UK release date remains the same--this Thursday, 7 June--so those lucky folks will get copies of book 4 before anyone else this time around!

Second of all, if you're in the Utah area, consider coming to my book launch at Weller Book Works at 6:30 PM on Tuesday 18 June!

This will be my fourth book launch at Weller's, and it's become one of my favorite events of the year because I get to see so many awesome folks I already love in my home state, as well as meet a few new ones, and I get to talk about one of my books. (Fear the Stars is particularly awesome, imo, by the way.) We'll have a grand old time, probs do a reading, definitely sign some books, might have another iteration of Chaos Queen t-shirts to hand out to folks who show up on time, etc. I may or may not sword  fight someone. You know, the usual. It'll be cool.

So if you'll be in Utah in two weeks, come! Tell your friends! Bring/invite a thousand people and make Weller's sad they didn't order more books! :-D

And, of course, here's the blurb for Fear the Stars:
All parties converge on the capital city, Triah - Cinzia and the Odenites to establish their new religion and appeal against a charge of heresy; Knot and Astrid to find answers in the vampire girl's past; and Winter has come to conquer the city, at the head of a tiellan army. But Winter is still struggling with her addictions and anger; Knot's efforts to be reunited with her can only lead to disappointment. Cinzia cannot free herself from a terrible bargain. And as the battle lines are drawn, the true nature of the goddess Canta, and the Odenites' final purpose, will soon be revealed...

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Congrats to DJ Butler!

Had a great time at the Whitney Awards Gala last night, and the award for the speculative category went about as I expected: DJ Butler's Witchy Winter won! It was his birthday yesterday, after all, so what would one expect?

I'm very happy for him--it's an amazing book, and if you haven't read his Witchy series, get on it, starting with Witchy Eye--and the award is very well-deserved. Again, I was honored to be among such finalists.

Congrats to all the winners!

Not pictured: DJ Butler.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Whitney Awards this Friday

In case you've forgotten, Blood Requiem is a finalist for the Whitney Award! It's competing with these four other phenomenal books, and we'll find out which one emerges victorious tomorrow night at the Whitney Awards Gala.

For the record, I've got my money on either Dave Butler's or Charlie Holmberg's books taking the prize home. Both are awesome books written by very talented writers. Although, to be fair, I haven't read the other two books on the list, so they might also have a strong shot. Nevertheless, based on what I've read, my money's on Holmberg or Butler.

I won't be at the Storymakers conference this year (which hosts the Whitney Awards), BUT if you'll be there and want to check out my books, head on over to the bookselling area and you'll find SIGNED COPIES (gasp!) of the first three books of the Chaos Queen Quintet! Get 'em while they're still there!

All in all I'm honored just to be a finalist for the award. I wish the best of luck to all the other finalists, and I'm looking forward to the Gala tomorrow!

Monday, April 29, 2019

FEAR THE STARS cork board

For my last few novels I've taken to writing a summary of each chapter on 3x5 notecards and laying them out on the ground or on a cork board. The following is what I did for Fear the Stars while I was going through the final revision a few months ago (smudgified to prevent spoilers):

I also use Scrivener as my writing software, and Scrivener has a cork board feature which I use extensively. That said, there's something about physically seeing all of my chapters and scenes in order, and being able to move them around in a physical space, that I find very helpful.

Fear the Stars comes out in about seven weeks! I've already started getting my advanced copies from my publisher, and I have to say I'm very excited about this book. I realize I say that every time, but I honestly think it's because of a positive trend in my novel-writing abilities as opposed to any bias on my part (I mean, let's be clear, there's that, too, but still).

If I were to rank my Chaos Queen novels, I actually think Duskfall and Dark Immolation are about on the same level. They're very different novels, with very different strengths and weaknesses, but if I had to grade them on a whole I'd say they're of roughly the same quality (which is, in my opinion, pretty good quality). I think Blood Requiem, on the other hand, is clearly superior to the first two novels in the series. It's tighter, the characterization and character voices are stronger, and overall the writing is just better.

I think Fear the Stars is to Blood Requiem what Blood Requiem was to the first two books in the series: tighter, stronger, better. That's a good thing for a number of reasons, but mainly in that I think it's displaying how I'm generally getting a better grasp on what it means to be a writer. That's a trend I hope continues throughout my career.

As far as Dawnrise goes, it definitely has the potential to be my best book yet. It might end up being more or less on par with Fear the Stars, or, perhaps, just a smidge lower (I really did like FtS, ya'll). Only time will tell, of course, but based on my outline and what I've written so far, I'm feeling very confident about the ending book of the series.

Friday, April 26, 2019

New Taylor Swift Video

So, a few things.

First of all, quick update on the writing, because I've been posting a lot of "fluff" lately and I don't want any readers to think I'm off the wagon as far as progress on book 5 is concerned. I'm not! Progress on Dawnrise continues to go well; I'm currently working through Part II of the novel (of four parts). I'm hoping to cross the midpoint threshold before May is out, and then get the rest of the book done in June. So far, I'm feeling very confident about the book. It's a bit surreal to be ending the series I've been working on pretty exclusively for the past six years, but it's awesome, too.

(Also, brief side note, I'm hoping I have some more stuff to announce relatively soon. I've got a number of balls in the air in regard to future projects after the Chaos Queen Quintet, and I'm hoping one or more of them finds a nice home very soon.)

Secondly, Avengers: Endgame was, just, WOW. I'm still sort of reeling from it, but my first impressions are that it was a worthy "ending" to the franchise. Or, at least, to the first four phases of the MCU or whatever. I'd honestly be happy if they called it here, but they're not going to kill they're golden-egg laying goose, you know? Anyway, I thought it was very good. I might post more thoughts on that here later, and it's possible my opinion will change (my opinion of Star Wars VIII went from "that was pretty great!" to "this is not as good as I thought it was" to "this is a dumpster fire of missed opportunity occasionally spattered with great moments" each time I watched it, so all bets are off I suppose). But, right now, I thought it was incredibly well done.

Ok, and now for the whole reason I'm writing this post.

Taylor Swift is back, ya'll!

Okay, slight context: I'm a reasonably hardcore swiftie. Been a fan of her music since Fearless, been a fan of her fan community (seriously they're a bunch of Sherlock Holmesian detectives over there, just spend some time in the TS subreddit if you don't believe me) for slightly less time. I'm not going to go into the details of the how's and why's as to why I like Taylor Swift and her music (I mean, is that even necessary?), but, you know, it's just an FYI thing. That's one of my corners of geekdom, if you will (the subject of a blog post I've been meaning to write for a while, actually, and one I might even get around to one day).

So. TS fans have been going nuts over the past couple weeks (past couple months, really) at all of the alleged hints and clues that TS may or may not have planted (some she definitely did), and it all led to the midnight release of "ME!," her new track and music video. (I was initially worried when I heard the track featured Brandon Urie of Panic! at the Disco--that band is hit and miss for me, and even their hits have never been that memorable imo--but he nails his part, his voice is perfect for the track, and it blends well with Taylor's.

It's pretty great, honestly.

Clearly the era of TS7 will take a brighter turn than TS6 (Reputation), which I'm okay with. I love me some darkness, and while I loved a lot of aspects of the Reputation era, this is certainly more true to form for her. My main criticism of Reputation was actually that TS occasionally seemed...uncomfortable in the darkness. When she did it well it was awesome, but sometimes it felt a bit forced. Either way it was a step out of her comfort zone, which I think is praiseworthy, and for the most part she nailed it, but I'm excited to see what she'll do as she comes back to a more familiar tone--and how she changes and innovates it, hopefully.

Yikes. This is just scratching the surface of my TS fandom, and I'm going to leave it there for now. One day I might write a big long thingy about how I feel towards all of TS' discography, but that is not this day.

Today, let me just show you this:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

In anticipation

Little known fact about me: I dabble in sketching and drawing. I do it on occasion during the day to take a break from writing. Did this one in anticipation of, well, you know:

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Babies + Books

It's become something of a tradition.

Duskfall + Baby B (~7 months)

Dark Immolation + Baby B (~1 yr)

Blood Requiem + Baby B (~2 yrs)

Fear the Stars Baby B (~3 yrs) and Little A (~6 months)
Er...did I mention we've recently added another Little One to the mix? She's been a big contributor to my blog silence lately, tbh. But Little A is pretty incredible, and B continues to amaze. 🖤🖤

As for Fear the Stars, it'll be available online and in stores on 18 June! Get hype ya'll!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Salt Lake FanX April 2019

I'll be at Salt Lake FanX this Friday and Saturday. I've got one panel about Marvel's The Defenders series on Netflix (i.e. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, with a smattering of The Punisher thrown in there). That particular selection of programs is interesting to talk about, if only because there are such extreme highs and lows throughout.  If you're interested, check out the panel in Exhibit Hall 1831 at 6pm on Friday!

Otherwise I'll just be selling books at Bard's Tower, as usual. Come say hello and buy my amazing books if you haven't already.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Retreat to the House on the Hill V

Once again, I head the pleasure of attending the now annual Retreat to the House on the Hill. This was my fifth time attending the writing retreat, and incidentally the fifth time the retreat has been held--so I've been around since the beginning. It's a fantastic opportunity to get a ton of writing done, as well as get to know some other writers.

Dave Butler, author of the Witchy War series among many other books--and my touring teammate--continues to serve as gracious host of the retreat. I spent time with many other talented and awesome writers while there as well--and I'm particularly proud of the work I accomplished while there. For me, it went more or less like this:

Monday: Outlining Dawnrise, the fifth and final books of the Chaos Queen Quintet.

Tuesday: Finished the DR outline. (I'd hoped to be finished by the outline before the retreat, but alas, that did not happen. And, tbh, I'd started getting a bet down on myself on Tuesday because, while I was accomplishing a lot of work by finishing the outline, I wasn't getting tangible words written, and that bothered me. [To be clear, I don't think it should have bothered me--work is work, and writers get things done in all kinds of ways--but I find retreats are at their most useful for me at the drafting phase, where I can just churn out a lot of words. So, I was letting that get to me.]) But, once finished with the outline, I did start writing the Prologue of DR, getting a whole 255 words into it :-D.

Wednesday: Continued the first draft of DR in earnest, writing 8494 words.

Thursday: 9013 words farther into the DR draft.

Friday: 10066 words! It's a rare occasion that I get 10,000 plus words (I think I can count them on one hand), and this was one of those days. Killed it.

Saturday: 4206 words. This was more of a half day, but 4200 is still much better than my daily minimum goal (2k).

So, all things considered, I wrote just over 32,000 words for the week. That's more writing than I do in a month, sometimes, so I'm pretty happy about it. And, despite heavy outlining at the beginning of the week, I'm very happy I was able to dig into a decent word count total at the end. I think that puts me at just over 20% as far as my progress on Dawnrise goes, and that feels pretty good.

Oh, also I won the Edward M. Kovel award for "Best-coordinated loungewear on a Curmudgeon." That was the exact Kovel award I was gunning for, tbh, so I couldn't be happier there, either!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 Schedule

So, the last month or two (actually the last five months, but who's counting?) have been pretty crazy. But, generally, things are going well, and I think I'm finally getting back into a decent routine.

So, that said, I'm finally posting a belated 2019 schedule! I'm not attending quite as many Comic Con-style events this year, but I'm pretty excited about the schedule overall. I'll post more details as each event approaches. And, as always, if you find yourselves at any of these events, come say hello to me!

14-16 February  |  Life, the Universe, and Everything  |  Provo, UT  |  My Schedule

19-20 April  |  Salt Lake FanX (Spring)  |  Salt Lake City, UT

18 June  |  Fear the Stars Book Launch!  |  Utah (exact location TBD)

20-22 June  |  Fyrecon  |  Layton, UT

1-4 August  |  Gen Con (Writer's Symposium)  |  Indianapolis, IN

15-19 August  |  Dublin 2019 (Worldcon)  |  Dublin, IE

5-7 September  |  Salt Lake FanX (Fall)  |  Salt Lake City, UT

8-14 September?  |  Witchy Kingdom/Howling Dark/Fear the Stars Book Tour  |  TBD

31 October - 3 November  |  World Fantasy Convention  |  Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

BLOOD REQUIEM has been nominated for a Whitney Award

Blood Requiem, book 3 of the Chaos Queen Quintet, is up for a Whitney Award!

Both Duskfall and Dark Immolation were nominated for the same award in years past, but this is the first time I've made it to the finalist stage, so that's pretty exciting news.

You can check out the other finalists here. Blood Requiem is in the speculative category, and it's among tough competition and some truly awesome authors, among whom the inimitable Dave Butler--my book-touring, road-tripping accomplice--stands tall (literally and figuratively). I've heard some pretty amazing things about Veins of Gold (and I think Charlie Holmberg and I actually took Brandon Sanderson's class concurrently, although I could be wrong about that--there were a lot of people that cycled through that class). And, from what I've seen and read of the other two nominees, the competition will be fierce this year!

But Blood Requiem is a scrappy little book (ok, it's a scrappy big book), so it'll be fun to see who comes out on top. Either way, it's an honor to be a finalist in such company.

They'll announce who won in each category during the Whitney Gala on Friday 10 of May.

Monday, February 04, 2019

New Audiomachine Album: Exogenesis

A new Audiomachine album came out recently, so of course I've been all about it. I've been a big fan of Audiomachine for a number of years, now--they're basically my go-to writing music. I'm partial to Audiomachine's music particularly for fantasy/sci-fi writing. Their tracks are innovative, interesting, but also untainted, as it were (I love movie soundtracks, for example, but sometimes find it difficult to write with them playing in the background because they just make me think of the films). Audiomachine tracks are often used in trailers, and I'll usually recognize one when that happens, but by then I've usually listened to the track dozens of times, and don't mind the association, because it's already been more associated with whatever I'm working on than anything else.

So, long story short, check out Audiomachine if you're a fantasy/sci-fi author looking for writing music (or if you just want to listen to cool, epic tracks). They're awesome, and Exogenesis is no exception. In fact, it's my current soundtrack as I write book one in my new trilogy :-).

Monday, January 21, 2019

LTUE 2019 Schedule

I'll be at the annual Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium here in Provo in just a couple weeks! This is the one that's basically in my own back yard. Incidentally, LTUE is the conference I've been attending the longest and most consistently--10+ years--and it also happens to be one of my favorites. LTUE is great on a number of levels, but their programming is usually top-notch (I've posted mine below, which I'm quite excited about this year), they have great guests and panelists, and it's a great place to meet other writers and folks in the business, especially if you're local. Also, at $55 for the three-day experience, and a measly $5 for students, it's a steal.

So, there's my plug! If you're a sci-fi/fantasy writer in the area and aren't attending LTUE, that's something you need to remedy, like, now.

Plus, you'll see me there! So, win-win-win!


Thu 14 Feb

11 AM (Zion) - A Punch in the Face: Writing Gripping Fight Scenes
"Action, well done, will draw in the audience and keep them on their seats. Not so well one, it leads to boredom and fatigue. How to keep your work in the first category and avoid the second." I've been on at least a half dozen versions of this panel, probably more, but we usually find an interesting way to approach and discuss the subject. More often than not, I learn something here, too.

12 PM (Elm) - Not Just Shock: Writing Good Grimdark
"Grimdark isn't just shocking deaths and violence. How to create compelling stories in a grimdark environment." Ah, ye olde grimdark. Views on this vary widely, so these panels are always interesting.

6 PM (Bryce) - Writing LDS Themes in Mainstream Fiction
"Even though none of the characters are LDS (or sometimes, human) doesn't mean that the Plan of Salvation or doctrines on redemption can't make an appearance. LDS authors publishing mainstream fiction will talk about how they use these themes and others." Because what is more fantastical (or, at least, promotes more of a fantastical worldview) than Mormonism??

Fri 15

6 PM (Arches) - Pantsing: Making the Most of Draft 0
"Discovery writing can be a great way to work out your ideas as you go. It is also a great way to throw yourself off track and cultivate lazy writing. Come listen to professional panthers (and pantsers-at-heart) talk about how they make the most of discovery writing." I've taken a different approach to this recently, mainly in that I use both methods depending on which fits the story best. So that'll be my perspective, here.

Sat 16

12 PM (Arches) - Writing with the Door Open: How to Revise
"You can put whatever you want in a first draft, but at some point, the day of reckoning comes. How to revise with purpose, and what you should be looking for to strengthen your story." Standard revision discussion, I suppose. Revision was (and, in some ways, continues to be) one of the most difficult parts of the process for me, so I've done a lot of learning in this area. Should be a good discussion.

3 PM (Bryce) - Three Types of Terror: Gore, the Unnatural, and Deep Terror
"According to Stephen King, every good horror tory includes three kinds of terror: the blood and guts gore, the unnatural (like a spider the size of a bear), and the deep psychological terror of the unknown. How to use all three to the greatest effect." Advice I've discussed many times before, but advice that is generally useful nevertheless. Plus I'm always up for discussing Stephen King, or something he wrote, or something he said, etc....

4 PM (Elm) - Writing Stories without Villains
"Antagonists do not have to be people. How to have conflict and a satisfactory resolution without a bad guy." Stories! Without villains! Okay!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The Hymn of Acxiom

I randomly came across this song on reddit and now it's been playing on repeat for me as I write the new novel (because, you know, AI). I think it's cool.

Also, it's introduced me to Vienna Teng, whose music I've been enjoying in general, as well.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Films of 2018

I really enjoy watching films, not only because I just enjoy films in general, but I also appreciate them from a structural perspective. When I watch films, I break them down and analyze the story, the characters, the setting, and how well everything works (sometimes consciously, always subconsciously). And this was another solid year for me of film-watching. I saw 47 films that were released this year (despite my giving up the ghost of my MoviePass, RIP), and as I did last year, I want to list them all here, from my least favorite to my favorite, because it sounds like a fun and interesting thing to do.

I'll offer the same not on my ranking system that I did last year: I generally considered typical qualities of each film--mainly the writing, directing, acting, and story--and, for the most part, this list adheres to those criteria. But after everything was said and done, especially when some films were too close to call, the ultimate decision factor basically became "how much would I want to see this film a second (or third, or fourth) time?" Put another way, how much did I genuinely enjoy the experience? While receiving high marks in my typical criteria usually translates to me enjoying a film, there are other factors (genre, music, relevance, and yeah, sure, my mood, etc.) that contribute as well. So, while this list is definitive for me, and I welcome anyone's comments and dissensions, don't you dare tell me I'm wrong. This is my list. If you want a definitive list, go make your own, yo.

That being said, let's get to it!

47. The Commuter
This reminded me of some movie I saw in the 2000's with Dennis Quaid where he protected the President of the United States and it was generally very lame and cheesy. Except this one was worse. It also reminded me to a lesser extent of The Taking of Pelham 123 and Source Code, but much, much worse. That's about all I remember about the film, and I guess that's all I have to say on this one.

46. 15:17 To Paris
There were about, I don't know, ten minutes of this film that were pretty awesome and worth watching. Those ten minutes are intense and fascinating, and I appreciated seeing the action of what took place on the screen. Other than those 10 minutes, however, the film was kind of a dumpster fire. The excessive backstory felt awkwardly crammed into the film so it could be shown on the big screen.

45. The Cloverfield Paradox (Netflix)
This is the first of a group of original Netflix titles I'm including on my list. I'm a fan of the original Cloverfield film, and I loved 10 Cloverfield Lane. This entry into the series/Cloververse/whatever we're calling it, however, was terrible. Convoluted everything. A mess.

44. The Death Cure

43. TAU (Netflix)
My hopes, while not high for this film, at least wanted something interesting as it involves AI and that's something I've been studying extensively, lately. It disappointed not only on the AI front, however (the use of AI was pretty boring imo), but on just about every other front as well.

42. A Wrinkle in Time
How they bungled this film up so badly, I don't know. It had a great cast, and great source material. Shrug.

41. The Princess Switch (Netflix)
The first in a triplet of Netflix Christmas Romcoms I watched with Rachel, and the least interesting by far.

40. Christmas Inheritance (Netflix)
The second of the Netflix Christmas triplet, and while it was slightly less forgettable than The Princess Switch, it was still pretty meh. Best things about it were Plop from the later seasons of The Office and Clarke from the awesome TV series The 100 playing the leads.

39. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
I don't know what's worse, this film or Jurassic Park 3.

38. Rampage
The return of Plop! Not outright irritating to watch, but it wasn't that great, either. It did have Duane Johnson in it, though, which is always a plus. This is the point in my list where films go from outright bad to tolerable and generally entertaining.

37. The Holiday Calendar (Netflix)
The best of the Netflix Christmas triplet. It has Kat Graham in it, who I think is awesome, and overall the premise and storytelling were pretty decent compared to the other two.

36. Upgrade
Another AI flick, but another one that missed the mark in making AI really interesting onscreen, imo. It was vaguely interesting and had some great action sequences, though.

35. I Feel Pretty
First of all, Amy Schumer is great. Second of all, I really liked the premise of the film. Thirdly, and a strong however: the execution fell flat for me.

34. Robin Hood
I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I liked it, if that makes sense. The action was pretty solid, but the story was lackluster, and the characters not very interesting. It made a half-hearted attempt at sort of a contemporary take on medieval culture, but failed pretty miserably there, too. A Knight's Tale is the gold standard where that is concerned, and I wish it had taken more cues from that film than from, say, King Arthur from last year.

33. The First Purge
The Purge series. Hmmm. I don't have very many opinions on it, which is pretty telling, I think. This might be the best film of the series? Unfortunately, I don't think that's saying much.

32. The Spy Who Dumped Me
A fairly funny film! Mila Kunis is decent here. Kate McKinnon is awesome.

31. Pacific Rim: Uprising
Unfortunately this film seemed to lose all of the charm and outrageousness that made the first one so awesome, but kept all of the cheese. A solid cast, and decent action sequences, but not much more than that.

30. Set It Up (Netflix)
A surprisingly decent rom-com from Netflix. Awesome cast. I'd say this is where films on the list start trending more good than bad, or merely average.

29. Game Night
Genuinely funny, and well-told at that.

28. Ocean's 8
Not as good as I wanted it to be, but still pretty good all the same.

27. Tomb Raider
Admittedly higher on my list than it probably deserves, and all because of Alicia Vikander. Absolutely better than the Angelina Jolie adaptations of the video game, but not nearly as good as the video game reboot on which it's based.

26. Solo: A Star Wars Story*
I didn't think this was as bad as some people said it was. I also didn't think it was as good as other people said it was. Better than The Last Jedi. Not nearly as good as Rogue One.

25. Ant Man and the Wasp
I think the best thing the Ant-Man films have going for them in Michael Peña, but they have some other solid qualities, too. This superhero flick was both funny and fun, and tied in Infinity War reasonably well, too.

24. Molly's Game
This was...good. I'm not sure I remember much about it other than that? I think it had Idris Elba, and that gives it +100,000,000 points on my movie scale, which puts it right about here.

23. The Ritual (Netflix)
A decent horror flick. Fantastic creature design.

22. Tag
I'm not sure why I placed Game Night up there and Tag down here, because thinking of them both now, they seem pretty similar. Both very funny, and both strong stories. I think the difference might have been characterization, which gave Tag a few extra points.

21. The Incredibles 2
A solid sequel, and I think just as good as the original.

20.  Mission Impossible: Fallout
So I didn't think this was nearly as good as the critics seemed to think, or a lot of people I know. But it was good.

19. Bird Box (Netflix)
A decent adaptation, but I absolutely preferred the book. I do wonder whether much of the tension was taken out of it for me because I read the book, or because the film just wasn't as tense as I wanted it to be.

18. Hereditary
Yet another film that wasn't quite as good as the critics claimed, in my opinion. But this was a very good horror film. Reminiscent of Kubrick's The Shining in the sense of unease and overwhelming dread it built, agonizingly slowly.

17. Bohemian Rhapsody
I mean, Rami Malik was amazing, here, and it was awesome to see Queen's journey and music on the screen. There were some flaws--some more significant than others--but overall it was pretty great.

16. To All The Boys I've Loved Before (Netflix)
Awesome. Funny. Well-told. Great characters. One of the top three rom-coms I saw last year, and I can't wait for the sequel.

15. Red Sparrow
This was...good? I mean, I think Jennifer Lawrence was pretty good in it? And it was a decent story with decent twists? But the truth is, as I'm thinking about it, I'm second-guessing why I placed it so high (but too lazy to place it somewhere else). I think I wanted it to be more like Atomic Blonde, but it ended up being more like...um...I don't know, something more boring than that.

14. Love, Simon
Second favorite rom-com of the 2018. I loved this film.

13. I, Tonya
A great character piece, and Margot Robbie hits it out of the park. This actually made me sympathize with Tonya Harding--something I would've thought almost impossible prior to seeing the film.

12. Outlaw King (Netflix)
Everything Braveheart wanted to be and more. An awesome period flick about a part of English/Scottish history that isn't nearly represented enough.

11. Unsane
So creepy. And well-told, too, with a phenomenal central character brought to life by Claire Foy.

10. Deadpool 2
Deadpool returns with his atypical quips, fourth-wall breakage, and some awesome action sequences. I loved the new mutants introduced in this one. A solid superhero film, and perhaps even better than the first installment.

9. Disobedience
Achingly good story. A slow-burning look into the romantic relationship between two women in a very conservative society. I really enjoyed this fim.

8. Black Panther
This film was just plain awesome. Incredible cast, Michael B. Jordan perhaps even a head above the others.

7. Avengers: Infinity War
I think Black Panther is probably a better film than Infinity War in just about every way, but for me IW squeaks one slot above BP because of the scope, because of Thanos, and because of the audacity of that ending.

6. A Simple Favor
I loved this film. I might not be as technically good as some of the other films at the top of my list, but I loved the comedy-noir cocktail. And, of course, Anna Kendrick.

5. Annihilation
I'm a sucker for sweeping sci-fi epics, and...well...this is a sweeping, sci-fi epic. It is certainly flawed, but I love the ambiguity, the visuals, and the creepiness of it.

4. Crazy Rich Asians
This film surprised me. Awesome characterization brought to life by a phenomenal cast, a well-told story, and just a lot of fun. My favorite rom-com of the year.

3. A Star is Born
Lady Gaga blew me away. Bradley Cooper did an amazing job as an actor, and an even better job as a director. But honestly this film, while very good, would probably be further down my list if it weren't for the sequence leading up to and including where Ally and Jack first sing together on stage. That sequence was so good.

2. Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
The huge surprise film of the year, for me. I loved it. Great characters, great story, great theme. Uses the animation medium perfectly. I love that the film was animated, and it was absolutely a better film for that (and if you were disappointed it was animated, I feel sad for your understanding of storytelling).

1. A Quiet Place
I personally wouldn't qualify this as horror, but it was an awesome, innovative thriller that kept me tense and wondering what would happen through 90% of the film. I was scared and tense in ways I never thought a film would make me scared and tense. I loved the creature design and general premise of the film (honestly, if this hadn't come out, I think Bird Box would have been higher on my list; while the films are certainly different, A Quiet Place did everything Bird Box was trying to do, but better). Acting was amazing. What can I say? My favorite film of the year.