Looking back at 2014: I know I have been quiet ... (#SFWApro)

But I'm still here, recharging my batteries and making nefarious plans for more stories. 2014 was full of new experiences and busier than I originally thought. It was a year of writing, and, discounting blog posts, there were a lot of words. A few of the highlights include:

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The Indalo Man in Hisses and Wings (#SFWApro)

Last week, Alex and I were posting teasers about our new novelette, Hisses and Wings, on Facebook. We were looking for pictures that tied into the actual story itself, and one of the pictures that we used was that of the Indalo Man. He intrigued enough people that I promised I would blog about him and tell you a little more about what he represents and why he is in the story.

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Cover reveal for Hisses and Wings: a story of the Tufa and Los Nefilim (#SFWApro)

I've long been a fan of Alex Bledsoe's novels, so when I was offered an opportunity to work with Alex on a short story, I jumped at the chance. We bounced around some story ideas, and the one thing that seemed to click with both of us was that Alex's Tufa used music in their magic, and I have a series, Los Nefilim, whose magic is also based in music. 

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News about Manifesto: UF (#SFWApro)

Yesterday I received an email from Stacey Turner, Owner and Managing Editor of Angelic Knight Press. Angelic Knight Press is being acquired by a larger publisher and some titles from will not be carried over into the new imprint--Manifesto: UF is one of those titles. On December 1, 2014, Stacey will be removing Manifesto: UF from online distributors. All of this is normal and good and as it should be.

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and now for a very teeny story--comes the night (#SFWApro)

And now for a very teeny story:

Comes the Night

skintaker.jpg

Comes the night, thin fingers reach past broken glass and grit. Warm asphalt oozes open; weeds part like thin gray ribbons. Brown bottles litter the ground. The yeasty odor of old beer clings to the soil.

Skin-taker’s blind face rises up. The head weaves from side to side, and then suddenly stops.

The scent of cheap perfume, more alcohol than flowers, wafts through the air.

Roses at Midnight

Skin-taker slithers through the grass toward the scent.

Roses

Comes the night, Skin-taker creeps past the rusted trailers set all in a row. There are steps: one-two-three. At the door, thin fingers start rapping, tapping—way down low where the paint flakes across the threshold.

The door opens. A sliver of light leaks through. It’s not much, but it is enough. Skin-taker flies up. It has one chance. This time it is lucky. It catches the woman in her eye. Plunging into the soft tissue, Skin-taker finds the nerve and flows into her brain.

The woman notices nothing more than a sting in her eye.

From the kitchen, a man asks, Who is it?

Nobody.

The woman returns to the kitchen. The butcher knife is too heavy and will not do. She takes up the boning knife. Moonlight catches the cold, silver blade.

The man turns. Honey?

Skin-taker smiles with woman’s mouth but not with her eyes.

Comes the night, Skin-taker takes some skin.

Where I have been...visiting Mark Lawrence & SFSignal (#SFWApro)

Well, I didn't really go to the UK. It was more of a virtual thing.

I've been using my Tumblr to get word out lately, because my host provider suffered DDoS attacks over the last few weeks. Things seemed to have settled down now, so we'll see how it goes.

In case you missed the Tumblr links, here are a few things that went on in December:

Pat Rothfuss is hosting his annual fund drive for Worldbuilders, and I have donated a signed copy of Miserere and a signed copy of Manifesto: UF, which contains my short story, "Naked the Night Sings." Both of these items are in the Lottery Library. Pat talks about Worldbuilders and how you can donate at his blog.

I visited Mark Lawrence at his blog and talked about how women are marketed differently than men in addition to a lot of other things.

As an addendum to that interview: Someone compared the use of religious iconology in Miserere to Christopher Buehlman's Between Two Fires. Out of curiosity, I got my hands on a copy of Between Two Fires and I am currently reading it (for the record, I am enjoying it immensely). Oddly enough, Buehlman has a child character in his novel and I don't see any YA comparisons being made.

Personally, I think that Buehlman's work is more comparable to my Garden in Umber in respect to the time period, knights, and the use of angelology as a backdrop for the story. Now I'm more convinced than ever that women are expected to write within certain themes and not move outside the YA/PNR spectrum without forfeiting their "marketability."

Speaking of marketability ... my short story "La Santisima" is still free and is now on Goodreads if you want to read it, comment, or rate it. I warn you, though, "La Santisima" is very different than some of my other short stories, so your mileage might vary significantly as to whether or not you like it. It was an interesting exercise for me and I learned a lot by working on it.

The most amazing Sarah Chorn, who hosts the blog Bookworm Blues, also writes a series of posts for SF Signal. Sarah and I traded emails for several weeks and you can see the results of our discussion at her on-going series, Special Needs in Strange Worlds.

I talk about why Glokta is one of my favorite characters and the importance of portraying disabilities realistically in my own stories. It was a fun interview and Sarah is a skilled interviewer.

I'm spending my "vacation" fine-tuning the first part of Cygnet Moon and outlining the last half of the story. The novel is coming along very nicely, and I'm pleased with the tone.

That is all that I have for you now. There will be more fun and games in the New Year, so stay tuned.

Year end wrap-up (#SFWApro)

A look back on 2013

I read a lot of novels by men during 2012 and 2013, because I wanted to analyze the differences between male and female authors. The Gender Bending post of late 2012, early 2013 was one of my most popular posts ever; although, I hesitate to call it mine. Several wonderful authors contributed to that project in late December 2012 through early January 2013, so in many ways it belongs to all of us. Thank you again to everyone who contributed their time and energy to make that project work, especially to the fans who guessed and commented.

What we found out was what we already knew: unless the name automatically indicated a gender, there was approximately a 50/50 chance that the participants would guess wrong.

My writing

Dolorosa (Book 2 of the Katharoi series). I completed a solid first chapter to Miserere's sequel, Dolorosa. I had just started work on the synopsis when Night Shade Books initiated the sale of the company to Skyhorse/Start. For a variety of reasons, Dolorosa was put on hold.

Given the time limitations that I have for writing, I have to focus on projects that have a chance of selling. I spent most of April and May trying to work out a feasible schedule for the project and finally decided that anything with the Katharoi series had to be placed on hold for the duration of one year at the very least.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Is now available at Audible where it is drawing some very nice reviews.

In other good news, Miserere has officially earned out on the Skyhorse side of the debit sheet. For that little miracle, I owe all of my thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of Miserere, either ebook, print, or audio. You have my deepest gratitude.

Miserere also took a major shout-out on Tor.com in the Under the Radar series. Check out the Under the Radar series for more great books that you might have missed.

Short Stories. Given all of the upheaval going on around me in April/May, I concentrated on short stories:

  • "La Santisima" is an original short story that is here on the blog and you can read it for free.
  • "Naked the Night Sings," is merely one of the many fine stories featured in Manifesto: UF, edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann, Angelic Knight Press, 2013.
  • "Love, Crystal and Stone," will appear in Neverland's Library Fantasy Anthology, edited by Roger Bellini, Neverland Books, March 2014. You can read an exclusive excerpt from "Love, Crystal and Stone" at Fantasy Book Critic.

I also wrote two more short stories that will be going on submission after the first of the year:

  • "Down to the River" a coming of age story about a young sin-eater.
  • "White like Snow" a story about two brothers who find a haunted castle.

Cygnet Moon. I have a synopsis and almost 50,000 words on this novel. I'm really pleased with both the story and the characterization so far.

General observations

In spite of all of the set-backs, I don't feel too bad about 2013. I wrote over 30,000 words on short stories and 50,000 words on a new novel. That figure doesn't include word counts from submission packages, blog posts, interviews, etc.

Not bad. In 2014, I will finish Cygnet Moon and begin work on Dolorosa. More and more people are asking for Miserere's sequel and in every review people mention that they would like to revisit Woerld. I hope to make that possible for you.

To all of the awesome people who have been so kind as to read Miserere and give the book a shout-out whenever and where ever you can. Thank you!

Celebrate the season in whatever way you see fit. I'll be with the most tolerant people in the world ... my lovely family.

I'll see you again in 2014.

Watch for me.

riding the razor's edge--urban fantasy and horror

What is the razor's edge that divides urban fantasy from horror? 

I give a few thoughts on the subject of riding that razor’s edge between horror and urban fantasy and talk about my short story "Naked the Night Sings," which appears in the Manifesto: UF anthology. I have a guest post this week with urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson. If you don't know Suzanne, she is the urban fantasy author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. You can read all about Suzanne's books here.

Suzanne is giving away a copy of Miserere too and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment. Come on over and join the discussion!