And the world moved on ... Los Nefilim

I don't have a lot of clear memories from my childhood, but there are a few, and some of my best memories are the days, especially the nights, that I would spend with my grandmother. My grandparents had a farmhouse that they heated with a wood stove even though the rest of the house was wired for electricity. I remember snuggling down under a mountain of quilts with my grandmother beside me, and she would answer my hundreds of questions, or just listen to me talk.

The cool thing about Grandma was that she answered me like I was an adult; I always knew she would give it to me straight. She never told me to be quiet, or to not be so bossy, or any of the other things adults said to me when I was a child.

On one of those many evenings that we shared, she and I were in bed at my parents' house. I remember being so happy, and on that particular evening, I felt exceptionally safe and secure. I told her I hoped nothing ever changed. To my surprise, she laughed and said that everything changes, nothing stays the same forever, and that I needed to learn to change with the world around me.

To her surprise, I burst into tears, because I wanted to be six years old forever, and I wanted my grandmother to live forever, and of course, I wanted to feel safe forever. The thought of the world changing terrified me. The concept seemed unstable. Why change? Why disrupt happiness?

What I didn't understand then was I wanted the feeling of safety to last forever, not for the world to stay the same. But I was six, and as a child, I thought like a child, and my grandmother, well, she was so much wiser than me.

Nothing stays the same. In spite of our desires to freeze-frame life, the world moves on. Attitudes change, perceptions change, people change, and unlike the six year old child that I was, I now embrace change, even when it frightens me.

As I grew up and began to read, I happened upon R.A. MacAvoy's brilliant Damiano series in A Trio for Lute. Damiano is a witch, who loves his little town and his life there. When an army marches on his city, he takes it upon himself to make a deal with Satan, because Damiano wants to preserve his hometown exactly the way it is. Satan argues against the deal at first, telling Damiano that if his town doesn't experience privation and war, the city will likewise become stagnant and die. The devil's argument is that adversity leads to growth, a polemic that Damiano ultimately rejects, persisting in his desire to save the town.

As a condition of his bargain, Damiano is forced to leave his hometown, never to return, and by leaving, by experiencing the very change and adversity that he doesn't want to visit on his town, Damiano grows wiser and more worldly. In regards to the town: Satan was right. The world moved on, but the town did not. Peel back the layers of those three novels, there are metaphors there, the kind that I love.

As I became older and discovered adversity and grew through my pain, I began to truly understand my grandmother's wisdom. Everything changes. Nothing stays the same forever. The world moves on.

Not wanting to be left behind in the changing world, I learned to travel through books. Likewise, I write about people and cultures so that I might research them and gain a better understanding of the world in which I live.

In the process of trying to comprehend this ever evolving world, I wrote a novel, it didn't sell, and at the time I was very frustrated by that particular turn of events, but now, in hindsight, I am glad. In spite of all my research and numerous attempts to avoid tropes about gay men, I accidentally wrote those very tropes into that story without realizing it. If I get a chance to re-do the novel, I will, and I will do it differently.

The world moved on, and I listened and I learned.

However, I was so pleased with the characters from that novel, I wanted to resurrect them in a different way. The loveliest thing about embracing change means we get second chances, or as Diago likes to say, "Our incarnations change us."

When you read Los Nefilim, you see those characters, Diago, Miquel, and Guillermo, in a new form.

It's no longer Guillermo's story--I don't think it ever was. Diago Alvarez is my protagonist, and Diago is gay, so is Miquel. With these stories, I wanted to reverse the negative stereotypes of gay men that I had read about or seen on film. For a long time, these perverse images were all that were available and colored people's perceptions: the gay man always on the prowl for sex, or the prancing effeminate male, or the man dying of AIDS. Each of these stereotypes indicated that living as a gay man had terrible consequences. The not-so-subliminal message is that to be true to one's sexuality risks unhappiness, ridicule, and death.

Yet I knew gay men who lived happy fulfilled lives with caring partners. When I write about Diago's and Miquel's relationship, I am showing you what I have seen in my friends. Two men who love one another and are trying to work through life's everyday difficulties while remaining true to themselves.

You know, just like any other couple.

Well. There are a few differences ...

Welcome to Los Nefilim where Diago's world is changing around him, and he is struggling to keep up. He isn't entirely comfortable with his sexuality, but he has something very important in his life: close friends who love and accept him for who he is, not who he sleeps with, and a loving understanding partner, who wants nothing more than to protect him. It is love and acceptance that sustains a person through even the most violent changes, and in these opening novellas, Diago experiences quite a few of those, but he keeps getting up, a little taller each time, because adversity gives him the impetus to grow emotionally.

Collected together for the first time, the three novellas—In Midnight’s SilenceWithout Light or Guide, and The Second Death—brings to life the world of Los Nefilim, Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons. In 1931, Los Nefilim’s existence is shaken by the preternatural forces commanding them … and a half-breed caught in-between.

Diago Alvarez, a singular being of daimonic and angelic descent, is pulled into the ranks of Los Nefilim in order to protect his newly-found son. As an angelic war brews in the numinous realms, and Spain marches closer to civil war, the destiny of two worlds hangs on Diago’s actions. Yet it is the combined fates of his lover, Miquel, and his young son, Rafael, that weighs most heavily on his soul.

You see, the world moved on, and I listened and I learned, and when the opportunity arose to make critical changes to the story, I grabbed the chance. These novellas were an absolute joy to write. I hope you enjoy them half as much as I loved working on them.

Whether everyone is ready for a protagonist like Diago or not is still up in the air, but let me tell you something, I have no regrets.

The world moves on, and I listen and I learn, and I hope I never stop.

Saludos,

T

A new series, Hugos, Los Nefilim review, & a Giveaway at Amazon

In case you missed it over the weekend, I've started a new series called Sunday Snippets. Based on a newsletter poll, people said they wanted more Los Nefilim vignettes, cut scenes, and backstory. I posted the first one in the series yesterday with Solomon Dying, Guillermo Awakening.

A few people have asked me about Hugo nominations for the novella category. They've noticed that both In Midnight's Silence: Los Nefilim Part 1 and Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim Part 2 were published in 2015. If you are new to the series, or if you only have time to read one prior to the deadline to Hugo nominations, I suggest you begin with In Midnight's Silence.

On the fence as to whether or not the series is for you? Check out the Los Nefilim review at Fantasy Faction. A.F.E. Smith gives a comprehensive review of the entire series.

If you haven't had a chance to read either In Midnight's Silence or Without Light or Guide, I am running a giveaway at Amazon.com. Unfortunately, Amazon only allows giveaways for the U.S. entries at this time, so this is only open to those in the U.S.

Just go click the links below to go to the contest:

In Midnight's Silence

Without Light or Guide

When the Amazon package drops down, click on it. You will immediately know whether or not you win. Instant gratification ... we all love it.

For those outside the U.S.: never fear, I'll be running other giveaways as we draw closer to The Second Death, and I will have COMPLETE control, so some of those giveaways will be worldwide.

I'll be writing blog posts for other folks during the rest of this week in preparation for the coming of The Second Death, the exciting conclusion to this portion of the Los Nefilim series. So stay tuned for more ...

The third Los Nefilim novella is coming ...

In case you missed it over the weekend, the cover for the final novella in the Los Nefilim trilogy, The Second Death, went live on Friday:

This is the most striking one by far and I'm very pleased with it!

The Goodreads page is live in case you want to add it to your to-read list.

I also received the Los Nefilim buttons and will be conducting a giveaway later this week.

More to come as we get closer to the final launch, so stay tuned ...

Where I've been and what I've been doing ... 2015

I've been leaving you in the capable hands of some guest posts over the last few weeks, and while it seems like I've been neglecting the home front, I've had a lot going on in the background:

I finished up the third Los Nefilim novella, The Second Death: Los Nefilim, Part 3, and turned it over to my editor.

Reviews:

Without Light or Guide: Los Nefilim, Part 2 is kicking along strong. I've had some interesting reviews, my favorite of which includes a recipe. Deb at Kahakai Kitchen reviewed the novella and gave out an awesome recipe for Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas). I think she liked the novella, too.

No recipe, but at You Can Read Me Anything, Without Light or Guide is called "a great story; so much is packed into its brief page count that you’ll never believe that you read a little over a hundred pages and got an entire tale out of the experience."

Dreams, Etc. says that Without Light or Guide has the "perfect level of creepiness."

Blog Posts:

Over at Fantasy Book Cafe, I talk about Angels, Daimons, and Los Nefilim. I had a load of fun writing this post where I talk about skunks, guardian angels, and my somewhat warped childhood.

Auston Habershaw graciously gave me some space on his blog to talk about why I like my Super Heroes to bleed just a little.

Michael R. Fletcher gave me some space to rant on the attitude: WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' ROMANCE at his blog. The post spawned a super discussion on r/fantasy at Reddit, as well. [Let me pause here and compliment all of the moderators at r/fantasy for working so hard to make r/fantasy such a safe place for discussions like these. Give them a shout-out when you can. They have busted trollish behavior until the r/fantasy forum is an excellent place to hang out online. The romance discussion enlightened me as to how some of the fans think, because everyone stated their position with the utmost respect for one another. I appreciate any forum that exhibits that kind of dialogue. Great job, guys, carry on ...]

So what's next?

I'm working on a synopsis and the first three chapters of a new novel, which feels very Gothic in tone. I am having a great deal of fun with it.

After the holidays, I'll have more blog posts coming live at you. Some of you have specifically requested blog posts--don't let me forget you.

No matter how much I tried to dissuade him with my hearing issues and the technological obstacles we must surmount, Rob Matheny is determined that we will put together a podcast for you. So with a little luck, you might get to hear me swear at you on a future Grim Tidings Podcast. I hope so. I like swearing at you.

Meanwhile, things might get quiet around here for a few days. It's been a very hard year for me. I was on several tight deadlines--all of my own making--and I will pace myself better in the coming year. Essentially in 2015, when I wasn't writing, I was writing. It was a busy year:

I've had two novellas published by Harper Voyager Impulse (In Midnight's Silence was written at the end of 2014), and I wrote two more novellas in one year, promoting them all to the best of my ability.

I joined The Supernatural Underground this year and will post once a month on the 30th of each month. I will be talking more about writing over there rather than my usual ranting, which I will keep right here.

I updated my Bibliography page so that it includes some of my more popular non-fiction posts. I even had a post published at Tor.com this year.

It was a summer of health scares and mad travel, but everything eventually turned out all right. Our lives have finally settled back into our routines, and I am trying to remember how to relax again.

Relaxing is always difficult for me, especially when I've been going full-tilt boogie for a year straight. I have to come down off the work routine slowly and begin to integrate quiet days back into my life. My beautiful daughter helps me by inviting me over to her house for tea.

I have a stack of about fifteen to-read books, and I am looking forward to delving into some of the ones that I have saved for when I have the time to fully enjoy them. I will most likely review a few of them here on my blog when I finish them.

I'll also still be promoting Without Light or Guide and the forthcoming The Second Death. I might even think up a title for the work in progress.

And that is where I have been and what I have been doing. What about you? If you care to, drop a comment and let me know what's been going on with you. I try to keep up on Twitter and Facebook, but I still lose some of you from time to time.

If we haven't touched base lately, let me take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays and a lovely new year.

Contempt and Love in the Days of Online War

Recently, I saw a tweet in which an individual professed s/he would never read a novel that used the word “mankind” in the blurb. Since the tagline of my Los Nefilim series has the word “mankind” in it (not once, but twice, mind you), the comment sort of drew me up short. I knew the tweeter, and the prejudice made me kind of sad, because I thought the individual might have enjoyed Diago and Miquel’s story.

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Congrats to the Hugo winners, a review for In Midnight's Silence, & a snippet from The Second Death

Congratulations to the Hugo winners! Congratulations also to the fans, who have spoken. Let us honor their wishes and conduct ourselves accordingly from this point forward.

While everyone else was at the Hugo ceremony, I received a very lovely review for In Midnight's Silence by author T.O. Munro. This one contained a couple of paragraphs that simply made my day:

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