A new look to the website (#SFWApro)

A new look to the website (#SFWApro)

Wow. I knew you guys were awesome, but you just blew me away last week. On Friday, I received an email from Clarion West that we have achieved Tier 3, our $100 goal! As a matter of fact, we shot over the goal and collected $160.00 in donations for Clarion West.

You people simply rock!

What this means is that I am now about to offer up not one, not two, but all three of the tiers to some lucky folks. Here is what I'm going to do:

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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.

why so silent?

While I'm letting a short story percolate, I've returned to work on Cygnet Moon. I don't have any taglines or blurbs for this novel yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying the story. The protagonist has finally begun to show me a few moments of subtle psychological imbalance. That trait has prevented the story from slipping into the tired old frame "young person goes into the world to mature."

Makar is twisted around the edges--his madness is embedded in his DNA and comes from both his mother and his father. I'm still discovering all of his quirks, but this one surprised me as I completed a scene the other day:

“Swear your loyalty to me, Makar.”

With the suffocating whiteness of her ar’nel gone, I could breathe freely once more. My eyes still burned and refused to focus properly, but I glimpsed the shadowy image of Balian as she stepped close to Mother’s side.

I disengaged myself from Tatiana’s grip and knelt before Mother. “I swear on the names of my ancestors and on the blessed name of my grandmother Queen of Heaven Norayn ib Jebid that I will fulfill my duties to our people and protect them from harm.”

“With your life.”

“With my life,” I whispered to the floor, then kissed the hem of her robe and made sure to smear my blood on the underside of her gown. She wouldn’t notice until this evening that she had carried a part of me with her all the day. The very thought of my blood on her person would horrify her. “I will not dishonor this house.”

Ah, family.

I've also been working on some guest posts that will be showing up online over the next few days and weeks. I'll keep you notified of when those go live.

I'm over at the Ranting Dragon, making a case for Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel The Mists of Avalon as my choice for their Great Fantasy Novel series.

Tomorrow, my big post of the week will be at BookSworn.

I'm really excited about the Manifesto: UF anthology that is coming September 1. I've had a chance to read several of the stories and I love the way that Tim and Tyson have segued from one story to the next. There is a definite flow to the anthology that makes reading the stories in order very smooth.

One thing I've loved about the various stories that I've read so far is the scope of urban fantasy. Manifesto: UF has a little something for everyone.

I'll be talking more about my story, "Naked the Night Sings," over at Suzanne Johnson's blog later in September. Suzanne is an agent-mate of mine, we're both represented by Marlene Stringer. You can read about Suzanne's urban fantasy novels right here.

While I worked on "Naked the Night Sings," I thought a lot about the fine line between urban fantasy and horror. Of course, we all know what happens when I start to think--either nothing good comes of it, or I end up writing an ungodly long blog post about it.

So that is what has been going on behind the scenes. I hope you've been busy too.

#SFWApro

a few quick thoughts

A lovely gentleman emailed me on Facebook to ask for a status update on my current novel. His email made me realize I'd been rather lax about the blog. So here, for what it's worth, are a few updates:

  • I'm involved in the final edits of THE GARDEN. Due to the need for a new chapter towards the end of the novel, the dynamics in two subsequent chapters have changed somewhat, so I'm working on the rewrites of those scenes.
  • Another part of wrapping up my final edits includes reading the text out loud for clunky sentences and poor grammar. It's time consuming, but the process helps me catch missing words and/or clumsy phrasing.
  • I'm also finalizing some research on honorifics for Hebrew kings. Yair Goldberg has been invaluable in sending me information, so I should have those details hammered out soon.
  • Speaking of research, I'm working a blog post about the need for research in a novel. I'll keep you posted about that.
  • I'll be talking about Urban Fantasy and Gothic fiction on the newest Mind Meld. Watch SF Signal for updates.

To all my dear friends in New York City and in the northeast: My heart goes out to you in this terrible crisis. Please keep yourselves safe and know that we are thinking of you--and sending whatever aid we can.

ChiCon 7, home again, and news on Dolorosa

I only have time for a very quick update:

ChiCon 7 is finally over and what a blast it was for me. The people who organized the con did a magnificent job. I got to meet so many wonderful people. My roommate was awesome and we had great fun together.

I've got to jump right back into my everyday life; however, I'm not going to leave you empty-handed! My friend (and colleague) Mazarkis Williams, author of The Emperor's Knife and Knifesworn, has blogged about ChiCon 7 and did a super job summing up the panels and events (My First Day at ChiCon, ChiCon Day 2, and ChiCon Day 3).

Dolorosa, Miserere's sequel, is in the works. I hope to have something to share with you on the story by the end of this week or early next week.

And I hate to run, but the clocks are ticking on me once more so I must go. I'll be back later!

Summing it up for 2011 & looking ahead to 2012

Just a really quick year-end round-up, because these people were all so kind to put Miserere on their best of lists:

Over at Staffer's Musings, Miserere took #5 on The Juice Boxes-Best SFF Debut of the Year-2011 alongside some other super 2011 debuts (I'm not telling here, go read the list).

Kristen at the Fantasy Cafe listed Miserere as one of her Favorite Books of 2011 and her favorite debut.

Last, but certainly not least, Miserere won honorable mentions on several book blogs. Even Paul Goat Allen gave Miserere a nod as one of 2011's outstanding debuts at the B&N Book Blog.

I want to thank all of book bloggers who reviewed Miserere in 2011. I know there was some really excellent genre fiction published last year, but without your help, Miserere wouldn't have reached the audience that it did in 2011. I hope to eventually meet some of you at cons. You all just made my debut year very special and I thank you!

I also had the opportunity to meet (online) and enjoy the fellowship of a host of debut authors, all of them wonderful writers, all of them fascinating people. I look forward to meeting some of them in person at cons in 2012.

I'm working hard on the final draft of The Garden, and I hope to start Dolorosa (Miserere's sequel) soon.

I think in 2012 I will continue to take risks with my stories. I want to broaden my worldview and hopefully yours too. More than anything, I just want to entertain you and make you forget your troubles for a few hours.

Happy New Year.

Here's to 2012 ... the Year of the Dragon.