Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blog Tour for The Buried Life!

It is now officially release week; The Buried Life will be among us this Tuesday! Now, I may be keeping mum around here, but several kind folks have been gracious enough to allow me to share Recoletta, Jane, Malone, Arnault, and more from The Buried Life at their online abodes.

Also, brisket.

More to follow, but here's where you can keep up:

February 26: Giveaway of The Buried Life @ Just a Guy That Likes To Read
February 27: Author Query Redux: On Delays and Surprises @ A Fantastical Librarian

March 2: Eating Authors: The BBQ Road Trip @ Lawrence M. Schoen
March 2: 2015 Debut Author Challenge @ The Qwillery

March 3: Memoirs of a Young Bureaucrat (An Excerpt) @ The Book Plank
March 3: Five Favorite Weird Metropolises @
March 3: Listmaking: My SuperpowerThe Skiffy and Fanty Show

March 4: Book Bites: Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole @ Fran Wilde
March 4: Wednesday Geek Woman @

March 5: My Favorite Bit @ Mary Robinette Kowal
March 5: Five Things I Learned Writing The Buried Life @ Chuck Wendig's terribleminds
March 5: The Perfect Sidekick @ All Things UF

March 6: The Big Idea @ John Scalzi's Whatever

March 7: 2pm Signing and Launch Party @ Mysterious Galaxy San Diego

March 8: Unlikely Influences, or What I Learned about Writing from Scuba Diving @ Kate Heartfield's blog

March 9: Talking 'Bout Book Launches @ The Kingdoms of Evil with Dan Bensen

March 11: InterviewThe Qwillery

March 12: Podcast "The Buried Life of Broken Souls" @ Dungeon Crawlers Radio

March 16: I Can't Believe It's Not Steampunk! @ The Tex Files with Tex Thompson

March 20: Podcast and Interview @ The Skiffy and Fanty Show

March 30: Gaslight Geeks @ Generations Geek

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New year, new release date

2014 was a fantastic year. A lot happened. I finished my second novel, Cities and Thrones. I got firmly settled into my fantastic job as a narrative designer at Obsidian Entertainment. I went to a handful of SFF conventions and made some incredible friends. And I got my first whirlwind taste of pre-launch book promotion.

And yet, there's one thing in particular that didn't happen. The Buried Life, my debut novel, did not come out.

If you follow industry news, you may already know that my publisher, Angry Robot, was sold last year. This was the reason behind the delay of my book and several others.

I learned about the delay roughly a week before the scheduled release and shortly before I went to Detcon. I didn't say anything. I'd been specifically asked not to - the details of the sale weren't public information, and I certainly didn't want to start any speculation that might compromise a deal.

So I kept my mouth shut and my fingers crossed for a quick resolution.

Fortunately, the sale was announced September 30, and all is well in Robot Land. The Buried Life drops March 3 (March 5 in the UK), and a whole slew of other tasty new novels will come out in the spring, too.

I'm glad operations are back to normal, and in a way, I'm also strangely grateful for the delay. In the initial publicity push, The Buried Life got some fantastic reviews and press - in Publishers Weekly, The Guardian, SciFiNow, and io9, to name a few. It was tough to see so many of those mentions appear when I didn't even know the final release date of the novel, but I'm also grateful to have them now that the launch is on the horizon. And after getting a taste of pre-release madness, I'm better prepared for the next two months.

And on that subject, here's the part where I mention that The Buried Life will be back on NetGalley starting Monday.

All in all, I'm excited to finally share The Buried Life with the world in March, and I'll be thrilled to share the sequel, Cities and Thrones, just a few short months later! 2014 was great, but here's to a wonderful 2015.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CONvergence Schedule!

I'm now in lovely Minneapolis, getting ready for CONvergence! Here's my panel lineup for the weekend:

  • Skiffy & Fanty Show - Live at CONvergence! Thursday @ 2pm, with Michael Underwood, Martha Wells, David Annandale, Shaun Duke, and Paul Weimer
  • Hard SF Movies are Back! Friday @ 9:30am, with Romeo Azar, Mark McPherson, and Dave Margosian
  • You Against the Game Friday @ 2pm with Craig A. Finseth, Walter Sullivan, Michael Black, and Dave Benhart
  • Oregon Trail... WITH ZOMBIES! Sunday @ 9:30am with Michael Black, Karl Tingelstad, and Sam Wroge

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ready for Apollocon 2014!

The title says it all. I'm back in Houston and looking forward to a weekend of catching up with local writer friends and chowing down on Lupe Tortilla's incomparable beef fajitas.

Here's my schedule for the weekend. If you're coming to Apollocon at the DoubleTree Intercontinental, stop by and say hello!

Friday, June 27

  • "How Science Fiction Changed My Life" - with David Gerrold, Marianne Dyson, and Dr. Dominick D'Aunno (M) at 8 PM
  • "Digital Landscapes of Storytelling" - with Jonathan Schwarz and Leo King at 10 PM
Saturday, June 28
  • Writers' Workshop, leading with Cassandra Rose Clarke at 9 AM. LET'S GET IT ON, MORNING PEOPLE
  • Reading from The Buried Life - 2 PM. Live, for the first time ever! There will be BEER*
  • "Dystopian Fiction" - moderating, with Este Io, D.L. Young, and Lawrence Person at 4 PM
Sunday, June 29
  • "The New Star Wars" - with Dr. Dominick D'Aunno, Larry Friesen, and Shanna Swendson (M) at 11 AM
  • "It Learns While You Play: AI in Sci-Fi" - moderating, with Cassandra Rose Clarke, David Gerrold, D.L. Young, and Brad Frank at 1 PM
  • "What Next? Writing Your Sequel" - moderating, with David Gerrold and Cassandra Rose Clarke at 2 PM
* a bar attached to the convention hotel. Which is unrelated to the reading but worth mention anyway.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Buried Life cover reveal!

It's been a while since I've ventured 'round these parts, but today's a great day to break the silence.

The cover for The Buried Life has been revealed, and SF Signal is hosting a giveaway!

You can check out the details via the link above, but for now, here's the cover (and thanks to John Coulthart for the fabulous art!):

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Maverick and first impressions

Over the holidays, I finally saw Top Gun. I had not seen it before. Don't ask me why, there is no reason.

I watched it with three other people who had seen it before and could probably recite the lyrics to "Danger Zone."

We all came to the same conclusion. Maverick is a dick. Iceman is actually the good guy.

It almost seems silly to write this because it was so obvious while we were all watching it. And yet, it hadn't occurred to my three companions in their previous viewings, and none of the people who had said "WHAT you've never seen Top Gun?!" over the years had mentioned that the supposed protagonist was a whiny brat.

I have tried to figure out how the filmmakers managed to portray Maverick as the good guy, and I think it comes down to first impressions and perspective. The first time we see Iceman, he's checking Maverick out and twirling his pen. But the first thing he actually says to Maverick?

"Congratulations on Top Gun."

What a JERK.

Everything else he says is either downright decent or a justified criticism of Maverick's recklessness. Taken at face value, none of it is actually confrontational. If it sounds that way, it's only because we're following Maverick and witnessing the exchange through his eyes, and he sees everything as a challenge. Kind of like how Skyler White only seems like a shrew because we're following Walter.

Also, Iceman's pick-up strategies don't appear to involve following women into the bathroom.

I guess the moral of the story is that perspective and first impressions are powerful. That, or bleached tips create the presumption of douchery.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Dances with dwarves

Like many, I saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug* over the weekend. Like many, I enjoyed it. And I think my favorite details of this new series continue to coincide with the ways in which it differs from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Let me explain.

Here be spoilers. In the first movie, the "good guys" are pretty exemplary. Sure, you have Boromir, who tries to take the OneRing, but he gets filled with arrows pretty quickly, just to show you what happens to guys like that. Frodo has his "episodes," but he recognizes and loathes the soul-corrupting burden of the OneRing. Other than that, there's just a little mutual racism between Legolas and Gimli, but that turns into an adorable bromance midway through the series.

But Thorin? Thorin has a dark side. He is focused on restoring his kingdom, and he makes no apologies for it. All other priorities are rescinded, if you will.

He is also capable of bad decisions. As hell-bent as he is on getting the OneDiamond to rule them all (the dwarven armies, that is), he is confident that he won't awaken the CumberDragon (he swears it). And, of course, (spoiler alert) if you've seen the trailer, or the mocap photos, or any mention of a third movie, you know that the CumberDragon awakens.**

Aragorn would NEVER have made a mistake like that....

Which is why Thorin is (IMO) a much more interesting fearless leader.

Even Gandalf gets shady and manipulative. Not that he doesn't do it for good reasons, of course, but he's shown to have engineered this dragon-awakening quest in the first place. And he rather suddenly abandons it when current events demand it.

Similarly, this series gives us a more sophisticated portrayal of elves and dwarves. Gimli was good with an axe, but he was also distracted by the mere mention of salted pork. Dwarven attempts at civilization-building were typically ill-advised (see: Moria) in LOTR. There's still plenty of dwarven ruination here, but the characters themselves display more varied and more nuanced personalities and motivations. Maybe that's just because there are more of them.

As for the elves, they're not the favorites any more.*** Whereas Elrond's withdrawal in LOTR was framed as the tragic end of an era, Thranduil's lack of interest in other kingdoms is just isolationism and ice-cold pragmatism. He's a jerk, and no one is trying to pretend differently.

*I still say "Smog" in my head. Yes, I know it's "Smowwwg," but come now.

**Best part? Balin: "If you see a dragon, don't wake it up." Good to know.

***I still love the meal in Rivendell from the last movie, in which the dwarves look completely annoyed at having harps played inches from their ears.