Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Get Up and Gen Con

This week, I'm headed to Gen Con to participate in the Writer's Symposium! This will be my first experience at Gen Con, but I'm looking foward to it in a big way. Here's where I'll be:

Thursday, August 4

  • Video Game Writing 101 @ 1pm (Cabinet)
  • Video Game Writing: Game Stories vs. Stories for Other Media @ 2pm (Cabinet)
  • Signing at Indy Reads Books @ 5-7pm

Friday, August 5

  • Signing at the Angry Robot booth @ 10am-1pm (Exhibit Hall #3044)
  • Character Craft: Characters that Aren't Reflections of You @2pm (Capital 1)
  • Chillin' at the Angry Robot booth @ 4-5pm (Exhibit Hall #3044)
  • Writing Excuses (with Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, and Bill Fawcett) @ 7:15pm

Saturday, August 6

  • Signing at the Exhibit Hall @ 11am-12pm
  • Video Game Writing: Representation in Games @ 2pm (Cabinet)
  • Back with the Angry Robot overlords @ 4-6pm, (Exhibit Hall #3044)
  • Reading from "Here Be Monsters" @ 7pm (Congress 2)

Sunday, August 7

  • Read & Critique @ 9-11am (Chamber)
  • Drinking Cheap Wine on an Airplane @ ??-?? (30,000 ft)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Houston, here I come!

I am heading to Houston for Comicpalooza this weekend! If you're in H-Town, you should come out to the George R. Brown Convention Center, because it will be awesome.

And it will be INDOORS. My weather app is reading 99 degrees in the motherland right now.

I'll be participating in the Literature and Gaming tracks. Here's the plan:

Friday, June 17

  • Outlandish "Others": How Genre Fiction employs aliens, androids, elves, and other non-human races / 11:30 am / Panel Room 9 (371A) - with Donna Grant, Todd McCaffrey, Tex Thompson, and Martha Wells
Saturday, June 18
  • Player Agency and Designer Authorship / 12:00 pm / Gaming Panel Room 1 (320A) - with Alexander Freed and Drew McGee
  • What Makes a Good Villain? / 2:00 pm / Gaming Panel Room 1 (320A) - with Chris Avellone, Leonard Balsera, Alexander Freed, and Steve Long
  • Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Literature / 4:00 pm / Literary Room 1 (350A) - with David Afsharirad, Marianne Dyson, Mercedes Lackey, and D.L. Young
  • Cutscenes within Video Games / 6:00 pm / Gaming Panel Room 2 (310A) - with Alexander Freed and Drew McGee
Sunday, June 19
  • Form and Format: The difference between publishing short stories and novels / 11:00 am / Literary Room 1 (350A) - with Rhodi Hawk, Ken Liu, Bob Proehl, and Hank Schwaeble

Friday, May 20, 2016

Coming Soon to a Convention Near You!

Spring has sprung, which means that convention season is almost upon us! Here's where I'll be--what about you?

Comicpalooza | June 17-19 | Houston, Texas

  • We'll be talking books, games, and short stories. And at the same geographic coordinates as Ripley and Hudson, no less!
  • Outlandish "Others" in Genre Fiction - Friday, 11:30 am
  • Player Agency and Designer Authorship - Saturday, 12 pm
  • What Makes a Good Villain? - Saturday, 2pm
  • Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Literature - Saturday, 4pm
  • Cutscenes within Video Games - Saturday, 6pm
  • Form and Format: Short Stories and Novels - Sunday, 11am
CONvergence | June 30-July 3 | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Schedule forthcoming!
Gen Con | August 4-7 | Indianapolis, Indiana
  • All the games and all the writing!
  • Video Game Writing 101 - Thursday, 1pm
  • Game Stories vs. Stories for Other Media - Thursday, 2pm
  • Character Craft: Characters That Aren't Reflections of You - Friday, 2pm
  • Representation in Games - Saturday, 2pm
  • Reading: Carrie Patel & Gregory A. Wilson - Saturday, 7pm
  • Read & Critique - Sunday, 9am
WorldCon | August 17-21 | Kansas City, Missouri
  • RIBS.
  • Schedule forthcoming!
World Fantasy Convention | October 27-30 | Columbus, Ohio
  • Schedule forthcoming!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Buried Life NOOK sale!

For any of y'all looking for your summer reading/early Father's Day gifts/late Mother's Day gifts/REALLY early Christmas gifts...

Good news!

Not to spoil anything, but check back Monday for some pretty exciting news...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Awards Eligibility 2016

2015 was a busy and exciting year, and I'm pleased to announce that I have work eligible for several 2016 awards:

  • The Buried Life: Recoletta Book 1 is a science fantasy mystery set in an underground city. It was published by Angry Robot on 3 March 2015 and is eligible in the "Best Novel" category of the Hugos, Nebulas, and other awards, as well as "Best Debut Novel" awards such as the Compton Crook Award.
  • Cities and Thrones: Recoletta Book 2 is a science fantasy thriller and the sequel to The Buried Life. It was published by Angry Robot on 7 July 2015 and is eligible in the "Best Novel" category of the Hugos, Nebulas, and other awards.
  • Additionally, I'm eligible for the 2016 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer for both novels as well as "Here Be Monsters," a short story that appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies on 15 May 2014.

Whatever your favorite books and stories from 2015, consider nominating, sharing, and reviewing them. Doing so supports the authors and works you love and builds a vibrant community of readers and writers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ashes to Ashes

Last week was an unusual week.

Along with the rest of the Pillars team, I was busy getting The White March - Part 2 ready for release next month. On Monday, I learned we'd been nominated by the Writers Guild of America for Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing, which came as an honor and a delight.

I also learned that David Bowie had passed away.

I'd never previously understood grief at the passing of a celebrity. But I grew up listening to Bowie's music--in fact, he was one of the first musicians I came to recognize as a kid. I remember listening to Changesbowie on family road trips, hearing the tale behind "Space Oddity" and not understanding how "Ashes to Ashes" was supposed to be a follow-up (or even a song by the same person), and thinking it just hilarious to sing along to "John, I'm Only Dancing" with my sisters (only now do I realize that our parents' laughter must have been equal parts discomfort and amusement).

Our cousin introduced my sisters and me to Labyrinth, a movie I loved no less for the time an older relative scolded us for watching it, saying, "God didn't make people that way." Come to think of it, I probably liked it even more after that.

When I got old enough to think it over, I decided that I really liked David Bowie's music. I borrowed my dad's albums and got some of my own. Each one was so different from the others and so marvelous in its own way. In high school, I developed this bizarrely specific habit of playing Diablo II while listening to Dad's vinyl of Scary Monsters (that or Kate Bush's Never for Ever, but almost always one of those two). My college roommate and I bonded over Bowie our freshman year--I was walking to the laundry room with my Discman, and she asked what I was listening to.

That said, it feels strange to feel sadness at the passing of someone I never met, and stranger still to write about it.

But one of the things that's been most touching is the notion that Bowie created his last album as a parting gift for fans. It's a lovely thought and a poignant reminder of the highest purpose of art--to share something beautiful and personal with others.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen

I recently read Daniel Bensen's Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen. It's the kind of book that hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. It’s a time-travel romance that follows a team of paleontologists led by hard-bitten veteran Andrea Herrera. They dip into the distant past to research Mesozoic flora and fauna, but their trip is quickly interrupted by a horde of dinosaur-riding barbarians.

If that doesn’t sound like the start of a fun read, I don’t know what does.

I read Groom on vacation and found it the perfect book for a getaway—fun, funny, and fast-paced. The main characters are a world-weary commando who’s lost her taste for civilian life (and civilian bureaucracy) and a barbarian philosopher who’s stuck playing politics when all he wants to do is kill. The intelligence and charisma of both characters comes through in the witty, observant narrative voice.

Vague, minor spoilers below.

There’s a lot to like about Groom, and much of it comes through in the characters. Types that could have come across as stock—the burnt-out veteran, the bloodthirsty barbarian, the spoiled princess—instead have rich characterizations and deep inner lives. Their evolutions are an intrigue and a delight to follow.

There is, perhaps, one noticeable exception—a character who goes Heart of Darkness a little quickly—but the complexity and nuance of the other characters more than makes up for it.

The story itself mingles the personal, intimate concerns of the main characters with the fate of the fictionalized Mesozoic societies they encounter. This does, however, raise my other gripe, which is a certain plot-relevant oversight in the construction of the powersuits that Andrea and her contemporaries wear. Still, it’s a minor concern, and if you set it aside, you’ve got a real treat of a book on your hands.

Check it out here on Amazon.