Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cover reveal!

Spells of Blood and Kin is getting closer and closer, you guys.  You can now preorder it from a whole bunch of different US retailers here, or of course, from Indigo.

And take a look at this cover!  It looks even better in person--I am the proud possessor of a mockup (my cover wrapped around a similarly-sized hardcover, since mine won't be printed for a while yet) and I can't even describe the rush of seeing it brought to life.

Next step for this writer: copyedits!  I have a word list from the copy editors detailing things they've corrected, and I need to review the changes.  (Side note: it's hilarious to me how many swears appear on the list.  Apparently I don't spell profanity as well as the rest of my vocabulary.  For instance, did you know "douche bag" is two words, not one?!  It never occurred to me to look that up.)

One thing I love about this process is the incredible number of talented people who are involved in making this book the best it can be.  I'm grateful to every one and I look forward to thanking them all properly, including those I haven't yet met... and including you, dear reader, especially if you're one of the people preordering!

Monday, August 24, 2015

On the horizon... look what dawns...

This day, my friends, needs a pin in it: SPELLS OF BLOOD AND KIN has gone up on Amazon (and Goodreads!) It has a preorder link and an ISBN number (which, for anyone reading this who isn't a book nerd, is like your book's very own fingerprint or DNA).

Go and look!  Look at the beautiful, generous things people have said about this book already!  I am so grateful--and so excited to watch this thing grow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Daughters of Frankenstein sweepstakes! is holding a sweepstakes--you could win one of three copies of Daughters of Frankenstein by entering here!  Read Brit Mandelo's generous review also.

My story "Eldritch Brown Houses" appears in this anthology--my first, and likely last, engagement with Lovecraft, all mashed up with analog photography, loneliness, and witchcraft.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Safety in fan communities

Given that I'm a writer, you might be expecting a post with this title to be about speculative fiction fandom.  It isn't, or not directly.*

It's about hockey, and the very troubling rape allegation that surfaced recently in regards to Patrick Kane, #88, star winger on the Chicago Blackhawks.

When professional athletes are accused of serious crimes, their fans don't always take it well.  There's a chorus of innocent until proven guilty and but he's such a great guy, he signed my kid's jersey one time and sometimes some pretty gross backlash against the victims of the alleged crimes.

As a female sports fan--heck, as a decent-person sports fan, here is what I want to hear from other fans when something like this goes down.  I want to hear, first and foremost, that you hope the victim is okay and being treated well.  I want to hear concern for her, belief in her.

I don't want your first thought to be for the alleged criminal.  He's a rich, highly privileged person who will almost certainly be fairly treated, well-represented and supported with excellent legal advice, and even if found guilty, may keep his prestigious job and his millions in salary.

I don't want your first thought to be for the franchise either.  Your team will win again, with or without their star player.  And if they don't--even if this kicks off a century of early playoff exits or bankruptcy or whatever--that is still incredibly unimportant when placed against the wellbeing of a rape victim.

I want to hear that you care about women.  I want to see you remember that the community you're in, the community of fans, includes plenty of women, and that all of us deserve to feel like our heroes wouldn't hurt us.  I want our heroes to be nice people who visit sick kids, donate to good causes and love animals.  And on the rare occasion when someone does something terrible, I want to know you understand that no amount of clutch goals can make up for that.

Rape accusations are rarely false, and rapists often walk free.  It's possible, and likely, that Patrick Kane will not be convicted; it's possible he won't even be charged.  Neither of those things means he is actually innocent.  Maybe, somehow, he is completely innocent; but he isn't who I am worried about right now.

I'm worried about the young woman who had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night.  I'm worried about the safety of other women who encounter the wrong athlete at the wrong time, who might be even less likely to see or even seek justice because of their attacker's fame and power.  And I'm worried--less, but still--about female hockey fans who won't be able to watch a game or a highlight reel for a while without feeling ambivalent, maybe afraid--not only of the men we want to admire, but of the other fans in the room, who might not be there for us when it matters most.

I'm glad to see some people, like Tim Baffoe, responding to this situation with intelligent commentary.  I feel like we often need reminders that our fan relationships are one-sided: that we can love a public persona, a performance, a creation, without being truly loved or respected in return, and without knowing for sure the truth of what we admire.

Whatever happens next, I hope the woman in this case is getting all the help and support she needs.  And unless or until something changes, I won't feel comfortable sitting next to the guys who think it's cool to wear their #88 jerseys right now.

*I don't actually identify as a fan in SFF: I love the genre, I love many of its works and many of its creators, but I didn't grow up in fandom per se.  I didn't even know the word until recently.  And the love I feel is different from the love fans feel: a statement I couldn't make with authority until I found myself becoming a fan of something else (hockey!).

I love literature.  It's my career and my intellectual home, and I approach it almost always with a spirit of critical thinking, wanting to understand how to make my own writing better.  Hockey is the only thing I consider myself a fan of: I love it with a simple, obsessive yet passive enthusiasm.  I don't want to do it, I just want to know all the things about it, and watch it whenever I can, and read blogs about it and stuff.  Maybe this doesn't dovetail with your experience of being a fan, or being a creator, or both.  I have no intention of critiquing or invalidating anyone else's experience or identity.  But I would feel weird calling myself a member of SFF fandom when my experience has always been mediated and distanced by my sense of myself as a writer.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Just in time for Readercon...

Long Hidden continues to garner attention, this time nominated for a World Fantasy Award!  This anthology punches way above its weight in so many ways.  Every story made me proud to be in that company, and the community of contributors has been such a pleasure to meet.  I'm looking forward to seeing some of the #LongHiddenFam at Readercon!

What else am I doing at Readercon?  Reading:

Friday, 7pm, Inspire Room: Outer Alliance Reading
Featuring: Nicola Griffith, Kelley Eskridge, Sarah Pinsker, Malinda Lo, Claire Humphrey, Brad Parks, Susan Jane Bigelow, CD Covington, and Jill Shultz
Hosted by Julia Rios

I'm planning to read the opening scene of SPELLS OF BLOOD AND KIN.  I'm so excited to introduce my book to you all!  This will be its first outing!

I'll also go to panels and readings, of course, and hang out in the bar, and in the lobby, and on the party floor.  (And in the back yard of the hotel, where there's an open green space that is perfect for sparring.  I don't really box any more, but I make an exception for Marko Kloos.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Awards Season Roundup

Are you in need of a few reading suggestions to help fill out your short fiction ballot for the Nebulas, Hugos or any other upcoming awards?  Then this post is for you!

Here are all my eligible stories published in 2014:

"The Witch of Tarup", Long Hidden
While I am super proud of my story, I have to stress that Long Hidden is jam-packed with others that eclipse mine in so many amazing ways.  Each one matters.  It would be entirely just and right if Long Hidden were to sweep all the awards for everything.  Here is editor Rose Fox's eligibility post to help you fit lots of Long Hidden onto all of your ballots.

"Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye", Strange Horizons (also available as a podcast)
This one got a lot of attention!  Niall Harrison rounded up all the reviews on the Strange Horizons blog

"A Brief Light", Interzone, issue 252
About ghosts, suicide, a chilly marriage and an open window.

"The End of the World in Five Dates", Apex Magazine
This issue also included an interview with me in which I talked about cancer, fate, and the dinner date that gave me the idea for this story.

"Lilac Season", Handsome Devil
About a young woman grieving, and how she finds her way back to pleasure.

Pleasure and grief walk hand in hand through most of these stories; and there's a lot about making peace with the things that utterly derail your life, too.  It's sobering to look at my stories laid out like this and see their commonalities.  They are... not coincidental.

I'm still working on my own nomination list!  Have you read something great you'd like to share?  Post it in comments!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's starting to sink in...

When I'm working hard on something, one of the things I like to do is imagine what success will look like.  So I've constructed a number of scenarios, over the years, for what it would look like to sell my first book.  They became pretty realistic, what with my career in the bookselling business, my posse of working writer friends, and my own recent time in the short-fiction trenches.

In fact, my scenarios had become so realistic that when the call finally came, I split in two: one of me, Business Me, recognized that my predictions had been accurate and was satisfied and pleased and totally unsurprised, and the other me, the one who's been dreaming of this since childhood, was pretty much like this:

That's Sidney Crosby scoring a hat trick, in case you were wondering.  He looks kind of cheerful about it.  But I'll tell you all about my recent hockey obsession another day, because the important thing about this post is that I have a book deal.

It's currently called KINSHIP but that's probably going to change; it's coming out with Thomas Dunne in spring of 2016.  My agent, Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary, arranged the deal with Thomas Dunne editor Quressa Robinson.  Here's a picture of the announcement in Publishers' Marketplace:
Connor posted about it days ago, because he's great.  As for me, well, the deal announcement went out while I was in the middle of an enormous annual business trip, and I barely had the bandwidth to keep on top of my exploding Twitter, let alone post to this blog.  (Which is probably good in hindsight, because this post didn't need like 95 more pictures of hockey players celebrating stuff, no matter how completely they encapsulated my feelings on that day.)

Now I'm back and things are settling and instead of getting less excited, I'm finding the opposite.  I'm excited about a whole new thing: this book is going out into the world.  Strangers are going to read it and have feelings about it and I may never even know what it does and where it goes.

This, friends, is what it's all about.  The alchemy that happens between the book and its readers.  Far out of my reach and sight, this book is going to do its work.  I hope it works well.