A VERY NICE book deal: We did it again!

Once more, I am in awe of Connor Goldsmith, who sold my three-book series, “The Salvagers,” to Orbit, a major SF publisher.

I’m extremely grateful for his help, as well as to Brit Hvide, my new editor, who sees my story with the same eyes I do. I know we’re going to make some brilliant books together.

And for those fans who loved The Gearheart, get ready! While the book isn’t in the same universe, it’s a spiritual successor. Kind of like Xenosaga to Xenogears, to quote my PS1-literate agent. If you’re ready for magic, adventure and gunfights (in space), you came to the right place!

I’ll keep you all in the loop over the coming year about our progress and when you can expect to read it. For more about the first book, go here!

When to Bar Con – A Primer

So you’re thinking of going to a con, but you’re not sure if you want to buy a ticket! Have you considered… the humble Bar Con? You could just go, get a room and hang out in the bar!

I was inspired by Piper J Drake’s excellent post on the subject, and wanted to add my own two cents. She’s seen a lot of shitty behavior in the con scene, and has some totally valid issues. That’s why I figured I’d write this primer.

There are a few good reasons to Bar Con:

Continue reading When to Bar Con – A Primer

A Traditional Publishing Timeline

“My book came out yesterday!”

“Oh yeah? How do you get published?”

First, you get an agent.

In 2006, I finished my first novel. I started querying. By 2007, it became clear that no one wanted it. Barbara Lowenstein sent me my first form rejection letter.

In 2009, I finished THE GEARHEART. Again, I started querying. The only real response came from Laurie McLean, then of Larsen Pomada. I met her through Philippa Ballantine.

Laurie said, in a nutshell, “Great imagination! Your craft sucks!”

I spent 3 years wasting time on that book, trying to get it right, rewriting it from scratch. I never did.

Continue reading A Traditional Publishing Timeline

Safety Through Ritual

I am a creature of habit. This post is going to sound entitled and whiny, but I’m going to describe core parts of my personality, and (hopefully) how I overcame them.

Between the years of 2011 and 2015, I had a set schedule. Arrive at work at 8:00 am. Write from 11:30 to 1:00, leave work at 5:30pm. We had a conference room scheduler at my office, so I would always grab one of the rooms with a perfect, picturesque view of a green hillside. It was like the Windows XP background up in there.

The routine was easy: First, I walked the quarter mile to my secret meeting room. I heated up my lunch while my computer booted. Then I streamed music into my sanctuary and shut out everything except me and the window. And, man, that made me so happy.

But I was promoted and moved to an Army base.

Continue reading Safety Through Ritual

How to Name a Novel: The CAM Method

I’m not the best at a first-draft name. It’s tough, because I’m usually writing it with little to no knowledge of how the project will actually turn out. I may as well call it NOVEL 09 DRAFT1 and be done.

Inevitably, I’ll have to change the name when it goes to my agent. But what do I call it now? How do I alter the way I think and talk about the book?

I use a chart.

Continue reading How to Name a Novel: The CAM Method

Celebrate Yourself

Let’s face it: unless you are spectacularly lucky, your first book is crap. I know mine was.

Many authors I’ve met over the years never managed to publish their first five or six books. Some of them didn’t publish until they hit twelve or thirteen. Others still have vast bodies of work and a meager to moderate self-publishing audience.

And that’s okay. The first rule of writing is always “you do you.” But it’s lonely to push work out into the void. You’ve done all of this incredible writing, and no one wants to read it.

Continue reading Celebrate Yourself

Make a Meal of Your Novel

I think of a lot of things in terms of flavor. Numbers, for example: I think 3 would taste like a cracker, 9 would be sweet and 5 seems kind of metallic. I’m not going to claim synesthesia, but I have natural associations that drive me in that direction.

I think these associations are a powerful tool to evaluate and improve your writing.

Continue reading Make a Meal of Your Novel

How to Develop Characters

An interstellar con artist forced to crew with the ship she screwed over (ARCLIGHT REDLINE). On office worker whose cynical humor hides suicidal tendencies (THE POWERS THAT BE). An autistic woman who just wants to be left alone, forced into a revenge drama (EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW).

Where can we get colorful characters?

In the first part of this series, I shared my formula for planning a novel. Now, let’s talk character development.

Continue reading How to Develop Characters

How to Plan a Novel

To date, I’ve written 8 books:

  • FESTIVAL OF THE BIZARRE (a terrible first novel)
  • THE GEARHEART (good podcast, bad novel)
  • THE GEARHEART: ARTIFICE (blank-page rewrite of THE GEARHEART)
  • THE GEARHEART: MAIDEN FLIGHT OF THE AVENGER & LAST DAYS OF THE OCTOBER SQUADRON (2 novellas)
  • THE GEARHEART: LION & SNAKE (the unpublished origin story)
  • EVERY MOUNTAIN MADE LOW
  • THE POWERS THAT BE: A STARTUP GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY
  • ARCLIGHT REDLINE (working title)
  • HAS BEEN (in progress, working title)

I have a way that I plan them. Care to hear it?

Continue reading How to Plan a Novel