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 I'm out of town this weekend, glad to be with family, wishing I were in DC to help my family there defend the place from its enemies. And I stayed up late worrying and wrote a story about Obed Yringl'phtagn Marsh dealing with the anniversary of the Innsmouth raid and the start of World War II.

This is messy and new and only lightly edited, and offered as a gift to everyone on the front lines today:


***

This wasn’t the reasonable place to be. In the crystalline corridors of Y’ha-nthlei, in vast chambers at the hearts of R’lyeh and Chorzh-athern and Vrai-kad’vlek, councils were convening, warriors and archpriests and scholars and bards of every battle where human blood ever added salt to the sea. Yringl’phtagn was not quite any of these things, but he should have been there offering his half-welcome advice.

Instead, he stood on a dark beach with ruins at his back, gazing at the water. The tide was just turning toward ebb. Only the ghostly edges of the waves reflected the new moon starlight. They whispered across the sandbar, heart’s rhythm of a thousand rituals.

“It’s been a while,” said Khr’jhelkh’ng. He’d joined the crew of Kraken’s Journal shortly before Yringl’phtagn went into the water, shipped on the Arkansas in 1917 as a seasoned sailor, and was listed as lost overboard in early ’18 though his fellows knew more. He’d returned from Vrai-kad’vlek’s patrol only a week ago, asking for his old place amid Yringl’phtagn’s crew.

Jhathl came back from the dunes, claws scuffing sand. She held a scrap of driftwood, weathered and gray in the starlight. A rusted nail protruded; it had been part of a food stall once, or a newspaper stand. Part of Innsmouth. “We should have known months ago,” she said. “Even if the war hasn’t touched this continent, our young would have heard, and told us.”  

For Yringl’phtagn that would have been Keziah or Josias or Tacita, if any of them were still on land, their children otherwise. Cheerful Aphra with her sky-deep eyes, studious little Caleb, the baby that Josias and his mate would have named two days after the attack. He imagined Keziah brandishing a copy of the Free Press: Europe’s broken out into war again. What are we doing about it?

“They wouldn’t have told us everything the patrol found,” said Khr’jelkh’ng. “They wouldn’t know.”

“We have only the universe made visible to us,” said Yringl’phtagn. He tried to shake it off, that sense that the other world of “if we had” and “if they’d known” lay just out of reach, over those dunes. Only the jagged board insisted on the reality of a fallen town, dead and empty.

But that was why so few came up from Y’ha-nthlei these days. It was too easy to believe, every time you broke through the waves, that you’d see the beach crowded as it once was. That they’d be waiting. Eleven years now, almost to the day, too short a time for memory to change its habits.

He forced himself to more practical matters. “Khr’jelkh’ng, the patrol’s report would feel incomplete, even if you hadn’t come racing back to the Kraken’s crew as soon as they made it. It’s not your way to leave work unfinished. Tell us: what are they hiding?”

Khr’jelkh’ng pulled himself straight, a hint of airborn soldier’s training, but bared teeth belied the mask, and webbed fingers ground tight around his trident. “They don’t think they’re hiding anything. Everything that matters, we shared.”

“You were working with one of the old bands, weren’t you?” asked Jhathl. Even now there was a trace of envy in her voice, mixed with her usual disdain for the ancient hierarchies.

“Youngest of the lot by a good five thousand years.” An ambitious wave surged over their feet, and Khr’jelkh’ng glared. “Half of what drives airborn politics these days, they’ve no concept of.”

“And the other half the things that don’t change, no matter how the species changes,” said Yringl’phtagn. “What do you think they missed?”

Khr’jelkh’ng hissed, shuffled, and at last sat in the firm wet sand. The others followed suit; Yringl’phtagn grimaced as a shell tried to wedge itself amid his scales.

 “You know we went after U-boats on the Arkansas, though we never saw one up close for sure. The air folk had almost a superstition of the subs; they’d never put it that way, but anything that can hide so long below the surface seemed unnatural to them.” Jhathl snickered, and Khr’jelkh’ng went on. “We did meet Germans in person after the Armistice, getting their fleet locked up in Scapa Flow. I was under the boat by then, but I listened enough, came up sometimes in a slicker when the weather got bad. They seemed like decent fellows for all they’d been on the wrong side of things.

“Our patrol found one of the things sunk, just as you heard, and recently. They’re ghostly things broken, like the last of a whale fall. It had a hole blown in its side. The bodies were nearly down to skeletons, but they had records kept waterproof, enough to hunt down their living cousins.”

“And you found one,” said Yringl’phtagn impatiently. “That much we heard.”

Jhathl cuffed him lightly. “If you want to hear the story they didn’t tell, don’t keep telling us the story we already heard.”

A trace of humor crept into Khr’jelkh’ng’s expression. “If I couldn’t tell the captain a story while he was trying to get ahead of me, I’d never have given him so much as the watch change.”

Yringl’phtagn sighed. “I shall be as silent as the Sleeping God.”

“Whose dreams drive men to frenzies of art and rebellion?” Khr’jelkh’ng turned serious again. “It might be no bad thing. Indeed, we found a living U-boat, by their own expedient of stalking one of the great merchant fleets above. The subs swam together in a pack, but we drew one away simply by letting the crew catch glimpses of us. They gave chase, and we led them to the surface and pulled them from their shell.”

And suffered wounds in the process—Yringl’phtagn had seen that much in the puckered scales of some of the other band members, still healing. He’d dodged gunfire himself, both in scraps with pirates aboard Kraken’s Journal, and the ambush when they’d tried to track Innsmouth’s lost children. The band had been lucky.

“They weren’t like the fellows we met in Scotland, beyond the way men are calmed by surrender or fired by a hunt. They understood that we were—” He grimaced. “—that we were things that could talk. But that meant nothing to them. Men of the air often see us as monsters. These did too, but it seemed… a common experience for them. They compared us to every airborn enemy they hated: we were in league with Jews, with communists, with weak-minded men who thought like women and… don’t look at me like that, Jhathl, I promise someone cut his throat for you. It seemed clear to me that their world was full of monsters, with a scant tribe of true men deserving life at all. It wasn’t one of those crews shaped by a tyrant captain, either; he was no better or worse than the rest, if more in command of his tongue.”

The band’s reports had been full of the war itself; from this interrogation they’d shared only numbers and ambitions. It had seemed complete enough, to most of those listening. “The rest of the band didn’t think that unusual.”

“Not shocking, at least. Perhaps when we fought with stone knives, and scrapped over watering holes—but no, I don’t think that sort of talk was more common, then. It was something making them so dismissive. I don’t think they grasped the scale—what it means to hate that way, in a world that men can circle in a few weeks. These people can fly over Europe, and see all the cities below, and more men in each than existed when some of our patrol went into the water—and still hate them to their faces. All things must fall, but they were eager for it. As if burning most of mankind would lift them up.”

Jhathl spit, and tossed her driftwood into the retreating waters. “Show men of the air a glimpse of infinity, and they’ll retreat into destruction. It’s what happened here.”

Yringl’phtagn considered. “That’s near enough what they’re saying below: We’ve always fought in the wars of the air, until they destroyed our spawning grounds. We’ve no stake in their fights now; dive deep and let them burn.”

Khr’jelkh’ng laid his trident down on the sand. His gaze shifted between dune and wave, lingered at last on his comrades. “Maybe it’s that I’ve already fought those wars, but I still see something to choose between. I have to think there’s still something worth saving up here.”

“Even if there’s a difference between the sides,” asked Jhathl, “is it enough? You didn’t pull anyone off the British ships, to test the flavor of their fear. How do you know they don’t embrace extinction as well?”

Yringl’phtagn thought of Keziah—delusion to think she might merely be imprisoned somewhere, that some airborn soldier hadn’t painted himself in his daughter’s blood. But she would have asked, would have assumed: What are we doing about it?

“If we dive deep,” he said, “we’ll never know. If we tear open a few more shells, well, we might get the chance to learn more of the other side. If they haven’t earned our aid, at least it will be recorded in the Archives that we fought.”

Jhathl snorted. “Only if someone tells them. Are you about to dive back down to Y’ha-nthlei and say that whatever they decide, the Kraken’s crew is heading east to hunt submarines?”

Yringl’phtagn bared sharp teeth. “It depends whether they ask where we’re going.”

Khr’jelkh’ng laughed and showed his own teeth. “I do remember how this works. I’ve missed it.”

Jhathl sighed. “I’m not sure I’ll ever care for the surface after this, but yes. For the sake of having fought.” And her own fangs glinted in starlight.

They retrieved their weapons, and ran, and dove. Then Innsmouth’s beach lay empty, silent save for the ancient whisper of the waves.

***
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Deep Roots is out today!

You can find previews and giveaways on Tor.com.

Places you can find me, real and virtual:
  • Hanging out at Readercon in Boston
  • At Pandemonium Books, also in Boston, July 17 at 7PM
  • At the Hoover Library Science Fiction Festival in Hoover AL, July 27-29
  • At the OutWrite queer literature festival in Washington DC, August 4
  • 6-book interview at Nerds of a Feather
  • Interview on Paul Semel's site
  • Spark of Life column on Marie Brennan's site
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Thanks to the random number generator, the Deep Roots ARC goes to [personal profile] catsittingstill, assuming it can reach her in favorite city Tai-Tastigon. Thanks to everyone who entered--I'm now feeling homesick for even more cities and desirous of visiting even more!
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Deep Roots now exists in physical form, and I've got an ARC to share! Aphra heads to New York in search of long-lost relatives. But some of them have fallen in w/a dangerous--and not particularly human--crowd.

(I'm having trouble getting Dreamwidth to upload photos right now, but they're really pretty--John Jude Palencar makes good scary eyeball statues, and I don't blame Aphra for being startled by the thing.)



Tell me your favorite city (real or otherwise) by Saturday night to enter.


 

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I've just finished the proof edits on Deep Roots, so we should be on track for July publication. The release date is currently set to July 9th.  This is more appropriate than Winter Tide's April release date, since the story takes place during a muggy New York June. These are very seasonal books. I kind of wanted to have the first one come out in time for its titular holiday, but apparently December releases lose more sales to people not buying for themselves than they gain from holiday gift purchases.* The Science of Publishing!

Things that can be found in this book:
  • The looming gentrification of Innsmouth
  • Other-dimensional vistas of cosmic wonder and fear, and their nasty side effects
  • Awkward relatives
  • Terrifying relatives
  • The looming threat of human extinction
  • Aliens worried about the looming threat of human extinction, and eager to do something about it
  • Bagels and lox
I've started on the first couple of chapters of Book 3, but don't yet have a contract. While I wait, I've been playing around with "What if the ancient language that drives men mad... was an area of academic study like any other?" If the woes of the world don't completely distract me, it'll be a novelette draft by the time I have official deadlines again.


*Winter Tide does, in fact, make a great Winter Tide gift--and it's also appropriate for other portions of the Great North American Festival to Combat SAD.



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I am currently suffering from a toddler plague which includes the delightful symptom of "malaise." That sounds more Victorian than it turns out to be in practice. At the moment I'm awake, yet don't have the energy to actually get out of bed or write anything substantial. Therefore, have some links:

Through noon on Friday, you can get a free e-book of Winter Tide by signing up for the Tor.com newsletter--I believe you can still get it if you're already a subscriber.

Over at the Lovecraft E-zine podcast, Anne M. Pillsworth and I talk about the Lovecraft Reread, our favorite weird fiction, and how to fangirl problematic things.

I neglected to post here at the time, but the cover for Deep Roots and a short interview are up at The Verge. Deep Roots is coming out in July 2018, and contains creepy yet dangerously helpful aliens, Deep Ones attempting to navigate the New York City subway, and lots of takeout food. Awkward relatives and apocalyptic threats galore!


 
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I'll be at the OutWrite DC queer literature festival this coming Saturday. I'm on:

Love and Other Monsters: A Speculative Fiction Reading - 12 PM - Craig Gidney, Steve Berman, Rahul Kanakia, and Ruthanna Emrys

Beyond Gender in Speculative Fiction - 4 PM - Don Sakers, Craig Gidney, Rahul Kanakia, Michael M. Jones, Ruthanna Emrys, Lemur Rowlands, and Akiva Wolberg

The whole thing is free and takes place at the DC LGBT Center. In addition to the festival itself, I'll be joining the Outwrite Author's Corner panel at the Ask Rayceen Show, Wednesday night 8/2 (so probably tonight, by the time most of you read this), at the Human Rights Campaign. (I am definitely there even though not confirmed before the Facebook post went up. I checked.) In addition to geeky authors, there will also be a poetry slam and burlesque, making for a truly variable variety show.


Then the weekend of August 18th, I'll be in Providence for Necronomicon! I'm on:

Saturday 8/19, 10:30-11:45AM: LOVECRAFT REVISIONS – Grand Ballroom, Biltmore 17th Floor

They are the Rodney Dangerfields of Lovecraft’s work: the dreaded revisions! Consisting of stories edited and often completely rewritten by Lovecraft, they tend to be overlooked by many readers and scholars. Yet, Lovecraft’s work on his client’s stories elevated many of them from mere hackwork to excellent examples not only of his own prose and ideas but his philosophy as well. Hear why our panelists say that these revisions should not be passed over as ‘minor’ works.

Panelists: Peter Cannon (Moderator), Ruthanna Emrys, S.T. Joshi, Leslie Klinger, Steve Mariconda, Anne Pillsworth


Saturday 8/19, 6-7:15PM: THE KING IN YELLOW & ROBERT CHAMBERS – Omni 1

Thanks to a resurgence of interest via popular culture, this long-forgotten writer is better known than ever before. But what EXACTLY is “The King in Yellow” and why is it important? This panel discusses Chambers’ trail-blazing book, what effect it’s had on Lovecraftiana (if not Lovecraft himself) and weird fiction, and why it is gaining more readers today.

Panelists: Ruthanna Emrys, Alex Houstoun (Moderator), Rick Lai, Joe Pulver


Sunday 8/20, 4:30-5:45: THE FUTURE OF WEIRD FICTION and NECRONOMICON-PVD – Garden Room, Biltmore 2nd Floor

Join our panel of experts as they discuss the most vital Weird Fiction of today and the direction they see it moving towards in the future. The panel concludes with some thoughts on this year’s convention and future plans…

Panelists: s.j. bagley (moderator), Sam Cowan, Ellen Datlow, Ruthanna Emrys, Michael Kelly


John Jude Palencar, who painted the gorgeous cover for Winter Tide, will be the Artist Guest of Honor. No guarantees, but it's just possible there may be a sneak preview of the Deep Roots cover, which I'm not allowed to post yet but is likewise gorgeous.

There are plans for a reading as well--I thought we finally had a time nailed down, but it turned out to require co-location and/or time travel. That would only be possible if I were an ancient eldritch horror with powers beyond mortal ken, which of course I am definitely not.

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 Winter Tide is out in the world and making friends. The Hugos are almost puppy-free. And my town passed the first of two votes to become a sanctuary city in a landslide. I'm having a pretty good day.
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Winter Tide comes out on Tuesday, and I should be all over book promotion. But it turns out that having a book coming out in a couple of days is no ward against cramps and fussy toddlers; my motivation has collapsed into a pile of goo.

As a proper market-y person I should remind you that you'll be able to find the book at your favorite local indie store or online megavendor, and that preorders and first-week sales are the lifeblood of debut novels. I should also let you know that I'm launching at East City Books in DC on Wednesday and reading at the Power Plant Barnes and Noble in Baltimore on Saturday, April 8th. I should definitely share a selection of quotes from reviews, or at least tell you about Paul Weimer's lovely piece on the Barnes and Noble site that praises WT's "Lovecraft Family Values."

But what I really want is to do something fun, preferably something that will get my brain into gear and help me warm up for looming edits on Deep Roots. (Having a book coming out in a couple of days is also no ward against deadlines for the next one, alas.) So I'll tell you what: it's time to play Ask My Characters Anything. Rules:

1) You don't have specify which character you're addressing, although you can if you want. No guarantees that if you ask one character a question, another won't answer. 

2) No spoilers except for character name and existence. Characters will be from the Innsmouth Legacy universe but may not actually appear in Winter Tide. (There are some extremely gregarious Outer Ones in Deep Roots, who wish everyone would stop calling them Mi-Go.)

3) Men of the air can only answer questions about the 20th century and their own reasonably accessible history; people who expect a significantly longer lifespan can answer questions well beyond that. Yith can answer questions about anything.

4) This being All Fools Day, answers may not be accurate. Especially if an accurate answer would be a spoiler, or require me to nail down events several million years in the future.



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 I've spent much of today sorting through e-mails, setting up filters to make the flow of suggested actions a little less overwhelming, making phone calls, and starting to get a bit overwhelmed. But look what just came in!

Winter Tide box


I have been waiting for this box since I saw Back to the Future in the theater, which is exactly as long ago as you think it was (unless you're my age, which, sorry, it was probably longer). It is a box full of books which I wrote and were printed and are now books. They are shiny and beautiful, and several of them have places they need to go that are not my house, but for now I'm an authorial dragon sitting on my hoard.

They've updated the cover quote from the ARC, because Seanan McGuire said extremely nice things:



For everyone trying to squint at that, it says: "This is Wicked for the Cthulhu Mythos: never quite contradicting, but dancing through the shadows and dredging up beautiful things out of the deep."

And it will be in stores in less than a month!
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Winter Tide comes out April 4th!  I'm so excited to share it, and also feel a bit like hiding under the bed.

If you're in the DC area, I'll be holding a launch party at East City Books the night of April 5th. There will be a reading, traditional Innsmouth feast food, and an assortment of knitted and stuffed eldritch abominations. If I'm nervous you may catch me hugging a shoggoth.


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For Deep Ones, darkness is safety and comfort, the longest night a time of revelation. Honoring the hope of safety, comfort, & revelation, I’m giving away an ARC of Winter Tide for Winter Tide. Share your favorite made-up holiday tradition by 9PM on the 22nd, & I'll pick an entry at random (from here and from Twitter) to get a Winter Tide ARC.

There may also be Deep One recipes tucked into the package, because it's dark and cold & people need feeding.
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"Try to go to a lot of cons," my editor says. "Twist my arm," I say. In 2017, you can probably find me at:

Arisia (1/13-1/16, Boston) - In college, this was the one we saved up for all year. Now they have child care. The general rule is that I will go to any con that has child care and is compatible with my schedule/budget, even if co-parents are actually watching the kids. Because that is a thing that should be encouraged. In this case, the kids are in fact coming along, because the entire household is coming along, because this is the one we used to save up for all year in college.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference (2/8-2/11, DC) - Because I got invited to pinch-hit on "The Infinite in the Finite: One Hundred Years of H.P. Lovecraft's Legacy." The programming looks awesome. Among other things, this is the one where Daniel Jose Older is doing the "Writing White Characters" panel.

Fogcon (3/10-3/12, San Francisco) - Tentative, because budget. But I've been hearing awesome things about this con for years, and they have child care.

April book launch mysteries - Tentative because we're still trying to make all the puzzle pieces fit together. There will almost certainly be a launch party in DC. There may be something at Lunacon (4/7-4/9, Westchester NY). If Lunacon happens, there may be an appending event in New York. The universe is inherently chaotic and unpredictable.

Wiscon (5/26-5/29, Madison) - I haven't been back to my home con in three years--way too long! They have child care! A Lovecraftian Girl Cooties party, featuring me and best co-blogger Anne M. Pillsworth, and anyone else we can dragoon all our wonderful co-conspirators, is in the works.

Readercon (7/13-7/16, Boston) - I've been hearing so many good things about this one, too.

Necronomicon (8/17-8/20, Providence) - Because of course.


Nothing planned past August, so far. The universe is inherently chaotic and unpredictable.
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I'm now a little under halfway through Deep Roots, the sequel to Winter Tide. I'm learning things. For example, that writing around a toddler is harder than writing around a pregnant wife who sleeps a lot. Who knew? And that I need to write something new every day, even when prior-book edits intervene, because the ease of getting started the day after a 50-word day is noticeably better than the ease of getting started the day after a 0-word day.

Publication changes my writing process, both because of the practicalities of the editing cycle, and because I've learned things from writing and editing the first book. Winter Tide isn't my first completed novel--it's my 3rd--but it's the first where I've had to go beyond making a few cosmetic changes based on beta reader feedback. Structural edits have always scared the hell out of me. I couldn't see how to fix a lopsided plot or a lack of foreshadowing, or how to stitch in and rip out entire threads of plot or theme. I could get away with that--right up until a book was accepted for publication. I owe Carl and Cameron endless gratitude for demanding those changes, and then holding my hand through several rounds of them.

The structural changes that Winter Tide needed weren't even major, relative to some I've heard about. The overall plot is still essentially what it was at the beginning. I added a few scenes and changed a few lines, but didn't have to cut any characters or subplots. The climax is the one I wrote originally. But the things I did have to do were scary for me. And having done them, I now know that I can. The end result is that I'm now much more willing to follow the way of the Crappy First Draft. I can take risks I wouldn't have before, when I assumed I'd be stuck with any roads that veered off cliffs. This is probably annoying for my alpha reading wife, who's dealing with in-line notes like <add a better transition here> and <people have faces, describe them> and <have Charlie do something or cut him from this scene entirely> in lieu of semi-polished prose.

Meanwhile, in the galleys, I'm learning that I really like to repeat words. One of the major things we did during line edits was to fix places where I'd enjoyed a piece of vocabulary so much that I used it three times in a paragraph. (Lovecraft never had an editor to catch these, thus the ever-amusing "cyclopean" count.) We must have fixed a couple hundred instances of this problem. Now, going over the galleys... I'm finding even more of these. My only theory is that the Great Old Ones really like repetitive words, and demand them of their scribes as tribute.

Road map:

    Structural edits = Foreshadow this ending; make this threat scarier, turn up the volume on on your themes
    Line edits = Make this paragraph comprehensible, cut half your cyclopeans, did you mean this dialogue to sound like flirting
    Copyedits = Did you mean discrete or discreet, argue about hyphens, I don't care whether or not you capitalize Archpriest but be consistent
    Galleys = Oh Great Cthulhu how did I miss that

...with a sprinkling of "fix this anachronism" throughout, because historical fantasy is hard and 1949 is a strange country.

ARC Winner

Aug. 28th, 2016 10:10 am
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@linsilveira on Twitter wins the ARC. Some of these monster questions are inspiring; there may be drabbles in the offing if I can find five drabbly minutes between editing and drafting on Deep Root. So basically next time I'm blocked because my aliens won't talk politics to my point of view character. 
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I haven't posted for a while, have I? *Looks around, dusts off surfaces, surreptitiously wipes hands*

But look what came in the mail today!

Winter Tide ARCs

I'll come up with clever plans for the rest later, but for now I just want to share my delight at finally having actual books, made of actual matter, with my name on John Jude Palencar's spiffy cover. So here's the deal. Between now and a deadline of Whenever the Baby Goes to Bed tomorrow night, tell me your favorite monster, and something you wish you knew about them. I'll pick an entry at random to receive an ARC.

Fine print: I'm posting to Twitter as well; it's the same ARC and the same contest on both platforms. I'm willing to ship anywhere, but if you're overseas it may arrive on the very slow boat. Or quickly, but very wet and delivered by someone with gills.
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Things I've done over the past two days:

  • Bounced a lot

  • Gotten congratulated a lot, and been pleased by the number of people who seem to think this is good news for them rather than for me

  • Been pleased and a little worried by the various prayers to Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu, and Mother Hydra for the book's success. I'm pretty sure that's not the scale these guys work on...

  • Been terribly distracted by Miriam learning to wave

  • Jotted down ideas, way too far in advance, for publicity swag (Esoteric Order of Dagon Temple Fund cookbook outtakes; flyers for events at Miskatonic...)

  • Jotted down ideas, way too far in advance, for a post-launch party at Wiscon 2017 (salted chocolate and caramel, tome exchange, probably can't afford to feed everyone sushi...)

  • Been terribly distracted by the possibility of alien megastructures 1500 light years away. Tried to convince myself that weird comets and dust-free planetary collisions would also be awesome. Tried to figure out whether 1500 years is long enough to finish building a Dyson cloud.

  • Been very grateful that I ended up with a publisher who works ridiculously quickly.  Twenty-seventeen is a long way away, and to imagine my state of mind with the usual time frame of novel sales and publication is not to be borne.  I know a lot of people who've managed it; I remain deeply grateful that Carl is as impatient and deadline-driven as I am.

  • Found out which characters my editor ships.

  • Repeated to myself: "Before novel acquisition, carry water, chop wood; after novel acquisition, carry water, chop wood" as I wash dishes, feed the baby, and clean wildly in preparation for this weekend's visit from my in-laws.

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Winter Tide, the first Aphra Marsh novel, will come out from the Tor.com imprint in early 2017.  The sequel, which has a working title of Deep Roots, will follow a year later.

I'm beyond excited and amazed to finally be able to make this announcement.  And I'm very grateful to my agent, Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Agency, and to my editor Carl Engle-Laird, for making this happen.  We all look forward to sharing the next part of Aphra's story.
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David Steffen, of Diabolical Plots, is kickstarting an anthology of the 2014 Hugo long list.  It's already funded at the basic level, covering the short stories, and is a couple hundred away from including the novelettes--including "Litany of Earth" as well as awesome things like Alaya Dawn Johnson's "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i."

In the service of creating a proper Hugo Reading Packet for 2014, I'm offering 3 custom sonnets or sestinas for $50 backers, each coming with both paper and e-versions of the anthology.  At the same level, you could instead get one of Sam Miller's sketches of an animal of your choice working at the occupation of your choice, or you could pay a little more and get story critiques, custom audio books, and spiffy art prints.

David asked me for a reward description.


Not Exactly Shakespeare

It isn’t Shakespeare: I’ll admit as much;
They’re what I write when I’m not up for prose.
The forms of old are comfort food that shows
The tired writer hasn’t lost her touch.

But though these poems are nothing like the sun,
They might give hazy thoughts a form and shape,
Or make you laugh: give sharpness to a jape;
All poems have purpose, else they lie unspun.

I could compare your love to summer nights,
Abstract your dissertation so it scans,
Or villainous, declaim your cunning plans:
I’ll write an ode to whatever delights.

Still, I reserve the right to add my spin,
So trolls beware: the bard will always win.
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M woke up crying at 6 AM Sunday morning. After I finally got her back to sleep, I checked my phone and discovered rather more Twitter mentions than usually appear in the midnight to 6 AM window, or indeed in a single day.  I had some trouble getting back to sleep!

Many thanks to everyone who nominated "Litany of Earth" for a Hugo, and everyone else who said they would have voted for it given the opportunity.  It would have been part of a pretty sweet ballot, and I would have thoroughly enjoyed losing to Seanan McGuire's "Each to Each" or Kay Ashante Wilson's "The Devil in America."  (I still need to read Crosshill's story, and shall.)

New plan: Support E Pluribus Hugo, and write even more kick-ass, rocket-worthy stuff in the future.

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January 2019

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