Calling the Muse, Achieving the Zone
Writing is an art form. Like all art forms, it is difficult and requires great concentration to do well. The trick with writing, though, is achieving this level of concentration. To this end, I am sometimes jealous of my brethren in the performing arts. When a person is rehearsing their guitar or dancing in a studio, there is something of a tacit assumption among the laity (i.e. non-artists) that they ought not interrupt. There is clearly something important happening – this artist is concentrating – and they know they should wait until they are through. We writers enjoy no such social bulwark between their art and interruption. The basic assumption made by many when I say I am “writing” is, basically, that I am doing nothing important and may be interrupted whenever for whatever reason. This is probably because a substantial portion of writing involves staring at the wall and occasionally mumbling to yourself, doodling in notebooks, and googling weird things.
Now I guess I could make this post into a stern admonishment of those who would dare intrude upon a writer’s daydreaming, but that isn’t where I’m going with this. Those who know me well – my family and friends – understand the importance of this concentration and everybody else probably doesn’t care enough to listen anyway. I cannot assume the world will bend over to make sure I can sit in my office undisturbed for hours a day – I am not so lucky as that. Nor is, I’d wager, the vast majority of writers out there, professional or otherwise.
The challenge, then, becomes how one can cope with or avoid such interruptions. Everybody’s tolerance is different, too, and everybody’s ideal writing state differs. Some concentrate well out in the world, surrounded by the white noise of a café, an espresso within reach. Some throw on the headphones, crank up the music, and drown out the world. Me? I prefer solitude and silence. I need this quiet so I can hear the words. I need solitude so, when I pace around and mime swordfights or recite snippets of dialogue to myself, I don’t have to explain or justify myself. I am free to wholly inhabit the world of the story or novel – body, mind, and soul.
My day job is that of a college English professor. During the semester, in addition to incredible piles of student work to grade (~2400 pages per semester), I also have meetings to attend, e-mail to keep up with, and students popping into my office, knocking on my door, asking me questions. Now, this is part of my job – no complaints – but it interferes with my ability to produce. At home I have two small children, a wife, and a dog who all deserve my attention. Optimistically, I could perhaps secure for myself a half hour to maybe an hour a day to write, usually late at night.
The persistent advice given new writers is “write every day.” You’ve got to put your ass in a chair and produce, dammit! Do it! NO EXCUSES, SLACKER!
This is a pernicious lie. I attempted to adhere to it for a number of years (when I was single and had no kids or dog or anything) and the attempt was a miserable failure. An hour a day just wasn’t enough time for me to be truly productive. I had to spend at least half that time getting myself into the zone. Then I wrote for the other half and, often, about half of that was terrible. Then I’d have another day to wipe away that zone and I’d have to sit down and do it again. It was, frankly, a bit demoralizing and my work suffered.
See, getting into that zone – that state of concentration where you inhabit the world of your writing – can take time. There are few people who can plant before a computer and BAM – the words flow. Sure, it happens. More often there is a process, a ritual. For me, it takes about half an hour assuming my writing engines are already primed. At the end of a semester (such as the one that just ended for me yesterday), it takes me a day or two to prime the engines. Then, though, I can produce like crazy–I get whole days basically to myself where I can focus and devote myself to my craft. In the eight years I tried writing a little each day, I produced 2 novels. In the eight years since I’ve been a professor and been granted the blessed Semester Breaks, I’ve written 4 novels and twenty short stories, many of which have been through several revisions, many of which have been published. I really don’t think I would have been able to do that with an hour a night.
Everybody is different, though. I know people who are able to juggle their lives and sink right into that zone each night and produce consistently. The point is that writing, just like any art, requires us to be able to sit down and unpack the coils of ideas that have glommed up our brain, sort them out, and wait for them to start building something. In my silent cube in my empty office suite, I stare at the wall and feel something coming – something emerging from the clouds, like an alien vessel descending towards Earth. With practice, I hope I can get better at doing that, more flexible, more versatile. I hope someday I will find a lifestyle even better suited to my authorial needs. The wages of my years of effort, though, is that at least now I know what I’m looking for.
Find your own zone. Mark it. Remember how to return. That, I think, is one of the greatest skills a writer can possess.
- I’m going to be on the radio! Tune into AM Ocala Live at 9:35am EST on Monday, 12/14 on WOCA to hear me talk with hosts Larry Whitler and Robin MacBlane about the Writers of the Future Contest and my own upcoming work. If you are in North Central Florida, you can listen in on either 96.3 FM or 1370 AM. It should be fun!
- The Iron Ring is still on sale for a mere 0.99 on Amazon, but not for long! A great holiday read! Go and get it now, before they raise the price back to a daunting $1.99!
The Iron Ring, On Sale Now!
Starting today, my fantasy novel The Iron Ring (the first half of The Oldest Trick) is on sale for a mere $0.99! It’s also available through BookBub for the same discounted price! This means you can get the entire first book of the Saga of the Redeemed (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood) for a mere $2.98 or so! Here’s the sales pitch:
Tyvian Reldamar—criminal mastermind, rogue mage, and smuggler of sorcerous goods—has just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. To add insult to injury, his mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing.
Revenge just got complicated.
On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark international conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless warlord Banric Sahand—all while running from a Mage-Defender determined to lock him up. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he discovers that sometimes even the world’s most devious man needs a shoulder to lean on.
Sounds exciting, yes? Go check it out! If you are a fan of Scott Lynch or Max Gladstone, you’ll find a happy port in this book, which I’ve been pitching as “James Bond in the Fantasy Renaissance.” And, never fear, once you’re done with The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood, the third (or, really, second) book in the series, No Good Deed is coming out early next year! You’ll barely have a month or so to wait! Go for it!
So, a friend of mine, also a fantasy author, was venting a bit today. It’s been about six months since her first paperback release and the paperback returns are coming in (by the way, did you know that unsold books at bookstores can be sent back to the publisher for returns? No? Well, they can, and the author has to give the royalties back. Very sad.) and she’s had royalty statements where she owed money back to the publisher. Oof. She, like myself, feels a bit helpless in the face of this. What’s a relatively unknown author to do?
I mean, yeah, you can join the echo chamber over at Twitter and scream your book title into the void (much good will it do you – Twitter seems to be a vast ocean of salesmen with no customers). You can organize a few book signings at local book stores and sell maybe a few dozen books each time. Maybe a case or two. You can give presentations at conferences. You can sit on panels. You can do readings at local libraries. All of this nets you…what, exactly? A hundred sales, maybe? It all seems fairly futile.
A wise man – Eric Flint, to be precise – told me (and my fellow Writers of the Future winners) that a lot of self-promotion is a waste of time. He said the best advertisement for your last book is your next book. The best publicity for your work is more publications. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that. This business, as much as anything else, is an accumulative process. The gradual building of an audience, a fan base, a network of professional connections that will, someday, add up to something substantial. It’s very hard in the meantime, though. People tell you that you should just be satisfied having published a book, but there’s the whole other ocean of uncertainty on the other side.
I guess we just ought to lock arms with our friends and just keep swimming, right?
Anyway, buy my book, will ya? It’s good, and it’s only $0.99. And thanks.
Announcing: THE OLDEST TRICK, releasing on July 14th!
So, by now you’ve heard me jawing about my two novels (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood) which, together, really comprise a single novel. That single novel was the one I originally submitted to Harper Voyager and now, after being apart for so very long, they are together again at last! This is my vision as I originally intended it – the director’s cut, if you will (though, really, it isn’t any different than the other two books, just presented back-to-back in one volume).
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my book has been reunited with itself and now you can read the entirety of The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood in one volume under its original title, THE OLDEST TRICK!
(pause here for applause.)
(c’mon – just one golf-clap! humor me!)
Okay, anyway, here’s the blub:
Compiled for the first time, The Oldest Trick comprises The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood in the Saga of the Redeemed
Tyvian Reldamar gets betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. To add insult to injury, his mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing.
Revenge just got complicated.
On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless wizard Banric Sahand. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he learns to work with—and rely on—his motley crew of accomplices, including an adolescent pickpocket, an obese secret-monger, and a fearsome gnoll.
The extra good news is this: those of you tired of shelling out $5 for the two separate books can now purchase this single volume for a mere $4! That’s a 20% savings, folks!
And everywhere else fine e-books are sold!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Why yes, there is! I have been told by my editor that this, sleek, attractive compendium of derring-do and things fantastic will be available in paperback! Yes, no more fuddling with those bizarre, complicated e-reading mechanisms! No, actual trees will be slaughtered and mashed down into paper just so you may flip about the pages of Tyvian’s world to your heart’s content!
(note: all paper will very likely be recycled. No actual trees were harmed during the production of this message)
Now, I don’t know just when the paperback version will be out – “a few weeks after the 14th” is what I was told – but it is coming, and it will be glorious.
Did you see how I’m now listed as an AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR? Do you wonder why that is? Why, because I won an award, of course! The Writers of the Future Award to be precise. Read my award winning story (and many other such stories) here, in this year’s anthology!
How Much Yelling Equals One Book Sale?
Ever been on Twitter? I have. I bring from it a piece of somewhat depressing news:
Every single human being on Earth is trying to sell a book.
Yes. All of them.
And they want you to know about it. Yes, all of them. They tell you all the time: buy my book! Buy my book! I wrote a book, do you want to buy it? Observe this banner – it has my picture and is asking you to buy my book! Will you buy it? Have you bought it yet?
What about now? Have you bought it now? It’s been five minutes since the last time I asked you – plenty of time to buy the book. Did I mention it’s on Amazon? B&N? iTunes? Kobo? No? It is. All of them. Other places, too. I’ve been sticking them on seats at my local McDonalds. Want my business card? It *also* tells you to buy my book.
HEY! Look at the sidebar of this here blog! See those book covers? You can CLICK ON THEM! They will take you a place where you can buy my book, which is something everybody should do. Preferably now.
Hey, Habershaw – Lay Off! How Else Can You Do It?
See, that’s just it – I have no idea. I, also, have books to sell. I’m trying to sell them. However, joining the shout-out party over on Twitter doesn’t seem to get me much of anywhere. Or maybe it does. It’s hard to tell, honestly. I’m just one more voice in the roaring crowd of authors, all pushing the same product to, it seems, an audience made up of largely other authors pushing their own books. Facebook? That’s just a giant collection of friends of mine – marketing there doesn’t get me much further than my home town, family, and old coworkers.
It’s a daunting prospect, really. How can you tell the difference between a good book and a bad one, anyway? Who even has time to read even a tenth of the books that people are writing? Nobody, that’s who. I have trouble keeping up with the books my friends are writing, let alone everybody else’s.
So, I plug along. I’ve got this little blog here, which shoots out to about a thousand people (apparently), which ain’t bad. I try to be interesting, rather than just a bullhorn of “BUY MY BOOK”-isms over and over again. Does it work? Hell if I know. I’m selling books, yes, but not exactly at a blistering pace. I think maybe I need to shake-up my strategy. Maybe I ought to be more aggressive and in-your-face about buying my books. Maybe I should plug them like crazy and see if that helps.
I will tell you this, though: if you do read my book (any of my books), REVIEW THEM. I will never, ever get noticed if that doesn’t happen. Reviews = visibility on Amazon (and everywhere else), and Amazon visibility = sales. If an author you like wrote a book you enjoy, review it, dammit. It doesn’t need to be much, but it needs to be something. Five words. One sentence and a couple stars – that’s it. It helps a LOT (seriously).
In the vein of this article, I’ve got a few announcements:
1) Iron and Blood, the sequel to THE IRON RING, is currently available wherever fine e-books are sold. It just received its first review and it was five stars. FIVE STARS, PEOPLE. Get reading, dammit.
2) This week represents a final push to make Writers of the Future Volume 31 a bestseller. We’re really close, actually – we just need to sell a few thousand more copies this week. Do your part to make history! Buy it now! My story and all the other stories contained in this anthology are GREAT! I promise. Buy you a cookie if I’m wrong, pinky-swear.
3) Tomorrow (Thursday), I will be on the Citywide Blackout radio program on WEMF. I will be interviewed from 8:00pm to 8:30pm EST and, as this radio station streams online, you can listen in from anywhere in the world. I recommend that you do, as I am a fascinating person with a silky smooth voice. Well, probably. I hope. Anyway, I’ll be talking about Writers of the Future, my own fantasy novel series (The Saga of the Redeemed), and probably writing in general. It should be tons of fun!
It’s RELEASE DAY!
Yes! Finally, Blood and Iron, Part 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed, is released today!
Do you know how hard it is living with all these spoilers in my head? It’s really hard. Every time somebody would walk up to me and start talking about what they hope/think will happen to Tyvian, Artus, Hool, and so on, it was all I could do to keep from yelling “NO! THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS AT ALL!” or “HOW DID YOU GET INSIDE MY BRAIN, YOU FIEND?”
Now you can all buy it and see for yourself. Please do!
Found wherever fine e-books are sold!
Oh, and if you haven’t read The Iron Ring, please go do that first – it will all make waaaay more sense then.
IRON AND BLOOD: Thrilling Conclusion to THE IRON RING, Releases Tuesday!
THE IRON RING introduced you to a world of industrialized magic, sorcerous enlightenment, and a seedy underworld of smuggled monsters, alchemical narcotics, and mirror-armored wizard/cops. You met Tyvian Reldamar – criminal mastermind, smuggler, and impeccable dresser – and watched him writhe in frustration as some fool’s idea of an external moral compass in the form of a plain iron ring was bolted to his hand. Struggling through the desolate winter countryside, a street urchin and a vengeful mother gnoll in tow, he tried to evade capture from the Defenders and secure vengeance upon the partner who betrayed him – that wretched, ink-thralled mercenary, Zazlar Hendrieux.
And then the book ended…
Frustrating, I know. If it’s any consolation, I was frustrated too – my publisher wanted it that way – but now, oh boy, do I have good news for you!!
IRON AND BLOOD, Book 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed, is releasing on June 2nd and (checks watch) that’s only four days away, friends!
Yup, in only four (4) days you’ll get to find out what happens!
(WARNING: Mild spoilers below if you haven’t read Book 1)
Will Hool be reunited with her lost pups?
Has Artus survived the night?
Will Myreon manage her escape?
Will Tyvian realize Carlo’s betrayal in time?
What horrible plan does Sahand have cooking, anyway?
Can Tyvian juggle all the threats that surround him to achieve revenge?
Is the ring actually making him a better person AND can he ever get it off?
Well, you folks have only four days to wait until you can find out.
I’m really excited! Are you really excited? I hope so! Finally, after a long, long wait, everybody will finally get to see this story wrapped up as I intended it to be.
Oh, yeah, and there will be third book coming out soon, too.
In Other News
I will be signing books at the Prudential Center Barnes and Nobel tomorrow, Saturday May 30th, from 2-4pm. Most of my family and many of my friends came to the last one, so I’m relying on people I don’t know personally to come and keep me company. I promise I’m nice. And not entirely unattractive. No, seriously. I mean, I could stand to lose a few pounds and I haven’t hit the gym too often recently, but still. I’ll shave, okay? Deodorant, decent shirt, the whole nine yards.
Anyway, see you there, okay? I’ll sign your book. Maybe it will be worth money someday. Or maybe you’ll be able to trade it for something useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario of your choice. You never know, right?
My Favorite One-Liners
Ding-Ding! The contest is over everybody! THE CONTEST IS OVER! SETTLE DOWN!
(looks around, sees there are only three people here)
Oh. Oh, I see. (puts away microphone)
Well, I can’t say competition was fierce, exactly, but here are the big winners of my little book giveaway:
1) TR Napper (who is a friend and wonderfully talented SF writer in his own right–check him out here)’
From Empire Strikes Back:
Leia: “I love you.” Han: “I know.”
From Birdman (Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
“If you weren’t afraid, what would you want to do to me?”
“I’d pull your eyes out of your head…”
“…and put them in my own skull, and look around, so I could see the street the way I used to when I was your age”
From Fahrenheit 451
With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word `intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar.
I will be in contact with you soon to discuss getting you your e-book. Thank you for playing!
Now, since we’re on the topic of one-liners, I figured I’d share a few of my own favorites. Enjoy!
From Casablanca (I could pick any dozen from this movie, but still):
Ugarte: You hate me, don’t you Rick?
Rick: I probably would if I gave you any thought.
From Pirates of the Carribean:
Norrington: You must be the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of.
Jack Sparrow: But you have heard of me.
From The Princess Bride:
Life is pain, Highness. Anybody who says differently is selling something.
From The Wheel of Time:
Rand al’Thor (after crushing the crown of Cairhien in his bare hands before the newly crowned Queen) Anything done (uses the Power to reform the crown in his hands) can be undone.
From Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch:
I wouldn’t shit on his head to give him shade from the sun.
I could keep going (like, forever), but that’s enough for now. Back to Actual Writing!
- Tonight, at 6:30 pm, I will be doing a reading of The Iron Ring and giving a presentation on world-building in scifi/fantasy novels at the Adams Street Branch of the Boston Public Library. The event is free and I’ve been made to believe there will be refreshments.
- On May 30th, from 2pm-4pm, I will be signing copies of The Writers of the Future, Volume 31 anthology at the Prudential Center Barnes and Nobel in Boston. I will bring candy.
- Don’t forget to preorder Iron and Blood, which comes out on June 2nd (less than a month away!).
Getting Out of the Writing Basement
Since The Iron Ring debuted and especially since attending the Writers of the Future Workshop and receiving my award, I’ve been running into more and more people who are reading or have read my book. Not “want to read,” not “been meaning to read,” not even “have it on my Kindle,” but actually in the process of reading my novel. Like, if I were to quiz them on the main character’s name, they’d actually know what I’m talking about.
This is both (1) awesome and (2) really weird. I mean, yeah, it’s what I’ve always wanted, right? Culmination of a life-long dream and all that. The thing is, though, that I’ve been alone with this story and these characters for so long and I’ve been writing my stories and novels in a vacuum for so many years that to have people actually be aware of what I do is…well…is something I have to get used to. I really wonder what my face looks like when people congratulate me on my success. I’m guessing it looks something like this:
I didn’t introduce myself as “a writer” or “an author” until a year or two ago, when I figured that I had enough publications to make such a claim plausible to an outsider. The immediate follow-up question to the statement “I’m a writer” is “really? What have you written?” I always felt that, if the response was “fantasy short stories nobody has bought and exist in a shoebox beneath my desk,” it would be embarrassing for both of us.
I became used to the idea that my writing was a private and solitary enterprise that I was embarking upon more-or-less alone save for the loving support and understanding of my wife, who is probably the only person I discuss my daily writing problems and anxieties with. Beyond the two of us, I was just an English Professor at a university that doesn’t even have an English major who, in his spare time, wrote stories about spaceships and goblins that nobody really read.
Not the case anymore. I am an author and, indeed, part of my job now is making sure people know it and making sure people buy my books. It turns out that I’m sort of unprepared for this on an emotional level. I am constantly surprised that people are reading my book (and like it, too!). I am so surprised that, sometimes, I secretly doubt their veracity. “They’re just being polite” is the constant refrain of a little voice in the back of my head. “Fool,” it says, “nobody is actually reading your book. Get back in your attic, weirdo!”
I need that voice to shut the hell up. This blog post is me putting that stupid voice on notice.
In my classes, I sometimes give my students a little primer on public speaking. One of the key criteria, I tell them, is confidence. You need to believe in what you say (or at least look like you do) if you are going to expect other people to believe it, too. I need to take my own goddamned advice. When people come up to me and say “Congratulations on your book!” I need to stop shuffling and “aw-shucks-ing” my way through the conversation. Sure, I’m not exactly storming the bestsellers’ lists (well…not yet), but I’m an author, dammit, and people are reading my work. This shouldn’t be a shock or surprise – I’ve worked for this for a long time, and now I’m actually doing it.
I need to own my own success and take credit for what I’ve done. This, it turns out, is harder than it sounds. It must be figured out, though – and I’m guessing I’m not the only person trying to do so – because we can’t stay talking to ourselves in our basements forever. Sooner or later, we need to go into the world and be proud of what we’ve wrought, even if it’s only the beginning of a much greater work.
- I will be giving a talk on world-building in fantasy literature at the Adams Street branch of the Boston Public Library this Monday, 5/18, at 6:30pm. The event is free and refreshments will be served. I will also be doing a reading from The Iron Ring.
- I will be doing another book-signing of the Writers of the Future Volume 31 anthology on May 30th from 2-4pm at the Prudential Center Barnes and Nobel in Boston.
- Pre-orders for Blood and Iron, part 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed, are still for sale everywhere e-books are sold! Get yours today!
- I’m still holding my contest for the Best One-Liner to win a free copy of The Iron Ring. Contest ends Monday, so enter now!
Book Giveaway Contest: Best One-Liners
Hello there, friends! Say, have you heard I have a novel out? No?! Heavens to murgatroyd, wherever have you been? Well, no matter, no matter – we’ll fix things up right soon. Here’s what I’m going to do:
I’m going to give you a free copy of THE IRON RING. Yes, that’s right – give you one. For free.
I’ve got a bunch of copies of THE IRON RING to give to you good people. Why? Well, it just so happens the sequel to THE IRON RING is coming out on June 2nd, and I want to give some people a chance to read the first one before they read the second, right? Only seems fair, and time is of the essence, my friends.
Now, obviously this is such a stupendous deal that I might be inundated with requests for that limited number of free copies, and then I’d have to break the hearts of so many fine people. So, instead, I think we’ll have ourselves a little contest to make it more fair. After a week, I will pick the best entries to be the winners, and they will be set on their way to adventure, intrigue, and whimsy in the world of Tyvian Reldamar. Since Tyvian is, himself, something of a pithy one-liner artist, I’ve devised the following:
Thing the First: Post your favorite one-liner from a book, action movie, video game, or what-not in the comments below (or tweet at me – @AustonHab – with the hashtag #bestoneliner). Think James Bond, Conan the Barbarian, John McClane, Locke Lamora, Kvothe, Rand al’Thor – what line of theirs made you smirk with it’s awesomeness? Put it in the comments. Give some context if needed. Heck, if you want, go ahead and make up your own! If it’s awesome, I’ll give it a prize!
Thing the Second: Sign up for my e-mail list on the right sidebar and/or follow me on Twitter (so you’ll know if you won).
- The contest will run from today (5/11) until next Monday (5/18). I will make a post here listing the winner’s names and we can then arrange a way to e-mail you your book.
One prize per person, please. If you enter a whole bunch of times, I’ll just pick the best one. You can’t win a bunch of books.
- If you win, you’ll be getting the book direct through Harper Collins, so you might need to download their special reader app for your phone/tablet/ whatever.
- All comments need to be made either here on this post or Tweeted at me (@AustonHab) on Twitter with the hashtag #bestoneliner.
- I am the sole arbiter and judge of the contest.
Okay, ready? Go!
More Audio Samples for Writers of the Future Vol 31
Hi, everybody! So, yes, I’m acting like a broken record about the upcoming Writers of the Future Anthology (Volume 31), but that’s only because it’s crazy awesome and you should all get it. Not for my sake, either – my fellow winners are an amazingly talented bunch and you should get in on the ground floor here. I’ve got two for you today.
First is Steve Pantazis’s story, “Switch,” about a cop addicted to a high-tech new drug trying to solve the murder of a kid who was high on the self-same drug – a drug that accelerated the human mind to its highest potential. This is a dark, gritty tale long on style and suspense and you’ll get a kick out of it. Also, the world is the same as Steve’s novel Godnet, which means the world-building is top-notch (and I’m a sucker for good world-building, let me tell you).
Next…well…next is Sharon Joss’s story, “Stars That Make Dark Heaven Light.” She is the grand prize winner this year, and it is very much deserved, as this story is a simply magnificent tale of growing up, finding your place, and learning to love. Oh, and aliens and genetic engineering, too. Great, great story that you simply must read. For now, listen to the first bit:
Elsewhere Among My Very Talented Friends…
Liana Brooks’ novel The Day Before is out now from Harper Voyager. It’s a time-travel science fiction mystery, so check it out!
Steampunk author Beth Davis Cato has a new short story out: The Deepest Poison. If you liked The Clockwork Dagger, you should check it out!
And as For Me…
Iron and Blood, the thrilling second half to The Iron Ring is released in a little over a month. Pre-order now! Also, keep an eye on this space: I’m going to be announcing a giveaway contest soon, just as soon as I come up with a cool idea for one. I will also be at the Barnes and Noble Prudential Center in Boston MA on May 9th from 2pm-4pm signing copies of the Writers of the Future Anthology. W00t!
Exciting times, no? Go forth! Support authors! Read much!