End of August

Okay, so that was a long period of not much posting from me. The reason for that is because I’ve spent the summer plugging away at Book Four and doing periodic work on Tainted Blood (out in November — agh!).

My deadline for Book 4 is in October, so this lack of posting from me isn’t going to change anytime soon. But there’s been some pretty fun focus on Iron Night lately, so how about awesome links?

I did an interview with the fantastic Nick Sharps over at SF Signal — some great questions and fun answers — don’t you want to know whether Suzume would get along with Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy (hint — of course she would!)?

New review of Iron Night from Notes From A Readerholic — it was part of their Book Bingo challenge.

Wendy from The Bibliosanctum did a livetweeting of Generation V that is simply not to be missed — how we got on the subject of Batman, I’m not certain, but it’s GREAT. She also followed up with a pretty great review, which you should also check out.

I also did an interview at the lovely site Between Dreams And Reality — which should definitely be on your reading list, if only because it is presented in both English and French! It’s bilingual, baby!

Finally, the Tainted Blood cover made it onto the All Things Urban Fantasy Cover Art Coverage – and I’m delighted to say that it was very well received! Hopefully this is a start of a trend for my covers!

I’ll try to swing back with some actual content a little later down the line — but I definitely have my hands full with Book 4. But I leave you with this disturbing thought:

BE AFRAID!

That Escalated Fast. Like, Really FAST.

This isn't your mother's dinotopia.

This isn’t your mother’s dinotopia.

It’s possible that Stephen Blackmoore and I are bad influences on each other. Poor Justin.

Catcalls Aren’t Compliments

It took me about three-quarters of Doree Lewak’s New York Post article before I realized that it wasn’t a satire. At first it really seemed like an Onion-style satire. Then I was really really hoping that it was a satire. Then it really hit me that Lewak was serious.

Here’s the problem with Lewak’s article “Hey Ladies – Catcalls Are Flattering! Deal With It” – she’s equivalating street harassment with the desire to both give and receive compliments. Is it a natural thing to enjoy receiving compliments? Sure. Is it a natural thing to enjoy giving compliments? Absolutely. Do these things make it a good idea to scream your opinion at a total stranger and expect them to be grateful. No. So very no.

Lewak fondly remembers the first time two guys on the street yelled, “You’re hot!” to her and high-fived. She presents it as a very innocent situation – she was wearing a “tightly molded pink tank top and black capris” and two men gave her the ego boost she was craving. But what weirds me out about Lewak’s article (okay, one of the things) is the extent to which she seems to be presenting her wardrobe choices as an invitation and consent for catcalling. She dressed in a tight tanktop, therefore she must be okay with random strangers shouting compliments at her (she does request toward the end of the article that those strangers not comment specifically on features of her anatomy – specifically her nipples). If that is the case for Lewak, maybe she should invest in some kind of large placard to carry (“PLEASE DO shout compliments at me about my general appearance! Just keep it clean, please!”) because I think that a good chunk of the women who are wearing tank tops in the summer aren’t doing it out of a desire for strangers to scream at them.

I’ve also had strangers scream “You’re hot!” to me. The last time it happened was on a bus. I guess I’m no Lewak – I didn’t get an ego boost out of it. What I did get was twenty minutes on a bus where “You’re hot” was followed by, “Hey, I just said that you’re hot!” followed by, “Hey bitch, didn’t you hear me call you hot?” and then a series of “Turn around and look at me, bitch!”-style comments. The cherry on the whole encounter was one that I think a few women can probably recognize, which was the frantic weighing of my options – should I get out at my stop, which would get me home fast but also potentially allow this screaming stranger to follow me to my apartment building if he got off as well, or get out at the stop before mine, which would hopefully allow me to hide my normal route and home territory but also leave me further away from home and in an area I didn’t know well, which could work against me if he followed me off and I had to run for it.

Flattering. Really, really flattering.

Articles like Lewak’s muddy the waters. Because an actual compliment isn’t a catcall. Let me give an example:

A guy wearing a great pair of skinny jeans is walking to work.

Situation A: While standing in line to get coffee, the guy next to him leans over and says politely (while staying well outside personal space), “Nice pants, man.”

That’s a compliment.

Situation B: While walking down the sidewalk, the guy wearing the great skinny jeans hears a guy about ten feet behind him yell, “Nice pants, man!”

That’s not a compliment. That’s a catcall. And it’s kind of creepy.

Situation C: A car slows down beside the guy wearing the skinny jeans, and a man leans out the passenger side window and yells, “Nice pants, man!” while the driver honks his horn.

That’s not a compliment. That’s a catcall. And it’s creepy.

Situation D: As he reaches the building he works in, the guy passes a man walking in the other direction. The other man stops, turns, and yells, “Nice pants, man!” followed by, “Hey, can’t you take a compliment?” then “You dumb prick, I’m just trying to give you a compliment!” then “Can’t you even smile at me, prick?”

Also not a compliment. That’s a catcall. It’s aggressive, scary, and it’s street harassment. And what makes it frightening when it’s happening is that the person it’s directed against has no idea how far it’s going to escalate.

The guy wearing the skinny jeans didn’t give consent to all of this just by wearing his skinny jeans. Similarly, a woman wearing a tight tank top wouldn’t have given consent either (despite what Lewak seems to believe).

Trying to bring attention to street harassment and hopefully even stop it is presented in articles like Lewak’s as trying to stop all compliments. That’s certainly not the case. Compliments can absolutely be given – and can be given to strangers. Lewak gets a thrill when random strangers scream to her about how hot she is – and has decided that it’s self-empowering. Well, every duck has its pond, I guess. There will always be outliers. But just as I wouldn’t use PonyPlay enthusiasts (thank you, Rob Thurman, for that information that is now seared into my brain) as an example of median sexual expression, I also wouldn’t use Lewak’s article as proof that what women really, truly want is to have total strangers scream at them about how hot they are.

Top Ten Books 2014, January – June

Good news on the writing front! Tainted Blood copy edits came back, and I went through them line by line. If you happen to follow my Twitter feed, believe me, that involved a whole lot of profanity. Plus some appeals to the Twitter hive mind, and the ever-popular “too gross?” checks. (those have left me with the following conclusion: there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who find poop jokes hilarious, and those who lack all sense of humor. Just a warning – there are poop jokes in Tainted Blood. AWESOME poop jokes.) Now the manuscript passes to the typesetter, and the next time I see it will be when I get the page proofs. So it’s making steady progress toward that November release date!

I’m in the process of re-organizing my office space. I’ve finally decided that I have outgrown the Walmart special desk (that is actually not a joke – I bought it when I was in grad school, and the budget was TIGHT back then) that I wrote the first three Fort Scott books on, and I’m upgrading to an L-desk that will offer about 2/3rds more room. Best of all, there will be room to not only type at the keyboard, but also slide my chair over and work longhand. While I’m at it, I’m also painting the office and finally putting up some pictures. Once this is done, I’ll start breaking ground on Fort Scott #4, which I am now officially contracted for. (the contract arrived yesterday with all the signatures! There is now no escape possible for Roc! Mwa ha ha ha!)

On to actual content.

According to my Goodreads account (which, can I just say how much I love that thing? Statistics make me happy – it’s why when I’m working on a book, I keep track of my daily wordcount), I’ve read 47 books so far this year. Let me tell you – it’s been a lot of fun. But as I stand here (or, rather, sit here) at the midpoint of the year, I have to admit – some of those books stunk, a lot were fantastic, but a few were ABSOLUTELY FUCKING AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD READ THEM NOW.

Shadow Throne 1. The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler

This comes out July 1, but I got an ARC from Django. You might be asking yourself – wait, she got an ARC from the author, who she is also referring to by first name? Is this a case of that rampant authorial nepotism that I hear about?

I will neither confirm nor deny this.

BUT, seriously, I love this series to death. The first book was one of my favorites last year, and I was really looking forward to the sequel. It’s pretty fabulous – imagine a Victor Hugo novel (yes, THAT one – with the musical), but flintlock-fantasy style. Oh, and for those of you who are looking for a fantasy book with a great range of female characters – look no further. It’s here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Parts Dead 2. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

I was at VeriCon this year with Max Gladstone, and here’s the thing about being on multiple panels with other authors – you hear the elevator pitch for their novel about 50,000 times. (Max could probably mention all the bullet-point selling items for Generation V from memory) Now, if you’re highly susceptible to advertising, like I am, this usually means that you have to buy the damn thing. However, I’m really glad that I did this, because this book is INCREDIBLE. It’s actually as good as the cover – how often does that happen?

I also read the sequel, which equally rocked my world (book moral: bros before hos, fathers, bosses, and gods), but I made the executive decision that there would be no double entries.

 

 

 

 

 

dust

 

 

3. Dust by Elizabeth Bear

 

Angels, a generation ship, a basilisk named Gavin who is also a laser-cutter, medievalism meeting high tech, and copious incest. Very, very cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

vicious 4. Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Every superhero/supervillain trope ever is beautifully and mind-blowingly subverted in this book. Great characterization and a great out-of-order construction that gives this a great puzzle feeling. Fabulous payoff, too. I picked this up because everyone on my Twitter feed was going crazy over it, and THEY WERE RIGHT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fun home

 

 

5. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

The textbook I was using for one of my classes in the spring semester had a really neat section on the graphic novel, and while I didn’t quite figure out a way to shoe-horn it into the official syllabus I did read an excerpt from FUN HOME, and I had to immediately order the whole book. It’s a fascinating and beautifully presented memoir of the author’s childhood and family, really considering the ideas of identity and sexuality. So worth checking out if you haven’t read it yet.

 

 

 

 

 

murder of crows

 

 

6. Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Sequels are tough when you really loved the original. Hopes get really high, and it’s unlikely for the sequel to live up to it. I’m really enjoying Anne Bishop’s foray into alternate-world urban fantasy, and the sequel really worked for me. I’ve had a pretty good six months with sequels, actually. Obviously, there’s my own sequel (REQUISITE PLUG AND SELF-BRAG), but I read a bunch that I really liked. I think the only one that just didn’t really do much for me was Sharon Shinn’s Royal Airs – though I still think that the first in that series, Troubled Waters, was utterly perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

tenant of wildfell hall7. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

No, seriously.

I’ve done my time in the English Department gulag, so I thought that I’d really had my fill of Brontes. I mean, not that I don’t like them. Wuthering Heights is pretty delightfully fucked up, and Jane Eyre is basically requisite reading given how often writers feel compelled to either rip it off or give it an homage (fact: best Jane Eyre homage EVER is Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn – it’s not just a copy & paste of basic story elements, but actually pays attention to the goddamn themes). But I didn’t really feel the need to complete my Bronte trifecta, feeling that I’d pretty much gotten the idea.

I was wrong. Anne is the badass Bronte sister. She’s all gritty realism! Feminism! Belief in redemption! I mean, her sister Charlotte outright refused to let Tenant of Wildfell Hall be republished during her lifetime because of how controversial her sister’s book is. Yes, the book is told in epistolary form, which normally makes me shudder, but it’s worth it.

Okay, and I also watched the BBC film version before I read it, which got my interest going. But – worth it!

 

radiant seas8. The Radiant Seas by Catherine Asaro

Plus the other 12 books in this series that I read since January. I really love this series, and now I’m suffering withdrawal – the bummer of tearing through a series in three months that have taken the author just under twenty years to write. Plus side, according to Asaro’s website, she’s got Plans.

Most of the books in the series can be read individually – there is only one cliffhangered book, and that one is pretty overtly labeled Part One. If you read them in publication order there’s also this neat thing where Asaro skips all around in her own timeline. In some books they’ll refer to this big war that occurred years ago, and in later books the setting IS that war.

Now, I read the series in publication order, which begins with Primary Inversion. But if you’re interested in reading it in chronological order, start with Skyfall. What I’d love to be able to do is dump my memories of this series and try it in chronological order, then get my other memories back and compare.

 

dead things

 

 

 

9. Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore

LA noir with necromancy. It’s pretty awesome. The sequel comes out in August, too, so you won’t have to wait too long to find out what’s next for Eric Carter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

beggars in spain10. Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress

This is one of those sci-fi books that utterly blows you away with the setup, the payout, and the insight into humanity. It’s also one of those books that will leave you completely depressed because of its insights – but it’s so good that you have to read more. Kress reminds me of Sherri S. Tepper in that way. Well worth checking out.

 

 

 

So that’s my Top Ten since January. What’s yours?

O Canada!

Canada_flag

This one is for all my Canadian readers! So…. probably two people in Manitoba. Please click play on the YouTube video right now, then continue to read as the music plays. I’d like to set the proper mood for this entry.

Since Iron Night came out in January, I’ve done a few giveaways over at Goodreads. This is always pretty fun – hundreds of people sign up, a few lucky people win free signed copies of the book, and then ideally those hundreds of people are motivated to check the book out even though they didn’t win it. (I’ve actually been told by a friend who works in publishing that this last part actually happens almost never — but, hey, worth a shot amiright?)

But when I’ve done these giveaways in the past, I’ve always restricted the giveaway to the US, purely because of the cost of shipping. In fact, whenever I do a giveaway, whether on Goodreads or a private site, I almost always restrict to the US. There was only one time that I didn’t, and that’s because I was on a site run by a Canadian. (Hi Julie!) But I only have five copies left of Iron Night to give away, so this will be my last Goodreads giveaway until Tainted Blood comes out in November. So I thought – well, why not give a little love to my brothers and sisters in the snowy north? Besides, then I’d get to have a lot of fun with the promotion for the next month.

Fun like this.

Fun like this.

And like this.

And like this.

Oh my god, baby beaver in a plastic swimmy tub! Look at its cuteness! Best idea ever!

Oh my god, baby beaver in a plastic swimmy tub! Look at its cuteness! Best idea ever!

Will this actually work out in numbers and promotion, enough to offset the increased price of shipping that I’m going to have to eat? Um… actually I don’t know. I probably won’t know for about a month. The last giveaway I did had 484 entries, and the best giveaway I did for Iron Night had 778 entries. So if I have anywhere from that base number to anywhere in the middle to beyond, I’d call it a success. So, Canadians! Put down your hockey sticks for a second and listen with the politeness I’ve come to expect from you! I’d love it if you entered here for a chance to win a signed copy of Iron Night, and if you passed this along to other people in Canada who might enjoy a copy.

Huge Exciting Announcement!

Okay, so I’ve been hinting at something huge going on for the last month, and I just signed the final paperwork today, so here it is:

There’s going to be a fourth Fortitude Scott book!

This is utterly huge, guys, and it’s all thanks to you! You, the bloggers and reviewers who gave such wonderful attention to a book about a slacker vampire. You, the readers who decided to give the book a shot despite it being yet another urban fantasy featuring a vampire. Thank you all so very, very much.

What’s happening right now is that the Fortitude Scott sales numbers are not setting the world on fire, but there was a significant bump in the sales of Generation V paperback and e-books when Iron Night was released. Before this, the folks over at Roc had basically written the series off, and I’d been advised to work on a new series concept for them – but this bump got their attention again. What they’re doing right now is making a bet that there’s going to be another bump when Tainted Blood comes out in November, and that hopefully it will be enough to allow the series to get some traction with readers. And if that happens, they want to have a fourth book in the works to help sustain momentum.

Meaning that there will definitely be a fourth Fortitude Scott book in 2015! This is a book that I desperately wanted to write, because Tainted Blood is definitely NOT the conclusion of this series. (I originally wrote about four more sentences here, but they were too spoilery! I’ll say only this – I have Big Plans going at least into a Book Six)

It also means that this summer I get to do my favorite summer activity – write a new Fort Scott book!

But again, this is because of you guys. Thanks for all the wonderful reviews, fantastic emails, and enthusiasm about this series. You guys made #4 happen. I will leave you with this final piece of awesomeness – here is Suzume immortalized in mini form:

Isn’t this amazing? Django Wexler painted and sent these to me – so fabulous! I have them sitting on the bookshelf next to my writing desk, next to one of my most important pieces of writing equipment – my little cd player.

Isn’t this amazing? Django Wexler painted and sent these to me – so fabulous! I have them sitting on the bookshelf next to my writing desk, next to one of my most important pieces of writing equipment – my little cd player.

Side view of the fox form -- this kitsune has nine tails, each with a little white tip! Awesome!

Side view of the fox form — this kitsune has nine tails, each with a little white tip! Awesome!

And the human form! You can't see really well from this angle, but she has little ears with white tufts in her hair to show that she's a fox!

And the human form! You can’t see really well from this angle, but she has little ears with white tufts in her hair to show that she’s a fox!

New Business Cards

Business cards 1

Hey everyone, my new business cards arrived today from Moo.com! Check these out!

Okay, so I know that my business cards are not exactly breaking news (though, seriously, the covers look pretty fabulous in tiny pocket form), but I’m pretty stoked about this. Now when I go to cons in the future I can be all, “Oh, which card would you like? BECAUSE I HAVE THREE PUBLISHED BOOKS MOTHERFUCKER HAHAHAHAHA.”

Business cards 2

Okay, so I shamelessly ripped off what Max Gladstone’s business card layout looks like. SO WOULD YOU, DAMNIT.

Or, slightly more restrained. That maniacal laugh will still happen, of course. (‘cuz, standards) And, while I do of course have great affection for the cover of Generation V, I have to concede to the vox populi at this point and accept that it is not quite my strongest selling point with, you know, just about anyone. I do think that the Iron Night cover is pretty neat, and the Tainted Blood cover is just made of awesome. I think the publishers are trying to move the cover art in a more Iron Druid direction, which is never a bad idea. Plus, I have assurances from some of my favorite bloggers that not only do they think the new cover is cool, but that they would actually be willing to be seen in public with it. Heady stuff, guys!

If you’re going to be at Connecticon this year, stop me and ask for whichever of the cards you’d like!

This leaves really just one question – what the hell do I do with the fifty or so old cards?

Old business cards

I mean, technically they’re still mostly accurate, but I just don’t feel that they fully express my THREE FUCKING BOOKS MOTHERFUCKERS awesomeness. Hm. I seem to be cursing a lot on this blog today. …. yup, still okay with that.

Still excited about the new cover!

horizontal-fortitude-scott-books1-3.jpg

Still! So! Excited!

Tainted Blood Cover Release

Tainted Blood Cover
OH MY GOD EVERYONE THE TAINTED BLOOD COVER JUST GOT RELEASED!!!!!!

What does everyone think? Are we excited about November yet? Also, I’m so thrilled that they picked one of my favorite blurbs from one of my favorite websites!

Fun on Friday

Most interesting man in the world django wexler

Look, I found a meme generator site! Solid advice, by the way, Most Interesting Man In The World.

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