Author Archive

so FIREBREAK has been out a week today…

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

…and I wish I could thank you all individually for ordering/reading/reviewing/handselling/requesting from your library/etc!

They’re all personal but this one means an awful lot to me & it’s absolutely amazing to see Mal and Jessa and their questionable adventures already clicking with readers. It was very important to me to write Mal as an introverted, prickly, somewhat antisocial character full of traits that are more often than not deemed “unlikeable” in a female protagonist while lauded in a male one, and also to make her aromantic and asexual, because I am, and I have never yet seen it written in a piece of media in a way that really resonated with me personally. The fact that most readers seem to be 100% getting what I was doing in both of those instances and totally accept Mal for who she is has been extremely reassuring. I’ve never gotten such an overwhelmingly positive response on a book so early before. I’m honestly blown away. Thank you.

To those of you coming new to my writing: hi! Firebreak has often been called my debut, but it isn’t, and my adult debut, which it also isn’t. I’ve been publishing since about 2007 but always with (amazing!!) small presses so while they’ve been a joy to work with, a lot of my work has gone under the general radar. If you enjoyed Firebreak, check out Archivist Wasp and Latchkey next. Additionally, my Patreon has several years of book extras and stuff (including a ridiculous ongoing fluff piece I’ve been writing for 06 and 22 in which they are twelve years old and having a Boxcar Children-esque adventure in a shipping container). It’s no-tiers, pay-what-you-want for access to everything. Finally, because I’m noticing quite a number of 06 and 22 fans (which delights me), here’s a standalone story about them that actually came out months before the book.

I have another book coming out in two months! Jillian vs. Parasite Planet is my middle-grade debut. It’s a science-forward survival story including portal-based space travel, creepy mind-control parasites, a snarky cartoon-addicted shapeshifting nanobot swarm, and a protagonist whose anxiety disorder is depicted in a way that is more realistic to my experience than the “shyness” that tends to be the (wildly inaccurate) media default. And it has interior! illustrations! by the incredibly talented Scott Brown. If this sounds like your jam (or the jam of a kid in your life) it’s open to preorders now! As always, you can ask your library to preorder for you!

I was given the opportunity to do a bunch of essays, guest posts, and interviews that are ongoing throughout the month. Some aren’t out yet but here’s a few that are:

I wrote about how “unlikeable” female protagonists are great actually over at Fantasy Book Cafe!

My essay “Sex Is Great, But Have Your Ever Seen Your Real-Life Relationship Depicted in Fiction?”, which is about the importance of representing strong platonic relationships in books/movies/etc, is in this month’s issue of Apex Magazine and available online 6/3!

The Nerd Daily asked me some great questions here!

Paul Semel asked me some more great questions here!

I wrote about in-medias-res worldbuilding, especially in a cross-genre piece, over at CrimeReads!

At Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog I got to talk about my favorite bit of writing Firebreak!

Lastly, on May 27 at 6pm EST I’ll be chatting online about Firebreak with Amal El-Mohtar over at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn (virtually) and I’d love to (virtually) see you there! Register here.

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I’ll do a review roundup soon and add more guest posts and stuff as they become available, but in the meantime just wanted to say thank you all so much.

IT’S MY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

After 3 years of telling myself I wasn’t good enough to write it, a year on sub, publication being pushed back by a year…it’s finally here.

Look at this cover! Look at this blurb!! It’s a book! It’s a book that’s out today!!

Firebreak

This book was a weird combination of the most fun I’ve ever had writing anything PLUS the most personal deep dive I’ve ever attempted in anything. It’s about gaming and friendship and activism and trying to fuck up a corporate-owned police state. It’s got an aro/ace protagonist, a fierce platonic crush, lady gamers getting shit done, and also mechs and swords and stuff because hi.

I really hope you like it!!

New guest post up at Fantasy Book Cafe!

Monday, April 26th, 2021

Today I have a guest post up at Fantasy Book Cafe! It’s about asshole women characters and the weird double standard to which we hold them.

More guest posts, interviews, etc. to come! One week and one day until book birthday!!

“Getaway” on LeVar Burton Reads!!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

My alien artifact time loop heist-gone-wrong short story “Getaway,” originally published in Uncanny, is live today on LeVar Burton Reads!

it’s a book! a real book!

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

3 years of telling myself i wasn’t good enough to write this goddamn thing, a year shopping it around to publishers, bunch of time in edits, release delayed by another year, mystery package on my doorstep out of nowhere and…….it’s a fucking book o.o

you can’t tell from the pic but the qr code “stickers” on the front and spine are a different texture than the rest of the dustjacket, i’ve never seen textural detail quite like this before and it’s suuuuper neat! also i’m in love with the cover blurb.

also, it just picked up a starred booklist review! just over a month now to publication, so here’s the obligatory yet mercifully brief reminder that preorders are the #1 way to help a book survive, possibly especially in the hellscape of 2020-2021. support your local indie bookseller if you can!!

“Getaway” to be featured on LeVar Burton Reads!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Absolutely thrilled to announce that my short story “Getaway,” originally published in Uncanny Magazine last year, will be featured on the LeVar Burton Reads podcast early in the spring!

free review copies, etc!

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Just a real quick note to say that both my summer 2021 books, Firebreak and Jillian vs. Parasite Planet, are now available through both Netgalley and Edelweiss, and Firebreak is in the midst of a Goodreads giveaway as we speak. Full list of links here!

Also, fans of the Archivist Wasp books: over on my Patreon I’m serially writing the third in the series. The first few chapters went up over the past several months, but it turns out my brain cells are insufficient to handle book promo on two extremely different books while writing a third book that’s extremely different from either of those, so I’ve taken a break from Wasp 3 (working title Catchkeep) in order to write an extremely ridiculous and way too long piece of fluff about a couple of dead idiots I know a few of you are fond of. As always, my Patreon page is pay-what-you-want for all access to everything, and thank you so much for your support!

(Fans of those specific dead idiots may also enjoy this story, published in Uncanny last month and free to read because Uncanny is nothing but awesome.)

Also also: if you like the stuff I write and you’d like me to be able to publish more of it, the #1 best thing you can do to help make sure I can do that is preorder Firebreak (or have your friendly local library preorder it for you!), preferably from your favorite indie bookstore because they really really really need our help right now. Not only was it by far the biggest book deal I’ve ever secured, and so by far the biggest challenge to earn out its advance, but it’s extremely close to my heart in a number of ways (some of which some of you will appreciate for Reasons I won’t spoil here) and I’m extremely excited for it to find its readers.

new story “Pathfinding!” live online at Uncanny Magazine!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

New story (technically a novelette) “Pathfinding!” is live today for free over at Uncanny Magazine! This one’s about the power of escapism when everything around you is on fire.

If you’ve read back through the content of my Patreon to the beginning, an early draft of this story was the first thing I ever posted there.

And even if not, if you’re following me on here, you’ll probably find some familiar faces in this one.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Archivist Wasp 3/Patreon/etc

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

As you probably know by now if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve started writing the third and final Archivist Wasp book. The publication history of the first two books was a little weird — I wrote Archivist Wasp as a standalone, with no plans to continue that story, but then two things happened.

First, I got a much larger positive reader reaction from that weird little book than my impostor syndrome and I had ever expected. For whatever reason, people were resonating with this antisocial ghosthunter and this screwup of a ghost and their awkward enemies-to-friends quest into the underworld. I’m very much a write-the-book-you-want-to-read author, so the fact that anyone, let alone so many of you, clicked with this story is still, five years and change after the fact, remarkable to me.

Second, I tried to write other things. I swear. I managed to put together a pretty long short story, but even that was within the same world. I have a whole folder of ideas I came up with for nonrelated ideas while Wasp was going through edits and the long wait between sold book and actual book, but I couldn’t get any of them to stick. Instead, what started happening before Wasp was even released was that the second book started assembling itself in my head. A second book I had zero intention of writing. But a second book that was insistently, persistently, aggressively there, and very badly wanted out.

So I started writing it.

It wasn’t the bizarrely smooth process that drafting Wasp was. I wrote it and tore it apart and rewrote it several times, trying to figure out what the bones of a second book should look like. I hate, with the passion of a thousand burning suns, the second-book thing where you have to spend a whole chapter catching up on what went down in book 1 before you get let in to the story. It always feels awkward and clunky and forced to me for some reason. So I had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to do that in book two–by now with a working title of Latchkey, which stuck–in a way that felt organic and right to the characters and the progression of the story in a way that was, if not seamless, at least something I could live with. So what ended up happening was I chopped out the first three chapters of my draft and started the book in the middle of what had been chapter 4. Meanwhile, the rest of the book got two line-by-line rewrites in which I printed out the draft, sat down with it in front of me, and retyped it line by line, which sometimes is the exact thing you need to figure out where something is broken or not quite smooth or a scene is told out of order or a line just plain sucks and you can (hopefully) do better. During this same time I parted ways with the publisher of the first book and was trying to shop the second book around to a new home, which is extremely hard, but was eventually, against all odds, successful. But at a cost: many readers of the first book are still totally unaware of book 2, released in summer 2018. But it exists! Which is what my brain needed, in order to let go of it and write other books. (And hey! A short story! Totally unrelated to the Wasp stuff!)

(What’s hilarious and kind of sad to me is that periodically I get accusations from readers saying I essentially sold out, that I wrote Latchkey “for the money,” which is a thing I never should have done because “it was so good as a standalone” and I essentially ruined the story by continuing it.

Couple things to unpack here.

One: even if I did write it “for the money,” so what. This idea that writers (and visual artists for that matter) shouldn’t try to get paid for their art in anything but exposure bucks is absurd. I have seen people straightfacedly say that pirating movies is Wrong but pirating books is okay because “it’s no different than borrowing it from the library.” Which is really, emphatically, outrageously incorrect, but an assumption I’ve heard more times than I can count.

Two: the idea that a person wrote the sequel to a book that very few people have heard of “for the money” is objectively hilarious. These books, as all my books, are labors of love, full stop. If I wanted to write something “for the money,” it wouldn’t look even a little bit like Latchkey, or like Wasp for that matter.)

Which brings us to the present. Again I find myself with a folder full of ideas for books I haven’t written yet, and again all my extremely helpful brain wants to do is finish off Wasp’s story. But I know I have pretty much zero chance of traditionally publishing it, and that like always it’s going to be a labor of love, maybe even more this time than usual. Eventually I’ll probably put it on this site for free with a tip jar (unless by some miracle I can find a home for it elsewhere, which would be nice as I am notoriously bad at self-promotion and marketing and as such would be an absolute disaster of a self-publisher) but for now I’m putting it up bit by bit on my Patreon as I blunder through it in realtime. It occurs to me I may not have mentioned on here that I even have a Patreon? (Like I said! NOTORIOUSLY BAD.) Anyway, I do, and it’s got a couple years’ worth of stuff on it by now, including loads of Wasp extras like deleted scenes and Patreon exclusives–for instance, I had a number of requests to write up some of the myths that get mentioned in Wasp in their entirety (the stories about Catchkeep, Ember Girl, Carrion Boy, etc.) so a number of those are on there and will probably never see the light of day elsewhere. Lately it’s been the bits of Wasp 3, working title Catchkeep, and I’ll probably keep putting those up there until there’s a (very messy) draft. After that, who knows! But right now, with two books forthcoming and eating my whole entire brain, this is about the level of productivity I can handle. So Wasp 3 it is. We’re doing this thing.

Anyway, I made my Patreon really simple to subscribe to–it’s pay-what-you-want for all access to everything, no paywalling anybody out of specific content. The account got flagged as 18+ but that’s only because of some draft chapters with curse words in, no actual adult content of any kind. They don’t let people do giveaways on there for some reason, but I’ve been periodically mailing surprise extras to randomly chosen supporters (most recently I gave away 5 advance copies of my new book Firebreak, due out from Simon & Schuster/Gallery/Saga in May 2021, and I’ll be doing that all over again with review copies of my middle-grade debut Jillian vs. Parasite Planet and author copies of both as they become available).

Anyway, this has run on a lot longer and with way more tangents than anticipated, so that’s it for now. As always, thanks zillions to you for your support–it means I get to keep on writing the exact books I want to write, no matter how weird and unmarketable they are. 🙂

ANOTHER cover reveal?

Monday, October 19th, 2020

After not having a new book out since summer 2018, here I am revealing two covers inside a week. Taken in isolation, you’d think I’m way more prolific than I am. This one is Firebreak, due out from Simon & Schuster/Gallery/Saga Press on May 4, 2021. It’s about the radicalization of a VR gamer into anticorporate activism in the year 2134. (To clear up some confusion I’ve been hearing, it is not the third Archivist Wasp book–I’ve just started writing that and posting draft chapters on my Patreon. This is a standalone.)

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Preorder links are going up currently and it looks like for the moment it’s available on Amazon, with more options to come.

I’m very excited about this one. I spent three years telling myself I wasn’t good enough to do it justice and then basically panic-drafted it in six weeks. I really hope you like it. 🙂