Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fiction River: Tavern Tales is out now! My short story, Schrodinger's Bar, is in this volume. I'm very proud of this story. It was a lot of fun to work with Kerrie again! Schrodinger's is a dive bar on a space station where not all is as it seems. It's got a really neat twist at the end, and no, it's not a twist of lime.

You can buy it in print and ebook here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Award Eligibility Post

It's that wonderful time of the year when authors feel like egotistical jerks for reminding readers of all the award eligible things they did last year. You can almost smell the anxiety. But it has to be done because memories are short and regrets are forever.

So...on to business!

This is my last year of eligibility for the Campbell Award. My short story, The Fukuda Cube, which appeared in the Eclipse Phase anthology is eligible for the best short story Hugo award.

This concludes the portion about me. Here's a list of everything I read and loved last year (that was also published last year):

The Fireman, by Joe Hill
        This book is really brilliant! It's really not horror either. If I had to re-classify it I'd call it dark contemporary fantasy. And you know what? I'm going to come right out and say it. I think this book establishes him as a better writer than his father.

Bands of Mourning, by Brandon Sanderson
        Another brilliant book. The previous book in this series left me heartbroken for the characters and this book was the perfect followup. Plus there's major Cosemere crossover stuff if you pay close attention to those kind of things.

Arcanum Unbounded, by Brandon Sanderson
         Yes, there's two of his on the list but I would be amiss not to put this fantastic collection of his shortish fiction on the list. It's gorgeous and there's so many excellent stories!

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, by John Ringo and Larry Correia
         I normally don't like reflective first person viewpoints but this one is so good! Granted it helps that I love the Monster Hunter books anyway, but even if I didn't I still would have loved this book. It's that well done...until you get to the giant spiders at the end. I did skip that part. Oh, come on. Wouldn't you? They're giant spiders! Eek!

Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal
         This historical fantasy has all of the charm beautiful language we've come to expect from Mary in addition to being a really compelling thriller. It made me laugh and it made me cry.

Extreme Makeover, by Dan Wells
         When Dan said that this is the best book he's ever written, he wasn't kidding! It's brilliant! The concept is original and terrifying and there's just enough humor to keep me from having nightmares.

Graphic Novel:
Monstress vol. 1, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
        The art is gorgeous, the story is fascinating and original, and the Asian influence makes me feel right at home. I can't wait for the second collection to come out!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

One Less Rogue in Rogue One Please

Beware! This post is chock full of spoilers and contains some unpopular opinions. If you haven't seen it yet or don't want your love diminished, stop reading now.

This is your last chance to change your mind.

Alright, first off I want to say that I did like the film. I didn't love it. I wanted to love it. When I saw Wil Wheaton's tweet that the last time he loved a Star Wars movie that much, it was 1977 I was really excited. While there were parts and characters I loved, it wasn't enough to compensate for the film's many flaws.

First off, the parts I loved.

Like everyone, I loved Chirrut and K-2SO. Few things would make me happier than an origin film for Chirrut and Baze, and a ringtone of K-2 saying "you have a phone call. The captain said I had to tell you." Chirrut, while still being the stereotypical sage-like blind monk that kicks ass, has a lot of heart thanks to Donnie Yen's brilliant performance. It's hard (both mentally as well as requiring a lot of skill) to take a role that's clearly a stereotype and turn it into something genuine. Some day I hope I get to talk to him one on one when there aren't any cameras or PR people around so I can ask him about his process for that character.

K-2SO has some of the best one-liners in the film. To be honest it was hard at times to believe that this was a robot. How can a robot understand humor? But then he'd say something funny or snarky and I'd be amused enough to forget that question until the next lull in the plot. This should have bothered me more than it did. But I have to admit that the jokes were really well timed and it does take skill to place them just so...even if the placement is to distract from the proverbial man behind the curtain. I wasn't really surprised when K-2 died. I mean, of course he did. All of Alan Tudyk's best characters die at the end of the film. It's his curse.

Jyn Erso is a character I wish we'd spent more time with. While it was fascinating seeing her as a child and then jumping to her as an adult, I wanted to know more about her journey. How did she deal with the trauma of witnessing her mother's murder? How many times did she have to run from agents of the Empire who were hunting her? How did she become the crafty bad ass that we see for most of the film? Why was she okay with not having any agency in the events that transpired? Most importantly, was she really that bad of a character that she needed to be redeemed? More on that in a bit.

The little geeky inside jokes were awesome. "Pig Nose" and "Scott" from the cantina? I loved seeing them together, as usual, and grumpy, as usual. The storm troopers talking about the T-15 being marked obsolete? That made me laugh. Seeing Vader's bachelor pad/temple on Mustafar? It was like watching an episode of Lifestyles of the Sith and Famous.

The last part I loved was the last five minutes when everyone is doing a relay race with the transmitted plans. That was the only part of the film where I was on the edge of my seat, squeezing my mother's arm, squealing because what it WAS SO COOL!!!!! That was some quality plotting. It  lived up to my expectations of the film. 👏👏👏

Now the parts that I had serious problems with:

(Cue Imperial March)

The opening. Where's the fanfare and the scrolling prologue?! Seriously, Disney should have done their research. Starting a Star Wars movie with anything other than fanfare and scrolling prologue is the kiss of death. Why? Three reasons: The Ewok movies and Life Day. I don't care if this was a between-the-episodes film. I want to feel the goosebumps on my arms when the brass section plays that first note. That moment alone is worth the ticket price! Don't steal that moment from me!

The writers need to apologize to Forrest Whitaker for the awful job they did on Saw Gerrera. We were shown so many conflicting accounts of his character that it was impossible to know what kind of person he was. Was he the monster the torture of the defector led us to believe? Was he the extremist that Mon Mothma labeled him as? Was he the kind surrogate father that Rey claimed him to be? There are too many conflicting accounts that I have no idea which to believe. So when he accepts his fate during the destruction of Jedda City I have no idea if it's true to his character or a redeeming moment. Instead it just felt like a wasted moment for a wasted character. On that note...

I feel that the subtitle to this movie shouldn't have been "A Star Wars Story" it should have been "Redeem all the peoples!!!" Who thought it was a good idea to try to redeem the entire cast in a single film? It's ludicrous! I found it hard to believe that a bunch of misfits would all suddenly decide to do the right thing. Especially Jyn. She had no reason to take matters into her own hands. The rebellion treated her as badly as the Empire had. Why not enact vengeance on the organizations that were each responsible for the death of her parents? Why save the rebellion from themselves? Then there's Cassian. Why couldn't he continue being the rebellion's morally ambiguous agent of chaos? None of it made sense and they didn't bother to take the time to explain it. They just plowed on with the action hoping that we'd be so distracted we wouldn't notice. Well I noticed.

While I do want a Baze and Chirrut origin film, it's not for the reason you think. Well, okay. Yes, I want to see more Chirrut. Babe however I want to see more of in order to get to know what kind of character he was. On screen he wasn't anything more than a jar head with a big gun. Yes, it was a really cool gun but it may as well have been held by an ambulatory cactus. We know absolutely nothing about him except that Chirrut is his buddy and because of that I want to know more. I'm really sad that they didn't give him more of an identity. If they had his death would have had the impact they were going for. Instead it was just meh.

The Death Star design flaw is something that has bothered me for thirty years. How is it that no one noticed this glaring error? Why did no one just put a steel plate over the exterior port? With that many people involved in the project and with Krennic breathing down their necks, how were any of them, Galen most of all, able to hide that? It made no sense then and it makes less sense now. overall feeling? It was an okay movie. I liked it but mostly because of the good jokes, the digitally inserted found footage from episode 4, and the stellar ending. Was it up to par with the good Star Wars films? No. Was it better than the prequels? Yes, but that's not saying much. The visuals were great and the ending AMAZING but the rest was an entertaining hot mess.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Hello all!

A few things that were in the works have settled enough that I can announce them. I have two more short stories coming in issues of Fiction River! I don't know the exact release dates yet but one will be released in the winter of 2017 and one in the spring. They're doing a really cool subscription drive right now. Check it out here. There's two weeks left. They've already unlocked the second stretch goal! Trust me, you want to be a subscriber. The coming issues have amazing stories in them!

Another piece of good news is that the table of contents for the Monster Hunter Anthology, edited by Larry Correia and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, was announced:

Larry Correia, Jim Butcher, Mike Kupari, Jessica Day George, John C. Wright, Maurice Broaddus, Brad Torgersen, Faith Hunter, Jody Lynn Nye, Quincy J Allen, Alex Shvartsman, Kim May, Steve Diamond, John Ringo, Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Julie Frost, Sarah A. Hoyt, and Jonathan Maberry.

Yep. That's me in there! I'm really excited about this one! I don't know the release date for this one either but fall of 2017 is what they're estimating right now.

There will probably be more releases from me next year in addition to these. There are two other things that are still in the works that I'm not ready to announce yet. When I know more about all of these I'll announce it here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A World Turned Upside Down

At the suggestion of a friend, I've adopted a diet that is sans tomatoes and alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, etc). It's helped reduce my pain and inflammation which is great! Two months ago I was taking 8-11 pills a day to manage my pain. Now I can get by on 6. The drawback is that I have to spend a lot of my day preparing meals since everything has to be made from scratch. If I want a turkey sandwich I have to cook the turkey myself because everything at the deli is seasoned with onion and garlic.

All of this does cut down my writing time but I'm hoping it's only temporary. Right now I'm finishing a sic-fi short story that I had to set aside last year in order to write the Eclipse Phase story. After I finish it I'm going to switch to dictation. I've already purchased a headset and Dragon Naturally Speaking. My hope is that once I've trained my dragon and re-trained my brain to write this way my productivity will return to what it was before the arthritis manifested. I'll keep everyone updated on how the integration goes.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sparks is out and Eclipse Phase to be in print soon!

Back in January I mentioned that I have a story in the Eclipse Phase: After the Fall anthology, edited by Jaym Gates. Well that e-book is finally being put into print and it's available for pre-order. You can order your copy here. My bookstore will have it as well. I'll make an announcement when they have it in stock.

I'm pretty proud of this story. I feel I really grew as an author with this one. It's the first time I've written tie-in fiction. It was also my first time writing from a gender neutral point of view. The research and process taught me a lot.

The other piece of exciting news is that Fiction River: Sparks, edited by Rebecca Moesta, is finally out! My story, Moonshine, is in this volume and it's near and dear to my heart because I wrote it in honor of my favorite Grandmother. She ran moonshine during the depression in order to feed her family. The newly orphaned teens in this story have to do the same in order to keep the family together.

You can get the e-book on Kobo:

Amazon has it in ebook:…/…/ref=sr_1_3…

and in print:…/…/1561467553/ref=sr_1_2…

And of course my store will have it as well. The shipment is still in transit but we expect it to arrive soon.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Up and Coming anthology

I'm at a writing workshop right now so I'm going to keep this short. Bad Menagerie released an anthology of works by the 2016 Campbell award eligible authors -- including me! I have two stories in it. The Void Around the Sword's Edge is a fast paced sci-fi story about a woman who is the only person who can stop a band of genocidal monks from killing every human on the space station. Blood Moon Carnival is the moving story of a phoenix who is imprisoned by an evil alchemist and forced to perform in a carnival menagerie. Both of these stories are also eligible for the best short story Hugo award.

It's available for download here and it's free through the end of March.

Happy reading!