November Roundup

Time for another roundup. Here you’ll find the latest in my writing and reading world. If you want a short essay (and something about my chickens), discounts on books, and maybe a music rec, then you’ll just have to subscribe to my newsletter.

Quick reminder that Not Done Yet: Sci-fi Stories of Wisdom and Fury is up for preorder right now. I’d love to see more preorders on this book so that it can have an excellent launch on the 14th.

Writing Corner

My biggest news this month is that I am now a Director-at-large for SFWA. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association is the premier advocate for sci-fi and fantasy writers, and I’ve been a member and volunteer for years. I’m thrilled to be on the board of this organization as it helps usher the genre into the future.

The Man Who Walked in the Dark is off to the editor. He’s promised it back by the end of the year, which means I should probably be setting up a release schedule and some preorders.

I haven’t done that yet.

The cover reveal will be soon, though, and I’ll get preorders open by then. I mean, no use showing off a cover until it’s possible to preorder the book, right? That’ll come sometime in November.

November is NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month holiday. Writers are supposed to crank out an entire novel in a month. This can serve a lot of purposes. It can prove to a writer that it’s possible to write a whole novel. It can help a writer prioritize writing time in a short-term effort to shuffle their life around. For me, though, what it does not do is produce a decent novel. Instead, it produces an absolute mess of words which then require twice as much effort to edit into something worthwhile. YMMV.

That’s why I’m not participating.

I am writing a novel, though. It’s moving at about half the pace of NaNoWriMo, but I’m quite happy with it so far. The tentative title is Grandfather State, and it’s the sixth book in the Old Code Series. Ajay is running into some legal trouble. A lot of legal trouble.

And, of course, Not Done Yet: Sci-fi Stories of Wisdom and Fury comes out this month. My proof of the paperback arrived this week, and I’m stoked about how well it turned out. Still waiting on the hardcover before I order a pile of author copies, but I have high hopes for that one, too. I did some fun stuff with the layout and design. Hoping it all worked out.

Reading Corner

I was doing so well. All year I kept up with my goal to read 100 books by the end of the year. Now, due to a pace-wrecking series of longer books, I’m six books behind. Luckily, there are a ton of excellent-looking novellas out, so I still hold some hope. Plus, it’s cold out now. What else am I going to do?

An image of a planet with the word Kyx over it. Book by Jennifer R. PoveyKyx by Jennifer R. Povey grew into one of my favorite thinky sci-fi books of the year. It’s an indie-published book, and I hope more people check it out, because it’s this wonderful slow-burn sci-fi mystery. There are humans, but they’re not the main characters. The worldbuilding is fabulous, and there are some fascinating things going on with characterization.

Yeah, there’s some weird language stuff that might get in the way of some readers. It took me a good 10% into the book before I could read the invented (I think) pronouns without stumbling a little bit. But once I got there, it was fine. And necessary. Gender is a critical focus of this book, and Povey really shouldn’t have done anything differently.

This is a good one if you’re looking for a story about the friction between cultures as they discover each other. It’s not action-packed, but intriguing on all levels.
The Water Outlaws by S. L. Huang far more action-packed, but full of so many amazing characters that you’ll wish it were much longer. It’s the story of a martial arts trainer as she is unfairly disgraced and sent away from the empire. She joins with a band of (mostly) women bandits and struggles to fit her high ideals in with a pretty unsavory group. Fantastic action. Wonderful fantasy.book cover for The Water Outlaws by S. L. Huang
Book cover for Untethered Sky by Fonda LeeUntethered Sky by Fonda Lee is a quick novella about giant birds. Falconry is cool, right? What if those birds were big enough to carry away cattle and hunt manticores? This one’s definitely worth the look, and Fonda Lee never disappoints.
The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill totally blew my mind. It works on the metaphorical level as much as on the surface, and I’ll probably be thinking about it for quite some time.Book cover of The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

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