Half-Baked Opinions on the 2017 Hugo Award Nominees

Hey, guess what? The Hugo nominees are out!

The what, you say? The Hugo Awards are one of the most prestigious awards for science fiction and fantasy authors. They’re voted on yearly by several thousand people–not industry insiders, exactly, but a mix of professionals and fans who have bought memberships to a Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention). That means they can be, and have been, hijacked by small groups acting in bad faith.

There’s lots more background–google “Hugo Awards controversy”–but I won’t dwell on it here.

As an author and fan, what do I think of the nominations? Here’s where I admit that my reading is too far behind for me to have an informed opinion. I usually read one or more of the nominated novels…but not until a year, or several years, later. That won’t stop me from having an uninformed opinion on a couple of the categories, though (and I’d love to hear yours!)…

Of the Best Novel nominees, it’s interesting that 3 out of 6 are later books in series–I wonder how that will affect their chances. I’ve read one of the earlier books in those series (The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu), which blew me away. (I wasn’t the only one: it won the Hugo two years ago.) They’re also a good mix of subgenres: the Liu novel, Death’s End, is hard SF; Anders pits magic and science against each other; Chambers is writing small-band-of-misfits space opera; Lee’s novel is a very different … Continue reading

Perils of an Echo Chamber (Not Actually About the Election)

So in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 12-18 months, I’ll explain that here in the US, we’re coming to the end of a long, painful election process. (Not that the US is the center of the universe, but I do know people are watching. I’ve heard opinions on the candidates from friends around the world, thus the hiding under a rock assumption.)

As far as I’m aware, all my friends hold the same strong opinion as I do on which candidate will make a better president. Everyone in my Twitter feed, everyone whose blog I follow on Tumblr–we’re all agreed.

But obviously someone out there thinks the other nominee is a better option. That’s how one becomes the nominee, after all–people vote. Lots of people voted for the other candidate to be nominated, and a whole lot of someones are planning to vote for that other candidate in the general election, according to the polls that have me checking in several times a day. (Just after typing that, in fact, I ran off to fivethirtyeight.com to check in.)

Only one of those other-candidate voter-someones wanders through my Facebook timeline sometimes. That one person is family. If we were not related through my daughter, we never would have met, let alone become Facebook friends.

echo chamber: any forum for communication in which all members agree with everyone else. See also preach to the choir. ~online slang dictionary

In some ways, social media being an … Continue reading

Adventures in Marketing CITY OF HOPE AND RUIN

It’s been almost a month since City of Hope and Ruin was released, and guys, I’m discovering that the marketing phase of a book can be pretty intense. I’ve been doing some sort of promo (or networking for future promo) just about every day, while trying not to annoy my social media friends and followers too much. That’s a lot of brain cycles. Especially because it’s all new to me. I’ve been learning about book marketing for quite a while now, have done some already for Turtleduck Press, but this is a whole ‘nother level.

Of course, it helps immensely that there are two of us — our marketing power is doubled. Or even more, because Kit and I are in vastly different parts of North America, so we can each hit our respective local bookstores/libraries/conventions. We even managed to co-host a virtual launch party on Facebook. (We had lots of Q&As and some fun discussion, which you can still read at the link.) It felt surprisingly festive, and was a great way to celebrate our release date together despite the best attempts of geography to keep us apart.

I also held a local launch party at my favourite bookstore — one of those “dream come true” moments (except that Kit couldn’t be there). How did it go? Here’s the short version:

In actual words: I did a reading, then a Q&A (and people asked great questions), and finished off with a signing.

I have also had … Continue reading

End of Project Jitters

City of Hope and Ruin is out! Hooray! It’s out and it’s lovely and people have been so great about telling us how excited they are or how much they liked the book and we are very thankful for all you lovely people.

And now I am free! BWHAHAHA.

I mean, of course, there’s still lots to do on CoHaR. Marketing things, reviewers, guest posts and blog tours, the Goodreads giveaway which starts tomorrow, etc. We’ll be at it for months. But the frenetic pace of the past year, and specifically the last five months, is done with.

FREEDOM.

Of course, now that I find myself with freedom, I once again find myself confronted with a slew of options. What to work on now? Do I work on anything? Do I catch up on all the reading I didn’t do while ear-deep in revisions?

At the beginning of the year, I made myself a spreadsheet, and on said spreadsheet I made a list of all the writing projects I wanted to accomplish this year, as well as what I felt was a reasonable amount of time to expect them to be done, and which months would include what projects, etc.

Let me tell you how that’s gone thus far.

I had a bunch of “smaller” projects slated for January-March. Marketing tweaks, short projects, etc. Not one of them has gotten done.

I had that I’d finish the mostly finished draft of a different story March-May. In my infinite … Continue reading

City of Hope and Ruin Coming on May 11!

In case you missed our teaser (and the April Fools precursor), you know we’ve got a book coming out next month! And by we, I mean specifically me and Siri, beside Turtleduck Press as a whole.

Ah, yes, the Sekrit Project isn’t so secret anymore.

So here’s the formal announcement. City of Hope and Ruin, the first book in what will be a TDP-wide shared world project, will be out on May 11.

Now, some of you will no doubt take note that we typically put books out on the first of our release months, and might wonder why we’ve chosen the 11th instead.

It’s simple, really. And it comes completely down to logistics.

You see, for this book we decided we wanted to try out preorders. From our preliminary research, it seemed like all you needed was to set the book up with the distributors. Easy peasy!

However, when we actually got on it, we discovered that you need to have the completed book ready for actual distribution considerably before the release date. Ten days early, in fact. Funny that.

So, because this is a new thing we’re trying, and because we would have given some of our contractors different deadlines had we known certain things, we’ve slid the deadline a bit. Just to make sure we have enough time to get everything done and perfect, and to make sure you guys get the best reading experience.

So, go! Read the excerpt! And when you’re done with … Continue reading