Are you going to Gen Con? Want to hear awesome stuff?
YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
So aside from the other stuff I’m doing at Gen Con, I’ll be on Anton Strout’s Once And Future Podcast live show. Join me, Kameron Hurley, Michael J. Sullivan, Margaret Weis, Michael Underwood, Wesley Chu and Aaron Rosenberg on Thursday, July 30th from 5-7 in room 241. We’ll talk… stuff. Writing stuff, probably. I’ll even have a couple books to give away.
Anyway, if you’re at Gen Con and you want to listen to a bunch of miscreants talk shit, this is the place to be. You need tickets, but the tickets are FREE. You can’t beat free.
BUT! I will only be there from 5-6. Because at 6:00 is THE LIVE STORIUM GAME!
Swing by and watch Chuck Wendig, Delilah Dawson, Sam Sykes and I make fools of ourselves while we play a live session of Storium, the online story-telling game. Better still, we are humiliating ourselves for charity. Thursday night, 6:00, in room 245. Tickets are $4.00 a pop and proceeds are going to Worldbuilders, an amazing charity that you should throw some money at. And if you come to the event, you’ll get the chance to.
Remember, the sexiest people come to these events. ARE YOU SEXY? Yeah, I thought so. Hope to see y’all there.
It’s the story of Joe Sunday, a thug for hire who gets caught in the crossfire between mages looking for a mystical stone that can grant immortality. He’s murdered, raised from the dead and turns out to be so the wrong guy to raise from the dead. It’s fun, violent and so, so sweary.
When GraphicAudio does an audiobook it is a PRODUCTION. A full cast. Sound effects. Every gunshot, punch, and broken thumb (seriously the broken thumb scene made me wince when I heard it). The blood gurgles, the rotting zombie flesh crawls off the bones, the tearing out and eating of hearts sounds like… well, the tearing out and eating of hearts.
There’s a lot of tearing out and eating of hearts.
I don’t think I ever truly appreciated how gory this book is until sound effects were added.
The cast is fantastic. They really nailed these characters.
Want a taste? Have a listen.
You can get it as a download in MP3, M4B or FLAC HD. Or if you’re the CD type, they have that, too.
So if that sounds like your jam, maybe pick up a copy.
If you like CITY OF THE LOST, maybe consider pre-ordering my next one, DEAD THINGS, coming out August 5th.
GEN CON! THE GAMING EPICENTER OF THE UNIVERSE! THE PLACE WHERE ALL GOOD THINGS ARE BORN FROM STARDUST. WHERE THE WORLDS COLLIDE AND ARE MADE ANEW. WHERE THE GODS GATHER TO FEAST AND MAKE MERRY.
Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration. A tiny bit. A touch. A skosh, as it were.
For hidden within the jewel of a week’s worth of gaming you can find a hidden center. A place where story runs rampant. Where the creators of worlds fair and foul gather to impart their wisdom upon the worthy. Where both great and small come together and are made equal before the gods.
There will be drinking.
I am, of course, talking about the Gen Con Writer’s Symposium.
The Symposium is a con within a con. A space for those who want to hone their writing with workshops and panels that get into the nuts and bolts of storytelling. The Symposium is all about the craft of writing, the business of it, the marketing of it.
The sheer talent that is going to be present at this thing is mind boggling. Check out this list of authors. People like Chuck Wendig, Gwenda Bond, Elizabeth Bear, Jennifer Brozek, Lauren M. Roy, John Horner Jacobs, Max Gladstone, Delilah Dawson, Sam Sykes, Monica Valentinelli, and so many others.
Panels on queries, outlines, synopses, worldbuilding, editing, dealing with Kickstarter, plotting, rewrites and on and on.
And I, lucky bastard that I am, get to be a part of it.
Looking at the schedule for the week I’d recommend all of it. So many good things going on. I’ll be in the audience myself on more than a few of them. Here’s the full schedule (warning, it’s a .PDF)
But if you’re looking to actually find me, though god knows why you would want to do that, I’ll be up on stage talking alongside some amazing authors.
1:00pm – Room 243
Characters: Common People in Epic Conflicts
Kelly Swails, Sam Sykes, Saladin Ahmed, Robin D. Laws and I talk about… well, common people in epic conflicts. Regular folks who are up against events larger than themselves.
6:00pm – Room 245
Join me, Chuck Wendig, Delilah S. Dawson and Sam Sykes as we play a game of Storium live in front of an audience. Now this one’s got an admission price, $4.00, but the money goes to the charity Worldbuilders. So come on by, watch a bunch of terrified introverts on stage try to build a real-time, collective narrative and raise some cash for an amazing charity. You know you want to.
11:00am – Room 245
Craft: Rewrites and Second Drafts
Elizabeth Vaughn, Thomas M. Reid, Ray Vallese, Max Gladstone and I talk about the fun and horror of rewrites, second drafts, EDITS. They’re not that scary. Honest. (I AM TOTALLY LYING. RUN. SAVE YOURSELVES.)
12:00pm – Room 245
Craft: Description Through Dialogue
Elizabeth Vaughn, Scott Lynch, Tracy Hickman, Wes Chu and I talk dialog and describing things with it. And stuff. I guess.
3:00pm – Room 245
Characters: Unlikable Characters
THIS IS MY JAM. Seriously. I LIKE writing unlikable characters. Assholes galore! They’re fun. Join Steven Diamond, Anton Strout, Christopher Rowe, Gwenda Bond and I as we tackle how to make readers root for characters that nobody really should.
4:00pm – Exhibit Hall
BOOKS! ANY BOOKS! MINE! OTHER PEOPLE’S! I’M NOT PICKY! HELL, I’LL EVEN SIGN BODY PARTS! PREFERABLY UNATTACHED. IT’S JUST EASIER THAT WAY.
7:00pm – Room 244
Worldbuilding: Monsters and Other Horrors
Steven S. Long, Monica Valentinelli, James L. Sutter, Howard Andrew Jones, and I talk about making monsters.
And that’s it! If you can make it I highly recommend it. Hope to see some of you fine folks there.
I’m hearing from various people that their pre-orders for the next Eric Carter book, HUNGRY GHOSTS, are being canceled.
First, thank you for pre-ordering. Second, it is all my fault. Some were wondering if my publisher had dropped me.
No. At least not as far as I am aware.
Allow me to direct your attention here.
TLDR – The book is late because it sucked and I didn’t want to turn in crap. It has not been canceled. It will be coming out some time next year. Probably in the Spring.
Thank you for your patience. I really am very sorry and I hope that your interest in the series is still around when it does come out.
Phoenix Comic-Con is in about two weeks. AND I WILL BE THERE!
“But WHERE?” I hear you ask.
“HERE SHALL I BE!” I cry, my mighty voice booming across the land. “LOOK UPON MY PANELS YE MIGHTY AND DESPAIR!”
Also, HOLY SHIT do I have a lot of panels.
Poisoned Pen Bookstore
4014 North Goldwater Boulevard #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Wednesday, May 27, 7:00PM – 8:00PM
A veritable CORNUCOPIA of authorial talent is descending upon The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale like biblical locusts. There’s me, Beth Cato, Wes Chu, Myke Cole, Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Jason Hough, Richard Kadrey, Michael Martinez, Brian McClellan, Naomi Novik, Andrea Phillips, Cherie Priest, Brian Staveley, Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, & Django Wexler. We’ll be signing books, staring blankly at customers while drooling slightly and rocking back and forth in an anxious panic. BECAUSE WE’RE AUTHORS AND THAT’S HOW WE ROLL.
Thursday, May 28th, 3:00PM – 4:00PM
Come see me on a panel for which I am absolutely, unequivocally, and stupendously NOT qualified to talk about! WATCH as I look upon the audience in confusion. MARVEL at my ability to spew total horseshit about things I have no business discussing! RECOIL IN HORROR as I say something so stunningly inappropriate it drives half the room out within the first five minutes! Join me, Gini Koch, M.L. Brennan and Yvonne Navaro as we talk about werewolf love, vampire romance, and the sexual practices of The Jersey Devil! Or something.
Thursday, May 28th, 4:30PM – 5:30PM
“Good Mysteries, Thrillers, Horror, and Action Adventures hold your attention and each page builds upon the other. How is this done? Is there only one way to build tension in a tale? How does a good book keep you glued to every page?” EASY! Gorilla Glue. That shit sticks to anything. Come see me, Alex Gordon, David Lee Summers, Joseph Nassise, and Mel Odom as we talk about… glue, I guess? I’m really not sure.
Exhibitor hall tables 16132,16136 & 1614
Thursday, May 28th, 6:00PM – 7:00PM
Me! Wes Chu! Mel Odom! Alex Gordon! Ann Leckie! Richard Kadrey! We will sign books! We will be utterly charming! We will probably not steal you wallet!
Thursday, May 28th, 7:30PM – 8:30PM
We talk about keeping magic in literature fresh! Personally, I like to wrap it tightly in Saran wrap and then in tinfoil and put it in the freezer. BUT NOT ALL AGREE WITH ME! So come see me, Beth Cato, Brian McClellan and Greg van Eekhout as we talk about our desperate attempts to not be completely fucking boring.
Friday, May 29th, 1:30PM – 2:30PM
Swing by and watch Kevin Hearne, Richard Kadrey and I wonder aloud about what this whole Urban Fantasy nonsense is. What does it mean? Where’s it going? What’s the next big thing? (SPOILER: Shapeshifting were-mummies who start a private eye practice in the heart of downtown Cleveland and try to have a career and a love life while fighting off an ancient Peruvian curse)
Exhibitor hall tables 16132,16136 & 1614
Friday, May 29th, 3:00PM – 4:00PM
Me! Leanna Renee Heiber! Amy K. Nichols! By this time we should still be reasonably charming, largely odor free and willing to sign most things like books or movie deals.
Exhibitor hall tables 16132,16136 & 1614
Saturday, May 30th 4:30PM – 5:30PM
Me! Again. I’m so sorry. Really at this point you can’t get away from me. I’M COMING TO GET YOU, BARBARA. Also Jamie Wyman, Max Gladstone, Chuck Wendig, Naomi Novik and C.J. Hill. Highly suggest you wear some sort of gas mask or other odor reducing facewear. Don’t expect much more than grunting and perhaps a fart or two.
Sheraton Valley of The Sun
Saturday, May 30th 6:00PM – 9:00PM
Drinks! Authors! Perhaps a celebration of those halcyon days of authorial feuds with a Mailer-esque fistfight or two! But probably not.
Sunday, May 31st 12:00PM – 1:00PM
Yeah, I get it. You REALLY want to tell us about currency exchange rates between the Snow Elves of The North and the Island Nations of Questionable Stereotypes. But at some point nobody gives a fuck about your treatise on 11th century macrame traditions and they just want to read the goddamn story. Join me, Jason Hough, Max Gladstone and Melissa Marr as we disabuse you of the idea that you have to tell your readers every detail of your fantasy world’s hygiene practices.
Sunday, May 31st 1:30PM – 2:30PM
You saw us tear down your precious belief that you have to include ALL that research you did, now come to our signing table and tell us how horrible you think we are for our painfully blunt honesty. Also, maybe to sign some books. Me, Jason Hough, Max Gladstone and Melissa Marr.
And that, as they say, is that. Hope to see some of you out at the con.
So for a while now people have been asking when my urban fantasy novels will be out in audio. Seems folks want to listen to huge numbers of F-bombs and over the top violence on their daily commute into the office.
Well, fret no longer! My novels CITY OF THE LOST, DEAD THINGS and BROKEN SOULS are being put out by Graphic Audio. Unlike your usual boring guy reading a book at you, these are done more like radio plays. Multiple cast members, sound effects, Ovaltine commercials… Okay, maybe not Ovaltine commercials.
First up is CITY OF THE LOST and it comes out July 1st.
So watch this space, folks. I’ll post more as I know more.
My experience of the German language pretty much starts and stops at screaming “Ein, zwei, drei!” at the top of my lungs while naked in the desert, high on mescaline and blindly firing a .45 into the midnight sky. There may even have been talking snakes or perhaps some coyote spirit telling me ancient wisdom, or some such bullshit. The hell should I know? I’m hardly what one would call a reliable narrator.
So it’s a little shocking to me that the first language that my books are being translated into is the language of Wagner, Beethoven and Otto von Bismarck. Yes, the people who gave us schadenfreude and scheiße videos will be the first to read my works translated into their native tongue.
The first is a translation of City of The Lost, titled STADT DER VERGESSENEN. Which means, well, City of the Lost… or Forgotten. I’m a little fuzzy on that. I’ve also seen the title as STADT DER VERLORENEN, which would be a little more literal.
Anyway, here’s what it looks like.
I think I know what that rat monkey thing on the cover is supposed to be. Only I don’t recall him looking quite so… ratty. Anyway, it comes out May 15th, and if you are of a particularly Deutschland bent you can grab yourself a copy.
Next up TOTE DINGE, Dead Things.
That is one pretty looking cover. It’s got birds and… well, pretty much just birds. Comes out January 14th and for you German speaking ladies and gentlemen, or just you completists out there, you can grab a copy here.
I have no idea how good the translations are, but I’m stoked that they exist.
I’m really hoping for Esperanto next.
Convention season is upon us! More or less. Seems like there’s always one going on somewhere.
Anyway, I’ll be at some of them over the next few months. And if you’re the stalkery type, well, here’s your chance! Be forewarned, I carry pepper spray and a baseball bat loaded with rusty nails.
But so long as I don’t owe you money or you need to serve papers on me for some paternity suit from the 1980s I hope to see you at some of these. More…
There are two cardinal rules that I really try to follow in my professional life. “Don’t suck” and “Don’t be late”.
I hate being late. Like become Hulk levels of enraged by being late. Which, living in Los Angeles and trying to drive anywhere, you’d think I’d be used to by now.
I also hate sucking. Oddly, that one’s actually a little easier to deal with. Somebody somewhere is always going to think my books suck no matter what I do, so I try not to stress too much about it.
Last year I managed to break both those rules.
My next Eric Carter book, Hungry Ghosts, was set to come out in June of this year.
That is not happening.
For various reasons that I won’t get into here, many of which we will simply label sub-good and move on, I am late. Like waaaaay late.
I was set to turn in a draft a couple months ago. That didn’t happen. So then it was going to be the end of February. About three weeks ago I realized something. Holy Christ on a cracker, does this book blow monkey chunks. I think it might be the worst draft of a book I have ever written. And that’s saying something.
It was so bad that, as I got close to the end of it, I realized the whole thing needed to be scrapped. Wholly two thirds of the book needed to go away, I had to cut characters, pull a fuckton of exposition, and completely rethink the plot. It was boring, slow and made no fucking sense.
And there is no way in hell I was going to subject you people to it.
I would like the people who enjoy my books to continue enjoying my books. Trying to pass off a steaming pile of moose shit with a pretty cover ain’t gonna cut it. I like y’all too much to do that to you.
Right now there’s no date on when HUNGRY GHOSTS will come out. I’m running on an “As Soon As Fucking Possible” timeline for turning in a draft, but production lines being what they are it’s a good bet that we’re talking about some time next year.
So for those of you who were waiting for the book, please accept my most humble apologies. I very much want to give you a good book, one that you’re going to enjoy reading and feel good about spending your time and money on. As readers we put our trust in an author that they are going to give us an enjoyable and memorable time. I do not want to violate that trust.
The book will come out. I can promise you that. Just not in June and not in this half-baked, steaming pile of crap form. It’s still available for pre-order on Amazon and B&N, though I don’t believe they’ve updated their release dates.
Mea culpas all around. Thank you for reading my books. It’s greatly appreciated.
Hey! *blows dust off blog* Wow, I still have this thing? Huh. Who knew?
Well, I can’t think of a better way to kick off returning from a long hiatus over here than by letting somebody else do all the work… I mean, giving some space to an amazing and awesome writer.
And so today I’ve got Leanna Renee Hieber author of THE ETERNA FILES, her new gaslamp fantasy series, the first of which just came out. She’s here to talk a little about what you can do when things don’t quite go your way.
When your worst nightmare happens, write anyway
It was 2008 and I’d just signed a 2 book contract with a small New York publisher with good mass market distribution, with those fabled “books of my heart” – the novels I’d been slaving away over for nearly a decade. I had “made it!”. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, a Gaslamp Fantasy set in a ghostly, mythic, atmospheric London in 1888, and it’s sequel, sold well, garnered acclaim, hit Barnes & Noble bestseller lists, won some awards, and then by 2011 my books were going out of print and the publisher going bankrupt. It wasn’t just many thousands of dollars I was owed in royalties and ancillary payments that was demoralizing, or the battle for the rights to return, but just the simple daunting reality of the school of hard knocks when it hits not only you in your wallet but your creative babies right in their innocent faces.
There was such a period of turmoil and soul-searching after this freefall, and until the first books in the series are reissued, I will not be fully healed from the trauma of a career held hostage and a series left incomplete. I field regular questions about when the fourth Strangely Beautiful book will be out because Amazon seems unwilling to take down the ISBN listing. Every time I have to explain the situation it’s a knife. But every time I’m also so grateful someone wants to read that 4th novel.
The ordeal taught me what to do and what not to do in the future. Perhaps most importantly; yes, invest in your career but not more than your budget can truly handle, this mistake cost me debt on top of money owed that I would never see, regardless of the fact I felt it was wise to invest further in a series that was selling well out of the gate, my debut novel went into 4 print runs. On the ‘to do’ side, it was and remains incredibly wise to maintain and foster industry connections; to be able to make lateral or hopefully upward moves. Thankfully a Dorchester editor had moved to Sourcebooks and acquired me for their YA line with another Gaslamp Fantasy series.
On the ‘to do’ side, it was and remains incredibly wise to maintain and foster industry connections; to be able to make lateral or hopefully upward moves. Thankfully a Dorchester editor had moved to Sourcebooks and acquired me for their YA line with another Gaslamp Fantasy series.
Another important aspect is not tamping down on the pain, the rage, the frustrations of what happened but to just keep writing through it, toxic though those negative energies are. If ups and downs in the industry can stop you writing entirely, then it means giving over your muse to a non-creative entity that is out of your control and has no opinion or value of your quality of writing, good or bad. And just because a business went under and the value of my work went from successful series to thin air, I couldn’t take that on as my responsibility. Part of me, growing up in a country that doesn’t have state-supported art as a backbone of cultural identity, thought, “well, that’s what I get for trying to follow my dreams, I should have done something more practical.” No. That a business failed doesn’t mean I did, I had to rally myself time and again.
It is true I started writing for the love of writing, with no sense of commerce or career about it. I had to get back to that as a reset button. But, after having become a professional author, I wasn’t going to give up on writing as a career. Writing is my job. It isn’t a hobby. Art isn’t superfluous, a luxury, something to cut when purse strings tighten. It isn’t free, no one is entitled to an artist’s products, it is as legitimate a profession as any that exists, careers and callings that have been around as long as civilization, far longer than most of the types of “real” jobs in the modern workforce. Mindset is everything.
I am very lucky in that a fortuitous meeting at a convention where I was a featured guest author led to my being signed with Tor for my Eterna Files series as well as the revised, author preferred editions of the Strangely Beautiful books, including that never before published 4th book. But it wasn’t just luck. It was because I was present. I stayed in the game. I kept writing. I kept trying. I hurt and I seethed with frustration but I kept that toxicity away from my characters. I refused to become a hateful or jaded person despite the hard knocks.
I appreciate writing and the privilege of a book contract as much as ever, and the importance of staying relevant with new material. I’m thrilled THE ETERNA FILES, extending my Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy settings into an expanded universe where all of my worlds collide and characters cross over, is a culmination of everything I’ve done up until this point. Nothing has been wasted, much has been learned, but I do hope I’ll have better luck this time around. So far, so good. But that good has a lot to do with whether readers continue to support the industry of writing. I hope you will. If not my book, someone else’s book. Hug an author, actor, artist or creative professional today. Thank them for creating. Their art gives the world transcendence; and it often has been through hell and high water just to get to you, to make your day magical.
So, as author Sam Sykes would say, “Buy My Book.” (But I’ll put a please in. “Please buy my book.”) Thank you and may this encourage any struggling artist to keep making art, no matter their setbacks or circumstances.