To be released on April 15.
Edited by Jennifer Brozek.
Such a beautiful cover by Peter Tikos!
“Away Game” by Seanan McGuire
“The Icarus Club” by Weston Ochse
“Stormy Monday” by Chesya Burke
“Pickman’s Daughter” by J. C. Koch
“Us and Ours” by Premee Mohamed
“The Art of Dreaming” by Josh Vogt
“Visions of a Dream Witch” by Lucy A. Snyder
“The Tall Ones” by Stephen Ross
“Just Imagine” by Tim Waggoner
“Holding Back” by Lisa Morton
“The Mouth of the Merrimack” by Douglas Wynne
“The Geometry of Dreams” by Wendy N. Wagner
“Being Emily-Claire” by Jonathan Maberry
I had so much fun editing this anthology. Ya’ll are going to love it.
Let me sum up Gen Con: Busy, exhausting, awesome.
As usual, way too many things happened for me to talk about them all. I’m going to hit some highlights.
Melissa Allen Trilogy
I discovered that Melissa Allen #1: Never Let Me Sleep is on TV Tropes! There’s an author bucket list checkmark!
Arkham Horror: To Fight the Black Wind
I have never had so many fans come up and be so complimentary about any of my tie-in fiction before. People told me that, because of my novella, Carolyn Fern was now their favorite Arkham Horror character. That To Fight the Black Wind was “the holy grail” of the Arkham Horror novellas to find. That there is even a subreddit discussing To Fight the Black Wind that was complimentary. (Another author buckle list checkmark). I was even asked to sign the Carolyn Fern Arkham Horror card game card (checkmark!). I really am thrilled at how much people enjoyed my novella.
Cat Labs (So Many Projects)
BattleTech – The Nellus Academy Incident sold out at both the Cat Labs booth and mine. Several people came to find me with the book they’d bought elsewhere to get it signed. A huge number of BattleTech fans came to as about the new YA Rogue Academy BattleTech trilogy and say nice things about Nellus Academy.
Shadowrun – I got to see all the Cat Lab people and thank Jason Hardy for all he does to protect his authors. I got compliments on Doc Wagon 19 and asked if I was writing more Shadowrun…. To which I could say Yes! I’m writing the first YA Shadowrun novella, A Kiss to Die For. I don’t know when it’ll be out. I also got to meet the people behind the MyViolentLife Shadowrun podcast. I’ll be working with them later in the year on Shadow Bytes, short Shadowrun podcast fiction.
Of course, there was all kinds of cool stuff with one of my favoritest editors, John. We all got to sign the Masters of Orion anthology that he edited and I wrote for. I had meetings with him on a couple of “sekrit” projects that promise to be very exciting, some time in the future.
Breakfast with Misty was a joy and a relief. Especially after her scary adventure. Check out her FB page for more, entertaining details.
We made it home in good time with only a handful of books to spare. Someday, I will completely sell out of all my books. This was close, but not quite there, yet.
Yes, I’m going to WorldCon. Schedule soon.
Life has been busy, busy, busy, but good.
I've finished Rogue Academy: Iron Dawn, polish-edited it, and turned it in. I feel accomplished and actually pretty good about the manuscript. Of course, now I’m in that “I finished a novel, now what?” flail. It’s not that I don’t have stuff to work on. I do. It’s the fact that it feels like I’m doing “procrastination work” – which is what writing flash fiction, editing, and outlining is while I’m novel drafting. I’ll shake my brain out soon enough.
What am I working on now?
- Shadow Bytes – five pieces of Shadowrun flash fiction for a podcast.
- Editing the stories for A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods Lovecraft anthology.
- Prepping to write a Shadowrun novella, A Kiss to Die For.
What does my brain want to work on? After a call with my agent, a far future oceanic novella that I've been noodling over for about a year now. It might become a good Wit'n'Word writing group project.
August – I have two major conventions coming up in August: Gen Con and WorldCon. I am a dealer at both and a panelist at WorldCon. I’ll find out this week if I have any panel things to do for Cat Labs at Gen Con. I’ve got my house/cat sitters in place. I’ve started my plans for packing. Gen Con will be more complex than WorldCon, but all of it is doable.
September – I’m participating in the North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference. I’ll be reading Friday night, 21 Sep, and teaching two workshops on Saturday, 22 Sep.
Back patio – Our house is 30+ years old. We’re the second owners. We’re slowly making it look less like a 30+ year old house. The latest project is replacing the back red-brick patio with pretty grey paver stones. The Husband did most of the work. It’s involved and still ongoing. There’ll be a blog post about it soon. It’s not done because it includes replacing the deck stairs on the patio side of things.
Eating from the pantry – Twice a year, the Husband and I do what we call “eating from the pantry.” We don’t eat out. We don’t grocery shop except for fresh veggies and milk. We eat from what we have in the pantry and the deep freeze for the full month as a way of cleaning out the older / soon-to-expire dry goods. It’s also a way to save money. Of course, this means we end up with some strange meals by the end of the month. Bubble-and-Squeak for the win!
All four of them are fat and happy. I’m sure you can see that from my Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to join us there.
I'm working on revisions for the Sekrit Project Alex extras and the final tie-in story for 2016. They both have fiddly bits to get correct. So, here's a Bubble & Squeek for you.
All I want for my Birthday (and Christmas for that matter). Please consider buying one of my books for yourself or as a gift for someone else. It helps keep my cats in kibble and me working on the fiction you know and love.
Article: On the Qwillery – The Perfect Line in the Sand on why zombies are the perfect kind of monster and why we used them so much.
ebook Release: The kindle version of THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMY is live! Here is the Barnes and Noble link.
Interview: On Wag the Fox focused around THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMY and YA fiction.
Interview: On Ginger Nuts of Horror. This was one long, meaty interview filled with intriguing questions I’ve never had to answer before.
Release: TEMPEST, All-New Tales of Valdemar. I've got my second story of Hadara and Kitha in here. This is the fourth Valdemar anthology I've written for. I'm still pinching myself at how lucky I am I get to play in Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar world.
Review: Ginger Nuts of Horror reviewed THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMY – It doesn’t look like the reviewer liked it very much. But they are correct in saying the book was written for a different age group. (I much prefer these kinds of reviews. :) )
And a picture of Mena being oh-so-dignified. I love this picture of her.
Believe it or not, I've kinda laid low this past week... so more Bubble & Squeek. A lot of reading for Speculate! getting caught up on that. Blog posts. Mostly convention prep for Worldcon and Tracon. Still, it's been exciting. I officially signed the contract for Sekrit Project Alex (complete with NDA, thus the name), and had agent Cherry Weiner accept one of my novels for representation. Right now, I'm trying not to freak out over all the forthcoming travel. We've got everything in place, including house/cat sitter, neighbors warned, etc... And then, after Worldcon, I'm going to see two countries I've never seen before. It's going to be awesome.
Anthology: Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales. A project I had going on in the background. Kinda of excited about this one. I like WordFire Press.
Article: Here is my Shadowrun tarot card, The Shadows, for the Shadowrun anthology Drawing Destiny, and how I used it.
Article: Why Writers Make Incredible Friends. A fun article I just had to share.
Article: I was the author spotlight on MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape. It was unexpected and cool.
SFWA: In the second SFWA Chat Hour I participated it, I talk about how to hand sell your books to convention attendees. That all said, there is more to this. There are some attendees who do not want to talk to you. Watch their body language. If they won't make eye contact, leave them be or ask them if they'd like to hear about their books.
WorldCon: I will be at Worldcon/MidAmeriCon II. Come say hello. There is a no-shyness zone around me. I'm happy to chat with you. Here's my schedule:
- Thursday all day, SFWA Board of Directors meeting
- Friday 12:00 - 1:00, Rising Stars in SF, Fantasy & Horror
- Friday 3:00-4:00, Kaffeklatch with Jennifer Brozek
- Friday 5:00 - 6:00, Dwarf Planets and Beyond the Kuiper Belt
- Saturday 10:00 - 11:00, Finding the Right Podcast for You
- Saturday 11:00 - 1:00pm, SFWA Business Meeting
- Saturday 2:00 - 3:00, Autograph Session
- Sunday 11:00 - 12:00, Is Mining the Asteroids Feasible?
The largest news is that I am now represented by Cherry Weiner. It's been an exciting couple of weeks.
I've finished MAKEDA RED. I've edited 3 novels and I'm on a novella. I'm starting to prep for WorldCon and Tracon—both of my schedules require research. Life is slowing down. It is. But this is the calm before the storm.
Article: On the Semiotic Standard: The Collective: Bringing Books to Film. I didn't cheat and say Melissa Allen. I talked about my true love... THE DARK TOWER.
Awesome: The daughter of a friend has just cosplayed one of my characters: Melissa Allen. Achievement unlocked!
Review: Nice review for the World of Shadows anthology from Forgotten Tomes.
In the SFWA section...
SFWA Chat Hour about game writers... wherein we talk about the background behind the decision to admit gamer writers.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America to Admit Game Writers. The actual guidelines.
Follow-up SFWA Admits Gamewriters, All Heck Breaks Loose, Film at 11.
No, the guidelines aren't perfect. Yes, we are looking at specific cases. Yes, it will take time. We will not be making a knee-jerk reaction to everything.
I am home from Origins Game Fair. It was a good time, if exhausting. I had multiple business meetings that were awesome for things in the future. I got to see people I don’t usually get to. I love that. However, the thing that stood out to me were the fan reactions to meeting me. More than any other convention, Origins is where people seek me out to tell me what my writing means to them.
The first was a young man and his girlfriend. The guy couldn’t talk. He stood in front of my table saying, “I… I… I…” His girlfriend poked him and grinned. I said hello and asked how he was doing. He said, “Excuse me. I’m kinda fanboying over here. Wow.” I assumed he’d gone to talk to Tim Zahn or Mike Stackpole. I told him that there were lots of awesome people to fanboy over and asked who he was excited for. He grins and bursts out, “I love your writing. I love DocWagon 19. You write some of the most amazing Shadowrun I’ve ever read.” I was pleased and surprised. We talked more and he was so enthusiastic about what I’ve done and looked forward to everything else I had coming out. He even talked about The Nellus Academy Incident, and asked when it would be out in physical form. It was a wonderful feeling.
The second one was a young woman who walked up to my table, clutching the World of Shadows Shadowrun anthology. She looked at me and said, “Best day ever.” We talked as I signed her book. Then she told me, quite seriously, that my Shadowrun stories saved her life. That she had a medical condition that caused memory loss and her brain to shut down. She needed to do something to keep her brain stimulated. She dove into Shadowrun reading and it was what saved her. The fact that she could remember my stories, that I wrote them, and details about them meant the world to me. It wasn’t just my stories, it was all of the Shadowrun stories, but she wanted me to know that my writing saved her life and she couldn’t wait for my next stuff. I almost cried. We talked more. She showed me her Shadowrun tattoo. I made sure she met some of the other Shadowrun writers.
These two moments were highlights among several—including someone telling me they got their dream job of writing for an RPG company because of Industry Talk and my advice—that illustrate why I write. It’s more than the fact that I have stories to tell. It’s the fact that these stories mean something to those who read them. They touch people in ways I can’t imagine. That is worth everything in the world.
Sometimes, story trends just hit me. This year, it is all about robots.
First, I have story in ROBOTS! for the Origins Game Fair anthology called “ARMIN LAAS.” It is about a self aware AI that inhabits different roles in society. For this story, the AI’s chassis is a LEO – Lift Engineer Operator. He is a host robot on a space elevator who longs for more.
Second, I have a story in MECH: Age of Steel called “Vulture Patrol.” The main character pilots a salvager mech, the Grey Gull, that salvages the important bits after a space battle. It is a huge spherical mech with many arms and bays to hold salvage. The Grey Gull is personalize to the protagonist in a way that seems alive.
Third, I have a story in Defending the Future: Man and Machine called “Inky, Blinky, and Me.” This one is about a pair of self aware AIs who inhabit small modular spy chassis. They are doggedly loyal to the main protagonist and each other. They save the day in an unexpected way.
I’ve written stories for other anthologies this year, but they’ve all been tie-in fiction. Robots, mechs, and AIs are big this year. I like the fact that each story I’ve written is so different from each other.
It is all Shadowrun all the time right now. I'm deep into MAKEDA RED and that's pretty much all I'm doing right now. So, here's some links for you and a chance for you to win a set of Melissa Allen audiobooks.
REVIEW: Here's a great review of NEVER LET ME. I really appreciate reviews like this.
REVIEW: Here's a really good review of APOCALYPSE GIRL DREAMING. I love the fact that some of the stories stick with her.
REVIEW: Here's a great review of DECISION POINTS. The reviewer says that my story, "The Prince of Artemis V," hit a home run.
SALE: Apocalypse Ink Productions is having a sale of my Karen Wilson Chronicles books! If you were waiting to get any of the individual trade paperbacks, Now is the time to get them. After May 1st, they are gone for good. Karen Wilson Chronicles Trade Paperback Last Chance Sale. 4 Trade for $30.
AUDIOBOOKS: All three Melissa Allen audiobooks are available. You can listen to NEVER LET ME SLEEP, NEVER LET ME LEAVE, and NEVER LET ME DIE, read by the marvelous Elizabeth Evans. Also, email me at gaaneden at gmail dot com for a chance to win all three audiobooks!
When it comes to year in review posts, there’s two ways for me to look at it: What did I do? Did I enjoy myself? The short version answer to these two questions is: A lot. Yes.
Being a full-time freelancer, I need personal metrics that keep me going. To let me know I didn’t just spin my wheels. To know that I have done good. I can’t rely on money to tell me whether or not I’ve been productive. The publishing industry is so weird about money and timing. It’s feast or famine… mostly famine. Even if you’re working all the time.
So, to answer the second question first. Did I enjoy myself? On the whole, yes. I’m happier that I’ve ever been. Yes, there were hard times. Yes, I really do understand “leveling up to a better (harder) class of problem” thing. And yes, not everything was a success. But, by and large, I had the best time.
As for the first question of: What did I do? I keep a daily summary log. I need to. I must schedule myself and I must know what I’ve done and when I did it. Thus, I can quantify my freelance year like so:
- Writing: I wrote 110,000 words of new fiction. This does not count any blog posts or articles written.
- Editing: I edited 10 novels, 4 novellas, 1 anthology, and 90 EGM.Shorts flash fiction pieces.
- Submissions: I had 5 of 9 short stories accepted. Not bad. Just didn’t have a lot of time to submit short fiction around.
- Published: 4 novels, 1 novella, 1 fiction collection, 1 anthology, and 5 short stories. That is a lot. A whole lot.
- Email: Answered email 320 days out of the year. This is much worse than last year. I answered email 268 days in 2014. I had hoped to do less email. I failed.
- New Positions: Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and voted in as a SFWA Director-at-Large. I am still the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.
- Awards: I had 4 nominations (Scribe x2, an ENnie, and a Hugo). 1 win (Scribe for best YA tie-in novel for The Nellus Academy Incident).
- Reading: I read 41 novels (mostly for pleasure). Not bad, given my schedule.
- Vacation: Took 23 days off to do nothing. This is better than I did last year. This averages 2 days off a month. Though, most of these came in the last third of the year.
Honestly, reading this list makes me both proud and tired. I already know I will be doing a lot less of some and a lot more of another in 2016 but that’s for another post in a week, next year.