Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Indifferent Children of the Earth Free

Dear all,

I'm currently giving away The Indifferent Children of the Earth at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0069YVWA8

If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Serialized version of Blue Island Gods

For those of you who'd like a chance to sample my writing, or who want to read Blue Island Gods for free, I've started a Wordpress blog to serialize it. You can find it here: blueislandgods.wordpress.com.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blue Island Gods Live

Yesterday, Blue Island Gods went live on Amazon.com in both print and hard copy. You can find it here.


I'm really excited about this book. It's a change for me in terms of setting (modern-day Chicago), characters (primarily Mexican-American), and plot (a set of nested stories). I'm happy with how it turned out and I'm excited for others to have a chance to read it.

As I've mentioned before, if you signed up for the mailing list, you should have received a free copy of the book. There were also several hard copies and ebook copies that were given away in various contests.

If you haven't signed up for the mailing list, you may wish to consider doing so. At this time, I'm pledging a free ebook copy of every new book to everyone on the mailing list, and I promise not to flood you with spam.

I currently have one 'proof' copy of Blue Island Gods that I'm giving away. The inside of the book is the same, but the back cover is slightly different. If you're interested, send me an email or use the contact box on the right. (Apologies, I'll only be able to mail it within the continental U.S.)

I'm also planning on serializing this book. It's going to take me a little bit to get everything set up, but once I have it all in place, I'll announce it here.

In terms of future books: The Weeping Lore, along with three companion books, is a series set in the 1920s in St. Louis. Currently, I'm planning on doing a small experiment and releasing all four books at the same time (in early 2015). My plans may changed, depending on how the series develops. I'll keep you posted here.

I believe that's all for now. I hope you enjoy Blue Island Gods, and look for a post here in the next week or so about the serialized version.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blue Island Gods Pre-order

Well, the pre-order is live for Blue Island Gods. You can find it here. The book will be released on 1 October, just a few weeks away!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blue Island Gods Giveaway!

After another long absence (during which I was being very productive!), I'm happy to be back with a few announcements.

First, here's the cover for my book Blue Island Gods, which will be available for sale on October 1.






Second, I'm currently running a giveaway for Blue Island Gods in two spots: first, at Goodreads (which you can enter using the widget on the right); and second, at Librarything. The Librarything giveaway is for an ebook copy. The Goodreads giveaway is for a hard copy. Both contests end 9/15.

Third, if you enter the contest and don't win, don't be too disappointed. You can still subscribe to my mailing list and I'll send you a free copy of Blue Island Gods (in ebook form) when it's released.

Fourth, the first two books in my next series have been drafted. I'm working on getting them revised and ready for publication. Expect to see them in late October or November. They form the first half of a quartet of books (I'm still working on a title for the series) set in 1920s St. Louis.

Fifth, I'm going to be serializing Blue Island Gods and The Weeping Lore (the first book of the next series). I won't start until the books are released for publication, but if you're not ready to buy AND you don't want to sign up for the mailing list, that will be an easy way to read the books in installments.

I'm really excited to share these books with you. There will be more posts over the next couple weeks as everything comes together for Blue Island Gods, but for now, I'll end here!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mourning Spring Sale

For the next week, The Mourning Spring, book three of Flesh and Fell, will be available for sale at Amazon.com.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Weeping Lore rough draft finished

Good news! This morning, I finished the rough draft of The Weeping Lore, which is the first book in a new series. It's set in St. Louis in the mid-1920's and it's a bit of a Lovecraft-style world (although it's definitely not Lovecraft). I had a ton of fun writing it.

I'm planning on two more books in the series. I'm still outlining the second book and I will begin writing that one soon.

Meanwhile, I'm in revisions on Blue Island Gods. I'm hoping to begin serializing that book on this website and have it up for sale by the end of the summer.

I've got a couple more announcements that I'll try to put up over the next few days (nothing big).

Friday, May 9, 2014

Harvest God on Sale

Another FYI--The Harvest God, book two of Flesh and Fell, is on sale at Amazon.com for the next week.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dew of Flesh for Free

Just an FYI--The Dew of Flesh is currently free at Amazon.com for the next five days!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Broken Mathematics Free at Amazon

Starting today (4/24) through 4/28, In Broken Mathematics will be free at Amazon. Go pick it up!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Grieved Free at Amazon

Starting today (4/17) through 4/21, The Grieved is free at Amazon. Go pick it up!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Indifferent Children of the Earth Free

Starting today (4/10) through 4/14, The Indifferent Children of the Earth will be free at Amazon. Go pick it up!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"The Hawthorn Gate" and The Sacraments of Summer for sale

This is a big day for me. Today, the final novella and final novel in The Sophistries of June are available for sale. A few details, and then I'll talk about what this means for me.


Details

The novella, "The Hawthorn Gate" is available at both Smashwords and Amazon. Currently, "The Hawthorn Gate" is free at Smashwords, so if you'd like to pick it up, do it now (it will be free for another week or so).

The novel, The Sacraments of Summer, is available at both Smashwords and Amazon.

As always, it takes a few extra days for these books to show up in B&N, Kobo, etc., but they should be there soon.

Promotion

In addition to giving away "The Hawthorn Gate" for free, I'm also giving away the first three books in The Sophistries of June. The first book, The Indifferent Children of the Earth, will be available free at Amazon starting tomorrow (edit, my apologies, starting 4/10). The next two books will be made free over the following two weeks, so keep your eyes open.

The Personal Stuff

Finishing this series is a big deal for me in a number of ways. I never expected to love The Sophistries of June as much as I did. In fact, I loved it so much that it was originally supposed to be only three books, but as I was writing the third I realized that a fourth book was needed to finish telling the stories I wanted to tell.

It also marks the end of the original three series that I started writing: The Rim and the Shore; Flesh and Fell; and The Sophistries of June. This moment has been several years in the making. I'm happy about how these books have turned out. I've learned a lot while writing them. I've also had a lot of fun. I hope you've enjoyed reading them.

The Future

Don't worry, I'm still hard at work. I'm revising a book called Blue Island Gods. I hope to have it ready in a few months. I will be trying something new with that book: serializing it on the website while also having it available for sale, if you want to read the whole thing in full. It will be a fun experiment, and I'll keep you posted as it develops.

I'm also writing the first book in a new series. It's tentatively titled Crawling Chaos, but that could very well change. It's kind of H.P. Lovecraft meets the Dresden Files. It's set in 1920's St. Louis and has guns and demons and getaways in Model T's. I'm having a great time writing it.

I think that's all the updates I have for now. I hope you love The Sacraments of Summer. It's the book I'm proudest of.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Google+

I've just joined Google+ and I'm going to give it a try. If you're on Google+ and have any tips about how to make the most of it, drop me a line and let me know! Thanks!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blue Island Gods finished

I just wrote the last words to the first draft of Blue Island Gods--a contemporary fantasy set in Chicago. I love this book. It has a very different structure from anything I've written before and it deals with a lot of themes that are new to my work. I also had a blast writing it. The basic summary is: someone is stirring up a war between the old Aztec gods and the Christian god, but, as you might expect, there are always plans hidden within plans.

My plan is to put this book up for sale in a few months, after I've had a chance to edit and revise. I will also be serializing this book on Wattpad and here, on my blog. If you like it and want to read it, you'll be able to get the whole thing here for free, but you'll have to wait to read it week by week. If you really like it, you'll be able to purchase it and read the whole thing at once.

Also, don't forget that all my books are free this week at Smashwords. Stop by and pick them up. Or, if you already have them, let some friends know! Thanks for your support.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Free books, March 2-8 @ Smashwords

Smashwords is having an exciting promotion this coming week, from March 2-8. All of my books will be available for free there. If you've been wanting to read one of them and don't have the money, stop by Smashwords and pick them up for free!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wattpad

As part of an experiment, I've begun serializing two of my novels (The Dew of Flesh and The Indifferent Children of the Earth) on Wattpad. If you haven't read them, you can find the first parts over there, already available.

Of course, you can also download both books for free under the 'Books' tab, but feel free to stop by Wattpad, or here, and leave a comment if you like.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Post-Binary Gender and the Ethics of Fiction

After reading Alex Dally MacFarlane's recent post on Tor.com about post-binary gender fiction, as well as the secondary posts by Larry Correia and Jim Hines, I thought I might add a few additional thoughts. For the most part, I thought both Larry Correia and Jim Hines addressed ancillary issues to MacFarlane's post, and I'd like to suggest a few considerations that I believe more to the heart of the matter.

The origins of this post came from my attempts to answer the following question for myself: Why do I feel troubled by elements of MacFarlane's post while, at the same time, sharing her concern about the limited range of representation for gendered and sexual identities?

Before I sketch out a few of my concerns, allow me to say that much of my writing focuses on characters of non-normative sexual or gendered identities. The first book of my series The Sophistries of June is available for free under the Books page above, if you'd like to see an example. I enjoy reading and writing about characters who are not part of what MacFarlane calls a binary gender construct.

My concerns with MacFarlane's post resolve into a few different areas:

First, I believe the large-scale claims underlying her post, which concern the lack of representation of post-binary gender within Western culture, are either misrepresentative or misinformed. An appeal for a larger presence for post-binary gender that predicates itself on a supposed absence of that type of writing ignores a long history of Western cultures (an important plural) that have thought carefully about a range of possible gendered and sexual identities over thousands of years. In that sense, MacFarlane's identification of post-gender binaries as "the acknowledgement that gender is more complex than the Western cultural norm of two genders (female and male): that there are more genders than two, that gender can be fluid, that gender exists in many forms" is based on a straw-man. To a the same extent, post- as a prefix is a disingenuous, or at least anachronistic, label for the ideas under discussion.

Even the most cursory account of gender studies across European history would provide valuable examples of Western cultural artifacts that envision what MacFarlane labels post-binary gender. We can begin as far back as Plato's Symposium, where Aristophanes offers a vision of dual-gendered souls. Greek and Roman sexual and gendered roles, although fixed in some ways, also show a remarkable fluidity (for example, Sporus, 'wife' of Emperor Nero [Nero provides a wealth of examples, in fact], beyond Greek male-male relationships, etc.). Medieval and early modern Christian mystics and theologians offer a long tradition of representations of Christ as duel/bi-gendered. The romance genre (by which I mean romance as a historical literary form) has tropes of characters who blur gendered, sexual, and orientation boundaries. Historical personages show a similar trend. To name only two more, out of many possible examples: the Spanish man/woman Catalina de Erauso; and Queen Elizabeth I, who based her remarkable reign on the fluidity of her gendered identity.

Rather than continue with examples, I will simply say that to claim that a hegemonic entity known as 'Western culture' has excluded or failed to acknowledge anything approaching post-binary gender is incorrect and historically problematic. Furthermore, MacFarlane's own post, which begins by expressing a desire for "an end to the default of binary gender in science fiction stories," is troubled by the apparent wealth of post-binary gender fiction that exists:

"Other texts have been published besides The Left Hand of Darkness, many of them oft-overlooked—many of them out of print. Some of them are profoundly problematic, but still provide interesting questions. Some of them are incredible and deserve to be considered classics of the genre. Some of them are being published right now, in 2014."

In such a light, it becomes clearer that MacFarlane's post aims, as the opening line states, not necessarily for an increase in the representation of alternative sexual and gendered subject positions, but rather for an end to the 'default' of binary gender. This, in many ways, is linked to my second objection to the post. MacFarlane writes about an implicit desire for texts that "radicalise every reader." She also expresses her desire "to dismantle the sediment—to not only talk about post-binary texts and bring them to attention of more readers, but to do away with the default narrative."

Rather than a desire for what we might term inclusiveness or representation, MacFarlane's desire seems to be to supplant what she terms a "default narrative" with what, one can only assume, will become the new default narrative. MacFarlane identifies the problems of the old "default narrative" as, in essence, the following: "SF that presents a rigid, unquestioned gender binary is false and absurd."

Here, the rhetoric seems to outgrow the strength of MacFarlane's argument. While I will readily agree to the desire for a wider range of representation of alternative gendered and sexual identities, is it true that any fiction that presents only one approach to gender is "false and absurd"? I'm uncertain how this statement could be correct. The only way I can imagine this statement being true is if we accept, as a guiding principle for aesthetic creation, a specific set of representative priorities as the only ethical and true form of any aesthetic object.

This, then, is my second objection to MacFarlane's post. How can we look at any piece of fiction, let alone SF, and believe that such a piece of fiction must inevitably represent a fullness of a range of subject-positions (which range from gendered, sexual, racial, political, ethnic, etc., and of which MacFarlane privileges gender) in order to be considered true? The corollary to this question is: What does it mean for a piece of fiction to be true? The answer here seems to be that it is fully representative of the diversity of available identities, but it is unclear how this connects to truth.

My final concern about MacFarlane's piece is located in the implicit ethical charge given to representation as a form of social and ethnocentric disruption. MacFarlane states:

"Conversations about gender in SF have been taking place for a long time. I want to join in. I want more readers to be aware of texts old and new, and seek them out, and talk about them. I want more writers to stop defaulting to binary gender in their SF—I want to never again read entire anthologies of SF stories or large-cast novels where every character is binary-gendered. I want this conversation to be louder."

Her post concludes with the following: "I hope you’ll join me in making the default increasingly unstable." Throughout the post, this message of destabilization, of the upset of what MacFarlane describes as a "default narrative" is prioritized as an implicitly ethical project that manifests in increased visibility for post-binary gender.

I absolutely agree in the power of fiction for the disruption of preconceived ideas and prejudices. History has shown the value of literature in destabilizing social and political expectations and conventions. At the same time, though, I am hesitant to embrace a view of literature in which this ethnodeviancy is the only (or even the primary) function of fiction. Writers battled for centuries for a world in which the dominant ethical systems were not the immediate arbiters of aesthetic production. Their legacy to us is a world in which the aesthetic is not always and perpetually chained to power structures and dominant ideologies. MacFarlane's post, though, suggests that what are undoubtedly important ethical practices (such as tolerance and inclusion) have an irrevocable claim on fiction writing, presumably overriding the aesthetic as the primary aim of fiction.

In the end, as strongly as I agree with MacFarlane's admirable (and well-expressed) desire for a broader representation of a range of sexual and gendered identities, I am too troubled by how these political and ethical demands compromise the aesthetics of fiction to be completely comfortable with her post. I do hope, though, that her post continues to be a spur for an improved discussion of the representation of gender and sexuality in fiction.

Monday, January 20, 2014

In Broken Mathematics + Fool Star

I'm excited to announce today that the third book in The Sophistries of June is available for sale. In Broken Mathematics is currently available at Amazon (here) and Smashwords (here). It should be available at B&N, iTunes, Kobo, etc., shortly.

Also, a novella set between the second book (The Grieved) and In Broken Mathematics is also available for sale. Fool Star is available at Amazon (here) and Smashwords (here) and should be appearing at other distributors soon.

I'm very excited about both of these stories. Fool Star is not necessary reading to move forward in the series, but it develops a few important relationships, and it also sets up a new bad guy for the series. I can't wait for you to enjoy them.

The final book in the series, The Sacraments of Summer, is fully written. I'm in the process of editing it now, and it should be available in another month or two.