Hey Y'all booklover-shopping types you!

I'm signing tomorrow. Last appearance of the year, and maybe last one before March. (I'm going quiet to write HOUSE OF THE HANGED MAN and snowboard WOOT)  

Lots of other writers will be there too, all from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and representing several genres. 

Barnes & Noble 

Saturday 10 - 3

Barnes & Noble Colorado Blvd.
960 S. Colorado Blvd. 

Glendale, Co 80246

There will be swag and pie is welcome. See ya there!!

enemy coming in 2016

It feels like forever (but in reality was only some weeks since dotted lines were scrawled upon) that I had to wait to announce that Skyhorse will be releasing ENEMY in 2016. The last two months have been a flurry of writing and revisions and I'm as happy with the book as any I've turned in, which is to say, there are issues for my editors to help me see but I'm not losing sleep over it. Yet.

Thanks especially to Jason Katzman (WHO GOT MARRIED SATURDAY!!), Cory Allyn, everyone at Skyhorse who supports my books, and especially Sara Megibow, my agent, whose encouragement is one of the finest luxuries a writer can have.

When I started EXILE a decade ago, it was meant to be a trunk novel. My critters kept telling me it was the best thing I'd written. Not that it didn't rack up some rejections once I decided they were right. But I submitted to Jeremy Lassen of NSB after meeting him at World Fantasy. He asked me if I had anything and I told him I had a trunk novel about a falsely accused criminal exiled to an enemy country caught up in a brewing civil war.

Or, well, probably something more drunk and less salesy.

Less than two years later, EXILE was their lead title for the season and on bookshelves everywhere.

The rest is frustrating history that I won't delve into now, but rest assured I'm very happy with Skyhorse and I love working with them. Their passion for SFF is apparent in every book they put out. Plus EMISSARY came out of that deal, too, the most challenging, longest book I've ever written.

Writing books is kinda hard. Writing the finish to a trilogy ten years in the making... whoa. Pressure, man. I know I'm supposed to say I wanted to justice for my readers first, but really I've wanted justice for Draken, who I've traveled so far with, who suffers from depression, who I often leave in a battered state, and yet always perseveres.

ENEMY was written under the duress of a minor renovation project turned major (there are nice people working outside my office window as I write this, as they have been for nearly three months). We haven't had air conditioning for months. We got our basement back two weeks ago. At times I've been banished to the lake for up to two weeks. Jackhammers are not a writer's best friend, no matter what the  jackhammer says.

And the book itself... is a tad grim. Religious revolution has invaded Akrasia in the form of a vengeful god and Draken's old countrymen. Draken has always been willing to do as much as he can to help within the confines the story has put around him, and he didn't fail me in ENEMY. He went where I shoved him, to new, darker places. Nor did he fail Akrasia, but you'll have to read it to find out how.

At any rate, I'm excited to get to editing, I'm excited to share ENEMY with everyone next year, and I'm excited to move onto new projects as well. More on those later.

For now, here's the (unedited) first page:

The truth is torment.
Brinian Proverb

Chapter One

       The air never quieted on the BrĂ®nian coast, and this night it was all angry violence atop Seakeep overlooking Blood Bay. Seven stories high on a cliff thrice its height, Draken fair imagined the stone tower swaying as he emerged from the twisting stairwell into the fierce, chill wind. Flames in the deep bowl churned and danced, sparks scattering, bright dust against the night sky. The wide-eyed firegirl dropped to her knees and twitched her head down into huddled obeisance. Her back bent like Draken’s finest recurve bow. The glimpse of her face told him she was sundry: a BrĂ®nian-Akrasian mix, likely.
Frightened of him. Curious.
She’s frightened of the throne and sword, not the man.
        Perhaps Bruche was right. After all, not all girls were frightened of him. His sister certainly wasn’t, nor his little daughter. Still, her trembling genuflection reminded him mistrust and fear were the costs of power. 
       “Go inside. Warm yourself.” Draken waved the girl-slave downstairs and she scampered off. Bloody cruel keeping a child up here, especially come moonrise. But the fire had to be watched, more so now in wartime, and he had no proper soldiers or civilians to spare for the duty. Living under malicious means had always been the fate for slaves. He’d done his share of unpleasant, dangerous duties when he’d been one. 

blog posts and messiness

Wherein I wrote a post about Writing in Secondary Worlds.

House is rather insanely messy with construction, but tools are slowly coming out of the basement and items of ours are slowly going back in, so that's progress, damn it.

Head is rather insanely messy with revisions of ENEMY. I'm halfway through a very comprehensive edit. Hope to push through in the next few days.

Also, big news coming. Stay tuned.


This is a response I left to several comments I read on a private email loop, though it also responds to a much of what I've seen discussed about the #AskELJames event.  I read a little of the hashtag; my time has been limited. Much of what I saw was snarky and actually clever and funny to me because of my personal thoughts on the series.  Some was downright trollish and mean, of course. I have yet to learn how and if she responded to such comments. Feel free to enlighten me here or make other comments, though I can't promise a quick response because holiday. :)


While I can't condone some of the behavior, the conversation some (snarky)comments sparks is legitimate, particularly in the realm of misrepresenting the BDSM culture, perpetration of rape culture, misogyny,  and the disturbing psychopathic characterization depicted and glorified  in the story.  At least in SFF we are very much in the habit of discussing the social aspects and ramifications of the stories in our genre. Maybe crime fiction (which is where I personally would shelve the books) or in romance, that isn't the habit.  And yes, SFF gets our fair share of snark and trolls and disagreements during social issue discussions. (Google Gamergate and Sad Puppies/Hugo to see what I mean.)

Just because someone writes something snarky or rude on the internet doesn't always mean jealousy.  I think the writing style and popularity of the work is a conversation definitely worth having, whether we find the writing and subject matter "good" or not. Instead of responding with "you're jealous" why not ask, if someone crits the work, Why do you think it is so popular? What about the story appealed to today's culture? How important is sentence stringing compared to story? All really interesting writerly topics, at least to me.

Re: Twitter. It has a different look and feel than other online and personal interactions, but it doesn't mean the conversations there aren't worth having. Twitter is not all soundbites and snark, and to claim that shows probable ignorance. Language and conversational style are dynamic and living; Twitter is a great example of that. 

​I totally disagree with the "blame the victim" "she should have known better" attitude. It's  old-fashioned, narrow-minded, unrealistic, fails to recognize the constant barrage of hate many women experience online, and most importantly, ignores that folks are  still are out there having lots of fun and worthy interactions.   Of course assholes exist on the internet; I have no doubt the author and her publicists are well aware of them and of the negative opinions surrounding her work. Newsflash: we all experience that. But the very second we STOP talking and putting ourselves out there (or doing so in a pay-to-play/limited/victim-role-assuming/paranoid way) is the very day the assholes win. 

denver comic con

I know, this blog has become more of a "Where's Waldo?" than comments and thoughts. I still have comments and thoughts but not the writing energy to put them down here because I'm wrapped up in fiction words. Not that I'm not interested, but it's an energy drain and I'm realizing the next few years with kids doing middle schooly and high schooly and collegey (gulp) things, my energy is a limited thing.

That said, there is a soon chance to see me in the wild! 
Denver Comic Con

I got a slew of things to yap about: 

12:55 Room 205   Tales from the Slush Pile
3:15   Room 205   Strong Women in Film and Fiction
6:00   Room 203   Characters who Don't Suck

12:55 Room 505   Harassment Happens (at cons)
2:30   Room 203   That's a Laugh - Writing Humor 
3:15   Room 402   Star Wars: How will Disney alter the Universe
4:25   Room 205   Writing Sequels and the Series

12:10 Room 203  Developing Systems of Magic
4:25   Room 402 Wish You Were There: Worldbuilding

It's worth noting the con is of epic proportions for Denver, reaching 60K+ folks. THERE ARE LINES FOR EVERY PANEL and the con is stringent about only allowing as many butts are there are chairs. Plan accordingly. 

in other news

I've been asked a few times if you need to read Exile first before reading Emissary. I really don't think so. I did my best to write a story that can stand on its own.

Administrative publicity stuff:

There's a Goodreads giveaway for Emissary. It ends in three days.

I know it's early days of the release, but if you've read the book, leaving an honest review on various sites really does help. Emissary is available at Barnes and Noble now. In Boulder it was under Science Fiction New Releases. :)  Of course it's available everywhere, but if you want a copy in your hot little hands TODAY, your local B&N will probably have it.

On the work front:

I'm continuing to plug away at Enemy. There's a lot of emotion in the story so it's tough to get just right. I think, hope, it will be an awesome conclusion to the series.

We're about to meet for Electric Spec's next issue. WOOT. It's tough to believe I've been doing this for ten years. Sometimes I want to quit and then I start reading the great stories and I'm all STAYING.

My girlie-child got sick so our dragon contest was delayed. I hope to get that squared away and up and running next week. :)

skiffy and fanty interview

I had so much fun talking to Paul and Shaun at Skiffy and Fanty the other night, and the interview is already up! We talk about Emissary, fight scenes, writing women, politics, and editing, among other things.