The 2014 Hugo Awards

The nominees for the 2014 Hugo Awards were announced Saturday, and whoa I have a lot of reading to do.

With how fast the internet world runs, I’m a little late to the reaction post party, but I have some thoughts and I’m sharing them anyway. So let’s get right to it.

First of all, I love how diverse the ballot is this year. I’m not even a little bit of a Hugo historian, so I don’t know if other years have been more representative, but damn. I’ve also seen it pointed out that rocketships are guaranteed to first-time winners in more than a few categories. Huzzah!

I’m happy to see that some of the works I nominated are on the ballot, sad for the ones that didn’t, and excited to read and experience most of the ones with which I’m unfamiliar. I have no idea how I’ll be voting yet — that’s what the Hugo Voter Packet will help me determine — and if I reveal my choices at all, it’ll be after the ballots are in.

First, though rejoicing for the works I’ve already read and seen! These are quick-hit reactions, by the by. I’ll save in-depth analysis for future posts.

By the categories:

Best Novel:
Orbit rocking the list with Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire’s Parasite!

The Wheel of Time series is on there in its entirety, due to a rule that allows a concluded series to be nominated if no individual works within that series have been nominated in the past. I’m a bit torn about it — the series has certainly had a huge impact on fantasy fiction. It was my introduction to epic fantasy. I would love to see some kind of special recognition or achievement award given to Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, to recognize the body and breadth of the work, but I don’t know if I’m on board with giving it my top Hugo vote.

Best Novella/Novellette/Short Story:
I am woefully behind on reading shorter works. Again, hooray for the Hugo Voter Packet, which will wrangle them all up for me!

Best Related Work:
Wonderbook is on my list of books to pick up. Bumping that to the top of the queue in 3…2…1…

If you haven’t yet read Kameron Hurley’s “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle, and Slaves Narrative,” hie thee to A Dribble of Ink now.

Best Graphic Story:
XKCD is always doing neat things. I’m geeked to see “Time” with a nomination here.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form:
Gravity and Pacific Rim! (And yes, Frozen! but as earwormy as the tunes are, and as keen as I was on the way the ending was handled, my heart’s with the live action SF this time around.) I’ve not yet seen Iron Man 3 or Catching Fire.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:
<obligatory “Oh look, it’s all Doctor Who.”>

Which, yes, I am a fan. I don’t recall which of these were on my ballot, though I’m pretty sure An Adventure in Space and Time was. Look, William Hartnell is one of my Doctors, and I got all sniffly a few times during it, okay?

Also excited that The Five (ish) Doctors Reboot is on there. All kinds of fun.

And clearly I need to go binge watch the first season of Orphan Black.

Best Editor (Short and Long Forms):
Super excited to see Ellen Datlow and Ginjer Buchanan on there. I believe if you got a peek at my paperwork, Ginjer is my acquiring editor for Night Owls. Soon, ducklings, soon, I hope to see my editor Rebecca Brewer on this list. Like Mur Lafferty says here, I’d love to see some Orbit editors on this list, too. I fully admit my I-work-for-them bias, but they have published some of my favorite books since their inception, and I hope their hard work will be recognized.

Best Professional Artist:
/squee for Galen Dara, who does the art for Fireside Magazine.

Best Semiprozine, Fanzine, Fancast, and Fan Artist:
Not a lot of commentary on these ones yet. I’m familiar with the semipros on there, and a few of the fanzines. Greg is the podcast listener in our house. Research, research, research, and looking at art!

Best Fan Writer:
This list, you guys, this list! All the /happydances for the nominees. It’s going to be a damned tough choice. If you’re not familiar with the people listed here, you’re missing out.

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer:
As is always mentioned, not a Hugo, but presented at the Hugo Awards. I am, again, in a state of “Have heard these names but haven’t yet read their work.” I’ll be fixing that.

I’m disappointed to say there is controversy on this list, and frustrated that attention to it put a damper on what should have been a day of much rejoicing for many of the nominees. While part of me wants to call no further attention to it, and refuse to give the people who pulled the shenanigans the satisfaction, eh. If you don’t speak up and speak out, nothing changes, right?

The short version is, two authors on the list suggested their fans vote for the works they suggested (including other writers in addition to themselves), mainly to piss off the people in SF/F and fandom calling for more diversity in the genre. Bigger round-ups at File 770 and Radish Reviews, complete with fans of the two jumping into the comments at Radish Reviews and being… ornery.

First, go ahead and read (Hugo-nominated!) Kameron Hurley, John Scalzi (two posts), and Jim Hines on the matter. Okay? Okay.

I don’t have a problem with writers stating “Here are my eligible works.” In fact, I want to see those lists. I also appreciate the people who open up their own spaces for readers and fans to recommend their favorites. You get exposed to a lot of good new work that way. Next year, you can damned well bet I’ll have a post up stating I’m Campbell-eligible.

There is a huge difference between I made something I think is amazing, and hope you will think is worth voting for and vote for me so we can stick it to the people we disagree with. Vote for the works you read/watched/enjoyed because you like them and think they’re worth an award. Not because you want to piss off the libruls or “make heads explode” or whatever.

Rebuttals seem to be along the lines of golly-gee-gosh, we’re only doing what Scalzi and co did, which is disingenuous at best. People are smarter than that, and see right through it. It’s petty and petulant, and for the writers who orchestrated it, it’s downright unprofessional. I’ll still read their work as it arrives in the Hugo Voter Packet, and judge accordingly, but I feel rather disinclined to reward bad behavior. YMMV.

So, there we go. 2014 Hugo reaction post, DONE. Onward and upward!

Not that I expect much commentary on this post, but just in case, I think this recent strip from (Hugo-nominated!) XKCD about sums up my moderation policy:


Posted in books, writing | Tagged | Comments Off on The 2014 Hugo Awards

Stretch Goooooooal!

Remember that awesomesauce Kickstarter I mentioned earlier, Storium?

It can now be revealed that I’m writing a world for it!

Cats ‘n’ kittens, have a gander at the this stretch goal burst:

At $49,000…
SQUATCHTOWN — Walk the mean streets of a city where Bigfoot’s not a legend and private eyes just might be nine feet tall. Take a walk on the real wild side where big heat meets big feet, and human and sasquatch worlds collide. (By Richard Dansky, author of Vaporware and head Clancy writer for Red Storm Entertainment/Ubisoft.)
At $51,000…
DOWN AND OUT IN THE KINGDOM OF COINS — Whether you’re registered agents of the High Guilds or illegal night marketeers wheeling and dealing under the noses of the powers that be, there’s only one rule in the Kingdom of Coins: murder, dark magic or new, weird blasphemies – anything sells. (By Adam Kobel, co-creator of the ENnie-winning Dungeon World.)
At $53,000…
THE HOLLOW — Quaint, remote Camden’s Hollow is famous for its abundance of ghosts and its hospitality for ghost hunters, but when you arrive for a weekend of orb-spotting, you find the town deserted … except for the restless dead. (By Lauren Roy, author of Night Owls.(That’s me omg)
At $55,000…
GOTHAM JAZZ — It’s the height of the Jazz Age. The height of Prohibition. Benjamin Franklin’s heirs — the Right Honorable Order of Thaumaturges — reign with their weird technology over an America gone strange, where masonry-domed city states hunker amid poisoned wastelands and munitions factories and beautiful women swill bootleg liquor in smoky speakeasies. (By Hugo and Sturgeon Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.)

So, if you’ve been debating whether or not to be a backer, please consider reaching into your pocketses and giving Storium a try! At the $10 level, you get access to the beta, and can start playing instantly.

Meanwhile I’ll be over here, /fangirling at the other authors in whose company I find myself.

Posted in geekery, writing | Tagged , | Comments Off on Stretch Goooooooal!

The Measure of a Geek

Saw this Buzzfeed “What’s your Geek Number” quiz* making the rounds today, and I got a bit ranty about it on the twitterz. I’m porting those tweets over here, and expounding on them, because I figured it was time to stop spamming my followers. >.>

(*I’m loath to link to it, but eh. Go ahead and have a gander at the questions.)

From Twitter:

There’s a BuzzFeed quiz making the rounds about your “Geek Number.” And I get it, it’s a quiz on the internet, created for clicks. However.

It biases heavily toward comic book geekery, or “Have you seen ALL of X,” implying that if you haven’t, you’re not fan ENOUGH. If your favorite Doctor’s isn’t 1-8, it implies you’re not a REAL Doctor Who fan. And yet, most of the other fandoms it asks about are new. Sherlock! Supernatural! Harry Potter! So, becoming a fan of DW after the reboot is bad, but we’re ignoring other classic SF/F?

Also, questions asking geeks to wear some not-nice things as a badge of pride. Losing friends over canon arguments, skipping work for games. Oh, and several variations on “Do you judge people if they <do something that’s not geeky ENOUGH.>”

THIS IS PART OF WHERE THE FAKE GEEK GIRL THING STARTS. Measuring other people by how geeky they are/aren’t. Which is bullshit.

If you love a book, a movie, a fandom – from any decade – are passionate about it & want to share that with others, congrats, you’re a geek.

Even if you score a 1 on that ridiculous gorram quiz. We should be welcoming other fans, not telling them “You’re not fan ENOUGH.”

Right. So.

Part of what chapped my cheese is the idea that if you don’t consume a thing in its entirety, you’re not really a fan. Which, no. Look, I can binge-watch or binge-read with the best of them. But life happens. Other responsibilities take priority. Some times not only is there not enough time to devour a particular work from beginning to end, there’s also not always enough money.

The majority of the list is about more modern media. Which does not discount it, at all (you should see my DVR). But why doesn’t the older stuff count? The only things I’m seeing on here that’s pre-1980, at a second skimming, is the sneery jab at any Whovians unfamiliar with the show before Russell T. Davies picked it up and references to Dune, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek: The Original Series. Geekery did not begin with GenX, dudes.

Where are some of the other new shows and books? Sleepy Hollow has an incredibly active fandom.  True Dective. Vikings. Teen Wolf. Where’s The Hunger Games and Divergent?

What about makery? Steampunk’s an obvious hole in the list. Knitting? I can’t tell you how many panels I’ve been to at cons where a sizable chunk of the audience gets out their needles. Couple references in there to fanart, but it’s more “Have you ever drawn your characters?” and ignores the artists on DeviantArt and tumblr who make a living off of their commissions.

And music. Oh my gooses, I just realized the quizmaker totally neglected filk.

Point is, there are so damned many ways to be a geek. We ought not make other people feel like they have to check off a certain number of boxes to “count.” If you love something and want to share it with others, you are a geek. Said my friend @fyriat:

YES. More geeks are a good thing.

If I can change directions slightly, there was something else about this quiz that left me feeling bitey: I sort of figured, when I saw the first 35 questions (39 if you count the 4 manga ones) were about comic books, this wasn’t going to go anywhere good. I checked a few of those boxes! But not, apparently, enough.

I’m annoyed at the sudden desire I had, when I read the text summing up my score that suggested I had a ways to go, to defend myself as a geek. Because y’know, as a woman, I don’t have to do that all the damned time anyway. I have written and deleted and rewritten and redeleted a line following this one laying out the ways I’m a geek, but you know what? No. Not this timebecause I can’t help but feel like doing so would undermine what I’ve said above:

If you are a fan of something you consider geeky then congrats, and welcome. You are a geek.

How about you share some of those things in comments? Introduce me to new stuff, or nerd out with me about stuff we both like. What’s your geeky passion?


Posted in geekery | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

The Storium Kickstarter is Live!

So I’m not burying the lede: like the post title says, the Storium Kickstarter campaign is live, and nearly funded after less than a day.

Let’s talk about stories and storytelling.

If you’ve poked about the blog at all, you’ve probably figured out that I like writing stories and playing in them. I don’t ever remember a time I haven’t been immersed in fiction in one way or another.

If I’m going to pick up a video game, 99% of the time it’s going to be story-based. Are there NPCs I can talk to? What do they have to say? If I go back to the town after I’ve completed a quest, do they say something new? (You don’t want to know how long my Dragon Age playthrough took. Once I realized my party’s dialogue was ever-evolving, I was stopping every few minutes to get Alistair’s and Wynne’s input.)

The earliest stories I told were some form of fanfic inspired by whatever series had caught my imagination. When my grandmother watched me during the day, I’d wait until she fell asleep during her soaps and switch the channel over to Super Friends. In my head canon, Green Lantern and I were BFFs, and Wonder Woman would come pick me up in her invisible plane and we’d go off and have adventures. A few years later, when our moms inevitably told us to shut off the Nintendo and go outside, we continued our Super Mario Bros. adventures on our own. Our backyards became the Mushroom Kingdom.

In college, I discovered tabletop roleplaying games. Time was, we were playing three times a week or more, as long as our GM had a chance to get some plotting in. We’re down to once a week now, because of jobs and that whole getting older thing. Once, I could game until 2 am, go to class, go to work, game again, and keep functioning enough to sustain a 4.0. Nowadays, not so much. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about those stories during the week. We’ll come back to this point, so remember it. There’ll be a quiz later.

Because I need to talk about MMORPGs, too. I play on a roleplaying server in World of Warcraft. We have a thriving community, and we’ve been telling stories with one another for the better part of a decade now. We’re scattered across not only the country, but the world. It can be hard enough for this east coaster to stay up and RP with the west coast crew, knowing there’s story happening while I really ought to go the hell to bed. Our Aussie contingent (<3 Nat and Sam) are on the flip side of the diurnal from us, half a day into the future.

Hectic schedules, real life obligations, and writing deadlines mean that sometimes, our game night gets postponed a week. Or all of the above plus time zone shifts means trying to catch a guildmate for RP can be tough. We look for other ways to keep telling the story when we’re not logged in: RP by email, in-character gtalk sessions, collaborative writing on gdocs. A few people on our server have created a whole website where the community can go and interact and keep our plots moving along (shameless Feathermap plug!)

And right now, up and running, and maybe even rolling towards being funded on the first day, is the kickstarter for Storium, which is a shiny new online storytelling game. You pick a world or create your own, create your characters, and get the story moving. Time zone conflicts? Can’t get together in person to play with your favorite people? SOLVED. Storium lets your group play on their own timetable. Maybe you’re all online and the story’s flowing quickly. Maybe you add a scene during your commute, your friend replies during her lunch hour, and your Antipodean player joins in while you’re getting your beauty rest.

And look at the sandboxes you get to play in!

Right now, there are genre settings for you to dip your toes into: cyberpunk, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, horror, medical drama. When it launches, the Storium team have brought in an incredible cast of writers to create new worlds: Delilah S. Dawson, Stephen Blackmoore, Karin Lowachee are you fangirling yet? Because the stretch goals give you MOAR WORLDS to play in, including ones designed by Saladin Ahmed, Mur Lafferty, Andrea Phillips, and Leonard Balsera. AND there are hints at more stretch goals (and stretch worlds!) to come. /kermitflail

If your heart’s not already going pitter-pat enough, Storium founders Stephen Hood and Josh Whiting brought in some of my favorite people in gaming, publishing, and transmedia to be on their team: Will Hindmarch, Chuck Wendig, Mur Lafferty, and J.C. Hutchins. Seriously, look at that list of awesome people omg. Which means Storium is in excellent hands.

I’m super excited about this kickstarter, you guys. Let’s get it funded! Let’s get it beyond funded and open up ALL THE WORLDS.

Posted in gaming, writing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Storium Kickstarter is Live!

Fireside Year 3

The Fireside Magazine Year 3 kickstarter is in the home stretch. Less than a day to go to fund another year of fiction from a lineup of amazing authors.

My first short fiction sale at a professional pay rate was to Fireside.* They pay 12.5 cents per word, which is just over twice the pro rate established by Science Fiction Writers of America. That’s a pretty big thing for a short fiction market these days. Figure a 1000-word piece of flash fiction earns the writer $125. In this endless fimbulwinter we’re having, that’s a significant chunk of my heating bill for the month.

This is actually a significant point, so I’m going to stick on it a bit longer. A lot of markets pay lower-than-pro rates, and suggest that exposure is payment itself. The first thing I look at when I come across a new venue is their submissions page. Far too often I see variations on “We can’t afford to pay our authors right now, but hope to be able to in the future!” And, just, no. (Writers respecting their own craft is a whole other post, so I’ll resist the digression.) The point is, Fireside could offer semi-pro rates and call it good. They could offer the minimum pro rate and call it good. But instead they’re paying their writers above and beyond. That’s pretty damned awesome.

Also important: the Fireside lineup isn’t only straight white dudes telling stories about (and for) straight white dudes. The list of contributors is diverse, as are the stories and art. It doesn’t take a lot of googling to see that that’s something writers and readers alike are clamoring for.

You get a lot of story for a little money. Each issue is $2 through the Kickstarter. $2 for an installment of Lilith Saintcrow’s serial fiction, set in the world of her issue 9 story “Maternal Type,” plus another short story, two pieces of flash fiction, and Galen Dara’s art. That’s less than the cost of a medium coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, and is certainly less than the same at Starbucks.

I also recognize that, in this economy, and with heating bills extending into ridiculosity due to polar vortices, even $2 might be hard to come by. If that’s the case, and you can’t contribute, maybe consider boosting the signal on the social media platform of your choice?

As of this writing, the project has a little over $5500 left to raise in the next 16 hours. It’s doable, but kind of a nail biter. Let’s get ’em funded, shall we?

*The story, “Ex Astris, is here, in Issue 9, if you have a couple of dollars burning a hole in your pocket. It has been pointed out to me that Issue 9 is free until tomorrow so readers can get a taste of “Maternal Type,” next years serial fiction setting! So if you were fixing to buy the issue, you can take those couple bucks and send ’em to the kickstarter instead! Win!

Posted in writing | Tagged , | Comments Off on Fireside Year 3

They’re Still Letting Me Talk on the Internets

Last week of the blog tour, cats ‘n’ kittens! If you haven’t had your fill of me, here are the upcoming Q&As, interviews, and giveaways for this week:

3/10 – SciFi ChickQ&A/giveaway
3/11 – Bea’s Book NookQ&A
3/12 – Bookworm BluesReview/giveaway
3/13 – BibliosanctumReview
3/14 – Parajunkee – Review/giveaway

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I’m still not super-used to being the center of attention, but last week was sales conference, which meant seeing many of my colleagues for the first time since pub day. So many people wished me well and congratulated me, and I received good advice about being, y’know, more assertive and less shy about asking for things from people who are happy to help me out. I signed more than a few copies. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the people I work with.

I also learned that Night Owls was #26 on Barnes & Nobles science fiction/fantasy bestseller list the week it released. Not too shabby for a debut author.

Onward into edits for book two!

Posted in writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

One Week On

Night Owls has been out for a week today. I’ve done the nervous new author things, including checking reviews (they’ve been good!) and wandering into a bookstore, looking at the book, and forgetting to offer to sign the stock. I’m off travelling for work this week, and my coworkers have been bringing me copies to sign, which is humbling and amazing.

More when I’m home and have a chance to catch my breath.

The blog tour continues! Surf on over to these sites for reviews, interviews, and giveaways this week:

3/3: Literal AddictionReview and Q&A
3/4: Yummy Men and Kickass ChicksReview
3/5: A Book ObsessionReview
3/6: On Starships & DragonwingsReview, giveaway
3/7: I Smell SheepReview

Posted in writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Release Day!

Night Owls cover

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

Night Owls officially releases today.

One of my booksellers and I were discussing how weird publishing-time is. You see books months ahead of pub, so once they’re actually out on the shelves there’s this moment of hasn’t this been out forever? It hasn’t, of course, and now comes the part where other people get to read and enjoy and share your enthusiasm.

Today is a bit like that for me. This book has been in the works for me for a long time. I’ve gone through all the writing and rewriting, edits and copyedits. I’ve ticked off the milestones I’ve learned are part of the life of a book before it hits the shelves: cover reveal, appearance in the publisher’s catalog, the book feeding out to online bookstores, ARCs, early reviews.

So in a way, I feel like Night Owls has already been out forever.

Same time, it’s utterly surreal that this day is here. Wasn’t it just yesterday the offer came in? Didn’t I only finish writing it last week?

Like I said, time gets weird in publishing. I’m off to boggle at February 25th finally arriving, or having been here all along. If you see Night Owls out in the wild, post or tweet me a picture? And if you read it and dig it, spread the word?


Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Posted in books, writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

JK Rowling Doesn’t Need My Advice

…but damn does this Huffington Post writer get it wrong.

Dear god, why do I fall for the clickbait.

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: with my publisher hat on (complete with the Fascinator of Cold, Hard Logic), of course I want her to keep writing for adults, because her success helps my company, and keeps me in a job. Okay? Okay.

Next: bookseller hat.

The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s calling brought people into bookstores. How is this a bad thing? Oh, right, it’s not. With all the people out there writing eulogies* for bookstores, it’s books like these that help keep their doors open.

*(So many eulogies. Decades worth, akin to those placeholder celebrity death announcements CNN has queued up just-in-case. Except people keep hitting publish. Bookselling’s still not dead, though.)

Someone walks in looking for the new JK Rowling, they might browse through other sections and pick up other books, too. Because that’s how it works, book buying. That’s the reason Amazon and B&N have those sections beneath your purchases for other stuff you might like. “People who bought <this book you’re buying> also bought <other book>.”

Book sales drive more book sales.

Writer hat:

There are readers out there, for sure, who have very limited funds. If given a choice between JK Rowling’s book and a lesser-known writer, they might very well pick her book. Quite possibly because they read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series. Or because they know her name and figure she must be able to tell a good story. Or, yes, because they read a review. Thing is, their money was never anyone else’s to begin with.

That goes for readers who can afford more than one book at a go, too. Sales to JK Rowling are not sales stolen from your pocketses.

In fact, let’s say a person who doesn’t usually read mysteries picks up The Cuckoo’s Calling for the sole reason it was written by JK Rowling. Let’s say they like it. There’s a year between The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. You know what that person who has learned they like mystery novels will quite possibly do?

Buy other mystery novels.

This is why you see (/plops bookseller hat back on, atop writer hat) displays in stores that say “If you liked Twilight, you’ll like…” or “If you like Stephen King, you’ll like…”

For most writers, books take time. Fans read other books in between, while they’re waiting. Epic fantasy readers did not spend the six years between A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons twiddling their thumbs. They sought out other books that scratched that same itch. They discovered other writers in the meantime.

So no, Ms. Rowling writing more books in the Cormoran Strike series doesn’t hurt other writers. I don’t know enough about how the review process works (as in, how big professional publications decide which books will be featured). But I’m pretty sure she’s not sitting there cackling at having stolen the spotlight from a lesser-known writer. I would also put money on “that review space would have gone to another Big News Book” if she didn’t have something coming out that month. Just saying.

I don’t need to address snobbery of the slam on adult readers who read the Potter books for themselves, and not the children, do I? Good.

Point is, one author telling another “you’re too successful, get out of my yard,” is ridiculous.

As my friend Camille said, “The writers I know celebrate each other’s successes because readers win when another book is born.” Which is exactly right.

Posted in books, writing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on JK Rowling Doesn’t Need My Advice

Countdown to Owl-ageddon

One day! One day until release! Got a little hairy there last weekend, with Ragnarok scheduled for Saturday, but the wolf didn’t eat the sun, so we’re good.

These lovely blogs are hosting yours truly throughout the week. Check out the reviews and guest posts and giveaways:

2/24 – Tynga’s Reviews – Review/giveaway
2/25 – Bitten By Books – Release party and Rafflecopter giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway
2/26 – Manga Maniac CafeReview, Q&A/giveaway
2/27 – My Bookish WaysQ&A/giveaway, review
2/27 – TerriblemindsFive Things I Learend While Writing Night Owls
2/27 – Fresh FictionFresh Pick and review

February 27, 2014

2/28 – Urban Fantasy InvestigationsGuest post/giveaway


Posted in writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments