Posts Tagged ‘the invisible city’

Today Cirsova magazine, which has been nominated for a Hugo as Best Semi-prozine, announced its nomination package (i.e., the selection of stories it wants to present to voters), and one of my stories, for a wonder, is in there. This is, of course, a great hardship for me, since now if I say anything about the Hugos, I have to include a disclaimer. (I’m not sure if this post counts.) This does not mean I’ve been nominated myself, but it’s thrilling to be thought worthy to be a part of the magazine’s pitch to the voters.

On the other hand, it’s also an awesome responsibility, because now I’m the de facto ambassador for the talking gorillas and human/wolverine hybrids from the future who told me the story in the first place. (Yeah, it’s that weird.)*

If you’re not going to Helsinki in August, you can read the story here for free. If you are going to Helsinki, all I ask is that you give all of the nominees a fair shot.

Happy reading!


*Shameless plug: If you like this story, it was an inspiration for my novel The Invisible City, available here and here.


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Before I go any further, I want to make it plain that, regardless of things things turned out, I am very grateful to Jon Mollison, whose enthusiastic support for The Invisible City made it all possible. It is actually a compliment that Jon was so overwhelmed by the book that he forgot to check one small fact before doing me a great favor. So, thanks, Jon. I owe you a drink (of whatever sort you prefer).

By this point, of course, you are wondering, “What the heck is he talking about?” But then, if that is a new sensation, you haven’t been reading this blog very long. In the words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me ‘splain.”

For the space of a few minutes today, I was nominated for the first time ever for a literary award.

The Planetary Awards, initiated in 2015, are “an award where nominations and votes are only open to book bloggers / podcasters / booktubers.” Voting is open to bloggers of all stripes. The categories are short story and novel, and The Invisible City was placed in nomination this year in the novel category. Unfortunately, the book came out in 2013. I regretfully pointed this out to Jon, who notified the administrator, and The Invisible City was disqualified.

Still, I can’t deny that the thrill of seeing my name on the list (however briefly) was wonderful. Beware, world! He has seen the Promised Land! (And The Cosmic City will be eligible in 2017.)

You’ve been warned.

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It’s over. I just delivered a bouncing baby book named The Cosmic City. It weighs in at 88,129 words, not such a large baby by today’s standards, but significantly more than I expected. It was supposed to be eight or nine months in the womb, but took almost 54 weeks.

This is my eighth novel (if I’m not missing one, I’m tired). It marks the end of my first trilogy, which stretches almost 290,000 words including The Invisible City and The Secret City. (If it were a fantasy trilogy, this would be known as the end of Book One.) I’ve never written so many words about the same character before.

I’ve learned some lessons. One was that when you write 290,000 words, you come up with a lot of major characters along the way. In my case, it was about a dozen. Those characters like to have their moments when the series is coming to an end. And that’s tough. Not everybody got his moment, although everybody got some moment. And the main folks got their time in the spotlight. Part of the reason it took longer than I wanted was because I didn’t know much much spotlight there was, or how many plot threads to tie off (one of which I didn’t realize was there until last week. Don’t ask how that happens. It’s a writer thing.)

As much as writers are lousy judges of their own work, I am very pleased with how this came out, particularly the final battle between the two main antagonists. After three books, it had to be special, and I think I nailed it.

Now to take some time off to let the pie cool, then back for edits. But for tonight, sleep.

Good night.



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Please check out this glowing review of The Invisible City at the Seagull Rising blog!



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Netgalley is a site to join where readers who review can go to find new books and recommend them to their friends, followers, and the world at large through Amazon reviews, blogs, Twitter, and whatever the new app-of-the-day is today. It is free and easy to join. And among its thousands of offerings by traditional and independent publishers, you can find The Invisible City.

Reviews are the lifeblood of book-selling. The way things are today, it’s not enough to go down to Barnes & Noble or your local independent bookseller (yeah, right) and scan the shelves. This is particularly true of independent publishers whose works aren’t on the shelves. Nowadays, many people find the best way to choose books is to hunt down reviews on Amazon. And without reviews, authors (especially new ones) can’t get traction.

So if you didn’t know about Netgalley, give it a try. You don’t have to look at my book (although you can at least vote on the new cover), but there are thousands of authors in dozens of categories who are begging for your attention.

Read and review. It’s the thing to do!




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So here I sit, on the horns of a dilemma. Not literally, of course, for this chair is much more comfortable than a bullhorn, or a French horn, or whatever kind of horn a “dilemma” has, but a bit uncomfortable nonetheless. Because I am confronted with a writing problem of the sort I have never encountered before. Well, two problems, actually, but they intersect.

Here’s the primary dilemma: I am 25,000 into my latest novel, The Cosmic City, third in The Stolen Future trilogy. I have actually mapped out a lot of what I want to have happen, and I know exactly how the story is going to end. However, I have also been given an opportunity to work on a collaborative project with several other authors, a project which holds a significant likelihood of publishing whatever piece I can write to fit into it. The problem is that, unlike many other writers, I do not work on multiple projects at once. I do not, in a word, multitask.

I also do not write quickly. To create, revise, and edit a short story for this other project could realistically take me a month. I would probably be working on that exclusively. This would mean setting aside The Cosmic City for a month (give or take), a step I am reluctant to take, because I had a timetable. However, even if I plow ahead, The Cosmic City will not be ready for months yet, and by that time the window for this other project will be closed.

To complicate matters, the second dilemma has recently surfaced, which is to say my work on The Cosmic City has been too successful. Novels are expected to reach a certain length, and I would like TCC to run around 80 – 85,000 words, as did its predecessor. However, I have now reached a point in the plot that I did not expect to reach until around 40,000 words. At this rate it looks as though it could wind up finishing somewhere in the neighborhood of 65,000 words. That’s no good. I want my readers to have a rich and immersive experience. So I am  going to have to take a serious look at the novel’s structure to make sure I can attain the preferred word count.

Is this the right time to take a break from the novel, let it lie, and return with a fresh perspective? Or should I tackle the problem directly while I have a head of steam built up? And what about the very real possibility that I could be paid for the other project simply for writing and submitting (assuming it satisfies the editor) whereas self-published novels earn nothing unless you get out and push them (and sometimes not even then)?

You see here yet another reason why sane people don’t become writers. If you have this kind of problem at the office, you go to the break room or your partner’s office and hash it out. Novelists? We don’t have a break room, and most of us don’t have partners. We’re on our own.

Except I’m not. I have you.I know a lot of you are writers, and probably all of you are readers. And you have opinions. (It’s the Internet. Of course you have opinions.) So I’m not really alone. This is your chance to tell me how to run my life.

Got any ideas?




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I am pleased to introduce the cover art for The Secret City. I think it turned out rather well…


The book will be available February 29 for $3.99. Pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords now for only $2.99.


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