Last day for your Hugo nominations

Today is the last day for Hugo nominations for Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. If you’re a member of Worldcon 74 (MidAmericon II) or Worldcon 75, and you haven’t yet finalized your ballot, now’s the time.

And I won’t engage in self-pimpage for the Frontlines stuff, but if you’re still nominating, I’d urge you to consider WILD CARDS as a nominee for the new Best Series Hugo. It’s been going on for so long, and so many great stories have been contributed to by so many talented people, that it absolutely deserves to be on the shortlist. (The nominees for Best Series must be an ongoing series of at least three volumes of at least 240,000 words total by the end of 2016, of which one volume was published in 2016. Wild Cards’ word and volume count more than qualifies, and there was a 2016 release, HIGH STAKES.)


My revised public schedule for 2017

After overbooking myself on cons in 2015 and 2016 a little, I decided to lay off the conventions until April this year, mainly because I have a book to finish. But the con year is about to start up again, and I’ve gotten to add a few things to the list. So if you want to meet up in person and say hello*, here are your opportunities for 2017:

April 28-30: ConStellation 8, Lincoln, NE (Author Guest of Honor)

May 26-28: Manticon, Minneapolis/Bloomington, MN (Author Guest)

June 4-10: Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop, Laramie, WY (attendee) (This is not a public event, but if you’re a writer or IRL friend who lives in the area, we may have an opportunity to have dinner and/or drinks.)

July 28: Otherland Books, Berlin, Germany (Reading/Signing) (This is a free event, so stop by if you’re in or around Berlin at that time.)

August 4-6: Nine Worlds, London, UK (attendee)

August 9-13: Worldcon 75, Helsinki, Finland (attendee, although I may be on a few panels related to Wild Cards)

October 27-29: Honorcon, Raleigh, NC (Author Guest)

And that’s it for 2017 unless I get another invite I can’t turn down because I have a really hard time saying “no”.

*And yes, do say hello if you spot me at one of the cons listed and I’m not otherwise engaged. DO NOT meet up in person and say hello by coming up my driveway unannounced. That would be a little, how do you say, weird. And the dachshunds would maim you before I could even unlock the gun rack.


They make their females wear clothing!

So this piece of comment spam ended up in my spam queue, and it was too amusing not to share, seeing how it was probably written by a prime male specimen with impeccable morals and blinding attractiveness.

You know, I read the whole thing in the whiny nasal timbre it ought to be read in, and my first thought upon finishing was “Those grapes were sour anyway!”

In the same spirit, I hereby pledge to boycott the NASA astronaut selection process.

One for the fountain pen fans

I have a little tradition for book release days. Every time a new novel comes out, I get myself a nice new fountain pen to commemorate the event. 

For FIELDS OF FIRE, I didn’t have to shell out my own money, because this one was paid for by 47North, my publisher. It’s a gold-trimmed Parker Sonnet in black lacquer. I immediately inked it up to use for notes on Frontlines #6.

I wrote the first two novels in the Frontlines series by hand, with a fountain pen. These days, I write directly into Scrivener because of the delivery schedule for the Frontlines books, but I’ll occasionally break out the pens to write a chapter or two to mix things up. For the next series, I may just go back to longhand first. The process feels less like work when i get to put down ink on actual paper first and then transcribe later. (It also has the advantage of on-the-fly revision when you type up your longhand, and what ends up on the PC is already a word-by-word first revision.)

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FIELDS OF FIRE, Amazon reviews, and gay Russian space marines

FIELDS OF FIRE has been out for not quite a week, and it’s sitting on 54 Amazon reviews and a 4.8 star review average already, which is much better than a sharp kick in the crotch. Thank you to everyone who has bought it, and extra special thanks to those of you who took the time to leave a review.

I don’t usually respond to reviews, especially not on Amazon. Reviews are for other readers, not for me. But one thing caught my eye as I was skimming the reviews—a reader who gave me a favorable review, but felt that I threw in a gay Russian space marine “for diversity”. Truth be told, when I wrote Dmitry, I didn’t know he was gay until I got to the scene in ANGLES OF ATTACK where Dmitry and young master Andrew have a drink together and show each other pictures of their main squeezes, as soldiers do when they have downtime and some alcohol in front of them. I’m not the kind of writer who claims that my characters have their own will—they do what I tell them to, goddammit, because I’m the master of their universe—but that was a moment where a character revealed a little detail that I hadn’t intentionally sketched out, but that felt natural and proper. Dmitry pulled out the picture of his spouse, and my brain just went, “He has a husband. Huh, Of course he does.”

So no, I don’t sit down with a character creation sheet and a checklist for Maximum Diversity(tm) and threw in a gay character to advance an agenda, score Social Justice Warrior brownie points, or engage in virtue-signaling. Dmitry is gay because he is, and with all the crap these soldiers have to deal with in their alien-besieged dystopia, I found it appropriate that at the very least, showing someone else a picture of your same-sex spouse is not worthy of special commentary above and beyond “Nice picture” in that version of the future.


It’s Fields of Fire release day!

FIELDS OF FIRE, the fifth book in the Frontlines series, is out today on Kindle, in paperback, and as an Audible audiobook (read by the excellent and talented Luke Daniels). You can get it here in all three formats.

Pro tip: All the other Frontlines books are still only $1 each on the Kindle, but that sale ends today, so if you want to stock up (or gift the books to someone else), today is your last day to score four for the price of one.

I like the way Fields of Fire turned out, and my beta readers and editors were very happy with it. In this book, Andrew and his brothers-and-sisters-in-arms finally try to pry Mars away from the Lankies. They have a good plan, some great new hardware, and a bunch of freshly-trained troops to throw into the battle. But everyone who served knows that battle plans never survive first contact with the enemy…and the Lankies may have their own surprises in store for the combined forces of Earth.

Go grab a book in your favorite format if you are so inclined. And if you liked it, consider leaving an Amazon or Audible review. It sells more books and makes my publisher happy, which means I get to write more books.

Anyway, now I have to get back to my traditional pursuits on Book Launch Day: stress-eating and obsessively refreshing the Amazon rankings page…

lines of departure, polish edition.

The Polish edition of LINES OF DEPARTURE is out this month from Fabryka Slow, and they continue their excellent cover illustration streak:

For the American covers, I only ever had one specification–no character faces. (That’s because I wanted the readers to picture the characters any way they wanted in their heads. Note that young master Andrew Grayson never has his physical appearance described in the books. He could be white or black or any shade in between–the PRCs are multi-racial shitholes, after all–and his hair and eyes could be any color because I never say what they are.) But if you have to do a cover with a character face, this one is very good indeed. I like how the Polish covers blend the current and the futuristic, and then coat everything with a patina of grunge. And I really dig the little spin counter on the cover that tells you which book in the series you’re looking at.

Looking at the calendar, it’s only two weeks until the release of FIELDS OF FIRE. People who have read the ARCs have said that it’s the best Frontlines book yet, and I hope you’ll buy it and evaluate that claim for yourselves.

Now I need to dive back into POINTS OF IMPACT, Frontlines #6, so you get to maybe buy that one in 2017 as well…


frontlines kindle sale.

Oh, hey–it’s February. That means the release of FIELDS OF FIRE is just a few weeks away.

Crazy Jeff over at the Electronic Books Emporium has discounted all four books of the Frontlines series so far to a dollar each on the Kindle. If you still need to complete your set, or you want to get a friend hooked on some Space Kablooie, this would be a good time to do so. Because FOUR DOLLARS for the whole series! That’s cheaper than a Happy Meal, with far less sodium and without the crummy toy that usually ends up under the seat in the minivan anyway.


wild cards I-V, now as ebooks.

The Wild Cards world is an alternate history universe created and edited by George R. R. Martin. It’s a gritty and grungy take on the superhero genre. I don’t usually play in other peoples’ creative playgrounds, but I absolutely could not refuse to be part of this one, because it’s SO MUCH FUN.

If you are unfamiliar with Wild Cards, but interested in checking out that world, Macmillan has released the first five Wild Cards books as an e-book collection. You can get it from Amazon for the Kindle here, or for all other electronic formats (Nook, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, and via the links on Macmillan‘s page.