Lessons from a Year in Print

My debut novel has been out in the wild for a little over a year, now, and its sequel joined it on shelves five months ago. Stubborn and thick-headed though I am (a prerequisite for writing), I’ve contrived to learn a few lessons about myself and about writing:

The Angry Robot booth at ECCC 2018. Eric Scott Fischl, Alex Acks/Wells, Michael Underwood, Adam Rakunas, Joseph Brassey, Jasmine Gower.

The Angry Robot booth at ECCC 2018. Eric Scott Fischl, Alex Acks/Wells, Michael Underwood, Adam Rakunas, Joseph Brassey, Jasmine Gower.

  1. I can manage deadlines. Which is not to say that they’re not intimidating. Going into this, one of the big questions I had for myself was what the writing experience would be like on a deadline. With Quietus, I had all the time I needed for research, for drafting, and pre-editorial revisions. The only part of that project that was done with a time limit were the editorial revisions and copyedits. If it wasn’t for everything else that was anxiety-inducing about publishing a first novel, it would have been almost relaxing.

    Terminus was different. Having a set amount of time to research, draft, and do initial revisions was quite an experience. I’ve never had to schedule a novel before. Everything has always been able to take as much time as it needed. There was the added pressure of knowing, with the contract already signed, that people were depending on me, there were no mulligans, and only a set amount of time to correct any mistakes.

    I got it all through on time. What’s more, I did not, in fact, die of anxiety. I did not think I would, but thinking and experiencing are two different things. Now I’m even more prepared for the next time.

    Getting Terminus’s cover reveal while I was still drafting was exhilarating. When it was first publicized, I had just finished writing the scene on the cover a few days before. That felt like writing for a live audience.

    Admittedly, with Terminus, I did have a lighter schedule—in that I only had a full-time job. With Quietus, I had four jobs. One forty-hour-a-week, one ten-hour-a-week, and two five-to-ten-hour-a-week jobs. Somehow I managed to find the emotional energy to write about the Black Death in the meantime. I’ll take deadlines over that any time.

  2. Always keep moving. When I was drafting Quietus, it was difficult to see past the event horizon of my first book’s publication. Anything afterward was so mysterious and unknowable that it might as well not have existed. I’ve fallen into the event horizon, now: my first book hit shelves. And then my second. There is no win condition in this career, just milestones.

    Moreover, there will always be setbacks, remaindered books, unreturned e-mails. Expect them. Ordinary parts of the business can seem like disasters if you’re not prepared for them.

  3. Push hard, have fun. Writing is a lifestyle and work, not a money-making scheme. There’s no point for me in doing it if I don’t enjoy it. One of the most professionally enriching, personally rewarding things I’ve done since publishing Quietus was work at the Angry Robot booth during Emerald City Comic Con. More importantly, though, it was a blast. I connected with amazing people, lived and breathed my genre, presented at my first panel, and signed copies of my debut novel on its day of release. The “professionally enriching” part keeps me alive, but it’s everything else that makes me want to live. I could’ve found “professionally enriching” experiences in plenty of other fields, but I chose this one for a reason.

Terminus Now Available in Audio

Available on the Barnes & Noble and Amazon links in the sidebar, and more.

Available on the Barnes & Noble and Amazon links in the sidebar, and more.

On the one year anniversary of Quietus’s publication, its sequel, Terminus, is now available in Audiobook format! The audiobook was produced by Recorded Books and narrated by Gildart Jackson.

This past year has been an astounding experience, and I’ll have more thoughts on it as soon as I can scavenge the time to type them up. I’m grateful to have the chance to share more stories in more formats, and for the wonderful work of everyone bringing them to the world.

When I started on Quietus, I thought plotting an interdimensional conspiracy was the most complicated thing I would ever have to do…



Awards Eligibility

My debut novel, QUIETUS and its sequel, TERMINUS, came out in 2018. (QUIETUS released in March, and TERMINUS in November.) This makes them each eligible for the Hugo Awards’ Best Novel category, as well as the Campbell and other Best Novel or Best Debut awards.

2018 has been an incredible year for me, and I’m pleased just to have my books on shelves and to be eligible, and honored by any support my work receives.

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TERMINUS is out in North America NOW

The Black Death ended three decades ago, but not in the way that it “should” have, and the consequences are reshaping civilization. Half of Europe has been devastated, and half spared. The coming wars may take more lives than the Great Mortality ever could.

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And no one on Earth knows the reason why. The living planarship Ways and Means has come to medieval Earth and ended the Black Death, but it keeps its intentions to itself. Someone is trying to kill its agent Osia, who is suffering through her own exile. Spy-turned-anthropologist Meloku becomes a target, too. While they fight to survive, Fiametta - an Italian soldier, mercenary, and heretical preacher - raises an army and a religious revolt, aiming to split Europe in half.

TERMINUS, the sequel to QUIETUS, is available at any of the links in the sidebar, and at neighborhood libraries and booksellers! Ride with the condottieri of Italy into a maelstrom of interdimensional chaos and conspiracy.

TERMINUS is out in the UK/AUS/NZ region NOW

TERMINUS, the next book skewing the dark, messed-up history of death in the medieval world, is out in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand now.

The Black Death has ended, but in a way it never should have. Half of Europe never felt its touch. Now, thirty years later, the wars have just begun. And outside powers are meddling. Two former agents of a multiverse-spanning empire, exiled to Earth, have discovered that someone much too powerful is trying to kill them.

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