Conversation in Strange Horizons

Bogi Takács and I have a non-fiction piece in Strange Horizons. It’s called Gender, Sex, and Sexuality in SF: A Conversation. We talk about various stuff, from things we think are handled badly to recommendations. This also marks my first non-fiction sale.

While we were talking, I did have a tangent that I didn’t include. It’s something I think would interest my fiction readers more than people who don’t know who I am. Namely about the issue of times when it’s hard to show in a short story that humans do something too / it’s not an alien-only thing. I had a story where it was an issue: “The Dragonfly People” in Rainbow Lights. The viewpoint character is a giant scorpion-like alien, who comes from a strict trinary gender system. She assumes, based on what she sees, that humans have a strict binary gender system. Without concepts like being trans existing in her own culture, or a fluent shared language to discuss the issues, she remains thinking her initial assumption is correct.

It was something I considered at the time I wrote it, though I felt overall it’d be clear it wasn’t my view from my body of work, and there was a sequel in progress about the alien/human relations in the next generation that tackled those issues.

But the thing that struck me, and where this tangent is going, is those sorts of stories are rarely the ones where people are saying they couldn’t see how to mention it. They tend to be stories with human viewpoint characters, very human-like aliens, and/or characters who speak each other’s languages fluently. Which is why I often feel like replying to those statements with, “Is your viewpoint character a giant scorpion who thinks humans are weird squishy things that make funny sounds? No? Then someone can tell them androgynes exist, okay.”

Now, I’m off to eat solstice chocolates. I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Book Launch: Sunstruck – Bigfoot Urban Fantasy

I had the cunning plan to launch the book on my birthday. This might have worked, if I hadn’t also got a helping of viral friends for my birthday. But a few days later than intended, it’s go time. Sunstruck is an urban fantasy novel with Bigfoot. More about the book and the launch is below.

Sunstruck Cover

 

Book Description

The Spokane Ecology Board covers up supernatural incidents, under the pretence of enforcing environmental laws. It’s a dull job of sightseeing thunderbirds and pixie outbreaks. Until the team gets murdered.

Ari is the replacement team’s Bigfoot liaison. Armed with everything she’s learned from detective shows, she’s ready to find the murderer. The downside is the job comes with a human partner, who smells of air freshener and lines up his desk like a math project. He’s only a scientist, so it’s not like he knows anything about magical crimes.

Ben Cabot grew up hearing stories about Bigfoot, but they failed to mention a love of the internet or an aversion to throwing wrappers away. But there’s more out of place than an untidy work partner. Someone’s messed with the case files, and that means the killer might be closer than they think.

I have a three chapter sample on my website. Some vendors also have their own samples. I always recommend reading the sample before buying. The book is currently available on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Smashwords. A comprehensive (and regularly updated) list of sellers is found on the book’s official page.

 

About the Series

The books are set in an alternate version of Spokane, Washington. They’re told from two points-of-view – Ari and Ben. The balance between the two narrators will depend on the book. Sunstruck has more from Ari. The next book (Conduit) will have more from Ben. After that, it’ll vary.

It’s an open-ended series, where each book has a stand-alone mystery (though it’ll help to read them in the right order).

 

Cupcakes

In the tradition of launch cupcakes, I made Bigfoot faces. These aren’t my most technically skilled decorating jobs, but they are very chocolatey. So, here’s to Bigfoot and launches. I hope you enjoy the book!

Bigfoot Cupcakes

# If you want to note it for later elsewhere, I’ve tweeted about it and have a post on Tumblr. The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book Launch: Steampunk Novelette

Update: This book is no longer available to buy as a standalone title. It can be downloaded for free from Patreon.

I have a new ebook out in the world – a steampunk novelette called “By Means of Clockwork Selection”. As a launch promotion, the book is available free on Amazon from 28th August to 1st September (2013). Full book details, and links to all the sellers, can be found on the official book page. Ramblings about the book can be found below.

 

Book Details

The gears on the cover come from an old clock, which I dismantled. There were other neat things in the clock, like a mechanical music movement, which may be coming to a cover near you soon.

And the book description:

Connie survived the plague that devastated plants, animals and clockwork alike. Her life has settled into the relative peace of farming clockwork ponies and marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Bess. But the threat of plague is never far away. Mutated oaks are spreading over the ruins of London and stories of outbreaks abound. She fears the worst when a pony collapses, but the true cause is far more surprising. It might be the key to rebuilding the world.

 

Cupcakes and Plans

Originally, I planned to make cupcakes for big releases only. When I told the family my next book was a steampunk novelette, the response was, “Steampunk cupcakes!” So it looks like I’m making cupcakes for short story releases too. Gears were a challenge as I couldn’t find any cutters locally, so I cut circles and fashioned them into gears.

There are standard gears and sky metal gears (also seen on the cover). The filler cakes have nothing to do with the story, as they were mostly an excuse for adding fudge pieces.

The next thing out will be an urban fantasy novel. Until then, I hope you enjoy this book*!

 

* If you’re of a social media persuasion, you might want to add it to Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Book Launch: Rainbow Lights (Plus Cupcakes)

‘Tis the season for lots of sugar, as my collection Rainbow Lights is now live on Amazon. In celebration, I made cupcakes in rainbow cases and decorated them with a rainbow of sweets. Some might notice indigo and ink are missing from my collection colours, which was due to the availability of dyes and sweets. But the family aren’t complaining, as it’s all still sugar.

Cupcakes in rainbow-striped cases. Each row of cupcakes is iced in a colour. From front to back: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. An assortment of matching coloured sweets is on each one.

In less sugary information, the book is a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories and poems (mostly stories). I have an official page on my site, which has the table of contents, links to any stories available free online (you can also read the first couple with Amazon’s look inside feature) and a comprehensive list of where to buy. Currently these are Amazon’s sites in various countries, but there will be other places later.

There’s also a page on Goodreads if you’d like to mark it for later, leave a review, or anything of that nature.

Dates and Deadlines

The date I originally set was 13th May, 2013. This was great, except I’d forgotten it was my parents’ ruby wedding anniversary, and I was down to cook a meal. (I remembered the meal, but not the date.) This meant the collection was pushed on a little way, but I didn’t miss it by much. The book went live on 23rd May, and I got down to making cupcakes on the 25th.

Future Plans

Currently the book is only available on Kindle. I’d like to get it up on Smashwords too. I also plan to make a paperback version, with charcoal illustrations inside. The paperback will take time due to the extra pictures, so I’m not setting a date. It’ll be done when it’s done.

There will also be a steampunk novelette in the future, and the family appears to have nominated me to make themed cupcakes for that too. I may have set a precedent here…

But now it’s time for me to drink tea, eat cupcakes, and start work on the next thing.

Rainbow Lights cover: a rainbow squid in chalk pastels, in a charcoal black ocean.

Yay!