An Accident of Stars is out today in the US! The UK release should follow on August 4th, and the Australian release sometime in the next two weeks, but as of today, it’s officially out in the wild. I really hope you enjoy it!
So, remember that thing where Mark Oshiro and I are co-editing the Speculative Fiction 2015 anthology? The fabulous cover and even more fabulous TOC are here! Feast your eyes on the magnificence!
And here’s the TOC:
SpecFic’ 15 will be released in the summer and all profits from sales will be donated to Room to Read. We really hope you enjoy it!
So, remember that thing where I’ve written an epic portal fantasy? The cover is finally here, with artwork from the amazing Julie Dillon! BEHOLD THE PRETTY:
Here’s what it’s all about:
When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.
There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.
Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.
Can one girl—an accidental worldwalker—really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?
There’s an official release piece up at tor.com – go check it out!
My novella, Coral Bones, the first story in the Shakespearean Monstrous Little Voices anthology from Rebellion Publishing, is out today!
What’s it about, you ask? Well:
Miranda, daughter to Prospero, the feared sorcerer-Duke of Milan, stifles in her new marriage. Oppressed by her father, unloved by Ferdinand, she seeks freedom; and is granted it, when her childhood friend, the fairy spirit Ariel, returns. Miranda sets out to reach Queen Titania’s court in Illyria, to make a new future…
As much as The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, his treatment of Miranda has always bothered me. Aged sixteen, after being raised alone on an island with only her father and spirits for company, Miranda’s ‘happy ending’ is to marry the first man she ever meets within a day of meeting him. This story is my way of asking: what happens next? Who is Miranda, really? What if Ariel, not Prospero, had the bulk of her raising? What would a girl from an island think of life at court?
What if Ariel had to set her free?
Coral Bones is a story about gender identity, feminism and fairies. I’m hugely honoured that it’s your first chance to explore the Monstrous Little Voices collection, and hope it leaves you eager to read the subsequent stories: The Course of True Love, by Kate Hartfield; The Unkindest Cut, by Emma Newman; Even in the Cannon’s Mouth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky; and On the Twelfth Night, by Jonathan Barnes.
Happy book day, everyone!
I’m excited to finally announce that I’ve signed a two book deal with Angry Robot! The first book, An Accident of Stars, is slated for release in summer 2016 – I like to describe it as a portal fantasy with the safeties off, complete with adventuring ladies, politics and magic, and I can’t wait to see what you think of it.
Massive thanks to my awesome agent, Jennie Goloboy, who had faith in the story from minute one; to all the fabulous people at Angry Robot, a team of geeks after my own heart; to my friends and writers and writer-friends who’ve helped and encouraged and generally put up with my flailing over the past few months; and to my wonderful husband, Toby, and our mostly-wonderful spawn, who currently sees my laptop as a toy car obstacle rather than a source of gainful employment, but nonetheless manages to be endearing. I love you both.
Watch this space, you guys. It’s gonna be awesome🙂
I first became active online when I was eleven or twelve, back in 1998; I’d just started high school. To use the internet, I had to go into my mother’s study and use a 56k dial-up modem that sounded like a series of cartoon pratfalls. My first proper blog, if you can call it that, was attached to my Elfwood account, after which I progressed steadily to fourms, private sites, and finally to actual blogging and collaborative platforms. I posted poetry, short stories, book and film reviews, and political opinions, but though I got into plenty of arguments and even made a few friends, I doubt I had more than a dozen or so readers at any one time, and most of them were people I knew IRL. I was shouting into a void, but that was fine, because I’d never expected an audience: I just wanted to write, to get my thoughts out, and to put them somewhere that wasn’t a poorly-labelled Word document on a shared computer.
All through my teens, I kept it up. For a brief period during university, I even had my own paid website, called Wordwench, maintained and coded by my then-boyfriend. Though there were sometimes long hiatuses between posts, and despite the trail of abandoned sites and usernames I left behind me over the years, I always wrote, even when I didn’t know who I was writing for, or why, or whether anyone was listening. You can backdate my desire to be an author to the same year I discovered the internet, too; and maybe that’s significant, and maybe it’s not, but either way, even when I was too shy and paranoid to ever put my actual novel-attempts online, I kept writing them, kept blogging and arguing and posting opinions, because it never occurred to me not to. Aged sixteen, writing in response to a friend’s amazement at how much I wrote, I ended an otherwise wholly unmemorable poem with a single decent phrase:
“My words are a sonar, a path to be walked.
I write like a whale sings.”
And even though the sentiment now feels bombastic and self-aggrandising, at some base level, it still also feels true. I write as a form of self-navigation. I don’t know how not to write, how to just have thoughts unmediated by ink and script and keyboard. The older I get, the more I feel like a chimaerical creature, three-headed, trifurcated into distinct personalities – how I seem to strangers, how I seem to friends, how I see myself – whose only point of overlap is the part of me that writes; which is, perhaps, the only real part. I so often feel dissonant within myself, but words are anchors, words are steel and sky and the blood that hammers me in place, the fire that keeps me functioning when all other sparks go out. When I have been depressed, sunk in dark trenches, lit only by small hopes as dimglowing and treacherous as anglerfish, it has always been three words, the same three words, that pull me out again: what happens next? I thought it was a mantra I conjured in high school, words to sooth the moon from my eyes on endless insomniac nights, but years later, my mother told me I’d said the same thing in childhood, too, whenever a bedtime story ended. What happens next? my girlself asked, and perhaps that’s why she grew up to be a writer. How else could she find answers?
Because the truth is, stories never end; we just exit them a while, like passengers alighting a train with no final destination. There’s always a thing that happens next, and a thing after that, and a thing after that, most of them small, but a great many not; and these are the things we live for. And now, such a thing has happened to me: I’ve been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, alongside four other people I immensely respect – Abigail Nussbaum, Liz Bourke, Kameron Hurley and Mark Oshiro – and even though there’s been controversy in other quarters, such that part of me feels I ought to discuss it, in truth, with everyone who’s already contributed, I don’t feel I can add much more to the discussion, and so you’re getting this instead: a rambling Once Upon A Time about a girl who was bitten by words, infecting her with liticism, which tragically has no cure but a life spent writing; and how, all these years later, I find myself with an audience, and a peer group, and a place in a community, and some small, tangible proof of the fact that enough of you like what I write here that you nominated me, and so – thank you.
That’s all I wanted to say, really. Thank you. It means a lot.
So often I have the words, but lack the time.
So often I have the time, but lack the words.
So often I have the strength, but lack the will.
So often I have the will, but lack the strength.
Words. Time. Strength. Will.
You need all four to write.
Like clock hands, they might align predictably, but rarely.
Like dice rolls, they might align often, but unpredictably.
Like connecting trains, they might align both often and predictably.
Like weather phenomena, they might align both rarely and unpredictably.
It doesn’t matter.
When you can, you write.
Write slow and sweet, like a lingering kiss.
Write bitter and fast, like a burning house.
Write bitter and slow, like a killing frost.
Write fast and sweet, like a shooting star.
Write with what’s in you.
Write with what isn’t.
Write like your words can mend the unmendable.
Write like your words can break the unbreakable.
Write like your words can build the unbuildable.
Write like your words can destroy the indestructible –
and one day, maybe,
Words are bombs, my darlings.
They explode our hearts
and whether they do it with fireworks or shrapnel
is up to you.