The wonderful worlds of Seanan McGuire

My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of going to ConQuest in Kansas City earlier on this year. If you haven’t been, I can’t recommend it enough. The programming was excellent, the location (The Sheraton at Crowne Center) is awesome, and they had a game room the likes of which I haven’t seen before or since. We’re looking forward to returning this year, and probably for many more in the future.

One of the chief draws of ConQuest this year was the convention’s author guest of honor, Seanan McGuire. She’s someone who’d flown under my radar for a long time until I picked up Rosemary and Rue, the first in her October Daye series during one of my “Eh, its Urban Fantasy and I need something to hold me over until the next Dresden Book comes out” searches of Audible.com.

Spoiler alert: The next Dresden book comes out in exactly one hundred years.

Back on topic, though. Since that first book I’ve been hooked to just about everything that Seanan writes, and fortunately for me, she writes a lot. Not only that, but her panels at ConQuest were hilarious and mildly frightening. Through some of her books, she’s done quite a bit of research on genetic engineering and put a lot of thought into how she would end the world on the cheap. She actually consults for the CDC in one capacity or another along with some other authors. I’m assuming because it’s their job to think up worst case scenarios and then think up ways out of them.

All that being said, if you don’t know who she is, and what she writes, that’s what we’re doing here today. We’ll start where I started, with the October Daye series.

While I really don’t want to compare October Daye to Harry Dresden…there are a few similarities. Not in a “this is a copy” sense, but more in a “both of these characters could use a vacation” sense. October Daye is a Changling, half-human, half-fae. She’s had a rough last decade and a half. While searching for the kidnapped wife and daughter of her liege, his asshole half-brother changed her into a goldfish and left her to swim about in a lake for fourteen years. When the spell finally breaks, she has to pick up the pieces of her life and deal with all the problems she left behind. If that sounds a little rough…it is. Toby gets the crap beat out of her in just about every book, makes more enemies, gets in more trouble, and generally bites off more than she can chew. She is also a bad-ass, though. Seriously, check it out.

Maybe “hard-boiled fae-private eye” isn’t your speed. Though, if it isn’t I’m not sure we have all that much in common. Still, if it isn’t, maybe “monster conservation” is more your speed. Well, the proper term is Cryptozoologist. For Verity Price, Cryptozoology is the family business. In the first book in Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, Discount Armageddon, Verity is in the middle of a study of the Cryptid populations of New York while trying to decide if she wants to pursue the family business, or follow her heart and become a professional ballroom dancer. All that goes out the window when a snake cult starts murdering folks and a member of the Fellowship of Saint Giles (monster hunters and assholes) shows up. I like this series a lot, for the world building, the characters and the everything else. In a later book they go to Australia and I wish she had an entire series based there.

Sometimes you’re not in an urban fantasy mood though. Sometimes you feel like a little horror. How about some zombies? Well, under her pen name Mira Grant, Seanan writes a couple of different horror series that are both engrossing…and gross.

In the Newsflesh series, starting with Feed, the zombie apocalypse has come and gone. The world has changed in the last forty years. First, zombies are a still a thing. Just because the apocalypse ended doesn’t mean they aren’t still around chewing on people. Along the way, the traditional media dropped the ball, and the new journalists are bloggers. Some are pure journalists, while others go out into the wilderness and poke dead things with sticks for page hits. Feed joins the first blogging crew embedded with a presidential campaign. Go out and read this. Trust me. Just do it. I wish I could tell you more…but I really can’t spoil this. Its good.

Zombies too tame for you? How about a world where genetic modification has produced a tape worm that you voluntarily take to solve all your health problems. What about when that goes really, really wrong? Then might I humbly suggest Parasite also by Mira Grant, the first book in the Parasitology series. Also a great read full of conspiracies, and creepy parasites.

Phew… There’s almost certainly something in here for you. I highly recommend that you buy her books. All of them. Read and keep reading forever.

I’d like to do some similar posts with other authors who I’ve stumbled across. But I’m terrible at delivering on blog promises. So, you’ll get what you get and you’ll be happy. Besides, if you read everything by Seanan McGuire that you can get your grubby little mits on, you won’t need any more books for a while. For now, I can hear the sweet, siren call of bed. That and the cats hunger. Catch you next time!

 


I’m scared and I don’t know why you aren’t

“Trump's a political outsider.”

“Trump speaks his mind.”

“He's going to get the corruption out of Washington.”

“We don't want another four years of the same politics in Washington.”

“It's time we sent a message to Washington that they can't just ignore us.”

I've heard the arguments. I understand them. Congress' approval rating is lower than Ebola's (wish I was joking) and the “fly over states” feel justifiably like our concerns aren't important to the policy makers in Washington. Concerns that have been stoked and enflamed by a pompous, posturing, shit lord with corn-silk hair … I'm sorry … President-Elect Trump.

Continue reading…


Impervious: Everything you wanted to know and more

I know that I’ve been saying this for a while, but the second draft is nearly done. I’ve been hemming and hawing over the last couple chapters for far too long, but it’s time to just finish it. I know there are still problems, but that’s what the third draft is for.

The big question, though…is what do I do with it? Inkshares isn’t going to work…because screw doing all my own marketing. Bleug. No thanks. Twitter is a fun distraction, but I don’t want to spend all day every day “building my following” like some kind of cult leader. Chances are my Twitter is going to get me tossed in Gitmo by President Trump anyway.

Further complicating matters is the information that I got at WorldCon. Impervious is a big book and would present a big risk to any publisher, on top of the risk of taking on a first-time¬†author. While I fully plan to query it out and try to find an agent, chances are that Impervious won’t be able to sell until I’ve sold a couple other books to “prove myself”. Even Brandon Sanderson started off with Elantris. Sure, it was a big book, but it wasn’t a huge trilogy like the Iron Principles is. And if I did sell it, there’s a very good chance that I’d have to change the ending so that it could be a stand-alone novel, just in case it didn’t do well.

Plus, nearly every agent and editor I heard at WorldCon said to not write the second book until after I’ve sold the first. Apparently having three books ready to go in a series isn’t actually a selling point…at least for a first-timer like myself.

So, how does this affect my plans? Well, in the immediate sense, not at all. I’m still going to finish up this draft, and probably do at least two more drafts to get Impervious in enough shape that I can query it out. If I find an agent, and it sells, awesome! I’ll take it and run, and change whatever they want ¬†me to change. It’ll take a while, but you’ll get a book.

Assuming that doesn’t happen? Well, I’ve got a couple other options. The first is just to pay to get it professionally edited and put it up on Amazon, iBooks and elsewhere, go the indie route. I’m crap at marketing, but that’ll put an eBook with my name out there and then I don’t have to wait for a multi-book deal to write the rest of the series.

Something else I’m considering is seeing what I sound like reading it. There are a few authors out there who’ve gotten their start publishing their book in an audio format, one chapter at a time, recording themselves. I’m actually more than a little curious to give that a try and have been dipping my toe in the shallow end of that pool since WorldCon. You may or may not be hearing more from me on that in the near future.

 


WorldCon and Inkshares

Oif. It’s been a busy couple of months here in the Swanson household. First, with the initial excitement of the Inkshares fantasy contest, then with the even bigger excitement of my first WorldCon. Both of these endeavors were stabs at kickstarting my writing career…and neither has gone off quite as well as I hoped it would. Granted, both were longshots. Still, its important to admit one’s defeats and move onto the next phase. Not only that, but both were valuable learning experiences.

WorldCon

MidAmericon II was an absolute blast. Sure, I went in all starry eyed thinking that I just might run into an editor who would want to hear the elevator pitch for Impervious, or just make some contacts in the industry. Don’t get me wrong. I met some awesome people, and met some excellent authors. Just no magical happenstance that put let me break straigh into the publishing industry. And really, I never expected that to happen.

What I did do was attend every panel that I could squeeze into my schedule without starving myself and dropping dead from exhaustion. I learned a ton of things that I didn’t know before. I attended a couple panels with agents and editors that will give me a big leg up when I’m ready to start shopping Impervious around in a draft or two. I attended a writing workshop that gave a rather staggering blow to my ego, but I have managed to recover from that.

WorldCon definitely put a lot of things in perspective, especially if I’m going to try and make a career out of this writing thing. I’m going to have to do more, be better and probably write a bunch more books a lot faster than I’m writing now. How I’m going to do that, I’m not sure…

Inkshares Contest

After a strong start in the first day, Impervious quickly fell off the top slots. I’ve gained a lot of followers over the course of the contest, but haven’t sold anywhere near the amount of books I’d need to win it, or to achieve the lower of the Inkshares goals that would get me an eBook. Granted, the contest still has thirty days to go, but unless Neil Gaiman or Brandon Sanderson points at my book and says make this happen, it isn’t going to happen on Inkshares.

And really, this isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. While I didn’t learn as much about this contest as I did from WorldCon, I have discovered one thing. I don’t want to go the Indie publishing route. It was fun for exactly one week, before I got tired of trying to think up interesting updates. And I have no desire whatsoever to email people individually to ask them to buy my book. Ugh… No…I have no stomach for doing my own marketing. This is something that I will gladly have some one else do on my behalf. Traditional publishing my be a harder road to walk…but I think its going to be the one that sees me writing more book and not tossing my hands up in frustration, trying to constantly drive people to my book listing on Amazon.com.

If you’re reading this and you’ve already pre-ordered a book, don’t worry. Inkshares will refund your money, probably in the first week of November. If you haven’t pre-ordered Impervious yet, and are wondering if you should…wait a bit. There probably won’t be another Inkshares contest in my future, but there will be other ways to support Impervious coming soon enough.

To everyone who pre-ordered. I can’t thank you enough. Your support has been awesome and even though it won’t be coming through Inkshares, Impervious will be in your hands soon…ish. Which will bring me right into my next blog entry which is going to be all about Impervious. Stay tuned! It’ll be coming soon.

(I promise. I wrote it as part of this blog entry but that just made this way too long and I like you guys. … Most of you guys. … … Yeah, most of you guys. And nobody wants to read THAT much on a book I haven’t completely finished yet.)


I need your help to publish Impervious!

This is something of a flash update, since I’m still busily finishing the second draft of Impervious. Thankfully, that’s coming right along and I’m nearing completion on it. I’m going to finish chapter 38 tonight or tomorrow, then keep on pushing right through till WorldCon.

The real reason for this post though, is that Inkshares finally started their Fantasy contest with partner Geek & Sundry (purveyor of fine geeky goods). Going with the theory that you miss one hundred percent of the opportunities you don’t take, I’m throwing Impervious’ metaphorical hat in the ring! Continue reading…