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!

 


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.

 


NaNoWriMo Journal Day 9: A day of rest

Well, it’s been a few days since I wrote a journal entry, mostly because I burned myself out on writing over the weekend.  Friday night we had our Pathfinder game, which I really didn’t want to miss, but I’d built up a buffer.  Still, I fell a bit behind.  On Saturday I was beset on all side by leaves.  So many goddamn leaves.  I more or less made my goal for the day.  Sunday though.  Sunday I buckled in, and wrote for upwards of six hours and made up my lost time, and enough so that I could pretty much take a day off on Monday.  Which I did.  To play video games with my friends.

Don’t judge me.


NaNoWriMo Journal Day 4: To Battle!

My first space battle is heating up and its getting really fun to write it.  So much so that its difficult to call it a night tonight.  Unfortunately, the coffee shop is closing in a few minutes and I have work tomorrow.  Annoying, but what are you going to do?

The crew of the Elusive Raptor is hatching a sneaky plan to see them safely out of the trap they flew into.  How’s it going to turn out?  Weeeell, I know, but I don’t get to write it until tomorrow, so things are still up in the air.

Tonight I wrote 2260 words, not quite making my goal of 2500, but overall pretty decent.  I think I’m about a half a day ahead at this point, and if I can add some bonus words tomorrow then I should be able to take Friday off for my Pathfinder game.  For now, its time to go home, and get some sleep.


NaNoWriMo Journal Day 3: Late night

So, I’m writing this on Nov. 4th because last night I was writing right up until midnight (11:30) and didn’t have time or the inclination to sit down and then write a journal entry. Last night I clocked in at 1519 words (under goal) bringing me to 5123 words total so far. I’m still above average, which is pretty good, but we’re still only three days in at this point and I need to pick up the pace.

I am relatively happy that I managed to get those fifteen hundred words written all while cooking supper, doing laundry, getting my hair cut and then cleaning the kitchen.

I’m into the third chapter now.  I’m keeping them fairly short to try and give it a somewhat snappy pace.  I’m just about at my first, short, space battle and I’m looking forward to having a little fun with it.  I’ve been going back and forth as to give my characters the win, or to let it end with them barely getting away.  I want to do a mix of both, but I’m really leaning toward not putting the screws to them quite yet.  Things are going to get plenty tough for them in the near future.