Icepocalypse 2014: The Documentary

It was a bit crazy here in Houston the last couple of days. Schools, shut down from icy conditions. Accidents, piling up all across the city. Ice, destroying our society with its crystalline coating.

Someone had to document the catastrophe. It might as well have been me.

#1: Before


“Your writing career will be long. Lots of peaks and valleys. Lots of digging in dirt, lots of learning ‘wax-on, wax-off,’ not sure how waxing a fucking car will teach you goddamn karate…

Every writer is her own creature, and every book a monster child different from the last.

A writing career isn’t a short game — it’s a long con.

You should always be writing, but never be hurrying.

It takes the time that it takes.”

Chuck Wendig

How I Wrote 3 Novels in 2013

In terms of sheer word output, 2013 was the most productive year I’ve ever had. After spending the previous two years working a discombobulated, utterly confused (and confusing) novel down to the bone, I decided I needed a different approach to writing novels. (Side note: this mess of a book turned into a soon-to-be-published short story. Hooray!)

The downfall with devoting all my time and energy to one single project was two-fold: for one, it becomes impossible to see the forest for the trees when your mind is singularly focused on one creative work. Every problem feels magnified, and every solution proves insufficient, tethered to a busted framework that had no business propping up a story to begin with.

Secondly, it’s good to step away and flex different creative muscles. Marathon trainers work on split times, long distance runs and sprint intervals to vary their training. Shouldn’t writers also work different areas? I wondered if maybe the best thing for my brain was to move from project to project, stepping away so that my story had space to breathe, and so I could gain some distance, perspective and ideally, new skills, all honed by time spent writing new stories.

I set a rather audacious goal. I wanted to write 3 novels in 2013. Continue reading →

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Fantastic quote on writing from Ira Glass, and one that proves to be a great comfort every now and then.

I really wish someone would have told me this a few years back, when I was less a writer and more like a gasping fish, lost on an unfathomable shore. I remember desperately wanting my words to catch up to my ambition, and the more I’ve output over the last couple of years, the more I feel like there’s actually some water under my fins, instead of endless grains of sand.

Keep closing the gap.

Excerpt: The Archimedes Problem

Claw Marks

For those of you who don’t know, a short story of mine is going to be published soon as part of Emby Press’s BLOOD TRAILS, an anthology focusing on monster hunter stories. Several people have been asking me when they can read this story. The official answer is that you can read it when it releases in early February. The less official answer is that you can read an excerpt of it right now. Hooray and such.

The Archimedes Problem is about a boy and the monster that killed his father. This story appeared in its infancy on this very blog, some years ago, and then morphed into a novel, and then back into a short story. I think this is how it was always meant to be.


I’ll be sure to post a link once the anthology goes on sale. Feel free to leave some thoughts in the comments!

(image by garethfw)

Year of the You

This TurboTax ad caught my eye the other day. Pretty impressed that they took something as boring as doing taxes and managed to create a super personal and charming ad out of it. As a marketing writer by trade, it’s cool to see when a company does a great job of finding a story to tell like this.

Also, Wreck it Ralph voices it. So that’s cool, too.

Ancillary Justice

Having just finished ANCILLARY JUSTICE, I’m still reeling from one of the most imaginative sci-fi books I’ve ever read. ANCILLARY JUSTICE stars Breq, a former AI indwelling a human body that happens to be thousands of years old, and on the hunt for revenge. Yeah. Wrap your head around that for a bit. If you’re looking for a great space opera, I’d highly suggest jumping into the Radch Empire with this book. 4/5

From Amazon:

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

A Blog Appears! Command?

Pardon the dust, folks.

After several months off, I decided it was time to refresh this blog with the help of my friend Jeff James, who is a WordPress wizard and also a super friend.

What was I doing with all that time off? Novel-ing, actually. At some point early in 2013, I set a rather ludicrous goal for myself. Tired of working on a novel that was at the time going nowhere, I decided the best course of action was to devote a calendar year to producing as much new content as I could. Continue reading →

The Last Policeman

Finished reading The Last Policeman last week. A unique detective novel set at the end of the world with a squarish yet lovable protagonist who won’t let impending doom by asteroid slow down one mother of a case. Loved it. 4/5

Plot synopsis from Amazon:

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The Booket List: April-May 2013

Since I’ve spent much of the last few months writing, I neglected to put up my Booket Lists for both April and May. In addition to the words I was putting down on paper, part of that stems from the fact that one of the books I read in April (I’m looking at you, Stephen King) was absurdly large, and I didn’t want to create a Booket List with so few titles. Hence, I made up for it by reading a poopton in May.

You’re welcome. Continue reading →

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