novels


The end of the year is fast approaching, and as usual it has inspired me to make a fruitcake and do fruitcake 2a little housekeeping, taking stock of what this year has meant for me as a writer, a reader, and just a person, too.

I confess that 2014 has been a difficult year for me. Sort of like Longfellow’s little girl with a curl right in the center of her forehead, when this year was good, it was very good indeed, and when it was bad it was horrid.

I struggled with personal relationships this year, with both friends and with my family, but I also reconnected with several old friends, and was privileged to witness a truly amazing event in my immediate family—my uncle surviving a bone marrow transplant from my mother.

After enjoying performing lion dance over Chinese New Year I decided to take a leave of absence from my kung fu studio for personal reasons both physical and mental. And while I felt less fit overall this year since 2011 (the year I committed myself to taking time for fitness) I ran my first triathlon and achieved the times I wanted.

I wrote a novel that is a total mess, that I may trunk forever, but I also wrote one that I believe may be my best yet.

As is apparent from that last point, I struggled with my writing this year, aesthetically and emotionally, but I also sold a handful more short stories than usual, ones that I like more than usual, even, and I also sold my first novel, my second novel, and a novella.

Though I struggled with feelings of career stagnation, I achieved some other firsts this year. I edited my first ever magazine edition (in spite of being Managing Editor/Assistant Editor of several magazines over the years, I was never invited to take part in actual fiction-selection), and was invited to edit two more projects, an issue of another magazine, due out next year, and another project which has not yet been announced.

Though I did not have a book come out this year, I saw seven short stories published, one of which earned me my first-ever mention in Publishers Weekly, and I sold seven more. I also began (and completed, more impressively for me) a blog series for Pornokitsch, where I am now a regular contributor.

For the first time since 2009 I did not attend a single con, but I was invited to be a guest—an actual guest, not just a participant—at a con next year, a first for me. I turned down cons for good and bad reasons this year, a learning experience, but I also traveled to Japan, which was an amazing experience.

I read more this year than I have in many, many years, in part due to a concerted effort to do so. I kept track of my adventures on Goodreads, which was enlightening. After beginning the year at a good clip I had hoped to read 75 books this year. I’m currently at 65 and I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze in ten before the new year, but I’ll try–and whatever I achieve will be extremely rewarding, I’m sure.

I also played video games for the first time in years—Dragon Age 2, and I just started Dragon Age: Origins. As this was also a rewarding experience, I hope to play more games in future, as I am woefully ignorant of the state of gaming, having never owned a video game system that wasn’t Nintendo. Onward to Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect, and more!

2015 should be an exiting year. Having my first novel come out, and my second, is already a thrilling but intimidating prospect. I’ll be doing two other blog series for Pornokitch, which I hope to complete with the same or greater level of success as the last. I’m enthusiastic to do more races, to have new adventures (didn’t get to my annual 14er this year), and to begin new writing projects with more confidence and self-assuredness in what I do best, rather in what I wished I did better.

I hope you all had wonderful years, and if you didn’t I hope your 2015 is better. Cheers!

I won’t just have one novel out next year… I’ll have two!

Lazy Fascist, who did such a great job with A Pretty Mouth, will be putting out my second full-length novel, The Pleasure Merchant, in Fall 2015. The formal announcement is here, on Pornokitch. I’m really stoked. Here’s a short description:

wigsThe Pleasure Merchant;

Or, The Modern Pygmalion

“To truly know a man, you must know his pleasure…”

Tom Dawne is a modest boy with modest dreams that befit his modest station in life. An orphan, apprenticed to a respectable wigmaker, all Tom has ever wanted is to learn his trade, marry his master’s daughter, and become a full partner in the business.

Unfortunately, after a mysterious young gentleman calling himself Callow Bewit tampers with one of Tom’s most important commissions, Tom is summarily dismissed and turned out into the street. It’s as strange as it is unfair—Tom has no idea how the youth planted all those playing cards in the damn wig, causing its owner to be accused of cheating during a high-stakes game at a very fancy party. But he must have done it—Tom certainly had nothing to do with the affair.

Stranger still, in the wake of Tom’s disgrace, Callow Bewit’s father, the very rich and very unhappy Mr. Tiercel Bewit, offers Tom a new job… as his “cup-bearer,” whatever that means. Tom takes the position, even though it’s uncertain why Mr. Bewit feels any responsibility toward him at all—the boy in the wig shop was most definitely an impostor, for Mr. Bewit’s son Callow is away in Europe on his grand tour. Could it be the gentleman had something to do with the scandal? Or is he simply a kindly old man with a heart of gold?

Whatever the case might be, Mr. Bewit’s generosity initiates Tom’s meteoric rise in 18th century London society. But as Tom goes from disgraced apprentice to gentleman’s servant, and then from gentleman’s servant to gentleman-in-training, his desires change as much as his duties, and his pleasures even more than his station. Once, a small shop and an intelligent bride would have satisfied Tom’s every desire. Now all he can dream of is climbing the social ladder, even if he’s unsure what’s at the top.

When Tom meets a man who claims he can obtain Tom’s ultimate pleasure—for a price—what will Tom ask for? A secure life as an obscure tradesman? A fate more glittering and glorious? Or something darker, like revenge on those who have wronged him? Pleasure can take many forms, after all…

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