Thursday, 5 January 2017

Books Out in 2016

So, to clarify, this is most definitely not one of those "stuff eligible for awards" posts that have been kicking about, because I don't do those.  I was raised to believe that if you have to ask for something then that something isn't worth having, which is probably why no one ever gives me anything and I get dirty looks in the queues at sandwich shops.

Wait, that's not true.  Well, maybe the bit about sandwich shops.  Still ... not an awards eligibility post.  More a "2016 was a rough old year and I could do to remind myself that I accomplished a few things" post.  And while, between you and me, it was all down to timing and weird luck and coincidence and I certainly wouldn't have chosen to have four (three and a half?) books come out in one year, it's definitely a thing that's happened.


The first - but by no means the last - of my longer works to get a bit experimental, Patchwerk was a big old risk, and one that in retrospect I only took because my brain was at that time just as exploded as its reality-skipping, genre-hopping, gender-flipping, rules-ignoring narrative.  It was a tough book to write on any number of levels, born out of a particularly difficult time, and in retrospect it's kind of amazing that, somehow, I not only got it finished but managed to sell it to the impressive, as one of first titles in their then fairly new novella line-up.

Sadly, that was as far as the very good news went.  Despite some strong reviews, Patchwerk hasn't altogether found its audience, and declined the follow-up novella I wrote for them, which is if anything weirder, wilder and more ambitious.  Here's hoping I can find a home for it elsewhere in 2017, because I do like writing these novella things and I'd hate to have to give up on the format.

The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories

Thanks to the ruptures and shenanigans at Spectral Press that took up such a disproportionate amount of my attention in 2015, I was more or less certain that my much-delayed debut short story collection would never happen - until it did, thanks to Michael Wills and Digital Fiction Publishing.  And Michael proved to be an absolute powerhouse, picking up a stalled project and kicking it into life in what felt like no time at all.

Which was awesome, undoubtedly.  Still, there was no way the deluxe hardback edition I'd dreamed of, the one that would really showcase the fabulous art Duncan Kay had produced, would happen - until Ian Whates and NewCon Press stepped in and suddenly we were talking about the most ridiculously lavish hardback I could have imagined.  That both editions have made it comfortably into profit is the icing on an already icy cake.  Now to figure out how to make the audiobook happen...

The Black River Chronicles: Level One

The jewel in the crown of my 2016, I'm still a little in awe of the fact that Level One is out there and finding readers at a rate of knots; thanks to my collaboration with Michael Wills, this book sprang from nowhere and then snowballed, going from conception to release in somewhat less than a year.

The result is a book I'm terrifically proud of, and one I could never have come up with on my own.  At a point when my own projects were getting increasingly dour, Michael's input and concepts were a handy reminder that books could be cool, fun, exciting things.  And I don't think it's a stretch to say that that's precisely what Level One ended up being: cool, fun and exciting, with the warmest heart of anything I've written and characters I fell in love with almost from the moment we came up with them.  That readers seem to be finding our party of hopeless heroes-in-training pretty lovable as well is a huge relief.

C21st Gods #1

Another book that spent so long in development hell that I'd essentially given up on it by the time it finally shuddered into life, C21st Gods found its artist and publisher pretty much simultaneously - and suddenly my poor, deceased comic book project was alive and kicking.  And not only that but the publisher was Rosarium, one of the boldest, most exciting indy presses out there, and the artist was Anthony Summey, who turned out to be the perfect fit: not many people could nail both the horror and science-fiction elements of a comic that's called C21st Gods for very good reasons.

Those reasons are going to become a great deal more apparent this year, when we get to the second two issues of the mini-series and start drifting further away from Lovecraft pastiche and nearer to - well, talking a little more about the twenty-first century, I suppose, its gods and its horrors.  But in the meantime, issue #1 is definitely the place to start, what with it being the first issue and everything.


I suppose that, while we're hear, it would be remiss not to mention the short stories I had out in 2016 - especially given that, now that I add it all up, 2016 was a heck of a good year for short fiction coming out.  New stories-wise, I had (in no particular order) my Lovecraftian military horror Great Black Wave in Nightmare, dark fantasy tale The Magpie of Souls in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, weird SF story Team Invasion at Liminal, my crime debut Step Light in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and more horror in the impressive Mysterion anthology (Golgotha) and the most recent issue of Pantheon magazine (Knock, Knock.)  As for reprints, those were split nearly between Digital Fiction PublishingDancing in the Winter Rooms, Passive Resistance and Black Horticulture - and exciting new market Great Jones Street, who took Jenny's Sick, Great Black Wave, Ill-Met at Midnight and A Killer of Dead Men.

Phew!  That turned out to be more of a list than I remembered.  Okay, I feel a little better about 2016 now.

But only a little.

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