Hugo Story Withdrawn

I have withdrawn my story “Goodnight Stars” from consideration in this year’s Hugo Awards.

I want to make it clear I am not doing this lightly. I am not doing it because I
am ashamed. I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on
any “side,” though many friends have made cogent arguments for both keeping my
nomination and sticking it out, as well as for retracting it and letting things proceed without me in the middle.

I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction.  I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.

I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about. This is not why I write. I believe in a compassionate, diverse, and inclusive world. I try to write my own take on human experiences and relationships, and present my fiction as entertainingly and honestly as I can.

I am proud of “Goodnight Stars.” I wrote a damn good story last year that a lot of people have enjoyed. I believe it could have maybe even won.

But it is not the last story I will write. It is not even the best story I will write. I have perhaps already written better stories this year. I will write better stories next year, and the year after, and for decades after that. I hope to be like Ray Bradbury and write every moment until I go gentle into that good night, pen in hand.

There will be other years and maybe other rockets. I don’t want to stand in a battlefield anymore. I don’t want to have to think over every tweet and retweet, every blog post, every word I say. I don’t want to cringe when I open my email. I don’t want to have to ask friends to google me and read things so that I can at least be aware of the stuff people might be saying in my name or against my name.

This is not why I write. This is not the kind of community I want to be a part of, nor the kind of award I want to win.

I am not your ball. My fiction is my message, not someone else’s, and I refuse to participate in a war I didn’t start. It has become clear to me that the only way to stay out of this is to pick up my ball and go home. So this year, I will not put on a princess gown sewn with d20s. I will not win a rocket. But I will be able to sleep and know that when I get up, there won’t be fires waiting for me.

There will only be my words. My stories to tell.

Because all I have ever wanted from being a writer is to write books so good that readers cannot set them down.  And I’m going to go back to doing that now. Maybe someday I will get to sit in a pretty dress next to my mother and know that if I lose the rocket, it will be because someone wrote a story that resonated more than mine. To know that I will lose to a person and not a political fight. To sit there and know if I lose, no one will cheer. And if I win, no one will boo. Perhaps someday I can win this award for the right reasons and without all the pain.

Thank you to everyone who supported me. Who sent amazing messages of love, and empathy, and compassion. Thank you to everyone who read the story and nominated it because you felt it was worthy. Thank you to my editors, who have been nothing but amazing through the entire process of not only these last crazy weeks but also publication and all that entailed.

Thank you all for reading.

Nominated Story Online

The anthology editors John J Adams and Hugh Howey have generously made my Hugo Award nominated story free online. You can read it online in text or download the format of your choice (including the audio). Click Here to read it or download.  The story will also be in the Hugo Nominations packet.

If you enjoy the story, or just love apocalyptic and post apocalyptic fiction, I would urge people to get the whole series. There are many fantastic authors in these anthologies, all of us writing a huge range of different world-endings and situations. Click Here for more information and how to buy the full anthologies.

For information on Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, and/or the Hugo awards, please see the official Sasquan website: http://sasquan.org/

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Final note, comments will be closed on this post. I appreciate all the supportive things people have said over the last terrible week, but I’ve got a book to finish and I need to just move on. I hope I’ve said my piece and made it clear how I feel about this whole mess. I hope everyone who is able to will read as many of the nominated works as they can and vote, and I hope that this weird rift in fandom will be healed. Mary Robinette Kowal and George RR Martin have said very kind, smart things about it all. I urge people to go read the entirety of what GRRM has had to say. He put on a little school about the Hugos and why they matter.

Twenty-Sided Sorceress Book Six Cover Reveal

First, a note about book five. Yes, there’s a cliffhanger. No, I didn’t warn people about it beforehand because that would kind of ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it?  All I will say about book five is that it is a) the longest book in the series so far no matter how short it might feel due to the events in it and b) is exactly as intended and not half a book.  I’ll reveal now that this part of the Twenty-Sided Sorceress will take seven books, so if all you want to see if Samir and Jade facing off again, read book seven. If you want to see the journey of how these characters become who they become, read all the books.  We couldn’t have Return of the Jedi without also having The Empire Strikes Back happen before it. *grin*

So. Book six. Here are the details. It’ll be out in June, 2015 (not so long a wait to see who is still alive, I promise). It’ll pick up more or less where book five left off, and it is going to feature not just Jade’s, but also two other points of view.

Here is the cover by the fabulous Ravven:

Also, I will add that book 7 will NOT be the end of the series. I have many more stories to tell in this world.  I’ll be adding a few titles about side characters as well. Here’s a special sneak peak at something in the works:

Heartache Release Day!

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Book Five is out today!

Here’s the blurb:

“Life-changing moments are sneaky little bastards. Often we don’t
even know that nothing will be the same until long after, only in
hindsight can we look and say ‘There! That was it! That changed
everything.’
At least we could, if we’re alive to do it.”

Gamer and sorceress Jade Crow’s psychotic ex-boyfriend, Samir, shows up for an epic showdown, and nothing in Wylde will ever be the same.

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Here’s how you get it:

amazon buy2 Buy-from-Barnes-and-NobleKobo-Buy-Button2 iBookstore

Hugo Nomination and Thoughts

My short story “Goodnight Stars” which appears in The End is NOW edited by John J Adams and Hugh Howey, was nominated for a Hugo.  The story will be in the nomination packet as well as online for free soon now, so that those who wish to read it may. I’m damn proud of this story (the entire set of stories I wrote for the Apocalypse Triptych actually, I think might be some of my best work ever).

I should be dancing about this. Inside, I am a bit. Because it’s a damn good story, maybe the best short story I’ve ever written (and I’ve written over 100 of those things in the last six years).  But this Hugo season is full of controversy, which I’m not going to really talk about, because I find it exhausting and I have better things to do. This will be my only statement about it, if I can help it.

To clarify some things that shouldn’t matter but apparently do:

I am a socialist, if I have to quantify my political leanings. I’d vote Elizabeth Warren into the presidency if she ran, though she’s still not liberal enough for me (but she’s smart enough, too smart to run probably, hah), if that gives an idea of what I mean here.

I am queer in that I am an out bisexual who has had more female partners than male. (I am married and monogamous with a man but still identify as bi because I don’t think who I ended up in love with should matter).

I have two X chromosomes and a vagina. Also boobs. And tattoos (90 hours and counting!).

My nominated story features a non-white female protagonist. Most of my stories do, actually. I think the world is a very interesting and diverse place, I grew up in a multi-ethnic and diverse family, and I don’t see our future becoming less diverse so I choose to write about a world that has as many different people in it as I can dream up.

Honestly, the thought that the above information would change whether or not my story gets read and considered, in either direction, makes me a little sick to my stomach.  I am not so naive, however, that I think we exist in a political and social vacuum. So I figure these things need to be said by me, so that at least the information is out there. People will still make whatever assumptions they want to, and will vote however they want to. That’s out of my control.

What is in my control is how hard I work at my job. I am a professional SF/F writer. I’ve attended more than 20 workshops over the last five years, always striving to deliver better and more awesome stories for my readers. I work my ass off on my craft and on the business side. I’ve sold over thirty short stories to magazines and anthologies. I’ve sold nearly a quarter million books as an indie author.

My job, as I see it, is to write the best damn books I can, books that readers will love and not be able to put down.

I feel that “Goodnight Stars” is one of my best accomplishments. My editors, many reviewers, and my readers have agreed with this.  I think I get as much fan mail about my stories in the Triptych as I do about my bestselling urban fantasy series. So I hope the story gets read and judged on its own merits. If it doesn’t… well… not much will change.

I’ll still be here, working to write better and better books. Because I have the best fans and readers a writer could ask for, supporters who allow me to go on being a full time author and to keep doing my job.

And that is an award nobody can take away from me. :)

My Norwescon Schedule 2015

I’ll be in Seattle this next weekend for Norwescon.  I’m on a few panels and will be doing bar-con a bit so hopefully I’ll see some peeps there!

Here’s my panel schedule:

Marketing for People Who Hate Marketing
Fri 12:00pm-1:00pm – Cascade 13
Lola Watson (M), Annie Bellet, Diana Copland, Nicole Dieker

Next-Gen Publishing
Fri 3:00pm-4:00pm – Evergreen 3&4
Tod McCoy (M), Michael G. Munz, Stephanie Herman, Annie Bellet, Kurt Cagle

Women In Science Fiction
Fri 7:00pm-8:00pm – Cascade 7&8
Jonnalyhn Wolfcat (M), Esther Jones, Luna Lindsey, Annie Bellet, Kristi Charish

Level Up Your Indie Skillset
Sat 6:00pm-7:00pm – Cascade 9
Matt Youngmark (M), Annie Bellet, Luna Lindsey, Elliott Kay

Worth the Dues?
Sun 11:00am-12:00pm – Cascade 7&8
Cat Rambo (M), Annie Bellet, Pat MacEwen, Peter Dennis Pautz, Jennifer Brozek