Book Week Events!

Fable: Blood of HeroesFable: Blood of Heroes [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound] comes out tomorrow, which means I’ll be spending much of this week doing the new book dance. Here’s where you’ll be able to find me both in the real world and online:

I’ve got two guest blog posts going up at other folks’ sites. I’ll link to those as soon as they go live. I’ll also be sending out a newsletter tomorrow, and one subscriber (drawn at random) will receive a free autographed copy of the book.

Happy Book Week, everybody!

Hugo Voting Closes Tomorrow

Voting for the Hugo Awards closes tomorrow, July 31, at 11:59 p.m. PDT.

I’d hoped to post additional reviews on the different categories, but I seem to have done the time warp again, and suddenly it’s the end of July. D’oh!

So instead, have a scattering of related thoughts and links.

My overall impression? The Hugos have not been destroyed. There are some cranky people who want to piss all over things, but what else is new? Despite the shenanigans I think there are some very strong works on the ballot this year. Far fewer than usual, but enough that I remain excited to find out who takes home some rocket trophies. I also expect No Award to make a strong showing this year.

I encourage folks to vote, and to nominate next year, and beyond that, we’ll see what happens.

One Week Until Blood of Heroes

Fable: Blood of HeroesFable: Blood of Heroes [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound] comes out in exactly one week.

Making life more interesting, Revisionary is due to my editor on Saturday, August 1. It’s going to be a hectic week or two in the Hines house.

Anyway, since it seemed to go over well last time, I figured I’d give away another book. Next week, I’ll be sending out another author newsletter about the book, and when I do, I’ll pick one subscriber at random to receive an autographed copy of Blood of Heroes.

If you’re interested, you can sign up here.

And on that note, I gotta get back to revising Revisionary… Have a lovely night, all!

Writing Full Time: Marie Brennan

Voyage of the Basilisk - CoverWhen I announced that I’d be quitting the day job and devoting more time to writing, I also chatted a bit with some writer friends about their own experiences and advice. I ended up inviting some folks to share their stories. First up is author Marie Brennan. I’ve been a fan of Brennan’s work for a while, as you can see from some of the reviews I’ve posted.

Her latest book is Voyage of the Basilisk, with In the Labyrinth of Drakes coming up next in 2016.

Brennan’s experience below reminds me a bit of something my mother used to say when she was raising me and my brother, about the desperate need to get out of the house from time to time and talk to someone who wasn’t a) a little kid or b) a character on a children’s TV show…

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Like many writers, I’m an introvert.

When I started writing full time, I found out the hard way that even introverts need a certain dose of social interaction to remain sane.

It happened while I was writing A Star Shall Fall — the first novel I drafted in its entirety after leaving graduate school to be a full-time author. Due to some changes in the plot, I fell behind, and was worried about making my deadline. Ordinarily I write a thousand words a night (which is a pace I know I can generally maintain for an extended period of time, without outpacing my ability to figure out the next bit), but for a while there my goal was to write 1500-2000 and revise 5000 every day.

Fortunately, I had some spare time in which to do that. The dojo where my husband and I study karate closes down for two weeks every summer while the man who owns it goes on vacation, and this happened to coincide with me going into overdrive on the book. I thought, This is great! Karate eats a couple of hours a couple of nights a week, plus it just kind of disrupts my evening in general. With the dojo closed, I can just buckle down and get through this hard patch.

A bit over a week into that, my husband more or less dragged me out of the house by force, because I was going out of my skull.

It turns out that although social interaction is indeed draining for me, I need a certain dose of it or I go off in the deep end. My husband doesn’t count: I told him and my sister once that they aren’t “people,” in the sense that I don’t mind having them around when I’m not in a mood to deal with people. Having only him to talk to for a week or so gave me cabin fever like whoa. I needed to get out of the house; I needed to deal with somebody other than the imaginary people in my head.

You don’t think about this kind of thing when you’re planning your life as a full-time author. Setting up a work space, sure. Arranging your schedule, definitely. But making sure you have a life outside work? Not so much. (Not unless somebody warns you that you need to plan for that.) And yet it’s a vital part of the care and feeding of a writer, and if you neglect it, you’ll pay the price.

Which is why I go to karate, and I run a role-playing game every Tuesday, and I invite friends over to watch TV or to meet me at a museum exhibit. If I’m under the gun for a deadline, I think very carefully before I let those things slip. As much as I need to devote my time to getting the book done, I’ll work a lot better if I keep my mind in balance.

Fable: Blood of Heroes – Sneak Preview

Friday brought author copies of Fable: Blood of Heroes. That same day, I discovered that the publisher had posted the first few chapters of the book on their website.

Fable Author Copies

So head on over and click the “Look Inside” link to meet my Villain and four of the Heroes, as well as a king, a dead ex-king, a runaway pig, and more.

Just to give a quick sense of the book’s tone, here’s the dedication:

Dedicated to the memory of that legendary Hero Sir Whitefeather Cluckwarbler the Quick, also called the Courageous, the Strong, the Daring, and the Chicken. He was an inspiration to generations of poultry to come.

(In the end, Sir Cluckwarbler ultimately came to be known as “the Tasty…”)

Only 15 days until the book comes out!

Big Change Coming

Twenty years ago, I started writing a handful of fantasy stories about my favorite D&D character. They were very bad stories, though I didn’t know it at the time. All I knew was how much I enjoyed the process of creating them, of coming up with other characters and plot twists and exploring different ideas and possibilities. So I kept writing. By the following year, I’d finally figured out what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a writer.

Almost fifteen years ago, I accepted a job with the State of Michigan. In the beginning, I was fixing computers for the Department of Transportation. My one condition for taking the job was that I be allowed to write during my lunch hour. Over the next decade and a half, I wrote about ten books and dozens of short stories. Most of that writing was done from noon to one o’clock, Monday through Friday.

Nine years ago, my book Goblin Quest came out from DAW Books. It was my first novel from a major publisher, and marked a very important turning point in my career. I’ve been with DAW ever since. They’ve published ten of my books so far, with the eleventh coming in February of next year.

One year ago, my wife began working full time as a therapist, a job that came with health insurance and other benefits.

Two days ago, I informed my bosses that I would be quitting my job at the end of next month. Starting in September, I’ll be a full-time writer.

Twirling Freedom Gif

There were a number of factors behind this decision, some of which involve my family and I won’t be talking about here. But the end result is that I get more time to write. More energy to devote to creating stories, inventing characters and worlds, and exploring new ideas. Not to mention more time at home with my kids.

I am excited and overwhelmed and frightened and impatient and eager and thrilled. I have ideas for two new novels, and feelers out for a third. I’ve also thought about other projects, experiments I can try, new directions to branch out and see what happens.

This is a huge change, and I’ll be talking about it more between now and the end of August: the financial considerations, the restructuring of my day-to-day life, the mental/emotional/physical impact, and probably a lot of other pieces.

For the moment though, I’m in a bit of a daze. I’ve been writing for twenty years. Given my own health issues, the need for insurance for myself and my family, and the financial realities of writing, I spent most of those years believing I’d never be able to write full time. Even when I started talking about it with my wife, I don’t think I really believed it. It wasn’t until I said the words to my bosses that it became real.

It’s actually happening.

I’m quitting my job.

I’m going to write full-time.

Tenzin gif