Category Archives: Announcements

Updatery and the Problems of a Black Nerd

Hey all! As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m an awful blogger. It isn’t that I don’t love you; it is simply that I have so many words, for so many things, that none of those words ever seem to land here. Well, at least not on a regularly scheduled basis.

One of those “so many things” is pretty awesome. I’m doing book reviews on BlackNerdProblems.com.

As I’ve mentioned here, I’m really interested in exploring and popularizing more speculative fiction by people of color. I know so many fans (of all descriptions) who want to expand their reading options, and so many Black readers who are tired of being written out of the narrative. Taking matters into my own hands continues to be the best way to solve the problem: write the books I want to read and review the books I’m glad are there.

So that’s where most of my words will be landing for awhile. The site also features some of the funniest, most insightful Black nerds writing right now, doing reviews and commentary on everything from Dr. Who to Book of Korra. There’s a page for cosplayers and another for interviews and blah blah blah. Click the link. Go read. Then you’ll know why I’m excited.

I’ll still have things to say here now and then, things that won’t fit over there, so don’t unfollow me. Just follow me twice!

Hope the summer is treating you right. My fall is shaping up to be intense, but more on that later. Later!

A New Page and Writing Status

Yeah, I know, I know, it has been a while since I wrote.

I’ve been busily working on the outline and character sketches for book two of my little series, entitled QUEEN OF CROSSROADS. I’m hoping to have some preview content up in the next few months. QUEEN OF CROSSROADS leaves the comfortable west coast and centers on a new heroine settled comfortably, or uncomfortably, in the midwestern regions of the Commonwealth. The characters are younger, the Assembled just as complicated, and there’s a baby. I think you’ll like it.

QUEEN OF HUNGER is going along well. I don’t have any new readings scheduled for the fall, but as with Westercon there’s no telling what will fall into my lap. Now that the initial flush is off the sales, I’m considering some new marketing venues — we’ll see how it goes.

To help myself with my ongoing writing (both for QUEEN OF CROSSROADS and some other projects) I’m compiling a list of inspirational websites. These links now have their own page here at TALES OF THE ASSEMBLED — Inspiration. Clever, I know. These are pages that I find myself going back to for some spark or detail. That page will keep growing, so if you’re a writer who could use a kickstart now and again, it might be for you.

With that, I’m off. Take care all and as always, thank you for reading.

Westercon 66: Surprise Reading of QUEEN OF HUNGER

The family and I attended Westercon 66 in Sacramento this past weekend (July 4-7) as the central event of our little summer vacation. I came prepared to do a reading of QUEEN OF HUNGER (hell, I could practically recite the first 100 pages by heart) but I didn’t really think anything would come of it. That’ll teach me to doubt. Not only did I read, I passed out a grip of promotional materials and had my own cosplayer! Now you don’t have to be a fellow geek to know how cool it is to have a reader like your work enough to dress up like them in public. Thank you to my Mama Leah costumed friend, and all my other friends and supporters who came around to hear of Mama, Teach, Mona, and Wyatt. It really helps to know you’re out there reading, and listening and loving every minute.

The reading went quite well and I got to hear from a few other talented writers as well. Their names and book links are listed below in the order we read. I will say that it continues to be entertaining to read out loud and observe the reactions of some listeners to my “urban” style and frank language. When I drop that first f-bomb and the listener blanches I always think to myself, Honey, you ain’t heard nothing yet. I admit that I’m starting to wonder if the reaction isn’t just to the word fuck, but to me somehow. But that’s another post.

In addition to the reading, I attended several panels about issues facing women in gaming and geek culture, received a list of princess fairy tales from around the world, and learned to build a quickie air-propelled rocket. I’m finding myself falling in love with fan conventions. Where else could I do all of that in a weekend and attend a concert by the Phenomenauts and and go to several parties, see a drink mixing robot, sip margaritas with a guy who would later dress as Grimlock, and learn to play roulette with two very lovely spies? OH, and have my daughter photographed with Captain America? Yeah, a small hotel in Sacramento, CA.

Thank you to the organizers, programming staff, and all the fans at Westercon 66 this year. It was a blast.

Authors from the Open Reading:

Phyllis Kalbach, Blue Eden: The future after the ice melts

Eileen Rendahl, Don’t Kill the Messenger

Leslie Light, Queen of Hunger

Stephen Rose, Jr., The Fool’s Illusion

QUEEN OF HUNGER at BayCon in Santa Clara

QUEEN OF HUNGER  has been out for a couple of weeks now and it is slowly building momentum on Amazon — thanks in part to all of you. Please, continue to link it to your friends and if you enjoyed the read, a good review on Amazon would be awesome. Amazon reviews are the heart of the recommendation and ranking system for Kindle eBooks, so everything thing helps. Thanks in advance for that.

BUT! That’s not what I logged in to tell you today. Today, I have another announcement.

I, your local author, will be on three panels at my local science fiction/fantasy fandom convention — BayCon — May 24-27!

This is awesome for a number of reasons.

  • My family has been attending BayCon as staffers and patrons almost every year for the last ten, so finally being on the other side of the panel table is a real thrill.
  • This will give me a chance to introduce QUEEN OF HUNGER to my ideal audience — speculative fiction fans like myself.
  • I’ll also get to chat endlessly about other topics that I care a great deal about to an interested audience.

My three panels:

  • How To Be a Better Game Master: In which I’ll discuss various table top RPGs that I’ve run and how I kept my players coming back for more.
  • Fans of Color in SF/F Fandom: In which we’ll review the current state of the art and hopefully inspire us all for what’s ahead.
  • Themed Reading: Urban Fantasy II: This is the big deal for me as it’ll be my first public reading/discussion of QUEEN OF HUNGER. eeek!

Outside of these events, we’ll just be there enjoying our friends, trying out new things, and mostly romping around being fans. I’ll have badge ribbons to give and trade (if you’re not hip to the badge ribbon game, check here for a Doctor Who convention discussion on them) and will be ready to talk your ear off about the book.

Have a question? Find me and let’s discuss.

I look forward to the convention as it marks another mile on this journey. May your life continue to be an adventure. Mine certainly is.

 

EDIT: The dates for BayCon are May 24-27, 2013. My apologies for anyone I led astray with my bad information design.

QUEEN OF HUNGER Available Now!

QUEEN OF HUNGER, Tales of the Assembled: Book 1 is available right now on Amazon.com at this handy link:

QUEEN OF HUNGER

I am excited beyond words that I finally have a chance to bring my book to a wider audience. I invite you all to read and enjoy. And if you do enjoy it, please share that with others. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Through your favorite social media would be awesome. I’m even using my own hashtag: #queenofhunger. Spread it around!
  • By following my blog here for future updates, sources of inspiration, unpublished sideline short stories about the characters in the books, and places where you can meet me and hear me read (Events coming soon!).
  • By finding my author pages on Amazon or Goodreads and reading what I’m reading.
  • By reviewing the book in your own way: on your blog, on Amazon, to your fellow public transit rider when they ask you what you’re reading. You know, anyone!
  • By sending me a comment here or an email to cesarcrossed at gmail dot com telling me how much you liked the book. Every comment keeps me writing, perhaps to spite you, but still, writing.

Thank you again for reading. I leave you with one more snippet from the book.

““You see those points of light, all across the sky?”

“Yeah, the stars?”

“Yeah. There are an uncountable number of them,” she said, “have you ever seen so many?”

That wasn’t exactly true, Wyatt knew. There was an estimated number of stars. He just didn’t know what it was. But he had to admit he’d never seen as many with his unaided eye as he saw right then. Teach talked, her voice low and reassuring.

“They are uncountable because each star is an ancestor, one of the people who lived and died and brought you to this place, right here, right now. That is where the ancestors live after they die,” she told him, “in the distance. And that’s where our souls will go in the end when we die.”

She paused. Wyatt knew it was all crap from her religion, but he desperately didn’t want her to stop.

“So the story goes,” he said, expressing disbelief, “that people used to see pictures in the stars, of their gods and such. Just connecting the dots the way they wanted too.” Teach shrugged.

“That’s where the map of your life leads to in the end, to the stars. Each star, and each story, each connected made-up picture, is a signpost on your own personal road. The stars map destiny, Wyatt,” she said, “your future is out there, written in them. Look out there and decide what you want your life to look like…”

I decided what I wanted my life to look like. It included the word “Author”. And now, I am.

QUEEN OF HUNGER DELAYED

Due to some technical difficulties, and me breaking the age old publishing rule of having everything ready a week in advance, QUEEN OF HUNGER will not be available tomorrow as planned. I’m stuck in a little bit of limbo with Amazon that should be all straightened out by Friday, 5/5. All things being equal, you’ll be able to buy the book either here or on Amazon at the end of the week.

I’m deeply sorry for the delay, but any thing worth doing is worth doing right.

In place of the official announcement, I bring you a little video of what I went to see on Saturday night. A little inspiration for public art. A little glimpse into what makes the Bay Area just so desperately cool. And something a little shiny. Because we all need that.

QUEEN OF HUNGER Has a Cover!

As I was putting together my plan for self-publishing, it quickly became clear that task #2, after finishing QUEEN OF HUNGER, was having a great cover done. A cover is the first step in the presentation of a book. And as a new author, convincing new readers to pay a few bucks for my work, I knew I needed to nail that first impression. My cover artist helped me do that to the nines.

If you’re looking for an experienced, fun, creative artist, I present to you Darne Lang. And the cover to my book.

Teach in her world

Cover Art by D.Lang for QUEEN OF HUNGER.

I’m lucky to know an amazing number of skilled artists and craftspeople, both personally and professionally. I know jewelers, pewter-smiths, stained glass setters (is that a glazier? A stained glazier? How does that work, linguistically speaking?), custom seamstresses, and a number of 2-D visual artists in both digital and traditional media. I met my cover artist several years ago, but this is our first collaboration – the first of many I hope. I definitely learned a lot in working with her, most notably that “I don’t know, can you make it more Oakland?” isn’t actually good creative feedback.

Let me know what you think in the Comments. Feel free to share through all your social webs; if not because the QUEEN OF HUNGER is an awesome book, which it is, then because the cover is just good.

Call for Suggested Reading

Now that I’m going to be publishing a book under the aegis of my lucky stars, I’ve started reading other self-published/small press authors. This is my own attempt to not only support other artists in my field, but also to get a feeling for the field itself.

To continue in this little project, I need your help. If you yourself are self-published, or know someone who is, leave me the details of the book in the comments. If the book fits with what I feel like reading, and the price is right, I’ll pick it up. If I have something interesting to say about it, I might just say it here – with a link to the author. I like hearing what other people have to say about my fiction, so it is nice to return that favor to others.

So far I’ve picked up the following (this is not yet a recommendation list, just an information one):

The Shining Cities: An Anthology of Pagan Science Fiction

Under the Amoral Bridge: A Cyberpunk Novel

Poor Man’s Fight

I also have laying around a few small press anthologies that I occasionally return to:

Space Tramps: Full Throttle Space Tales #5

Finding Home: Building Community in Apocalyptic Worlds

Yes, my short story is the closer for Finding Home (all the more reason for me to read all the other stories in the anthology!). My story is called “Jar Cleaning Day” and is completely unassociated with THE QUEEN OF HUNGER. That short centers on Sylvia Crenshaw, a hard-working survivor faced with a novel solution to her entirely not-novel problem. It is a different setting with different characters, but I’m sure sharp readers will make connections – real or imagined.

So you’ve got your assignment: self-pubbed/small press book details in the comments. Give me a list!

Back Cover Blurb

I’ve given you the title, QUEEN OF HUNGER. Now you’re probably wondering: What is this fabulous first novel going to be about? Well, I’ll tell you! Cyberpunk, and urban gods, and Nebraska, and…  maybe I can’t really tell you; that’d be cheating. I do intend to drop a few snippets of the book here over the next few weeks, stay tuned for that, but for right now this is a book desperately in need of a back cover blurb. I’d thought that, as there wouldn’t be an actual “book,” I wouldn’t need one. I was wrong.

I’m sure I’ll rewrite this a hundred times, but  here’s what the back cover might say if I had one.

Surviving, not thriving. That’s Teach. She’s survived her motorcycle meeting the pavement at some obscene speed, leaving her in debt to the local fixer – a situation that’s easy to get into and hard to get out of. She’s out-lived her family and out-run the corporation that killed them. She’s done all that with the voice of a goddess in her head and a bottomless pit in her stomach. Now Teach is in love, real love, with a beautiful woman who doesn’t think she’s crazy. Hopefully she’s right. Everything is changing, including that voice in her head, and Teach doesn’t quite know what to do about any of it. But she knows how to survive — and maybe thriving is just on the other side of that.

Announcing!

If you’re a friend of mine, or even a vague and distant acquaintance, you know that I write. What you might not know is this: I’ll be publishing my book via Amazon Kindle at the end of April!

QUEEN OF HUNGER, Tales of the Assembled: Book 1 is a professionally edited, two-years in the writing, one-year in the fixing, full-length novel. Read the rest of this entry

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