One Year behind the Keyboard

It’s been a TARDIS of a year: fast-moving, far-traveling, yet much bigger on the inside than I would have expected back in Jan of ’13.

Three Parts Dead came out a little over a year ago; I didn’t know what to expect, and like a genius started writing my next book the day before Three Parts Dead hit shelves.  Because Essays!  Travel!  Reviews!  and Airplanes! are all perfectly conducive to the germination of a novel.  I put fingers to keyboard, sure, but I threw out the first 20,000 words I wrote, and the next 20,000 too.  But the third 20,000—those stayed up.

Mostly.  I still deleted half of those and added another 10,000 or so, but the point is, they worked for a start.  The ensuing book was one of the hardest drafts of my life, but  eight revisions later, I think it’s the best book I’ve written yet.  Different, but then, so’s everything.

Meanwhile Three Parts Dead was very well received, for which thank you all.  The book was nominated (or got me nominated) for a few awards, including the John W. “NOT A HUGO” Campbell Award; I thought I’d been to cons before but there’s no con quite like WorldCon.  I can’t wait to go back this year.

(Three Parts Dead, by the way, is now $2.99 on various e-Book stores—if you’ve wanted a copy for the e-reader of your choice, no time like the present!)

So, yeah.  Tours.  Awards.  Two Serpents Rise hit shelves back in late October, and people seem to like it as much as Three Parts Dead.  Excellent.

In terms of creative productivity, last year I wrote a bunch of stuff:

  • The next Craft Sequence novel, Full Fathom Five, coming July 2014.
  • The Craft Sequence novel after that, which I’m tentatively calling Last First Snow—this one isn’t under contract from Tor yet, which is completely fair since they have two unpublished books of mine under contract.  But I’m really excited about Last First Snow, and can’t wait to share more of the plot with you.  It’s a return to Dresediel Lex, yes, but to the DL of the past.
  • Choice of the Deathless, a novel-length choose-your-own-path type text adventure game available for iOS, Android, the Kindle Store, the Chrome Store etc. etc.  Reviews for this one have been very positive, and the title’s been a bestseller for the publisher.  If you haven’t played this yet, it’s only $2.99—follow this link to find the game on your platform of your choice.

I also wrote a number of blog posts, including this one about how the humans of Star Wars are actually ginormous bees.  I even received threats of fanfic written in Giant Bee Star Wars Universe.  No such fanfic has materialized, but I go to sleep every night with my fingers crossed.

‘Tis the season to make long lists, so let’s talk standout artistic experiences from 2013.  (If you don’t really care what art I spent this year consuming, just skip to the bold text at the top of the next paragraph!)  I wrote a lot this year, which means I spent a lot of time listening to music, specifically stuff with beat and without intelligible lyrics.  Nomad, by Tuareg guitarist Bombino, was a huge help; I wrote an entire novel while listening to Clint Mansell’s soundtrack for The Fountain.  Not to mention the Pacific Rim soundtrack—perfect for fight scenes.  As for video games, 2013 was the year I became a Mass Effect-er (approved term?), and also the year in which I started forcing people to play through the first 20 minutes of Saints Row IV, because fun.  I played catchup on reading for much of 2013: Wolf Hall, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Witches Abroad, Bleeding Edge (in which Thomas Pynchon decides that Neal Stephenson’s been horning in on his territory enough and decides to horn back).  Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts is the Mongolian fantasy novel that I’m so glad exists , and I have no idea how I’d never read Barry Hugharty’s Bridge of Birds before.  Movies and TV…  Well, if I pretended I knew what I was talking about in this realm I’d look like an idiot.  I saw the first episode of Breaking Bad over Christmas?  Um.  Oh, and I loved Iron Man 3, in which Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Shane Black fused with A Long Kiss Goodnight Shane Black and absorbed some superhero DNA.  And The Raid, oh my god.  Comics-wise—if you like comics and you’re not reading Hawkeye and Saga and Chew, please, why?  Do you have a reason?  You should have a reason.

So that’s enough plugging.  Here comes 2014!  What does that mean for me?  A few convention appearances, on which more soon.  I’ve spent the last two days breaking story for a self-contained novel and am STOKED—both by the novel and by the breaking process.  After I write that book I have another Craft book in mind (really I have another 10 or so Craft books in mind, but one’s front-runner), and Choice of Games is interested in another game from me.  I have a comic project inching toward completion, and I really would like to try my hand at a screenplay this year, to stretch my legs.  With luck this’ll be a growth year for me.  I’d cross my fingers but they’re still crossed for Star Wars Bee fanfic.

And speaking of growth, I’ve been debating what to do on this site.  I’ve tried  many times to adopt a 3x or 5x/week posting regimen, and what tends to happen is: I start, I’m going strong for a week or three, and then I disappear for several months until I return for some crazy neat announcement.  This is a Bad Practice.  Not fair to y’all, really, and psychologically problematic for me, since I keep thinking “damn Gladstone you should post something to your blog” at inopportune times, like in the middle of a fencing bout, while cooking dinner, or—and this is the real killer—while I’m trying to write a book.  That ‘post’ button hangs overhead like the Sword of Damocles, which is not comfortmaking.  So here’s my plan.  This year, I’m going to post on my blog once a week.  Every Wednesday afternoon, I’ll have something here.  Might be a cool essay.  Might be an announcement.  Might be a video.  Might be a magic trick.  (Probably won’t be a magic trick.)  I’ll have ’em up noonish, so you can go watch the week’s Zero Punctuation, then drop on by.  That way you get stuff to read, and I can use this blog as an outlet for everything I think about that isn’t wizard-lawyer-related, while at the same time robbing the “Max you really should post something to your blog” gremlin of its guilt-ammo.  Gremlins are helpless without their ammo.

So that’s me, and that was 2013.  Awesome year.  Thanks to everyone who moved through it with me.  And—onward into the new era!

One Response to “One Year behind the Keyboard”

  1. Nye Joell Hardy

    I just finished reading THREE PARTS DEAD, and just had to look you up. What a fine writer you are. I don’t know what else to say, other than that authors of good books are friends, to me… so thank you. I wish you the most successful of years!


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