Monday, February 15, 2021


 As Jeffe already pointed out, the backlist is basically all of the books an author has that are, well, frankly, older. They are not front and center. They are not about to be released, and therefore they end up on the back burner as it were. 

naa0w, the trick here, is to do something with those pieces. In the past, well, frankly you hoped someone would come along who could put them out for you. 

The past is gone. Celebrate the new norm. These days you can put them out yourself. Something I need to do with several of my titles, frankly. desperately. I have plans, of course, b8ut between life's general chaos and a year and a half of cancer treatments and recovery, I need to get my butt in gear. 

I recently, like right before I started dealing with the cancer issues, had a book come out called BOOMTOWN.

I started the novel when my first wife was dealing with hemodialysis three times a week. I put the novel on hold when my wife passed away. It was simply too much to deal with. I couldn't look at the manuscript without thinking about all of the suffering and pain both she and I dealt with as she was dying by inches. As I have been known to express previously, it is what it is. 

So I shelved the book. Then, because it was a project near and dear to me, I started writing the sequels to a boo that was not in print. Mostly it was short stories. They came to my mind and I write them for various requested projects. I had not fin9shed the tale of Jonathan Crowley, my immortal monster hunter, in the old west, but I wrote the sequels because I wanted to continue his untold tale. And I gave him a sidekick in the form of Lucas Slate, a cursed individual who had already had a life that was far from normal. 

And then, one day, when my mind decided it was time, I picked up that BOOMTOWN manuscript and started writing again. By the time it was fin9shed and sold, I decided it was time to do something with the short stories I had written and collected them in a new book, WHERE THE SUN GOES TO DIE. 

They're fun books and I had a blast with them. 

Those r4 my backlist suggestions this time around. You can find BOOMTOWN right here. And you can find WHERE THE SUN GOES TO DIE right here.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Why Do We Love Our Backlists?

This week at the SFF Seven we're giving our backlists some love. For those not in the swim of publishing lingo, the backlist is any of an author's books that aren't the front and center new release. 

It's good to send some love to those backlist aunties, the books that are not the fresh, sweet debutantes, but who truly keep the family going. When I first started out, an author told me that the key to making a living as a writer is to have a healthy backlist. That's the steady bread and butter, that passive income that keeps earning for you without additional work on your part.

It was such great advice!

So I'm giving a valentine to THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE. This is still one of my bestselling Indie novels, and remains one of my favorite covers and characters. A friend once remarked that Zynda is more like me than most of my heroines, and it's true. Which is odd because she's a shapeshifter, not human at all.

What does this say about me? Let's not go there.


ANYWAY, THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE has not only earned me the most money of any of my Indie books, it's my fourth highest Indie seller when I normalize over time, too. She's a good auntie to me!

Available at these Retailers


Or via my website store!


Released from the grip of a tyrant, the Twelve Kingdoms have thrown all that touch them into chaos. As the borders open, new enemies emerge to vie for their hard-won power—and old deceptions crumble under the strain…

The most talented shapeshifter of her generation, Zynda has one love in her life: freedom. The open air above her, the water before her, the sun on her skin or wings or fur—their sensual glories more than make up for her loneliness. She serves the High Queen’s company well, but she can’t trust her allies with her secrets, or the secrets of her people. Best that she should keep her distance, alone.

Except wherever she escapes, Marskal, the Queen’s quiet lieutenant, seems to find her. Solid, stubborn, and disciplined, he’s no more fluid than rock. Yet he knows what she likes, what thrills and unnerves her, when she’s hiding something. His lithe warrior’s body promises pleasure she has gone too long without. But no matter how careful, how tender, how incendiary he is, only Zynda can know the sacrifice she must make for her people’s future—and the time is drawing near…


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Diversifying Your Reading List

I am a list fanatic. Seriously. I have a list for everything. I would never get anything accomplished or keep my life in order without lists. I don't know how people survive without checkboxes. Lists, for me, make life easier and information more accessible.

What does that have to do with the SFF Seven's Black, Indigenous, and People of Color focus for this week, you ask? Well, I thought I would make your life easier by providing super helpful lists that will lead you to BIPOC authors.

I've often heard--I just never see books by people of color (I'm not rolling my eyes, okay maybe I am). So, no more excuses. We all need to work at diversifying our reading lists, and this is an easy way to do that. I'm handing you literal portals into list after list, packed with wonderful books just waiting for you to read them.

First, a few ways you can helpromote BIPOC authors:
  • Add their books to your Goodreads lists and share reviews. This provides much-needed visibility to your Goodreads friends.
  • Buy BIPOC authors' books. I know it's hard to avoid the Zon, but it really is best if we pre-order/order books from independent bookstores. You can even carry support a step further by ordering from BIPOC bookstores. (another list here)

  • Use social media. Follow these authors. Share their posts. Share pics of their books.

  • This is a reader post, but try seeking out BIPOC creatives in other realms as well. Artists, poets, musicians, etc.
Now, for the actual lists. I absolutely love perusing book lists. This is how you find the gems, y'all. Most of these are for readers of SF&F, but not all. 

BIPOC Focused Posts
Black Authors
Indigenous Authors
Asian Authors
Latinx Authors

These are not exhaustive lists. For even more reading/author recommendations, click the link below:

I hope you enjoy browsing and come away with several new reads. If so, come back and let me know what you're reading!

    Friday, February 12, 2021

    The Gem

     Confession time: I joined a book club under protest. I didn't really want someone else telling me what to read. But it was pandemic lock down. Mom was bored. She wanted to talk to someone if only virtually and the neighborhood book club offered that option. But she wouldn't do it alone. Yes. It's true. I got guilted into joining book group. Some of the books have lived all the way up to my fears - they're hard, terrible subject books that I want no part of. Yeah, sorry, if you're gonna pick books where kids are being raped and killed you can pretty much fuck right off forever. BUT. There are glorious gems and this one is my absolute favorite.

    Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender.

    It is YA. Felix is Black, transgender, and queer. I won't recap the story but the writing is fresh and deep in Felix's head and heart. It's a book that sticks with you long after you've closed the back cover. I think the thing I love most is that I've read a lot of transgender stories that dwell on the moment of coming out and on the reactions and feelings of everyone surrounding that moment. Felix's story starts long after that so instead of dwelling on how Felix's reality impacts everyone else around him, this story is about who Felix IS right now, growing up, looking for love and acceptance. 

    This is one of those books that I liked so well, I'll go fishing for every last thing Kacen Callender has written.

    Thursday, February 11, 2021

    Spotlight on Author Mike Chen!

    Mike Chen book cover collage: Here and Now and Then on the left, center and largest is WE COULD BE HEROES, and right side is A Beginning At the End


    Alexia: I love this week’s topic because it gave me an excuse to reach out to one of my auto-buy authors and fangirl! And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect because my guest’s newest release kept me from going insane while I was stuck in bed with vertigo—which was definitely not fun, but the audiobook WE COULD BE HEROES was beyond exciting! Welcome, Mike Chen! 

    Mike: Thanks so much for having me! And shoutout to Emily Woo Zeller, who narrated the audiobook. She did my previous one (A BEGINNING AT THE END) and when I found out she’d signed to do this, I messaged her and asked her to bring some of the chaotic disaster energy from her lead role in STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA. Game fans will recognize her from the recent Cyberpunk 2077 -- like my wife, who loaded up the audiobook and said, “Hey, it’s Panam!”

    Alexia Chantel's Instagram story showing WE COULD BE HEROES audiobook playing with the words typed at the top: Vertigo reading problem? #audiobook
    Alexia: Yes—Aphra! Emily was the perfect voice for this superhero tale. I like to think books have saved me from a lot of things over the years, but never have I been so sure of that statement than the past couple of years. I don’t get a choice about having a chronic disease and when it flares up or its tagalongs wreck havoc on my head, books—more specifically audiobooks—save the day! Mike, have you ever had a book be your lifeline? 

    Mike: Not directly, but various creative arts felt like that to me as a teen. I can count on various songs and musicians that I would lean on as lifelongs. But I would use books as a means to feel accepted and seen, specifically Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and Timothy Zahn's Star Wars books -- Zahn's came at a time when being a nerd wasn't socially acceptable and it made it feel okay to love those things while Anne Rice fed my inner teen goth angst.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2021

    Celebrating BIPOC Artists: Abelle Hayford

    Artist: Abelle Hayford
    from their website
    I'm a fan of Abelle Hayford's work, both creatively and for bringing attention to other amazing artists. One of my favorite February happenings is when @AbelleHayford kicks off #DrawingWhileBlack on Twitter. At one point they'd built a searchable dB of black artists who were looking for freelance/commission work from which I'd collected a wishlist of potential cover artists. Alas, the dB isn't up anymore (that may or may not be temporary), but the hashtag is one to follow if you're looking to discover great new-to-you artists for possible gigs or the simple enjoyment of their work. According to their pinned tweet, DWB will be underway at the end of this month (Feb 26-28).

    Naturally, you should check out Abelle's work too, which is amazing:

    Nope, I don't know them personally. I'm just a fan.

    Monday, February 8, 2021

    BIPOC comic creators

     This is an insane week for me I have deadlines and a few family emergencies, but that said, I still think we need to celebrate the BIPOC creators around us. What's a pulp writer to do?

    This time around I'm taking the easy way out and shooting you a link to several people who have been movers and shakers in the comic book industry. Why?? because comic books have been a HUGE influence on me over the years and I don't think those creators get nearly enough recognition for that influence. 

    Without further ado: Take a look.

    Have a great week, guys, and please know that this is the very tip of the iceberg.

    Sunday, February 7, 2021

    Celebrating BIPOC Creatives

    Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Promo for BIPOC Artists, Authors, and other Creatives.

    I always hesitate to pick one person to talk up, or even a few, because there are so many wonderful BIPOC creators out there. So, instead of feeding you a fish, I'm going to show you a river full of fish. (I assume you know how to fish!) Keep in mind this is one river among many, but it's a good one. And I'm particularly proud because SFWA had a small part in helping this happen. (As in, we handed over money and these amazing people did all the heavy lifting.)

    In fall of 2020, the first every FIYAHCON happened. It's a conference for BIPOC in speculative fiction. They deftly proved that not only can BIPOC creatives be found to staff conference panels, they made an entire convention of these sparklingly creative people. 

    And they inaugurated the IGNYTE Awards. The Awards seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre. I encourage you to check out all the nominees in this wide array of media. Follow the link for more information, but here's the list below. Go forth and feast!

    Best Novel – Adult

    for novel-length (40k+ words) works intended for the adult audience

    The Dragon Republic – R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)

    WINNER | Gods of Jade and Shadow – Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)

    Jade War – Fonda Lee (Orbit)

    Storm of Locusts – Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press)

    Kingdom of Copper – S. A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)

    Best Novel – YA

    for novel-length (40k+ words) works intended for the young adult audience

    Pet – Akwaeke Emezi (Make Me a World/PRH Children’s Books)

    Everlasting Rose – Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform)

    Slay – Brittney Morris (Simon Pulse)

    War Girls – Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill)

    WINNER | We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal (FSG BYR)*

    *BYR: “Books for Young Readers”

    Best in MG

    for works intended for the middle grade audience

    WINNER | Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky – Kwame Mbalia (Disney Hyperion)

    Just South of Home – Karen Strong (S&S BYR)*

    The Mystwick School of Musicraft – Jessica Khoury (Audible/HMH BYR)* **

    Other Words for Home – Jasmine Warga (HarperCollins)

    Sal and Gabi Break the Universe – Carlos Hernandez (Disney Hyperion)

    *BYR: “Books for Young Readers”

    ** audiobook released in 2019

    Best Novella

    for speculative works ranging from 17,500-39,999 words

    The Deep – Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes (Gallery/Saga Press)

    The Survival of Molly Southbourne – Tade Thompson (Tor/Forge (

    The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday – Saad Z. Hossain (Tor/Forge (

    WINNER | This is How You Lose the Time War – Max Gladstone & Amal El-Mohtar (Gallery/Saga Press)

    The Haunting of Tram Car 015 – P. Djèlí Clark (Tor/Forge (

    Best Novelette

    for speculative works ranging from 7,500-17,499 words

    WINNER | Emergency Skin – N K Jemisin for the Amazon Forward Collection

    While Dragons Claim the Sky – Jen Brown for FIYAH Literary Magazine

    Circus Girl, The Hunter, and Mirror Boy – JY Neon Yang for

    The Archronology of Love – Caroline M. Yoachim for Lightspeed

    Omphalos – Ted Chiang for Exhalation: Stories

    Best Short Story

    for speculative works ranging from 2,000-7,499 words

    Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island – Nibedita Sen for Nightmare Magazine

    Dune Song – Suyi Davies Okungbowa for Apex Magazine

    And Now His Lordship is Laughing – Shiv Ramdas for Strange Horizons

    Canst Thou Draw Out the Leviathan – Christopher Caldwell for Uncanny Magazine

    WINNER | A Brief Lesson in Native American Astronomy – Rebecca Roanhorse for Mythic Dream

    Best in Speculative Poetry

    Heaven is Expensive – Ruben Reyes, Jr. for Strange Horizons

    Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Beast – Brandon O’Brien for Uncanny Magazine

    WINNER | A Conversation Between the Embalmed Heads of Lampião and Maria Bonita on Public Display at the Baiano State Forensic Institute, Circa Mid-20th Century – Woody Dismukes for Strange Horizons

    Those Who Tell the Stories – Davian Aw for Strange Horizons

    goddess in forced repose – Tamara Jerée for Uncanny Magazine

    Critics Award

    for reviews and analysis of the field of speculative literature

    Jesse – Bowties & Books

    Charles Payseur – Quick Sip Reviews

    Maria Haskins

    WINNER | Alex Brown –

    Liz Bourke

    Best Fiction Podcast

    for excellence in audio performance and production for speculative fiction

    PodCastle – Editors Jen R. Albert, Cherae Clark, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Host + Assistant Editor Setsu Uzume, & Audio Producer Peter Adrian Behravesh

    Nightlight Podcast – Tonia Ransom

    WINNER | LeVar Burton Reads – LeVar Burton, Julia Smith, Adam Deibert, Brendan Byrnes, Mischa Stanton, Kristen Torres, Jenny Radelet, Josephine Martorana, Chris Bannon

    Beneath Ceaseless Skies – Editor Scott H. Andrews

    Obsidian Podcast – Co-Creators, Producers, and Writers Adetola Abdulkadir & Safiyah Cheatam

    Best Artist

    for contributions in visual speculative storytelling

    Geneva Bowers

    Nilah Magruder

    WINNER | Grace P. Fong

    John Picacio

    Paul Lewin

    Best Comics Team

    for comics, graphic novels, and sequential storytelling

    WINNER | These Savage Shores – Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Vitorio Astone, Aditya Bidikar, & Tim Daniel

    Blackbird Vol. 1 – Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, & Triona Farrell

    Excellence – Khary Randolph, Brandon Thomas, Emilio Lopez, & Deron Bennett

    Coda – Simon Spurrier, Matías Bergara, Michael Doig, Jim Campbell, & Colin Bell

    Bitter Root – David F Walker, Chuck Brown, & Sanford Greene

    Best Anthology/Collected Works

    The Mythic Dream – Editors Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

    Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Fiction in Translation – Editor, Translator Ken Liu

    WINNER | New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color – Editor Nisi Shawl

    This Place: 150 Years Retold – Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel | illustrated by Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, Jen Storm | colour by Scott A. Ford, Donovan Yaciuk

    A People’s Future of the United States – Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams

    Best in Creative Nonfiction

    for works related to the field of speculative fiction

    AfroSurrealism: The African Diaspora’s Surrealist Fiction – Rochelle Spencer (Routledge)

    The Dark Fantastic – Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (NYU Press)

    WINNER | Black Horror Rising – Tananarive Due (Uncanny Magazine)

    Our Opinions are Correct – Charlie Jane Anders & Annalee Newitz

    Tongue-Tied: A Catalog of Losses – Layla Al-Bedawi (Fireside Fiction)

    The Ember Award

    for unsung contributions to genre

    Tananarive Due

    WINNER | LeVar Burton

    Keidra Chaney

    Nisi Shawl

    Malon Edwards

    The Community Award

    for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre

    Beth Phelan

    Mary Robinette Kowal

    Diana M. Pho

    Writing The Other – Nisi Shawl + K Tempest Bradford

    WINNER | Strange Horizons – Gautam Bhatia, Vajra Chandrasekera, Joyce Chng, Kate Cowan, Tahlia Day, William Ellwood, Rebecca Evans, Ciro Faienza, Lila Garrott, Dan Hartland, Amanda Jean, Lulu Kadhim, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Catherine Krahe, Anaea Lay, Dante Luiz, Heather McDougal, AJ Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin, Clark Seanor, Romie Stott, Aishwarya Subramanian, Fred G. Yost, and the SH copyediting team and first readers