01. 1990 Uriel
My first Urban Fantasy, a vampires and faeries book. From which I learned that: I can write a book. I can do it fast. I really like doing it. Rejection letters are not much fun, and this business is tougher than it looks. Oh, and that I am not Anne Rice, and that’s a good thing. Status: Trunked for now.
02. 1991 The Swine Prince
High Fantasy Farce. Wizards and princes and thieves and gnomes. From which I learned that: Uriel was not a fluke. I can write funny. I still don’t much like rejection. I am not Terry Pratchett, although I’m much closer to being Pratchett than I am to being Rice, and again, it’s a good thing. Status: mostly rewritten to current standard. Needs a new first 10,000 words.
03. 1992/1993 The Assassin Mage
High Fantasy. Book I of III, wizard assassins. From which I learned that: I really really like this writing stuff. Rejections suck. This business is tough, but I’m going to make it if it kills me. Status: Trunked with the intent to rewrite it as a YA.
04. 1994 (Partial) Uprising
High Fantasy. Elves and dead gods. Shiny. From which I learned that: I maybe need to figure out why I’m not selling stuff (I wander off to do short stories for three years). I also learn that I am not Mercedes Lackey and that this is an exceptionally good thing. Status: Trunked for now.
05 1997 (Partial) Family Planning
A scene is written in which a bunch of really cool characters have intense and interesting dialog that implies many dark and wonderful things. I fall in love. It goes nowhere. From which I learned that: Loving a story doesn’t mean knowing where it goes or how to write it. Status: This is one I will come back to.
06. 1998/1999 WebMage
What I sometimes call my senior project book. This is where I finished my writer’s equivalent of college. (My real college experience finished when I got a BA in Theater in 1991) Cyberfantasy that will sell in 2005. I sold the short story, my first sale, Woot! I’ve written another story in the same world. It occurs to me that there might be a novel here. In a fit of optimism I plot it out and begin. From which I learned that: Writing short stories has taught me an enormous amount about plot, story, and only putting in what should be there. Also, I learn how to write subplot that supports the main plot and how to write theme. This is the book that gets me an agent, and that keeps a second one when my first agent closes up shop and offers a bunch of us to a fellow agent. Status: In print.
07. 2001 Winter of Discontent
Contemporary fantasy. Shakespeare, Richard III, MacBeth, A touch of Coriolanus and The Tempest. From which I learned that: I am still deeply in love with Shakespeare, care deeply about theater, and am not so fond of theater people. That handling 8 viewpoint characters is a real challenge. That writing about things you love is pure joy. That I can write 60,000 words in 30 days without breaking a sweat. That I am very interested in the idea of belief and how it shapes the world we see (sub this, that being the child of a paranoid schizophrenic may have something to do with same). That my agent may not always love everything I write, but that he’ll support me wherever I go because he has faith in me and my work. I tend to think of this as my Master’s thesis in writing. I’m still very much learning and mastering my craft. Status: Under submission.
08. 2002 Numismancer
Contemporary fantasy. Coin magic. The EU and the Euro. More belief and reality. My dissertation book. From which I learned: An awful lot about directed research. How to successfully transfer dream cool to book cool. That thinly fictionalized incidents from my life will sometimes read as less believable than stuff I simply make up. Status: Under submission.
09. 2003 The Urbana
Contemporary fantasy. Assume that the fey really did die out. What evolves to use all that magical energy? That’s where this one started. From which I learned that: I can write a book that I’m not feeling one hundred percent enthused about because I know that a lot of my readers are likely to enjoy it. How to love what I’m writing on a day-to-day basis even when I’m not as enthused as I have been about other books. I’m really pleased with this book, and I think of it as my first truly professional novel. Status: On submission.
10. 2004 (Partial) Outside In
Contemporary dark fantasy, architecture magic. From which I learned that: I am much more interested in certain aspects of architecture and construction than my writers groups. That I need to rethink some of the structure of this book. That being depressed makes it much harder for me to sustain a book in the face of criticism. Status: Trunked for now.
11. 2004 (Partial) Ave Caesar
Mystery, cozy, theater. A departure for me, and one that I want to come back to. From which I learned that: If your early readers aren’t familiar with mystery as a genre, you may have a problem. Writers groups that specialize in one genre are probably more effective than groups with lots of folks doing different things. Status: Trunked for now, but I’ll come back to it.
12. 2005 Chalice book 1
Young adult contemporary fantasy–arts magic. From which I learned that: YA is a blast to write and that the shorter length is incredibly natural for me. Oh, and that I still feel deeply and deeply ambivalent about theater. Status: On submission as part of a tetrology.
13. 2006 Cybermancy
WebMage Book II. From which I learned that: I can write a second book in a series that wasn’t supposed to be a series, just a stand-alone. That Greek myth matters deeply to me. That being paid and having deadlines are both really great motivators for me. That I really really like turning books in early. Status: In print.
14. 2006 The Black School
Young adult, alternate history, WWII, fantasy. From which I learned that: Everything I liked about YA last time goes double for this book. That my YA is much darker than my adult fiction. That anger at contemporary politics is a great motivator for me to write. That my writers group likes my dark stuff more than my funny stuff, or at least that they like these books more than anything else I’ve ever done. Status: On submission as part of a trilogy.
15. 2007 Codespell
WebMage III. From which I learned that: I can write an ongoing series and enjoy it. That I’m happier writing under contract from proposal than writing spec books. That my own assessment of how smoothly I’m writing doesn’t necessarily agree with my readers–everybody else liked this book more than I did, and I could see why when I reread the copyedited manuscript. That I really like turning things in way early and that this makes my editor happy too. Status: In preprint, releases in June.
16. 2007 (currently unfinished) MythOS
WebMage IV. From which I learned that: I should feel free to make strong changes in an ongoing series as long as I talk to my editor and agent first (did that, they were quite happy with the proposal and hopefully they’ll like the result as well). That I really want to write at least one more WebMage book after this one. Status: Under contract, half-complete, due October ’08.
17. 2007 (currently unfinished) Duel of Mirrors
Contemporary fantasy with a humor edge. Hopefully this will be the logical successor to the WebMage books and will help build that thread of my writing brand. From which I learned that: It’s always a joy to fall in love with a new book. That travel juices the heck out of my creative mind. That I become very difficult to talk to when I’m in composing mode. Status: Begun, in plotting phase–aiming for three chapters and an outline for proposal.
18. 2000-2004 Chonicles of the Wandering Star
Hard SF, YA, illustrated short-story collection/serial novel for the teaching of physical science. This one is unusual which is why it’s down here out of order. It’s a work for hire project that I wrote as part of National Science Foundation funded full year physical science curriculum. I was hired to develop a science-ficitonal context for the curriculum and to write shorts as teaching tools. Fun project. From which I learned that: If the pay is high enough, work-for-hire is a great deal. That I can write YA. That I can write 1,000 word short in an hour if I have to. That I can write that short to teach a specific science concept, and that I can do it well enough to make a goodly percentage of the students who read it happy. That deadlines and getting paid are great motivators for me. Status: In print.
2013 Update: Yeah, I’ve written a bunch since the original post.
19. 2008 The Eye of Horus
Book II of The Black School. I love this book and it’s predecessor, but despite near universal agreement from those who’ve read them that they are some of my best writing I have not been able to sell them. See also: Argh!
20. 2008/2009 SpellCrash
The last WebMage book for some time to come. In some ways I think this is the best of the series. I learned so much about writing on the way to this one. I’m somewhat bummed that it is also the least read of the books. Status: in print.
22. 2009 Spirits of the Past
First book in a dark contemporary fantasy series centered around alcohol magic. This book exists only as three chapters and a series outline that now comprises six books. There is an excellent chance that this will be my next adult series once Fallen Blade is finished. I love the premise of these and still really want to write them.
23. 2010 Broken Blade
Fantasy noir with a badly broken hero. Status: in print, the first of six confirmed books in this series and now available both in German and as part of a Science Fiction book club omnibus edition of the first three Fallen Blade books. I think I’m finally getting the hang of this writing stuff.
24. 2011 Bared Blade
Fallen Blade II. Status: in print, in omnibus, and in German shortly.
25. 2011 Crossed Blades
Fallen Blade III. Status: in print, in omnibus, and in German shortly.
26. 2012 Blade Reforged
Fallen Blade IV. In print as of June. I’m loving this series more and more as I go along. It’s enormous fun to write something that’s simultaneously episodic in the detective novel mode and a multi-book epic fantasy storyline. Finding the balance between having each book complete in itself and building multi-book and series arcs challenges me every day.
27. 2013 School for Sidekicks: The Totally Secret Origin of Foxman Jr.
My first Middle Grade book. Silly superhero science fiction about a boy who sets out to become a hero and ends up at the School for Sidekicks. I had a ball writing this and learned a lot about writing something much closer to pure humor. I learned even more in the first round of revisions—there’s a huge difference in how books are written and marketed for younger readers. Current revision with my editor at Feiwel and Friends—crossing my fingers that she like the revised version which includes 25,000 words of material not in the first draft. Staus: under contract, handed in and through one round of revisions.
28. 2013 Drawn Blades
Writing this right now and about 25% of the way through it. Barring misfortune this will be my 20th completed novel. …how the hell did that happen? Again, barring misfortune it will be my 11th published. One thing I’m finding absolutely joyous about writing this book is that I’m getting to pull stuff from novel attempt number four up there in 1994—there’s stuff from the early years that I loved that I’m only now getting good enough to pull of. I’m working on an incredibly compressed deadline on this one due to me make a minor but self-compounding mistake in my workflow. Status: under contract, in process.
29. 2014 Darkened Blade.
Outlined, under contract, and due in June. I’ve reached a point now where managing my time and learning to say no to projects that I’d really like to do is becoming increasingly important. I feel that I mostly have the hang of the writing part writing books, though I continually strive to push the edge of what I can do, and still land on my nose with some regularity. The rest of being an author? There, I’m learning new things all the time.