A Book Birthday Message from Your Host

Hi folks.

Today is the release of my seventh book, The Shootout Solution. It’s the beginning of my Genrenauts series, and I think it’s my strongest work to date. It’s about a group of storytellers that travel between dimensions, each other world being the home of a story genre (Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, etc.). They find and fix broken stories in order to protect their Earth. Genrenauts lets me explore my thoughts about the social and psychological role of genres and storytelling. It’s also a chance for me to try to tell a big, dramatic story while staying optimistic.

It’s like Leverage meets Jasper Fforde, or Leverage for stories. It’s a great match for Ree Reyes fans, or for anyone that likes action/adventure or genre-bending SF/F.

Some of you have been with me since Geekomancy released in 2012, others are probably just now finding my work. Whoever you are, however you got here, thank you for completing the storytelling circuit. I write these books to communicate, to get my thoughts out into the world, and to entertain. Without you, without readers, I’m just talking to myself.

I’m incredibly excited about this series, as you have already seen. I’ve got a five-seasons planned for the series, and I’ve already written all six episodes of season 1. I want to take this one all the way.

Now, it’s up to you, the readers, to see if you like the book. Because if you do, there’s plenty more to come. Not just from me, but from the entire Tor.com Publishing imprint. They’ve got stand-alone novellas and series like mine across every corner of SF/F, from gritty revenge stories starring anthropomorphic animals to lyrical tales about outsider witches, stand-alone epic fantasy, and more.

If you’re here, it’s probably because you already know me from my books, from Twitter, from Angry Robot, or from a podcast. However you got here, welcome. I work from home, so a lot of my socializing happens through the internet – I thrive off of that interaction, and I appreciate having you here.

Like I said, it’s my book birthday, so here’s my wish: Please buy The Shootout Solution. And if you like it, tell your friends. Tell your co-workers. Find the people in your life that you think would enjoy the series, and share it with them. And then, consider trying some of the other novellas from Tor.com. We’re all in this boat together.

Every book that does well makes it more likely that Tor.com Publishing will succeed. Because I tell you what – Macmillan aren’t the only ones watching. You can guarantee that other publishers are watching what happens with Tor.com Publishing and deciding what to do about novellas, about innovative publishing strategies.

This entire imprint is an experiment by Macmillan, which does a perfectly good business in SF/F with their existing imprints (Tor Books is the largest North American publisher of SF/F, with many of the biggest writers in the genre). Macmillan is taking a big risk and investing a lot in trying to make this new model work, but it will only succeed if readers get as excited about novellas as the staff and writers for the imprint are.

I’ve found writing novellas to be incredibly rewarding – they’re long enough to establish an interesting world and tell a meaty story, but they don’t come with the expectations of a full-length novel. You can get in, tell your story, and get out, without the need to elongate the story with sub-plots and additional try-fail cycles. I still love writing novels, but this series has taught me to appreciate the versatility and beauty of the novella form. And for episodic storytelling in prose? Novellas are the place to be.

So if you’re excited about novellas, too – whether it’s from reading Genrenauts already, other novellas, or from any of the other Tor.com Publishing books, please spread the word. Recommend novellas to your friends, buy novellas as gifts for the holidays, and be sure to review the novellas you’ve read on retailer sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, as well as Goodreads.

So, here’s the take-away:

  1. Please buy The Shootout Solution – you can get it in paperbackebook, or audio (narrated by the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal, who narrated Celebromancy and Attack the Geek). The ebook edition is just $2.99, less than a latte, and just as energizing.
  2. Once you’ve read the book, please consider writing an honest review on retailer sites (Amazon, B&N, iTunes) and Goodreads. More reviews = more attention = more support from the publisher and from the retailers themselves. Especially on Amazon, the more reviews a book gets (especially right away upon release), the more it gets recommended through emails and so on. This is huge, especially for a digital-first book like The Shootout Solution.
  3. Spread the word. Talk about the book wherever you like to talk about books. This is really the most important thing. Maybe you can’t afford to buy too many books, or don’t have the time to read more than a handful a year. If you never buy one of my books and get them all on NetGalley or whatever, you can still make a huge difference by talking about the book. Anonymity is the kiss of death for creative work, so when someone cares about a work, cares enough to talk about it, that is magic.

P.S. If you buy the book before November 23rd, or if you’ve already pre-ordered, you can enter to win a signed & personalized print galley of The Absconded Ambassador, Genrenauts Episode 2. I’m doing this because early sales are a huge deal, I greatly appreciate them, and this is a way I can show that appreciation.


The way I see it, creative work succeeds when it makes an impact. Whether that’s just being a pleasant distraction during your commute or a way to focus during a flight, changing your mind or how you see the world, or providing a way to fill a lazy afternoon – however you partake, the fact that you care is the biggest magic of all.

Because it’s the beginning of what I hope to be a big, ambitious series, it’s really important for the first book to sell well. That’s why I’ve been running around the entire internet doing podcasts, written interviews, guest posts, videos, etc. I’ve been doing my best to spread the word and get people excited about it.

Thanks for coming this far, and I hope you’ll come back as Genrenauts continues February 23rd, 2016, with Episode 2 – The Absconded Ambassador.

Genrenauts Combined


Tor.com Publishing Sampler

We’re exactly three months from the release of Genrenauts: The Shootout Solution, and to help promote the line, Tor.com Publishing has released a free sampler with previews of each of their launch list. In the two chapter preview of my novella, you get to meet Leah Tang and the Genrenauts, a group of interdimensional travelers that visit the home worlds of narrative genres to fix broken stories.

The sampler includes excerpts of novellas from:

Kai Ashante Wilson
Paul Cornell
Alter S. Reiss
Nnedi Okorafor
K.J. Parker
Angela Slatter
Matt Wallace
Daniel Polansky
Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Michael R. Underwood (that’s me!)

I’ve read Matt Wallace’s novella Envy of Angels, which is excellent, as well as a couple of other samples. This launch list represents a great range of work, from anthropomorphic grimdark to interplanetary peril to magical caterers to an aging faerie on a desperate quest, and more.

Get the sampler for FREE right now on KindleKobo, and direct from Macmillan. I presume it will arrive on iBooks and Nook shortly. And if you like your browsing visual, check out this cover roundup.

And once you’re done with the samples, please consider pre-ordering the full book for the stories where you enjoyed the sample. This new venture, presenting novellas once more as the full-fledged books they are, represents a widening of the field, creating a lot of opportunities for a wider range of fiction to get attention at a high level. Self-publishing helped re-popularize the novella format, and now Tor.com is looking to bring it to an even wider audience in a bigger way.

Writing a half-dozen novellas over the last year, I’ve come to appreciate them for their exciting hybridity. Novellas are long enough to introduce, develop, and investigate a world,  to deliver on a premise and characters, but short enough to be efficient, to cut to the quick, to not linger or overstay their welcome. They’re an excellent form for commuter culture, giving you something to look forward to finishing, and then to finish shortly after.

I’m very excited to be part of this Novella Renaissance, and I hope you’ll enjoy the books. I have two Genrenauts novellas with Tor.com, but I have the first season planned out to six novellas (all drafted), and I’d very much like to continue the series with Tor.com, which will be dependent on strong sales for the first two books.

This fall, #NovellasAretheNewNovel, and you can be a part of it, starting now.


GENRENAUTS cover reveal!

The fine folks at io9.com have exclusive cover reveals for four of the Tor.com novellas, including my own Genrenauts Episode 1: The Shootout Solution. Go forth and bask in the artistic marvel!

Big props to Peter Lutjen for a stunning design job on my cover – I love every single piece of it. And a reminder that you can pre-order the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes before it drops on November 17th.

cover of The Shootout Solution, art by Peter Lutjen