Against All Silence Is Out Today!

Today my fourth novel, Against All Silence, is out from Adaptive Books!

This was perhaps the hardest book I’ve written yet. See, the previous book, The Silence of Six, was published shortly after my first child was born, so this is the first novel I wrote entirely while trying to keep a little person alive and happy. I was a stay-at-home dad while writing the early drafts of this book, which as you can imagine was quite challenging. Then I had a full-time job, and I was still the primary caregiver for my kid (and a new puppy), which has been even more demanding.

Beyond all that, I also wanted to make this book even better than the first one, both familiar to fans and different enough to make it fresh. Did I succeed? You tell me…

There has been a little confusion about when Against All Silence is actually coming out, due to a new partnership between my publisher and Barnes & Noble. Basically, you can buy the book exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores everywhere and online at BN.com beginning today, but if you want to pick it up elsewhere, such as at Amazon.com or your local indie bookseller, you will have to wait until Feb. 17, 2017. You can read more about this unique deal at the NY Times. Similarly, B&N currently is the only place to get the paperback edition of The Silence of Six with its creepy new cover.

Some other goodies: You can still read two short stories in the SOS series for free at Wattpad right now! The first, “SOS”, is a prequel to The Silence of Six, and the second is a novella titled “DoubleThink” that bridges that book and Against All Silence.

Regardless of how and where you get Against All Silence, thank you for reading!

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Brookville-Bound!

If you live near Brookville, PA, please come to the Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library on Thursday, August 11 at 7 p.m.! They were kind enough to invite me to speak about my books and writing and my adventures catching and training Pokémon… Well, my books and writing, and we’ll see how the evening goes. The event is FREE, so you have nothing but an hour or two to lose, and you can always DVR the Olympics and watch them later, so. See you there?

Oh, also I’ll be signing and giving away advance copies of my new book, Against All Silence (out on Aug. 23 from Adaptive Books, at a Barnes & Noble near you), and limited edition copies of the short story prequel to The Silence of Six, “SOS”. So the event is free, and you can get free, rare books! SEE YOU THERE.

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New SØS Story!

DoubleThink

For fans of my novel The Silence of Six (and those who haven’t heard of it — yes, even you!), I’ve written a new novella starring one of the main characters, Penny Polonsky: “DoubleThink”.

The first part of the story is available for free exclusively on Wattpad now, and new chapters will appear there every Tuesday through Aug. 23, when my new book, Against All Silence (SØS #2) will be in Barnes & Noble stores everywhere. (A Wattpad account is required, but you should have one anyway because there are lots of great free stories on the site!)

I know Penny’s a favorite of many readers, and I don’t mind admitting that she’s mine too. (Sorry, Max!) Penny is not only a kick-ass female character™, who often outshines the novels’ protagonist, but she really has her act together. Or does she? That’s some of what “DoubleThink” is about.

Maybe Penny is so interesting because we don’t know much about her. It can be hard to predict what she’ll do next (even for me), but it’s probably going to be impressive. Even though she likes her secrets, she clearly wanted a little more attention for once. And she deserves it; Penny is an even bigger part of the plot and Max’s life in Against All Silence, so much so that I considered writing the book with alternating POVs. Alas, it’s too late for that, but at least this story lets you into her head a little.

Penny’s also important to me personally because I think media should highlight more women who are interested in and excellent at technology, engineering, and science. Unfortunately society still marginalizes their existence, ignores their accomplishments, shuts them out, shuts them up, or actively threatens their lives and livelihood and loved ones. Not cool, right? How does Penny deal with all that? That’s also some of what “DoubleThink” and Against All Silence explore.

Penny’s story was a lot of fun to write, and I sort of felt like I had to write it. Special shout-out to my friend, technical adviser, and fantastic writer Fran Wilde for helping me whip this story into shape. (All tech errors are my own, of course.) And thanks to fab editor Jordan Hamessley for helping with early drafts as well.

If you enjoy “DoubleThink,” you also might want to read the free prequel to the series, “SOS,” also on Wattpad and available as a free Nook eBook, and check out The Silence of Six and Against All Silence at Barnes & Noble this month! As always, comments, sharing on social media, and reviews are greatly appreciated.

 

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Story Sale! (I hope!)

HYI usually don’t post about story sales until I have a signed contract in hand, but in the case of my story “In His Own Image”, which I sold to the anthology Hidden Youth: Speculative Stories of Marginalized Children (ed. Mikki Kendall and Chesya Burke), I held off a little longer.

See, although I have a contract, the anthology will not be published unless its ongoing Kickstarter is funded successfully. The publisher, Crossed Genres, ran into some financial difficulties and the previous preorder campaign didn’t generate enough interest to produce the book, but they’re committed to publishing it anyway — because telling these stories, by and about people with diverse backgrounds, who have traditionally been suppressed and sidelined by history and media, is vital. Fortunately, as of this writing, 715 backers agree. The Kickstarter has a little more than $2500 left to reach its goal in the next 36 hours.

Please help us get there! If you can’t spare the money right now, then please do what you can to spread the word as much as you can.

I’m really excited by the authors and stories in this collection, which includes many first publications by new writers — which is exactly what we hope to encourage. Check out the table of contents at the Kickstarter, but look at some of these titles: “How I Saved Athens from the Stone Monsters” (by Erik Jensen), “The Bread-Thing in the Basket” (by K.T. Katzmann), “The Ostrich Egg Girl” (by JM Templet). I want to read those! Don’t you? It also features a gorgeous cover by Hugo and Locus Award–winning artist Julie Dillon, and each story will have its own illustration as well!

What of my story? “In His Own Image” is a story set in early 20th century Korea, in the midst of a war with Japan fought with giant steampunk robots. Jun-min is a young, blind mechanic who is reluctantly recruited to the war effort. His only companions are his Seeing Eye—essentially a steampunk BB-8—and his screwy clockwork dad.

I really hope you have the chance to read it! Preorder Hidden Youth in eBook for $10, or contribute at any level from $1 to $80 for all sorts of fabulous prizes and packages. If you like short stories, stories in multicultural settings with interesting characters, or young adult fiction, I think you’ll like this anthology.

Thank you!

 

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Diversity at ALA

Librarians are among my favorite people, so I’m delighted that I will be surrounded by them at the American Library Association’s annual conference this weekend, June 24—26, in Orlando, Florida.

My primary reason for attending ALA this year is to participate in Finding Yourself on the Shelves: Diversity in Ethnicity and Language For Your Teens on Saturday at 1 p.m. (OCCC, W205). Jen Schureman, a YA librarian in Gloucester County, N.J., will moderate the discussion with me and fellow panelists, fab writers Shveta Thakrar, Lamar Giles, Cindy Pon, Ellen Oh, and Meg Medina.

Like many people, Orlando has been in my thoughts and prayers a lot in the last two weeks. I was shocked by Christina Grimmie’s death, and horrified by the alligator attack that took the life of 2-year-old Lane Graves. But most of all, I have been preoccupied by the June 12 massacre at Pulse, and the names and faces of the 49 people who died. I’ve been thinking about what we must do to stop these horrible mass murders from happening over and over again — what I can do. And I realized that this panel is one, small way to help.

Today, it’s more vital than ever that we have diversity in media. Knowing, understanding, accepting, and loving those who live or love or worship or believe differently from, well, white, able-bodied, heterosexual men, will hopefully lead to fewer hate crimes like the Pulse nightclub shooting. This is oversimplifying a huge issue, but until we can prevent any random person from purchasing an assault weapon on a whim, education and empathy are all we have to fight back with.

It’s important for kids to see themselves represented in books, no matter what their backgrounds or circumstances. But kids also should be exposed to stories about those who aren’t exactly like them, so they can learn to see them as people first. Children and young adults who grow up knowing that everyone is a human being, no less worthy of life than they are, don’t typically buy guns with the intent of slaughtering dozens of innocent strangers.

We need more voices writing those books, more publishers printing them, and more libraries and schools making them available to young readers. And we need librarians to continue to help lead that change, because in many ways, they’re the front lines.

In recent years, libraries have served as an anchor for communities during times of social strife. In Ferguson, in Baltimore, libraries stayed open when the rest of the social network shut down — creating a safe space for young people and their communities to gather and discuss race and social justice, as well as comfort and connect with others. And now, in Orlando, the Orange County Library System and other local libraries have opened their doors and offered resources to help their community grieve, share information, and support each other. ALA is also planning a memorial and other activities at the conference.

All I have as a writer to make my mark on the world, to maybe help change it for the better, are my words. And I’m going to do my best to fill the world with positive, hopeful messages and stories that represent everyone who lives in it, and show life both as it is and as it should be.

Thank you, librarians, for sharing those stories and for all you do to help us feel safer and understand the world and make the future a little brighter. I look forward to seeing you and supporting your efforts this weekend.

Support:
Orlando Public Library
Ferguson Municipal Public Library
Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library

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