I write a lot of stuff, y’all. Stuff that wanders all over the map of speculative fiction, and while I do have things that are consistent about my work – I deeply love strong female protagonists; I don’t like evil villains that run around crushing things; I prefer a more-positive worldview about how things turn out, no matter how dark and gritty and awful things get along the way – there are very good reasons that some readers will take a shine to one series or cast and not be interested in another.
I’ve tried in various ways to talk about my different worlds in a way that will help my readers figure out which ones are worth a try, and none of them have really suited me in this format, because I want to *talk* about them, not *sell* them. So. You will not find any links below, and I may not even go slam in book pictures, because with this sidebar and that sidebar and everything that’s going on on any given web browser (not to mention phone!) a picture just crowds out all of the words and makes a nuisance of itself. This is just a brief discussion of the stuff I’ve got out right now and what you might like or not like about it.
Sam and Sam
This is my base series, and the place that feels like home for me. It’s often violent and bloody – some commented to me that I *do* write horror, though it doesn’t fall in to the classic horror genre because it lacks dread anticipation – but it’s also personal and optimistic and about family and relationships and people who are ultimately positive and optimistic that they are going to win. It is an urban fantasy/dark fantasy (I’ve seen a very reasonable comment that it’s grittier than your usual urban fantasy, and I don’t disagree with that at all) with angels and demons and magic. The main trio is generally off on some quest or another to save the innocent or the entire world, depending on just how high the stakes have crept, this time. I will give you fair warning that I’ve had two early-process readers beg off of this series because it’s too intense for them. Children die, sometimes, though that is always off-page, and the demons die badly. But readers who dig this series dig it hard.
Rangers : Shaman : Psychic : Warrior : Dragonsword : Child : Gorgon : Gone to Ground : Civil War* : Cult of Renouch*
*yet to be released as of August 2019
Book of Carter
This is the prequel to the Sam & Sam series. Theoretically, I would recommend reading it after the first four books of Sam & Sam, but I have had readers come to the main series after having read Book of Carter, and I have series readers who have never read it, and both do fine. It tells the story of one of the main characters from Sam & Sam from years before the beginning of Rangers, and a lot of the events from Book of Carter come up in Sam & Sam, but the information should not be critical, nor should it spoil critical reveals in the Sam & Sam series. Carter is the main character, he is dark, he is brooding, he is sarcastic, and he is much beloved by the readers who love Sam & Sam.
This is another prequel to Sam & Sam, though it follows a character who is not introduced in the Sam and Sam series until Gorgon. I would recommend reading it between Child and Gorgon. It is tonally very different from Sam & Sam, having a feel that is a lot more like a historical fantasy or even historical fiction and following family-level drama, but don’t be fooled – this is a character who is going to be instrumental in the Sam and Sam series later on. I wouldn’t recommend this as a character or a series (there are more Isobel books coming) for readers who don’t like the way that Sam and Sam reads.
This is a parallel series to Sam and Sam, following a group of Makkai demon hunters. The characters cross over from time to time, and there are later books that overlap completely with Sam & Sam books. I would recommend reading books 1-3 after Warrior or Dragonsword (books 4 or 5 of Sam and Sam) and book 4 (yet forthcoming as of June 2019) after Gorgon or Gone to Ground, before Civil War. This is a more colorful, more optimistic, and more magical world by feel, and it may be a better fit for more traditional urban fantasy readers. You don’t have to read Sam & Sam to enjoy Gypsy Queen, but if you are invested in Sam & Sam, I would recommend picking these up because they have a lot of story that crosses over with Sam & Sam at Civil War.
I reserve the right to add another book between books 3 and 4, because of a significant time gap between them. Just saying.
And I know I need a series map. Stay tuned. I drew one once and it made me laugh.
Science fiction with aliens and hand-wavey technology. Things just work. Lots of world building, lots of culture-building, lots of characters who come and go. This is very much not hard sci-fi, but I wouldn’t call it social sci-fi, either, because a lot of the technology does turn up as important to the plot. The plot is set on real-earth in the near future, in a time when a newly-developed technology, portal technology, has allowed people to jump across the universe without the need for intervening spaceships. It’s playful and fun and mostly light-hearted, though they do deal with issues of planetary importance.
I think this may be the darkest thing I’ve written, because it takes the darkness most seriously. This is a psychological fantasy, and while people aren’t routinely in mortal danger, they’re a lot less stable and a lot more broken in this one. This may also be the closest thing to a romance that I’ve written. (I know.) Where the Portal Jumpers books and the Sam & Sam universe books both fit pretty well into their categories, this one is off by itself. It’s one of my favorites, though, and I think that some of my readers who like a spectrum of my work might really enjoy this one.
Western on another planet. Sarah Todd is tough, she’s on her own, and she’s about the only thing keeping her town on the map. This is a fun one. Bolt-action rifles and horses and mining, this was my first foray into westerns, and while I’ve written a few as Jessie Noble, now, that are proper westerns, I knew that I didn’t have the historical chops to write a western on this planet, when I undertook Sarah Todd. (Hat tip to Rob Peecher, who has bridged that gap for me, more recently.) Also, it’s a lot more fun to write a western where you get to make up all the rules. So I did. There are two more to complete a trilogy in this world, written and forthcoming but not on a schedule yet. Sarah Todd is a rough character, and she does things that are pragmatic but unpleasant in some cases. There’s not a lot of warmth and affection in Sarah’s world, but there’s certainly a passion that keeps her moving and keeps her alive.
Continue reading “The Books”