Awards eligibility, 2019

Seems like at the end of the year, it never rains but it pours. In addition to everything else going on, it is that fickle beast known as awards season. So this is my opportunity to say that if you’ve liked my work from this year, you might consider nominating it for an award. What kind of award? Well, there’s the Nebulas, which are open for nominations as of this writing to members of the Science-Fiction Writers of America. The Locus awards and the Hugos are coming up as well. There’s always the 2019 Upgradies. Or you might just want to accord my work a place of honor in your household—that’s great too! I recommend a plinth with some sort of engraving.

Anyway, what have I written that’s eligible for awards this year? Well, hard as it is to believe, my second novel, The Bayern Agenda, just came out back in March. I know, in this world we live in, every week seems like a decade, so March must have been back in, what, ancient Roman times? But nope, it was still 2019.1 That means it’s eligible for any Best Novel category for 2019, or perhaps Best Sci-Fi Spy Novel With a Red/Yellow Cover. Lot of competition for that one.

That’s it for this year—it’s been pretty busy on other fronts, so one book will have to do. I hope you enjoyed it, perhaps even enough to throw its hat in the ring for an award. (Do books have hats?) Thanks for reading!

  1. I literally checked, myself, just to be sure.

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Shirts happen!

Just in time for the holiday season, both Commonwealth of Independent Systems AND Illyrican Empire shirts are back at Cotton Bureau. Available in tri-blend and 100% cotton options, as well as a variety of colors.

Just a reminder that, as per campaigns over there, we need to hit a minimum of 12 orders in order for that shirt to get printed. So order early and if you know anybody who’s on the fence, give ’em a little nudge.

And if t-shirts just aren’t your thing because you’re a dapper suit-wearing professional, the Commonwealth insignia lapel pin is always available to compliment your personal style.1

  1. Also perfect for the pin-adorned messenger bag.

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Giving it all away: Signed copies of BAYERN, free audiobooks, and more!

Update 11/22: The Commonwealth of Independent Systems shirt is also going to print, so I’ve thrown in one of those as a prize as well!

Update 11/18: As my Illyrican Empire t-shirt is officially going to print, I’m adding a code for a free shirt as an extra prize!

Here’s the thing about publishing: it takes time. Last year, right about now, I was knee-deep in cranking out The Aleph Extraction; here we are, a year later, and I’ve just delivered the revised manuscript of the book, with only a last look-see before it goes off to the printer. And then, six months from today, it’ll be winging its way into your hands, ears, or e-readers—as though by magic.

In the meantime, however, what’s large left for me with this book—aside from a few last-minute tasks—is sitting and waiting. And, of course, encouraging all of you to pre-order.

I’ve explained before why pre-orders are important: in short, they feed into the number of first week sales for a book, which is the most important week of sales, because it’s generally the highest and most reflective of what kind of demand there is for a book.

If anything, pre-orders are more important than usual with this book, because I am not at present contracted for any future Galactic Cold War titles. So if you want to read more about the adventures of your pals Kovalic, Brody, Taylor, and Tapper1, the best way to ensure that there is a next adventure is to pre-order this one.

To that end, I decided it would be fun to do a little promotion. So, if you’ve pre-ordered my book, send a copy of the receipt (photo or screenshot) to contest [at] Make sure you send it from, or supply, an email address at which you can be reached.

On November 26th, I’ll do a random drawing from those who have entered for each of the following prizes:

And in case that isn’t enough, I may add one or two more prizes to the mix in the next week or so, in which case I will update this post accordingly. I appreciate all of your support and wish you the best of luck.

Official Rules

  • Entrants must be over 18 and live in the US. (Sorry, international folks, but that’s the way it is. You can always request a free signed bookplate though!)
  • If you’re a family member or personal friend of the author, you’re ineligible for this giveaway. (But I still love you.)
  • Enter by sending a copy of your receipt for The Aleph Extraction to contest [at] One entry per person! Your email will be used only for notification purposes related to the giveaway and will be discarded after the giveaway has concluded, unless you have opted to subscribe to my newsletter.
  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter without a receipt, use this form; method of entry will not affect odds of winning.
  • Giveaway begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday November 12th and runs until 11:59 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday November 26th.
  • At the close of the giveaway, random numbers will be generated by for each prize to be given away. The corresponding number in the spreadsheet of entries will be declared the winner. Only one prize per person, so if the same number comes up again, a new number will be generated.
  • Odds of winning depends on the number of entries.
  • Once contacted, winners have 48 hours to claim their prizes or a replacement winner will be picked. And so on, until winners are found for all the prizes.

  1. Plus a few new faces from Aleph who I think you’re going to love.

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The Aleph Extraction moves to May

We’re on the move! As mentioned on Twitter and in my newsletter yesterday, The Aleph Extraction, which was previously due in March of next year, has moved to May 2020.

This came out of discussion with Angry Robot; we agreed that the schedule for getting the book out the door was a little tighter than we liked, and that adding a bit more time would ensure that Aleph would be the best book it could possibly be.

I know many of you were looking forward to something to perk you up in the dreary days of March, but I think we can all agree that the superior weather of May means a great opportunity to lounge in the newly warm weather with a good read. My thanks to all of you who have already pre-ordered—it makes a huge difference to not only the success of Aleph, but also to helping advocate for further books in the Galactic Cold War series, which I’d love to continue writing. So, if you haven’t pre-ordered yet, well, what are you waiting for?

Oh, and if you are a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll have also gotten a treat with that aforementioned email: a never-before-seen deleted scene from The Bayern Agenda. I’m hoping to share a few more of these here and there, but I figured that might be a fun little extra. Interested in seeing that and more? Sign up for the low-volume newsletter.

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Aleph’s well that ends well

What’s that, another book? Damn skippy.

Get ready for THE ALEPH EXTRACTION, book two of the Galactic Cold War series.1 Coming in March 2020, we follow our intrepid band of covert operatives as they infiltrate the luxurious starliner of a notorious gangster, attempting to track down a mysterious artifact that could have major implications for the fate of the galaxy.

Things certainly don’t look great for our heroes, if that spaceman below is any indication, but you can check out the lovely full cover designed by Georgina Hewitt, along with an exclusive excerpt, over at Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi Blog. And rest assured that there will be a lot more info to come over the next several months.2

  1. This time for real!

  2. Although I’m getting married this weekend, so it may have to wait a little bit.

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Get around, get around, get around the Internet

The Bayern Agenda has, like the kraken, been released!

It turns out book release weeks are quite the trip. Because in addition to doing the old tweetin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’, I’m also traveling around this wide Internet of ours, scribbling posts on others’ blogs, answering interview questions, and spontaneously showing up on podcasts. I know, it’s kind of a lot.

Anyway, should you have somehow not had your fill of me yet, you can check out the following places to get your fix.

Guest Posts

  • Five Things I Learned – Writing a book teaches you a lot, even when you’ve done it before. So I hijacked Chuck Wendig’s blog to enumerate five specific lessons I learned while writing The Bayern Agenda.
  • My Favorite Bit – Want to know which part of The Bayern Agenda was my favorite to write? Head over to Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, and I’ll tell you what it was and why. (Don’t worry, no spoilers.)
  • Annotated First Chapter – Ever wonder what was running through my mind while I wrote something? Well, now you can take a peek. I’ve annotated the first chapter of The Bayern Agenda for Civilian Reader.


  • Interview with Paul Semel – Over at Paul Semel’s blog, I talked about the books, movie, and TV shows that inspired The Bayern Agenda, as well as discussing some fantasy casting.
  • Interview at My Life My Books My Escape – I’m talking about my favorite characters to write (it’s so hard to pick!), what people will be talking about after they finish The Bayern Agenda, and my feelings on “theme.”
  • Interview with Amanda Bridgeman – Fellow Angry Robot author Amanda Bridgeman interviews me about my formative writing experiences, my myriad podcasts, and my secret dream job.


  • The Incomparable – My friend and colleague Jason Snell and I talk about how The Bayern Agenda came to be and answer questions from readers and listeners around the Internet.
  • Alan & Jeremy vs. Sci-Fi – I chat with the dynamic duo about sci-fi, my book, and the art of swearing; we also discuss Brooke Bolander’s excellent short story, “And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead.”
  • Narrated – I give host Scott Ullery the behind the scenes look on authors’ involvement with audiobooks, and then he turns around and quizzes me about movie mashups. Hardly seems fair.
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Now hear this: The Bayern Agenda audiobook is available for pre-order!

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the audiobook version of The Bayern Agenda, and I’m delighted to let you all know that a) there will be an audiobook version, b) it’s now up for pre-order on Amazon (and hopefully soon to follow on the Apple Book Store and elsewhere), and c) it should arrive on the same day as the print copy!

The audiobook is being produced by Audible Studios and narrated by Victor Bevine, whose dulcet tones you may have heard on the likes of Michael Lewis’s The Fifth Risk and many books in R.A. Salvatore’s oeuvre, which is some truly illustrious company.

So if you’ve been waiting for a version of the book you can read with your ears, well, there’s no reason left to wait.

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My writing finances, 2018

Writing is big business, right?

I’m always interested when writers like John Scalzi, Jim C. Hines, and Kameron Hurley talk about the economics of the writing business. I’m certainly not at the same place in my career as any of them, but maybe somebody out there is interested in what the finances of someone just starting out in fiction writing—but who’s also spent the last four years as a professional freelance writer and podcaster—look like. And, well, the only numbers I have at my disposal are my own.

As a freelancer, I have to keep a close eye on my finances as it is, because nobody else is going to do it for me.1 So since I already have those numbers, I thought I’d share this chart:

Yep, that’s my income breakdown from 2018. I’m not going to break out dollar figures here, as that’s just something I’m not comfortable with right now, but to put this overall chart in context, my gross income does not reach six figures.

This marks the first time I’ve made more from podcasts—which includes ad revenue from Clockwise and The Rebound, as well as memberships fees for Clockwise and my various Incomparable shows—than from tech writing, which is a fascinating swing for me, even though my overall income was still split evenly between writing and podcasting.2 In large part, that change is because I took on fewer tech writing gigs this past year, but also because podcasts have been doing well recently. I certainly hope that trend continues.

Fiction writing also made up the biggest percentage to date of my writing income, in part because last year I signed a two-book contract with Angry Robot, as well as seeing the first royalties from The Caledonian Gambit, which was published in 2017. Comparatively, fiction writing made up 2 percent of my income in both 2017 and 2016. In raw terms, I netted just slightly more from fiction writing in 2018 than I made in 2017 and 2016 put together.

I’ll take that as a pretty good trend, and while obviously I can’t insure that it continues in that direction, my goal has always been to slowly increase the percentage of my overall income that fiction writing brings in. But fear not, I’m not about to stop writing about technology or shutter my podcasts; they’re still bringing in the lion’s share of my income and, besides the fact that it would be economically foolish of me to toss them aside, I really enjoy those parts of my work and am extremely gratified that I can make a reasonable living off them.

As for 2019, I’ve already got a couple things lined up on the publishing front that I’m excited about, and I hope to develop more as the year continues.

  1. Without me paying them to do it, that is, which isn’t something I can afford at present.

  2. The miscellaneous income, if you’re curious, is mainly a tiny bit of Amazon affiliate revenue, and sales of my t-shirts and pins at the Cotton Bureau.

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Join the Commonwealth of Pin-dependent Systems

As promised, you can now get yourself a fancy—dare I say schmancyCommonwealth of Independent Systems insignia pin via the fine folks at the Cotton Bureau.1 It’s suitable for lapel-wearing, putting on your bag, or wearing on a jean jacket in the 1980s.

Unlike the Commonwealth and Illyrican t-shirts which are only available for a limited time (including now, as of the writing of this post!), the pins are available until my supply of them runs out. They should also arrive by Christmas, if you’re looking for a good stocking stuffer. (Please do not stuff any stockings that are currently being worn by anybody else.)

This is an experiment on my part, so whether I do further Commonwealth pins (or additional designs) will largely depend on how this first batch fares. Or, in other words, get ‘em while they’re hot!

  1. No, the pin isn’t cotton. I asked.

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The Bayern Agenda gets covered, in more ways than one

As I write this, I’m sitting in the open air, right off the beach in Tulum, Mexico. It’s a pretty striking contrast to the opening of The Bayern Agenda, which I don’t think I’m spoiling too much by saying takes place in a somewhat colder climate, in every sense of the word.1

But you’re not here for me to wax rhapsodic about my vacation. No, you’re here for book news, and book news I have. Over at SciFiNow, they’ve got a first look at the brilliant new cover to Bayern—a taste of which you can see right here—designed by the folks at Amazing15, who definitely live up to their name. I’m hopeful that the book will pop off the shelves just as much as the cover seems to.

Now, Bayern is equal parts sci-fi and espionage story, and so I couldn’t resist also talking about the most famous fictional spy around, James Bond. Look, I’ve watched quite a few Bond movies and if there’s one thing that popped out at me as I was revisiting several recently, it’s that Bond is just a terrible spy. Hit up the SciFiNow link above to see five reasons why 007 is just the worst.

As a reminder, The Bayern Agenda will be hitting shelves, physical and virtual, on March 5th, 2019. There’s still plenty of time to pre-order your copy from your favorite bookseller, whether they’re brick or mortar or online.

  1. I must be allowed my little cold war jokes.

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