Put a pin in this: The shirts are back in town

Ah, the holiday season: A time to celebrate with family and loved ones, eat a lot of food, and possibly even buy gifts for people.

Gifts, you say? What to get that discerning person on your list. Well, it just so happens I’ve got a few suggestions for you.


I’m pretty psyched to be offering, for the first time, this fantastic Illyrican Empire shirt. In your choice of red (on tri-blend or 100% cotton) or heather gray (tri-blend only), this fetching piece of attire emblazoned with the crest of the Imperium and makes a wonderful addition to any wardrobe. Suitable for everything from casual get-togethers to formal royal events to undercover spy missions.

And, if you missed out on my earlier Commonwealth of Independent Systems shirts, well, you’ve got another chance to pick one up for a song. (That song is “Sleigh Ride.”) We’ve got blue, indigo, and military green on tri-blend, as well as a blue 100% cotton option.

Both shirts are on sale at Cotton Bureau until December 3rd; if you do buy one, be sure to use code ALLTHETEES at checkout to be entered for some fun prizes, including AirPods, an iPad, and even an iMac. (Full disclosure: I also get entered for those prizes if you do.) If we hit the necessary sales thresholds, I will also be giving away some free shirts to lucky folks on my newsletter list, to which you can subscribe on the front page of the site.


One more new addition coming soon: a Commonwealth pin! This is particularly exciting to me, because as a kid, I used to collect pins. (I think my first was Michaelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I got with tickets from Skee-Ball at an arcade and hoo boy, I am totally dating myself, aren’t I?)

Anyway, pins seem to be all the rage now, which is a little bit of a bummer because why couldn’t they have been cool like thirty years ago, huh? Anyway, this pin will fit on your lapel or your bag or anywhere else you want to stick it. (Please do not stick pins in any other living beings—I know your little brother is annoying, but that’s not the answer.)

Anyway, the pin should be available in a couple weeks from Cotton Bureau, at which point I’ll be sure to provide more info about ordering.

Free Bookplates

And just a reminder: if you want a free—totally free!—customized and signed bookplate to throw on your copy of The Caledonian Gambit or save for your upcoming copy of The Bayern Agenda, I’ve got a form where you can request one.

Just hit up that page using the password sabaea, put in your address and any customization you want (honestly, I will write pretty much anything), and I will mail one out, at no cost to you. It’s my easy (and free) gift to you, or to your loved one.

Posted in Merch | Comments Off on Put a pin in this: The shirts are back in town

The Bayern Agenda unfolds in March 2019

I hope you’re sitting down, because well, I’m sitting down for this news, which has been a long time coming: my next book, The Bayern Agenda, will be available for your reading pleasure in March of next year!

I’m delighted to say that I’ve teamed up with the merciless killbots fine folks at Angry Robot for this new Galactic Cold War series, of which Bayern is the first installment. You can read more about my inspiration for the book and its setting in the announcement over at Unbound Worlds.

So, I imagine you have some questions. Let me do my best to not only imagine what those questions are but perhaps even answer them:

Q: When exactly—give me the hour and minute!—does The Bayern Agenda come out? 

A: Okay, look, I’m not an atomic clock. But I can tell you that March 5, 2019 is the day to mark in your calendar.

Q: Where can I find said book? How can I get it into my hot little hands? 

A: Are your hands, like, weirdly hot? Because maybe consult a physician about that. But assuming that was just a fanciful turn of phrase, you’ll be glad to know that you can find The Bayern Agenda for pre-order at all your favorite online bookstores and I’m sure were you to walk into your local bookshop and ask them to order it for you, they would gladly oblige.

Q: I prefer to read with my ears. Will there be an audiobook version? 

A: I have nothing official to announce about that at present, but I can say that I have a good feeling about it and if you find yourself in Vegas in the next few months, I would not place a bet against it. Audio versions of books definitely being something bookies will take some action on.

Q: Okay, level with me: Is this a sequel to your stunning and auspicious debut, The Caledonian Gambit?

A: Aww, thank you. Such kind words. Here’s what I’ll say: The Bayern Agenda is set in the same universe as Gambit, and readers of that book will recognize some familiar faces. But this is officially the kickoff of a whole new adventure and a great place for new readers to jump right in. You can tell ’em I said so!

You know in TV when they make a pilot episode and sometimes they say, hey, this part worked really well, but we really need to make a few tweaks here and there, nips and tucks, rejiggering, and so on, before we go to series. Consider The Caledonian Gambit that pilot episode. Or, if you prefer, consider it the prequel to The Bayern Agenda. (Ehh? Ehh? See what I did there?)

Q: Sold. How can I help? 

A: “Sold” is exactly the right word. I’ll just casually mention those pre-orders again; they’re a huge help to a writer. Spread the word: tell your family, tell your friends, tell your colleagues, associates, frenemies, friendly rivals, enemies, FedEx delivery person, and everybody in between. If you’re so inclined to ask your local bookshop to order it, you have my eternal undying gratitude.

Q: Anything else you want to tell us?

A: So many things, but chief among them: Thank you all so much for your support over the past year. Because of you I made the Goodreads Choice Awards semi-finals; because of you The Caledonian Gambit won the best cover art for a debut novel in 2017! It would not be overstating it to say that your enthusiasm for TCG helped The Bayern Agenda become a reality. I literally could not have done any of this without you, because, seriously, who would have read the book?

This is getting a bit metaphysical.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to sharing The Bayern Agenda with you next year, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Or perhaps even more, if such a thing is possible.

Stay tuned! Much more to come.

Posted in The Bayern Agenda | Comments Off on The Bayern Agenda unfolds in March 2019

Award season eligibility 2018

I’m not sure if it’s Duck Season or Rabbit Season, but apparently it is the time of year when people start nominating things from last year for awards. The nominees for the Nebulas recently came out, but there’s still time for a couple to nominate works for a couple other awards.

And, hey, last year I had my first novel published. So if you enjoyed The Caledonian Gambit and would like to see it potentially win an award, well, that may be within your power. Here’s the details:

First, the Locus awards are accepting nominations through April 15, 2018. Anybody can submit nominations, but if you’re a Locus subscriber, your votes count for double. The Caledonian Gambit would be a write-in vote, but it’s eligible for two separate categories: Best Novel and Best First Novel. You can actually even vote for it for both at the same time! It’s allowed!

And, of course, the Hugos, for which nominations are open until 11:59pm PDT on March 16, 2018. You can nominate works if you’re a member of the 2017, 2018, or 2019 Worldcons as of December 31, 2017. The Caledonian Gambit is eligible for the Best Novel category, while yours truly is eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer.

I’d be honored and humbled to be nominate for any of these awards, so if you find yourself so inclined, thanks.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Award season eligibility 2018

Cover of the Year, shirts of January

Well, this year isn’t off to a bad start.

First up, a big thanks to everybody who voted for The Caledonian Gambit’s cover over at The Qwillery’s Cover of the Year poll. There was some stiff competition from Sara O. Thompson’s Muddy Waters, complete with a lengthy teeter-tottering for first place, but I’m happy to say that we emerged from the scrum victorious, carried aloft on a ceremonial book cover. Or, well, the little bar on our results was just a little bit longer anyway. Anyway, that’s amazing and flattering, but full credit must go to cover artist Sebastien Hue and cover designer Rain Saukas, who did phenomenal jobs putting the whole thing together. The best that I can hope for is that it means you can judge my book by its cover. (And once again, I’m ever thankful that the folks at Talos didn’t opt to use my original cover design).

Secondly, you might remember in my last post that I was going on a bit about my lateral move into apparel. Well, the response was simply fantastic: almost 90 people ordered shirts! Far more than I’d anticipated, but fortunately the good folks at Cotton Bureau were well up to the challenge. Orders are going out now, and hopefully everybody who ordered one should receive it in the next week or so.

If you missed out on this run of shirts, you can still register your interest at Cotton Bureau, and they’ll let you know when it’s available to order again. Next time around, I’ll also probably make the Illyrican Empire option available as well, and maybe some new color options for the Commonwealth version too.

Thanks again to those who decided that they wouldn’t mind walking around with a logo from my book emblazoned on their chest—truly, the highest honor. I look forward to seeing one in the wild at some point; then, I’ll know I’ve really made it. If you do have one and wear it some place I might see it—say, one of my upcoming appearances—who knows? Maybe I’ll have a special surprise for you.

Finally, I’m at work on a few projects that I’m hopeful you’ll all enjoy, though most of them are early days. If you’re looking for a good book to read in the meantime, let me point you towards the excellent techno-thriller The Exphoria Code by my good friend Antony Johnston, whose name you might know from a little movie called Atomic Blonde. It’s a ripping good read, as you’d expect from him.

Posted in The Caledonian Gambit | Comments Off on Cover of the Year, shirts of January

Getting shirty

Over the past few months, I’ve had great fun sending out free signed bookplates and handing out stickers emblazoned with the insignia of the Commonwealth of Independent Systems and the Illyrican Empire, the two major factions from The Caledonian Gambit. Between those and the stamps I had made for signings, it’s a fun way to bring a little personalization and depth to the story. But I wanted to take things a step further, so I’m pleased to announce that I’m selling my first t-shirt.

The Commonwealth of Independent Systems shirt is now available for a limited time from Cotton Bureau, in one of three colors: a royal (canonical) blue, an indigo, and a military green. The campaign runs for two weeks, wrapping up on January 16 at 8pm EST, so make sure to place your orders before then. (And read on for how to enter to win a free shirt!)

For you Illyrican fans out there, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m considering doing an Illyrican shirt later on, depending on how sales of the Commonwealth shirt goes, but I opted to start with this one because in sending out bookplates, the Commonwealth versions were requested twice as much as the Illyrican. But here’s a sneak peek at what an Illyrican shirt will probably look like.

I’m also offering a chance for one lucky person to win a free Commonwealth shirt! All you have to do to get a chance to win is subscribe to my very infrequent mailing list by entering your email address in the form below.

I know, I know: giving away your email is a precious commodity these days. I understand completely. But I solemnly swear that the only thing you’ll get is a pretty rare email from me letting you know about announcements related to my writing and appearances. That’s it. Nobody else gets your email, and I won’t abuse the power. So you’ve got nothing to lose and a possible t-shirt to win!

I’ll pick a winner from everybody who’s subscribed to the mailing list as of January 16, 9 a.m. EST, so if you’ve already signed up, you’re automatically entered. (That also gives me time to contact the winner and for you to still buy a shirt if you didn’t win.) Good luck!

The form you have selected does not exist.

Posted in The Caledonian Gambit | Comments Off on Getting shirty

Audiobook, signed bookplates, and reviews

Hey friends! It’s been a couple weeks since The Caledonian Gambit officially hit shelves, and I’ve got a couple of fun pieces of news to share with you, my nearest and dearest pals.


A lot of people have asked if an audiobook version of TCG is coming. Good news: It is! Tantor Media is producing it, it’s scheduled to come out on July 20. Narrator Rob Grgach has already proved worth his weight in gold by catching a little math error in the text.1

The CD version of the audiobook is already up for pre-order on Amazon, but I have it on good authority that a downloadable version will also be available and, as Tantor’s other titles are on Audible, I would presume it should be available there as well. More information as I get it, but if you’ve been waiting for the audiobook version, rest assured it’s on its way.

Signed bookplates

I got to sign a couple more books at WWDC this past week, but I’ve also had a lot of questions about where people can get signed copies. Unfortunately, right now, unless you’re in the Boston area (or someplace else that I’m visiting), you’re kind of out of luck. Currently, I don’t have any other plans for signings, but I’ll update my appearances page if they arise.

However! If it’s simply an autograph and not my scintillating company that you crave, I’m more than happy to oblige. I’ve had some very attractive bookplates printed, and I’m more than happy to sign one and send it to you for the low low cost of absolutely nothing—I’ll even personalize it for you! Just head over to this form (the password is sabaea) and fill out your name, address, and any personalization you’d like.

I’m offering two different styles of bookplates to choose from—Commonwealth and Imperium—and I’ll accommodate all requests as long as supplies last. The bookplates are adhesive, so you can stick ’em in your book if you want, but you certainly don’t have to—it’s yours to do with as you please!2

A few other things are cooking on this front, so stay tuned.


Finally, just close it out, a huge thanks to everybody who’s taken the time to leave a review or a rating of The Caledonian Gambit on Amazon, Goodreads, and the iBookstore. I really appreciate it. If you like the book and want to read more, this is one of the best (and, let’s be honest, easiest) ways to show your support! Other great options include telling your friends, telling your local bookstores, and telling random people on the street. But whatever you’re comfortable with, really.

If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, but haven’t yet had time to leave a review, no worries—there’s still time! Even a short sentence or two is all it takes. Plus it helps ensure that there may very well be more to come in the continuing adventures of these characters. On which topic, I hope to have more to say…soon…

  1. Whoops! Thanks, Rob!

  2. Well, I mean, don’t copy my signature and sell it. Rules and laws apply, etc, etc.

Posted in The Caledonian Gambit | Comments Off on Audiobook, signed bookplates, and reviews

Ratings, giveaway, cover battle, and more

It’s less than a week before The Caledonian Gambit is out there in the wild 1, so it seemed like a good time to let you know what’s going on in the run-up to the book’s official release.

Ratings and Reviews

First of all, a huge thanks to everybody who has preordered the book. You folks are all champs, and I really appreciate the support. This is something I’ve been working hard on for years, and I’m about as excited as a cat chasing a laser pointer that it’s about to happen.

If I may ask one last favor of you fine people: once you’ve read the book, if you like it, please tell the world.2 Tweet about it, tell your friends, climb up to the local rooftops and scream about it3, whatever.

If you’re looking for a slightly easier way to share your fondness for the book, Goodreads and Amazon both make it pretty easy to rate books, and if you have time to leave a review—even a short one such as “I really enjoyed this book!”—that’s a huge help. If you’d like to write more, by all means, go nuts. But reviews might help other people decide to check it out, and that means I get to keep writing books, which, I think we’ll all agree, is the best thing for everybody right now: you, me, America.

Goodreads Giveaway

Speaking of Goodreads, just in case you’ve been holding off on pre-ordering the book, you have an opportunity to win your very own paperback edition from Goodreads. My publisher is giving away copies of The Caledonian Gambit to five lucky entrants! (As of this writing, amazingly, 193 people have entered. So you still have better than a 1-in-40 chance, which is way more likely than winning the lottery, and, honestly, comes with fewer long-term downsides.) The contest runs through May 25, so you’ve still got time to drop your name in the hat.

Qwillery Poll

Looking for other fun ways to support the book? The Caledonian Gambit is facing off in the Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for May over at The Qwillery. We’ve got a pretty solid lead currently, but I don’t want to get cocky. If you haven’t yet taken a few seconds to register your vote, hit that link above and tell them how pretty you think the cover is.

Reading/Q&A/signing on 6/1

Boston-area people, if you’re looking for a chance to hear me read from the book, get your copy signed, and may even have your questions answered, good news! Thursday, June 1, at 7pm I’ll be at Newtonville Books in Newton Center, just a stone’s throw away from where I grew up. There’s a Facebook event to register your interest, if that’s your jam, but it’s not required, so feel free to drop by and say hi.

Signed copies

As long as we’re on the topic of signed copies, I’ve had a lot of people asking about how to have me scribble in their copy. At present, the only surefire way is to be in the Boston area, which is where I’m likely to hold most events. I’ll also be attending Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose early next month, so if you’re at the Relay FM meetup or some of the other events happening that week, just find me. (Or if you’re in the area but not at those events, shoot me a tweet and we’ll figure something out.)

I’m working on a way to accommodate those of you who aren’t in the Boston area, but I’m not quite ready to share that yet. When I am, you can be sure that I’ll let you know. If you want to be among the first to get the details, remember you can always sign up for my super low volume mailing list from the front page.

Thanks again for all your support. We’re in the home stretch here, so hold on tight.

  1. Excepting all those copies of the paperback that Amazon has already shipped, anyway, so thanks, Amazon!.

  2. If you didn’t like it, maybe just write an angry screed and post it on your refrigerator.

  3. My legal counsel advises me that I should not tell you to do this.

Posted in Appearances, The Caledonian Gambit | Comments Off on Ratings, giveaway, cover battle, and more

Words and pictures

Since today is my birthday and since there’s less than one month until The Caledonian Gambit1 hits stores, it seems like a great time for a few quick updates—including a special present, oooooh.

How to help

A lot of folks have asked me what the best way is to support me and the book. That’s incredibly generous, and I really appreciate it. The short answer is: pre-order the book. My understanding is that pre-orders count as Week 1 sales, and that Week 1 sales are instrumental in determining the success of a book—and in helping ensure the existence of future books.2

Some people ask if one format (ebook vs. paperback) or one vendor (iBooks vs. Amazon, say) is better than another, to which I’d say: whichever you prefer. Seriously, it’s all up to you. Buy the copy that you’ll get the most out of.3

For those of you who’d prefer not to buy online, I totally dig it. I’m not sure yet how broad the paperback distribution will be, but if you want to support your local independent bookstore—and who doesn’t?—you can always ask them to order The Caledonian Gambit for you. They’ll do it! Honest!

Beyond that, if you still want to help, tell other people about the book. Twitter, Facebook, carrier pigeon, “real life”, et cetera.

And, hey, if you really want to go above and beyond, you can ask your local library to order a copy as well. You can certainly ask a librarian about the best way to do that4, but a lot of libraries now have pages on their websites for just such a purpose. For example, here’s the one for my local library in Somerville.

A thousand words

Hey, it’s my birthday! So I decided to get myself a little present—and fortunately, it’s a present that I can share with all of you.

So, The Caledonian Gambit is set against the backdrop of a Galactic Cold War. On one side, the Commonwealth of Independent Systems, a confederation of worlds that have allied for the purposes of self-defense. Arrayed against them, the Illyrican Empire, a former colony of Earth’s long thought lost, but which returned with conquest on its mind.

To me, those conjure specific images built up over the long period I’ve spent working on this book, but I realize that for most people, they don’t carry that kind of weight—you haven’t been living with this world in your head for over a decade. So I wanted to come up with some concrete imagery that I could share with all of you.

Here’s the thing: words I can totally handle. But, as we’ve previously established, art is not my strong suit. So I got in touch with the mysterious Forgotten Towel, who you may know from such podcast logos as Liftoff, Lazy Doctor Who, and Relay FM (not to mention other fantastic designs like the PCalc icon), and I pitched him on an idea: creating the emblems for the Commonwealth and the Imperium.

Let’s just say he succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I’m so psyched to share what he came up with. So let’s do this:

Commonwealth of Independent Systems

Illyrican Empire

Pretty cool, right? Let’s just sit with those for a second. Really take ’em in. Bask in them. Gorgeous. I’m beyond thrilled with them, and, hey, if you need design work done, I cannot recommend Forgotten Towel enough.

Anyway, I’ve got some exciting plans for these, which I’ll dish on a little closer to the book release.

Mail call

Finally, you might be wondering about the best way to keep up with me. You can always subscribe to this site, of course, and I’m still over on Twitter (though I understand that a lot gets lost in the shuffle over there these days). So I’ve set up a very low-volume mailing list to keep people apprised of updates like when the book gets released, my appearances, and other salient details. I’m going to say “low-volume” again just because I know I hate getting spammy emails, and that isn’t my intent here at all.

I’m also plotting some exclusive things to share with people who sign up for the mailing list, but I haven’t quite worked out all the details yet. (If there are specific things that would encourage you to sign up, let me know! I’m open to suggestions.)

Signing up is easy: there’s a form on the front page of the site, and hey, let’s drop one in right here to make it even easier.

The form you have selected does not exist.

Thanks again for all of your support. I quite literally could not do it without you. Now, let’s buckle down: Just three and a half weeks to go.

  1. You’ve put your pre-order in, right?

  2. I’d like to keep writing more books for you, so the better the sales, the more likely that is to happen!

  3. And, if you want to buy multiple formats, well, I am not going to stop you.

  4. Because librarians are awesome.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Words and pictures

Cover story and Q&A

Over at the Skyhorse Publishing blog, they’ve officially revealed the cover for The Caledonian Gambit, along with a Q&A with me about the book. But there’s a bit of a funny story about the development of the cover that I wanted to share.1

As this is my first novel, when my editor at Talos, Jason Katzman, asked if I had any thoughts about what should be on the cover, I admit that I panicked a little bit. I’d been more or less trained to expect that my input, if any, would be on the minimal side, so I think I just babbled something about spaceships and the opening scene of the book, which features a pivotal space battle.

But of course, having written the scene, I did have some idea of what it looked like. So, later on, I pulled out my iPad and a stylus and made a quick, rough sketch. Very rough. Really, exceedingly rough. I’m kind of embarrassed to share it, but okay, here:

You know, both my mother and my dad’s sister were pretty talented artists. I clearly did not inherit any of those genes.

Fortunately, I managed to remember to at least name some of my favorite artists who’ve done this sort of work, including Ralph McQuarrie and John Harris, when I relayed this to my editor. Even more fortunately, he didn’t laugh at me too much when I sent the sketch over.

Still, I wasn’t prepared for what he came back with. Illustrator Sebastien Hue had somehow managed to pluck a better version of the scene right out of my head and translate it to the page. Rain Saukas turned that illustration into a beautiful cover design that conveys exactly the kind of futuristic feeling that the book shoots for. It’s just beautiful.

I love this cover. It’s amazing, and it’s more than I ever could have hoped for. I’m even more excited for the book to come out, so mark your calendars for May 23.

  1. Because this is a story in which I look pretty silly, which is probably the best kind.

Posted in Writing | Comments Off on Cover story and Q&A

2017: A big year

So, it’s 2017. Which still sounds about as futuristic as 2015 did back in Back to the Future, Part II, but at least we’ve still got a few years before 2020 rolls around, and we all come to terms with that.

For me, 2017’s a big year because hey, look, my first novel comes out! I’m still not entirely convinced this is real, and fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly between now and then. Like, hopefully I don’t get hit by a meteor, because that would put a real damper on everything.

Anyway, you’ll all be able to read the novel later this year1—I’m not 100% sure exactly when, but as soon as I do have confirmation, believe me: I will be shouting it from the rooftops. Which is probably how I end up getting hit by that meteor.

But because of that, I’m going to be doing some public appearances this year, and I figured it would be a good idea to have a place to keep track of that, a) for interested parties and b) so I remember exactly where the hell I’m supposed to be and when. Hence, the new (and currently kind of bare bones) Appearances page at that link there and in the navbar. I’ll be updating it with more events as the year progresses and I confirm my travel plans, and I will include more information about my specific appearances at those events as those too get the thumbs up. So, if you’re interested in catching me in the wild, like one of your Pokémons, you’ll know where I will be.2

  1. I’m very excited about this, but also kind of terrified in a way that only emoji can express: 😱

  2. OR WILL I?

Posted in Appearances | Comments Off on 2017: A big year