the written world: of deadlines

i’m not writing a real newsletter this month because i have a deadline in ten days and i don’t have the spare word-meat. my fields are barren, my pastures empty, my cellars plundered. i’m rewriting my entire second novel down to the last em dash and overwrought simile, and there’s nothing left in my skull but laundry lint and tumbleweeds and, for some reason, the lyrics to the entire animated Robin Hood soundtrack.

i have no writerly insights to offer, except maybe lesson #1: all writing is rewriting, and all rewriting is hell. until it isn’t, i guess.

it feels like an orchestra warming up. like a first draft is this teeth-jarring jangle of sound that will never be right. and then slowly the second violins get their shit together and the cellos stop effing around and the noise becomes a note, a resonance in the air, a voice saying yesssssss in your ear. and honestly all that jangling horrorshow is worth it just for the sound of that yessssssssss.


hey The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a Goodreads Choice Award nominee! and it made it to the final round in the debut category! and my name is right there on al gore’s internet beside Coates and Holmes and McQuiston and it feels profoundly unlikely! go vote, if you are so moved!

it’s also the season of Nominating Things, so i note casually that The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a 2019 fantasy novel written for adults, and that i had one (1) short story published this year: “Do Not Look Back, My Lion,” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, a meditation on motherhood, matriarchy, and empire.

oh, and also i’ll be talking with Gwenda Bond (author of the first official Stranger Things novel!!!!!) at Joseph-Beth Books in Lexington, KY on Dec. 3rd @ 6:30PM. if you happen to want a signed or personalized copy of my book, you can order one through them.

other reading