In Convo w/Cassandra Khaw, Fresh Fiction, Spooky Season

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Greetings, Heroes;

Tonight at 7pm I’m in conversation with spooky gore emperox Cassandra Khaw. We’ll be discussing their latest novel, The All-Consuming World. This one was a little brutal even for me, which tells you something. I blurbed it thusly:

"This is Khaw at their most raw and unrestrained. Prepare for a wild ride."

Reserve Seat

I’ve also got some fresh fiction up! August’s short story is “Judged.” A snippet:

They shot the seven judges at half-past five in the evening against the wall of a gymnasium.

One of the judges was sick with pneumonia. Another had a bum leg. They tried to hold the one with the bum leg against the wall, but it was no use. When they fired she was hunched over, huffing into a red checkered handkerchief. Slushy drifts of snow clotted the gutters above. Water dripped onto the judges’ robes.

Read More

I also recently read Delilah Dawson’s upcoming novel, The Violence, which is another book with abuse trigger warnings all over. That said, I did really enjoy it, and blurbed it thusly:

"A compulsively readable fusion of domestic thriller and modern horror that shocks and surprises at every turn. Dawson deftly sketches a realistic and cathartic narrative of pandemic-era disaster suspense that exposes a complicated landscape of abuse, violence, awakening and empowerment that will be intimately familiar to readers from families coming to grips with intergenerational trauma. A must-read!" 

Pre-Order The Violence

Here at the homestead, the autumn garden cleanup continues. My long Labor Day weekend wasn’t as productive on the writing front as I’d like, but plenty of gardening was done. I’m drinking less alcohol and overall paying a bit more attention to my health, most importantly through the addition of a cool new bit of tech: a continuous blood glucose monitor that gives me readings every five minutes. Game-changer for immune dysfunction like mine.

Enjoy a few snaps from around the garden. May they give you a moment’s peace and tranquility, as they do for me:

May you have a blissfully autumnal September.

The Woods, New Story, New Light Brigade Patches! (oh my!)

August bounty on deck...

August has arrived here Ohio, and with it - some warm, dry glorious weather. The birches have begun shedding their leaves. The ground hogs are foolishly invading the yard to eat the heads off my sunflowers (and losing their heads to the dogs), the hornets and I continue our chemical warfare, and the frogs are getting fat (mostly on hornets - bonus!).

I’ve recently returned from my first overnight trip among humans since January of 2020, when I went to ConFusion. A lifetime ago. Literally another timeline ago.

My romp in the woods was a private con that is hosted by friends of friends every year. This year there were about 45 people there, with a vaccination requirement for entry. The staff where we were at were either all vaxxed or had to wear masks (only two staff members weren’t vaxxed). The couple who organize this jaunt are a space engineer and an infectious disease specialist, respectively, so I felt fairly good about my chances of coming away from there alive.

At this point it’s not a matter of if I’ll get COVID, but when, and how badly. My job is to just mitigate my chances and my chances of giving it to people around me. I’m loaded up with the Pfizer vaccine, and even with Delta, my risk of death from this particular disease is still super low. I just keep repeating that.

As I’ve discovered now that everyone close to me is vaccinated, I need to start doing mental health vs. COVID risk when determining what I do and with whom. I don’t think I’ll be going to a massive convention with folks whose vax status is unknown anytime soon, but small gatherings with hard vax rules? I can and should do more of those, because let me tell you: my mental health is so much more improved after just five days away from the house. I didn’t realize how much I missed just eavesdropping on other people while writing, either. 🤪

Spouse and I arrived home more relaxed that we’ve been in 18 months. I can also say that it was a relief to just enjoy time out and about with my spouse again. 18 months of “did you feed the dogs and who’s mowing the lawn?” definitely got tedious. We enjoy each other’s company. As I said to some friends at the event, any couple who’s made it through the pandemic should be able to add 25 years to their marriage.

“Yes, we’ve been married 12 + 25 years, thanks!”

And, speaking of the woods….

Fresh Fiction

This month’s story for Hurley’s Heroes is “The Wood of Wicked Choices.” When a young girl attempts to leave her village, her mother shares a story about what she learned in the wicked woods when she, too, attempted to defy her fate. 

Subscribe and Read!

Also, for those who missed out on the Light Brigade patches at the Etsy store - we have a new version in stock! These ones glow in the dark!

Explore the Hurley Workshop

Book Progress

I’ve stalled at about the 30k mark on LOSING GRAVITY, and spent much of my time IN THE WOODS working on line edits and reshaping the opening structure. Still aiming for my December 15th due date.


I also did some writing on both THE WOMEN IN THE CITADEL and THE BODY GARDEN, just to help shake out some cobwebs. And I’ve recently ordered like 30 nonfiction books from the library about fungi and biology, which I’m picking up this week. Should help refill the bucket.

Around the Garden

And here are some snaps from around the August garden. Spooky season is NIGH!

See you next month!

We Live! 🥂😜

Hurleyverse work progress, new deals and survival strategies

Hey, hero.

It’s been awhile.

I haven’t sent out a newsletter in a year, and… uh… what…. a…. year… huh…?

But I scraped my way through, and so did you. After a long period of churn in which I wrote 60,000+ words of various openings for my next novel, LOSING GRAVITY, I’ve finally slid it into gear and have about 30k of what will be a 90-100k draft that’s due in December for a 2022 release.

I like where it’s going now. It’s set in the same universe as THE STARS ARE LEGION, only deals with another ship with another fate. I think ya’ll will dig it.

This makes TWO books I’ll have out in 2022, after a 2021 break. The first is a short story collection, FUTURE ARTIFACTS, out from Apex Publications in the spring. LOSING GRAVITY is likely to be out in summer or fall of the same year, depending on publication schedules.

I have been productive on other fronts, as well. I’m now on year six of writing a short story every month for Patreon subscribers, and recently posted a new novelette about Nev, my favorite body-hopping mercenary, who many of you will recall from the short story Elephants and Corpses. This one has been in the works for some time.

I call it my “Renfri (from The Witcher)/Nev” fanfic. 😆

Upcoming Work

I’ve also been spending time refilling my list of back projects. This includes a novel/potential series about a former assassin-turned-gardener-turned-amateur-detective called THE BODY GARDEN, and a standalone S&S novel about the leader of revolutionary cell who joins with one of her liberators to find her former cell members after the war called THE WOMEN IN THE CITADEL. I may also have an idea for a Gothic horror novel. So, stay tuned!

These are as yet unsold projects, as my agent made me promise to finish this late book before I sell anything else, and she is wise.

Survival Strategies

My goal this last year in particular, and four years in general, was to survive by any means possible. I did not survive these years in the healthiest of ways. It was primarily achieved through drinking copious amounts of gin, gardening, and calling upon my introvert powers to sustain myself while the world was literally and figuratively burning down all around me.

I’m not particularly proud of the person I’ve become or the life that I led to survive, if only because it was both boring and unhealthy in the long term and I find myself unrecognizable to myself in a lot of ways. The one thing I AM proud of is our garden, which we transformed totally the last 18 months or so, adding two ponds, a stream, a whole new front formal garden, and numerous raised beds and planted maybe another… ten? … trees. Every morning I walk out there I can’t believe it’s our yard.

When the world is burning: plant a garden. It helps.

Whatever you did to survive, and continue to survive, know that I certainly don’t judge you. The world is wild and uncertain and stressful. But one thing the world also does is keep on spinning. The seasons keep changing. Winter is inevitably followed by spring.

New bulbs bloom. Trees grow.

We write, and we ride, again.

Hurleyverse Happenings, the Hugos, & the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

Hugo voting is open! Stories are being written! I have another book due in six weeks! OMFG!

Hey Hero,

It’s tough to wrap my head around the fact that in my last newsletter, just a few months ago, I had a new book out! The Broken Heavens wrapped up my Worldbreaker Saga (after many years of wrestling with the story to get it JUST right). Overall reactions have been super positive, so thanks again for all your patience!

If you wonder how I’ve been spending my quarantine since then, this is a live video from my living room:

Get Your Hugo On

After a long spring, the summer has been zipping by at super warp-speed (it’s 100 degrees and humid here today and I feel like I’m living on the surface of Venus), and it’s already Hugo voting time!

Thank you to everyone who voted for The Light Brigade for the Hugo shortlist. Now is the chance to see how far it can go! It’s an incredible short list this year.

If you are Hugo-inclined, but sure to vote!


Writing Like a Very Soft Wind

In other Hurleyverse news, my next novel, Losing Gravity, is due to my editor in September, which is strange because I remember that deadline be a LOT further away??? Time dilation is a bear these days.

The last month or so, I’ve managed to get back into the habit of working on this one after a very long cogntive logjam caused by sickness, quarantine, and dumpster fires of all sorts, and I am enjoying where it’s taking me.

Been spending a lot of gardening time commiserating with my dogs and working through scenes in my head. As one does.

Most of my other work these days has been happening on Patreon. Like many of you, I have had trouble concentrating the last few months as the world seethes. However, I’ve been able to write a few flash fiction pieces there every month, as well as creating the behind-the-scenes and real-time writing videos, and the monthly Q&A.

You can check out some of these ungated videos on my updated website.

Offworld Gardening

Here in Ohio, I’ve been spending a good deal of time gardening, engaged in a heated battle with the fucking squash vine borer moths and their grubby children.

Be sure to check out the garden progress on instagram! We should be rocking in the new pond next week when the temperature drops from a deadly 100+ degrees to a merely balmy 85 degrees.

Books and Sundry

Media I have enjoyed recently:

  • Shirley, on Hulu, is based on a fictional novel about Shirley Jackson, the horror writer. It is so painfully honest and complex and Elisabeth Moss is so deeply incredible that I’ve already watched it twice now.

  • Mallory O’Meara’s The Lady from the Black Lagoon has been out for a bit, but I’ve just now gotten to it. A wonderful, raw, passionate, funny, and cathartic journey that links one generation of women in horror film to the next. Absolutely delightful framing.

  • Motherland, also on Hulu, explores an alternate United States where witches make a pact with American revolutionaries and become the militant shaping force of power in America. Riveting worldbuilding.

  • The Space Between Worlds, by Micaiah Johnson, is the first book I’ve blurbed this year! I finished it in a day and bawled like a baby at the end. Here’s what I said about it: "A gritty, riveting, and ultimately hopeful novel about the people, choices, and relationships who make us who we are - in this world, and in those we can only imagine."

  • Finally, don’t forget that Kate Elliott’s genderbent Alexander the Great in Space, Unconquerable Sun, is out now!

The World is Always Ending

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about how the world is always ending for someone. Change happens. The wheel of time turns. All we have to decide, as Gandalf would say, is what to do with the time we are given.

I hope you are making the most of all the time you have.

All the best,


Worlds Will End...

The World Breaker Saga is now complete!

Hey Hero,

It’s been a long road, eh?

The Mirror Empire dropped in 2014, with Empire Ascendant coming soon after in 2015. Due to some contractual nonsense we weren’t able to sign a contract for the third and final book in the Worldbreaker Saga - The Broken Heavens - until early 2016.

Then there was that whole election thing, a three month period of mostly drunkenness, 90,000 words of a book that was… just not very good, and a commitment to change gears and finish some other stuff before I tackled this very beefy final book in a complex fantasy epic with a LOT of moving parts.

There were some dark days. More than once, I considered just paying back the advance and running away to the woods.

But I persevered. My agent kicked my ass and made me rewrite the book twice. My editor made me rewrite the first half yet again.

And we shipped the fucking thing.

Star Magic | Sentient Plants | Parallel Universes

Today, you can complete the trilogy, or binge read all three at once!


Here’s how I fucking feel right now:

It’s been a wild journey, full of slings and arrows. Creating shit that isn’t the same as other shit and doesn’t take the easy way out takes a lot of time and brain work, especially when the world is quickly changing around you.

Thanks to all of you for your support, well-wishes and patience! I do hope you enjoy the final volume in my first completed epic.

Fresh Hurleyverse Adventures

If you’ve missed the last few stories that dropped for subscribers, here’s a recap:

"Leviathan" is the tale of a mom-and-daughter salvage crew that eek out a living hopping from one derelict to another - until the day mom makes a tragic mistake, and her daughter... a startling discovery.

Check it out

Nyx and her ragtag team of morally gray mercenaries get roped into retrieving a flesh-flaying monster from a tomb. Just another day in Nasheen.

Check it Out

As we charge forward into the raging 20’s, I’m glad to have you all here along for the ride. After all, the only way to change the future is to ensure that we’re here to shape it, right? Let’s go!



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