First, the fun part: Round Midnight is currently free. Yes, free! So if you haven’t read this duet of retro Christmas/New Year’s Eve romances, now’s the time. You can get it at Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Google Play, and Kobo.
Also, Star Dust won’t be free much longer, so click fast if you don’t have the awakening divorcee and the playboy astronaut next door.
Now onto the disappointments!
2018 was the worst writing year I’ve had since 2011. I barely wrote any new words, I spent most of the year staring at my manuscripts while dread galloped around my mind, and I felt defeated by my desire to be a writer in a way that I haven’t basically ever.
So if you’ve been thinking, “I’d like to hear Emma’s disembodied voice,” you’re in luck: I recently chatted with the lovely ladies at the Wicked Wallflowers Club about Earth Bound, Free Fall, how I spent years not writing my dissertation, politics, and phallic lobster Jell-O. Basically all the normal stuff.
You can listen to it here. But FYI, some of the language probably isn’t safe for work.
As has now become my custom, this is my year in culture in review post. I’m posting it super early because I know I won’t get to read or watch stuff in the next month as I become a holiday wraith. (If you’re curious, I also wrote lists in 2017 and 2016.)
Below are things I listened to, read, or watched this year. Most were released in the last year to two years, though a few are oldies that I only just discovered. I tried to err on the side of more obscure selections, though a few popular choices slipped through. I make no pretense that this list represents the year’s “best” entertainment; it’s merely the culture I enjoyed the most in 2018.
“Movement,” Hozier: it takes a few views to hear anything given the, um, visuals, but once you’re able to listen, the song itself is soulful, deeply felt, and dead sexy. Here’s to the full album next year!
“Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves: the title is a pun and it’s the perfect song for Dean and Vivy from Free Fall. But seriously, the entire album is gorgeous, grown up, and an absolute delight.
John Field, Complete Nocturnes, Elizabeth Joy Roe: I’m still years from being able to play nocturnes, but when I get there, I’ll start with Field. And maybe in a decade or two I’ll be able to pretend to play this well. It’s a lovely collection, made more special in that you don’t know it the way you do Chopin.
“Redbone,” Childish Gambino: so I found “This is America” to be a bit glib (I know), but when it was everywhere, I dug into Gambino’s backlist and fell hard for “Redbone.” That Donald Glover has it going on.
“Pristine,” Snail Mail: I almost, almost saw Snail Mail live this summer, and if I had, I would have properly been able to brag I knew about them first. I’ll have to settle for this instead: I love Lindsey Jordan’s voice and lyrics and I bet you will too.
Three years ago today, Genevieve Turner and I took you to space for the first time in Star Dust. We introduced you to playboy astronauts and uptight engineers, launched you into orbit, and invited you to boozy bridge parties. Writing this series has been one of the greatest joys of my creative life–and of course we’re not done yet.
If you haven’t picked up Star Dust, it’s free everywhere, including at Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Google Play, and Kobo. And, because I’m a dork, I couldn’t resist designing a logo for the ASD to celebrate and then using it to recreate a key letter from Earth Bound. It’s after the break.
I’ve been meaning to collect the stories I wrote for the Rogue series. Thanks to my ennui about current events, I finally got around to it. Dispatches is collection of three standalone novelettes, and I’m offering it as an exclusive freebie to my mailing list subscribers.
To emphasize: this is previously published work. If you bought Rogue Desire, Rogue Affairs, and Rogue Hearts, you already have these stories. But they’re together along with a few extras for the first time.
Gathering these stories together reminded me that politics, at its best, can be hopeful; it can be where people work in tandem to make things better. If politics is a site that destroys us, it can be a place of power too. And in that way, it’s a lot like love.
I’ll never stop believing that, in the most intimate and elemental way, to choose love is to look to the future. In these stories, falling in love isn’t an escapist fantasy or a turn inward. Instead, these characters take in the hellscape, then turn to each other and say, “Let’s fix it. Together.” It’s a message I need now more than ever.
If you’re already signed up for the newsletter, I just sent you an email with the link to get your copy. If you’re not a subscriber, you can remedy that right here. After you confirm your email address, the download link will appear on the confirmation screen.
So I’ve been teaching myself to play the piano. I took a few years of sullen lessons in childhood, but I was more interested in singing and not terribly gifted at either. I absorbed a handful of musical terms and little else. In college, I moved onto other passions and music lost out in the battle with literature and politics. Then three years ago my parents gifted me a piano, and I realized the baby grand could exist merely so I might dust it once in a while or I could learn to play it.
As with most things, the initial period of learning went wonderfully. If you go from knowing nothing to having mastered one skill, you’ve doubled your knowledge. Hooray! Playing the piano–if one were generous enough to label those efforts “playing”–was gratifying and almost meditative.
But as my (meager) skill improved, I had to face the simple truth: unlike Gershwin, I got no rhythm. Absolutely none. Where my internal ticker should be there is a void.
Smart Bitches Trashy Books had a brilliant rec league today asking for Slytherin-Hufflepuff pairings. I adore this idea because it’s gender neutral, descriptive, involves both (or all) the protagonists (not just the hero), and it gets us out of the alpha-beta framework.
So for fun, I categorized every book I’ve written–all thirteen of them (!!!). Do you think I put everyone in the right house? I could’ve used the sorting hat a few times.