Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Category Archives: writing

Tower and the Fox Audiobook on sale!


Right up there (and coming soon to iTunes and Amazon), you can snag yourself a shiny copy of the audiobook of “The Tower and the Fox,” narrated by the talented Max Miller. If you’ve followed some of my other work, Max provided the voices and fantastic narration for the Dangerous Spirits audiobooks, and he’s done a terrific job on this one as well.

He’s also signed on for the second book, so I’ll start thinking about that once it’s launched. In the meantime, enjoy! And if you like it, please review it!


Coming Next Month: The Demon and the Fox

I’m excited to announce that the second book of the Calatians series, The Demon and the Fox, is now available for pre-ordering! It’ll be out just after July 4 (and if you’re going to AnthroCon in Pittsburgh, you can get it there plus a signature). This one expands Kip’s world from the narrow confines of New Cambridge, taking him to Georgia and London, and answers a number of questions while raising a few more. Laura Garabedian has again provided a fantastic cover and interior illustrations, and Argyll has put together a great presentation for it.

I hope you’ll enjoy this one while I get down to work on the third book!


New Tibet Anthology Open for Submissions

It’s been over a decade since anything was published in the New Tibet universe, but people ask me about it every year. I finally talked to Jeff and we worked out the details for a new anthology for 2018! Submissions opened today and will run for two months, so if you’ve had an idea percolating in this universe, get your stories in!

If you haven’t read any New Tibet and would like a taste of it, I’ve posted one of my stories from Shadows in Snow (which is currently out of print; Sofawolf is working on getting electronic versions out very soon) on this website. You can find my novel “Common and Precious” on Amazon and on Bad Dog Books, and Breaking the Ice (the first New Tibet anthology) is for sale on Sofawolf’s site.

I’ll be editing and hopefully also contributing a story, and I look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!

Tower and the Fox e-book on sale!

Happy Independence Day! To celebrate the American Revolution, my Revolutionary War-era fantasy book is now out in e-book form from baddogbooks.com. You can get it in either MOBI (Kindle) or ePub form, and you’ll be supporting an independent bookseller, not Amazon or Apple or Google.

But if you’re stuck on one of those platforms, it’ll be there come August.

Clarion Write-A-Thon time!

I’m joining the Clarion Write-A-Thon again this year! My goal is to get some editing hours in on a couple manuscripts I need to get ready for next year. If you’d like to support one of the best workshops out there for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers, you can do it via my page. You can also support any of the other wonderful writers working this summer to raise money. This is a big part of Clarion’s funding, so anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated!

Workshopping (plus more Tower and the Fox release info!)

In 2014, I took Kij Johnson’s Novel Workshop at KU’s CSSF, and it was a great experience. Kij offers the chance to return and brainstorm with other alumni at Repeat Offenders, and this year I was able to take part in it. So I’m trying to nail down the fantasy book I want to write next year, as well as getting words down on the sequel to Tower and the Fox (titled “The Demon and the Fox”). I’ll be here through Monday the 26th and then heading home for July 4th weekend.

And in July, I’ll be attending a retreat with some of my fellow workshop alumni to hash out the outline for the third Calatians novel (and I’m not going to tell you the title of that one yet), right before spending a week at San Diego Comic-Con. Busy writing summer.

So you can see the Calatians are very much on my mind these days. The Tower and the Fox is off to the printer, the art looks magnificent, and I’m really excited to hold it as a real thing that actually exists in the world. The print version will be released at AnthroCon over July 4th weekend (I will not be there, alas) and on Amazon soon after. IN FACT, the pre-order page is already up on Amazon, if you care to mosey on over there and take a look. The Kindle version will have a preorder page up pretty soon as well, and the Kindle version (and other ePubs) will be up at baddogbooks.com in July (I have an exclusivity agreement with them for the first month), and on all the other major sites in August. I’m working on getting an audiobook into production too, but it’ll be a few months before that happens.


You Bought It, You Own It.

This is for the people who voted for Trump and are now downplaying the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic aspects of his campaign. For the people the news keeps telling us voted for him “in spite of those remarks, not because of them.” For the people distancing themselves from the reports of the behavior of the racists, misogynists, homophobes, and anti-Semites who did vote for Trump and are now emboldened by his victory.

Here’s the deal. None of this stuff was hidden. Maybe you thought it was just rhetoric. Maybe you thought the political process would stop the more extreme ideas before they even got started. Maybe you just didn’t want to take the chance that our next president might send an errant e-mail. Whatever your justification to yourself, you voted for him, and you got the whole package. You can’t just claim the aspects you wanted and ignore the rest; that’s not how it works. You are in part responsible for these people feeling free to express their hate on our streets, because you endorsed and helped elect the candidate who told them it was okay.

But this post isn’t meant to shame you or anything. You’re an adult, you made a decision, and your decision came with consequences. So if you’re really not okay with hate, if you’re privately horrified by the threatening letters, the hateful graffiti, the confrontations in public, you can do something about it. When you see attempts to roll back progress–like the Trump transition team discussing registering Muslims in a database–stand up and say that it’s not acceptable, loudly and often.

Here’s the most important thing, though: take action. Donate to the groups that are specifically fighting hate: the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, and so on. The lists aren’t hard to find. And call your elected representatives. Tell them you don’t want a radical anti-Semite as your next President’s chief counselor. Tell them you don’t want immigrant deportations, minority groups forced to register in a database, gay marriage overturned, Roe v. Wade overturned. Your voice matters, especially if you’re in a red state or represented by a Republican at any level of federal government.

If you really aren’t down with misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, or any of the other hateful philosophies our President-elect and his running mate have endorsed throughout their campaign, do something about it. You bought this presidency. Now own it.

Book Publishing News!

Well, a teaser anyway. I have reached a handshake deal to publish my 1815 magic school series, the one I’ve been working on for six years now. Pretty excited about it! More details to come, but it looks like the first volume will come out next summer.

Dog Backstory

We got our dog through the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. He was found wandering the streets of Sacramento, so we have no idea what his history is. All we know is that he wasn’t fixed (he is now), he loves people, he knows tricks, and he gets nervous/excited around other dogs (poorly dog-socialized). So sometimes we make up backstories for him.


You lived with a family and loved them with all your dog’s heart. And they loved you, too. They let you sleep in bed with the kids until you got too big, and you climbed on the couch to watch TV with them at night. The kids gave you pizza and bread from the table as their mom scolded them. They would all pile into the car with you and you’d go out to a park with a pond where the kids would throw balls for you and you’d jump around in the water and they would give you bits of their soft pretzels and then fall asleep against you in the back seat on the way home. And then one day they were putting things into boxes and everyone was crying and you didn’t know why. You ran around the house, worried, but whenever someone stopped to pet you they just cried more. And then they put things in the car but you weren’t allowed out to see what they were doing. At the end, the house was empty but for the smells of them. They took you outside and got in the car, and you wanted to get in with them but they wouldn’t let you, and then the car drove away without you.

You came home with a man who lived alone, and you were his companion. Sometimes he’d talk to the little box in his hand, but more often he talked to you. He’d sit beside you on the couch and rest his hand between your ears, scratching as the TV flickered and made noise, and he’d take you out in his truck to play in the park. It was just you and him, every day as you grew from a puppy to an adult. And then one day he didn’t get out of bed, and you found out what death was. You stayed with him until the police broke into the house, days later. You were hungry and scared and you bolted out the door.

You were supposed to be a guard dog for a household that dealt drugs, but you were too sweet, so they kept you around as a companion and let you sit in the car and bark at people when they went out, to make you seem scarier. When the police came to arrest them, the cops kept you on to be a drug-sniffing dog, because you were really good at sniffing. You were assigned to a female officer who grew to love you and take good care of you, only you couldn’t be a drug dog because you wouldn’t attack the criminals unless you thought the officer was in danger. They were taking you to an adoption facility, away from the officer, when the car was in an accident and you jumped free. You thought you’d try to make your way back to her, but you quickly got lost and had to fend for yourself.

You were implicated in a Ponzi scheme run by your brother and a standard poodle out of the San Francisco financial district. As the three of you fled across the Embarcadero pursued by the police, you scrambled onto a ferry and made your way to the East Bay, cursing that damn brother of yours and his get-rich-quick schemes. All you’d done was co-sign for a perfectly legal small business loan, and now you had to disappear or you’d go to prison. You made your way to Sacramento and lived on the street for a while until Animal Control picked you up and gave you a new identity, and now you growl at anyone in uniform just to be safe.

When your parents learned that their colleagues’ research was going to blow up your home planet, they put you in a small spacecraft and sent you to another planet with a yellow sun, where your kind are pampered and kept happy and fed all their lives. They didn’t quite understand the mechanism by which this works, so you crashed into the hills outside Sacramento and wandered into the city looking for a family. 


We don’t really know how your story started, but we’re going to be there for the rest of it and we’ll make it as happy as we can.


Write-A-Thon Update!

I’m a quarter of the way to my goal for the Write-A-Thon. If you want to sponsor me, the link is here: http://www.clarionwest.org/members/timsusman/

I’m working on the second book in the Calatians series, which I workshopped the last two weeks with a very talented group of writers. Now that I’m back from the workshop, I intend to get to my goal of 40,000 words quickly and start posting more regular updates.