A few updates…

Happy belated New Year! Here are a few quick updates on things since I haven’t updated this in a while:

The fifth and final (?) issue of Blood Oath is out. I had a blast writing my first comic with Alex Segura and hope there are more opportunities to do this in the future.

My understanding is there will be a print edition collecting all five issues, at some point.

Me and Alex also signed with Blackstone for a book called Dark Space, which is basically if John le Carré were writing Star Trek. It’ll be fun! It probably won’t come out until next year!

I’ve got two new collaborations with the Writing Workshops. The first is an online seminar: The Source Code of Storytelling and Publishing. Feb. 19. Registration is open.

Also, I’m working with them to facilitate a mentorship program. Three months, one-on-one, I’ll help you get your novel started. Details here, and I’m accepting students on a rolling basis.

And, if you’ve got a book and it needs a polish, or you need a consult or help with a submission package, I’m open to freelance clients.

‘BLOOD OATH’ is coming

It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time to write comic books. So I’m excited to say that the first issue of Blood Oath hits next week!

Blood Oath is a Comixology Original—it’s Boardwalk Empire with vampires! Co-written with my good buddy Alex Segura. Art by Joe Eisma. Colors by Hilary Jenkins. Letters by Jim Campbell. Edited by Heather Antos.

This was a hell of a lot of fun to write and I hope you dig it.

You can see a preview and learn more over at IGN!

Help save LitReactor!

LitReactor, the site where I cut my literary teeth and currently run the class program, has hit some hard times. We’re running a fundraising campaign to keep the lights on and pay our staff. I’d be much obliged if you can check it out—over on the campaign page I talk a little about what LitReactor does, what it means, and why it’s important. Every little bit helps.

There are still some very cool perks left…

Fundraising for Broadway for Arts Education

The fundraiser is closed! I’ll be reaching out to people individually so I can start getting prizes out. But if you see this before I get to you, feel free to send me your mailing address using the contact form here on my site. Thanks everyone who contributed!

I’m helping raise money for Broadway for Arts Education, in anticipation of their Silent Disco Dance-A-Thon in June! Which means you can win some COOL BOOK STUFF.

What exactly is BAE? Here’s their mission:

Broadway for Arts Education (BAE) is an NYC-based nonprofit organization that uses arts education to dismantle systemic barriers to success for underserved youth. Partnering with the Broadway community and school partners, BAE provides more than 125 performing arts classes each week, developing social-emotional, advocacy, and leadership skills for marginalized communities in New York City, India, Haiti, and Ecuador.

What can you win?

Donate $10 or more and you get a Paradox Hotel key card.

Donate $25 or more and you could win a signed copy of The Paradox Hotel or The Warehouse (your choice), along with the key card.

Donate $50 or more and you get both books signed, plus the swag.

Donate $100 or more and in my next book, I will name a character after you (or the person of your choice [within reason; you can’t come to me with Dick McButts or something]). One winner, chosen at random.

For the books and the key card, given the shipping, it’s US only, but for the character name, you can be anywhere in the world!

Go to my fundraising page at this link. The deadline is the day before the event: June 4. That’s when I’ll pick the winners. Go get ’em.

THE PARADOX HOTEL is open for business

I probably should have posted this yesterday, but: The Paradox Hotel is out now!

It’s an interesting thing… this is the most earnest and vulnerable I’ve ever been writing a book, and I like to joke that it’s all time travel and dinosaurs and robots, but it’s a lot more than that, so I’ve been anxious for people to read it, and thus far, the reactions have been pretty nice. It’s available pretty much anyplace books are sold, in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.

So, figured I would just do a quick round-up of cool stuff… because there’s been a lot of cool stuff.

I’m doing a virtual event with Delilah S. Dawson for Murder by the Book tonight (Feb. 23). Then I’m doing a virtual event with Poisoned Pen on Friday (Feb. 25). I’ll be in-person at the Staten Island Barnes & Noble on Saturday (Feb. 26), and will be doing two events for Mysterious Galaxy, with Jo Harkin and Alex Segura. I’ve got more stuff coming up later in March, and I’ll have more info on that soon. But you can find details about these events at this link.


Gabino Iglesias wrote a lovely review over at NPR.

And Tobias Carroll wrote about the book at Tor.

At LitReactor, I wrote about what it was like to have a book optioned for film/TV, and did a podcast with Razorblade Tears author S.A. Cosby.

Also had a great chat with the fellas at the Words and Whiskey podcast, as well as the Queries Qualms and Quirks podcast.

I also have a cool interview at The Big Thrill (and they put me on the cover!), and another one with CrimeReads, and one with Paul Semel, and at The Line Up.

I wrote a step-by-step guide for Mystery Fanfare about writing time travel, and a piece about researching your fiction for Chuck Wendig’s blog, a list of riveting sci-fi thrillers for Publishers Weekly, and book recommendations for Strong Sense of Place.

That’s… it for now? I think. I am trying to keep up. Anyway. There’ll be more to share soon, and also, just wanted to say this is a good time to review the book on Amazon or Goodreads. It helps with discoverability and algorithms and whatnot. And hey, it’s helpful for any author so if you read a book recently that you liked, you should review it!

In a general sense, I’m overwhelmed by how many people helped push the book yesterday. It was almost impossible to keep up with so just wanted to say: thank you, everyone, for the support.

Where to find PARADOX (and me)

We’re almost there. The Paradox Hotel comes out Tuesday. For the sake of keeping things concise, here’s a quick roundup of events and details for how to get yourself a signed copy.

First: I’ve found some out in the wild already, so you can get signed books from The Mysterious Bookshop, as well as the Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue and 46th Street.

On release day, I’ll be traveling around Manhattan (and maybe Brooklyn and Queens) to sign stock where I can find it. If you follow me on the twitter and the ‘grams you’ll be able to see where I end up.

There’s still time to get yourself a Paradox Hotel key card, if you pre-ordered the book… but not much. The window closes on Feb. 21. Go here if you want to do that. And I’m still sending out bookplates—stickers with signature you can slap inside the front of the book. Want one? Hit my contact form. It’s on me.

Otherwise, here’s where you can find me talking about the book:

Feb. 23 (virtual): Murder by the Book is hosting me and Delilah S. Dawson at 8 p.m. EST. Delilah is a pal, and her new book, The Violence, knocked my socks off. I loved it, and I can’t wait to talk to her about it.

Feb. 25 (virtual): I’ll be in conversation with Barbara Peters from Poisoned Pen bookstore, which I hit a few times on the promo circuit for the Ash McKenna books, and really loved. 8 p.m. EST. They’ll have signed books to order.

Feb. 26 (in-person): I’ll be signing books at the Staten Island Barnes & Noble starting at 2 p.m. Depending on the crowd I may do a bigger Q&A, but if it’s slow we can just hang out.

March 2 (virtual): Mysterious Galaxy is hosting a conversation with me and Jo Harkin at 3 p.m. EST. Her new book, Tell Me an Ending, sounds very much in my wheelhouse. My copy just arrived and I can’t wait to dig in.

March 23 (virtual): Mysterious Galaxy is hosting me AGAIN, this time in conversation with Alex Segura. Alex is a good friend, a frequent collaborator, and his new book Secret Identity is incredible. That’s 10 p.m. EST.

You can find more information about these events at this link.

PARADOX HOTEL pseudo-tour

We’re getting closer to release day, so here’s some info on the tour for The Paradox Hotel!

Thanks to COVID, we’re keeping things tight this year. I’m doing one in-person event, at the Staten Island Barnes & Noble.

I’m also doing two virtual events—one with the fine folks at The Poisoned Pen bookstore, and one with my good pal Delilah Dawson at Murder by the Book.

I’m particularly excited to jam with Delilah because she’s promoting her new book, The Violence, and it is incredible. She asked me to blurb it and it was one of the few times in my life where I didn’t know if I could write a blurb good enough to do the book justice.

And… that’s pretty much it. My publisher has everything rounded up here.

The week of release (probably the day of, on the 22nd), I’ll be traveling around New York City signing stock at as many bookstores as I can, and will report on social media where you can find signed copies.

Plus, I’ll have bookplates available (which is a sticker I sign and then you stick inside the book). If you want one of those, hit my contact form and let me know. I’m sending them out free-of-charge to anyone who asks.

Then, come March, I’ve got another virtual event with Alex Segura at Mysterious Galaxy. Alex is a good friend, a frequent collaborator, and his new book Secret Identity is a complete and utter knockout.

That’s what I got. Not the most exciting news ever, sadly, ’cause I really do love touring (which I say now, not having gotten on a plane in nearly two years, and I’m sure if I were on tour, by the end I’d be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, which is usually the case).

But I do miss seeing folks and hanging out in bookstores and drinking too much coffee in the morning and too much whiskey at night.

I might be adding more events as we go. And for the record—I’m pretty happy to appear at any bookstore or library within driving distance of New York City if there are safety protocols in place, and will gladly appear virtually for bookstores, libraries, book clubs, etc.

So if you want to hang in a Zoom-like setting, also hit up that contact form!

Pre-order PARADOX and get a Paradox Hotel key card

How cool are these?

I was in a marketing meeting with my team at Ballantine and threw this out as an off-hand suggestion, thinking, “There is no way they are going to make up goddamn hotel room keycards.”

And then a few weeks later they sent me the design for these bad boys. Next time I’m going to tell them we need branded jet skis or something.

Anyway. Want one? All you have to do is pre-order The Paradox Hotel (available ONE MONTH from today; you can do that here) and submit some sort of proof of purchase at this link.

Why pre-order? Why not just wait until the day it comes out to get it? Well, if you pre-order it, you won’t have to go out in the cold to get it (a big deal if you live in the Northeast where it is currently brick cold).

But also: pre-orders make editors and publishers happy, which in turn means that authors get to write more books, and I would very much like to write more books, so, consider it a nice karma boost!

That goes for all authors, by the way. If there’s an author you want to support, the best way you can do that is through pre-orders, or leaving reviews on Goodreads or retail sites, or throwing copies of the book at your family and friends.

On the passing of Thich Nhat Hanh

Years ago I found this band Chroma Key—weird, ambient, electronic music that was fantastic to write to, or just slap in a pair of earbuds while wandering around Manhattan. One song in particular always stuck out to me. When You Drive.

It’s this very chill electronic melody and it samples what sounds like a tape you would play to calm yourself while sitting in traffic. A monk encouraging you to be mindful of the present moment.

I was fascinated by it, and always found something so incredibly comforting in the song. In the cadence of the man’s voice, the simplicity of the message. Sometimes I would put it on and just listen, if I needed a moment to collect myself or just feel some stillness.

Here’s a transcript of the sample from the song:

“When you drive, you practice mindfulness of driving. It is possible. When you stop at a red light, you look at the red light and smile. You look at the red light, you smile, and you breathe in and out, and sit back, relaxingly. Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.”

“And the red light becomes a friend, becomes a bell of mindfulness. Something unpleasant becomes something pleasant. We have the habit energy of wanting to arrive. That is why we want to go as quickly as possible. But according to this practice, we arrive at every moment. Life can be found only in the present moment. Everything that we look for must be found in the present moment. Peace. Joy. Happiness. Buddha. The kingdom of God.”

“What is our final destination? If we abandon the present moment, our final destination may be our death. We don’t want to arrive there, we want to go in the direction of life.”

“This concludes Tape 1, A Retreat on the Practice of Mindfulness. Our program continues with Tape 2.”

One day I decided to look it up, to find out who it is. After a good bit of Google-fu I found it was Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and renowned peace activist.

Pulling back a bit, I was raised Catholic, and now consider myself to be in some weird atheist/agnostic liminal space, but I’ve always appreciated Eastern philosophies. I like that it’s about looking inward, instead of looking for someone else to tell you what to do.

So while I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist, I’ve done some reading in that area. I meditate. I have some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books, and will occasionally revisit them, even just to read a few passages here and there, though I haven’t in a while.

I would often read him before going to bed. Not because his work put me to sleep, but because generally around bedtime, my brain feels like a blender with a fork in it, and Thich Nhat Hanh’s writing always served to center me and help me relax.

He died today. I won’t claim to be an expert on him, or on Buddhism, but I felt moved to say something about it. He’s very much in the DNA of The Paradox Hotel. Another thing I love learning about is quantum physics, and the way Eastern philosophies and quantum physics can dovetail from one another (see: The Quantum and the Lotus).

Paradox is very much about looking inward, and facing yourself, and as much as I like to joke that the book is about robots and dinosaurs too, there’s a lot of me sorting out some ideas related to mindfulness and nirvana and the concept of the bodhisattva.

There’s a lot of me looking to find peace and love and joy in the present moment. There’s a lot of me chasing his words, or at least, trying to figure out a way to let them in a little deeper.

That transcript above, it’s funny the way it came into my life—as a sample in a song—but it’s really meant a lot to me. I’ve been listening to it for so long, read it so many times, that I could probably recite it from memory at this point. At very least, this stretch:

“Life can be found only in the present moment. Everything that we look for must be found in the present moment. Peace. Joy. Happiness. Buddha. The kingdom of God.”

I almost made that the epigraph of Paradox. I ultimately went with a quote from Through The Looking-Glass, which felt a little more appropriate, and looking back, there’s a small part of me that regrets it, because every now and again, we come across stories or passages that become imprinted on our hearts, that resonate inside us from the moment we hear them.

That little bit up there is one of those passages for me. I don’t know why. I’m not sure I could sit here and explain it. There’s just something about his voice, and the cadence, and the way it makes me feel, that I just find stunningly beautiful, and I see it as something worth reaching for.

So, you’d do well to pick up one of his books. And, in moments of stress, or even calm, remember that life can be found only in the present moment.

Classes, reviews, other stuff

Time for some updates!!

  • Starting November 23rd, I’m teaching The Source Code of Storytelling at LitReactor again! There are only a few seats left so if you want to get in there you better get moving. It’s a four-week online class in which I teach you to build good writing practices and recognize how stories are put together. Sign up here.
  • We’re gearing up the marketing machine for The Paradox Hotel and last night I was thrilled to get a starred review in Publishers Weekly. This book is different enough from The Warehouse that I was legit nervous about how it would shake out, and if people would respond to it the same way. I’m pretty happy to see people are responding to it.
  • I’m also happy to say I’ll be working with Ren Weston this year in Pitch Wars—she applied to me last year and she was my runner-up pick. The book was almost there, but not close enough for the timeframe we had to work on it, and another book just grabbed me more. But I gave her some feedback, she took the last year to put in the work, and here we are.
  • I updated my website! You might not be able to tell the difference because I don’t put up a lot of content here. That might change. Who knows. We’ll see.