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sherlock’s approach to research

Early this year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts launched its interview series, In Conversation, with Benedict Cumberbatch. (Good choice!) Something he said about how he researches a new role struck a chord with me:

[Research is] a security blanket. Not all of it — very little of it ends up on screen, often. And it’s just to take a little bit more possession of the extraordinariness of what I’m being asked to do. Because it’s so far removed from my experience. It just gets me a little bit more… It just gives me a little bit more courage to pretend to be something I’m so far from.

cumberbatch[Watch the quoted clip, or the whole interview, here. Video will play automatically in a new window.]

I literally couldn’t have said it better, because I’m not Benedict Cumberbatch! But I feel the same way about novel research. Obviously, before you start writing about something you don’t know much about, like say computer hacking — the topic of my next book, The Silence of Six — you have to find out more about it. But the tricky thing about research is you don’t necessarily know what information you will need before you start outlining or writing the book. The natural solution is to learn everything you can, just like Sherlock, but as Cumberbatch said so sexily: most of that isn’t going to end up on the page, and it shouldn’t.

Continue reading at Pub(lishing) Crawl


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see you at Dragon Con!

ToothlessI’ll be at Dragon Con from Friday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 1! This is my busiest convention yet. My schedule is below, and if you’re using the mobile app to plan your weekend, I’m the only guest with the last name Myers. Whenever I’m not participating on programming, chances are you can find me in the Pyr Books Booth, #424, 425 in the new exhibitor space adjacent to the Westin. Come say hi, get copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin signed, and pick up free bookmarks and a special Dragon Con discount coupon for an amazing new anthology I’m in, Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories. And of course, you can always reach me on Twitter.

FRIDAY, August 29

4:00 p.m. — Dragons! Defenders of Berk, Marriot A708

8:30 p.m. — Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow, Marriot A707

SATURDAY, August 30

11:30 a.m. — Writing for the Young Adult Market, Hyatt Embassy D-F

1:00 p.m. — Buffy Summers and Harry Potter: The Chosen Ones, Westin Chastain FG

2:30 p.m. — LEGOs are Awesome, Marriot A708

7:00 p.m. — All Kinds of Super Heroes, Marriot A708

8:30 p.m. — From Page to Screen: Dystopia, Hyatt International South

SUNDAY, August 31

10:00 a.m. — Diversity in YA, Marriot A707

1:00 p.m. — Hungry for the Hunger Games?, Hilton Crystal Ballroom

4:00 p.m. — Reading, Hyatt Roswell* (I’m hoping to find a few others to read selections from the Kaleidoscope anthology with me. Please e-mail me if you’re interested!)


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shelf reflection

One of my least favorite sentences to hear is “We need to get rid of some books.”

I bet that made some of you twitch, too. When my wife said this to me recently, my immediate reaction was denial. What do you mean we have to get rid of books? They’re books! Unfortunately, the clear, simple logic of that argument is a bit too simple and oddly unconvincing, and while I may object to the necessity of the task, I’m not actually delusional. Not about this, anyway. As I looked around our apartment, even I had to admit that we have a book problem.

The thing is, I’ve never considered it a problem. Out of all the vices I could be into, collecting books is the most harmless. They’re books. Books are good, worthy things. The more, the better — except when you’re getting ready to move, or when you need to make more space in your apartment to, you know, live in.

Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers



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“Necropolis By the Sea” now out in A is for Apocalypse!


A brand-new end-of-the-world anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish of Niteblade!

Twenty-six amazing writers were randomly assigned a letter of the alphabet and given complete artistic freedom within a theme. The result is A is for Apocalypse.
Twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war—the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves…

And here is what I did with the letter “W”!

It was an unlikely place to find true love: the loud, flashy, drunken world of the Jersey Shore. But Nicky and Kristen claimed it as a paradise of twinkling games and ocean cool…until a violent storm tore up the boardwalk and sent killing floods into summer homes. With no sign of his girlfriend and an evacuation closing in, Nicky sets out to find her in a night full of dangers…

* * *

Nicky’s sneakers pounded the boards, the boards that were still left. He wanted so badly to keep his head down, block it all out, but time was running out. He swept his eyes across the landscape, relentlessly searching for a glimpse of pink sweats, the twinkle of whatever word would be gleefully rhinestoned across her backside today. He blinked back sudden tears. No. The world could not be that cruel, to take away someone so alive.

The phantoms of tram cars rolled by. Beneath his feet, down below in the darkness, the spirits of partying kids passed around bottles of bottom-shelf whiskey, badly rolled joints. Above, the hotel balconies echoed with loud, brazen girls who tossed their hair and aimed lusty hiprolls at the whistling boys below.

Everywhere, hauntings. Kisses on the sky chairs that coasted lazily above the boardwalk, now yanked angrily down to earth. The arcade that boasted a collection of early 80′s treasures, so many nights spent flapping around the boards of Joust together, ripped off the pier and flung to the beach. Stuffed animals hung on hooks like soggy, distended carcasses, and he could feel himself start to lose it again as he looked into their soft, friendly faces.

He turned a corner and almost ran smack into a pair of cops.

“Hey. Sorry.” Nicky danced back on his sneakers.

“You’re packing up, right?” The older cop was scanning the beach, haggard eyes sharp for stray people.

“Uh, actually, I wanted to ask — if I could stay and volunteer, help with the search—”

The younger cop let out a dismissive laugh, a foul whiff of the boardwalk he’d hated before Kristin had made it a wonderland. Nicky bristled.

The older cop shot a look at his partner — grow up, son — and said basically the same thing, but friendlier. “We appreciate the help, but manpower’s gotta go towards ruptured gas mains, all these puddles that might have power lines in them, we gotta start getting them off the street before they kill somebody.”

“Besides,” said the younger cop, “it’s not likely we’ll be finding anybody alive by now. Just bodies.”

The older cop caught the flash in Nicky’s eyes and stepped in front of his partner. “Look, I know you mean well. I know someone hasn’t come home and you want to stay and find them. But I can’t let you. It’s much too dangerous here. Right after the pyre, you gotta go. It’s for your own safety.”

Nicky kept his face polite, nodded at the older cop who really was just doing his best to keep order in a place where there wasn’t any, not anymore. Nodded at the younger cop while inside, his temper lit up like an arcade marquee: FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.

“Headed home to pack my bag right now, officers.”

“Good,” said the older cop. “Right after the pyre.”

Nicky nodded again and kept walking, tried to keep the stew of dark emotions in check now that anger had been poured into the cauldron.

The boards sloped down to the asphalt, and he walked past the pastel-hued hotels towards the sweet summer cottages. Dead cars lined the streets. Flood water collected in massive pockets and blocked out parts of the road, smelling ominously like gas. The trees and plants had already started to die. The koi pond, a favorite sight on their walks back from the beach…gone, when the salt water came rushing in.

The nature walks. The nests torn out of the trees, the water coursing down into underground burrows, the tiny families below…keep it together. She needs you now.

* * *

Available on Amazon and Smashwords.

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confessions of a male YA author

y-the-last-man-movie_222When my first YA novel, Fair Coin, was published in 2012, and I started participating in author panels, library visits, and book store events, it seemed that I was usually the only guy on the program. This wasn’t too surprising — I know that more YA books are written by women than men, so statistically speaking, it made perfect sense. For my first few panels, I even introduced myself as the “Y chromosome,” which got some laughs. But I’ve stopped using that line, because a) I don’t want to keep using the same old material, and more importantly, b) I realized it might imply that I thought my inclusion was an act of tokenism, and it wasn’t that. (It also probably isn’t as funny as I thought it was, and people were just laughing to be polite. “There’s only one guy up there, let’s take pity on him.” So, thanks for that.)

Granted, I’m aware that I do get invited to more YA panels because I’m a male YA author, and hey, it’s nice to be welcomed whatever the reason. My author friends are often asked if they know any male authors to invite to participate in programs with them, and I’m happy that they think of me. Perhaps by virtue of my geographic location and the events and conventions that I attend, there generally aren’t that many guy YA authors to choose from. Sorry, I’ll at least try to be a good one for you!

But we aren’t exactly as rare as unicorns. We aren’t an endangered species. And we certainly don’t need the attention.

Continue reading at The League of Extraordinary Writers


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“Atlantic Rim”: A GISHWHES Story

elopusI wrote this 140-word drabble for a friend’s GISHWHES team, to fulfill scavenger hunt item #78: “Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus.”

There was no room for a title in my submission, but I’m calling it “Atlantic Rim”, for reasons which may soon be obvious. Enjoy!

“Atlantic Rim” by E.C. Myers

Misha didn’t know why the Queen of England summoned him for an audience, but when a queen calls, you don’t let it go to voicemail.

“Please approach the throne.” The Queen’s aide frowned. “You’ve shaved.”

“Sorry?” Misha stroked his chin.

“At least you wore the trenchcoat.” The man beckoned him forward. “Kneel.”

Misha kneeled.

“By decree of Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth, Misha Collins is hereby conferred an honorary knighthood for service to the Crown. Etcetera.”

Misha squinted at the elderly woman. “Does she ever talk? Also, what service?”

The room trembled. Outside the window, a ten-story-tall beast crawled toward the palace on eight squishy tentacles. Its elephantine trunk swung ominously.

“Um,” Misha said. “You know I’m not really an angel?”

“Then you’ll need the Royal Mecha-Corgi to battle Elopus.” The aide tossed him a key ring. “Good luck.”



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A Response to Amazon’s Letter to Kindle Authors

Ugh. Amazon’s letter to Kindle authors makes me physically ill. So much wrong there I don’t know where to begin. Well, for starters a single bookseller should not demand nor have the power to set book prices in the industry, and this is the primary argument authors have with Amazon. The authors, as manufacturers of the work, must be the ultimate arbiter of the value of their words. Authors overwhelmingly choose to have publishers, rather than booksellers, determine what that cost should be, since they are the compositors of the work. To intentionally devalue a book to something below a ham sandwich or even a pack of gum not only harms authors but the expression of ideas in general, since it says those ideas are worth less and less. That is what Amazon is doing: devaluing books.

Second, Amazon presents itself as the victim, as if it has offered gracious terms to Hachette and its authors. But those terms only serve to grant Amazon more power than it already has. And seeing that Amazon is basically lying to its customers by delaying books and suggesting other books instead of those from Hachette, should we trust them with even more power?

Thirdly, Amazon says, “With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market – e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.” But this is a fallacy that plays into the public’s overwhelming belief that just because something is digital that it must be worth only the electrons used to store it, in other words, cheap and/or free. With an e-book there is the WRITING, and more WRITING, and months and months of WRITING, and this labor should NEVER, EVER be taken out of the equation when factoring price. And then there is the editing and the copy-editing and the graphic design and the layout, and the distribution (even ebooks need distribution) and you have to factor accounting time into that, not to mention publicity. To say that just because something is digital it must therefore be cheaper is to say that the source digitized information is worth less too. The value of a book lies in its content and not in the method the book is delivered to its readers. Amazon would do well to learn this soon.

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In Translation.

My Nebula-nominated story “The Sounds of Old Earth” just came out in the August issue of Czech magazine XB-1. Also in the issue are Sofia Samatar’s multiple award-nominated “Selkie Stories are for Losers” and multiple award-nominated “The Political Officer” by C.c. Finlay.

I think the cover is pretty smashing! Also, this is my first translated story, so I’m darn excited. Now for a serious question: can you read Czech? I’m curious to see how my story turned out!

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New Old Stuff, And A Nice Review

Space Opera

Hooray!  This is the package containing my contributor’s copies of Space Opera, edited by Rich Horton.  It’s an anthology of reprints by some great authors, and it also includes my story “The Muse of Empires Lost.”

I’ve been looking forward to this delivery for a  long time. The original plan for this book started years ago, and then got back-burnered.  The lineup of stories must have changed when it was resurrected, because several of them were published more recently.

On the cover my name appears with its more common spelling (“…And More”) but I can’t say I mind,  considering the company.  I’m flattered as all get out to be included in this collection — and that Horton kept me in it despite the other changes — and I can’t wait to start reading.

Here’s the table of contents:

“The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars” by Yoon Ha Lee (Lightspeed, August 2013)
“The Wreck of the Godspeed” by James Patrick Kelly (Between Worlds, August 2004)
“Saving Tiamaat” by Gwyneth Jones (The New Space Opera, June 2007)
“Six Lights off Green Scar” by Gareth L. Powell (The Last Reef, August 2008)
“Glory” by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera, June 2007)
“The Mote Dancer and the Firelife” by Chris Willrich (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, #90, March 2012)
“On Rickety Thistlewaite” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, January-February 2010)
“War Without End” by Una McCormack (Conflicts, April 2010)
“Finisterra” by David Moles (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 2007)
“Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik (Warriors, March 2010)
“Plotters and Shooters” by Kage Baker (Fast Forward 1, Feb 2007)
“The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger (Twenty Epics, August 2006)
“Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette (Fast Ships, Black Sails, 2008)
“Lehr, Rex” by Jay Lake (Forbidden Planets, Nov 2006)
“Cracklegrackle” by Justina Robson (The New Space Opera 2, July 2009)
“Hideaway” by Alastair Reynolds (Interzone #157, July 2000)
“Isabel of the Fall” by Ian R. MacLeod (Interzone #169, 2001)
“Precious Mental” novella by Robert Reed (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2013)
“The Two Sisters in Exile” by Aliette de Bodard (Solaris Rising 1.5)
“Lode Stars” by Lavie Tidhar (The Immersion Book of SF, Sept 2010)
“Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Clarkesworld, December 2013)
“The Tear” novella by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires, Feb 2008)

Space Opera is available here.


Other News –


Patrick Mahon at SFcrowsnest just reviewed the current issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, guest edited by C.C. Finlay and containing my story “Subduction.”  He concludes Finlay did “a fine job … pulling together uniformly high quality stories that kept me entertained throughout.”

In his review of “Subduction,” he writes:

This is an excellent story, full of telling details and subtle character interactions. Despite having no memory, Oliver comes across as a strong person but the real star of the story is Moira, who is tough, independent and the unacknowledged saviour of her island and everyone on it.

In case I still need to remind anyone, a free Kindle download of “Subduction” will be available through the end of August here.

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new short story available today!

20140805_000310My short story “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” is available today in the anthology Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories!

I’m honored to be in this collection with amazing authors Garth Nix, Karen Healey, Sean Williams, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Vylar Kaftan, Amal El-Mohtar, William Alexander, Shveta Thakrar, and many more. From the flap copy:

What do a disabled superhero, a time-traveling Chinese-American figure skater, and a transgendered animal shifter have in common? They’re all stars of Kaleidoscope stories! Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. These twenty original stories tell of scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage.

I think this is an important book, and I also think “Kiss” is one of my best stories. (See an excerpt below the fold.) I wrote a bit more about the anthology and diversity in YA over at the League of Extraordinary Writers today, and there have already been a couple of very favorable reviews that offer deeper glimpses at the stories within:



I hope you’ll check out this collection and enjoy my story. It’s available now in eBook and print (available Oct. 1 in Australia) wherever books are sold. You can also enter to win one of ten free copies at Goodreads through Aug. 20 and enter another giveaway at the Book Smugglers (and read an interview with the editors) through Aug. 9.


“Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” by E.C. Myers

Everyone leaned forward to watch the animated beer bottle spin on the iPad in the center of their circle. Everyone but Rene. She tilted back slightly, as though that would help the bottle pass her by.

She wrapped her hands around a warm can of PBR, open but still as full as when Cedric had handed it to her at the door. Dad had insisted she take her medication before she left the house; he’d even watched her swallow the white and yellow capsule. If he’d known there would be alcohol—and worse—at this party, she wouldn’t be here at all. She was beginning to think that might have been for the best; thanks to her medication, she didn’t really feel like part of the group anyway.

Braden reached around Yasi’s waist and pulled her into a tipsy kiss. Whatever they’d seen together during their turn in the closet must have been good because they had been all over each other since.

“Hey, you two. Save it,” Cedric said. “Respect the bottle.”

The animated bottle slowed, wobbled, and settled on Rene. The iPad emitted a tinny chorus of “Oooohhhh!”

“Finally,” Jenny said. “You’re up, Rene.” She reached across the circle and handed Rene a battered Altoids tin. Jenny’s peach lipstick was smeared suggestively on the right side of her mouth after her turn with Kell two spins ago.

Rene wondered what it would be like to kiss Jenny Trinh—not in a dark closet in Braden’s basement rec room, but after they had enjoyed dinner at Norton’s and seen a romantic movie, when they were saying good night to each other in Jenny’s Prius.

Rene put down her beer and opened the creaky lid of the tin. There were two tiny blue pills inside.


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