Awards eligibility for 2022

Chilling Effect, Prime Deceptions and Fault Tolerance books arranged on a purple bedspread with a tiny Garrus figure
Garrus approves

Until the end of next year, my work exists in a nebulous space where it could theoretically win awards if enough people decide that it should. And so, to facilitate that potential future, I present a brief summary of things I could be nominated for, but only the real ones, not the joke ones like “Most Likely to Continue Living as a Hermit in 2023.”

Fault Tolerance is the third and ostensibly final book in the Chilling Effect trilogy, featuring giant robots, found family, and of course, psychic cats. It’s an adult space opera, so it’s eligible for any best novel or best SF awards. Not YA though!

Chilling Effect is the first book in the series, but it’s also the series title! You can nominate the whole kitten caboodle for best series now that it’s all out and about.

“Team Building Exercise” is a nearish future SF short story in the Bridge to Elsewhere anthology. You can buy the book to read it and find other great stories to nominate, or you can listen to me read it on Story Hour.

“Working from Home” is a fantasy/light horror short story about a mom just trying to summon a demon. Read it in the Don’t Touch That! anthology of parenting stories, which you can now grab on Kindle if you didn’t join the Kickstarter in time.

As co-editor of Escape Pod, I’d also love it if you would consider nominating some of the amazing stories we published this year (keep reading through December!) and maybe consider nominating us for best (semipro) magazine, and me and Mur for best editors.

That’s it for now! Next year I’ll have at least two short stories and a novel for you, so stay tuned…

Prime Deceptions book birthday

The book Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes next to the Victorion Transformers model
Victorion matches my book!!

Today is the day! Prime Deceptions is here at last!

I wrote this book mostly hunched over my laptop at SpecialTea Lounge and Panera Bread in Miami, drinking pots of tea or mugs of coffee and eating egg and cheese croissants and cookies. I had quit my day job and thrown myself fully into Writer Life, doing promo for Chilling Effect while trying to make my daily word goal.

It was a beautiful and stressful time and I’ll always look back on it fondly, even though I had plenty of intense anxiety. Would I make my deadline? Would I be able to write a book as good as the first one? Would anyone buy either of my books?!

And now here I am, in a whole other state, on the other side of two book birthdays, with a third book in progress and secret new projects also coming together quietly where no one but a few friends can see them. It’s pretty surreal, I have to say. But it’s also the proverbial dream come true, for a dream I’ve had since I was a kid, one that waxed and waned over time but never went away.

If you feel so inclined, please do come and celebrate tonight with me and Karen Osborne, whose book Architects of Memory also comes out today! You can find more details in this post, along with the signup link. We have a great list of authors joining us, so it should be extremely fun.

I am so, so grateful every day that I can do this thing I love, and I couldn’t do it without everyone who supports me. Thank you, friends, more than I can possibly say. And now, back to work!

Space Moms Launch!

Space Moms Launch: A Literary House Party

Prime Deceptions comes out next week! OMG! Exclamation points!!!

As with Chilling Effect, it’s surreal how the release starts out so incredibly far away, and then suddenly is looming. It’s like a mountain range you knew was ahead of you somewhere on the other side of a huge, flat plain, but you couldn’t see it, and then one day you could, and then suddenly you were right in front of it and getting ready to climb.

But enough analogies! On to the celebration!

Karen Osborne also has a book coming out next week, Architects of Memory, and as we are both moms writing space books, we decided to have a dual book release party. The full details and schedule are still being worked out, but our guest list is already extremely awesome, and you’re all invited to come enjoy the festivities with us.

Head on over to Karen’s website for more information, as well as the link to register for the event. Hope to see you all there!

Columbus NASFiC this weekend

Columbus NASFiC logo, featuring a robot staring at a dragon on a rocket with colorful planets in the background
Robots and dragons and rockets, oh my!

I’m happy to share that I’ll be at Columbus NASFiC this weekend–virtually, of course, as many things are in the Time of La Rona. I’m on two panels, one of which I’ll be moderating, and I have a reading on Sunday afternoon. Check out the NASFiC website to see the full schedule, which is amazing, and best of all: it’s free!

My schedule:

  • Friday, August 21st at 8:00pm EDT: BIPOC Round Table
  • Saturday, August 22nd at 12:00pm EDT: The Ever-Expanding Universe of Space Operas
  • Sunday, August 23rd at 1:00pm EDT: Reading

Hope to see you there!

Events? Events!

More of a knife than a sword…

A quick update for those who don’t doomscroll on social media! I have two events today and one later this week, for your viewing or listening pleasure.

First, at 10am ET, you can watch me chat with R.A. Salvatore for ReedPop Metaverse. We talk about the final book in the Drizzt trilogy, Relentless (Legend of Drizzt: Generations #3), as well as his other work, D&D, fantasy, family and writing.

Second, tonight at 7pm ET we have another edition of the ongoing Blades in the Dark campaign, The Case of the Cindered Seal, which streams monthly on Twitch. Check out the latest episode, or catch up from the beginning.

Finally, on August 20th at 7pm ET, I’ll be at a virtual event with authors Pat McKee and Angie Gallion, hosted by the Newnan Carnegie Library. We’ll chat about ourselves and our latest books, so come check it out!

That’s all for now, friends. Stay safe and take care.

Here comes a new challenger

Logo for ConZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention
New Zealand just got much closer!

Life comes at you fast sometimes, and in this case, “life” means ConZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, aka WorldCon. I’m happy to be a last-minute addition to their programming; this means you can watch me have entertaining opinions and read from Prime Deceptions live from the comfort of your home.

I’m also doing a kaffeeklatsch, so you and nine of your closest allies can ask me questions about extremely important topics, like which Renegade interrupts are morally acceptable for Paragons to take, or who are the most entertaining party members to bring to the Winter Palace. Or you could ask me about MY books, I guess!

Behold, my schedule:


  • Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 8:00pm EDT: Reading
  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 8:00pm EDT: Kaffeklatsch
  • Friday, July 31, 2020 at 11:00pm EDT: Not Your Parents’ Space Opera
  • Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:00pm EDT: In Space No One Can See You Hide the Evidence: Crimes in Space

If you’ll be at ConZealand, stop on by and say hi! If not, you can still say hi to me on Twitter, and maybe ask me that Winter Palace question.

Stay safe, amigos!

Summertime scoops

Tools of the trade.

Sumer is icumen in, as the song goes, at least in the northern hemisphere. Every day is hotter than the last, the world is on fire, but the cicadas are still rattling away in the trees and bushes outside.

As a break from all the bad news everywhere, I have a few items of good personal news. First, I’ve sold two more books to Harper Voyager! Eva and the crew of La Sirena Negra get to have a third book, coming in 2022, in what I hope will be a very fun and satisfying end to their story–maybe with room for future shenanigans? The other book, for now, shall remain super secret, but it’s coming in 2023.

The pact is sealed.

If you’ll be attending the virtual San Diego Comic-Con this year, you can catch me on a panel of awesome women and nonbinary authors, discussing other awesome women and nonbinary authors, past and present. The other panelists are Nicky Drayden (Escaping Exodus), Marina Lostetter (Noumenon Ultra), Jessie Mihalik (Chaos Reigning), and K.B. Wagers (A Pale Light in the Black). That will be on Friday, July 24 at 3pm PDT (that’s 6pm EDT, East Coast residents).

I also have a virtual event coming up on July 29th at 6:30pm, hosted by The Ivy Bookshop, with Michael R. Underwood, author of the forthcoming Annihilation Aria. I got to read an ARC of the book, and it was a delightful space adventure with, among other things, a paladin-bard, which is frankly a multiclass that should exist in more fiction. Check it out, and come to our chat!

Finally, a reminder that I’m in an ongoing Blades in the Dark game that streams monthly on Twitch. Check out the latest episode, or catch up from the beginning. A mech powered by an anxious ghost, a former soldier with PTSD, an eclectic antique dealer with a dark past, and a food-obsessed bounty hunter try to figure out The Case of the Cindered Seal.

That’s all for now! Stay safe, amigos, and as the prophets say, be excellent to each other.

CHILLING EFFECT is out in the UK!

Cat sitting next to Chilling Effect
Inara is very impressed.

Because one book birthday isn’t enough, CHILLING EFFECT gets another in the UK today! Please be sure to pet your local space cat in honor of this exciting occasion.

If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, Orbit UK is running a contest on Twitter. Or you can just buy the book if you’re not the gambling type.

You can also check out me and the other 2020 New Voices from Orbit Books talking about ourselves and our work. It’s an amazing lineup, and I’m so proud to be part of it.

Adios for now, and stay tuned for the cover reveal of PRIME DECEPTIONS!

A plethora of updates

Want to win this cat magnet? Scroll down for details!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know already that my life for the past several months has been, shall we say, hectic. Repleto. Un arroz con mango.

But as I slowly emerge from beneath the mountain of tasks that has been doing its best to compress me into a diamond, I come bearing news in a digestible format, for those who have also been buried or perhaps voluntarily hiding in a cave from the intense and varied pressures of the world.

Item 1: my book! It’s coming out next month! This is both very soon and an eternity. It’s been getting some good press and blurbs and whatnot, which is exciting.

Item 2: my book release! Also next month, at Books & Books Suniland on September 17th. If you’ll be in Miami, come on by to hear me read from the book while enjoying some pastelitos.

Item 3: NYCC! I’ll be there! It’s my first time and I’ll be on a rad panel about space fantasy. I’ll post more details on my Events page as they become available.

Item 4: a contest! If you want to win a copy of my book and a really cool fridge magnet–either the cat one above, or one of Captain Eva Innocente from the book cover–go enter. US residents only, unfortunately, and it ends on September 12th.

That’s it for now, amigos. Hope to see some of you at the release party, or at least somewhere in the wilds of the Wired. Cuídate!

CHILLING EFFECT cover reveal!

When the first email came in about my book’s cover art, I was like a dog meeting a new person: excited tail-wagging, but also nervous pee. What if I didn’t like it? What if I thought it was wrong for my book? What if I told my anxiety to shut up for a minute and just opened the email instead of freaking out?

What I found was not one, but four thumbnail sketches of possible cover designs. They were all great, and they all featured the main character, which was a nice surprise. Covers these days can be really abstract and symbolic, so seeing Captain Eva Innocente, even only in black and white sketches, was a huge thrill.

Of all the options, one stuck out. They all had cats, because when you write a book with psychic cats, they clearly belong on the cover. Three of the poses were cool action hero looks, which makes sense, because there’s a lot of action in the book. But the fourth sketch. Oh, the fourth sketch.

In the fourth sketch, rather than posing dramatically, Eva is falling into space. She’s reaching for something—maybe because it fell, maybe because she dropped it, but she sure as hell isn’t going to let it get away. Except did she really think this through? What will happen once she grabs it? How will she get back inside or land somewhere safely?

It’s not a scene from the book, but it might as well be, because it’s exactly the kind of thing Eva would do. Eva is an action hero mostly by accident, even though she has all the requisite training and experience to survive. She’s always a little out of her depth, but still swimming. Always refusing to let go of things, even if it gets her in trouble. Living right on the border between stubborn and tenacious, foolish and brave.

I knew immediately that my book would have the perfect cover, the one that told you everything you needed to know about what was inside. And now, finally, I get to share it with the world. I’m still excited, and nervous, because I want you all to love it as much as I do. I promise not to pee, though. You can pee if you want, I’m not here to judge.

Behold, the cover, in all its majesty:

Look at those cats! So precious!

Artwork by the inimitable Julie Dillon; incidentally, having a cover by her was on my bucket list, so I get to cross that one off. Enormous thanks to my editor Tessa Woodward and everyone else at Harper Voyager who made this happen.

Now go forth and pre-order my book!