End of Year Wrap Up

Hey folks.
 
That’s it. Another year gone by! Slightly less crazy than the last two, but no less busy.
 
The Common Saga:

2022 was the first year for me not to have a novel published, since Stormblood debuted back in 2020. Blindspace was published on one of the last days of 2021, and due to all the delays with distribution and shipping it (sort of) is a 2022 release.

Blindspace released to solid praise, and the responses from readers have almost unanimously agreed it’s a superior book to Stormblood. It’s much more of a space opera, more diverse in set-piece and world-building, more focused on the whole cast of characters rather than just one. I’m still immensely pleased with it. It only released in the US a few weeks ago, so it’s still picking up readers.

But, for some reason, it’s had very, very few reviews and ratings on Goodreads/Amazon. So, please drop a little review, even if it’s just a sentence, that would be very appreciated. Books, unfortunately, depend on word of mouth (and algorithms, it seems, these days) for success, so every review helps.
 
Stormblood: https://www.amazon.com/Stormblood-Jeremy-Szal/dp/1473227437/

Blindspace: https://www.amazon.com/Blindspace-Jeremy-Szal/dp/1473227488/
 
And on that note, ordering books in for libraries are a fantastic way to support authors without actually spending any money. And in some countries, we even get paid everytime someone borrows our books. You don’t want me to starve, right?




 
Goldsboro:
 
The good folks over at Goldsboro books have informed me that there’s still some of the signed hardback, sprayed edges edition of Blindspace left available. There’s only 250 of them in existence, and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.
 
You know you want it:
 
https://www.goldsborobooks.com/product/blindspace
 
Wolfskin:

I spent the majority of 2022 focused on nailing down a draft of Wolfskin. It’s a rambling, bloated, monster of a draft, with a dozen missing scenes and a dozen other scenes that need to be gutted/rewritten/reworked, but it exists, and I’m very happy in the big picture.

I’m honestly not optimistic on a 2023 release date, as early 2024 seems more likely, but that’s all up in the air at the moment. My agent is having a look at the (very very) early draft over the holidays, so we’ll see what his thoughts are in January.

But I can promise you: I’ll be putting out all the stops to make sure Vakov’s last (?) adventure is as bad-ass, brutal, emotional, satisfying, intense, and insane as I can possibly make it.
 
Short Fiction/Anthologies

I only had two short stories published in 2022. The first is Mindstrings, published in the anthology Night, Rain, and Neon.

The second is The Black Horse, published in Grimdark Magazine’s stellar anthology The King Must Fall. The anthology has an insane line up of talented authors, and I’m stoked to be amoung them. My novelette is the longest short story I’ve ever written, and is also the first fantasy story I’ve written in almost five years. It also may be my personal favourite of all the short stories I’ve written.

Give the anthology a crack when it releases to the public in a few weeks.

Link:
https://www.grimdarkmagazine.com/announcement-the-king-must-fall-dark-fantasy-anthology-kickstarter/



 
Self-publishing
I dived into the world of self-publishing by releasing Scream in Blue, a novelette set in the world of the Common. It was mainly meant for newsletter subscribers, but it’s been picking up a few sales on Amazon, too.

I’ll be self-publishing more of my work in the future (including, perhaps, a few of my trunk novels, if I have the time).

Scream in Blue link:

 https://www.amazon.com/Scream-Blue-Jeremy-Szal-ebook/dp/B0BM6LFFLK


Conventions:

I attended Supanova Gold Coast and Melbourne in early 2022, which were both new conventions for me. I had a blast at both, and got the chance to meet readers and fans who were actually excited to meet me, which was a great experience (albeit a little intimidating).

I also got to hang out with a few of the actors and writers and artists there, including the wonderful Georgina Haig (who you may know as Elsa from Once Upon a Time, and other shows like Limitless, Archive 81, etc). She ended up grabbing both my books (signed to her, of course), which wasn’t nerve-wracking at all.


 
And then there’s this crazy photo we all did. We’re not usually allowed to share these, but this time we were. You’ll spot folks from *deep breath*  The Book of Boba Fett/Once Were Warriors, Lost/Once Upon A Time, The Lord of the Rings, Spartacus/The Vampire Diaries, Wolf Creek, Mortal Kombat, Power Rangers: Ninja Storm, The Amazing Spider-Man/The Sound of Music/Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.




 
Upcoming Appearances
 

  • I hope to be attending a Supanova convention sometime in 2023, down here in Australia.
  • I hope to attend a major convention, either in the UK or the US, sometime in 2023.
  • I may be attending WorldCon China in 2023.
  • I will be attending WorldCon Glasgow in 2024

 
 
Finally, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who bought Stormblood and Blindspace, and all the bloggers, book-Tubers, readers, fans, booksellers, and fellow writers, who make it possible for me to continue to do this. Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a published writer and to have my books read by folks around the world. That’s now possible because of your support and help and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you so much for letting me do this crazy little thing, and for reading about the wild adventures of Vakov as he charges through his savage little world.
 
Have a safe holiday!
 
Best,
Jeremy Szal

Blindspace Publishes in Paperback!

Yesterday, Blindspace, Book 2 in the Common series, was published in paperback format! This is the mass-market paperback version – the leaner, smaller, cheaper version of the book that’s more readily accessible for bookstores and readers alike. It should already be on the shelves in the UK/Ireland, and will be releasing in a few days time in Australia/New Zealand, with Canada to follow shortly.

The Broken Binding will have signed editions, with each page being lovingly defaced with my bespoke handcrafted signature. Alternatively, you can get the book straight from Gollancz’s website, with all the purchasing options available. I can also sign and personalize copies of Blindspace (and Stormblood) through my wonderful local indie SFF bookseller, Galaxy Bookshop.

If you good good people actually *have* purchased the book already, leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads and Audible or on your channel/blog page, etc, would be extremely helpful. Algorithms are spiteful, fickle bastards, but feeding a healthy amount of reviews through their greedy maws is hugely beneficial for us authors, as well as readers and publishers.

Failing that, asking your local library to stock my books is also extremely helpful. It allows people who might be financially unable to get a hold of reading material, and is a way to give back to libraries. 

I do have some news about Book 3, aka, WOLFSKIN, including tentative chapter titles and some details about where the story is heading, and what it’s shaping up to be. For now, I’m keeping those details exclusively for newsletter subscribers. So if you want the juicy details, you can sign up here.

Massive Announcement: First “Professional” Sale!

I’ve been quiet about this for the past week, but I can’t keep the lid on any longer.

Exactly one week ago, I signed a contract for a short story, selling it to a magazine. Which magazine, may you ask? That magazine would be Nature magazine, published by Nature Publishing Group, a division of PAN MACMILLAN/TOR!

I won’t lie, my jaw smacked the desk when I saw that Nature had accepted my story. At 19 years old, I sold fiction to a magazine published by a division of one of “Big Five”.

Phew. Wow.

So, I scrapped my brains off the wall and popped a beer in the fridge to celebrate (it was first thing in the morning, and even by Australian standards that’s a tad early). Then I saw that Nature publishes anthologies with names like Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick and others, and that Nature is the most cited science journal in the world, with over 3 million visitors to the website per month.

And I scrubbed my brains from the ceiling one more time. I seriously couldn’t believe it. Even now, it’s a little surreal. Hell, even family, teachers and people I barely know, who don’t even read science-fiction (some don’t even read at all) know about Nature magazine.

There are no words that can express just how riveted I feel. My editor has been phenomenal in making the story the best it could possibly be. I’ve seen the page proofs and artwork, and I love it.

But I’m not getting side tracked. This is the first step in a long, long journey that I won’t be quitting any time soon.

Look for my story in a future issue. For me, I’m back to my editing and writing. And who knows? Maybe I’ll sell another story with them in the future.

Actually, scratch that. You can bet that I will.

Honourable Mention from Writers Of the Future contest!

So, I sent in this little science-fiction short story in somewhere. Where, may you ask? Only the biggest writing competition in the world. The same one that shot people like Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) to fame. I knew I was up against heavy odds. So then, after a bit of correspondence, I got this in the mail….

 

CCF08072014_00000Yep. An Honourable Mention.

I already knew I’d gotten it and was going to get something similar in the mail, but it hasn’t really hit home for me just how awesome this is. Until now, of course. I’ll be framing it somewhere. It’s my first major award, and I hope that it won’t be the last.

A special thanks to Alan Baxter, Mark Lawrence and Robin Hobb for their support and encouragement, particularly to Alan and Megan (Robin’s real name) who I met at Supanova 2014 here in Sydney. They’re awesome people, and their encouragement and urging to never give up did a lot for me.

The story that won, A Dome of Chrome, is scheduled to release in Issue 23 of On The Premises Magazine on July 12.  I’ll be in Thailand at the time. Yep. That’s my way of celebrating. (not really, I’m going there to visit my friends, who will be forced to read this story and savour every morsel.)

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