Postcards From The Cosmic Void #1
This was originally published in my newsletter, Postcards from the Cosmic Void. Subscribe here to get updates early and directly to your inbox!
Hello, starship passengers! Welcome to the very first edition of Postcards from the Cosmic Void!
Thanks for coming along on this weird, wild journey. I'll use this newsletter to keep you updated about Under Fortunate Stars, to document my path toward publication, and to share cool stuff I'm reading, listening to, discovering and making.
I'd also love to answer questions about writing, publishing, or the creative process, so a future edition may have a little Q&A section. But first, some news...
Under Fortunate Stars has a cover!
At the end of September, the beautiful cover artwork for Under Fortunate Stars was revealed on the Rebellion blog. My cover designer, Dominic Forbes, did such an incredible job. Look at that mirrored ship! Those colours! I can't wait to hold it in my hands.
We also unveiled the official release date: Under Fortunate Stars will be out in hardcover, ebook and audiobook on May 10, 2022✨
Preorders now available!
Preorder links for Under Fortunate Stars have slowly started to pop up on various retail sites! Early preorders are so important, and I'm very grateful for every reader who decides to preorder their copy. Why do preorders matter so much? Here's a great little summary of how they can really help authors, especially debuts.
If you'd like a signed and personalized bookplate, preorder Under Fortunate Stars from Brookline Booksmith (US)! (More links coming soon for Canada / UK / International readers... and stay tuned for more preorder-related surprises to be announced in the next couple of months👀)
NaNoWriMo & Fast-Drafting Tips
When it comes to fast-drafting and getting a zero draft onto the page, I think I've landed on a process that (a) works well for me and (b) is pretty easy to explain. A while ago, I wrote this blog post with my top 3 fast-drafting tips that I share at the start of every NaNo, and it's that time again!
If you're trying NaNoWriMo this year, or just knocking out a quick early draft on a new project, I hope you'll find something helpful here.
For NaNoWriMo 2021, I'll be working on redrafting my space heist book, which I'm currently pitching as OCEAN'S 8 x INCEPTION (in space). Here's an aesthetic I posted for it on Instagram! (Images via Unsplash / Canva Pro)
I drafted the first part of this book for NaNo way back in 2018, and it's been percolating for a while, but I came up with a pretty dramatic plot change this summer. A lot of that original draft won't make it into the new version of this book, since the plot has changed direction so much — but my main characters, their arcs and their conflicts have always been really clear. I'm intrigued to dive back into exploring this world!
What I've Been Reading This Month
The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed
A lushly-written, unsettling speculative novella about a community surviving after a climate apocalypse, and one young woman's heartbreaking choice: whether or not to leave for the safety of a dome that no one is sure exists. This haunting world has stuck with me for a long time after reading.
The Misfit Soldier by Michael Mammay (Coming Feb 2022)
I'm a sucker for group casts and snarky main characters whose reckless decisions are balanced only by maverick luck. This is military sci-fi with heist energy, quippy dialogue and lots of cinematic action. I'd love to see this book adapted to film!
The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (Coming March 2022)
A feast of lush settings, cool aliens and colourful worldbuilding surrounds a wonderfully tender story about searching for belonging. This has the soft warmth and found family elements of Becky Chambers's Wayfarers series, set on a glittering, perilous world with Fifth Element vibes!😍
(One of the most fabulous things about being a debut author is the fact that I sometimes get to read advance copies of books that are coming out next year! I've been tweeting a thread of 2022 books I've read, and I'm excited to keep adding to it.)
City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn
On October 19th, my critique partner Claire Winn released her debut YA sci-fi novel, City of Shattered Light. Claire and I met a few years ago while we were both querying our respective debuts, and it's been such a joy to see this book evolve from the earliest draft I read (which was already amazing) into the even more incredible book that sits on my shelf today. I'm so proud of her!
I also got asked to write my very first book blurb, and I'm so happy it was for Claire's book. Here's my blurb:
City of Shattered Light is a cinematic, breathlessly action-packed adventure. The writing sparkles with description as Winn reveals a vivid, viciously dangerous cyberpunk world, and the whip-sharp plot is layered with secrets. Every character shines with personality and wit, and the badass, ride-or-die crew is sure to steal your heart! —Ren Hutchings, author of Under Fortunate Stars
City of Shattered Light is out now; you can order a copy here!
More Links & Lovely Things
Sci-fi authors Gareth Powell and J. Dianne Dotson are starting a new podcast! They're both a delight to follow on social media & I'll be so happy to hear them chatting about their fave books, movies & media while sharing their life adventures. You can follow their podcast and support them here: Gareth & Dianne's Sci-Fi Roadshow :)
New music from The Burning Hell
One of my fave bands has new music coming out, and that means it's time for me to yell about it to everyone I know! I've seen The Burning Hell in concert more times than any other artist (in four different countries) & I wistfully await the day when I can go to live shows again.
PS. I can't wait to tell you about the secret music project I'm working on with Mathias Kom of The Burning Hell! More to come on that in a future newsletter...
Until next time,