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The Black Hand, vol. 23
Faking your own death
I’m sure you’ve heard something about this one: the indie romance author who apparently died by her own hand sometime in 2020, was mourned by her reader fans, and then popped back up (‘ta-da!’) like some sort of bizarre Jack-in-the-box on her Facebook fan page to wave and explain how she wasn’t actually dead.
I mean, it’s weird, but after the last few chaotic years, I kind of get it? The desire to just…I don’t know, walk away from it all. Haven’t we all dreamed off that sometimes, when everything gets a bit too hard?
But also WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL, why would you impersonate your daughter to post about your apparent suicide (?????) and then decide two years later that hey, you’re pretty sick of this dodging and weaving business, you may as well ‘fess up? I mean, even just the way she did it, by announcing ‘Let the fun begin!’ (and it certainly has)…I’m honestly unsure whether to award her the Complete and Utter Asshole Award or the Biggest Cajones Prize. I guess she got loads of free publicity. Has it seriously come to this for artists, that the only sure-fire way to make a buck is to fake your own death?
Faking your own death isn’t exactly easy, though, in this economy – it requires forethought and planning, and you can’t just pop down to the store or go shopping for real estate in Panama like some foolish people do…Look, this has got me thinking now and I may write another section on how to fake your own death properly, just for the hell of it.
Welcome back! You don’t have to fake your own death to avoid 2023
Truly, I’m happy to be back! Thank you once again for joining in with me. I had a lovely summer holiday – I switched off from everything, celebrated with my family, went camping on the south-east coast of NSW and saw dolphins, read loads of books, met up with friends, and (most recently) got a new tattoo.
I’m ready to dive into the new year, and I really hope you had an excellent holiday period and you’re feeling a warm wind lift your sails, too!
What’s happening this year
In a word, lots. SOME SHALL BREAK is releasing on 6 June, which is the big one – I’ll no doubt blather on about that book at length between now and mid-year, let me know if you get sick of it.
I’m also doing a bunch of events, including this month – an event on 17 Feb with Sisters in Crime (check the events page closer to dates), an event with Off the Books podcast, and an event with Trinity Doyle’s writing community. I’ve got some podcast interviews coming in March, as well as a Zoom meet-up with my Nailbiters subscribers (if you would like to join up with my paywalled-news friends, you’re very welcome!)
Nailbiters is my paywalled newsletter, which offers more behind-the-scenes info, writing craft chat, special news about the None Shall Sleep Sequence, and extra perks - feel free to join in 😊
And I’m on submission with two new books, and I’m writing at least two new books… So that’s me in 2023.
I’m really glad you’re coming along on this trip with me, I’ve got to say. Increasingly, this newsletter is the only place where I know – reliably – that the stuff I post is going out to the people who follow me/want to read it! Now that Twitter is pretty much cooked, you’ll find me on Instagram and Tiktok and here, and here is the only place that doesn’t have an algorithm, so…
It’s good to have you, is what I’m saying. I’ll try to be a good host and make sure you get some perks.
My debut novel EVERY BREATH has a new cover! If you like Sherlock homage with teenage detectives in inner-city Melbourne, it might be your jam…
And to celebrate the new year, I’m giving away a signed Australian paperback copy of EVERY BREATH to a randomly-selected subscriber. Congratulations to the winner! I’ll send you a direct email asking for postal deets.
What I’m working on
Right now I’m absolutely in the weeds with a new book pitch, which I can’t talk about much because it may not even get written – anyway, I think the central premise of the book is great, and I’m trying really hard to get this pitch to work but it’s still eluding me. Argh. The closest analogy I can make is that it’s like a cavity in a tooth, and you keep poking your tongue in it, and you know you should leave it alone but you just can’t…
In other (more positive) news, I’ve sent pitches for two new books to my publisher and I guess I’ll hear back about them soon – so I’ll be writing at least one of those books this year, and I’m excited about that.
But boy, that cavity <sigh>
What I’ve been reading
Oh, so many books!
This year, for the very first time (I think. Maybe I kept track during the fundraiser Readathon back in primary school?), I’ve actually kept track of what I’m reading. And I’m delighted to say that I actually read way more than I expected, although I imagine things will get tougher once school goes back and life becomes generally busier.
I’m not setting myself any reading goals. I tend to read widely, and read for research, and read as the whim takes me, so making a ‘number of books to read’ goal or a ‘types of books/authors to read’ goal feels constricting, although I try to make sure I’m not reading all white authors.
But this is what I’ve read so far this year, with an asterisk next to books that were re-reads:
Aliens: The Cold Forge by Alex White
Aliens 3: William Gibson’s unproduced screenplay novelized by Pat Cadigan
*The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Pallbearer’s Club by Paul Tremblay
The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Falling Backward: Stories about Fathers and Daughters edited by Gina Frangello
Two Can Play That Game by Leanne Yong
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Chokepoint Capitalism by Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Donovan
Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
*The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
The Cabin At the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
The Ministry of the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
Once I’ve finished Ministry of the Future, I’ll probably move onto The Ruins by Scott Smith. I hope you check out some of these books and find something that takes your fancy.
Watch (for free!) awesome genre writers on panels
Hey, here’s a link to TBRcon 2023, which has hosted an amazing online array of panels streaming live from Jan 22-29 with this blurb: “With 30 live panels, 25 author readings, 3 podcast recordings and 3 D&D sessions, the third edition of FanFiAddict’s Stabby Award-winning convention aims to offer viewers countless in-depth discussions on SF/F/H, writing craft, publishing, marketing and much more!”
With writers like (horror) Gabino Iglesias, Ellen Datlow, Erika Wurth, Catriona Ward, Chuck Wendig, Delilah Dawson, P Djeli Clark, Hailey Piper, (fantasy) Ken Liu, Ryan Cahill, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emma Mieko Candon, (SF) Alex White, Khan Wong, Alex Jennings, CL Clark, Veronica Roth, AND MORE…pretty sure you’ll find something on the roster to pique your interest.
What SOME SHALL BREAK merch do you want?
All right, I have a question that needs your input.
So I mentioned SOME SHALL BREAK is releasing in June (you can preorder it here!) and I’m thinking of running a preorder campaign for it. But what kind of swag would make a good incentive?
I’m making samples of holographic stickers, to see if that’s something cool that I could include. But right now, while I’ve got your attention, can you think of anything else that would encourage folks to preorder? I like temporary tattoos, which are fun and easy to post (stickers and art prints are easy to post too). Enamel pins and more practical things like scarves or totes or T-shirts, or I don’t know, oven mitts, are harder to organise and more difficult to post. But they appeal to me, a person who likes useful things (not the oven mitts, though, I have enough of them).
Have a good idea? Please add it in a comment! I’d love to hear any suggestions to make the preorder tempting 😊
This year we’re kicking off with TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME by Leanne Yong, a delightful YA romance set in the world of competitive gaming. If you’d like to jump aboard with this month’s read, you can find us here.
What would you like to see more of this year?
Finally, another question – what would you like to see more of this year in The Black Hand?
I’m always looking to make improvements, and I don’t know what to improve unless I get some feedback, you know? So if you have a favourite section (the ‘What I’m watching’ section, for instance) please tell me! Or if you’d like to see longer/shorter posts, more giveaways, more crime tidbits, new polls, audio sections, more perks, or less of something even, drop a line in comments.
Some things I talk about more in my subscriber-only newsletter, Nailbiters – like writing craft, for instance – so I won’t fit everything in here (which is why some segments are irregular). But I can at least try to ensure that I’m covering things that you want to read, because I really don’t want this newsletter to get boring.
Okay, that’s it, I’m out!
I hope you’re having an excellent start to 2023, and I’ll be back again next month with a fresh update as we get closer to the SOME SHALL BREAK release. If you’re just visiting here and you like the look of the place, please consider subscribing.
The Black Hand, Ellie Marney’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
And have a good February! Talk again soon 😊