Ripping the bandaid right off

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This isn’t a fun announcement to make, so I’m gonna bandaid this sucker and tell you all that I’m sorry to have to say that Hollow Empire is being delayed. Although we all worked really hard to have the book ready for release this year, my editor didn’t feel that the story was as strong as it could be, and we are starting from scratch with a view to publishing the sequel in late 2020 instead.

The good news is that I’m still going to be working really hard to bring you a story that you’ll love. The bad news is that’s just going to take longer than any of us wanted. I absolutely hate having to disappoint the readers, bloggers, and booksellers who loved and supported City of Lies and had been looking forward to Hollow Empire. So many of you took the time and effort to reach out to tell me, to review the book, or tell your friends and family about it; it’s a cliché, but this was my lifelong dream and you all made it feel real. It sucks to have to make you wait. But I promise to do my utmost to bring you something that you’ll love, even if it’s not as timely as planned.

Thanks for understanding.




A bit of an update…

… because I’m aware it’s been awfully quiet over here while I was working on the revisions to Hollow Empire. Those are safely in the hands of my editor at Tor and I am slowly feeling human again!  Turning a 300K behemoth into something a little more digestible was quite a task, but I’m really proud of the revised version and I hope you guys are going to love it.

In other news, City of Lies just made the shortlist for the Aurealis award for Best Fantasy Novel! For those of you outside the country, these are Australia’s major judged speculative fiction awards, and it is a huge honour to be on the list.

The best thing about the shortlist is that it’s full of excellent writers and friends of mine (particular shoutout to my agent sister Devin Madson, whose We Ride the Storm was one of my favourite books of the year, and to the brilliant Maria Lewis, who’s slowly recruiting all members of my family as fans via her excellent The Witch Who Courted Death), so I’ll be happy whoever wins, but it’s an enormous privilege to be sitting by them.

The other major Australian spec fic awards are the Ditmars – these are our fan-voted awards (so sort of like the Australian Hugos). City of Lies is eligible to be nominated in the Best Novel category and since I’ve never done anything before this, I’m eligible in the Best New Talent category, so if you enjoyed the books or me generally, haha, you can nominate via this form. If you are going to Continuum this June, or you’re otherwise active in fandom, you’re eligible to nominate. Full rules here.

I am also finally organising my first newsletter, so if you’d like to hear (very occasional*) updates about what’s happening, you can sign up on the Contact pageI hope to be sending that out in the next couple of weeks so now’s a good time to get on the list.

Now, back to grinning like a wee idiot about this shortlist! 🙂


* So occasional that it has not yet occurred even once… I won’t be regular spamming you is what I’m saying, no matter what my primary school nickname was.

Holiday giveaway!

48373193_10156978899509809_5370928282357202944_nSome of my fellow 2018 debut fantasy authors are getting together and giving away this amazing mega bundle of books, loaded onto a Kindle Fire.* To go into the draw, all you need to do is comment beneath this blog post (or on the equivalent post on FB, twitter or insta) AND sign up to my newsletter

I will host a random draw of entries on 22 December and the winner of that round will win ONE book of their choice from the list of 11 books, plus go in the grand prize draw for the kindle and the whole list.


* International entries are OK but the exact nature of the prize may vary depending on region.

In which Sam seeks a sword…

I woke up this morning to the very exciting news that City of Lies has been shortlisted for the Best Debut category in the 2018 Fantasy Awards, in some absolutely stellar company including Fonda Lee, Peng Shepherd, S.A. Chakraborty and Melissa Caruso, among others, and on a list that I must say is delightfully jam packed with women. I am so thankful to the SFF bloggers who nominated my book in the first place as one of their favourites of the year, and to all of you wonderful people who voted on the longlist. It is honestly such an honour to be there. I’ve never been on an award list for anything I’ve written before!

And I really cannot overstate how cool it is that the prize is AN ACTUAL ENGRAVED KNIFE. LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY!!

I’m not above asking for your help to win that baby. 🙂

Voting on the shortlist is open until Wednesday 31 October and just as with the longlist it is free, easy and requires no sign up. Vote here: 2018 Fantasy Awards. 

But hey, don’t just vote for me!* There are also amazing books in mine and the other categories that are worth your attention and votes, and one of my lovely publishers (Tor) is up for best imprint.  I will say though that TOLKIEN is on the best novel list but guys he really doesn’t need the knife any more, so don’t throw your vote away there. 🙂

Thanks again to Petros and the team at Booknest and everyone who’s participated so far.

* If it isn’t clear, though, I am definitely asking you to in fact vote for me. There are no repurcussions if you don’t, of course, but not a single person who voted for me on the longlist has been eaten by a shark, and all I’m saying is that I like those odds.

A short note of explanation…

I love social media. I love chatting to all of you, keeping up with what’s going on, sharing pictures of my dogs and, of course, talking SFF. But I haven’t been the healthiest about using it since my book came out — and while it’s incredibly lovely to interact with people who are excited about your stuff it’s equally … uh… less lovely to see the opposite. Anyway, the very wise advice that people give you about not reading reviews etc is indeed very wise, but it turns out I am not wise enough to follow it if I have ready access to these things. So. Some of you may have seen that I’ve deleted social media off my phone, which was where I used the most of it. No more twitter, no more FB, no more Discord, no more Goodreads. (The exception is instagram, on which I just post pictures of things I bake and dumb poses my dogs make, and besides showing me nice pictures of my book propped up artistically no-one tends to make comments about it. So I will still be there, with the idiot lovely hounds and things made of caramel). I was making myself crazy.

I haven’t deleted my accounts, and I won’t be adandoning any of the platforms – I’ll still pop in from my computer to tell you about news etc and if you tag me in stuff I’ll still see it, just not in real time, so if you need to get in touch in a hurry it’s better to email me (samhawkewrites AT gmail DOT com). I will miss being part of conversations as they happen but I have a book to finish editing and some mental health to keep an eye on so I think it’s the right call for now at least.

Take care of yourselves!


Upcoming Sams

Have you been hankering for some more Sams in your life? Were you wondering whether you could add some Sams to an upcoming weekend? Do you have a book that would look better with a Sam scribble inside it?* Well you are in luck, my friends! For I will be venturing out into the world on several upcoming occasions so you can remedy your Samlessness with ease.

Conflux (Canberra)

This is a mighty fine time of year in our nation’s underrated capital and you can find me hanging out at the Vibe hotel for the annual Conflux convention from September 29 – Oct 1!

The full program is here and you can find me at the following events:

9.30 Saturday 29 Sep: Hero cliches and how to make or break them, with Ion Newcombe, Leife Shallcross and Louise Pieper

9.30 Sunday 30 Sep: Workshop: Braving the query swamp, with EJ Beaton & Freya Marske, in which we will cover all things to do with querying agents

4.45 Sunday 30 Sep: Gender Equal Societies in Secondary World Fantasy, with EJ Beaton and Rivqa Rafael (chair)

1.30pm Monday 1 Oct: When the dream comes true – what really happens when you get a deal with a big publisher? with Cat Sparks, Leife Shallcross, Craig Cormick, and Claire McKenna


I will also be lurking about drinking too much coffee and very happy to chat anytime! I may be manning the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild bookshop table at some point if you for some baffling reason are on this website yet do not have a copy of my book, and would like to purchase one. I will have hardbacks, which are trickier to find, if you like your books firmer than average.

Galaxy Books (Sydney)

I will be signing books and doing a Q&A with the lovely Annie from the Read3r’z Re-Vu book group at 11 am Sunday 14 October – details here

Supanova (Adelaide and Brisbane)

Also very excited to say I will be at Supanova Adelaide on 2 – 3 November and Supanova Brisbane on 10 – 11 November with other excellent SFF authors such as Timothy Zahn, Carole Barrowman, Maria Lewis, Lynette Noni, Amanda Bridgeman and Jodi McAlister, as well as media stars like Christina Ricci, Ian Somerhalder, John Barrowman, Dean Cain and Daniel Gillies – full list of guests is here. This will be the first time I do a big crazy thing like Supanova so please come by and say hi!

There may also be another couple of events around later in the year, so I’ll keep you posted.


* Including but not limited to my book. I’ll sign more famous and better authors’ books instead if you like.