Brothers and sisters

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ve probably heard me mention my siblings – I’m one of five, and we were close as children and still are as adults. But I feel like sibling relationships are underrepresented in adult SFF, which is one of the reasons that I made a brother/sister duo the central relationship of City of Lies.

Here I am over at talking about 5 SFF books that do a good job portraying siblings: Sam Hawke on siblings


It’s the birthday, it’s the birthday, it’s the birthday boy or girl!

Well, it’s past midnight over at the other side of the world so it’s officially my book’s American/Canadian birthday. Hurray! I am super grateful for all the support and shared excitement from you all. This feels a bit cringey but this is one week I have to promote my book hard if I am going to achieve my dream of not-failing-at-this-shindig. Pre-orders and first week sales and early buzz are really critical to a book’s success, so here goes: here’s a list of things you can to do help me not-fail!
– Obviously, buying a copy would be amazing! It is quite long so this is clearly Value For Money paper-for-dollar and if you don’t like fantasy but you like me, you could give it to someone you like or don’t like or just use it to hit someone with or as an attractive paperweight, IDK
– if you like fantasy you could try reading it, I think it is quite good
– if you don’t want to spend the $ or can’t afford it you could ask your local library to stock it, that is also enormously helpful to me
– or you could suggest it to that friend or relative of yours who likes fantasy, just shout ‘anyone watch Game of Thrones’ at your BBQ or other social gathering and then when people look up you shout ‘that new Sam Hawke book looks good you should buy it’ or alternatively throw them the copy you bought at step 1, your call
– if you read it you could leave me a review on Goodreads and Amazon and any other review site you frequent. These things are kind of self-fulfilling prophecies so the more ratings and reviews things have the more reach they get, etc etc. It doesn’t need to be a big investment of time – one sentence is fine! ‘ It is good’ . ‘I liked it’. This would be SO, SO helpful and I am super grateful for everyone who takes the time. (I mean, if you hated it, you don’t need to do this, but if you hated the book but still like me you could try something factual like ‘I read this book all the way to the end’ or ‘there are a lot of words in this and it obviously took a lot of time to write so well done for trying!’)
– tell people about it on social media – I get most of my book recommendations from a trusted few people in person & on my circle of people I follow online, so this is incredibly useful to baby authors
– oh and if you see a copy in a shop I would SO love to see it in the wild so please share with me!
Thanks everyone and have a great day! Here are some pretty flowers from my lovely Sis the Younger for your viewing pleasure.

Breaking the rules in SFF

As part of the #FearlessWomen campaign, I have a guest post over at the Tor/Forge blog answering the question “ how does science fiction and fantasy uniquely explore gender, and specifically, how does she explore gender in City of Lies?”

This is a topic I’m particularly interested in as it can get a bit exhausting seeing the same sexist patriarchal BS play out in fantasy worlds where we are literally making up our own cultures and societies and can do anything we want. Sometimes that seems to be ‘anything we want, as long as there are only boys and girls and they must have the same roles that we have decided apply in fictional fantasy settings’…

Anyway, check it out if you’re interested!



Where to find me in Melbourne

I’ve been putting off writing this because a) I am so busy with trying to finish the second Poison Wars MS that I haven’t had time and b) I thought I would do a more fun and informative post if I did it after I’d prepared for panels, etc. Ahem. Well. It’s a couple of days out now so I’ve officially left this too late.

Imagine, if you will, the This Is FIne comic here.

Anyway, Continuum! As I did last year I am headed to Melbourne for their annual fan-run SFF and pop culture convention, Continuum. Guests of honour are the inimitable Cat Sparks and Alison Evans.

Because I thought this was a grand idea at the time, being well after my book was due, I volunteered to be on a number of panels! So of course this means that I’m underprepared and you should probably not expect to be finding fuel for a PHD thesis in anything I’m saying. You can find me bluffing my way through the following excellent-sounding* panels across the weekend:

6pm Friday:  Chosen
with Carolyn Denman, Devin Madson & Kimberley Gaal

Are all chosen ones by their nature Mary Sues? Do we care? How much does it suck to be a chosen one? Life once the Chosen One task is over.

Saturday 10am: Middle Grade Magic
with Thalia Kalkipsakis, Figgy, Sue Bursztynski & George Ivanoff

Why let the young adults have all the fun? Let’s talk about classic and new speculative fiction for readers aged nine to twelve.

Sunday 8pm: Secondary World Sans Magic
with Devin Jeyathurai, Lyss Wickramasinghe, Rachel Nightingale & Freya Marske

Swordspoint, Captive Prince, The Traitor Baru Cormorant — if a secondary world fantasy has no magic, is it still fantasy? Or historical fiction for writers who hate research? No dragons, just worldbuilding here in this panel!

For those among you who are finishing up a project and thinking, or in the middle of, querying, I will also be doing a workshop with my lovely agent sibling, EJ Beaton, on Sunday at 2pm which is all about the joys of agent hunting. Come listen to Liz and I walk you through the treacherous query trenches and ask us questions about the road to getting an agent. We’ll be covering:

  • why you might want an agent
  • figuring out who to query
  • writing the dreaded query letter and synopsis
  • handling the submission process (administration and mental health tips 🙂 )
  • what happens when you get an offer, or offers.

The full program is here: Continuum Program

If none of that takes your fancy, I will also be lurking around the con generally, drinking too many hot beverages and trying to finish my novel in the bar. Come and say hi!

Unless the fates conspire against me I should also have pretty bookmarks if you would like one, and the last couple of bound review copies of City of Lies. So if you are a book blogger or book tuber and you are willing to read my doorstop and review it, drop me a line at samhawkewrites AT gmail DOT com or on twitter @samhawkewrites.

Hope to see some of you there!

*  I take no responsibility for the provision of excellence, but I have great co-panellists, so.

The mother country

I’m so delighted to be able to announce that Transworld has bought UK/Australian/New Zealand rights to City of Lies and the following Poison Wars novel!

Here’s the Bookseller announcement

I’m thrilled that there will be a local version for my Aussie friends and family and I’m looking forward to changing all my spelling back to the original version, haha. In all seriousness, it’s great to be working with Simon Taylor and the Transworld team. When further info about the new version is available I’ll keep you all posted.

Thanks so much to my US team, led by my wonderful editor Diana Gill, and to Simon and my new pals in the UK, and (as always), the unparalleled Julie Crisp.

As always, thanks for the support and encouragement all of you who bother to read these things!

Review: Art of War anthology

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the anthology from the publisher. Thanks Petros!


This is a mammoth anthology, with 40 (FORTY!) authors and stories. I know I tend toward wordiness at the best of times so I’m not going to set myself some kind of terrible challenge and talk about everything in here. But, in general, it’s worth noting a few things about the anthology as a collection.

First, it is thematically strong, with all bar a few stories really tying in nicely to the exploration of the art of war, but a huge range of takes on that concept within the book (some grim, some funny, some heartbreaking, some heartening). Second, it’s got some great authors you probably already know and love, and they all deliver, but there’s probably some stories in there by people you don’t know that are gonna knock your socks off (there were for me). Third, it’s entirely for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), so your money is going to one of the best causes you could ask for. It’d be a reeeeeeal shame if you didn’t buy this anthology, son. A real shame.

To my mind, there were a lot of enjoyable reads and only a couple that I really struggled with (remarkable, considering the sheer number of stories). Highlights for me were (in order of appearance not rating):

  • Laura M Hughes, Dear Menelaus: This was probably the most unique story in format – a letter from Helen to Menelaus. Sharp and fresh take on an old story.
  • John Gwynne, The Greatest Battle: If you know John’s work you’ll recognise the style and characters, but it stands, I think, as an enjoyable, well placed fragment of a bigger story, with entertaining characters and a typically engaging and well-written battle scene.
  • Timandra Whitecastle, This War of Ours: this one HURT, man. Gut wrenching little tale of the price of violence and war on children. I read it twice. On reflection, likely my favourite story in the whole anthology. Will be keeping a VERY strong eye on the author.
  • Steven Poore, Asalantir Forever: I’ve had a weakness for stories that deal with the particular futility of life in the trenches since Blackadder Goes Forth. This one had strong writing and powerful imagery.
  • Brian Staveley, the Art of War: This one blew me away with the sheer scope and depth presented within such a short space. Thoughtful, beautifully written.
  • Nicholas Eames, Sacred Semantics: I cannot really describe this story except to note that it is bloody hilarious and had me cracking up the whole way through. I was a bit careless about paying attention to who I was reading when but it wasn’t hard to pick this as the same writer who is currently delighting me with Kings of the Wyld.
  • The combined efforts of Michael R Fletcher’s Doppels, The Undying Lands: Sort-of-zombies, colosseums, humour, tragedy and even a bit of romance, all in one package. Very entertaining and kept upsetting my expectations. Excellent.
  • Anna Smith-Spark, The Fall of Tereen: another author whose debut is sitting waiting on my TBR pile. It’s been bumped up in priority after reading this story, which is one of the standouts in terms of quality and uniqueness of prose. The style is probably not for everyone but I loved it. Very dark though!
  • Dyrk Ashton, Valkyrie Rain: A nuanced and interesting telling of the Valkyries’ fall from and return to grace.
  • Miles Cameron, The Storm: An awesome self contained siege story with a lot of character. I really enjoyed this.
  • Anna Stephens, Flesh and Coin: Mercenaries and ambushes and brutal action with emotional punch, surprise, and even a few laughs. This story does a lot. If you haven’t read Godblind you’re going to want to go out and get it after you’ve read this sample of her writing. Loved it.
  • Mark Lawrence, The Hero of Aral Pass: Great finish to the anthology – action-packed, compelling voice, funny and dark. Classic Lawrence.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the stories I enjoyed but they’re the ones that stayed with me. I’d be stunned if you couldn’t find a bunch you like in there. Overall, I found it a delight, and I’ll be getting the paperback with the beautiful art to add to my collection.

Cons, cons, and more cons. Well, con.

This weekend I’ll be at Conflux, Canberra’s annual SFF convention. (Yes, yes, I got excited in the title. It’s only one con). The theme is Grimm Tales and the program, which starts today (for those of us not stuck at day jobs), looks great!

Amazing guests of honour are Ellen Datlow and Angela Slatter – check out their bios here if you don’t know their names already.

If you’re in town and would like to say hi, I’ll be there Saturday through Monday, and you can find me on the following panels:

Striking the write balance – Saturday 5pm

Finding the right balance between writing, day job and family can be tough. Our panellists share their experiences and life hacks.

There I am appearing as more of a cautionary tale than a wise sage full of life-balancing advice, so you may hear a lot from me about things I think I SHOULD do to manage writing with other commitments, and a lot of ways that I fail to do that, too.

Submitting to publishers and agents – Sunday 3.30pm

What to do. What not to do.

On this one we’ll be talking alllllll about the querying/submission process, from the perspective of both sides of the equation, submitter and submittee, writer and gatekeeper. If you’re looking to get into the query trenches sometime soon, or if you’re already there, this should be a great panel. Ellen Datlow is on this panel, people!

Other than that, you’ll find me lurking about, possibly exploring the Vibe bar, and I’ll be at the banquet on Saturday as well. Please say hi if you see me!