Juggling countries

A brief post on worldbuilding.

STATE MACHINE has been out for five days and is doing quite well (thank you for making this happen!). The post I put up on Monday had several good comments about the structure of the Rachel Peng novels, and questions about the upcoming Hope Blackwell novel. Lemme try and answer these in the time-honored fell swoop:

The webcomic

A GIRL AND HER FED should be considered the original source material. Thus far, the only thing I’ve abandoned is aligning the comic and novels to “real world” time, mostly because I’m a stupid-slow artist and the Rachel novels would take place back in 2007 or so. Nope, our world moves too fast for that continuity nonsense.

(…she sighed, wistfully remembering how she really enjoys that continuity nonsense…)

I’ve also placed one red herring in the comic. It’s in Chapter 8 if you want to start guessing, but that’s all I’ll say about that.

The Josh Glassman Novellas

Short pulp novellas, between 35k and 50k words. Wacky sex comedies featuring our favorite Pornomancer, and told as a retrospective fantasy to Mare. Josh has been married eight times, to seven different women (and Mare twice), and this is how he bedded and wedded each of them. Josh loves who he is and what he can do, and he revels in the collective. Josh and Mare know about the ghosts, so ghosts are permitted, but will only show up if it makes sense within a given story. THE RUSSIANS CAME KNOCKING is the only one out so far.

The Rachel Peng Novels

Full-length novels, between 110k and 120k words. Mystery-thriller format, with a central crime that sets off the action and must be solved over the course of the book. Over the seven books in the series, Rachel Peng takes down Richard Hanlon, the villain who tortured and manipulated the 500 young kids who would grow up to become OACET. These novels take place in the five-year break between Parts 1 and 2 of the comic. Hints of ghosts here and there, but no koalas whatsoever!Β  DIGITAL DIVIDE, MAKER SPACE, and STATE MACHINE are the three books in the series that have been published.

The Hope Blackwell Novels

There might just be one of these? I need to see how it performs before I commit to another series. I’m expecting GREEK KEY to come in around 80k to 90k words. Yes, Speedy will definitely be in this/these. The ghosts will be there, too. Not sure how to categorize this book…the draft is reading like Percy Jackson forgot his Adderall and decided to put on a modern-day reenactment of the ODYSSEY, but it’s only half-done and might take a Turn. Due out near Halloween.


(…screaming sounds forever…) Now that STATE MACHINE is done, getting the audio edits done on the books is my new full-time job. Again. Whee.


Hopefully this gives some general non-spoilery answers to any questions you might have had about the different overlapping series. Now, I’m gonna fall down for, like, six days and maybe twitch a little when Brown pokes me in the eye to check if I’m still alive.


Published by KBSpangler

A freelance editor who writes novels, comics, and repairs a disaster of a house in her spare time: www.kbspangler.com

16 thoughts on “Juggling countries

  1. We see Speedy on the radio in Part 2. Is it known that he is a koala, or is he just a talk show host?

      1. It hasn’t happened yet in Rachel’s books. It’s a continuity glitch that we get because the comic jumped five years. No continuity issue in comic vs books, since the current comic storyline where Speedy is on the radio and Rachel knows about the ghosts is 4.5-5 years ahead of the current storyline in the books. Think of them as prequils to part 2 of the comic, it helps.

        Also, Ms. Spangler, I regret to inform you that I’ve re-read the first two books and read the third in the last two days (I work nights, in a job where it’s either nothing, or a lot of excitement – police/fire/ems dispatch in a rural area just works that way – and I finished the newest one only to discover that I’m mad…. but only because I can’t read Hope’s book yet.

        If you need an alpha or beta reader with a love of the stories you’re telling and slightly unpredictable enormous chunks of free time, pleasepleaseplease hit me up because I am DYING to read Greek Key! (And fully recognize that I will most likely wait in the dark like the rest of the plebes, but I had to try!)

        Thanks for what you do!

      2. @ Sean

        This reply might have gotten lost in the WordPress formatting shuffle. A few days ago I wrote: “Nope. I need to keep the genres separate. It’s a self-imposed limitation based on book format.”.

        @ Farmgirl

        As of the RP novels, Speedy is OUT and LOUD about it. He came out at the same time as the cyborgs and immediately set up his podcast/radio show. He’s got plans, our little fluffball does…

        As for beta readers, I’m covered for those for the Hope book, but thank you for your offer!

        1. Otter – I figured you probably had a full list. “Thank you for the slightly pushy and creepy compliments crazy internet lady” would have been considered a polite answer to that one as well lol.

  2. Good luck on the twitching! Make sure to catch some sleep while you’re down there in the floor, you’ve earned it!

    P.s. you’re in my very short list of authors whose books I buy sight-unseen on basis of author name. That list is basically you, Tolkien, Steven Eriksson and George RR Martin (though GRRM is struggling to stay on, after that terrible German translation of Tuf Voyaging).
    Just thought that would maybe make you feel better πŸ™‚

  3. I do believe I found that anachronism/red herring. πŸ™‚ It made me smile when you first included it and it again brought a smile when I ran across it today.

  4. I had to wait to read the book until this weekend. I was awesome as usual (review for Amazon in progress). I do have one vaguely “world building” question that has been buzzing around my head since Digital Divide. When you read OACET in your head do you say the letters of the acronym individually (e.g., FBI or NSA) or do you turn it into a word (e.g., NASA)? If the latter, do you pronounce it with a hard or soft “C?”

      1. Thanks so much. I didn’t think about the impending audiobooks answering that question. Critical thinking skills Woo!

  5. Hi!

    So I’ve been wondering for a while when your books are going to deign to grace Audible with their Glory, so I can throw more money at you.

    1. There was a Kickstarter to convert the books to audio nearly 16 months ago. Things have gotten complicated. I’m doing my best to uncomplicate them, but I don’t have a specific date for release.

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