So, you know my family is in a land far far away. No, not that place. They've been in Shetland, staying with my father in law. Recently, though, they took a trip back to the mainland, where they were awed by things like trees. Gudrun took a few snaps, as she quite likes to do. I thought I'd offer a few for your visual stimulation.
This is near Dunkeld and Birnam, in Perthshire... These are just some leaves... And a tree... (The girl isn't mine, but she's a lovely family friend.)Flowers... This is is the River Tay as it approaches Dunkeld. We used to live in Dunkeld, and I wrote quite a bit of Pride of Carthage while strolling along this river... The kids out with a cousin for a walk in Aberdeenshire.... And then! Then they returned to Shetland. Just in time, too, for the seas soon churned up a gale... In case you're wondering. Yes, I'm still working on the book. It's getting juicy. (In a "Man, readers are gonna hate you, Mr. Cliffhanger" type of way.) I'm fatigued, but I'm also nearly at the point where I type in "The Hell With It..."
Wait, no, that's not it. I meant where I type "The End". It's coming soon. Less than 24 hours away... Actually, I've got more like 12 hours left...
Yes, yes, I'm working hard. But one needs to take a break every now and then and self-promote. Hence, this post on a couple of tidbits I noticed recently... (After which I promise to get back to the novel.)
Neil Hollands has a list of books up on the Booklist Online site. It's a short-list with selected titles from different sub-categories of fantasy. Nice to see that Acacia gets a mention in the "Realistic" Epic Fantasy category, along with George R. R. Martin and K. J. Parker. Good company, and interesting categories. I sometimes suspect that readers don't acknowledge enough how very different fantasy works can be. The differences within the genre can be rather huge, and there's no real reason why somebody that likes books in one category will necessarily be a fit for books in other regions...
Dustin Kenall has written a piece on Acacia and on the changing expectations placed on the "Epic Quest Genre" - which I guess is "Epic Fantasy" made slightly more specific. Dustin clearly brings an informed perspective to it. He's written reviews for the sfsite.com and the Agony Column and Blogcritics, etc, though this piece is on his personal site.
I must say, while I'm very pleased at the fine company he places me in, he makes it sound like I'm somewhat more solidly established than I feel. Me? I'm sweating, man. I literally have to finish off The Other Lands in two days! I've got all sorts of anxiety about it. Been getting up early and going to bed late. Butterflies constantly. Writing. Writing. Writing. Checking the clock. Occasionally confident, usually scared. It's funny, really, how ongoing all the trials and tribulations of a writer are. I've got four novels out in the world. All successful in their way. But still, it's the words I have yet to write that seem to matter most.
Lookie here. I came across what appears to be a rather nice video endorsement of Acacia from a bookseller in France. Fortunately, I have some fluent French speakers in my European family. They've verified that all is well, and that the gentleman says very complimentary things about the book. Phew...
Strange that at the same time I'm supposed to be making a big push on the book I also seem inclined to post more. Procrastination? No, not really. I had a great writing day yesterday. Produced almost 4000 words. That's pretty good. If I keep that up I'll be on schedule to press SEND on Thursday.
Good thing, too, as I'm also hopping on a plane to Calgary for World Fantasy that day! It will be so good to be able to tell folks the book is done. That's miles better than saying, "Almost there. No really, just a little bit more..."
So, yes, I will go work. But I also notice I have a backlog of interesting linky type stuff. With the election in mind, I thought I'd mention this non-partisan article...
Thanks to Teri for pointing me toward this Washington Post piece about the history of getting dirty in presidential campaigns. Some amusing stuff, and a great reminder that the things we'll be seeing the next couple of weeks aren't new at all.
Just so you folks know, I'm working like crazy on The Other Lands. I've promised my editor I'll deliver it to him next Thursday, Oct 30th. (Think positive thoughts for me, please.) I've got a crap load of work to do, so I'm trying not to spend too much time, uh... wasting time. My wife did just point me toward this YouTube video, though. Pretty funny. It's my offering for today.
You know Eddy Izzard? You know Legos? And Star Wars, of course. Together, they make for comedy. (Bit of profanity in it, by the way.)
Are you kidding me? That's my father in law's cottage again. My wife assures me that all I have to do is come on over. Our money problems are solved! The pot of gold, apparently, is right in the cottage, just next to the peat-stove, beside the wee table and the waiting dram of Lagavulin...
Baby, It's Going to Be Cold Outside in Book Publishing
So says an article in The New York Observer, in reference to the state of publishing. One of my grad students sent this to me. Things were hard enough for the hordes of aspiring writers working so hard to make it. No doubt about it, the nearish-future is gonna be tough for them, and by the time the dust clears the industry might look quite different. Or am I wrong?
A student of mine pointed me toward this Al Jazeera English piece on an aspect of our elections. Have you seen it? It doesn't much matter that it's Al Jazeera (in terms of any presumed bias), since none of it is commentary or punditry. It's just a piece that allows some of our Heartland citizens to speak for themselves on the topic of Barack Obama. It's pretty clear these folks are speaking in their own words, and that they really are impassioned.
A wonderful thing just showed up in the mail today. Le pre aux clercs edition of Acacia! The timing is perfect - both because I just asked yesterday where my copies were and because the book goes on sale today! (Thanks, Carola.)
Okay, this is me taking a moment to enjoy a milestone. This is me talking to myself... "Deep breath. Acknowledge the goodness. Note the sense of accomplishment. Remember that your first published novel was written in France. Remember that I've hoped for a French publication ever sense. Now, four books in, nine years later, I'm holding that publication in my hand. Acknowledge that this feels good. Okay? Got it, David? Now... go finish The Other Lands you slacker! You've only to two weeks until you said you'd deliver it to Doubleday! Get back to work!"
I'm hoping that a few folks in France buy the book, but I can't deny the appeal of giveaways. So I'm happy to mention that Elbakin.net is doing a contest! If you're a French reader (or just love the idea of having a French copy of the book) you can enter here. You'll have to answer a few questions in French, but I'm of the opinion that everybody should have to answer a few questions in French every now and then. It's good for you.
I came across what I think is a rather nice review of Acacia in French, on the site Journal de bord d'un libraire. It seems like quite an active blog, with many reviews of all sorts of fantasy and sci-fi stuff. Guess that's why my publisher got them an early copy of Acacia. Guess that's why they got to see the book before me! Where's my copy, Carola? ;)
Anyway, Big Luna had nice things to say like, "Je suis intimement persuade qu'il sera effectivement l'evenement fantasy de cette fin d'annee." Nice, huh?
I got a nice email the other day from a comic author named Brendan McGinley. He wrote to say that he enjoyed Pride of Carthage, and that it was the only fictional source about Hannibal that he consulted (along with many non-fiction sources) when he was researching Hannibal for a comic project. He gave me a link to sample the comic, and I'm going to do the same for you....
It's kind of fun. Informative but certainly comical as well. I liked it. You can sample it here yourself if you're interested. Go to Shadowline Web Comics and then pick "Hannibal Goes to Rome" from the Web Comics Menu. It's not complete, but it's a nice taster. Methinks it could be a book... Worthy topic, and all.
If you visit regularly, you know I don't talk politics much.
But you also won't be surprised, I imagine, to know I'm a Barack Obama supporter. An enthusiastic supporter. A once in a lifetime opportunity let's not screw it up type of supporter. I've got the tee-shirts, the bumper stickers, the sign in the window. I've made donations. I've wagged my tongue at parties. Oops. I guess I do get political some times. And...
I've contributed to the Books for Barack program. George RR Martin emailed me about it (yes, yes, I'm name dropping, but... wouldn't you? I've got emails from GRRM in my inbox! You don't think I want people to know it? But anyway...) However I got directed toward it, I loved the idea. Here's the deal...
Books for Barack is the brainchild of novelist Ayelet Waldman, whose impassioned — and expletive-laden — e-mail to politically like-minded writers went, as she put it, "viral." Ayelet's solicitation for signed copies of their books for a fundraiser for has touched a literary nerve, yielding an outpouring of over books (as of Monday, September 22) from across the country.
I think that number has skyrocketed recently. Okay, but how does it work? See here...
It's really quite simple. If you donate $250 or more to Barack Obama's campaign through Ayelet's MyBarackObama website, you will receive a mystery bag of 10 books, all in a canvas tote printed with the BOOKS FOR BARACK logo. The bags will be assembled randomly and tied closed so that no one — not even Ayelet — will know the contents of any specific bag. Your bag could contain a signed first edition copy of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, a signed first edition copy of Stephen King's Hearts of Atlantis or a fine collection of poetry by a writer you've been waiting to discover.
So how deep are your pockets? Maybe don't have $250 to give? Okay, I get it. But maybe you'll still click over and... oh, I don't know. Either contribute or at least just share in the vibe. Politics and books, good stuff.
Le Site Acacia la Nouvelle Trilogie Fantasy Epique!
Guess who this rather striking young woman is? If you're curious, you can check out the newly launched French-language website for Acacia: La guerre du Mein. It's up. I'm now officially on the scene in France!
The book comes out there in about a week, and so far the build-up looks awesome. I've already done several interviews, and I've seen mention of the book on lots of French sci-fi blogs, and my publisher is doing lots of cool things - like this website.
What does it offer? Well, visuals of the Akaran siblings for one thing. Very curious as to what you think about that. From my standpoint, they're never going to look like what I see in my head. I start with that as a premise, and then I'm curious as to what other folks see in their heads. If you check out the website you'll get at least one artist's version.
There's also a written interview with me and another video one. At the moment, the video one is pretty short, but I think they'll add more bits to it. Actually, I spoke to the interviewer via Skype for the better part of an hour, so they should have stuff to work with. There's a map, if you're curious as to what the Known World looks like in French. There's also little video announcing the book, la bande annoce.
Small glimpse into my personal life... Killed five black widows today. Didn't even go looking for them.
First one was floating in the pool. I thought it was dead, until it stretched. Just taking a dip apparently.
The second one was on a chair cushion. Flipped it over to see the widow, a mister, and... Oh, guess what? Lots of little, teeny-weeny babies. I thought this mother was dead too, flicked her off and was a bit dismayed to notice that, uh, she wasn't dead after all. (Note to myself - black widows are not dead until they are jelly on the bottom of your flipflop.)
Third, fourth and fifth I found in the space of about sixty seconds as I watered a plant that had been sorely neglected for a while. Squash. Squash. Squash. All in day's work for a Fresno writer.
By the way, I've neglected to tell you that before the kids left they found three widows in the house in a single day. Three. One crawling across the floor in the living room. One behind their bed, and one behind our bed. Lovely.
If I ever mysteriously stop blogging, you'll know what happened.
Having said that, I do think they're getting sluggish...
I met Gregory Frost, author most recently of Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet, at Readercon. Should've spoken to him more, and I hope to next time. I did hear him speak quite a bit - on panels and stuff - and always found him engaging.
So it was with interest that I came across an essay he wrote for the Wild River Review. It's a personal look at some of the problems of publishing in today's book market, with changing priorities in the industry making it challenging (or downright maddening) for authors. Give it a look. Anybody interested in writing or serious about reading should keep an eye on what's happening in the industry that connects books with readers - or doesn't.