Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
Pleased to point you toward a new craft/writing exercise book that's coming out later this month.
It's the latest edition of the Now Write!
series, focusing on SFF this time around. I'm one of the contributors. Only one, though, as there's a long list of distinguished folks involved. I'm just pleased to be one of them.
Check it out HERE
Labels: Other Authors, Professor Dave
You know I dig Stonecoast
and think it's an awesome program for anyone that wants a Master of Fine Arts
but that happens to be writing speculative fiction. It's a big commitment, though. What about a program that's shorter, tighter? I have a favorite for that as well: The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshops.
I didn't attend as a student, but I did have the pleasure of teaching there a few years back. Great experience. An intense experience for the students, no doubt, but well worth it. It's competitive, but if you get in you're thrown together with around twenty other talented writers. Six weeks at the lovely University of California at San Diego campus. Each week a new instructor comes in to run the workshops. Each week you produce a new story. Much awesomeness transpires. If you look at the website alumni page you'll see a whose who of SFF stars. I'm not kidding.
A sampling of alums: Tobias Buckell, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, James Patrick Kelly, Kelly Link, Marjorie Liu, Kim Stanley Robinson, just to drop a few names. And of instructors: Steven Barnes, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Robert Crais, Ellen Datlow, Samuel R. Delany, Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Joe and Gay Haldeman, Elizabeth Hand, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Kij Johnson, Jonathan Lethem, George R. R. Martin, Tim Powers, John Scalzi, Delia Sherman Dean, Connie Willis, Gene Wolfe and, okay, I've got to stop... But the list goes on!
By the end of the six weeks you not only are on first name basis with some of the top writers in the genre, you've also got a bunch of new friends and colleagues. I really think it's a terrific program. I'm saying so now because the application period is in full swing. If the prospect of such a program interests you at all, please go check the website out and consider making the jump to sending in an application. I reckon some of the folks that went through the program would mark it as a career-making moment in their lives. Just saying. And the faculty this year is awesome! They are every year. I never fail to be impressed - and a bit jealous of the students that get to hang out with these folks in the eucalyptus scented air of Southern Cali.
Oh, and you get to go to San Diego Comic-Con on the side. No kidding.
Here's some of the official blurbage:
Applications for the 2014 Clarion Workshop are now open and will remain open until March 1, 2014. If you've been thinking about applying, now's the time. On February 15th, the application fee will increase from $50 to $65. Just our way of encouraging applicants to finish sooner rather than later. We've got a wonderful faculty anxious to share the secrets of great writing with a new class of promising students, one of whom might be you! Let Gregory Frost, Geoff Ryman, Catherynne Valente, N.K. Jemisin, Ann VanderMeer, and Jeff VanderMeer give you the rocket fuel to power your career.
If you're accepted, we'll do our best to make it possible for you to attend. Thanks to Clarion's friends and supporters, there is scholarship money for those who need it. In addition to general scholarships, there are special grants for students of color, students age 40 and older, students who are affiliated with Michigan State University, and students who are affiliated with UCSD.
Website is HERE!
Labels: Clarion, Comic-Con, Other Authors
Gudrun's Got A Creative Bug
The famous Shetland Trader
knitwear designer is at again. A new thing this time. She's gone video!
Gudrun's first Creative Bug
knitting video is live now. It's an instructional video for a lovely lace cardigan. Got knitting? You might want to give a look, then. Personal tutelage and all that. Lots of explanations and details.
The shooting of the video was quite a thing. They flew Gudrun out to San Francisco for the better part of a week to shoot several different projects. This first one was the most complicated in that during the filming they had to work backwards, ripping out stitches and essentially unmaking the cardigan in the process. But in the video everything's been rearranged. A bit mind bending, but it worked!
The other cool thing is that they do a short (free) intro video about each designer. For Gudrun's they sent a guy out to film in our home and environs for an entire day. Out of all of that he edited down to a few minutes. If you want a glimpse of where we live and what sort of stuff we get up to (walking the dog and crazy things like that) take a look.
The clip is HERE.
Labels: Family Stuff, Gudrun, The Shetland Trader
Two Wild Cards related things...
One is that after a long time sitting on it, I think I can finally display the cover art for the forthcoming Wild Card
. What gives me particular pleasure is that my character, Marcus Morgan (aka The Infamous Black Tongue), is featured on the cover! The kid owns it.
Check it out:
It sill needs all the covery-bits added, but that's the image. Love it. You know what's even better? My son Sage was instrumental in creating this character. To hear him tell it, he did create
the character. Don't believe it for a minute. ;)
The artist is Michael Kormack. Check out his work HERE.
The reason I think it's okay to show this now is that George RR Martin has it up on his website. He's using it to illustrate the page with an excerpt from Lowball
. And you know what's even better than that? The excerpt is from my multi-part story, "Those About to Die..." Awesome. In all likelihood it'll be on GRRM's site for ages, since the next book - the last in this trilogy - won't be out for a while yet. I'm going to be in that one too. Actually, I'm working like crazy to deliver my contribution by the end of this month. Wish me luck on that, please.
Anyway, should you want to check out the excerpt, it's available HERE.
Labels: George RR Martin, Infamous Black Tongue, Wild Cards
This is an Instagram snap taken of my daughter, Maya's, latest portrait. The color tone is a bit different than the original, but the image is the image.
Edinburgh Art College. She's got you in her sights!
Labels: Family Stuff, Maya Calypso Durham
I'm back from a lovely Stonecoast residency in Southern Maine
Ten days a fatigued joy. Lots of great people. Writing and talking and laughing and enough social interaction to hold me for the next six months. I've got a great roster of mentees to work with over the coming months. All good. I didn't even come down with the funky flu that slammed me at the end of the last winter residency!
I'm sure I've said it before, but any writers out there that are hankering for a supporti
ve, hardworking gang of fellow scribes - and maybe wanting to pick up a higher degree in the process - should give the Stonecoast MFA a look. And if you're a genre fiction writer interested in earning an MFA look no further! Just go to the website
and check out our faculty, our accommodations, our alum success stories, our residency structure, etc.
Honestly, I think very highly of the place and I'm glad they keep letting me come back. Since 2005 you know!
Labels: Professor Dave, Stonecoast
Scary title, huh? Fortunately, it's not as sinister as it might sound.
is a series on author Lawrence Schoen
's blog wherein he asks guests to speak about a memorable meal. He asked me me recently, and I came up with what I hope is a unique spin on it. A little bit of live seafood plucked from Shetland's craggy seaside...
I've included a photo of Sage since he features prominently in the tale.
If you're interested you can read about it HERE!
Labels: Random Ruminations, Sage Anthony Durham
Good Lord Bird
I'm thrilled to hear that James McBride's new novel, The Good Lord Bird
just won the National Book Award
! I've always thought he was a terrific fiction writer that didn't quite get his due from the literary establishment.
Miracle at St. Anna (Movie Tie-in)
was a good read, an intricate novel of WW2 seen through the eyes of African-American soldiers. I didn't feel the Spike Lee movie did it justice, but I was still happy to see it get made.
Song Yet Sung
, his second novel, was wonderful too. Historical again, but with a touch of prophecy and magic. I reviewed it for the Washington Post.
I really enjoyed The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
, his first nonfiction book. It was quite a touching autobiographical work. That one sold a bunch of copies and still does.
That's great, but it's got to be super-great to win the National Book Award, coming out on top of a rather impressive list of candidates. I haven't read it yet, but I know to expect good things.
Congrats, Mr. McBride.
Labels: Award Stuff, Other Authors
has a Mind Meld
post up about: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Genre Series: Series vs. Standalones; Ones We Abandoned; Ones We Returned To
This is wherein several authors/critics respond to the topic prompt.
I'm pleased to have had it pointed out (thanks Zach) that the Acacia Trilogy
got three mentions - and some further chat in the comments! What nice people...
You can read their thoughts HERE.
Labels: Acacia, Other Authors, Recommendations
A View From Massachusetts...
...on the matter of signing up for health insurance via the new exchanges.
Some years back the family and I moved back to the States after a few years living in Scotland. We were young, but we had children and figured we should look into getting health coverage. (I won't even go into the shock to the system is was to have to exchange the NHS for the American... well, lack
of a viable system. That's another discussion.) At that point, all we could do was get online and on the phone, calling up the companies directly. Little did I know what I was inviting.
For weeks after we got bombarded by phone calls, emails and promotional material, all trying to win us over to one plan or another. It was kinda crazy. For one, it was impossible to really tell the different plans apart and to have any idea what was in them. For another, the waste of it all was staggering. Long phone conversations that left me none the wiser. Big, glossy, photograph-heavy tomes filled with smiling people and promises of benevolent care. I couldn't help wondering how much money they were spending on all of it, and couldn't help feeling that all of it was unnecessary and wasteful.
Who did we chose? Well, we didn't. It was all too expensive for us at the time, and I didn't trust any of the plans would be there for us if we really needed them. We went uninsured for several years, until we moved out of state and were insured through several teaching jobs that I took over the next three years.
But eventually I left those and we came back to MA. A new MA, one in which Mitt Romney's healthcare reforms were in effect. Now I had to deal with the exchanges, and I had no choice but to be covered one way or another. I wasn't thrilled, but...
Man, was it clearer and more reassuring to go through the exchanges. All the information was in one place. All of it easier to understand and compare. Not hard sells and glossy photos and grand promises... Just information about what was offered, what it cost and what the details were. For a moment there I felt like they'd hired someone from Britain to design the website - meaning it made sense, was clear and un-intimidating, and actually tended to answer the questions I had.
I still think it's unfortunate that a for-profit business serves as the middle man between people and the healthcare they need, but if that has to be the law of the land I can attest to how much more efficient the system is with a bit of reasonable government oversight. At least I understand what I'm signing up for, and it feels like there's greater accountability from the insurers since the information is presented publicly and for all.
I don't know how the new exchanges are going to work nationwide, but if they're anything like my experience here... well, it ain't the system I would choose, but it's a lot better than the status quo.
Labels: Random Ruminations