Friday, September 30, 2011


I'm up early on strangely warm Scottish autumn afternoon. Seeing the kids off to school, and then I'll be heading south to Brighton for British FantasyCon. Never been to a British Con before, so it'll be a new experience for me. Not sure if I'll just lurk, or if I'll actually rub shoulders and knock back drinks with folks. We shall see...

I'll let you know how it goes.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Carola Strang at ActuSF

As a follow up to my earlier post showing the lively cover for the French version of The Sacred Band (Acacia L'alliance sacrée), here's a link to an interview with my French editor, Carola Strang.

She's terrific. In a business that doesn't always promote bravery in editorial decisions, she's also quite courageous. As she describes in the interview, she wants to publish titles that aren't interchangeable with lots of other titles. She looks for things she finds more unique, more substantial. And then she sticks by them, even though that's a lot harder than following the popular flow instead...

Risky way to do business, but I love her for it.

HERE's the interview.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Case You Missed It...

...there's been a bit of a firestorm recently revolving around the subject of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender characters in YA fiction. What started this particular, um... discussion... off was that two authors, Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith wrote a piece for the Genreville blog of Publishers Weekly, claiming that they had been told by a perspective agent that they should straighten a character's sexual orientation - or at least not disclose it. (Here's that post.)

This took off pretty fast on the internet, and shot into mainstream media quickly, as in this article in the UK's Guardian newspaper.

The two authors hadn't mentioned the agent by name, but she came out herself - Joanna Volpe - with a strongly worded denial of the claims, posted here at The Swivet.

Opinions and counter opinions have been flying ever since.

Occupation: Girl has a terrific summation of the whole situation, with lots of quotes from lots of voices. YA Highway also tackles it with a summation.

Just mentioning it...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Do You Think Of This?

It's Le Pre aux Clercs cover for the French edition of The Sacred Band. I don't mind admitting, I'm loving the full-on aerial dragon battle feel of it.

Ah, Mena, my princess...

The artwork is by Didier Graffet, who also did the art for the first two books.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

I just noticed that there's now an Amazon site for Spain. I guess it was only a matter of time.

I promptly went over and tried to find my books there. Success!

HERE they are.

Of course, I wish I had more books there. For the time being, the Spanish continuation of the Acacia series in on hold, but I have hopes we'll reboot it eventually.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

They're Giving Away My Books? What Madness!

Yes, but it's a good kind of madness.

Want a copy of The Sacred Band for free? Go check out the giveaway at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist: Click HERE.

Hey, if you win it you don't have to buy a copy for yourself. You could buy a copy for a friend instead!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kirkus on The Sacred Band

Well, I might as well get this out of the way.

The self-proclaimed "World's Toughest Critics" (says so on their website) have reviewed my latest effort. My heart and soul. My blood and guts poured out onto the page. They're notorious for tearing unwary authors to bits. They often hit the mark, even against the popular tide. (I'm pretty sure they were the only pre-pub review source to trash Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, though the record of that may have been expunged completely. The critic wiped from all records, though there are rumors he was garroted by an albino priest...) Once before they tore me a new one, and now they've set me firmly in their sights and come at with their blades of fury and righteous literary...

Wait. Actually...

No, that's not what happened. Not this time, at least. They didn't slice and dice Corinn and the gang at all. Instead they pinned a star on us! Don't read the review if you don't want to know what's happened in earlier books.

If that doesn't matter, read on...

Durham (Gabriel’s Story, 2002, etc.) brings his sci-fi Acacia Trilogy to a satisfying close.

Samuel R. Delany meets Cormac McCarthy meets J.R.R. Tolkien as the striking and subtly powerful Corinn Akaran settles into queenship over the Known World just in time to take up arms with the Other Lands. “We’re at war,” she says, matter-of-factly. And war it is, with supposed allies turning tail and threats of invasion putting a decided downward cast on the scene. Corinn is a tough cookie, but she nurtures an abiding hope that her son, Aaden, will prove himself as “the greatest Akaran monarch yet.” Naturally, opportunities abound for him to show his stuff. Meanwhile, Corinn’s brother Aliver is on hand to help, having miraculously come back to life after having been killed in the second installment. (“You were dead before,” says Aaden. “Exactly,” replies Aliver. “I like you better alive,” responds Aaden, having thought the matter over.) Durham is a master of the swords-and-sorcery genre, with the bonus that this is swords-and-sorcery with spaceships that give the Millennium Falcon a run for the money; the trilogy, this volume included, tends to be talky, but it’s the right kind of talky, without wasted words. He also takes time to paint scenes in words that other writers might brush away, as with this description of a book-filled library: “Tall windows cast elongated rectangles of red-gold sunrise light, but the room’s candles still burned, thick ones that jutted through the tables like tree trunks and burned with flames the size of spearheads.” That’s a world worth fighting for, and Durham’s pages are full of thrilling action that would do Tolkien proud.

A close, yes—but with wiggle room for more Acacian adventures. At any rate, on the strength of this installment, Durham’s many fans will be clamoring for more.

That's awful nice. Admittedly, I'm not sure what the Millennium Falcon stuff is about, but still, I'll take it.

Thank you, Kirkus, for the gold star. I will wear it proudly. You chastened me once, and I've never forgotten it. Nor have I forgotten the three - count em, 3! - times you've given me your pointy accolade. I'm very pleased.

For anyone that wants to see my Kirkus score, it's HERE.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Fantasy Book Critic On TSB

Fantasy Book Critic has weighed in on The Sacred Band. I wouldn't be mentioning it if I wasn't pleased with what they thought!

Among other things, Robert wrote:

Considering everything that occurred in the first two volumes of The Acacia Trilogy, The Sacred Band had a lot riding on its shoulders. Thankfully, David Anthony Durham was more than up to the task, delivering a rewarding conclusion in The Sacred Band that successfully wraps up The Acacia Trilogy...

You can read the whole review HERE.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spartacus Bunny, The First Sketch

So, I dunno. The Durhams were out walking in the hills the other day, and we got to talking about my Spartacus novel. Somehow, out of that, came the idea for a graphic novel: The Spartacus Bunny Wars.

Why bunnies? Ah... Why not?

I asked my daughter, Maya, to come up with an early sketch of the gladiator. She choose to focus in on a closeup. This is what she produced:

We think it my be a little too catlike at the moment. Obviously, we wouldn't want to write The Spartacus Cat Wars.

That would just be... ridiculous.

Just for the record, this is not the direction I'm going in for my novel. Perhaps it should be, though...

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Call Me A Silly Boy, but...

...I have to confess to being inordinately chuffed at seeing this...
I didn't make it myself or anything. My Portuguese publisher did! They're having a giveaway wherein the first 50 people that by Acacia: Ventos do Norte via their website will receive a free tee-shirt. I want one!

Which brings up the question... should I covertly buy one of my own books, in Portuguese?

The info is HERE, at Saida de Emergência's site.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Library Journal

Library Journal have weighed in on The Sacred Band. Rather nicely, in fact. I'll include the full review below, but if you don't want any plot details you could just read this part:

Strong writing, intriguing characters, and a richly detailed background—along with the possibility for future development of Durham's scenario—make this fantasy epic a winner for those who enjoy large-scale fantasy along the lines of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series.

HERE's the place to go to see this month's batch of SFF reviews, including some really interesting ones, like Alex Bledsoe's The Hum and the Shiver and Kate Elliott's Cold Fire.

Here's the full review of The Sacred Band:

Having discovered the magic contained in the long-lost Book of Elenet, Corinn, now Queen of the Known World, unwisely demonstrates her godlike powers. Her brother Dariel, sent on a dangerous mission to the Other Lands, contends with a number of exotic tribes who could either pose a threat or become an asset to the Known World. Corinn's sister Mena and her sentient flying companion, Elya, travel to the northern lands to confront the dangerous Auldek, whose alliance with slavers provides them with the source of their apparent immortality. The conclusion of Durham's trilogy (The War with the Mein; The Other Lands) ties the threads of these separate stories unto a satisfying climactic world-changing battle. VERDICT Strong writing, intriguing characters, and a richly detailed background—along with the possibility for future development of Durham's scenario—make this fantasy epic a winner for those who enjoy large-scale fantasy along the lines of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Andy Whitfield

I find myself rather shocked by the death of Andy Whitfield. He's the actor that played Spartacus in the Starz series. Only 39, he died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Part of the shock is that he's younger than me, fitter than me, richer than me, and that it seems so unfair that just as his career takes off he has to start fighting for his life.

I guess the other thing is that I liked the guy. Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a very different approach to the rebellion than I'll be taking with my novel. It's highly sexed up, peopled by chiseled men with no body hair and lingerie models, with gallons of blood splatters and some really over the top gore. I was almost embarrassed to watch it. But I did. It was strangely addictive, and the writers were pretty sharp in terms of turning the screws on the plot in surprising ways.

Few of the characters look like they would have historically. Far from being chiseled, gladiators were well-fed so as to be covered with a nice layer of protective body fat. They'd have been carrying extra weight intentionally, since any added inches of fat have to be passed through before a blade can do damage to important organs.

There were quite a few moments that the series manifested itself more as fantasy than history, but I'm okay with that. If I wasn't I wouldn't have reason to write my own Spartacus book. My point is that despite my differences with the series, I enjoyed it. And part of why I enjoyed it was Andy Whitfield.

I'm sorry to see him go.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Neth Space Review

I think this may be the first full-length blogger review The Sacred Band has received. I'm very pleased to say it's a terrific one. I met Neth early on in my entry into fantasy, so it feels great to have had his readership throughout the series. And, of course, it's wonderful to see that he appreciates what I attempting with the series - and that he thinks it worked!

He writes: "Durham’s ambitious trilogy takes the largely conservative genre of epic fantasy in a new direction of rather progressive thought and action and builds things up to a very fitting and satisfying conclusion."

He says other stuff too, which you can read HERE. By the way, he doesn't go into plot details at all, which is a nice plus.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Fantasy Literature Sunday Updates

Here are signs of a little attention coming toward The Sacred Band. Over at Fantasy Literature several bloggers/reviewers have mentioned the series.

Robert Thompson of The Fantasy Book Critic has finished it. He calls it a "rewarding conclusion to THE ACACIA TRILOGY".

And right after that Stefan Raets mentions beginning the series. He was into the first book as of the post, and is planning on continuing with The Other Lands as he anticipates the release of the final book! I love that. I hope there are a few more folks out there that will start the series now that the end if confirmed.

The post is HERE.

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Amazon Eyes E-Books for Prime Subscribers

Just a development of interest. Thought I'd mention it.

Article is HERE.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Sky Above Upper Park...

...changes all the time. In one instant, though, it looked like this:

The next instant it didn't.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

There Exists Another Book In The World

It arrived yesterday, much to my surprise. It was well-timed in a way, since I was feeling cranky and overwhelmed as I dig into my Spartacus novel. I say "in a way" because I was cranky and overwhelmed enough that I barely paused to be happy about seeing the finished version of another of my books. What an ingrate, I am!

A day later, though, and things are going better. I made what I hope is a significant breakthrough with my approach to Spartacus, and that reminded me to pick up The Sacred Band and admire it's beauty.

Maya did the same...
And then she read a bit...
So far so good...
At least, I think so...
And then... oh...
Want to know what's so troubling? Just a month more, and then anyone that wishes can discover the dreadful truth...


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Genreville - Best of 2011

Can you believe anyone is talking about best of the year list already? Well, over at Publishers Weekly they're not putting up lists, but they are starting a conversation about it - and looking to hear from you. Take a look if you want some suggestions of good sff books of 2011, or if you want to shout out for a title!

The discussion is HERE.

By the way, the author's prompt includes "books you're looking forward to in the next few months..."

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