Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Georgia Center for the Book

That's where I'll be tonight. I'm down in Georgia at the moment for a busy week of events. One of those that's open to the public is tonight's reading. Info about it HERE.

Okay, I gotta go start the day, many things to do, people to meet...


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Breaking Up?

So, aspiring writers are always interested in how to get a publisher. Makes sense, but what about getting rid of a publisher? Changing houses? That can be a big part of a writing life too. Not all author-publisher relationships are good fits, and for a variety of reasons leaving may be the right thing to do. It's never an easy thing to do, though.

Reference this post by Carrie Vaughn, about leaving Grand Central because she wouldn't accept their take it or leave it offer. Folks, you'd be surprised how much of a the writing struggle happens after you've become a published author...

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Red Wolf Conspiracy

I mentioned a little while back that I was reading Robert V. S. Redick's The Red Wolf Conspiracy. Well, I might as well mention that I enjoyed it quite a bit, enough to recommend it!

But don't just trust me, here's what Publishers Weekly thought:

Insane god-kings, miniature warriors and sentient animals fight over a powerful ancient artifact in Redick's dramatic, complex debut. The Mzithrin and Arquali Empires have been locked in a 40-year cold war over the resources and riches of the Crownless Lands on their common frontier. Now the Chathrand, a floating city built as much by sorcerer as shipwright, bears young Thasha, an unwilling bride to an enemy prince. No one seems sure whether this is a sincere attempt to bind the two empires together in peace or merely a gambit in their political games. The tense atmosphere soon erupts as various factions struggle to find and control the myth-wrapped Red Wolf. Both adult and young adult readers will find much to enjoy in this tale of sea-faring and bloody diplomacy.

Yep. There's all that in the book, and quite a bit more, really. I may get a chance to discuss some of that "more" soon. I'm talking with Robert about doing an joint interview. If we do it, I'll post it here!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fourth Annual BSCreview Book Tournament

This may be a lost cause from the start, but I won't go down without a fight!

BSCreview has just begun their annual contests for best novel of the year. The voting is entirely done by the general public, in a series of rounds that puts books against each other one on one, sort of like a joust. The winner moves on the next round, etc. The basic description is HERE.

They've been kind enough to include me in their long list of contestants. But it just so happens that my first round bout is against Cherie Priest's Boneshaker. Now that's cruel. Boneshaker was a real crowd pleaser last year, with lots of fans that will likely rally to her cause. So, I may be out early, friends.

But if you want to help me have a shot please do! The match is HERE. Thing is, if you're going to vote it has to happen fast. I think this round is only open today through tomorrow evening. So, if you're a fan, pop over there and say so!

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Heading For Georgia Soon

I'm pleased to say I'll be heading down south in a couple of weeks. I'm being hosted by Kennesaw State University in Atlanta. They've got me booked up for four solid days worth of events, on campus, out at public schools, and with bookclubs. I'm excited. It's a great line up.

And it's a treat to be able to go wearing all my author hats - African American novelist, historical novelist, fantasy novelist! - all during the same visit. I like that quite a bit. It's the way it should be, of course, but rarely is.

Here's a press release. They seem to have credited me with an extra novel, but I won't complain. I'm working on that sixth. It's coming!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Search Of A Good Read

Thanks to Laura J. Mixon for pointing me toward this article by John Crace in The Guardian. The man makes sense. I like his analysis of what makes writing work, and of what doesn't work - regardless of the literary accolades it may receive. Please go take a look!

Of course, I may like it because he says a lot of the very same things I go around saying. A couple of examples:

"First things first: the novel is here to stay. Whether we're downloading books on to a Kindle or turning pages of a book is an entirely different argument: the hunger for good storytelling has lasted for centuries and shows no signs of going away. The issue is quality. And I would argue the quality is still there; it's just not always that easy to find it."

Yep. I feel like I say that to somebody (or at least think it) every couple of days. He sites a number of problems with connecting readers with good books, including the vast number of total books being published these days. I agree it's hard to find the good stuff, and I also agree that:

"These books [good ones] do exist. It's just a matter of knowing where to look. Critics often get very sniffy about genre writing, but I believe that's where many of the best novels are to be found... The great novel is very much alive and well. It's just not always where you're told it is."

Good man.

Of course, at the end I wonder what - other than state such opinions - we can do about it?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The SF Site on The Other Lands

I just noticed a kindly review on the SF Site. What's the use of a blog if I can't use it point you toward such a thing.

It's HERE!

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Friday, March 12, 2010

What A Numrek Looks Like In Russia

Now I know. Thanks to the kind, anonymous person that posted a link to the Russian cover of Acacia: The War with the Mein, I've just had my first glimpse of how my book is marketed in Russia.

I offer it here:

That's the largest image of it I could find. What do you think?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

RevolutionSF on The Other Lands

I just noticed a very nice review of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) over at the RevolutionSF site. The reviewer, Peggy Hailey, has reservations about second books in unfinished trilogies; hey, so do I! But she overcame them rather nicely in this case. Among other things, she writes:

"The various pieces are being moved into place for what looks like a truly epic endgame, with Acacia facing seemingly impossible threats both from without and within. Given the amount of care and thought that has gone into the story so far, I have no doubt that I will enjoy the trip wherever David Anthony Durham decides to take us."

You can read the whole thing HERE.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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Hugo Voting Deadline

Hey, are you a Hugo voter? Just in case, don't forget that ballots must be received by March 13th!

Here's the Writertopia website that features information on the Campbell Award, both on past winners and on folks that are eligible for it now.

Yes, as of today it features a photo of yours truly, blissfully holding on to the Campbell plaque and sporting wee tiara. What can I say? Campbell thoughts still make me very, very happy...

Of course I'll be watching the Campbell category with interest this year, but there are all those other categories to consider. My votes are in - are yours?

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

La Guerre Du Mein For Your Pocket!

It's always fun to post a new cover treatment. This time, it's for the Pocket edition of Acacia in France. The lovely Benedicte Lombardo recently sent it along to me, along with the announcement that it's scheduled for publication in May!

Didier Graffet did the artwork once again.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

An Impromtu Writers Cabal

I had a very enjoyable evening the other night - something of a surprise get together of fantasy writers.

I'd headed out to South Hadley to see Jedediah Berry and Paul Tremblay read at the Odyssey Bookshop. On arrival, I see Robert Redick is there too. I happen to be reading his Redwolf Conspiracy - and enjoying it very much - at the moment, so it was great to reconnect with him and say so. Also in attendance was Holly Black of Spiderwick Chronicles fame! I'd almost crossed paths with her a bunch of times, but this was the first time we properly met. Lots of chatting ensued.

Of course, we were there to hear Jed and Paul read. That they did, and an engaging reading it was. Paul went first, opening with - I kid you not - a Powerpoint presentation that had mostly to do with his treatment for sleep apnea and resulting severing of his uvula from his body. Strange? Yes it was, but in a tangential way it had everything to do with the protagonist of his weird boiled novel, the narcoleptic private investigator Mark Genevich. Paul then read a bit from No Sleep till Wonderland: A Novel. Good fun.

Jedediah began with a reading from his Crawford Award winning The Manual of Detection. Terrific stuff, also of a detective nature but with a healthy dose of hard to categorize fantastical elements. After that he read from another story he's been cooking up. It was on a pack of cards, which he shuffled and had audience members cut, etc. He then read the segments of the story on the cards in that random order, creating a surreal, comical, strangely cohesive narrative.

That's how readings should be - fun, interactive, playful but still honoring the words and the readers of them.

And then we all went out for food and beer! Now, I've been at a table filled with accomplished - famous even - writers before, but it's also been part of some event like a con or festival or award ceremony. The cool thing about this was that it just happened one Thursday night, pretty much on home turf.

A good time was had by all, I think. Holly didn't even seem to mind being asked several times if she liked the film version of Spiderwick. (She does.) And I learned which of these authors always gets emotionally upset (as in tears flowing) while writing, which one never does, and which one just did so for the first time and considers it a troubling development.

Of course, having tempted you with that, I'll offer no more details. You'll have to join us next time to find out...


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ten Rules For Writing Fiction

I like this piece from the Guardian (which Mike Kimball pointed out to me). It starts with Elmore Leonard's tips, but then goes on with a grabbag of other authors, including Richard Ford, Margaret Atwood, Geoff Dyer, Neil Gaiman, PD James, Phillip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson and many others!

Take a look HERE.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Here's a fantasy publication I've been looking forward to for a long time. N.K. Jemisin's debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, (The Inheritance Trilogy), is out now. I haven't read it yet, but I've known Nora for a little while I expect wonderful things from this book. The response so far seems to have been great, and I know that Orbit invested in her with enthusiasm.

Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say in a Starred Review:

Convoluted without being dense, Jemisin's engaging debut grabs readers right from the start. Yeine desires nothing more than a normal life in her barbarian homeland of Darr. But her mother was of the powerful Arameri family, and when Yeine is summoned to the capital city of Sky a month after her mother's murder, she cannot refuse. Dakarta, her grandfather and the Arameri patriarch, pits her against her two cousins as a potential heir to the throne. In an increasingly deep Zelaznyesque series of political maneuverings, Yeine, nearly powerless but fiercely determined, finds potential allies among her relatives and the gods who are forced to live in Sky as servants after losing an ancient war. Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, edge-of-your-seat story with plenty of funny, scary, and bittersweet twists.

Sounds good to me.