Thursday, July 29, 2010

Longswords & Library Cards

Just thought I'd link to a couple of nice short reviews, in case you're thinking about reading Acacia or Pride of Carthage.

Here's one gentleman's thoughts on them.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

A Little Bit Of Traveling

So I drove the family two hours to Boston. Parked. Boarded a plane. Flew overnight six hours to Ireland. Changed planes. Flew on a paper airplane to Scotland. Got picked up by my brother in law, Sorley, who drove us three hours north to Aberdeen. Boarded a ferry. Sailed overnight for Shetland. Woke up in the morning, disembarked, drove winding roads out to my father in law's cottage in Bousta.

Ah... we're here!

Gudrun has photos up at her blog, The Shetland Trader. It's going to a good three weeks...

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Do Give Quarter - To Most People, That Is

I know. An author shouldn't give much thought to negative reviews, but sometimes people say things so stupid I can't resist. Take, for example, my latest three star review of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) on Amazon. It's not very in-depth or anything, but I can't help shaking my head at this line:

"Durham picks up like the names and events might be as familiar as if the reader finished reading the first book the day before, and he gives no quarter to the fact that his readers might need a refresher on the story and characters."

Really? I give "no quarter" that a reader might "need a refresher"?

Ah... How about the fact that the book begins with a five page synopsis of the major characters and plot points of the first book? It's titled They Story So Far, with the subtitle As related in Acacia, the first book of the trilogy... I wrote it exactly because I thought readers might appreciate a refresher, exactly because I wanted them to be able to enter the story with things fresh in their minds. I've had lots of readers mention to me how much they appreciated it when they began the book. That's been gratifying.

Anyway... that's the fact of the matter. This particular reviewer skipped it, ignored it, lied about it, or just didn't really read the book. He was mistaken, or stupid, or malicious. That's often the case, but it never stops me from being surprised by it...

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Things To See In Shetland

Remember I mentioned a trip to Scotland? I'm a couple days away from departure. Looking forward to spending quality time with my wife's family, and with lots of Gudrun's knitwear design cadre, who happen to be in country at the same time. (She'll be doing the photography for her upcoming booklet while we're in Shetland.)

Yes, Shetland. That's where we'll be spending most of our time. The island famous for...


and awesome coastlines, like this...

Oh, and also, apparently, for being welcoming to American Authors, as is evidenced in this announcement in The Shetland Times!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Been Busy, Very, Very Busy...

And I'm not entirely done with being so yet.

I've been lax about posting because my whirlwind (and wonderful) day at Readercon concluded with a long drive up to Maine. I began the next morning early, the start of ten action-packed days at the Stonecoast MFA Program's summer residency. The days start early and end late, with enough events each day that everyone walks around with a crumpled version of the schedule, checking and rechecking where and when they're supposed to be.

I've been on the faculty at Stonecoast for five years, but I'm enjoying it now more than ever. I've watched a relatively small component of the program - the "Popular Fiction" concentration - grow into a thriving ball of energy. I was thrilled by the quality of work the new students arrived with. These folks are serious about writing and are putting a lot into investing in an academic program. Thing is, their creative work features (in this new batch) post-apocalyptic SF, space opera, epic fantasy, horror, slipstream and even a thoroughly amusing chic-lit entry. I absolutely love engaging with these texts, both on their own terms and with an eye toward crafting them into polished, publishable works. It was a fun, exhausting ten days.

I can't wait to do it again this winter!

Now... must start packing for a three week trip to Scotland! That volcano isn't still causing trouble, is it?

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Encontro Bang!

A link to a Portuguese publishing party. I wish I'd been there...