Monday, January 31, 2011

The Sacred Amazon

It's happened. That landmark moment in any book's life these days. The Sacred Band is up on Amazon! I'm not sure when it appeared, but it looks like some kind folks have already bought a copy or two. Thank you. Much appreciated. There's more where those came from!

Although... well, you should remember that the pub date is officially October 4th. So, it's not really a purchase at this point. It's more a good faith indication that a purchase will happen nine months from now. Still, I'm pleased.

Now, if I could just get those editorial comments back from my editor I could make sure there will be a finished book to published that day...

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tender Morsels

This is a book recommendation post, but let me say up front that Tender Morsels will not be for everyone.

Yes, it's a YA fantasy, but it's not light fair at all. It is a novel that disturbingly deals with sexuality, incest and even gang rape. Several times I couldn't not quite believe Margo Lanagan was going where she seemed to be going, but therein lies the strength of this one. It's uncomfortable, but deeply felt, disturbing, challenging.

It's also wonderfully imagined and - though not exactly uplifting - by the end it did leave me with a weary feeling of relief and faith in the goodness of some people within a world a dangers. I'm not aware of having read anything quite like it before, and that's a draw for me as well. Lanagan is a brave writer. I respect that.

Here's what School Library Journal had to say in a Starred Review:

"A traumatized teen mother magically escapes to her own personal heaven in this daring and deeply moving fantasy. The characters, setting, much of the action, and even the very words of the title are taken from the Grimm Brothers' "Snow-White and Rose-Red," a sweet story of contrasting sisters who live deep in the forest and whose innocent hearts are filled with compassion for a lonely bear and an endangered dwarf. In the novel, Liga's daughters—one born of incest, the other of gang rape—first flourish in Liga's safe world. But encounters with magical bears and the crusty dwarf challenge them to see a world beyond their mother's secure dreamscape. Eventually the younger one, Urdda, and subsequently her sister and Liga are drawn back into the real world in which cruelty, hurt, and prejudice abound. But it is also only there that they can experience the range of human emotion, develop deep relationships, and discover who they truly are. The opening chapters vividly portray the emotional experience of a boy's first sexual encounter, mind-numbing abuse by Liga's father, and a violent gang rape. It's heavy fare even for sophisticated readers, but the author hits all the right notes, giving voice to both the joys and terrors that sexual experience can bestow without saying more than readers need to know to be fully with the characters. While the story explores what it means to be human, it is at its heart an incisive exploration of the uses and limitations of dissociation as a coping mechanism. Beautifully written and surprising, this is a novel not to be missed."

If you're up for that give this one a try.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just For The Record... My Dog's Name Isn't Huckleberry

...I'm not the David Anthony Durham that this guy with the gun is after. I did not shoot a police officer in Oregon, and I'm not on the run in the woods.

Nobody has ever said about me: " members say he slipped into a deluded state and at one point misinterpreted a movie about space aliens for a documentary."

Nor has anybody ever said: "...he managed to climb out of the truck and, dressed in full green camouflage, escape into the woods. His dog Huckleberry followed him..."

Nor: "Even if he is a survivalist, he can only survive for so long. He may like to eat bugs and stuff, but that gets old."

I do not look like this:

I only mention this because several kind folks have written to me alerting me that my name is being splashed all over the Pacific Northeast.

Here's a piece about it in The Bend Bulletin.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Guilded Earlobe On Fear

It's a small thing, but I was pleased to come across this audiobook review of Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death.

I'm partly happy to know that my recommendation helped encourage the reviewer to try the book, but I also want to commend him for doing so. He points out that he's "a 30something white American male, and I tend to like 30 something white American male stuff". He readily admits that Nnedi's rather serious dystopian African fantasy novel wouldn't normally appear to be his fare. But he tried it, and he liked it very much, apparently.

Thanks for doing so, Mr. Guilded Earlobe.

You can read the review HERE.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Le 3e tome d'Acacia est achevé!

Not new news, but I have to say that it gives me great pleasure to know that folks in France are looking forward to The Sacred Band.

HERE'S a little announcement from

And HERE'S one from

I don't have a contract for the French edition yet, but let's hope that's coming...

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daniel, By Henning Mankell

It seems I've written a review that just appeared in The Washington Post. This time it's about Daniel, a newly published novel by the Swedish writer Henning Mankell.

You know Mr. Mankell's work? He's the guy behind the Wallander detective series. I'd read a couple of those novels before (and watched the tv series), so I was very keen to take a look at this historical novel, one that draws together characters from Sweden and Southern Africa.

You can read it HERE: A trip to the Kalahari changes everything.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fantasy Book Review #2 (For Me)

Very pleased to note a new review of The Other Lands, just up on Fantasy Book Review, a rather spiffy UK review website. They were wonderfully kind (and insightful).

You can read it HERE.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stonecoast Concludes

Hiya. I've been a little quiet the last week or so. That's because I've been in the whirl of the Stonecoast MFA's winter residency. It was terrific fun. As ever, it was ten full-on days of readings and workshops and lectures, good meals and tons and tons of talking about all things writing and publishing.

I had the pleasure of leading a workshop on writing epic fantasy during the first half. Yes, folks, I was with seven aspiring writers, all of them serious about projects in imagined worlds. We looked at their material with the same critical eye any graduate level workshop employs, and to that we added an in-depth discussion of the traits and tropes and challenges of the genre. No apologies about it.

During the second half I co-taught a cross-genre workshop. In that one I got to work with some literary-fiction students I had never worked with before. Good stuff there, too. To my mind, it's a real strength of the program that we're not afraid to mix things up.

I came back tired but enthusiastic about the program, carrying a list of the five students I'll be working with over the next six months. Like last time, they offer a great mix of genres and styles. Should be a good semester!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This is certainly off topic of The Sacred Band, but take a look at this...

This is the view out of our sliding door today. We got snow. Now, I didn't actually see this view, because I'm not home. I'm in Maine teaching at the Stonecoast MFA Program. I left for the residency right after pressing send to send the book in to my editor. So, I'm still here, having a very good, busy time. Just hung out with Catherynne M. Valente last night, and said goodbye to Elizabeth Hand, as she was here for just half the residency.

Anyway, lots of cool stuff happening here in Maine. I was very pleased to check my wife's blog, though, and get to see what my family was up today! If you want to see a few more pics, here's her post on The Shetland Trader.


Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Sacred Band

I should tell you something...

It's about Acacia 3...

Yesterday was my deadline for submitting the finished manuscript to my editor. It's now fair for you to ask me if... I... actually... finished... the... damn... thing...

My answer...


(Did you hear that? I kinda whispered it. I'll try again...)


(Did I just say that? I'm giving myself goosebumps...)


It's done.

Now... (deep breath) ...this doesn't mean it'll be smooth sailing from here. My editor needs to dig in fully and then I'll have to respond to his editorial suggestions. I'm hoping that he'll find I've written a large, detailed, well-paced conclusion to the whole story. I think I did, but I won't know for sure until... Well, until I know for sure. I will let you know what that confirmation comes through.

I also can't say for certain that this title will stick, but at the moment we're calling the book...

The Sacred Band: Book Three of the Acacia Trilogy

How's that sound?

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Free Fiction Sampler

Hiya. How's 2011 treating ya?

Just wanted to mention a wee thing I was happy to participate in. It's The Free Fiction Sample at the Underword's website. Here's the description:

The Free Fiction Sampler is UNDERWORD’s way of bringing authors, books, and readers together in one convenient location. This Sampler contains 27 authors from various publishers who are offering sample chapters for 38 different books. Feel free to poke around, check out the book blurbs, read sample chapters, and find new books to love.

You'll find a few of my sample chapters there, and many, many more!

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Monday, January 03, 2011

10 Things Lynn Flewelling Learned From Tolkein

Apparently, it's JRR Tolkein's birthday! That's something that gives me pause. Like... Yikes, what if he hadn't been born? Who would've done for fantasy what he did? I wonder...

Anyway, I liked this short piece by Lynn Flewelling on the great man's influence on her. Check it out.

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