Monday, August 29, 2011

The View From The Kitchen On A Summer Evening

Friday, August 26, 2011

Le Blog-Notes

I came across a lovely review of Terres étrangères (The Other Lands in French) at Le-blog notes. I particularly liked the last line:

"An exotic epic very well constructed that lacks only one thing: the final volume!"

Not for long, though. Not for long! The Sacred Band comes out in late October! Looks like the title translates to L'alliance sacrée.

The full review is HERE.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saba Surveys His New Holdings

Just a brief post as I'm getting my feet under myself in Scotland. Very good to be here with the family, living at the aptly named Upper Park. Lots of a adjusting to do.

Like, it's so hard not to run over pheasants. (Not to want to run over pheasants, I mean. They're bloody annoying!)

The dog, however, is already home.

(He's looking for pheasants.)


Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Hugo Winners Announced!

Congrats to the winners. I know a few of them, and I'm very pleased for them.

Full list HERE at

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Dog And His Boy

Me, the dog, the cat, and lots of stuff are safely in Scotland. Just 24hrs of traveling. Now it's done. Lots of good things about this, but let me just show you a happy dog and a happy boy. Reunited...

If that's not proof that dogs can smile I don't know what is!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Library Journal

So, in actual fact this day sees me crating the dog and cat and heading for the airport, flying over night and then rolling out in London the next day, and then, hopefully, getting through customs etc without stress and starting a longish drive dead north to Scotland!

That's what I'm really doing today. But I'll pretend that I'm surfing the internet and that I've just come across this piece on the current (and future) state of SFF in Library Journal. It's got a lot of interesting info, and some tips on soon to be released titles - includes The Sacred Band, of course!

You could take a look HERE.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day

My kids Maya and Sage had their first day of school in Scotland today. Oh my.

Take a look at them in uniform: HERE.

Geez, I wish I was there! Only a few more days until I am!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Acacia Portugal!

So, some good news from overseas! The Portuguese publisher Saida de Emergencia - who were already on board to publish The War With The Mein and The Other Lands - have just signed on for The Sacred Band: Book Three of the Acacia Trilogy, too! I'm thrilled. A publisher with gumption! With faith! Just jump in an buy all the books like you mean it! I couldn't be happier about it. (The same can't be said for all publishers, alas.)

The first Acacia comes out this month, and the rest will be spaced out reasonably, I imagine. Here's the cover, another revision of the first German cover:

It's funny the way they use GRRM's name on the front. Kinda makes it look like George wrote the blurb. He didn't. In fact, it's a quote from Library Journal comparing me to GRRM. Of course, I've got no problem with that at all...

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

David Liss Interview

There's a nice interview with bestselling historical author David Liss over at Book(ed) Passage. He's promoting his new book, The Twelfth Enchantment.

He says lots of smart stuff, like:

"I always put character and story before research, so as much as possible, I try to bring in historical detail in such a way that it seems like an organic part of the novel, and not something tacked on or a duty to discharge."

Ah, yes, something I say often to aspiring historical novelists, and something I should remember as I return to historical material myself.

(Oh, and he mentions me!)

You can read the whole thing HERE.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I've Been Punk'd

The NPR story below is about the Verizon workers strike that's currently in effect. Of note - not that they explain it - is when the reporter mentions that Verizon claims to have suffered sabotage at striking workers hands. I wish they made more of this, because I can attest to it. I got punk'd by a Verizon employee, and because of it I haven't had phone service since Sunday and don't know when I will have phone service!

Or... maybe I didn't get punk'd by a striking worker. Maybe it was one of the managers left on duty that messed up my phone because of incompetence. Which is it? I'm not sure. You tell me.

So, as we're about to rent out our house, I've been doing lots of small (and large) projects around the house. One thing I'd noticed was that our phone junction box had come a bit loose and was missing a screw. I called them last week and asked for somebody to come buy and just secure the box properly. Appointment was set for Monday.

On Sunday I was surprised to find a Verizon van showing up. A day early? Well, all right, I thought, nothing wrong with that. The guy was, in retrospect, a little ill at ease, but he was a Verizon employee and I had put in for a service call. So I thought nothing of it. It took him all of five minutes to do the work, and then he left. Fine, right?

Nope. Later I tried to use the phone. Nothing. No dial tone. Not a sound on it. Let me be clear. My phone service was fine before the guy came out; when he left, it didn't work. Not only didn't it work, but I also can't call Verizon because the people who answer the phones are on strike too. I'm screwed. For all I know, Verizon doesn't even know that my phone is out, though I've tried calling, emailing and requesting service online. Nothing really seems to work.

Of course, I didn't know about the strike until after they guy left. Now it seems possible that some workers, like him, were on missions to disrupt service and turn the screws on their bosses. Thing is, the only one suffering in this case is me. Who knows when I'll get my phone back? And the timing couldn't be worse as I'm leaving the country in a week. I have phone calls to make! And I have renters coming in that are going to want a phone. For that matter, I'm pissed because I feel actually endangered. My house in the woods doesn't have cell-phone service. If there's an emergency... If I have a heart attack or something, I'm screwed.

Now, I don't plan on doing that - have a heart attack, I mean. But the point is that that worker didn't know anything about me or my family when he guaranteed disruption of my phone. If that's what happened it's stupid. Annoying. Ironic, too. I'm the type of guy that supports workers rights, that's pro-union in general. I want these employees to have decent pay and healthcare, etc. I also want this employee to come back to my house so I can punch him in the belly.

Or... maybe I'm wrong. I have doubt. You see, I just went out and saw some Verizon workers picketing. I stopped and had a chat. I explained my support of their complaints, and told my story. The guys I spoke to assured me that no union worker would do that stuff. They say they were all off work all day Sunday, since the strike went into effect before that. What they think happened is that one of the managers came out to the house instead. This manager, not really knowing what he was doing, caused the problem. Snapped a wire. Made a mistake of some sort. Seems kinda plausible...

So now I'm left not knowing what to think. I just wish I could pick up the phone and voice that annoyance to somebody! Get somebody to fix it!

Boston Business Journal on the Issue as well


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Ray Of Light

Gloom, gloom, gloom. There's so much to be gloomy about. As I'm packing up the house and readying for my move, I've been listening to NPR pretty much constantly. Shouldn't do that. It's great news, but... well, the news is rather grim and discouraging in lots of ways.

As a writer, publishing news has been pretty dismal the last few years as well. That's why I'm particularly pleased by this article in the New York Times: Publishing Gives Hints of Revival, Data Show. It seems publishing is on the mend, some of that rocky transition to e-books has been made, and - folks - things are looking up!

A quote from the article: “It shows that the industry as a whole is really healthy,” Ms. Raccah said. “That, I think, is exciting. You’re seeing an industry that is transforming itself.”

Good news. How about that?


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Clarkesworld Interview Part 2

The second part in a large round table discussion on epic fantasy at Clarkesworld Magazine in online. It includes input from a wide array of authors, including James Barclay, Elizabeth Bear, Terry Brooks, Trudi Canavan, Rowena Cory Daniells, Kate Elliott, Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont, N. K. Jemisin, Peter Orullian, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson - and many others. Me too!

If you're interested, take a look HERE.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Enough About Me...

My wife, the knitwear designer Gudrun Johnston, just posted about her most recent sweater pattern on her blog. It's lovely. All of her designs are, but with this one I'm reminded how unique her style is, how recognizable. Perhaps I appreciate it all the more because I'm going into like a fourth week without her - or my kids!

Can you believe she not only knit this garment, but designed it? I see her do it all the time, but it's totally beyond me. (Although, that said, she's famous for having very clear and accurate instructions in her pattern designs.)

Anyway, I just wanted to mention it. The image here is of the sweater (on a model). If you had any interest in checking out more of her stuff (or want to send any knitters you know toward her) you could enter her site HERE.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

The Sacred Band... REVIEWED!

The first of the big pre-publication reviews just came in. It's from Publishers Weekly, probably the main industry magazine for book reviews and news about publishing. I'm very pleased to pass on their words to you, a STARRED, very positive review...

(Regarding spoiler stuff. The review doesn't really give away anything from this book, but it does mention something that happens at the end of the previous book. If you don't want to know what that is, you might not want to read this. In that case, suffice it to say that the called the book a "triumphant conclusion". But if you want the details of what they said, read on...)

The Sacred Band: Book 3 of the Acacia Trilogy
David Anthony Durham
Doubleday, $26.95 (576p) ISBN 978-0-307-73968-1

This triumphant conclusion to the Acacia trilogy vindicates Durham's resurrection of a major character in 2009's The Other Lands. Corinn Akaran, queen of Acacia, used her ever-growing magical powers to revive her brother Aliver to aid her defense of her kingdom. But there are no simple resolutions to the challenges facing Corinn and her siblings, and the gap widens between the means she employs and the ends she pursues. Durham provides a graphic and chilling look at how far Corinn is willing to go to advance her cause as she brutally massacres opposing armies, and that's just the beginning. A smooth plot, Corinn's well-developed character, and Durham's stellar prose and rich imagination will have many traditional fantasy fans hoping for future books set in this turbulent world. (Oct.)

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