Monday, October 31, 2011

Who Fears Nnedi?

I was thrilled to learn that Nnedi Okorafor's novel, Who Fears Death, has just won this years World Fantasy Award. Yay, Nnedi! I'm not surprised. To quote the blurb I offered her a couple years back...

"WHO FEARS DEATH is urgently topical, at times brutal, and always wholly original. It’s no surprise she’s been racking up awards. There are more to come, surely."

Also, I'm just as thrilled that my friend and Stonecoast MFA Program colleague, Elizabeth Hand, won in the novella category for "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon".

Congrats to you both!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wild Cards Movie

It gives me great pleasure to be able to talk publicly about some news that's been secret for a few months now. Wild Cards - George RR Martin's collaborative novel series of mutants and superheroes - has a movie deal.

To quote The Hollywood Reporter: "Syfy Films, the theatrical division created in December 2010 as a joint venture between Syfy and Universal Pictures, has acquired the screen rights to Wild Cards, a superhero anthology edited, co-created and co-written by Martin."

There will be many details to come. Right now I'd just mention a couple things. Just to be clear, Syfy Films is not the arm of the channel that's been making rather dodgy tv movies. It's a new project, with Universal, that's out to develop a major superhero franchise - and they've chosen Wild Cards.

There are going to be tons of decisions to make about what stories they're going to tell, considering the large cast of characters that have twenty-some volumes of adventures behind them. It's quite possible, though, that they'll choose to start with characters from some of the more recent books. Since I've been writing for those, I'm more than a little excited. Maybe, just maybe, one of my mutant creations will get on the big screen! If so, I've negotiated a fee of $40 with my son, Sage. That's his bonus for being instrumental in the creation of my main character, Infamous Black Tongue. (No, he didn't have an agent representing him...)

HERE's the full article at The Hollywood Reporter. 

HERE's one at Cinema Blend.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Aces High

George RR Martin just sent his Wild Cards authors the official cover for the reissue of the second Wild Cards book, Aces High. He wanted us to pass it on to folks, so that's what I'm doing. The artist is Michael Komarck, continuing to do stellar work.

I'm not in this one, of course. (It originally came out in 1987 - the year I graduated high school. I wasn't quite up to writing speed at that point.) The book features stories by Roger Zelazny, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Victor Milan, Lewis Shiner, Walton Simons, John J. Miller, Pat Cadigan, Walter Jon Williams, and GRRM himself. It follows the reissue of the original, Wild Cards I, which Tor published last year. Keep your eye on these books. Good things are happening with them...

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Page 69 Test

For my last few books I've had the pleasure of writing a short piece for The Page 69 Test, a website that asks authors to discuss their novels in light of whatever appears on page 69 of it. I've never found that my page 69 really captured the entirety of the book, but I've accepted the challenge every time anyway.

And I've done it again for The Sacred Band.

You can read it HERE.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hey, remember a while back when I posted a photo of the t-shirt that my Portuguese publisher made?

I went ahead and had my agent ask them if I could buy one. They did me two better than that! One, they said they would send me a few for free, which is very nice. Even more nice, though, is that they invited me to come to Portugal next spring when the second book pubs. Hurray!

I've never been to Portugal. I'd love to go. Here's hoping it really happens...

Monday, October 24, 2011

The D-O-G

Had a scare with the dog yesterday. What started out as a nice longish walk became a bush-wacking melodrama after Saba disappeared.

He likes to lope off the path away from us, and he can cover surprising distances when he runs, but he's never gone for long. He always comes rushing back. This time he didn't. We spent several hours running up and down the path, and cutting off from it to crash through the trees, over stone walls. We were well up away from any roads, but we also got in the car and drove up and down the nearest road. We'd just returned to the parking area, with a thermos of tea, sandwiches and a load of rain gear. Plan was to go up again, dive off the track and crash through the nearest fields that had sheep in them, and then to look up and down the fence, fearing that we'd find Saba tangled up in barbed wire.

It was starting to get dark. A very bad time for us all.

And then Saba appeared behind the car. Just sort of popped up, looking unfazed, and a little confused as to why everyone started crying. We've no idea what he was up to, whether or not it was just circumstance (like getting on the wrong side of a stone wall and not knowing how to get back to us). Or whether it's a sign he's going to have the wandering inclination.

Either way, it was a terrible few hours. And then, suddenly, it was over. I guess that makes us lucky. And grateful.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Blanvalet To Finish The Acacia Trilogy!

Have I mentioned this yet? I don't think I have, so let me shout about it now.

My German publisher, Blanvalet, has signed on to publish The Sacred Band! I've no idea when it'll come out, but it's happening.

I'm pleased. One of these days there will be another cover to go with these two, and they're will be completion!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Goes With The Territory

One of the great pleasures of writing novels is that, if you're lucky, people read and talk about them, and even post their thoughts on the internet. Of course, one of the really frustrating things about writing novels is that... people read and talk about them, and even post their thoughts on the internet.

I noticed a report from a book club that had just read Gabriel's Story. Rather cool that the old Western is still getting read, so no complaints there. Nor will I complain about the gripes they had with the book. That's fine. I had a hard time stopping myself from posting a comment in response to two things they said, though.

One was that I hadn't done my research, as evidenced by the fact that I referred to double barrels on a rifle. They wrote simply that rifles have one barrel, and admonished me to "do your research"! That's pretty damning. If a historical novelist doesn't even know that double rifles don't exist he's got to be pretty crap...

Thing is, there are double rifles, and there have been double rifles for a long time. They were especially used to hunt big game during the colonial period, but that included usage in America. They're not as common a single barrel rifles, but they do exist. This website - Mick's Guns - has wonderfully detailed photos of vintage double rifles. Like this one:

Now, the blogger could have argued that I have too many double rifles in the novel, but that's not what he said. He could have argued about the time period prevalence of them in my particular setting. But he didn't do that either. He just said that something I have in the novel doesn't exist, and that I obviously hadn't done my research. Someone reading that will think I'm pretty crap, but they'll think it largely because the reviewer hasn't done his research.

He also refers to skipping through the "more disturbing rape scenes". That line will leave a reader thinking not only that there were multiple rape scenes, but also that they were disturbing, presumably graphic. But this isn't true either. Yes, there is rape in the book, but it all happens off screen. It's disturbing, but not because you're forced to watch it as a reader. It's disturbing because you know that it's going on just out of view. The book did win an Alex Award from the American Library Association - which is given to adult books that they recommend for teen readers.

This sort of thing happens all the time, and usually I don't even think about responding. Not sure why I almost did this time. It was probably that personal direction - "Do your research!" - which I could consider to be directed at me. Although, to be honest, it's not just directed at me. My editor, copy-editor, agent and all the other production people have a hand in checking facts as well.

Of course, I didn't respond. It's just one of those things. Goes with the territory. Glad to be getting read. That's what matters...


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spread The Positive!

Almost two weeks since publication and, I'm pleased to say that The Sacred Band reviews have been really solid. The pre-pubs were fantastic. The blog-love has been terrific. I've even picked up a few print reviews. Fancy that in this day and age!

Not least, the reader reviews on Amazon have been good. I've got five at the moment. All very positive. I know that before long someone will write a stinker, but for now I want to bask in the kind words those most important of people - readers! - have penned for me. They include...

Reviewer #1: "I found it to be a very solid book. It was addictive to read, and often quite emotional. I strongly recommend it for readers of the earlier books in the trilogy, and the trilogy itself for readers looking for an excellent fantasy series."

Reviewer #2: "In revealing the reasons, some of which are recent, others ancient, of why the characters act as they do, the author shows empathy to all of them. He shows us what binds people to their fate and what could possibly free them. It's this sensitivity that pushes the trilogy beyond it's exciting story, solid worldbuilding and characterization."

Reviewer #3:"I for one, believe this series should be on your shelf right next to Tolkien and Martin. I could not put this book down and finished it in 3 days... Buy this now."

Reviewer #4: "Now that was an amazing read! I kinda wish now that I hadn't finished it so quickly!. The Sacred Band wraps up a fantastic trilogy that began with Acacia. I didn't know what to expect from this final installment, but I have to admit, I was blown away. Blown away by the characters, the plot, and especially the creativity."

Reviewer #5: "What a great series! I loved the last book. I thought the first and second were great...but sort of dragged a bit in parts. The third volume moved at a whip-crack pace."

It means a lot to get reviews like this. A lot of people seem to take some bitter pleasure out of writing negative reviews. Those can take a lot out of a writer - regardless of how wrong you might find them to be. Good ones, though, are each a reminder of why I do this writing stuff in the first place. That matters.

So... with that in mind, don't be shy! If you've enjoyed my books - or any author's books, really - say so! Spread some positivity!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

They Like Me In Frederickburg

And I consider that to be a very good thing. Among other things, their reviewer said:

"There were moments during "The Sacred Band" when I felt such enjoyment in the reading that I was transported back to summer days in the non-air conditioned house of my youth with no diversion beyond the book in my hands. In that regard, the book and the trilogy proved transcendent to me."

That pleases me greatly.

TSB Review HERE.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Underwords Interview

Erin Underwood has just put up an interview she did with me on her website, Underwords.

I know I'm biased, but I think it's one of my better interviews. Erin asked really interesting questions - a mixture of serious ones and random ones. Want to know about the cows peering in my window or what my super power is? Want more on the Spartacus Bunny Wars?

Erin tried to get the answers out of me. Admittedly, I sometimes dodged.

But... you will find in the interview my most candid admission yet that I've been working on a fantasy series for kids! Oh my.

Go take a look. It's HERE.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Clarion 2012

I really enjoyed teaching at Clarion last summer. It was awesome, and I was very, very impressed with the hard work the students put in. They performed like professionals, and you'll be seeing them in print soon.

Of course, Clarion goes on without me. I just got a gander at next year's Faculty line-up. It's way awesome: Jeffrey Ford, Marjorie Liu, Ted Chiang, Walter Jon Williams, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Are you kidding me? That's an absolutely terrific roster. I know most of these folks personally, and the rest through their work. They're people you want to know and learn from.

Aspiring sff authors? Start on those application stories!

Check out the website HERE.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Acacia Trilogy Week!

The insightful and intelligent Fantasy Matters blog has done something I'm very pleased about. They are featuring not just The Sacred Band, but the entire series on their website. Apparently, it's Acacia Trilogy Week!

What a fine thing.

They have posted a piece by yours truly which you can go directly to HERE.

They also have a recap review The War With The Mein and The Other Lands.

They've weighed in on The Sacred Band too. You can read that review HERE.

And the Fantasy Matters website address in general is HERE.
It's a worthy one to have bookmarked!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Autumn Morning

Alone at Upper Park this week. Gudrun and the kids are up in Shetland for the first week of the school holidays. I stayed on the farm to get some work done. I have a little set of stories to write for George RR Martin. The deadline is looming! So it's work for me.

I don't much like being without my family, but this was a lovely morning. It began with a little bit of fun with the dog and cat. When we feed Saba (the dog) we always make him sit on his mat until the food is measured out and ready for him, and then we put it down and release him to Hoover it up.

This morning, I put him in stay and had just about finished preparing his bowl when the phone rang. I set the bowl down on the counter and answered it. As I walked around the house speaking with the lady that lives down the hill about construction that was going to block access to the house that morning, Saba began to whine and jitter and sound terribly distressed. I chalked it up to impatience and finished the phone call in the other room.

When I walked back into the kitchen Saba was on his mat, looking desperately at me. Eighty-five pounds of shivering distress. On the counter... the cat was casually feasting from his massive bowl of food. Oops. My bad. Good dog, though. Good dog.

I made it up to him with a great walk up the hill. It was clear and bright, with a nip of autumn in the air. Beautiful views before my eyes, lots of stories rolling through my head. A good morning.

This photo is my wife's, from a few days ago when one of the hills across from us was snow covered. So, not actually, today, but a similar view to what I had this morning...

Now, to work!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Why He Left Fantasy...

...And Why He Came Back!

Blogger Justin Landon recently did a guest post at yet another blog, A Dribble of Ink.

It's a frank, honest description of one person's relationship with fantasy. He is kind enough to mention my work as being a force that helped pull him more fully back to being a fantasy reader. I like that, of course. It's fitting, too, since in many ways I had the same journey away from fantasy and then back toward it later - just from the writer's perspective.

Anyway, the post is HERE.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Radio Scotland Weather

And I quote, from today's forecast:

"The showers will die out before the bands of rain move in."

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

And Then Back To The Sacred Band...

Erin Underwood has posted a lovely essay on being a beta reader for... me! Yes, she was one of the few folks I asked to read the novel in its early forms. Her feedback made the book much stronger, and I'm grateful for it.

Read the piece here, at Underwords.

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On A Non-Sacred Band Note...

There's a nice review of Fort Freak, the Wild Cards novel that I'm included in, at Val's Random Comments.

Read the review HERE.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The OF Blog on The Sacred Band

There's a terrific review of the new book up at the OF Blog. Larry makes lots of insightful points and - as far as I'm concerned - is really sharp in his analysis. But, that may be because he clearly liked the book a lot!

His piece does include some significant plot details, so be warned. I can happily quote his conclusion, though:

The final pages bring full circle the promise of the earlier volumes, making The Sacred Band one of the most satisfying and fulfilling epic fantasy conclusions that I have read in recent years. The Sacred Band is easily one of the best 2011 epic fantasy releases and it is one that I highly recommend to readers here.

The full review is available HERE.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Release Day

That's what today is. The Sacred Band slides into stores today. It's exists. It's alive! (At least, I hope it is.)

So what's that mean in the life of David Anthony Durham? What grand things do I have planned for today? Well, I'll tell you what I've done so far...

I've made omelets for the kids' breakfast.

I've walked the dog.

I've tried (and failed) to replace the fan belt on the car we're borrowing.

I've eaten leftover curry for lunch.

I've answered emails and mucked about with some interviews and essays.

It's now about time to walk the dog again...

Not very impressive, really. But what do I have in mind for later?

More of the same. That's how we roll around here. I'm in Scotland, an ocean away from where the book is pubbing. That's fine, though. My triplets are all grown up. They have to make their own way in the world.

That said, I hope that you include The Sacred Band in your plans for the day. If you're at all considering buying it... ah, please do. Go for it! What's the harm? What's the worst that could happen? And don't delay! Sales made this first week count a lot in terms of how/if my publisher invests in promoting the books in the weeks to come. So, if you're going to get the book eventually, considering making that eventually today!

I will be forever grateful if you do.

Oh, and I should mention that has my Release Day Interview up HERE.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Map Anyone?

The map for the new book just went up at my website. If want to take a gander at it you can do so HERE!

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Excerpt Anyone?

There's an excerpt from The Sacred Band over at If you're interested in getting a glimpse of how the book begins, click over HERE and have a quick read!

Oh, and let me add that the excerpt is also up at Underwords. It just one of many books that Erin has posted excerpts of. So, if you want to browse other authors as well, take a look HERE.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Last Pre-Pub Review

There was only one of the big four pre-publication reviews that I hadn't seen. I couldn't really track it down, though I knew it existed. Then, to my surprise, Bill Schafer from Subterranean Press dropped me an email that included it. Thanks, Bill!

With it, I think it's safe to say that the early reception of the book has been very good. Here's hoping the actual readers feel the same!

And herewith, what Booklist had to say about The Sacred Band:

Durham’s sprawling epic fantasy trilogy comes to an end with this final volume, which follows The Other Lands (2009). The Acacians are preparing for war with their enemies, the fierce Auldek, and Queen Corinn Akaran has mastered a powerful weapon: The Song of Elenet. Not only does the Song allow her to lay waste to her enemies on the battlefield, but it also gives her the ability to resurrect her older brother, Aliver—and control him. Her sister, Mena, is scouting ahead in preparation for the coming war, while their younger brother, Dariel, remains separated from his siblings and his lover. As she prepares for Aliver’s coronation so that he can rule with her, Corinn is blindsided by the return of the exiled Santoth, a band of sorcerers who put a deadly curse upon her in order to harness the power of the Song. Readers who began the Acacia trilogy with the first book, when the Akaran siblings’ father was overthrown by a warlord, will find themselves immersed in this absorbing, far-reaching conclusion and the many story lines it wraps up.

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