Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Another Pub Day

No, this is not a tale of barroom hijinks. The "pub" in question here is the massmarket publication of The Sacred Band. It's out today!

Now, I have to admit that we won't be doing much of anything special to celebrate this. I'm still up on the hill in rural Scotland. No adoring fans to be seen. (Unless you count the sheep.) I'm working away on my next project, picking the kids up from school, walking the dog, cooking dinner, etc.

Same old stuff that makes a life.

But... that's not to say I'm not excited about this publication. I am, very much so. For the first time the entire Acacia trilogy is available in handy paperback editions. They look lovely, and the covers have all sorts of nice quotes on them, handily written by people other than me!

So... if you've been waiting for paperback completion, you have to wait no more. If the hardbacks are too heavy and bulky, no worries. If you've been thinking about introducing a friend to the series but wanted to present them with the whole set... (I know, wishful thinking on my part, but it is a nice set - and you get all three books for about the same as a single hardback. It's a steal!)

There are clearly lots of reasons this publication is good news. I hope you agree. And if it all possible I'd love to encourage you to pick up a copy - for yourself or for a friend. I would appreciate it greatly.

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Teacher Feature

The slate of teaching gigs that my wife, Gudrun, has lined up this coming year is very impressive. And it keeps increasing! She's famous, like.

Here's yet another post heaping praise on her, this one from the Squam Art Workshops.

Teacher Feature: Gudrun Johnston.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012


I am that. Angry.

About what? The library. Or, not so much the library, but about the (perhaps) end result of town democracy being a rigged election. Let me explain...

I've posted here before about my hometown's trials and tribulations with getting a new library. The really quick version: We need a new library.

Old one is terrific, but it's tiny. Tiny. Tiny. No running water. No real toilet. No place to sit.

Town applies for a grant from the MA state. Gets it. 2.5 million $ to build a new library. That's based on a library that would cost another million and a bit to build. The difference needs to be paid through taxes over twenty-some years.

Various votes for this go well, up until the last one. Suddenly, NO voters appear. They win.

YES voters say "Whoa! The NO people fed voters a ton of last minute misinformation. We need to revote." The Town Council grudgingly (barely) agrees.

Next vote happens a few weeks later. The results. 522 YES - 522 NO. Tie. A tie means that the measure fails.

No new library. But...

There is one ballot deemed provisional. Needs to be looked at. And there are eight ballots that were disputed - someone claiming the voter wasn't eligible to vote.

A few days pass. The authorities meet and agree that the provisional voter is eligible to vote. So...

Vote is 523 YES - 522 NO. Library will go!

Err... Well, no.

The NO voters request a recount. Fine. Let's count up the votes again. This means two things. One, that the registrars decide about the eight contested voters. Two, they then recount all the ballots.

Sounds good, yes? I mean, fuck, I want the library, but if we lose the vote I'll accept it.

And then the recount happens. Kinda...

Again, short version.

One YES voter is deemed invalid. Two NO voters are deemed valid. Problem is that both have a very similar situation, enough so that if the YES voter is invalid the NO voter also is. That would mean that the library is a GO! By a couple of votes!

But... ah... the vote count was rigged. Those two NO voters? They're way less eligible than the YES voter that the registrars got rid of. Oh, and yes, the registrars are on the record as being against the library. They've clearly used their authority to get the vote they wanted.

That pisses me off.

I vote for... lawsuit.

If you have some strange interest in the ineligible voters you can read more here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another Sacred Incarnation

I just got a book in the mail. This time it's the massmarket paperback of The Sacred Band.

Yes, it's coming that soon! Anchor was keen to get it out, and... well, here it is...
Saba's into it. He wasn't really on board before, but he seems to have been impressed by the George RR Martin blurb. Works wonders, that guy does...

In stores soon!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Sacred Band Cookbook

I have to share this. It's an email I got a little while back from one of my marvelous beta readers. There were three that did wonders for The Sacred Band, together making it a much better book than it would have been without their insights. Thing is, the book seems to have infiltrated the subconscious of at least one of them.

See for yourself:

Dear David and girls, 

I thought you all might appreciate this. Last night I dreamt that I got my copy of The Sacred Band only to discover that, in the rewrite, David had turned it into a cookbook. Not just any cookbook, mind. An "Acacia Characters Favorite Recipes" cookbook. It still looked like the novel, but, when opened, had glossy pages of food photography interspersed with random passages from The Other Lands (yes--the previous novel) and recipes for things like "Mena's Spicy Hash" (???!!!??) and "Sire Neen's Fish Balls." (Sire Neen, incidentally, appears to favor tagine dishes--but only, I suspect, because I finally got a tagine for Christmas.) 

Having perused this unique document I woke in a cold sweat filled with questions: Why had David gotten rid of the League plot line in favor of giant pictures of soup? Where in God's name was my beloved Corrin? I cannot express how thankful I was when reality finally reasserted itself and I realized that a) it was only a dream, and b) my actual copy of The Sacred Band--sadly lacking that Spicy Hash recipe but replete with the characters I know and love--would be arriving via amazon at the end of the week...

It gets me chuckling, I have to admit. I like the idea. If you have any favorite Acacia-related recipes do feel free to let me know...

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Links to a Couple of Fort Freak Reviews

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remember Clarion!

As happy as I am about being part of the Stonecoast MFA Program, I'm also thrilled to be part of the Clarion Writing Program family too. I taught there last year and had a terrific time. Good young writers doing great work.

I want make sure you know that they're accepting applications between now and March 1st. If you're at all interested it's worth applying. Great program, that can do a lot to set you on the path toward being a publishing (or MORE publishing) career. The faculty is absolutely wonderful this year, by the way!

Find out more: HERE.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Gudrun & Mary Jane in Iceland

Proud husband here. Just wanted to announce that my wife, Gudrun Johnston of The Shetland Trader, has an upcoming teaching gig in Iceland!

She's teaching with the wonderful Mary Jane Mucklestone this summer. It'll be an awesome holiday, because of knitting, hanging out with these two marvelous ladies, and because of all the cool stuff attendees will do in Iceland!

Are you a knitter? Know anyone that is? Ever needed an excuse to go to Iceland? This could be it.

Find out more: HERE.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

So bad, I'm posting a review...

Hiya. I've been pretty quiet here for awhile. That's because I was away teaching at the Stonecoast MFA Program's Winter Residency. Awesome program. Low-residency. High-quality. And yes, if you're wondering, I do get to teach genre writing there. Check the program out if you've ever wondered what an MFA has to offer - or if you've ever been interested in an MFA but worried that your sci-fi or fantasy or crime or horror or romance or historical stuff wouldn't be accepted. It is at Stonecoast, and I'm right proud of that.

But that's over. I'm home again, and I'll try to be a bit more present here. I'll start with a random rant that I see I left in my draft box: So bad, I'm posting a review...

The title of this post comes from an Amazon.com reader review of Richard K Morgan's most recent novel, The Cold Commands. I haven't read the book yet, but I will, and I'll enjoy it. I always do with Morgan. The guy can write. Even if I have issues with him sometimes, the guy can write. There's a lot more thought and thematic weight going on in his work than many of his readers seem to be aware of.

I'm not actually here to talk Morgan, though. I just felt like pointing out how lame that reviewer was. How much a waste of space. His review is short, vague, mostly about claiming that he had liked Morgan's work before but this book was so bad he couldn't even recommend others now. No specifics. Just unsupported statements.

It's that title that got me, though.

"So bad, I'm posting a review."

Does that mean he only posts reviews when books are bad? Apparently, because I clicked through and he's only ever posted one review, this poorly written one star review. I find that annoying. He read (so he claims) and enjoyed other Morgan books. Did he review them and say nice things? Acknowledge work well done? Nope. Did he spread the word about any other authors he enjoyed? Naw. Did he thank any author for writing stories that entertained him? Not a chance. The only time he's chosen to speak is when he wants to tear an author down, and to retrospectively diss earlier works.

What, I ask you, is the use of that?

Friends, I'm all for you expressing yourselves if you don't enjoy a work, but I encourage you to balance that with also expressing yourself when you do. Negativity without balance doesn't do anyone any good, in my opinion.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Vote That Matters To Me

I'm in the middle of this winter's Stonecoast MFA residency at the moment. Busy, busy. Having a great time, but fairly swamped.

I couldn't help taking a moment to mention the extraordinary developments in my home town. I while back I posted about the controversy over funding (or not) our new library. I won't recap it all here, but I'll mention that the revote just happened, with a stunning, hard to believe result.

Take a look: HERE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bibliotheka Phantastika

I was pleased to come across a lovely review of Acacia - Macht und Verrat (The War with the Mein) - at the German website Bibliotheka Phantastika.

Looks like they've been kind enough to make it their book of the month. Very pleased about that, and I love it that they mention the coming of the third volume in Germany too! I'm not sure when it's going to pub, but I'm thrilled it's on the way.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Neth Space Year in Review...

...is up, and he's got a short list of good books - in my admittedly biased opinion.

Check it out: HERE.

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Monday, January 02, 2012

A Few 2011 Year in Review Links

Strange Horizons has an expansive collection of the year's highlights from lots of different reviewers. It's a bit overwhelming, but there are some interesting titles in there. Check it out: Here.

The OF Blog has just put its list of it's 25 top book picks from last year. The Sacred Band is one of them. Lots of great books there. Check it out: HERE.

SciFiGuy.ca has a long list of titles up, with comments about most of them. This guy must read a lot. Check it out: Here.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, folks! I hope it's a great one for you. We had a lovely New Year's Eve here at Upper Park. Had some friends over for a couple of days. Lots of laughs, MarioKart, wine and great food. We set off fireworks, and watched other ones erupt from a few different spots on the surrounding hills. Resolutions were made. Some will be kept. As ever.

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