Post WFC

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I never know when to leave conventions, and World Fantasy Convention always flummoxes me. Do I stay through the banquet, congratulate the winners, and then leave? Do I leave Sunday morning and simply miss the last day of watching the dead lumber around? Or do I wait until the site goes quiet for the banquet and then take my leave?

It always feels like I’m slipping out of a friend’s house while they’ve left the room for a moment to use the bathroom.

But WFC 2011 is behind us now. Tonight is Halloween, and due to the timing of the con, it will be the first Halloween I’ve done with BOTH kids. And that realization takes a lot of the sting out of leaving. That last hour, however, was still filled with the frantic calculations of when you will see everyone again.

Did I accomplish the business I hoped to do? Not entirely. Did other awesome and interesting opportunities present themselves? Yes, they did. Going to WFC reminds me why one should never set one’s five- and ten- year plans in stone. One should always be flexible. One should always be ready to say “yes” to something new and unexpected without thinking too much about how that project will actually come together. WFC reminds me that, while writing can be a solitary experience, creating is not. As much as I love writing, I do love creating more.

My convention began with a panel on Magic and Metaphysics. Ted Chiang, Kristin Janz, Peter Orullian and I kept an audience entertained for more than an hour at a time past when panels are supposed to be interesting. A number of people stopped me throughout the rest of the con, expressing their appreciation for our discussion and clearly wishing we could continue it. One gentleman actually posed a very interesting non-fiction book idea that, at the very least, might be an interesting follow-up panel. Perhaps at Norwescon in the spring.

I signed copies of Lightbreaker and Heartland at the Night Shade Books table for a few hours on Saturday. I felt very much like the shabby cousin, surrounded by the depth and breadth of the New Voices program that the Shade has launched this fall. So very many gorgeously designed and enticing books. I made up for my feelings of inadequancy among these wunderkind by personalizing the remaining copies of my books before I left. I didn’t just sign them; I left little messages in each. I hope they all find happy homes.

One of my favorite conversations was not about fantasy or science fiction or the business of publishing but about Sir Richard Burton and the terror of William Blake, about the Coen Brothers and David Fincher and their fierce vision of making film, about Thucydidies and Xenophon and how The Aeneid was nothing more than fan fiction (but yes, we’d all read parts of it in the original Latin).

I miss you all, crazy dreamers. But now we must go work through the cold winter.

WFC Appearance

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I’ll be attending World Fantasy Convention next week in San Diego, CA. While seeing all of my pals, I will also be moderating a panel on Thursday evening at 10:00PM. It’s called “Magic and Metaphysics.” Here’s the panel description:

What makes a magic system believable? Authors and world builders create the rules that govern their magic when the whole point of magic, one would think, is to break the rules. Is it reasonable to try to constrain magic by the laws of nature? Bonewitz proposed a whole set of rules based on principles such as similarity and contagion? Is a logical and consistent magical system actually magic?

It’ll be held in Pacific 2/3, which I would assume to a nicely sized room. On the panel with me are Ted Chiang, Kristin Janz, and Peter Orullian. Drop by. It looks like it will be a fun panel.

Two Podcasts

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It seems like my respite from the word mines was illusory at best, and I should vanish again, but–fighting and clawing against such subterranean banishment–I do have a few items to note before I go.

Writers Cast Podcast. David Wilk and I chatted a few weeks ago about the state of publishing. We touch on The Mongoliad, of course, and I soapbox a bit about the changes I see coming in the publishing industry. Given Amazon’s announcement about 47North earlier this week, you can better understand some of my longer pauses in the podcast. Oh, I wanted to share, but just had no idea when the news would drop.

The second podcast is going to released tomorrow on Bitten By Books. Use this RSVP link if you’d like to be entered in the contest. There will be some quasi-live Q & A stuff going on as well. The podcast was recorded a few months ago by Sandra Wickham over a few Manhattans. It went longer than either of us expected, and if I remember correctly, she let me natter quite a bit about some of the underlying mythology of the Codex of Souls books. Stop by on Friday, download the podcast, and let’s keep some energy alive on these books.

I went into the city last night and caught Boris last night. They stuck to Attention Please and Heavy Rocks (2011) for the most part, including a deliriously noisy 15-minute version of “Missing Pieces” and an awesome opener of “Riot Sugar.” The doorman at Moe’s was using a stamp with the word “JOY” in large block caps, and I’m in no rush to wash that ink off today.

The Mongoliad As Print Book

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Amazon Publishing launched 47North this morning. It’s their new SF/F imprint, and one of the headlining title is The Mongoliad.*

Just look at that cover art. I am more than a little pleased. Thrilled, even. Jumping up and down, in fact.

Book One will be released in April 2012. You can click through on that link to be taken to the Amazon page for the book. Book Two and Book Three will be released in fairly quick succession, which means that, by Christmas, you will be able to stack the entirety of The Mongoliad by your fireplace to give the reindeer something to read while Santa raids your refrigerator.

*Yes, I realize The Mongoliad appears to be slightly altered historical fiction, certainly not enough–at first glance–to warrant being classified as “fantasy.” But that first glance barely scratches the surface of what’s going on in Foreworld.