Interviews, Reviews, and the Long Glide (planning thereof)

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Firstly, Michael at the Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf has posted the interview he did with me about Lightbreaker and other sundry things (including a reveal about my secret food loathings and the two-line pitch of the new book project). He was quick on the asking of questions and so has ended up with some squeaky little tidbits that look a lot like . . . exclusives. So, click on over and give it a read. Show him that you care.

Secondly, Tim Pratt was kind enough to come out of a reviewing nap and do up a few hundred words about Lightbreaker for this month’s Locus, the industry’s trade magazine. For which I am very grateful and very pleased. Typically, their reviews are print-only (my first!) and so I’ll have to excerpt it here for you.

“Though the piling-up of occult details does make this world’s magical system seem intricate and believable, Markham’s ruminations and visions can go on too long, and aren’t nearly as much fun as the various set pieces involving electrified iron maidens, booksellers transformed into Milton-quoting oracles, brutal magical duels, shambling soulless zombie hordes, and scene of truly impressive magical devastation. Still, Teppo’s preoccupation with profound questions of human purpose and potential make this deeper and more thought-provoking than your average urban fantasy.”

Thank you, sir. I do hear you on the obsessive detailing of occult marginalia. It may be a fatal character flaw on my part. We’ll see.

And, speaking of that character flaw, I’ve been thinking more about the phrase I mention in the Mad Hatter interview: the “occulture critic” (I got it from Erik Davis, who is a righteous believer in the truly fantastic). Twitter seems as good a place as any to try out some new things, so I’m going to try to be more active on the #amtarot and #pmtarot hash tags. Twice a day, thetarotlady draws a card. Those of us following offer interpretations. So, if you’re curious, tag the tags and watch the fun.

Reading, Review, and Rest

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A reminder that I’m reading at Third Place Books (the Lake Forest Park store) tomorrow evening at 7pm for those in the Seattle area.

The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf reviews Lightbreaker, and gives me 8 out of 10 hats. He’s also asked for an interview and I send back the questions yesterday so that should be posted in a week or so.

And, finally, I also sent back the CEM of Heartland last night. So, baring any final discussion of edits, book 2 is done. Amazon thinks it is back-ordered already, but, really, publication date is Feb 2010.

Now, I rest. For a day or so, and then it’s on to the next project.

Reading Reminder

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Just an early reminder that I’ll be reading next week at Third Place Books (the Lake Forest Park store) next Wednesday at 7.00pm. Depending on whether or not they put me out in front of all the random kids wandering around, I may even read something from the sekrit projekt, in addition to the normal Monkey Juggling Starfish routine.

Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

Mamet and Disney

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Variety reports that David Mamet is to write and direct a new film version of The Diary of Anne Frank. For Disney, no less. The article says: “Mamet brings his own original take on the material that could re-frame the story as a young girl’s rite of passage.”

I mean this with no disrespect to Mamet, whose work I really admire for its, well, density and brutality of language, but I have to wonder who is in for more of a surprise: Disney, for thinking that Mamet is going to “re-frame the story as a young girl’s rite of passage” in a way that will not emotionally scar your typical Disney audience; or the audience, for thinking this’ll be a happy Disneyified version of Anne’s life.

Mamet’s last film, Redbelt, is a subtle piece of work that gels more and more the longer it sits in your brain. Not a happy ending, necessarily, but one that resonates quite solidly. Very much a writer’s movie.

Payday

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The Check That Is In The Mail? I got it today. Along with a note from my agent that says (and I’m going to quote him because it speaks very highly of Scribe’s perseverance): “One of the original state goals of Scribe when we first started out was: find that one guy who wrote that cool ass book and get it published. That ‘one guy’ was of course you, and the ‘cool ass book’ was Souls of the Living.”

For those who haven’t heard the story, Kris first read Souls when it came across his desk during his intern days at [redacted so not to embarrass a certain New York publishing house that missed their chance early on]. He pushed for it then, and wasn’t able to convince his people to move on the book. He went off and started Scribe, TRACKED me down (and this was several years later when I had gone off to do other things, figuring the book would never sell), and let me do a complete from-scratch rewrite of the book (that he thought was sellable AS IT WAS).

The book is now published, and you all know it as Lightbreaker. The first outline of the book was written around the end of March, 1995. The first draft was written in a 60 day binge shortly thereafter. Fourteen years later, it is on the shelves.

It is there because Kristopher O’Higgins never gave up. Thank you, sir.

Updates All Around

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I have been remiss in updating so I’ll chunk out a bullet list and we’ll move on from there.

(*) Lightbreaker is in stores (mostly; B & N appears to have gotten caught short, but they’re hanging their heads and waiting for their orders to disperse to the stores). Heartland is moving through the editorial process and is on track for Feb 2010 release. Huzzah!

(*) Reviews of Lightbreaker are starting to trickle in. I’m updating the all you need to know page at the CODEX site with the good ones. The Publisher’s Weekly review, which uses the phrases “pretentious passages of overblown monologue” and “beats metaphors into the ground” to otherwise distract from things like “dramatic premise” and “strong characters,” is, well, a review from Publisher’s Weekly. They don’t hotlink to individual reviews, so you’ll have scroll down the page to find out how these words are all strung together.

Monsters of Filmland, on the other hand, say:Lightbreaker is the best book about magic that I have read since Peter Straub’s Shadowland. This book is simply amazing.” I’ll take that one, thank you very much.

(*) Book 3 is called ANGEL TONGUE (as you may have noticed from the inside page of Lightbreaker. It brings Markham back to the States after his trip to Paris and deals with floating heads, Enochian transmission stations, crop circles, and apocalyptic faith healers. It’ll also introduce a couple of re-occuring characters as we get this series more underway. (And, yes, I know the title to Book 4, but I’m keeping it quiet for a while yet.)

(*) Upcoming Appearances. For those in the Pacific Northwest area, there are two appearances scheduled for the next months. I’ll, of course, brow beat everyone about them as they get closer, but for those who wish to mark their calendars now: August 26th, 7.00pm @ Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park; and September 18th, 6.00pm @ Barnes & Noble in Tukwila.

(*) Also, the Esoteric Book Conference, Sept 19 & 20. My wallet is crying already. I’ll be geeking out heavily.

(*) Oh, and my pal, John Klima, won a Hugo last night for Best Fanzine. Well, technically Electric Velocipede won, but as the magazine has been the result of his blood, sweat, and angst for the last eight years, I think he can call it “his.” Hey, John, I guess you can update the header bar of your EV Blog now. That’s “Hugo Award winning and World Fantasy Award nominated.”

The Night Shade Interview

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In preparation for Tuesday’s reading at Borderlands Books, Night Shade was kind enough to do an interview for their website, wherein I ramble on about all things LIGHTBREAKER, including giving a brief overview of what is to come in later books.

Additionally, Rick Kleffel at the Agony Column has posted some commentary on LIGHTBREAKER, where he says, among other things: “It’s steeped in a dense mythology the author uses to transform and subvert the mystery genre into something both tougher and more fun. Markham’s a great guide to Teppo’s universe, which feels appropriately Hermetic, self-sealed and internally consistent. Teppo has clearly done his research, but more importantly, he enjoyed it, and readers will get that sense of joy and exploration.”

Amen to that. More often than not, we forgot how much fun we’re having when we’re doing the long march to the end of a book, and assuredly, the CODEX books are a hoot to write.

For those of you in San Francisco area, hopefully I’ll see you Tuesday night–7pm–at Borderlands Books. A reading and other hilarity with ensue.

UPDATE: And, for those who are elsewhere, I happily direct you to an Amazon link for Lightbreaker where you may read those magical words: “IN STOCK.”

Reading in SF (June 16th)

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Celebrating the release of Lightbreaker, there will be a reading on June 16th at Borderlands Books, in San Francisco.

Borderlands Books
866 Valencia
San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Time: 7:00pm

Tell your peeps. Spread the word. It’s a weeknight reading (I know), but it’s what worked with my schedule. We take what options we have, don’t we? Anyway, tell your friends. Come on down. I’d love to see you and finally have a book to sign for you.

Blue Tyson reviews Lightbreaker

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Blue Tyson does his mini review of Lightbreaker at his Not Free SF Reader site. “An urban fantasy novel that is a lot more Hellblazer, Mage and Highlander than it is high heels, hot pants and horizontal vampire mambo.” This makes me laugh, and I’m glad he’s offered such a concise distinction.

You really need to read the rest of his reviewthough, as it gets funnier (and true). I seem to have hit all the right buttons with him. Excellent.

How has he read it, you ask? Probably via the e-book edition out via Night Shade’s relationship with Baen. The latest word from Night Shade HQ is that physical books will be on hand and shipping May 19th.

So Freakin’ Close

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Twenty-four pages left. 2 – 4. Mostly minor line edits with one or two holes to fill, and HEARTLAND will be wrapped. Man, talk about close.

I do love Maureen McHugh’s chart on Writing The Novel. So true. So very true. I’m discovering there’s a corollary that comes with the second draft.

1. The first third will lull you. Line edits will go pretty quickly, the story will hold together fairly well, and you’ll think, Yeah, okay, I can do this; this won’t be so bad. You’ll blow through a hundred pages in a day or so, and suddenly, this book will almost be DONE.

2. The middle third will remind you that of that aphorism that Gene Wolfe offered to Neil Gaiman: “Every book is your first book.” Your pace will be halved (if not cut to a quarter), and you’ll wonder what you were trying to do with introducing an entirely new character and plot arc at the 50,000 word mark. Is this really the time to work out that impulse to do an experimental tone poem or a Shakespearean pastiche? Really? Couldn’t you just have stuck to the formula and cranked this fucker out?

3. The last third will try to kill you. It tried once already on the first draft, and you cleverly got away from its tentacled grip by the cunning use of magic tricks. Little things like: “INSERT PARAGRAPH HERE THAT SUMS UP THE THEMATIC THRUST OF THE BOOK,” and “TIE UP LOOSE ENDS HERE,” and even “FUCK, I DON’T KNOW. AND THEN MAGIC HAPPENS, AND EVERYONE GOES OFF TO HAVE SEX.” But now? You have to fill those holes.

I swear it feels like I am writing at a serious, serious clip here, but at the end of the evening, I’ve only vetted four pages of the manuscript. But I think the whole thing will stand on its own now. Almost.