Sunday was the first of the Foolscap Summer Reading Series, wherein I rambled on for nearly three hours to a room of attentive and interactive listeners. It was more of a rolling discussion than a Watch The Monkey Dance! sort of show, but scarlettina was kind enough to tweet the proceedings and make it seem like all the bon mots were coming from me. For the sake of posterity, here’s the highlights of the afternoon (in a somewhat edited version from the flatstuff twitter stream).
* I start off by reading the two pieces I wrote for Omnivoracious, the Amazon blog, related to the Codex of Souls series. [NOTE: those would be “On the Nature of Magick” and “On The Existence of Monsters]
* Mark Teppo is fascinating: In twenty minutes, he’s invoked Alistair Crowley, Jesus, and Descartes.
* Teppo says: “We just wanna get naked with things that we shouldn’t.”
* Teppo says: As I wrote Lightbreaker, I repeated the words, “Men and mantras, shotguns and sigils.”
* On writing fantasy & making stuff up: Teppo says he actually did more research for his fantasy book than he did for his science fiction story.
* Teppo says: The trouble with doing research is the more you get into it the more interesting things you find.
* Teppo says: There are elements of abstract esoteric thought that, when applied to scientific thought, start adding sense to the universe.
* Teppo says: Faith is reliance on the external to deliver to you. Crowley says there is no faith, only will. Faith is reactive; will is active.
* This is more than a reading; it’s practically a class on esoteric thought. Fascinating stuff!
* First scene of Lightbreaker, what was the inspiration? Teppo says: “It was . . . kinda cool.” First scene was the only thing saved from first draft. [NOTE: Alas, Twitter doesn’t really afford the means to capture the three minute off-the-cuff grad school style breakdown I did of the first scene and why it was the way it was; but at the same time, I can admit that I made it all up on the spot. Also, I should note that the VERY first scene–with the deer–isn’t actually in the first draft. The early version references the deer, but it starts as he boards the ferry; I hadn’t remembered this until I was reading it aloud yesterday.]
* Beautiful image in the first scene of Lightbreaker: a deer glowing with human soul energy in the dark of night. Magic afoot!
* Book is set in the Seattle; Teppo invokes the mystery of the woods, the mundane experience of a ferry ride with an acute perception.
* Teppo says: “What’s the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance? Paranormal romance has happy endings; urban fantasy really doesn’t.” [NOTE: I’m not the first to say this.]
* Teppo recommends Mark Henry’s series about Amanda Feral, a zombie, in the hip, happening capital of the undead, Seattle.
* Q: What makes a story horror? A: An awareness of dread. [NOTE: The longer version of is a rambling discussion about the difference between Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Thing Are and what we thought the Welsh translation’s title was: In The Land Of Wild Things. (Don’t ask; that’s an even longer digression.) The point is that the Welsh title is a fantasy title, in the sense that it is the story of a magical land over there; Sendak’s original is a horror story, because you don’t know where the Wild Things are, and they’re probably right here.]
* And then, we launch into discussion of The Mongoliad. I do a demo. We talk about how it is going to drop on all the major mobile platforms. [NOTE: I explicitly point out that it will also be available via the web, but as that’s not nearly as exciting as the mobile devices, it’s not been a major talking point in the press releases so far.]
* I detour into a discussion of the evolution of publishing, complete w/drawing of the internet as a cloud–not to scale. Somewhere in there I posit that, in five years, the mass market paperback is going to be an e-book.
* Teppo defines the distribution mechanism for The Mongoliad. PULP. Personal Ubiquitous Literature Platform.
* Q: What is The Mongoliad about? A: In 1241 the Mongols raided Europe; in 1242, they went back. The story tells the secret history of why.
* The Mongoliad will be told as a weekly serial online by a group of authors including Teppo, Greg Bear, Neal Stephenson, Nicole Galland, and others. Contributors to Mongoliad may be musicians, artists–there are more ways to tell a story than only writing.
* Q: If I invest in a Mongoliad subscription I want to know it has a beginning middle & end. Will it? A: Yes. We want that. But. . . it will have seasons, like a TV show, and shorelines will intertwine.
* Discussion about piracy, and Subutai’s solution: build a interactive, entertaining site with low overhead to join, and people will do what is easier. Piracy may increase readership; it definitely improves sales. The trick is to make it effortless to participate honestly.
The How Book Publishing Works diagram. Notice the Internet cloud down there in the lower left, along with the top three distractions that plague a writer (“snacks,” “cat vacuuming,” and “WoW”). Later, I redraft it for the Internet Age and how it is relevant to the Mongoliad model.
The map of Europe. On the far right (you can see the edge of it) is another cloud that is the Mongol horde, not the Internet. Though, at first glance, you could mistake one for the other.
Finally, there were some questions about the status of The Codex Of Souls, and I re-iterated that I had scoped ten books, Night Shade had bought (and published) two, and things were in wait and see mode. They’re still in wait and see mode, but I can tell you that the wait and see hold-up is on MY END now. Night Shade has re-expressed their interest in more books, and I’m looking at my schedule and giving it some honest thought.