The Rapture of Repetition


barthanderson pointed me toward one of the more fascinating uses for Twitter the other day. Weiser Books is pulling a tarot card twice a day (#1card and #nightcard). Tarot devotees are responding with interpretations (tagged with the corresponding tag, of course). I wasn’t going to get sucked in, until this morning’s card. The Moon. To which I had to write:

THE MOON: Blood in the water. Yours, or mine? I’m not sure. Our hands betray what we have done. Father, I’m sorry. #1card

I was sitting in Starbucks at the time I saw the card come up, thinking about the next bit in HEARTLAND, and ruminating in the back brain about reoccurring phrases. How there are certain sentences and phrases that become loaded with enough meaning that their placement in the novel isn’t accidental. This is an out-growth of The Potemkin Mosaic actually, where the use of a certain word was rife with the linking structure that came with that word.

The Moon is central to Lightbreaker, and it is a card I spent a lot of time with when I was sorting out a sequence of events near the end of the book. And, in the section I’m currently working in HEARTLAND, Markham has just passed between two pillars, across a threshold, and into another world.

All of which is a rambling way to say that the above interpretation applies to both LIGHTBREAKER and HEARTLAND, via links created by some of those phrases. And I’m realizing that one of the central phrases that drove Markham through the first part of LIGHTBREAKER is going to be the thing that will cause him much pain in Book 4 (and following).

But what are these phrases? They’re little aphorisms that we mutter to ourselves, that we swear by. They are the tiny rules that allow us to function throughout the day. They are our excuses and our justifications. And I think it’s one of the fascinating things about exploring characters, when you find these little truisms that define them and see how far they’ll go. How long will they hold them dear? How long will they rely upon them? At what point does the ritual of this phrase, repeated over and over, become meaningless?

And what do they do then?

Norwescon 32 Itinerary


I received my itinerary for Norwescon over the weekend. So that you may plan when and where you might ambush the Bunny Magus, here’s the run-down.

I Just Sold My First Story/Novel! Whoopee! [6:00 PM @ Cascade 8]

I sat in on this panel last year (along with Lisa Mantchev and Michael Ehart), and we managed to pack the room and keep everyone entertained. Hopefully, me and Mike and Jeff and John will do the same this year. Jeff (Soesbe) and John (P. Alexander) can probably still remember that first blushing excitement. Mike (Moscoe) will probably play the old curmudgeon (“I remember the days when we cut down the very trees that made the paper that went into our books!”), and I will try to pretend that I’m not as long in the tooth as he is (while I was off being fussy about ‘art’, he was actually selling books; crazy old man).

Extending the Brain [11:00 AM @ Cascade 5]

I signed up for a few science-type panels because I was trying not to be that guy who “just wants to talk about writing.” As a result, I will be making shit up as fast as I can in front of a room full of people about cognitive corelation theories, quantum personality loops, and Very Small Things That Can Get Lost In Your Ears(tm).
The other three panelists may be bullshitting you as much as I am, which will . . . (wait for it) . . . extend your brain.

Magic Realism VS Fantasy – Fight! [Noon @ Cascade 7]

This one I’m actually keen to participate in. The panelists–Mimi Noyes, Mark Ferrari, Mark Teppo, Vladimir Verano, and Bruce Taylor–look to be a lively bunch who will happily take sides on this one. Bruce Taylor is going to surprise all of us by showing up in black chainmail and then debunking Magic Realism as a load of crap that only narrow-minded elitists waste their time with when there are so many faerie kingdoms to crush beneath our iron heels!

Myth, Legends and Fairy Tales [4:00 PM @ Cascade 10]

I’m going to invoke the spectre of Claude Levi-Strauss and get thrown off this panel for bringing an academic to the discussion. Though, to be honest, the rest of the panelists will probably bring their favorite dead professor too. After all, we’re supposed to be talking about how myths, legends, and fairy tales find their way outside the traditional prisons of fantasy.

After that, it’s BarCon and the Writer’s Workshop for me (a couple of short stories to critique on Saturday and a novel excerpt on Sunday morning). So, if you’re going to Norwescon this year, say hello. I’ll probably be in a real daze as copies of Lightbreaker will be available in the dealer’s room, which means I’ll see them some place other than my house. Which’ll be a trip.

I am NOT, at this time, scheduled for a reading. Though, as we didn’t read at the University Bookstore event last week, I may try to find an open slot on the schedule and see if I can’t do one. I’ll post something here if that works out.

Lightbreaker Sells Out


As you may have heard, Night Shade was kind enough to drop ship a box of Lightbreaker over to the University Bookstore in Seattle in time for the reading/discussion last night (more discussion than reading, as it turned out). So I got to sit up in front of roomful of folk with a copy of my book on the table in front of me.

(pic by my pal, Rich)

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a panel (slumming at last year’s Norwescon, notwithstanding), and even longer than I’ve actually talked about Lightbreaker to a room full of people who haven’t some passing familiarity with it already. So, yeah, very brilliant things like, “It’s full of words and shit” came out of my mouth.

(My wife pointed out later that someone–not her–piped up from the audience and said, “More words than shit!” but I had already wandered off into that tiny little room in our heads where we keep all the instruments of self-torture.)

tbclone47 was kind enough to forward another picture where you can see me trying my best to imitate a man being strangled by an octopus.

Another important safety tip for writers newly annointed with the ‘Published Book!’ stamp. Find something to do with your hands when you’re on a panel. Really. Anything other than what you see me doing in the picture above.

Anyway, afterward, much to Duane’s pleasure (and, gee, let’s be honest, mine too), we sold out every copy.

Luckily, I got there early and snagged one for myself.

So, wee book, off you go. Have fun. The distribution channels should be getting theirs, and so the rest of the world will soon get a chance to fondle a copy.

I must go wrestle with Chapter 26 of wee book’s sibling, which is proving more complicated than it should be. I just have to decapitate a stone elemental and hack off someone’s arm (again). You think it’d be easy.

XKCD love


My on-going love affair with XKCD is starting to know no bounds. Density was a recent favorite (and, really, ‘favorite’ is just a matter of deciding which one THIS WEEK I will lavish my love upon). And, if you haven’t seen the Cartoon off between XKCD and the New Yorker, you should check it out. Talk about the new guard beating the crap out of the old guard.

And the persistent genius of XKCD isn’t always the cartoons; sometimes the true magic lives in the title tag, that little extra kick hidden in the mouse-over. Like the one titled: Alternate Energy Revolution.

Thank God for dreamers.



Well, look at that. 77,000 words. 10 chapters to go. I do believe I have come out of the Trough of Great Despair and am making the climb toward the final rollercoaster ride to the end. This book might not be the death of me after all. In fact, I’m getting quite a kick of some of it. Especially the parts where everyone is very mean to each other. The surest sign they care.

I’ve also hit on the little detail that is going to haunt Markham the whole series. It’s one line from early on LIGHTBREAKER that speaks a great deal of his obsession with Kat, and it has come to symbolize the physical nature of his . . . investment in the matter at hand. Whatever that may be. Yeah, the payback for what he does in LIGHTBREAKER is going to be hanging over him a long time.

Too bad we have to wait until the end of Book 3 to deliver that bit of revenge unto him.

Caught Watchmen recently too. I agree with John Scalzi in that “it was fine.” And, in some ways, I think maybe it didn’t need to be made. Well, not entirely. The parts I really liked weren’t the spectacle, they were the little bits of humanity. Mostly involving Rorschach, especially his final scene. But what I’m really thinking about is how I’ve seen this film before. Not this film (and not because it’s so much a moving picture version of the graphic novel with better color-correction), but that the images weren’t anything new or wondrous.

Unlike, say, the forest elemental in Hellboy 2.

One of the things I really love about the advancements in special effects is that the bar is raised for the writers. It isn’t enough that we can dream it anymore, as anything we’ve imagined in the last ten years can easily be made by three guys and two laptops at the back table of a Starbucks. The movies have caught up with us. It’s time to go off and invent new things for them to figure out how to render. I like that having that challenge.

Mark Your Calendars: March 17th


On March 17, the Paranormal Bender Tour will be winding up in Seattle at the University Bookstore. Four of the hot, young urban fantasy kids will be reading from their latest books (Mario Acevedo, Mark Henry, Caitlin Kittridge, and Cherie Priest). The evening will doubtlessly be a hoot as Mario and Mark do funny very very well, and Caitlin and Cherie both write sharp, highly capable protagonists who take no prisoners.

Such a gathering needs an opening act, of course. You don’t race right to the main event. You let everyone rattle around a bit, get comfortable, make that last stop off at the bathroom. While some trained monkey does his routine for a few minutes before the headliners come on. I get to be that monkey.

That’s right. March 17th. University Bookstore. 7pm. I’ll be reading for a real copy of LIGHTBREAKER. Not the dog-eared photocopy that I’ve been carrying around for the last six months. Not a crappily converted PDF on some wanktastic e-reader. A real book. Just like all the big kids have.

Listen up, my local peeps. This is your chance to get a head start on everyone else. There will be more than one copy. Night Shade has graciously made arrangements for a couple of boxes of Lightbreaker to wind up at the Bookstore in time for the reading. Everyone else will have to wait until April. So, if you can’t wait, and you’re within a hundred miles of Seattle, next Tuesday is your chance.

I doubt there will be extras. Plan accordingly. (Do you need to see the new cover again?).

Someone gets a makeover.


Just in time for their fabulous debut next month. Or, for those in the Seattle area, a few weeks earlier.

Not to be coy, but I want to get my ducks all in a line before I start making with the jumping up and down. But, yes indeed, my long a-waiting friends, things are moving forward.