The Weekend; How Was Yours?

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This weekend, summed up in two tweets.

SAT: File Under ‘Marvelous Things’: Zee dancing madly on the couch while the Beatles are singing “All Together Now” at the end of Yellow Sub.

SUN: Dear small birds who opted to put their delicate blue-green eggs in my dryer exhaust vent: Sorry. I am an ogre. #coexistingwithnaturefail

Oh, and yeah, first 30K of HEARTLAND line-edited.

Norwescon Roundup

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I survived Norwescon and had quite a bit of fun, actually.  Panels went well, and I met some delightful people on them and at them. VP-alum pal Jeff Soesbe and I had one on how to properly celebrate your first major sale; there were a pair related to mythic structures and fantasy; and one on brain extensions, which happened to be the best attended of my bunch.

Night Shade sold out of Lightbreaker around noon on Sunday so there was a couple of hours of people not being able to get a copy, which makes the Evil Overlord in me cackle with delight. Soon, though, it’ll be everywhere, and I will stop trying to track every copy, but for right now, the fifty or so of you?  You are my favorites.

Members of Team Seattle were in attendance and I had a chance to bask in their glory. Mark Henry read from Road Trip of the Living Dead, his latest Amanda Feral zombie socialite adventure, and trying to describe how sick and wrong it all was will not do justice to the proceedings. And then he read from something even freakier. Richelle Mead read from the soon to be released Succubus Heat, the horrifying adventures of Georgia Kincaid in Canada (I know, the Horror! the Horror!). Both are filled with Teh Funny. Lots of it. Lisa Mantchev was flaunting ARCs of Eyes Like Stars, her YA theater fairy book–one, I have to admit, I’m looking forward to, thereby killing my cred with the occult crowd. I picked up a copy of Underground, the Kat Richardson book I didn’t have and had her sign it (fanboy moment of the day).

And then there were Steve and Vladimir from Third Place Books, both of whom are filled with all manner of bookseller enthusiasm and I do need to get up north and see their store. Vladimir and I had two panels together and discovered that we could both name drop Eliade like we knew what we were talking about. (Oh, and Steve: It’s Atomik Circus that I was talking about.) There were many other fabulous people whom I ended up on a first name basis with: Jenna Waterford, Tiffany Trent, Warren Hammond (who I met briefly in the autograph session and he and I and Kat shared our love for Chris McGrath; I still think Kat got the better atmosphere and Warren the better burned-out noir hero, but I’m not complaining too much), Gigi, Lance, J- (whose name has multiple syllables and an apostrophe, and as I will get it wrong, I’m just going to abbreviate it to “J-” for the time being), Gary, Garth, that guy with the–okay, yes, I suck at names. Forgive me.

Anyway, lots of fabulous people. It’s nice to discover I don’t have to go far to find a hotel full of entertaining souls. All of whom played along nicely with my publisher/carnie barker when he turned the Presidential Suite bathroom at the WOTC party into a glorified game of quarters with the bathtub. It was NOT my idea. Stop looking at me like that. Go look at the pictures instead.

The kids were waiting for me when I got home, and so we had Easter later in the day, much to their delight. After that, I shucked off the monkey suit and finally relaxed. It was good to be home.

(Picture taken by my five-year old son. Yes, he is better with the camera than I am, and half of the decent pictures taken Easter afternoon were taken by him. God help us all when he actually figures out how to read a manual. Which should be some time next week.)

I’ve got a head full of ideas too. Finished off the epilogue to HEARTLAND yesterday, so that’s officially a draft. 121K. Most of which were written since January. Where do I find the time? I have a couple of weeks before the editorial calendar opens up, so I’m going to polish and fill in some holes, but baring huge problems with the ms., we’re on track for a fall release. Which, in turn, means I should start thinking about ANGEL TONGUE and GHOST SPEAK now rather than later, but I think I need a bit of a break. (And hmm, I need to decide if GHOST SPEAK is going to be the title of the fourth book; it’s one of my least favorites of the series.)

That, and there’s this new book trying to bust out of my head. Man, it wants out. I have no idea if there is even a viable market for this sort of thing (and yes, it does keep insisting that it has the legs to be a series), but I’m going to see if I can lock the story down a bit and get enough on paper for it to be my agent’s problem for a few months.

Half Page and Half Chapter

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I picked up April’s Locus and discovered that Night Shade Books has given Lightbreaker the half page spread of their ad. Half. Page. Ad. In Locus. For my little book.

That makes my day.

Norwescon this weekend for local peeps. My schedule is a few entries back, for those who’d like to stop by and say hello. Other than those times and locations, it’ll probably be BarCon.

Half a chapter to go in HEARTLAND. I can almost taste the blood.

The Rapture of Repetition

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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

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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.

Thursday
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).

Friday
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

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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

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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.