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Friday, June 29, 2007

Look What We Found in the Garage Today


Isn't that lovely?

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Russian Vibe

Two bits of news for today. First off is that we've just sold the Russian rights to Acacia: The War with the Mein! It didn't go to Eksmo, my Pride of Carthage publisher, but to new one for me: Recliff Holdings Ltd, the imprint for foreign authors at AST-Press. They are the Russian publisher for John Twelve Hawks' Fourth Realm series and Stephen King's Salem's Lot and The Shining. They also have a number of other bestselling American fiction authors on their list, including fantasy writers like Terry Brooks!

That info all comes from the foreign rights agent that handled it. Personally, I couldn't find much info on AST online. I did come across this article: A Publishing Revolution, though, which mentions the company. It also makes Russian publishing seem like quite a troubled but developing market. Glad to be part of it...

The second thing is that I got a mini-review in the July issue of Vibe! (I doubt that link will actually get you to anything about the book, but that's their main page.) So I'm in Vibe? That's pretty unexpected. Here's what they said:

"ACACIA: Betrayal. Revenge. Redemption. Magic. Durham delivers the stuff that epic tales are made of (with a multiracial cast of characters) in the first of his mythic war trilogy about four siblings' quest to avenge their father's death and reclaim his empire."

Okay. Yeah, that's my book. And this makes at least the second time I'm sharing print space with 50 Cent! I don't think I've ever been mentioned with Bart Simpson, but one can dream...

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

I had the great pleasure over the last week or so of working on an interview for Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. It would've been cool enough just to do the interview with Pat, but this time he teamed up with three other bloggers: Rob B at sffworld.com, Larry at wotmania.com (his Acacia review) and Ken at Neth Space). Together they bombarded me with a barrage of questions, some that cover the basics, many that range into territory I've not been asked about so far. It was good fun, and I'm very glad they took the time out to work on it with me.

It's looking like it'll be linked and cross-linked in a lot of places, but you can view the original at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. And, Patrick, I appreciate the kind introduction to the interview as well!

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Interactive Map Needs You!

I mentioned a few posts back that Laethyn was being kind enough to make a version of the Acacia: The War with the Mein map interactive. I've no idea how he's doing it, but he's making it so that you can scroll around a close-up of the map. You can click on areas or cities and get a brief description of them. Recently, he started a thread wherein he's asking people to contribute a couple lines of description about the various places that he'll use. If you've read the book and have any interest in contributing a witty wee description take a look at the MAP POST. You can sample what he's working on there too and get an idea of the tone of the suggestions so far.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Review Up On EW


That Entertainment Weekly review is up now! It's been a big boost, I think, and a great way to kick off the publication. You can read it HERE if you're interested. But I'll say it one more time - do be aware that it includes a rather humongous spoiler.

I'm also feeling some love from a few independent bookstores. This is particularly gratifying because I've always loved indies. It's been painful to see so many of them going under, but a few are still out there and thriving. Seattle's Elliott Bay Books is one of these. I've read at their store before, and I'm happy to say that this time they've put up an endorsement on their June/July newsletter. Among other things, they say, "It's a Martinesque tale of political intrigue, betrayal, and murder that is sure to delight the casual or hard-core fantasy reader."

I'm a new fan of a Maryelizabeth Hart, owner of Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego. She's made Acacia part of their Signed First Editions program. She writes, "David is acclaimed for his literary historical novels, and a snob would probably say that Acacia "transcends" the genre, but I think that it's more accurate to say it's a wonderful contribution to epic fantasy." I think that's accurate also. Thank you Maryelizabeth, and I look forward to meeting you at Comic Con!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pleasantly Sweltering Father's Day

Well, the forecast in Three Rivers is for a pleasant 96 degrees today. That'll make a nice break from the three digit temperatures of the last few days. I'm being facetious of course. A coping mechanism... 96 degrees and I'm thankful!

I still haven't gotten my hands on a hard copy of that Entertainment Weekly, and they still haven't put the new issue up on their website. A few small things have come through today, though. There's a review in the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star. The reviewer liked the book, but he doesn't spend that much time talking about it. He's more interested in the "litmus test" experiment/risk the book is. Acacia also gets a small mention in The Kansas City Star. It's the second of a few books mentioned, the lead being Harm, by Brian Aldiss.

Also, there are more free books available via The Dragon Page. It's not that I don't want to encourage you to buy the book. I do, of course, but a freebie every now and then is always a treat.

By the way, as I sit here writing I'm also listening to NPR. There is a story on just now about child slavery in China. My wife just looked at me and commented that there are places in the world right now where children are taken from their parents and enslaved - just like in Acacia. Ironic, but that's kinda the point. Acacia may be a fantasy, but I can't help but write about our world in lots of ways. I wonder if NPR choose this story particularly for Father's Day, or if it was just a coincidence of when the news came out?

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

114' F

I was on the road today, between Visalia and Fresno, on various familial missions. Just so you're inclined to commiserate, our car's thermostat topped out at 114' Fahrenheit... Came home to find the cat doing this crazy, open mouthed, full-bodied panting thing...

I'm sweating as a I write this... Man, the Central Valley of California! The strawberries are great, but...

Anyway, I went on a search for the Entertainment Weekly that I'm in. Couldn't find it. Nobody had it out yet. Bummed. But on the side I signed books at the Fresno B&N and Borders and at the Visalia Borders. So, if you want a signed copy, live in the area and can peel yourself off the couch...

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Before Noon...

I'd started this as a post about the good stuff that had happened so far today - before 10 in the morning - but another great thing happpened and I just had to include it.

So before 10am I had this to say...

I woke up to find an email from a Spanish publisher in my inbox, asking for contact info for my foreign rights people. Who knows? The Spanish version of Pride of Carthage had a short stint in bestsellerdom. Maybe it'll happen for Acacia too. Fingers crossed.

An add went up on Locus Online today.

Also noticed that Wotmania is doing a giveaway contest. Free signed copies of Acacia available!

And I got a look at an interactive map that Laethyn, one of the guys that helps out with my Forum, is designing. It's very cool. You can scroll over a close-up of the map and information pops up about the different areas and cities. It might be a little while before it's up and running, but I'm glad it's in the making. The Forum is very new, by the way, and very welcoming to new members. There's a handful of great folks over there at the moment. Please check it out.

Oh, and my verification came through that my posts will feed directly to the Amazon pages of my books. Haven't seen that working as of when I'm writing this, but maybe it'll pop up there soon.

Between 10 and noon, though, I got a glimpse of the review that'll be running in the new Entertainment Weekly...

I'm the lead book review! It's very positive and includes a big old picture of me. It's the EW Pick, actually! I'm thrilled. I'll put in a link when it's available - probably tomorrow. They call it a “thrilling new fantasy”, featuring “a host of deliciously self-interested parties jostling for power and resources”. It says a lot of stuff that’s music to my ears, but I should mention that later in the review there is one spoiler. So if you’re already going to buy the book you might not want to read the whole thing.

It was a very good morning.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Okay, so it's the day after...

Acacia's publication and the world spins on just as it always has. I'm still pleasantly aglow, though. I got quite a few emails yesterday, including one from a bookseller in Houston. He said that they'd put out their six copies of Acacia that morning and that by closing there was only one left. Sweet! I know it's just one store, but if similar things are happening elsewhere this book just might make something of itself.

I mentioned A Dribble of Ink yesterday. Well, today Aidan posted his review of Acacia. He was very kind.

Also, I came across my name on Dave Keck's Journal. The post is about Comic-Con, and apparently he's heard I'm going to be on a panel with him and, hopefully, Jacqueline Carey, Harry Turtledove, Christopher Golden, Peter David, Barbara Hambly, R.A. Salvatore and Mel Odom. Yikes, nobody told me about this! Yeah, I knew I was going, but didn't know I was set to mix with such prominent company. Funny thing is that somebody posted a comment confirming that I was definitely going. Who are these people that know my future in such detail?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Day...

... has come. Acacia is officially in bookstores as of today. I've been getting asked what sort of special things we have planned to mark the moment. A big party? Triumphant launch of the book tour? Trip to the bookstore at least?...

Well, no. Actually, I'm up this morning like any morning, checking email, letting the cat out, listening to NPR. I'm living up in the hills just now, nowhere near a center of publishing or academia. Not even near very many friends. If the day goes as I see planned I'll spend some time online, write up some evals for students I'm mentoring, answer some estimated tax questions for my accountant, go for a bike ride through the rolling landscape of the foothills, work a little on another interview, and then this evening we're going to have dinner with some of new (and temporary since we'll only be here for few months) neighbors. Chances are they'll have no idea I have a book rolling out onto bookshelves across the country today. (I might tell them, but only if it comes up naturally.)

So, all in all a pretty normal day. At least, normal in terms of my actual surroundings. I did answer an email query from an interested French publisher, and my ear is still sore from several hours on the phone with a movie producer yesterday... So there's a surreal aspect to things as well.

Oh, there's another nice online review just out at SFFWorld. You can get to it here. I realized also that I've been remiss in mentioning the review that went up at Bookie Monster! It's a great one by John Dent of Cardiff, Wales. It's a new sight, but one that I hope gets increasing attention. A Dribble of Ink is another new great new sight, just launched by Aidan Moher. He was kind enough to do an interview with me, which you can read here. Soon they'll be some print media ones coming. I think the first should be out within a week - what could be a very helpful one in Entertainment Weekly!

What's just as exciting for us here in many ways is that my wife just had a good bit of success in her own right. She's been an amateur knitwear designer for some time, making great stuff, mostly for family and friends. She's just made a big leap, though. She's had a design published in Knitty.com, which is the most popular knitwear design site in the country. Literally millions of people will view her design! And that's a guarantee because she got the cover! Her design (and our daughter modeling it) is the very first thing you see when you go to the site. Very cool, and hopefully a start of something for her. She's got a blog up herself. It's called The Shetland Trader and it highlights her Shetland roots and the knitting roots.

Anyway, that's just as much a part of today as any of this book stuff. We're feeling very fortunate, and thankful, just now.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

OF Blog of the Fallen

I've been very pleased with the critical reception so far for Acacia: The War with the Mein. Part of this is just that a lot of folks are liking the book, and that's gratifying. But what's also nice is when the reviewers dig beneath the surface a bit and uncover some of the stuff interwoven beneath the plot-driven events of the story. Nick Gevers did that in his Locus review. And Larry at OF Blog of the Fallen has done it too.

For example, he picks out an early Corinn scene - one when she's ruminating on her mother's death and her own mortality - and points out that while some readers will find a scene like that boring there's actually a lot of character development going on that will be relevant later. I love that he saw that, and that he understands that the slow introduction of the characters was intended to bear fruit much later in the novel.

You can read the review here.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Booklist comes through!

It's a bit late for a pre-pub, but I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm very, very happy to say that Booklist has given Acacia: The War with the Mein a Starred Review. That makes three for my little book, with Publishers Weekly and Kirkus being the others. (Just cause I can't help but mention it, in total this makes ten starred reviews for my four books. You'd think I'd be some sort of famous author by now...)

I don't actually have the text of it, so I can't tell you what they said. I heard it was good, though...

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Swedish deal for Acacia!

Sweden rules. I'll probably elaborate on this post soon, but the basic info is that Norstedts, my Swedish publisher for Pride of Carthage, is sticking with me for Acacia: The War with the Mein. Awesome. I love these folks!

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Steven Barnes Blurb

Steven Barnes offered us a glimpse of the review he wrote of Acacia: The War with the Mein for Black Issues Book Review. He liked the book, and I'm thrilled about that! Mr. Barnes knows sci-fi and fantasy as well as anybody out there. He has all sorts of writing credits to his name, novels, screenplays, reviews, lectures... I regularly hear him on NPR. His twenty novels include Lion's Blood, Charisma, and the New York Times bestsellers The Legacy of Heorot and The Cestus Deception. Here's a little bit of the kindness he sent my way...

David Anthony Durham (Gabriel's Story; Walk Through Darkness; Pride of Carthage) has a new book, and it's something of a wonder... Durham's use of ancient legends to fill cultural back-story, while simultaneously mirroring and contrasting his world's current events, is just flat brilliant... What we have here is an astonishing "first" novel-fantasy, far more difficult to write than most would think, and Durham has made the leap from contemporary to historical to fantasy/allegorical with formidable ease.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Locus!

It's a week until Acacia: The War with the Mein hits the bookshelves. It can be a strangely depressing time, when every positive mention seems overshadowed by the lists not made, the places not to be reviewed, etc. But today I got a bit of goodness to shake me from my self-indulgent funk.

Locus ran a review of Acacia. Nick Gevers wrote it, and boy is he a smart guy. This is a really rewarding review to read because - different than many reviews - it's less a matter of personal preference and more a matter of examining the book's intentions and successes. Mr. Gevers apparently understood at every level what Acacia is really about, and, thankfully, he thinks I pulled it off. I'm not going to show the whole review here because Locus doesn't have it as online content and I don't want to piss anybody off over there. But a few choice excerpts should be alright.

So here are a few terribly gratifying lines...

What is striking about The War with the Mein is the expert precision with which Durham maps the so tangible ‘‘real world’’ of our present onto fantastic territory normally regarded either as escapist or as broadly allegorical. On the textual surface, there are all the color, excitement, intrigue, combat, grotesque invention, grandiose scene-setting, perilous questing, and pyrotechnic supernaturalism that genre fantasy demands; but every incident and vista counts toward a socioeconomic calculus...

He then goes on to take specific examples from the novel and explain what they symbolize. And he's right! Man, this guy is smart. This is not to say that I only want people reading for the deep and meaningful. I'm happy if other readers enjoy this as an adventure. But, true enough, it's always more than that to me. I'm still a literary writer - in my opinion - which means that the thematic undertones of my work are as important to me as the enjoyability of the story. That's why it was so wonderful to read this...

The analysis is deep, the roots of action in character painstakingly laid out, the chains of consequence impeccably drawn forth; the ideological implications of Durham’s text are best compared not with (George RR) Martin’s but rather with the Marxist thesis of China Miéville’s Bas-Lag – less extreme, but just as urgent. The War with the Mein, or the first third of it, is a political novel of large impact, as radical a rewriting of Martin as Martin himself has performed on Tolkien. Rarely has medieval epic been quite this pertinent.

Geez. I really don't know this guy, honest.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Okay, the Forum is back up and running!

Shawn and several others, I think, went to work on the Forum and came back with a much better version that will be spam-free. Unfortunately, we had to start from scratch, deleting several week's worth of threads on topics as varied as cultural diversity in fantasy, LOTR's virtues and flaws, the trials and tribulations of moving, the smell of fresh baked bread... Occasionally someone had something to say about my fiction also.

Sorry about the stuff we lost, but I'm sure we can rebuild in no time. Also, everyone has to join again - this is to make sure you're not a bot. Please do click over and take a look. As of when I'm writing this there are only five members registered!

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Forum Down Temporarily

Hiya. Just so you know the Forum on my website is down for some reworking. It was getting a lot of bot-driven spam of all sorts. Unpleasant. So Shawn and others are rebuilding it from the ground up to make it harder for spammers to get in. Hopefully, it'll be back up soon and ready for the release of the book - eight days away!

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Fantasy Matters! It really does...


Or so I think. I'm not the only one, though, which I'm glad to hear. I've been invited to attend an academic event on the subject this fall. The Fantasy Matters Conference at the University of Minnesota will take place November 16-18 . It's meant to be a scholarly conference that just happens to have fantasy as its subject, with the premise in there that fantasy is worthy of study and potentially literature in its own right. I'm all for that - for discussing the possibilites at least, for putting imaginative works through the same scrunity as literary texts and giving respect to them when respect is due.

I'm also just chuffed about the company I'll be keeping. The keynote speakers are none other than Neil Gaiman and Professor Jack Zipes. Other announced readers are Patrick Rothfuss, whose The Name of the Wind is the hottest fantasy debut so far this year, and Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, whose first novel, Zahrah the Windseeker, brings some much-needed diversity to the YA fantasy universe. Pretty good for a graduate-organized conference without much of a budget! Go figure.

I'm looking forward to it already. Might be a bit chilly, of course, but I can take that for a few days.

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