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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lamentation

Time for a book recommendation!

First a note, though... When I recommend a book I don't do so in the form of an in depth review that weighs up everything. Other folks do that. When I recommend something it just means it captured my interest and attention in a strong way, stood out a bit. It doesn't mean I think it's perfect, because I don't believe it perfection, really. It does mean that whatever those blemishes were they were as natural as features of a person's face. The imperfections are part of the whole, part of the experience, part of why the work is unique. And, of course, they're trumped by the things I liked. And in this case the book I liked was...

Lamentation (The Psalms of Isaak), by Ken Scholes. Ken's a good writer, and the world he's created here is an interesting mix of fantasy and sf, a little steampunkish as well. Here's what Booklist had to say:

In his first novel, a vividly imagined sf-fantasy hybrid set in a distant, post-apocalyptic future, Scholes, already highly praised in the speculative-fiction community for his dazzlingly inventive short fiction, turns his talent up a notch. When an ancient weapon destroys Windwir, the Named Lands' greatest city and repository of knowledge, the only surviving member of the city's Androfrancine order is the metallic android Isaak. Rudolfo, lord of the Ninefold Forest Houses, finds Isaak surprisingly intact in the Windwir's smoldering ruins and guilt-ridden over his role in the city's downfall. Yet Rudolfo quickly begins to suspect that Sethbert, overseer of the neighboring Entrolusian City States, is the real culprit and starts girding his Gypsy Scouts for battle. So begins Scholes' Psalms of Isaak, a projected five-volume saga containing all the ingredients of a first-rate epic-magic, arcane science, and a handful of compelling protagonists. By the end of the novel, the reader is caring deeply about the characters and looking forward with burning anticipation to the sequels.

Here's what the Fantasy Book Critic had to say.

Here's what Adventures in Reading thought.

And here's Tia Nevitt's verdict at Fantasy Debut.

Honestly, they make enough in-depth points that I'll just direct you to them without a whole lot of commentary. What I will say is that I really enjoyed that Ken wrote the book for grown ups. Lusty grown ups. Intrigue-hungry grownups. Grownups that like a bit of cataclysmic destruction and knife fights with invisible scouts. Stuff like that. But Scholes' writing, unlike much of what's out there in fantasy, doesn't feel YA. Oh, how I liked that about it...

Ken was kind enough to send me a copy of Canticle (The Psalms of Isaak), the second in the series. I've got a full plate at the moment, but I'm glad to have it on my shelf, knowing I'll pick it up before too long.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Over At The Shetland Trader...

...Gudrun (my wife - pictured headless) has a new knitwear design up on her blog. It's called the Aestlight Shawl and it's supremely cool.

It's sort of a lacy shawl, but it's not frilly. It's got a slightly more durable quality to it. I'm glad to say sales have been brisk. People like it. If you knit or know anyone that does you might dig it to. Check it out HERE.

Actually, visiting her site reminded me that she put up a couple of posts with pictures about our move. If you're interested in her take on it you can check out Countdown or Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

An Update

Housing Situation:

Floors sanded. Check.

One coat of varnish down. Check.

Varnished dried? Er... Not so check.

We did it yesterday. It's supposed to take 4 hours to dry. 24 hours later it's glistening and moist, not a sign of dryness to be seen. I reckon it's the humidity here in MA at the moment. The air is basically liquid, and it seems just scientifically impossible to dry floor varnish in such conditions. To make things worse, we just received our POD full of our household stuff from CA. That's great, of course, but the scene here is rather absurd...

Boards spread across the wet floor, David sloshing back and forth to the container carrying boxes and table legs and printers, etc, cats miserable because we're keeping them outside in the rain to keep them off the floors, kids oblivious because they're having too much fun... I'd take pictures, but I've got work to do.

Professional Situation:

Ah... You guys know I quit my day job, right? How very strange of me. I left it for a house in the woods to write books. And now... I'm settling in to that house in the woods to write books. Kinda scary; kinda wonderful. Either way, I'm happy to say that I believe I'm close to announcing another bit of book news. I'll let know when I know for sure.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Signed Page Features... Me!

Hi. I've got a mask on at the moment as I'm sanding the much abused floors of our house. Trying to get it done before our furniture arrives. Kinda lightheaded. Also, I'm sitting on a stone in my lawn picking up my nearest neighbor's satellite signal, so it's thanks to them that I can blog at all. I'll be brief, though...

Just wanted to mention that Shawn Speakman will be doing a virtual signing featuring The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). What's that? Well...

Check it out HERE.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm Home

That's it. We're home. Drove 16 hours on the last day, but we're home. Now, a million things to do...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Which Science Fiction Writer Are You?

So, a random thing I've had in my blog queue for a while. Might as well roll it out now since I'm driving across this great nation of ours. (That's the US I'm talking about.)

I am:
Ursula K. LeGuin
Perhaps the most admired writing talent in the science fiction field.

Yes, I'll admit it. I am Ursula. At least, that was the verdict after I took this online survey. Hey, I dig that outcome. I even wrote her a long gushing letter a few years back about how much of an influence she was on me, etc. Didn't hear back. But I'd send it again - since it's true.

But that's me. Which science fiction writer are you?

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Suicide Kings Excerpt

Hey, so GRRM just put up a sample from the forthcoming Wild Cards novel. This one is called Suicide Kings, and it's out in December, I believe. It's not the one I'm involved in. (That's the next volume after this one.)

You can get a taste of it here, at George's site.

By the way, I'm writing you from a nearly empty house, with POD and car packed. We start our 3,000 mile drive tomorrow morning. I'd write about it and the emotions of leaving Fresno and heading back to our house in the woods of Western Massachusetts, but... I've got too much heavy lifting to do. Kinda like this fellow here with the gator...

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Audio Update

Hi. Just wanted to mention that I heard from Dick Hill. He will be narrating The Other Lands! If everything goes smoothly they should be able to have it complete in time for a September publication.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hugo Artshow

So here's a category of Hugo nominees that I don't know much about, but that I'm quite interested in: Best Artist. I was checking them all out myself, and realized that I might as well put up some quick links up for your viewing pleasure. So that's what I'm offering here, a link to the nominees' website, and then three images. I've no idea if I picked representative images from each of them. I just grabbed ones that jumped out to me. Maybe old, maybe new. I don't know. But take a look. Tell me what you think.

Who do you fancy? And by that I mean which artist, not which subject of said artist...

Daniel Dos Santos



Bob Eggleton



Donato Giancola



John Picacio



Last but not least, Shaun Tan...

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Monday, June 08, 2009

The Other Lands Galleys!

What more can I say?

Think I should give one of these away or something?

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

American Writers in Paris...

As promised in an earlier post, here's that photo of Patrick Rothfuss and me in France. Having a beer. Just hanging out in Paris. You know, your everyday get together of two American fantasists on European soil. Must happen everyday, right?

Man, that was a good trip...

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Friday, June 05, 2009

How'd That Happen?

By mid-afternoon yesterday the plan for the day was:

Do a bit more packing.
Make fondue for dinner.
Head to the $3 cinema and watch Escape to Witch Mountain with the kids.
Done.

By the evening what really happened was:

I bought two Macbook computers.
I bought two iPod Touch thingies.
I bought a Nintendo Wii, a game for it, and accessories.

How'd that happen? I really can't figure it out...

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Other Lands in Audio

I'm very pleased to announce that we've come to terms with Tantor Media for The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). (At least, I think we have. These things are dealt with by other folks entirely. But I think it's safe to announce this.) I'm thrilled, and happy to have an answer for readers that have been asking me about it for a while now. Here's the answer! Yes, it's coming. It's happening!

I don't know for certain, but the narrator from Acacia, Dick Hill, may be back to do this one. I hope so. He's good, and continuity is important. (Also, I know he wants to do it!)

I'll let you know when I know about release dates, etc, but you can know it's coming, hopefully to a library near you - and via Audible.com.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Fresno Author Quits Day Job

I've never received so much attention here in Fresno as I have in the weeks since my departure has become public!

First the local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, did a grand feature article in their Sunday insert section. Rather a nice article, really, and more accurate than most. (They suggested that pose by the way. It's not like I really think I own the bookstore...)

Now the Central Valley Writer's Workshop has an article about me.

Well... it's nice to know I'll be missed. (A little bit, at least.)

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Air France

I feel like saying how sorry I am to hear about the Air France plane crash.

I just flew Air France to and from Charles de Gaulle Airport, and you all know how much I've had France of the brain the last few weeks. One of the downsides (and upsides) of travel is that it makes the world seem smaller in some ways, that it creates personal connections with tragedies in the lives of others...

Tonight I'm thinking a lot about the people that were on the planes with me, and the people that were on that plane from Rio de Jionero, and about the many people effected by it in France and Brazil and elsewhere.

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