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Friday, May 29, 2009

Video Interviews!

I guess I'm not entirely finished with talking about Imaginales. Thanks to Cheryl Morgan, I'll be doing so for a while on YouTube! Here's me talking...



And here's Hal Duncan...



And here's Patricia Briggs...



And here's Bruce Holland Rogers...

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Why I Loved My Trip To France So Much - Part Two (The Last)

I got to tell you, I'm still floating around with French music in my head. I think Gudrun's getting tired of hearing me talk about it. I really should move on. And I will. It's just that I had such a good time over there. (Not TOO GOOD a time, if you're worried about it. Just the perfect amount of good.)

Anyway, in an effort to move on, this will have to suffice as my concluding Imaginales/Paris post. (Until next year, hopefully.) I'll just give you a collage of high points, interspersed with photos of some of the people I spent time with. I'm not even going to try to mention everybody, cause I did meet a lot of people. But here's a few of them...

Other authors! Some of the foreign guests included Patricia Briggs (see photo), Bruce Holland Rogers and Hal Duncan. I had great fun meeting all of them. Patricia and her husband, Mike, made for great company. I think Patty is probably the nicest New York Times Bestselling author that I know. (And I do know a few.) Bruce impressed me with his European ways. Dude read a story of his... in French! (He's from Eugene, OR.) Hal is... always great fun. He may be embarrassed by my mentioning that he and I couldn't hang with the French contingent of revelers one evening. We got as far as 2am. Our hosts apparently kept it going until 8am. Slept for an hour, and then all of them were up about for another day by 10am. I was impressed. And if you happened to have read Vellum and were a bit confused, you may be comforted to hear that Hal doesn't have any idea what it's about either. Oh, and I briefly met Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams, the Tunnels authors.

Some of the many French authors I met included Pierre Bordage, Sire Cedric (That's the guy pictured to the right here. He wears only black and lives a life much like David Dochovny in Californication. He's terribly cool, in a band, and darn near perfect, in a goth way. About all I can say against him is that he's from Toulouse and has the region's accent. For some reason the Parisians found this very amusing. Here's a video of him fondling a stuffed sheep.), Johan Heliot, Jean-Philippe Jaworski (His debut novel, Gagner la guerre - To Win the War - sounds incredible. It won the main Prix Imaginales this year. I'd love to read it, but it's not translated into English and it might be awhile before my French is up to the task. Alas, such in the case with most French authors. So few of them get translated, and almost none have been able to move on the English), Carina Rozenfield, Meneas Marphil, Edouard Brasey (Wonderful guy that knows an awful lot about an awful lot), Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian, Bernhard Hennen (Actually a German writer that's sold tons of books about elves), Jean-Louis Trudel, Pierre Bottero, Thomas Day (Whose name is not really Thomas Day. Mysterious.)...

So that's the authors done. They were fun and all, but the trip wouldn't have been the trip without all that spectacular people that made it happen. Surely this starts with everyone at Le Pre aux clercs. My editor, Carola Strang, fed me snails. Aurelie Streiff dragged me around Paris at Jungle Speed, yelling "Bon!" often. Isabelle Lerein got me to rethink a major plot feature of the third book (!). Benedicte Lombardo... well, she's the one that first read Acacia and proposed Le Pre aux clercs publish it. Lots of great people there, and, honestly, it's quite humbling to see the work they do getting my work to readers. Thank you all.

Oh, time for a photo. Here's Aurelie to the left...


...and to the right is Annaig Houesnard. She's also in this image. (Might as well get them from both angles.)

Annaig was one of the translators (along with Sylvie Miller, Lionel Davoust... oh, and Heloise and Katrina... and most everyone else at some point) that allowed me to communicate. Kinda cool. Imagine... I'm in a panel with several distinguished French authors. I get asked a question in French, and one of these lovely people (Lionel included) leans in and whispers the translation in my ear in accented English. I respond, and then they instantly make me sound more sophisticated by transforming my thoughts to French. I could get used to that. For that matter, I should have a translator for speaking in English, somebody that can both make sense of what the moderator asked and then make sense of what I said in answer. I should look into this...

It was also nice meeting Thierry Arson, the book translator who is working on The Other Lands right now. I got to meet Didier Graffet, the artist that did the French Acacia cover, and got an early sketch of the next one. Very nice. Go check his site out. He does good work.

I also did a couple of book store visits and met a couple of Xavier's - Dollo and Vernet. Thanks for having me out. And thanks also to Christine and Damien for being good company in Rennes as we did an interview for Elbakin.net. I'll let you know when that's up.

And, of course, Stephanie Nicot gets a big mention for coordinating so much of the Conference - and for reading and like Acacia so much! Thank you.

Okay, so at this point you may be wondering a couple things. Like what's up with that yellow cat? And, hey, David, did you win that award? These are linked questions. The yellow cat is the award. That's right, no fancy gold plaques or shiny towers for the folks in Epinal. They opted for a colorful collection of plastic cats as the award. Frankly, that's cool by me. I rather wanted one of those cats.

Alas, it was not to be. Ian McDonald won. Congrats to him. He wasn't at the conference, and this lead to considerable temptation as I schemed up ways to make away with the trophy. But I play fair. I'll just have to write more books! Good things come from writing books, as I'm sure is obvious by now. And, yes, this is what it looks like. I've been caught on film publicly caressing the plastic cat. It just felt right at the time...

There were other highlights as well. I had dinner one night in Paris in this private club that you had to whisper the password to get into. Nice. Plush inside. All old books and rich crimson colors. I half-expected to find a coven of vampires ran the place, but nobody bit.

I rode a high speed train.

I drank all sorts of things and ate such good food! I had these mouth watering scallops for lunch one day, and then about an hour later the chef showed up at the convention, sporting his Harley Davidson gear. He actually bought a book for his daughter. She is like eight years old. When I pointed out that it might not be ideal for younger readers, he said she'd grow into it. Which I'm sure she will.

I met up with Pat Rothfuss and Sarah and had a drink at a sidewalk bar. Not the type of thing that happens every day. Pat took a picture. If I can get it from him I'll post it.

I ate sushi in an underground grotto in Paris...

I could go on, but I've been too lengthy already. If you've read this far thank you. I trust you've no doubt that I really did enjoy this trip. I want back. And soon. With the family, too. My kids would look too cool speaking French...

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why I Loved My Trip To France So Much - Part One

So yesterday when I arrived home, hugged and kissed the wife and kids, and am sitting in the car driving home, Gudrun remarked that I seem unusually happy. "You don't usually say how great it was when you come back from a trip," she observed.

And right she is. Because usually I'm tired and cranky and have had enough of people and just want to get on with other things. This time, however, it was different.

Why? Lots of reasons. It's hard to know where to begin, so I'll do it in parts.

This morning I'm grabbing a few pics from Cheryl Morgan's site: Cheryl's Mewsings. She was over in Epinal as well, and did a great job of documenting the entirety of the experience. (As opposed to myself and my focus on... well, my experience.)

So what was cool about Imaginales? Well, it helped that there were weird people around... Granted, there weren't a ton of costumed people around, but the ones that were there really helped to create a vibe.

And not just FoxGirl here. There were a pair (pun not intended or even much appreciated) of bare breasted vixens in full body paint patrolling the grounds. Good fun, that, although a bit unnerving. Alas, I have no picture of them to offer. I do know that cameras were clicking away, so perhaps someone else can direct us to photos of these vixens?

But I'm getting distracted. Truth is there were lots and lots of panels, lots and lots of authors (mostly European), and lots of time spent signing books and chatting in broken English and flowing French. A little German every now and then as well. Crowds were good, and people seemed quite interested in all manner of mysterious topics.

Personally, most of the time I had no idea what I was getting ready to talk about. It was stuff like...

Propheties, Predictions, Divinations... Quand la fantasy scrute nos destinees...

and..

Tous le Sorciers ne s'appellent pas Harry! Magie et magiciens d'aujourd'hui...

That sort of thing. And, yes, I did have a translator (more on that later), but the titles of the panels were as much riddles to me in English as they were in French. But hey, that was part of the fun.

And look at the crowds! I'm tempted to say that these young people were gathered to meet me, but that would be... a... lie. Still, they were gathered for some fantasy-loving event. That's the truth.

And it's also true that Imaginales is really well-run. There were difficulties. Like a day of rain, drunk or hungover authors (no names), etc, but overall things ran smoothly. Part of why this happens is that the town itself choose to host the festival. They make it work, and they seem quite proud and engaged to have the event in Epinal. If they ever invite me back I'll most certainly go! (Blatant hint, that.)

More on this cat and his multi-hued compatriots later...

And, okay, courtesy of whoever posted the photos on flickr, "those" women...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Few Photos of Epinal

I know I've been lame about posting the last few days. I guess it hasn't really been that long, but I've done so much each day that I feels like much more time has passed and I've been seriously slacking. I'm not actually going to make up for that today. Instead, I'll just post a few pics from the town of Epinal, the one that hosted Imaginales. I'm in Paris now, but tomorrow morning I head for home. And then, at some point, I'll say more about the lovely people and the great time I had in France. And I'll explain how I happened to meet up with Patrick Rothfuss at a sidewalk cafe. Pretty good fun...

But anyway, below is Epinal...




Oh, and here's me in Epinal...

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Further Documentation That I'm In France

This wee photo shows me with the Didier Graffet, the artist that did the cover for Acacia 1 and will be doing the same for Acacia 2 in France. I'm holding a sketch of the cover image, which you can't see much of from this pic. If you click over and take a look at the piece at Fantasy.fr you can see it in better detail.

Okay. Gotta go do stuff. Getting tired...

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Paris From A Moving Car

I said I'd post some non-blurry photos, if I had any. Here are a few that almost meet that definition.

You know what this tall thing on the left is, right? And what the triangle thing down below is? And that thing in the far distance of the bottom photo...

They don't actually prove anything since I'm not really in them myself, and most were just taken out the window of a car skillfully navigating Paris traffic.

This driving stuff had me worried briefly, as it seemed complete chaos, but then Carola explained a basic principle or driving in France, and now it all makes sense.

I'll withhold the information, though, just so not to ruin the experience for any heading to Paris for the first time.

It's kinda fun being terrified, yes?

But as I write this I'm not actually in Paris anymore. I'll try to have something on the actual conference soon...

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Leaving...

Heading out the door now. First to fly from Fresno to LA, and then for the big flight across to Paris. I think I have everything I need. See ya!


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Monday, May 11, 2009

Packing...

Hi. I'm going to France tomorrow for Imaginales! I'm running around today, packing, remembering things, forgetting things, remembering that I forgot and forgetting that I remembered. That sort of thing.

I'll be taking my camera and computer with me to Paris and Epinal, of course, but I'm not sure how much I'll manage to blog. I'll try, since it's not everyday you get to head off to a foreign country, attend a con, meet all sorts of folks, promote books and generally have a great time. I may be pretty busy, though. That's the only thing.

Although, if this is really what Epinal looks like it's hard to imagine feeling to pressurized...
Oh, my passport! Let me go grab that now, while I'm thinking about it...

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Prix Imaginales

My trip to France just got a boost. You may know I'm heading to Imaginales in Epinal, France, next week. To that information I'd add that they give their own awards at the conference, the Prix Imaginales. I'd further mention that they have a category for translated novels. And... (you can tell this is leading somewhere, right?) ...I just found out I'm one of the five finalists in that category! Oh my.

And make no mistake, I'm in there with some grown ups...

ROMAN ETRANGER TRADUIT
Steve Cockayne, Legendes du pays, Tome 1 : Vagabonds et insulaires, trad. Michele Charrier, Pygmalion
David Anthony Durham, Acacia, Tome 1 : La guerre du Mein, trad. Thierry Arson, Le Pre au Clerc
Swordspoint, A la pointe de l'epee : un melodrame d'honneur, trad. Patrick Marcel, Calmann-Levy
Ian McDonald, Roi du matin, reine du jour, trad. Jean-Pierre Pugi, Denoel

Terry Pratchett, Les annales du disque monde, Tome 30 : Timbre, trad. Patrick Couton, L'Atalante

Are you kidding me? I'm on a shortlist for anything with Terry Pratchett? With Ian McDonald and Ellen Kushner? Okay, I don't know Steve Cockayne's work yet, but I'll take a look now. Wow... Have I mentioned that I really like France?

Here's the full announcement at ActuSF.

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