Oxfam America banner

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Locus: Three Out Of Four

Locus has just come out with their list of recommended titles from 2009. Alas, The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) isn't on the list. Sigh. Not that I'm surprised. I don't think Locus reviewed me this time around, and that kind of precludes later inclusion in a "Best Of" list. Such is the way it is, though, and one must remember that you can't have everything. In this case, there's a balance that still leans in my favor.

Locus did, for example, give me a doozy of a great review for Acacia: The War with the Mein. And this year they also published Jeff VanderMeer's reaction/list of his own. The Other Lands features nicely on that one.

And... I'm to be featured in an interview in an upcoming issue! So I'll get to have my say within their pages in my own words. All in all I'm quite happy about it.

Now, if the New York Times would just remember how much they used to love me…


Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Cover

I'm writing from the lobby of the hotel at Boskone. Just taking a break for a sec. It's been good, but I'll keep this quick.

I just got a glimpse at the cover Doubleday has planned for the massmarket paperback of The Other Lands. It's the same basic image, but retooled a little. Take a look...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Small Thing

The Other Lands now has a page for the mass market paperback edition on Amazon. And I've a sales rank, which means at least one kind person has actually ordered it!

Don't necessarily wait until August 31st to pick one up, though. The hardbacks really are lovely, and they're available now!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Strange Horizons...

...has just posted an amazing review of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2)!

Niall Harrison is the reviewer, and I couldn't be more pleased with the treatment he's given the book. Yes, I like it because it's positive. But it's more than that. Niall thoroughly engages with the book on many levels, giving it not so much a thumbs up or down treatment, but something more akin to probing criticism at its best.

Yes, folks, it's true; I'm a fan of Niall's. You will be too, if you read the review HERE!


Saturday, January 02, 2010


Hi. I've just been page 69'd again.

This is in reference to the site that invites authors to discuss page 69 of their book, with an eye toward how much it does or doesn't reflect the book in general.

Does it for The Other Lands?

Um... Take a look HERE to see.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Publishing Presents 1

Two of my foreign publishers sent me cool things recently. One of them I'll write about tomorrow, but for today I offer this...

And what's that? It's a hardback edition of the British The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). Why is that cool? Because they actually published the book as a paperback. This one is a special edition done for the Book Club Association. A book club! I didn't even know one of those was in the works. I'm chuffed, though. This one is rather small format, tight pages with some fine print. It's a mini - and hard - version of the book. I like.

And tomorrow, I'll tell you what my French publisher just sent me...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Couple Of Reviews

Noticed a pretty nice one in the San Jose Mercury News today. They slipped me in after Cory Doctorow, but I don't object to that. Actually, I think Cory had tails on his tux at the Hugos, so think of me as sliding in on them... The reviewer does want me to write faster than two years between books, though. Hmmm. Sorry. Not happening this time around.

The other one is from a web journal called Alexander's Philosophy. There's not a thing for me to complain about. Seems a perfect reading of the book and things I was hoping to do with it. Thank you much.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Reader Question

A while back I got an email from a very kind person - one that liked my Acacia books! It began rather interestingly...

Hi David,

Excuse the personal nature of this email, but having finished your second book in the Acacia trilogy, something has awakened inside of me, a realization I've been waiting many years for.

Ah... Interesting beginning, the kind that could actually go anywhere. In this case, though, he went on to describe his college life and education, how he ended up with a very useful degree from a wonderful college, and then felt totally lost on graduation. He's now gainfully employed in a foreign land, but...

I still feel lost, incomplete and totally unsatisfied. Something's been tugging at my core, every day reminding me that I should be doing more, that there's a talent going to waste (like Dariel!)...

And what might that be?

Well, I finished The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) last night, and suddenly felt this connection. A spark was ignited and I sat there, trying to understand that feeling (perhaps you'd woven some spell from the Song of Elenet in there somewhere!?). It was more than just the thrill of having read such an amazing book, with characters that were so deep, so interesting, so much like me yet living in a richly fantastic world. It was the realization that I had parallel worlds like that living inside my head, with characters that had stories that needed to be told, that had been there all along, they'd just never met anyone like them before, like Corinne or Mena or Dariel.

Hey, I know the feeling. Actually, that's just why I started writing. I did have stories in my head that would come and go, and at some point it occurred to me that if I wrote them down they might stay and grow into something. They did.

What D is saying, essentially, is that he wants to be a writer.

I hope this is not too much to ask, but I was hoping for some guidance in terms of how to pursue this calling. I would love to pursue an MFA, so what are your thoughts on this. Is it necessary? Where could I go?...

More than anything though, I'd just like to thank you so very much for writing these two amazing novels. They are beautifully human, enticing and wholly absorbing works of literature that have inspired and awakened me to follow a new career path. I have no idea how to follow this path, but I see it now, and that's the most important thing. Thank you!


Wow. That's quite something to hear. I've had the "should I get an MFA" question before, but never framed with such specific mention of my own work. I'm honored. Although, with that, comes a certain sense of responsibility. Like, I don't want to be the cause of D leaving a good job for the perils and poverty of a literary career. Or do I?...

I checked with D that he didn't mind my sharing our interaction, and herewith I include my response.


Wow. Thanks for writing. I'm very pleased to hear how much you got from my books - and how it's prompted you to consider a new path in your own life.

You remind me of a very good writing student I had when I taught at Cal State. He was one of our top candidates, writing great stuff about his experiences in the military. I had no idea he had an interest in fantasy, but we were talking one night and he admitted that it was reading The Lord of the Rings (as an adult) that made him go, "Wow. Hey, this is amazing. This writing thing is what I want to do with my life." And he's doing it. Still in the MFA, but still writing and reading good stuff. (And, yes, he got a full fellowship, so it's his job for about three years.) So, that can happen...

I don't think anyone has to do an MFA to be a writer. The most important things are 1) that you write, 2) that you get feedback on what you write, 3) that you read and read and read, 4) that you persevere with it and stay patient. Getting a writing career going is usually a long endeavor. Even authors that may appear to arrive fully formed have likely been writing for six, eight, twelve years before the manage to break through in print. Patience is a must.

And it's also a must that you be able to live with uncertainty. There is no one best way to go about being a writer. There's no guarantee that it will happen, or that it will happen soon. I do, however, think that anyone that devotes enough time and effort to writing can make a life out of it. That may mean being a bestselling author, but odds are very much against it. It may mean being a modestly read author. It may mean being a teacher and lover of literature. It's impossible to predict ahead of time, but all those paths can lead to a rewarding life.

So what do I suggest? First off, I can't suggest that you quit your job and totally change your life around. That may be a great idea, but I wouldn't want you writing me in five years saying I hadn't warned you that making a life in the arts can be really hard. If you do really need to make a change, though, I mainly suggest that you find a way to make reading and writing nearer to the center of your life. That may mean doing it late at night after a day of work. It may mean joining some sort of writers group to get feedback from others. It may mean getting a different job, one that somehow allows you the free time to write. Or it may mean going for an MFA program.

MFA's offer three things that I think are important. 1) Joining one makes it clear to you and everybody else that you're going to focus on writing for at least a few years of your life. It's proof you're serious. 2) It means you'll get feedback and interaction with other aspiring authors. That's a good thing in lots of ways. 3) It gives you the credential to apply for teaching jobs. That's a path many writers take - teaching while they write.

If you're interested, start looking into programs. They all have websites these days. Look for programs that sound good to you. Apply to a variety, I'd say, in different areas and with different levels of competitiveness. The top programs are great, but you can also get a lot from more modest programs too - including financial aid. I wouldn't want to suggest any one program, because there are so many and they offer so many different things.

Best of luck with it all!


And that's that. What's the latest word on what D's going to do? Well, apparently he's going to get cracking on his writing and wade into the research about MFA programs. All good. I wish him the best.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 04, 2009

SFX Review of The Other Lands

SFX magazine, which I believe is the foremost mag for all things science fiction and fantasy in the UK, recently reviewed The Other Lands. They'd been nice to Acacia: The War With The Mein, a couple years back - with quotes like "this could be the start of a fantasy classic" - and they've been very kind to the second installment also. Actually, they've upped the star count by one.

This time around they concluded with:

"Durham combines that portrayal of sharp political manoeuvring with some breathtaking action sequences and equally sharp prose. He writes with great clarity, sweeping you up in the grandeur of his epic vision."

Well, that's lovely. I don't see the review online, but if you like you could click on the wee pdf on the side here. I think you'll be able to read it in a bigger version. Just on the off-chance you're a new arrival and are looking for some encouragement to start the series...

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Neth on The Other Lands

Neth Space has just put up a review of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2).

It's a rather nice one, and it's HERE.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Odyssey Bookshop Reading

Another reading in the not too distant future...

I'll be at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley Massachusetts on Dec 3rd, at 7pm. That's a Thursday. If, by any chance, you're local enough to make it out please come by and say hello!

Here's the Bookstore's Calender.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Amazon's Top 10 Books of 2009: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Amazon.com just released it's editor's choices of the top books of the year. (Credit goes to io9 for alerting me to this.) Within that, they have a list featuring their top SFF books. Guess who's on it?

Well... Ah... Cherie Priest. (Lovely person with what sounds like a terrific book.) Catherynne Valente. (Wonderful.) Jonathan Strahan. (Very nice chap.) Caitlin R. Kiernan. (Don't know her, but I'm sure she's lovely.) Peter Straub (Just heard him on NPR, sounds cool enough.)

Ah... and David Anthony Durham! The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) is at number 3 (not that the numerical order necessarily counts). I'm rather chuffed about this. I don't know if I'll be making any other end of the year lists, but I've made one - and a rather substantial one! I can now kick back and sit on my bum and enjoy my success for a year or two...

Not! I've got work to do. Don't worry, I'm on it!

Check out the list. It's interesting. A number of titles I hadn't heard of at all...

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 01, 2009

TOL Available At Audible!

Yes, it's finally there. The Other Lands is now downloadable at Audible.com! I'm very happy about this, as it seems like a lot of the folks that enjoyed The War With The Mein did so by listening to Dick Hill's narration. They can now continue to do that with the new book!

If you're interested, please check it out HERE.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Audio TOL

I got some clarification about the status of the audio version of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). The disc version is, of course, available. (HERE, for example.) But it's the Audible.com version that people most often ask me about. I just learned from Tantor that they've sent the discs to them and they expect for the Audible version to be ready by the end of the month. Doesn't mean that will happen, but here's hoping.

I've also been a bit frustrated that neither the audio or the Kindle version show up on the main Amazon page along with the hardcover. Apparently, the titles were slightly different, and in Amazon's automated world it's not easy to get things like that fixed. But hopefully it will be eventually, and everything will be available on the same page!

Labels: ,

Monday, October 05, 2009

Terres etranegres

I just realized that the French version of The Other Lands - Terres etrangeres - is officially on sale! Very happy about that. Remember the lovely time I had in France last spring? (I do.) Paris, Epinal, Reinnes... Ah, what a trip. Maybe they'll invite me back. Here's hoping.

Also, the good folks at Elbakin.net are doing a giveaway. I'm not sure what the rules are, but if you're hankering for the lovely French edition with artwork by Didier Graffet, please pop over and enter HERE.

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 02, 2009

Portuguese Acacia Books!

I've got a Portuguese deal for Acacia: The War with the Mein and The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2)!

The publisher is Saida de Emergencia. A quick glance at their website shows me that I'm there with authors like George RR Martin, Mervin Peake, Guy Gavriel Kay, Harry Turtledove, Robin Hobb, Dan Simmons and Tim Powers, just to name a few.

I had a different Portuguese publisher for Pride of Carthage, so this will be a new experience. Here's hoping it's a good one (and that it eventually leads to a visit to Portugal or Brazil - I'd love that!).

Very happy about this.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Two Tidbits

First, I'm happy to say that a long interview I did with Jeff VanderMeer has just gone up at the Omnivoracious Amazon Blog. Jeff asked great questions, as usual, and it was pleasure to chat with him. You can read it HERE.

Also, I got a "Debut Graduate" review over at Fantasy Debut! Tia was kind but very thorough with the first book, and I'm happy to say she gives another great review this time to The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). She manages to avoid big spoilers (although she does give some specific plot details that you might not want if you to read if you prefer to read clean), but to also talk about the book in considerable depth. Oh, and she likes it! Actually, toward the end she writes, "This is now my favorite epic fantasy."

I'm all smiles. You can check it out HERE.

Tomorrow, news on a new foreign deal...

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blog Of The Fallen On TOL

Larry has weighed in on The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) over at OF Blog of the Fallen. Very glad he did, as he has wonderful, in-depth and rather insightful things to say. He manages to avoid plot summary or spoilers, but he does delve into a lot of the thematic and stylistic choices I made in the book.

He's smart.

You can read it HERE.

Labels: ,

Friday, September 18, 2009

French Website

My French publisher has updated their website for the new book, Terres etrangeres, which is out in France in a couple of weeks.

Take a look HERE.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Publication Day

That would be today.

The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) is finally available, hopefully marching out of stores all around the country. I hope that means readers will be picking it up and falling back into the Known World - or that they'll decide to give Acacia: The War with the Mein a try, knowing that if they like it there are quite a few hundreds of pages now to be read - and that the end is in sight!

It goes without saying that I would very much like you to buy one and/or to spread the word about the book. They make great presents, you know! I know it's no small thing to hope that you'll put down your 20-some dollars for a new hardcover, but there's really only two reasons I hope you do.

One is that I believe there's a lot to be found in the book, and I know I worked very hard to make it surprising and thought provoking and engaging. Two is that I want very much to be able to continue to write books, and to be able to focus more and more of my time on doing so. The only way that happens in our market economy, though, is if people BUY my books. Reading them is what matters to me; them being PURCHASED is what matters to my publishers and the outlets that stand between you and I.

All right, that's the end of my hard sell. Now I'll just try to remember how fortunate I am, and be very pleased my characters and stories are out there yet again.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 14, 2009

Praise From a Rock Star

Mega-prolific author Jay Lake just wrote a generous and funny review of Acacia: The War with the Mein and The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). I'm psyched. Jay is awesome, and it makes me very happy to hear that he likes my work too. Among other things, he wrote:

"Epic fantasy is so well established a genre that it’s always fascinating when someone comes along and tips over my expectations. Durham has done this in a big way."

Of course, there's also a level of pure relief in receiving all of these early responses. Each new reader that gets to the end of the book and gives it the thumbs up is confirmation that I haven't entirely driven the series off a cliff. Yes, all writers have moments of insecurity.

You can check out Jay's response at his website HERE. And it's safe to read. No plot details. Just enthusiasm!

(By the way, isn't that author illustration rock star cool? Snagged it from Jay's website.)

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kindled Again

For a while now, folks have been kind enough to ask whether or not The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) was going to be in a Kindle version.

I'd tended to say, "Yeah, sure," but I didn't have any details or proof of this. Now I do!

HERE'S a link to the Amazon Kindle Entry For it. Yeah!

So, if this sort of thing is how you get your reading done these days, please pop over there and download me!

The only thing I don't see up and running yet is an audio download version of the audio book. Hopefully that will happen soon. I'll let you know when I know. If you wanted to sample what Dick Hill did with the first Acacia book, you could check it out at Audible. He's the guy narrating the second one too. Continuity, you know.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Kirkus Reviews (And I'm Glad They Do)

Recently saw my KIRKUS review of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2). Very nice. I like. I'd love to show it all to you, except... Ah, it gives away a lot. I know many readers don't like spoilers, and this one has some - both to do with stuff in this book and with things about Acacia: The War with the Mein.

So, I offer a portion of the review, the nice bits that say happy things in a general sense. I'll cut out the spoilery stuff though. I promise that I'm not cutting out any nasty bits. I'll even include the one bit of criticism, wherein they say the book is in need of list of characters, etc. (Not a bad point that. Next time, friends...)

So, herewith, a bit of the folks at KIRKUS REVIEWS had to say:

"Old wars are re-fought, new alliances and conflicts arise in the middle volume of a fantasy trilogy set in the embattled land that calls itself the Known World... Moving into fantasy after three well received historical novels, Durham (Pride of Carthage, 2005, etc.) handles his many-leveled plot with impressive thoughtfulness; racial stereotyping, exploitation of defenseless populations and tribal enmity are among the subjects whose continued relevance - for the novel’s characters and its readers - becomes increasingly evident... Desperately needs an annotated list of characters and a detailed glossary distinguishing various tribes and factions. But little else is missing from this ambitious work, which boggles the mind and transcends genre."

Any thoughts on that "transcends genre" comment?


Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Other Lands REVIEWED!

Rick Kleffel has just kicked things off for The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) with and awesome review at The Agony Column. In the Sept 1st entry, he reviews my book along with Kate Elliott's Traitors' Gate (Crossroads), and he loved them both!

Among other things he said about The Other Lands...

"Durham has a singular voice in fantasy, and it is, as one might expect, well-informed by his historical writing. There's a sophistication and clarity here that will enable readers to fully immerse in Durham's psychologically and morally complex story of magic, monsters and conquest... Great writing, complicated characters, moral and social woes that echo our own world in an imaginative fashion — this is what fantasy is all about. It's not about escape. It's about perspective."

I couldn't be more pleased. Thank you, Mr. Kleffel.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Like The New Look?

Has anyone noticed the changed appearance here on the website? If so, and if you like it, thank Shawn Speakman. He's done - in my opinion - a wonderful job of updating the site with images and art from the new novel. I'm stoked!

(The first time I looked at the site after the update, I had to hit the resend button for the changes to show. Just thought I'd mention it in case it's the same for you.)

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Giveaway Is Closed

Okay folks, that's it. The window for tossing your name in the hat for one of these books has now officially closed. Thanks to everyone that joined via my Forum or Facebook. Much appreciated. I'm happy to say that enough of you did join that this thing will actually be fairly competitive!

Over the weekend, I'll work out how to do the drawing this time around. I change it a little each time, although as in the past it will likely include my kids. See here for previous examples: HERE, HERE, or HERE.

So check back in a couple of days. You may see your name getting pulled out of hat, or rising out of pool in the form of a wookiee or something equally random...

In other news, I just learned that the foreign rights for Acacia Book 3 (needs a better title, huh?) will be handled through the Curtis Brown Agency in UK. I dig that. You see, for all the books up until now, Doubleday (Random House) handled the foreign rights. (And took a cut accordingly.) This time around, I've maintained the rights, and now my own "people" will be looking after me.

You want some irony in this? Well, consider that Curtis Brown was one of the first agencies to turn me down when I was a kid fresh out of grad school with two novels I was shopping around. They weren't wrong, and neither of those novels sold, but I'm just saying... What a difference a decade makes!

They're a pretty awesome agency, with lots of high-profile clients. (And yet they're accepting me - go figure.) Check out their website: HERE.

I'm still represented by International Creative Management for domestic and film-related stuff. (ICM's website is HERE. And, yes, they are stingy with information. That's in direct correlation to how cool they are, though.) So that hasn't changed. It's just that I now have a somewhat larger extended family out there. I'm all smiles about it.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Audio TOL on Amazon

Hi. Just thought I'd mention that the audio version of The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) is now available to order on Amazon.com. It's HERE. I don't know if the pub date is to be trusted, but if it is it'll be out two weeks before the hardcover.

It's not cheap, of course, but it will be an awesome production. Dick Hill continues as the narrator. Perhaps... your local library might like a copy? If you think so, please ask them to order it!

Labels: ,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow, I've Been Busy... and Torque Control

Yikes. I've gone about a week without posting. I haven't done that in a long time. Strange to think, really, as this blog thing is such a feature of my life these days. But... I got back from Readercon and then went straight into preparing for the Stonecoast MFA residency. That's where I'm writing from now, and I'm still dead tired. So this will be brief. Really, I just wanted to say hello. So...


Other than that... an awesome, detailed and insightful review of Acacia: The War with the Mein recently appeared from Torque Control.

If you need convincing that the book is worth a read please take a look. Or do the same if you're gearing up for The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) but could use a reminder of what the first volume was all about please check it out.

It's HERE.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Acacia: Terres etrangeres

I'm at Readercon at the moment, enjoying lots of good talk with some very smart people. While I'm away I'll leave this for your consideration...

The good folks at Elbakin.net were the first to show me this. It's the French cover for The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2)! I'd seen an early version of it, but this one is retooled, in full color and virtually bursting off the page.

The artwork is by Didier Graffet.

Whaddaya think?

Labels: , ,

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.

Labels: ,

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.


Monday, June 08, 2009

The Other Lands Galleys!

What more can I say?

Think I should give one of these away or something?

Labels: ,

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.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Other Lands at B&N

A few folks have been kind enough to mention that they'd prefer to buy The Other Lands via B&N, but noted that it wasn't available for pre-order there yet. Well, it is now: TOL at B&N.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Copyedit

One of the crazy things about this publishing biz is the way the corporate machine sometimes chews up the authors that it works with. I've just been chewed. A small chew. A good one. No lasting harm done. All in the name of my career and betterment of my work, etc. But still, I've spent the last week with the copyedited version of The Other Lands (which is what you see to the left here). And it was a doozy of an edit.

I should mention that the copy edit part of production happens after the standard editor has approved the book. It's accepted. Money is released. Oh happy day! But then the book goes to the copy editor, and a whole new level of torture is inflicted on the manuscript (and the author).

I don't know how it is for other authors, but in my experience the copy edited manuscript of a novel arrives one day, with a note saying it has to be back in NY like... uh... four days later. Four days! That's what happened this time. In the past I'd managed this fine, but this time there was more work to be done, and staying up all night wasn't gonna be the magic fix.

The other thing is that the copy edit is both incredibly intimate and yet also cold and official. On one hand you've got all these marks, queries, red lines, incredulous comments about your lack of logic, the pointing out of glaring mistakes, the questioning of your understanding of basic laws of physics and human anatomy... I'm serious. I mean EVERY page gets torn up, and that's when the book is in fairly polished condition. So you get tons of critical comments but never, ever, ever, in any way does the copy editor make a positive comment. Nothing. All the red ink, but not one, "Nice use of active verbs". The whole thing is a rather daunting experience. (I imagine some of my students hooting with glee at this.)

The good news is that I've now been through this five times. Can't complain about that. I have returned the much improved manuscript of the book to Doubleday, and hopefully we're back to smooth sailing. Lest I sound ungrateful, I'm happy to admit that the copy editor did a wonderful job, and I can't thank her enough for tearing up my pages so thoroughly. I just want you all to know that I've spent a week in a state of coffee-jazzed fear and loathing. Glad that's behind me. Onward, now, to dreams of massive success and accolades!

We all have to dream.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Other Lands Cover!

This is happy news. Yesterday, Doubleday dropped the cover for The Other Lands(by the way, you can pre-order it using this link) on me. Without further preamble, I offer it for your consideration...

Some of you make recognize the image as being the same one used by my German publisher, Blanvalet. The artwork is by Mikko Kinnunen. Seems Doubleday liked that treatment so much they spent a while trying to find a new way to get the same look, and eventually decided to just stick with the image they liked so much. I have to say, I've always loved the artwork, and it actually suits the book just that little bit more considering the "Other Lands" aspect of it. I think it looks terrific.

Yesterday, I sort of "leaked" it to a few of the bloggers that were so kind to Acacia. They all did me the solid of posting it, which I love. Makes it feel official. The Other Lands is coming! You can check them, and their blogs, out here...


A Dribble of Ink

davebrendon's fantasy and sci-fi weblog

Fantasy Book Critic

Graeme's Fantasy Review

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Other Lands: Book Two of the Acacia Trilogy (Hardcover)...

That's what it now says Here on Amazon.com! Small milestone, I know, but it's one more step along the way of making this book feel real. They have it slated for a September 15th publication. This far out that's not guaranteed, but if it does work I'd love that pub date. I've had winter, spring and summer publications before, so might as well give fall a try.

By the way, you could, of course, pop over to Amazon and pre-order now...


Friday, November 21, 2008

A Reasonable Query...

I got an email recently, responded to it, and thought I might share it with you. (Yes, I verified that the sender had no issues with this - even though I'm not using his name.) Here's what he said...

Mr. Durham,

I enjoyed your book on Hannibal. It was much better than most of the other fiction I have read about that time period. I am tempted to pick up your book Acacia but have a question before I do so.

Lately, fantasy authors have not been fair to their readers. The late Robert Jordan, the once great George RR Martin, even Weis and Hickman with Dragonlance are not being fair to their readers. I mean in the sense of how long should a series go? Jordan's first 3 or 4 books were great, but again how many 1,000 page books should you have to read before a series comes to an end? Lately, Martin's Ice and Fire series is in the same direction... 4 books, with no end in sight.

So, my question, before I pick up your book... will you keep it at three? At some point, will you bring the story to a close in a way that respects the readers time?

Thanks, L

And my response...

Hey L,

Thanks for writing. Glad you liked Pride of Carthage, and I totally understand your complaints about never ending fantasy series. I won't comment on what other authors have done (or haven't done), but I will promise that I have every intention of respecting my readers' time and of providing closure by the end of the third book. I should explain a few things, though...

First, I think you'll find (if you do pick it up) that Acacia has a fair amount of closure. All the major plot points and the main struggles of the book come to point of completion by the end. I worked hard to make that happen, especially because when I began the book I couldn't know that I'd get a second chance at fantasy. I was new to the genre and couldn't know how I'd be received. Also, coming from the literary side of things the notion of writing sequels wasn't anything I was particularly used to. I had to take care of business in one book. I'm glad to say that a lot of readers write me to say they're looking forward to the next Acacia book. I'm thrilled by that. There's plenty left to explore, but there are no cliffhangers at the end.

That said, the second book, The Other Lands, is not as self-contained. It concludes with a whole host of new threats and problems arising, all of which I'll hope to pick up and conclude in the third book. The Other Lands is still a six hundred page manuscript, so there's plenty of adventure in those pages; it's just that the overarching conflict is bigger than one book.

Now, I do know exactly where that third book ends, and, as with Acacia, it will lead to another possible stopping point. I don't have specific plans for future Acacia books after that. I may continue to write more in this world, but if I do it'll be because there are other stories to tell. It won't be that I'm dragging out the main story without resolution. Promise.

I don't know if that will convince you, but I hope so.

With respect for your time,


Labels: ,

Friday, October 31, 2008


...I'd like to confirm that I finished The Other Lands at 7:30 am yesterday. I emailed it to my editor a few minutes later, and then got into the waiting taxi to zip off to the airport.

I'm now in Calgary. Tired. (My sleep patterns have been crazy the last few weeks.) Vaguely sick-ish feeling, but also - when I remember - pretty happy.

Of course, my editor will read the book with his critical eye. So, my happiness is tempered by a ghostly dread lingering at the corners of my vision...

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Book Group Buzz and Reads Like a Lawyer

Yes, yes, I'm working hard. But one needs to take a break every now and then and self-promote. Hence, this post on a couple of tidbits I noticed recently... (After which I promise to get back to the novel.)

Neil Hollands has a list of books up on the Booklist Online site. It's a short-list with selected titles from different sub-categories of fantasy. Nice to see that Acacia gets a mention in the "Realistic" Epic Fantasy category, along with George R. R. Martin and K. J. Parker. Good company, and interesting categories. I sometimes suspect that readers don't acknowledge enough how very different fantasy works can be. The differences within the genre can be rather huge, and there's no real reason why somebody that likes books in one category will necessarily be a fit for books in other regions...

Anyway, Neil's list is here: Many Faces of Fantasy.

Dustin Kenall has written a piece on Acacia and on the changing expectations placed on the "Epic Quest Genre" - which I guess is "Epic Fantasy" made slightly more specific. Dustin clearly brings an informed perspective to it. He's written reviews for the sfsite.com and the Agony Column and Blogcritics, etc, though this piece is on his personal site.

I must say, while I'm very pleased at the fine company he places me in, he makes it sound like I'm somewhat more solidly established than I feel. Me? I'm sweating, man. I literally have to finish off The Other Lands in two days! I've got all sorts of anxiety about it. Been getting up early and going to bed late. Butterflies constantly. Writing. Writing. Writing. Checking the clock. Occasionally confident, usually scared. It's funny, really, how ongoing all the trials and tribulations of a writer are. I've got four novels out in the world. All successful in their way. But still, it's the words I have yet to write that seem to matter most.

Anyway, Dustin's very kind essay/review is here on his blog: Reads Like a Lawyer.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The deal is done

It's official, finally. I've agreed to the terms of my next book with my publisher, Doubleday! I'm going to be writing the sequel to the as yet unpublished Acacia: The War with the Mein. I wrote a detailed description of it, and I'm happy to say the story is bigger and more complex than the 800 pages of the first volume. Should be a lot to sink my teeth into.

Okay, so the details are getting written down. The figures are set. Now, strangely, comes the real work. Writing it...

Labels: , ,