Thursday, December 29, 2005

SFNovelists blog site

For those who just can't get enough of blogs (and you know who you are), there's an interesting site at SFNovelists. It's an aggregate blog site for nineteen (and counting) science fiction and fantasy novelists. These are all people who have either had a novel published by a major publisher (and been paid an advance) or have a novel scheduled to appear within the next year (like me). I'm part of the site, so every post here is fed over there. If you're interested in reading the blogs and journals of some up-and-coming SF and fantasy novelists and don't want the hassle of navigating to a bunch of different sites, this might be for you. Check it out!

First book signing session scheduled

Hey, say that three times fast! The publicist at HarperCollins has told me that I am scheduled for a book signing/Q&A session at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Camp Hill Mall on April 4 at 7:00 pm. For those of you who are local, please stop by and say hello (and buy a book or five while you're there!). :-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Message boards now live

The message board is now live over at Click here to visit them!

I hope everyone had a great holiday! We spent the day at my brother's house and of course ate way too much, but that's what holidays are for. Time to get some exercise back into the schedule somewhere....

I've been spending every spare moment doing a line edit of The Words of Making so I can get it shipped off to my agent and editor, so I haven't had time to read a darn thing. I'm going to get to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys and Simon Haynes Hal Spacejock books in the next two weeks or so. I feel like I need a vacation from the holidays!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas (or whatever)!

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas or [insert holiday of choice]. I'm not a religious guy myself, but I do like getting goodies! And it's so much fun to watch my six-year-old son get all worked up and expectant. And best of all, he still believes in Santa unconditionally. He makes me feel young, and how great is that?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chapter One online

I've posted chapter one of The Amber Wizard here, for anyone interested in a sneak peak.

For those of you who celebrate it, have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Web site now live

The web site at is now live. I still have some tweaking to do, but I'm open to suggestions for improvements.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A few good movies

I recently saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Chrnoicles of Narnia, and King Kong. All are very good films. I read the first couple of Narnia books at least 20 years ago and remember almost nothing about them (I do have them on the shelf to reread at some point), so I can't comment about the faithfulness of the adaptation, which is something I usually don't worry too much about anyway. Films and books are two different mediums, and changes have to occur if the adaptation is going to have a prayer of succeeding.

I remember only vague details of the Potter books. I enjoy them immensely as I'm reading them, but the minutia and lots of the plot details fade almost at once when I'm done. I don't know why, but it makes it nice to watch the movies because I have only the foggiest recollection of what is supposed to happen.

I thought Goblet of Fire was wonderful. I know that tons of stuff had to be cut out, but the little details left in -- like Neville dancing with himself after having such a wonderful time at the ball, or Hermione sitting on the steps and taking off the dress shoes that are obviously hurting her feet -- worked to make it all grounded and real. And Mad Eye Mooney was just marvelous. The effects work was top notch, and Ralph Fiennes pretty much nailed Voldemort. Highly recommended, but not for younger kids. The ante is definitely raised in this one, and it has some truly terrifying moments.

My son and I really enjoyed Narnia. Tilda Swinton is glorious as the white witch, and all of the child actors are more than adequate for their roles. I had some problems with the kids wandering around in a frigid forest in clothing that would have gotten them frozen to death inside of an hour or two, and what was up with Santa Claus showing up and handing out weapons (!)? But it was an enjoyable film that took the material seriously.

And finally, King Kong. If you love movies, you need to see this in a theater. Yes, it's long. Yes, some of the action is over-the-top ridiculous. Yes, some of the compositing work, especially during the brontosaurus stampede, is almost shockingly bad in a few shots. But you know what? The movie as a whole works. And Kong himself is the most incredibly realized special effect ever put to film. He's worth the price of admission alone. The recreation of 1930s New York City is a marvel, especially considering it was all back-lot work shot in New Zealand. The final scenes atop the Empire State Building are so realistic that I got some severe vertigo in a few instances. It's dizzying and scary and breathtaking. Don't miss it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

To Ash or not -- that is the question

I've finished the first revision of The Words of Making and cut it down to 195,000 words (about 60 manuscript pages). My editor was very happy to hear the news! I'm going to go through it one more time before I ship it off.

I also need to figure out the fate of A Path of Ashes. While I was writing The Words of Making I got all kinds of new ideas and reached the point where I thought they needed to be in a separate book rather than incorporating them into one of the remaining volumes in the series. I need to decide that soon, because if I go ahead with it, A Path of Ashes will be the next book in the series, before The Commanding Stone. I have a ton of plot and character arcs figured out, but I don't have an ending, which for me is a huge problem. I always need to have an ending before I start, so I know where things end up. I'm not one of these writers who can just slog along and then decide, "Hey, I'm done!"

And while I have some arcs figured out, I still need to decide on the overall narrative engine and work it in such a way that it doesn't completely screw up the plans I have for the last two volumes. Or, if it does screw them up, that it's worth the time and trouble.

So I need to figure out relatively soon what the bones of the story will be. I'll probably be splitting my workdays between the second revision of The Words of Making and hammering out the story outline of A Path of Ashes.

Wish me luck!