Wednesday, December 27, 2006

WORDS OF MAKING second draft turned in

I really do apologize for the lack of updates this year. 2006 was definitely one of those best of times/worst of times for dear old me. I'll try to be better about updates in 2007 but it's a time thing and blogging just really isn't much of a priority for me at the moment.

I keep most of my personal life offline, but for those who are curious, I got divorced at the beginning of the year after twelve years of marriage. This necessitated me moving out of the house that my ex-wife and I had built and also finding a full-time job again, since writing was not and is not yet earning enough to pay the bills (though I hope to get to that point within five years). I moved into temporary housing (thanks, Mom!), where I stayed for five months before buying and moving into a new house. And those of you who are homeowners know that houses are never-ending black holes of projects. Oh, and I was trying to revise THE WORDS OF MAKING at the same time, after receiving my edit letter in early August.

On to book-related news...the leaner, meaner second draft of THE WORDS OF MAKING is now back in New York. Much of the revision was simply cutting out lots of overwriting, but I also changed a few of the characters around a bit, decided to kill off a fairly major player, and added a cool demon-like entity who makes a pretty kick-ass cameo.

I'm taking a break and doing some painting around the house (I finished my son's room last weekend, with two walls blue, two walls green -- very much a little boy's room!), and am going to do the foyer next. Woo hoo!

I hope everyone has a great New Year.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Can you believe it? A new update from Dave!

Yes, yes, I know, it's been more than forever since I last updated this thing. Life and work have gotten the better of me, and as I said when I first started this thing I'm not a diarist, so I have no compulsion or need to write down my every move. This is to be a chronicle of the writing process, and there are long periods of time where I'm either just writing a first draft or revising and there's just not much to say.

So here's the latest and greatest. I'm about twenty pages from finishing the second draft of THE WORDS OF MAKING. I received my edit letter from my editor at HarperCollins back in early August -- far later than I had expected it. I turned in my draft in January, and I expected to hear from her in four months or so, not eight. But she had an editorial assistant move elsewhere and editors are chronically overworked and understaffed, so things slipped. She told me, quite apologetically, that to keep the publication schedule I needed to get my revisions back to her my September 8, which was a little less than a month away.

Which was utterly impossible, even if I'd been writing full time. Some of her changes were easy to make -- a general tightening of my prose, etc. But some other character-related issues were going to take some thought, and there was no way I was going to figure it all out in a month.

She gave me until November 1 (my 41st birthday). I have missed that deadline, but not by too much I hope. I hope to finish the revisions tonight or tomorrow, then take a week to go over the most heavily revised parts before shipping the manuscript off.

I do not know when this will be published, but I would not expect it until late summer or early fall at this point. Sorry! I will let everyone know the date as soon as I have it.

So that's what I've been up to! I'll try to be a little better at posting going forward.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

New HarperCollins/Eos blog site

My publisher has put out their own blog, with information about who they are and links to their various writers. It looks like it will become a good place to get "insider" information about the publishing biz from the publisher's POV.

You can check it out here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Our cat died the other day....

One of our cats, Odie (yes, a cat, and yes, a female, but that's what my ex-wife named them a year or so before we met), died last week. She was fifteen years old, and had been in good health until a month or so ago. She began to lose weight and was having breathing problems, and a visit to the vet confirmed the worst: her kidneys and liver were failing, and her lungs were beginning to fill with fluid. My ex decided to have her put to sleep, which was the vet's recommendation, and I agreed with it. She was ready to let go.

I took my son Alex to see her the night before she died. She was happy to see us but couldn't move around very well. After we left, my ex came over and took her home so she could spend her last night at her house instead of in a cage at the vet.

I was a complete wreck at work all morning. I drove to the vet over my lunch hour and cried and cried while I petted Odie and scratched under her chin. When my ex-wife Connie and I were still married Odie would lie on my right side in bed, stretched out against my hip and leg. It was a very comforting way to fall asleep for me, and it's something I miss.

The vet came in and told us how the procedure would work, then gave us some more time with her after administering a sedative. My ex held Odie's chin in her hand while I softly scratched her back and behind her ears. After ten minutes or so the vet came in and got us prepared, then found a vein in Odie's leg. I cried even harder as I kissed her head and told her what a good cat she had been and how much we had loved her, and how much we were going to miss her.

A minute later, Odie died.

We stayed with her a while, drained emotionally, and then I had to go back to work. We planned to bury her but couldn't that night because of heavy rains, so we decided to bury her the next night.

But that night we still had to tell Alex.

My ex came over and we told him together. She read him a poem about pets who had left us called "The Rainbow Bridge," which you can read here if you're so inclined. Alex was upset but didn't cry.

Later, though, when I was giving him his bath, her started to cry uncontrollably. He wept all night, and couldn't fall asleep because he was so sad. He finally passed out, more or less, about two hours after he'd gone to bed.

He helped me bury Odie beneath three pear trees at my ex-wife's house the next night. I was better until we had to leave, and then it hit me again that she was gone and would never be back, would never come out of that cold and dark hole in the ground.

You were a good cat, Odie. I love you and I miss you, and hope you are waiting for us on the Rainbow Bridge.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My son's first short story

My son Alex wrote a short story about his teddy bear last fall called "Little Friend Gets Lost." I took the photos and helped a little bit, but most of this is his. I think it's great. When his first grade teacher read it to his class, the students burst into applause at the end. It doesn't get any better than that.

I have it posted on my website as an Adobe Acrobat file. (Thanks are in order to Lori Baker for scanning the file for me.) It's only nine pages, with one or two sentences per page. Check it out, it's guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Little Friend Gets Lost

A bad case of dumbass-itis

Oh, my. How stupid we (the royal we) can be sometimes. I was at my brother's house with my son on Monday night, and Alex (my six-year-old son) wanted to race, so I chugged along the sidewalk beside him, holding back but making him think I was really struggling to keep up. Well, my sister-in-law bellows out, "You run funny!" which lead to various degrees of good-humored insults flying back and forth, until finally my brother and I decided (because we're stupid) to have a footrace.

This wasn't a long dash, just two house lengths, with telephone poles to mark the starting and finishing lines. My sister-in-law suggests we run on the street instead of the sidewalk, which again, stupidly, we thought was fine. So we line up, she yells out the start, and we take off.

I used to be pretty fast when I was younger, but back surgery and a lack of running for many years has apparently slowed me the hell down. My brother's a year and a half younger than me and about sixty pounds heavier, so I thought I would kick his big bubble butt handily. Imagine my surprise when the big load pulls ahead! So of course I pour on a little more steam.

And proceed to trip.

I took about two ungainly steps trying madly to prevent the inevitable disaster before gravity took over plowed me into the black top. I landed on the heels of my palms, then quickly tucked and rolled, which may or may not prevent you from being blasted to atoms in case of a nuclear shock wave coming your way, but doesn't do a goddamned thing if you're falling in the middle of the street like a doofus.

I lost most of the skin on the heels of my palms, my left knee, and left elbow. I got up and saw a huge bloody flap of flesh hanging off of my palm and realized I had really fucked myself up. I hobbled inside and my brother and sister-in-law helped by pouring hydrogen peroxide all over my gushing wounds, then bandaged me up. My brother asked, "Can I laugh now?" and I said sure, because if he had fallen the same way I sure as hell would have laughed.

It's too bad no one was videotaping this, because as embarrassing as it was, I think I'd be a shoe-in for a prize for the dorkiest fall.

I'm healing nicely, but it's been a pretty pain-filled week.

(My brother works for Verizon and once was up on a pole and hit his thumb so hard with a hammer that he split the skin from the fleshy part all the way down to the firsts crease, and gave himself permanent nerve damage. If he hadn't been strapped to the pole he would have fallen thirty feet or so to his untimely death. I had to pick him up at the hospital and drive him home because his wife was unavailable and the doctor had given him too many drugs to allow him to drive. So I'm not the only klutz in the Forbes family treehouse.)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Second printing!

It's barely been three weeks since The Amber Wizard was published, and I just received word today that HarperCollins has gone back for a second printing! It's not as large as the initial print run, but still, I'm incredibly pleased that sales are doing well enough to warrant more copies!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It all finally falls into place

I've really been struggling with the outline for The Path of Ashes. I had lots of great individual story elements, arcs for existing characters, and ideas for cool and interesting new characters, but I didn't have an overall framework on which to hang it all. I struggled a great deal to get through part one, and then had to start all over again with part two (which is very different from part one), which was even harder even though I had more individual ideas for that section. I just didn't know how they all threaded together.

That (mostly) ended today. It was one of those days where a number of revelatory ideas come to me almost without effort. My subconscious must have been stewing on these questions for a time and decided now was the moment to spit them out. There are a few neat ideas that tie back to a minor scene in The Amber Wizard, and I now have a much better understanding of where all this is headed and how it will end up. Not all of the problems are solved -- not by a long shot -- but most of the major roadblocks just got bypassed.

Kudos to my subconscious!

Monday, April 03, 2006


I know most of you locals are aware of this by now, but in case you forgot, my very first book signing will be at the Barnes & Noble at the Camp Hill Shopping Center tomrrow night, Tuesday, April 4. It starts at 7:00 pm. The book signing is first, then I'll be speaking to and answering questions from a writers' group that meets there once a month. Come on out so I don't end up looking like a goof standing there by myself!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's official! The book is on the street!

This is one of the most memorable moments of my life -- walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelves! It's something I've dreamed about since high school, and now it's finally happened.

If you've preordered it from Amazon or other online retailers, you should be receiving your copies soon. And if you haven't bought a copy yet, what are you waiting for??!! :-)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Review, Interview, and Giveaway!

There's a ton of great stuff that just popped up at There's an interview with me, a review of The Amber Wizard, and a contest to win a free book! Head on over to check it out! (And thanks to Rob and Pat for putting it all together!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Less than two weeks to go!

I know, I've been shamefully lax in updating this thing lately. I recently had to start back to work again full time (logged 270 miles in the car today for two meetings where I had to make presentations -- it wasn't a lot of fun, I'm not much of a travel guy). It's a necessary evil for now, but it has completely thrown my schedule out of whack. I'm still reeling from all the recent life changes (and there are others that I'm not going to get into here, this is not a confessional kind of blog). So the first things to go were the blog and updating my website.

However, the final copy of the book came today and it's cool as hell! The matte finish and embossing look incredible, and they changed the map so that it now covers two pages across the spread, so it's much easier to read than the version in the ARC.

Publication date is two weeks from yesterday. Let the countdown begin!

I also need to add a couple of reviews to my website for the second and third books in R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy. Really good stuff. Not without flaws, but still very top notch fantasy. I will try to get something out there in the next week.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Germany deal update

It's official! A German division of Random House, Blanvalet, has purchased the first three books of The Osserian Saga. I got the news from my agent Tuesday. I have absolutely no idea when they will be published, but the contract is done and I have given my approval. I have no idea how long a translation will take, if they will commission their own cover art (I assume they will), but I am fairly certain I will have little to nothing to do with it.

Still, cool news! (Next we have to conquer the stubborn Brits and the Aussies....)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

First review of THE AMBER WIZARD posted

Pat over at Pat's Fantasy Hotspot has posted the first review of The Amber Wizard. It's a very positive review, leaving me with a warm and cuddly feeling! My first review, and he didn't hate it! Woo hoo!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Technorati test

This is a test post. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Win a free copy of THE AMBER WIZARD

Pat over at Pat's Fantasy Hotspot has set up a contest to give away a free copy of The Amber Wizard. All you have to do is e-mail him to enter. Head on over and check it out!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Osserian Saga sold in Germany

I found out that the first three books in The Osserian Saga have been sold in Germany! I don't know the publisher -- my agent wasn't sure, not that I would recognize them anyway -- but I thought it was really interesting that a non-English-speaking country would snap up the rights before a place like the UK. (Though I have heard comments from other writers and readers that there is enough "home grown" fantasy in the UK that publishers don't need to buy as much from overseas).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Steelers on their way to Super Bowl XL!

Title says it all. The football gods were smiling on the Steel City today. Woo hoo! I am one happy camper!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Plotting out THE PATH OF ASHES

Now that The Words of Making has been shipped off to my agent and editor, I get to turn my sights to the next book in the series (maybe), The Path of Ashes. I say maybe because, in my contract and in the original synopsis of the series, the next book is The Commanding Stone. What happened was that while writing The Words of Making, I generated lots of new and interesting story ideas, to the point where I realized they wouldn't fit in the other books as outlined but really needed a book of their own.

So I've been re-reading all of the notes I made and am starting to plot out the book. This is where all the heavy lifting is done for me -- I work out all of the plot and character arcs in pretty fine detail before I even write the opening sentence of the novel. Right now I have a number of disconnected ideas that I need to bring together. There is an overarching story, but I don't know how it ends, and that for me is a problem because I always have to know the end before I start writing. I need to write toward something; that's just how I operate.

I also don't have a storyline for the main character, which is a wee bit of a problem. All of the secondary characters have interesting stories going, but the big cahuna's is really lacking.

But I just got started, so these things will work themselves out soon enough. I plan on getting a detailed outline together and sending it to my agent and editor to see what they think. If they want to proceed, then I guess we'll either have to redo the contract or create some kind of addendum to the original.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Steelers v. Colts 2

Well, despite every effort by the referees to give the damn game to the Colts, the Football gods smiled upon the Steelers today! (Though they gave me a freakin' heart attack when the Bus fumbled the ball on the two yard line with 1:20 left!).

I need to calm down now, my heart is pounding. That was the most exciting finish to a football game I've ever seen....

Steelers v. Colts

Here's hoping the football gods show some favor to my Steelers and help them crush (or at least squeak by) Peyton Manning's Colts. Some payback for the Monday Night loss would be nice.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


I finished making the line edit corrections to the electronic copy of The Words of Making last night and e-mailed a copy to my agent. My editor will get a hardcopy next week.

The first draft was 230,000 words, which my editor said was far too long. I read through it once on my PC and cut out lots of stuff, then printed a hardcopy and went through it again to do a line edit. The current draft is a svelt 187,800 words, almost exactly the same length as The Amber Wizard.

Next, I'm going to figure out if The Path of Ashes is going to be its own novel or just plot elements incorporated into The Commanding Stone.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Rejection collection

For every writer who has ever received a rejection slip -- which is every writer who has ever tried to have something published, without exception -- there's a site called rejection collection where you can read the rejections others received and their thoughts about them, and share your own if you're so inclined. Good for some time wasting...