Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Late Night...

And I haven't written or edited anything yet.

Spent most of this evening writing an email to Laura Deihl about the cover art she is doing for the book (Hi Laura, if you happen to drop by). She's doing great work and I wanted to make sure that I communicated that as well as talked about the things I wanted to question (we authors are a demanding and annoying lot).

Anyway, that's all for me tonight. More blogging later in the week. Now I must edit and write before I go to bed.

I'm tired.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On Writing: "Grace Always Trumps Pedantry"

I came across the quote in the title of this article while deciding whether to use "then" or "and then" in one sentence in Small Magics (I didn't use either. I changed the sentence). It comes from Jack Lynch's Guide to Grammer and Style (the actual quote is here under "Grace") and it sums up what good writing is as neatly as I have ever seen.

Good writing is graceful.

And graceful doesn't mean short or long or beautiful or grammatically correct. And it doesn't matter whether the language is elegant or foul, or if author uses short, choppy sentences in three line paragraphs or long, languishing sentences that make paragraphs run pages.

What matters is that the writing flows; that it takes the reader from one moment to the next, one character to the next, one scene to the next. And it doesn't matter if the writing guides the reader gently along or hauls the reader like a bouncer tossing a drunk. What matters is that the reader comes along for the ride.

You can always tell when the writer's grace has failed them. It's the moment when you suddenly find yourself stepping back from the book; from the moment and the characters and the scene and the world they inhabit. It's the moment when you actually think about what you are reading, rather than being swept away by it all.

So back to editing. Here's hoping for grace.


My mother caught a typo in the third paragraph (thanks Mom!).

And in answer to your other note, you are correct, it was intentional. Using the plural "them" to the singular "the writer" is a graceful way of being gender inclusive while avoiding the awkward "him or her."

(See how I worked "graceful" in there, relating this update back to the subject of the post? Slick, eh?)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Geek Link: And You Thought High School Was Bad...

New and interesting discoveries in the world of sexless reproduction.

(Insert own joke here)

Actually some pretty interesting stuff that call into question some of the basic assumptions of how species diverge and adapt. Very cool.

...Yeah, I know. Why do you think I call them Geek Links?

On Writing: What Comes (and Doesn't) with Publication...

First off, a hat tip to the Wyrdsmiths, who led me to two posts by science fiction author David Louis Edelman on what does and doesn't happen when you become a published author.

Here are the high points:

What Doesn't Happen:
1. Money does not suddenly rain down from the sky.
2. Your career worries do not melt away.
3. Your lifestyle and self-image do not dramatically shift.
4. Writing does not suddenly become easy.
5. Your friendships and relationships don’t undergo a sudden transformation.

What Does Happen:
1. Strangers will be strangely deferential to you.
2. You will suddenly become “the writing expert” to your friends and relatives.
3. You’ll have mixed feelings about what you’ve written.
4. Self-published authors will look to you for validation.
5. You’ll have accomplished something that nobody can take away from you.

Both posts are worth a read, as they are both quite funny and a good reminder to those of us starting out that life isn't going to change that much (except the bragging rights).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

By the way...

I'm on Amazon!!!!

You can now pre-order Small Magics on Amazon. The book will be out June 15, 2007.

Now, Harry Potter comes out July 21, but ladies and gentlemen...

I have a dream.

For just one day, I want to knock Harry Potter out of the top spot. Just one day, I want to be on the top of the Amazon wish list. An impossible dream, maybe. But who wants to help me get there?

I'll work out a plan this week and get back to you all.

Back to work...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Long Week

All right, I lied about writing on Thursday. Truth be told, I was still recovering from my trip. A good meeting down in Atlanta (nice and warm there, too). Pity I was only outside for 15 minutes in total. Ah, business trips...

Anyway, new and exciting things are happening. My publisher has sent back Small Magics for one last edit before she sends me the final proofs. The neat part: It's in the format it will appear when it's published. Very cool.

Also, amazing how many errors there are in it. I swear we caught all the punctuation and formatting errors, but apparently I was wrong.

So, Cold Magics is going to be slowing down a bit as I take one last kick at the Small Magics cat.

Meanwhile, my cover artist (it's so cool to say that) has come with seven ideas for possible covers and we have started work on them. It's really neat at this point in the process, I must say.

So, that's what I'm going to be up to. I'll work hard on blogging, especially since it looks like the Tories are gearing up for an election. Of course, at this time, no political party really wants one because no one will come out any further ahead.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quick Note

Off to Atlanta on business, so no time to blog tonight. Will write again on Thursday.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I'm a Bad Man...

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Friday, March 09, 2007

America in Iraq: To What End?

"I see, as in a map, the end of all."
-QUEEN ELIZABETH, from Richard III, II, iv

Rolling Stone Magazine has put together a panel of experts to talk about the war in Iraq.

And if they are right, the outcome is going to be grim.

By the way, the people on this panel are not a group of granola chewing hippy liberals, as the American right likes to portray everyone who opposes their opinion. Rather, they are:

Zbigniew Brzezinski: National security adviser to
President Carter

Richard Clarke: Counterterrorism czar from 1992 to

Nir Rosen: Author of In the Belly of the Green Bird, about
Iraq’s spiral into civil war, speaking from Cairo, where he has been
interviewing Iraqi refugees

Gen. Tony McPeak (retired): Member of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff during the Gulf War

Bob Graham: Former chair, Senate Intelligence

Chas Freeman: Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf
War; president of the Middle East Policy Council

Paul Pillar: Former lead counterterrorism analyst for the

Michael Scheuer: Former chief of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden
unit; author of Imperial Hubris

Juan Cole: Professor of modern Middle East history at the
University of Michigan

Now, given the credentials of these people, what do you think the chances are of the administration listening to them?

Yeah, I think that, too.

H/T to Chet, who got it from Dymaxion World. And the quote that's on his page makes it onto mine, because it sums up the whole mess:

This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country's
international standing has been frittered away by people who don't have the
foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been
conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the
proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president.
Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes
a big difference.-- Gen. Tony McPeak (retired), Member of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff during the Gulf War

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh yeah! Cover Art!

Completely forgot to post this before, which shows how tired I am.

Just began the process of choosing an artist for the cover of Small Magics. Very cool!

Here's the artist's website:

Laura Diehl Illustration

I like her work, especially her ability to make her images a story as well as a moment in time. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

Tuesday Night...

And I really don't have a lot to say. I promised myself I'd blog three nights a week, and this is one of them. Unfortunately, I really don't have anything to say.

So here's a couple of writing links:



Two good if very different blogs about writing.

And now, it is late, and I still have several pages left to write.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Of Great Books

So, I was reading Hamlet-

(wow, this is already sounding pretentious, isn't it? Bear with me...)

-using a 1955 edition published by the Great Books Foundation. It included a suggested reading list for a year, with some very interesting titles in it. So I went looking to see if they still exist.

They do.

And they are fascinating. Founded in 1947 to promote liberal education for the public, they continue today, and this is their mandate:
The Great Books Foundation is an independent, nonprofit educational
organization with a mission to help people think and share ideas. Towards this
end, the Foundation offers workshops in Shared Inquiry discussion and publishes
collections of classic and modern texts for both children and adults.

They have some excellent collections, ranging from literature to science to citizenship to human rights.

Have a look at their FAQ for a better idea of how they work, then check out their reading list. There's some fascinating reading there, and I'm planning on ordering some as soon as I finish this draft of Cold Magics.

Now I just need to get a book group going...

Geek Link!

Some very nice pictures from the New Horizons space probe, which is currently looking at Jupiter, and has a couple or great close-up shots of the moons.

Meanwhile, I am getting myself organized for doing book publicity, and I will soon have an appearance to announce!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Help Me Help a Friend

Hi folks,

My friend Alexander Galant has applied to get on "On the Lot."

For those who don't know him, Alex is an amazing filmmaker and an incredible director, who've I've had the priviledge of working with as a actor and as a fight director on several projects. Here's his website.

For those who don't know it, "On the Lot" is a show where individuals compete for a $1 million dollar contract to make their own movie. And I want Alex to win.

So, the more people who view and rate his film, the better chance he has of getting in, so anyone who reads this, please, click the link below, and watch his film. It's amazing.


Please watch.

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