Monday, December 28, 2009

David Gemmell Legend Award, Updates, THE SPEED OF DARK

First off, a note about the David Gemmell Legend Award. Named after the late, great UK writer of heroic fantasy, the award is in its second year and seeks to showcase novels "in the spirit or tradition of David Gemmell's own work" (for what that means, see here). Titles are nominated by publishers and then whittled down by online voting from fans. This year Tor has nominated both WARBREAKER and THE GATHERING STORM along with 11 other deserving books, making for a long list of 60 titles from all nominating publishers. Online voting on the long list of nominees has just begun and will continue through the end of March. At that point they'll tally up the top five vote-getters and start a new vote (vote totals don't carry over from the first round). I made the short list last year with HERO OF AGES (which wasn't even out in the UK at the time) and expected to get soundly beaten by Joe Abercrombie's LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS, but instead the final nod went to BLOOD OF ELVES by Andrzej Sapkowski. Anyway, if you'd like to vote on the 2009 book you feel best fits the criteria, you can do that here. The committee has also started two new awards this year, the Morningstar for best newcomer and the Ravenheart for best cover art.

In the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotations I discuss the Lord Ruler's final message as well as Sazed's memorization skills and Breeze's nobleman status. New annotations go up every Tuesday and Thursday. If you haven't checked out the annotations before, they're like the director's commentary on a DVD—I discuss my books chapter by chapter, and so far I've talked about ELANTRIS, MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE, and MISTBORN 2: THE WELL OF ASCENSION. I'll also start posting WARBREAKER annotations sometime in the next few months, possibly before I'm done posting the MISTBORN 3: THE HERO OF AGES annotations. I figure that the dedicated fans who come to my website deserve some good bonus content, so here you go!

In this week's Writing Excuses episode I discuss tragedy with Dan Wells and Howard Tayler. Why write tragedy, and how to do it well? Give the podcast a listen.

By the way, my agent, Joshua Bilmes, also represents the talented Elizabeth Moon, and he wants help tracking down a mystery. Elizabeth's book THE SPEED OF DARK sells far more copies in trade paperback in the Salt Lake City area than anywhere else in North America. Why is that? What Salt Lake-area fans/booksellers have been recommending the book to all their friends and customers? Joshua is dying to know.

Monday, December 21, 2009

WARBREAKER at GoodReads, B&N, and Romantic Times

Over at the Book Smugglers they've posted a guest spot from me on my favorite reads of 2009. As I've said before, I was sad that unlike a lot of you I didn't get to rush out and read a new Wheel of Time book this October. On that blog I share a list of what I did get to read instead.

There's been a lot of love for WARBREAKER recently. It's the December discussion topic for GoodReads' fantasy book club, and I'll be participating in the discussion there in January. The book also got the #4 slot on Barnes & Noble's book clubs Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novels of 2009 list. (They discussed it back in July; see my Q&A thread there). But the biggest news is probably that WARBREAKER has garnered a nomination from the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards for Best Epic Fantasy of 2009. (See the full list of nominees here.) So far that's five fantasy novels out from Tor, five Romantic Times award nominations, and two wins (ELANTRIS and HERO OF AGES). Wow! If you don't know what all the fuss is about, I hear that Borders is a good place to buy WARBREAKER right now—they are the most likely chain to have copies in stock. (You can check your local store's inventory at the link.) Or of course check the list of stores that have signed copies.

In this week's episode of the Writing Excuses podcast, Dan, Howard, and I talk about antiheroes. Familiar with The Talented Mr. Ripley? Howard isn't.

In the most recent annotations for MISTBORN 3, I talk about Sazed putting on his metalminds and Spook's romance with Beldre as well as the death of Bilg. Don't remember Bilg? Umm . . . Oh, and I also put up an annotation for "Defending Elysium" (but be sure you read the story first).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Koloss Head-Munching Day! (Free Short Story.)

For the holidays this year, I thought I’d post a short story for you all. In fact, I’m posting “Defending Elysium,” which I generally regard as the best short story I’ve ever written. Now, that’s not saying a whole lot, as I’m a novelist. That’s the form I’ve practiced, and writing short stories is a very different art. I’m constantly in awe of what great short story writers (like my friend Eric James Stone) can do with just a few pages.

You’ll note that even this “short” story is actually more of a novelette. It even has several different character viewpoints and two or three sub-plots to go along with the main storyline and the main thematic elements. (I can’t compress my thoughts any farther. I guess I’m just a novelist at heart.) Also, note that if you’ve already read “Defending Elysium,” I’ve also added an annotation for you to give an explanation of the history of the story.

Anyway, thank you all for making this such a wonderful year. The tour was amazing, and the response to THE GATHERING STORM was incredible. I’m humbled by your response—including the responses of those who had complaints about the book. (Often legitimate ones.) There weren’t many of those, and the bulk of the ones I read were presented in a thoughtful, non-combative way. You are a classy bunch. Thank you for that.

Tomorrow is the long-celebrated, and often disturbing, Koloss Head-Munching Day. Munch a head and read the short story. Or, if you’re not into that, I believe there are a few other holidays coming up. . . .

Next year, I will be spending a lot of the early months blogging about THE WAY OF KINGS. A lot of people have been asking about it, and Tor has nudged me to begin speaking about it more. There WILL be more info about TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT too, but I’ll probably be holding off on that for a while. I know you’re hungry for more information. I’ll give you what I can, but I’ve been asked to be more secretive about these books than I normally am, and (as I have said before) I feel it is respectful to keep to Harriet’s wishes.

(Progress on TofM is going well, but this is—in many ways—a much BIGGER book than TGS. There are a lot more viewpoints and plots to wrangle, including many people who were not seen in TGS. TGS was very focused by intention and design. TofM is going to feel very different, as we’re going to be expanding the scope a little to include all of the things we need to see to get ready for the Last Battle. That’s making the editing and revision process of what I’ve done go more slowly than I would have liked.)

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Happy Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or New Year! May you get books as presents.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Tomorrow's the Last Day for Holiday Orders

Just to let everyone know, if you were planning on taking advantage of the holiday specials—the Mistborn Trilogy Holiday Bundle or the MISTBORN 7-Pack—or wanted to give any other item including the Mistborn Table of Allomantic Metals as a gift this Christmas, tomorrow's the last day to get your order in. Actually, for most items except for the holiday bundles and the poster it's already too late unless you contact Becky to upgrade to faster shipping (and for international fans there's not much that can be done at this time). December 25th is just around the corner, so there's no time to waste! Both holiday bundles will be taken down at 11:59 p.m. Mountain time on Tuesday.

Even if holiday timing doesn't concern you, I'll be out of town for a while after the middle of this week (I'm doing a signing in Logan on Friday and in Idaho Falls on Saturday—stop by if you're in the area!) so I won't be able to sign any later orders for a while.

I do have a couple freebies for everyone that I hope to get up soon—this week if we get some backend issues addressed. Keep checking back!

In the most recent MISTBORN 3 annotations I talk about ***spoilers redacted*** and "Reen" and fantasy clichés.

This week's Writing Excuses podcast with Dan Wells and Howard Tayler talks about writing unreliable narrators. Check it out.

Finally, the news from Stacy Whitman is that Tu Publishing met its kickstarter goal. I'm happy whenever I see the community come together to help out a good cause. That has been demonstrated even more in the last few days, with the much more serious case involving Peter Watts.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Upcoming Signings + Typical Rambling

A quick note about upcoming signings. 

This weekend I'll be doing my last two signings in the Provo/SLC area.  That means if you want gifts signed, then you'll want to come catch me today or tomorrow.  The signing today (Friday) is at the Waldenbooks at the Provo Towne Centre Mall.  This will be my last signing at this store, as it will be closing in January, which is very sad for me.  Some of my best signings were at the store (including the release parties for Mistborn one and Mistborn two.)  One of the former employees, Bookstore Guy Steve Diamond, is still a good friend.  (Which reminds me, he sent an email earlier in the week and I forgot to reply...)

My first really 'Big' signing happened at this store four years ago, when I sold a whopping 70 copies of Elantris.  (Coincidentally, this was the weekend after I met Pemberly for the first time.  We went on a blind date, and I was smitten.  I spent the entire signing hoping she'd come and see that I really was a big deal as a writer--though, of course, I wasn't really.  She never showed up.  I still tease her about that.)

Anyway, come say goodbye to the store and pick up some books for yourself or for gifts.  I'll be there from 6-8:30 or so.  (It says 9 on my events page, but we'll play it by ear.  Most of the signings start to wind down after two hours or so.)  If you want to come when you're sure I'll be there, come before 8:30.

Tomorrow, I'll be at the Sugarhouse Barnes and Noble.  This store has an interesting story because once upon a time, the store was too exclusive for me to do a signing at.  (I went in and asked, and they kind of turned their nose down at me for being a genre fiction writer, and told me I could sign at one of the other stores--but this was the "Big" events store.)  Well, lo and behold, several years later a friend of mine from another B&N who was a big SF/F reader got promoted to be manager of this store.  Feels like some very cool karma there.  Now they have LOTS of sf/f writers in for signings. 

The Sugarhouse signing is from 1-4, and Isaac Stewart (who did the maps and symbols for the Mistborn books) will be coming to sign your Mistborn books.  He will also be bringing concept art for THE WAY OF KINGS.  I'm very excited about the work he's doing, so if you want your first peek at what the artwork for the interior of KINGS will look like (the writing system, symbols, chapter glyphs, maps) then come have a look at what Isaac has brought.  We'll probably stop the signing at around 2:00 and do a presentation about KINGS and maybe I'll do a reading.  Good times.

Next weekend I'll be in Logan and then, for my final signing of the year, Idaho Falls. 

Monday, December 07, 2009

Updates, Tu Publishing fundraiser/Mistborn mini auction

The most recent MISTBORN 3 annotation talks about how the Lord Ruler needed to practice when he held the power. And the most recent Writing Excuses podcast discusses world-building gender roles.

A good friend of mine, Stacy Whitman, a former editor at Mirrorstone Books and a past Writing Excuses guest, is getting ready to launch a small press named Tu Publishing that will focus on multicultural fantasy and science fiction. To get the company started, Stacy has set up a fundraiser through Kickstarter. It's the type of fundraising drive where you pledge donations that kick in after the drive meets its goal. Stacy has set up rewards you can get for various pledge levels, such as advanced reader's copies of forthcoming books.

Friends of Stacy have also donated a lot of great stuff for a fundraising auction on LiveJournal. One of the items is a Mistborn mini from Garden Ninja Studios that will get a unique paint job. That auction ends early on Wednesday, and some of the others end Tuesday night. Check it out! Stacy is a great editor with excellent taste in books (she keeps bugging me to revise Scribbler). I hope she can get Tu off the ground!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Give the Gift of Mistborn for Ten Days Only (Also, Posters)

Today we've added two items to the store—the long-awaited Mistborn Table of Allomantic Metals cheap poster print, and a special item for ten days only: a steeply discounted $69.95 package of seven signed copies of MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE in hardcover that you can give as gifts this holiday season. Check it out!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Doctors Without Borders, Interviews, THE WAY OF KINGS

Wheel of Time fansite is hosting another charity drive—this time in support of Doctors Without Borders. If you're interested, consider helping out at their team's donation page. It looks like they have a small number of "thank you" prizes as well, including one of the limited edition copies of THE GATHERING STORM.

I did a few more radio and podcast interviews in the last couple of days. They'll probably be the last in a while; if you didn't get a chance to see me on the tour (a few Utah and Idaho events are still coming up), I said a lot of the same types of things on these shows as I said at my appearances. (Though for details and sometimes videos of my appearances you can check out Dragonmount's Storm Leader reports.) Today I recorded for a show on CNN radio that should be airing soon. I also appeared on David Lemberg's Science and Society podcast yesterday, as well as another appearance on the Louie b. Free show, where I really got to go in depth about this amazing phenomenon I've had the honor to be a part of. My first appearance was on November 3rd (only the "Part One" link works, but that's the whole thing). My segment starts at the 3:03:14 mark (yes, that's three hours into the show). Scrubbing through the previous 3 hours I heard adult content disclaimers several times, so keep that in mind! My segment of yesterday's show starts at the 30:47 mark. Give them both a listen!

Then there's my own podcast. Though they did a fine job without me during the tour (such as in last week's episode about NaNoWriMo—by the way, how many of my fans won this year?), Howard Tayler and Dan Wells were happy to have me back for this week's Writing Excuses episode where we discussed mixing humor with drama and horror. Check it out.

I've gotten a bit behind in mentioning the Mistborn 3 annotations. The most recent additions mention the creation of Inquisitors and how to defeat Ruin, Spook as the Survivor of the Flames, Marsh *spoiler*ing Penrod, and Yomen's backstory.

Finally, it looks like Amazon has put up a new page for THE WAY OF KINGS—and this time it's for the real thing, unlike the old page with its hilarious reviews. The page count they list is optimistic (the text would have to be tiny; depending on how the book is designed I expect the final count to be north of 800 pages), but the rest of it, including the release date, should be pretty much right. Assuming I get my revisions done on time and to my satisfaction! Right now I'm back hard at work at TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, which I'm guessing will come out more toward the end of November 2010 rather than exactly a year after THE GATHERING STORM. Anyway, there will be more here on THE WAY OF KINGS in the months to come. Stay tuned.