Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sell out? Ambassadorial? My People? The Other?

Please excuse me for the post of this title. I just couldn't come up with an appropriate subject line.

By some weird confluence of cosmic racial thought floating through the ether, I found myself looking at three different takes on the same subject:

First Nnedi, author of Zahrah the Windseeker, asks if she is a sell-out.

Then Alan Schrager writes a post on on his surprise that a black musician didn't know who Miles Davis is.

And I had posted a comment on in which I listed some multicultural writers. I wrote the list because when I went to the book-signing I was asked about other black writers -- as if I was a font of knowledge. So I decided to make a list to carry with me at different readings. I figure I'll also make a list of Christian writers also. One never knows.

Now, this leads to my point. The typical American writer is usually white and if religious, his/her religion doesn't show up blatantly in his/her book. Not to say the typical American writer isn't religious, just that they don't put a LOVE of GOD into all of their books.

So then, what are we atypicals to do? The typical writer doesn't really have to wonder what the OTHER thinks because he/she is not writing to the other. Oh sure, they will try not to create stereotypical characters but as Cindy Ward and Nisi Shawl, authors of Writing the Other have shown, even then the typicals blunder.

But to the main point: These three posts are asking the same questions: Where does my art belong? Where should it belong? How do I approach my art? Do I owe my readers or myself or the Other anything?

Let's face it, Nnedi's post does cut to the chase: Do people want to read a story about people from another culture? And should we write about folks from another culture?

An aside here: In a nation where supposedly "few" people read, reading can be quite a production. It's not like a rap song which even a country singer might hear and indulge in for 5 minutes. And it's not like a movie --only 2 hours, so we can once in a while peer into the lives of cultures unlike our own. (Okay, okay, most Americans don't really go to foreign movies. Except for maybe a Chinese martial arts film. Some folks even balk at English and Australian movies.)

Now, getting down to the immediate -- me-- I have been thinking about what kind of novel I want to write in the future. Notwithstanding the horrible scary fact that three stories are pushing at my brain, I still have some control about what I put in my novel and about A) how much I want to stand apart from the typical B) how much power I actually have to stand apart. After all, even if I choose to write a book that has no religion in it and that has no black folks in it, will someone actually buy a black book. I won't tell you how many times this kind of conversation goes on in black spec-fic circles and in Christian spec-fic circles.

Lately something happened that made me think. (Never a good thing, trust me.) First I've got to say that I'm a Christian and I like anthropology. To me the search for the true God can be seen in the folklore of all peoples. In Wind Follower, I set up a culture around a Bible verse: "The one wounded in the house of his friends." That created a culture in which hospitality was the highest moral value and betrayal of a friend the lowest.

Lately a story came to me which was trying to be a prequel for Wind Follower. I set out to world-build other culture around another Bible verse and around anthropology. But then, a couple of Christians had a problem with my book. Mostly because of the sex scenes and the violence. In short, I wasn't behaving like ONE OF US, but like ONE OF THEM.

There were other problems too. Stories with how the story was written. Stories about the "culture" in the book. It occurred to me that perhaps there were other issues at play. Christian and specfic and Black! Oh my! That was a stretch of the borderlands that many did not cross. So far, I've met Christians who loved the book and were willing to enter that borderland. I've met non-religious or anti-religious people who also loved the book and didn't mind the religious region they found themselves in. What can I say? I'm pretty ambassadorial? When I write, people from other cultures can identify with the folks they find in my narrative region. Of course, they can only identify if they actually bring themselves to read the thing.

And of course, they can only identify if I don't sell out.
Now I find myself asking, "What do I do? Do I write for the black women I know who only like mainstream stories?" "Do I write for non-Christians and leave the religious stuff aside?" Do I write for those who will read a book populated by no more than two black people? Who are my people? Will they claim me? And what if I sell-out? Who will claim me then?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Juno Authors across the web

Here is a really great spotlight on Sylvia Kelso over at :
Moondancer Drake's Live Journal page

Sylvia's fantasy, THE MOVING WATER (BOOK 2 OF THE RIHANNAR CHRONICLES) - has been shortlisted in the fantasy novel division of the
Aurealis Awards recognising the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers!

The full list is here.

And there's an interview with Carole McDonnell (moi) over at
Fantasy Magazine

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Coming up short

Back in the day -- about two years ago-- I made a vow which I'll call the 2-2-2-2 vow. The upshot of this vow is that EACH year I would always try to end up in 2 fiction anthologies, hook up with 2 printed journal/ezine magazine editors, publish 2 poems in a poetry anthology, and write 2 essays for non-fiction anthologies. Hey, I was a lit major. We valued anthologized stuff. Anyways, here it is... almost 2008 and I haven't finished any short fiction let alone gotten accepted in any anthology. I've come up short.

In my own defense -- I always have something to say in my own defense-- unlike Hemingway who said he wrote his best short stories when he was avoiding his longer novels, I simply cannot truly focus on perfecting a short story when I'm in novel-mode. Either the short story starts becoming a novel, or I just flitter back and forth through all my Works-in-progress or play a computer solitaire game.

So now I'm trying to catch up. And strangely, three Asian-themed stories have popped into my mind. And, yay, one of them is almost finished. It's called So Far and it's written in future tense, second person. It's lovely and I just have to fight my novelistic soul which wants to turn it into a prequel for Wind Follower. ::shaking head here::

Anyway, there I was...all psyched to begin the second short story which wanted to be a monologue and which I decided to name Villager Uncle Li. Yep, my Asian obsession again. (Lord knows when this obsession began. Maybe after I saw the Jet Li movie, Hero.
But I go to my friend's house and her son says to me, "Ever heard of
Herman Li? He's great! As good as Buckethead." So of course, being a gal who listens to music in order to write, I end up spending my thanksgiving listening to Herman Li who, amazingly looks like how I pictured my main character Loic in Wind Follower. I also loved the coincidence and synchronity. The upshot of all this is that I actually felt as if God was urging me to finish my stories. The short ones about gorgeous Asian guys anyway.

Which gets me thinking. How am I gonna pay back all those artists -- visual or musical-- who have inspired me?
Folks like Dwight Yoakam, Jackson Browne,and
Axl Rose.

Yes, yes...although so much of my writing comes from some erotic part in my mind, there are some women aritst out there I actually listen to when I write. I just can't think of them right now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sylvia and her other great hobby

Over the past few months, I've gotten to know Sylvia Kelso, a fellow Juno Author and the author of Amberlight. At first glance, it would seem as if we have very little in common. The main commonality seems to be that both our books are so odd and hard-to-describe. Wind Follower is folkloric fantasy with a Christian multicultural twist and Amberlight is operatic literary feminist fantasy about a matriarchal society. She's in the Australia outback and I'm in an upstate New York suburban hood. I'm black and she's white. (Not that that should matter.) Anyways, we've been emailing back and forth.

We've discovered that we have a whole lotta stuff in common. For instance, we both are avid music lovers and we both play the violin. Okay, I USED to play the violin. That's Sylvia in the middle.

My computer is becoming filled up with photos of Ms Sylvia busking and arvoing and doing all kinds of folkie stuff in cafes, street festivals etc. The woman also fiddles around (::smile::) with moviemaker software. So, for your viewing pleasure.

And, by the way, please check out Amberlight! It's a great book. Poetic, powerful, literary, grand and operatic.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Born to be adored: my first wind follower booksigning

Well, I just returned from my first book signing for Wind Follower. It was a "Calling all authors" thingey to celebrate the anniversary of the local Barnes and Noble.

Anyways, I learned a lot from this experience so here goes.

First thing I learned: Do NOT eat mackerel and coconut before a book signing. I don’t know what possessed me but I just had to make the stuff. (It’s called run-down, by the way and it’s a Jamaican delicacy.) One spends the entire time asking one’s sitting mate: Do I smell fishy? (And of course the honest ones alsways say, “yes, you do.” So I was constantly going to the bathroom to wash my hands.)

Second thing I learned: Do NOT trust your older son to bring the car up in time. Just don’t. All night partying etc just doesn’t give way to mom-trying-to-be famous. I had to take a cab to the signing. That kid owes me.

I enter and Nick Olivieri, the CRM who is coordinating the event, is busy moving things and arranging things. The guy is good, let me tell you. Props!

Well, I noticed – cause well I noticed– that the writer I was sitting beside had her amazon reviews all printed out in front of her. Immediately, I tapped Nick. (I got really good at tapping and nagging the poor guy but he was a sport.) Could he go online and go to my website for my reviews? Ten minutes later, he returns with printed copies of my online reviews.

Next thing that happens, a big vase of roses arrives for yours truly. My friends, Mike and Lisa had sent it. They are responsible for feeding the folks at a local army base around here. I was so happy and just felt super-loved. Hey, nobody else had a dozen roses in front of them.

These things go on forever and if the CRM is an easygoing guy he’ll give everyone two or three chances at the apple. The first time I went up I was wonderful the second time I was flustered. This leads to two bits of education.

Third thing I learned: Have two or more ways of presenting the book. I ended up going up three times. First time was amazing. A real high. Then a second woman went and she read from her book. I realized I hadn't read. So at the end of the first round I got up and said to the people: "Oops, forgot to read!" So I read one of my favorite chapters (not the prologue, which is mighty powerful.) Then on the second round, I spoke again and got nervous cause I had already said what I had to say the first go round. And, after shouting out to the store: "I hope no one here has any torture issues" I read the prologue.

Fourth thing I learned: When you’re nervous don’t tell everyone. Two of the other writers told me they didn’t know I was nervous until I said.

Fifth: Bring business cards, postcards, bookmarks. Okay, okay, I should’ve known this one.

Sixth thing: Create a mailing list made up of names culled from people you met at your last store visit. This co-writing team had tons of visitors. Maybe it was cause they were writing a childcare book for parents, who knows? But while the other eight writers were sitting around looking forlorn, these guys seemed to sell a lot of books. Strangely, though, this leads to

the seventh thing I learned: bond with the other authors. The two aforementioned writers ticked the rest of us off. Not because they had all those fans but because they kept to themselves before and after the event and basically acted as if they were the hottest thing since slice bread. At the end when all the writers were exchanging business cards (see above) and news of future events no one approached these superior biddies who were obviously so convinced they were big fish among unimportant small fry. One of the writers I met is in charge of a writers group tour and she's signed me up to go to the Newburgh signing in January.

Eight thing: bring out the microphone early. Enough said.

Ninth thing: Bring a digital camera. Now I have to wait for Nick to send me a couple of photos from his digital camera.

Tenth thing: Bring something to eat. Or bring money to buy something. Better yet: Bring a gopher. These things go on forever sometimes. Note to self: Older son owes you.

Eleventh thing: Don't be too humble. There was a very kind man there with us. His name was Ralph something or other. He is a professor emeritus from New York University and he self-published a book. But he never got up to speak. He kept saying he hated marketing. We chatted a lot. But I don't quite remember his last name. Not good. I don't even remember the name of his book. Interesting, uh?

Twelth thing: Tell the store about other books you were involved in. I totally forgot about the anthologies I was in: Fiction anthologies such as So Long Been Dreaming, edited by Nalo Hopkinson or Fantastical Visions III edited by William Horner or Nobody Passes: essays on gender and identity, edited by Matt/Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein. He's got a great blog over at Nobody passes blogspot Very painful blog, though. So don't go there unless you can deal with sexual pain. Anyway, the thing is I totally forgot that I could have mentioned these other books.

Thirteenth thing: Bring a written list of Juno Authors or other friends' books. The only other Juno Books I saw in the bookstore were Gail Dayton’s The Eternal Rose and Matt Cook’s Blood Magic. I looked for Amberlight by Sylvia Kelso and several others but couldn’t find them. But, of course, I had to depend on my memory for several names. But there's something else about a list. Folks kept asking me stuff as if I was a font of knowledge. Who were good Black crime fiction writers? I thought of my good friend, Robert Fleming. A great writer. Mentioned him, of course, because his name was at the top of my brain. Mentioned Brandon Massey. Cause I remembered his name. But I didn't mention Walter Moseley. Simply forgot he existed. Other folks asked who some great black spec fic writers were: I mentioned Nnedi and Zahrah the Windseeker. Got messed up on how to spell Nnedi's last name. Wasn't sure if her last book was The Shadow Speaker or The Shadow Seeker. Remembered Tobias Buckell's Ragamuffin and Crystal Rain when someone asked about Black Science Fiction writers. Mentioned Tananarive Due, Sheree Thomas, Nalo Hopkinson, Steven Barnes. But for the most part, I was a total blank. So next time I'm gonna have a publicity packet which includes names and titles of black spec fic writers, black crime writers, black christian writers, and Christian writers. Yep, I've got a month and a half until the Newburgh B&N reading so I've got a lot to do.

Anyways, at the end of the presentation, Nick decided he would have an autograph table. So those of us who were eligible for the benefit were asked to sign some of our books. I signed ten. He had ordered 30 and I think we sold five while I was there. The others will be divided and placed in the Fantasy, Romance, and African American sections. I suggested (Okay, so I'm pushy. I'll admit it.) that he turn Wind Follower face forward so black folks walking in the Fantasy section would see that there was a black character on the cover.) Anyway, I am now in four different sections of the bookstore. I almost asked him to put Wind Follower on one of the endcaps but that would've meant another author being removed. I'm pushy but I'm not selfish. So I let that one go.

Other writers at the reading were:

Carolyn Doggett Smith who has self-published nonfictions such as The Absentee American and Strangers at Home. About American children raised in other countries. The book she was selling is called The House of the Faun: A novel of Pompei. The book is available on amazon and at The house of the faun

There was also Drs Albert and Alvin Silbert, educators who have written a book called, When Bad Grades happen to good kids. The book is on amazon. Their website is Strong learning

Norma Lehmeier Hartie, who is the Grand Prize Winner of the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. Her book, Harmonious Environment, competed against 2,404 total entries this year in nine different categories. Harmonious Environment was also a finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Home & Garden category and a finalist in the Nautilus book awards. Her blogsite is harmoniousenvironment blogspot

Tony Higgins, A Jamaican Welshman now living in NY whose book True Believer: a violent tale of love, Greed, and betrayal is about a cop who finds himself in a governmental conspiracy.

My friends, Dan (also my webmaster), my friend, Margaret, and Christine (who dressed me and photoed me on the book jacket) and my husband's boss, Craig Yoe .

All in all it was fun. And may I say, I was born to be adored. Yep, I’m a ham who just eats up attention. And honestly, I am so lovable... and I have a weird kind of fun-loving quality that is downright catching. So, yeah, I had to tone down all this wonderful personality to let others shine. This kind of thing can become addictive, though. -C

Friday, November 16, 2007

Intros, Second Printings and Stuff

So, this is my introductory posting to the Juno authors' blog. Hi! (waving madly at everyone) My name is Gail, and I'm a bookaholic.

Oh, wait. This isn't a support group meeting--well, except in a nominal way. And honestly, I don't really want to be cured of my addiction. Even the fella has learned to put up with it, though he does get a bit exasperated when I'm reading while (sorta) watching television and I have to keep asking him what just happened. Or when he's talking to me mid-book, and I miss half (or more) of what he said. I love stories so much, I started making them up at an early age, and eventually got round to writing them down.

Anyway, I've been meaning to stop by here and post something for a while now, just hadn't got round to it, (my picture is also under the definition of 'procrastinate' in the dictionary) until our lovely Juno editor shared a bit of news with me this week that I really wanted to share with the rest of you. The Eternal Rose, by Gail Dayton, (that's me) has gone back for a second printing.

This means there will be lots and lots of books out there for y'all to pick up and read. Nobody has to go away hungry. :) Yes, Eternal Rose is the final book in a trilogy, but I think you can read it and enjoy it without having read the first two. Of course, if you read the first two books, it will give the third greater depth, but...

The book has magic, and gladiatorial-style trials-by-combat, and sex, and vengeance, and demons, and all kinds of fun stuff.

It's been a long and bumpy road to reach this point, and I am truly happy Juno has given me the chance to publish this book with them.

I'm going to work really hard to get back here and post at least once a month. If y'all want to drop by, I have a personal blog at Dreaming in Daylight where I post at least weekly--sometimes more often, if I'm feeling industrious (and not lost in too many books--the less I read, the more I do stuff like post blogs). I write about my walks on the beach, and the events I get to attend with the fella and sometimes I write about the writing. It's hard for me to write very much about that, because it's almost like--if I talk too much about it, all the fairy dust will get away and it will lose its magic. And that's what storytelling is to me--capturing the magic and getting it down on paper.

Speaking of which, I'd better get busy. I have revisions on my shaman-warrior princess story to put into the computer, and world building notes to type in for an SF story about psychic gene-altered people in space. I have them written out, but I want to put them in the computer so I have a couple of back-ups.

Y'all take care. And if you haven't read The Eternal Rose, why not?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A poem


There've been some delays, but at latest word The Sarsen Witch should be out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, Carole's two poems have motivated me to post one of my own. "Avebury", written some years ago, was inspired by a visit to the megalithic sites in Wiltshire.

Ravaged giants rooted in primordial chalk
sleep now in this mild September light.
Where sheep crop the long grass among the stones
old gods, unvanquished, linger at the edge of sight.

What grand conceits our mutable histories have built
around these interrupted symmetries:
Druid temples, sepulchres, and altars
to esoteric Roman deities

like Terminus, the motionless god;
celestial observatories,
linchpins in the cosmic axle-tree,
the pivot-stones
around which the moon and stars and planets spin.

But look slantwise, at sundown,
and the stones are inhabited by familiar ghosts:
priestesses, shamans, warriors,
sentries vigilant at their posts

and dancers frozen in the first measures
of some vast pavane,
their obdurate, ungainly shapes
poised in timeless equilibrium.

Gnarled and twisted by eternities
of wind and weather
two stones like gossiping old women
lean their gaunt heads together,
their sly whispered commentaries lost
in the restless murmuring of the long grass.

In Love Again

Well it's happened. I've fallen in love with Danny, my main character of my WIP, Inheritance.

I'm listening to:
Nancy Wilson's How Glad I am,
The Vogues' You're the One,
and Dwight Yoakam's The Heart That You Own
Yep, I've got it bad.

His name's Danny. He's real cute. Actually, no. He's not as cute as all that. I describe him as having a pleasant-but-non-descript face. I read somewhere that the face of a main character shouldn't be described too much. Something about reader identification and reader wishes and reader libido. Whoever said that -- sorry I forgot-- probably gave far better reasons than I could probably think of, but I think his/her assessment is pretty right on. Beauty and individual tastes vary so much. In my case, although my other WIP contains two absolutely beautiful men, I honestly like guys with pleasant non-descript faces.

Anyways, my past crushes aside, I'm glad this crush is kinda taking me over. I'm more likely to finish the novel that way. Of course hubby will have to live with this crush of mine.

I don't know how it is for other women writers but I become absolutely hard to live with whenever I fall in love with a main character. My hubby, Luke, was safe when I was writing Wind Follower because Loic (WF's main character) was based on my sweet teenage son...a kid I wanted to strangle every minute of the day. But Danny... Ah, Danny! He'll be a problem for the beloved husband.

Unfortunately, in creating a perfect male character for my female character I ALWAYS think about the guy's perfect sense of humor, his perfect body --yeah, Danny has a wonderful body-- his insightful understanding of the heroine. Dangerous thoughts all. Then the next thing I know: I'm falling in love with some guy literally created for a female character. And I begin whining and complaining at hubby and telling him all his flaws.

Mercifully, I am somewhat morbidly introspective. I can never quite delude myself into thinking that my nagging is part of the creative process. I get all guilt-ridden and upset with myself ...and yet, the crush remains. Prayers, emails from writer friends, long weepy phone conversations with friends about "what exactly constitutes a true love" --All of no avail. The crush --masturbatory and insane and narcissistic as it is-- tends to continue until I finish the story. Then miraculously, the love spell breaks.

That's when --I swear! This ALWAYS happens-- I realize the created character actually reminds me of my hubby. I say to him, "Sweetie, you're my true love!"

So, whether I know it or not. After Inheritance is accepted by a publisher and on book shelves, I'm going to realize in a blinding flash of spiritual light, that Danny has been living with me all along, that unreal imagined Danny is really the living-breathing Luke lying at night beside me in bed. And how wonderful that will be!

In the meantime, here are the latest Wind Follower doings:
A review at:

A post on Mirathon's blog

An interview in Fantasy Magazine

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The First Person Point of View

I have a short article titled "The First Person Point of View" in this month's issue of Vision - A Resource for Writers. This is the start of a series of lessons and experiences as I try to teach my kids to write fiction. Check out this one. Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Don't Throw Anything Away

“Don’t throw anything away.”

That was the best advice I took away with me from my very first writer’s convention. The speaker was a seasoned writer who shared a bad experience with his audience. Years before he’d written something – an article, a short story, something he hadn’t been able to sell, and he’d thrown it away, only to discover at a later date that he had a market for it. But…too late!

I was a raw beginner without enough written, let alone publishable, to throw away. But I took his words to heart, and I’ve never stopped being grateful for them.

Segue forward a few years. At that point I had sold a few children’s stories. I’d just written another story I thought was a lot of fun. I began my marketing efforts with one of the best paying magazines – Highlights for Children, a market to which I’d sold four children’s stories. (Another good piece of advice I’d picked up at a convention – always start at the top with the best paying markets and work your way down. You can always go down, but you can’t go up!) Highlights rejected my story as did every other children’s magazine I tried. Feeling thoroughly trounced I relegated the story to a drawer in my desk.

Time went by, but I couldn’t forget that little story in the drawer. I pulled it out, reread it, and decided maybe I should try telling the story from another point of view. I rewrote the story, and began my marketing efforts again. Still no luck. After a series of rejection slips, back in the drawer went the story.

More time went by. Now I had sold a couple of children’s books to Scholastic. One day I received a call from my agent at that time. Scholastic was looking for early chapter books. Did I have a manuscript that might work?

As soon as she told me what constituted an early chapter book, I said yes. (Here’s another good piece of advice I picked up from another writer: Say yes and worry about the details later. As in, “Can you write the Great American Novel?” Oh, absolutely, and pardon me while I go off somewhere and have a quiet panic attack.)

To be honest, I was thinking about that little children’s story that was probably less than 1000 words long. Somehow I needed to make it about 12,000 words, but I knew that I had a solid plot. I had a cute twist at the end, too, and with more characters and maybe a secondary plot to thread through the story….

Well, it got written and sent off to Scholastic. They loved it and bought it, and paid me a lot more than a magazine would pay for a short story.

“Don’t throw anything away.”

The first article I ever had published was paid for in copies. It was entitled “How To Make Breakfast Your Favorite Meal.” Years later, I came across a market –
Bestways Magazine – looking for food related articles. I dusted off the breakfast article, tweaked it here and there, and sent it to Bestways. They bought it and published it. A few years later, I rewrote about 25% of the article and sold it again – to a different market.

Don’t throw…. Well, you get my drift. As for Master of Shadows, the novel that Juno Books just published, I wrote it 15 years ago and couldn’t sell it because it wasn’t a standard romance. It went into a drawer, only to be pulled out about three years ago when I thought I had a possible new market. Unfortunately, although the editor loved it, the company went bankrupt before the book was published.

When I read Juno’s guidelines for their paranormal romances, I really had to argue with myself that sending them Master of Shadows would be a good thing. And when Paula e-mailed me to say that she liked what she’d read and wanted to buy the book, I almost fell off my chair. I remember staring at the monitor and pinching myself.

And maybe that’s why I have a big cupboard in my office with a lot of dusty boxes in it. You can guess what’s in those boxes and in the file cabinets. Because you just never know! And so I never throw anything – at least anything in my office – away!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Me and my daughter at World Fantasy 2007

Wfcmeandchloe I'm totally wiped out, coming down with a cold. I slept horribly the whole time we were out there, and dragged through the days like a zombie. I did get some great pics though, which shows that even zombies can handle today's tech with little or no brain activity.

Click the pics to see them larger.

Before I get started: Alice, you made all this happen! We wouldn't have made it to Saratoga Springs without your perseverance, patience, low-sleep driving skills, scrupulous tile-bleaching, and tolerance of my bad behavior. Thank you.

World Fantasy 2007 was simply amazing. I didn't know what to expect. This is a professional and "serious reader" conference with editors and agents and authors running around, lunching, doing business in the halls. I hardly saw Paula Guran, had a five minute chat with her and Matt Cook (Blood Magic), and then she was gone, off presumably doing the things editors do at these kinds of get togethers. When I did see her later, she looked too busy to stop and talk.

I took my daughter Chloe along with me on this one, and we had a good time tracking down her favorite authors, Scott Westerfeld, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix, (some of mine, too), and getting them to sign books--which all were happy to do.

We sat in on quite a few panels, but I think these were the best:

  • How a Book Cover is Chosen. Irene Gallo, Jacob Weisman, Tom Kidd, Lou Anders, John Picacio.
  • The Best Fantasy Worlds. Kathleen Woodbury, Delia Sherman, Joel Champetier, Charlaine Harris
  • Ghosts and Revenants Down Under. Garth Nix, Jack Dann, Robert Hood, Kaaron Warren, Deborah Biancotti

  • Reading: Young Adult Writers group reading. Holly Black, Cassie Clare, Sarah Beth Durst, Tiffany Trent.

I'll stop here to point out that Delia Sherman is amazing, and Charlaine Harris is hilarious, but even Charlaine couldn't compete with the Aussies.

The Australian authors were the funniest group there, ranging all over the fantastic map with Australian themes for stories, poisonous insects and snakes, isolation as a fundamental influencer in Australian lit, and they even broke out in song with Garth Nix leading several lines of Waltzing Mathilda.

We hit the autograph session late Friday and got a few more pics. I met Maria Lima, and Chloe scouted out the authors she wanted sigs from.

Wfcfantasyworldspanel Wfcbookcover

Fantasy Worlds, Book Covers

Wfcaussies Wfcyareadinghollyblack

Australian authors, YA Reading

Wfcmainarea Wfcloismcmasterbujold

The main reception area / me and Lois McMaster Bujold in front of the Prime Books table. (Wow!)

Wfcjimfrenkelcraigsgardner Sarahbethdurst

Jim Frenkel of Tor and Craig Shaw Gardner / Chloe with Sarah Beth Durst

Wfcbrucecoville Wfctamorapierce

Chloe getting (another) autograph from Bruce Coville, and then from Tamora Pierce.

Wfchollyblackchloe Wfccassieclare

Chloe with Holly Black, and a little later getting Cassandra Clare's autograph.

Wfcscottwesterfeld Wfcgarthnix

Chloe and Scott Westerfeld, and Garth Nix signing Sabriel for Chloe.

I am going to do my best to get to World Fantasy 2008 in Calgary. Hope to see you there.

Two Poems

Well, I'm working on my WIP, Inheritance and decided to drop the paranormal (kinda) altogether. ::rolls eyes:: There go some nano-numbers. Anyway, I want a gently magically realistic interracial love story. Yep, am aiming for gentle and sweet. ::smile:: Now, for those of you who didn't know I was a poet, here are two poems:

POEM #1: SNOW WHITE (This is one of a series of poems all based around fairy tale characters)

I do not like the name: Snow White.
No one could be that pure.
But, accepting it, let us move on.
Such purity,
existing in a world as political as a castle,
could be daunting, unnerving.
And for a beautiful queen,
learned in intrigue,
reared in flattery,
such purity would not only be daunting,
but also an affront.

I am thinking of a girl I met in college,
an idealist at twenty,
who wrote untouched,
unbroken songs,
about white unicorns.

This girl was hard to stomach.
And not that I spent hours
in front of mirrors--
but simply looking into the mirror of her songs
showed how diminished,
broken and unwhole
my songs were.

This is not to say
I side with the queen.
Only that I understand.


I fear my mother will,
upon her death, become omnipresent;
all-knowing, all-powerful.
I shall be in my lover's house
safeguarded - I think-
from the eyes of my husband.
I shall be about to come
when just at the wrong time
in that pervasive darkness,
my mother's invisible right hand
will make itself known.
And a voice - hers: I will recognize it-
will demand
that I rise up and go home.
She will pull the blanket protectively,
over my naked breasts
And I,
embarrassed, and mother-beaten,
will retrieve my clothes from the floor
and go home.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A web site for Seaborn

Saltwaterwitchcom I've just started goofing with a web site (a page or two really) for my novel Seaborn. It won't be in stores for months, but I figure I can't be too early for some things. Got to start building a presence and momentum now. As far as domain names, was taken, but I've picked up,,, and, and I'll probably alias them all to one.

Anyway, I'd love it if you took a look at my first pass and commented here on what you think. If you click the pic on the left, you'll see a screenshot of the site. Click the link below to see the latest--which may or may not have changed:

One of the things I'm particularly interested in knowing is how it appears in different browsers. I'm checking with IE7 and FF2, but I don't have Safari, Opera or others. Let me know how it looks Safari (and iPhone) users!

Seaborn cover art by Tim Lantz

See more of Tim Lantz's work at the gallery page at Juno Books. I absolutely love it. What do you think? See a little bit larger pic on Tim Lantz's dA page: (I've already ordered prints) or

Or you can click the pic to see it larger.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Wind Follower December Book Tour

Well, Folks, the Wind Follower tour has begun. I feel so blessed. Most new books aren't helped along like this when they enter the world. But to have a blog tour! It just makes my heart leap with joy. I owe these folks mucho.

So far, it's been great. A few bloggers had problem with the sex in the story, some with instances of violence, some with the writing style. Some don't think my Characters are very "good" or they think the ending is depressing. But hey, if we use that criteria Abraham, David and all those Bible heroes are also evil. And the end of the Bible would have to be depressing cause in that also only a remnant of the people of earth are saved. I can only say that Loic's religion is one based on "a faithful acceptance of God's love for him", not on how "good" or noble or well-behaved he is. As for my character Satha being unladylike, I can only say that when you marry into a culture different than you own, you incorporate the extreme aspects of those cultures. Someone who converts to one religion from another is often more religious than those born into it. As for the sex scenes, honestly, there is nothing even vaguely lustful about the sex scenes in Wind Follower. The various sex scenes show a fearful manipulative teenager trying to get a woman pregnant so she'll stay with him, a rape, sex between two life-wounded people trying to put their shattered lives together, and the Abraham-Hagar sex scene as it probably was.

I celebrate humanity. What can I say?

Anyways, check out the interview at Shades of Romance . There'll be a review sometime during the month on Shades of Romance Blog

The folks involved in the Christian Fiction Review Blog will be posting stuff from Dec 2 - Dec 8. So if something isn't up on their respective sites yet, it will be up later.

Christian Fiction Review Blog
Disturbing The Universe: Reviews And Rants
Queen of Convolution
The Lost Genre Guild
The land of my sojourn

The Writers of Color Blog Tour participants are:
East of Mars
Greg Banks
Rachel Lindley
Moondancer Drake's blog

Other interviews and reviews --from folks not in the tour-- can be found here:

Info on this tour also found at these sites:
Dark parables
Carole Mcdonnell Blog
Fiction beyond the ordinary blog

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I do it in public...

Where do I write? In public.

My local Panera Bread, mainly (that's me: the guy with the 2-day shadow, hunting and pecking on a laptop near the window, drinking a large coffee at 7:30 most mornings - pull up a chair and set a spell). I've also "done time" and cranked out the pages in such notable locales as Caribou Coffee, Tim Horton's (curse you, delicious-yet-sugary Tim Bits!!) and humble ol' McDonalds.

I'm not sure why, but the constant ebb and flow of people, the gentle buzz of conversation and the welcoming smiles of the dimpled, shockingly awake counter girls always gets my sluggish creative juices flowing. The deadline I'm under each and every morning (I have to leave for work at 8:45, whether I've written my required 3-6 pages or not) keeps me focused.

I am, in fact, writing this in that selfsame Panera right this moment, in preparation for my departure for the World Fantasy convention in New York. Hope I don't wreck my car this time.

So, allow me to send out a huge shout-out to my "peeps" in the early morning java and bagel biz - yo, Desiree, Tammy and even that scary guy with the hedgehog hair, lazy-crazy eye and soul patch in Tim Horton's - you'll never know how much of you has made it into my books... somewhere.