Scary title, huh? Fortunately, it's not as sinister as it might sound.
is a series on author Lawrence Schoen
's blog wherein he asks guests to speak about a memorable meal. He asked me me recently, and I came up with what I hope is a unique spin on it. A little bit of live seafood plucked from Shetland's craggy seaside...
I've included a photo of Sage since he features prominently in the tale.
If you're interested you can read about it HERE!
Labels: Random Ruminations, Sage Anthony Durham
Good Lord Bird
I'm thrilled to hear that James McBride's new novel, The Good Lord Bird
just won the National Book Award
! I've always thought he was a terrific fiction writer that didn't quite get his due from the literary establishment.
Miracle at St. Anna (Movie Tie-in)
was a good read, an intricate novel of WW2 seen through the eyes of African-American soldiers. I didn't feel the Spike Lee movie did it justice, but I was still happy to see it get made.
Song Yet Sung
, his second novel, was wonderful too. Historical again, but with a touch of prophecy and magic. I reviewed it for the Washington Post.
I really enjoyed The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
, his first nonfiction book. It was quite a touching autobiographical work. That one sold a bunch of copies and still does.
That's great, but it's got to be super-great to win the National Book Award, coming out on top of a rather impressive list of candidates. I haven't read it yet, but I know to expect good things.
Congrats, Mr. McBride.
Labels: Award Stuff, Other Authors
has a Mind Meld
post up about: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Genre Series: Series vs. Standalones; Ones We Abandoned; Ones We Returned To
This is wherein several authors/critics respond to the topic prompt.
I'm pleased to have had it pointed out (thanks Zach) that the Acacia Trilogy
got three mentions - and some further chat in the comments! What nice people...
You can read their thoughts HERE.
Labels: Acacia, Other Authors, Recommendations
A View From Massachusetts...
...on the matter of signing up for health insurance via the new exchanges.
Some years back the family and I moved back to the States after a few years living in Scotland. We were young, but we had children and figured we should look into getting health coverage. (I won't even go into the shock to the system is was to have to exchange the NHS for the American... well, lack
of a viable system. That's another discussion.) At that point, all we could do was get online and on the phone, calling up the companies directly. Little did I know what I was inviting.
For weeks after we got bombarded by phone calls, emails and promotional material, all trying to win us over to one plan or another. It was kinda crazy. For one, it was impossible to really tell the different plans apart and to have any idea what was in them. For another, the waste of it all was staggering. Long phone conversations that left me none the wiser. Big, glossy, photograph-heavy tomes filled with smiling people and promises of benevolent care. I couldn't help wondering how much money they were spending on all of it, and couldn't help feeling that all of it was unnecessary and wasteful.
Who did we chose? Well, we didn't. It was all too expensive for us at the time, and I didn't trust any of the plans would be there for us if we really needed them. We went uninsured for several years, until we moved out of state and were insured through several teaching jobs that I took over the next three years.
But eventually I left those and we came back to MA. A new MA, one in which Mitt Romney's healthcare reforms were in effect. Now I had to deal with the exchanges, and I had no choice but to be covered one way or another. I wasn't thrilled, but...
Man, was it clearer and more reassuring to go through the exchanges. All the information was in one place. All of it easier to understand and compare. Not hard sells and glossy photos and grand promises... Just information about what was offered, what it cost and what the details were. For a moment there I felt like they'd hired someone from Britain to design the website - meaning it made sense, was clear and un-intimidating, and actually tended to answer the questions I had.
I still think it's unfortunate that a for-profit business serves as the middle man between people and the healthcare they need, but if that has to be the law of the land I can attest to how much more efficient the system is with a bit of reasonable government oversight. At least I understand what I'm signing up for, and it feels like there's greater accountability from the insurers since the information is presented publicly and for all.
I don't know how the new exchanges are going to work nationwide, but if they're anything like my experience here... well, it ain't the system I would choose, but it's a lot better than the status quo.
Labels: Random Ruminations
Oh, I just got something neat in the mail today. It's this:
That being Jeff VanderMeer's supercool, illustrated craft book
- all about writing Imaginative Fiction. It's totally beautiful (with artwork by Jeremy Zerfoss) and full of wisdom from Jeff himself, and from a ton of other folks as well. See, Jeff knows people. When he asks for creative consultations and contributions, we come running. That's why it's got articles and such from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, Lauren Beukes, Charles Yu, Karin Lowachee, Catherynne M. Valente, Michael Moorcock, and many others, as well as a long
exclusive discussion about craft with George R.R. Martin.
For some reason it's even got me in it. Yep, my name is right there on the back, wedged in between Kim Stanley Robinson and Joe Abercrombie. I'm just across from Karen Joy Fowler and I could tap Ursula K. Leguin and Catherynne M. Valente on the shoulder. I could tickle Neil Gaiman (not that I'd dare) and step on Lev Grossman's toes (not that I'd want to or anything - just saying).
Anyway, I am pleased to be in it, but mostly I'm happy to have it. It's a lovely resource. Not on sale yet, but soon. It's here on Amazon.com - Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction
I like it. I really like it. As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to read it...
Labels: Creative Process, Jeff VanderMeer, Other Authors, Writing Life
Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat
Here's a thing - Mary Robinette Kowal
and K. Tempest Bradford
are running an awesome sounding retreat next year:
"Many authors struggle to write beyond what they know and write the other. While conventions are tackling this material, there is frequently not enough time to delve into this tricky and nuanced skill. The Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat is designed to have lessons and conversations at a more advanced level. By pairing it with a retreat, we give the participants an opportunity to work on projects in a nurturing environment. This week long event gives you one on one time with the instructors David Anthony Durham, Tempest Bradford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward."
Hey, I'm in there! Which is nice for me. What's nice for folks doing this is the other folks teaching and the wonderful setting.
Check out what's on offer.
Labels: Angry Black Woman, Mary Robinette Kowal
The Horseman May Yet Ride
So, my first novel, Gabriel's Story
, has been optioned for development as a film for like eight years. Eight years. There's a producer, Uberto Pasolini
, a director, Alan Taylor
, and a script, written by Alan. But no film.
I'm always thrilled when Uberto renews the option. Thrilled because he's staying devoted to the project. Thrilled because he cares about it and wants to see it in film and is willing to put his time into it over a span of years. I just got public reconfirmation of this when I came across this piece in Screen Daily
: Venice best director Pasolini talks new projects
. (It's IMDB'd HERE.
) It's about a number of projects and is, in part, about his newest film, Still Life
. But the part I dig is:
"Meanwhile, he is still working with director Alan Taylor (Palookaville, Thor) on The Horseman, a western adapted from David Anthony Durham’s civil war set novel, Gabriel’s Story."
That's good news. And, yes, that was Thor
attached to Alan Taylor's name. He's directing the new Thor movie, coming out in November, I think. He's done a few indie films, but is a veteran director of HBO dramas, including Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Sex & The City, Six Feet Under
- just to name a few. Rumor has it he may also be doing the first of the new Terminator
movies. It worries me that he's so busy, but then again success is a good thing, yes?
Maybe some of it will rub off...
Labels: Alan Taylor, Films, Gabriel's Story, Uberto Pasolini
O Povo Das Criancas Divinas
Unfettered in EBook Format
Shawn Speakman's fantasy anthology, Unfettered, is available as an ebook as of today! It's got great stories by lots of great authors in it. The table of contents looks like this:
- Foreword by Patrick Rothfuss
- Introduction: On Becoming Unfettered
- Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks (a precursor to the Word/Void trilogy)
- How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss (a Four Corners tale)
- River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (a Wheel of Time tale)
- The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
- Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
- Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey (a precursor to the Kushiel series)
- Dogs by Daniel Abraham
- Mudboy by Peter V. Brett (a Demon Cycle tale)
- The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian (a Vault of Heaven tale)
- The Coach With Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore
- Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood (a Summer Dragon tale)
- Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton
- The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne (an Iron Druid tale)
- Select Mode by Mark Lawrence (a Broken Empire tale)
- All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
- Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth (a Struck epilogue tale)
- Nocturne by Robert V. S. Redick
- Unbowed by Eldon Thompson (a Legend of Asahiel tale)
- In Favour With Their Stars by Naomi Novik (a Temeraire tale)
- The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan (a Riyria Chronicles tale)
- The Duel by Lev Grossman (a Magicians tale)
- Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks (a Shannara tale)
- The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman (an Annwn Cycle tale)
Pretty cool, huh?Check HERE for more information.
Labels: Michael Stein, Other Authors
Legacy Award Nominees
I had the pleasure of serving as one of the judges for this year's Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards. This is an award for black writers from around the world, so long as their book was published in the US.
There were some very good books in the mix - as there are every year. Some featured contemporary issues, some looked at history, many had truly international perspectives and settings.
The winners haven't been announced yet, but the nominees have.
You can check them out HERE.
Labels: Hurston/Wright Foundation