Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Danny MacAskill

I know this is random, but... Wow. This is too cool. A very unique way to travel from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye. Some of this stuff... how is it possible?

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Write Angles (Belated)

Offering another post written months ago but not published!

Here's a first. I was recently asked to be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Write Angles Conference.

What is Write Angles? Here's what they say:

Now in its 29th year, WriteAngles is Western New England’s premier conference by writers, for writers. At this one-day gathering, you’ll mix with experienced writers and agents in panel discussions, hands-on workshops, face-to-face meetings, and in casual networking opportunities. The affordably priced conference fee includes a continental breakfast and a bountiful buffet lunch. The conference is held in Mount Holyoke College’s gracious Willits-Hallowell Center in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Past Keynoters have included Valerie Martin, Richard Russo, Julia Glass, Dennis Lehane, Patricia Smith, Andre Dubus, and Ann Hood - just to name a few. Now me? Yikes.

I was actually a panelist at this a few years back. Fun event. But this is the first time anybody has called me a "keynote" anything. Apparently I'm up at the podium for 45 minutes. Good thing I have until October to come up with something to say!

Wait. October isn't that far away...

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

From Russia with (Belated) Love

My first installment of a post that I wrote but never published. This refers, by the way, to the winter Stonecoast residency, not the summer one that just happened. So, that makes this about six months old...

Look what I just got my hands on for the first time, some seven years or so after publication...

Recognize the author? Neither do I. But... it's me! It's the Russian edition of Pride of Carthage. The publisher never sent me an author copy (scoundrels!). Several kind people have tried to find it over the years, all to no avail. I'd resolved myself to never seeing the thing in person.

And then enter Amy Bai, a new student at the beloved Stonecoast MFA Program...

I had the pleasure of reading her application, and I got to correspond with her as I tried (gracefully, you know) to win her over to Stonecoast. In the course of our exchange I learned her husband, Art. (aka Artëm Evgenyevitch Bai), was Russian. I told her my story of woe. She was on it. Or, more exactly, her world traveling husband was on it. Did he find it in Russia? He tried, but no. But he did find it, apparently, at a used bookstore in Israel!

Amy delivered it to me on the first day of the residency. Awesome. I was totally surprised. Thank you Amy and Art. You can check out Amy's website HERE.

Now... I'm still missing that Romanian edition... Anybody?

Belated. Like, Really....

Oh my. It's been ages since I posted here. What's up with that? I dunno. Facebook steels some of my thunder, I guess. Anyway, I opened up the hold Blogger thinking I'd do a little post only to discover that when I'd left off blogging here I had several drafts of posts pretty much ready to go. They've languished!

Silly me. Let me make amends, though.

Before I post anything new, I'll post a few things old. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Birthday Stuff

Yesterday was my wife's birthday. There were a number of presents involved, but two of the nicest came from our kids. Maya produced the following original card:

Not to be outdone, Sage produced an original story. For your reading pleasure, the text:

Gudrun the Fair Isle Fairy
-a birthday story by Sage Anthony Durham

Gudrun raced through the woods, feet flying over the hard earth. Her bare soles crunched the leaves of fall beneath them, but she didn’t even hear them. All she could think about was getting to the otter. She didn’t know why but she knew she had to get to it. She had a bad feeling. And when she had bad feelings it meant something. Maybe the birth had gone wrong. The otter wasn’t due for another month, but…

Oh, she just ran. Good thing she had her trainers and spin gear on. Suddenly she was slipping and sliding down the stones toward the beach. Sure enough the otter had given birth. The pups were sooo cute. Small and lovely, eyes closed and looking like the best things ever. But… something was definitely wrong. She could see it in the mother otter’s eyes and hear it in her breath and feel it in her heart beat.

And then she knew. The otter pups were too small. Of course! It was a really early birth so the pups wouldn’t have nearly enough fat to stay warm in the North Atlantic. But that wasn’t all. They were cool to the touch, not warm like new pups should be. They needed to be heated up and soon. The sun was sinking into the hills and in the east a raucous gathering of clouds promised a storm. There was going to be weather, no doubt.

 Gudrun looked around. The landscape, bare and craggy and beautiful as it was, offered no help. Not a person to be seen. It was all on her. She inhaled. All on her. Nobody watching. That was bad, but it also meant one good thing...

With no witnesses, Gudrun pulled her knitting needles from the quiver on her back. Quick as an Elfen archer, she began to work her magic. She reached up and snatched at the last golden rays of the setting sun. The staccato click of her needles snapped away on the wind, but she didn’t falter. She wove the sunlight into glimmering yarn.

And she knitted. Oh, she knitted. This was her magic, something only she could do.

She worked fast, as was her style. When she was done the pups were snuggled up in warm gold hats, cardigans, scarves and pants; all of them pulsing with sunlight. Gudrun was content that the pups would live and grow up to be big and healthy, for they were covered in the magic of a Fair Isle fairy, a rare, secret breed, one of the last of the species.

 That day, feeling young and fit and in control of herself and her skills and her meaning in the world, Gudrun set off to look for other animals in need. She helped forty animals that day and saved forty lives. Next year, she’d aim to help forty-one.

Better with age, of course.

More magical.

(Not bad, huh?)

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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Pleased to point you toward a new craft/writing exercise book that's coming out later this month.

It's the latest edition of the Now Write! series, focusing on SFF this time around. I'm one of the contributors. Only one, though, as there's a long list of distinguished folks involved. I'm just pleased to be one of them.

Check it out HERE.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Clarion 2014

You know I dig Stonecoast and think it's an awesome program for anyone that wants a Master of Fine Arts but that happens to be writing speculative fiction. It's a big commitment, though. What about a program that's shorter, tighter? I have a favorite for that as well: The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshops.

I didn't attend as a student, but I did have the pleasure of teaching there a few years back. Great experience. An intense experience for the students, no doubt, but well worth it. It's competitive, but if you get in you're thrown together with around twenty other talented writers. Six weeks at the lovely University of California at San Diego campus. Each week a new instructor comes in to run the workshops. Each week you produce a new story. Much awesomeness transpires. If you look at the website alumni page you'll see a whose who of SFF stars. I'm not kidding.

A sampling of alums: Tobias Buckell, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, James Patrick Kelly, Kelly Link, Marjorie Liu, Kim Stanley Robinson, just to drop a few names. And of instructors: Steven Barnes, Holly Black, Orson Scott Card, Robert Crais, Ellen Datlow, Samuel R. Delany, Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Joe and Gay Haldeman, Elizabeth Hand, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Kij Johnson, Jonathan Lethem, George R. R. Martin, Tim Powers, John Scalzi, Delia Sherman Dean, Connie Willis, Gene Wolfe and, okay, I've got to stop... But the list goes on!

By the end of the six weeks you not only are on first name basis with some of the top writers in the genre, you've also got a bunch of new friends and colleagues. I really think it's a terrific program. I'm saying so now because the application period is in full swing. If the prospect of such a program interests you at all, please go check the website out and consider making the jump to sending in an application. I reckon some of the folks that went through the program would mark it as a career-making moment in their lives. Just saying. And the faculty this year is awesome! They are every year. I never fail to be impressed - and a bit jealous of the students that get to hang out with these folks in the eucalyptus scented air of Southern Cali.

Oh, and you get to go to San Diego Comic-Con on the side. No kidding.

Here's some of the official blurbage:

Applications for the 2014 Clarion Workshop are now open and will remain open until March 1, 2014.  If you've been thinking about applying, now's the time.  On February 15th, the application fee will increase from $50 to $65.  Just our way of encouraging applicants to finish sooner rather than later.  We've got a wonderful faculty anxious to share the secrets of great writing with a new class of promising students, one of whom might be you!  Let Gregory Frost, Geoff Ryman, Catherynne Valente, N.K. Jemisin, Ann VanderMeer, and Jeff VanderMeer give you the rocket fuel to power your career.

If you're accepted, we'll do our best to make it possible for you to attend.  Thanks to Clarion's friends and supporters, there is scholarship money for those who need it. In addition to general scholarships, there are special grants for students of color, students age 40 and older, students who are affiliated with Michigan State University, and students who are affiliated with UCSD.

Website is HERE!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gudrun's Got A Creative Bug

The famous Shetland Trader knitwear designer is at again. A new thing this time. She's gone video!

Gudrun's first Creative Bug knitting video is live now. It's an instructional video for a lovely lace cardigan. Got knitting? You might want to give a look, then. Personal tutelage and all that. Lots of explanations and details.

The shooting of the video was quite a thing. They flew Gudrun out to San Francisco for the better part of a week to shoot several different projects. This first one was the most complicated in that during the filming they had to work backwards, ripping out stitches and essentially unmaking the cardigan in the process. But in the video everything's been rearranged. A bit mind bending, but it worked!

The other cool thing is that they do a short (free) intro video about each designer. For Gudrun's they sent a guy out to film in our home and environs for an entire day. Out of all of that he edited down to a few minutes. If you want a glimpse of where we live and what sort of stuff we get up to (walking the dog and crazy things like that) take a look.

The clip is HERE.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Wild Cards related things...

One is that after a long time sitting on it, I think I can finally display the cover art for the forthcoming Wild Card novel, Lowball. What gives me particular pleasure is that my character, Marcus Morgan (aka The Infamous Black Tongue), is featured on the cover! The kid owns it.

Check it out:
It sill needs all the covery-bits added, but that's the image. Love it. You know what's even better? My son Sage was instrumental in creating this character. To hear him tell it, he did create the character. Don't believe it for a minute. ;)

The artist is Michael Kormack. Check out his work HERE.

The reason I think it's okay to show this now is that George RR Martin has it up on his website. He's using it to illustrate the page with an excerpt from Lowball. And you know what's even better than that? The excerpt is from my multi-part story, "Those About to Die..." Awesome. In all likelihood it'll be on GRRM's site for ages, since the next book - the last in this trilogy - won't be out for a while yet. I'm going to be in that one too. Actually, I'm working like crazy to deliver my contribution by the end of this month. Wish me luck on that, please.

Anyway, should you want to check out the excerpt, it's available HERE.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Maya's Latest

This is an Instagram snap taken of my daughter, Maya's, latest portrait. The color tone is a bit different than the original, but the image is the image.

Edinburgh Art College. She's got you in her sights!

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