Gearing up for summertime, news and notes

Well I finished the second book in The Undying series at the beginning of June and sent the MS off to my agent.  Wrapped up the copyedit for The Undying around that same time.  Felt great to get both shipped off.  For about two seconds.  Then the brain gets churning again, even as I gear up for a road-trip to the rugged Northern Idaho Panhandle.

While I’m thinking over the panels I’ll be on at PNWA summer conference in Seattle in July, I’m devoting a good amount of time to researching.  It’s one of my favorite times in the process.  Reminds me of my researching geophysics and astrophysics before setting pen to paper for The Undying.

I also just completed a question and answer session with my editor at Simon & Schuster, to be posted on Simon451’s website in the months before publication in October.  I don’t want to give anything away, but you can follow and updates as they roll out here.  I’ll be sure to tweet when they’re posted.

One of the questions from my editor concerned my current reading list.  At the end of the list I wanted to name a few of my old favorites.  I had to edit the list down, as it quickly grew unwieldy.  So here are a few books — old and newer — that didn’t make the list, but are very much worth a read:

David Morrell’s thriller, Creepers.  Clive Barker’s magical Weaveworld.  William Gibson’s Burning Chrome.  John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing.  And the vampire tale Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite.  I could go on and on, but I enjoyed each of these and wanted to share.  If I don’t post again this June, happy summer to all.

Building a workshop, blogging, a literary contest….oh and writing, too.

Been crazy busy lately, so I apologize for not blogging more.  But I’m super close to finishing the next book in The Undying storyline, which I’m sure will make my agent happy (Sorry Barbara, I’ll be real done soon.  I promise.).

Some cool stuff is happening as we ramp up to The Undying‘s release in October.  Simon and Schuster is putting the final touches on a free Fall Preview Sampler, where you’ll be able to get a sneak peek at the story.  They’ve also launched my author page on the S&S website.

Meanwhile, I’m building a workshop for a panel I’ll be on at the PNWA’s summer conference in July, on Sci-Fi Fantasy World Building.  For those interested, a blurb:

World or story, which comes first?  Discover how to craft a realistic background for your manuscript — from vampires to space exploration, to new lands, peoples, economies and beyond.  How suspension of disbelief is key to keeping your reader, agent, or editor on the page.  In the workshop, learn how to develop and strengthen sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal and all fiction genres to forge an immersing novel.  The ins and outs of researching world building.  How to use language, politics and friendships as tools to create an unforgettable landscape.

I’ve also been working as a chair for the Middle Grade category of the PNWA’s annual Literary Contest.  I’ve had great feedback from the judges this year.  When it’s hard to pick a winner, you know we’re seeing some great manuscripts.

All that, and writing too.  Which I need to get back to, so thanks for checking in.

Of theme and Word of the Day

Happy Election Day.

While I set down the Xbox controller (Anyone else taking a shot at Dead Space?), I thought I’d take a second to write about the current MS’s progress.

I’ve gone back to the drawing board just slightly, and am working on the theme for the latest manuscript before I try to plow ahead. I have an idea that my past theme was a bit too watered down and needed some tweaking. Fyi, there is a great book on breaking down the subconscious and locating the theme. It’s actually written by my mentor, S.L. Stebel: Double Your Creative Power.

As far as the latest MS, the main concept of hive mind or solidarity helped me redefine the theme, which takes me to the Word of the Day: Zeitgeist.

From MW online:

One entry found.

Main Entry:
ˈtsīt-ˌgīst, ˈzīt-
often capitalized
German, from Zeit + Geist spirit
: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era

Here is the word’s Wiki.

On a side note, we’ve made good progress on the maps for the book. I’ll post a few versions as we work through them. Now go vote.

‘Blindness’, from novel to screenplay to film

More than ten years after it was published, Jose Saramago‘s Nobel Prize-winning Blindness is about to hit the theaters (release is set for October 3rd by Miramax). In the story, people are suddenly stricken blind. Key words: epidemic, government, quarantine. I’m all for end-of-society stories, so I’m onboard for this flick. The book was first published in Portuguese (1995) and then English (1997) and won the Nobel Prize in 1998.

For more, check out the slick website put up by Miramax. Great open. For the journey to story took from novel to screenplay to screen, the LA Times has an interesting column that came out this week (Joe Penhall, who adapted McCarthy’s The Road, is quoted in the article). The film stars Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore (it also opened the 2008 Cannes Film Festival). You can read Guardian (UK) review of the film here. Peter Bradshaw gave the film 4 stars.