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.

Cronin’s “The Passage” must read vampire epic

Been too long, true believers. Been a writing fool. I also recently had a great time at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference. If you’re looking for an agent or an editor, it’s worth attending. Usually crops up somewhere near Seattle in late summer.

Anyway, I wanted to post a quick blurb about the novel The Passage. From Iowa Writers’ Workshop, author Justin Cronin has crafted a vampiric masterpiece worth reading. A truly wonderful narrative thread. Superb characterization. Unique, while staying true to vampire lore. From Ron Charles at the Washington Post:

In the same way that “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” gave us a mature alternative to “Harry Potter,” “The Passage” is for adults who’ve been bitten but can’t swallow the teenybopper misogyny of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series.

And Mike Peed at the NY Times:

“The Passage,” is a 766-page doorstop, a dystopian epic that’s the first installment in a projected vampire trilogy. Ballantine Books bought the lot for over $3 million, and the film rights to the novel sold before the book was completed.

More interesting notes: the vampire epic sold before the manuscript was completed. Ridley Scott gobbled those up in 2007.

Penguin’s vision for books on the iPad

Has Penguin launched the first salvo for an iBook? Someone will come up with a name for publishing house Penguin’s version of books for the new iPad. Certainly a step forward from an e-Book.

I have to admit, it’s pretty intriguing.

Good luck doing that with your Kindle. Can’t wait to see the first porn app. Eew.

You can read more at Gizmodo.

New Jane Austen horror novel: ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters’

I’ve been UBER busy working on the latest manuscript, so I haven’t posted in way too long. Still, I thought this was interesting. The book trailer for the follow-up to Quirk Books’ best seller, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In case you haven’t been following, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters tweaks the text of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with scenes with monster lobsters, deadly octopi, sea serpents and pirates. Here’s a bit from Editor Jason Rekulak.

“…I didn’t want to go out with the one-millionth vampire novel that’s going to be published this year. I know there are a lot of vampire fans, but the genre feels exhausted to me. Whereas Sea Monsters allowed us to draw inspiration from so many rich and diverse sources—most obviously Jules Verne novels and Celtic mythology, but also Jaws, Lost, Pirates of the Caribbean, even SpongeBob Squarepants! I think Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fans are counting on us to deliver something original, and I don’t think they will be disappointed.”

And here’s the trailer:

The book hits stores on 9/15/09. For more information, go to The Facebook page is here.