Happy holidays, all!
And in the spirit of the season, I have a few gifts to share. First up, a piece of news for all of you who’ve asked me over the years if I ever plan to write about Anafiel Delaunay’s history. Well, I received an invitation from George R.R. Martin to contribute a novelette to an anthology calledStar-Crossed Lovers, and despite an already busy schedule, I couldn’t resist the lure of serendipity. It’s going to be a long time coming (the delivery date isn’t until next October), but yes, I will be telling Delaunay and Rolande’s story at last.
In other news, there are links posted in the Events column to the left to the Amazon entries for Santa Olivia and Naamah’s Kiss, so you can get a more in-depth preview of what’s coming next. No cover art yet, I’m afraid! But for fun, I’ve posted a photo I took of a Santo figure in Mexico that inspired some of the iconography I use in Santa Olivia. When I say that inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about.
Since those are more teasers than anything else, here’s one that isn’t. If you’re looking for quality fiction online, check out Book View Cafe. It’s a consortium of over twenty professional authors in genre fiction posting content for your enjoyment. While I’m not one of them at this time, I’m a member of the discussion list that developed the project, so I thought I’d help share the love. There are some very good writers there!
It’s been a light month in terms of fan art/photo/tattoo submissions, but check out the Tattoo gallery for another lovely variation on the floral marque. And that’s all I have to offer, save for my good wishes to all my awesome readers! Despite these tough economic times, I hope you’re all able to find reasons for joy.
Lots of folks wrote this past month to ask about my current work in progress. I’m writing a new trilogy set in the Terre d’Ange milieu, only a few generations later with a new cast of characters. The first book, Naamah’s Kiss, will be out in June 2009. Regular visitors may recall that I mentioned finishing the manuscript back in September, and wonder why they have to wait so long. So I thought I’d give you all a bit of insight into the process, since there’s plenty of time to discuss this book and others in the months to come (and I will, I promise).
When I deliver a manuscript, it’s as perfect as I can make it. I’ve edited and polished it until it shines. And then my editor at the publishing house reads it and returns it with notes. Pages and pages of notes, sometimes. I read the notes, then I let them stew in my thoughts for a while. When I’m ready, I revise the manuscript to incorporate my editor’s suggestions, or at least all of those I agree with. Usually, that’s most of them. Good editors make books better. They point out weakness and flaws, or simply scenes that don’t have the desired impact. It’s a valuable process. I think authors who become so successful they refuse editorial input do themselves, and their readers, a disservice.
Now, editors are busy folks working on multiple projects, so the turnaround isn’t instantaneous. As of this writing, I’m still waiting for my editor’s notes on Naamah’s Kiss. And depending on how extensive they are, it will take me a while longer to process and incorporate them. Then I turn in a revised manuscript for my editor to read and review.
But wait! There’s more. Once the final draft is accepted, it goes to a copyeditor. It’s the copyeditor’s job to review the manuscript for stylistic, grammatical, factual, and logical accuracy and consistency. They make corrections on the actual manuscript pages and query inconsistencies. Eg., if I’ve described a character as having gray eyes on p. 16 and brown eyes on p. 43, the copyeditor will note it. If I have a character spend a week crossing a desert on horseback with only a half-empty waterskin, the copyeditor will politely suggest that the horse would have croaked, and perhaps I should consider an oasis or two.
I review the copyedited manuscript, address the queries, and okay the corrections I approve. If I don’t agree with the correction, I make a note to let the original text stand. Sometimes that happens. I just finished reviewing the copyedited manuscript of Santa Olivia, my side project coming out in May 2009 (more about that later, too). In dialogue, the editor had changed “goddamnit” to “god damnit.” Those flow and feel different, and I wanted it as I intended.
Once that’s done, I return the copyedited manuscript. This, then, is what gets typeset and turned into a book. But wait! Not done yet. Before it goes to press, the book is proof-read, and I have to review the entire thing once more while a professional proofreader does the same, because authors are the worst people at spotting typos in their own work. This is the last chance to catch minor errors and misspellings, at least until I get to do it all over again for the paperback version.
So that’s the journey a manuscript takes between the time I write THE END and a finished book is shipped. That’s one of the reasons it takes so long. Now you know!
For the fun stuff round-up, there are new entries in the Tattoo and Fan Art galleries. Costumers and other stylistas may want to check out Favrielle’s Atelier. Francophone readers will appreciate the new French Terre d’Ange discussion forum, and the fact that the French translation ofKushiel’s Dart comes out this month. One of my favorites came from a reader whose blog essay on Kushiel’s Dart and the way of the courtesan was selected for inclusion in an anthology on prostitution.
Enjoy! Oh, and on the homepage, a pic from a trip to explore vineyards on Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula. Very bucolic.
Don’t forget to vote on November 4th, American readers! I posted my endorsement of Barack Obama last month, and I’m happy to say the response was overwhelmingly positive. Only a few people wrote to tell me to shut my effin’ pie-hole, as it were. But I’m not uncrossing my fingers! I will spend most of November in either a state of giddy relief or a profound funk.
Four years ago, I urged eligible readers to get informed on the issues and vote in the US presidential election, but I didn’t endorse a candidate on my site. This year, it’s different. So if you find it annoying when artists in the entertainment industry interject their political views into the public discourse, check out the Fan Art and Fan Photo galleries for a couple of new items, and read no further!
I understand, I do, and I’ve never wanted to alienate readers of any stripe. But with our economy crashing down around our ears, our foreign policy in disgrace, our healthcare system out of control, and our infrastructure in shambles, I feel a strong obligation to use whatever small public voice I have to say:
Vote for Barack Obama!
Many things about the last eight years in America have disturbed me, and one of the most subtle, yet profoundly detrimental, is the rise of anti-intellectualism. It’s like being back in junior high, only with a weird secondary adolescence twist where being smart, intellectually curious, and well-informed makes a person a condescending, out-of-touch, latte-sipping elitist.
What the heck?
In 2000, America kinda-sorta elected the genial C-average guy they wanted to have a beer with over the smart, stiff policy wonk who kept droning on about a lockbox for the whopping budget surplus that’s long gone. In 2004, they reelected that guy despite his dismal record, because this time the other guy was from the East Coast, didn’t order the right kind of cheese on his Philly beefsteak, and liked to windsurf. That, and some nonsense involving band-aids with purple hearts.
Electing a president of the last remaining superpower in the world is a lot more important than electing the junior high prom king. I want the smart guy in charge. I don’t want another cowboy filled with steely-eyed resolve, ready to trust his gut instinct. We’ve had too many guts with lousy instincts in charge. It’s time to give the brainiacs a chance. I want the smart guy. I want the guy with the patience to read tedious memos outlining complicated situations in torturous detail, the guy willing to sift through those facts and consult with expert advisors to reach a measured, thoughtful decision.
And I’m pretty sure that in this election, Barack Obama is that guy. On issues from the ill-advised Iraq war to the deregulation of the financial industry, his judgment has been proven sound. His policies are aimed at helping the struggling middle class. If nothing else, his VP pick of Joe Biden tells us he’s serious. Sure, Joe’s on the loquacious side, but he’s a well-informed smart guy. Sarah Palin? Please! That gimmick alone is enough to make me mistrust John McCain’s judgment. I don’t care if she can field-dress a moose. If she were the leader of a rag-tag group of rebels in a post-apocalyptic society that skill might come in handy, but this isn’t a Mad Max movie, and I don’t want someone who believes that the world was created 6,000 years ago and humans and dinosaurs lived together anywhere near the White House.
Does that make me an elitist? I don’t think so… but after the past eight years, I don’t really care. Being the President of the United States of America is a very, very big responsibility. Let’s try putting the smart guys in charge.
And let there be latte for all!
Late update this month due to the holiday. It’s hard to believe it’s September already! This summer has gone by altogether too quickly.
The big news for me this month is that I’ve finished the manuscript of the first book in the new D’Angeline trilogy, now titled Naamah’s Kiss. I don’t have an official release date yet, but I imagine it will be out next summer. I’m happy with it, and I hope you’ll all enjoy returning to Terre d’Ange (and beyond) through the eyes of a very different heroine. Did I mention that she’s born to the Maghuin Dhonn and grows up in a cave? Yep. Very different!
In other news, the U.K. version of Kushiel’s Justice comes out this month. Although some of you may have seen the cover on my MySpace and Facebook accounts, I had to feature it on the homepage, because… Imriel! He finally got to be on the cover of one of his own books!
So I’ve been thinking lately about indulgence. From a writer’s standpoint, it’s been interesting to read about the fan backlash against Breaking Dawn, the latest book in the megaselling Twilight series. Disclaimer: I haven’t read any of them, and have no personal opinion. But I read an interview with Stephenie Meyer in which she discussed poring over discussion boards, etc, in a desire to be sure she gave her readers exactly what they wanted. When most writers’ work goes off the tracks, it’s due to self-indulgence. In this case, it’s the opposite.
Of course, the book sold a bazillion copies anyway, so what do I know? But I feel bad for Stephenie Meyer, because I’m guessing that doesn’t entirely assauge the pain of having half her loyal fanbase savage her work for giving them everything she thought they wanted. The thing is, what you think you want and what you really want may not be the same. For example, no one ever says, “I wish you’d kill off a couple of characters that I really like.” But sometimes (I’m thinking of the death of Anafiel Delaunay and Alcuin in Kushiel’s Dart) an element of tragedy is what’s needed to give the plot impetus and the story a deeper emotional resonance.
I do listen to my readers; but ultimately, I try to write in the service of the story. When readers tell me they want more of Phèdre and Joscelin, I think, “No, you don’t.” Because I can’t possibly take the arc of their storyline to greater heights than it’s gone, and while I might be able to write something that would scratch that familiar itch, in the end, it would be disappointing. When readers tell me they’d love to see Alais’ story told, and find out whether or not Imriel and Sidonie ever had that horde of children, I think, “No, you don’t.” Because it would strain the limits of credibility to give Alais her own epic arc on the heels of so many others, and push Phèdre and Joscelin into the roles of doting grandparents. You don’t want that, you really don’t.
That’s not to say that I won’t drop some hints about their history in this new trilogy, but I’m starting with a fresh canvas. And hopefully, you’ll find new characters to fall in love with; and of course, a few to loathe!
There are new additions in the Tattoo gallery, and some very cool new work in the Fan Art gallery. And speaking of indulgence, I’m indulging a whim of my own and sharing a video for one of my favorite awesomely creepy songs, “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” by Nick Cave and featuring Kylie Minogue. Gotta love that YouTube!
At last, Kushiel’s Scion comes out in the U.K. this month! One of the reasons for the delay was revamping the image, since the original trilogy didn’t perform as well as hoped there. That’s the new cover on the homepage. And yes, the ambiguity regarding the female figure depicted is deliberate; it’s up to you to decide who it is!
I’m happy to report that I succeeded in making it to Comic-Con this year. Thanks to all the fans who came to see me! It’s a crazy scene. Part of the fun is seeing the impact of attendees outside the convention hall. I particularly enjoyed seeing a lone Stormtrooper wandering forlornly around the tropical lagoon pool and Tiki Bar at my hotel, looking as though he’d lost his squadron and misplaced his pina colada. I’m also pretty sure there’s a guy in the costume of an unknown superhero still trying to hail a cab somewhere in San Diego.
And I’m glad that before going, I watched Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog online, as I learned during the con that female lead Felicia Day is a fan of my books. Thanks to a friend, I was able to surprise her with a signed copy of Kushiel’s Mercy, resulting in a very cute moment:
What I didn’t know is that Felicia is a goddess of geekdom for creating and starring in The Guild, a web comedy about a group of online gamers. If you’re a gamer, or you know someone who is, be sure to check it out – it’s very funny! And I say that as someone who didn’t get the gaming gene. Aside from a brief flirtation with Duke Nuke’em that came preloaded on my old 386 computer many, many years ago, the vast spectrum of video and role-playing games is just not something I’ve ever gotten into. Strange, but true.
On the topic of mutual admiration, I got a nice email a while ago from singer-songwriter Allison Crowe. She read in a blog that I liked her music, and wrote to tell me she was reading and enjoyingKushiel’s Dart. Very cool! If you’re not familiar with her work, I recommend it. It’s lovely.
Otherwise, I’m hard at work finishing Naamah’s Gift, the first book in the new trilogy. There’s no pub date yet, but if all goes well, hopefully it will be out next summer. A number of people have written to ask about Santa Olivia, my side project that will be released under the pseudonym Madalon Easton. That’s still in the works, scheduled for release in May 2009, and yes, I’ll be sure to post more about it here. One title that’s not mine is the forthcoming It’s a Crime, by another author also named Jacqueline Carey, who writes literary fiction. Just so you know!
In the monthly roundup, there’s a new article at SCI FI Wire, an interview with Media Blvd, a listing for Jacqueline Carey Readers on MySpace, and new tats, art and pics in the Tattoo, Fan Art and Fan Photo galleries.
Until next month!
Never say never!
That’s the one phrase I uttered most often on last month’s book tour. It’s the answer to an endless number of questions beginning with “Will you ever…?” Will I ever write a Kushiel prequel? Will I ever write another book in The Sundering? Will I ever tell Melisande’s story from her perspective?
So far, the short answer is “No.” As I’ve written here before, I’m currently working on the first book of a new trilogy set in the Terre d’Ange milieu. It takes place several generations after the end of Kushiel’s Mercy and features a whole new cast of characters, including a half-D’Angeline heroine who’s actually born to the Maghuin Dhonn. At this point, I’m completely occupied with this project and not working on any other plans. But there’s no telling what future inspiration may hold, hence… never say never.
Apropos of which, I’m happy to report that something I thought was unlikely to transpire, just did! There’s been an offer for audio rights to theKushiel series, with plans to get all six books in production by March 2009. (I don’t have any more specific details, so don’t deluge me with inquiries.) Very cool, and I’m happy that they’ll be available at last in audio book format.
At any rate, many thanks to all the fans who turned out for booksignings and made for another successful tour! Mercy‘s getting a great response, and I’m very glad. It was a LOT of fun to write. Thanks, too, to Shawn at The Signed Page for his hard work in making signed copies available to readers. It’s truly a labor of love on his part.
I’ll be going into deep writing mode over the months to come, but I do have one more public appearance scheduled. Weather deities permitting, I’ll be attending Comic-Con in San Diego later this month. I’m taking part in a panel titled “Looking at our World: Eye on the Past” on Thursday, July 24th at 5:00 pm, followed by a signing session in the Autograph Area at 6:00 pm. I’m also scheduled to do signings in the Hachette Book Group booth on Thursday, July 24th from 3:00-4:00 pm and Friday, July 25th from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. And that’s all I know about that!
In the usual roundup, you can check out a spate of new interviews with All Things Girl, Fantasy Book Critic, and Pop Culture Zoo. There’s a new fan group listing at Kushiel’s Legacy Yahoo Group. And as (almost) always, visit the Tattoo and Fan Art galleries for cool new tats and art!
Since I never get tired of looking at them, I’ve posted a couple more China pics on the Homepage this month. But hey, who doesn’t like a yak?
Good news for impatient fans! It looks likeKushiel’s Mercy is shipping early, at least from the online stores. The official release date is June 12th, but it may be showing up in your mailbox or local bookstore early.
I’ve posted tour dates in the Events column to the left, and that’s it for this one! As I’ve said before, tours are arranged and sponsored by the publisher. They send me to stores that request me, which is often stores where I have a track record of good events. So please, no begging and wheedling! There’s nothing I can do about it at this point.
One thing I can do is accept invitations to regional conventions, and I usually do at least one or two a year, especially if they’re sponsoring me as a Guest of Honor. Over the years, I’ve attended conventions in Atlanta, Texas, Winnipeg, Baltimore, New York, Massachusetts – and others I’m forgetting. Those are always posted in the Events column and sent to my mailing list when confirmed, and you can also keep up with me on MySpace and Facebook now.
To round up a few miscellaneous items, there’s another giveaway contest for a complete set of the Imriel trilogy at the Fantasy Book Critic. Readers in Australia having a hard time finding copies of my latest can check out Rendezvous the Romance Books, who promise to keep them all in stock. Anyone who’s ever wondered what a Kushiel movie score might sound like should visit The Eglantine Adept for some lovely samples, and there’s a new Kushiel’s MySpace group, too. After a drought during my absence, there are a bunch of cool new additions to the Tattoo Gallery, and a couple new pieces in the Fan Art Gallery.
And on a somber note, I’ve posted two more photos from my trip to China here on the Homepage. These were taken at Dujiangyan, where a Taoist temple sits above a 2,000 year old irrigation project. I almost skipped that site, and it turned out to be one of my favorite places. On the day we visited, it was a holiday. Hundreds and hundreds of Chinese tourists and a handful of westerners had come to marvel at the view, at the enduring legacy of the ancient engineering, at the beauty of the temple. We held our breath crossing the swaying suspension bridge over the river. On the way back to the bus, I bought a trinket from a vendor in the parking lot. Nothing significant, just a little charm to remind me of that day and place.
A month later, the earthquake struck. Dujiangyan was at the epicenter. Amid the sorrow at the destruction and terrible loss of life, I am grateful for my memories.
CONTEST: Kushiel’s Mercy giveaway
I’m back from an amazing trip to China! It was truly awesome, and a fascinating time to visit. Despite the political situation, we didn’t encounter any difficulties. The landscape was even more varied and spectacular than I’d imagined, and I found the people to be warm, friendly and outgoing. It’s such a vast and ancient country, I feel as though I barely scratched the surface of all it has to offer in three weeks… but it’s still a lot to process. And it’s definitely great, great research material!
So, books. Kushiel’s Justice is out in paperback this month and Kushiel’s Mercy comes out in hardcover in June. Yay! I’ll be posting tour dates soon. It looks like I’ll have a couple of events in the Midwest (Chicago, I got you added to the schedule this year; don’t let me down), then back to the West Coast to hit the usual suspects: San Francisco, Seattle, Portland. Appearances will be listed in the Events column on my homepage as soon as they’re confirmed.
Once again, if I’m not coming to a town near you, you can order a signed copy from The Signed Page. Due to time and author constraints, we had to limit the number of personalized copies to 50, which have sold out. Sorry! If you want to be sure you don’t miss anything, subscribe to my Mailing List at the bottom left. I use it to send periodic announcements regarding events or special offers. List members were the first to hear about The Signed Page offer and snapped up the 50 personalized copies in less than half an hour.
In other news, I’ve finally succumbed to urging and have fledgling pages up at MySpace and Facebook. Feel free to Friend me! I’ll try to keep up with both sites, though no guarantees.
Not many additions to the galleries this month; I took my email contact down while I was traveling. But check out the Fan Art gallery for a couple of pieces generated in Second Life by a reader who hopes more Kushiel fans will come play. In other community news, you can visit Terre d’Ange, a new fansite.
And because I couldn’t resist, I’ve posted a couple of iconic China photos on the homepage. The Great Wall! Pandas! Yeah, they really are that cute.
Lots of interesting responses to last month’s meandering posting! Thanks to all the readers who wrote to let me know that one of my books was their That Book. And thanks, too, to the surprising number who were concerned by the pancake batter lacuna in my culinary skills and offered to send fool-proof recipes.
You may note that this update spans two months. Due to travel plans, I’ll be away for a good chunk of March and April. First up is LunaCon in New York, where I’ll be the writer Guest of Honor. I hope to see some East Coast fans there! After that, I’m off on a long trip to China.
Research, you wonder? Definitely! For the record, I haven’t been to all of the places I’ve written about. Given the amount of territory my books span, it’s just not feasible within the constraints of my publishing schedule (not to mention my budget), and sometimes I’m forced to rely on plain old academic research. I’m fortunate to have traveled enough in my lifetime that I have a lot of vivid memories to feed my imagination. But it’s been too long since I undertook a major trip and it’s time to replenish the well.
To avoid being overwhelmed upon my return, I’m temporarily removing my email contact and the Bookplate Offer. As it happens, I’m just about out of the original Kushiel’s Legacy bookplates that Tor had printed back in 2001. When they gave me 5,000 extras, I never thought I’d go through them all… but I have!
As far as the burning questions that plague you, please check the FAQ, because I may have already answered them. I’ve even added a couple of new ones. And here’s one I didn’t add: A lot of readers have asked if I’ll be offering signed copies of Kushiel’s Mercy through The Signed Page again this year. At this point, I don’t know. It depends on whether or not they’re up for another round and it fits into my tour schedule. I promise, if we’re doing it again, it will be posted atop the site by May.
Speaking of promises, as promised, there’s a link to the first chapter of Kushiel’s Mercy under Extras over to the left. Enjoy! And I’ve got a real treat in terms fan art for you this month. There may never be a Kushiel movie in my lifetime… but reader Alex has given us a glimpse of what film posters for the original trilogy might look like. The first one is featured on the homepage. Check out the Fan Art gallery for the other two, plus more new offerings.
Hope that’s enough to hold you. I’ll be back in May!
Writing, writing, writing. Once more, little to report! New York area fans take note, I’ll be the writer Guest of Honor at LunaCon next month, March 14th – 16th. If you can get together a group of 20 or more, the convention is offering a discount registration rate of $35 per person. Talk amongst yourselves and contact LunaconCentral@aol.com by February 15th.
So I was thinking today that it’s good to be a grown-up. Yesterday, I splurged on something silly at the grocery store – Batter Blaster. It’s organic, pressurized pancake batter. This is just the sort of thing I would have thought was awesomely cool as a kid and begged my mother to buy. Being a sensible woman, she would have looked at the price tag and refused. I looked at it and thought, what the heck. What’s the point of being a grown-up if you can’t indulge the kid inside you every now and then? Also, although I’m a fairly good cook, for some reason I have a mysterious inability to make decent pancake batter.
After this morning’s breakfast, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be signing on as a Batter Blaster spokesperson any time soon. But the kid inside me was tickled to pieces nonetheless. And thinking about how there are parts of us that never age got me to thinking about a book that was That Book for me as an adolescent girl. I may have written about this before, but That Book is the first book you read with explicit sex scenes that makes an indelible impression on you. The one you discuss with your friends in whispers and giggles (at least if you’re a girl).
For me, The Thorn Birds was That Book. And then, years later, it was made into a miniseries. By this time, I was mature enough to enjoy discussing its guilty pleasures with my mother. One of the best things about that miniseries wasn’t the racy bits at all – it was Barbara Stanwyck’s fabulous performance as the dowager Mary Carson. As we watched her confront Richard Chamberlain’s Father Ralph de Bricassart and declare with an old school Hollywood star’s venomous passion that she had always loved him and that inside this stupid body she was young, my mother leaned over and said, “It’s true. That’s exactly how you feel.”
I believed her; but I’m old enough to understand it better, now. Not as well as I will, but enough to gloat every time I’m carded buying alcohol, which happens less and less. Enough to celebrate my inner kid’s joy at Batter Blaster. Enough to marvel at the fact that I’ve grown up to write a number of books that might be someone’s That Book. Enough to be touched when I hear from mothers and daughters who share a love for them.
Things to think about on a dreary winter day! All the glorious snow in the photo on the homepage is gone, but for a bit of February cheer, check out the Tattoo and Fan Art galleries for more new offerings, including a couple of charming Phèdre and Melisande toons.
Next month, a sample chapter!
Happy New Year!
This is going to be a quick update because it’s late and… well, I don’t have much to report. Amidst the usual chaos attendant on the holidays, I’ve been immersed in writing the first book of the yet-untitled new D’Angeline trilogy and contending with two big proof-reading projects: the mass market copy ofKushiel’s Justice and the hardcover of Kushiel’s Mercy.Many thanks to those readers who sent lists of errors they found in Justice! It made my job much easier, and readers of future editions will benefit from your efforts.
Apologies to anyone who may have emailed me and received no reply in the past six weeks or so. Due to a technological glitch, there was a period of time where none of the mail I sent to various address, especially AOL, was being delivered. I think the problem is resolved, so feel free to try again.
In the spirit of the holidays, I do have one special request. I received an email from a soldier stationed in Iraq wondering if I knew of anyone willing to part with a copy of Earth Begotten, the limited edition letter-press booklet, as a special gift for his wife who will be spending this past Christmas and next without him. Maybe you’re a collector with a soft heart? If you have a copy you’d be willing to sell, drop me a line.
Once again, check out the Tattoo and Fan Art galleries for some lovely and creative new additions. And on the homepage, a little taste of winter in Michigan! Freezing rain is nasty stuff when you have to be out and about in it, but it does leave the world sparkling and magical.
Here’s wishing all my readers a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!