"For the sake of humanity, join in Bitterwood's revolt." - Kirkus Reviews

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I end the week just shy of 63k words. Wrote some good Jandra scenes this week--I like the way she's shaping up in the second book. In the first book, she was the one human character with classic "good" goals. She wants to fight for the survival of humanity and is willing to put her life at risk to do so, but she didn't have a very good tool kit to turn her desire into reality. Her "magic" was pretty minor compared to Vendevorex. In the second book, Jandra finds her mastery of her powers greatly expanding. As she becomes aware of just how powerful she truly is, she's growing both more confident and more full of doubt, if that makes sense. She's knows she has the power to change the world in her fingertips, but she doesn't know if she yet has the wisdom to use that power.

This coming week I'll get a few more thousand words out. I'll definitely push past 65k, but I don't know if 70k is in reach since I'm going to Dragoncon on Friday. I'm losing a big chunk of the day Friday and Sunday to driving to Atlanta and back. I'll have my laptop with me, of course, but I'm not sure how much time I'll have to actually write while I'm at the con. At least the long drives are useful day dream time. Even if I'm not typing, I can still be getting a lot of story construction done in my head by imagining the upcoming scenes in greater detail and figuring out the best way of staging these scenes.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sci-Fi Wire article about Bitterwood

Sci-Fi Wire's John Joseph Adams has just posted the interview we did back in July. Click here to read it.

An article at such a prominent venue is going to take a chunk out of my productivity at work, I fear. Now that the book has been out for almost two months, I actually have some days where I'm able to go ten or twelve hours without checking my Amazon rankings. The first weeks the book was out, I couldn't got ten to twelve minutes. Alas, the Amazon rankings are one of the few tea leaves I have to try to discern how the book is doing. The Amazon UK rankings are normally more healthy than the US rankings, but it's tough to read too much into this, since the book seems to be selling okay in actual bookstores due to its cover. My biggest paranoia isn't the rankings so much as it is the fact I've gotten so few reader reviews to date. On the other hand, I have gotten a fair number of mention in people's blogs. So I'm wondering if reader reviews in general are starting to shift, as the sort of people who would offer their opinions online have turned to blogging instead of product reviews. Nobody Gets The Girl got a dozen reader reviews in the span of a few months, but hardly any mentions in blogs, while Bitterwood has gotten roughly a dozen blog posts about it, but only a few reader reviews.

In other news, I've made it past the halfway mark in Dragon Forge. Forward!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I end the week with the halfway mark just outside my grasp, at 56636 words. The writing is slowing in part due to a fairly complicated timeline in the middle of the book. My three main plot lines will collide soon, and getting all the characters to the right place at the right time is proving tricky. I'm also discovering, as always, that some characters have minds of their own and aren't cooperating with my plans for them in quite the way I expected.

The rest of the month is looking complicated. I know I'll make it ot 60k, probably this week, but my original hope was to be closer to 75k at the end of August and I just don't see that happening now. But, maybe I can make it to 65k, and try to recapture momentum on the weekends in September. I still have a week's vacation banked up as well, so I'm thinking of using that in early October, but I'm worried about using it up too early. I'm still on track to finish my first draft by the end of October, and I may find a week off more useful to me for crafting the rewrites than for banging out the first draft.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Septemeber Events

A whole slew of events in September

September 1-3
Atlanta, Ga
Mysteriously, I was never given guest status this year, despite being a guest in 3 out of the last 4 years when I had much weaker publishing credits. I was never denied guest status either, mind you. I submitted my application, have made all the requisit follow up emails... nothing. At this point, I'm assuming that the volunteer staff was simply overwhelmed by guest applications and follow ups and I've been lost in the shuffle. An event this size run by all volunteers is going to hit some snags. Still, I'll definitely attend if only to hang out in the hotel bar and chat it up with the Solaris Crew and myriad Codexians.

September 4, 2007
Friendly Shopping Center
3102 North Line AveGreensboro, NC 27408

September 6, 2007
South Point MallDurham, NC 27713

September 11, 2007
Joint signing with Lisa Shearin, author of Magic Lost, Trouble Found
760 SE Maynard
Cary, NC 27511

September 27, 2007
Panel discussion with NC State Professor Stacey Cochran and Baen Books contributing editor Gray Rinehart to the Raleigh Write 2 Publish Group.
CAMERON VILLAGE LIBRARY, Room 202a1930 Clark Avenue, Raleigh Raleigh , NC 27605
For more information about the event see:

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I conclude my fiction writing week at 50925 words for Dragon Forge. Writing from an outline is proving useful in keeping the words flowing. That, and ignoring the rest of my life. My plants are wilting, my laundry is piling in great heaps, and my refrigerator's been empty for about five days now. So, despite the fact I still have several hours of day ahead of me, it's time to leave behind the world of dragons for a while and return to the world of chores and grocery shopping, at least for a brief visit.

Sneak preview of Dragon Forge

Solaris books has a forum for people to write in with comments on their publications. There's a forum here for Bitterwood, and recently someone started a forum just for the discussion of the character of Blasphet, the Murder God. In recent weeks I've been writing about Blasphet's further adventures and decided I'd give the Blasphet devotees out there a bit of a sneak peak. Of course, I posted this last Monday and it seems to have killed the thread... oh well. Still, if you'd like to see a 1000 word excerpt from my current project, follow the link to the forum here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

E.E. Knight and Dragon Protagonists

E.E. Knight has a few thoughts on Bitterwood at his blog. He writes the popular Vampire Earth series and a series with dragons as protagonists called "The Age of Fire." I'd been told about these books before but haven't picked up a copy, although I'll definitely be checking it out now.

Another novel I've been told about with dragon protagonists is Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton, which also goes on my reading list.

Other obvious examples of dragon positive books are the Pern novels and Eragon. Beyond these, what am I missing? Can anyone recommend other books where the dragons are fleshed out as full fledged characters?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Bitterwood at Tales from the Raven

First, a correction: It turns out my reading isn't conflicting with George R.R. Martin's. They moved his to a later time in the day (2pm, I think) but hadn't updated it on the main page of the website at the time I wrote my post.

Yesterday, Suanne Warr wrote a review of Bitterwood on her blog. It was overall positive, but she mentioned being annoyed by the frequent POV switches. It's a fair criticism, and I wrote a response on her blog explaining the trade offs I made in using so many different POV characters. You can read the discussion between Suanne and myself at her blog Tales from the Raven. This was my first visit to her blog, but I see that she collects links to weird science stories, so it probably won't be my last.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This weekend I'll be a guest at Trinoccon in Raleigh.

Here's my schedule:

Fri. 6 PM, Ballroom I: MOD Age & Longevity in SF
Fri. 8 PM, Ballroom I: Meet the Guests
Sat. 11 AM, Oakwood: Reading (w/ Kessel)
Sat. noon, Ballroom I: MOD Politics in SF
Sat. 1 PM, Ballroom I: Religion/Spirituality in SF
Sat. 5 PM, Dealers: Signing (w/ Wold)Sun. noon,
Ballroom I: Building Bridges

I'm reading at the same time as GOH George R.R. Martin, so I may be playing to an empty room. Still, I'm anticipating it being a fun con. I'm on panels about politics AND religion. Chairs may be thrown. Good times.