Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Magic I Love

Being an author has its disadvantages. One of the issues is that I don't look at a book quite the same way the average reader does. Most folks come to a story with the hope that it will let them "fall through the hole in the page" (as per Stephen King). I expect that as well, but I'm also all about craft, like a pro tennis player watching another pro do his/her thing, constantly analyzing each move to see how it works.

So when I find an author that allows me to switch off the writer brain for a time, I'm ecstatic. Such has been the case with the writing team of Ilona and Gordon Andrews (writing as Ilona Andrews). They have two series now, but by far my most favorite is their Kate Daniels series (MAGIC BITES, MAGIC BURNS, MAGIC STRIKES). Their latest endeavor (MAGIC BLEEDS) is debuting on May 25th and I am all over this book. To the point of knowing that I will devote hours I do not have (because of my own looming deadline*) to reading it because their stories are that compelling. They have hooked me so solidly into their world I must know what happens next.

Does that mean I don't try to figure out how they do the magic they do? Hell no. I've studied their prose, their plotting, the whole works. In the process I've grown a healthy case of envy because they seem to make it look so effortless. I know the process is anything but easy, still I admire pros at the peak of their game. So if you enjoy a top quality urban fantasy I highly recommend the Andrews' work. It's my joy to salute them for another story about the amazing Kate Daniels and the bizarre world in which she operates.

Sometime down the line I'll explain how their work inspired my own Demon Trappers Series and why, in their own way, they helped move my career further down the playing field. For this post, it's all about them.

Thanks for all your hard work, folks. It's mucho appreciated.

*Deadlines either lurk or loom. They don't seem to have any other method of operation and the switch between lurking and looming is sudden and often very ugly.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Another Link in the Chain

So on Monday evening a heavy package plunked on my doorstep -- the copy edits from my U.S. publisher (St. Martin's Press). I always cringe when I open packages like this as I expect to find the page solidly red with corrections. I'm pleased to say that's not the case. The CE has caught my inconsistencies, taught me that Duffle is actually spelled Duffel (who knew?) and that clearly I have a nasty addiction to ellipses and em dashes.

I'm not alone in this journey. As noted by the photo, a Lego version of Darth Vader is helping me. Once I'm finished with reviewing the manuscript it goes back for another review and then onto typesetting. Then I'll get to see a galley which will be exactly how the final book will look. Soon a book cover will appear in my IN box. When I'm given the greenlight to share it I shall!

The same process plays out for the U.K. version. Somehow I doubt the Germans will be having me check over their copy edit.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

On the Consumption of Alcohol

Because the next few weeks are going to be quite full of work, I was pleased to take some time off and unwind at AnachroCon. I know a great many of the folks that attend this convention and that means I'm hanging with "family." As usual there were unique costumes, amazingly intelligent presentations and some very good food at Giovanni's (the Italian restaurant right next to the hotel). I even had the pleasure of speaking to Thomas Jefferson who is a most delightful fellow.

The con went fine for me except for an odd occurance related to beer and a hangover. As in I got one, but not in the traditional "how many six packs can I chug?" kind. Friday evening I had a glass of wine with my dinner (yum) and then later I repaired to the pool area to enjoy the scent of pipe smoke from my colleagues and to have a Shiner Bock. I like Shiner Bock beer. It's unpretentious and though I might argue about a lot of stuff that Texas does, this beer is one of my favorites. I turn in at a decent hour because at 10:45 the next morning there is An Hour With Jana Oliver, which means the Jana had better have a working brain.

I wake at eight. My stomach rolls over seconds later. As in the "OMG how much did I drink last night?" kind of lurch. But I had been sensible, which my body did not seem to notice. It was acting like I'd consumed my body weight in beer (which is a lot, folks). Food was out of the question so I starting sucking down water as fast as possible. I managed to get a bit of string cheese in place. The nausea persists, along with that spinning head thing. Not good, I think, but at least it's not food poisoning. I do make it to my presentation and did fairly well except for the need to sit down in the middle of it because I was dizzy. Then I went back to my room, took a long nap and starting reintroducing food to the system (along with tons of water).

Not food poisoning. Not alcohol poisoning. All I can think is that I was overly dehydrated on Friday what with rushing around to get to the con and with the obsessively healthy diet I've been eating, the introduction of heavy carb-laden beer was a bad idea. Very bad. Since it's the first I've had in over a month, that might be the case.

I was circumspect and nary a drop of beer passed my lips Saturday night (nor any other alcohol I might add).  I am ashamed to admit that I am becoming a Light Weight. Sigh. In future I'll stick to wine and single malt scotch in temperate quantities. But I will remember my former adventures with beer with some fondness.

Next year AnachroCon will be held in late February. Do attend. It's well worth the price of admission.