October 13th, 2009



A few years ago, Laura Anne Gilman mentioned a high concept she’d come up with for a new series–a fantasy world in which wine was the carrying vessel for magics. I was *completely* taken with the idea, not in an “I want to write it” sense, but very much in an “I want to read it” sense, and I watched and waited with enthusiastic impatience while she pitched and sold the idea and began to write it. And because I Know People In High Places (ie, the writer), I got an advance copy of the manuscript earlier this year, and got to read the book months ago.

It was every bit as well executed as I’d hoped. The main character, Jerzy, is a slave in his master’s vineyards who proves to have an affinity for the vine. Through Jerzy, we learn the magic of the world (and root for him has he gets in over his head). Laura Anne has done an absolutely gorgeous job of creating a system that’s completely unique, totally fascinating, and wholly understandable. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a magic system I’ve liked more.

The pacing of the book is entirely different from her urban fantasy, as it should be. This is a single story unwinding over three novels, with a cast of many (if not quite thousands); the payoffs are in watching a boy and a world adapt and change, not in zingy one-liners and quick wit (though you get some of that as well). I was very, very pleased with FLESH & FIRE, and would like to give Laura Anne a little cheer (yay!) for Book Release Day today. :)

You can read an excerpt and buy it online at Laura Anne’s website, or, y’know, hit a local bookstore and snatch up your copy instantaneously. :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)

books that won’t be written

Every once in a while something mind-bogglingly awful happens during or even before the creation of a book, and that something means the book will never be written. Sharon Lee has just made mention of such a book. Fairly recently the third novel of Melanie Rawn’s Exiles trilogy, another such book, was mentioned in comments. Sharon Lee says it seems to be something readers have particular difficulty understanding, and that it must just be a Writer Thing that writers must beg patience for.

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(x-posted from the essential kit)


so will ye…

We have a regular cabbie, Gerry, who knows I’m a writer. Which is to say, he knows I write. I have a vague and desperately incorrect assumption that when I say I’m a writer, people take it to mean I’m, you know. Published. Because that’s what *I* mean. But today in the cab on the way home he said to me, “So will ye be finishin’ yer first book soon?”

“Actually,” I said, somewhat bemused, “my thirteenth book came out in September.”

The man nearly dropped his teeth. After a bit of spluttering with astonishment he asked questions–how do I get paid, and, “I don’t mean to be cheeky, but are ye doin’ well?” Upon being told URBAN SHAMAN has sold some forty or fifty thousand copies, “Jaysus,” says he, “thirteen books! I never met a writer before! And are ye writing the fourteenth?”

More spluttering ensued when I said no, I was writing the nineteenth. “Nineteenth! What happened to the rest of them!” So I explained that some were on their way toward publication and others hadn’t been sold yet, while he goggled in amazement. I said to wait a moment when he’d dropped us off, and I’d give him a copy of one of my books. He said, “Sure and I’ll never read it, but that’d be grand!” I gave him a copy of URBAN SHAMAN, and he liked the cover *laughs*.

(x-posted from the essential kit)