Just about to hit ‘send’ on an email to my editor containing the finished first draft of Lovecraft Country. The usual apologies to everyone I’ve been ignoring in the lead-up to my deadline.
P.S. The last WordPress update broke my blog comments; fixing that is on my to-do list once my brain cools down.
I have survived another trip around the sun.
No, it’s going well, really. The last bits of Lovecraft Country are coming into focus and the stuff that’s already finished, works. Now I just gotta stick the landing.
Last weekend I left the house for the first time in days and went with Lisa to see Guardians of the Galaxy. The early trailers made it seem like a Marvel version of an Adam Sandler comedy, so I really wasn’t expecting much, but after all the good buzz and reviews we decided to give it a shot. We ended up really liking it. Feels more like a (good) Star Wars movie than a Marvel superhero flick, but that’s fine.
Meanwhile, back at Marvel HQ, studio president Kevin Feige is twisting himself into knots over the question of why he hasn’t yet greenlit a film centered on a female superhero like Black Widow. My guess: When you’re responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of studio money and you like your job, even minor deviations from established formula can seem terrifying. I’m sure they’ll come around on this eventually because the potential profits are just too big to ignore, but in the meantime there’s a niche here for somebody who can figure out how to do a superhero film on an indie-film budget.
Still hard at work on Lovecraft Country.
This week I finished a section of the novel called “The Narrow House,” in which my protagonist’s father, in the course of parleying with a ghost, tells the story of how his own father was murdered during the 1921 Tulsa Riot. Next up is “Horace and the Devil Doll,” in which corrupt members of the Chicago PD wage an unusual campaign of harassment against a 12-year-old boy.
In other news:
* Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic article “The Case for Reparations” dropped a couple weeks ago. I found it particularly interesting because it covers a lot of the same historical ground as Lovecraft Country, albeit with fewer Necronomicon references.
* On Netflix streaming, Lisa and I stumbled across The Loving Story, a documentary about Mildred and Richard Loving, who were convicted in 1959 of violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws and given a choice between prison and leaving the state. While in exile in D.C., Mildred Loving wrote to Bobby Kennedy asking for help, and he directed her to the ACLU, whose lawyers eventually argued the Lovings’ case all the way to the Supreme Court. The story is fascinating, but what really makes the documentary is the archival footage of the Lovings themselves, which gives you a sense of who they were and how deeply they cared about each other.
* In the idle diversions category, I’ve been having a lot of fun with Dream Quest, an iOS game app that combines elements of a Rogue-like RPG and a deck-building game. Review here. Strategy tips here.
It’s available in both hardcover and ebook editions. As you can see, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag did a really nice job on the jacket design. The German translation, as with my previous novels, is by Ditte and Giovanni Bandini.
Unfortunately I won’t be coming to Germany on book tour this time around. Maybe for the paperback.
Meanwhile, I’m still hard at work on Lovecraft Country, currently writing the “Jekyll in Hyde Park” portion of the story. More news soon…
Just got my complimentary author’s copies of the Polish translation of The Mirage. Aren’t they sexy?
They had a rough time getting here. The first batch got stolen or eaten in transit, and all I received was an empty mailsack with a big hole in the bottom. (Fun fact: the U.S. postal service will still deliver parcels that are obviously missing their contents, even if what’s left of the packaging resembles windblown debris.) The folks at REBIS Publishing very kindly sent a second round by special delivery, heavily armored in multiple layers of cardboard, and this time the books arrived safely.
The translation is by Zbigniew A. Królicki and the cover design is by Michał Pawłowski.
(P.S. The long-awaited German translation of The Mirage is due on March 1.)
I let the actual anniversary slip by unnoticed, but 2013 was my twenty-fifth year as a published novelist.
When you’ve always known what you want to do with your life, and you’re fortunate enough to actually be able to do it, there’s a tendency in hindsight to think of the breaks you got as inevitable. It’s not true, of course. I’ve been very, very lucky and I know it.
So as the sun sets on 2013, I want to say thank you to everybody who helped me get this far, most notably my parents, my wife Lisa, my teacher and mentor Alison Lurie, my agent Melanie Jackson, my publishers and editors, and of course my readers.
Thanks, guys. And have a great 2014.
Holy crow, it’s the end of November already. How’d that happen?
Work on Lovecraft Country continues apace. I’ve passed the halfway mark, and more importantly, the remaining gaps in the story arc have been filling themselves in neatly. I’m not yet at that magic point where I’ve got the complete novel in my head, but I can see it off in the distance now and know that I’ll get there.
In other news:
* Wednesday’s New York Times had a story from the granddaughter of a Bronx landlord who claimed 13-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald liked to shoot at the neighbors with his BB gun. Reading this, it occurred to me that I’ve never seen a film about the JFK assassination that unambiguously portrayed Oswald as acting alone. But once you admit the possibility, he seems like exactly the sort of character who’d decide, on his own, to try to murder a public figure.
* Laurie Anderson wrote an incredible piece for Rolling Stone about her life with Lou Reed, and their last moments together.
* A Buzzfeed staffer ranked all 144 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is great if you’re in the mood to waste huge amounts of time debating the opinions of a stranger. But what else is the Internet for, amirite?
* Now that the Seattle weather’s turned cold, I put out the hummingbird feeder, and almost immediately got a customer. This led to a breakfast-table conversation with Lisa about whether this was the same hummingbird who visited us last winter. Then, while I was checking hummingbird lifespans on Wikipedia (3-5 years on average, so yeah, it could be the same guy) I noticed that our Anna’s hummingbirds are described as “medium-sized,” which begged the question, “If that’s medium, what does a small one look like?”
This is a bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world. Wish we could lure some to Seattle, but seeing as they are native to Cuba I doubt they’d like the climate much.
For the next
two four weeks, The Mirage English-language ebook is on sale for just $1.99 from all the major U.S. outlets, including Google, iTunes, Kindle, Kobo, and Nook.
From what I can tell, the sale extends to at least some international markets as well—I’m seeing an equivalent reduction in Kindle edition prices in continental Europe, Japan, India, Brazil, and Mexico.
Also, the Polish-language edition of The Mirage has just been published by REBIS. Cool cover!
UPDATE: The Mirage has been chosen for the Kindle Big Deal, so the sale has been extended through October 28th.