Stone of Remembrance

September 15, 2009

Music In the Stones

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Writing — admin @ 06:46

My novel A Song In Stone follows on the idea that the extensive carvings in the Lady Chapel at Rosslyn near Edinburgh encode a piece of music that, if found, would “heal the world”. Apparently, there are all kinds of music hidden in all kinds of stones, as reported here.

Markings on a 16th Century carving from Stirling Castle could be the oldest surviving piece of written Scottish instrumental music, historians believe.

A sequence of 0s, Is and IIs have been found on one of the Stirling Heads – wooden medallions which would have decorated the castle’s royal palace.

It is believed the music could have been played on instruments such as harps, viols, fiddles and lutes.

There’s even an audio interpretation of the music.

Thanks to reader n1vux for passing this on.

August 3, 2009

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 3

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Newsletter, Writing — admin @ 12:09

August, 2009

Welcome to the third issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2009, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances. I am currently posting this newsletter from Toronto, where we’re having a short visit prior to Montréal Worldcon.

Books Update

The Dark Wing Universe

The Dark Wing series is mostly out of print.

The Dark Wing is available in Russian at Ozon and Books.ru.

The series is available in German from Random House / Heyne, available from amazon.de:

A Song In Stone

A Song In Stone has been placed out of print by Wizards of the Coast, but it can be ordered from amazon.com. No paperback edition is planned, but it has been exceptionally well received despite a lack of publicity.

As the rights are back in my hands, I am actively pursuing a new edition and trying to place the sequel (which is 40,000 words along).

I am considering the idea of making it into a podcast book. To that end, I am looking for a partnership with someone who possesses the necessary expertise to make it a product that meets or exceeds my audience’s expectations – and not just a recording of me reading my own work. It deserves better than that, and so do you.

I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. I have placed a copy of an extensive glossary to enhance your reading pleasure.

King & Country

As reported previously I’ve been working on some short(er) material set in the King & Country alternate history timeline. The short(er) work has a good chance of appearing in print soon; more news as I have it. More information on the background on the main site. The novel is now about 40% complete. I was recently told by a historian (of whom I’m a great fan, and who gave me a few minutes of his time when he visited Newport, RI to give a talk): “you know the history well enough: time to write the story.” So I’m doing just that. You will like this book, I hope.

The book has currently advanced to approximately 45,000 words, and I have written three shorter pieces – set in 1815, 1833 and 1843 – that I would like to sell. Alternate history is a tough subject and I hold such work (including my own) to high standards – see my article in the August 2009 Crossed Genres magazine. Tip o’ the hat to Bud Sparhawk, who helped me out at a recent convention with tips on writing short fiction.

Mesmerism Project

Sometimes you can’t write anything you can stand to reread; sometimes you write like your pants are on fire. My trousers have been flammable like you would not believe during the last three or four weeks: I have written nearly 18,000 words on a book set in the middle 19th century that deals with the mesmerism phenomenon. Early readings have received extremely positive feedback. There’s an outline, and I expect to submit it shortly for consideration. I hope to have more news on that soon.

In the meanwhile – I’m doing what I always suggest to young writers: feeding the muse.

Other Projects

I am pleased to announce that after more than twenty years of evolution and development, the New England railroad/business game I developed with a long-time close friend has been sold to Rio Grande Games for publication in 2010. Many, many people have playtested this game over its many years of life, and I hope to include all of their names in the rule book. Rio Grande is an outstanding company that sets a very high standard in production quality, and it will be an honor to have a game with our names and Rio Grande’s name on the box.

I recently wrote an article entitled Here Our Story Begins about writing (and judging) Alternate History work. I hope to do more of this sort of thing, and I hope you enjoy it and support the magazine. It will be available at Worldcon in dead-tree edition.

Upcoming Appearances

2009

We will be in attendance at Montréal Worldcon August 6-10. My schedule is as follows:

Thursday, August 6

1900, D-2806: Card & Board Gaming. Teen programming.

Saturday, August 8

1200, P-510C: First Contact: The Meeting
With: Gay Haldeman (moderator), Chuck Cady, Duncan McGregor, Gay Haldeman, Gregory A. Wilson, Sherwood Smith
“What would happen if aliens came to Earth? What would you say? What do you do? Offer lunch? What would governments do? How would the world react?”

Sunday, August 9

11:00, P-516AB The Singularity: O RLY?
With: Peter Watts (moderator), Gregory A. Wilson, Jody Lynn Nye, Paul Chafe
Vernor Vinge first proposed the idea of the Singularity in 1988: more than two decades on, are we measurably closer to it happening? Have the intervening years provided any evidence for or against its likelihood?

15:30, P-522A Author Reading
I will read from one or another ongoing project. Hope to see you there.

I am intending to be at one of the middle state conventions – either Capclave or Philcon – later in the year.

2010

I will be at both Boston conventions in January and February. I have been invited to RavenCon in Virginia in April.

We will not be at Australia Worldcon. I’m expecting that we will attend Raleigh NASFiC in early August.

Worldcon Bids

The 2011 Seattle Worldcon bid has been withdrawn, which is unfortunate. The only standing bid is for Reno, which we have presupported.

There is only one bid announced for 2012, Chicago (as I reported on my blog several months ago.) There is a Texas bid for 2013 that will be having a bid party at Montréal Worldcon.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

I recently read The Exchange Artist, a book about the first bank failure in United States history – engineered by Andrew Dexter, Jr., a sort of early 19th century Bernie Madoff. It’s a little known chapter in history, and I found it fascinating.

I would also like to put in a another plug for my good friend Lawrence Schoen’s first novel Buffalito Destiny, which I had a chance to read and blurb. His work in short fiction should whet your appetite for this entertaining longer effort. BIG CLOCK! (If you don’t know what that means, count yourself fortunate.)

I also have Erfworld in my RSS list. It’s another webcomic that’s hard to explain: you have to read it, and read it carefully, in order to get what Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi are doing. I’ve met Rob (but not Jamie); what is it about webcomic authors being great guys? I don’t know. If I could draw I could be one of them :)

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2009, Walter H. Hunt.

June 23, 2009

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 2

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Games, Newsletter, Travel, Writing — admin @ 14:58

June, 2009

Welcome to the second issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2009, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances. It has been a terribly long time since the last one; I apologize for that, but it has been hectic, confusing, and busy. Things are still hectic, but there is at least some new news to report.

Books Update

The Dark Wing Universe

The Dark Wing series is mostly out of print.

The Dark Wing is available in Russian at Ozon and Books.ru.

The series is available in German from Random House / Heyne, available from amazon.de:

A Song In Stone

A Song In Stone has been placed out of print by Wizards of the Coast, but it can be ordered from amazon.com. No paperback edition is planned, but it has been exceptionally well received despite a lack of publicity.

I am considering the idea of making it into a podcast book. To that end, I am looking for a partnership with someone who possesses the necessary expertise to make it a product that meets or exceeds my audience’s expectations – and not just a recording of me reading my own work. It deserves better than that, and so do you.

I am doing all I can to promote the book by personal appearances. I have received a number of invitations from Masonic organizations to give a talk on Rosslyn and on A Song In Stone; when I appear, I have copies of the book with me to sell. I have already redirected some portion of receipts to Masonic charities such as the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, in part due to the efforts of my friend and brother Bob Winterhalter. To my Masonic friends: if you know a Masonic body such as a Lodge of Instruction that would like to have a speaker, and would permit me to sell books, please contact me and let me know. The same goes for educational institutions such as colleges; I’m more than willing to put miles on the car.

What it means to my other readers: if I could send a copy to the many people who have taken an interest in my writing over the last several years, I would – but it’s neither practical nor profitable. If you can’t afford to buy a hardcover, or prefer not to purchase books in that format, I understand. But your local public or college library might. In the acknowledgements to A Song In Stone, I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. I have placed a copy of an extensive glossary to enhance your reading pleasure.

King & Country

As reported previously I’ve been working on some short(er) material set in the King & Country alternate history timeline. The short(er) work has a good chance of appearing in print soon; more news as I have it. More information on the background on the main site. The novel is now about 40% complete. I was recently told by a historian (of whom I’m a great fan, and who gave me a few minutes of his time when he visited Newport, RI to give a talk): “you know the history well enough: time to write the story.” So I’m doing just that. You will like this book, I hope.

Other Writing

I have been developing a proposal for a book set in the nineteenth century that deals with the mesmeric movement. It’s got an outline but isn’t quite a proposal yet.

Other Projects

I am pleased to announce that after more than twenty years of evolution and development, the New England railroad/business game I developed with a long-time close friend has been sold to Rio Grande Games for publication in 2010. Many, many people have playtested this game over its many years of life, and I hope to include all of their names in the rule book. Rio Grande is an outstanding company that sets a very high standard in production quality, and it will be an honor to have a game with our names and Rio Grande’s name on the box.

Upcoming Appearances

2009

I will be at Readercon in Burlington, Massachusetts, July 10-12 as a participant. This literary convention is one of the best events on the speculative fiction calendar, and the Saturday night entertainment is not to be missed.

I will be at Confluence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 24-26. I was recently asked to be a judge in the PARSEC short story contest, and I was asked to be present when we give the awards for the best stories.

We will be in attendance at Montréal Worldcon August 6-10.

I am intending to be at one of the middle state conventions – either Capclave or Philcon – later in the year.

2010

I will be at both Boston conventions in January and February. I have been invited to RavenCon in Virginia in April.

We will not be at Australia Worldcon. I’m expecting that we will attend Raleigh NASFiC in early August.

Worldcon Bids

The 2011 Seattle Worldcon bid has been withdrawn, which is unfortunate. The only standing bid is for Reno, which we have presupported.

There is only one bid announced for 2012, Chicago (as I reported on my blog several months ago.) There is a Texas bid for 2013 that will be having a bid party at Montréal Worldcon.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

During our visit to Amsterdam I bought Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies, one of the group that helped conceal eight Dutch Jews for two years during the Nazi occupation – until they were sold out for thirty pieces of silver. This book was not a literary masterpiece but was compelling and moving; I cannot speak too highly of it, or in praise of the woman who wrote it. She’s still alive as of this writing, having turned 100 this year. It is a personal account of a terrible time and a monument to indomitable spirit that fascism and hatred could not crush.

I have just finished reading The Lunar Men, an account of the “Lunar Society” – a group of five polymaths and natural philosophers (Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestley, James Watt, and others) whose interaction sparked a generation of inventors and thinkers. It’s a great read.

I would also like to put in a plug for my good friend Lawrence Schoen’s first novel Buffalito Destiny, which I had a chance to read and blurb. His work in short fiction should whet your appetite for this entertaining longer effort. BIG CLOCK! (If you don’t know what that means, count yourself fortunate.)

On a much lighter note, my daughter read The Lightning Thief in sixth grade, and it was a great romp. (She chides me that I never read fiction anymore.) There are other books in the series, and an author website with a study guide and everything. Despite all of that it’s an enjoyable read.

I recently received the newest book in the Schlock Mercenary dead-tree editions, The Scrapyard of Insufferable Arrogance. The cover features a worried toaster on a counter in front of a group of heavily armed individuals. I met the author of this brilliant webcomic, Howard Tayler, at Denver Worldcon last year, and we talked writing and plot late into the night. He’s a terrific guy and has even given me props in his blog. I have it on RSS feed.

I also have Erfworld in my RSS list. It’s another webcomic that’s hard to explain: you have to read it, and read it carefully, in order to get what Rob Balder and Jamie Noguchi are doing. I’ve met Rob (but not Jamie); what is it about webcomic authors being great guys? I don’t know. If I could draw I could be one of them :)

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2009, Walter H. Hunt.

March 22, 2009

European Tour Spring 2009: Day 6/7 – Köln

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Travel, Writing — admin @ 18:00

With the Eurail pass, we had the ability to take just about any train we wanted, and chose to time our departure so that we could arrive in Köln (Cologne) in the early afternoon. Thus, we packed up our affairs in Amsterdam on Tuesday morning and boarded an ICE train headed for Germany.

Those who travel in Europe don’t need to be told about the ubiquity and sophistication of European trains. This isn’t something we really have in America, at least not anymore; we are wedded to cars, and travel long distances by airplane. But traveling by train is really civilized: you can sit at a table; you can get up and walk around; you can even get a cup of coffee. (In fact, there are people who walk through the train and bring it to you.) IC and ICE trains are about as nice a way to travel as there is.


Service With A Smile

It took us about two and a half hours to travel from Amsterdam to Köln. Holland is flat, mostly; it starts getting bumpy in the south and west, and really acquires terrain features once you cross into Germany. When the signs appear in German you know you’ve crossed the border; within the EU there is no passport control, so we’d not have noticed otherwise. The last stretch of rail into Köln takes you over the Rhine River, not very far from where the Romans crossed it: they built the town and gave it its name – Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinesium – in the first century AD, after Varus lost his legions to the Germans. You cross the big railroad bridge, flanked by statues, and then you see the cathedral, the biggest thing in the entire city – the Kölner Dom.


Biggest Thing.

It’s right next to the train station. Our hotel was just on the other side of the Domplatz, a short walk (with rolling suitcases.) It wasn’t very expensive, and it was very central – the Rhine was down the hill, the Dom was across the street, and the central pedestrian zone was around the corner.

Köln is an interesting city. It’s very old: an archepiscopal seat. one of the places that elected the Holy Roman Emperor, built on an old Roman town, built over Germanic ruins, built over a Neolithic settlement. Lots of stuff came to light as a result of the extensive bombing to which it was subjected during the Second World War (in all, it was struck more than 260 times by Allied air raids); when they went to build the new City Hall in the 1950s, they discovered the foundations of the Praetorium, the original administrative building for the Colonia. In the picture below, taken during the war, the area where the ruins were found is in the upper left corner (the Dom itself is of course in the center). The place where our hotel was located is top center.


Cologne: Ruins, Created and Uncovered

This is now a <a href="wonderful museum, along with the extensive remains of a Roman villa located right next to the Dom. We toured both on “Kombi-Tickets”: they’ve done a lot of work to illustrate life in Roman times, recovering and reconstructing. L. really loved it (A. and I walked through the displays, and then waited for her to finish.)

The highlight of the visit to Köln was, of course, the Dom itself. The foundations were first laid in 1248, and it was under construction for six centuries – on and off. It’s a beautiful church: a Gothic cathedral, like the ones in A Song In Stone, ogival arches and all. This isn’t the carving-filled setting that Rosslyn is – it’s much more traditional, wide nave flanked by huge stone piers, high-windowed triforium, ambulatory around the high altar, narrow crypt. (On the steps down to the crypt, there was a unicursal labyrinth on the floor. These places all have their hidden secrets.)


Gothic, Ogival Arches and All

A. and I decided to pay the fee to climb to the top of the tower. It turns out, to no one’s surprise, that this is an activity which should be left to young people. 509 steps on a narrow circular staircase at 12-year-old’s speed is an undertaking for 50-year-old knees.

About three-quarters of the way up, there’s a side passage that leads to the bell chamber. This is a key thing to see; there’s a little kiosk there, where a guy will sell you a postcard that reads “I climbed Köln Cathedral Tower – Only Available Here”. He goes up those stairs every day to sit in the kiosk. (I asked). There are a dozen of them; I hope the guy in the kiosk has earplugs. We stopped for a few pictures, then climbed the rest of the way to the upper chamber, where there was a steel staircase that seemed a little too unsteady for either of us; I drew the line at that, pronounced myself satisfied with the climb, and we made our way back down. My knees and legs shook for an hour afterward.

There’s no good way to photograph the Dom in a way that gives perspective. I decided to lay on my back on the side of a large rectangular stone fountain, so I could take a picture of the building against the sky. The picture below gives a nice view, but doesn’t really do it justice. You just have to step back way too far for that.


This is a closeup.

And as no part of the trip report would be complete without some mention of food, I should mention an excellent meal we enjoyed down near the Rhine – just around the corner from our hotel – at Slavia, which served a combination of traditional German dishes and Croatian specialities. They had an English-language menu, but only on request – it’s the sort of place that bold tourists and German speakers enjoy, but timid tourists miss because they consider the language barrier to be insuperable. Some of the best (and most reasonably-priced) meals you can have on the Continent are where native speakers eat, and Slavia was no exception.

We said goodbye to Köln all too quickly. I think I could spend a week wandering around looking at things – for example, we walked through the Minoritenkirche, where Johannes Duns Scotus is buried: it, too, is a beautiful Gothic church, on a much smaller scale, a Franciscan church that would serve as a good model for several places in A Song In Stone. But our time was short, and the convention in Dortmund was coming up soon. On Thursday afternoon we rolled our suitcases over to Köln Hauptbahnhof, and headed for Dortmund.


A. Says Goodbye.

March 13, 2009

European Tour Spring 2009: Day 1 – Arrival in Amsterdam

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Travel, Writing — admin @ 16:59

I’m posting this at the end of a long day-and-a-half. It’s 9:30 PM CET, about twenty-four hours after we left home for the airport. We’re in Amsterdam, staying at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, just across from the main train station. You can see it from there – except that at this moment there’s a heavy duty construction project going on. Nonetheless, it was a good choice. Damrak (the street where it’s located) is like Kalakaua Avenue on Waikiki – tourist central, with all of the souvenir shops, money changers, and restaurants anyone might want, but the hotel itself is civilized and comfortable. Internet access is expensive, but so are most addictive habits.


Hotel, Idealized

Our flight was smooth and uneventful. Bags made it under the weight limit even though I transported a full carton of A Song In Stone to Europe; they arrived promptly at Schiphol and we were on the train to downtown within half an hour of arrival.

We managed breakfast in the morning, though we were all a bit out of sorts; L. slept most of the flight, but A. and I got almost no sleep at all. Despite being full of energy when we got off the plane, A. was exhausted – and we couldn’t check into our room right away. Some decent food only helped a little; we wandered around the area, visited a couple of department stores (and bought some chocolate, of course . . .) and generally killed time until midday.

But it was great to be back in Europe. Especially in the company of two pretty ladies.


Two Pretty Ladies

Then . . . well, pow. Three hours’ nap or so, interrupted finally by our friend D. from Scotland, who had arrived at our hotel. We had a meal together, then I walked her to her hotel and then back.

I’m just starting to form my impressions of Amsterdam – it’s a cosmopolitan place, with all kinds of permissiveness that goes right past my daughter . . . in five years there are parts of this city that would be scary for a father, but right now it’s all about the chocolate and the weird potato chips (Barbecue Ham? Chicken Pasanda?). The Dutch language is readable for someone whose German is pretty good, but it’s very hard to pick up the accent – like German spoken underwater. Amsterdam is laced with canals – sort of Venice with cheese, I suppose – and crowded with bicycles and cars and pedestrians.


Yes, But What Kind of Meat?

Tomorrow it’ll be about the canal boats and the museums with our Scottish friend. Tonight it’s likely about sleep and recovery from the time shift. In the meanwhile, the scenery is wonderful. It’s great to be back in Europe and to finally be on this trip.


Amsterdam Centraal: Main Train Station

January 26, 2009

And About Time, Too

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Writing — admin @ 17:37

I’ve posted a glossary for A Song In Stone on my main website. This glossary is based on the original set of notes I sent to my editor with the final accepted manuscript last spring.

As I told a friend (who also asked, “since when does a novel need a glossary?”) this is only the most interesting tip of the rather large iceberg of research that went into the book. Hope you enjoy reading through it.

January 21, 2009

Arisia 2009: After Action Report

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Freemasonry, Travel, Writing — admin @ 13:21

My first major guest of honor appearance (at Arisia) is over, and it’s taken me more than a day to get myself oriented upright well enough to try and summarize the amazing weekend I just had.

First of all, I took not a single photograph during the entire weekend, even though the damn digital camera was on my belt the whole time. This is primarily because I was busy from Thursday evening until late Monday night. No doubt there are those who chose to expose their digital devices to my image, and such depictions will eventually be forthcoming – but regrettably, I have no pictures of my own.

First, Thank You

Before saying anything at all about the events, I must express my gratitude to everyone who helped make my weekend as Author Guest of Honor such a success. They begin with Jill Eastlake, the Convention Chair, and Pat Vandenberg, the GOH Liasion, who went far beyond the call of duty to accomodate all of us – myself and family, artist GOH Dave Seeley and his family, and the brilliant and talented costumers Ricky and Karen Dick (of Castle Blood fame – watch out for that link, there’s sound on that page!). But they are only the most visible of a host of folks who tirelessly helped out and watched out for us during the entire convention. No issue went unaddressed; no problem went unsolved. Thank you all.

I am also grateful to my good friend John G., who not only braved foul weather to get up here, and many delays getting back home, to share this event with me – but also gave a great empanada-themed party (based on a memorable empanada-themed scene in A Song In Stone. There were both “meat” and “fish” empanadas. If you don’t understand the reference, go buy my book.)

Also to my dear friend Sue S., who wrote the appreciation in the program book – and who’s not attended conventions much in the recent past: having you there was a joy. Thanks for everything.

It would be misguided to believe that there were lots of people who chose to come to Arisia because I was the Guest of Honor, but I hope I didn’t disappoint those that came. If I added to my modest readership, welcome aboard. Hope you enjoy what there is and will enjoy what there will be.

Events

Professionals at conventions are most often seen through panels, but I did lots of other stuff.

Masquerade and Costumes

When programming was just getting sorted out I volunteered to serve as a masquerade judge; Author GOHs often are asked to do so, and with expert costumers like Ricky and Karen and Rae Bradbury (whose Banshee is still memorable after most of 20 years) I could hardly go wrong. There was a bit of a logistical problem during the warmup: Marty Gear, the Master of Ceremonies, was running late – so Jill Eastlake and I went onstage and did shtick. Everyone (except my daughter, apparently) thought I was entertaining.

The masquerade itself was interesting, with lots of novices; truthfully, there were some outstanding Hall Costumes that could have done very well in competition with what was there. The “Best in Show” award went to a depiction from a thematically popular subject: Girl Genius, the Foglio web comic (that I’d read almost in its entirety last week, by mere coincidence). I gave one of my “Guest of Honor” Hall Costume awards to another such costume – a young lady from Vermont who appeared in another guise during the Masquerade.

My wife and I are Colonial re-creation costumers, but I was in civilian dress the entire weekend, as befits a Serious Professional™. It’s hard to tell whether that rule should be bent or broken, but I don’t dress up for conventions past occasionally wearing a suit.

Guest of Honor Speech

This is the archetype for a captive audience, though it was of only modest size. Still, I had the opportunity to tell a joke and relate an anecdote involving G.K. Chesterton and the absence of pants. There may be a video link to this presentation at some point.

Reading

I read parts of the sequel to A Song In Stone, and the first chapter actually appeared in the program book. While I enjoy reading aloud (and am told by a certain subversive of my acquaintance, best known for his purple pimp hat, that I don’t suck at it), I’m not sure how much this exercise creates new readers – as opposed to energizing the base, as it were.

There is currently no deal for the sequel to Song; to say that my publisher is giving it no support vastly overestimates their contribution to its success. I hope to prove this decision wrong. If you read this blog regularly, you can help that by buying one. I can’t guarantee that you will not be disappointed, but I can assure you that I did the best work I could possibly do at this point in my career, and that if you like my writing, you’ll like this one.

On the Level

I also had the opportunity to preside at a special communication of Mount Hollis Lodge on Saturday morning. Most of the Masons at Arisia were on hand; we held a brief “In Memoriam” for our friend and brother, Wor. Bro. Scott Chalfin, whom we lost since our last Arisia.

And . . . Panels

And lots of ‘em. I’m particularly happy to have participated in the writing/design track with Dave Seeley et. al., and in particular Peter Prellwitz, who was the ringleader of the panel series. I also enjoyed doing FastTrack (children and YA) programming, and my last panel was a terrific “20 Best SF Novels” thing run by the highly-energetic Eric M. Van. I’m going to try and post our results from that soon.

Gaming

Got in a few games of Agricola and LeHavre, and also picked up a copy of Tesserae from the designer which we haven’t played yet. Thanks to John G., I was able to introduce L. to Dominion, or as I quaintly term it, “Highlander: The Shuffling”. While I have successfully made my saving throw against Dominion hype, I wanted L. to give it a spin. Result: it’s on its way from Time Well Spent.

It’s A Wrap

We’re already planning to attend Arisia again next year. Our daughter had a great time running around the hotel with the 12-year-old rat pack; we bought a few nice things (a beautiful piece of art, and a nice necklace I presented to L. during the GOH speech). I wouldn’t miss Arisia, despite the weather, despite the . . . alternative . . . lifestyles on display, and despite having my reading interrupted by a young rude person – most fans are much more polite and appreciative.

I borrowed from the rest of this week to be able to get through five days on about twenty total hours’ sleep. But it was worth it. To everyone who came up to me and told me how cool they thought it was that I was thus honored, thanks: I think so too. Especially gratifying was having colleagues tell me so.

My next convention: MarsCon in Bloomington, Minnesota, where Even The Klingons Are Nice.

December 3, 2008

Tatnuck Books

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Walter\'s Schedule, Writing — admin @ 17:57

I will be at Tatnuck Books in Westboro, MA from 1 to 3 to sign A Song In Stone.

November 21, 2008

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 5, Issue 4

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Commentary, Freemasonry, Newsletter, Writing — admin @ 07:48

November, 2008

Welcome to the fourth issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2008, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances.

Books Update

The Dark Wing is now in its fourth printing in paperback.

The Dark Wing is out of print from Tor Books at present.

It has also appeared in Russian language and is available at Ozon and Books.ru. Thanks to vorchun for passing this information on to me.

The Dark Wing is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Die Dunkle Schwinge”, and can be ordered from amazon.de.

The Dark Path is now in its second printing in paperback.

The Dark Path is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Der Dunkle Pfad”, and can be ordered from amazon.de.

The Dark Ascent is out in mass-market paperback.

The Dark Ascent is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Der Dunkle Stern”, and can be ordered from amazon.de.

The Dark Crusade is out in mass-market paperback.

The Dark Crusade is now out in Taschenbuch-Format (paperback) in Germany under the title “Der Dunkle Kreuzzug”. It can be ordered from amazon.de.

A Song In Stone is out in hardcover.


A Song In Stone can be ordered from amazon.com.

Madness In Harmony has been postponed indefinitely. It remains on the shelf at Wizards of the Coast.

The Website

walterhunt.com has received a major facelift. In addition to reviews and a revised bookstore and reading list, there’s some new content that may interest you. Still no guest book: it got so heavily spammed that we haven’t been able to bring one back online. But please take a look at the new stuff. There’ll be more on the way.

What’s Been Happening

It’s been a busy autumn around here.

A Song In Stone

The arrival of A Song In Stone is the end of three years of waiting, and I hope you like the book. Its premise that was suggested by the guide who showed me Rosslyn Chapel. This structure, a confection of sculpture and artistry, is an unfinished part of a larger church originally built in the fifteenth century. It has fascinated historians and mystics for centuries; it is even the final location in “The DaVinci Code”. When my guide showed it to me, he pointed to a part of the interior and told me that the sculpture there was a complex, undecoded piece of music. The light went on . . . and now it’s a novel. The majority of the book is set in Middle Ages France and Spain, and (among other things) reveals the linkage between Gothic architecture and polyphonic music. I believe that it is a significant piece of writing for me, worthy of my readers.

It’s not getting much support or promotion and I don’t expect that to change. At the moment, there are no plans for the book to appear in any edition other than the hardcover (which is very attractive, but is priced as a hardcover – I can’t really do much about that.) I’m disappointed at this decision but must accept it. As always, the work must ultimately speak for itself.

As a result, I am doing all I can to promote the book by personal appearances. I have received a number of invitations from Masonic organizations to give a talk on Rosslyn and on A Song In Stone; when I appear, I have copies of the book with me to sell. Going forward, I intend to redirect some portion of receipts to Masonic charities such as the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. To my Masonic friends: if you know a Masonic body such as a Lodge of Instruction that would like to have a speaker, and would permit me to sell books, please contact me and let me know. The same goes for educational institutions such as colleges; I’m more than willing to put miles on the car.

What it means to my other readers: if I could send a copy to the many people who have taken an interest in my writing over the last several years, I would – but it’s neither practical nor profitable. If you can’t afford to buy a hardcover, or prefer not to purchase books in that format, I understand. But your local public or college library might. In the acknowledgements to A Song In Stone, I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. In the near future I will put my research notes on the website for your edification.

Hour of the Wolf

I was on Hour of the Wolf on Pacifica Radio in New York City on November 8. It was a great opportunity to sit down with Jim Freund to do this program and I believe it went very well. Check this blog entry for details.

Other Stuff

As reported previously I’ve been working on some short(er) material set in the King & Country alternate history timeline, as well as some touch ups to the first section of the novel, which is currently being shown to editors. The short(er) work has a good chance of appearing in print soon; more news as I have it. More information on the background on the main site.

My blog also shows the current top ten games in my Boardgamegeek collection; I’ve gone through the process of entering it into the Geek – it’s fairly accurate now and in excess of 600 games. We have been playing Race For The Galaxy a lot as well as Agricola. I’m awaiting a copy of Le Havre from the same designer, but it’s somewhere between Germany and here at present.

Projects in the Dark Wing Universe

We’re still on hiatus, and my creative energies have been focused elsewhere. Still, I appreciate the mail I receive – especially when folks say, “where’s the next book?” I have to answer that it’s in the hands of Tor Books to decide, but that I’ve not abandoned it. Thank you for all of your support and input. I’ve added some of those comments – without attributions – on the main web site. Thank you all for your support.

I’m looking into the possibility of releasing a podcast version of Sword and Sun, but that project is in a preliminary stage. I’ll keep you informed of progress through the newsletter and on the blog.

Upcoming Appearances

2008

I will be at Philcon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, November 21-23, 2008. (I proposed to my wife in Cherry Hill in July 1981, on the morning we found out our rental car had been stolen. Fond memories indeed.)

2009

I will be the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia in January 2009. I’m already up on the 2009 Arisia website – I’m really looking forward to it.

I will be the International Guest of Honor at Dortcon in Dortmund, Germany in March 2009. This invitation was something of a surprise, but since my books are out in German (and I speak the language), it should be a good con for me. Hope some of my German fans (which I do seem to have!) will come.

Montréal won the 2009 bid during the Worldcon in Yokahama. We will be in attendance, as we presupported the bid.

2010

I need to sell a lot of books to be able to attend the Australia Worldcon in 2010, but would really like to go. This bid will be stepping it up at regional conventions, and I expect that there’ll be some competition on planet. We’ll see.

Worldcon Bids

According to Chaz Baden’s page there are two announced bids for 2011 – Seattle, which announced some time ago, and Reno (which was announced at BayCon.) We have presupported both bids.

There is only one bid announced for 2012, Chicago (as I reported on my blog several months ago.) There is a bid in the works for somewhere in Texas in 2013, but it doesn’t have a web site yet. At LA Con I recall seeing a table for a Worldcon bid for Washington, DC for 2010 or later, but can’t find any information on it.

Yahoo Mailing List

Some local fans have set up a Yahoo mailing list for my writing. As I say at public appearances – you can ask any question you like (just be prepared for me to answer as I please.) I hope you’ll join the list and be a part of an interactive discussion.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

As reported earlier, I’ve been serving on the jury for the Philip K. Dick Award, which makes me a Dick Judge. I’ve read a variety of books that never would have crossed my path had I not been so engaged. At least a few are very much worth your while to read, but it would be improper to list my favorites before the jury work is final.

My daughter has recently become very interested in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series and I’m trying to stay with her; at times it seems that this is more a franchise than a universe, but the best of the work is compelling – and unlike much “children’s fiction”, the villains are fully realized, the violence and cruelty is believable and consistent, and characters actually die – readers my daughter’s age are engaged, which is a good thing. Bravo.

In expository fiction I recently read The Turk, a book about the famous eighteenth-century chess playing automoton; it’s fascinating and very well written.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2008, Walter H. Hunt.

November 14, 2008

Talk at Consolidated Lodge, Boston, MA

Filed under: A Song In Stone, Freemasonry, Walter\'s Schedule, Writing — admin @ 10:21

Talk on Rosslyn Chapel and A Song In Stone.

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