Stone of Remembrance

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 23, 2009

Not Me.

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 16:02

Well, this is interesting. (Thanks, Slet, for pointing it out.) But it’s not me. LibraryThing thinks it is, though. Not sure how to remedy that.

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.

January 20, 2009

Story Institute Interview

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 12:48

I was recently interviewed by John Murray of Story Institute about the writing process and my career so far. I am very pleased with the results of the interview, and I hope you will find it interesting.

Check it out here. i wish the Story Institute the best of luck in encouraging those who seek to improve their craft.

January 15, 2009

User Registration Disabled

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 22:40

I’ve been getting 15-20 spam registrations a day, and there are problems with compatibility for plugins that I’ve found that are to prevent this.

Therefore, I’ve disabled registration. If you want to be a registered user, e-mail me and I can add you.

Arisia 2009

Filed under: Commentary, Travel, Writing — admin @ 10:28

I will be at Arisia in Cambridge, Massachusetts starting tomorrow. I’m the Author Guest of Honor (as if you didn’t already know that from my repeated self-promotion :-)).

This is my (tentative) schedule for the weekend.

Friday, January 16

1800: Design A World, with Michael McAfee, David R. Seeley and Peter Prellwitz.

1900: What If They’d Been Invented Earlier?, with Stephen R Wilk (moderator), Howard G Beatman, and Jeff Hecht.

2000: Cosplay Costume Prom. (I’ve been asked to attend this. I am sure it will be entertaining.)

Saturday, January 17

0900: Meet on the Level. (Take due notice thereof.)

1000: Create A Story, with Jeanne Cavelos (moderator), David R. Seeley, and Peter Prellwitz.

1200: Open Press Party. A party themed around my new novel A Song In Stone, hosted by friends and fans.

1400: Guest of Honor Presentation. Come hear me talk. I will amaze and entertain. Well, I’ll talk, anyway.

1600: How To Write Your Own Stories. Fastrack presentation, with Don Sakers (moderator) and Adrianne Brennan.

1700: Writing Workshop. Teen panel, with Elaine Isaak, Elayna Jade Smolowitz, and David J Manch. I am the moderator for this panel.

1930: Arisia Masquerade. I am a masquerade judge. I am also a judge of the art show. I may not know much about costuming or art, but I know what I like. Hopefully ths will work out.

Sunday, January 18

1300: Reading, in the Con Suite.

1400: Design Characters, with David Seeley and Paul Prellwitz.

1500: David Seeley and I will do joint autographing.

Monday, January 19

1200: Beyond Hogwarts: A Young Fan’s Reading List, with Don Sakers, Greer Gilman, Peter Maranci (moderator), and Sonya Taaffe. (I hope my daughter comes to this one, as she’s recently whipped through all of the HP books.)

1300: Twenty SF Books To Read Before You Die, with Terry Franklin, Eric M Van (moderator), and Trisha Wooldridge.

I will be at the convention through early Tuesday morning, when there will be no more convention, of course. I am quite busy, by my own design: SMOFs take note, however, that I volunteered to have them “program the **** out of me” when I was approached about this singular honor. I always try (in Wombat’s words) to “give good con” and will do my best to do so at Arisia this year.

Hope to see many of you there.

January 14, 2009

Dads of Daughters Get This.

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 23:34

This is a bizarrely funny comic. The strip in question makes sense to any Dads with daughters.

For the record:

Vice President: Millard Fillmore
Secretary of State: John M. Clayton
Secretary of Treasury: William M. Meredith
Secretary of War: George W. Crawford
Attorney General: Reverdy Johnson
Postmaster General: Jacob Collamer
Secretary of the Navy: William B. Preston
Secretary of the Interior: Thomas Ewing, Sr.

There. Now don’t you feel educated? :-)

January 13, 2009

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter, Volume 6, Issue 1

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 13:01

January, 2009

Welcome to the first 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.

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

There is no more news since the November newsletter, but I have repeated the message from there. Again, I hope you will find this book worth your time and interest.

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.

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.

I have written about 40,000 words of a sequel to A Song In Stone. I have read excerpts at conventions and it has been well-received so far.

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 and Rosenberg’s new Le Havre which is pretty cool as well.

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

2009

I will be the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia in January 2009. I’m really looking forward to it. My convention schedule will be posted on the blog this week.

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.

I will be in attendance at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nesfa.org/boskone"Boskone) in February 2009.

I am tentatively scheduled to attend MarsCon) in Bloomington, Minnesota, in March 2009. That depends on some other scheduling issues.

We will be in attendance at Montréal Worldcon in August 2009.

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 2009.) 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. The awards will be announced by the next newsletter, and I’ll share a few of my favorites that didn’t make the final cut.

I recently read a fascinating book about the “Resurrection Men” of pre-Victorian London: Sarah Wise’s The Italian Boy. It’s a real-life account of the business of body-snatching, and deals with a period a little earlier than the beginning of the mesmerism craze in England (though figures such as John Elliotson are lurking on the edge of the story). I highly recommend it.

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.

January 2, 2009

Rise, Sir Terry

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 16:00

Here’s something that doesn’t happen every day. Terry Pratchett has been knighted.

Sir Terry , 60, best known for his hugely popular Discworld series of comic fantasy novels, has sold more than 55 million books worldwide.

He said: “There are times when phrases such as ‘totally astonished’ just don’t do the job.

“I am of course delighted and honoured and, needless to say, flabbergasted.”

A worthy recipient. I’ll be sure to congratulate the new C.B.E.

DBS Shoutout

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 12:44

I recently added Delta Bravo Sierra to my regular cartoon reads and to my blogroll. This is a very funny comic drawn by someone with a fierce sense of humor, a keen insight into politics and a strong support of our brave military.

On New Year’s, he drew the comic below – and my site is in it! (Fifth from the top). Hooah! (So is my buddy Todd’s).

Enjoy!

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