Summer continues to drench us in its seething humidity here in the greater DC area (and presumably many other regions as well). The boys are back from their trip to Seattle and we're taking it fairly easy this week, because next week we're flying to Arizona. Partly because of all the traveling, and partly for other reasons, their mom and I agreed that there wasn't much point in putting them into camp this summer, especially since neither of them were very interested in going. Personally, I can't wrap my head around the idea that someone might ever get tired of Circus Camp, but maybe that's just me?
Anyway, despite the traveling and other events happening this summer, there are several days at a stretch where we really don't have much planned. I was a little worried about that, and even felt a bit guilty, until I read an article written by a child psychologist who urged parents to not plan out the entire summer, but instead to allow unstructured time. Time for them to get bored and have to figure things out on their own.
So we're trying this out, and it's been interesting to see how they do (or in some cases don't) adapt. I bought the boys desks this summer and I've been very pleased to see Zane spending a lot of time at his desk drawing. They've also been reading a lot, which I'm very glad to see as well, of course.
Having them entertain themselves, also means that I can actually get a little bit of work done during the day this summer. Like writing this newsletter!
My UK publicist sent me a bunch of reviews, including some actual print coverage. The biggest by far is The Sun, a British tabloid with a circulation of roughly 1.7 million. The review itself is middling, with both nice and not nice things to say, but my editor and publicist were thrilled that we have the following for pull quotes:
"a great swashbuckling adventure" - The Sun
That's a new thing I've learned with this release. According to my publicist, if you can get a review in the newspaper with the highest circulation in the country, it really doesn't matter what they say. It will still sell more books.
There were similar reviews in print from SciFi Now, and Weekend Sport, which apparently is not just about sports. Another should appear in SFX next week.
There were also some online reviews as well. Here are a few, if you're interested. I haven't read any of them, so if you're the curious sort who likes clinking links, be forewarned, I have no idea what you'll encounter:
Apparently, they're expecting at least 5 more in the next month or so. I'm really pleased to see so much coverage, regardless of who it is or what they say. I've had a book ignored in the past, and there's nothing worse than that.
I've been working on BOOK 3, but it's not going as quickly as usual. I was getting frustrated with the slower pace until it occurred to me that a lot of it is because it's the last book in the trilogy and there are a lot of plot threads I have to bring together. While there will of course be some aspects of the world that are not resolved (I'm really hoping to sell a follow-up trilogy!), the plot arcs for all the main characters must have satisfying conclusions. To put it another way, I've made a lot of promises over the previous two books. Now I have to fulfill them. And I've discovered this takes quite a bit more forethought than usual.
But BOOK 3 is going to have to wait! I just glanced at my inbox, and I see an email from my editor's erstwhile assistant. I haven't opened it yet, but the subject is "BANE AND SHADOW -- Copyedit Review", so I'm guessing that this is what I'll be doing for the next few weeks. It will be my last chance for any big changes to the manuscript, and copyedit reviews generally have a pretty tight turnaround time, so I'll have to focus on it pretty intently.
I think I've mentioned before that instrumental music is the second most important type of fuel for my writing (the first being green tea). So whenever I discover a new instrumental band, it's exciting. It's even more exciting when somehow I've managed to completely miss that band for their first five albums and I now have a huge back catalogue to keep me afloat for many hours of writing.
That is the case with Explosions in the Sky. Their sound is difficult to describe. It's a combination of rock, electronic, and symphonic blended together so seamlessly, I'm tempted to say it's not actually any of those things, but its own genre entirely. Perhaps Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the closest I can think of to compare them to, but even that isn't quite right.
Anyway, if you can, take a moment to get wrapped in a truly immersive aural experience and check out a couple tracks off their latest album The Wilderness
And that's it for this week. The boys and I are going to see a community production of A Midsummer Night's Dream tomorrow (support theater!) and a good friend is coming to town for a quick visit this weekend. Next week I'll be participating in Barnes & Noble's Get Pop Cultured festival on Monday the 18th at 7pm with award-winning author Fran Wilde. It will be at the Barnes and Noble in Bowie, Maryland. which makes it my very first event in Prince George's, the county I've been living in for the last 9 years. So that's pretty cool.